Henry climbed the stairs to Shawn's apartment. For some reason he had agreed to try another movie with his son. Shawn had promised that this one was better, even though Henry was not a big comic book fan. "Dad, you need to see it for the action alone," Shawn told him of the newest Batman movie.
"Haven't you had enough action in the past two days to last the rest of my life?" Henry quipped. He grinned when Shawn laughed. They had agreed on going tonight. Gus had seen the movie with Shawn once all ready, so he bowed out.
He parked the truck at the curb and headed up to Shawn's place. As he neared the door, a man bumped right into him almost knocking him down. "Hey slow down," he said angrily.
The man stepped back. "Henry?" It was his brother.
"Jack? Why are you here?" Henry asked, worry spiking in his gut.
Jack fidgeted. "I-I was just saying goodbye to the kid. N-never had a chance to," Jack stammered. Henry breathed deep as he quickly processed Jack's reaction to seeing him. The rapid breathing, wide fear-filled eyes…the bastard was lying.
He grabbed his younger brother's shirt and slammed him into the wall. "What did you do Jack?" he hissed as he pressed his forearm into his brother's neck. Blood is important, but his son came first, so if his no account brother didn't come clean in five seconds, Henry was gonna be spilling a liter over the sidewalk.
"They found me. I'm not sure how, but they did," Jack squeaked.
Henry growled as he pressed harder, "And you brought them here? And left them up there?"
"He was okay when I left," Jack said. When Henry's blue eyes got more venomous, he said, "I swear I was going for help."
"Little brother, you better pray that they don't touch one hair on his head," Henry said fiercely. He grabbed Jack and pushed him through the front door of the apartment building.
"Henry, I just left there. Why not let me go get some help?" Jack pleaded as they entered the elevator.
"How many were there?" Henry asked looking ahead.
"Three," Jack answered.
"And where was Shawn?" Henry asked again. When Jack didn't answer immediately, he turned to face him. "Jack, where was Shawn?" he asked enunciating every word.
Jack looked back at him fearfully. "They want the gold back. He kept telling them that he didn't have it anymore." The doors of the elevator opened on Shawn's floor.
"They tied him to his kitchen chair," Jack swallowed, "I don't think they believed him." Jack cringed at Henry's furious glare.
"And you had not objection to that? You just left your nephew, my son, tied to a chair with armed men. I knew you were unreliable and irresponsible, but this….this is unforgivable," Henry said, stalking out of the elevator.
Henry turned on him again, "Save it Jack, just save your piss poor excuse for someone who will actually believe anything that comes out of your mouth. I'm done with you," he said walking toward the apartment door.
"What's the plan?" Jack asked.
Henry didn't turn around. "I don't care what you do. I'm getting Shawn out of there." Jack followed him until he stopped at the apartment door.
He stood and listened for a minute. The voice on the other side of the door was muted through the wood, but the cold intent could clearly be heard. "Shawn, I'm going to ask you again. Where's my gold?" Henry could feel his blood pressure rising. Then he heard what sounded like something hitting flesh and it was confirmed with pain-filled gasp. That was someone hitting Shawn. He fought the desire to go barging in; trying to determine what was awaiting him on the other side. He felt around his pockets and pulled out his cell phone.
After a brief silence filled with coughing and slight panting, Henry heard Shawn chuckle. "I told you. Gus and I donated it to the museum." Then another thud and a groan.
"Call the cops," Henry told Jack and thrust his phone into Jack's chest.
"Where are you going?" his brother asked him.
"Going to get in another way."
Jack asked hesitantly, "What do you want me to do?" At Henry's raised eyebrow, he said, "Besides call the cops."
"Jack, do whatever you want. You were leaving when I got here, I'm sure you'll probably do that. I have to save my kid," Henry told him and stalked off toward the neighbor's apartment.
He knocked on the door. An elderly woman opened it and looked at Henry suspiciously. "Hello? Can I help you?" she asked.
"Hi, my name is Henry Spencer," he started.
She interrupted him. "Are you the father of that sweet boy that lives next door?"
"Yes ma'am, I am. Can I use your balcony to get into Shawn's apartment?"
"Okay," she said unsurely. "Is everything all right?"
"I don't have a lot of time to explain," he said quickly as she let him in. He walked out on the balcony. "Is that the bedroom window?" Henry asked pointing at the window in the next balcony.
"Yes, it would be," she nodded.
He looked around. The balconies were only inches apart. All he had to do was climb over the railing. Getting up to the window might be a challenge, until he saw the lawn chair. "Can I borrow your chair?" he asked. She nodded again and he grabbed it. Lifting it over the other railing, Henry put it down and then climbed onto Shawn's balcony. He stood on the chair and slowly slid the window open. Pulling himself inside slowly, he dropped to the floor without a sound. He looked around for any kind of weapon he could use. A wooden baseball bat was leaning up in the corner of the room. Not the best weapon against a gun, but it just had to hold off the bad guys until the cops came. He grabbed the bat and crept up to the bedroom door. He listened intently to the conversation, hoping to pick a good time to burst in.
He heard one of the thugs say, "Well, what now? This guy's not tellin' us anything."
"We could go rob the museum. It didn't look too high tech," another one said.
"Greg, that's a brilliant idea," this one's voice was dripping with sarcasm, "The cops just arrested us two days ago. Now let's go rob a prominent landmark." Henry's gut turned, he didn't hear Shawn. Surely his wise ass son would have said something by now.
"Well Mark, you should have kept Jack here. Shooting him would have been a good stress reliever. Putting a bullet in this kid won't be the same, plus he was duped just like we were."
Henry put his hand on the doorknob, getting ready to open it. Then suddenly there was a knock on the front door and he heard, "Open up, its Jack. Let me in." Henry shook his head. What was the idiot doing? He heard the door open. "Gentlemen, I am giving you an opportunity to get out of here before the police arrive," Jack said, sounding gracious.
Henry fumed, "I'm going to kill him."
"How generous of you Jack, but we were just discussing shooting you," one of the three men said. Henry didn't want to wait any longer and barged into the room holding the bat high.
"No one move," he yelled. The three men and Jack all stared at him, clearly startled. Jack was in front of the kitchen table. One thug was at the front door, another to the side of Jack, and the third was standing beside Shawn. Shawn was sitting on a kitchen chair, arms bound behind him. His head was hanging down, chin on his chest, unconscious. Henry found himself staring at his son, hoping for some kind of movement.
"So, your plan was to what, scare them with a bat? They have guns bro," Jack said. Henry glared at him.
"Shut up Jack," Henry said angrily, "What was your plan? Talk them to death?"
"It was going better than yours," Jack said.
"Would you two just shut up," Mark said angrily, "Or did you forget that you were outnumbered?" He pointed the gun at them. Jack opened his mouth to reply when the apartment door was kicked in.
"SBPD, drop the weapons," Carlton Lassiter yelled as he and about five officers barged into the living room. The thugs dropped their guns and put their hands up to comply.
When Henry saw that the cops had the bad guys under control, he put down the bat and quickly made it to his son's side. He put a hand on Shawn's shoulder and gently shook him. "Shawn?"
Shawn moved his head slowly and looked up at Henry, "Dad?"
"Yeah, it's me. How you feeling?" Henry said concerned. Shawn looked terrible, besides his eyes being dazed and unfocused, his bottom lip was split and his face was bruised.
"Just spiffy. Jack's back," he said softly.
"Yeah, he sure is," Henry said.
"Hey kid," Jack said approaching the pair. Shawn looked at him and didn't say a word.
Hoping to cut the tension, Henry said, "Jack, get a knife. I want to get him out of here."
Jack moved into the kitchen as Lassiter came over. "Those guys are on their way back to jail. You need an ambulance for him?"
"Him does not need an ambulance. Him is fine," Shawn said sarcastically, but slightly slurred. Lassiter rolled his eyes. Jack returned and handed the knife to Henry. Henry cut through the rope, freeing Shawn. Shawn rubbed his wrists and started to stand, but swayed during his attempt.
"Whoa," he muttered as his father caught him.
"Yeah, you're just fine. Sit Shawn," Henry commanded. He looked up at Lassiter, "I'll take him to the ER."
Lassiter nodded, "I'll meet you there and get his statement." Turning to Jack, he added, "Mr. Spencer, you better come with me to the station. I'd like your statement as well."
"Sure thing Detective, just give me a second to talk to these two," Jack said. Lassiter walked out with the bad guys. Jack looked at Shawn, "Shawn, listen-"
Shawn didn't look up at him. "Not now," he said angrily, "Maybe not ever." Jack nodded sadly and left the apartment.
"Let's get you to the hospital," Henry said softly after Jack was out of sight.
"This is silly."
"Humor me." Henry helped Shawn stand and put an arm around his waist to steady him. They made their way down to the truck.
Henry sighed as he sat next to his son in the crowded waiting room of the ER. Shawn shifted again in his chair for about the tenth time. Just as he was about to deliver his best 'Stay still Shawn', Shawn said, "I still think this is stupid. I'm fine. Just a little banged up. I've had worse." As he spoke, Henry watching as his right arm was wrapped protectively around his torso.
"Then why are you cradling your ribs?" Henry asked him. Shawn huffed and squirmed again. Then he picked up a magazine and threw it back down again.
"Can they at least get some magazines from this decade?" Henry rolled his eyes at the dramatics. He went back to scanning the room and ignoring his son. It was funny to go from being frantic about your kid one minute and then an hour later aggravated just sitting next to him.
Seeing that his sneaker was untied, Shawn bent over, then stopped abruptly. He gasped and slowly sat up. Hearing the pained exhalation, Henry looked over to see Shawn's pain stricken face. "Shawn, you all right?"
His fear filled eyes met Henry's. His hand gripped Henry's forearm tightly. "Something moved," he said as he clutched his right side. Shawn's eyes closed as he started panting rapidly. "D-dad." The trembled word was enough to break Henry out of his horrified stupor. He jumped to his feet, while putting a reassuring hand on his son's shoulder.
"I need help over here!" he bellowed. When he saw a nurse scrambling to get a wheelchair, he knelt down in front of Shawn. "You're gonna be fine kiddo. Just hang on." As he spoke, he gently squeezed Shawn shoulder. Shawn continued to struggle to pull air in.
The nurse ran over. "What's the problem here sir?"
"My son is having problems breathing. He needs to see someone now!"
Shawn had been rushed off over two hours ago. About thirty minutes after that, the doctor came out to say that Shawn needed surgery to repair a rib that was putting pressure on the right lung. It hadn't punctured it yet. After that, Henry had to endure an hour and a half of fearful waiting. He paced the confines of the small waiting area. The longer he waited, the madder he got. And surprisingly, he wasn't mad at Shawn.
"Henry." He heard his name. His name said by the voice of the person he really didn't want to see right now. He looked up to see Jack. Jack's lips were moving, but he didn't hear a word. One minute he was watching his little brother walk toward him, the next he was seeing his brother sitting on the floor holding his jaw. He glared down at him as he rubbed his sore knuckle.
"Jesus, Henry. What the hell was that for?" Jack asked angrily.
If possible, his fury grew. "Are you serious? Due to your cowardly deed of self preservation, my son is in surgery right now. Surgery, Jack. Surgery that he wouldn't have needed, if his Uncle Jack hadn't left three thugs in his apartment to plummel him."
"Henry, I'm sorry, but this isn't my fault," Jack said as he got to his feet. "Shawny's an adult. He wanted to help with the treasure hunt."
Henry shook his head in disbelief. "You know the thing that really burns me, little brother. My son looked up to you. Idolized you and your damn sense of adventure. And what do you do with that? You've not only thrown him to the wolves once, but twice," Henry said furiously.
Jack swallowed nervously, as he watched the venom in his brother's eyes. No one could ever say Henry Spencer wasn't fiercely protective of the ones he loved. As a kid, Jack had a full time body guard to ward off bullies and he milked it for all it was worth. Now to be on the receiving end of the protectiveness was downright frightening. He knew his brother adored that kid, no matter how much he feigned disappointment.
"Henry." He started, trying to apologize.
"No, Jack. Saying I'm sorry will not get you off the hook. This time you've gone too far. I want you out of here…now."
"Bro…please. I'd like to stay to check on Shawn," Jack pleaded.
Turning toward the window, Henry said coldly, "I'd tell him that you asked about him and just clean up your mess, like I always do. Maybe you should leave him a penny. I'm sure it will cover the hospital costs."
Jack just stared at Henry's back. "Yeah. Just tell him I'm sorry," he said softly. He watched his brother for a minute. When Henry didn't move, he nodded sadly and left.
Henry sighed hearing the retreating footsteps. He dropped back into the back crippling chairs and waited to hear about his son. He'd worry about his brother later.
Henry peered into the window of the hospital room. Shawn had his eyes closed and appeared to be resting comfortably. The respirator had come out early this morning according to the on-duty nurse that Henry had spoken with. He slowly cracked open the door, hoping not to wake his son.
As he sat in the nearby chair, he watched as Shawn's eyes fluttered open. Dazed hazel eyes met his. "Hey kiddo," he said.
"Hey," Shawn said softly.
"You need anything?"
"Nah, I'm good."
Henry smiled and sat back down again. He casually said, "Your uncle came by last night."
"Yeah? Was he okay?" Shawn asked, trying to appear disinterested.
"He's fine, Shawn. He's always fine."
"Even after you reamed him out?" Shawn asked.
"How did you…," Henry paused and looked away. "I wasn't too hard on him."
Shawn grinned, "Yeah, cause you're known for being a real softie."
"Wise ass," Henry muttered.
Shawn yawned and turned his head to stare out the window. They were both quiet for a minute. Shawn looked back at him. "Did he ask…"
Henry examined Shawn. He could tell what the kid wanted to know. "Yes, he stayed long enough to see how you were doing. But then he bolted."
"What's so funny?" Henry asked.
"I was so pissed when he walked out of my apartment," Shawn said, meeting Henry's eyes, "He waltzed out like it was no big deal, but now…it's like I'm finding it hard to even be mad at him."
Henry shook his head, "Why the hell aren't you mad?"
"It's just who he is. He's never gonna change," Shawn said sadly, "Plus, I think you're mad enough for the two of us."
Henry nodded, "True. Just promise me something."
Shawn grinned at him, "What?"
"No more treasure hunting with Uncle Jack."
Shawn laughed heartily, "No problem, Dad."