~Chapter Five~

With the entrance of the bank covered with uniforms and cars, a fair sized crowd began to form and the team sent Nyberg to break it apart and send the onlookers elsewhere from the situation. From the door, Martinsson saw that Ann-Britt and Wallander's guns had only lowered slightly since their arrival, keeping them directed at Peter and the college student, Erik. A cadet not aiming a weapon was on a laptop and searching for the identities of the gunmen in order to feed the others a constant flow of new leverage in the negotiation. Inside, Magnus' knees were aching as his head was throbbing, while his throat began to itch for some water since the negotiation was going nowhere.

Peter shifted his gun into the crook of Magnus' neck, his patience wearing thin. "Tell him that if he doesn't agree to at least one of our demands in the next ten seconds, your head gets blown off," he growled into the DI's ear, sending a spider-leg sensation down his back.

"Kurt," Magnus swallowed, "Please, we need…we need something…now," a staggered breath forced itself into the radio.

"Tic toc, Detective Inspector Martinsson," a loud yelp blitzed beside him, and Axelia was keeled over on her side, her face hidden between her ripped, stocking-torn knees.

"Kurt, we need to agree to something. Please."

Never did Wallander think he would see the day in which a pleading tone came from the young colleague. He thought quickly. "We can dismiss some of the officers, but Ann-Britt and I are staying. We can remove ten guns, but that is it."

Magnus raised his head cautiously in Peter's direction. Munching on his cheek, Peter gave a slow and careful nod before replying. "What's the catch?"

"Get the bloody gun off of my DI or I'll-" Kurt stopped himself, "-Or we won't be able to carry on from there."

The air fell tense, and still, Axelia and Magnus held their breath in fear of disturbance.

A loud clang erupted, making the two jump out of their skins. Magnus saw the automatic sitting between them before being kicked away. Four shadows turned in confusion of their leader's actions.

"Put the guns down, and let's talk," he said, looking at Wallander and Ann-Britt still holding their guns, "We'll see if we can work something out, Detective Inspector!" He called out and motioned to the four to put their guns down at their sides and took their place beside him. "We're coming out."

Magnus raised the radio to his head cautiously. "Kurt," he whispered in a low voice.

"We got it, Magnus. Just watch yourselves."

"Magnus," a small voice breathed across the room, and Martinsson pressed a finger to his lips, but Axelia shook her head in protest. "Magnus, what do you think-"

"AXELIA! GET DOWN!" Magnus threw himself in front of the kneeling girl and she only had time to register a loud crack on the floor before the sound of gunfire was recognized all around her. Amid the windows breaking and bullets flying by, she hardly recognized the sound of her own screams.

Ducking instinctively, Axelia put her arms around Magnus and went to move, but felt herself going nowhere and fell back against the floor. Looking down, she realized that the man in front of her was limp and face-down on the floor. Axelia's eyes widened in horror.

"Magnus?" She lifted his bleeding head and felt it lop back into her lap with the rest of his body, his blue eyes barely showing beneath his limp lids. "No!" Axelia looked down at him, catching the glint of glass on his leg and saw a shard sticking out of it.

Instinctively, the panicked girl went to reach for it but stopped herself as her mind began to clear. Shaking the thought of the shard away, she looked at his stilled face and saw the new cut on it and continued down until she felt her body go ice cold while she tried to focus her eyes on what couldn't be the smoking bullet hole in his jacket. Martinsson's eyelids fluttered weakly and he grimaced in pain.

"Axelia…" His voice was barely a whisper and she felt him take her hand into his. "You need…to run," the weak voice heaved a breath as he guided her fingers to the warmth inside his jacket and her lips began to quiver for fear that she would feel wetness until she felt the cold aluminium being molded to her grasp and his fingers feebly undoing the holster encasing it.

"Go."

"Fånge," glass crunched behind the girl before she had time to react and a pair of cruel, iron arms latched onto her shoulders and lifted her off the ground, but she tightened her grasp around the weapon. "We're going."

A hand went over her mouth and Peter had her wrist in his other hand. Martinsson looked up weakly but his head fell back against the floor as he watched the girl being dragged away to the back and the corner of his mouth rose as he heard shots going off.

"Get off of me!" the girl cried, setting off another round and hit Peter's foot. "Help! I'm over here! I'm over here!"

"You little brat!"

Magnus winced in pain and flipped onto his side, seeing the arm around the small neck and squeezing, the sound of his pistol clattering onto the ground brought him even more pain and he collapsed onto floor as the sound of screeching tires disappeared.

"We need a medic!" Ann-Britt called, Wallander and several cadets went to the back, and Magnus couldn't help but smile at the sound of him cursing.

"Magnus, Magnus stay with me," Ann called again and lifted his jacket where the bullet entered when he felt her stop and look back at him.

"What?"

Martinsson heaved a breath and sat up, reaching inside his jacket and took out the heavy hard-cover book and handed it to Ann-Britt, who turned it over and saw the bullet lodged inside of it. "Remind me to complement Kurt on his heavy reading again."

"You lucky bastard," she chuckled and gave him a quick hug before helping him up and guided him to the medic outside. "Rough lunch?"

He shook his head as he limped on and saw the stretcher waiting on the stairs and just sat down. "You have no idea. Can you make it as quick as you can?" he asked the medic as she looked at the glass sticking out of his leg and frowned. "We have a house to raid, the loudest one on the block, and I'm not missing the chance to bring Peter in because I just got a little cut up."

Wallander ran up and did a once-over on the younger man as the medic tried her best to get him to lie down on the stretcher, Martinsson protesting and caught Kurt's glance and sat up taller. "Kurt, send units to the house that got the noise complaint this morning and tell her that I'm fine and fit for duty."

"What makes you think that?"

"You promoted me to DI, you figure it out."

Kurt looked at the frustrated medic and nodded to her. "Take it out, but don't give him anything, you'll just make him madder and he's being rude enough already."