mgowriter's note: I recently added Showtime to my TV subscription, watched all of the first season, and now I'm definitely hooked, borderline obsessed! This story follows Saul from when the bomb goes off to when Carrie wakes up in the hospital (season 1, episode 10, "Representative Brody"). The dialogue at the end is taken from the episode.
It was the question he feared the most, one he wished he would never have to ask.
There was no answer; the blast from the bomb rang in his ears and clashed with the now frantic voices on the comm.
"Man down, man down! I need a medic…"
"…no visual on Al-Zahrani, I repeat, no visual…"
"This is Franklin…unable to ID the target…"
"…Sniper one…no positive ID…northwest corner cleared…"
Saul pressed his hands on the glass panel. From where he stood, he could see the perfectly round radius of destruction that spread from the fountain where Al-Zahrani stood just moments ago. There was no sign of her; too much smoke, debris, and chaos scattered the scene ten floors below. He brought the binoculars against his eyes, adjusted the focus with shaky fingers, and began to search the square in a methodical manner. Despite the madness on the comm, he could hear his own breath, in and out, faster with each second. Come on, Carrie, where are you?
Saul gave up on the binoculars after a few seconds, knowing the magnification wouldn't help him see any clearer through the smoke. He looked to the nearest agent, who had his hand to his ear, trying to decipher the fifteen different voices that were feeding into the comm at once.
"Give me your gun," said Saul, closing the distance between them.
The other man blinked, as if trying to comprehend his words. "Sir, you can't go down there. We don't know if it was Walker. We don't know if this is the only attack."
"Give me your damn gun," said Saul. "That's an order."
The man unholstered his service pistol and handed it over. "Sir—"
"Monitor the airwaves. Make sure the ambulances are on their way. And tell David we have agents down."
Saul made his way down the hallway at a run and leaned heavily against the metal door that lead to the stairs. He took them as quickly as his feet would allow, feeling the loud echoes off of the concrete with each step. Ten floors. The painted numbers at the end of each section went by too slowly. When he reached the third floor, a voice in his ear stopped him in his tracks.
"I have her." Saul pressed the bud against his eardrum, straining to hear through the background noise. "This is Virgil. I'm with Carrie. I need a medic! She's…she's been hit by shrapnel, she's not responding. Can anyone hear me?"
"Virgil!" Saul said loudly into the comm. "Where are you?"
"North side, next to the tables."
Saul rushed down the remaining steps two at a time. He ran past two security guards on the lobby who yelled at him to stop, and finally pushed open the glass door that led outside.
. . .
The smell hit him first. A familiar scent of burnt metal and dirt filled his senses. Saul gripped his firearm with both hands and walked into the smoke. He scanned his surroundings quickly before heading for the north side of the fountain. The people he passed appeared one at a time through the mist, covered in ash and dirt. Some were sitting up, missing arms or legs, while others lay lifelessly on the ground. One man's jacket continued to burn as he lay face down in the rubble.
He saw the suit jacket first, torn and covered with a layer of grime. He vividly remembered her hand extending from the grey sleeve as she handed him his morning coffee. His eyes followed the sleeve up to her shoulder, then her face, but Virgil's hands obscured her features. The stillness in her body sent a chill through his spine. A few excruciating seconds passed as he stared unbelievingly at the scene before him, until her head rose up in seemingly slow motion, just an inch from the ground, and her hand reached toward what was left of the fountain.
Saul snapped out of his trance. He rushed over to where Carrie lay, observing the damage in full. She had cuts on her hands and face, with a particularly deep one running through the gray fabric into her arm. Her blonde hair, littered with pieces of debris and rubble, covered a cut that was bleeding from the scalp.
"Carrie," said Saul, placing his free hand on her arm. "Carrie, can you hear me?"
Her eyes shifted toward the direction of his voice, but there was no recognition when they met his. She gazed through him as if he wasn't there.
"I didn't see what happened," said Virgil, holding her head still and sounding as sick as Saul felt. "I don't know if she hurt her neck. I…"
"Keep your hands there," he ordered. Saul bent down to take a closer look. Carrie's eyes slowly fluttered closed. "You're going to be okay, you hear me?"
"We need a medic," said Virgil. "We have to get her to a hospital."
"They're on their way."
"She's going to be okay, right? She was far enough from the blast."
"She's okay," Saul answered, with unsteadiness threatening to creep into his voice. "She will be."
The sirens sounded in the distance, as if on cue. Two paramedics jumped out of the truck as it stopped just a few feet away. Minutes later, Carrie was transported into the ambulance. Virgil climbed into the back of the truck, along with two rescuers. Before Saul could follow, he heard his name repeated over the comm.
He pressed his hand against the earpiece, but only heard static. "Say again?"
"…do you think you're doing?" David Estes' voice fed into his ear. Although the transmission cut in and out, his anger was palpable. "I need you back inside. I've got Munson and…telling me there could be a second attack."
"There's not going to be a second attack. Walker made his point. He'll be long gone by the time we find out where he triggered the bomb."
"Then why did Sampson just tell me you ordered him to give you his weapon?"
Saul breathed out loud. David was right. He wasn't sure; that's why he had the pistol in his hand. He looked over at the ambulance. The two paramedics were closing the doors. "David, Carrie's in the ambulance. I have to go."
"Saul, she's in good hands and we both know someone from the inside warned Walker. You're the only one I can trust down there. I'm not asking twice."
Saul swore silently. He ran up to the driver's side of the ambulance. "Where are you taking her?"
"George Washington," said the paramedic, before the siren screamed to life. The truck sped into the swarm of cars that now surrounded the square. Moments later, it was out of sight.
. . .
Saul hesitated as he stood outside the Emergency Medicine waiting room. His mind raced with the events of the afternoon. He stayed long enough at the scene to secure the area and verify there would likely be no additional attacks. For the first time in his life, he was all too happy to hand the investigation to the FBI liaison and call it a day. Now, standing outside the door with his hands nervously clenching at his side, he worried about the news he was about to receive. He took a deep breath in, and let it out slowly.
He heard his name from behind and turned to see Virgil with a half-eaten candy bar in his hands.
"How is she?" Saul asked.
"She's doing okay. A pretty rough concussion, some cuts and bruises, but nothing life threatening. The doctors say they have to wait until she wakes up to do the full evaluation."
"Yeah, for a couple of hours now. I wanted to give you an update before I left. I'll check in tomorrow morning."
"Can I see her?" Saul asked.
Virgil nodded, and pointed to the elevator to their right. "She's up on sixth. Room 624."
. . .
Saul pushed open the door to Carrie's room quietly. He was careful with his footsteps as he made his way to the hospital bed. Carrie lay still under the dim overhead light. Although asleep, her features were furrowed, as if in a troubled dream. Her hands, still at her side but filled with large and small cuts, were fitted with an IV line and a pulse oximeter. Saul studied her with openly worried eyes. He couldn't remember a time when she looked so fragile. He brushed away a stray strand of blonde hair to reveal deeper cuts on the left side of her face.
He sighed, and took his jacket off. Silently, he pulled up the visitor's chair next to the bed. Saul settled in as comfortably as he could, knowing it was going to be a long night.
. . .
He woke to the sound of footsteps approaching, and for a second thought it was Carrie walking around in the room. When he opened his eyes, he was disappointed to see a nurse examining the IV bag next to the bed.
"You should get something to eat," she said softly, as she connected a syringe onto the bag and injected its contents. "It can't be comfortable sitting in that chair all night."
Saul straightened himself with a groan. He stood up slowly, letting the stiffness in his body adjust to the new movement. The nurse gave him a sympathetic smile. "There's a vending machine at the end of the hall. The food isn't great, but the coffee's always strong."
Saul looked over to Carrie's bed. She had barely moved during the night.
"Don't worry," the nurse said. "She'll be asleep for another couple of hours."
Saul nodded at her. "Coffee doesn't sound like a bad idea."
. . .
The small alcove at the end of the hallway that held the vending machine also sported two pots of coffee warming on the adjacent counter. He took one of the upturned styrofoam cups and poured the black liquid to the brim. Dark roast. The familiar aroma wafted into his senses as he felt the fogginess of sleep leave his mind. The first sip burned his tongue, but he didn't mind. After the second, he turned to look out into the hallway, and saw a familiar figure approaching in his direction.
"Looks like I was wrong," said the nurse as she reached him. "She's awake."
Saul blinked at her words, until they fully registered. Carrie. Awake. He dumped the rest of the liquid quickly and threw the cup into the trash.
As he walked the length of the hallway, the list of symptoms after a concussion forced themselves into his thoughts. Confusion, headache, memory loss, sleep disturbance, depression. He reached the circular reception area and forced his brain to stop. There was no evidence anything yet. He needed to act as normal as possible. Saul stepped quickly around the reception desk and entered the room.
"Dr. Stanner says you're gonna live. All you got was a really bad concussion. No more head bashing for a while, and cut back on the drinking. Otherwise you're good to go."
His words were met with silence. Saul stepped to the window and turned the blinds to let sunlight in. He pulled the chair closer to the bed and looked into Carrie's eyes. They stared back, but somehow through him. The emptiness scared him.
"Get some really good drugs and a week's rest before you head back to the glue factory," he tried again. There was no response. "I'd love some good drugs and a week's rest. Lucky you."
Carrie moved her head slightly to face him. Her eyes focused on his for a second and she attempted a smile. Saul allowed himself the breath of relief that he had been holding onto for the past day. He took her hand into his and squeezed it to convey his message. Welcome back. She gave him the faintest squeeze in return, and although it wasn't much, it was enough for now, to quiet his most pressing fears.