Daniel stroked the barrel of the gun down Harry's cheek to point up into her throat. "I can make people do anything I want," he said again, and Harry's heart pounded with fear.
Daniel laughed and stepped back from her, waving the gun around triumphantly. "You see? It's just so easy!"
"POLICE - FREEZE!" came a bellowing voice from the back of the library.
Harry whipped around and saw two uniformed police officers as well as most of SI10 emerging from between the shelves with their guns trained steadily on Daniel. Behind them, a few students scurried to safety between the shelves and out through the open window.
Daniel looked wildly between the people lined up in front of him, aimed his gun, and pulled the trigger.
The body fell with barely a sound and the police officers rushed forward to help the boy.
Daniel had shot himself.
It took Harry nearly twenty minutes to persuade the officer in charge that she was not in shock, she just wanted to see her partner. Eventually, having taken her statement, the officer let Harry go, and Harry drove like a madwoman to the hospital. She ran from her car to the reception.
"Dempsey? James Dempsey?" she gasped.
The woman behind the desk gave a kindly smile. "I'll just look him up for you, dear."
Before the receptionist could give her an answer, Spikings took her by the elbow; she had been so intent on finding James that she had not noticed him approached.
"Come on, girl," Spikings growled under his breath, and hurried her away from the desk. "Our bloody cowboy's in bloody surgery," Spikings explained as Harry stumbled after him down endless corridors. "Having a bullet dug out of his bloody shoulder. Only you two, only you two, could go to a school and come out with a bullet in your body."
Harry concentrated on following her boss, impassively observing that his language and apparent anger covered a more deep-set worry. To keep her own panic at bay she repeated two words like a mantra: He's alive. He's alive.
Spikings led her into a waiting room and pushed her down onto a chair, proceeding to stalk around the small room and drawing many dark looks from the other three people in the room – a middle-aged woman and a pair of pale-faced twenty-somethings.
Harry leant forwards and hid her face in her hands.
He's alive. He's alive.
After what seemed like days, a young nurse entered the room. "Mr Spikings? Mr Dempsey is out of surgery and he's perfectly safe. You can come in and see him now, but do remember that he's still under the effects of the anesthetic so he's very groggy and he'll look much worse that he is."
Spikings looked at Harry. "Go on, girl," he urged her.
Harry stood and swayed, uncertain. Spikings again took her by the elbow and led her after the nurse.
And there he was.
He looked…so small, Harry thought, lying among the sea of white blankets and pillows. She went up to the side of the bed and looked down at him.
James opened his eyes a crack, and his lips curled up a fraction. "Toldyuzangel," he slurred.
Harry cupped his cheek and pressed her forehead against his.
Harry stayed with her partner until visiting hours were over. She watched him recover from the anesthetic, gradually becoming more eloquent and beginning to gently play with her fingers.
Eventually, a nurse came to usher her out of the room. "You need to let your husband rest now."
Neither of them corrected her.
"Come back tomorrow or I'll go crazy here, baby."
Harry nodded. "See you tomorrow."
"Bye, Princess. See you tomorrow."
And that's your lot! Here endeth the story. Thank you for your patience and your reviews. I do hope you enjoyed the story.