Author's Notes: Okay, so got this idea after seeing a picture of David Paetkau and Amy Jo Johnson both in their SRU uniforms with Amy Jo's daughter. Smart my imagination with a scene that I thought I was going to work into Growing Up Too Fast. It's not fitting in right so I thought I would do a one shot for it so maybe I could concentrate on GUTF again. This takes place just after Good Cop, like maybe a couple of days. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its perspective networks. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.
"Okay team, this is a no-knock warrant we're carrying out tonight. Intelligence suggests we will have multiple targets. We can expect subjects to be armed, dangerous and probably high. Use extreme caution." Sgt. Greg Parker advised his team as they gathered down the street from the large house that could possibly be classified more as a mansion rather than house.
"Spike, what can we expect in the way of security?" Ed Lane looked to their computer expert.
"State of the art." Michelangelo "Spike" Scarlatti answered without hesitation. He'd been studying the reports since the team had gotten the word they'd be carrying out the warrants. "If we leave it going, they'll see us before we get in the yard. Fortunately, Toronto Hydro is set to cut the grid for this whole block at our signal. It'll look like a routine outage and cut the security feed. They should be completely defenseless."
"Copy that. Sam and Jules will enter through the garage; Wordy and Boss will go in the front and Spike and I will take the rear. Hopefully surprise will be on our side and we can take down without incident but you are clear to return fire if fired upon."
Julianna "Jules" Callaghan checked her assault rifle and her flashlight. "We got uniforms ready to contain the neighborhood after we strike? You know the first sign of gun fire, people in the surrounding houses are going to come out to see what's going on."
"I've never understood that." Kevin "Wordy" Wordsworth shook his head. "Why would anyone go towards the sound of gunfire?"
Greg nodded. "As soon as we breach the house, units are set to sweep the entire neighborhood and clear all civilians to safety. The lack of electricity is going to throw them for a loop anyway. Okay, team. Let's do this. Spike, have the cut power now."
"Remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast…" Ed started but the whole team finished with him. "Fast is lethal."
Team One filed out of the command vehicle. Moving stealthily they divided up to their three groups as soon as they noticed that the electricity had gone out to move to their designated entry points. Clutching their assault rifles close to their chests, Sam and Jules lightly ran up the driveway. They both had a hand on the garage door, ready to lift it up enough so they could roll under the entryway as soon as Ed gave the word.
"We've got attack dogs in the rear. About 5 Rottweilers. Neutralizing now." Spike reported. They had known there was a possibility of dogs on the premises and they had brought with them pieces of meat laced with tranquillizers. The other teams held their position until Ed announced that the dogs were asleep and they could proceed.
They lifted the garage door about two feet. Sam Braddock went in first and Jules followed. She heard Sam's warning in her ear at the same time she realized that the car parked in front of her in the garage was running. Headlights suddenly flipped on temporarily blinding her. Sam called her name frantically a second time as the vehicle lurched forward. Jules flung herself away from the car in the opposite direction that Sam was in. She rolled out of the way as the car made it's own exit through the mostly closed door. Her shoulder collided painfully with the hard concrete floor but she tucked and rolled out of the way.
The door splintered as the car crashed through it. Pieces of it flew everywhere. Sam had to turn his back and duck to protect himself from the debris and he could only imagine it was worse for Jules.
He keyed his radio. "Subject fleeing through the garage." He gave a description of the fleeing vehicle as he moved to check on Jules. A rather large piece of the door had fallen on her.
"Sam, Jules, status report?" Greg demanded, his concern evident.
"No harm, Boss." Sam reported first. To his relief Jules's reply came right on his heels.
"No harm. No harm."
Sam lifted the debris off of her, noticing she was doing a lot of the helping in her own rescue. She sat up, slightly rubbing her shoulder as she did so. Sam wanted to crush her to his chest and let her know how scared he'd been when he realized she was in the path of the car. But he didn't because as much as he loved her and worried about her, it was more important to their relationship that no one even came close to suspecting they were once more clandestinely dating.
Instead, he kept his tone carefully neutral as he helped her to her feet. "You okay?"
She nodded. "Yeah, bruised the hell out of my shoulder but nothing that won't heal. Just what I need, bruises to go along with my bruises." Just a matter of a couple of days earlier, she'd gone undercover to infiltrate a group of protesters and ended up with a not so pretty bruise on her left jaw from where an officer didn't like her way of "fitting in" with the group. They heard shots being fired in the house. "Come on, we need to get in there."
Whoever had fled the garage and almost ran Jules down hadn't bothered to close the door leading into the house. More shots were fired as the team attempted to round up the suspects inside. It bugged Jules that at least one person had gotten away without either she or Sam being able to fire a shot off.
Within ten minutes all the occupants of the house had been disarmed and apprehended without incident. Greg surveyed the scene. "We've got at least five people unaccounted for. Sam, Jules, any idea how many escaped in that car?"
Jules didn't want to admit that she was too busy leaping out of the way to pay attention to the occupants inside the car. Sam shrugged. "Maybe two. Definitely not five."
"Good enough. We've got to sweep the house, make sure no one is hiding. Spike, I want you to go back to the truck, check all our feeds of the house at the time the car broke through the garage, see if you can get a plate and a name. I'm going to see if I can't get a coherent word out of our suspects, names and possible locations of our missing subjects."
Ed nodded. "The first floor is clear. Wordy and I will take the third floor. Jules, you and Sam take the second. Chances are if the subjects are still inside the house, they are hidden and don't want to be found. They'll be desperate and that means dangerous. Watch your backs, watch each other's back. Maintain constant radio contact."
Each SRU member nodded their understanding and moved out. The house was still dark due to the lack of electricity so they would have to depend on their flashlights to light their way. There were two stairwells and both team took a different route to their assigned floor. Once he was alone with Jules, he stopped her, his expression revealing everything he wanted to say. He didn't say anything out loud that the coms would pick up and give them away but there was no mistaking the expression in his eyes as he looked at her. For several brief seconds, all either could allow for personal gain, a silent conversation perfected more out of necessity rather than want, took place with a series of looks.
I know you can protect yourself but I was scared.
I know but I'm fine. Don't worry.
Easier said than done.
Once we get home, we'll talk. First things first.
Sam nodded. It was the way it had to be. The job had to come first because other lives were at stake. Their personal lives and feelings had to wait until their shift was over. At least she'd decided they were worth the awkwardness keeping their feelings secret caused. When she'd broken up with him in order to secure her place back on the team, he wasn't sure he'd ever get another chance.
They continued up the stairs and started clearing room after room. They developed a well rehearsed all most completely silent routine. As they entered the room, both would have their assault rifles at the ready as they cleared any obvious dangers. Then, while Sam stayed at alert, Jules would lower her own rifle and sweep the room, closets and all, with the thermal imager on her flashlight. Only once the room had been completely cleared of any subjects, Jules would give a nod of her head. Only then would Sam quietly announce over the radio which room had been cleared so that Spike, in the Command Truck, could mark it off the grid.
As they neared the last room on their floor, nothing seemed different from the other rooms they had cleared. No obvious dangers, so Jules shouldered her rifle and reached for her flashlight. At first glance there was nothing registering on the thermal scanner. An quiet sound, almost like a whimper, reached Jules's ears and she held her hand up signally for Sam to wait. She pointed the scanner toward the closet where it sounded like the noise came from. It was faint but here.
"Sarge," She whispered. "I've got a heat source."
Sam hadn't heard the same sound she'd heard but as he looked over her shoulder at the scanner, he saw the blips she was picking up and frowned. It wasn't big enough to be a suspect but that didn't mean it wasn't dangerous. He touched her arm. "Careful Jules, it could be another one of those guard dogs."
She rolled her eyes. "I heard a whimper. If it is another Rottweiler, then it sounds like he's hurt."
"Which would make him even more dangerous. Be careful."
"Sam's right, Jules." Greg spoke in their ears. "Proceed with caution. Sam, back her up if it's unfriendly. Canine or human."
"Copy that, Boss."
Jules rolled her eyes. She knew they were being protective because they had to not because they didn't think she could handle herself. Keeping her assault rifle shouldered, she pulled out her Glock 26 which would be easier to handle with the flashlight. She eased the door to the closet open and shone her light inside. Immediately she holstered her weapon.
"Stand down, Sam. Sarge, we got a small child here. Little girl, three maybe four years old."
There had been nothing in any of their information to indicate the possibility of there being a child but there was no denying the fact that she was there, wedged up as close to the wall as she could get. Though the light from the flashlight made the tears on the child's face glisten, she was doing a pretty good job of crying quietly.
Crouching down so that she was more on eye level with the child, Jules smiled at her. "Hey there. My name is Jules. I'm a police officer. Do you know what that is?"
The small child nodded, her thumb lodged firmly in her mouth. "Yous 'rest bad peoples."
Jules nodded. "That's right. I'm guessing it was really scary when all the lights went out and then with all that noise that was going on earlier. I'm so sorry that we scared you. I'm betting it was really loud. Did you put your hands over your ears so you didn't have to hear it? That's what I like to do when I get scared."
"I want my mommy." Fresh tears filled her eyes and her lower lip quivered.
"Maybe my friends and I can help you find her. We do that as well as arrest bad guys. How about you coming out of there and we can figure out where she is?"
Jules wasn't that surprised when her question met with a firm shake of the head. "Okay, that's fine. Do you think it would be okay if I joined you? I'd like to get closer so maybe I didn't have to talk so loudly to you. Make things a little quieter."
"Jules…" Sam warned.
The little girl's eyes widened at the sound of the male voice. "Who dat?"
"That's Sam. He's an officer too. You know, you know mine and Sam's name but we don't know yours. You think you can tell me your name?"
"That's a pretty name. I have a friend who has a little girl with the same name. She's a little younger than you are. She's got this pink puppy dog she carries with her everywhere. She calls him Raggie. You got a friend like that?"
"He goed away cause I was a bad girl. I say sowwry but Daddy tooked him." Her lower lip quivered and fresh fat tears filled her eyes.
Slowly so as not to startle Allie, Jules began to inch her way further into the closet, getting closer and closer. Sarge was putting questions to her through the coms that she should ask the girl but Jules couldn't get to the important questions until she was sure she'd won her trust. "I'm so sorry he's gone, Allie. I can tell you loved him very much. You know what, we have a really cute teddy bear in our truck downstairs. Would you like to meet him?"
"Gee, thanks Jules. I didn't know you thought of me that way." Spike supplied over the com. Jules resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She shut out all the distractions, focusing on the little girl instead.
"What do you say Allie? Would you like a new friend?" Jules was glad someone had donated a supply of stuffed animals for them to keep in the command truck for just such occasions. She inched steadily closer, making sure to keep the beam of the flashlight from directly hitting the little girl's face. She was starting to see drops of red splattering the little yellow top and worried that the child was injured.
Suddenly the sound of new gunfire filled the house sounding like it was coming directly above them. Allie screamed and her thumb left her mouth so she could cover her ears. Without hesitation Jules dropped her flashlight and rushed to her, covering her small body with her own. The beam of light stayed on but the flashlight had rolled so that the light was pointed away from the closet instead of into it. It made it harder for her to judge the distance and she banged her already sore shoulder against the wall as she covered the little This time she listened to the chatter in her ear.
"Sam, Jules, we've got an active shooter coming your way." Ed warned.
"On it." Sam replied and even though she couldn't see him from her position over the child, she could tell by the sound of his voice that he was leaving the bedroom to intercept the shooter.
More shots were fired and Jules curved herself even more tightly around the little girl who was now clinging to her bullet proof vest as if she were trying to crawl inside it. As much as she would want to take an active role in taking down the subject firing on them, she knew her first priority had to be protecting Allie.
"Down. On the ground. Do it now." Even from down the hall, Sam's sharp tone filled the room and Jules knew he'd sighted the subject. There was a brief sound of a struggle and then the terse announcement of "Subject contained."
"Copy that. Team One status report." Sarge demanded.
Immediately the "no harm" assurances came over the coms. Jules added her own and turned her attention back to the small child. "Allie, Sweetheart, are you okay?"
Jules rubbed the small back curled into her. Small feet wrapped around her and bare toes dug into her hips where her bullet proof vest ended. "I know; it's okay. It's over."
"Give me a minute." Jules warned as Sam returned to the bedroom after turning over the subject to Ed and Wordy. She unfolded herself enough so that she could see the little girl who had a death grip on her. "Allie, I know you are scared but we're going to take good care of you. But right now it's really important that we get you out of here. Okay?"
"No let go. Peas." If anything the death grip got even tighter as if the child was afraid if she didn't hold on tightly, Jules would disappear.
Jules cuddled her closer, twisting so that she was sitting on the closet floor with the little girl in her lap. "Allie, I'm not going to let you go. It's okay." Remembering the blood she'd noticed just before the shots were fired, she looked back at the entrance. "Sam, can you shine the light in here, please?"
It took just a second before he filled the closet not only with her retrieved flashlight but with his own as well to give her adequate light. Allie blinked against the sudden light but looked at Sam as if she didn't trust him. He wiggled his fingers at her in greeting but she ducked her head back into Jules's chest shyly.
"Allie, I'm not letting you go but I need to make sure you aren't hurt. Okay, can you sit back just enough to let me see?" Jules rubbed the little girl's back comfortingly but also with the purpose of checking her for injuries. A little head shook furiously in the negative.
"Toronto Hydro is restoring power now. You should have lights any second." Spike informed them through the com link. Sure enough a second later the power came back on bathing the room in light. Sam turned off the flashlights.
Greg's voice was the next to fill her ear. "Jules, none of the captured suspects claim to have even known there was a child in the house or a woman who could be her mother. We're going to need more information."
"Copy that." Jules replied, trying to keep the frustration out of her voice. She knew what they needed but it wasn't that easy conveying that urgency to a frightened child. The little girl looked up slightly.
"Why you say dat?"
Jules smiled down at her, glad that it was at least a start. "Some of my friends are talking to me through a radio." She turned her head slightly so that Allie could see the ear bud. The little girl reached a wet finger up and lightly touched the side of Jules's face that had been bruised a couple of days earlier.
"Yous gots an owwie."
Jules nodded. "Yeah, I do. What about you? Do you have any owwies?"
The lower lip poked out further. "Daddy hurted my arm when he grabbed me."
Without relinquishing her full grip on Jules, Allie allowed her to look at it. There was a red hand print bruise starting to form where someone had obviously grabbed her hard on her upper arm. Sam, who had joined them on the floor of the closet, reached out and gently cupped the back of the little girl's head and wiped away a stray tear with his thumb.
"Allie, Daddy's aren't supposed to hurt their little girls. Especially not pretty little girls like you. Jules and I would like to talk to your Daddy and tell him not to hurt you any more or to take your toys away from you. Could you tell me his name?"
"Daddy." The answer was so matter-of-fact and obvious, so much like Jules when she felt like he'd asked a "duh?" kind of question, that Sam's jaw dropped slightly. Jules giggled slightly.
"Silly Sam should have known that shouldn't he?" Jules teased the little girl. "You know what though Allie, I wonder if you've ever heard someone, maybe Mommy, call him something other than Daddy. Have you?"
She nodded. "Mommy sometimes calls him batter."
Both Jules and Sam exchanged a confused look but Wordy's voice came on the com link chuckling. "No help there, guys. I recognize that one from one of Lilly's earlier attempts to repeat a word she accidentally heard me say. I think we can all agree that Allie's mom is correct in calling Dad a bastard but it doesn't give us any help."
Sam tried a different tactic. "Allie, do you live here with your mommy and daddy or were you just visiting?"
She shook her head, "Daddy brunged us here. Mommy said no but he not listened."
"Guys, we've got pictures of our principals that appear to be missing. If we can't get a name, maybe she can recognize him." Greg suggested.
Jules rubbed Allie's back. She'd managed to take advantage of the Sam's distracting questions to see that the blood she'd seen on the yellow top appeared to belong to someone else. Perhaps her mother's? "Allie, Sam and I really need to get you downstairs to our big truck. I promise you I'm not going to let you go and you will be safe. Okay?"
The little girl agreed and Jules started to rise. It wasn't easy standing with a thirty pound child clinging to you but Sam reached out to help her. Sam offered to carry her but Allie wouldn't hear of it, tightening her grip around Jules's neck almost choking her. Jules waved off his attempts to help and readjusted the little girl more comfortably on her hip so that her gun wasn't digging into the little girl. They made their way down the stairs and toward the command truck. Sam, walking behind them, couldn't help but notice that with the little girl firmly attached to her side, Jules looked even smaller than usual, almost dwarfed by the presence of the little girl. She'd never looked more beautiful as she did in that moment.
Greg, Ed and Spike were waiting outside the truck when they arrived. Having picked up on the fact that the little girl was traumatized by everything that was happening, Greg had decided it was probably better not to overwhelm her with too many men in the small truck. He'd left Wordy inside since he had three little girls at home and knew how to relate to the smaller versions of the female variety. Sam held the door open to the truck and Jules stepped inside with Allie.
Wordy looked up from his seat at the computer. He had one of the donated bears in his lap and Jules was grateful that they'd been able to pick up on her conversations with the little girl. She nudged the little girl softly. "Allie, this is my friend I was telling you about who has a little girl with your name. His name is Wordy."
Her eyes went wide. "Like on Toy Story?"
Not one to routinely watch kids movies, Jules didn't know how to answer. But Wordy, whose life practically revolved around Disney movies, chuckled. "Not quite, Allie. A little birdie told me you lost something very special to you. You think this bear could help you feel a little less scared?" He held out the bear for the little girl. A hint of a smile appeared as she held her hand out to accept the stuffed animal.
"Tank you." She clutched it tightly to her body without releasing her complete death grip on Jules. She rested her head on Jules's shoulder.
"You're welcome. Allie, you think you could look at some pictures for me and see if you see your daddy in any of them? You can stay right where you are in Jules's arms while you do."
Allie nodded and Jules pointed her toward the board where someone- she suspected Spike - had taped up candid photographs of many different men. "What do you think, Allie? Do you see your daddy in any of those pictures?"
She nodded and pointed out one particular man. "Dat's him."
Wordy nodded. "Daniel Simmons. He's one of our big principals that's missing."
"Wordy, it's possible that Allie's mother is with him right now. And it's possible she might be i-n-j-u-r-e-d." She spelled out the word so as to not upset the little girl. She indicated the blood on the little girl's shirt to further indicate her suspicions.
The truck door opened and Spike came in. Allie ducked her head shyly back into Jules's shoulder at the appearance of yet another guy. Jules tightened her hold on the little girl and jiggled her weight a little trying to soothe her. It was if she'd tuned out everything else except for the little girl in her arms. Sam couldn't take his eyes off of her, marveling as he did whenever he saw her holding Izzy, how maternal she could be at times. It made him wonder what it would be like if one day she was standing there holding their child the way she was holding and comforting Allie.
For a moment, despite the circumstances Sam took a moment to wonder about that child that could one day exist. Would he prefer a boy or a girl? Seeing her with Allie, he found himself wanting a mini version of Jules. A little girl with long dark hair that Jules would pull back in either a pony tail or a braid. A little girl with his blue eyes because he wanted her to have a least one feature of his. A little girl who would be as sassy and compassionate as her mother, not afraid of anything or anyone. A little girl who would crawl into his lap at the end of a long day and be content to just be held for a little while.
"Okay, Simmons drives a car that matches the description of the one that nearly ran the two of you down. We didn't get the tag earlier but I now have an APB out for it. If it's out there I'll find it." Spike supplied.
The team outside was still listening in and Greg posed the question. "Any chance of finding out who Allie's mother is?"
"On it Boss." Spike's hands flew over the computer. He frowned. "Got something. An order of protection was issued against him for one Alicia Cornell. Pulling up a picture of her now." He pressed a few more keys and then looked back at Allie. "Allie, Sweetheart, is this your mommy?"
The little girl nodded, peeking at the screen as she kept her head buried in Jules's shoulder. "I wants my mommy. Hers had owwies too and was beeding. She was ascared cause Daddy was mad."
Her little voice was almost a sob. Jules bounced her some more, swaying back and forth trying to soothe her. It crossed her mind to hand her off to Wordy who was more accustomed to comforting his own little girls. He didn't make a move to help though and Jules couldn't blame him. For some reason, Allie had taken to her and was holding on to her as if her life depended on it.
Once again Sam reached out to brush away a tear on Allie's face. She might be responding to Jules better but he hated to put Jules through having to ask all the hard questions. "Allie, do you know why Daddy was so mad?"
Allie shook her head.
"Wordy, go to Alicia's home address, talk to the neighbors. See what they know about the situation. Either she's an accomplice or a hostage but it's sounding more like hostage." Greg ordered. Wordy copied the information and after taking the printout of the address Spike immediately handed him left, giving Alicia a comforting pat on the back as he left. Greg continued. "Ed, take this new information back to our suspects in custody, see if you can get any new information. We'll station here until we know more. Jules, you okay with our little guest until Child Services get here?"
"Copy that, Boss. We're fine."
"Yous talks to yous friends again?" Allie looked up at her. Jules smiled and nodded. "They find my mommy?"
"We're doing everything we can, Allie. Spike is really good at the computer and if there's anything to be found, he'll find it." The jiggling and swaying seemed to be helping calm the little girl but it was starting to kill her back. She didn't see how mothers walked the floor with their babies all night. But she guessed it was different when it was a newborn instead of a four year old.
As if he could sense her discomfort Sam stepped closer to her, taking the bear from Allie and playing with her with it. Had Spike turned around to look at them or if Greg had walked into the truck, his actions would look completely innocent. But as he coaxed a smile from the child, his other hand was gently massaging Jules's lower back.
"Guys, new information." Ed reported. "One of the subjects reacted to the name Alicia Cornell. Seems she was trying to leverage some protection for herself and her daughter. She's accumulated a pretty nice size computer file on Simmons. Information that could help put him away for a long time. Simmons found out about the flash drive this morning and wasn't happy. He's probably trying to make her turn over the file."
"Wordy, that might mean they were headed to her house when they left here. Be careful and do not approach if it looks like they are there." Greg warned.
"Copy that, Boss."
Spike picked up a flash drive and swirled in the seat to look at Jules and Allie. He held up the drive. "Allie, you ever see something that looks like this?"
She nodded. "Mommy gots one."
Spike smiled at her. "That's great, Allie. Do you know where Mommy keeps it?"
The little girl giggled and nodded. She held a chubby finger over lips. "Shh, it's a secret."
Spike's jaw dropped, much like Sam's had over the attempt to get her to tell her daddy's name. He looked at Jules as if she could help. The female SRU officer rolled her eyes and shrugged. Why did they all assume she that because she was a woman she knew all about taking care of kids? Spike put forth an effort.
"Aw, Allie, I'm sure you're mommy would want you to tell us. We're the police."
She shook her head. "I no tell. I p'omised."
"Jules, Child Services is here. You want to bring Allie out?"
She felt sad to think she was turning over her charge to someone else. It surprised her how quickly she'd gotten attached to the little girl and not just due to the fact that Allie was still clinging to her. Sam followed her out of the truck. Jules recognized the lady from Child Services, having worked with her on scenes before.
"Allie, this is another friend of mine. Her name is Mrs. Wise. She's going to take you some place safe to wait while we find your mommy."
Pamela Wise reached out to the take the little girl from Jules but Allie would have nothing to do with her or with leaving Jules. She began to scream and sob and her death grip which had loosened slightly as Sam had played with her tightened once more. Jules could feel tears filling her eyes as she dropped her hands to her side giving Pam better access to try to take the little girl. Tiny bare feet dug into the small of her back and a small head was doing its best to dig into her sore shoulder.
The social worker tried to reassure the child and Jules added her own assurances that Allie could trust the woman. But Allie wouldn't hear of it.
"No, peas. I stay with JuJu. I no go. Peas. I be good girl. I p'omise. Peas don't leave me like Mommy and Daddy. I tells secret."
The tears that Jules had felt forming slipped past her defenses as she looked over at Greg for assistance. The hands she'd dropped to her sides came back around the little girl's body in a comforting hug. "It's okay Allie. It's okay."
Greg tapped Pam's shoulder. "Surely we don't have to make this a traumatic thing for her. She's already been scared enough. Give Jules a chance to calm her down. Allie apparently trusts her."
Jules flashed him a grateful smile. She stepped away from the hustle and bustle and perched on the open back of one of the SUVs. Turning off her transmit button on her radio, she rocked back and forth whispering soothing words to the little girl.
"Allie, you are being a good girl. You haven't done anything wrong. I'm not sending you with Mrs. Wise because you've been bad or because you didn't want to tell us your mom's secret. That's not why she's here. You remember how you said my job was to arrest bad guys? Well, Mrs. Wise's job is to take care of little boys and girls who are missing their mommies and daddies. She does such a good job of it. So much better than I can until we find your mommy and daddy. She'll take you some place safe and there may be other kids for you to play with while you wait."
Allie leaned back so she could look up to Jules. Her small face was splotchy from crying, her green eyes pleading with her as her lower lip quivered. "I no safe wif her. I safe wif you and Sambo and Woody and Spiky. Peas. I wuv you Juju."
A knife twisted in Jules's heart at the little girl's pleas. How did Wordy ever look into those adorable faces of his little girls when they looked at him with such pitiful expressions and turn them down for anything they requested? Was there something about being a parent that gave you the ability to steel yourself against such unintentional emotional blackmail?
Sam slowly approached the SUV and reached out to thumb away the tears that had filled Jules's eyes. Then he cupped the back of Allie's head. "Sarge bought us a little time. If you are okay with babysitting duties a little longer, that is."
Jules frowned. "What? How? I though Child Services had to intervene in these matters."
Sam nodded. "They do but Sarge explained that we just discovered that Allie has information that could help lead us to her mother and that we need to keep her close so we can learn that information. We've got a few hours at least. Hopefully by then we'll have found Alicia and she'll be able to retain custody."
He squatted down so he was more on eye level with the little girl. "Allie, would you like to stay with us a little longer?"
She nodded and hiccupped. "Yes, peas. Tank you, Sambo."
Jules suppressed a laugh at Sam's expression at hearing the little girl's pronunciation of his name. He shook his head and grinned. "You're welcome, Monkey. I thought you might be a little hungry and thirsty and I remembered that Mrs. Wise always carries snacks with her. Would you like a juice box or banana?"
"I no go wif her?"
Sam shook his head. "No, Monkey, not right now. How about you come with me and we'll go in the truck? You can eat your snack."
"Guys, no sign of Cornell or Simmons at Cornell's house." Wordy reported in. "Neighbors say she and the little girl haven't been around for about a week. One neighbor said she thought Cornell had gone into hiding trying to avoid Simmons. I don't think we'll find what we're looking for here."
"Copy that. Report back here." Greg encouraged him.
Sam looked over Allie's head at Jules. "We're going to have to find out what she knows. It might be the only way to find Alicia before its too late."
Jules blew out her breath; she could still hear the little girl pleading with her that she'd be good and tell the secret if she was allowed to stay. She didn't want to reinforce those fears by forcing her to talk. Allie tugged on her sleeve and rose up to whisper in Jules's ear, her eyes looking a little frantic. Jules chewed on her bottom lip as she rose off the back of the SUV.
"Sam, if you'll excuse us, someone needs to visit the facilities."
Sam grinned. "Jules, there's a reason why Sarge tells us to go before we leave out on warrant."
Jules rolled her eyes. "Sam, don't be such a batter."
She could hear Sam chuckling as she carried Allie back to the house where she could use the bathroom. As the little girl sat on the toilet to do her business, Jules massaged her sore back muscles. All of her protective gear that she had to wear on calls added an extra twenty five to thirty pounds; add Allie's extra thirty pounds and she'd been carrying sixty pounds for at least an hour. While she could do it without complaint, there was no denying that the extended time was playing havoc with her muscles.
"I go potty, Juju. I big girl; I no pee pee in my big girl panties."
Jules was glad she'd turned off her mike so that she could hear the traffic but they couldn't hear hers. She could just hear Spike making some sort of comment about the proper spelling for pee pee for the transcript. She helped the little girl clean up and as she went to pull Allie's jeans, Jules noticed something was safety pinned to the side waistband. She looked closer and saw that it was the flash drive.
Allie's eyes got wide. "I's not supposed to tell I's hiding Mommy's 'puter thingie. It's a secret from Daddy."
Jules caressed her cheek. "It's okay, Allie; you didn't tell the secret. And this might help my friends and me find your Mommy." She unpinned the flash drive and finished redressing the little girl and helping her to wash her hands. She picked Allie up, not wanting her to walk in the street. As Jules settled her on her hip, she flipped her radio back on.
"Guys, I have the flash drive."
She started across the yard toward the truck with the flash drive safely in her shirt pocket. A car turned on to the street the opposite direction from where the trucks were staged. It would have seen perfectly ordinary for a car to travel down a residential street but it was barely creeping along. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end as she wondered why the road wasn't still blocked off. Almost as if time was moving in slow motion, Jules looked toward the car and saw the window roll down and the glint of a gun as it was held out the window. She shouted out a warning into her com link and dropped to the ground, once more shielding Allie with her body as shots rang out.
Practically lying on top of the four year old, Jules pulled her Glock 26 from her holster and quickly fired off several shots at the car. Her teammates were also opening fire on the vehicle. One of the bullets blew out the tire and caused the car to come to a screeching halt. Knowing her teammates had the situation under control, Jules holstered her weapon and turned her attention to Allie.
Once again, the little girl was clinging to her like she had in the closet earlier. Allie's whole body was quaking with terror and Jules wondered for a moment if she shouldn't have insisted that Allie go with Pam when she had the chance to get to safety.
Greg knelt beside her, his expression full of concern. "Jules, you okay?"
She nodded. "Yeah, we're fine. Just scared."
"Go figure. Allie, you okay, sweetheart?"
"Juju, I's scared. I no likes the loud. Makes it stop, Juju."
With Greg's help, Jules stood with the little girl and began rocking her back and forth in the same moves she'd seen Sophie and Ed use with Izzy when the baby was crying. "It's okay, Allie, the loud sounds are gone now. It's okay. You're safe. Nobody's going to hurt you any more."
She looked over Allie's head at Greg, her eyes pleading with him to help her. Sure, she'd played with Wordy's girls and Ed's baby daughter plenty of times but play was the operative word. If they were upset, she didn't have to be the one comforting them because their moms were there to do it for her. She felt like she was out of her league here. Greg nodded reassuringly.
"You're doing great with her. I've been proud of you so many times before but I think tonight takes the cake. You've connected with her in a way I don't think any of the rest of us could. Look, as upset as she is, she's already starting to calm down. Why don't you get her in the command truck; it'll be quieter in there."
She nodded. Sam was waiting at the truck door when she got there. Once again, they had a silent conversation with just their eyes. That moment was enough for her to calm her own nerves before entering the truck with Sam behind her. She retrieved the flash drive from her pocket and handed it to Spike as Sam tried to tempt Allie with the juice box and banana he'd promised her earlier. She wasn't having anything to do with him or the offered snack though.
Jules resumed her bouncing and swaying hoping to further calm Allie down. Feeling at a loss, she started to sing softly to her; she couldn't think of any lullabies or kid songs so she just started to sing the first song that came to her mind. She forgot that she'd turned on her com link on and that her singing was going out across the radio. No one interrupted her but Sam and Spike shared a quick look, their smiles saying how impressed they were with her singing.
Again Sam found himself looking at her through the lens of the future. He could see himself standing in the doorway of the nursery, watching as she rocked their own child to sleep. He could see her sitting in one of those big glider rockers like Ed had in the nursery for Izzy, her legs stretched out in front of her on the matching ottoman wearing those shorty pajamas he loved so much. Their daughter, their own little mini Jules, cradled in her arms; a little chubby fist waving in the air as Jules, with the voice that could knock his socks off, serenaded her as he looked on. She'd continue to sit there rocking and singing long after the baby was asleep, enjoying the peacefulness and perfectness of the moment until he joined them. He could see himself easing into the glider with her so that he could hold both his girls in his arms.
He was watching her so intently that he was the first to realize when Allie drifted off to sleep, mid sniffle. "Why don't you sit down with her now? I think she's pretty out of it."
Jules nodded and moved to the chair next to Spike. She shifted the sleeping child's weight so that both she and the four year old were more comfortable. Ed's voice came on the com link.
"I know who I'm calling next time Izzy has a sleepless night."
Spike snorted. "I know who I'm calling next time I have a sleepless night. I'm so signing you up the next time the team goes out for drink on a karaoke night."
Jules blushed deep red, realizing her mistake with the mike.
"Team One," Winnie's voice interrupted. "Units have spotted the subject's car at Whitlow park. No visual yet on either Simmons or Cornell."
"Copy that Winnie. Team One, let's head out. Spike, Jules, you stay in the back while I drive the command truck. Allie will be safer there and Spike, I want to know everything that's on that flash drive."
Sam headed out for his SUV, his visions of possible futures on hold for the time being. Knowing her hands were full with Allie, Spike turned and fastened the built-in lap belt to Jules's chair around her before fastening his own. Jules looked down at the sleeping face in her arms and hoped they were able to get there in time.
- FP - FP - FP -
"Aunt Sawah," Allie squealed in delight as Jules set her down and let her run to her mother's sister. It was amazing how a two hour nap and the arrival of a familiar relative could have on a child. Sarah Cornell bent down to scoop her up in her arms.
It had been a terse hour of negotiations for Greg after the team had arrived at Whitlow Park. They had found Simmons holding a gun on a severely beaten Cornell threatening to kill her over the missing flash drive. Rather than endanger her daughter, Alicia had willingly taken ever punch inflicted on her at the hands of her daughter's father. It was only after Greg revealed that SRU was in possession of the flash drive that Simmons had turned the gun on himself, willing to kill himself rather than go to jail. Ed took the opportunity of the gun not being on Alicia to take Simmons down with a less lethal option.
Jules had emerged from the truck with a still sleeping Allie in her arms as the paramedics had loaded Alicia onto a stretcher. The young mother had been glad to see that her daughter had been safe. When Simmons had carried her away from the house, she hadn't been sure what would happen to the little girl hidden away in a house full of junkies. Alicia had given them her sister's number and asked that they call Sarah to take care of Allie while she was being checked out.
The whole team had come to the hospital to wait for word on Alicia's condition. Now, with her niece in her arms, Sarah looked at them gratefully. "I can't thank you enough for taking care of Alicia and Allie. I was frantic all day when I couldn't get in touch with them I was afraid Daniel had gotten them somehow but I couldn't file a missing person's report without more to go on. I warned her when she first started dating Daniel that he was no good but she didn't believe it until after Allie was born."
"You don't have to worry about him any more." Greg assured her. "With the evidence Alicia collected I imagine he's going away for a really long time. Allie may be in high school or college before he sees life from this side of a prison yard again."
"Any word on how Alicia is?" Jules asked. The hospital staff wouldn't tell them anything since they weren't next of kin, claiming Allie was too young for them to release information to.
"She's going to be fine. The doctors are going to keep her overnight at least for observation but she should was really lucky. The doctor's said I could let the munchkin here see her for a few minutes tonight then I'm going take her home so she can sleep in a bed for the rest of the night."
"Mommy 'kay?" Allie asked. Sarah nodded.
"Mommy's going to be fine. Thanks to your new friends here. Want to say your goodbyes so we can go see Mommy?"
"I wuvs you Juju. You comes plays with me?"
Jules swallowed the lump in her throat as she hugged the little girl and kissed her cheek. "I'd like that a lot. I know you are going to take such good care of your mommy and her owwies."
She stepped back and Sam moved in to say his goodbyes to the little girl who had clued him in on what could be. Allie reached out and placed a chubby hand on each side of his face and squeezed. She leaned in and gave him a sloppy kiss. "Wuv you Sambo."
The rest of the team said their goodbyes and Sarah disappeared into the back with Allie. The guys all pretending they didn't notice that Jules was wiping at her eyes. Greg cleared his throat. "Let's just drop off the vehicles at HQ and go home, Team. We did good today. We'll debrief tomorrow."
In their effort to keep up appearances, Sam and Jules didn't say anything personal to each other the whole ride back to HQ. They drove away in their separate vehicles but by unspoken agreement, ended up at Jules's house. Sam waited until they were inside the house and the door was locked before wrapping his arms around Jules, what he'd wanted to do since she'd jumped out of the way of Simmons's car. Holding her tightly against him, he lowered his head and captured her lips with his in a searing kiss.
"You okay?" He asked once he finally broke the kiss.
Jules nodded. "Nothing a nice long hot shower and maybe a shoulder and back rub won't make better."
Sam nodded. "I can do that. However it wasn't just your bruises I was worried about. I could tell Allie wrapped herself around your heart about the same way she wrapped herself around her body. Hell, she stole a piece of my heart and she wouldn't even let me hold her. It had to be harder for you after all the time you spent with her tonight."
Jules frowned; she didn't really want to admit just how attached she'd gotten to the little girl. "She'll be fine. I think her mother and aunt are going to make sure of that."
Sam nodded, understanding she didn't want to talk about it. "Yeah, she'll be fine. Come on, let's get you that hot shower and back rub."
After an hour long shower and a relaxing back rub where Sam was careful of her already badly bruised shoulder, they lay in bed cuddled together. Jules was drifting to sleep, relaxed by Sam's gentle caress of her arms. Sam nuzzled her neck, his breath warm against her skin.
"You ever think about it?" He asked in a quiet voice.
"Think about what?" Jules countered drowsily.
"About what it would be like to have a little Allie of our own."
Jules twisted in the bed to look at him. "Seriously? I thought about it quite a lot tonight. Not much we can do about it right now though, not while we can't let anyone know we're dating. Can you imagine what would happen if I turned up pregnant? If I admitted you were the father one of us would be put off the team. Probably me since I wouldn't be able to work the high risk calls while pregnant. Which if the end result was a little combination of the two of us, it might be worth it. But the whole team would suffer if Toth found out we were breaking the rules."
He could still see his dream little girl in his mind and he was disappointed that Jules didn't seem as taken with the idea. She leaned up and kissed him. "I'm not saying it won't happen, Sam. One day I think I would love to have a baby with you. I just don't think it's something either of us are ready to jump into because of what happened tonight. Right now there are others we have to think about just as much as ourselves. Can you understand that?"
He could. He kissed her again. "Doesn't mean we can't practice our baby making techniques, does it?"
She grinned at him. "Oh, I think we can should take every opportunity to practice that."