Author's Notes: So, wow, only two episodes left now that "Fit for Duty" has aired. I'm more than a little sad. So this post-ep is going to be a little different from the others. Since we saw the episode basically from Ed's point of view and I'm sure there was a log going on he just didn't know about, this is going to be a meanwhile, along side of ep that will then lead into the post-ep. It will be JAM centered, because honestly how can you have an episode with a baby and not have great JAM? This one will also be a two shot instead of a one shot. This chapter will take place during the episode while the next chapter will be about what happens next.
Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its respective 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.
Safe in My Arms
"I don't think I've ever been so glad to have a hot call come in." Sam quipped after making sure his head set was turned to receive only. He was driving through the city in response to several 9-1-1 calls about a middle aged guy with a weapon and duffle bag wandering through the city. Jules was sitting beside him and he couldn't help but feel glad they had been granted the opportunity to ride together; seemed like it didn't happen as much lately.
Jules raised an eyebrow and checked her own radio. "Why is that?"
"Training day interrupted. I know I promised not to say anything about you doing your job, and I'm trying really hard not to break that promise. Somehow I think watching you throw yourself heart, soul, and body into the torture Ed likes to call training would push me beyond my limits. It's one thing to sit back and let you do your job but training seems different."
The corners of her lips turned upward. She knew Sam was trying hard to push aside his natural tendency to protect everyone he cares about, and she appreciated it. She knew it was hard for him but couldn't help but give him grief when he wasn't quite successful. As good as they were together, certain innate aspects of their personalities seemed to clash with each other. Her need for independence was in direct contrast with his need to take care of her that had only increased now that there was a baby in the picture. She was trying to be a little more understanding just as he was trying to tone down the protective urge, but sometimes it was just funny. "You realize that training is a part of the job, right?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah, that's why I'm glad it was interrupted. I gotta say, you were looking pretty hot doing those leg crunches. I've noticed you doing those more lately."
Jules shrugged. "Yeah, well, you aren't the only one who's been doing some reading up on pregnancy. Apparently strong core muscles are a plus when it comes to pregnancy and more importantly delivery, so I figured amping up the abdominal exercises now while I still can couldn't hurt."
Sam's grin became almost boyish as he reached over and gave her hand a squeeze. "I've never had any complaints about the condition of your muscles, core or otherwise."
Jules flushed with pleasure at his words. She'd had guys in the past that were quick to compliment her but somehow their praise had always seemed to her to be lines dangled at her to get what they wanted. Not so with Sam; when he said something, even if it could sound sappy or cheesy, she always felt like it came from a place of complete honesty and without any hint of a price tag involved. The warm feeling they created in her could turn any moment into something special. She squeezed his hand back. "Yeah, well, I hope you still think that when I can't see my feet anymore."
His eyes briefly left the road so he could glance down at her still flat stomach. "You will be even more beautiful because it'll mean we're that much closer to actually getting to hold our son or daughter. And I promise when the time does come that you can't see your feet, I'll always make sure you are still wearing matching socks and shoes. I'll even tie your shoes if you'll let me."
Jules laughed out loud; he didn't complain about her independence streak as much as she complained about his over protectiveness but he certainly recognized it. "Might not have any choice."
Conversation about personal matters had to be put on hold as they got more information about their subject. Spike had found him on the CCTV. Radios once more were set to transmit as Spike also located him boarding the Centre Island Ferry four minutes earlier. This lead to the team discussed ways to get the ferry to dock so they could safely unload the passengers and contain the threat. Leah remembered the old marine terminal down below Lake Shore that was more contained and a safer alternative. In no time, the team had arrived on scene and Sam and Ed made their way to a higher perch so they could asses the situation.
Jules remained with Sarge, Leah, and Spike as the other two men relayed information. When Ed reported that the suspicious duffle bag contained a baby, Jules's hand automatically went to her stomach as if to protect the life growing inside her. Before anyone on the team noticed the movement, she slid it to her side to a more natural, less "pregnant" gesture. By the time Ed joined them to go over an action plan, there was nothing suspicious about her position. After a brief conversation, Spike and Leah changed into Port Authority uniforms in order to board the ferry and help evacuate the passenger without alarming the civilians or their subject. While they were gone Winnie had the Amber Alert report and was connecting Greg to the distraught mother. Jules listened in on the conversation. Inwardly she shuddered at the thought of the mother trustingly putting her baby to sleep in what should have been the safety of the nursery. She couldn't imagine anything worse than a kidnapped child but to have one taken in this way?
Now that they knew what and who they were dealing with Jules followed Ed as they met Sam to board the ferry so they could be in a position to intercept the subject once the civilians were safe. She was stationed at the door where her disguised teammates were ushering out the passengers while Sam and Ed went around to the other side of the ferry.
She listened as Spike started trying to talk the subject down but her eyes never left the duffle bag that held precious cargo. It was then that she realized it wasn't really a duffle bag at all but a Moses basket; she's seen similar ones just the other day online as she was looking longingly at the different baby paraphernalia that she and Sam would soon be shopping for. She'd liked the idea of the little carrier that acted as a sort of portable bassinet. She'd even gone so far as to bookmark the page to show Sam later.
She couldn't get a really good look at the little girl but what she could see told her that the baby was precious. The infant was crying and Jules wondered if she was scared, hungry, sleepy, or just needed a diaper change. Jules had often heard that mothers could tell what was wrong with their baby just by listening to them cry but either the ability to distinguish between cries was limited to the actual mother or it was a skill that came later in pregnancy. To Jules, the baby just sounded unhappy. What she did notice, however, is that while in the past she'd been keen to hold a baby as long as he or she was happy, she was quick to return said baby at the first sign of tears. Now, ever, every fiber in her body wanted to cradle this infant close to her body to soothe her tears away. Was that the start of maternal instincts kicking in?
Harold caught a glimpse of Sam looking in the window and panicked. He bolted out a back door away from Jules. She frowned knowing that Sam and Ed were both near enough to intercept until she could get there. She listened as Ed tried to talk to him. It was an impossible situation. They'd been given the directive to shoot if they had the shot but at the moment nothing could be done without putting the baby in jeopardy.
"Jules," Sarge's voice filled her ear. "Harold's next of kin is here. Let Sam and Ed handle the situation for now. I want you listening in to background. Harold is emotional disturbed; he may respond to you better."
"Copy that, Sarge." Jules replied into her head set. "Want me to join you?"
"Negative, stay there; just listen in."
So Jules listened as Harold's ex wife explained his condition. She frowned as she began to get a better picture what was happening. Harold was delusional and off his meds; never a good combination. He truly believed the baby he had kidnapped was his own daughter; that was in their favor. He wouldn't intentionally hurt the baby, but it didn't eliminate the danger completely. If he was shaken from his delusion in anyway or felt threatened, he could hurt the baby without meaning to. They had to find a way to get him to relinquish Katherine without harm.
She heard Ed report that Harold had climbed to the next deck. He and Sam were going to intercept. "Sarge, how do you want me to proceed?"
"You are our best chance for a successful negotiation. Play on his musical ability. It's important to him."
Jules nodded even though he couldn't see it. She drew in a shaky breath and slowly released it. Music she knew but more from a high school garage band of singing and playing guitar, certainly nothing of the formal training and performing Harold was accustomed to. But she had to find the common ground that would help her connect to him and reach him where he was. "On it, Boss."
She made her way up to the top deck where Sam and Ed were both standing with weapons drawn at Harold. The deranged man was cradling the duffle bag in his arms with the gun right underneath it. His fingers were rhythmically fingering imaginary keys; she could relate to that at least. How much time did she invest in practicing chords on an air guitar when she was learning to play?
"Mr. Beemer? Harrold…"
She passed Sam, touching his shoulder as she did. On the outside it would look like she was just letting him know he needed to shift his position slightly so that she could get by him to confront the subject. But the touch was more than that. She needed the momentary contact to ground him and to ground herself in the moment. She was pretty sure the fact that a baby was in danger was bothering him just as much as it was bothering her. She took a deep breath.
Harold wasn't looking at her; his focus was on the baby in his arms. The look of devotion she saw in his expression was exactly what she imagined Sam would have months from now once they welcomed their baby into the world. The way a father would look at his child. But this wasn't Harold's child and they had to get her to safety.
"I'm Jules. I'm hoping we can sort this out." She took a step up on the deck to get closer to him. "Can you tell me where you are trying to go?"
Finally he looked at her and sounded perfectly lucid as he commented, "We are on the Centre Island Ferry, aren't we?"
Jules let his question slide, remembering Sarge's suggested to relate to the man about what he loved the most. "You are a musician? I see that you are doing scales."
"Don't patronize me. What kind?" He questioned, not really sounding upset only suspicious.
"Sorry?" Jules kept her voice even. She had to stay calm to make sure he stayed calm.
"What kind of scales was I playing?"
Never lie to a subject. That was the cardinal rule of negotiations. Still her admission felt like it was coming at a price. "I don't know."
"There's exercises." Ed cut in. She would have been aggravated. Only one person should talk with a subject at a time. If not the second rule, at least one that was pretty high up there in importance. But she didn't protest. Ed knew the job better than anyone. If he was jumping in, it was for a reason. "There the Hanon exercises."
Harold turned his attention to Ed, a hint of respect creeping into his features. "Yeah."
Jules stepped closer, hoping to capitalize on the connection Ed had made. "Can you tell us about your music, Harold?"
He started to explain how it seemed like no one really listened except for his ex wife and more importantly his little girl. Again, he looked down at the infant as if he was cradling precious treasure. As he talked he would alternate between gazing down at the baby and then looking at Ed. It was clear to Jules that it was the team leader who had connected for the negotiation, not her. And then it wasn't even about the baby anymore. Just Ed.
She tried to bring his attention back to her; the intensity of his stare was too much, too danger for the baby and the situation in general. She would have let Ed take the negotiation since Harold seemed to have connected with him but Ed wasn't talking either. He was just staring back, his gun never wavering. But Harold continued to ignore her. Then he asked Ed how he knew about the Hanon exercises.
"Ed, his voice is lowered. He's personalizing. He may be transitioning to a more lucid phase."
"I've got the shot." Ed protested.
Jules spared him a glance while still keeping most of her attention on the baby. Why was he so reluctant? Sarge protested, reminding him that Sam was covering him and that if Ed could negotiate, he had to try. As soon as Ed lowered his weapon, Jules reached to her holster and removed her Glock. Harold was rocking slightly as if soothing the baby who was now whimpering slightly but not really crying.
A lump formed in Jules's throat as Harold smiled at the baby and called her princess. She couldn't risk glancing at Sam. Had they not known Harold was a schizophrenic off his meds who had kidnapped a baby that wasn't his, he could have been any devoted father. And then he set the Moses basket down on the ground, kneeling beside it. Again his attention diverted to Ed as he asked if the other man recognized the tune he'd been humming. Jules was surprised when Ed could name it.
Then Ed started the reality check and it appeared that Harold was starting to recognize what he'd done. There was at least a few feet between him and the basket as he continued to talk to Ed. Then it became clear he was bottoming out. Sarge warned Sam and Ed to look for a shift toward suicide. Jules glanced over at Ed as she was given the order to grab the baby if she got the chance. Every time she thought she was about to get her chance, she rocked on her heels ready to move in but then his attention would shift again.
Katherine started to cry, her wails loud and unsettling, both to Jules and to Harold. His attention turned back to the baby and Jules knew they had to divert his attention once again. She looked at Ed, nodding to him that it was time to force a move. They both step forward. Again Ed tried a reality check but this time met with hostility. Sarge warned them that Harold was splitting, making Ed the enemy. With that warning and as Harold began to scream at Ed, Jules rushed forward and grabbed the handles of the Moses basket. She turned her back on the suspect and took off with Katherine safely in front of her.
She could hear Sam screaming for Harold to put the gun down and knew she probably had a shotgun pointed at her back. She could think about that though; had to trust Sam and Ed to have her exposed back as she protected the infant. She could feel Sam's arm almost pushing her to safety behind the ventilation box. She kept moving to safety, knowing that Ed and Sam would finish the job and that she had to finish her part in getting Katherine to safety. She was still way too close for comfort when she heard the shot that ended the situation.
As soon as she was clear of the deck and there was no chance Harold could hurt the baby, Jules set the duffle bag on the ground and fully unzipped it. The little girl was still crying and Jules eased her out of the bag and cuddled her close. She mimicked the jiggling, rocking motion she'd seen Harold making on the boat deck, the same motion she'd also scene Sophie and Shelley use with their girls as well. She turned off the transmit setting of her head set.
Crooning softly in the infant's ear, Jules attempted to soothe the little girl. She knew the distraught mother was waiting anxiously and that she should returned the baby as soon as possible. But she also couldn't ignore this intense need she felt deep in her core to comfort the baby. It was an instinct so deeply imbedded in her but one that she hadn't known existed until now.
Holding Katherine now was different from the times she'd held Izzy since her team leader's daughter had been born. While she had always enjoyed holding her, even going to far as to seek out permission, she'd always felt a little awkward as if she was trying to play at something that was out of her league. Holding this infant in this moment felt right, almost like a foretaste of something to come. And it was, her own child, a life she created with Sam was already growing within her and the day would soon come when she'd stand in her own home gently rocking her own child the way she was now doing Katherine. She smiled down at the baby who, apparently realizing she was safe, had stopped crying and was smiling back at her. Her eyes watered a little but she wouldn't give in to the emotions, especially when they had no cause.
She made her way down the steps and toward the gangplank toward the dock. As she made her way through the parked emergency vehicles, she could see the distraught mother talking with a uniformed officer. As soon as she was close, the mother was reaching for the baby and though Jules was happy to reunite mother and daughter, part of her felt almost reluctant to release the child that had been so much of her focus during the call. As the mother held the baby close, she reached out to squeeze Jules's arm, thanking her for saving the baby. Jules nodded, assuring her it was a group effort.
Jules stood there for a long moment as the mother and daughter were led off by the uniformed officer. Her own arms now felt empty now that they devoid of the baby. Her hands splayed over her flat stomach, desperate for that connection with her own child. Then she turned, knowing she needed to get back to the person that meant just as much to her as the life growing inside of her.
She, Sarge, Leah and Spike all followed Stainton and the other officers back up to the top deck. Even if Sam and Ed were about to be sequestered, they wanted to be there to support them. When Sam admitted that he'd taken the shot, Jules felt her stomach muscles clenching tighter than they had that morning when she'd been doing the leg crunches. He'd done his job but she knew this one would haunt him later. She might be the only one privileged enough to see just how much.
Then Ed had turned around and asked about the baby. Jules turned her attention from her boyfriend to look up at her team leader. "She's fine. She's on the dock with her mom. Says she wants to talk to you, say thank you."
Then Ed did something that was perhaps more surprising than the time Sarge had walked away during a hot call. Ed, who was always the pillar of strength for them all walked away. Spike offered to go with him, but Ed refused and left them all standing there.
After watching Ed disappear, Jules turned back to Sam. Their eyes met as Stainton started to lead him away. She gave him a slight nod though she wasn't sure exactly what it was for. Perhaps she was acknowledging that she was okay or that he was okay, or that everything in general would be okay. Maybe it was her way of telling him not to worry about Ed or anything else. Whatever it was, Sam seemed to need it as much as she needed to give it because she could almost see him visibly relax after the gesture.
Once Sam had been led away, Sarge gripped Jules's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He didn't say anything about it being an routine procedure and that Sam had nothing to worry about. She didn't need to hear what she already knew. At the same time however he knew it was never easy to see someone you love being led away like he was a common criminal.
"Let's head back." Sarge recommended.
"What about Ed?" Spike asked, his tone confused as to what had just happened.
Sarge sighed heavily. "Not much we can do until he's ready to talk to us. Ed will be fine."
Once they were at the vehicles, it became clear that Ed had taken one of the SUVs leaving only the two. Leah and Spike climbed back in to the one they had come in. Almost as if he realized that Jules was distracted, Sarge got in behind the wheel of the other vehicle leaving her as the passenger.
- FP - FP - FP -
Sam felt drained as he stepped off the elevator on the floor of the SRU headquarters. His meeting with SIU had been typical, cleared but still raked over the coals for doing his job. All he really wanted was to finish the debriefing and call it a night. Then he and Jules could go home and he could forget today ever happened.
He'd been so lost in his own thoughts that he hadn't even noticed that Jules had been leaning against the wall near the elevator watching for him. He stopped and allowed her to join him. Looking around to see if anyone was watching, she pushed him into an empty room and kissed him tenderly. They were so accustomed to keeping their private lives separate that this sudden display of affection at work took him off guard. But he couldn't deny it was what he needed. He kissed her back, wrapping his arms around her and holding her close.
When she pulled back, she looked up at him. "You okay?"
"Not really." Sam answered honestly. "But I will be. Has Ed come back?"
She shook her head. "Not yet. Sarge said we'd do the debrief when you got back even if Ed wasn't here. He doesn't want to hold us all up. I think he wants to be free to check on Ed himself."
Sam nodded. He didn't want to mention that it seemed like Ed had frozen on that boat dock. He hadn't said anything about it in the SIU investigation either. Whatever was going through Ed's mind right then, Sam wasn't going to make things worse for him. "Then let's do this. I want to go home so we can pamper each other for the rest of the night."
Jules smiled. "I like the sound of that."
- FP -
Author's Notes 2: While this chapter was rated for most audiences, the second chapter will be adult swim only. So when chapter 2 is posted, it will be moved to the M section. Might want to follow the story if that's not a place you normally look. I hope you enjoy this chapter and you'll come back for the second one when it's ready. Thanks for taking the time to read and let me know what you think. Love the feedback.