Author's Notes: I can't believe the finale episode is over. I'm going to miss this show in a way that I've never missed a show before. At least it can live on in fan fiction for years and years to come. There are still so many stories that can be told. This is my take on what was going on during the episode and directly afterward. It starts out toward the end of Part 1 and then continues on. I was going to make this a one shot but it was impossible to fit everything in with one chapter. So it'll be at least a two shot. I hope you enjoy.
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.
Hand on My Back; Voice in My Ear
She'd woken up that morning as Julianna Callaghan prepared for it to be the happiest and most perfect day she'd ever had. Surrounded by friends and family she'd stood with the man she loved as completely as any two people could love as they pledged their undying devotion to each other. Then together she and Sam had made the announcement he'd been anxious to make for a month: a baby had been created through that love.
It was as Julianna Braddock that she'd changed into her uniform that still boasted the name Callaghan. It hadn't bothered her even though she wanted to shout her new identity to the world; she wasn't sure anything truly could upset her on this day that her life had changed for the better. A few hours on shift and then the reception on the party boat that night before she and Sam would slip away to consummate those vows taken as an official married couple.
That had been the plan until the perfect day had gone straight to hell in a hand basket. The bomb discovered in the 9-1-1 communication system had been defused in time but in the process an explosion had rocked the Federal building. Team One, with the exception of Spike and Sarge, had responded along with practically every first responder in the area.
The destruction was great but nothing could prepare her for discovering the little boy lying on the sidewalk in the midst of the debris. All she'd been able to do for him was apologize for not being able to save him, cover him with his blanket - a barrier between him and the harsh black tag that said deceased, and try to prevent a hole into the pit of despair from opening beneath her.
Leah's announcement that there was a daycare inside with more children trapped and possibly injured had spurred her into action. In her attempt to get to them, a piece of rebar had gouged a hole in her leg and made moving both painful and difficult, but rescuing the kids, especially the little boy who had been pinned beneath the rubble, had made the injury seem a small price to pay.
Through the long physically demanding and emotionally draining situation, Sam had been her touchstone, her oasis. Those moments of taking comfort in his touch, his presence, or even just his voice had been fleeting but necessary. She didn't know if she would have been able to keep her emotions or her sanity in check long enough to do her job without him.
Then the lead had come in that seemed to point to Anson Holt as the bomber. She'd been ready to go with Sam and the others but Sarge had insisted she stay off her injured leg and help with the profiling. She didn't protest, recognizing the logic in his order. Her leg would slow her down and could put her, the baby, and the rest of the team at risk. But there was nothing wrong with her mind and if analyzing the information at her makeshift command post and feeding the information to the others meant they apprehended the guy before more innocent lives were lost, then she would play her part.
She watched Sam leave and felt an intense need to stop him from going. Perhaps beg him for one more hug or kiss before he disappeared from her side. She didn't voice the need, not because it wouldn't be professional, but because it felt almost selfish on her part. She knew Sarge was worried about Dean even if he had at least heard from him, and could read the panic in Ed's face over the fact that Clark could be trapped in the aftermath of the explosion at City Hall. They didn't have the luxury of having their loved ones at close contact the way she did and yet they were going on with their job. She could do the same.
When the confirmation came that Clark was buried in the rubble of the parking garage, Jules's heart dropped and her hand protectively covered her still visibly flat stomach as if it could prevent anything bad from happening. She couldn't fathom the thought of her child, loved sight unseen, ever being in mortal danger. She was powerless to do anything to help rescue Clark so she poured all her skills into predicting what Holt had planned. Those skills led her in the direction of the lab where Holt had conducted the experiments that had lead to his termination.
Team Three was the closest to the lab but that meant abandoning the search for Clark at City Hall. Jules tried to push aside her guilt when she heard Ed order Donna to take her team to the lab. Finding the bomber and preventing more deaths had to take precedence over the search of one trapped individual, especially when that individual was a family member of one of SRU's elite teams. She was all too familiar with the Priority of Life Code. Sam abiding by it when her own life had been in danger had been the proof Dr. Toth had needed to know they were capable of being in a relationship without jeopardizing protocols. Upholding the code when a lover was in danger was hard enough but a child - even if said child thought he was grown enough to be a man - was a different story. If things went bad and Clark didn't survive, would Ed be able to forgive himself? Would Sophie forgive him?
Time slowed to a standstill when the realization came that Donna and Holt were being watched, and Sarge shouted for her to clear the building. Jules rose to her feet as if it would help speed Donna to safety. The explosion was loud in her ear piece followed by deafening silence. Not only was Donna, as far as she knew, still in the lab, but Sarge was right outside which was too close for her comfort. She was relieved when Sarge announced he was okay but it was muted by the understanding that Donna and her teammate were gone. The loss was staggering and she couldn't help but think of Lew with intense sadness. As devastated as she was to know two of their own were lost, Lew's death was still harder for her to bear because she'd been a first hand witness and he'd been a good friend as well as a co-worker. Still, she could sympathize with what the rest of Team 3 had to be feeling in that moment.
Injured leg be dammed, she had to get to the lab. The rest of the team was heading there and she needed to be with them. Initially, she made good time hobbling with her bad leg. Wasn't the first time she'd ignored an injury for the sake of the job. Her focus was on getting to the perimeter of the scene, commandeering a patrol car since she'd been left without an SUV when the rest of the team had scattered. She realized as her injured leg stumbled over debris in the sidewalk that she should have paid more attention to where she was stepping.
"Shit." She'd done so well controlling her use of expletives since finding out she was pregnant. So well that she'd reached a point where she really didn't have to think about not using them anymore. But as the stumble sent the pain meter into excruciating the word was out of her mouth before she could think about the baby or the auto transcriber. Fortunately her radio wasn't set to transmit at the moment and she'd have to ask the baby for forgiveness for the lapse later.
She paused for a moment, unable to move or think or hardly even breathe until the pain subsided back to manageable. She leaned over, her hands on the tops of her thighs, trying to catch her breath. A swatch of blue caught her eye and a couple of tears slid down her cheeks. She recognized the material as the blanket she'd carefully draped over the little boy earlier. She'd wondered when she'd seen volunteers bring his body to the temporary makeshift morgue what had happened to it but hadn't had time to do much more than wonder.
Now, she knelt down, retrieved the scrap of material, and glanced back at the direction from which she'd come. Going back and reuniting child and blanket wasn't an option; she had no time and there was no guarantee it wouldn't get lost in the next move. She couldn't just leave it in the rubble either. Carefully and almost reverently, she folded it before sliding it between her vest and uniform for safekeeping. She wasn't sure what she was keeping it for, but it felt right and necessary. Swiping at her tears, she hobbled on.
It had been many years since she'd driven a regular police cruiser. It felt completely different from being behind the wheel of one of the SUVs, but as she tore through the city with the lights and sirens on, cars still cleared the way for her. She made good time reaching the laboratory.
She was surprised to see the team minus Sarge standing on the pedestrian side of the taped off scene. She frowned. As the elite of the elite, Team One was always right in the middle of everything, not reduced to standing uselessly on the sidelines. It both angered and frightened her at the same time.
When she saw Sarge coming toward them, she ducked under the tape, ready to go to him. If she'd been asked to choose a father other than the one she'd been born to, Greg Parker would not only be her first choice but her only one as well. Knowing he'd been that close to danger upset her in a way she'd couldn't explain in words but it had always been that way. She needed not just a visual or auditory confirmation that he was okay but a tactile one as well.
She barely had to duck under the tape to get to the other side, but immediately Sarge warned her back to the other side. The words dirty bomb made her blood run cold. Losing two members of Team 3 had been bad enough but to realize the danger wasn't over made the loss even worse. Could they now lose Sarge due to the radioactive material that had been released in the explosion? It wasn't fair, not that anything about the call had been fair.
Sam, who had moved closer to her at the news, reached out and gave her arm a quick, reassuring squeeze before releasing his hold. It was only a moment, not so much that anyone who might have been watching would have noticed, but the moment helped to steady her. Once more he was her oasis. As Greg reminded them of procedure, it was all she could do to nod when he asked them if they copied. The words wouldn't form past the temporary lump in her throat. She took a deep breath to put her worry aside to focus on the task at hand. Sarge would be out of the loop and was depending on them to figure things out before more bombs went off. No matter how upset she was, the city was depending on them for protection.
Despite the Hazmat team trying to usher Greg inside, the head of Team One was equally determined to make use of whatever remaining contact he had with his team. He urged them to focus on who would have left the trail for them to find Holt there at the lab. Profiling, under Greg's tutelage, had become a specialty for Jules.
"He was a sadist. Sadists have victims." She offered.
Sarge nodded, proud of how her skills had grown in the last couple of years. He expounded on her theory and encouraged them to look at Holt's students. Then he allowed the Hazmat people to lead him into the back of the truck. The team stared at him as the door closed behind him. A heavy silence descended over them as he went offline. It was as if they'd lost more than just radio contact with him. As the truck started to pull away, Ed stepped forward and took charge, spurring them into action.
While Sam and Ed helped to coordinate attempts to keep the nearby residents safe from any potential fallout, Jules worked with Leah and Spike to narrow down their suspect pool. While they were searching, word came in that Team 2 had defused a bomb; that made the count for the day so far 5, three that exploded and two that were stopped in time. Then Winnie announced that someone claiming to be the bomber had called 9-1-1 again. With the Boss off line, Ed instructed Jules to take the call. She climbed into the passenger side of an SUV to cut off the extraneous noise at the scene. She had to focus on everything about the call and the caller if she wanted to get the information needed to outsmart this guy. She asked Winnie to patch through the call to her headset.
"This is Jules Callaghan with the Strategic Response Unit." The name rolled off her tongue before she could even catch herself to remember that as of this morning it was Braddock. Funny, she and Sam hadn't really talked about whether she should keep her maiden name for work purposes; it would make sense since two Braddocks on the same team could be confusing. She shook her head, returning her focus to the call.
"Where's my other puppet?" The voice was clearly altered.
"He's in the field right now." No way was she going to give him the satisfaction of knowing he might have been successful in one of his attacks. "You got what you wanted. Your manifesto's out there. You're going to be famous." More like infamous but if stroking his ego and leading him into a false sense of accomplishment worked, then so be it. Still there was no way she could keep the disdain from her voice. "Want to tell us what your name is?"
"Why would I make it that easy?"
Cocky SOB. "That's right. Last time you made it that easy we walked right into it. Sent the manifesto from a smart phone spoofed to Anson Holt's name."
"Then pointed us straight here to the lab." She could see the look on Spike's face through the windshield; his normally affable expression grim given what had happened to Donna and their worry about the effects it would have on Sarge. She glanced up at the roof of the vehicle; if she allowed herself to meet the eyes of her team, she'd lose the last grip on objectivity she was clinging to.
"Holt walked straight into it as well."
"And then you strapped a bomb on him, made him watch the news…" Even if Holt was a sick sadist, he didn't deserve the fate Faber had chosen for him. Most certainly no one else affected by the bombs deserved a moment of the pain. "Made him watch what you'd done."
"While I watched him sit there too scared to even breathe!"
It was harder and harder for her to maintain her composure but she knew she had to drag out whatever information she could. She'd talked with subjects before but always with the Boss in her ear, keeping her composed and helping her know what to say. This time, because of the man she was talking to, she was alone. It didn't feel right, not right at all. "You've proven your point. I think the five remaining bombs are redundant."
"How'd you know there were five?" Definitely confusion and maybe a little fear creeping into his voice. Perfect confirmation. Ed even shot her a thumbs up to let her know it was a good job. Not as comforting as Sarge's voice in her ear but she'd take it.
"Where are they?"
"You think people know fear yet? This is nothing. This isn't fear, this is an inconvenience."
Jules turned her head, her heart starting to hammer in her chest as she bit down the urge to scream at him. Inconvenience? The little boy dead on the sidewalk, two excellent SRU officers who gave their lives trying to save the city, Sarge undergoing decontamination with the hope that his exposure to the radiation hadn't caused irreparable damage. How dare the arrogant psychopath call them inconveniences.
He continued his rant. "People still have illusions someone's looking out for them. Police, paramedics, government, doctors…"
"Authority figures." Of course, Holt had been his professor at the time of the experiments. Of course he would have a natural hatred for authority. It made perfect yet absolute sick sense.
"You think you can trust them? It's all lies, it's smoke, and when people understand that, when they realize no one's looking out for you…"
"Then they'll know fear." Jules finished for him. 9-1-1 communication, federal buildings, municipal buildings, educational institutions, banks, all targets that would not only cripple crucial structures but would demoralize a city watching in terror as the news unfolds.
"Then they'll grow up." She thought about the little boy on the sidewalk again. He wouldn't grow up. He wasn't given the chance. She took several controlled sniper breaths to control her anger as he continued. "Five down, five to go."
The call ended and Jules shoved the door open with more force than was really necessary, taking her frustration and anger out on the door. She confirmed for the rest of the team that there were a total of ten bombs even though they had heard the whole exchange. They knew the number of bombs but were no closer to knowing who the subject was. That's when Leah explained the lead they'd followed up. They could now narrow the participants down to one possibility: Marcus Faber. Spike asked Winnie to get them an address as he started to close up the computer. As Sam passed her on the way to his vehicle he touched her back, again it was just the briefest contact but enough to at least temporarily ground her. She hobbled her way back to the patrol car she'd commandeered. She'd have to maintain responsibility of it until she was able to return it.
At Faber's address, the others were out of the vehicles and rushing toward the door before Jules could even hobble her way to the back of the SUV to retrieve her gear. She inwardly cursed her wound and the pain that seemed to be getting worse as the day went on. She glanced down at the bandage and could see spots of red that had soaked through the bandage the medic on the scene had placed over the wound. It wasn't enough to be concerning but enough to serve as a reminder that she was more of a liability to the team right now than an asset.
As the rest of the team concentrated on tearing apart the apartment looking for anything that would tie Faber to the bombings, she sat down at a chair at the desk and began rifling through the contents. The news was playing on the TV screen on the desk further serving to remind her of the chaos the city was experiencing at the hands of the deranged man. She wished she had one of the entry tools in her hands at that moment. Having a go at a wall or two would be perfect for assuaging the frustration and anger that had been building in her as the day progressed.
Her heart skipped a beat when Sam found the bomb components and Spike discovered the trace amounts of radiation. She relaxed slightly when Spike assured them that it wasn't dangerous. The last thing she wanted to do was expose the baby to anything dangerous, nor did she want to see Sam dragged away by Hazmat for decontamination. They were so close to putting an end to the nightmare, she didn't want anything to get in the way. The presence of bomb material confirmed their suspicions that Faber was the bomber but Ed's discovery of the coordinates gave them what they needed to find the targets. Perhaps things were starting to look up.
And then Sarge's voice was back in her ear. She didn't know how he'd gotten radio contact back but she was grateful to hear his voice. She wanted to check on him, ask how he was but there would be time for that later. Ed relayed to him what they knew and then they used the coordinates to discover the remaining targets: a police station, EMS building, television station but before the last two targets could be named, Sarge interrupted with the big question about the timeline. Knowing where he was targeting wouldn't do much good if the bombs went off before they could get to them.
Sarge's own frustration was evident when he said he wasn't going to stay and wait for his blood tests. He was obviously feeling as useless as she was with her injured leg. Ed assured him that he should stay and that they had it. Jules could hear the reluctance in Greg's voice when he agreed to stay, although he quickly covered it by putting her to work. Together, with his voice in her ear, they would profile Faber and get in his head. They could do this. She related what she'd discovered thus far about Faber and started to upload the video she'd found. She also jotted down the address to another student involved in the experiment and announced that she was going to go talk to him. They needed more information on Faber. As she made her way to the door, Ed started to explain how the rest of the team would divide up the remaining targets to hunt for the bombs.
Sam stopped her on the porch and motioned for her to turn off her radio. He frowned. "Jules, are you okay? I've been watching you and that limp looks bad. Are you sure you are up for this? No one will think anything if you need to get that wound checked out, just like we don't question Sarge needing to wait for the blood tests to know he's okay from the radiation."
Jules put a flat hand against his chest over his heart. "I would. I need to be involved in this; we've got to put a stop to him before anyone else gets hurt. I won't lie, it hurts like anything but I can handle it. You've got my promise, as soon as this is over, I won't protest about letting a doctor look at it. For now though, we're running out of time."
Sam could see the pain in her eyes and realized it was just as much emotional pain as it was physical. He nodded. He looked around to make sure no one was looking and kissed her. This kiss was different from the ones they'd shared only hours earlier at the wedding; this one was both desperate and promising at the same time. A kiss that gave as much as it took. Then he caressed her cheek with the pad of his thumb. "I love you so much."
She nodded, her eyes bright and misty. "I love you too. I can't ask you not to do your job, especially not after I insisted on going into that rubble at the daycare. Just promise me you will be careful. Keep the peace but come back to me safe."
He nodded and gave her one more quick kiss before pulling away. "Your arms are exactly where I want to be; don't worry. I've got to get back to the others. I love you."
"I love you too." She started to walk away but stopped and caught his hand in her own. She gave it a squeeze before releasing him. As she painfully continued on to the car, she turned to look back to find he'd already gone inside to finish the plans with the team. A cold dread washed over her with the sudden fear that if she walked away, she might not ever see him again. She almost ran back to him, wounded leg forgotten to beg him not to go near the bomb. But she didn't. Lives were on the line and he had a job to do. She had to trust that everything was going to be okay.
As she drove she listened to the teams report in. Sam was at the EMS building. She said a silent prayer that he'd be okay. She couldn't shake the fear that the day was only going to get worse. Usually she was so in the thick of the action herself, she didn't have time to worry about anything. Almost as if he realized their thoughts and feelings were turbulent, Greg began to speak.
"I know this is hard. We're split up; we don't know what we're walking into. But today's like any day; we walk through doors together, we're in each other's ears, and we've got each other covered. And even though I'm not there with you, my hand is on your backs, and don't forget that."
Ed spoke the words they were probably all thinking. "It works both ways, Greg."
As Jules pulled up at the residence of the student in the experiment with Marcus Faber, she announced she was switching her radio to channel 4. The rest of the team was dealing with diffusing bombs and didn't need any distractions. Sarge and Winnie would be able monitor her traffic as well as the four rapid intervention teams. She listened as Tony related what he had gone through. As he told about the video of the little boy being tortured and how Holt insisted on the students calling a victim, she couldn't help but flashback to the boy on the street. As far as she knew, he was the littlest victim in Faber's rampage today. For the first time since she'd placed it beneath her vest, she thought about the blue blanket she'd found. She couldn't mourn Holt's death, not when his actions toward his students was what led in any way to what was happening today. But she could and would mourn the innocent lives that were lost as a result.
She could tell her questions were too much for the boy and that she'd gleaned all the information she could from him and his father. She apologized for having to dredge up painful memories and made her way back out to the car. She sat behind the wheel for a couple of moments, taking deep breaths to get her emotions under control. Her heart broke for Tony and the other students who suffered during Holt's experiments, and even though the same sympathy should extend to Faber, she couldn't feel sorry for him. No matter how atrociously he'd been treated, it didn't give him the right to take the extreme measures he'd taken today. Whatever outcome faced him when they found him, he deserved it and more. By the time she pulled away from the house and started toward the stadium to meet up with Sarge, her voice had lost that emotional quality. She keyed her microphone, ready to report what she'd found. Together she and the Boss could figure out Faber's next move.
"Hey Boss, I talked to Tony James. These kids were young, bright, eager to please, trusted authority. He used that authority to break 'em down."
"Jules, Jules, wait."
"Winnie sent me the files." Jules continued, oblivious to the panic in Sarge's voice or even his plea all together. "They all took the settlement money. Four of 'em left town, two of 'em are in drug rehab, and one's in jail. You either lash out or you self-destruct."
"Jules, just stop, all right? Just go to channel one. It's Sam."
It was a punch to the gut. She reached for her radio as her heart started to thud heavily in her chest. What did he mean, it's Sam? It's Sam what? "Sam, what's going on?"
The panic was in her voice and unspoken plea that he would tell her that everything was fine even though in her heart, she knew the day just wasn't going that way.
"I've got time."
"Sam, no, you do not!" At Spike's insistent urging, Jules pieced together enough to know what was going on. Sam was defusing his bomb and time was running out.
"Sam, do you need to get outta there?" That's right, she told herself. Give him the option to do the right thing. Be the teammate and not the overly emotional wife she wanted to be. He was doing his job, the same as she had earlier. Besides, he'd promised her he'd be careful and Sam wouldn't go back on his word.
"It's working; I've got this."
"Sam!" She still wasn't screaming. He was avoiding her question, a sure sign that he knew he was treading a thin line.
"It's working. The temperature is going down. It's minus thirty-five degrees."
Jules wanted to breathe a sigh of relief. Of course Sam knew what he was doing. Her relief was short-lived though as Spike's voice once more filled her ears. "Sam, you drop your tools right now and you get yourself outta there right now!
Jules cursed inwardly. How much time was on the timer? Spike didn't panic for no reason, especially where bombs were concerned. When it came to bombs, if Spike said it was no good, you didn't second guess him. "Sam, listen to him!"
"Minus thirty-eight degrees!"
She knew Sam was not that obstinate a person. If he was insisting on finishing the job it was either because he was confident he could succeed or because lives were at stake. But in this instance, she had to trust that Spike knew what he was talking about. She pressed the head set closer to her ear. "Sam, you listen to him!"
"It's almost there!" She could hear it in his voice then. He wouldn't walk away because doing so would mean defeat and he wasn't going to fail. Their pleas were falling on deaf ears.
She'd tried being the teammate and it wasn't working. Now it was time to be his wife and the mother of his child. She would not become a widow on the same day she became a wife. "Sam, we will not lose each other today!"
In the background she could hear the yells of the rest of the team, primarily Spike screaming for Sam to get out. She was still driving but her concentration was not on the road. Thankfully the reports had gone out about the danger the city faced and most people were staying off the road in case of more dirty bombs. Any sense of professionalism was out the window as her scream added to the others. "Sam, get out of there now!"
Sam didn't reply and she had no idea if he was listening or not. She could barely hear anything over the roaring in her ears. But there was no mistaking the explosion that seemed to follow seconds after her last plea. It sounded way too close to the radio. "Sam!"
She gasped and wanted to give in to the sobs that threatened to overwhelm her. Logic told her she should stop driving, pull over before she crashed into something. But she couldn't stop, had to keep going. If she stopped her world would come crashing in on her completely. She was glad Ed was trying to get Sam to respond because she couldn't form the words. Then Sarge's voice was once more in her ear.
"Okay, team..team, I need you to hear me right now. I need you to keep safe. Spike? Spike! You listen to me, all right? We still need you, we all do, and whatever happened, you need to keep going. You hear me? You keep going! You all do!"
He might have addressed his words to Spike so that he could help with defusing the bomb but Jules felt like he was talking directly to her. How could she go on? If Sam was gone, how could she keep going? Didn't Sarge realize her world was now so intertwined with Sam's that she couldn't exist without him? Her sobs filled the patrol car; barely contained emotion just waiting to unleash itself completely.
Sam's words from that morning echoed in her ears. 'Til death parts us and even after. Those were supposed to be words that they meant but wouldn't have to really acknowledge for years, decades after the wedding. Certainly not just mere hours after they were spoken. It couldn't end like this. She couldn't lose him. How could she ever tell this baby how perfect and wonderful Sam was so that he or she really knew? She barely registered the coughs and what they meant until the most welcome sound filled her ear.
"What the Boss said, guys. Trust me, you don't wanna do this the hard way."
Jules gasped in relief. As much as she wanted to smack him for being flip she appreciated his words for what they really meant. He might have been momentarily too stunned by the explosion to speak, but he'd been conscious of what was said enough to make a comment on it. He really was okay. "Sam Braddock, you do not do that to me again."
There was more that needed to be said and she would, later when it was just the two of them. For now, she'd just be glad that he was okay. That's all that really mattered in the moment.
"That's the last bomb he's gonna blow up today!" Spike's relief that he'd not lost another friend to an explosion was almost as palpable as her own. She took heart in his words. The other bombs would be defused and they would find Faber.
She completely forgot there was one bomb unaccounted for.