Author's Notes: The idea for this story came from a dream I had the other night that wouldn't leave me alone. I'm putting it in the M section because of scenes that I think could skirt the line. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Hope you enjoy it. A great big thank you to Tirsh who always does a phenomenal job checking things over for mistakes or just things I get wrong about Canada. She's the best!
Time Line: This story takes place in Season 4, the day after "A Day in the Life."
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.
Out in the Cold
Two large panel vans pulled past the barricade of SUVs with their blue lights flashing. As the first one passed, Sam Braddock could see the tell-tale image of the SRU uniform visible in the front passenger seat. His eyes narrowed and his breath caught in his throat though when the second van passed and he saw the even more familiar woman's uniform in the same position. His finger twitched on the trigger wanting to disable the vehicle carrying the woman he loved away from him. The only thing that stopped him from pulling the trigger was fear that doing so would ensure the deaths of two people he cared about. So, he held his position lying on top of the SUV, the best vantage point he'd been able to get when things in the house had gone sour, and watched as the vans passed unimpeded. One van turned in one direction at the end of the driveway and the other turned the opposite way. Sam lowered his Remington and scrambled off the SUV to join the remaining members of the team.
"Which one do we follow?"
"Neither," Sgt. Greg Parker informed him, his own emotions at the situation clear in his voice. "You heard the leader, Sam. If we attempt to follow, they'll kill our people. We can't take that chance."
Raf shook his head. "What's to guarantee they won't kill them anyway as soon as they think they are safe? I'm with Sam; we have to follow them. I managed to get a tracking device imbedded into each vehicle as it passed by. We can track them from a distance."
"There are heat signatures still in the house. We've got to get in there before we can go after our people." Ed announced as he used the thermal imager to scan the interior of the house. "Be careful, we don't know how they managed to get the drop on Jules and Spike. There could be traps."
They all moved quietly toward the house, each remembering their shock upon learning their teammates had been taken so quietly. Before they entered the house, Sam took one more glance down the road where the van which had carried away the woman he loved in secret had disappeared. He couldn't shake the image of her being held by the leader they'd come to arrest, a thin smear of blood on her chin from a busted lip and a line of blood trickling from a gash on her temple.
I will get you back. Just hang on, Sweetheart.
- FP - FP - FP -
Four hours earlier
Jules stepped out of the bathroom wearing nothing more than one of Sam's t-shirts that ended about mid-thigh for her. Sam was still sleeping in her bed, looking peaceful and boyish. She grinned, remembering there was nothing boyish in his actions the night before when they'd arrived home from spending Valentine's night listening to their newest team member play in a band at a local club. Their clothes strewn around the room where they'd been abandoned the night before in their desperate attempts to get each other undressed before tumbling into bed together.
She glanced at the alarm clock on the night stand. She'd woken up thirty minutes before it was set to go off and she wasn't interested in going back to sleep. Crossing to the bed, she lifted the t-shirt over her head before slipping back under the covers. Immediately Sam's arms locked around her body and pulled her close. A second later, he twisted on the bed pinning her beneath him as he kissed her.
His kisses were intoxicating and her hands came around his back so that her short fingernails were practically digging indentations into his skin. As his mouth left hers to blaze a trail down her cheek to her neck and then to the juncture where her neck and shoulder met, Jules could feel her own breathing quicken in anticipation of what else he might do. "I thought you were asleep. Not complaining, mind you; just saying."
Sam didn't break off his kisses as his hands skimmed up and down her bare body. His words as he answered her were punctuated with kisses. "I was until you slipped out and left me in this big cold bed all alone. I was afraid if you thought I was awake too, you'd insist we get up and do something boring and practical like get ready for work early."
His hands moved inward to cup her breasts and gently tease her nipples. Her breathing became small pants of pleasure at his ministrations. He grinned as he continued to alternate his explanation with kisses. "Figured if you thought I was still asleep you might be tempted to crawl back in bed with me until it was time to get up. Looks like I was right. Not that I'm complaining either mind you."
Jules wrapped her legs around him pulling him closer. There were a lot of things she had missed about Sam when they weren't together but the way he could make her feel when they made love was definitely high on the list. "We can't be late for work; it would look too suspicious."
"Copy that," Sam agreed as he teased a nipple with his teeth. "We'll save time by showering together when we actually decide to get dressed."
"I like that plan." Jules breathed out as her body arched upward closer to him. After that, their bodies took over doing the talking.
In the end, they didn't have time to even shower together. Instead they were throwing on clothes at the last minute with quick double checks to make sure that nothing was inside out or backward. Showers would have to wait until after the team workout, not that either of them really needed another workout.
Sneaking around and dating behind the team's back wasn't ideal and they both knew it. However, the alternatives to hiding their renewed attraction and commitment to each other didn't work either. Neither really wanted to trade teams or get Sarge in trouble by admitting to the relationship but they both knew they couldn't return to the days when they tried to deny the feelings they shared for each other. So for now, they would make the best of the situation.
During their first attempt at dating, they hadn't been completely successful at keeping their relationship a secret. At the very least Sarge had known they were a couple long before she'd been shot. This time around though, there was a lot more at stake both for them and for the rest of the team, therefore they had worked hard at making sure no one had any reason to think they'd renewed their interest in each other. They had perfected getting to and from work separately without drawing attention to themselves. At work, they were completely professional, teammates and nothing more. They gave no one any reason to question them about their feelings. Once they left work, however and were on their own time and away from everyone, there was no mistaking the feelings they shared for one another. Despite the time they'd spent apart or maybe because of it, their emotions this time around seemed much deeper and much more real.
Jules arrived at work before Sam and went straight to the gym. Raf was the only other person there, already bench pressing what looked to her like a fair amount of weight. The sheen of sweat glistening on his skin suggested he'd been hard at it for awhile. She grinned, remembering the hard time they'd given him the day before. "Making up for missing workout yesterday?"
He placed the bar back in its rack and sat up, wiping his face with a hand towel. "Something like that. I always crash hard right after a gig like last night but then wake up extra early. Figured I'd come on in and get a head start on the day."
Jules nodded as she started up the treadmill and started to jog lightly. She could remember being the same way during her teenaged days in a band. "You're really good, by the way. If you ever decide to give up your day job, you could have a future."
"Good morning, Team One." Spike announced loudly as he joined them in the gym. Jules watched him in amusement as he made his way over to the exercise bike and started it going. He was normally an easy going affable guy but today he seemed almost giddy. She raised an eyebrow.
"So Spike, you have a good time last night?" She'd been the first to leave the club the night before, separately from Sam so as not to raise any suspicions but knowing he'd follow soon after. It hadn't escaped her notice though that her co-worker had seemed quite taken with Sam's younger sister who had joined them.
"As a matter of fact, I did." That seemed to be all he planned to say as he started to whistle.
Jules glanced over at Raf who shrugged. Then she turned her attention back to Spike. She knew she was the last person who should pry into anyone's love life given the secretssShe and Sam were keeping. However, Spike was like a brother to her and it had been too long since she'd seen him looking that happy. It was nice to see, or maybe it was just that she was so happy in love herself that she wanted everyone else to be happy as well. "Did Nat have just as good a time?"
Spike's grin just broadened but he didn't answer. Raf moved from the bench press over to the punching bag. As he strapped on the gloves, he shook his head. "I can tell you the two of them left together about closing time and they looked pretty cozy if you ask me."
"Really? Nice, Spike." Jules grinned. She'd spent enough time around Natalie to know that, despite Sam's insistence that she was a bit of a wild child, Nat really was a sweet, good natured person. With everything Spike had been through lately, Jules thought Nat's fresh and carefree view of life and the world around her could be just what he needed. She trusted that Nat understood the importance of not saying anything about the fact that she and Sam were seeing each other enough to not let anything slip to Spike.
Spike shook his head. "Nah, it's nothing like that. We went and grabbed a coffee when we left the club. Then I took her home." He glanced over to where Sam was just coming in. "See, you can ask Sam; Nat got home at a respectable time, right?"
"Yeah, sure." Sam was quick to answer; not sure what the conversation had been about but not about to admit for anything that he hadn't been home to know anything about his sister's comings and goings. But then he felt the need to elaborate just in case he'd missed something. "Of course for Nat, any time before dawn is a respectable time."
Spike was opening his mouth to protest even more and Jules felt like it was time to step in and put a stop to the conversation before it went places neither she nor Sam needed it to go. "So where are Ed and the Boss? I know I saw their vehicles when I got here."
Raf shook his head. "I saw them when I got here; they were talking to some detective in a suit."
The three more veteran members of Team One exchanged looks. If they were talking to a plain clothes detective, the meant there would probably be a task ahead for Team One. Sure enough, a few minutes later, Ed poked his head into the room. "Guys, suit up and meet us in the briefing room in ten."
Once they had all gathered around the table, Greg introduced them to the "detective in a suit" as Raf had called him. "Team, this is Detective Harris with Guns and Gangs. He's asked for our help on a warrant today."
He turned the floor over to the man. The detective clicked a button so that a picture showed on the screen. "This is Thomas Dublin. We've been watching him for a couple of years now. He's an odd duck, running something that's a cross between a cult and a gang. Not the usual person our division worries with but Dublin's different."
"How so?" Jules asked, the pen in her hand poised over her note pad.
"His members normally keep their noses clean; they aren't out ripping off liquor stores or participating in drive-bys or drug deals but we don't think all of his people are there of their own free will. Plus, besides acquiring new members by any means possible, we also believe he's been amassing enough fire power to arm a third world nation. There's been nothing we can prove so we haven't been able to act on anything."
Sam frowned. "I'm sensing a but coming."
Detective Harris nodded. "You all know Judge Ambrose right?" They all nodded. "His daughter disappeared a month ago. She called him two nights ago and admitted she was with Dublin. Claims she's being held against her will and that she's been raped repeatedly by Dublin and his men."
He clicked another button and the picture on the screen changed to a candid photograph of a beautiful blonde teenager. Jules sucked in a breath; she recognized the look on the girl's face, a defeated defiance that only comes from feeling like the world has turned against you and life will never get better. How many pictures did her dad have stuffed in a box somewhere of her from after her mom died where she had that same exact same expression? Fortunately, she'd managed to get through that time of feeling like it was her against the world and everybody in it without disastrous consequences.
Spike shook his head. "Her admission to her father should be enough to obtain a warrant."
Detective Harris nodded. "Obviously Judge Ambrose can't issue it because that would be a conflict of interest, but, yes, Judge Thompkins issued a pretty broad warrant for the arrests of Dublin and his associates as well as one to search the premises. It's a no knock warrant and Ashley could be in danger if we don't handle this right. That's why I'm asking that your team handles things. You are her best chance of getting out safely."
He stepped back and Ed stood, ready to handle the tactical part of the plan. He switched the screen from the picture of Ashley Ambrose to large run down farmhouse. "This is where intel says Dublin and his people have their base. As you can see the long open drive will make a stealth entry almost impossible. They'll know we're coming no matter what direction we come from."
Sam studied the layout of the farmhouse, looking for any weakness. He couldn't see any. "So what's the plan?"
Ed nodded. "Sam, you and I will take a high perch, probably will have to be on top of the SUVs since there's no other tactical advantage. We'll provide cover and support. Raf and the Boss are going to handle negotiations, try to talk Dublin and his men into letting Ashley out and turning themselves in."
Jules shook her head. "He doesn't strike me as the type who'll give up without a fight. If we try to negotiate him, he could hurt Ashley worse."
"That's why the negotiation is more of a distraction than anything else. While Sarge and Raf are talking, you and Spike will sneak around to the back of the house and try to gain entry that way. You're to locate Ashley and get her out of the house while Dublin and his men are focused on us in the front of the house."
Sam didn't like the plan. Too many things could go wrong and Jules would be at risk. He didn't say anything, however; Jules wouldn't appreciate the appearance it gave that he didn't think she could do the job and he recognized that if the teenage girl inside had been traumatized, Jules might be the only one she'd trust. "Should we wait to strike once it gets dark? Might give Spike and Jules a little more cover…"
"And give Dublin and his men more time to hurt Ashley." Jules argued.
Sarge nodded. "We considered both of those options. The risk to the victim is greater than the potential danger to Spike and Jules. We can't take the chance. Spike, you'll have the parabolic equipment with you; if you have any indication that Dublin's attention is not on me, the two of you wait. Got it?"
They both agreed. The briefing ended soon after and the team went to gather the equipment they would need. Jules and Sam were both in the gun cage at the same time with no one paying attention to them. Sam glanced down at Jules; he kept his voice low just in case someone walked by. "Jules, this Dublin guy sounds like one sick son of a bitch. I trust you can do your job and that you can take care of yourself, but we both know that sometimes that's not enough. Be careful out there."
Jules nodded. She still had to fight the natural tendency to get irritated when Sam got overprotective. Even with the caveat that he trusted her to do her job, it still had a bit of a sting that maybe he truly didn't think she was capable. She knew Sam's concern stemmed more from the fact that he'd lost too many people he cared about through no fault of their own than any doubt he might actually have about her skills at SRU. "Spike and I will have each other's backs. If worse comes to worst and things go south, you and the rest of the team will back us up. It's what we do."
Sam nodded thoughtfully. "I know. I also know you're the best person to go in to save Ashley. I just can't help but…"
"Worry. I know." Jules finished for him. Ed came around the corner to pick up his kit. She waited until they were alone again before leaning against the counter to look at Sam. "I know you worry about me. Just like I can't help but worry about you sometimes when you get the potentially dangerous assignments. Okay? I don't have a problem with you being concerned about me so long as you don't let it interfere with the job. You let that concern show in the field and everyone's going to know we're together again. You know what that means."
Sam nodded; he didn't need to voice the consequences but he did anyway. "Sarge gets into trouble and one or both of us will find ourselves off the team. I know. I'll keep my cool but I'd much rather that I didn't have to."
Jules grinned. "Copy that. So, let's get out there and keep the peace."
Sam handed her one of the Remys to have an excuse to brush against her hand. "Sounds good. Maybe after shift is over we can pick up some take-out and curl up on your couch to watch the hockey game?" Then with a quick look around to assure him he still had another second or two of privacy, he leaned closer to her. "And then maybe move on to other recreational activities after the game."
Jules slung the weapon strap on her back and gave him a slight wink. "Oh, I'm sure if I play my cards right, I could probably make you even agree to those activities BEFORE the game is over."
Sam watched as she almost sauntered out of the gun cage. He grinned and began to whistle. If anyone could even tempt him to miss out on a hockey game it was Jules. He was looking forward to tonight.
- FP - FP - FP -
"Thomas Dublin, this is Sgt. Gregory Parker with the Police Strategic Response Unit. We need to talk to you about Ashley Ambrose."
A pane was broken out of a downstairs window near the front door. Ten shots were fired in rapid succession causing Greg and Raf to fall back a few steps behind the protective shield. Greg ordered Sam and Ed to hold return fire. They definitely had Dublin's attention which was what they needed to give Jules and Spike time to gain entry at the back of the house.
Jules tapped Spike's shoulder and shrugged her shoulders as he listened through the parabolic equipment, clearly asking him what he was hearing. He pulled the headphones off. "I'm hearing crying from what sounds like the second floor back room." He pointed out a window on the second floor. "There. I think if we hooked the line to the roof just above it we could climb right up there to it."
Jules looked at the roof, judging whether the hook would lodge itself securely there. "Yeah, sounds like our best option. Sarge, we have an entry plan. Making our attempt now."
Spike set aside the parabolic equipment and the two SRU officers unloaded the climbing line from their kits. They both lined up their shots carefully and both hooks caught the edge of the roof on the first attempt. Both Spike and Jules gave the lines quick pulls to check that they were secure and then began to climb. Jules breached the line of the window first and peered inside. She could see the teenaged girl from the photograph sitting on the edge of a bed. She was tied up and blindfolded. Jules frowned as she realized the scraps of material the girl was wearing didn't even begin to adequately cover her bruised and battered body. The room appeared bare with the exception of their victim.
"I've got a visual on Ashley." Jules breathed out into her headset. She glanced down at Spike. "Let's get the window open. Maybe it would be better if I went in alone; she looks pretty freaked out."
Spike nodded, coming up beside her. It would take both of them to open with the window and hold on to their lines at the same time. Once the window was open, Jules climbed inside. Her hand on her gun, she looked around the sparsely furnished room and checked the closet. She even went so far as to check under the bed. Satisfied she was alone in the room with the teenager, she went to Ashley's side and removed the blindfold.
"Ashley, it's okay. My name is Jules and I'm with the Strategic Response Unit. We're here to get you out. I'm going to untie you now and we're going to climb out the window. You are safe now and no one is going to hurt you anymore."
"How….How…did you find me?" The young woman asked brokenly as Jules untied her. The girl's arms were freezing so Jules shrugged out of her own jacket and wrapped it around her thin shoulders. "Thomas will kill me if he finds you here. He said I couldn't ever leave…"
Jules knelt in front of the girl so she could look her in the eyes. "Okay, Ashley, listen to me. It's okay. My team is right outside and we're going to arrest Thomas and his men. No one is going to kill you and they aren't going to hurt you anymore. All we have to do is get you to that window and we'll lower you down. I'll be with you the entire time. Can you do that?"
The young woman nodded and shakily stood to follow. She glanced back at the night stand. "I have to get something first."
Sensing Ashley needed a moment to collect herself and process the idea that she really was safe, Jules nodded. "Okay. I'm going to get a harness ready for you."
Jules made her way to the window and glanced out. Spike raised an eyebrow as he handed her the extra harness. "She okay?"
Jules nodded. "She's been hurt obviously but right now more than anything I think she's just scared. Who can blame her after what she's been through?"
Something touched the base of her neck and before she could turn to look she was struck by the sensation of a thousand needles pricking her skin. It was like she'd hit her funny bone but only a thousand times more intense. Even as her muscles contracted and froze she knew she'd been hit by a stun gun. Every officer had at one time felt the effects of a stun gun in order to know what it was like. Not that it gave you any advantage when it really happened to you. She went to her knees, temporarily dazed enough to not know anything or to even be able to make a sound. Even after the device was removed, she was powerless to respond at all.
Spike on the outside of the window did not see what was happening to his teammate. He leaned back on the line, waiting for Jules and Ashley to be ready to start down the rope. A sound below him caught his attention and he looked down in time to see a man dressed in black step out the back door not three feet from the ropes.
"Jules, we've got company…" Spike looked back in time to see the flash of a knife at the rope holding him up. There was nothing he could do, couldn't even shout out a warning to the rest of the team as the knife cut through the rope sending him plummeting to the ground below.