So, anyway, here is my very first story. Forgive typos. I'm just a dog after all and it's hard to type with these paws.
Disclaimer: Not all dogs are like this, just so you know. I mean no disrespect to German Shepherds. Some of my best friends are German Shepherds! Of course, Pit Bulls are better, but let's not tell the GS folks that. :-)
Originally posted to the SA list.
Title courtesy of Izzy.
The Volvo sputtered and chugged.
"No. No. No!" Blair gripped the steering wheel tighter, urging the car along. It was a really bad neighborhood and he didn't want to break down in it. Why couldn't the Volvo choose to act up in a good neighborhood? No, it always had to choose the worst possible areas to throw a fit. "Don't die on me. Don't die! Don't..."
It died. With a silent curse, he coasted the car to the curb.
Great. Just great. Reaching into his backpack on the passenger seat, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed Jim's desk. It was after dark, but he was pretty sure the detective would still be at the bullpen.
Thank God. "Jim, man, it's me."
"Who else? Your partner. Blair Sandburg. Ring a bell?"
"Vaguely, but it's been so long since I've seen him, I'm having trouble remembering what he looks and sounds like."
Blair rolled his eyes. Okay, so he'd been tied up the university all week with finals. That would all change after Friday. "Ha. Ha. Funny. But I was thinking you and I could go get some dinner tonight."
"You free now?"
"Yeah, sure, just let me tie up some last-minute stuff."
"Great. And can you swing by 4th and Gilmore and pick me up on your way?"
There was a brief silence. Then, "Let me guess, that classic of yours broke down? And in that neighborhood?"
"Wow, man! You're good! You figured that out and I didn't even tell you. Guess that's why you're a detective, huh?"
"Okay, smartass, I'll be there ASAP. Don't leave the car. Got it?"
"Where am I gonna go?"
A sigh. "Like I've never heard you say that before and, still, something manages to happen. Stay put. Got it. No matter what?"
"You know, I could get mugged just sitting here. Remember the carjackers last time?"
"I'll use the siren. Okay?"
"Drive carefully - if you know how to do such a thing."
"I'm leaving Sandburg. Bye."
Blair grinned as he heard the line click, then ended his connection and tossed the phone on the seat. It was cold, his breath making little white puffs in front of his face. He glanced at the dashboard clock. 7:45 p.m.
If Jim doesn't get here soon, he'll find a frozen corpse. He rubbed his hands together and reached into his backpack to pull out his gloves. Then he waited for Jim's arrival.
Minutes passed. Blair tapped the steering wheel, trying to ignore the cold. A few seconds more passed, and he heard a woman's scream. Tensing, he wiped the fog from the inside of his window and peered out to the street. Several yards ahead, he saw a woman run from the alley. A larger figured followed, obviously male, and grabbed her in a bear hug, pulling her back between the buildings.
Oh man. Oh man. Blair grabbed his phone and dialed Jim's cell number. The voice mail picked up. Great. Just great. And he's always harping on me about keeping MY battery full.
The woman screamed again, and Blair dialed 911 as he opened his door. Quickly, he relayed the information to the dispatcher, cocking his head when he heard sirens in the distance. Was that Jim? He frowned. Damn, if it was Jim the Sentinel must have driven with the accelerator pressed to the floor.
Tossing his phone back onto the seat, he closed the Volvo's door and walked cautiously toward the alley. Another scream caused him to quicken his pace.
Oh hell, I'm going to get myself killed. He didn't even have a weapon, but he couldn't just stand by and ignore the woman's cries. His eyes scanned the ground, a flickering street lamp providing enough light for him to see. He spotted a large rock nearby and grabbed it, hurrying toward the alley.
Cautiously, he peeked his head around the corner of the building. Two large men were on the ground, holding down a scantily-dressed woman. Her short skirt, heavy make-up, and almost non-existent top marked her as a probable prostitute.
She twisted, trying to break free, but one man held her legs while the other held her arms. The man on her legs used his weight to keep her steady while he pulled at her skirt. She screamed and writhed, but remained effectively pinned beneath his weight.
Oh man, oh man, oh man. Taking a deep breath, Blair pulled back his arm and threw the stone as hard as he could. It hit the guy holding the woman's legs squarely in the forehead. With a surprised yell, the man flinched and rolled off her, dazed, but the other guy moved quickly, spinning around. Blair saw the gun and ducked behind the building just as a shot rang out.
Oh shit. He heard heavy footsteps headed his way. The prostitute flew out of the alley and Blair nearly jumped out of his skin as she passed. She didn't even spare him a glance.
The gunman was still approaching, his footsteps hurried but cautious. Knowing he was no match for an armed man, Blair spun around and took off running. Another gunshot clattered the relative silence and a bullet slammed into the side of the building only inches from his head. Ducking instinctively, Blair ran faster. A deep voice from behind cursed at him, which only motivated him to move faster.
He rounded the corner. The sirens sounded closer now. All he had to do was hold out a little longer.
He spotted a pile of trashbags laying next to a door behind the building. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw no one. He didn't know if the gunman was still in pursuit, but he lunged for the trashbags and buried himself underneath. A few seconds later, he heard his pursuer's footsteps. Stifled by the weight of the trashbags, he nevertheless used his right hand to probe the cement. His fingers closed around a crushed piece of aluminum. Shifting, he managed to peek through a small hole and move his arm over the top of the pile. He flung the aluminum as far as he could. It landed with a clatter. The footsteps paused, then changed direction, heading toward the source of the noise.
The sirens grew louder, the night coming to life with blue and red lights. Tires screeched. Car doors opened, then slammed shut. A deep voice yelled, "FREEZE!"
Breathing a sigh of relief, Blair began to work his way from beneath the trashbags when a loud, angry growl made him freeze. Seconds later, a sharp pressure bore down on his ankle, and he cried out. He found himself being pulled from beneath the trashbags. The pain in his ankle increased, and he struggled, screaming. Then he was free of the pile, the cold night air slapping against his cheeks.
He tried. He really did. But the Shepherd's teeth were digging into his ankle. He twisted, trying to break away from the canine's hold, but the powerful jaws held him firmly.
"Don't move! Don't you move!"
"I'm not armed!" Blair placed his hands behind his head, trying desperately to go still. He managed with marginal success, flinching and writhing only slightly as the teeth dug into the tender flesh of his ankle and shook his leg. "I'm staying still! I'm not armed! Get him off me! Get him off!"
The dog growled, refusing to relinquish its hold, shaking its head as its teeth dug deeper into Blair's flesh. He screamed, tensing even as he tried to make himself relax.
The dog shook its head again.
"I am! I am!" Blair clenched his eyes tight against the pain, willing himself still. "Get him off. Please, get him off."
"Brando OFF! Now!"
Blair felt the jaws tighten around his ankle, and he cried out again as the canine dragged him another few feet toward the street, growling and snarling as it pulled.
"I am! I am! He's dragging me! Get him off!" He was screaming now, his ankle throbbing and burning. A wail rose in the air, and he wasn't sure if it was coming from him or someone else. Then a screeched rattled the night.
The pain overtook Blair, and he screamed and writhed. His motions only spurred the animal on, and he felt the shaking through his entire body. The teeth sank deeper, contacting bone.
"WHAT THE HELL?!!!! GET HIM OFF NOW! THAT'S MY PARTNER, YOU ASSHOLES!"
"Brando OFF! I'm trying, Detective! He's not listening."
Suddenly, the pressure around Blair's ankle lifted and he coiled into a ball, his arms wrapped around his injured leg. His heart pounded, and he rocked in sync with the beat and the intense throbbing in his ankle.
"Blair, let me see."
He felt hands on his shoulders, urging him onto his back. Resisting, he curled tighter, his eyes clenched as he fought off the waves of agony and nausea.
"GET AN AMBULANCE HERE! Come on, Chief."
A hand touched his cheek, then moved to his shoulder. Another hand brushed against his torn ankle and he flinched, coiling tighter.
"Easy, Blair. Let me take a look."
Fingers gently probed the tender area, and spikes of pain shot through his leg. He jerked, his good foot lashing out reflexively. "No, don't!"
He heard a grunt as his foot contacted something solid, and the impact jarred his injured ankle. He cried out and tried to move away, but the hands returned, grabbing his shoulders.
"I'm sorry. Just relax. Easy. I'm not going to touch it. Okay?"
Recognition penetrated the stifling fog of pain, and he opened his eyes, continuing his mindless rocking as he squinted up at the figure crouched over him. "J-Jim?"
"Yeah." The Sentinel leaned closer to him. "Try to relax. The paramedics will be here soon."
Blair nodded, gritting his teeth against the hot throbbing in his ankle. He curled closer to the detective, clenching his hands into fists around Jim's thick leather jacket.
More sirens screamed in the distance. Sweat trickled down his neck and back. The cold bit through his jeans and snaked beneath his shirt. He shivered.
"Here." Jim wrapped his hands over Blair's and gently pried the fingers off his jacket. Then he slid out of the sleeves and draped the heavy leather over Blair.
"C-Cold." The thick material did nothing to block out the cold. The chill seemed to come from somewhere deep inside him. His eyelids grew heavy and he felt himself uncurling.
Arms slid beneath his back and lifted his shoulders, then cradled him against something solid and warm.
Jim shifted in the chair, drumming his fingers on the bed rail. Blair lay sleeping, heavily drugged. His leg had been placed in a brace that had a large, cushioned "shoe" for his foot. Right now, the thin blankets covered the brace, but the outline of the bulky fitting remained visible beneath the material.
Blair's ankle had needed surgery, and the doctors had decided to forego a cast to give them access to the wound. They needed to monitor it to make sure an infection didn't begin. Right now, Sandburg was on heavy antibiotics. The good news was that all the damage had been repairable and the bone itself hadn't been broken -- miraculously.
A soft creak pulled Jim's attention away from his partner. He looked to the door and straightened when he saw Officer Davis standing there, his head slightly bowed as he gazed as the young man in the bed.
The Officer shifted nervously on his feet. He was in his mid-thirties, with a round face that made him look several years younger. "Is... How is he?"
Jim glanced back at his sleeping partner. "He'll be okay."
A sigh. "That's good. I'm glad."
Taking a deep breath to quell the rising anger in his chest, Jim looked back at Davis. "That dog is a liability."
Davis glanced at the floor. "I don't know what happened. Brando just got a bit carried away. He wouldn't listen to my commands. These kind of things happen with K-9 units."
That brought Jim out of his chair and he stopped right in front of the officer, resisting the urge to slam him against the wall. "These things happen? That's your explanation? Is that what you're going to tell IA? Is that what you told your captain?"
The officer swallowed and took a step backward. "We were chasing a suspect. Officer Larson went after the guy on foot. Brando found your partner hiding in the trashbags. That's what the dog is trained for."
"He was hiding from the perp."
"I know. I'm sorry." He jerked his chin toward the bed. "Tell him I am sorry. I have to go now. Paperwork. Questions to answer." He turned and hurried out of the room.
Jim took another deep, calming breath and moved back to his chair. Moments later, the door creaked again and a familiar voice resonated through the small room.
"How is he?"
"He'll be okay, Simon."
The captain walked to the foot of the bed. "We questioned the guy with the gun. He confessed. Actually, he ranted and raved and had to be restrained a few times. Apparently, he's pretty pissed off. Sandburg stumbled on a rape-in-progress and belted one of the guys with a rock. Our guy took off after Blair. An anonymous caller had phoned in earlier reporting a woman screaming, which is why Davis and Larson arrived when they did."
"What about Davis and his K-9 partner?"
The captain sighed. "Well, your story matches Davis' and Larson's. Based on that, there's no reason to take disciplinary action against the officers. This is was a case of an animal being an animal. It's the danger of using K-9 units in these types of high-stress situations. The noise, the commotion... the dog just got carried away."
Jim could barely believe his ears. "So you're telling me just what Davis told me. 'These things happen.' Unbelievable. That dog could have killed Sandburg."
"Look, the dog's off duty now pending further evaluation."
"Sandburg could sue, you know."
Simon nodded. "I know."
"But he probably won't."
"I know that, too."
"I--" Jim cut off his reply when he heard the change in Blair's heartbeat. Turning his attention back to the figure on the bed, he leaned forward, grabbing the rail. "Blair?"
The beeping of the heartmonitor increased. Blair moaned, a crease forming in his brow. His heartbeat jumped and he jerked awake with a strangled yelp, focusing wide, drug-clouded eyes at the foot of the bed.
Simon took a step back. "It's okay, Sandburg. Just me here."
"Take it easy, Chief." Jim brushed his fingers lightly over Blair's shoulder.
The young man jerked again, his eyes snapping to Jim. "Dog..."
"It's okay. You're in a hospital. The dog's not here."
The crease in Blair's brow deepened, and he swallowed hard, blinking up at Jim, his eyelids drooping heavily. "Mmm... not moving. I'm not moving..."
Jim leaned closer to his partner and placed a palm on Sandburg's forehead. "Shhh. It's okay, just go back to sleep."
Blair's eyelids drooped further, finally closing, and his breathing and heartrate evened out. With a tired sigh, Jim dropped back to his chair and rested his chin on the rail.
He looked over at the captain. "Yeah, Simon?"
"You need me to get anything for you?"
He shook his head. "No, I'm fine. Thanks."
Nodding, Simon moved to the door. "I'm heading home, now, but I'll stop by in the morning."
"I don't suppose you'll let me give you a ride home?"
Jim shook his head. "No, I think I'd better stay here in case he wakes up again. He's been through a trauma, and I want him to wake up to a familiar face."
"Just thought I'd ask. I'll be back in the morning. Goodnight."
Jim listened to the captain's retreating footsteps, then turned
his hearing back to the soft rhythm of Blair's breathing and heartbeat. Some time later,
he fell asleep himself.