Disclaimer: I don't own Standoff or Anna Nalick's music, these lyrics are from "Breathe (2 a.m.)"

This is another teaser for a full length story, if there's interest, I'll post more, you all know the drill.

Barn: Thursday: 1/11/07: 1:35 a.m.

Emily's team entered first from the back entrance, hoping to take out the crew of HTs before they shot any of the hostages. Their feet pounded as they moved, flowing like river, toward the entrance. Emily was in the front, kevelar vest snuggly fit, and an automatic weapon considerably bigger than she was used to, firm in her grip, strap slung over her shoulder.

It was rare that the CNU people actually went in after the HTs after they'd decided that talking hadn't worked. But today had been an odd day. That was the only way she could think to describe it, just odd. Now, leading a team of California state troopers, not the HRT her and Matt were used to, she was sure her heart would beat out of her chest. She could feel the desperate rhythm as started first in her chest, then migrated to her throat, and she could feel the pounding beat even in the tips of her toes and fingers.

Matt was at the entrance opposite to her, in the front of the barn, in a similar state to Emily. Matt's lack of patience prevented him from calling the day something as simple as odd. No, Matt thought of that day as an exercise in political ass-kissing. The LA Bureau had been getting negative reviews for leaving many of the farther suburban and rural areas to their own devices. So he and his partner, got to run to their rescue now that some of their home-grown psychos decided to take a few hostages.

Normally locals deal when it's this far from the city, and normally, they are perfectly content, and hell, even prefer it. Not those in near LA though, they feel left out when the Bureau doesn't pitch in. And Cheryl was getting pushed to not only send agents, but good agents to deal with the mess. He could still here her anger as she announced through gritted teeth that her two best agents were going to take a trip to the rural community, Sunset Grove, and talk down a few idiots with guns.

But it wasn't that simple. It wasn't that easy. And they sure as hell wished they had had Frank and HRT right then. Because Matt, for all his typical macho testosterone, man of steel, whatever you want to call it, was feeling the same way Emily was. He was sweating bullets. Sure they were trained for this, in Frank's simulations and paintball games, but this was real. They accompanied HRT a few times, but they sure as hell never led them. Now he waited for Emily's signal to enter, and prayed to God it went well.

"Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe"

Emily looked behind her once more, making sure she had her dozen state troopers, and they had their guns ready to fire. Steeling herself she gave the signal, and two troopers broke down the door, and she led the charge as they all tore in. That is when it happen, so goddamned fast that she would be piecing everything together for years afterward.

Bullets just started flying. The state troopers barely had time to think before they flew to the ground, shot back or both. They didn't even know where the hostages were. Before she could even think they were all just shooting back. She would never forget the sounds of that day. The juicy thuds as bullets met flesh, the wails of pain, guns clattering to the ground, and crying, no sobbing in the distance.

Matt's signal was to count to ten after he heard the door in the back bust open. He got to six before he heard the first shot or shots, he would never be sure. What he would remember was the feeling of his blood suddenly running cold and his fingers instinctively tensing on the gun he held. He gave the order. Two of his troopers jogged up and turned the front door into splinters with a crash, and his team piled in.

The barn was dark and huge, and he tried to pick out Emily's team. There, the helmets, their there. The two seconds it took him to get there were long enough for the HTs to turn their weapons on Matt's team. The HTs slowly began backing into the far corner away from both teams, as they continued shooting. Matt's team kept up, pushing them further, screaming, begging them to surrender. Matt continued firing, leading his team, which seemed to have grown, that wasn't a dozen people by him, there were more. He realized then the teams mixed, and with a quick glance, also realized that a better part of Emily's team was down.

"There's a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around."

Emily watched Matt in a half daze. Both their teams were hit heavily, bodies lay sprawled on the ground. It was a slaughter. There was so much blood spray that everyone in that barn was covered in a thick coating of it; it looked like a scene out of a slasher film. There was so much blood it was unreal.

Matt was still shooting at the only remaining hostage taker, the other three HTs were sprawled on the floor, bleeding all over the place. Emily breathed in and squeezed her eyes tightly shut; the bullets in her made the process of inhaling and exhaling more painful than she could have imagined. She was starting to feel tired and weak, and her head was starting to feel muffled.

Nevertheless, she kept her eyes trained on Matt. She had to stay awake, and if anything could keep her eyes open, it was staring at Matt Flannery.

"Em? Emily!" He called to her as he came over, having finally got the last HT down. He was one of a dozen or so left standing.

"Em? Hey-" As he was coming toward her, his body beginning to tilt downward toward hers when the bullets ripped through him. Apparently the HT wasn't as down as he'd thought.

To Emily he fell in slow motion, his body contorting with the impact of each bullet, and slowly falling to the ground. At the same time she was loosing her own battle-her eyes began to close. She never saw Matt hit the ground.

"Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe."