"So, are you going to tell her?" Johnny asked Roy as they drove back to the station.
"Tell who what?" Roy replied, obviously trying to avoid the subject.
"Roy. Are you or aren't you going to tell Joanne about Stoker's party?" Johnny asked.
"The last time Stoker had a poker party I didn't get home until 4 AM! Joanne'll hit the roof if I go to another one," Roy replied.
"But this isn't a poker party," Johnny started.
"Oh, yeah, it's a basketball barbecue. Big difference!" Roy lamented.
Johnny just grinned.
"Oh, come on. She still can't be sore about that party, can she?" he asked
"Let's just say that Stoker isn't high on Joanne's list," Roy said.
"Stoker?! He's a great guy," Johnny said, surprised at Roy's remark.
"I know. I just think Joanne's a little jealous because I like his cooking better than hers," Roy said with a laugh.
"Oh, so it has nothing to do with how late you came home," Johnny began. "It has to do with the leftovers you brought with you!" he finished, laughing.
Roy backed the squad into the truck bay. He and Johnny got out of the squad and headed for the kitchen. Spreading their paperwork out onto the table, they began writing up the back to back calls they had just been on. The rest of the shift was out backing up station 48 on an MVA. Johnny got up to get another cup of coffee when he heard a noise out in the truck bay.
"You hear something Roy?" he asked, looking toward the squad.
"No," Roy replied, concentrating on the paperwork.
Johnny thought he heard the noise again and headed out to investigate. He walked around to the other side of the squad and was surprised to see a man trying to pry open one of the compartments on the side of the squad.
"Hey!" Johnny yelled, starting to approach him.
The man looked up, startled, and pointed a gun at Johnny. Johnny stopped in his tracks and raised his hands.
"Whoa. Easy, easy," Johnny said quietly, backing up slowly.
The man looked to Johnny and said, "Open it up!"
"Johnny?" Roy called, wondering where Johnny had disappeared to.
The man looked in Roy's direction quickly. He saw that Johnny was about to run and panicked, firing the gun.
Roy hadn't seen the man before coming around the side of the squad. He heard the gunshot and he saw Johnny fall to the floor.
"Johnny!" he screamed, heading for his partner.
"Don't touch him!" the man yelled, pointing the gun at Roy, now.
Roy stopped just a foot before reaching Johnny's prone form.
"What do you want?" Roy asked tentatively.
"Open the truck! I want the drugs!" he ordered Roy.
Roy took the squad keys out of his pants pocket and walked slowly toward the squad, hands out. He opened the compartment that had the drug box in it and stepped back.
"Look, just take what you want and go," Roy said calmly. "I won't give you any trouble. Just let me take care of my partner," he continued, motioning toward Johnny, who was moaning softly.
The man ignored Roy. Instead he was intent on the drug box in front of him. Roy slowly knelt down next to Johnny.
"Johnny? Johnny, you okay?" he asked tentatively.
He saw the pool of blood under Johnny, growing by the minute. Roy started to turn Johnny over onto his back when he heard the man curse. He watched the man shove several bottles and syringes into his coat as he looked over his shoulder. Roy saw the engine come to a stop across the street, getting ready to back into the driveway. The man panicked. He looked around.
"You!" he shouted, pointing the gun at Roy. "Get him up! Both of you! In there!" he ordered, pointing to Captain Stanley's office.
Roy looked down at Johnny, who he'd just finished turning over.
"He's hurt bad. He needs to go to a hospital!" Roy pleaded as he held his hand on Johnny's chest, trying to stop the bleeding.
"All the more reason they'll give me what I want. Now move!!" the man yelled.
Roy looked again at his partner. Johnny was looking at him through half closed eyes, his breathing coming in quick gasps. Roy knew he was trying to hold back cries of pain. Roy slid his arm under Johnny's shoulders and got him to a sitting position. Johnny let out a loud cry. Roy then took Johnny's right arm and slung it over his shoulder. He gripped Johnny's belt with his other hand and pulled him up. Johnny did his best to help Roy, but wound up leaning heavily on him as they entered the office. The gunman followed.
On the engine, Chet and Marco had seen the man enter the office.
"Hey Cap?" Chet called. "Something's up. I just saw some guy go into your office."
"Hold up Mike," Stanley ordered as he looked back and saw the squad's equipment strewn on the floor of the truck bay.
Stoker parked the truck at the edge of the driveway and the four got out of the truck and slowly headed for the squad.
"Look!" Marco shouted, pointing to the blood on the floor.
Stanley started heading toward his office, when the man opened the door a bit. He leaned out, gun first, pointing it toward Stanley.
"That's it, back off. You go ahead and call the cops," he said. "You tell them to give me what I want or I'll kill your coworkers, here."
Then he closed the door. They heard the distinctive noise of the door lock. Stanley ran to the phone in the kitchen and dialed the police department.
"Yes, this is Captain Stanley from Station 51 of the Fire Department. There's a man here holding two of my men hostage," he reported. "Yes, he has a gun. At least one of my men is injured. Thank you," he said and hung up.
After he hung up he heard something drop. He and the rest of the shift turned to see Joanne De Soto standing in the kitchen, shaking. Bags of take out food were spilled on the floor. Stoker immediately went to her and guided her to a chair.
Inside Captain Stanley's office, Roy eased Johnny down onto the floor.
"Just take it easy, Johnny. We're gonna get out of this," he said, hoping to reassure Johnny as well as himself.
He opened up Johnny's uniform shirt and ripped his tee shirt to try and get a better look at the wound. It was located on the left side of Johnny's chest, just below his shoulder. Roy quickly took off his own uniform shirt and folded it several times before placing it over the bleeding wound and pressing down. Johnny cried out and his body tensed up.
"Roy!" he yelled, clenching his teeth.
"I know it hurts, Johnny," Roy soothed. "But I have to stop the bleeding."
Johnny nodded mutely, looking away. Roy then removed his belt. He wrapped it around Johnny's chest, just under his armpits. He put the buckle over the wound site and cinched the belt tight, hoping to keep constant pressure on the wound. Roy took a moment to check Johnny's pulse and respiration. Both were too fast. He looked at the blood on Johnny and himself. He remembered the pool of it on the floor of the truck bay. It wouldn't be long before Johnny went into shock.
'Oh, God. Please help him,' Roy prayed silently.
"How are you doing, Johnny?" Roy asked.
"I feel like I got hit by a car," Johnny replied, tiredly.
"And you'd know about that, too," Roy countered with a half smile.
In the kitchen Stoker and Stanley were trying to calm down Joanne.
"Joanne, we don't know who is hurt, or how bad. I'm sure Roy is fine," Stoker tried.
"I know, but…" she started.
"What are you doing here, anyway?" Stanley asked.
"I thought I'd stop by with some lunch for you guys," she said, looking at the spilled bags of food Marco was cleaning up.
"The police are here," Chet announced from the kitchen door.
Two plain clothed men entered, followed by some men that appeared to be on the SWAT team.
"I'm Captain Stanley," he said, greeting the men.
"I'm Lieutenant Andy George. This is my partner Detective Morabito," the first officer said. "What's going on?"
"When we came back from our last call we saw someone go into my office," Stanley started. "When we got into the station itself we saw the squad's compartment open, supplies on the floor," he continued, then hesitated. "And the blood," he finished.
"Then what happened," asked Lt. George.
"Then this guy pokes his head out of my office and points a gun at me. He told me to call the police and that if he didn't get what he wanted he was going to kill my men."
"Is there a phone in there?" asked Det. Morabito.
"Yes," replied Stanley.
"Is there another phone here I can use to call that number?" asked Lt. George.
"Yeah, right over here," Stanley answered, pointing to the phone on the kitchen wall.
"Thanks," said Lt. George.
The police continued to talk with Captain Stanley and the others to gain as much information as they could about the incident, Johnny, Roy and the gunman.
"Joanne?" Stoker asked, now squatting down next to her.
"Oh, yes, Mike," she said, startled.
"Are the kids in school?" he asked.
"Yes. But I have to go home, to get them off the bus," she said, looking toward the truck bay.
Stoker saw that she was torn. Knowing she had to take care of her children, but not wanting to leave her husband.
"Tell you what," he started. "I'll call Beth. She'll go to your place and get the kids. She'll bring them to our place and take care of them. Is that okay?" he asked.
"That would be great, Mike. Thanks," she said, squeezing his arm gently.
Johnny's breathing was becoming more labored. Roy heard the distress and began to worry even more.
"Roy?" Johnny gasped, becoming agitated.
"Easy, Johnny, easy," Roy soothed.
"I think the bullet hit my lung. It's getting hard to breathe," he managed to get out.
Roy put his ear down to Johnny's chest and listened to his breath sounds. It was the best he could do without a stethoscope. He didn't like what he could hear.
"Okay, I've got to get you propped up a little bit," Roy told him.
Roy looked around the office, hoping to find something to help him – a pillow, cushion, anything. He didn't find anything useful. Finally he just sat against the wall and pulled Johnny up against his chest, cradling him in his arms, so that Johnny's breathing was eased. This way it was also easier for Roy to keep tabs on Johnny's vital signs and he figured he could keep Johnny warm this way, too. He looked at the man across the room. The man was counting the vials and bottles of drugs he'd stolen.
"Do you think he could have one of those morphine doses?" Roy asked, hoping to ease Johnny's pain.
"What, and lose seventy-five bucks? No way!" the man responded.
Roy was about to speak again when the phone rang. The man picked up the phone.
"Yeah?" he said.
"This is Lieutenant George of LAPD, who am I speaking with?" replied the Lt.
"I want a car and safe passage in two hours or these two are dead meat!" the man shouted into the phone before hanging up.
In the kitchen, Lt. George hung up his phone as well. He turned to face an expectant crowd.
"He says he wants a car and safe passage in two hours or he'll kill the hostages," he informed them.
"Are they all right?" Joanne asked worriedly.
"I don't know. He hung up before I could ask," Lt. George answered. Then he turned to Captain Stanley. "Do you have building plans to the station around here?"
"Yeah, in the mechanical room," Stanley replied.
"Good, let's go," he said, following Stanley out.
Joanne was pacing the kitchen, worry showing in every step.
"Joanne, come on. Sit down," Stoker soothed. "Here, I made some coffee for you," he offered.
Joanne smiled slightly and sat down, taking the proffered mug.
"Thanks, Mike," she said, taking a sip. She sighed and shook her head. "God, Mike," she started.
Stoker gave her a quizzical look.
"You even make coffee better than me!" she chided.
Stoker laughed with her.
"Roy?" Johnny called. His voice was barely above a whisper.
"Yeah, Johnny. I'm here," Roy answered.
"It hurts," Johnny said.
"I know, partner. I know," Roy replied.
The man walked over to Johnny and Roy and leaned down.
"If you've got seventy-five bucks I can fix that for you, you know," he said before getting up and laughing at them.
The phone rang again and the man answered it.
"Yeah," he said.
"We're working on the transportation," Lt. George told him. "Why don't you let the paramedics go now."
"I'm not stupid, you know!" he said sarcastically. "Just for that, you've now only got fifteen minutes before I finish this guy off!" he threatened, pointing the gun toward Johnny.
Roy felt the tension in Johnny's body as the man made the threat and slammed the phone down. Roy was afraid too. A few minutes went by before the phone rang again.
"You better have good news for me," the man began.
"The car's parked outside," Lt. George began. "Take a look out the window. Let me know if it's what you want."
The man put the phone down and walked to the window. As he spread the blinds open to see, the window exploded. The man was thrown back against Captain Stanley's desk. At the same time, the door flew open and three SWAT team members burst in, weapons drawn. They approached and disarmed the man quickly.
"All clear!" the team leader shouted.
Roy started to relax at that moment. When the shot came through the window he had instinctively ducked down and covered both his and Johnny's heads and faces. Before he knew it Captain Stanley was talking to him.
"Roy? Roy it's all right. You can let go of Johnny now," he said, pulling Roy's arms away.
Stanley and Chet gently lifted Johnny up and out of Roy's arms and placed him onto the waiting stretcher. Roy got up quickly and followed them out. He was met immediately by Joanne, who was now hugging him tight.
"Oh, God Roy. Are you all right? I was so scared," she cried as Roy hugged her back.
"I'm fine. I'm not hurt. But I-," he began.
"I know," she said cutting him off. "Go take care of Johnny."
Squad 48 had been called to the station, since they didn't know if Johnny, Roy or both had been injured. Paramedics Jim Foley and Steve McDaniel were already taking vitals when Roy reached Johnny's side. Jim picked up the biophone.
"Rampart this is squad 48," he called.
"Squad 48 this is Rampart, go ahead," responded Dr. Early.
"Rampart we have a 30 year old male with a gunshot wound located at the top of his chest, just below his left shoulder. Bleeding is under control at this time. Vital signs are BP 74 over 52, respiration 30 and shallow, pulse 120 and weak," Jim reported.
"10-4, 51," Early replied. "Start bilateral IV's of Ringers, wide open and O2, at 15 LPM. Transport as soon as possible," he ordered.
"10-4, Rampart," Jim replied, before repeating the orders.
Roy had already started one IV in Johnny's left arm. Steve was starting another in the other arm.
"Roy?" Johnny rasped.
"I'm right here, Johnny," Roy answered.
"You okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine, Johnny. I'm fine," he responded.
"Let's go," Jim said, placing the oxygen mask on Johnny.
Just as Roy was about to get into the ambulance, Chet approached him.
"Roy, here – a clean outfit from your locker," he said, handing Roy a bundle of clothes.
"Thanks Chet," Roy said, looking down at his blood soaked clothing.
The ride to the hospital was tense. Johnny had lost consciousness shortly after they left the station. Steve and Jim were doing most of the work, so Roy felt somewhat helpless sitting in the jump seat. He had just offered to replace one of the almost emptied IV bags when Steve announced that Johnny had stopped breathing.
"Respiratory arrest!" he shouted, reaching for the airways.
Jim grabbed the ambu bag and started pumping oxygen into Johnny's lungs immediately.
Roy watched as Steve inserted the airway. He cringed at the invasiveness. He swallowed and set about to replace the IV's.
Dixie met the ambulance at the ER doors.
"Room 3," she said, and was taken back suddenly when she recognized the patient.
She stood there a minute, confused, as they sped the stretcher past her.
Early and Morton met them at the door to room 3, with Morton holding the door open for them.
"BP's holding at 80 over 60!" Jim reported.
"Hook him up to the respirator," Early told Carol. "I want a full chest series and blood work up," he continued as he started to remove the bandages to examine the wound.
Dixie entered the room. She looked up at Roy, standing next to Johnny. She saw his blood soaked tee shirt and pants.
"What happened?" she asked quietly.
Roy didn't acknowledge her. His full attention was on Johnny.
"Let's get him typed and crossed. Have at least six units ready in the OR," Morton ordered.
Dixie took Roy by the arm, gently guiding him to the back of the room so that the x-ray technicians could do their job. Jim and Steve, seeing they were no longer needed, nodded to Roy and left the room. Early joined Dixie and Roy.
"What happened?" he asked.
"He shot him," Roy managed, his jaw clenching and unclenching. "A God damned drug dealer shot him…so… so he could get a couple of hundred dollars worth of morphine," he continued, his words filled with anger and grief.
"All set," the tech informed Early.
"How are his vitals?" he asked.
"BP's starting to drop again," Morton said. "Dix, let's push the Ringers."
"Let's get him up to the OR, have x-ray bring the pictures up there," Early told Carol.
Dixie went to Roy as he was following the gurney down the hallway toward the elevators.
"We're going to take good care of him Roy," she said, giving his arm a squeeze, before she got into the elevator.
Roy turned around, figuring he'd go to the doctor's locker room to change and clean up. Joanne was standing in the hallway waiting for him.
"How is he?" she asked.
"He's lost a lot of blood. He's in shock. He stopped breathing," Roy managed before closing the distance between them to hug her to him.
Joanne held him tight as he cried silently into her shoulder. After a few minutes she pulled away.
"Come on. Let's get you cleaned up," she said.
Two hours later Early and Morton headed to the waiting room. They were met expectantly by Roy, Joanne and the rest of the station's crew in the waiting room. They all stood up at the doctors' arrival.
"Well?" Captain Stanley asked.
"He's doing just fine," Morton said, smiling.
Six people exhaled at once.
"The bullet hit the bottom of his collar bone and ricocheted down to the top of his lung, just nicking it," Early told them. "He's going to have a sore shoulder for a while, but he'll be just fine."
"When can I see him?" Roy asked.
"He's in recovery now. He's asked for you, Roy," Early told him. "I'll take you up there now."
Roy gave Joanne a quick kiss and followed Early down the hallway.
"Just a few minutes," Early instructed, leaving Roy at Johnny's bedside.
Roy stepped up close and gently took Johnny's hand.
"Roy?" Johnny rasped, his voice tainted from having the airway in it earlier.
"Hey, partner," Roy greeted him, giving his hand a squeeze. "How are you holding up?"
"I'm alive," he responded, struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Yeah, we both made it," Roy remarked.
"Roy," Johnny started. "You saved my life today. I didn't think we were going to make it. I wanted to say thanks."
"You're welcome," Roy said. "Now why don't you get some sleep now. I'll see you later, okay?"
Johnny didn't respond. He already had fallen back to sleep. Roy took one last look at Johnny and sent a silent 'Thank you' upward for answering all the prayers he had thought while they were in Captain Stanley's office.
Three days later, Johnny was watching TV when Roy and Joanne entered his room.
"Hey guys, how's it going?" he asked, tiredly.
"Pretty good," Roy responded. "How about you?"
"Getting better," Johnny replied.
He tried to sit up a little straighter, stopped when the pain shot through his shoulder.
"They're going to start me on physical therapy soon, so my shoulder doesn't stiffen up on me," he said, gently rubbing the sore shoulder.
"Glad to hear you're doing better, Johnny," Joanne said, giving him a quick, but gentle hug.
"We can't stay too long. We're heading over to Stoker's house for the barbecue," Roy said.
Johnny was obviously confused.
"We?" he asked.
"Yeah," Roy said. "Seems that while we were being held," Roy said, pausing at the bad memory, "Joanne and Stoker got to know each other a little bit."
"Mike's going to give me some cooking lessons," Joanne said. "And he thought he'd start out with barbecued chicken and ribs."
Johnny laughed, holding his shoulder to lessen the pain.
"Just bring me some leftovers, okay?" he said quietly. "The food here stinks."