Disclaimer- I own nothing I wish I did but I just get to play with the characters.

Locked In

(Take place in the Ninth Series after Dead Poets.)

"What do you mean you can't pick the lock?" Sandra exclaimed in outrage and panic.

"That lock is far more sophisticated and complex it can't simply be picked." Steve explained calmly and it was not what she wanted to hear.

"Can you at least try?" she pushed desperately.

"Sorry not really" he apologized.

"Then how the hell are we going to get out of here?" she demanded.

"Ah…does your mobile have service?" her colleague asked hopefully looking up from his own phone.

"No and I assume yours is the same."

"Unfortunately" he confirmed sadly.

"Please tell me we are not going to be stuck in here till someone finds us" she moaned at him.

"I'm sure it won't be that long" Steve said optimistically but she wasn't having any of it.

"Oh yes I am sure once someone realizes that we are missing they will come right here to find us." She snapped at him sarcastically.

"Okay it might be a little while" he conceded.

"This is great, just great" she huffed kicking the door in frustration.

"Why don't we sit down" he suggested.

"I don't want to sit, I want this door open" she yelled loudly foolishly hoping that someone would hear them.

"As you pointed out we are likely going to be here for a while. There is no reason to tire ourselves out." He argued and to further entice her he sat down against the back wall.

"Oh find" she huffed. Giving in Sandra sat down next to him.

"Don't worry I'm sure someone will find us" Steve assured her once more continuing to be optimistic.

"I'm not worried I'm frustrated" she growled.

"Right" he said softly.

"Of course this had to happen today" she cried complaining to the universe more than her co-worker.

"Do you have plans?" he inquired curiously.

"Yes I am going out—to dinner…with Strickland" she replied catching herself before she told him too much.

"I'm sure he will understand."

"How exactly am I going to explain this to him? Should we actually ever get out of here." She asked throwing her arms up in the air.

"I hardly think he is going to be surprised. The surprising part is that it is us and not Gerry stuck here." He responded trying to hide his small grin.

"Oh that makes me feel so much better" she snapped not sharing his humor.

"Sandra it will be alright we won't be stuck here forever just thing positively." He advised her gently.

"I don't want to be positive I want out." She grumbled folding her arms over her chest. Steve wisely chose not to respond and silence settled between them.

If they couldn't get free Sandra was more than happy to sit there pouting for a while. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the wall. She tried not to think about being stuck in this box and she absolutely did not want to think about dinner with Strickland.

She couldn't think about the case because that reminded her that they were currently locked in this room that was barely nine by nine and empty of anything. The lack of any items in the room made it even more likely that no one would becoming in because they needed something. Maybe if they needed to store something in here a person might find them but that currently felt like a very big if. And then a though occurred to her.

"Steve you said that lock on the door is very sophisticated?" She asked him suddenly breaking the silence and causing the man to jump

"Yes Sandra I'm sorry but it is far too complicated for me to unlock with my picks." He replied with a sigh.

"No I don't care about that right now."

"Oh, what are you thinking?" he asked catching the look in her eye.

"Why would you put a sophisticated lock on a door to a room where there is nothing in it?"

"You think they were storing something important or valuable in here?" he questioned slightly unconvinced.

"With a lock like that it would fit" she countered.

"What could they have kept in here? Drugs? Money? And if so why did they move it?" He asked thinking aloud.

"Because we came asking questions?" Sandra suggested.

"Its possible but it doesn't fit with the way they were acting. They had no problem letting us search the place. They would've had to know we were coming before we showed up." Steve argued with her and his objections frustrated her far less than earlier.

"Or it could have nothing to do with us and there is something else going on." She suggested trying to connect the dots.

"Possible, still leaves the question of what they were keeping in here" he reminded her.

"How did you open the door from the other side?" She asked suddenly confused how they ended up in the room in the first place.

"It was open" he replied.

"Wait the door was open from the other side?"

"Yes…why would you want that?" Steve asked becoming more confused the more he thought about it.

"You would want that if you wanted to keep something inside." She replied thinking all the possibilities over in her mind.

"Why would you want to lock something in here?" he asked nervously.

"It's a cell Steve" Sandra told him darkly confirming his fears. With that thought she began looking at the floor to see if there was any indication that someone had been restrained or held against their will.

"Steve does that look like blood?" she asked afraid of what she had found and the implications.

"Um…"he began looking at what she saw. "I think it might be" he agreed with a grimaced. Sandra jumped to her feet and began looking at the entire floor and slowly her joined her.

"Here this will help to see" he offered turning the light of his mobile on. This illuminated the floor and there was no doubt in Sandra's mind that it was blood on the floor.

"There is a lot of it" she said softly.

"We don't know it is is human" he quickly reminded her trying to stop her rising panic.

"How does that make it better? This room hardly qualifies as an abattoir. I can't think of any good reasons why they would have kept animals locked in a room. And most animals can't open doors." She pointed out refusing to be pacified by his arguments.

"I will admit it doesn't look good but I don't think we should panic right now."

"No we can wait and panic when someone opens the door and hope it isn't someone who tortures people or stages dog fights." She snapped at him and then her mind took off. "What if the reason they had no issue with us searching this place is because they knew we would end up stuck in this room. And they are planning for someone to come down and deal with us?" She cried becoming worked up at the possibility of their precarious position.

"That is a bit extreme, we only ended up here by accident they couldn't truly depend on this. It is more likely if they have something to hide then they have taken it and left."

"That only means it will take someone longer to find us and still means the wrong person could find us." She continued to argue with him, now that her mind had started with the worst case scenarios it was hard to stop.

"I don't think the situation is that fatalistic."

"No because you are Mr. Optimistic over there while I'm being realistic." She shot back at him.

"Well…I…"

"This can't be happening not today, not today, I have a date." She yelled angrily at the universe once more. Sandra didn't even care that she had unintentionally told Steve more than she wanted him to know.

"A date? I thought you said you were having dinner with Strickland?" Steve asked confused and she merely glared at him. "Oh" he exclaimed understanding her meaning.

"You got a problem with that I don't want to hear it." She shot at him continuing to glare.

"No I have no issue with you two dating. First date?" He asked curiously yet trying not to upset her.

"Yes it is our first" she replied curtly.

I'm surprised" he replied and then winced at his comment. He tried to cover his mistake with a smile trying to placate her anger.

"Why surprised?" she demanded unappeased.

"I would have thought that if you two were interested in each other you would have dated before now." Steve quickly answered and it was not what she had been expecting.

"Things were never right, first he was interested and I was not, then I was interested and he wasn't sure it was a good idea. But we are finally in the right place and I have been looking forward to tonight all week. Now it isn't going to happen because we are stuck in here." She was yelling by the end and for a moment she feared she might cry.

"It's not as though he is going to think you stood him up" Steve said trying to console her as best he could.

"At first he might and then when he finds out we are missing he is going to be worried. That is not how I want to start this relationship either."

"He will understand." He assured her putting a hand on her arm.

"I don't want him to understand I want to go out to dinner. I want to have a life" she growled.

"When we get out of here you can do all that."

"If we get out of here. I can't believe a year ago I was arguing with Jack telling him I should be out doing more to catch active criminal not stuck in a basement working cold cases. I was nuts I should be trying to get out of the field and have a normal life." She began to rant and pace the tiny room.

"We're police we don't have normal lives" he pointed out.

"Well maybe I want one" she huffed.

"Trust someone who has retired you don't want normal it will bore you after five minutes" he argued.

"But I could at least go out to dinner."

"Dinner would be the highlight of your day" he countered wisely.

"That would be a nice change" she grumbled.

"For a holiday not everyday."

"I just wanted to go to dinner, one night that's all. Why was one night so much to ask?" She was back to yelling at the universe once more.

"Why did you tell Jack you felt you needed to do more? UCOS catches a lot of criminals. According to Strickland our clean up rate is astronomical."

"I felt I needed to be catching active criminals in active cases doing it right from the beginning so they didn't end up as cold cases."

"I can understand that though our criminals are arguably more dangerous because they think they have gotten away with it. And those cases are the easy cases. They get tall the forensics now, they don't question things as much and you couldn't change that. You are a better detective, cold cases are harder people forget, victim's families can turn against the police for not solving the case the first time. And sometimes crimes need time to be solved. People who think they have gotten away with crimes get careless. Most importantly the victims and their families deserve to know what happen. You give them closure and they deserve to know no matter how much time has passed." Steve lightly began to lecture her much as Jack had a year previous and Sandra knew he was thinking about the case that had brought him to UCOS.

"You are absolutely right and I know all that and I knew it all then as well." She informed him with a small smile.

"Then why did you feel that way at the time?" He inquired confused when she simply agreed with him.

"Stuart, a fellow Detective Superintendent, we went to Hendon together. He was working a big drug operation involving a biker gang that over lapped with a murder investigation we worked. He made some comments that made me question my choice to remain with UCOS. He was wrong and I was wrong to listen to him. I let Stuart get to me." She admitted to him leaning her body against the back well of the tiny room.

"Yeah I can see that" he sympathized eyeing her. "Why don't we sit back down?" he suggested sensing she was getting tired.

"On this floor?" she moaned at the idea.

"This area over here didn't have any blood" he informed her pointing to an area towards one of the corners.

"Oh fine" she reluctantly agreed and sat down once more.

"Is that why you accepted the job down here because you missed the job?" She asked becoming curious and eager to talk about something other than herself.

"One reason…my ex-wife and son live down here." He admitted to her and she was shocked to learn he had family in London when in truth she didn't even know he had a son at all.

"How did you not say anything about them sooner?" She asked trying not to sound as though she was upset because she wasn't she understood wanting to keep thing private.

"I didn't want anyone to know, they left me to get away from me, it wasn't a good situation and I'm hoping I can fix things. But more likely that not it won't end well." He explained already sounding defeated which was unlike the optimistic man she had come to know.

"We would support you regardless of what happens. Families are complicated trust me I know. Gerry is the rare person who gets along with his family the rest of us have problems." She said trying to give him a supportive smile.

"But this situation is my fault" he argued.

"So? Ask Brian the harm his drinking did to his relationship with his son…actually don't ask him about it ask Gerry it." She began but then thinking better of what she was suggesting. The last think they needed was Brian going down that dark hole once more.

"I would rather Gerry and Brian not know about this yet" he requested softly.

"And I would prefer they not know I'm going out on a dinner date with Strickland" she countered with a coy grin.

"Your secret is safe with me" he assured her with a smile of his own.

"As is yours" she promised him. "Has it gotten colder in here?" she asked realizing she was no longer warm.

"We are underground and it is February plus the sun has mostly likely gone down by now."

"Great this keeps getting worse" she moaned wrapping her arms around herself for warmth.

"Here" Steve said beginning to take his coat off.

"Don't you dare give me your coat" she exclaimed quickly.

"Why?" he asked confused and he stopped mid-motion.

"I have a thicker coat than you, I have a scarf and gloves see?" She argued pulling out her gloves and made a show of putting the on. "Your chivalry is unnecessary and will only result in you getting sick." She lectured him lightly.

"You don't let many people take care of you do you?" he chuckled righting his coat once more and giving in to her.

"No and certainly not when it is unnecessary."

"I hope Strickland is prepared to date you" he added laughing once more.

"Hey" she cried smacking his arm.

"I meant that in the nicest possible way" he argued.

"Sure you did" she huffed though there was a hint of a smile playing at her lips.

Before either could say any more the handle on the door turned and began to open. Anxiety shot through them and they were on their feet before the door opened. Neither knew what to expect but they were prepared for a fight.

"Who are you?" the man on the other side of the door asked. He was sanding there with a bucket and mop and he was quite surprised to see them.

"Who are you?" Sandra demanded.

"I'm Matt Donavan one of the floor managers" he answered nervously.

"You work here?" Steve pushed.

"Yes, who are you two?" the man asked again.

"Police" Sandra replied pulling her warrant card and badge out of her handbag and flashing it at him. "What happened here? Why is there blood on the floor?" She continued to question him firmly at that moment her authority was the only weapon she had.

"Ah well…my family just adopted two dogs from the animal shelter. I brought them with me to work so I could take them to the vet on my lunch break. I left them in here cause we don't use this room. Turns out the dogs don't like each other and they started fighting. The vet had to fix them up. I came back to clean up the mess." He explained looking guilty as he spoke.

"Why does the door lock on the inside but not on the outside?" She asked not letting him off just yet. She wasn't stupid enough to simply believe his story without question. Especially not when there were still several unanswered questions.

"They installed it wrong we are fighting with the builder to get it fixed that's why this room isn't use. Can you get them to fix it since you are the police?" Matt asked them hopefully.

"Not really out area" Steve told him with a sympathetic look.

"Oh okay…so why are you two in here?"

"We were searching the place—with your employer's permission and no one warned us it locked on the inside." Sandra explained trying to sound put out and not embarrassed.

"That keeps happening I've told them we need to put up a sign."

"A sign wold be a very good idea" Steve agreed and Sandra nodded.

"Thank you for letting us out we need to go now." Sandra informed the man she was now eager to get out of the room and the building. There was just enough time for her to make her date.

"Yeah, sure sorry about that" Matt apologized moving out of the way and letting them leave.

"Hope your dogs get better." Steve added as they quickly headed for the stairs that would lead them to the door and their freedom.

"Not a word of this to anyone" Sandra hissed at him as they exited the building into the car park.

"Agreed but what do we tell Gerry and Brian?"

"We tell them that we ran into a little trouble searching the building which caused us to take longer and we didn't have mobile service."

"Right, good, but what about Strickland?"

"You leave Strickland to me" she replied firmly unlocking her car.

"Oh right" he agreed with a grin.

"Our secret right Steve?" she asked as the climbed into the vehicle.

"Absolutely, all of it" he assured her.

"Good let's go home" Sandra declared turning the car on happy to have escaped the tiny room.


a/n As i have written previously, I am not actively writing New Tricks fanfiction. This is the last one out of a handful of short completed fics sitting on my computer that I wanted to share. I have been posting them just in case anyone is interested in reading them. I hope they have been enjoyable and I apologize for any typos still floating around. Additionally I would like to say a heart felt thank you everyone that I has read this and anything else I have written over the years...Thank you.