Title: Crisis Negotiations
Fandom/Genre: Supernatural RPF/ AU
Word Count: 12000.
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.
Doug sat bolt upright. “What are you talking about? Why would I spend the next twenty years in prison?” he squeaked fearfully, his eyes darting from side to side.
"Jensen, what the hell are you playing at?" Jared added his voice to Doug's question.
Jensen sighed and rubbed at his forehead. Damn, he was getting a headache. "Ok, Doug, due to the fact Frank and Joshua could burst in here at any second and start shooting, I'm going to cut to the chase.” Jensen made a show of looking at his watch before he continued. “Normally my friend, Jared would be the one conducting the interrogation. He’d take his time getting to know you, find out what makes you tick. Then before you knew it, he’d get you to confess to your part in conning the town, and evicting those poor folks tearing your boss’s office apart,” he finished with a smile.
Doug went white. “I’d be confessing to what? I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about,” he managed indignantly.
Jensen shrugged. “Hey, don’t look at me like that. Jared’s the brains of the outfit. I was just sent in here to check on how the hostages were. Last I heard, Jared was talking about cutting a deal with Ted.” Jensen shrugged dismissively. “Looks like you’re going to find out just how good you look in orange. Unless you feel like telling me your side of the story, Doug.”
Jared watched the shaken man through the camera on Jensen’s glasses. Doug might be proclaiming his innocence verbally, but his body language was telling a different story. Sweat rolled down Doug’s face, and he kept wringing his hands. Jared leant forward. "Good one, Jen, you’ve got him rattled. Hit him with Redmaine Construction, and see what he says.”
Jensen listened to what Jared said to him, and then gave a dramatic sigh. “Let’s try this again, shall we? You’ve been evicting people, and then selling their homes to Redmaine Construction at a huge profit. Tell me, Doug, do you think they’ll name a part of the Culpepper Mall after you?”
Ryan looked up. “You piece of crap. I ought to drag your worthless ass into Ted’s office. Let the folks in there rip you to pieces.”
Jensen smiled sweetly at Doug’s horrified expression. He stood up. “You know, Ryan, that’s an excellent idea. Shall we?” Jensen said, as Ryan stood beside him.
Inside Ops, Jared grinned. “Oh man, that was perfect!” He’d seen the fear in Doug’s his eyes, when Jensen threatened to take him to confront the other hostages. As far as Jared was concerned, his reaction confirmed Doug’s guilt. But Jared knew they’d need more than a collection of physiological responses to convict Doug and his partner Ted.
Jensen nodded to Ryan, and they took hold of Doug’s arms. Doug started to babble. “Please, don’t. I swear none of this was my idea. It was all Ted. He heard about that damn mall and saw a way to make money. He kept saying, ‘don’t worry, Doug’ we’ll put the company in our wives’ names. It’s foolproof and we’ll be gone before the idiots in town figure it out. And like an idiot I fell for it.” Doug grabbed hold of Jensen’s arm. “I want to cut a deal!”
Jensen brushed Doug’s hand away in disgust. “Osric, tell me you got that?” he asked as he watched the man slump to the floor.
Osric sat, ploughing his way through the details of Doug and Ted’s lives. “I’ll give you three guesses what Sarah Williams and Janet Eckhart’s maiden names are.”
Misha tapped his chin with his fingers, and stared into space. “Hmmm that’s a tough one.” Then he clicked his fingers. “Could it possibly be Brookes and Dawes?” Misha asked with a smile.
“Close, but no cigar! It’s Brookes and Dawson. Looks like we’ve got confirmation of who’s behind Dawbrookes Consulting now,” Osric crowed triumphantly.
Jared grinned and high-fived Misha, at last they were getting somewhere. “That answers that little mystery. Now all we need to do, is figure out where four million dollars has vanished to. Well, Osric?” Jared asked the technical analyst.
Osric frowned. “From what I’ve managed to discover so far, Redmaine Construction has been moving funds through various shell corporations.”
Osric flicked through screen after screen of information, and his face lit up in a smile. “Well, gentlemen, it appears we’ve just wandered into Die Hard territory.” Osric glanced up from his screen. “Hey Jensen, you’re not running around in the bank, wearing a blood-covered wife beater without your boots on, are you?”
“God, I hope not! Kane tells me they have to call in toxic waste disposal teams to deal with Jensen’s boots after missions.” Misha answered with a grin.
“Ha, ha, Misha. Osric, what did you mean about Die Hard?” Jensen tried to bring the conversation back on track.
“Remember what Hans and Co were after in Die Hard?”
“Yeah, they wanted the leadership of Asian Dawn released, didn’t they?” Jensen asked dryly.
Osric snorted. “Ok, point taken. Hans and his guys were after Bearer Bonds. And by the looks of it, Phil’s companies have been converting cash into bonds for quite some time.” Osric swung round in his chair, and addressed the three men listening. “They’re the perfect untraceable payment, and I’m following the latest batch through Lichtenstein at the moment. And before you guys ask, I’ve got no idea where they go after. Or which offshore account Ted and Doug are stashing them in.”
Jensen looked down at Doug’s dejected figure and spoke quietly. “Osric, keep following the money, we need to figure out where it ends up.”
In Ops Jared was puzzled by something. “We’ve got confirmation of why the hostages are tearing the bank apart. Surely Doug and Ted wouldn’t be dumb enough to leave evidence of their crime lying about in the bank, would they?” he asked the room in general.
Inside the bank, Jensen was thinking the same thing. That this whole bank robbery, and search for evidence was just a distraction, while Frank and his ‘real’ partner, searched for something else.
Jensen’s thoughts were disturbed by the sound of footsteps getting closer. He half hoped it was going to be Frank, then he could end this right now. He said softly, “Jay, I’ve got to go, someone’s coming.”
Jared tensed. “Ok Jen, be careful.”
Jensen smiled as he positioned himself in the corner of the office behind the door. “I’m always careful, Jay, you should know that by now.” he said quietly, as the footsteps grew louder.
“What I know is, you have an alarming propensity for hurling yourself head first into danger, and giving me a heart attack. And I’m way too young and handsome to be having a heart attack.” Jared replied.
“You know I hate it when you use big words, and I don't have a dictionary with me. You’ll just have to sit me down, and explain them to me later.” Jensen said as he looked over at Ryan.
Ryan had settled himself back on the floor in front of Doug’s desk, his hands crossed in front of him, as if he was still tied up. The Ex-Marine nodded and looked at the door. Jensen checked that Doug was still sitting in his corner. The rumpled looking man stared down at the floor, obviously wondering where it had all gone wrong for him.
Jensen’s attention snapped back to the door, as he absently twirled the letter opener round in his fingers. As the door opened, Jensen gripped the handle tightly.
Joshua walked into the room and closed the door, keeping his eyes on Ryan. “Hey Ryan, are you alright? You’re not going to have to sit here much longer. We’ve nearly finished searching the office.” He moved closer to Ryan, and before the older man could react, Jensen stepped behind Joshua, and pushed the point of the blade up under his chin.
Joshua tensed. “What the?” he spluttered.
“Ryan, get the gun.” Ryan sprang to his feet, and took the shotgun from his friend with an apologetic look in his eye. “Put your hands on your head, walk over to the desk and get down on your knees,” Jensen ordered quietly.
As Joshua did as he was told, Jensen took the shotgun from Ryan. On a whim, Jensen ejected one of the shotgun’s shells. He looked at the shell and smiled grimly, and then Jensen heard a gasp. Joshua was on his knees, and was looking up at him in shock.
"What the hell happened to you, son? We should get you to a doctor." Joshua took his hands off his head, and went to stand up.
Ryan stood beside him, and put a hand on his shoulder. "Let me put it like this, Josh. Frank happened to Special Agent Ackles.”
Joshua stared blankly at Jensen, unable to come to terms with what he was seeing. “Oh my god, you’re a federal agent? Frank promised me no one would get hurt.”
Jensen nodded slowly, and decided to introduce himself properly. “Hi, I’m Special Agent Jensen Ackles. And I hate to have tell you, Joshua, I think Frank might have lied about not hurting anyone.”
Joshua turned and grabbed hold of Ryan’s hand. “I swear to you, Ryan, we only did this to find the proof that Mr Williams and Mr Eckhart conned us out of our homes,” he said, close to tears.
Ryan looked at the older man with fond frustration.” Damn it, Josh, I understand why you did it. But making everyone think the bank was being robbed? That was just goddamn stupid.” Ryan dropped to his knees by his friend, and then pointed at Jensen. “You realize that Jensen and his team could’ve stormed the place? What would’ve happened to you, then?”
Joshua looked down at the floor, and Jensen was reminded of a schoolboy being reprimanded by his school principal. If the situation hadn’t been so serious, Joshua’s reaction would’ve been comical. “If you thought this was stupid, why did you help us, then?” he asked quietly.
Ryan reached out, put his hand on the back of Joshua’s neck and pulled him closer. “Why did I help you? I helped because Frank told me he’d put a bullet between your eyes if I didn’t.” Ryan’s voice cracked with emotion. “Frank told me I had to convince the sheriff and the FBI I was robbing the bank on my own.”
Jensen watched the two men, and he was more than a little impressed with Ryan. The man had guts, he’d put himself directly in the line of fire to protect his friends. He’d managed to keep both Frank and his team at bay with his actions.
Jensen walked over to Joshua and crouched beside him. “Listen, Joshua, I get why you and your friends did this. And I promise, Ryan isn’t in any trouble, but right now, I need to know where Frank is. Was he searching Mr Williams’ office with you?” Jensen asked.
Joshua shook his head. “No, he wasn’t. He’s searching the archives down in the basement.”
“What archives in the basement? There’s nothing down there but dust, he was wasting your time. Looks like Frank’s taken you for a ride. I’m really going to look forward to your trial, Joshua.” Doug sneered nastily.
“You know what, Doug? If I was you I’d keep my mouth shut. It’s because of yours and Ted’s greed, that these people are in the mess they’re in.” Jensen glanced over his shoulder, and glared at Doug to silence him.
“You know, I think, Doug is protesting a little too much. Don’t you, Jensen?” Jared said, watching Doug through Jensen’s glasses. The colour had drained from Doug’s face when the basement was mentioned.
Jared turned to the technical analyst. “Osric, pull up those blueprints again. I think we need to take a look at the lower levels of the bank. And while you’re at it, can you take a closer look at Frank for me?”
“Jay, I hate to say this, Frank isn’t on the list.” Osric said, as his fingers hovered over the keys.
Jared spun round and looked at Osric, and suddenly he realized what had been bothering him about the list. He hadn’t seen Frank’s name on it. “Jensen, we need Frank’s surname, now!”
Jensen turned to the Ex-Marine. “Ryan, do you know Frank’s surname? My colleagues want to look into his record.”
Before Ryan could respond, Joshua answered instead. “His name’s Frank Evans. When he was a kid he always had a surefire get-rich-quick scheme. He left town a few years ago to make his fortune, so he said. Then recently I started to see him around town. I thought he’d settled down a little. He'd even started to date....."
Jensen held up his hand. "Hold on, Josh, my friends have got some information about Frank for me."
“I’m bringing up Frank’s rap sheet for you now, Jared.” Osric said, as Frank's arrest record appeared on screen
Jared looked at the screen, and reviewed Frank’s greatest hits. Then he read the highlights out to Jensen. “After Frank left Culpepper, he led a life of petty crime. It was mostly property and lonely heart scams. He seems to favour fleecing unsuspecting women out of their life savings,” Jared snorted. “Frank’s a real prince among men, isn’t he?” Jared commented to his friends. “The highlight of Frank’s career so far, is he’s been a person of interest in several high-end robberies. It looks like Frank finally found a career that suited him. He’s a safecracker.” Jared finished Frank’s resume and paused, as his eyes widened with shock. “Holy shit!” he exclaimed loudly.
He heard Jensen laugh. “Yeah, Jay, it just hit me as well! Frank and his partner think Ted and Doug’s money’s in the bank. That’s why he’s really here, not to help Joshua and the others find evidence.” Jensen realized that for Frank, this whole situation was like Christmas. It was the perfect opportunity to rip off a bank and get clean away with it. It wasn’t as if Doug and Ted could report the theft to the authorities.
Jared was looking at the view from the fibre optic camera. The area in front of the vault was clear, and had been since Frank had dragged Jensen out of the lobby. “Jen, if Frank is robbing the bank, how’s he going to get out there with the money? Does he think he’s just going to walk out of here, with the other hostages?” Jared wondered out loud.
Jensen huffed out a breath and rolled his neck, his headache was getting worse. ”Jay, I just don’t know, he must have an exit strategy. The guy’s got a partner on the outside and a……oh shit, seriously?” Jensen said in exasperation. “He’s going to get his girlfriend to carry it out, isn’t he?”
In Ops Misha and Osric looked at one another, and then they searched frantically through the raw data they’d amassed on the hostages.
“If we’re thinking there’s an inside woman, we’ve got two candidates,” Osric said, pulling up the two tellers’ driving licenses. “The lady on the right is Jo Tyler, and the one on the left is Miriam Addis.”
Jared looked at the licenses. “Miriam’s the teller who opened the door, right?” He recalled how calm Miriam had seemed, even when she was being threatened by a gun. “Is Miriam married?”
Misha answered, "According to her driver’s license she’s single."
Osric butted in, “Yeah, but according to her Facebook status and Pinterest page she’s in lurve. If the collection of wedding dresses, shoes and flowers is anything to go by.”
Jensen had a bad feeling about who Miriam was dating. “Guys, is it me, or is Miriam just Frank’s type?” Jensen thought about the teller who’d let him into the bank. A petite woman in her fifties, with her hair pulled back in a bun and wire-framed glasses. A quiet kind of woman, always the friend and never the girlfriend.
Osric found a picture of Miriam and her new beau, and put it on screen. Misha looked at it, and despite the lack of a beard and glasses, he was fairly certain it was the same man who’d beaten the crap out of Jensen in the bank. “Hey Jensen, you were right. Miriam’s dream man is a con artist and bank robber on the side.” Misha frowned at the picture where Miriam looked utterly besotted with her handsome boyfriend.
As Jensen had been talking to his friends, he watched the three men in the room with him. Ryan smiled at him, and Joshua glared at Doug. Doug’s day just kept getting worse, as the grey-faced man slumped even further down the wall, knowing that his nest egg could be about to vanish. Jensen looked at Joshua. “Let me guess. Frank’s dating Miriam, right?”
Joshua looked miserable as he nodded. “It was Miriam who came to me, and told me all about how the town was being conned. She said she found out about it, and couldn’t live with the guilt anymore.”
“What was Frank’s role in all of this?” Jensen asked the distraught man.
“Frank said he’d seen this kind of thing before. The bastard even confessed to being a part of something like it. But now with the love of a good woman, he’d put all of that behind him. He kept saying it was a shame we couldn’t get into the bank, so we could search it.”
Jensen looked at him sympathetically. “It was your idea to stage the robbery, wasn’t it?”
Joshua managed a weak smile. “Actually it was my friend, Mack. He was so pissed about his granddaughter losing her home.” Joshua rubbed his hand down his face. “Doug was right, Frank played us from the start,” he said despondently.
“Yeah, I’m afraid Frank did. I’m so sorry about that, Joshua,” Jensen said, as Ryan put his arm around his friend.
Jared had been listening and now spoke to Jensen. “Ok, so Miriam is another victim of one of Frank’s cons. He romances her, and she tells him all about the bank where she works, including its dirty little secrets. But it still doesn’t tell us where Frank is.”
Jensen rubbed the back of his neck tiredly. “You’re right, Jay, it doesn’t.” Jensen looked over at Joshua. “Josh, do you know if this bank’s got a second vault?”
Joshua stared at him for a few moments, and then started to smile. “I don’t, but I know a man who might. Mack’s in here, and back in the day he worked in construction. He’s either helped build, or refurbish most of the town.”
Ryan grinned excitedly. “What the hell are we waitin’ for?”
Down in the vault, Frank was celebrating. The drill had done its work and the safe was open. He’d stood and stared at the stacks of bearer bonds and smiled. He had one more thing to do. He walked over to the trapdoor in the corner of the room and looked down at the heavy chains and padlocks, criss-crossing it. “Child’s play,” he said as he knelt down and got to work. A few minutes later a familiar voice spoke to him.
“Are you in the safe yet? I’m getting ready to move out to meet you,” Ty asked his partner, adjusting the pack on his shoulders as he walked through town.
“Blue Leader, we are in the money. Get your ass in gear. I’ll be out of here in under ten minutes. Are you sure that the FEDS won’t follow us?” Frank asked, as he loaded the bearer bonds into the large duffle bag he’d brought with him.
Ty smiled as he lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. “I promise, brother, our federal friends are going to be real busy very soon.” Ty looked over his shoulder in the direction of the coffee shop, knowing the first floor would soon be ablaze, eradicating any trace of his presence in the room. He smiled and whistled a happy tune as he walked, knowing he would be long gone before the alarm was raised.
Without Jensen asking him to, Ryan headed over to Doug and pulled him to his feet, “Come on, Doug, we’re going for a walk.”
Jensen turned towards the door. “Osric, is the coast clear?”
“You’re good to go, Jensen, there’s no sign of Frank in the lobby,” Osric told him.
He pulled open the door and stepped into the lobby, relieved he didn’t to have to confront Frank with a gun, loaded with blanks. Jensen quickly led the way to Ted’s office. “Joshua, you go in first. I don’t want to spook your friends.”
Joshua nodded and walked inside, closely followed by Ryan, Doug and Jensen. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at the group. “Joshua, what the hell is he doing in here?” an elderly man asked, pointing at Doug.
“Mack, stop what you’re doing, we’ve been conned.” Joshua told his friend.
“You’re tellin’ me we’ve been conned, and there’s the crook that did it!” Mack said stubbornly, as he pointed at Doug.
Jensen stepped out from behind Doug, and Mack gasped in shock. “What the hell happened to him?”
Joshua walked over and took Mack by the arm. “Listen to me, Mack, we’ve been conned by Frank. He’s not down in the archives, looking for evidence like he said. He’s in the bank trying to steal Ted and Doug’s money. Special Agent Ackles over there, wants to know if there’s another vault down there.”
Mack looked incredulously at Jensen. “Who, him? He looks like a good stiff breeze would take him out. What are we waitin’ for? We should go and kick Frank’s ass, and get our money back,” the old man said as he got ready lead the charge after Frank.
Jensen felt like screaming, this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. His mood wasn’t helped by the sound of Kane laughing in his ear. “Hey Jensen, how about we deputize Mack? The old guy could probably bring down Frank all by himself, considering your fragile state.” Jensen gritted his teeth. One of these days he was going to throttle his best friend, then get Jared to help him dispose of the body.
Jensen stepped forward. “I can appreciate how you feel, sir, but you should let us deal with Frank. Now about this…”
Mack walked up to Jensen, and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you FEDS have been a great help. Where were you when we needed you? We’ve had to take the law into our own hands.”
Ryan huffed impatiently. “That’s enough, Mack. You can bellyache all you like later, but right now we need to know about that damn vault,” he barked in full Marine mode.
Mack turned and looked at Ryan. “Alright, there’s no need to go all parade ground on me, I’m goin’ to tell him.” Mack turned back to Jensen and pointed at Doug. “But you better arrest Doug, when we get him out of here.”
Jensen grinned. “Don’t worry, it will be my pleasure.”
Mack gave the agent a crooked smile. “So you want to know all about the old vault?”
Jensen nodded. “We’ve looked at the blueprints, but we can’t find any evidence of another vault.”
“Well, that’s because those blueprints were drawn up in the sixties. The originals were destroyed in a fire at the town archives. Took out half the plans for the town,” Mack reminisced.
“Mack, I hate to rush you, but we’re pressed for time here.” Jensen prompted him.
“What? Oh right, of course. Now when this bank was built, the vault and safe were in the basement. Everything was fine until we had a gas main blow out in the fifties. It did structural damage to this whole block,” Mack said as he scratched his head. “I worked for Ted’s father, and we ended up having to dig down into the old sewer system. Even had to put a trapdoor down there, so we could check for subsidence.”
Jensen’s eyes lit up with excitement. “What happened after that?”
“Well, the town council decided a vault with a trapdoor that led to the old sewers wasn’t the most secure thing in the world. So we put a new one in up on the ground floor, and after a few years, me and Miriam’s daddy bricked up the old vault.”
Jensen nodded, it was all becoming clear now. As far as Ted and Doug were concerned, the old vault was the safest place for the bonds. No one knew the old safe was there, and of course it meant Frank had an escape route.
“Jay, did you get that? Frank’s down in the basement. I’m bringing everyone out now.” Jensen turned to look at the hostages, when there was an explosion.
“Jay, what the fuck was that?” Jensen shouted as he ran towards the office door.
“The coffee shop is on fire. What the hell is going on?” Jared asked in bewilderment, as he ran out of Ops towards the burning building.
Chris appeared, grabbed Jared by the arm, and pulled him back towards Ops. “Well guys, I think we’ve just found out where Frank’s partner was hiding out. I didn’t get the chance to do a full search of the surrounding buildings.” Chris looked up at Jared with a grim smile. “I gotta admit he’s one smart cookie, it‘ll be hell trying to pull any forensic out of there.”
Jared’s ears were still ringing from the explosion. He started to cough, then looked at the burning building in horror. “What about Stephen? He was on that roof. We’ve got to find him.” Jared struggled against Chris’s firm hold.
There was a shout and the two men looked over to the coffee shop where the door opened as Stephen led Amy and her customers to safety. “Damn, he looks pissed. Stephen really hates being disturbed like that. When we get back to Quantico, I better find him something to shoot.” Chris said with a grin.
Chris looked back at Jared, “Now you know Stephen’s safe, get your ass back in there,” Chris told Jared, ignoring his protests about helping with the fire. “You, Misha and the Boy Wonder are gonna figure out where those sewers come out. Then we’re gonna go hunting for Frank. Alright, Padalecki?” Chris shouted over his shoulder, as he ran to one of the SUVs and grabbed a fire extinguisher.
"Sure thing. I bet you always wanted to be a fireman, didn’t you, Kane?” Jared said as he climbed the steps of Ops.
“Oh hell, yeah! Women just love the uniform.” Chris spotted Mike and called out, “Hey, Mike, get your ass over here now. Let’s see if we can put the fire out, before it destroys all the evidence up there.” Mike nodded and followed Chris’s example. Then the two of them ran into the burning building.
As Jared entered Ops he saw a look of concern on Osric’s face. “Jared, we’ve got trouble.”
Jared rushed to the young man’s side. “What kind of trouble?”
“You know I’ve been trying to find the source of the transmission between Frank and his partner?” Osric asked, and Jared nodded as Misha handed him a bulletproof vest and gun. “Well, I’ve managed to do a little more than that.” Osric flicked a switch, and they heard voices.
“Raider One, you did remember to plant our little surprise, didn’t you?” An unknown Southern voice asked.
“Of course I planted the damn thing. Are you sure it won’t bring the whole bank down on my head when it goes off?" Frank replied.
“If you attach it to the door frame like I told you to, it will just collapse the doorway. And Raider One, remember, you've only got two minutes on the clock. So don’t start the timer until you’re ready to go."
"Ok, Blue Leader I've got that. You will be waiting for me at the lake, right?" Frank asked his partner.
"Of course I will. Just remember all you have to do is go with the flow. Now pick up the pace, Raider One, before your girl Miriam comes looking for you,” Ty said with a smirk.
Frank laughed contemptuously. “You don’t need to worry about that, Miriam’s a good girl. She knows she’s got to keep everyone in Ted’s office. I’m telling you we’re home free.” Frank laughed.
Jared went numb with shock. “Jensen, get the fuck out of there now. Sounds like Frank’s planted a bomb down in the vault,” he shouted as he ran outside.
Jensen turned back to the people in Ted’s office. He needed to get everyone out of there but without causing a panic. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid we’re going to have to evacuate the building, now.”
There was something in Jensen’s tone that spurred everyone into action. They filed out of Ted’s office with Ryan in the lead. As they reached the front doors, Ryan looked over his shoulder. “Who’s got the key?”
Jensen half expected Miriam to hand her key over, but instead, the other teller ran to the door and gave Ryan hers. Jensen looked round for Miriam, but couldn’t see her among the other hostages. “Oh crap!” he said, realizing that the lovelorn woman had probably gone after her boyfriend.
Son of a bitch! Jensen exclaimed, and then Ryan was beside him.
“I’ve lost Miriam. I bet she’s heading for Frank. Listen, Ryan, make sure everyone gets clear. I’m going after her,” Jensen said.
“No problem, Jensen. You just be careful, alright?” Ryan said to him.
“Why does everyone insist on telling me to be careful?” Jensen answered with a smile. “Hey Ryan, you ever considered a career in law enforcement?” He winked at the Ex-Marine, and set off in pursuit of Miriam.
Jared was waiting outside as the hostages poured out of the door. Stephen guided them away from the bank and towards Ops. When they were all milling around in confusion, he told them to get to their knees, so they could be searched.
Jared spotted Ryan and Joshua, and ran over to them. “Where’s Jensen?” he asked, scanning the door of the bank. Ryan looked up at him. “We lost Miriam, and Jensen thought she’d gone after Frank. He was going after her.”
Jared’s heart stuttered in his chest. What the hell was the idiot doing going down there when he knew there was a bomb possibly counting down? “Well, at least he’s armed, that’s something,” he said.
Joshua shook his head. “If he’s got the shotgun, then he’s not armed.”
Jared turned to him. “What do you mean, not armed? We saw you threaten Miriam with a shotgun.”
Joshua blushed. “Yeah, well, it’s loaded with blanks. I wasn’t gonna point a loaded gun at Miriam, was I?”
Jared looked horrified, and turned towards the bank. “Jensen, get your ass out of there now!” he shouted into his headset.
Down in the bank Jensen grinned at Jared’s protests, as he followed Miriam through the bank. He went past the staff break room, and down some stairs, slowing as he approached what everyone thought was just the basement.
Jensen looked inside. The room was dimly lit by a single bulb, and it was obviously used to store junk, as piles of boxes and dustsheet-covered furniture proved. There was only one way in or out, and he was standing in it. So where had Miriam vanished to? He looked down at the floor and smiled, when he saw footprints in the dust.
He followed the footprints to the back wall. A metal shelving unit filled with boxes, had been dragged clear of an open doorway. In the poor light it would be easy to miss the door hidden by the shelves. Jensen listened for signs of life in the vault, but all he heard was silence.
When Jensen took a breath and stepped inside, two things struck him immediately. One, the safe was empty, and secondly, Frank and Miriam were gone. Jensen spun round to look at the bomb. There was less than twenty seconds on the countdown.
Jensen knew he’d never make it back upstairs in time, so he ran to the trapdoor and climbed down the ladder, only pausing long enough to pull the hatch closed behind him. Suddenly an explosion tore through the room above him. Jensen clung to the ladder as the ground shook, and dirt poured onto his head. Coughing, he finished his descent into the storm drain. He dropped into freezing cold water. “Holy Shit!” he exclaimed, as his teeth started to chatter. Jensen stood in the darkness, trying to figure out which way he needed to go.
Jared staggered as the blast tore through the bank, and the air was filled with frightened screams. “Jensen, JENSEN!! For the love of god, if you don't answer me this second, I'm going to come in there and tear the place apart brick by brick," Jared shouted desperately, watching smoke billowing out of the open doors.
“Hold your horses, Jay, I’m fine! Although I might be a little lost.” Jensen admitted to his friend.
“Why the hell are you lost?” Jared asked, as he took a couple of steps towards the bank.
“Because when I got into the vault, there was only twenty seconds left on the countdown. I’m fast but not that fast, so it was no contest. I’d rather take my chances with an armed man, than try to outrun a bomb. And because it’s a sewer, it’s pitch fucking black. I can’t see a thing, and my ass is getting soaked with god knows what!” Jensen bitched exasperatedly.
Jared couldn’t help but smile at the litany of complaints. “Hey Osric, can you tell us anything about the sewers our precious Princess is currently lost in?”
“For a start they’re no longer used as sewers. They’re the town’s storm drains, and there’s been some really heavy rain recently,” Osric stated.
“No shit, Sherlock! Well, at least I’m not hip deep in crap. See, my day is getting better already,” Jensen said sarcastically.
Jared ignored the team leader. “Osric, what about the lake Frank was talking about?”
Osric’s fingers flew over the keys, as he hacked into the town’s utilities, and the screens suddenly filled with schematics for the sewerage system. Osric highlighted the tunnels that ran under the bank. “Guys, I’ve got it! The storm drains flow into a lake on the outskirts of town. That’s where Frank and ‘Blue Leader’ are going to meet up.”
Jared grinned. “So that’s what he meant by’ go with the flow!’ Head downstream, Jensen, and you’ll be on the right track.” Jared sprinted for the line of SUVs, opened the door of the end vehicle and climbed inside. Relief washed over him when he found the key in the ignition. Jared started the engine, pulled his seat belt on and tore away from the bank. “Osric, you need to get me there as quickly as possible,” he said as he turned on the vehicle’s lights and sirens, and picked up speed.
Down in the darkness, Jensen was moving slowly. The volume of water and slippery floor was making it difficult to keep his balance. He used an outstretched hand to follow the curved wall, as he waded further into the tunnel. He stumbled backwards, when something floated in front of him blocking his path.
Jared heard cursing. “Jen, are you alright?”
Jensen reached out to touch the obstruction, and realized it was a body. He quickly worked his way along the torso, and turned it over. Long hair wrapped round his fingers, and he sighed sadly as he felt for a pulse. “Looks like you didn’t get your fairy tale after all, Miriam.”
Jensen could hear Jared calling his name. “Jay, we’re going to need a CSI team down here later.”
“Why Jen?” Jared already had a good idea of what Jensen had found down in the dark.
“I’ve just found Miriam. Frank killed her. The bastard.” Jensen said angrily.
Jared bit his lip. “Say again, Jensen, the signal's breaking up. Osric, I’m losing Jensen. What the hell is going on?" he asked the analyst.
"Come on, Jared, we're trying to pick up a signal from underground, surrounded by cell towers and other interference. Do I look like Tony Stark to you? We’re lucky the signal held out this long. The further along the storm drain Jensen goes..." Osric didn't need to finish that statement.
Jared managed to keep hold of his temper, and spoke to Jensen before they lost him completely. "Ok, for god’s sake be….”
“Careful. Yeah, I know. Now why don’t you get your ass to the lake, and let me worry about Frank?”
"Keep your head down, and don't do anything stupid, Jen. I'm coming," Jared told his friend.
Down in the darkness Jensen rolled his eyes. Damn Jared and his overprotective streak. One of these days he was going to get it into that shaggy head of his, this kind of thing was part of the job. Perhaps not the following an armed man through a sewer while armed only with his killer wit, and a black belt or two. But for the most part this was definitely his gig, and besides, Jensen owed Frank a smackdown for the beating he took back in the store cupboard.
Jensen could almost hear Jared's running commentary on his drive through town, knowing that at some point there would be horns blaring, and Jared bellowing out the window. "Move jackass, this is a Federal emergency." As much as he'd love to be able to mock the negotiator’s driving skills, he had bigger fish to fry.
Jensen was carefully making his way round another bend, when he heard movement. Suddenly he was blinded by the beam of a flashlight, and Jensen threw his hand in front of his face and stumbled backwards. That stumble possibly saved his life, as he heard the crack of a gun being fired and a line of fire tore across his ribs.
“Hey pretty boy! Did you really think I didn’t know you were down here?” Frank roared.
Jensen pressed his left hand to his injured ribs, and winced when he felt blood flow over his fingers. “Shit, that’s all I need,” he muttered, as he waded further back along the tunnel. Jensen glanced up and saw the reflection of the beam flashlight on the water beside him. As it swept towards him he dove under the water.
Frank fired the gun twice more blindly, sweeping his flashlight back and forth, as he tried to find the wounded agent. Then he waited, ears tuned for the slightest sound of movement. When Jensen didn’t surface again, Frank relaxed and carried on walking.
Jared sped towards the edge of town. It was bad enough Jensen was down there all alone with an armed killer, but knowing there was nothing he could do to help him? That was tearing Jared apart.
"Osric, how far out am I?" Jared asked.
"At the speed you're driving, just over a minute. Just to let you know, Jared, the fire department’s here. Kane and some of the guys are just behind you," Osric informed him.
Jared steeled himself to make his next request. “Osric, get an ambulance out here as well.” Jared was impressed with how he managed to keep his voice steady. He let out a long breath, and pressed down harder on the gas.
In the silence Frank left behind nothing stirred for a moment, and then the water erupted as Jensen broke the surface. He clawed his way to his feet, arm wrapped round his ribs choking and coughing. Jensen leant against the wall, gasping as he drew in a lungful of air, getting his breathing under control. “Crap! The Doc’s going to have my hide for this,” he said as he limped after Frank.
Jared had arrived at his destination and screeched to a halt. He climbed out of the SUV, and pulled his borrowed gun out of the waistband of his jeans. As he took in his surroundings, he saw the area was deserted. If this was where Frank and his partner were going to rendezvous, then surely the getaway car should be here. Jared frowned, it looked like he was the only one here. Perhaps Frank had used another exit. If that was the case he needed to find Jensen. “Jensen, can you hear me? Jen?” Jared called out, hoping the connection had re-established.
When all he got was white noise, Jared turned back to the SUV and opened the trunk. He needed a flashlight, and a crowbar to pry open the manhole cover. Jared quickly found what he needed, and closed the trunk.
Jared headed towards the storm drains outlet, passing a concrete arch as tall as he was, watching the water as it gushed through the grill into the lake. “Ok, Osric, I’m here. Now what?” he asked as he looked for a way into the drainage system.
“Jay, you need to head about twenty feet back from the exit. There’s a maintenance shaft there.”
“Thanks, Osric, I’m heading over now,” Jared said, as he looked round. He spotted the manhole cover and jogged towards it.
“Jay, don’t you think you should wait for Kane and the guys before you go down there?” Osric asked nervously.
Jared heard sirens in the distance as he reached the manhole cover. He’d been expecting to find it closed, but he saw it had been tampered with. He knew someone was already there, or they’d been here earlier. It helped make up his mind what to do next. He crouched and put the flashlight on the ground. Jared jammed the crowbar into the gap, and levered the cover open. “I should, but I think Jensen is in trouble down there. Tell Kane he can kick my ass when he catches up with me,” Jared said as he sat down, and swung his long legs into the opening. He grabbed the flashlight, turned it on, and started to climb down the ladder.
Frank followed the tunnel round the final curve, and was rewarded by a pale glimmer of daylight. This was the storm drains exit, where several tunnels converged. Water flowed down the slope into the lake. All he had to do was find the maintenance shaft, and he was home free. “Ya better be waiting up there, like you promised, Ty,” he muttered as he swung the flashlight back and forth. He smiled as the light found the raised walkway, and the ladders that would take him to freedom.
Frank carefully stepped into the churning water, this close to the exit the floor was treacherous. Frank made steady progress as he waded across, and when he reached the wall, he turned and headed up the slope towards the ladder. Although the floor was slimy, the going was a little easier as the water wasn’t as deep as in the tunnel. He’d nearly reached the ladder, when he heard a splash behind him. It had to be the damn Fed! The man had more lives than a cat. Frank started to turn towards the sound.
Ty loomed out of the darkness behind Frank, and looped a cord round his partner’s throat. Ty viciously kicked Frank in the back of his knee, and the man’s legs buckled. Frank dropped his flashlight, and scrabbled uselessly at the cord with his hands. Ty rammed his knee hard into the helpless man’s back, forcing the air out of Frank’s lungs. He pulled back hard on the cord, lifting Frank off his knees.
Frank’s struggles weakened until they finally ceased. Ty let him crumple to the floor and looked down at the body through his night vision goggles. Ty shook his head in mock sorrow. “Frank, what can I say? You were always going to get yourself caught. I couldn’t have you spilling your guts to the Feds about me.”
As Ty addressed his deceased partner, he picked up the duffle bag, and quickly hooked one of the straps over a break in the railing. Ty half unzipped the bag and grabbed several bundles of bonds, slipping them inside his back pack. He slung the pack over his shoulder, and zipped the duffle back up.
Ty turned his attention back to Frank. He stood over his partner’s body, grabbed a handful of shirt and lifted. Ty managed to push Frank’s head through the trailing strap. Then Ty let go of Frank, leaving him hanging from the duffle’s strap. It wasn’t the best accidental death he’d ever staged, but he was pressed for time. Ty knew Jared was heading for the lake, and Jensen was somewhere in the tunnel behind him. It was the best he could manage under the circumstances.
Ty raised two fingers to the brim of his cap in a salute to his ex-partner. He adjusted the setting on his goggles, and waded towards one of the tunnels.
Ty had just vanished into the darkness, as Jensen stumbled into the intersection. Jensen squinted as his eyes adjusted to the half-light from the archway. A movement caught his eye, and Jensen could make out something being buffeted by the current. It seemed to be caught up in a bag hanging from the railing, it almost looked like….. “Holy Shit!” Jensen shouted, as he tried to wade through the churning water as quickly as possible.
As he moved, Jensen’s were eyes fixed on the body hanging from the railing in front of him. Jensen reached the man, and struggled to lift the dead weight. “Frank, you dumb bastard. How the hell did you manage to do this to yourself?” Jensen adjusted his hold, gritted his teeth and lifted him higher. He ignored the cold and the pain as he fought to save the man’s life.
“Help, please somebody help! “ Jensen shouted, his voice hoarse from coughing. He really didn’t expect anyone to hear him, but he had to try. His arms and back burned from exertion, and didn’t think he could hold Frank much longer.
Jared was halfway down the ladder, when he heard Jensen’s first shout. He turned his flashlight towards the sound of the team leader’s voice. The beam found Jensen as he waded across to the walkway. Jensen reached the wall and struggled to hold onto something heavy. With his heart in his mouth, Jared realized what Jensen was trying to do. He hurried down and clambered through the railings.
Jared landed in the water with a splash, and his friend barely acknowledged his arrival. Jared moved to Jensen’s side, took hold of Frank’s head and pulled it out of the makeshift noose.
At the sudden increase in weight, Jensen’s knees buckled. “No…no….no” Jensen chanted desperately, as he struggled to hold on. Then another pair of hands helped to support Frank’s body.
“It’s ok, Jen, I’ve got him. You can let go now.” Jared said softly, as Jensen let go and stepped back.