One Way Or Another

Chapter 21

08/29/2005 Same day

Chapter Twenty-One

Thompson let up on the pressure he had on Nick's throat a little, but he still held him tight. Nick's eyes were taking in the room around him as he continued to claw at the beefy man's arm around his neck. He wasn't able to get enough oxygen in to speak; he was barely getting enough to breathe. The guards were the only ones with guns in the room, and while three of them were holding the other prisoners at gunpoint, the remaining guards were all pointing their guns at Nick.

"All of you, back off! Now!" Thompson yelled at the guards pointing their weapons at him and Nick. "Now!" He repeated. "You want your guy to live then back the fuck off right now!"

When the guards didn't back off, Thompson responded by tightening his grip on Nick's throat with his right arm and pushing into his head with his left. This caused Nick's head to be pushed dangerously into the hold Thompson had and could inevitably break his neck. The pain and the lack of precious oxygen caused Nick to cry out as he renewed his efforts to claw his way free. This was not going to end well, Nick was thinking.

"I said now!" Thompson thundered at them.

The guards looked at Brass and Coleman for instructions. Coleman nodded and the guards relented and stepped back lowering their weapons. Coleman took a step back from Brass and Vega. He was silently putting Brass in charge.

"Look, Chris… let's talk about-" Brass started to say, but he was quickly cut off.

"I want all the guns on the table! Guns now!"

Brass looked at Coleman, but he realized he wasn't going to give that order. Brass knew that the last thing a police officer was supposed to do was give up his weapon; they all knew once they gave up their only advantage, they would all be in trouble. But this was Nick and Brass was willing to do whatever it took to get his man back. Nick had been through enough lately.

"Do it!" Brass yelled at the guards, since Coleman was not going to be responsible for the order. The guards in front slowly put their guns on the table next to the CSIs' kits. They all realized that Brass was taking chare now.

"The other guards over there, their guns too! Now!" Thompson said, even though his back was to them, he knew that they hadn't yet done so. Thompson followed Brass and Vega's movements to give him an indication of whether the remaining guards were following his orders. When he heard one of the guards approaching, he turned slightly to be sure no one could sneak up on him and the slight movement caused Nick to respond with another yelp of pain as it caused his air to be completely cut off.

When the guard had put all their guns on the table, Thompson eased his hold on Nick once again and allowed a little more oxygen to get to his brain. Nick practically sucked in the air through his teeth. Nick had never realized just how much one take's breathing for granted.

"Okay, Chris, it's done… just let my man go." Brass said as he tried to bargain with the guy again.

"No way!" Thompson yelled. "Okay, Larry-John, are you with me here?" He asked, singling out two of the other prisoners behind him. John Smith and Lawrence Jameson both came forward and helped themselves to the guards' guns.

"You got it, Chris." Jameson replied as he walked over to stand by Thompson, keeping the other prisoners and those guards in his sight. Smith just nodded as he pointed a gun at the remaining guards, Brass, Vega, Warrick and Coleman in front.

"Now, did you come in a cop car or your own car?" Thompson asked Nick.

Nick couldn't get enough oxygen to calm himself down let alone try and answer the man. "They came in a CSI car, Chris. You want out of here? You let him go… and I'll get you the keys to any car you want." Vega said slowly, keeping his hands up in front of him as he spoke. He looked at Brass and he slowly nodded his agreement.

"You think I'm fuckin' stupid? You get your guy after we get out of here, not one second before. Now give up the keys!" Thompson ordered. When no one moved to comply, Thompson squeezed his hold on Nick again causing him to jerk and gasp out loud. "I'll break his neck – I meant it – keys now!"

Nick's arms clawed at the heavy arm around his throat as it tightened. The pressure was becoming unbearable. He was barely keeping it together here. How could he have gotten into this situation? He had the worst luck ever. He thought of Reilly, pregnant with his baby; would he get to see her again? Would he get to see his baby being born? Oh God, he thought, please help me here.

"Stop! Here's the keys!" Warrick said, digging in his pocket for the keys and tossing them on the table. Larry rushed forward and snatched them up quick as a flash. "Let my man go! You have everything you need!" Warrick yelled trying to keep Nick's eyes connected to his. I'm trying bro…hang in there…we'll get you out of this…I promise. Nick's eyes told Warrick he was scared and he was about to lose it. Come on man hang in there for me, buddy.

Thompson ignored Warrick and instead yelled at one of the guards. "You – give him your cuffs! Now!" He nodded at Larry who stepped forward as the guard held out his handcuffs to the bearded man. Larry took the cuffs and handed them to Thompson who removed his left hand from Nick's head to reach out and take them. "Keep them covered!" He said as he eyed Brass and Vega. He knew which ones were the biggest threats and right now Warrick didn't even rank.

Smith and Jameson kept their guns trained on the men in the room. During this whole exchange none of the other prisoners had made a move to help or to even leave. They were just standing in the lineup watching the exchange. This was just another day to them.

Thompson finally removed his right arm from around Nick's throat and grabbing him by the back of his vest as he pushed him down face first on the conference table, far enough away from Brass and Vega.

Nick gasped with relief when he was able to drag in several large gulps of blessed air, but when he realized what Thompson planned on doing he turned his eyes to look at Brass standing a few feet from him. Thompson held Nick place on the table with a hand on his back between his shoulder blades while he used his other hand to reach for Nick's right hand and pull it behind him. Nick felt the cold bite of the metal cuff slip around his wrist and snap tightly shut. Nick kept eye contact with Brass. Listen…Jim…tell Reilly…I love her…please. 'Cause, oh shit, I'm so screwed here, I'm not gonna make it out of this one… Please!

He tried to convey his thoughts to Brass as he felt his left hand pulled back and being cuffed as well. Brass… man… this is not going to end well for me… This cannot be happening again!

AN: Please read and review - I would love to know how I'm doing.

Thank you!

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