I wrote the second chapter because some people asked me to and I thought it might be fun to keep going for a little longer, but this is really it. The story was orginally submitted as a one piece and if you liked the first chapter and think that that was enought then by all means skip this one. However, for those who asked me write a bit more I hope I don't disappoint. Hepax.
It didn't take long for the bomb squad to give the OK for the rescue teams and engineers to move in and start their jobs. A medic was quickly at Colby's side assessing the damage and what needed to be done.
"So, what's the verdict?" Colby asked as the paramedic started rummaging in his bag, he felt awful, the pain filled the entire left side of his shoulder and he was so tired, he just wanted to get off the damn wall.
"Gonna set up an IV to compensate for some of the blood you've lost, although you'll be pleased to hear that it isn't that much." He took Colby's hand gently in his and pushed a catheter into a vein in the back of his hand. He attached the IV line and then taped it into place, giving the bag a couple of squeezes to make sure it was flowing well. He looked around for somewhere to hang the bag but there wasn't anywhere suitable apart from the metal rod embedded in the man's shoulder.
"Can you hold this?" he asked Sinclair, who was only to glad to be doing something other than watching. He took another good look at Colby's shoulder and then gestured to Don who was standing by a partially demolished teller's booth.
I'll be right back." He told then men and headed over to where Don was standing. David couldn't hear what they were saying but the look on Don's face spoke volumes. He searched around for somewhere to hang the bag but like the paramedic couldn't find anywhere.
"Listen buddy, I'll be back in a minute OK? I'm just gonna leave this here." And with that he hung the bag on the end of the rod. Wasting no time he jogged over to the two men before they could go their separate ways.
"What's going on?" he demanded. For a moment there was an uncomfortable silence and David knew that something was wrong. "Don, c'mon" he urged in low tones, turning so that that he had stepped into his boss's personal space. It was a tactic that often worked on suspects but he knew it was unlikely to work on Eppes, but right now he would try anything. Don grabbed him by the arm and pulled him so that both men had their backs to Colby.
"They need to get a doctor down here. Colby is too close to the wall for the fire department to just cut him loose."
"What does that mean?" It was the paramedic who answered.
"They won't be able to get the cutting gear in behind him to cut the rod. We're gonna have to move him forward a bit." David stood back for a moment.
"Move him forward! Who says they can't cut behind him, have they even looked yet cos the only person I've seen over there is you!" The paramedic took a breath, these things were never easy and dealing with strong personality types like FBI agents was definitely not in the training manual.
"That's my assessment." He stated simply. "You can get another one if you like. Talk to the cutting crew, they'll tell you the same thing. Bottom line is we need a doc here so that we can sedate him before we move him."
David put his hands on his hips in exasperation whilst the paramedic carried on.
"It's not just the sedation; there will be a lot of bleeding when we do pull him off." David closed his eyes for a moment. In that brief moment he saw Colby's lifeless face his head slumped onto his chest. He shook his head to clear the image and snapped his eyes open. Don was looking stressed and angry, he stepped towards the paramedic who took an involuntary step backwards in the face of such a presence.
"What are we talking about here?" he demanded. The paramedic swallowed and looked at the two, his eyes going from one to the other.
"The, the doctor's on his way, he'll be here in in in another 10 minutes or so. I'll stay with Agent Granger and keep an eye on his vitals." He offered.
"Damn right!" Don growled. He glared at the paramedic and then made his way over to his stricken agent making sure that he softened his expression before he reached the wall.
"Hey Colb, how you doing?"
"Wouldn't it be better to ask how's it hanging?" Colby joked but Don could see that the younger man was in a lot of pain.
"Listen, we'll get you more comfortable, maybe get you something to sit on. Right?" the last comment was directed at the paramedic, who despite an evolutionary impulse to get the hell out of there had gone back to check on Colby. He sucked in some air before he responded, needing the time to frame his answer as best as he could.
"That's not a good idea. That would require quite a bit of movement and I don't think that his shoulder can take much more punishment. I can get him so gas and air, maybe some morphine" He held his breath and waited for the explosion from the senior field agent.
"No morphine" Colby insisted. "One shot of that and I'll be singing like a drunk girl on prom night."
"OK then, gas and air," Don instructed. "I don't want to add PTSD for the rest of the team to the list of outcomes from this robbery." Colby grinned in spite of himself, as he did so he shifted his feet to get a better stance. Suddenly he groaned in pain, the small movement had caused him to move slightly on the rod and pain shot through his torso, his knees almost gave out from under him and if Don hadn't caught him he would probably have been dangling from the pole. David rushed to his side and helped Don to support him.
"I got him, I got him." He rushed, putting his arm round Colby's waist and to support his weight on his injured side. Colby leaned his head back and took some ragged breaths, trying to regain some composure and dignity in front of his colleagues when all he really wanted to do was scream in pain until he hopefully blacked out. Don could see the Granger was holding in a lot of the pain. He leaned in close to his ear and spoke in low tones.
"Listen buddy, we're gonna get you out of this, you just need to hang on. OK?" he pulled his head back and looked directly into Granger's pain filled green eyes. Colby nodded carefully, comforted by Don's reassurance. He closed his eyes.
Don stepped away carefully, making sure that he didn't jar Granger. He nodded curtly to Sinclair and headed off to catch up with Liz and Nikki. David sighed and looked at Colby who grinned at him. "just cos you have your arm round me doesn't mean I'm an easy date" he joked "I never kiss on the first date."
"Hey, watch it!" retorted Sinclair, "Who says you are my type anyway?"
"Aw, anyone is your type"
"Naah, you're not classy enough, hick."
Colby was just about to respond when a new face appeared in front of them.
"Am I interrupting?" he asked "I'm Dr. Roberts, your friendly neighbourhood ER doctor. Mind if I have a look?" he gestured towards the rod and Colby's shoulder.
"By all means, be my guest." Granger replied. As the doctor poked around, Colby grimaced, he could tell that the man was being as gentle as he could but even so, ever touch sent pain sparking through his shoulder and across his chest. The doctore spoke as his fingers explored the damage.
"Well, though it may not seem like it, you are a lucky man Agent Granger. It has missed major arteries and other really important bits. Don't misunderstand me, it's in a hell of a mess, your scapula has a neat hole through it and there is a lot of tissue damage, but on the whole, things could be worse. " He lifted his head and looked Colby straight in the eye. "Now, what's all this about you not wanting morphine?"
"I get a little hinky on strong pain medication." Colby explained. The doctor cocked his head to the side, a puzzled look on his face.
"Look, this isn't my first time needing strong pain medication, the last time I had morphine, I'd been in a fire and my friends said I was singing and making lewd jokes, that sort of thing. It was not pretty by all accounts and not something I'm keen to repeat."
"I think the people here would forgive you. Now, any history of heart problems, strokes, allergies, diabetes…" the doctor rattled off a long list of events and illness that might affect his choice of treatment, Colby shook his head slightly at each one, still trying to keep himself as still as possible.
"Great," said the doctor when he had finished. "Looks like we are all ready to go."
"Wait, wait a minute..." David cut in, "What about the potassium chloride? That stopped his heart. Is that a problem?"
"What do you mean?"
"A couple of years back, Colby got injected with potassium chloride into his heart. You asked about heart problems, does that count as one?"
"Are you healthy now Agent Granger? Any residual problems?"
"No man, it's all fine. Let's just get this over with."
"I'm not even gonna ask how you end up being injected with a lethal drug. If you're set, I'm set." He stepped back and beckoned to Sinclair who gently pulled his supporting arm back.
"Two minutes buddy." he said reassuringly to Colby. He walked across to the doctor who folded his arms across his chest and leaned in so close to David that as he spoke he could smell coffee on his breath.
"I'll be honest. I wanna go for the morphine straight off the bat. Anything else is wasting time. Quite frankly it is a miracle he hasn't already gone into shock and with that in mind, I'm not sure just how long we do have before he does. The longer he is pinned to the wall, the more danger he is in." He looked straight into Sinclair's eyes to emphasise his final point. David didn't need the visual cue. He nodded once and headed back over to his partner; slipping his arm round his waist again he looked out across the hall as he spoke.
"OK," he paused, looking for the easy way to say what he had to say.
"Ok, listen up. You're gonna have to take the morphine. You don't have any choice." He took a deep breath in as Colby started to protest. "Hey, HEY! You don't have any choice." The doctor came across holding a syringe.
"Well?" he asked. David looked at Colby who rolled his eyes.
"Just don't blame me for the fallout". The doctor pushed the needle into the IV catheter and depressed the plunger. Colby watched as the liquid disappeared slowly down the tube. Suddenly he felt nauseous. It was all too reminiscent of the ship and Lancer, he felt his heart quicken and panic start to set in. He had get out, he couldn't breathe, he couldn't move. Roberts looked up from what he was doing as he felt the FBI agent stiffen suddenly.
"Is everything…" he cut off in mid sentence as he saw the agent start to sag. He turned round, searching for a paramedic in the chaos of the rest of the room. Unable to find one he turned to one of the firefighters who was standing by ready to cut Colby free from the wall.
"I need O2. I think he is gonna pass out." The firefighter nodded once and then turned and ran out of the room. The doctor grabbed Granger by the waist and supported his injured side. Suddenly Granger grabbed David by the jacket.
"Get me out of here!" David was startled to hear the panic in his normally calm, tough partner.
"Whoa, whoa, calm down. I told you, I got you. You just need to let the drug take effect and then we can get you out of here"
"I can't do this again. I can't. It hurt. I can't. I gotta get out of here" David felt Colby brace his feet on the floor and lean forward. As soon as his position shifted he let out a roar of pain and his knees gave way. Suddenly, the reason for the panic attack was clear to David; as he supported his partner's weight with one arm, he grabbed Colby by the chin and looked directly into his eyes. "Look at me, LOOK at me, I got you. Just calm down and let these people do their thing. You are not on your own this time man, I'm here. I'm right here." This seemed to settle Colby a little. David felt his chest tighten as he realised just how afraid Granger must have been on the freighter, as far as he was concerned, all alone, being tortured on a ship miles from land, no real hope of salvation. Sinclair had not really given much thought to Granger's experiences on the ship – truth was he was still uncomfortable with the way he had so readily believed that his friend was a traitor -and Colby hadn't spoken about it much either. It was if there had been some sort of unspoken agreement between the two men that they would just move on from the whole matter, but David realised now that that had been a mistake. Colby very clearly needed to talk about it; it was still gnawing away at him from the inside. Why else the reaction the injection?
"Well, the good news is that the morphine is taking hold. Another five minutes and we should be good to move him" Dr. Roberts proclaimed. He held Sinclair's gaze for a moment but made no comment on what had just passed. "If you can hold him, I'll just make sure the gear is ready to go." And he handed Colby's weight to Sinclair.
David looked out across the damaged hall, making up his mind whether to say something or not. He took a deep breath not looking at Granger as he spoke.
"I should have said this a long time ago, but for too long I was too mad, first with you and then with myself. I'm not gonna rehash everything that happened over the Lancer thing but we've never really spoken about it and I just want you to know that if you ever want to talk about what happened on the ship, I'm there for you. I want you to know that I trust you and" he stopped, searching for the right words. Then he found them.
"and I'm sorry." He said simply. He waited for a few moments, heart pounding at what Colby might say, but to his horror, silence hung in the air. Taking a deep breath he looked across at his partner and friend, afraid of what he might say or hear.
Granger was grinning from ear to ear, a dopey expression on his face and his eyes glazed over. "Dude, you are such a girl!" he giggled. David's jaw dropped at the sight of the very stoned Colby. Colby patted him on the arm, "I love you, man, you know that right?" he slurred slightly as he spoke, the morphine washing away all his inhibitions and self control. "You are the best partner I ever had. I knew that, that," he started to wave a finger in the air whilst he searched for words "fishing lure!" he belted out suddenly, smiling and patting again. "Hey man, the girl over there with the dark hair, she's pretty. Maybe I can get her to join us for a drink. HEY!" he yelled, waving an arm in the air at one the police officers standing by the door.
"Time to move him" a voice said over David's shoulder. "Looks like the morphine is doing its job of numbing the pain" he noted, watching Colby wave his good arm around. The doctor took Sinclair to one wide of the way of the medics and firefighters.
"No, I'll stay and help" Sinclair said firmly. He said he would be there and no one was going to make him break his word.
"No, no, no" David could hear Colby protesting to the firefighters, "It's too early to leave. Nice outfit by the way" and then he started to giggle again. "Hey Sinclair, we got a cop, a firefighter, a builder" he saw David's look of bewilderment and pointed at one of the structural engineers in his hard hat. "I think we just need a biker and an Indian chief and we will have the full set. Oh, no, she's leaving…." He rambled on as the female police officer walked out of the door. "HEY, DON'T GO!" he bellowed across the room. The noise brought Don rushing over.
"What's going on?" he asked, astonishment filling his face as he assessed Granger's state. "What's happened to him?"
"The morphine," Sinclair answered as he took up his position at Colby's side.
"Oh man, stop hugging me! people will think we are a couple and then you'll never get laid. Me of course am beating them back with a stick. It's my boyish charm they tell me..." Colby carried on but no one was listening.
"How long is he likely to be like this?" Don asked Roberts who shrugged and then replied, "until the morphine wears off"
"Let's get him off this wall and into somewhere where he can't talk people to death then" Don suggested.
"HEY, BOSS!" Granger boomed out when he saw Don. "Hey, hey, if I had a wife I'd be able to say that I was stuck at work!" and he started to laugh at his own joke. "Maybe Charlie can do an equation thingy to work out how to get me down. If Colby+Wall (rod)=stuck squared what is, what is…." Granger seemed to lose his train of thought and was about to launch into another one when Roberts interrupted him.
"Colby, we're gonna move you now, just enough to get the cutting equipment behind you. I need to warn you that despite the morphine, it is still going to hurt. Once we've cut you off the wall, we'll get you onto a stretcher and then over to the OR." He smiled at the attempts Colby was making to make a serious face. He turned to everyone else.
"On my count. One, two, three!" Everyone holding on to Granger pulled him forward and managed to shift him just less than a foot along the rod, so that now there was less than four inches protruding from his shoulder. As they moved him, Colby let out a roar of pain and collapsed, His head falling onto Don's shoulder as he passed out. A sea of hands reached up to support him as the firefighters began to cut away the rod holding him to the wall. Roberts moved quickly from his position to check Colby's vitals. After what seemed like forever he looked up and nodded.
"He's fine. Just passed out. Let's finish this as quickly as we can. Exsanguination and shock are our big worries here so time is of the essence" Almost as soon as he finished speaking the firefighter wielding the cutting tool stepped back and lifted his visor. He nodded at the doctor to signal that the rod pinning Granger to the wall had been severed. A stretcher was slid in between the support team members and Colby and gently he was lifted down on to it. As he was secured to the stretcher he opened his eyes and groaned. David rushed to his side and knee down so that their heads were level.
"You look like death" Colby stated. "Did I get in a fight?" he asked as the paramedic slipped an oxygen mask over his face.
"Kinda, yeah" David replied, smiling in spite of himself.
"Did I win?" typical Granger, thought Sinclair. "Yeah, buddy, you won."
"This is a terrible bar, let's not come back. I hate places that have theme nights and the fireman thing is so 1980's. Definitely not cool." He closed his eyes for a moment and David thought that he had passed out again. He was about to stand and get the doctor when he heard Colby speak. When he looked down, Granger still had his eyes shut but his words were clear.
"Thanks for being here, for not leaving me I mean… Just…. Thank you."
"Hey, you're my partner and my friend."
"Not jus for now," Colby's words were becoming slurred as he slipped into sleep. "for wha you said as well…" David bowed his head. He didn't know how much of the conversation if any Colby might remember, but at least for tonight he knew how important he was.
"He'll be just fine" said the doctor, misinterpreting Sinclair's expression for one of fear rather than relief. "Damage is much less than I first thought. Have him on his feet in no time."
As they wheeled Colby out into a waiting ambulance Sinclair declared, "I'm riding with him". And strode out next to the stretcher. Don watched the men leave and smiled. He sensed that maybe the two men could finally put the unspoken tension behind them. He turned and looked at the mess that was the banking main hall. Sighing, he walked towards Liz and Nikki wondering if he would ever get home tonight.