Characters/Pairings: Doug/Tom, OCs
Warnings: m/m, language, violence, character death, angst
Disclaimer: I don't own 21 Jump Street, its characters, or anything. I make no profit, etc....
Summary: Doug recounts the harrowing events that took place two days after Valentine's Day.
A/N: I don't know how this one came about. I wasn't feeling more angsty than usual. Guess I just had to hurt poor Tom again....And Doug
Thanks to rose_melody2 for looking over this for me! :D
"Please state your name for the record."
"And what was your relationship with Officer Hanson?"
"He was my partner – professionally….and romantically." He hated how the last word had seemed to echo in the plain, white-wall room even though he had spoken it extremely quietly.
"Do you recall the night of February the sixteenth?"
A hard swallow and a pause before he answered, "Yes," just as his eyes became glassy in appearance.
"In your own words, can you describe what happened?"
"Yes." Voice still wavered, making him try more desperately to keep away the offending tears.
"It's all yours."
Doug took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He stared at the tape recorder mere inches in front of him on the metal table he sat at, his mind a whirlwind of pictures and emotions that made him sick and dizzy. There wasn't a particularly good starting point to begin recounting the horrible ordeal, which he had been thinking about non-stop since it happened. He never wanted to address the events aloud to himself, and especially not to two strangers, albeit detectives. They looked at him in stern anticipation, and Doug wondered if he was truly strong enough to verbally re-live the intense moments leading up to the building's demise by fire.
His memory kept reverting back to two days prior to the date in question. Valentine's Day. It was the first one he and Tom had celebrated since starting their private relationship, even if it wasn't quite a celebration. Closing his eyes, he let himself succumb to the remembrance.
The door opened, revealing a sullen and tired Tom. For a brief period, they simply stared at one another – Doug trying to understand his partner's grief and Tom debating on whether or not to allow Doug to comfort him. Finally, the younger man stepped to the side, letting Doug pass into his apartment. The two of them shuffled to the couch near the middle of the area and settled down onto it. On the coffee table in front of it lay numerous old newspaper articles spread out, a badge, certificates of honor, and a photo album. The book was opened, showing off a spread of pictures, and as Doug looked over them, he felt a stabbing pain of sympathy for his lover.
"That's him, huh?" he asked, pointing to the tall man in one of the photos, who was carrying a young Tom on his back.
"Yeah. That's him."
"Six years today."
Tom gave a small, though sincere, smile. "Me too."
"You never really talk about him. How come?"
"I don't know. I mean, once someone's died, there's really not anything to talk about. Nothing new. You don't talk about your mom any."
It wasn't intended to be a harsh comment, but when Doug lowered his head, Hanson realized he took it that way.
"I'm sorry, Doug. I didn't….I didn't mean anything by it."
"Don't worry about it. It's okay. I know what you mean. It's just….your dad sounds like he was a great man; it's a shame you don't talk about him more."
"Have you eaten anything today? Let me take you out to dinner."
"No thanks. I'm not hungry. Don't feel like going out."
"Hey. Come here, baby."
Doug held his arms out in a welcoming gesture, and Tom moved to settle against his lover's chest in a tender embrace. Affectionate hands rubbed Tom's back, making him snuggle closer to the strong body.
"I miss him, Doug" he whispered.
"I know. It's good to miss him."
"I hate Valentine's Day."
After years of keeping it to himself, Tom couldn't stop himself from breaking down into tears in front of his partner. Doug kissed the top of his head, murmuring soothing words into the younger man's ear. Even though Tom was clearly upset, Doug couldn't help but feel thankful for it. He had never been exposed to such a vulnerable side of Tom, certainly not one emotional enough to overpower the smaller cop with tears. This was a special moment, even if it was due to sadness, and Doug treasured it.
Later that night, they ended up taking a relaxing bath together, which brought a genuine smile to Tom's otherwise melancholy features. Doug had taken the effort to make it romantic by lighting a few candles and sprinkling a good amount of rose petals into the warm water.
"I saw it in a movie once and wanted to try it," he had said in response to Hanson's surprised expression upon walking into the bathroom.
They were stretched out, Tom resting back on Doug, enjoying the pleasant feel of his lover's hands gently caressing his skin. Contently, he closed his eyes and sighed. He couldn't help from giggling when the older cop's fingers dipped between his thighs and stroked him once. The touch, he knew, was an indication that they would be making love in bed soon, and for once on Valentine's Day, he felt up to letting someone else take him to bed.
Thirty minutes later, he was lying on his back on the mattress with Doug on top of him, touching and kissing him everywhere before at last, their bodies joined and moved as one.
"That was the last time I really saw him. I mean, we went to sleep together the next night, but he was busy on his case and I was on mine, so we didn't get time to really talk or hang out except for saying, 'Good night,' and 'Good morning,' to each other."
"You mentioned Officer Hanson was working on a case. Do you know what it was?"
"Yeah, it dealt with the creep that murdered him."
"Can you tell us about it?"
"It uh….there was a group of kids, ones who were held back a couple of years and weren't grade A students if you know my meaning. They were dealing drugs, needles, dope, and other shit to students – some good students at that – and used the money they made to start making their own meth. Tom….Officer Hanson, went in undercover to find out who was doing it and figured out it was more than one person. He got in with their group, and he built up a flawless case against them…."
"And then….the 'leader' or better yet the psychopath, Josh Buckner, kidnapped Officer Hanson. He knew someone was on to him and his buddies and somehow figured out Hanson's cover. There was a call, at the chapel, reporting that Hanson was missing and where to find him before it was too late. Buckner was the one who called. The guy was great at chemistry, no wonder since he needed it to make his shit, so I wasn't too surprised when he gave the location. An abandoned chemical factory several miles outside of town. I guess they had made several batches there before moving to a different place. We were given a window period of thirty minutes. Needless to say, he lied a bit."
"Tell us about what happened when the six other units arrived on the scene, if you could."
"Well, um….it was around nine o'clock at night when Officers H. T. Ioki and Judy Hoffs arrived with me. Captain Fuller was already there."
His head hurt. Throbbed in pain. It was almost unbearable and only grew worse as his mind registered that he was being dragged along on some cement floor. His whole body ached, making him emit a tiny groan when the person yanked on his legs a bit more fiercely. There was duct tape over his mouth, making it a little harder to breathe, around his ankles, and around his wrists. It was wound so tightly, he felt as if his blood circulation was being cut off. The taste of blood was in his mouth, and he could feel it running down his face and head as well. Slowly, he opened his bruised eyes, finding the spacious, factory-like setting almost completely void of light. Whatever was providing dim illumination was where he was being hauled to.
After a few minutes, he was dragged down several stairs and into another room. His eyes caught the words painted on the heavy, metal door.
The heat instantly warmed his skin, and he glanced at the burning fire roaring in the furnace. Numerous pipes were overhead, and he was taken to one that was positioned lower.
"Get up," the person told him gruffly, gripping his arm harshly.
Tom whimpered as he struggled to a kneeling position, the ground overly hard against his bare knees that went through the holes in his worn jeans. All of his garments were torn up by now. His white t-shirt was smeared with dirt and blood and was ripped in various pieces. The unbuttoned, plaid flannel shirt he wore over it was in a similar state.
His arms were hoisted above his head and he could feel a thick rope wrapping around his already bound wrists. The other part of the rope was hung over the pipe and securely tied about it to keep his wrists up. Utterly defenseless, he endured a number of blows to his face and stomach, knocking the wind out of him. He was grateful when his abuser finally got bored and went to the other side of the area. In no set path, his captor began pouring some liquid onto the floor where he pleased, which was around Tom at one point, until he was satisfied.
"Just to make sure the place burns," the male told him, tossing the gasoline container aside. "I have this room rigged, you know. I'll be a safe distance away when I decide I want to kill you."
He did other preparations, and Tom watched him, heart pounding fast in extreme panic and fear. The heat and fumes made his eyes water, and he wondered if it was merely those elements that were making tears trickle down his sullied face.
Nothing else was said to him before the man left. No statement of how much time he had or anything. It was a waiting game. Whenever Buckner wanted to kill him, the fire would come for him.
Numerous figures moved stealthily in the dark, careful not to make a sound or bring too much attention with the small flashlights they used to illuminate their way. Every crevice, every inch, every barrel was searched – anywhere and everywhere they looked. No trace of Tom.
Doug's heart was racing. The pounding sound it made in his ears made him wonder if anyone else could hear it. He was beyond nervous and scared. He feared the worst, was terrified of what they might find. How could someone so beautiful be taken away from him? What would he do if Tom was found dead?
He swallowed to loosen his constricted throat and continued on with the assembled group. As they neared a small flight of stairs leading downward into a hallway, a dim, orange-ish light could be seen coming from somewhere nearby. Hurriedly, they descended and scurried along towards it. When Doug saw what area they had arrived at, he felt his stomach twist and lurch, making him painfully nauseated. It wasn't even known for sure if this was where they would find Tom or not, but the simple notion of it made him want to throw up and run away.
Everything, as Doug would later remember it, began to unfold as if in slow motion once the door was violently thrust open. An unpleasant odor lingered heavily in the air, and Doug vaguely heard someone mention the words "gas" and "beeping," for all noise faded into nothingness as his eyes found the exhausted, frightened ones of Tom Hanson. The sight of the younger man – bloodied, bruised, bound with rope and duct tape – caused an overwhelming urge in Doug to weep. There was so much being said between them with no words having to be exchanged. And Doug knew, when he looked back on it, that Tom could see it in his expressive eyes that Doug loved him – he had to have known it. The same emotion was reflected back through Tom's lovable brown ones. The younger man's stomach was visible, his shirt not being able to cover it due to his arms being held up, and just below his naval, a long gash stretched across the skin Doug often loved to kiss and suckle on when making his way farther down Tom's body to pay attention to another important part of his anatomy.
Doug was ready to race to his distressed partner, but stopped the moment he took a step. He glanced down to find the floor covered in gasoline. The realization caused his heart to cease beating immediately. Frantically, he gazed at Tom, who bowed his head and shook as he began to sob uncontrollably. Acceptance.
About to make another dash for his lover, Doug was suddenly pulled backward and shoved to the side. There was loud, frenzied yelling, followed by thundering footsteps as the search team bolted up the stairs and across the humongous factory ground floor. Doug adamantly protested, trying valiantly to break away and run back to free Tom, but Ioki and Booker were doing well in not letting him. Continuously, he shouted Tom's name, his voice heartbreaking to those who knew him. Tears were streaming down his face, yet he could not feel them whatsoever. He couldn't feel anything other than his heart and world being torn apart.
Not more than twenty seconds passed after they had made it out of the building and a few yards away before there was a boisterous bang and the factory erupted into flames.
There was nothing to do, nowhere to go while crews of firefighters worked on quelling the flames. He could merely watch as water poured onto the few charred remains like miniature waterfalls from the night sky. Once it had gotten under control, a number of men went treading about the remnants, exploring the smoky area for any sign of Hanson's body. Doug begged to join them, and after putting on a couple of articles of firefighter gear, he caught up with a few men of the party. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to find whatever was left of Hanson or not. Unimaginable anguish was ripping him apart already; there was only a certain amount he knew he could take.
"We got something! Over here!" someone yelled.
Doug trekked as fast as he could over to the spot and instantly, he fell to his knees upon seeing what had been discovered. There was hardly any way to identify the scorched body other than the brown eyes that peered out from barely opened eyelids. The duct tape remained rather intact over his mouth and around his wrists and ankles. The clothes he had worn were nothing more than a few scraps here and there, serving little purpose in covering his blackened, blistered skin, and almost all of his hair had been burned off. He was making soft, choking sounds as he fought for breath and quiet, agonized whimpers from the unbearable amount of pain he was submerged in. Gingerly, Doug took him in his arms to cradle him, murmuring soothing words as best as he could between his sobs. It wasn't clear if Tom could understand or even hear him, but it didn't matter; he continued uttering gently in hopes that it would ease Tom. Every five seconds or so, he had to close his eyes, unable to stare at the gruesomely charred body he held in his arms for long.
Less than two minutes after having been found, Tom closed his eyes, went utterly still, and didn't make anymore pitiful sounds.
By now, Doug was desperately trying not to cry in front of the two detectives sitting across from him. The image of his lover's unidentifiable face was engraved in his mind, haunting him like a constant nightmare. It didn't matter if he closed his eyes or tried to think of something else; the picture would never go away.
"Buckner was arrested a day later and denied any involvement in the arson," Doug said in a soft, quivering voice. "Doesn't matter. The evidence Hanson had gathered before his death is enough to get him a heavy sentence." He let out a shaky breath, ran his fingers through his hair, and wiped his eyes. "There wasn't anything that could've been done to save him. Investigators say the moment we opened the door, it triggered a device, timed to turn on a blowtorch. The gas had built up so much in the room that it was practically an instant explosion. I just….I wish he wouldn't have been in pain. He was in so much pain, and all I could do was hold him and watch him die. My partner….my best friend….my lover," he added quietly.
"If needed, are you willing to testify in court against John Buckner?"
"Yes. I'll do anything to see that fucking bastard in prison."
"Is there anything else you would like to add for the record?"
"No. I've said all I can."
"Alright, then this concludes the testimony of Officer Douglas Penhall." The detective pressed the stop button on the recorder before standing up and extending his hand to Doug. "Thank you for your time, and we're very sorry for your loss."
Doug stood as well and took the offered hand and shook it. "Thank you."
The detectives departed, closing the door behind them. Doug stayed for a while longer. He wandered around the room as if in a daze. The fact that he would never see Tom again was still taking its time to sink in. Never hear his voice, his laugh, gaze at his gorgeous face, feel his slender body tremble against his own….Stubbornly, Doug submitted to his grief, glad to be alone as he wept.
The tape was quick to rewind. Once it was at the beginning, Doug pressed "play."
"Please state your name for the record."
"And what was your relationship with Officer Hanson?"
"He was my partner – professionally….and romantically."….