Author's Note: First off, sorry about any confusion about updates yesterday. Being the pin-ball technology wizard that I am, I was trying to fix one of the previous chapter's titles and completely screwed something up and had to fix it…Yeah, the life of Eals. Second, I totally forgot to answer someone's question from a previous chapter; Yep, Katherine "Kat" Hill totally came from Katherine Hillard. Yeah, I'd totally do something like that. Anyho, thanks to everyone who has been reading, reviewing, and placing this story on alerts and favorites. So glad everyone is enjoying reading this story as much as I am (ya know, after I write it and type it and can actually sit back and enjoy it like, "WHAT THE CRAP JUST HAPPENED THERE!" as if someone else wrote it…).
I don't own or have rights to Flashpoint. If I did, writing this would be extrinsically motivated and I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much…
Chapter 7: Guess it was Just a Lie
9:16 am, City of Toronto Jail
As Ed sat on a corner bench in the City Jail away from all the rest of the 'captured criminals' awaiting arraignment before a judge, he lightly smirked to himself. Right now, at this moment, he thanked God for what he had often thought was a cursed receding hairline that forced him to shave his head bald in his only available attempt at having a 'stylish' hair-cut. He wondered if maybe the course his hair naturally took was just leading up to this moment, a moment when his shaved head would serve him as a source of protection. Cops, wrongly accused or dirty alike, were often targeted in settings like this for sever gang beatings. For once in his life he was glad he was balding prematurely, because with his current physical appearance, no one would ever mistake him for a cop. The beating he'd served was justified. Any beating exacted on him should his (now) secrete identity be revealed certainly would not be.
Ed Lane had never predicted he'd be in a place like this, not on the opposite of the bars that is. He'd never predicted that, not ever, until last night.
He knew someone would question the actions he had taken to swiftly and surely serve justice: another cop, a prosecutor, the sniveling little ass-hat of a creep who by maiming Jules had become the subject of his act of vengeance.
He just didn't expect any of what was presumably charged against him to stick. What he'd done had been justifiable; he'd found and brought to accountability a person who'd nearly (and for all he knew at this point, did kill) killed a cop and was a menace to society. The rest of the Metro Police Department had failed to act in the immediate aftermath of what had happened to Jules, so he'd taken it upon himself to do so alone.
The rest of the department, The Brotherhood, had failed to act, had failed Jules…But he hadn't, and he felt no remorse for doing so. And he would certainly not be making any apologies. To anyone.
Ed heard the abrasive clanging of metal upon metal and looked-up to see a pair of men enter the outer area of the jail cell space. It was Wordy and Greg, Wordy still wearing the clothes he'd had on the night before and Greg still clad in his uniform. Ed supposed that meant that Greg hadn't left the hospital even to change out of his uniform and store his weapon. A slight sense of guilt hit Ed for being the person who had pulled Greg away from Jules, but for nothing else.
A guard took their side arms and led them to the front bars of the cell Ed was in. The guard signaled for Ed to come up to the bars so that he could open the door and let him out. Apparently someone had offered him some professional courtesy, because the guard was now leading all three men to a consultation room; normally, this kind of meeting room was reserved for prisoners and their lawyers, not arrested cops and their co-workers. Ed would graciously take any preferential treatment he was offered because, after all, he was only exacting justice by what others would label 'rogue action.'
Once the door to the room shut behind them, Greg started right in on Ed. "Eddie, what the Hell! Jules is still in critical condition and you're going off brutalizing people!" Greg's accusatory finger was right in Ed's face, anger, fear, and disappointment coursing through every vein in his body.
Ed remained calm and stoic. "Any change?" he asked refereeing to Jules' condition.
Greg suddenly completely deflated, shook his head, and sat in a chair as if he had just exerted the last ounce of his strength and energy. "No," he shook his head in defeat. "And apparently that's the best we can hope for right now." He sighed and placed his head in his hands. "No change means she hasn't gotten any worse." He lifted his head and stared at both Ed and Wordy. "And right now 'worse' pretty much means dead."
Ed could see tears brimming in Greg's eyes. This only strengthened his resolved and conviction that what he had done to land himself in jail had been right. He took the only action that would make any positive difference for her right now. He'd taken the only action he'd seen available to him to show his love and concern for her. Ed expressed all of this, all of what was inside of him and the reasoning behind his actions, to Greg with his eyes and a meaningful look.
Greg read his stare, nodded his head, rose seemingly on emotional empty, and began to walk towards the door. "I'll get you a lawyer," he sighed out. "It's the best I can do for Jules at this point," he said over his shoulder as he walked out the door. Ed smiled slightly. Greg's parting words effectively conveyed to him that he understood, at least partially, Ed's behavior and was glad Jules had been afforded at least some justice.
With Greg gone, Ed now focused on his best friend. He wasn't sure what his feelings towards Wordy should be. He was glad Wordy had been loyal to him and Jules the previous night by getting him the fingerprint evidence, but he had to admit that he was a little peeved that Wordy had probably had a hand in him being arrested this morning.
"What'd you say, Wordy?" he asked calmly.
Irritation lined Wordy's face. "I told them you were there, Ed. Nothing more. They put two and two together all on their own." It was obvious to Ed that Wordy was annoyed with how far he had gone last night and with his current insinuation of disloyalty. "What the Hell, Ed?" Wordy repeated Greg's question. He wanted some sort of explanation for Ed's actions.
Ed remained calm, but he could feel his anger at the entire situation building. "She's a cop, Law Enforcement Professional of the Year, and the damn department hadn't lifted a finger to get the guy who did that to her, almost killed her!, off the streets. They should have had helicopters circling the city blocks for the bastard the moment Sarge and Spike found her!" Ed's fury was showing now. "But they did nothing, Wordy. Jules could die, and the department did nothing, acted like it was just another assault case to stick in the queue to be investigated when someone had the time." Ed was now breathing harder in his rage. "No one acted, Wordy. Not only did that scum-bag deserve to be off the streets, but Jules deserved swift and sure justice. They didn't act, so I did."
The look on Wordy's face was torn; he was mad, sorrowful, irritated, shocked, confused, but right now mostly just mad. "We're cops, Ed," he nearly shouted. "We keep the peace and more than abide by the law, we represent it. You can't just go off on some vigilante vengeance spree. You've got to work within the system to get justice."
Wordy's expression grew less angered and his tone grew softer. "Look, I love Jules as much as you do, and it kills me to think of how horribly that criminal hurt her, but I know beating a man to a bloody pulp isn't gonna help her now, Ed."
The anger and annoyance on Ed's own face was replaced by utter sadness. "What IS gonna help her now?" he asked softly with sincerity.
Wordy shook his head and looked down. "A miracle."
The two men were silent for a beat before Ed shook his head, a fraction of his fury returning. "That's no enough, Wordy."
Wordy shook his head sadly and signaled for the guard to come collect Ed to take back to his cell. "That's all we can hope for," he said as he left.
11:43 am, St. Patrick's Hospital
A tall and slender dark brown haired man with hazel eyes burst through the doors of the main entrance of St. Patrick's hospital with a frantic look on his face. He had been driving for over three hours, first daringly at high speeds from Montreal where he lived to Toronto, then with cautious aggravation through the city, on nothing but guilt and anxiety. As he walked up to the front information desk, he felt a slight sense of relief that at least he'd finally arrived at his destination.
"I need to find Julianna Callaghan. She's a police officer who was brought in here yesterday after she was injured on duty." It pained him to say these words, and his eyes begged the nurse behind the information desk to swiftly give him the information he needed.
The nurse looked back at him with a sympathetic, but apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, sir. I can only release patient information to family and emergency contacts."
The man became slightly exasperated, but fought to remain calm. "I'm Collin Callaghan. Jules is my sister," he revealed.
The nurse look slightly confused. She had been working at this hospital as an admittance nurse for several years and had seen Officer Callaghan admitted for various major and minor injuries related to her job. Never once did the nurse remember her family requesting information on her. She supposed she might not have been on duty at such times, but she was sure that would have been one heck of a coincidence. "Can I see some ID to verify that, sir?" The nurse was a bit wary of his claim based off previous precedent.
Collin exhaled in exasperation and fished through his wallet for his drivers license to show the woman. If the woman had actually known Jules well, all she would have had to do was take one look at him to know that he was Jules' brother. The woman looked surprised to see the proof on his ID and quickly began to search for information on Jules on her computer.
"Julianna Callaghan is in the ICU. That's on the first floor, down the West hall," she pointed behind him. "Go to the information desk in the waiting room there and someone should be able to give you some informed information. Visitation in the ICU is restricted, so you may not be able to see your sister for the time being."
Collin Callaghan nodded mutely and turned to walk towards the ICU.
As he walked, he thought back to his last meeting with his baby sister, the ramifications of which being the cause of his currently overwhelming guilt. It had taken place shortly after she had been shot a few years before when she was just beginning physical therapy. He now realized that his words and declarations of that day had all been fueled by his fear and concern for her. Being nine years her senior, Collin had practically raised Jules after their mother's death, and thus they had always had a special connection. He should have remembered that before making the stubborn and seemingly irreversible promise he'd made that day. Once he'd seen the news story about what had happened to Jules this morning, he'd have given back every word he said that day just to be able to spend the last few years with her in his life like he should have, The Family be damned.
As he'd walked up to her hospital room nearly four years ago, he'd heard the sound of someone struggling within. He turned into the room and, "Jules! What the— Shouldn't you wait for someone to help you with that?" Of course he'd found his strong willed, stubbornly independent little sister trying to lift herself into a wheelchair to be transported to physical therapy all by her just-shot-in-the-chest-less-than-two-weeks-ago self.
He caught his sister's familiar eye-roll as she struggled the rest of the way into the chair. She didn't even dignify his question with a verbal response. He never expected her to.
"Hey, Collin. What's up?" she grunted out. Her voice and facial features were still strained from the effects of her effort.
"Just finished that project at work and got here as quickly as I could," Collin answered her. "I wish I was here sooner, but—"
Jules cut him off with a wave of her hand. "I'm perfectly okay, Col. But it's good to see you now."
He knew her first sentence was a lie. He knew she'd almost died just a short time ago and was still in a great deal of pain. He also knew that when he'd called to check-up on her while he was packing to come see her, but she'd told him she was fine and not to bother coming to see her until his work project was done, he'd better listen to her. He knew his little sister just didn't want her strong, tall big brother to see her when she was weak and broken. He knew his little sister couldn't abide being seen as anything less than superhuman, especially not by anyone in her family.
So he'd heeded her request and stayed away for the almost two weeks it took him to finish the new War of 1812 exhibit he'd been helping to create as a Canadian History Professor with expertise in French Canadian history at McGill University. He forced himself to continue to see the project through to completion, but it never distracted him form the anxiety and worry he was feeling towards his baby sister.
And as he stared into her face and saw the pain that she was still in even though she wore a near professional mask of strength, anxiety and worry took over his senses again. He couldn't take this. Couldn't take seeing her hurt and in an agony of pain. He especially couldn't take the show she was putting on to hide that pain. Right then in that moment, staring into and seeing through the emotion on her face, he completely understood the stance the rest of the Callaghan clan had taken on her profession and life choices.
Jules narrowed her eyes at the symphony of emotion playing across her brother's face at these thoughts. "Collin?" The fact that he knew she was reading his face and profiling him only added anger to his concern.
He shook his head and walked closer to her. "Why are you doing this, Jules? You know you're killing Dad with this," he accused, jumping right in.
The mask of confidence and strength she'd been wearing immediately left her face and was replaced by one of anger. He knew his simple words had triggered this transformation; this wasn't the first time this argument had come up for her.
Jules sat up straighter as if she was poising herself to go on the offensive-defensive. "How could you ask me that, Collin," her voice sounded cold, "and put Dad on me like that! This is my job, MY LIFE! It's what I do! And I'm one of the best, the only woman ever in the SRU."
"And it's killing you!" Collin shot back quickly. "Today you're shot, what's gonna happen tomorrow, eh? And do you even think about what this is doing to you mentally? All the stress, all the trauma. And with Mom—"
"Don't even go there, Col," Jules cut him off with cold steel in her voice as she slowly shook her head at his brazen accusations and challenging tone. "Don't you dare bring Mom into this. I'm not her." He could practically see fury smoldering underneath the surface of Jules' cold, exacting tone.
Collin scoffed and smirked darkly. "Oh, you aren't, eh?" He raised mocking eyebrows at her. "You're break'n-up the family just as much as she did." His tone had turned from mocking to one of pure rage. "We don't talk to each other much anymore for fear that the topic of little Jules 'the cop' will come up. I KNOW I'm the only one who still talks to you. For God's sake, Jules, Pat and Mick's kids don't even know they have an Aunt! Just—"
"Collin, stop." Collin could see the infuriation Jules was feeling throughout this whole conversation was beginning to cause her more pain. He was loath to be the cause of that, but he knew he couldn't back down from his argument now. "Don't go there," she warned through gritted teeth, which he knew were caused by pain and fury. "That's not my fault. As far as I see it, you guys left me." The admission of how she felt towards her family, which she had just grouped him in as well, was like a knife to his heart. "These guys on my team, they're more family to me than you all have been for 16 years! I'd'a had Nobody without them."
"You had me, Julianna!" Collin shouted back at her accusations in pure, unbridled vexation. He couldn't believe she'd thought so little of him that she thought he'd left her at any single point in the last 16 years. But in the beat of silence that filled the room after his shouted declaration, he thought about how much the predictable pain and danger of her chosen life affected him. How much it pained him to watch her struggle in various ways throughout this life. "But, I don't think I can do this anymore," he admitted softly.
Sorrow, confusion, and agony dueled for dominance on Jules' face as she asked, "What's that supposed to mean?" in an even softer tone than the one he'd just used.
Collin began to shake his head in sad weariness. "I can't be the conduit between you and the family anymore. I can't watch you kill yourself with this job."
The mix of sorrow, confusion, and pain on Jules' face was immediately replaced with the fury of moments ago. "What The—" she nearly spat out in confused irritation. "I was there for you! I stood up for You when you came-out! I was the only one who did!" The truth of her words and the obvious betrayal she felt behind them twisted the metaphorical knife in his chest, but he still held firm to his own stance in this argument. "Dad's second generation from Ireland, does a Rosary every morning before breakfast. You think it was easy to stand-up to him?"
"But I did!" Jules cut him off before he could really say anything. "I did, because I love you and who you are no matter what. This job is who I am. Why can't you stand-up for me and who I am like I did for you?"
The full brunt of Collin's indignation returned. "Because my life isn't killing me!" he fumed back at her in response. "Is what you do really worth it?"
Jules' own outrage was replaced by stunned shock at his words, and she let silence fill the air for a few beats before responding. She began to shake her head slowly. "I can't believe you'd ask me that. If saving lives, keeping peace, is worth it," she finally said softly.
Collin sighed quietly as he shook his head up at the ceiling. "'Hero' is just another name for people who get killed because of other people's problems, Jules. I don't want that for you," he stared at her with wide, truthful eyes."
Jules smirked darkly at him and shook her head. "Well, that's too bad, Collin, because 'Hero' is also another name for 'Constable,' and I'm not giving that up."
All of the fear, fury, irritation, and worry that had played across Collin's face throughout this conversation was replaced by utter misery and resignation. "Then that's it. I won't watch you die. I'm done with you, Jules," Collin said in sorrow as he took one last look at his little sister's broken, yet still strong willed form and turned to walk out of her life.
He was so tied up in the ache and anguish of his last declaration, he almost ran into a tall blond man who was walking in the direction of Jules' room in the hallway. He was sure it wasn't safe for him to drive home to Montreal while he was still captivated in such a strong, distressful abstraction, but he did anyway because there was nothing left for him to do in Toronto. He sealed the deal of their separation with his parting words, and there was nothing more he could do on the matter.
Now as he turned the corner to the ICU waiting room, he wished to God he could take back everything he'd said, take back the whole damn conversation, rewind it to the moment before he entered her hospital room and have remained the firm, loving, supportive big brother he'd been for those previous 16 years in question and before. He wished the guilt and shame that afflicted him the moment he'd heard that Jules had been severely injured on the national news never would have had to arise within him. Mostly he prayed that when he saw his little sister again she'd forgive him for his years of absence and let him back into her life. There was so much he missed about her, so much in his own life he'd dreamed of being able to share with her.
As he walked through the ICU waiting room, he saw a couple of guys dressed in SRU uniforms. He figured he'd stop and speak to them before asking anything at the information desk. The worried looks on their faces struck his heart and filled him with dread about the condition his little sister was actually in. Seeing their faces, he just now prayed to God that his baby sister was still alive.
Sam was still reeling from his visit with Jules earlier this morning. Intellectually he knew that her being in a coma meant that she wouldn't be able to respond to him, but having the tangible proof of her hand lying motionless in his shattered his world just a little bit more. And the moment the nurse had come in all too soon to tell him that his visit had to end had only cracked him just a little bit more. With any more cracks or fissures, he wondered if the janitor would soon have to be sweeping up bits and pieces of him off the hospital floor.
He now knew he was simply living for the tiny moments he would get to spend with her, when he would get to hold her hand and gently stroke her face, and he knew he would continue to do so until she woke up.
And there was no doubt in his mind that she WOULD wake-up. There was no other outcome he could bring himself to imagine happening.
"Excuse me, Officers?"
Sam looked up to see a tall, dark haired man staring down at him. A look of slight familiarity lit his eyes. "Yes?"
"I saw your uniforms and figured…" The man sighed. "I'm Collin Callaghan, Jules' brother."
Jules' brother? Sam thought. It struck him for a moment that he knew Jules did in fact have a brother, four of them actually. One night a year ago, just after they'd gotten back together, Jules had let her guard down while she laid in Sam's arms in a lawn chair as they drank beer and looked up at the stars in the mid-summer night's sky.
She chuckled at a memory of a part of what ultimately turned out to be a false alarm call they'd been on that day. Sam held her closer and kissed her temple at the shear cuteness and giddiness of her reaction to the memory. "The look on that kid's face when you yelled at him to drop the potato cannon with your MP5 pointed at him reminded me so much of my brother after he got caught tipping a cow over on our neighbor's farm one summer." She punctuated her statement with a bellow of a laugh at the memory from long-ago.
Sam smiled from behind her and planted another kiss on her temple. She was letting him in to a vision of her past and family. The last time she'd revealed anything about her family to him was when she'd told him about her Dad being a cop right before she'd been shot a couple of years ago.
"Which brother was that?" he asked as he began to rub up and down her left arm, which held his left hand over her stomach, with his right hand.
She snorted and laughed again. "That was Mick, that goof ball." She chuckled some more. "One of my earliest memories," she sighed.
So far her guard had not gone back up, so he lightly pressed on. "What was the order again?" he asked as if she had told him at some point in the past all about her brothers.
Jules snuggled more tightly into his embrace after taking a sip from her beer. She snorted before beginning. "Michael's the eldest, 10 years older than me, then Collin who's nine years older." Her hair lightly rubbed against his cheek as she shook her head. "Of course Dad insisted that we call Michael 'Mick.'"
She laughed some more and turned her head to raise an eyebrow at Sam. Realization struck him, "Michael Collins?"
Jules burst out laughing as Sam joined her. "Bingo, mon ami," she continued to chuckle. "And if you can't figure out what my Irish Catholic father named my third brother, you don't deserve to be in the SRU."
"Hmm," Sam was so glad she was having fun with this. "Patrick, I'm guessing."
Jules snorted again. "Yes, we are that predictable." She laughed again to punctuate this assessment of her family. "Pat's four years older. Then," she sighed, "there's little Seamus who's two years older than me." She shook her head in what Sam could tell was mock sympathy. "Poor Seamus really did get the short end of the stick on that one…"
So happy for the information Jules was allowing him to become privy to, Sam moved her hair to the side and began to lay a line of kisses down her neck. "I'm surprised you weren't named Colleen or Kathleen," he said between kisses.
He had to stop for a second while Jules started to convulse with the loudest laugh she'd had so far. "God, Sam," she said while she tried to breathe between guffaws, "those are my middle and Confirmation names!"
Sam was overjoyed that she was being so open with this discussion of such seemingly trivial information, but information that she had always remained guarded about for some yet to be revealed reason that he figured he'd only ever be able to surmise, but never be told directly. With increasing confidence, he pressed on a little further to learn more. "Wow, your Dad's quite the Irish Nationalist."
Jules laughed. "Phhffft, tell me about it. My Dad once tried to convince the Knights of Columbus to stage an anti-Orangemen protest parade on the 12th of July."
Not being raised in an Irish Catholic family, the significance of this date and the need for protest was lost on him, but he still prompted her to go on. "Your Dad's in the Knights of Columbus?"
Jules scoffed as she continued to grasp his hand and stare up at the night's sky, while in reality all she was really seeing were memories. "I'll say. He's one of those 4th degree ones with a sword and plumes. When I was little, I used to wonder why Daddy would dress-up like one of the Three Musketeers even when it wasn't Halloween."
Sam began to kiss her neck again. "Now that's something I'd like to see," he said smoothly hinting that he wished to meet her family.
"Yeah," Jules replied evasively as she turned around in his arms and began to kiss him zealously on the lips, effectively distracting him from any further inquiries about her family. And as she suddenly got up and held her hand out to him to do the same so that they could retire inside for more athletic activities than counting the stars, Sam knew she had put the kibosh on any more inquiries about her past. He accepted this, but was so thankful that she'd let him so far into her past and what he now knew for certain had to be her estranged family.
In the present, Sam looked up at the man who'd identified himself as the Collin Callaghan Jules had mentioned on that night. "You're a lot taller than her," he commented in dazed wonder. "I always imagined the Callaghans as a clan of Leprechauns."
Collin smirked. "Yeah, Jules has always been the runt, although," he paused to think, "Seamus really did get the short end of the stick on that one too."
Sam smiled at the memory of Jules using pretty much that exact same phrase to describe the youngest brother's poor luck.
The brief sense of mirth quickly left Collin's face. "Please, Officer," Sam now realized he hadn't offered his own name or even acknowledged the existence of Spike, "Please tell me how my baby sister is."
Additional Author's Note: Longest chapter I've ever written, my friends. So much happened, I don't even remember now…I think Wordy was there. JK. So, the character of Collin is meant to show the extent of how unaccepting her father (and subsequently her clannish family) is of her chosen profession (which I think she pretty much alludes to in Between Heartbeats). Also, Jules' extreme reaction and facial expressions when she was talking to the 'Family Affirmation' guy in The War Within seemed as if she's was taking his homophobic attitude personally. Man, I love Jules in that episode. She had a face like, "what the EFF is wrong with you!" while she's talking to that guy. And the baseball bat line is EPIC! "Take it easy, Jules," Translation: "don't beat the crap out of that guy, Jules." "What, I don't get a baseball bat?" And then she's shouting "LET'S GO!" at him in the background at the end after she had to restrain herself from smacking him. I find the whole thing hilarious.
Anyway, Please leave a review and let me know what you think of this big old chapter. A lot happened and much was foreshadowed, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.