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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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
He moved to get up. “Everyone all right?” he hollered to no one in particular.
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.
Chief Owens used the tshirt 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.
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.”