Author's Notes: This chapter starts just like the first chapter now that we've caught up to the beginning. For those of you that have been missing the JAM since Jules and Sam are in different places in the situation, there's something in this chapter just for you. We also get to the reason for the title. 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.
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.
Their guns were at the ready as they crossed the threshold. The living room was empty as they cleared the entryway. Ed looked at his thermal imager with a frown. "Just lost most of the heat signatures."
A noise out the window drew Raf's attention. He cursed. "We got two more vans pulling away from the house now. They must have waited until we got inside so they could sneak out."
"That explains the sudden drop in heat signatures." Sam commented, trying not to let his concern show. Why the extra vans? Why the delay? Why not let everyone leave at the same time? What game was Dublin playing? Jules, I know you can take care of yourself but please hang on.
"Still got what looks like one heat signature upstairs. It's not moving." Ed continued, focused on the task at hand so he didn't have to worry about his colleagues in danger. "Maximum caution; we don't know what's going on."
They made their way upstairs, clearing room after room until they reached the one the heat signature seemed to be coming from. First glance showed an empty bedroom but it looked like a struggle had taken place recently. Sam's trained eye caught a smear of blood on the corner of the bed and he thought about the trickle of blood he'd seen on Jules's head. Was this her blood? Was this where she'd been hurt? So help him, if Dublin seriously hurt her, he'd…. He let his thoughts trail off; he had to maintain his professionalism or he risked proving Toth right.
Ed pointed to the closet door, indicating that was where the heat signature was coming from. Greg put his hand to the knob and waited until the other three men had him covered. He held up his hand with the fingers extended and then slowly curled one finger at a time counting down. When he had a fist, he pulled open the door.
Ashley Ambrose's body was sprawled face down on the floor of the closet. She wasn't moving. Greg looked back at the rest of the team. "Dammit."
- FP - FP - FP -
"Dammit, don't do this." Jules pleaded as her jeep made an ominous clunking sound before sputtering and dying completely. It had been giving her subtle warnings that a break down was imminent but she'd thus far been ignoring it. It wasn't that she didn't care about her vehicle's well-being but work had been hectic lately and she simply hadn't had time to take it to the garage to get it checked. And now here it was an hour before midnight on one of the coldest nights they'd had thus far in November and she was stranded on the side of the road.
"Dammit." She repeated. It had been a long shift with several back to back hot calls. The rest of the team had decided to go to the Goose for beers after work but she'd begged off. All she wanted was to go home, shower, change into her comfy sweats, and stretch out on the couch in front of the TV until she fell asleep.
She tried once again to restart the stalled vehicle but the engine wouldn't even attempt to turn over. At least she'd been able to coax it safely into a parking lot before it died completely so it would be safe if she wanted to wait until morning to get it towed to the garage. She called for a cab but was told it would be an hour before one could arrive. She politely told them not to bother and ended the call. She knew she could call Sam and he would leave the Goose to come pick her up, but she didn't want to resort to that. Not only was she not the type to call for help like a damsel in distress, but she knew he'd been looking forward to the night out with the guys.
No matter how much they enjoyed each other's company, they needed a balance. They worked together and, more nights than not, slept together. On top of everything else, keeping their renewed relationship a secret from the rest of the team, while necessary, was wearing on them both. So she wasn't going to interrupt his night out with the guys to have him come "rescue" her.
Besides, it's wasn't even like she needed rescuing; she was only a few miles from home and could easily walk. So what if the temperature had been hovering just below freezing all day and the sky had been threatening to start spitting snowflakes all day? What was a little walk in the cold? Wasn't like she hadn't been out in this weather all day. She made sure her jacket was zipped and removed the ridiculous looking but warm hat from the pocket. She pulled it over her ears and pulled on her gloves. After making sure the jeep was locked she started walking in the direction of her house.
The temperature had dropped even more than she'd realized and the wind cut through her. She quickened her pace, ready to run the distance if she had to in order to both stay warm and get there quicker. Normally she could run the four mile distance in a few minutes shy of forty minutes but she wasn't really dressed for the run and the weather wasn't ideal for her normal run. Her chest burned with exertion as breathing in the cold was difficult.
She could hear a car coming down the street behind her; the first one she'd heard since she'd started home on foot. She hoped the driver could see her even though she wasn't wearing reflective clothing. When she heard the car slowing down she knew he or she had.
"Jules, what the hell are you doing?"
The car was right alongside her with the passenger window rolled down. She glanced over and saw that it was Sam. Gratefully, she opened the car door and slipped inside the vehicle and simultaneously rolled up the window and turned up the heat. "Jeep broke down."
"I saw it in the parking lot when I passed. That doesn't explain why you are walking this late in the dark and cold when you could have called someone." He reached over and touched her cheek, wincing at how cold her skin felt. "Shit, Jules, ice cubes are warmer than you." He turned the vents so that the warm air blew directly on her. "Why didn't you call someone?"
Jules shrugged. "It didn't seem like that big a deal. Why aren't you at the Goose with the others?"
He flashed her a quick grin as he started to drive again. "I missed you."
The sound Jules made could only be described as a snort. When she kept looking at him, he shrugged. "I did miss you but it turned out it was a bust evening. Wordy got a call from Shel that one of the girls was sick so he left to check on her. Then Spike got a call from his girlfriend who apparently made him a better offer so he left as well. So, Sarge and I decided to call it a night as well. I'm glad we did, otherwise you might have turned into a snowman before you reached the house."
"I'd argue with you about this but my teeth are chattering so much I'd lose just because of that. I'll make it up to you by letting you warm me up when we get home. How's that sound?"
Sam's smile was more of a smirk. "I think I can handle that. Although I should say you're on your own just so you don't try a crazy stunt like this again. You would have been much better off waiting in the jeep until someone could pick you up." He pointed to the car's thermometer in the rearview mirror: -24 degrees. Much colder than she'd realized. "That's not running weather unless you are inside on a treadmill or track."
He pulled into her driveway five minutes later. She almost hated to leave the warmth of the car long enough to make it inside the house but she didn't complain. She lightly jumped up and down in place to keep warm as she waited for Sam to unlock the front door. Once inside, he removed his own coat and gloves and then helped her with hers, knowing her fingers were probably so cold they wouldn't work properly.
He turned her toward the stairs and gave her a little nudge. "Come on, let's get you warmed up."
He followed her closely up the stairs into the bedroom. Closing the bedroom door, he then put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face him. He lifted her sweater over her head and then reached for the snap of her jeans. She ducked her head, not meeting his gaze. There was a blush to her cheeks that didn't have anything to do with the cold and he kissed the top of her head.
In every other aspect of her life, Jules Callaghan was self assured and confident of everything she did to the point that people who didn't know her might find it off-putting. She wasn't conceited by any stretch of the imagination. She'd worked hard to get where she was and deserved to be proud of her accomplishments. The confidence, however, didn't extend to her perception of her own body, something she felt she hadn't had any control over. It wasn't that she had a low self esteem when it came to her looks but she was still a little shy about showing her body to others, even to him. There was something fresh, innocent, and even intoxicating about being with a woman who wasn't convinced of her own beauty. As far as Sam was concerned, there wasn't a woman anywhere who could compare to the woman standing in front of him.
When she was standing in front of him in just her underwear, she turned away from him to head to the bathroom. He frowned. "Where do you think you're going?"
She stopped and glanced back at him, a look of confusion on her face. "I was going to jump in the shower to warm up. You think you could make some hot chocolate? The good stuff with milk not water?"
Sam shook his head. "I think you said something in the car about letting me warm you up. I've got something much better than a shower and hot chocolate in mind."
He quickly removed his own clothes and then led her to the bed. He kissed her softly. "Shared body heat works much better, or so I've been told."
He laid her down on the bed and then covered her first with his own body and then pulled a blanket over them. He kissed her again. "Better?" His voice was husky and a shiver that had nothing to do with the cold ran down her spine. She nodded.
Most of his weight rested on her. When they'd first started sleeping together he'd tried to brace himself to keep from crushing her. He'd discovered though that she welcomed having his weight pinning her to the bed and he'd quit worrying about hurting her. He could tell a difference in her breathing when his weight on her got too much and could adjust his position then. Until then, and especially now, he pressed her into the mattress with his body.
Her body was cold but not as much as he feared. As she returned his kiss with one of her own, his hands slid beneath her to draw her even closer to him. As he shared his body heat with her, his kisses also worked to build a heat inside her. Soon nothing mattered but getting lost in each other's kisses and embraces. His arousal was getting painful and his eyes met hers, silently asking permission. She bit her lower lip and nodded, wanting him inside her as much as he wanted to be there. He quickly removed her panties, tossing them behind her to where the rest of her clothes had been discarded. As he filled her completely, she moaned in pleasure, a heat building inside her that was more satisfying than any shower could have caused.
He took his time, making slow gentle thrusts in and out of her as his mouth made a blazing trail along her jaw line down to her bra covered breasts. He deftly unfastened the clasp and removed the material keeping him from enjoying her breasts. Her pants of pleasure assured him that he was hitting all the right spots for her and he could feel his own release building. She shuddered convulsively beneath him as her orgasm hit and his own followed shortly behind her.
As they rode out their respective highs of pleasure, he shifted his weight so it was mostly resting on the bed beside her rather than directly on top of her. He still managed to cover her with his own body as one hand came up so he could run his fingers through her hair. He continued to pepper kisses along her jaw line as she blinked sleepily up at him. He smiled.
She smiled languidly up at him. "Scorching. You certainly know how to raise a girl's body temperature, Mr. Braddock."
"Only the woman in my arms right now." Sam quickly amended. His fingers that had been playing with her hair came around the back of her head to caress her cheek. "Now if you want to get that shower, I'll run downstairs and make you the good hot chocolate you were asking for."
She shook her head, her arms tightening around his body, trapping him to her side. "I think I much prefer the body heat method of getting warm."
"Jules? Come on Jules, open your eyes."
Her eyelids fluttered but didn't open. Jules felt cold, colder than she had that night in November when her jeep had broken down. She wanted to return to the memory of Sam warming her up so that maybe she'd start to feel warm again. But now that a familiar voice she knew she should recognize but couldn't quite place right away had pulled her from the memory, she couldn't quite return to it. Maybe it was the cold invading her body or her aching body that was preventing her but she had a feeling it had more to do with the intense pounding in her head.
"Jules? Don't do this to me."
Now she recognized Spike's voice. Why he was waking her up, she didn't understand. Why he sounded so panicked, she understood even less. What had happened? Had the team gone out for drinks? She didn't usually drink more than one or two beers when they went out. However there had been a few times when a call had gone especially bad and she wanted to forget that, despite Sarge's assurances that it was okay, she wasn't perfect, that she let herself indulge more than she should. Never in those few times had she drunk to the point that she'd passed out.
With extreme effort she forced first one eye open and then the other. Even though it wasn't bright, the light that greeted her was too much. She shut them both again with a groan. A hangover would explain the headache and sensitivity to light. Why hadn't one of the guys cut her off before she'd gotten so wasted?
"Come on, Jules. That's a girl. Open them again."
Spike sounded too concerned and worried for this to be just a hangover. She groaned again and once more forced her eyes open. The light still hurt but she kept them open this time. Slowly she started to remember. Serving the warrant on Dublin, trying to rescue Ashley, getting stunned, getting the shit beat out of her, having to strip down to her underwear, Dublin ordering Ashley's death, her head smashing into the back of the van. Ashley, Ronnie Dublin was going to kill Ashley.
"Spike? Ashley?" She struggled to sit up, groaning again as a wave of dizziness and nausea assaulting her suddenly. She returned to a prone position.
"Easy, take it easy," Spike warned her. He recognized the look she was giving him and he sighed. "I don't know what happened. After Dublin knocked you out, he zapped me pretty hard with the stun gun. When I recovered enough to know anything at all, we were in the back of the van being driven to who knows where."
She looked around. They were in the back of a large panel van that seemed to be almost completely empty. The metal of the floor was cold against her skin and she glanced down. She was wearing only her underwear, her uniform having been taken from her at the house. No wonder she felt so unbelievably cold. She glanced at Spike, who was also down to just his underwear, shaking in the cold. She sat up again, more slowly this time. The cold floor would only make her colder. The dizziness and nausea were both still present but not as overwhelming as before. She closed her eyes for a moment to let the worst of it pass and then opened it again. She blew out her breath through her mouth.
"Where are we?"
Spike shook his head. "Honestly, I have no idea. Once I could function again, I tried to track our turns and mileage as he drove; not easy when the oompa loompas were playing drums in my head. We drove on a regular road for maybe two miles and then turned onto a gravel road. Stayed on that for what felt like another ten and then changed over to a dirt road for several more miles. So as near as I can figure, we're probably halfway to nowhere."
Jules nodded and immediately regretted the motion as her head once more exploded in pain. She closed her eyes again and took several breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth until the pain eased. "What's our situation?"
Spike didn't answer immediately. As the silence stretched out, Jules pried one eye open to look at him. The expression on his face didn't look promising. "Spike, how bad is it?"
The usually affable demolitions expert frowned. "When I say we're halfway to nowhere, I'm not joking. There's nothing out there but dirt road, trees and snow for as far as I can see. Dublin parked the van and left us. His girlfriend picked him up, and they drove off into fucking nowhere."
Their hands were still fastened behind their backs and they were wearing just their underwear. The temperature in the van was only slightly higher than it was outside. Jules understood why he looked so worried. "Okay, things are bad but they can't be impossible. What if we hotwire the van? We can at least get some heat going…" She paused as Spike shook his head.
"I thought of that. Dublin removed the distributor cap before he left. We're dead in the water so to speak."
"Shit." Jules muttered. "So we're in the middle of nowhere in the dead of winter handcuffed with no clothes to speak of, no shoes, no heat, and no idea how far is it to safety. Did I miss anything?"
"Yeah, without our radios we also have no transponders. There's no way for the team to find us. To be honest, I don't know how we're going to get out of this without freezing to death."