IN SPADES

By Sarah (winks7985)

The Magnificent Seven / ATF AU

Rated R

 

 

Part 5

Josh Nevins walked into the shop with a purpose, his eyes scanning for Sheppard.  He caught sight of the man’s trucker cap through the office window. Nevins approached the open door, and rapped lightly.  Sheppard was on the phone, but looked up as Josh knocked.  Taking in Josh’s obvious nervousness and look of contrition on his face, he said into the phone, “Hey, let me call you back in a bit, alright?” and hung up, not waiting for an answer.

His full attention on Nevins now, he asked, “What’s wrong?”

There was no gentling into it.  “Eddie’s been arrested.” 

Sheppard blinked slowly, and crooked his head as he let the info set in.  “I’m sorry, what?”

“Eddie’s been arrested,” Nevins repeated.

“No, I heard you the first time.  What happened?”

“We hit a deer, but we didn’t know it.  Cops pulled us over for leaving the scene of an accident.”  Josh entered the office and shut the door behind him.  “We had the stuff I picked up in the trunk.  Eddie said they were gonna search us, find the guns and then we’d be screwed.  He told me to announce to them that I had a license to carry concealed, and that I had a registered gun on me, so that the situation didn’t escalate.”

“I’m assuming they ran Eddie’s name, and saw his warrants?”

Nevins nodded.

“So why didn’t the car get searched?” Sheppard asked, sitting back in his chair and blowing out his breath.

“I don’t know.  But if I had to guess, I’m thinking the cops recognized his face from last night’s incident.”  He sat on the corner of the desk and looked down at his boss.  “I think they wanted a few minutes alone with him.”

“And you left him?” Sheppard asked acidly.

“He instructed me to go along with everything he said, no matter what it was.”

“So they must have run your name then too, right?  And the car’s registration?”

“Yes.”

“So it’s only a matter of time before they turn around and come back to you and then to me.”  He took off his hat and ran his hand through his hair, blowing his breath out in a frustrated sigh, then placed the cap back on his head.

“Looks like we’re moving shop sooner that we thought.  Get a few of the boys to start packing up anything and everything.”  He stood and started to shuffle some of the papers on his desk into piles.

Nevins nodded and turned for the door.

“Josh,” Sheppard said from behind him.  When Nevins turned, his hand on the doorknob, Sheppard took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, head facing down towards his paper piles, like he was deciding something in that moment.  “We have to… “ he paused, trying to put his thoughts into words.  He looked up and locked eyes with Nevins.  “He protected us; we have to protect him.  With his record, he’s not gonna ever see the light of day again.”

Nevins shook his head slightly and blew out his breath.  “That’s not gonna be easy.  It might not even be possible.  I hate to say it Mr. Sheppard, but maybe we should just take the time that Eddie gave us and go.”

Sheppard looked up at the clock then back to Josh.  “I know that shift change at the station is in 45 minutes.  If we’re gonna go, we gotta go now.”

Nevins kept his gaze momentarily locked with the man he’d been loyal to for years – the only man who ever treated him like a son.  He slowly nodded and headed out of the office to prepare. 

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Chris glanced out of the room with the holding cells and saw the two officers leaving the Chief’s office, not looking too happy.  The two men sat at a couple of desks in the bullpen, pulling out assorted paperwork.  Neither man looked in Chris’s direction.

The Chief came to her office door and stood overlooking the bullpen.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Chris said to Vin and Ezra.

“I’ll be here,” Ezra drawled from his cell.  Vin smirked.

As Chris headed out of the room, the Chief saw him and came to meet him halfway, in front of the conference room, where the rest of the team and the DEA agent sat waiting.

“I’m sorry,” Owens said to Chris.  She waved her hand absently towards where the two men were sitting.  “They’re very close with Anderson, the guy that got attacked last night.  When they saw the guy, their eyes got too big for their stomach.”

Chris quirked up one side of his mouth.  “I know the feeling.  I’ve been there before.”

“Does this destroy your case against him?” she asked.

“I hope not,” Chris said sincerely.

“Is there anything I can do?”

He looked her directly in the eyes, seeing her contrition there.  It can’t be easy, thinking you just screwed something up for the ATF, especially when you just did exactly what they asked you not to do.  After a moment of consideration, he said, “Step in here for a minute?” jutting his chin towards the conference room where his team was set up.

She furrowed her brow in confusion before heading into the room.  Chris followed directly behind her, shutting the door tightly behind him.

JD, Nathan, Buck and Josiah shot questioning eyes first at the Chief, then at Larabee.  Henderson sat at the end of the table, still smarting from the southerner’s verbal assault, no doubt.

“Everything all right Chris?” asked Buck, sitting up straighter.

“Everything’s fine,” he replied, pulling a chair out for the Chief to sit.  Wordlessly, she complied, still looking confused.

“Is our friend all right?” asked Josiah.

Owens looked at Sanchez as though his question was one of the strangest things she’d ever heard.

“Vin’s with him.”

After an awkward moment of silence, JD piped up.  “So… what’s this about?”  He closed the lid to his laptop, giving his full attention to his boss.

Chris leaned against the wall and looked at the Chief.  He crossed his arms over his chest and took a deep breath before he spoke.  “Eddie Craig is not who you think he is.”

“Larabee!” Henderson objected.

“Shut up, Henderson,” Chris answered, never looking at the man he addressed.  “We’re in her backyard, and we owe her the courtesy.”

Henderson sputtered from his chair.  He sighed angrily, then bit out, “This is on you.  This falls apart, it’s on you.”  The man then sat back in his chair, resigned to the loss of control.

Owens watched the byplay with skepticism.  “So…”

“He’s a member of my team,” Chris announced.

She nodded slowly.  “Like an informant?”

Chris looked down to hide his smile.  “More like an ATF agent.”

Owens sat there, a look of astonishment on her face as the info sunk in.  “The guy in the cell?” she asked in clarification.  “He’s an ATF agent?”

“Yes.”

“Wow,” she said, eyes wide.  “He looked like such a… a…” she struggled for the word.

“Scumbag?” provided JD.

“Delinquent?” supplied Nathan.

She looked at JD and Nathan, then back at Chris, still leaning against the wall.  “Yeah…” 

“He’s very good at what he does,” Josiah added.

She shook her head in question.  “What about what happened with Anderson?”

“We knew about it, about an hour after it happened,” Chris said, looking up.  “Ezra said he didn’t know what to do, and did the only thing he could think of that would have a positive outcome.”

“I’m sorry, this is just a lot to take in.”

“We understand,” Chris said, pushing himself off the wall.  He glanced out the conference room window to the nearly empty bullpen, then back at Owens.  “What we have to do now is ascertain if his cover is still intact and if we can resume this case or if we call it quits with what we have.  We have to ask that you don’t share this with anyone, not your deputies or any other officers right now.”

“Do you think I have a leak?” she asked incredulously.

Chris smiled.  “No, I think it’s more of a small town and everyone knows everyone else’s business type of thing.”

She nodded knowingly.  “So, what now?”

“A couple of us need to talk to him for different reasons,” Chris said, gesturing to the rest of the room.  “We can’t all go into the holding cells if we’re hoping to keep his cover.”

“You can use my office if you need to,” she supplied.  Answering the questioning glances shot at her, she elaborated, “You can’t bring him into a conference room full of people for the same reason you can’t all go into the holding cells, and our interview room is full of boxes and other junk.  We hardly ever use it.  Small town,” she smiled apologetically, “And I doubt you can talk about what you need to in the bullpen.  Even for a small town, there’s always someone here, no matter the time of day.”

Chris nodded his thanks.

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“You know, I’m half hoping that this is done and over with,” Standish drawled from where he lay on the cot in his cell.

“I’ll bet you do,” Vin agreed.

“I miss my own bed; my own things.”

“One way or another, it’ll be over soon.”

Ezra snorted his disbelief.  “Promise?”

“Let’s go, Hoss.  Get up,” Buck bellowed as he walked into the room, Chief Owens on his heels.

“What’s up, Buck?” Vin asked, glancing at the Chief quickly.

“Chris and JD are waiting for him,” he nodded towards Ezra, now sitting on the cot and watching the byplay.  “Henderson, too.”

“Waiting where?”

“Chief Owens’s office,” Buck answered, as Owens moved forward to the cell with a set of cuffs.  “Henderson’s getting to be a bit of a pain in the ass, don’tcha think?” he asked Vin, who shrugged once in answer.

“Put your hands out in front of you please,” she said.

Ezra got up and walked to the bars and did as he was asked with a sigh.

As she closed the cuffs around his wrists, keeping them loose enough to be comfortable, she said, “It’s not so bad.  Anyway, appearances are everything.”  She gave him a smile.

Ezra shot a wide-eyed look at Buck, then at Vin. 

Buck nodded, yeah she knew.  “It sure is good to see you, Hoss.”

Standish let out a long-suffering sigh.  “Good to see you too, Buck.”

Owens opened the cell door and escorted the ‘prisoner’ out of the holding cells and towards her office, followed by the two ATF agents.

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Outside the small police station, two men sat in their darkened car, parked just outside of the main door’s line of sight.  As they exited their vehicle, both men looked around, confirming the lack of cars in the parking lot.  The shift change would occur within the hour, and this was the only time that would allow them to pull such a stunt; all officers on duty were still away from the station, and all officers coming in for the next shift were not there yet.

Using the dark to their advantage, the two men left their dark sedan.

Benjamin Sheppard and Josh Nevins approached the front of the building using stealth and speed.  The weapons they held, both under their clothing and in their hands, were no joke.  When Sheppard wanted something done, he spared nothing.  But the overkill of weapons was intended to scare whoever was in the station into submission, rather than to murder them.  Although, he wasn’t opposed to going that extra bit further if it came to that.

Josh flanked Sheppard to the side and behind him, the place of a loyal dog.  The two men approached the bottom of the steps.  Sheppard slowed and turned to his friend briefly. 

“In and out.  No more damage than necessary.  Then we’re out of here, with Eddie.  This town’s done for us now.”

Josh knew the man was reiterating the plan as a means of taking a breath before doing something huge, if not dumb.  Josh nodded at his boss.  “I know.” 

“Good,” he said, and took a cleansing breath of the night air.  “Let’s go.”

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Dunne set himself up at the Chief’s desk with his laptop open.

“What are you doing?” Henderson asked.

JD shot him a look and an eyebrow.  “My job?” he asked, as though the answer were simple.

“Why is he even here, Larabee?” Henderson snipped. 

“Seriously?” Chris turned to glare at the DEA agent behind him.  When he saw that the man was in fact asking a serious question, he looked back out the window into the bullpen.  He shook his head in annoyance at the DEA agent’s belligerent attitude.

“How are we supposed to get any info from Standish if the room is full of his buddies?”

JD stood up straight from where he was leaning over, about to respond, when Chris’s voice, quiet and threatening, replied first.

“Henderson, if you don’t shut the hell up, I’ll throw you out of this room and the DEA can go fuck themselves.”

There was no further objection from the DEA agent.

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Ezra did his best not to smirk at the two cops who had arrested him as he passed by their desks.  The two men shot daggers at him as he walked slightly in front of the Chief towards her office, with Buck and Vin following.

It was almost over.  The long nights, the dirty deals, the shit of being Eddie Craig.  Maybe he would just ask to be pulled from this whole situation while talking to Chris, assuming that that was who was waiting for him in the Chief’s office.  Of course, the DEA guy… what was his name again?  Well, whatever his name was, he was probably gonna be pissed.

Fuck him, he thought.  He just wanted to get back to his life as Ezra Standish.  He wanted to not have to wear these clothes.  He wanted to cut his hair.  He wanted a decent shave.  He wanted a good night’s sleep in his own bed.  Two months straight of being Eddie, who was gruff and hard, was exhausting.

But soon.  Soon it would be over.  The thought made him quirk his mouth up in a half smile. 

One of the two cops, still watching him closely, snapped out at him, “What the hell are you smilin’ at, pretty boy?”

Ezra just shook his head and let out a breathless chuckle as he looked back at the officer.  Jesus, he couldn’t wait to shed Eddie’s mannerisms.

He received a small shove at his back from the Chief, directing him to keep going.  He couldn’t help but hold his contemptuous look for another moment. 

Looking ahead of him and focusing on the door to the Chief’s office, he saw Chris through the office’s windows.  Their eyes met for a stark second, but then Ezra’s focus was drawn away by movement ahead and to the right, to the front door.

The mostly-glass door opened, and two ordinary looking men came through.  The young man working the front desk looked up as the men come through the door to the lobby/bullpen, clearly ready to help them with whatever the problem was that had brought them to the station at such a late hour.

Ezra’s eyes widened in recognition and his step faltered, almost to the point of stopping.  And then time slowed down.

Hands still bound in front of him, Ezra wasn’t going to be able to do much to help, he realized. 

“Oh, shit!” he drawled out in a voice that directly contradicted the panic he was drowning in.

Buck and Vin both followed Ezra’s gaze to the door in time to see the two men come side by side and raise what looked like AKs. 

The fraction of a second it took them to react, Ezra turned and toppled the police Chief behind him, knocking her to the floor. 

Buck and Vin had both drawn their weapons before Ezra and the Chief hit the ground.

The first spray of bullets from the assailants’ guns arced left to right, starting near the door to the holding cells and peppering the wall across the back of the room.

Nathan and Josiah, still in the conference room, dove to the floor and drew their own weapons.  Unable to see a target through the solid wall, they started to crawl towards the open conference room door, getting pelted with falling glass from the window they had both been staring out of.

Vin and Buck dropped behind two of the bullpen desks, followed immediately by Craine and O’Connor. 

Chris had seen the look on Ezra’s face and interpreted it immediately.  He had turned and drawn his gun, sighting the threat and then dropping for cover behind the solid part of the Chief’s office wall.  JD made it around the desk and down to the floor as the arc of bullets sprayed across the front wall of the chief’s office, breaking both windows to the side of the door as well as the large one in the door where her name was painted.

Henderson also dropped, pulling his weapon as well, taking cover in front of one of the office’s wooden chairs that faced the desk.

As soon as Ezra and the chief hit the ground, he rolled off of her and to the side.  “Stay down!” he yelled at her.  He noticed she looked dazed and appeared to have had the wind knocked out of her when she hit the ground.  He grabbed her under the arms as best he could and dragged her behind the desk next to him. 

The arc of the bullets swept now from the Chief’s office back towards the holding cells.

Ezra had no weapon, and his hands were bound in front of him.

This was not good.

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“Nathan, are you alright?” Josiah shouted over the noise of all out war around them.

“Yeah, you?” he shouted back.

 “Fine!” In truth, Josiah was sporting a pretty awesome looking gash across the right part of his forehead and into his hair, courtesy of one of the first pieces of shattered glass to fall.  Being so close to the window when it shattered, he had also found himself crawling toward the door through a scattering of glass shards and pieces, digging into his palms and forearms.  His jeans seemed to protect him from this danger for now.

Nathan crawled up along the side of the conference room table towards the door, meeting with Josiah and turning his back to the solid part of the wall under the gaping hole where the window had been.  Josiah sat next to him.  Glancing at the big man quickly, Nathan said, “Fine, my ass!”

“Later!” he yelled back, then swung his head around the door jamb to return fire.

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The first arc of bullets had been all Nevins, as Sheppard took the gun he was holding and smashed the stock into the man at the front desk’s head.  The man dropped like a brick and remained motionless.

The second arc of bullets had come from both men, and had been lower this time.  The intent was to keep whomever from being a hero, and in this little bodunk town, heroes were few and far between.

Sheppard had seen Eddie being led towards a room on the right as he and Josh had entered, but now with all the commotion, he couldn’t find the man they had come to get.

“Eddie!” he yelled.

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Buck and Vin sat in similar poses, hunkered down against the file cabinet parts of the desks, the thickest parts.  The barrage of fire continued as the two men looked at each other.  Vin, seeing that he had Buck’s attention, signaled that Buck should break cover one way, while he did the other.  Vin heard Josiah yell for Nathan and heard Nathan reply something, but he didn’t know what. 

Craine and O’Connor huddled down in a similar manner behind two desks one row closer to the gunmen.  They, too, seemed to be waiting for a break in the shooting.

Vin and Buck gave a silent count of three, then broke the two ways, staying low and bringing their guns to bear on the two targets.

They returned fire as Buck made his way towards the holding cell side of the station, and Vin made his way to the Chief’s office side.  Vin’s intent was to get to the unarmed and bound undercover agent and the Chief of police. 

Vin fired three times, knowing he met his target with two of the shots.  He dropped down again as the bullet arc came towards where he had popped up and fired.  Buck popped up on the other side of the room and fired at the gunmen, but wasn’t sure if he hit his targets or not before he had to duck back down.

While Buck was firing, Vin made it next to Ezra and the Chief, who was starting to get her bearings again.

Ezra looked at him with a look of confusion and anger at the situation.

“Is that Sheppard?” Vin shouted over the ruckus.

“Yeah, him and Nevins,” Ezra replied.  “Fuck!  How did this happen?”

Vin shrugged as he reached to help Chief Owens up and sit with her back to the desk they were all behind.

Bullets tore into small stacks of paper on the desk above them, littering them with shreds of office confetti.

“Josiah and Nate have to get their asses out of that conference room; they’re sittin’ ducks,” Vin said to no one in particular.  He looked at the Chief directly.  “Chief, can you get back there a ways,” he jerked his head back over his shoulder towards the conference room,” and cover them so they can get out?”

“Bet your ass I can,” she said as she started to work her way to the back of the room.

“Gotta get you out of those,” Vin said as he reached for the keys he had in his pocket.  When his hand came back out empty, he swore.  “Fuck, I dropped ‘em somewhere.” 

“Vin, go help Owens!” Ezra shouted at him.

“Yeah, and leave you unarmed and bound up?  You wish.”  Tanner poked his head above the top of the desk when the bullet spray slowed momentarily.  He took another shot at the two men who were now using the main counter as cover.

“Nate and Josiah…”

“Are big boys!” he said as he shot another couple of rounds at the gunmen.

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Buck, Craine and O’Connor all ended up on the same side of the office, crouched behind two neighboring desks. 

“Whoo-ee!  Those boys are pissed,” Wilmington said as he returned fire.

“Ya think?!” Craine shouted.

“Small towns…” Buck muttered angrily.  “It’s always the small towns!”

Several bullets peppered the desk where Craine and O’Connor crouched.  A small shift, and O’Connor was no longer behind the file part of the desk, but behind the cover of just the modesty panel.  Before Buck or Craine could notice or say anything, several bullets came ripping through the thin piece of particleboard and found their mark in O’Connor’s back.

With a loud grunt and a fall to be flat on the ground, O’Connor was down.

“Jimmy!” Craine yelled for his partner, not getting a response.  Looking at Buck quickly, then back to the floor where his partner lay, Craine reached down and grabbed the downed man, pulling him out of the possible line of fire.”Jimmy, come on!  Jimmy!”

“He alive?” Buck asked, firing off another couple of rounds.

“He’s breathin’,” Craine yelled.  He felt his partner’s upturned back, looking for the wounds.  “Son of a bitch!”  When Wilmington looked over, Craine wore a large smile on his face.  “The vest… they didn’t go through.”

Thank god for small miracles, Buck thought. 

As Craine focused on Buck’s face, Wilmington knew something was wrong.  “Oh my god,” the officer said as he leaned forward and used his hand to stop the flow of blood coming down Buck’s neck.

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Chris, JD and Henderson were less able to return fire than some of the others.  The awkward positions of the door and the windows made staying behind cover the number one priority.  The three men had pulled back from the front wall and flipped the Chief’s large antique wooden desk onto its side, confident that the large piece of furniture would be the best cover.  However, it also limited their field of vision of their attackers. 

JD and Chris remained in identical kneeling positions, guns trained on the door to the office, ready to take the kill shot the second one of the gunmen came into view.  Henderson was trying to summon help with his phone.

“God dammit,” he groused as he hung up his phone, unable to get a clear enough signal for a call.  “Can you see now?” he yelled at Larabee.  “He’s flipped, and his friends are here to get his ass out!”

Moving quickly from his stance, JD took one hard swing at the DEA agent, knocking him out cold.  Chris shot him an approving look; they didn’t need the distraction right now.

“Been wanting to do that all day,” JD quipped, returning to his stance.

Chris smiled.

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“Josh!” Sheppard yelled.  Without waiting for acknowledgement, he jutted his chin towards the bullpen.  “Get Eddie!”

“Yep,” Nevins acknowledged, and started to advance on the deceptively empty bullpen.  The shots from the AKs had ended, but the fully automatic handguns (ironically, the ones Nevins had picked up that very day) continued to cover the two men. 

Josh headed up the side of the room, wary of the open door of the shot up office to his right. 

He cautiously moved to the door of the room, his shoulder clearing the door jamb and instantly being hit with a bullet, causing his right arm to more or less go dead.  He grunted in pain.

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“Josiah, you’re bleeding pretty bad here,” Nathan said worriedly.  The two men still sat in the conference room, their backs to the wall.  Nathan was trying to stem the flow from Josiah’s gouges, especially the one in his head and several on his arms.

Owens army crawled part way through the door, gun in hand.  She met the business end of Josiah’s gun in the blink of an eye. 

Relaxing with recognition, Josiah lowered his gun.  “That’s a good way to get yourself shot.”

“Apparently,” she said.  “You guys need to get out of this room.  You’re sitting ducks here.”

“Josiah’s bleeding too much to move,” Nathan said seriously.  “I need towels or something.”

“Locker room is over that way,” she said and pointed behind her to the area off the bullpen.  “Towels are there.”

“Stay with him,” Nathan said, moving away from his friend to the door and, taking a deep breath, darted out and to the left.

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Vin and Ezra both heard the shot coming from the Chief’s office.  Glancing quickly over the top of the desk, Vin had to pull back fast as several bullets came at him.

“That guy’s still kickin’,” he said.

“Fuck, Vin.  I’m useless here, what do I do?” Ezra asked.

“Just…” he fired off a shot.  “Stay down!”

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Nevins stayed on his feet by brute strength and force of will.  Reaching into his coat, he pulled out another gun, an uzi, and aimed it into the door of the office.  He fired indiscriminately, ‘spraying and praying’, as he moved past the open door and to the relative safety of the wall on the other side.

He stopped to take several breaths, trying to keep the pain at bay.  He started in his original direction again, and came around a desk to see none other than Eddie Craig, handcuffed, and with a long-haired man.

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Vin and Nevins locked eyes for a split second, and Vin pulled the trigger on his gun.  The definitive ‘click’ was louder than any bullet Ezra had ever heard.  A cruel smile came across Nevins’s face and he brought his gun up to bear.  When he went to fire, nothing happened.  He saw the stovepipe jam in the gun, and not being able to use his right arm to clear it, the weapon became all but useless.

Ezra was in the middle of the two men, and leaned into Vin as Nevins’s gun was brought up.  When nothing happened, Ezra looked up and saw the problem.  In the next second, Nevins brought the gun down hard on the sharpshooter’s face, dropping him to the floor unmoving.

The whole standoff took seconds.

Ezra started for the downed tracker, but was caught by a large strong hand, now devoid of a non-functioning gun.

Sheppard came up from behind the counter and fired repeatedly at the open office door, covering Nevins’s and Ezra’s path.

Ezra was passed roughly to Sheppard, who dragged him swiftly through the door, followed by Nevins walking backwards, watching the now eerily quiet station house.

It had been three minutes since they entered.

The three men hurried to the car waiting just outside the door in the shadows of the building, looking innocuous as anything.  Ezra tried to pull and balk away from Sheppard, back towards the inside of the station and his friends. 

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Sheppard was having trouble steering Eddie where he needed him to go, now.  He knew the man would be on an adrenaline high, and with the whole thing happening so quickly, the man was no doubt confused.  But they didn’t have time for that.

“Eddie, stop it!”

The man in his grasp continued to pull away, a look of panic on his face.  With no options, Sheppard stopped and smacked him in the face with the gun he was holding.  The man went limp in his hands.  Nevins helped throw the man into the back seat of the waiting car, and they took off into the night.

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Inside the station, the eerie calm continued.  Nathan, sprawled out on the floor behind the safety of the wall near the locker room, was dazed.  In his dash out of the conference room, his footing was compromised by the scattered glass, and he slid into the corner of the wall at a good speed.  As he lay there, he took inventory of himself.  He didn’t think he felt any new holes, but there was an ache in his shoulder that was ungodly.  He must have hit the corner directly with that part of his shoulder.  It was hurtin’ enough to be broken.

Wonderful.

He moved to get up.  “Everyone all right?” he hollered to no one in particular.

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Buck put his hand to his own throat, feeling for himself that the nick was just that – a nick.  Still, blood pouring out of your own neck in a shootout would definitely cause panic like he just experienced.  Craine had stayed with him, keeping him as calm as possible.  The blood still trickled, but was already drying in itchy rivulets where it had flowed.

Too close.

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Chief Owens used the t-shirt she wore under her uniform to help stop the flow of blood from Josiah’s head.  It still seeped, but wasn’t flowing freely.

The cuts on his hands and arms she could do nothing for right now.

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In the office, Chris and JD unfurled themselves from the unconscious DEA agent, having dove on him when they had become targeted. 

“He alright?” JD asked, starting to feel over the man for any bullet holes or blood.

Chris was doing the same.  “Are you all right?”

JD stopped for a moment.  “Think so.  Hit my head when we dove over him.  Not bad.”  Dunne fingered high on his forehead where he had solidly connected with the wooden desk.  The skin wasn’t broken, but it would be an egg.  “You all right Chris?”

“Yeah, I’m good,” he said and tentatively stood.

The office around them looked like something out of a bad shoot ‘em up movie.  It seemed that there was nothing that wasn’t broken.

In the distance, they could hear sirens approaching.  Someone got a call out somehow… neighbor or something, maybe a passer-by.  Ironic, when you thought about it; the cops were needed at their own station, and had to rush to help.

Chris headed for the door, gun still in hand.  He wasn’t sure this was over yet.

“Anybody hurt?” he called out.  After the words left his mouth, he realized what a dumb question is actually was.  Looking at the condition of the bullpen area, there was no way everyone got out of this unscathed.  It looked worse than the office he had just come from.  His heart started to speed up as he looked for his men.

He came around the side of a desk slowly, first seeing boot-shod feet and jeans, then seeing blue eyes gazing dazedly at the ceiling, blinking.

“Vin!” Chris said, crouching next to his friend.  He felt for a pulse, feeling it beating strong in his neck.  He could tell just by looking at him that he had been hit in the face with something, hard.  No wonder he was dazed.

The blue eyes locked on him, and he rasped out, “What happened?”

Larabee shook his head and looked around.  “I don’t know.”

Vin groaned as his head started to throb in time with his heartbeat.  “Help me up.”

Normally, Chris would keep him where he lay, but today was anything but normal.

Getting to his wobbly legs, Tanner looked around.  The sirens of several different vehicles were pulling up to the front of the station.  Vin leaned on the desk and put his aching head in his hands.

“Jesus Christ,” he muttered loud enough for Larabee to hear. 

“That about covers it.”




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