When I woke up I was lying in the back of a car, my hands tied behind my back. I hadn't seen daylight in so long that it hurt my eyes badly. I coughed and realised that there was no blood in my mouth, that meant it was clotting, which was good, and also bad. I tried to sit up but suddenly found a gun pointed to my head. 'Move and you die.' a cold voice said. I found myself looking into the eyes of a new guy. 'Where's your friend?' I slurred, my vision going in and out. 'Dead.' His voice was flat, emotionless. 'Your buddies shot him.'
I gasped. They were here, they were looking for me! 'We'll have our revenge, our snipers will soon take care of them.' he grinned evilly at me. I opened my mouth to say something smart back but we were interrupted by a burst of gunfire. 'Boss we're taking hits!' a voice gurgled over the radio.
He checked to make sure my hands were still tied and then leapt from the car, gun at the ready. I instantly began working at the ropes. After a couple of seconds I was free and I sat up and peered out into the bright light of day. He was nowhere in sight and there was still gunfire coming from the direction he ran.
I pushed open the door and staggered out after him, keeping to the shadows as much as I could. I came around the corner just in time to see Beth take him down and pin him to the ground. 'Where is he?' she hissed.
The man just laughed and raised his hand so that everyone could see the detonator in it. He pushed it before they could react and I heard the car I'd left behind me explode in a firey ball of flame that lit up the skies.
'NO! STEVE!' Dani screamed, and at that moment I chose to stumble forwards out of the shadows.
'Present! Sorry I'm late Miss, won't happen again.' I coughed, grinning as I took baby steps towards them, trying to keep upright.
Beth and Jagan stood gaping at me before they both ran and hugged me while a new guy I'd never seen before slowly got to his feet and dusted himself off. 'So you're Stephen West.' he said loudly and I saw Jagan grimace in distaste.
I ignored him and shrugged Jagan and Beth off as I kept walking towards Dani. She just stood there looking at me, her hands hanging limply by her sides. I wondered if I was just having another crazy dream brought on by blood loss. It seemed real though....
She looked beautiful, it didn't matter that she'd just been through a gunfight, she still looked amazing. I stood in front of her and smiled as I took her gun out of her hand and threw it to one side. She was real, I wasn't dreaming.
Resting my hand against Dani's cheek I tilted her face up towards me and rested my forehead against hers, staring into her eyes. 'You're beautiful.' I smiled at her gently. 'What are you doing?' the guy I'd ignored yelled at me.
'Something I should have done a long time ago.'
I kissed her, tangling my hands in her hair. I didn't care that I was filthy and covered in blood, I didn't care that she had black smudge marks and ash in her hair from car bombs. I just cared that she was real, and she was there, and I could hold her in my arms and she wouldn't just be a dream.
She slowly slid her arms around my neck as I kissed her. I held her tightly and didn't let her go even when we stopped. I was oblivious to everything else at that moment as she rested her head on my shoulder.
'I missed you.' I murmured into her hair.
I glanced over the top of her head and saw Beth wink at me and Jagan give me the thumbs up and grin. I winked back at both of them and then felt a hand on my shoulder.
Turning around I saw that it was the new guy. 'Stephen West, I'm apprehending you for resisting arrest and detainment....' he droned.
I knew this charade. 'SMCU?' I interrupted him and he glared at me. 'How did you know?'
I stood up as straight as I could and realised that I was taller then this guy. I was taller then most guys though so that didn't really count but it made me feel better. 'Because I know the department, I worked with you guys on multiple hostage crisis cases.' I explained patiently. I didn't want to get into an argument with anyone just at this moment. I saw Beth on the phone out of the corner of my eye and I paused as I turned to look curiously at her.
'Yes, I understand Sir. Relations are kind of touchy Sir, could you please ring him and tell him? I don't think he'll believe it if it comes from me. He hasn't integrated himself very well into the team, he's trying to do things the SMCU way and they're not really working. Yes Sir, thank you Sir.'
She hung up and turned to the new guy.
'Drake, expect a phonecall from the department. They done an in depth forensic analysis and found that the DNA was planted. There is no way such samples could have been found from just momentary touch of a knife. He's still a suspect but the DNA is being disregarded for the moment. They'll be coming back with a time and date of death and we can go from there and see what Crow was doing at the time. But until then, stop trying to arrest him, or I'll break your nose. And I hit harder then Jagan.'
'Hey...' Jagan looked disgruntled and chased after her as she turned and walked off.
I felt bad for Drake, he just didn't know how we did things, he was doing them his way because it was the only way he knew how to do it. 'Don't worry, she's not always like that, we're all just edgy at the moment. She'll warm up eventually. Forgive and forget and all that. It's the way Beth is, just give her time.' I saw him move as though to ignore me and I frowned. 'Forgiveness doesn't run in the family though.' I said quietly and I saw his eyes widen in understanding. 'Are you threatening me?' he demanded.
'No, If you'd bothered to actually read the file that the department gave you on me instead of just working on the SMCU rule of incriminate and incarcerate then you'd realise that I am in actual fact, trying to say saying thanks.'
I stuck out my hand. 'So, thanks.'
He seemed unsure as he reached for my hand to shake it but he did it. His grip was good and his arms steady. I knew he was probably a fairly decent shot from that and I relaxed. He'd be taking care of himself once he learned the SCIT way of doing things.
I dropped his hand just as his phone rang. He answered it and spoke for a few minutes before hangning up. 'I guess you're free for the moment but not completely out of the loop. And don't take this the wrong way but if you are guilty then I'll personally take you down.' he gave a half smile and I returned it before I suddenly clutched at my side as a ripple of pain broke through me. 'Guys, it's really great that I don't have to sit in a cell with creepy moving walls and wishing that I had food and a shower and a bed... but right now all I really want is an ambulance.'