Goodness, I didn't even realize this chapter was that long. But I had to cut it because I know you've all been dying for an update. I haven't read over this chapter so bear with the spelling mistakes or missing words and crap. Also, I rushed through the end and I don't know how to fix it. Help.

Disclaimer: Nothing's mine. Most of the dialogue is taken from the Flashpoint episode "Who's George".

Warning: It was sad in the episode but for some reason I can't get it to feel as sad in text form. Listen to sad music maybe? Ugh.

Notes: I also reuploaded the following chapters so people talking on the phone or over the radio had speech italicized to make it easier to differentiate who's speaking.


Bayview Apartment Complex, Apartment #67

Sunday, December 1st


Alex awoke with a start and then regretted it immensely when a flood of pain thundered into her head. Fucking hangovers… She cursed herself and her decision to drink. As a Winchester, she could hold her liquor pretty well, but judging by the massive headache that was coming on, she'd drank way more than usual. It was only when she sat up and the cold air slapped onto her naked skin did she remember where she was.

Oh fuck.

Cas was lying on his stomach, sleeping peacefully with his hands under his pillow. His face was just as - if not more – handsome as she remembered. The memories of what had transpired the night before made her body flood with heat and embarrassment. She couldn't believe herself. She was in a stranger's house, completely naked and she didn't even know where exactly in the city she was. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. What the fuck was I thinking? She scrambled quietly out of the sheets, careful not to wake him as her bare feet touched the wooden floor. When she attempted to stand however, her legs gave out under her, thighs screaming in wonderful complaint. Holy fucking shit, I'm really sore… Wow, I've never… She rubbed her eyes, unable to believe just how sore she was. Stupid, stupid, stupid Alex. Jesus… She found her bra and underwear in the darkness and put them on silently. When her fingers touched something cold, the sound of glass chiming against a hard surface made her heart leap and she glanced at Cas to see if it had woken him. It didn't. She explored the broken shards on the floor and realized they must've knocked over something in their frenzy. The thought made her face burn. She carefully proceeded to where she thought the door was, and her cautiousness paid off when her hand came into a contact with an overturned…. What is this? She gave up trying to define its shape in the darkness and righted it quietly. She finally made it out of the bedroom and followed the hall slowly into the darkness of the living room, there she could see the dark lump of clothes they'd left by the door. Sighing in relief, she yanked her shorts back on, wincing as the movement made her body throb, and pulled her shirt over her head. Her mind was already racing ahead to how she would get into her apartment as she felt around on what she thought was a counter and snagged the phone of its receiver to call for a cab. When they asked for an address, she blanched and looked around the apartment despairingly. There was a pile of mail on the counter and she used the light from the phone to peer at the paper – bills! Yes! Bayview Apartments? Jesus, that's on the other side of the highway. She booked the taxi anyway. Closing the door as softly as she could, she made her way downstairs, cursing the flights of stairs and cursing her soreness and cursing her stupidity again and again.

On the cab ride home, Alex rested her pounding head against the cold windowpane in relief, trying to gather her wits about her. She'd been really stupid and really drunk last night and the shame of it made her throat sting. At least he wasn't a serial killer or some other type of creep… She was supposed to be a police officer for god's sake! Officers of the law didn't do reckless things like this. She paid the cab driver with the bills that were thankfully still in her pocket and dragged her sorry ass up the stairs to her own apartment. Jesus fucking Christ, I am so sore I'm going to die… She tried not to think about why exactly she was so sore.

Once she got to her apartment door, she was at a loss. She'd left her keys, her cellphone, even her fucking badge with Sam. Oh fuck, I am so screwed. Sam and Dean were probably freaking out by now, and who knew what they had done in their worry. She just hoped they hadn't gone all cop-mode; she'd die of embarrassment if they were scouring the city for her in squad cars.

How the fuck do I get into my apartment? It was cold and the sky was just beginning to brighten. She stuck her hands into her pockets for warmth and her fingers encountered a dozen sharp objects. Confused and irritated, Alex pulled her hand out and found that she'd left her bobby pins in her pocket instead of leaving them at the station like she usually did. Thank god. She knelt and inserted a bobby pin into the lock, feeling a little unsure and laughing at herself. I'm breaking into my own apartment. She jimmied the bobby pin in the lock, but nothing happened. C'mon, c'mon, work, please work. At the thought of work, Alex could've banged her head against the door. She was hungover, sore as hell, and she had work tonight.


Alex started guiltily at the familiar voice, standing up slowly and turning around to face her older brother. Sam Winchester wore a nondescript white t-shirt and jogging pants and she mentally smacked herself in the face – of course, Sam would be up early for his routine morning run. He enveloped her in a fierce hug and she hugged him back, trying to school her features so she looked less guilty. He pulled away and she felt her face burn in embarrassment as his eyes flickered to the bobby pin in her hand and quickly scanned her rumpled clothes.

"Where've you been?" His eyebrows furrowed and knew he'd been frantically worried. "I called you but you left everything in my jacket and my car. Dean's been going crazy. We thought you got kidnapped or something."

"I'm fine, Sam." She dropped her eyes sheepishly, kneading her head as her headache aggravated her skull. She'd been careless and foolish. "I'm sorry. I forgot to grab my stuff."

"Are you hungover?" He raised a skeptical eyebrow.

She suddenly became irritated at his spot-on questions. "No, I just wasn't feeling well. I stayed over at a friend's."

"Did you at least use protection?"

The question caused her to freeze and her heart to stop. Oh my…Oh shit. She shot Sam a weak smile and smacked him on the arm hard.

"Sam!" She tried to use her panic to make it look like she was exasperated, words rushing out of her mouth. "Shut up, okay. I crashed at a girlfriend's house! I was just, you know, shaken up from the bombing."

It was a cheap trick, but it worked and Sam's expression softened. "Oh, I'm sorry, Alex, I didn't…here."

The embarrassment flooded through her again as Sam handed her phone, wallet, keys, gun, and badge back to her with two hands. She took her property from him, surprised that he'd had all of it with him. He rubbed the back of his neck and smiled, "I thought maybe I'd detour downtown, just in case…you know…"

She suddenly felt immensely guilty that she'd left her brothers to worry so much. They were all cops; they had a reason to worry when one of them disappeared. And the fact that her brother had been willing to search for her downtown so early in the morning made her ashamed.

"Sorry." She muttered, surging forward to hug him hard again. She was trembling, her mind already whirling at the realization that she hadn't used protection. "Thanks."

Sam ruffled her hair and she wanted to cry and hide from him at the same time. She pushed him towards the stairs, telling him that she was tired and he left with a concerned look on his face. Alex unlocked the door to her apartment and sat down on her sofa to stare at the wall. She felt like she couldn't breathe. Oh my god…I can't…I'm so fucking stupid…What am I…? She couldn't call Dean, he'd kill her and Sam wasn't an option either, she couldn't even consider her Dad or Bobby…

Alex called Jo.

She spilled her guts over the phone – not the best choice, really – but she was freaking out and pacing and willing herself not to cry. Jo, bless her, was calm and asked her methodical questions: How long ago did this happen? How many times did it happen? How do you feel? And then she said –

"Don't worry, Al. Seriously, calm down. I've got some plan B you can take, I'll be over in like ten minutes."

And then she hung up. Alex stood dumbly in the middle of her living room looking at her phone. Plan B? She seemed to remember the commercials on TV that had described her situation exactly. And then she sank into the sofa and laughed in relief. Oh thank Jesus Christ. Thank fucking god. Jo arrived in record time and Alex was glad because she felt like she was going out of her mind with worry. They sat on her sofa together and Jo watched as Alex swallowed the pill and drank a glass of water.

Her hand was still trembling as she set the glass down. "Jo, you are and always have been my best friend. You just saved my goddamn life."

Jo laughed and batted Alex's hands away when out of sheer relief, she tried to squeeze her friend's hands. "You're being overdramatic, Al. It's not a big deal. I've been there before, trust me, you're going to be okay. The pill works."

Alex buried her face in her hands and moaned, "I've never felt so stupid in my life."

"It's a good lesson, huh?" Jo chuckled, hugging one of the couch pillows to her chest. "Thank god for science."

"Yes, thank god." She ran a hand through her hair and realized that she still hadn't showered or changed or anything. "Yech, I really need to clean up. Do you mind?"

"Yeah, I noticed those are clothes from yesterday." Jo's eyes twinkled with mischief. "And since you just begged me for plan B, I'd say you had the time of your life last night. Tell me about it when you get out of the shower."

Alex grimaced. This disaster had occurred all because of last night and although she liked thinking about it, she also didn't like thinking about it. It was an inner conflict that was driving her insane. She swung her legs over the couch and couldn't hide her grumbles of pain as she headed towards her bathroom with jerky movements.

"Oh my god, you're doing the walk of shame!" Jo called after her, laughing hysterically. "Alex!"

"Shut up!"

Her face burning, Alex took a long, hot shower, washing away the remaining traces of her night with Cas. She leaned heavily against the tiled wall, his name bringing back so many pleasurable memories from the night before that she felt guilty for washing away his touch, his scent from her body. But her clothes still smelled like Cas – a musky, sweaty scent that hinted of white smoke, rubber, and honey. It made her head swim headily.

When she walked back out smelling like her favorite green apple shampoo and clean laundry, Alex was feeling a lot more calm and collected. The wonders a hot shower could do. Jo was stretched out on her couch, holding her phone above her face and texting. She looked up when her friend entered and a big smile stretched across her face.

"Look at you, walk of shame." Jo taunted her and Alex smacked her with a pillow as she sat down on the arm of the sofa to give her trembling legs a rest. Damn. She didn't want to admit how good the soreness felt. "So tell me, who was he? What was it like?"


"I'm serious! I helped you not get pregnant! Tell me all the hot, delicious details."

Alex sunk down into the space on the sofa that Jo's legs had just vacated as her friend sat up to attention. She grabbed a pillow and hugged it to her chest, resting her chin on the soft fabric. Her cheeks burned as she thought about all the things she could say.

"His name is Cas." She confessed, thinking about the way he'd whispered it into her ear.

"And?" Jo scooted closer. "How old was he? Tall? Short? Fat? Bodybuilder? Black? White? Asian? What's he do for a living? Where does he live? Did you get his number?"

Alex laughed at the onslaught of questions. "Well Officer Harvelle, he's a Caucasian male, about six feet tall, dark hair, gorgeous blue eyes, with dangerous hips and lips. We…uh, we didn't talk much. He lives in the Bayview Apartment Complex. Classy, right?" The last one made her somber again. "I didn't get his number. I kind of booked it out of there."

"Alex!" Jo complained, shaking her head in disappointment. "Was he at least a good fuck?"

She blushed furiously and replied in a small voice. "The best."

"Sounds like you guys went at it." Her friend smacked her on the leg. "Six times? No wonder you can't even walk."

Alex spluttered, "Well, I mean it was sort of six times? Like he, you know…" She gestured helplessly with her hands. "He was…it was…Jo, I have bruises and hickies in places I can't even reach, I'm pretty sure we broke a few things, and I can't walk."

Jo didn't stop laughing until she was wiping tears from her eyes.

City of Arcadia, Squad Car A781

Tuesday, December 24


It had been twenty-three days since Alex had first set eyes on Cas. Twenty-three days in which she struggled to forget that night and get back to her normal life. Twenty-three days in which she fought the urge to drive by his place while she was on patrol. Twenty-three days in which she had to restrain herself from searching the database for him or his phone number. If he wasn't going to make an effort, then she wasn't either.

Everyone on patrol was still hyper vigilant since the bombing incident with Duane Tanner and Alex allowed work to consume her life. She slept through most of the day after working night shifts and the second half of the week, she caught up on her reports and spent most of her time in the training center.

Not for the first time, Alex wondered what Cas was doing now. She couldn't believe she was working on Christmas Eve. Only the fact that Dean and Jo were also working, cruising around the city, comforted her. Sam had taken the week off, taking his girlfriend, Jessica, up to a ski resort for some good-old fashioned winter festivities. She envied him.

Just seven more days until you're out! December 31st would be her last day in the FTO program. She was excited to start the new year on her own and Jo had promised the best party ever on New Year's Eve.

The computer chimed, "New call."

Corporal Daniel Elkins, her new FTO that had replaced Caleb, turned the MDT on its hinges towards the passenger seat and studied the new information. She supposed she should've been grateful that he'd agreed to switch from the D-1 and oversee the rest of her training, but Daniel was even more silent and stoic than Caleb had been. She caught a glimpse of the big, red, block letters 415 – PARTY before dispatch crackled to life.

"42-Bravo to cover 2-Kilo. 336 Rising Avenues Apartment #6. RP called from the next unit over saying ten to twelve subjects inside the residence were underage and HBD. About five minutes ago, RP stated she heard something or someone being slammed against the wall."

Alex recognized Dispatcher Pamela Barnes and smiled to herself, surprised. Guess she came back early from vacation. Pamela had been gone for the last three weeks at some retreat up in Humboldt. Pamela was a close friend of Dean's and Alex liked her.

Alex mapped the location, tapping the enroute button onscreen as she accelerated.

"Looks like it's going to be one of those nights." Daniel sighed.

They jumped from party call to party call to traffic stop to party call. It seemed everyone was at someone's Christmas Eve party. Most of them turned out to just be large families jovially drinking and not actually causing any trouble; they did bag a couple of arrests (they had pushed seventy trying to get to Steve when his pedestrian stop on three subjects turned physical) and shut down three or four parties in which the people involved had been underage. Alex kept an eye out at the more rowdy parties, half-wishing that maybe she'd catch a glimpse of Cas and half-hoping she wouldn't because she didn't want him to see her in uniform. What was she thinking? He'd probably forgotten all about her and was celebrating the holiday with someone else. The thought made her heart squeeze. Goddamit Alex, stop thinking about him.

The night spun into a frenzy as calls poured in faster than officers could clear them. She should've known that Christmas Eve would be a busy one. And when it came around for bar closing downtown, the officers who weren't responding to bar brawls were paying more attention to the shouts and clamor over the radio than their own subjects. Being a unit on the outskirts of downtown, Alex and Daniel tried to relieve some of the stress on the downtown units like Jo, Dean, Jimmy Anderson (who, after 2 weeks IOD, had returned as 22-Bravo), and Leanne Braddock, the new 22-Echo.

After bar closing, the city quieted down considerably and the ruckus died down to the point where most units were just doing circles down the Beach Boulevard. After circling one of the dirtier neighborhoods three times, squinting her eyes to peer into the darkness for any slumped figures that had fallen trying to walk home drunk, Alex turned into an empty business lot and pulled up alongside Jo. Anderson was already parked on the other side of them so that they could talk through their windows. Leanne joined them a moment later, getting out of her car to squeeze into the space between Jo's car and Anderson's.

They complained about having to work on Christmas Eve.

"My brother's down in LA right now having the time of his life." Anderson grumbled, the phone in his hand illuminating his face.

"My entire family's up at Lake Tahoe." Leanne countered. "I even tried to get the week off, but you know how it is."


"Tell me about it."

"I wanna go to Lake Tahoe."

"Do you guys get a real Christmas tree or a fake one?" Jo asked.

Dean, Alex, Daniel, and Leanne all said, "Fake," while Anderson grinned and said, "Real."

They argued about the pros and cons of having a real tree, in which Anderson made fun of Dean and Daniel for not being "man" enough to cut down their own tree. Alex pointed out that having a real tree was a pain in the ass with the pine needles and sap to clean up and Leanne enthusiastically agreed. They traded banter about manliness and the holidays, killing time as the radio stayed dead silent. Alex liked this atmosphere a lot, having the time to talk amicably with her partners and relax. It wasn't like there was anything going on at three in the morning. Eventually, Leanne departed from the group after being dispatched to cover Steve on yet another traffic stop – the guy had a knack for sniffing out deuce.

When the clock approached 0400, Dean whooped, "EOS!" and they all roused themselves into alertness. Jo peeled out of the parking lot first, faking out Anderson who was trying to get in front and Alex fell in behind as all three squad cars turned out of the parking lot and headed for the station. She was looking forward to a hot shower and a good night's sleep before having to deal with the family disaster that always came during Christmas. Oh. Well, guess it's already Christmas. Anderson passed Jo easily and slowed down so that both Jo and Alex both had to press the brakes repeatedly; protocols forbid them to race but that didn't mean they couldn't enjoy themselves.

"New message."

Alex immediately tapped the screen to see a message from 23-Papa. Guess we shouldn't have let grandpa take the lead… :)

She laughed out loud and ignoring the hard look her FTO gave her, took the wheel between her knees and typed out a quick reply. Give him a break, he's been rolling in a HoverRound lately lol.

The computer dinged a moment later with Dean's reply. I knew I should've given him the brochure when I had the chance.

Jo switched lanes and accelerated into the turn lane as the light turned green, leaving Anderson to reaccelerate from his stop at the red light. As all three squad cars pulled up to the station gate, with Jo and Dean in the lead and Anderson flipping them off outside his window, Alex found that she'd enjoyed herself despite the fact that she'd worked Christmas Eve.

And she hadn't thought about Cas for a whole hour.

City of Arcadia, Walpster Street

Tuesday, December 31th


It was a surprisingly pleasant day to be out and about in the winter season. People were walking out on the streets, sun shining down on their smooth shoulders and glancing off the brims of hats that the sensible ones thought to wear. The ocean along the coast shimmered in reflection of the golden heat and provided an endless fascination for the children laughing and running along the beach that hugged the west of Arcadia. And it was okay for the sun to be blazing so directly because the winter gusts provided a welcome relief from the sizzling heat. Christmas lights and decorations still twinkled through downtown, lending a nostalgic tone of joy on the streets. Christmas had been the usual clusterfuck – with so many hardheaded and strong-willed Winchesters in the same room, it was bound to be. Family dinners and present exchanges just didn't go with the Winchester theme. Afterwards, she sneaked out with Dean and Sam to join the rest of their friends at Ellen's midnight potluck at the Roadhouse with the rest of APD. That had been a good night.

Alex was breathing in the fresh air coming through her car window (yes, her baby was out of the repair shop) and feeling like a new person because tomorrow, she would officially be on her own – though on probation – she would be riding alone in her squad car and calling all the shots and not having to worry about a supervisor breathing down her neck every second of every shift. It really was a great sensation – independence.

She parked in front of the CCB Community Bank, thinking she'd save some gas and order those checks she'd been needing for a while now before she went into work for those reports left over from last night. Since she had her badge clipped to her belt, she left her service weapon and cell phone in the car, intending to only be ten minutes max. Alex shoved her keys into her jacket pocket and entered the building, a little dismayed to see there was an adequate line. The elderly lady in front of her turned around upon her entrance and Alex flashed a polite smile. She busied herself by looking around the interior of the bank, regretting the decision to leave her phone in the car. Not the most tactical interior. She noted the painted glass windows that stretched along the windows behind the oak windows, filtering light and sounds from the main street outside. Too much open space.

A tidy, young woman came through one of the side doors, eyes trained on the sleek phone in her hand, a briefcase in the other hand. She screamed businesswoman and Alex momentarily admired how great she looked in a simple, feminine suit. Nice.

"There was an error code with the door this morning. Put a call into security for me would you, Martin?" The businesswoman said to one of the clerks fleetingly as she made her way across the lobby.

Alex guessed she must've been the manager judging by the way the tellers and clerks straightened their shoulders and immediately ceased their side conversations in her presence. The woman disappeared into a door on the other side of the room and Alex tried to find something else interesting to look at it. It seemed to her as if the line wasn't moving at all. When the possible-manager-lady re-entered the room, Alex paid her no attention.

That is until someone screamed.

Arcadia Police Department, Training Center


When the alarms blared through the halls of the Training Center, Dean congratulated himself for making the last minute decision to spend his lunch hour working out. Now he didn't need to gather his shit and waste time driving to the station. He dropped the boxing gloves and threw open the locker room door as the other members of Arcadia SWAT began to grab their equipment.

"Team One, gear up. Hot call. Armed robbery in progress. CCB on Walpster. Multiple hostages. Single suspect, armed."

Someone whooped and Dean smiled to himself. He was just about to call Sam when his younger brother walked through the door. It looked like all of Team One had decided to spend their lunch hour at the Center. He clapped his Sam the shoulder as he walked past, strapping on his bulletproof vest.

"Sammy boy! Just in time, man."

His brother started yanking his equipment off the shelf and the sounds of gearing up joined the conversation.

"I wouldn't want to miss all the fun." Sam grinned.

John Winchester, covered head to toe in tactical gear, banged on the open door and yelled, "Let's go boys! Our city needs us!"

Dean fitted his earpiece to his ear and crowded out with the rest of Team One, each officer carrying their assigned weapons as Moishe and Gwen Campbell loaded the heavier equipment into the Bearcat. As the vehicle roared to life and John threw it into drive, Dean and his team members swayed with the movement. Dispatch and officers were sounding off over the radio and he felt the familiar spike of adrenaline that surfaced at the prospect of some heavy action.

"Team One, enroute. ETA 7 minutes."

Arcadia Fire Department, House 81


Castiel was lying on his bed in the station, staring up at the ceiling and thinking errantly about soft brown hair bunched in his fingers and holding her body right up against his so that he could feel every curve in her goddamn beautiful body and – Stop. Stop right there.

The familiar feelings of hurt, anger, and guilt crept up on him again and he groaned, frustrated with himself and the woman that had been haunting his thoughts for the past few weeks. It was driving him crazy, but his pride and Balthazar's advice – yes, of course he'd told his best friend about the most mind-blowing night of his life – kept him from doing anything about it. She hadn't even left a phone number.

"Please tell me you aren't thinking about that Alex girl."

Balthazar leaned over the fiberglass top of the wall that separated his bunk from his best friend's. Castiel sat up hurriedly, rubbing the guilty flush that heated the back of his neck.

A denial that he wasn't doing any such thing was at the front of his lips when he saw the look on Balthazar's face; so he mumbled, "How did you know?"

The other firefighter gave a half-laugh, half-snort. "Please, as if you've thought of anything else since then. I've been where you are, Cas, and trust me, you need to get over her. Twenty bucks says she forgot about you the moment she left your apartment. Those kinds of women aren't worth it, man. What happened to that busty blonde I hooked you up with last night?"

He frowned; the idea that he'd been used and left behind by a gorgeous woman didn't sound acceptable at all. He liked to think he'd at least made a lasting impression on her that night. He knew she had. She knew where he lived, and yet, she hadn't contacted him or anything and he hadn't seen her since. The ball was in her court and it was killing him. And there was his pride issue again.

"It wasn't the same." Castiel shook his head and slid of his bunk, groaning as he reached down to tug on his boots.

He was too embarrassed to tell his friend-basically-brother that he hadn't even been able to get off with Tania, whom the randier firefighters referred to as the-blonde-with-amazing-tits-that-gave-the-best-blowjobs-in-town. He hated himself for being stuck on one girl. He'd thought maybe –

The familiar, singular alarm that sounded throughout the fire station cut off his thought.

The two firefighters fell into routine movements as dispatch sounded through the speakers.

"Truck 89, Engine 31, Squad 3, Ambulance 61, Battalion 25. Active bomb threat. CCB on Walpster. Police, SWAT, and Bomb Squad already on scene with hostage situation."

Castiel and Balthazar paused and looked at each other, the seriousness of the situation setting in. It wasn't every day that Arcadia got an active bomb threat, and it was even rarer to hear of hostages in the bank. But it couldn't be a coincidence that there was another alert so close to the Tanner call. He got into Truck 89 with the rest of his squad, the very heavy weight of his suit pressing down on his shoulders as the apparatus roared to life and Uriel pulled out of the station, Engine 31, Rescue Engine 48, and Ambulance 61 right on their tail. No one was joking this time.

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)


Her heart was hammering painfully in her chest as she crouched with the other patrons of the bank against the far wall lined with counters. She had to admit, this position kept all the hostages out of the line of vision from the floor-to-ceiling windows behind the counter. All their cell-phones, handbags, etc. were in a pile in the middle of the floor where they'd been ordered to give them up. She stuffed her badge into the side of her boot; identifying herself as an officer of the law didn't seem to be the best choice right now. The man that had entered the bank with a gun to the lady's – she declared herself as the manager – head was wearing the usual black ski mask and waving a handgun around threateningly. Sniffles and whimpers echoed across the tiled floor and Alex rubbed her temples in agitation. Learning about bank robberies in progress was one thing, being in the middle of one without a gun was another. She was cursing herself for leaving her gun in the car; why did she always get into these situations?

She knew the beat cops had arrived when the sirens screamed and tires screeched outside. She could just imagine the set-up that sprawled through the street in front of the bank. There would be snipers on every tactically advantageous roof and Team One would be responding. She was dreading the moment when her father and both her brothers would crash through the front door with assault rifles. What would they say? Would she get in trouble for not having her service weapon? The suspect hadn't asked for the tellers' money which probably meant he was going for the bank's safe vault.

"Keep your hands up!"

Some of the people flinched and a cry or two sounded pitifully.

Alex sighed quietly in relief when one of the cable phones rang, echoing frighteningly in the cavernous space of the bank. Her family was on scene.

Everyone held their breath as the man picked up the phone.

"This is the guy you're going to get a half a million in unmarked fifties for and by noon."


"Look I don't know who you think you're dealing with, but I'm not some junkie who's looking for his day's fix, okay? You and I both know that once that alarm went off, that vault went into hard lock. The only thing that can open it now is manual override." The man started pacing agitatedly and Alex kept an eye on the gun he was waving around erratically.

"You know that. You are going to get me my money! So. You are going to get my money, you're going to get me a car – an open car, which you'll park at the northeast corner of Clemont Lane, and you're going to sit back and watch as me and my hostage drive right off, is all that clear?!"

She tensed as he approached the row of cowering people.

"You're going to do this by noon and if you don't, here's what's gonna to happen." The man thrust the phone in the face of the manager, who flinched. "Here, tell him."

She took the phone with shaky fingers and everyone gasped as he pointed the gun at her head. Alex, who was sitting two people down from the manager, watched with baited breath.

"This is Sarah Blake, I'm the manager at the bank. P-please do exactly as this man says…" Sarah swallowed loudly, hands trembling, "Or he'll kill us all."

"That's very good." The man tore the phone out of her hands and ended the call. "Nice job."

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


Back in Arcadia's mobile Command Post, Sergeant Lee Chambers was looking dismally at the phone in his hand.

He turned to the officer next to him and said, "Where's the lieutenant?"

"She's enroute now, sir, from an 11-80 in Humboldt."

"Get her on the line."

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)


The bank was filled with a stifling silence of fear cold enough to be palpable on her skin. Her nerves were humming with adrenaline, but she didn't have the tactical advantage, not with this many hostages in the room. She was praying that her brothers would be on scene and they'd most likely see her car in the parking lot. The good thing was that they would know she was in there and in a position to help. The bad thing was that they would be worried sick about her and she hated that she'd been caught in this situation – the one needing to be rescued as always. She grimaced at the thought – she'd become a police officer to save others, not become a victim herself.

The clerks were whispering amongst themselves and a few women were crying. Sarah suddenly stood, drawing everybody's attention to her prone form. Alex was just about to hiss at her and tell her to sit down because provoking a man with a gun wasn't the best idea, but he'd already spotted her.

"Excuse me."

The man straightened from leaning against the counter as the manager stepped forward hesitantly. Alex felt her own heart leap to her throat as she recognized the signs of aggravation in the man's movements. She had to do something, but what could she do? She was unarmed, unprepared, and without backup.

"What do you want?"

"People need to go the bathroom."

Alex could've smacked the woman herself. He was clearly not in the mood to compromise given his tone of voice when he'd talked to the negotiator; the woman was just putting herself in more danger!


"S-so I assume you don't want these people dirtying themselves?"

The man tilted his head. "And why the hell would I care?'

"B-because it's just going to make them more afraid, more on edge." Sarah's voice wavered. "I'm just trying to make these easier for-"

Nearly everyone cried out as he cut her off with a gun to her head. "Why don't I make things easier for you? Sit down and shut up!"

Alex tensed as Sarah hesitated just a moment longer before sinking back down against the counter.

It was maybe another ten minutes before the next phone call came in.

"Who the hell is this? Where's that sergeant I was talking to?" A long pause. "Well, Lieutenant Harvelle, you better be calling to tell me you have my money."

Alex's hope surged as she recognized that Ellen Harvelle was negotiating on the other end of the line. There was no one better in the entire department than Ellen, who could talk anybody's language – she was their best negotiator.

"Yeah, this is where I'm supposed to start turning over my hostages like guests. That's not going to happen."

There was a long pause in which the man paced and then slowed. Ellen had said something that intrigued him. Alex could almost hear Ellen working her magic on the other end.

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


Lieutenant Ellen Harvelle had probably broken a dozen traffic codes to get to the bank in the time she did, but she was too worked up to care. The bastard had hostages in a bank and Sam Winchester had just identified his sister's car in the parking lot. Alex Winchester was somewhere in that bank and that made the whole situation more strained. Dean was at the end of his wit's just waiting outside, and Ellen knew she had to speed things along.

She glanced at Sergeant Chambers who nodded to let her know the tactical strike team was in place. The MO of the bank robbery fit that of the Monday Morning Bandit and she was nearly up to her eyeballs with the expectations that they would finally catch this monster. John Winchester better have come up with an adequate plan.

"It's nice dealing with a professional. Six banks, six getaways, that's something. That's planning." Ellen said reasonably. "Is that why you've always worked alone, it's easier to plan?"

The man replied quickly, "Easier to plan, yeah, that's right."

She needed to know if there was more than one suspect in the vicinity so she asked, "And you're alone now too right? Part of the plan?"

There was too long of a silence and she immediately knew two things. He was alone and the concept of his isolation disturbed him. She knew she'd struck a nerve.

"Hey, it's like I tell my guys: plan to fail, you fail to plan, am I right?"

"Something like that."

"And I respect that, but how long can you keep doing this?" Ellen waited and when he didn't answer she continued. "I'm just saying, you know how this usually ends right? Don't we all want to go home?"

That got a reaction out of him. "How the hell am I supposed to do that? What does that even mean?! How am I supposed to do that?!"

Thoughts were spinning through her head at his sudden reaction. "Is it the last job you're worried about? Shooting the tellers, what was it….fourteen, fifteen times? That says to me that something went very wrong, something you didn't want to do, right?" He didn't seem like the calm, collected criminal that the cases described. Something wasn't right.

"Yeah, that's right." His voice sounded tinny over the comm. "That's not what I wanted."

Ellen exchanged looks with Lee Chambers. "Yeah, doesn't sound like you. "

"It is me." He sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than he was her. Ellen knew then that something was definitely off. She grabbed the pad of paper and scribbled furiously with a pen from her pocket as the man continued. "Alright? That's me…when I don't get what I want. And I advise you to remember that. Just remember." He hung up.

Ellen looked hard at her notes. "Expresses remorse about the shooting?"

"Yeah…" Lee was thinking along the same lines as his lieutenant.

"Yeah, not the typical anti-social profile." She ripped a page from her notes and handed it to Lee. "Check this with the hold-up squad. Get Captain Winchester in here."

City of Arcadia, Walpster Street


Sam was trying his hardest to stand still as Sergeant Gwen Campbell loaded up her sniper rifle. They were sending her up to one of the roofs as procedure to be used as a last resort. He was her backup this time, while Lieutenant Eliot Ness and his strike team were down in the old subway tunnels creating an entrance into the bank. He could barely concentrate on what was happening around him, all he could think about was that Alex was in there. Alex is in danger. It went against every brotherly instinct not to rush in there, guns blazing and he knew Dean felt it too. But John had placed them both as far from the strike team – Sam on sniper watch and Dean on suspect research – as possible to minimize personal involvement. It was just too risky and Sam understood that, but it didn't mean he had to like it.

Officer Moishe Campbell, one of Sam's cousins (there really were too many of his relatives in the department), adjusted his riot helmet and asked, "Why don't we just give him what he wants? Put a tracker on the getaway car and bust him when he's trying to leave the city?"

"Can't." Gwen immediately responded. "At this time of day – noon – right in the middle of the city? Too many people and too many variables. He'd get away in two minutes."

"So then, what's the plan?"

"Lieutenant Ness is taking a three-man strike team to enter from the old subway tunnels." The female sniper said without looking up from her preparations. "And Lieutenant Harvelle's the best negotiator in the state. They'll be all right."

Sam knew that last part had been directed at him. Alex'll be alright. He just had to trust his partners to get her out of there alive and safe.

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


John Winchester sat in the mobile Command Post with Ellen Harvelle, watching as she wrote with a dry erase marker on the little board she'd set up.

Lieutenant Ness's voice crackled to life over the radio. "2-Alfa-Lima, we're in the tunnel under the subway. 61-Alfa, distraction on my go."

Ellen spoke into the radio. "61-Alfa, where are we?"

"61-Alfa, good to go. 2-Alfa?"

"2-Alfa-Lima. Checking wall thickness."

Ellen picked up the phone and nodded to John Winchester as she called the bank phone again.

"I told you noon."

Ellen sighed inwardly. "We're still working on everything, I just wanted to warn you about something. The manual alarm, when it was tripped, it automatically reset. So in about a minute, it's going to go off again and I just need you to stay calm when that happens, okay? That's all I wanted to say." This time, she hung up first.

"Ready, 61-Alfa?"

"Ready when you are, sir."

Lieutenant Ness responded. "On my count."

Ellen Harvelle and John Winchester held their breath as he began to count down over the radio.


City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walspter St.)


Alex had just watched the man end the phone call and by the way he looked at the phone, she judged that Ellen had called to tell him something. Something important, probably to distract him from whatever the strike team was doing to enter the building. She braced herself.

A shrill sounding alarm went off and she immediately clapped her hands over her ears. People screamed and cowered, expecting some kind of immediate death at the surprising noise. The man yelled at them to shut up and Alex guessed he knew the alarm had been about to go off. What is Ellen planning…?

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


"2-Alfa-Lima. We're in. Basement side."

Ellen smiled. "Thanks, will do."

John sighed in relief, allowing some of the tension in his shoulders to roll out of his system. "Nice catch."

"Littler fish." She said quietly, turning back to her whiteboard. "Team, listen up. Subject is not who we thought. Monday Morning Bandit's murders were execution style, two bullets. The story the press got was a bloodbath, multiple shots fired. The subject did not contradict the press version, it's all he knew, so…" She wrote COPYCAT? in big letters. "We have no idea who this guy is."

There was a short silence on the radio until Lieutenant Ness responded.

"2-Alfa-Lima, we're moving up."

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)


One of the two people in between Alex and Sarah was a younger woman, one of the bank clerks, and she was not in good shape. She was taking short, stuttered breath and seemed considerably pale. The manager was rubbing her back and speaking to her in soothing undertones but Alex could tell that something was wrong.

"Excuse me!" The manager started to stand again.

Alex had to admit that the woman had guts.


But her guts were provoking the suspect and pretty soon he was going to respond to her outbursts with a bullet to the head. She just didn't know what to do without getting herself killed in the process.

"This woman has asthma! She needs her medication!" The manager pulled the other women up standing next to her and Alex immediately sprung up in a protective stance next to the gasping woman.

"So what?!" He pointed his gun at Sarah.

Alex immediately drew the asthmatic women behind her, shielding her from the suspect. They really did need to get this woman's inhaler or they would have a medical emergency on their hands. She exchanged glances with Sarah. She shook her head at her, but Sarah continued.

"I'm just trying to do my part to keep these people calm! Can't you do yours?!"

Alex immediately grabbed the woman's arm, "Ms. Blake don't – "

The suspect rushed up to them, pointing his gun threateningly in Sarah's face and Alex shied away from him, shuffling back into a defensive position.

"You want to tell me how to do my job, is that what you want to do?!"

"No, I – "

He suddenly grabbed her by the neck and held the gun to her head. The hostages in the bank gasped in unison and most were standing, holding their hands out like they wanted to help in some sort of way. Alex drew the asthmatic woman further away from Sarah who was struggling with the suspect – her heart was racing, her blood running cold with fear.

"Yeah, you do that! Tell me how to do my job!" He dragged her backwards, digging the barrel of his gun into her head. "You sit down! Sit down, sit down! Sit down, you!"

He pointed the gun at the ceiling and fired. Everyone immediately dropped in terror and Alex covered her head on instinct.

A loud sound reached her ears and then, "Police! Police!"

She saw the flash bang before it went off and covered her ears, shutting her eyes tightly as the exploded inside the cavernous room.

Chaos erupted.

People were screaming and running and Alex was trying to where the suspect had went but men in tactical gear were swarming the room and there was too much smoke and she was coughing and people were bumping into her in their rush to get out.

"Move! Move! Get out! Get out! Move!"

Alex stumbled as she saw the man disappear around the corner of an open door and followed him instinctively. "Wait!"

Sarah suddenly escaped from his grasp and ran towards Alex, but a shot rang out and she dropped to the floor. Alex, with her heart in her throat, rushed forward, falling to her knees next to the woman.

"You, get away from her!" The man also rushed towards the body and Alex fought off his hands, turning Sarah over and trying to find the source of the blood to put pressure on it.

"Stop! She's losing a lot of blood, let me help. I'm a doctor!" Alex lied. "You want her alive right? Let me help!"

Her hands were slippery with blood and she pressed down hard on the bullet wound in Sarah's leg.

"Right there. Stop, right there."

Boots pounded on ceramic tile and Alex whipped her head around to see Lieutenant Ness standing at the end of the hallway, an assault rifle pointed at them. Suddenly an arm was hooked around her neck and she froze as she felt the cool metal of a gun barrel at her head. Oh shit.

"Set the gun down. Set the gun down, now."

"You put your gun down!" The man tightened his grip on her, and she could feel him shaking in anger.

Her heart was in her throat and she couldn't breathe. She tried to regain control of herself. Don't panic, don't panic! Lieutenant Ness was concentrating soley on the suspect, two more men in tactical gear arriving behind him.

"Set the gun down, we're not going anywhere." Eliot commanded.

"I'm telling you! Get out of here!" He yelled.

"Sir, put the gun down now."

"Get out or I kill her."

She looked at Sarah, who was groaning on the floor, clutching at her wounded leg.

Eliot said calmly, "We're not leaving."

"Well then she dies." The man was almost choking her in his anger and desperation. "Three..and in two…"

Alex didn't know what to say. She wanted to scream and tell them to shoot him but with the range they were at, their accuracy couldn't be any better than 90%. They said that your life flashes in front of your eyes in the moment before impending death, but Alex just saw Lieutenant Eliot Ness and his partners and the detached look in his eyes. She couldn't breathe and she felt like all her functions were failing. Everything was cold and hot all at once and her head was pounding.

"…And in one…!"

She didn't look away from the lieutenant and she didn't close her eyes. If this was how she was going to die, she was going to do it without showing fear, no matter how much of it was roaring through her body. I wish I'd stayed with Cas.

There was a heartbeat of a moment when she swore she could feel the man's muscles tensing as he pulled the trigger, but then the lieutenant spoke.

"Team One, we're coming out. Subject still with two hostages, one injured."

Lieutenant Eliot Ness followed his men, walking backwards out of the doorway, his gun still trained on the suspect, and disappeared.

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


Ellen watched as Moishe worked with the computer. The screen was a solid blue with the words ACQUIRING FEED printed in white block letters across it. Then it cut to images of the bank's interior.

"I was able to reconnect the video, but there's no audio." Moishe clicked through the different video feeds stationed around the bank. One more click and the screen showed the suspect with Alex kneeling by the injured manager in a hallway. The suspect turned around, and the officers could see his ski mask was gone.

Ellen pointed. "Freeze it there." The suspect in the video pointed the gun directly at them and the screen cut to black fuzz. "Get the security guy."

John went on the radio. "Can we get the security guard in here, please?"

"Look at them. She's just looking at him." Ellen touched her finger to Sarah's figure lying prone on the floor, Alex propping her up. "It's like they know each other."

The door opened and the security guard they'd questioned earlier stepped into the command post. John waved him over to where they were hovering over the screen.

"Hey buddy, this guy ring any bells?" Ellen watched the security guard's facial expression morph into one of disbelief.

"Yeah." The security guard nodded slowly, mouth gaping. "That's George!"

"Who's George?" John asked impatiently.

"George Phelps! Head of security here at the bank. He was my boss."

"Was until when?"

"Uh…two – uh – about two months ago…. He pointed to the image of Sarah on the screen. "…when she fired him."

John and Ellen looked at each other in sudden understanding. The captain patted the security guard's shoulder and thanked him before escorting him out of the mobile command post.

City of Arcadia, Walpster Street


Dean finished questioning one of the bank patrons that had made it out of the bank in time and who also believed that the suspect was part of an Iranian conspiracy and some more terrorist shit that he'd had to cut her off in the middle of explaining the past conspiracies that the US government had covered up.

"Captain!" Another officer called John Winchester's attention. "You're going to want to hear this."

Dean followed his father to a woman and man that stood together, the man with his arm around the shaking woman.

"Why don't you tell Captain Winchester here what you just told us?" One of the officers gestured towards the distraught woman.

"Look. What he's doing…I'm not saying it's right, but…Sarah Blake came to us about a year ago, when our numbers were getting really low and they sent her in to get us back on the right track." The woman started saying. "Corporate clean-up, you know? We were in trouble and turned us around."

The man interrupted. "But lots of people lost their jobs. Those of us that stayed got little to no time our families. My wife just had a baby a week ago. I barely see either of them. But it's not like Blake cares, she's a freaking robot."

The woman nodded seriously. "I'm just saying, if I were her, I wouldn't want to be alone with a former employee who was armed."

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)


Alex was tying a strip of her shirt around the woman's leg, her hands slippery with blood. It was a horrific sight that made her fingers tremble in sync with the woman's tremors. The hallway that their captor had barricaded them in had windows along the way on one side. The painted glass made it too difficult to see outside. The subject got up from his seated position next to her and leaned against the wall opposite from them, periodically glancing out the window with the gun held against his chest. He seemed paranoid, like he was waiting for the officers to burst in again.

"Please." Sarah croaked feebly, dried tears on her cheeks.

Alex tried to shush her but the man pointed the gun in her face and told both of them to shut up.

"Please, George."

Alex squeezed Sarah's shoulder. "Hey, don't –"

"I told you to fucking shut up! I don't want to hear one word out of you, do you understand me? I gotta think…" He put his hands to his head. Alex noticed they were shaking.

A few seconds later, a cell phone rang and all three parties looked surprised as George pulled out a cell phone from his pocket. He answered it slowly, suspicion all over his face.


In the hallway so close to each other, Alex could hear Ellen on the other side of the line.

"Is this George Phelps?"

He reacted immediately, springing up from his crouch and peering out the window

"I'll take that as a yes." Ellen's voice sounded tinny, yet loud in the empty hallway. "Colleague identified your voice, George, so…can we talk straight?"

George crouched down again and his eyes were wide, pupils vibrating with fear and anger. He shot Alex a deadly look as Ellen continued talking.

"First of all, this is a big relief. We thought you were a pretty bad guy. But now that I've seen your file, I think you're a guy who got kicked to the curb, and now wants a little payback. I don't think you want to hurt anybody."

"I'll tell you exactly what I want." George said angrily; he pointed the gun at her face and Alex flinched. He was directing all his anger towards her, a tangible target. "You know exactly what I want, it's exactly the same as before and now I know I can't trust you."

"I want you to trust me, George."

"Yeah? Well then you shouldn't have sent in the cavalry then… should you 'ave?" He glared at her. Alex watched his fingers tighten around the gun as he bit his lip. "You know what? I was going to give you just less than an hour from here. But now after what you've done…that's going to be half an hour." He looked over his shoulder out the window. "You don't give me what I want in one half hour, I'm going to shoot the pretty doctor and the fucking manager, right here."

Ellen didn't miss a beat. "George, listen, I'm going to do everything I can but a half hour is not enough time to get you that kind of cash."

He tilted his head. "Cash? We're not going to do this cash. No…No, listen, this is what you're going to do. You're going to transfer that money right in this bank. I got an account number for you."

Alex looked down at Sarah, wondering why George had suddenly changed his method of retrieving the money. Just what was this guy's deal and what had happened to him?

"Mark it down. I won't say it again." He pinched the bridge of nose with the hand holding the gun and Alex breathed a little easier without staring down the metal barrel. "Oh-six…what is it, what is it…nine-eight-one-zero-nine, okay?" He licked his lips. "Then I'll get the boss lady over here, take her to a computer, and she's gonna verify for me whether that money's received within the next half hour. And if it isn't, I'm going to put a bullet in both their heads. Okay?" He got all riled up again, crouching up to peer through the window. "And don't make the mistake of thinking I won't do it, because I will. It'll be very easy after what she's done to me!"

Sarah turned her head into Alex's shoulder, her own shoulders shaking with shobs.

"Okay, George, let's forget about her and talk about why you're here."

"Why I'm here?! I'm here because of what she's done to me!" George clicked the safety on and off menacingly, staring hatefully at two women in front of him.

Sarah whispered. "It… it wasn't personal."

"What did you say?" His attention was diverted and Alex could hear Ellen on the other side trying to calm him down. "Shut up. No! I – I want her to tell me." He pointed the gun at Sarah who flinched violently away from the threat. "Pretty please?"

Alex tried to take control of the situation. "She's lost a lot of blood, she doesn't know what she's saying, she – "

"Shut! Up!" George cocked the gun at Alex who fell silent again. "I want her to tell me how twenty years of a man's life ends up worth practically nothing?! You tell me how a man works, doesn't put a foot wrong his whole life, and then at the end… you had 'im a check and it's worth like, one week's salary for every year worked. What am I supposed to do with all that money, buy myself a car?!" He laughed derisively. "Is that what I'm supposed to do? Would you mind explaining to me how you come with that figure? How'd you come up with that number?" He cocked the gun at pointed it directly in Sarah's face.

The lady manager cringed into Alex who tightened her hold on her shoulder. She couldn't say anything. She didn't know enough about the situation. He was obviously angry and on a revenge spree; those were the worst kind. It would be better for Ellen to handle it.

"It's a standard termination package, George." Sarah said weakly, shaking her head. "It…wasn't personal."

"Well you're missing all the comedy." He said into the phone. "It wasn't personal. That's what she says. Wasn't personal?! Fucking hilarious."

Ellen said a few more words but George wasn't paying attention. He ended the call, a maniacal smile on his face as he laughed again – a hollow, creepy sound. He got to his feet and looked down at the two women he had taken hostage, one bleeding and other defiant. Alex looked him straight in the eye.

He flicked his wrist, holding the gun wrecklessly. "You know what? This is looking pretty bad for you….boss lady."

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


Thoughts were spinning through Ellen's head as Frank Deveraux typed on the laptop next to her. Their on shift technical genius was currently pulling up the account number to find out more about George's motive. Frank suddenly peered closer at the screen.

"It's a straight payment account. You put money in, the holder withdraws." Frank's fingers typed quickly. "This one's for…Saint Ignatius Home's Limited, whatever that is."

"Oh hell…" Ellen, upon hearing the information, dropped her head into her hands.

"What, you know it? What is it?" Frank looked at her.

"It's a retirement home in Humboldt." The lieutenant sighed.

"I'll go." He was already closing his laptop. "I can get the answers there faster."

Ellen rubbed her eyes tiredly as she watched George stand over the two women in the video. "Drive fast."

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)


When Ellen called back again, the conversation was short. He hung up before she could say more than listen to me. Alex hung her head, trying to regain control of her fear and the chill that was spreading through her body. She was so tired of the constant tension and she wanted to get out, stay alive.

When Sarah tried to explain herself, saying things like "I'm sorry, I'm sorry", he placed duct tape over her mouth and smashed the gun into the side of Alex's face when she tried to protect the wounded woman from anymore traumatization. Licking the blood from the corner of her lip, Alex resumed her silent vigil sitting against the wall with Sarah's head in her lap. Sarah's skin was cold and she was still losing a lot of blood, the redness soaking through the thin handmade bandage Alex had attempted to tie tightly around the bullet wound.

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post


Ellen answered her cell phone on the first ring. "Harvelle."

"It's Frank."

"You at the retirement home?"

"George's wife has Alzheimer's."

"Dammit." Ellen rubbed her forehead tiredly.

"Diagnosis was six months ago. Early onset, usually means rapid decomposition. She's…she's in pretty bad shape. But now there's another problem. They're going to kick her out. She doesn't have the money."

It was all coming together now.

"Thanks, Frank."

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)


"So what's going on? Where's my money?" He answered the phone quickly this time and Alex knew it was because their time was almost up. What was Ellen planning?

She heard Ellen say, "What I got is two names. First name is George. Hardworking guy, done everything right his whole life, married for twenty-five years to and here's the second name, Stephanie Phelps, a hairdresser, or used to be, and right now she's not doing so well. A few years, she might not be able to do anything at all."

It clicked in Alex's head and she looked, horrified, at the man standing before her who currently had a shell-shocked look on his face. It was so much worse than she ever could have imagined. It was all about his wife. All about love.

"And the kind of place that she needs to be in…doesn't come cheap. That sound right, George?" Ellen said softly.

"Well you tell me, Ellen, that sound right to you?"

There was a pause. "No."

He echoed her. "No."

"No that doesn't sound right at all. Doesn't sound right that you lose your job, your insurance, a month after you find a home for her. You work hard your whole life and something like Alzeihmers' comes along and…suddenly the most important person to you can't even remember your name, that's not right."

George swallowed hard and stopped in his pacing. "No."

"But neither is what you're doing, George, you know that."

Alex looked at Sarah who had her eyes closed. Her breathing was shallow, but Alex could tell the woman was listening because of the way her lips were trembling like she wanted to cry.

"I know…I know!" The man ran a distraught hand through his hair. "But I tried, Ellen, I tried, I did. I've tried to look for another job, look for anything! It ain't happenin' okay? I've looked! I've tried to get a loan. But what am I supposed to do at my age? It's not exactly easy out there to find a job. And then…let's be realistic about it! How am I supposed to pay anybody back? It's stupid! Okay, so that's it, I'm at my wit's end right here. This is my last chance!"

His eyes were wide with a sadness that Alex couldn't even comprehend. His face was haggard and he looked older and more a man that had lost everything than a cold blooded killer. She could understand doing wicked things to save the people she loved. She couldn't imagine being in his situation, if Sam or Dean were…

"I know you're feeling alone right now, George, but – "

"Being alone? That's not what's scaring me. I'll tell you what's scaring me. It's my wife gets kicked out of that home and then I'm not in a position to take care of her. That's what's scaring me okay? That woman there…my wife has always taken good care of me. Always."

She couldn't bear to hear the heartbreak in his tenor voice. It wasn't right. This whole situation wasn't right.

"It's the least I can do. I gotta take care of her." His voice broke and he leaned hard against the wall, his back towards Alex and Sarah. "I'm…I…I'm just trying to do what's right."

"There isn't anybody in the world who wouldn't understand that." Ellen's voice was kinder. "I bet you Sarah's family would understand that."

Sarah was looking at him with tears in her eyes, hands trembling as she realized just how much pain he had suffered because of the decisions she'd been forced to make. He sniffled, wiping a quick hand across his face.

"Okay." He turned back towards his hostages. "Ellen, look, I'll tell you what. Let me…Let me talk to my wife and I'll just…I'll end this okay? It'll be over."

"What do you mean it'll be over?"

"I mean if you let me talk to my wife…" He cast a soulless look at the woman he perceived as the one who'd ruined his life. "I'll come out and I'll bring both girls with me. I won't hurt them. I'll give up, okay? Just let me talk to my wife."

There was a tangible silence before Ellen said, "Okay, George, just hold on, I'll get your wife on the phone."

City of Arcadia, APD Mobile Command Post



"Hey, he's ready to come out but he wants to talk to his wife." Ellen held the phone tightly in her hand. "Now if I let him do it, he'll probably kill himself. But if I don't, he'll go off and I risk losing the hostage…and Alex."

"Tough call."

Ellen closed her eyes. "Put her on the phone."

City of Arcadia, CCB Community Bank (Walpster St.)



A soft, female voice answered, "Hello?"

He smiled and Alex thought it would break her own heart the way his eyes lit up at the sound of her voice. "It's me, it's George. How-how you doing, pretty girl?"

"Where are you?"

"Oh, I'm just around the corner. I'm really close by." He slid down the wall and sat with his knees to his chest, looking at the two women in front of him without really seeing them. "So tell me how you're doing. Tell me how your day's been."

"Alright…I think." Stephanie replied haltingly. "George, did I do something wrong?"

"What? He wiped the tears falling down his cheeks and Alex had to look away. "What are you talking about?"

"It's just… you aren't here." Her words were sweet and sad, filled with the years of tender love. "Did I do something to make you go away? Is that why… I'm alone?"

He was silent for a long time. Alex watched as he swallowed a couple of times, licking his lips and staring up at the ceiling like he was trying to keep tears from falling.

"Now you listen to me Stephanie Jarrett Phelps. I just want you to know one thing, okay?" He took a shuddering breath that bordered on the edge of a sob. "Anything, anything that ever went right in my life is directly due to you. Now do you understand me?"

The sun filtered through the windows, painting his face a mix of rubies and emeralds and sapphires, the golden light bathing his forlorn figure. George's eyes were shining as he clutched the phone to his ear.

"Hey Steph, just want to tell you something." He looked at Sarah and then closed his eyes, finally letting a few tears slip down his face. "I'm real sorry."

It was innocent and childlike the way she said, "What for?"

"I gotta go now, okay?"

The hallway was silent as she said, with a certain clarity, "Okay. I love you, George."

The sun was glowing brilliantly on the plain walls. Alex placed a trembling hand over her mouth. She wanted to cry for the woman slowly losing the memory of her most precious person. It wasn't fair.

He was going to kill himself. It was him or them. After all, he'd apologized to the love of his life. He didn't want anymore. He didn't need anymore.

He set the phone down gently on the floor and scooted over to where Sarah was lying on the ground. She shied away from him momentarily before he slowly ripped the duct tape from her mouth.

"Go. Take her."

Alex helped Sarah up, one arm supporting the injured woman. She watched as George picked up his phone and placed it in his pocket.

"What are you going to do?" Alex asked quietly.

"What does it matter?" He shoved her angrily. "Get out of here before I change my mind."

She looked at the gun and then at him. "You're coming with me."


Sarah and Alex exchanged significant glances. Blood dripped down her arm and her face throbbed where he'd hit her, but at this very moment, Officer Winchester was back and she wasn't going to let anyone die on her watch.

"We can help you, George." Alex held her hand out, palm upwards. "I want to help you. You don't deserve this. Your wife loves you and you should be by her side. Don't leave her alone, George. Please, don't leave her alone."

"I can't… I can't take back what I've done." She could see it in his eyes, how much he wanted to believe her. "I can't…"

"You can." Alex slowly placed her hand over the one holding the gun. "It'll be okay. She needs you now, more than ever. Come with me and I'll help you take care of her. We'll find a way. She's the only thing that matters right?"

"Of course." He didn't move.

"Stephanie loves you." Alex's own voice broke as she thought of how much he'd done for the one person he loved. The power of this feeling that connected two people for life. It was magnificent and it was terrifying. "And if you loved her, you wouldn't leave her alone."

"I…" He looked helpless, fighting whatever inner demons that were currently plaguing him.

"Do you love her?" She said softly.

"Yes!" He lurched forward with the surety of his outburst, eyes blazing. "Of course, I love her!"

"Then…come with me."

Criticisms are welcome because I may rewrite the last segment.