This is a short, h/c snippet. I'm writing it b/c I need to compensate for six hours of multistate testing. The basics of this story were taken from a Bar Multistate Practice Question, which are usually based on actual case fact patterns.

Originally posted to sentinelangst

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Decoy
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"Take 'em off, now!" The gunman jabbed the barrel toward Blair. "Now!"

All the customers in the bank remained silent, laying flat on their stomachs, unmoving.

"Okay! Okay!" Blair backed up a step, bringing shaking hands to his shirt and fumbling with the buttons.

"Hurry it up!" The gunman ran a nervous hand through the long strands of his dark hair.

"I'm trying." Blair took a deep breath and looked at his fingers, focusing on the task of pushing the buttons through the holes and trying NOT to think about the barrel of the 9 mm pointed at his head.

"Quit stalling, goddamnit, or I'll shoot you and do it myself!"

"I'm not stalling." Blair forced his voice calm, relieved when he unfastened the last button. He slid out of his flannel shirt and let it slide to the floor, then quickly pulled the T-shirt over his head. It caught briefly on his ponytail, but he jerked it free and tossed it on the floor. Next, his trembling fingers went to his belt buckle, and he unfastened it, then unbuttoned and unzipped his pants and let them fall to his ankles.

Damn, he should've removed his shoes first. Feeling embarrassingly exposed with only his boxers covering his dignity, he crouched to undo his sneakers, but the robber's voice stopped him.

"Leave the shoes! And take your hair out of that damn ponytail!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"We got him!"

Jim stiffened, his eyes focused on the front doors of the bank across the street as he listened to the sniper's voice filtering out of the radio Simon held in his hand.

"He's approaching the front doors. Long hair. Black jacket. Jeans. He's holding a hostage, a kid with dark hair, pulled back, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans."

"Damn." Jim looked to the front doors of the bank. Sure enough, there was Sandburg being herded out the front doors, used as a shield by the robber. Jim couldn't see the gunman's hands, so he assumed the barrel was pointed into Blair's back. Sandburg's arms were practically invisible, pulled behind him.

Jim tilted his head, listening, and heard the robber's voice.

"To the car. Slow and easy. Don't try anything stupid. Remember, they'll be going for you first, so it's in your best interest that we get to the car."

Jim's brow furrowed. Why did the gunman think the sniper would be going for Sandburg first? His brow furrowed, and a heavy knot of dread formed in his stomach. "Oh no." He focused on the pair, his vision zooming in.

"I've got a shot!" The sniper's voice cackled out of the radio.

Jim spun around and grabbed the radio from Simon. "No! D--"

A shot rang out. The body of the rear man snapped backward.

"NO! Hold your fire, goddamnit!" Jim dropped the radio and bolted across the street, pulling his gun out and focusing on the front man dressed in Sandburg's clothes.

"Jim!" Simon's voice came from behind him. "What the hell?"

Chaos erupted as members of the SWAT team descended on the fallen man. Jim grabbed the gunman by the collar, smashed a fist in his face, and tossed him to Simon.

"It's a switch!" he barked, then pushed his way through the crowd of SWAT members. "Back off! Goddamnit, back off! Your guy shot the wrong man."

Jim yanked one large, Kevlar-clad figure away from his partner and dropped to his knees, barely missing the slowly-expanding puddle of blood on the sidewalk.

Blair was conscious, but barely. He was on his back, his arms bound behind him and his face pale. He kicked his legs weakly, fighting against the pain.

"Easy, Chief. Easy." Jim leaned forward, swallowing hard as he took in the damage to the left side of Blair's chest, inches above the heart. "I need an ambulance! Now, goddamnit! Where the hell are the EMT's?" He slid out of his jacket, pulled off his shirt, and bunched it into a ball, then pressed the material hard against the bleeding wound.

Blair arched away, groaning and kicking his legs as he tried to escape.

"I'm sorry, Blair. Easy, easy." Jim used his free hand to grab Blair's good shoulder as he increased the pressure and tried to keep Blair in place.

"What the hell's going on?" one of the SWAT men asked.

Jim glanced up briefly but didn't ease up on the pressure. "It was a decoy, you idiots," he barked, jerking his chin toward Simon, who was leading the robber away in cuffs. "That's your man. This is the hostage."

"Oh, shit."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A loud, obnoxious rumble pulled Blair from his blissful sleep. He groaned, and turned his head toward the sound. Slowly, his eyelids parted, and blurry colors replaced the darkness. White. Black.

A dark, murky figure was in front of him, slouched in something orange. He blinked, and the figure solidified into a recognizable form. Simon. Slouched in an orange hospital chair, his chin on his chest, snoring.

Blair blinked again, trying to make sense of the image. Simon? Asleep? Snoring?

Where...?

"Hey, Chief."

Blair blinked yet again. Whoa. "Jim?" He asked the sleeping Simon.

"Yeah. Right here. Here, Chief."

Blair finally realized the sound was coming from other side and turned his head. Sure enough, there was Jim, sitting in a chair. A bright smile lit the Sentinel's face.

"How are you feeling?"

"Uh..." Blair swallowed. His mouth felt like paste. He took stock. What hurt? Nothing. His brow furrowed, and he tried to remember what had happened. He had been depositing a check....

"You with me, Chief?"

Blair's eyelids snapped open. Had he actually fallen back asleep?

"Jim?" His voice was barely more than a croak. "Robber." It came to him suddenly. The hold-up. Being forced at gunpoint to undress, then switch clothes with the gunman.

"Yeah. You took a hit low in the shoulder from a SWAT sniper. He thought you were the robber. Fortunately, the bullet ricocheted and missed your lung and your heart."

"He made me..."

"I know. He's being charged with your attempted murder."

Blair snorted, then winced as pain flared in his shoulder. Damn, and he had so been enjoying the lack of pain.

"Easy, Chief. No laughing for a while. You had a decent amount of surgery done to remove the bullet and repair the damage."

"Oh."

Blair tried to look down at his shoulder, but all he saw was the white hospital gown. He couldn't move that arm, though. Not that he gave it much effort. He had a feeling any substantial attempt to move that limb would be met with severely painful retaliation from his damaged muscles.

"Hey," a deep, familiar voice said.

Blair turned his head back the other way to see Simon give into a yawn. The captain leaned forward in his chair and slid his fingers beneath his glasses to rub at his eyes.

"Hey, Simon," Blair smiled weakly.

"How are you feeling, Sandburg?"

"Kind of groggy." His eyelids began to feel much too heavy.

"You should get back to sleep, Chief."

Blair turned his head to Jim. "Uh-huh." He swallowed again and took a deep breath that threatened to turn into a yawn. "My shoulder going to be okay?"

"Yep. Nothing to worry about. It'll be good as new. Doc promised."

A hand stroked the top of Blair's head gently.

"Night, night, Chief."

~~~ the end ~~~