Title: Trading Lives
Author: Sarah K. Roberts (S.K.Roberts)
Main Character(s): August and Chase
Date Completed: May 1999
Category: Drama, Angst
Summary: An old enemy of August's returns to make trouble. Caught in the crossfire are Kendra and Chase.
Disclaimer: This story is not meant to infringe on rights of anything and everything involved with L.A. Heat. This is not for profit and purely for enjoyment. All characters of L.A. Heat were borrowed and then returned, unharmed and unchanged at the end, with their dignity intact. (All original characters belong to Sarah K. Roberts.) Any similarity between this story and an already existing fan fiction, is purely coincidental. Enjoy!
A sleek, blue detective car hurried quickly down a street in downtown Los Angeles in pursuit of a light blue van. Detective Chase McDonald -- a young, blonde haired, blue-eyed man -- and his partner Detective August Brooks -- a seasoned, short black haired, dark brown-eyed man of African American decent -- were on the trail of villains. Today they were after baddies who had robbed a bank only moments ago. As the thieves sped down the street trying to get away, McDonald and Brooks were close behind. Suddenly, the van sped around a corner.
"I lost 'em, August. Where'd they go?!" Chase exclaimed.
"They turned left up ahead," August replied.
"Okay, I see 'em!" Chase said as he turned the wheel quickly to follow.
One of the men in a ski mask, sitting in the back seat of the blue van, pulled out a large gun and began firing, desperately trying to get away from the cops that pursued them.
"It's too early in the morning for people to be shooting at me! I haven't even had my coffee yet!" August complained, pulling out his gun and beginning to fire.
"Don't worry, August. I'll get you some coffee later," Chase said, trying to calm him down.
The men in the getaway car still fired at them. Suddenly, a bullet hit one of the front tires of the detective car and flattened it.
"Man!" Chase shouted in disappointment.
They got out and looked the car over. Suddenly, a black and white police car -- also in pursuit of the robbers -- drove up.
"You guys all right?" one of the cops inside asked.
"We're fine, but the car's got a flat tire, and the bad guys are getting away," August replied. He looked over at Chase and noticed that look on his face that he gets when he has an idea. Chase ran over to the driver's side of the black and white and asked the officer to get out. He obeyed.
"Come on, August. They're getting away!" Chase said. They both hopped into the car and drove after the robbers once again. The van still tried to get away, but the good guys were still after them. The pursuit led to the interstate highway where the van and the police car carefully dodged civilian vehicles. The robbers still fired upon the detectives, relentlessly. "We have to stop these guys before someone gets hurt," Chase said to August.
"Yeah. It'll probably be us!" August replied, fearing that Chase would -- once again -- crash the car. He still fired at the van."Drive faster!" one of the men in the van commanded.
"Try to hit their tires, August," Chase suggested.
"That's what I'm trying to do!" August shouted back. He continued to fire and finally prevailed when a bullet winged one of the back tires of the van. The driver quickly lost control, zigzagged across the street, and hit a tank truck -- which promptly exploded on impact. "I knew I couldn't get through one day without something blowing up, Chase," he said as he watched the tank truck in flames.
The two detectives quickly got out of the car and saw the money that the robbers had stolen was sprinkling down onto the street like rain. They ran over to the van and pulled the men out of it.
"Well guys," Chase began, "I'm going to introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is Miranda... You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you, free of charge. Any questions?"
"Yeah. Can I call my mom?" one of the men asked.
"Sure, from your jail cell," August replied. He and Chase escorted them to the black and white to take them to the station.
"Hey, August," Chase began, "do you want that coffee now?"
"Sounds good, Chase," August replied. They both got in the car and left the scene heading for the station to take the robbers in -- and to get coffee."Brooks. McDonald. Come see me in my office, please," Captain Jensen said. Chase and August looked at each other and simultaneously thought What are we in trouble for now? The two walked into Jensen's office and shut the door.
"First off, I just want to congratulate you both on taking down those bank robbers yesterday. They are in jail and most of the money was recovered," Jensen complimented.
"Well, thanks Captain," Chase said in a boyish voice.
August looked at Jensen's face and saw that something was wrong.
"That's not the only reason you asked us in here, is it Captain?" August asked.
"No, it isn't," Jensen replied. "Frank Aurness escaped from jail last week and killed three guards in the process."
"Frank Aurness?!" August said in an excited voice.
"Who's Frank Aurness?" Chase asked.
Jensen looked at August with pleading eyes. August looked back at him, nodding to say that it was all right to tell Chase.
"Frank Aurness," Jensen began, "is the older brother of Billy Aurness, a drug lord that ruled a part of Mexico a few years before you and August became partners. One day August and his old partner, Chuck Coleman, caught him and his gang, and while en route to jail, Billy escaped. August pursued him. It ultimately led to a shoot out, and Billy lost. Frank didn't like that much, so he went after Coleman and killed him when he was off duty. He tried to go after August, too, but we caught him before he had a chance. He has been in prison for four years, and now he has broken out and will probably go after August or someone near him. That includes you, Chase."
Chase looked over at August and saw the worried look on his face. He could tell that August was not worried for himself but for Chase, his other friends and colleagues, and his wife Kendra. August knew what Aurness was capable of and feared that this whole situation would end badly. Very badly.
THAT NIGHT...August slumbered uneasily in his bed. The thought of what might be in store for the future worried him greatly.
"You killed my brother, Brooks! I killed your partner four years ago, and now I'm going to kill your new one... and your wife. And there's nothing you can do to stop me! HA! HA! HA! HA!" a laughing voice trailed off as visions of Chase and Kendra in danger lingered in August's mind. Suddenly, he sat up quickly in bed.
It was just a dream. Just a nightmare... he said to himself to calm down. He softly lied back down so as not to wake his sleeping wife. He slept restlessly the rest of the night, thinking.
He did not want to believe what might come, so he told no one of the dream.
THE NEXT DAY..."Are you all right, August?" Chase asked with concern as August sat at his desk after entering the police station.
"I'm fine. I just had a bad night and didn't get much sleep," August replied. "Have you found anything on Frank Aurness yet?"
"No. It's like he just disappeared. There's no sign of him anywhere," Chase replied with a frustrated tone. "But we'll find him, August. We will."
August looked at his partner and smiled. He was glad to have good friends like Chase in his life. He also feared it. The first person close to August that Aurness killed was his partner. He would most definitely try it again and kill Chase, too. He could not let that happen, could not let anything happen to his loved ones. He had to find Aurness.
Another week went by and still no sign of Aurness. Everyone in the station began to believe that Aurness was no longer a threat and would leave August alone. August did not believe that for one moment. A person would never forget the loss of someone he loved. However, since there had been no attempts on anyone's life in the past week, he did begin to let his guard down. Although he wanted to believe that Aurness would let it be, he kept his eyes ever so ready and his ears attentive.Kendra knew why August was so distant. She decided to make a big dinner for him in an effort to cheer him up. Returning from the store with foods abound in her arms, she entered her kitchen and sat the groceries on the counter.
Suddenly, she heard a noise. "August, is that you?" she asked loudly. When there was no answer, she figured she was just paranoid, shrugged it off, and began taking the things out of the bags. Suddenly, a dark figure came upon her like a shadow and grabbed her, making her drop all the things in her hands. The figure put a white cloth over her mouth, and she became limp, falling to the floor. The dark figure smiled an evil smile and carried her to his car.
That night, August came home and found that she was not there. The groceries were all over the floor, and he quickly became worried that Aurness had taken her. His fear was confirmed when he found a note left for him by Aurness, which read:
Dear Detective August Brooks,
You killed my brother. I killed your partner four years
ago and now I'm going to kill your new one and your wife, and
there's nothing you can do to stop me!
August suddenly realized that those were the exact words -- almost verbatim -- spoken in his dreams a week before. He first tried to get his mind around the idea that Kendra was in danger. He quickly became conscious to the idea that Aurness either had Chase in his grasp, too, or soon would. He ran to his jeep frantically and made his way through traffic, hurrying to Chase's beach house. He had to get to him before it was too late.
"Chase? Chase?!" August yelled, looking through the darkness of the rooms, but there was no reply. He flicked on the lights and searched through the house, but Chase was no where to be found.
He went into the living room, sat on the couch, and propped his head up with his hand, thinking of what to do next. He opened his eyes and looked on the table where he saw the note left by Aurness. He grabbed it and quickly looked it over. The note read:
Dear Detective August Brooks,
I told you there was nothing you could do to stop me. I will,
however, give you one last chance to save one of them.
Come to the warehouse on Chester Street, downtown.
Come alone or they both die. And do have a nice day!
While August read this, his heart kept beating faster and faster. The anger raged through every muscle in his body, and he almost flew to his car, hurrying to the location. August checked his gun to make sure it was loaded. If this confrontation led to a show down, he would be ready. He soon arrived at the warehouse and drove up quietly so as not to startle Aurness into killing his captives. He got out of his car and shut the door quietly. He perched his foot on the front tire and bent down to check his ankle gun. A detective always has a spare, and if he had to abandon his other one, he would not hesitate to use the spare. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. I will not let another person die because of something I did. It ends here... he said to himself. He walked toward the doors of the warehouse, determined.
Chase opened his eyes slowly, lifting his head. He could feel the intense ache emitting from the wound on his brow. He blinked his eyes as he looked around to regain his bearings.
Kendra suddenly noticed that he was awake. "Chase, are you all right?!" she asked, hoping he was not hurt badly.
"Yeah, I'm fine. But you wouldn't believe the huge headache I have right now," he replied. He was finally able to make out where he was: a large warehouse. The whole building was dark, with barely enough light for him to be able to make out Kendra's face. He tried to move his arms, but soon realized that he could not. He noticed that Kendra was tied to a post a few feet away from him. He was in the same situation. "Where are we?" he asked, puzzled.
"I don't know, but I'm scared," she said, her voice vibrating with fear.
"Don't worry, my dear. Your August is on the way," a voice said, seemingly from every shadow in the building.
"Who's there?" Chase asked loudly, looking into the darkness.
"Oh, that's right. We haven't been officially introduced," the voice said. "I do believe you have been looking for me."
"Aurness?" Chase questioned.
He walked into the small fragment of light, bowing to confirm his identity.
"I know why you're doing this, but it doesn't have to happen," Chase said.
"I loved my brother. He didn't deserve to die! Brooks took him from me, and now I'm going to make him feel the same pain that has been in me for four years!"
"You already killed his partner after the incident. Why make your pain linger on any further?!" Chase pleaded.
"My pain was declared infinite the day my brother died. Brooks is going to pay," he said forcefully.
Seconds later, August opened the doors of the warehouse and walked inside.
Aurness heard the screech of the rusty hinges as the doors opened. "Welcome, Detective Brooks! I'm so glad you could make it!" he said loudly in an unsettling tone.
"You didn't give me much choice," August replied, looking through the darkness, trying to find Aurness' location.
"That's true. Anyway, welcome," he replied coming from the shadows, confronting Brooks.
"Where are Kendra and Chase?!" August questioned.
"Oh, they're here," he replied, flipping a switch on a remote control in his hand. The whole warehouse lit up with light. Suddenly, August saw Chase and Kendra tied to the two posts.
"What do you want, Aurness?!" August asked, trying to hide the worry in his voice.
"I want my brother back, but, seeing as that is impossible, I don't think that is going to happen," he replied. "Now, I want you to pay for what you did. If you recall from my last note, I said that I would give you one last chance to save one of them. This whole set-up is just for you! You are about to make the most important decision in your life. Which one will die: your beloved wife Kendra, or your partner and friend Chase McDonald? You can't save them both. Only one will walk out of here alive."
August looked into his twisted eyes and saw that what soul he had at one time had long since disappeared. His heart was empty, beating madly inside an empty shell. Not even a speck of decency existence in his being. August could not help but feel responsible for making this man into what he was. The death of his brother and near five years of imprisonment had driven him insane. How can I possibly choose between my wife and my best friend?! I love Kendra with all my heart, but I can't dare condemn Chase to death because of that! What do I do now? August thought to himself.
"There's no possible way I can chose between the two!" he said.
"That's not my problem. Make your choice or they both die!" the evil-minded villain said.
August fell silent as his heart pounded rapidly. He looked into the dark brown eyes of his wife and saw them overcome with fear. He wanted so badly to run to her and comfort her, but he could not. He tried his best to let her know that every thing would be okay, somehow. She seemed to understand without a word being said.
He looked over at Chase, expecting to see him equally as stressed as Kendra. However, he was surprisingly calm, with a slight look of mischief in his eyes. That look could only mean that he had a plan. Chase looked back at him, signaling which one he had to choose. He had to choose Kendra. She had to be out of danger before Chase unleashed his plan.
"Have you made your decision?!" Aurness asked impatiently.
"Yes, I have," he said, quickly pausing. He did not trust Aurness to keep to his word, but he had to try. "I choose Kendra. Now let her go!"
"Now, was that so hard?!" the villain asked back. He pulled out a knife and walked over to Kendra, carefully cutting her ropes. She made a move towards August, but Aurness grabbed her arm quickly. "Thank you for choosing!" he said, raising the knife above his head.
"No" August yelled.
"Hey, Aurness!" Chase yelled quickly.
He quickly turned around, just in time to see Chase's fist smash into his nose. The knife fell to the ground and Kendra was free. Aurness had made the mistake of leaving the other detective unguarded, giving Chase ample opportunity to loosen his ropes and get free.
"Run!" Chase shouted at the two as he stood his ground in front of Aurness, allowing them to escape. The two made no hesitation as they hurried through the large doors of the warehouse. Aurness grabbed the leg of Chase's pants and pulled him to the floor with a thud.
"She may have gotten away, but you never will!" he yelled, reaching for the knife. Chase saw his intentions and quickly grabbed Aurness' arm, trying his best to keep him from obtaining the weapon. It would be to no avail because a good bad guy always has a spare weapon. He quickly pushed Chase off of him just long enough to grab a smaller blade from his boot. Chase charged him quickly, but Aurness jabbed the knife hilt deep into Chase's leg. The man yelled in agony as the pain radiated to every nerve in his body. He tried his best to keep fighting, but soon could not stand it any longer and fell to the ground, nearly unconscious.
Kendra and August had run out of the building and taken shelter behind August's car. August looked around quickly, noticing that something was amiss.
"Where's Chase?" he asked Kendra.
"I thought he was right behind us," she said in a worried voice. "Oh, no, August, he's still in there with that mad man! We've got to help him!" She stood up quickly, but August pulled her right back down.
"I will, Kendra!" he said. "I just got you back and don't want to lose you again! Find the nearest phone and call the station for backup! You have to hurry because I don't know what might happen next."
"All right, August. I will," she replied, hugging him tightly. "Please be careful!" She got up and ran to look for a phone, leaving August staring at the warehouse. No sooner had Kendra run off did Aurness exit from the warehouse, dragging Chase by his neck.
"Brooks, I've got your partner! Come out of hiding, or I'll cut his throat right now!" he threatened, holding the knife to Chase's neck.
August knew he was not bluffing. He swiftly readied his gun and stepped out from behind the car. He quickly looked at Chase and saw the gaping hole and blood on his pants.
"Chase, you all right?" August asked hoping for an answer, but Chase was too weak from the loss of blood and the near lack of oxygen because of Aurness' large arm held tightly around his neck. He could not speak and could barely stay conscious, but he did manage to nod to August, trying to show him that he was still alive.
"He can't hear you, Brooks!" Aurness yelled back, trying to enrage his opponent."Let him go, Aurness!" August shouted.
"You know I can't do that! I want revenge, and I'm not leaving here without it," Aurness replied.
"You got revenge four years ago when you killed Chuck Coleman," August said trying to end this before he lost Chase, too."No! That was only the beginning. You doomed yourself when you killed Billy, and this will never be over! I am going to keep going until everyone you care for is dead!" Aurness shouted.
"You are a mad man, Aurness!" August shouted back.
"Yes, I am, and you made me!" he yelled as he raised the knife closer to Chase's neck.
"No!" August screamed as he pulled out his gun and aimed it at Aurness. "Don't do it, or I'll shoot!"
"And hit your partner? Put your gun down, or I'll end his life slowly. And you'll have to watch him die!" Aurness commanded.
August did not want to relinquish his weapon, but he did so anyway, hoping that Chase's life would be spared. As August leaned down to put his gun on the ground, Aurness lowered the knife. August placed the gun on the ground as Chase wiggled around in Aurness' grasp, trying to get air. August noticed that Aurness was distracted and thanked his partner silently for allowing time for him to remove the gun from his ankle holster. He hid it from Aurness' sight before standing upright again.
"You fool!" Aurness shouted. "Do you really think I'm going to let him go?!" He lifted the knife and put it to Chase's throat once more.
Suddenly, in a blur of motion, August raised the weapon and fired. Seeming in slow motion, the knife in Aurness' hand fell to the ground. He soon fell to his knees, in shock by what had happened. He had misjudged August. Because of that, he was now only an inch from death.
"You wanted to see your brother again. Now you can," August said, knowing Aurness could not hear him. The villain soon fell over on his back, dead, the world rid of him, forever.
August lowered his gun as he felt a tremendous weight lifting off of his heart. No longer could that man threaten the people he cared for or destroy his life. He looked down at Chase and realized that he was sprawled on the ground, not moving. His heart pounded as he swiftly ran over to him, hoping he was still alive.
"Chase?! Come on, Chase, speak to me!" August said with deep concern as he tried to find his pulse. He was relieved to find one, and although it was weak, it was there. "Don't worry partner. I'll get you to a hospital."
Not even minutes later, swarms of police cars surrounded the warehouse. Kendra had succeeded in calling for backup. When the car she was in came to a stop, she opened the door quickly and ran to August.
"Thank goodness, you're alive!" she shouted as she hugged him with tears streaming down her face. "I was so worried."
"I'm all right, Kendra," he said, happy to see her.
Suddenly, she saw Chase on the ground. "Oh, no. Chase! Is h-he dead?!" she asked with still more tears trickling down her cheeks.
"Kendra," Chase said weakly, letting her know that he was still among the living."Chase! Thank goodness, you're alive!" she said with joy, giving him a big hug.
He could not answer back, but he smiled, knowing the whole situation was all over now. Soon after, an ambulance arrived and August helped the paramedics load Chase into it. As it drove to the hospital, he and Kendra rode with him.
A FEW HOURS LATER...August knocked softly on the door to Chase's hospital room. "Come in," he heard Chase say. He entered and saw that Chase was reading a magazine.
"Hey, partner," August said to take his friend's focus away from it.
"Hey, August," Chase said back. "How's Kendra?"
"Oh, she's happy that this is all over. She went home to freshen up and should be by to visit in a while," August replied. "So, how're you doing? What's the damage?"
"I'm okay. The docs said the wound wasn't too bad, and I was lucky it was a small knife. They say I'll be able to go home in a few days, but I can't go back to work for about a week. I don't know how you're going to get along without me."
"Oh, I think I'll get along just fine," August joked.
"Uh, August, what happened to Aurness? I can't remember a thing," Chase asked.
"Well, he's dead," August answered. "He shouldn't be giving anyone any more trouble."
"Oh, August. There is one thing the doctors told me about my leg," Chase said in a serious voice. "I have to stay off my leg for a week and won't be able to use it for anything other than walking for about a week after that. That means you'll have to do all the driving." August looked at the smile on Chase's face, and was thrilled. Maybe we can get through the next few weeks without crashing the car! he said to himself.
"Oh, Chase, that's terrible," August teased. "I guess the motor pool won't have to worry with any totaled cars for the next few weeks."
Chase and August looked at each other and knew each was only teasing the other. They could not help but just laugh and be glad that everything would be okay.