"I don't see how you can blame me for this," Blair said, shifting his arms and rattling the heavy chains that attached him to both Captain Simon Banks and the eyelet set into the concrete floor of the cold and damp warehouse basement. "I mean, I wasn't even supposed there. I was supposed to be in court today. The case got rescheduled and I just showed up at the last minute. This is so not my fault."
Rafe and Brown, similarly chained together and to the floor a few feet away, laughed simultaneously. "Listen, Hairboy," Brown started, "I've been a cop for seven years and I've never been kidnapped or held hostage before. You've been a cop now for, what, two months and this is your second official kidnapping?"
"Can't we just blame it all on Jimbo?" Megan asked, leaning against the warm weight of Taggert. "He was the one that made the restaurant reservations for us."
"Yes, but he isn't here and his partner is. Partners share in everything and that includes blame."
"Great," Blair said. "Can we have this conversation again when we're sharing praise, not blame?"
"Sssshhhh," Taggart said, "did you hear that?"
Blair resisted the urge to roll his eyes. That was Jim's line, usually applied to sounds far beyond the range of normal human hearing. "Hear what, Joel?"
"It sounded like a remote timer arming - and more than one." Joel had been a respected member of the bomb squad for long enough that no one questioned his knowledge.
The detectives began to look around the dimly lit room more carefully.
"Oh, shit," H breathed. "Look over in that corner." In a dim corner sat three rectangular stacked metal boxes. Three sets of LEDs blinked in the light, all showing identical numbers, rapidly counting down.
Joel looked at the walls of their current prison. "The way those bombs are placed, when they go off these concrete tilt-up walls will all just fall in."
...on top of us, all the occupants of the room thought. Thousands of pounds of concrete warehouse, imploding inward and downward.
"Right," Megan said. "We'll just have to stop it."
"Or get someone else to stop it."
"Look, Sandy, I know you put a lot of faith in Jim, but he doesn't even know we're here, being held hostage. How could be possibly find us," she looked over at the countdown timers, "in less than thirty minutes?"
Simon's baritone boomed out. "People, we need something more creative and helpful than this."
"Simon, man, move over some." Sandburg wiggled his shoulders and knees, his chains clanking as he adjusted his position to sit up, kneeling on the cold wet floor.
"Sandburg," Banks hissed, "what do you think you're doing?"
"Going for a little walk, Simon." He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, slowing his heart rate with each breath.
"A walk? Are those or are those not chains I see on your legs, Sandburg? This is no time for..."
Banks shut up when Blair began to speak slowly in the low, rich tones that Banks had always thought of as the "Guide" voice. To hear him speak in that voice without Jim present made Banks shiver as he felt the hair on his arms and the back of his neck rise.
"Jim, man, hear my voice. I am in deep trouble here and I've got a lot of company. It would be really good if you showed up about NOW, man..." his voice trailed off as his breathing slowed even further. His head fell back and his body slumped to the floor.
The wrist chains prevented Banks from catching Sandburg before his head hit the floor with an audible thump. Banks winced and pulled Blair's head off of the floor, onto his leg, checking for bumps and blood and finding neither.
"Is he okay?" Joel asked. "What's wrong with him?"
Banks looked up to see all of his detectives looking at Sandburg's unmoving form. "I think he's okay. He's breathing, he's just...out."
"Well, I mean, we knew Ellison was, well, was, uhhhh..." Rafe started, stopping mid-sentence when he met the expression is his captain's eyes, daring him to finish the sentence.
"But Sandburg, too? Both of them, sir?" his partner finished. Banks maintained silence.
"Can he really...talk to Ellison like that?"
Joel's question was sincere and concerned and Banks sighed. "Hell, I don't know. Probably."
"Ellison can't know where we are, sir, we don't know where we are! How could Blair have given him our location?" Rafe's eyes shifted from Sandburg to Banks. "How can Ellison know?"
"He knows," Blair slurred, not quite a resident of the land of the aware and awake yet. "He's on his way."
The detectives shared a glance and then shrugged.
The wait was short in terms of physical time, but long in terms of mental wear-and-tear on those waiting. The timers all read 5:00:00 exactly when the door at the top of the warehouse stairs was kicked in and the group stared up into the ice-blue eyes of a man wearing full body armor and carrying a large gun.
"Well, Detective Ellison," Captain Banks drawled. "So good of you to join us."
Impatient bomb squad members pushed past Ellison, along with SWAT members armed with bolt cutters for the chains. Ellison holstered his weapon and moved quickly down the stairs.
"Hey Chief," Ellison said, squatting down by his semi-lucid partner, quickly checking him for injuries. "You rang?"
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