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FIC: Run (Emergency, Gen, PG 4/10)

Title: Run
Pairing: non, gen, friendship fic
Summary: A call that turned out not to be a call after all, but someone still needed help…
Spoilers: Set just after first season.
Notes: We saw on many episodes that Johnny Gage really didn't like guns. I thought it might be fun to figure out why.

Previous Parts: 1/10, 2/10, 3/10

Nurse McCall—Dix if she likes you—nodded patiently as Bellingham described the rescue, leaning on her station while waiting for his partner to be stitched up by Morton. He was loud, probably for her new assistant Nancy's benefit. His hands, all covered in soot, reeked of smoke, oil and…tacos?

No wonder he was called 'the Animal'. Whew.

"…and it just jumped right on top of Doro and it's yowling and Doro's yelling 'Get it off me! Get this hairball off me!' Meanwhile, my so-called unconscious smoke victim comes to and starts whacking my partner with her hat for manhandling her ca—Hey, DeSoto. Any news on Gage?"

Dix's head shot up sharply at the mumbled "No" as Roy approached her station. The burly paramedic gave Roy a thump to the back that had Roy stagger a step forward.

"That's rough, man," Bellingham said, his mouth twisted. Just then, his radio snapped into life from LA. "He's okay. Probably hitchhiking back to us as we speak." He lifted his handie-talkie to his mouth. "Squad 39," he confirmed. He gave Roy a shrug and a sheepish grin. "Listen, we gotta go, but you know everyone at the station's pulling for your partner, right?"

Dix studied Roy's profile. Her heart sank. Joe had told her what had happened when she reported to duty this morning.

"Not a word?" Dix coaxed Roy to stop looking at the stretchers that rolled by. He stared at them with a bit of fear.

"Nothing." Roy swiveled around and he lifted the radio he held as if he wanted to use it as a hammer on her counter. Thankfully, he remembered, giving her a guilty half-grimace, before lowering his arm. He set his arms straight down on the surface, bracing himself.

"I'm supposed to replace the boxes and wait for Johnny's…relief," Roy bit out the last part as he handed his list to Nancy behind her. Nancy shot her a nervous look before she started grabbing everything on the list.

Dix winced. Now she got why Roy looked like he was ready to tear some limbs apart. It was unsettling to see Roy DeSoto this way. Last time he acted like this was when poor Nurse Shelley had foolishly refused to let him follow in with Johnny's stretcher a few months back. His voice, hoarse from the Brea wildfires, was still loud enough for Kel and her to hear him three rooms down. Petite and green Nurse Shelley transferred to Geriatrics pretty much after that. Johnny took her out to dinner after his discharge. As an apology by proxy, he had claimed with a toothy grin.

Dix's eyes pricked at the corners. Oh, Johnny.

Whoever the poor sap was coming to meet Roy was doomed to be like Shelley. Dix doubted dinner with John Gage was going to cut it once Roy DeSoto let the guy have it.

"Listen, the police are looking into it, right?" Dix soothed.

"Yeah." Roy's head bowed low to her counter. The corner of his mouth quirked but flattened quickly after. "Detective Crockett heard and volunteered to help Richards."

"There. See? Johnny's going to be okay. You got all these people out there, Roy."

"I shouldn't have left him," Roy muttered, his head shaking. "Not there. Ninth's not exactly Rodeo Drive but I just left him there."

The drug box Nancy was filling rattled in her grip. Dix shot her a look, her eyes narrowed. Nancy hurriedly turned back around to face the cabinets.

"Joanne's besides herself," Roy went on. "We don't know what we're gonna tell the kids."

"What's to tell?" Dix returned. She rested a hand over one of his fists. "Roy, we haven't heard anything yet. Don't count Johnny out. Look at all the crazy rescues he came out of before."

Roy chuckled weakly to himself. "Some of that were pretty crazy, huh? I always thought he was—" Roy stopped. Something on his face twisted. "Is." Roy screwed up his face. He jerked his fist out from under Dix's hand without warning.

Before Dix could say anything more, Kel was coming out of Exam Two with their regular elderly walk-in, Harold Dempsey, under his companionable arm.

"Thanks, doc," Harold rasped. He coughed wetly behind a fist. "I be sure to finish the whole thing this time," the hunched man wheezed as he nodded to Dix, as politely as if he was tipping a hat to her. "Miss Dix."

"Try to stay away, Harold," Dix chided him as Harold shuffled past. Harold nodded, rasped out a promise as he shambled towards the exit.

"Roy," Kel greeted. He slipped his hands deep into his pockets. "Any news on Jo—" Kel's mouth snapped shut when Dix shook her head behind Roy.

"Dix," Kel cleared his throat. "Can you let Judy know Harold was here again? I tried to get him to stay and wait for her, but he insisted on leaving."

"Harold's a regular," Dix explained when Roy looked towards the direction Harold left. "But can't get him to wait for Judy from Social to help him." She darted a glance to Kel. "Bronchi again?"

Kel looked like he still wanted to ask Roy about John, but at Dix's question, he sighed. "If he doesn't finish that batch of antibiotics, it'll be pneumonia." He ran a hand through his dark hair. "I don't understand why he won't just finish the full prescription. If he did, it wouldn't keep coming back."

"Maybe Harold's lonely? He could be faking it. So he could keep visiting us," Nancy volunteered from the cabinets. Dix resisted rolling her eyes at the higher twitter in Nancy's voice and the eye flutter. Good grief. She shot Kel a warning to be nice.

Kel never saw it but apparently he remembered what Dix constantly warned him about. He shook his head. "No, you can't fake coughing like that. Even without a ste—Roy?"

Talking about Harold had pulled Dix's attention away so it came as a surprise when Roy abruptly straightened up away from her counter. He never turned from the direction where Harold left, but his entire posture was charged as if his radio had burst into life. But it never even crackled.

"Roy?" Dix prodded carefully.

"Uh, is the drug box ready?" Roy said, almost absently.

Nancy's brow furrowed. "Just about. I need to go downstairs and get—"

"No, that's all right." Roy took the box from Nancy. He gave Dix a weird little smile. "Can you tell…whoever they're sending over here…uh…I have to go—"

"Go?" Kel echoed. "Roy, what are you talking about? Wait—"

"I'll be right back," Roy said hurriedly. He hugged the drug box to his side and before Dix could ask, Roy was trotting down the hallway, nearly colliding with Mike Morton. Mike made a little arm flail as he did a two-step to avoid Roy. There was a hasty apology tossed over Roy's shoulder. And then he was gone.

"One more step to the right and I'd need X-rays," Mike grumbled as he joined them. He tossed a glower down the direction Roy disappeared off to, but his glare was tempered by a worried, "He heard anything new about Gage?"

Dix shared a helpless shrug with Kel.

The bag shook slightly in Stevie's grip.

"A little higher," John murmured as he moved the bell just under Jake's heart. He checked the lines that dangled from the saline. He wiped his arm across his brow. The fan oscillating behind him did nothing more than provide an annoying clacking sound that hung in the growing heat. Moving it closer didn't seem to help his patient.

John eyed the green speckled copper pipe that bordered the walls of the shack above them. "Say, that pipe up there. You think you can tie this tubing through the hole and hang the bag off that?" It would give the kid something to do. John's skin itched under Stevie's scrutiny and even though he tried to not react, John worried something would give him away. Roy always said he had a lousy poker face.

John watched Stevie thread the saline bag with the extra IV tubing. As Stevie strained to reach above him, John unpinned the caduceus button he got when he graduated from training. Where to put it? John hastily shoved it under the cot before Stevie turned around. He gave the kid a brief smile he hoped looked reassuring.

"This gonna help Jake?" Stevie asked. He fingered the tubing used to hang the saline. He didn't touch the one snaking down Jake's arm.

"Your brother's dehydrated," John said. He folded his stethoscope and hung it around his neck. There was no point listening to the crackling in the lungs again. He made a mental note of the respirations and pulse, but without several BP readings to compare…

John covered his frustration by turning back to Stevie. "He needs a little liquid right now. You said he’s been throwing up?" At the slow nod, John continued. "Probably why he was so tired and having those headaches you were telling me about. This will be a little boost."

"He'll get better with this then?" Stevie reached out to the line but snatched his hand back before he touched it.

John studied the teen. The gun Stevie had was tucked into his jeans' waistband but he didn't dare try to grab it. John took a deep breath. "Now Stevie," he said in as serious of a voice as he could muster, "I'm not going to lie to you. Your brother is sick. Real sick. Sounds to me like he's been sick for a long time." John opened his hands towards Stevie. "He needs a hospital. There are experts there, better medicines than what I have, machines to take a better look inside. Even to at least get his blood pressure so we have an idea what's going on."

The door behind him kicked opened. From Stevie's guilty start, John knew who it was before he turned around.

"Here." Something was slapped hard against his shoulder, rocking him forward a bit. "That what you need to get his blood pressure, fireman?"

John blinked in surprise at the inflatable cuff in Doug's grip. He lifted his eyes up to the large man towering over him with a disgruntled expression. The scar on the side of his face was white against his flushed composure.

"That's Jake's old stuff. He was a medic," Stevie explained as John took the cuff.

"Shuddup," Doug snarled. "Don't go making friendly with him." His eyes narrowed at the IV bag. "And why the hell you go letting him stick needles into our brother?"

John scowled even as he examined the cuff. The manometer and bulb looked intact. The cuff, in fact, was well kept if not streaked with dust.

"He said Jake was dehy…real dry from all that sick. He said it would hel—"

"How's water gonna help him?"

"But he said—"

"He ain't no doctor! Don't go listening to him like he is!"

As Stevie was stammering to Doug, John ignored them both as he wrapped the cuff around Jake's upper arm. His jaw was set as he readjusted the stethoscope and began pumping the bulb. He could feel Stevie's anxious stare on his bowed head and it was definitely impossible to ignore Doug's knee digging against his side.

The soft hiss in the valve signaled the return of the artery's blood flow. John kept his eyes on the gauge. He fought to not react when the numbers started to level off.

"Well?" Doug toed the drug box closer to John. "You got your numbers. Now you give our brother what he needs."

John bit back a growl. One set of numbers. He didn't know if the saline helped at all. "I need another reading in a few minutes to compare. I—hey!" John yelped as something swiped him behind the ear, like a grizzly just swatted him. Stevie's face, heck, everything dimmed for a blink. John grabbed the back of his head. He twisted around to glower at Doug and wished he hadn't when he found a gun muzzle pressed against his cheek. He froze.

"We already got what we need, fireman," Doug hissed. John could feel his eye twitch under the heated breath. "Don't think of yourself as so indispensable that I won't want to use this." The gun dug deeper until John was forced to tilt his head back.

"Doug," Stevie whined from behind him.

"Shut up! You should have just shot him and grab the stuff like I told you!"

John grunted. It felt like Doug bore all his weight on the gun. "You can't want your little brother to—"

A large hand grabbed him by the throat. The rest of John's words sputtered to a halt.

"Doug," Stevie was nearly as shrill as Big Red's sirens. "What are you doing?"

John could swear he could see himself in Doug's glare. "You do what I say, fireman." Fingers tightened just under John's Adam's apple. John coughed. "I've shot people for a lot less."

It was hard to breathe with his head arched back (although it could be the gun or the giant paw wrapped around his larynx). The cot railing dug into his spine and his hip burned where it was jammed up against its legs. John gripped the side of the cot to prevent himself from falling back into Jake.

"I need another reading," John bit out although it sounded more like "Eagle seeding" to his ears. The eye the gun was pressed under watered. "I try to give him anything right now," John went on hoarsely, "Anything. And he could go into shock, cardiac arrest, a whole number of things. If that happens, nothing in my drug box is gonna save him!"

"Doug," Stevie pleaded, "I don't want Jake to die."

There was a flicker in Doug's eyes. The iron grip around his throat eased and the gun tip didn't burn as deeply into his cheek. John exhaled a shuddering breath.

"That's why you did all this, right?" John said carefully, softly even though inside, he really wanted to throw up. "You can't bring him to a hospital but you want to help him."

"He's my little brother," Doug grumbled as if he wasn't happy to admit it. "We're all we got left."

John nodded. "Yeah. He's family. You want to save him. I get that. I do. I'd wanna do everything I can to help him but we gotta do this carefully. All right? I need to know as much as I can, get as much background info before I can treat him."

The gun slipped off his cheek. John wanted to sag but instead, he tightened his grip on the cot to keep upright.

"Doug." The whisper behind John was startling. He whipped around and gaped at Jake. Sliver of blue considered John before moving up to Doug.

"You're awake!" Stevie curled both hands around the closest wrist. He sniffled loudly and beamed at John. "You were right! That stuff's making him better, Doug!"

John felt Doug take a step back. The oldest brother stood there, at the foot of the cot, staring at Jake. John slipped a finger over the carotid. He swallowed to himself at the thready pulse.

"Let me talk to him," Jake murmured. Blood beaded on his gray, cracked lips. Glazed eyes turned to John and a cold trickle went down John's back.

"I know better than these two," Jake continued, his eyes languidly shifting to Stevie now, "what my symptoms are. He's right. Gotta…gotta be sure."

John could hear Doug's breathing evening out. He grunted and snapped his fingers at Stevie.

"We'll be outside." Doug stomped out. The sheet metal door rattled and the whole shack trembled when the door shut.

Stevie crouched, still looking at his brother. He bit his lower lip.

"It'll just be a couple of minutes," John told the teen.

Jake smiled wearily at the kid. "Go on. Let the fireman do what he needs to."

"He's…he's a paramedic," Stevie offered, his tone hopeful. "That's better, right?" John lowered his eyes and tugged at his stethoscope to get another BP. His gut twisted at Stevie's question.

The hand shook violently, but Jake managed to give his little brother's hand a squeeze.

"You did good," Jake assured him in a wispy, airless voice. "Don’t let Doug get to you, kiddo."

Stevie sniffed loudly again before he straightened and left the shack. He closed the door a bit more carefully behind him though.

John sat back on his heels and studied Jake. His patient returned his gaze unblinking. Jake looked small and wasted in the narrow cot.

"I'm sorry."

"You lost, fireman?"

Roy grimaced at the spittle that flew with each syllable. He resisted the urge to take a step back.

"Mr. Dunning," Roy greeted wanly at the gray eye squinting at him under a bushy white eyebrow. "I'm Fireman Roy DeSoto. Do you remember me? I was just here before."

The door stayed open only the crack its chain allowed. Dunning hiccupped. His face looked odd with the spots of alcohol induced flush against the pasty complexion.

"I 'member you," Dunning grunted. He didn't open the door wider though; his narrow, hawk-like face filled the crack in the door. The chain rattled as he squinted up at Roy.

"Thought you left already. Told ya there was no 317."

Roy was beginning to wonder if the heat was getting to him. Showing up here was probably not the wisest thing he ever did. If Cap knew he was here…He rubbed the back of his neck.

"Listen, I just want to talk—"

"Talk?" Dunning made a sound that was a cross between a wheeze and a laugh. Roy's gut twisted. That was the sound on the 911 call. Whatever misgivings he had before evaporated.

"You made that 911 call last night, didn't you?" Roy blurted out. He shoved his boot into the crack when Dunning's eyes widened and the opening shrank.

"Please," Roy pleaded. He nudged his foot deeper into the crack. The wood creaked as Dunning tried to slam the door.

"Don't know what you're talkin' about," Dunning rasped. "Get a'ay from my door."

"Look, last night," Roy hurriedly said, "someone took my partner. He's been missing after we came here. I'm just trying to find him." He placed both hands flat on the painted wood when the door moved. "Please."

The door stilled. A bloodshot eye went up and down on him.

"I didn't do anything to your partner."

Roy forced himself to smile, his face straining from the effort. "Of course not." He lowered his voice. "But you made the call that brought us here. The police have a recording of it. I heard it. That was you, wasn't it?"

The door strained against his boot. "You told the police about me?"

Roy hesitated. "No." He swallowed. "No, I didn't tell anyone." In the back of his mind, Roy realized maybe he should have.

Dunning studied him for a long moment. His mouth wrinkled and pursed.

"Your partner's missing?"

"Please," Roy whispered. He took a steadying breath before he could continue. "We found a bullet hole, no blood. I…I'm pretty sure whoever took him only wanted the drugs. If they just let him go, I'm sure we can figure something out." When Dunning didn't respond, Roy pushed at the door again.

"Mr. Dunning…I only want my partner back."

There was a long, drawn out breath that sounded like the arid Santa Ana winds cutting through trees. There was a quiet rattle and the chain dropped. Roy hovered by the door, his insides churning.

"Come on in," Dunning sighed. The crack widened, revealing the slouched building manager in his rumpled service shirt. The room reeked of spilt beer and dust. "Let's see if we can't find your partner, okay?"

At that, Roy set his mouth and strode right in.

Part 5-->

Author's Acknowledgment:This never would have been finished without my beta ldyanne, who's has to endure grammar tenses, rewrites, major delays and "what if" questions from me. Thank you, babe!

Feedback is like cookies. I like cookies. -lol-


( 1 comment — comment )
Aug. 27th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Oooh, I did not see Dunning coming! I figured out what sparked Roy, but I thought maybe the kids had managed to make a call before the addicted one passed out. Yay, Roy!

Last time he acted like this was when poor Nurse Shelley had foolishly refused to let him follow in with Johnny's stretcher a few months back. His voice, hoarse from the Brea wildfires, was still loud enough for Kel and her to hear him three rooms down.


I am confused about one thing, though: you keep saying "last night". If Roy and John rolled out at 05:48, that's a little before six in the morning. Did I misread and you didn't mean that in 24-hour clock time? Help!
( 1 comment — comment )

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