DISCLAIMER - This show and the characters do not belong to me, but to someone else. My fanfiction is for fun, not profit!

Fandom – Ironside

Characters – Sergeant Ed Brown

Prompt – Written for the Small Fandom Flash Fiction Challenge - #3 Dirty.

Rating – G

Summary – Ed Brown always ends up with the tough arrests.

Dirty Work

'You're under arrest,' said Sergeant Ed Brown.

The man just stood there by his bedroom door, shell-shocked, and stared at Ed as if he couldn't believe it was happening.

The Sergeant had done everything by the book, he had shown them the warrant; everything was above board. But he was here without backup for the moment as his boss had wanted them to move fast, and there was no one else who could make the arrest; Ironside was stuck in the van waiting, as the wheelchair made it impossible for him to go up the steps.

At Ed's side, the wife was crying, pulling at his sleeve and begging him not to take her husband away.

'You have the right to remain silent…' he said. He knew the words without thinking about them. And tonight he was glad he didn't have to think about it, it was a hard enough job to do at two in the morning without the added distraction of a distraught wife.

'…Do you understand these rights as I have told them to you?' Ed waited for the man to nod, which he did after a few seconds. 'Get over there and put your hands on the wall, feet back.'

For a moment, the man looked as if he might make a run for it, and the last thing Ed wanted to do at the moment was have to reach for his gun. Fortunately, the man turned round and did as he was ordered. He had clearly hadn't done this before as well. He was far too close to the wall.

'Feet back,' Ed told him. 'Keep your head down.'

Ed frisked him, hoping all the time that he wasn't carrying. That was the last thing this mess needed. But there was no weapon. He didn't let his relief show on his face. He took the man's wrist and pulled out his cuffs.

'It wasn't his fault!' the woman wailed. 'What were we supposed to do?'

Ed didn't have an answer, he didn't try to talk to her. Instead, he concentrated on making sure of the arrest and securing his prisoner. The rest of it could keep until later.

The Chief had been almost apologetic when this last call came in. It was a nasty job, the fifth one of the same kind he'd done in less than fourteen hours. The net had closed and all they had to do was pull in the fish. It was on the Commissioner's orders: they were to shut down the whole counterfeiting operation from start to finish in one fell swoop, from the Syndicate men at the top to trapped, frightened fall-guys like this one at the bottom. And Ed knew the score, and he knew what was going down and what to expect during a raid like this. But it didn't make it any easier to get his job done.

Careful not to get too far ahead of his prisoner, Ed stared towards the door, but the woman blocked his way.

'How can you sleep at night?' she said with a sob. She was crying harder and her make-up had started to run. 'How can you sleep knowing what you do to families!'

'Please step out of the way,' he said. Polite but professional, he knew he sounded as callous as he felt.

The woman looked stricken, but before he could take another step she swung her hand back and slapped him hard across his face. His cheek stung and he had to blink hard to clear his vision.

'What were we supposed to do?' she sobbed. 'Tell me!'

He still didn't have the answer. At that moment he just didn't know what else they should have done. They were trapped like many others, forced to work for fear of their lives and families, and now the man was being dragged out of bed at two o'clock in the morning to get thrown in the slammer for a couple of days until the courts managed to sort out who was who and who was doing what.

Then, to make Ed's life even more unbearable, a baby started to cry in another room, with long furious wails.

Ed hated this part of his job, he always had. But today he hated it even more, and not just because of the red mark across his face. Not for the last time, he wished that this had been someone else's collar, and someone else had been there to handle it. But Mark couldn't, he wasn't a cop. And Ironside couldn't, he was… well, he just couldn't, could he?

Ignoring the woman, Ed took the man but the arm and guided him out of the door. The woman stood by the door, still sobbing and the baby continued to wail from a back room.

As he walked down the steps, there was the blare of sirens and the flash of lights. Backup had arrived. Just in time for the end, as usual.

A uniformed man got out of the black and white. Without a word he turned the prisoner over to the other officer and walked, stony faced back to the van, where Ironside was waiting.

He opened the front passenger door and slid into the seat beside Mark. He could feel the heavy stare of his Boss from the back, but he didn't turn round. There was a long, cold silence.

'Back to the office?' Mark asked Ironside at last. The Chief must have nodded, as Mark turned the engine over and they moved off.

There was another pause, and Ed could just imagine the look Ironside was giving the back of his head. He could also imagine what both he and Mark were thinking about the scarlet, burning side of his face. The best he could hope for was that they saved the jokes until he felt more like laughing.

Then, to his surprise, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

'It's a dirty job, Sergeant…' Ironside said softly. 'But someone has to do it.'

Ed looked round at his boss, confined to a wheelchair and unable to move. With a sigh, he nodded.

'Yeah, Chief. Someone has to do it.'