Title: Cuffed
Fandom: Journeyman
Spoilers: Up through episode 9 Emily
Genre: Gen
Rating: K+ (Parental Guidance suggested)
Word Count: 1350
Disclaimer: Journeyman and its characters are property of its copyright owners. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is taken from this story.

Summary: What-if story for Emily. What if Katie was not able to open Dan's handcuffs at the sex shop and they had to ask Jack to take them off after all?

"Argh!" Katie made a very unlady-like grunt of exasperation. "Dan, I can't get this. It's useless..."

Dan tried to twist around and look at what his wife was doing. They'd been at the sex shop for half an hour trying to get these damn handcuffs off. They were starting to hurt his wrists, what with all the pulling and twisting Katie was doing, trying each of the keys on the ring that the clerk had given them (luckily without comment, albeit with a knowing look, which he had wanted to wipe off the little twerp's face).

"Did you try every one? It's got to be there."

Katie couldn't keep the annoyance out of her voice. "Yes, Dan. Every one. None of them work!"

But Dan wasn't about to give up. "Well, try them again."

Katie moved around in front of him and practically shoved the key ring in his face. "I've tried them all. Several times. It's not working. We have to call Jack."

Dan shook his head adamantly. Calling his brother was the last thing he wanted to do. In desperation, Dan looked back over at the clerk. "Do you have any more keys? Anywhere?"

The zit-faced twerp shook his head. "Sorry, dude, that's it. Did you say you bought those here?"

Dan sighed. "No. We said we didn't get them here."

The twerp just grinned and shrugged. "Sorry, man, can't help you. Good luck, though."

Dan narrowed his eyes at the kid. If only he weren't handcuffed, he really would wipe that smile off his dumb little face...

Katie obviously could see his mood darkening because she quickly returned the key ring to the clerk and grabbed Dan by the arm and steered him out of the store and to the car.

As they drove in the direction of home, Dan tried to wrack his brain for other alternatives. There had to be something else they could try... As they approached a hardware store, he got an inspiration.

"Stop! Stop the car, Katie!" When she looked over, he nodded in the direction of the hardware store.

Katie looked confused, but she did follow his instructions and pulled into the lot and parked. "What? What's here, Dan?"

"Bolt cutters, blowtorch..."

Katie snorted. "Blowtorch? You trust me to bring a blowtorch that close to your wrists and hands and back?"

Dan had to smile at the ridiculousness of it, and joined Katie in a stress-reducing chuckle. "Fine, no blowtorch. But there are bolt cutters at least. Could you go in and get some, and anything else you can find that might work? Please, honey."

Katie blew out her breath in exasperation. "Fine, I'll see what I can find. But if nothing in there works, we have to call Jack. Deal?" Dan looked away. "Dan?"

Dan looked back at his wife and sighed. "Fine. Deal. If nothing works, we'll call Jack."

Katie smiled and leaned over and gave him a peck on the lips before getting out of the car and heading into the hardware store.

Jack hurried up the steps to his little brother's house. He couldn't believe he was doing this, after everything they'd all gone through recently. Especially with the way Dan had thrown him out of the house the last time he was here. But his sister-in-law had called and said it was urgent. And he just couldn't ignore her call for help. What if Dan had really lost it and put his family in real danger? What if he had already hurt Katie or Zack?

At his knock, Katie called for him to come in. He found her and Dan standing in the living room, somewhat unnaturally. His brother was standing with his hands clasped behind his back. He never stood that way. He studied both of them carefully for a moment. Something was definitely off about them.

"Katie? Dan? What's going on? What's so urgent?"

After sharing a look between them, Dan slowly turned around, allowing Jack to see that he was handcuffed. What the hell? He took a few steps forward to get a closer look. But Dan quickly turned back around to face front, and Katie started babbling.

"Jack, this is all my fault. It is so stupid. We were... you know... experimenting, and, well, I lost the key. I can't believe I did that..."

Katie continued in the same vein, but Jack was no longer listening. He didn't believe a word of it. He had dated Katie for years and knew she didn't like that sort of thing. And besides, he was watching Dan throughout Katie's hurried explanation, and there was no way she was telling the truth. It was all over his face.

When Katie finally stopped talking, Jack told them, still looking directly at Dan, "I don't believe you. What really happened? How did you get handcuffed? Dan?"

Dan looked down then back up again. A sure sign they were lying. "Jack." Dan said with that now-familiar aggravation in his voice. "Can't you just take them off?" He visibly gritted his teeth. "Please."

Jack gave in, for the moment, and indicated for Dan to turn back around, which he did. Jack moved right up behind his brother and leaned down to take a look at the cuffs. Then he took a closer look. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Jack quickly stood back up and grabbed Dan's arm to turn him around to face him.

"What the hell is going on? I want an explanation right now. Those are real SFPD cuffs, not the junk they sell in the sex shops. How the hell did you get cuffed by the SFPD? Were you arrested? Did you escape? I'm not going to help you escape justice, Dan!"

Dan angrily pulled his arm out of his brother's grip and stalked off a few paces before turning back to face him.

"You want to know what really happened, Jack? Fine, I'll tell you what happened!" Jack saw Katie take a step forward at this, as if to stop Dan, but he totally ignored her. "There was this girl, Emily Kelso. You remember her? She was kidnapped in '92. It was in all the newspapers, on TV. Well, I rescued her from behind a brick wall. The cops thought I did it, that I kidnapped her. They handcuffed me and put me in the back of their car. That's when I jumped back to the present, and the cuffs came with me. That's what happened, Jack!"

Jack looked at Dan, incredulous. "You're telling me that you traveled in time back to 1992 and that's where you got arrested?"

"Yes, Jack! Yes! That's what I'm telling you!" Dan was yelling by now, and very nearly out of control.

Jack took a quick look at Katie. She took a step forward and said, beseechingly, "Jack, please. Dan's telling you the truth. He has been all along. He travels in time. It's real."

Jack looked back and forth between Dan and Katie for a moment. Somehow, Dan had gotten Katie sucked up in his delusions. Well, he couldn't just ignore this any longer. He had to do something.

Jack stepped over to Dan quickly and grabbed his arm, pulling him out of the house with him. Dan tried to struggle, but he was still handcuffed, so he didn't get very far.

"Jack, what the hell are you doing?"

"I'm taking you in, Dan. I'm going to check and see if you or anyone meeting your description was arrested today and escaped from custody. If you did escape, I'm going to have to turn you over to face whatever charges. If not, I'm still going to file a 5150 and make sure you get the help you need."

Dan and Katie both tried to talk him out of it as he brought Dan outside and put him in his car, but he ignored them. This had to stop. Dan needed help, and Jack was going to make damn sure that he got it, whether he wanted it or not.

Real fanfic writers support the WGA strike!