Title: Crisis Negotiations
Fandom/Genre: Supernatural RPF/ AU
Word Count: 8830.
Warnings: The total misuse of FBI protocols for hostage negotiations, and just to warn you I’ve borrowed the ear bud technology from Leverage, so tech accuracy is a little shaky as well. So sorry! Also minor character death.
Summary: When Hostage Rescue Team One of the Crisis Negotiation is called into a hostage situation, they find themselves caught up in more than just a bank robbery gone wrong.
Disclamer: Here be fiction, folks. This isn’t real nor is it meant to reflect the relationship between the two men, whose names and faces I’m borrowing. This is my very own little take on reality or as I like to think of it now, the wrong trouser leg of time, where our universe and this one split apart, and this universe is bathed in a rosy pink hue.
Author’s Notes: First and foremost, my thanks go to my amazing beta bigj52. There should be statues erected and sonnets written for this amazing woman. I can never fully express my gratitude at her endless patience in dealing with my scribbles. Secondly, this was my entry for this year’s spn_reversebang, and I want to apologize to my poor long-suffering artist heartblowswild for being so very late with my story. I hope that she thinks it was worth the wait.
Deputy Crane climbed out of his police cruiser and grabbed his hat. Sheriff Adams hated his deputies to go out undressed, as he put it, making sure they wore their full uniform whenever they were in public. Even when all they were doing was fetching the morning coffee and muffins for the guys at the station. The deputy smiled as he put his hat on and headed for the coffee shop opposite the bank. The Red Velvet Coffee shop sold the best Pecan Muffins in the county, and he was looking forward to his morning fix.
Out of the corner of his eye Deputy Crane saw his friend Ryan Mitchell heading towards the bank. He looked over and called out, “Mornin’ Ryan, nice day, ain’t it?”
Ryan barely glanced over as he made his way inside the bank. Deputy Crane shrugged, “And a good morning to you too, Derek. It don’t cost none to be polite, Ryan.” He turned away and walked into the coffee shop.
As he stood basking in the warmth and inhaling the heady scent of freshly brewed coffee and newly baked muffins, he saw Amy, the owner. Derek took off his hat and smoothed his hair down, as he watched Amy pour coffee for a customer.
Amy was a fine figure of a woman, with long dark hair, chocolate-coloured eyes, and curves that proved she wasn't afraid to enjoy her own baking. Amy was everything Derek loved in a woman, smart, funny, with killer curves. He was determined that one of these days he was going to ask her out for a coffee, well, perhaps not a coffee. But he was as sure as hell going to ask her out.
Amy finished with her customer and looked up at Derek with a warm smile. “Well good morning. Derek. The usual for you and the boys at the station?” Her voice was lilting and warm, as she leant against the counter with a smile.
Derek stepped closer to the counter and put his hat down. “Well, I was thinking about being a little adventurous this morning,” he said with a smile.
Amy gasped. “What, no Pecan muffin? Lord, Derek, what is the world comin’ to?”
Derek leant closer. “Actually I was thinkin’ about trying one of those macchiato coffees Charlie’s always goin’ on about. You know you can’t improve on your Pecan muffins, Amy.” He winked and licked his lips, gearing up to ask Amy the question he’d been trying to ask for the last six months.
Suddenly there was a muffled bang from the bank. Derek whirled round and saw someone running from the building. “Holy shit! Someone’s robbing the damn bank. What are ya gonna do about it, Derek?” Amy shouted as Derek hovered uncertainly.
He glanced back at Amy who was looking at him with wide eyes. He’d been ready to leap over the counter and join her hiding there. But the way she was looking at him, Derek felt he should do something. He drew himself to his full height and said in a commanding voice, “Amy, I’m going out there. You lock the door after me. Alright?”
Amy looked at him, her eyes filled with fear, "Ok Derek, but you be careful, alright?" She said, as she stepped round the counter. Then Amy leant forward and kissed Derek on the cheek.
Derek blushed, took a deep breath and walked towards the door. He could feel Amy's hand wrapped round his arm as she walked close behind him. He tried not to shake as he opened the door and stepped outside. Derek heard the door lock behind him as he forced himself to move out cautiously, drawing his gun as he walked. Derek brought his left hand up to his radio. “Hey Charlie, we got a problem. Somebody’s robbing the bank. You better haul ass over here now.”
“You gotta be shitting me! Who the hell’s gonna rob our bank? I didn’t think we’d got any money in the vault.” Charlie’s voice crackled over the radio. “You got eyes on anyone, Derek?” Charlie asked as Derek heard the sounds of his friend scrabbling around for paper and pen over the radio.
Derek edged closer to the bank, looking around for a possible getaway car. As far as he could tell there were no unfamiliar vehicles parked outside the bank. The only cars out there were his cruiser and cars belonging to the staff inside the bank. Derek was just about to reach the bank, when someone appeared from behind one of the parked cars and grabbed him.
Derek froze, his heart pounding with fear, then he recognised the man who’d grabbed him. It was Ted Williams, the bank manager, “Oh thank god! He’s got a gun, and he was threatening everyone, especially poor Doug,” he said shrilly as he clung to Derek in terror.
Derek patted Ted’s shoulder absently. That gentle touched turned into a harsh grip when he heard a sound from inside the bank. Startled by the noise Derek looked over at the bank, and watched slack jawed as a familiar figure locked the doors and pulled down the blinds. It took a couple of attempts, but finally his shaking hand stilled, and Derek pressed the call button on his radio, “Shit! Charlie, it’s Ryan. He’s robbin’ the bank and he’s just locked everyone in with him! Now what do we do?”
“There ain’t no way in hell Ryan would pull a stunt like this. You sure you ain’t seein’ things, Derek?” Charlie yelled at his friend.
Derek gripped the bank manager by the arm, and hauled him away from the front of the building. “No, I ain’t seein’ things. It was Ryan, I tell ya. Have you told the Sherriff about it yet?” he asked as pulled the manager down behind his car.
“The sheriff is well aware of the situation. Now pull back and wait for orders.” Derek relaxed as Sheriff Adams’ voice came as welcome relief.
“Yes, sir, I’m pulling back.” Derek glanced up at the coffee shop, and smiled as he saw Amy looking at him like he was a conquering hero. “Sheriff, I’m taking Mr Williams into the coffee shop, so I can get him comfortable. He needs taking care of after a shock like this.” Derek helped the shaken man to his feet, and carefully guided him inside, where Amy was waiting for them with open arms.
From his position in the coffee shop, enjoying a muffin or two Derek watched as Sheriff Adams pulled up in his car. The sheriff climbed out of his car, and then pulled out a megaphone and spoke into it. “Hello inside the bank. This is Sheriff Ronald Adams. I’m calling on you to lay down your weapons and surrender. If you come out with your hands up, no harm will come to you.” The sheriff lowered the megaphone and waited.
“Well that told him. Any sign of Ryan layin’ down his arms and coming out, Derek?” Charlie asked in amusement.
Derek watched the sheriff as he put down the megaphone, and looked at the locked-down bank. He seemed to come to a decision, as he reached for his radio and spoke into it. “Hey, Charlie, do ya know who the sheriff just radioed?” he asked as he took another bite of muffin, watching events with interest.
“Yeah, I do. He’s only gone and called the FEDS in, saying with Ryan’s military background, we can’t handle the situation.” Charlie sounded breathless with excitement.
Derek wiped the crumbs away from his mouth with the back of his hand. “Why doesn’t the sheriff want to use SWAT from a couple of towns over?”
“Come on, Derek, there’s no way he’s gonna let Sheriff Coleman steal his thunder in election year. So the FEDS it is. You better keep me up to date with what’s happening. I’m gonna be stuck in here.” Charlie sounded despondent at the thought of missing all the excitement.
Just as Derek was about to answer him, Amy appeared beside him and refilled his cup. She patted him on the arm, her hand lingering a fraction of a second too long. Derek smiled. His day had just gotten a hell of a lot better. “Don’t you worry, Charlie. I’ve got to stay with our star witness. It’s my civic duty after all.” Derek relaxed as he sat in the warmth of the coffee shop.
Sheriff Adams sat in his car and kept a close watch on the bank, part of him hoping that Ryan would have the sense to flee the scene as soon as possible. After all, the boy was married to his wife’s second cousin’s youngest girl. He didn’t want to think about what his life was going to be like, if he had to arrest ‘family’. Then again it wouldn’t hurt his chances in the coming election, if he brought in a dangerous armed criminal.
As Ronald sat waiting for news of the FBI’s arrival, he thought about last Fourth of July at his place. Ryan and his wife Nicole had been there enjoying themselves. They’d been so damn happy and now Ryan was locked in the bank with a bunch of hostages. He let his head fall forward. “Aw shit. I hope the FEDs get here soon and I can hand this over. Then I can tell Barbara, it was all their fault Ryan got hauled off to jail,” Ronald said to himself with a sigh, and settled down to wait.
Deputy Crane waited patiently for the next big development in the standoff. If you could call the sheriff sitting outside the silent bank a standoff. He was rewarded forty-five minutes later, as the Critical Incident Response Group from the FBI. rolled into the small town of Culpeper, Virginia.
The sound of vehicles rumbling through the quiet streets, was the first indication of their arrival. An interested crowd had gathered to watch events at the bank unfold. They turned to see what all the noise was about. It was rare anything exciting happened in their small town, and a bank robbery gone wrong was definitely exciting.
A fleet of black SUVs and an unmarked truck drove down the street. The small convoy stopped at the intersection opposite the bank. The truck turned sideways and blocked the road. The SUVs parked behind it, and the doors were flung open. The cars emptied rapidly as a group of men climbed out and looked around, and then they stood at ease waiting for somebody. The men were uniformly dressed in dark coveralls, with the exception of a man who got out of the front passenger side of the lead vehicle. He cut a very different figure to his colleagues.
From his seat in the coffee shop, Derek sized up the newcomers. The men in the coveralls were standard SWAT material, all straight backs and ‘sir, yes sir’ attitudes about them. The odd man out fascinated Derek, no military style haircut for him. His dark hair was messily spiked, and there was no uniform for him either. Instead he wore a battered leather jacket, a faded blue shirt with a mandarin collar, combat trousers and sandals. He seemed oddly at home with the others in the team, pulling on body armour and arming themselves with MP5s.
Hippy Dippy as Derek had started to call the man in his head, walked over from the SUV and spoke briefly with a man with short light brown hair. Then Hippy Dippy turned and headed towards the truck. Another man with close-cut dark blond hair, grabbed a long case from the trunk of the lead SVU, and slung its strap over his shoulder.
Once the Hostage Rescue Team were suited up, they stood in a circle and waited for their orders. Finally the man with light brown hair stepped into the centre of the circle. “Ok, from what we’ve been told we have one hostage taken inside the bank, with at present an unknown number of hostages. Misha will be trying to open up a line of communication with him, while Osric gets hold of the bank’s blueprints on line. I’ll go and liaise with Sherriff Adams, and try to find out as much as I can about our suspect, one Ryan Mitchell.” The team leader paused, as one of his men raised his hand.
“For the last time, Mike, you don’t have to raise your hand to talk. What’s up?” Team leader Jensen Ackles asked.
Mike lowered his hand and grinned. “Hey, Jensen, can I go and liaise with the local police this time, please?” he asked, sounding like as small boy, trying to wheedle his parents into letting him stay up late on a school night.
Jensen groaned softly. “No, you can’t go and liaise with the local police. Not after what happened last time.”
The rest of the team started to laugh, as Mike pouted in disappointment at Jensen. “I gotta say in Mike’s defence, that patrol woman was really hot.” Christian Kane, Jensen’s second-in-command said. His blue eyes twinkled with mischief at the pained look on Jensen’s face, as he happily reminded his team leader and friend, about the last time Mike ‘liaised’.
“Chris, thanks for reminding me how hot she was. It was just a shame about her ex being on the same job as us. I really enjoyed having to get between him and Mike.” Jensen looked over at a grinning Mike. “Next time you hook up with the hot ex-wife of a SWAT team member, I’m letting him shoot you. Ok, Mike?” Jensen said as he tried to block out the memory of Mike being chased halfway across town by an irate heavily armed ex-husband, wearing nothing but his helmet, boxers and boots. He was carrying his coverall and bullet-proof vest in one hand, and his MP5 in the other, screaming for Kane to start the goddamn car before he was shot in the ass.
“Please, Jensen, I’ll behave. Look, you’ve seen the sheriff. He’s an ugly old fart. I swear I won’t try to hit on him, his wife, his hot twin sister, or his strangely attractive second cousin. I’ll be the perfect gentleman. Scouts’ honour,” Mike said, giving Jensen a wide-eyed look of appeal.
“Rosenbaum, you were never a scout and for the sake of the FBI’s reputation you’re not liaising here. Sorry, man.” Jensen said to his crestfallen team mate. “I want you to stay out front, and keep a watch on our interested bystanders,” Jensen said and looked over his shoulder at the crowd.
Mike gave a pained sigh. “Alright. I promise to keep the hordes at bay, even if I have to lay my body down to do it.”
Jensen nodded and said seriously, “That’s good to hear, Mike. I knew I could trust you.” He turned to his friend. “Kane, take two members of the team, grab the fibre optic camera, and find a place to drill into the bank. Talk to Osric. He’ll be able to tell you the best place to put the camera when he’s got the blueprints up. Then we can take a look inside the bank, and see what Ryan’s up to with the hostages.”
Kane turned and pointed to two of the team, and they headed to the second SUV to gather the equipment. The three men headed away from the bank’s line of sight, and anyone inside the bank who might be watching them.
Jensen turned back to the rest of the team. “Ok, we take up positions around the bank. Justin and Mark, you need to clear out the buildings either side of the bank. Ok?” The two men nodded and moved out. Finally Jensen looked at the man with the long case. “Right, Stephen. Go and find yourself a perch.”
The blond-haired man smiled. “No problem, Jensen. I’ve got just the rooftop in mind. I’ll set up and let you know if I can see any movement.” Stephen adjusted the sniper rifle across his back, and ran towards the coffee shop.
Jensen looked round and spotted the sheriff standing, waiting. “All right, guys. You know what to do. Remember. Keep your eyes open and take care.” He nodded as the rest of team melted away to their various positions.
Jensen walked over to the sheriff, and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Special Agent Jensen Ackles, Team Leader of Hostage Rescue Team one.”
The sheriff took Jensen’s hand. “Pleased to meet you, Special Agent Ackles. I’m Sheriff Ronald Adams. If there’s anything you want, you just ask. We’re more than happy to cooperate. I hope we get a peaceful resolution to this terrible situation.” The sheriff took off his hat, and smoothed his hair down, as he looked round for any sign of the media.
“Please, Sheriff, call me Jensen. Now what can you tell me about Ryan Mitchell and his state of mind?” As he spoke, Jensen guided the sheriff towards the Mobile Operations Unit, where Osric and Misha were waiting for them.
When Jensen had gone over to speak to the sheriff, Misha headed over to Ops and knocked on the door on the side of the truck. “Are you decent in there, Osric? Only I’d hate to catch you doing something inappropriate on the web cam. I don’t think Deputy Director Fuller has recovered from that time you mooned him on Skype.” Misha grinned as he heard muffled cursing coming from inside.
The door unlocked and then swung open. “You know damn well I was mooning you. How was I supposed to know you’d forwarded the link to Fuller? One of these day I’m gonna get my revenge. Just remember that.” Osric stepped back and let Misha inside and closed the door.
Misha eased his way round the console, as Osric sat down in front of a wall covered in screens. He slipped off his leather jacket, and dropped it on the chair shoved into the corner. Misha stretched and then looked round. “Ahh, home sweet home. I love what you’ve done with the place.” Misha nodded towards the Funko pop vinyl figures arranged along the desk in front of Osric. He reached over and picked one of them up. “Hmm, Star Lord. So we’re on a Marvel kick this week?” he said, putting Star Lord back on the desk by Groot.
Osric grinned up at him and spun his chair round, and proudly displayed his T-shirt with a Star Lab logo on it. “I’m an equal opportunities fan boy, Misha. You should know that by now.” Osric picked up a headset and handed it to Misha. “I’ve tapped into the bank’s phone lines. The only calls going in or out will come via here and I’m working on blocking the mobile signal as well. Also I’ve gotten hold of the bank’s blueprints, and I’ll patch them through to Kane immediately.” Osric was typing furiously as he spoke to Misha.
Misha slipped the head set on and flicked a switch on the console and heard a ring tone. He waited patiently as the phone kept ringing, then finally there was the sound he’d waited for. It was the sound of someone picking the phone up. “Hello, who am I speaking to?” Misha asked, his voice pitched low and warm.
“Hi, I’m Ryan Mitchell.” His voice was steady and calm and Misha relaxed a little. There was no obvious sign of stress.
“Well, hi there, Ryan. It looks like you and me are going to be spending some time talking to one another. Now can you tell me what happened in the bank this morning, and why you’re locked in there with those people?” Misha spoke softly as he sat down on the floor, and pulled his legs into a lotus position. Now his work began as he tried to get to the bottom of why Ryan had taken hostages, and how to end the situation peacefully.
Over an hour had passed since they arrived on the scene and Mike paced back and forth, watching the crowd as it grew rapidly. Many of the enthralled watchers were filming the ‘action’ on their phones. They weren’t the only ones filming. Not long ago a truck from the local news station had set up, and they were broadcasting live to the studio.
Mike smiled as he paced. “You have to love the digital age. I don’t think we’d even got wheels on the ground before the first pictures were up on Facebook, according to Osric,” he said with a shake of his head. “I just hope they get my best side.” He turned to the side, offering the crowd his profile, as he posed for the cameras.
Mike’s ear piece crackled and he heard a familiar voice. “Rosenbaum, if they find your best side I want to be the first one to know about it. Now quit behaving as if you’re posing for this year’s FBI calendar, and keep your wits about you,” Jensen responded, his irritation at all the cameras pointing at his team bleeding into his voice.
“Jensen, that’s harsh. You know I can multi task. I can watch the crowd and pose at the same time. I think I’d make a great Mr July. I’d look damn good wearing just my boots, helmet and a pair of speedos, and for the ladies I’d make sure I was fully ‘armed’.” Mike hefted his MP5, grinning as he heard pained moans from his team mates.
A deep southern drawl interrupted the moans and cat calls. “Please make him stop! My ears are bleeding. Have you no shame, Rosenbaum? I’m scarred for life here. Hey, Jensen. Is working with Mike covered in our health insurance under trauma counselling?” Kane asked desperately, from his position in the building next door to the bank, as he and his team worked to get vision and sound for Jensen and Misha.
“Sorry, Kane, but working with Mike isn’t covered under PTSD counselling. But if any of you feel the need to have a chat about the stress of working with Mike, I hear Misha’s door is always open.” There was silence and Jensen smirked; he knew how to get his team back into line. It wasn’t as if Misha was disliked, quite the opposite in fact. But it was acknowledged he was the only member of the Crisis Negotiating team, who was as batshit crazy as Mike.
Usually for the sake of public safety and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s ulcer, Misha and Mike were kept apart. But today, due to Tom Welling lecturing on hostage negotiations in Quantico, and Jared still being out of the country, Jeff, the head of Critical Incident Response Group, had no choice but to let them out together. As they’d departed Quantico, Jeff’s warning had rung in Jensen’s ears. “They’re your responsibility, Jensen. I don’t want to hear about hostage takers demanding Pina Coladas, or vegan sushi meals. And for pity’s sake, keep Misha away from any police horses. I don’t want a repeat of that job in Canada, when he decided that Mountie’s horse looked depressed.”
Jensen’s thoughts were disturbed by Stephen. “Guys, as much as I hate to interrupt this entertaining conversation, we got company coming.”
“Please, not more damn media. This place is already turning into a three-ring circus. Hell, we even brought our own clowns. Right, Mike?” Jensen said as he headed out of Ops to join him. Mike grinned at him and bowed with a flourish.
Above the laughter Stephen replied, “No, not more media. It’s a cab and it looks like Jared’s in the back of it.” There was a pause. “I don’t want to worry you guys, but it looks like he’s got a stuffed camel in there with him. And I’m not too sure how Jeff will take seeing Jared, carrying that thing into a hostage situation on the six o’clock news.”
There was a bemused silence and then Mike said, “Does anyone know if the hostage taker has demanded a stuffed camel? Or do you think this is one of Misha’s brilliant diversionary tactics?” Jensen whimpered softly and put his head in his hands.
Just beyond the police cordon, the cab sat with the engine idling. The driver yawned and rubbed his eyes. He’d been at the end of his shift when he’d pulled this fare at the airport. He’d expected a simple run to his passenger’s home, not to end up surrounded by cops. “Ok, buddy, we’re here. Now what?” he asked his passenger through the rear view mirror.
Jared leaned forward and smiled. “Can you wait here a minute? I’ll get us through the road block.”
The cab driver’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “You want me to go through there? I’m not getting paid enough to have my cab shot up by a Fed SWAT team.” The driver said, as he stared nervously at the heavily armed men on the other side of the police tape.
Jared smiled reassuringly at the driver as he opened the door. “Those guys aren’t SWAT, they’re Hostage Rescue Team One. As long as Special Agent Ackles has had his coffee this morning, he’ll just order them to take out your tyres.” At that, Jared climbed out of the cab, and came face to face with a deputy.
The deputy tilted his hat back a little, and Jared saw his a salt-and-pepper moustache quiver as his jaw jutted out. The deputy put his hands on his belt and his middle-aged spread from too many donuts jjggled a little. He had look on his face that said, “Boy, what the hell do you want?”
The deputy spoke to Jared. “Sir, I need you to step back from here. We have a hostage situation ongoing and this area is closed to the public.” The deputy managed to school his features and speak pleasantly enough, but Jared saw the tension in his posture. Add in the way he was resting his hand on the gun on his hip, it didn’t take a skilled negotiator to realize the deputy was less than pleased with the situation he was in and that he’d need careful handling.
Jared dialled his smile up from friendly to charming and began his attack on the deputy’s defences. “Well, officer, I’m here to meet up with some friends and if you’d let me through, I can go and speak to them.” Jared pushed his sunglasses up on top of his head.
The deputy’s eyes narrowed with annoyance, this guy wasn’t getting the message. He was already pissed that the FEDS had been called in and taken over. Now this jerk just wanted to waltz through the cordon. His hand tightened on the butt of his gun, and he stuck out his chin. “Now you listen to me, son. I don‘t give a shit if you’re supposed to be meeting friends for a cappuccino. You need to get back in the cab, and get the hell out of here, mister.” He straightened his back, and glared up at Jared’s smiling face.
Jared sighed and slipped his hand into the back pocket of his jeans. He hated having to do the whole badge waving thing, but with the cop’s attitude he needed to put himself on an official footing. “I’m Special Agent Jared Padalecki, and I’m here to join my team.” Jared showed his ID to the deputy.
The man looked him up and down, trying to reconcile Jared’s shaggy brown hair, T-shirt, jeans and boots combo with the usual image of a suit-wearing FED. Then he looked beyond Jared, into the back of the cab at the large stuffed animal occupying most of the back seat. He raised an eyebrow in curiosity at Jared’s travel companion.
Jared ignored the look and slid his badge back into his pocket. He leant back against the cab, calculating how to deal with the small town police officer. He could sense the man’s unease at the presence of the federal government and decided to use it to his advantage. “I sympathize with you, man. You guys do a great job of keeping the peace here. And yet at the first sign of trouble, they send in the FEDS. We just sweep in and take over. No wonder you’re pissed. I know I’d be.”
Jared glanced over at the members of the Hostage Rescue Team One, standing beside the mobile Ops unit, and offered up a silent apology for what he was about to say. “Not only do we take over, but we’ve brought the gung ho glory guys with us. I bet there’s nothing wrong with your SWAT team. So why bring them? Am I right, officer?” Jared stretched out his hand in friendship. “I’m sorry I didn’t get your name,” he said earnestly, and watched a subtle shift in the man’s posture. He was no longer so defensive, now more open and receptive to Jared’s overtures of friendship.
“I’m Deputy Peter Hammond. Pleased to meet you, Special Agent Padalecki. It’s good to meet a FED who shows respect to us poor cops.” Deputy Hammond took Jared’s hand and gave it a firm shake.
“Deputy Hammond, or can I call you Peter?” Jared said with a bright smile, patting the deputy lightly on the shoulder when he gave Jared permission to use his first name. “Peter, I’m pleased to meet you. Now would you mind telling me what’s going on over there? I’ve just come back from a negotiating job in Columbia, and my boss diverted me here. I hate walking in blind and have those guys from Hostage Rescue lord it over me.” Jared said, skilfully mirroring the posture of his new friend, leaning forward slightly as if he was sharing a big secret with him.
Peter snorted contemptuously. “Son, that don’t surprise me none. They came roaring in here shouting about perimeters and clearing the area. They never once asked us what the hell was going on. If they had, they’d know Ryan wouldn’t hurt a damn fly. There’s only so much a man can take before he snaps. Damn bank.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels.
Jared smiled sympathetically and nodded. He knew there was no way Jensen and his team would behave like that. Jensen was always professional in his dealings with local police, and if Jensen hadn’t asked about the history of man holding hostages in the bank, then Misha most certainly would’ve.
Deputy Hammond wasn’t the first cop to have his feathers ruffled by the arrival of the Crisis Negotiation team, and he wouldn’t be the last. But with a little more patience, Jared knew he’d find out all about Ryan very soon. Jared relaxed and his smile broadened, as he prepared to spend a little quality time with Peter.
“What’s he doing now?” Jensen asked Stephen, as he watched Jared throw his head back and laugh.
“It looks like he’s making a new friend, and knowing Jared he’s probably already got himself invited to Thanksgiving. Hang on. It looks like we’ve got movement,” the sniper answered his team leader.
“Somebody tell me how he does it? Deputy Hammond looked like he was sucking on a lemon, without the benefit of a shot of tequila when I asked him to put up a perimeter,” Mike said in wonder.
“That’s easy. It’s because Jared’s a great guy, and you’re an asshole.” Kane said to a chorus of laughter.
Mike nodded. “Hey, I think I’m adorable, but if that’s the way you guys feel, and then I take comfort from Jared not having my good looks and stunning physique. I suppose he has to have something going for him. Poor guy,” he added solemnly.
“All that and modest too. How do you do it, Mike?” Jensen said as his radio crackled into life. “Yes, Deputy Hammond. What can I do for you?”
“I got one of your agents waiting on you. A Jared Padalecki? Can I send him through, or do you want me to keep him here?” Deputy Hammond sounded more than a little hopeful that Jensen would refuse Jared entry through the road block.
Mike leaned closer Jared. “I think he wants to extend his play date with Jared. Shall we leave them together or should we be reunited with our favourite Moose?”
Jensen grinned and shook his head at Mike. “You can let him through, Deputy Hammond. Thank you for your assistance.” Then Jensen walked forward, ready to meet the cab. As it drove toward Jensen, he guided them down past Ops, out of sight of the watching news crew.
Jensen waited patiently as Jared climbed out of the cab and paid the driver. Jared looked over at Jensen with a smile. “Hey, Jensen. While I’m getting my bag out of the trunk, would you mind getting Albie out of the cab for me, please?”
Jensen moved closer and looked at Jared. “Who the hell is Albie?”
Jared slammed the trunk shut. “Albie the Alpaca! I brought him for the team. I think he’d make a great mascot.” Jared pointed through the rear windshield at the stuffed animal on the back seat.
Jensen swung his gun onto his hip, and leant into the cab. He tugged ineffectually at the large stuffed animal. “Crap, Jared. How big is this thing? Are you sure you didn’t smuggle a real Alpaca back from Columbia with you?” Jensen said, his voice muffled as he leant further into the cab’s interior and discovered ‘Albie’ was wearing a seat belt. “Seriously, Jay, a seat belt?”
Jared stood beside Jensen and shrugged. “I didn’t want anything bad to happen to him on the way from the airport. You know how the cab drivers are.” He waved at the driver, who scowled in the mirror at him.
Jensen rolled his eyes and finally managed to pull Albie free. He staggered backwards, holding the large stuffed animal to his chest. “Mike and Kane are gonna freak! They thought you were bringing some premium tequila back for them.”
Jared swung his bag onto his shoulder. “I was thinking of their livers, and your sanity. Besides, I know Osric and Misha will go mad over him. I fully expect to see Albie dressed in different outfits, and posed in the various departments of Quantico every week. I know those two will relish the challenge of smuggling Albie into the Director’s office.”
Jensen gave a chuckle and hefted Albie a little higher, before speaking into his headset. “Hey, Osric. Jared’s brought you and Misha a little gift. Can we get him inside Ops without the news crew spotting him?”
There was a moment of silence and then Osric started to babble excitedly. “Jared’s brought us a present? Oh wow, hold on. We’re sending someone out to speak to the news crew to brief them. Give them an official statement, rather than let them keep making stuff up by talking to the interested bystanders.”
Jensen stood close to Jared, and smiled up at his friend. “Osric’s sending someone to brief the press, to give us a chance to sneak Albie into his new home. I wonder who he’ll send.” Jensen tensed. “Oh god. I hope he doesn’t send Misha. Remember what happened last time he briefed the press?” Jensen absently squeezed Albie tighter in fear.
“Personally I thought Misha’s comments to the CNN reporter about the kale shortage in Lithuania were very insightful. The guy should never have asked if Misha ever felt personally responsible for a hostage taker’s death, when negotiation fails and you guys go blasting your way in.” Jared said thoughtfully, as he saw a silver-haired man exit Ops and head towards the press.
Jensen grimaced. “For the last time, we don’t go blasting our way in. We make surgical strikes in response to deteriorating situations.” He looked at the way Jared was smirking at him. “Ok, we occasionally go blasting in, but that reporter was a total jackass and got everything he deserved. Although I thought Jeff was going to have a stroke when he saw the interview later.” Jensen saw the Sheriff reach the news crew and start talking. “At least we don’t need legal on standby for the law suit this time.”
“Ok, Jen. Come on through the side door. The news crew are busy turning Sherriff Adams into a star.” The door swung open and Osric appeared and waved them inside.
They reached Osric and slipped inside unseen. The young man smiled in delight as he took Albie off Jensen. “Thanks, Jay. He’s great. I’ll make sure he has pride of place in my office back at Quantico.”
Jared reached out and ruffled the younger man’s unruly short black hair. “No problem, Osric. I’m glad you like Albie.” Jared glanced round the cramped quarters. “I’m surprised to see you here, though. I thought Jeff kept you chained to your desk back at base.”
“Personally, Jared, I don’t wish to know what kind of kinky behaviour our boss engages in with our young computer genius. How was Columbia? I thought you were going to be debriefed in the LA field office.”
Jared looked round, wondering where the hell the voice was coming from, and then he saw a sandal poking out beyond the end of the communication console. He leant over to see Misha sitting in lotus position, with his back against it.
Misha slowly unfolded his legs and got up off the floor. He stood, stretched languorously, then took Jared’s hand, before pulling him in close for a hug
Jared smiled brightly at the slightly dishevelled agent; Misha’s keen blue eyes twinkled warmly as he released his friend and patted him on the shoulder. “Columbia was hot, humid and frustrating as hell. But to be fair, drug lords are fairly easy to negotiate with as long as you massage their egos. It only took me three days of telling the Head of the Juarez cartel how powerful he was, before he released the two oil workers he’d snatched for accidentally trespassing on his land.” Jared shrugged, a self-deprecating smile on his face. “I admit the thought of being debriefed in LA was a much scarier prospect. Deputy Director Fuller was going to sit in, and I don’t think he likes me all that much. I was so damn happy when Jeff diverted me here. I owe him big time for getting me out of that.”
Misha laughed. “If it helps, Deputy Director Fuller doesn’t like anyone, but he does have an unhealthy interest in Hilary Clinton. If she ever becomes president, I fully expect we’ll have to genuflect to her picture each morning as we come into work.” Misha suddenly held up his hand.
“Hello, Ryan. I was hoping to hear from you again. Is everyone still ok? Do you need anything or would you like to keep talking to me about the sad state of baseball this year?” Misha’s voice was low and soothing, as he concentrated on the man speaking to him.
Jared felt a tap on his shoulder and turned round. Osric passed him a headset. He slipped it on and heard Ryan Mitchell’s voice for the first time. “Everyone is still fine, although the Red Sox suck majorly this year and need all the help they can get.” Jared was pleased that Ryan sounded so calm; there was nothing worse than a hostage taker losing control.
“It’s good to hear everyone is still doing fine. Listen, you’ve been in there a while now. Is there anything you need?” Misha prompted Ryan gently.
There was silence and then Ryan spoke again, “Misha, how about some coffee and sandwiches for us?”
“Anything you like, Ryan, except no pickles on the sandwiches. I can’t stand pickles.” Misha said with a shudder.
There was laughter. “Ok man, no pickles. We’ll talk when we’ve got the food. Speak to ya soon, Misha” The line went dead and Misha turned back to Jared and Jensen.
“Do we know how we’re doing for sound and visual inside the bank?” Jared asked the other two agents.
“Kane and the guys got a line into the lobby of the bank thirty a minutes ago. Only trouble is there’s no one home.” Osric pointed to the screen showing an empty space.
Jared looked at the screen. Osric was right, the lobby was empty. It looked like Ryan was keeping the hostages in the offices. He was impressed. Most hostage takers tended to keep everyone in one place. Separating the hostages into different rooms made it harder for prospective rescuers.
He sighed. “Well, I suppose it would’ve been too easy to hope Gunnery Sergeant Mitchell would keep everyone together in the lobby.”
Misha and Jensen froze and turned to Jared. “Ok, Jay. What have you found out about Ryan? We’ve only just gotten hold of his records.”
Jared folded his arms and leant against Osric’s crowded work space. “Not all that much. Just that up until last year Ryan was a Marine. He served two tours in Afghanistan and was decorated for bravery. When he finished his last tour he came home and married his high-school sweetheart, Nicole Greene who’s expecting their first child. Everything was fine until Ryan was laid off from his job six months ago. Since then he’s been struggling to make the mortgage repayments. Have I missed anything?”
Jensen stared at Jared, opened mouthed. “Son of a bitch! How the hell did you find all that out in five minutes. It took us nearly two hours to get that much from Ryan himself.” Jensen rolled his eyes. “Let me guess. Deputy Hammond. Right?” Jared grinned and nodded.
“What else did your new best friend tell you? Jensen asked.
Jared glanced over at the screen. “Well, according to Peter, Ryan was going to the bank today to talk to Doug Eckhart, the guy in charge of foreclosures. And according to the dear deputy, Mr Doug Eckhart is a douchebag. A man who loves his job a little too much, and gets a kick out of throwing good kids out onto the street. So Ryan’s been under a lot of pressure, trying to keep Doug at bay and a roof over his family’s head.”
Jensen swore softly. “Wonderful! At least now we know Ryan’s visit to dear old Doug was probably the trigger in the hostage crisis.” Jensen took off his helmet, and ran his fingers through his short hair in frustration.
Jared nodded towards the screen. “How did this happen? Does anyone know?” Jared asked as Jensen stood beside him.
“I went to the coffee shop earlier and interrupted Deputy Crane, as he was enjoying his second plate of muffins. He told me he saw Ryan enter the bank, and shortly after there was a shot and screams. He went over to investigate and the bank manager ran into him. Deputy Crane saw Ryan lock the door and close the blinds.” He watched a frown cross Jared’s face. “What are you thinking, Jay?” He trusted Jared and his instincts and right now his friend looked concerned.
Jared ran his fingers through his chocolate coloured hair and sighed. “I don’t know. This just doesn’t feel right. If it wasn’t for the fact Ryan’s talking to Misha, I’d almost believe Ryan wasn’t the bank robber. I got the impression that Ryan is a local hero, and it will hit the town hard if we have to take him down.” Jared turned to the other negotiator. “Do you think you can talk him down, Misha? Only I’d hate to see him wheeled out of here in a body bag.” Jared asked and waited for Misha’s appraisal of the man inside the bank.
Misha nodded thoughtfully. “I think I can talk him down, he really doesn’t want to hurt anyone. While I was talking to Ryan, he told me all he’d wanted was to understand why this is happening to him and his family. He couldn’t understand why the bank decided to foreclose. He thought he’d gotten an agreement from Mr Williams to reduce his mortgage payments, until he’d got another job or reenlisted. So when he turned up for his appointment with Doug, and found out he was about to be evicted, that’s when things went to hell.”
There was silence and then finally Jensen spoke. “God, I hate jobs like this. Seeing a man who served his country lose everything. What kind of thanks is that? Is it wrong of me not to want to take him off to jail when all this is over?” he said sadly as he scrubbed his hand over his face.
Misha shook his head. “I know what you mean, Jensen. But the moment Ryan walked into that bank with a gun, he took away our options. We haven’t got a choice, no matter how much we sympathise with him. We just need to make sure everyone makes it out of that bank in one piece,” Misha said seriously.
The mood had turned sombre and Jensen nodded slowly. “I know, but it still sucks. I better go and sort out the food. Can you tell Ryan it will be about thirty minutes?” Jensen picked up his helmet and put it on, then he walked out of the truck.
Jared watched as Misha relayed Jensen’s message to Ryan. He pulled up a chair and sat down beside Osric, as he began to familiarize himself with the official version of Ryan’s history. When he read the files he agreed with Jensen. This kind of situation was crappy.
Ryan Mitchell’s file made for very interesting reading; he was a decorated Marine and family man. There was nothing in his military records that would suggest this kind of behaviour. Ryan was the epitome of grace under pressure. So why had he suddenly snapped today? Every psych evaluation agreed. If ever there was a man who could deal with life after the military, it was Mitchell.
There was something else here. Jared’s gut told him they weren’t seeing the whole story. But at the moment he couldn’t figure out exactly what he was missing. With that in mind he returned to reading Ryan’s files to try and gain a better understanding of events.
The three agents sat in silence as they waited for the food to be delivered. Jared sat reading, Osric continued to compile data on Ryan and his hostages, and Misha once again sat on the floor with his eyes closed in meditation.
The silence was shattered by Mike’s voice. “Ok guys, we’ve taken delivery of the food. One of the hostages just opened the door, and relayed that Ryan wants a diner employee to deliver the food.”
Misha snorted as he stood up. “Yeah, right. I’m not giving him another hostage. Just because Ryan’s possibly the most reasonable hostage taker I’ve ever dealt with, it doesn’t mean I’m letting him get his hands on another member of the public.” Misha was just about to contact Ryan, when he spotted movement.
Misha stared at the screen in shock and threw his hands in the air. “I don’t fucking believe it! Who’s the guy taking the sandwiches to the front door? What the hell is Jensen playing at, letting him in there? He knows the protocol in these situations.” He howled in frustration.
Before Jared could respond, there was movement from inside the bank. Suddenly the men watching the doors tensed, and raised their guns in readiness.
“Stand down, guys. It’s a bank teller. I can’t see our hostage taker. This guy’s good. He’s not giving me a clear shot.” Stephen said and the team relaxed a little.
Jared took control of one of the cameras on the truck, and started to search for Jensen. He had a bad feeling about who the delivery man was. The man was carrying a large box towards the bank, and Jared realized he knew those broad shoulders, and bow legs only too well. “Hey, Misha. Does our friendly neighbourhood diner employee look familiar to you?” he asked wearily.
Misha concentrated on the man moving slowly towards the bank. He was over six feet tall, wearing a ball cap and glasses, his T-shirt clung to his broad shoulders like a second skin. His worn jeans fitted snugly, accentuating the bow of the man’s legs. Misha groaned in frustration. “Shit. Seriously? Jensen, you’d better be wearing your ear piece.” Misha growled, before addressing the team leader directly. “I know you think this is a cunning disguise, but trust me, I’d know your walk anywhere.”
“Really, Misha? Is there something you’d like to tell me?” Jensen said in a low seductive drawl.
“Yeah. I’d like to declare my undying love and devotion, if it means you’ll get your muscle-bound ass out of there. Right fucking now. Before you screw up all my hard work!” Misha said, dragging his fingers through his unruly dark hair, making it stick up more than usual.
“Relax, Misha. I’m not going to storm the bank single-handedly. I just want to have a quick peek inside, and thank you for saying that about my ass. I knew all those hours training to tackle bad guys would pay off eventually. Osric, are you receiving visual yet?” Jensen said, and brought his hand to his face, as he adjusted the thick-rimmed glasses he was wearing.
Jared looked at a screen in front of Osric, and suddenly there was a close-up of the bank doors. “The visual’s perfect, Jensen. See. I told you the glasses would work.” Osric said with a smile
Jared rolled his eyes. “Great! Spy glasses! Listen to me, Jason Bourne. Just get your ass back here as soon as you’ve delivered the food. Got me?” Jared knew the team leader would never do anything to endanger either the hostages, or even the hostage taker. But sometimes he was less than careful about his own safety, and every time he pulled a stunt like this Jared aged about ten years. By his reckoning he was over two hundred years old now.
“Yes, mom. I promise to be back before supper and I’ll get my homework done. Don’t worry, Jay. I know the drill.” Jensen said softly, as he stopped six foot away from the doors, as instructed by Ryan.
Jared didn’t take his eyes off the screen, watching as the bank teller who’d spoken to Mike appeared and looked over her shoulder at someone inside. Then she reached up and unbolted the doors again. Jared frowned slightly. The teller seemed quite calm, in fact she was almost too calm. Usually there were obvious signs of stress, but this woman was remarkably composed, under the circumstances.
Jared’s unease grew. He always trusted his instincts, but right now his gut was telling him to get Jensen away from the bank. He grabbed for his headset and put it on.
In front of the bank, Jensen was concentrating on what he could make out inside. Damn! Ryan really was good. The lights were off and all the blinds pulled down, effectively blinding Stephen or anyone trying to get a look inside the building. He knew from their camera feed Ryan was keeping the hostages away from the lobby. That left the manager’s, Doug’s office, or the staff break room. It was even possible Ryan had put them in the vault. The barred doors to the room where the vault was, were old fashioned and manually lockable. God, Jensen hoped it wasn’t there. The room would be easy to defend, and perfect for a suicide by cop scenario, if Ryan felt he had no other option.
The sound of bolts being drawn drew Jensen’s attention back to the doors, just as Jared started to speak frantically. “Jen, Jen, for god’s sake, step back now.” Jensen automatically took a step backwards, in response to the urgency in the negotiator’s voice. He started to turn as the doors opened and then he stopped, and stared past the teller’s right shoulder.
In Ops Jared, Misha and Osric saw Jensen freeze. “What the hell is Jensen doing? You told him to get out of there.” Misha asked, ready to berate the team leader.
Osric leant forward, and tried to sharpen the image from the camera in Jensen’s glasses. “Err guys. I don’t want to worry you, but there’s a gun pointing at Jensen.”