Another five days in the Death of Sgt. Brown

WHN for „Five Days in the Death of Sgt. Brown", Ironside S6
Warning for those who only read Ironside stories for Ironside: you'll have to wait a few chapters before he makes an appearance.

Summary:
Not to take it out on others when you are hurt may be hard. But not to do it and try to do the job all alone can be very dangerous.

recap by tv . com:

Before he can testify as the star witness in a major case, Ed is shot and seriously injured by a mystery assailant. Threatened with paralysis he conducts his own struggle from within his hospital bed, whilst the Chief tries to find out who is still trying to kill his prize pupil.
* This is an episode of the series
Ironside whose events were concluded on The Bold Ones: The New Doctors.

Disclaimer: I don't own Ironside and the people around him.

Chapter 1

Ed Brown was going for a walk.
He had to smile at the thought of the remarks his friends would make if they could see him: He wasn't known for being much of a walker. They liked to tease him about that – although it was actually just a joke between them. They had always found it strange that he had loved running as a student and that now he loathed the idea of simply going for a walk.
He wasn't exactly running now: It was more like dragging himself on his long crutches. But that was a lot more than what he could have hoped for after being shot and falling off that balcony in LA. His broken back had been operated on with an experimental technique and he had the chance of a full recovery. For the time being he needed those crutches to carry his weight around.

Walking like this would probably not do any good to his back or to his wrist, which was still in a cast. But what else should he have done?

Of course he should have stayed in hospital, he knew it.

He shook his head. No: he'd had to get out of there. Being in constant pain and not taking it out on others had been getting incredibly hard. And taking it out on others was what he wanted to avoid at any cost. He didn't want to hurt others because he was hurt – never ever. As much as he adored and understood Chief Ironside – he wouldn't end up like him: Bad-tempered, irritable and seemingly never satisfied with those around him. Nobody really knew how seriously Sgt. Brown had been affected by the Chief's frequent sharp criticism towards him. After all, he was loyal, patient Ed Brown. Nobody ever expected that he would be anything else than loyal and patient. But he'd never taken a scolding easily. And more often than not it had been his own fault: He had made some silly mistakes, sometimes just because he was so eager to do everything to please the Chief.
Over the past few years Ed had learned to better comply with Ironside's requests. Thanks to his brilliant idol he had grown on the job and as a result got berated less. Sometimes he even felt respected by the Chief, and he knew that Ironside was as loyal to him as vice versa. But the fear sat deep in his heart: That he himself might take his own pain and frustration out on others, just like Ironside had done in the first year after being shot – and then he wouldn't be a gruff but brilliant giant like the Chief. He would just be a pain in the neck.

Consequently he'd had to be alone. Of course they had asked him if he would have any help at home, and he'd said yes. That was a lie. Not even the Chief, Mark or Fran knew about it, thinking that he had a lot of friends. Since he didn't want to bother anyone, he struggled through his days. The pain medication he'd been given had upset his stomach so much that he couldn't keep anything down. Reducing the dose hadn't brought his appetite back nor solved his nausea. On top of that sleeping was next to impossible. Laying, sitting and standing worked for short periods of time only. So he had decided to go for a walk, which probably hadn't been a terrific idea either.

Carefully, he rested his back against the wall of a house. Then he thought about the Chief in his wheelchair and he was very, very grateful that he was able to stand and walk at all. It was still some kind of a miracle...

That was when he became aware of the little boy.
He was about five years old, had dark, curly hair, dark eyes and probably Mediterranean ancestors. He was playing joyfully with a checkered ball. Ed's detective mind registered all those details automatically. Because he had nothing else to do and because it was a lovely sight, his eyes followed the kid. The boy turned around and waved: "Mama, look!" – and Ed heard a woman's friendly voice coming from the left: "Enrico, be careful with that ball!" Enrico seemed to be a good dribbler though.
Suddenly he came to a stop in front of a stocky man of about sixty, letting his ball roll, forgotten, towards a gutter.

"Enrico, run away!" his mother yelled at the top of her voice. Ed's instinct told him instantly that something had to be wrong.

The woman was rapidly drawing near the boy and the grey-haired man. "Don't touch my child!" she shouted.
Nevertheless the man grabbed Enrico's arm and dragged him away. "Noo, leave him alone!" the mother said with tears rolling down her cheeks, but the man didn't listen, although Enrico was now crying too.

Ed couldn't just stand there and watch. With a couple of long hops on his crutches he got in the man's way: "Stop!"

"Get out of my way, cretino!" said the man before punching Ed to the stomach. The blow made Ed lose his balance, causing him to smash his back into the window of the jewelry shop behind him before collapsing to the ground. It wasn't a bad fall, it nevertheless knocked the wind out of his lungs.

Enrico's mother tried to free her son, but the man was too strong.
Ed managed to hit him in the legs with one of the crutches – not to hurt him, only to make him trip. The man let go of the child. Enrico and his mother started to run. The old man was getting back on his feet when, at that very moment, two elderly women came out of the jewelry shop, unintentionally getting between the man and the two running persons. The man gave up on his idea of chasing them. He simply turned around and fled.

Enrico's mother managed to comfort her son, although it was visible that she was shaken up herself. The old ladies offered their help only to be sent away in a friendly but firm manner.
Enrico fetched his ball and squatted at Ed's side.
"Thank you, Sir! You're my hero! I'm Enrico Pozzi, and this is my mother. I'm sure she wants to thank you too."

The woman was a couple of years older than Ed, a little chubby, and looking like the typical Italian mamma. She looked at the handicapped young man on the ground who had turned his face towards the shop in an attempt to hide the pain that made him press his knuckles against his teeth. She had noticed his pain despite his efforts to be stoic.

"How are you, Sir? Can I help you get up? I'm so sorry for what has happened to you!"

"Have... to... call... police," Ed managed hoarsely.

"No sir – please no police."

"Why... not?"

"That man is – that man's my father."