Characters: Sam, Wordy, Spike, Greg, Ed, Lou, Jules
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for injury and blood
Genre: Drama, Humour, Hurt/Comfort, Friendship
Word Count: 2576
Summary: Sam thought the winter weather was the worst thing he would have to deal with that day. He was wrong.
Shivering, Sam stomped his feet and rubbed his gloved hands together.
“Damn weather,” he grumbled.
There was a bitter chill to the day and his breath came out in little clouds of vapour.
Beside him, Wordy grinned. “All that time in Afganistan has made you soft.”
Sam scowled. “I’m sure the winters have gotten colder.”
“Nah,” replied Wordy shaking his head. “It’s just you.”
That didn’t make Sam feel any better. He shivered again. He supposed he should have worn one of the heavy down coats SRU provided them with, but he’d always found them too bulky and never liked anything hindering his movements.
Thankfully, the raid they’d been on had ended quickly. As he watched, Ed and Lou escorted the handcuffed gunman out of the building and towards the waiting police cruiser. The gunman, a semi high-up drug dealer, had decided to barricade himself in his apartment with his stash and his gun, but Team One had easily broken in and taken him down. They just had to hand him over to the Drug Squad, and then all that was left to do was debriefing and paperwork. Normally, Sam hated debriefing and paperwork but considering it took place in their nice warm base, he was actually looking forward to it.
“At least, it’s stopped snowing,” commented Wordy.
Sam looked up dubiously at the white cloud covered sky. “For now,” he said.
There was already half a foot of snow on the ground and he wasn’t looking forward to more.
Wordy placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry,” he said reassuringly. “We’ll soon have you warmed up. I happen to know where there’s a nice hot cup of coffee with your name on it.”
Sam was just imagining how that cup of coffee would taste when the shooting started.
The shots came out of nowhere, the bullets being fired in rapid succession all around them. They could be heard hitting their vehicles, the surrounding buildings, and the ground by their feet. The loud bangs sounded disturbingly close and echoed down the street.
There was a mass scramble to find cover. Sam dove behind one of the SUVs, Wordy immediately joining him.
“Status,” Greg called out over their headsets.
Sam was relieved to hear the chorus of ‘no harm’s from his teammates. “No harm,” he echoed automatically.
The shots continued at a high rate. Sam could hear some of them slamming into the truck he was hiding behind. He heard a window shatter. He knew from the sound and the firing capacity that the shooter must be using an assault rifle but he couldn’t identify what type.
“Where the hell’s it coming from?” asked Wordy.
Cautiously, Sam peeked over the top of the SUV, and then immediately ducked back down when a bullet hit the truck only inches from him. His heart beat rapidly in his chest with the sudden surge of adrenaline making him feel momentarily dizzy.
“Single shooter. Must be on top of one of the buildings across the street,” he said.
“Any idea who?” asked Jules over their headsets.
Peering around Wordy, Sam was just able to make out where she had taken shelter behind another one of the SUVs. He was glad she was safe. Beyond her, Ed, Lou, and their captured subject were crouched down behind the police cruiser. The shots seemed to be concentrated on them.
“Probably somebody who’s afraid our drug dealer will talk if we take him into custody,” replied Greg.
Both Greg and Spike were safe in the command truck, but they wouldn’t be able to come out without stepping right into the line of fire.
“He’s got us pinned down,” said Ed.
“Well, he’s got to run out of ammunition sometime,” said Spike.
Another round of shots sounded.
“Assuming he doesn’t have a whole stockpile up there,” said Lou.
“All it takes is one bullet,” Greg reminded them.
Sam knew what he meant. The shooter could stop and save that one bullet until they all thought they were safe and stepped unknowingly out from behind their shelters. It was a good thing the shooter wasn’t such a great shot or he could have easily hit someone earlier when he’d caught them by surprise. They hadn’t been anticipating a second gunman and their guards had been down. They were lucky.
Sam risked another peek over the SUV gazing at the area he thought the shooter was most likely to be, and he saw it: the barrel of a rifle sticking through a window.
“Brick building, third story, second window from the left,” he told the others.
“Good job, Sam,” said Ed. “Can you make the shot?”
Sam clutched his rifle putting his right hand on the pistol grip, his left hand clumsily trying to grip the barrel. He cursed the cold for making his hands numb. It seemed to have gotten even colder over the past couple of minutes. The chill was getting right down to his bones. Forcing his breathing to slow down, he aimed around the side of the truck, but as he pointed the rifle at the window, all he was able to make out was the gun. He couldn’t see the shooter. He pulled back as another round of shots sounded.
“I’ve got an idea,” came Jules’ voice. “I think I know where I can get a good vantage point.”
“Go for it,” replied Ed. “But be careful.”
Peering around Wordy again, Sam saw Jules creep hunched down around the side of the SUV and disappear. He hated having to sit back and wait especially when another member of his team was risking their life, but that was all he could do in the circumstances as the bullets continued to rain randomly around them. He felt uncomfortable crouching there in the snow. His heart was still pounding away from the adrenaline and the cold was making his whole body numb. He just wanted this over with.
Gazing over at him, Wordy narrowed his eyes. “You okay?” he whispered.
“I’m fine,” Sam replied. “Just cold.”
Wordy looked like he wanted to ask him something else, but before he could, Jules spoke.
“I’ve got the solution,” she said from whatever perch she had found.
“Scorpio,” said Greg though such procedures were hardly necessary when an active shooter was firing right at them.
Sam heard Jules gun go off, and then there was a quiet pause where he realized all the shooting had stopped.
“Subject neutralized,” Jules said.
“Good job,” said Greg, the relief evident in his voice. “Jules, you and Lou go up there and make sure. Ed, get our prisoner out of here.”
While the others set about their work, Sam and Wordy gratefully got back to their feet. Sam felt strangely tired though he’d hardly exerted himself hiding there behind the truck.
“I bet you’re really looking forward to that coffee now,” said Wordy.
Sam nodded tiredly. “Yeah.”
Suddenly, Wordy’s eyes widened as he stared at Sam. “Fuck.”
“What?” asked Sam frowning in confusion.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” Wordy demanded, more fearful than angry.
Sam just shook his head feeling lost. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Boss, we need EMS now,” Wordy said into his headset.
Sam began looking around him trying to see whatever injured party had prompted Wordy to ask for EMS. That’s when he saw the puddle of blood. The red stood out brightly against the white of the snow. Another drop joined the puddle and Sam backtracked it to its source, a large, dark, wet stain on his left arm.
“Oh,” he said dumbly.
“Talk to me, Wordy,” came Greg’s concerned voice from their headsets. “What’s going on?”
“Sam’s been hit,” Wordy said. “Bullet to the upper left arm. He’s already lost a lot of blood.” He took a hold of Sam’s other arm to keep him steady for which Sam was grateful as he suddenly was feeling very unsteady.
“You seriously didn’t notice?” Wordy asked.
Sam shook his head. “Didn’t feel a thing.”
Now that he was paying attention he could feel a vague damp sensation on his arm, but he still didn’t feel any pain. He felt strangely detached as if it was someone else’s arm that had been shot.
“Adrenaline and shock are amazing things,” said Spike as he ran up to them, Greg close behind him.
After giving the wound a very brief examination, Spike pulled out one of the bandages they always carried with them and pressed it tightly against Sam’s arm.
That’s when Sam finally felt the pain. It was as if he had been shot right then. The outside world faded around him as the pain stabbed into his arm and then seemed to travel right through his body to the tip of his toes and the top of his head.
“…you hear me? Sam?”
As the pain started to die down and the world started to fade back in, Sam realized someone was talking to him. He blinked and saw three very worried faces gazing down at him. Somehow without him noticing, he had been moved so that he was now sitting in the back of the truck with a blanket draped over his shoulders. He could feel both pressure and pain in his left arm and glanced over to see Spike was still holding the bandage tightly to his wound.
“Sam?” said Greg and Sam realized he was the one who had spoken earlier.
Greg gave him a reassuring smile. “You back with us?”
“Yes, sir,” he said still feeling slightly dazed. “What…?”
“You almost passed out on us,” explained Wordy.
“I got shot,” Sam said as the fact sank it.
“Yeah, you did,” said Greg still gazing worriedly at him. “How d’you feel?”
“Stupid,” Sam admitted with a humourless laugh because he really did. He felt like such an idiot. “I can’t believe I didn’t notice I’d been hit.”
“I blame the special forces training,” said Spike jokingly. “All that stuff you went though to make you such a tough-ass macho he-man.”
“I don’t remember them training us not to feel pain,” said Sam.
Jules and Lou came jogging over to them.
“How is he?” asked Jules.
“I’m fine,” Sam said.
Truthfully, he felt like crap. He was shaky and cold and his arm hurt, but he knew a bullet in the arm wasn’t going to kill him though he wasn’t looking forward to being on the disabled list for the next few weeks
Jules turned to Greg obviously not believing Sam.
“He’ll be okay,” Greg said reassuringly. “Ambulance should be here any minute now.”
Jules looked relieved. She smiled. “So what’s this about you not noticing you’d been shot?” she said teasingly.
“I was a bit busy at the time,” Sam protested. “We were under fire.”
“Uh huh,” said Jules nodding. “And you completely failed to notice the great big hole in your arm or all the blood draining out of you?”
Sam rolled his eyes.
“Shouldn’t you be talking to SIU right now?” Greg told Jules pointedly.
“Right, Sarge,” she said. “I’ll check on you later, Braddock.”
Sam gave her a weak wave goodbye as she left.
“You really didn’t notice?” said Lou gazing at him wonderingly.
Letting out a groan, Sam shook his head. He had feeling this was a subject none of them was going to drop anytime soon.
“Hey, I’ve heard stories of guys getting shot five times and not noticing for over an hour,” said Spike. “I tell you adrenaline’s a wonderful thing. Either that or Sam was give some super soldier serum while he was in Afghanistan.”
“That I would have noticed,” Sam said tiredly, his voice weak. He was really feeling the blood loss now.
“Stay with us, Sam,” said Greg placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, boss,” Sam replied with a smile. “I’m not planning on going anywhere.”
“I think this calls for a new procedure,” Spike said suddenly.
Wordy frowned. “A new procedure?”
“Yeah,” said Spike. “Anytime we’re shot at whomever’s closest to Sam should look him over.”
“To make sure he hasn’t been hit,” said Lou nodding. “Makes sense.”
Sam groaned again. Apparently, his team had no intention of letting him live this one down.
“What do you think, Ed?” Spike asked the team leader as he joined them.
“I think that’s a great idea,” agreed Ed. “You should put it in writing, make it official.”
“We’ll call it the Sam Check,” said Spike, his eyes bright and eager.
The team was still discussing the implementation of the Sam Check when the ambulance pulled in. As the paramedics took over, Greg ordered the others away to finish clearing up before heading back to the base. Only Wordy stayed with Sam.
“I wanted to say I’m sorry,” Wordy said as the paramedics got Sam settled on the stretcher.
“For what?” asked Sam in confusion. It felt surprisingly good to lie down. It stopped the world spinning around his head as it had been trying to do. One of the paramedics began setting up an IV while the other tucked a blanket around him.
“You’re not the only one who should have noticed you’d been hit,” Wordy continued regretfully. “I thought you looked off but I didn’t even notice the blood until it was almost too late.”
“Forget about it,” said Sam. “If I didn’t see it, I can hardly expect you to. Besides, you were there when it counted.”
“Yeah well, next time I’m doing a Sam Check,” said Wordy laughing when he saw the face Sam made. “Hey, you really scared us back there. They just want to make sure you survive our next call intact.”
“Yeah, well…” Sam couldn’t deny it was nice knowing that the team worried about him that much. “I just hope they don’t get too carried away.”
“Don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll have forgotten all about it by the time you’re back in the field.”
“If I survive all those weeks of desk duty,” Sam said, his voice growing quiet and heavy with sleep. The paramedics had given him something for the pain and it was starting to kick in.
Wordy patted him on the shoulder and smiled. “At least you’ll be out of the cold.”
A few months later…
The subject wasn’t in the mood to talk. A spray of gunfire flew across the warehouse. Sam took shelter behind a crate.
“Status,” came Greg’s familiar call.
“I’m good,” said Sam.
The rest of the team gave similar replies.
There was a pause, and then Greg said, “You sure, Sam?”
Several muffled laughs could be heard over his headset.
Sam had the sudden urge to start banging his head against the crate in front of him. “I’m sure,” he said.
“Jules, do a Sam Check,” Ed ordered, the amusement clear in his voice.
Jules, who had been hiding behind a crate a couple metres from Sam, came over and looked Sam over; then she spun him around checking him from every angle. She was grinning the whole time.
“He’s good,” she said.
“You don’t have to do it every time,” he grumbled.
“It is procedure,” said Lou.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t want us to go against procedure, would you?” said Spike.
“Got to make sure we get back to base with our Sam intact,” said Wordy.
Sam rolled his eyes but he couldn’t help smiling too.
“Sam Check complete,” declared Greg. “Let’s get back to work.”