Belonging

Matt, Care, One-sided Conversations, & Rebuilding


Hospital - ICU - Inside Room A

All hell broke loose in Sam's ICU room; so many running in to help. Donner's dead body lay on the floor of the room. One second the gun had been pointed at Sam's head. A fraction of a second later, Donner turned the gun on himself and blew his brains out.

Blood was pooling on the floor. So close to Sam when he did it, Sam was now covered in Donner's blood. It splattered across his face and chest, dripping from his arms and hair and covering his hands.

Sam's mind seemed to be lost at sea. It was floating somewhere off the coast of eternity. He held his breath, always at the wrong place at the wrong time. How many moments til the next time? He simply stared. His gaze riveted to his hands. How appropriate they were now literally as well as figuratively covered in blood.

Everyone stopped instantaneously and listened keenly when they heard Sam speak with a very fragile voice.

"Matt. I'm losing my fucking mind, don't let me disappear, help me, please."

"Matt. I'm falling down, please hold on to me, I will hear your voice always."

"Matt. Nothing is left, my safe place is in ruins, help me rebuild the walls."

Heard by only Sam "Hey Blondie, I'm here buddy. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go."

A small chuckle emitted from Sam.

"Matt. Wait for me. I'm coming."

Sam's face paled, vision narrowed, muscles slackened as he drifted away into a sea of nothingness.

Holleran leaned in close to an unconscious Sam and spoke in an urgent whisper for Sam's ears only "Don't break. Be strong. Rebuild. Listen to Matt."

"Sir ….. Sir …. Sir!" Holleran finally registered someone spoke to him. He turned his head and saw a young nurse and several others. "Sir we need to take care of him now." He nodded and shifted so they could do their work.

They needed to cleanup Sam, wanted to move him to another room away from the memories and bloody mess in this one quickly. A nurse came over with a cloth ready to wash him as an investigator stepped into her path. "Hold. We need to get photos first for the files" he said formally. The nurse looked at him aghast.

Holleran was angry and he would not allow it. He wanted no tangible images of Sam like this. It hurt too much and if they ever found their way to the media he'd be dead. He wouldn't allow images of Sam in distress ever to be released again.

The General would be sure he died painfully; not that he didn't deserve it after tonight's fiasco. In a booming voice said "NO, hell no, there will be no pictures taken of Constable Braddock in this state. The General would not allow it."

"It's procedure Commander. What does a General have to do with this anyway it is a police matter?" the investigator retorted.

How did he let that comment slip out, quick make up something plausible. "Constable Braddock is former JTF2, son of General Braddock, Commander of JTF2. The images, if ever leaked, could compromise security. So no photos will be taken. There are enough witnesses to gather statements from. Photos not necessary. Nurse please proceed and quickly. Get that damned man's blood off my godson" Holleran demanded.

The investigator gave him a quizzical look 'General', 'godson'? He decided to accept the flimsy, hastily formed reason. His skill told him there was way more to this but the SRU Commander was right there were enough witnesses and he would let this go.

The nurse was more than happy to comply and immediately set to her work and delicately washed the blood from his face, neck, arms and hands and rinsed it from his hair. She left no trace of the other man's blood on the young cop. One of the orderlies stripped off the blood and vomit splattered gown placing it in an evidence bag. He was about to put on a clean one when Holleran stopped him.

"A favor please. Dress him in pants of some sort and t-shirt. He will feel more comfortable and more in control. It is important" Holleran implored looking directly at the nurse in charge.

The orderly hesitated and looked questioningly at the nurse who nodded as she said "I'll see if I can find something, scrubs maybe."

She was about to go when the orderly piped up "We are about the same size. I have a clean pair of sweats and t-shirt in my locker. I don't mind, it's a small thing I can do."

The nurse smiled and nodded as the orderly trotted off to get them. They knew who this officer was from the news accounts and after all he'd gone through today wanted to help in any way they could.

When the orderly returned with the clothes they transferred Sam to a new bed, one not covered in blood. Then dressed him quickly in a pair of very soft dark gray sweats, a black t-shirt and a pair of warm socks. The orderly had grabbed the socks out of his locker too because just as he left to get the clothes his hand had brush against the man's feet. They were ice cold; it was a small comfort he could offer. He had learned that sometimes it was the small things had the greatest impact. They covered him with a warm blanket. Finally, Sam was moved to another room and reattached the monitors.


Hospital - ICU - Outside Room D

Officer Fergus had watched quietly standing out of the way. Once Sam was in the new room he moved the chair to the front of it and promptly took up position. He would only allow the medical staff entry, no one else not even the Commander. The kid needed rest and quiet and he would make sure he got it even if it cost him his job or his life.

Holleran watched silently as they did their work. Sam was too young to have had this much pain. It hurt watching what it did to him.

Until now he had carefully hidden the fact that Sam was his godson and that he knew Sam since he was just a boy. He didn't want to cause him any issues at SRU like those he had to endure being the son of the General. He realized he'd undone that earlier tonight by giving details of Sara's death to Team One. He was sure Greg would ask him about it. And now it was in the record of this incident. He prayed it would not cause Sam more problems.

Caldwell and Stevens carefully approached Holleran outside Sam's new room. Stevens could see he was deeply affected by what had just happened to Sam. Who wasn't?

The haunting words Sam spoke before passing out hit her the hardest. He was talking to his dead friend, asking for help, the one he had accidentally killed. She was scared by what he meant when he said 'Wait for me. I'm coming.' Did it mean he was planning on joining Matt? She sincerely hoped not.

Holleran looked at them and said "Team One is going to want our hides for this one. I don't blame them. We promised them he would be safe. Made them leave. We nearly got him killed. Sam would be dead now if Donner didn't turn the gun on himself. I screwed up."

Stevens had trouble maintaining her composure as she spoke "Sir, I'm so sorry. I knew Donner was losing it but never imagined this. We screwed up." She felt that she shoulder part of the blame.

"Norman, if we can be of any help just let me know. This is just so, so... Hell I have no words for what this is. Had no idea Donner was over the edge. What did you mean he was the son of the driver that killed Sara?" Caldwell said guardedly.

"Caldwell, we may need to push the interview sessions out a day or so. I trust you will allow Team One and the JTF2 men access to Braddock. I will be assigning Team One as protection detail beginning tomorrow. Consider the JTF2 men as his family" Holleran stated decisively choosing to ignore his question about Sara for now at least.

Realizing he was not going to get an answer to his Sara question Caldwell responded "It is outside protocol. But given that this is all way outside protocol I will agree on the condition that they do not speak with him regarding the shootings until he has been interviewed. We must speak with Braddock as soon as possible because he is the only one that can shed light on how Constable Plouffe and the two subjects died. Aaron's family needs to know what happened."

"Agreed but I will not push Sam at this time. He is in a fragile state both mentally and physically. His well-being is my priority" Holleran returned as new concern entered his mind. Might be nothing to it but he would have to make the call. If he didn't and there was an issue he truly would be dead.

They stood watching Sam for a few moments. Caldwell and Stevens reluctantly took their leave. Steven said she would check in at one pm to see if Team One was available for interviews and if not reschedule them.

Holleran pulled out his phone and dialed a number from memory. It rang three times before being answered.

[listens]

"Hello, Will." [listens]

"Yes it's Norm. He's not doing well, was talking to Matt." [listens]

Holleran gave a synopsis of the full day. [listens]

"Yes, I'm concerned. We might have a problem." [listens]

"No not that. That is resolved. Nicely too. They have his back." [listens]

"It's related to what you discovered three months ago. Result of a call today." [listens]

"The constable's name was Aaron Plouffe." [listens]

"Yes. Where is he?" [listens]

"That's not good. I'd like you to assign Captain Blain." [listens]

"I'm sure he's right for the job. Still very protective. Almost strangled Donner. Should have let him." [listens] and smirks.

"So you agree for Blain?" [listens]

"I understand. I need to tell his team too." [listens]

"He is one of them. After tonight's incident I'll be lucky to be to have any skin left when I tell them." [listens]

"Then I'll see you soon." Holleran hung up the phone.

He looked at officer Fergus. "If he wakes and wants to leave the hospital, he will find a way to leave. Of that there is absolutely no doubt even if it is AMA. If he tries to leave, you are to tell him you have orders to take him to SRU HQ. Tell him that is the only place you are allowed to take him. Tell him that if he is well enough to leave the hospital, he is ordered to appear at SRU HQ for debriefing immediately. Understood?"

"Yes Sir. But may I ask you something?" Fergus looked somewhat skeptical.

"Yes" Holleran replied.

"Why would that work? And Why SRU HQ?" he asked.

Holleran sighed "He always follows orders. It is ingrained in him. Be sure you use the term 'ordered'. This is for his protection. He hates hospitals and in his current condition he needs protection. He will get that at SRU HQ."

Holleran took one last look in at Sam and sighed deeply then turned to leave. An afterthought struck him and turned back to the officer "You are on protection detail until you are relieved by someone from Team One only or you drop him off at SRU HQ. Do you remember what they look like?"

"Yes. Sir. Never will forget their faces" Fergus responded. He wouldn't ever forget them. Watching them all tonight had seared their faces in his mind.

"Good. Please keep him safe" with that Holleran turned and left. Tomorrow, well actually in a few hours he would have to face Sam's team and fill them in on this. It wasn't going to be pretty.


Patch's Apartment

Blaze just could not sleep. He had a gut feeling something wasn't right but couldn't make it coherent. After arriving at the apartment they had all showered. Unfortunately he and Winds put the same dirty clothes on, except for clean borrowed t-shirts from Patch. Didn't really faze them; been worse, weeks without showers sometimes.

He contacted his commander, Major White, and informed him of the situation and they were granted a two day leave. Patch called into his boss to request the next week off. After explaining why, his boss was very accommodating, he was surprised his paramedic knew the now famous Constable Braddock.

They had grabbed a quick bite to eat then he and Winds stretched out on the couches. Patch headed off to his bed. But Blaze just lay there a very long time staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, out of character for a special ops guy. He was bugged by it.

His eyes had just barely closed sleep finally coming when his phone vibrated. Instantly awake again. He picked up the phone, noted the time displayed 0330, and answered.

"Captain Blain." [listens]

"Yes Colonel, what can I do for you?" [listens]

"Yes sir. Details?" [listens]

"For who sir?" [listens]

"Yes sir. Why?" [listens]

"Really, what?" [listens]

"I'm aware of that. Why is that relevant? Wait, any relation to the Major?" [listens]

"He's enroute here. Are we to meet with him?" [listens]

"Where?" [listens]

"Got it. 1800 hours. When do we start?" [listens]

"Understood 0600. Is he covered between now and until we take over?" [listens]

"Can we go sooner?" [listens]

"Roger that. Any additional information sir?" [listens]

"Understood" Blaze concluded but thinking to himself like he'd really give a shit as he closed his phone ending the call.

He looked at the time 0345. Need to be there at 0600. Okay a one hour nap, then up and at it. Shit Blondie, can't you catch a break he thought as he closed his eyes to sleep.


Hospital - ICU - Inside Room D

At the four am shift change the young nurse who had cleansed away all the blood briefed a grandmotherly looking nurse on all that had transpired with the patient she was assigned. They shared a sad look and sigh before the young nurse left. Tonight had taken a huge toll on her. Working ICU was difficult most days but tonight was beyond compare. Time to go home and get some sleep.

The grandmotherly nurse was doing her beginning shift check of Sam's vitals and status when she noticed that Sam's eyes were rapidly moving behind closed lids. Good she thought, REM sleep, good, he's dreaming. It helps sort things out. Even bad ones do that. But this one looks pleasant he wasn't struggling against it she thought to herself.

In Sam's mind it was real …

Sitting down Matt called out "Hey Blondie, Blondie. Yeah you. Come sit, take a break. I want you to listen to this song. Come on buddy. Give it a chance. I know you just 'love' the mellow sounds of easy rock." Matt laughed.

Becoming serious Matt continued "Just listen dude. Sit down and listen now, it will help you. Come on, ya need a break buddy, we are done rebuilding the walls. That was hard work I know. You now have your safe place again. You placed everything back inside."

Finally Sam sat down next to Matt. Then Matt put his arm around his shoulders "I know you still have to sort through all this. Not gonna lie to ya buddy, it's gonna be hard. But you can do it. You did it before. You will get through it again.

Sam put his head in his hands and started to cry. Matt pulled him closer, holding tight "Let it out buddy. Let the pain go. I know. I know buddy, it hurts, hurts real bad, so rest a moment. Just sit with me and listen I want you to remember this when you wake."

Matt held his brother close and secure offering comfort as they listened to Defending Our Lives by Jon Heintz.

When it was done Matt lifted Sam's head and made him look at him. Firmly Matt stated "That's what I want you to remember Blondie, I won't let you down. I will defend our lives. You need to smile into the faces of our enemies. Remember you are who you are and that is good. You need to remember the beauty of life."

His face clearly showing the love he had for his brother Matt said "Live for us, live for me. Live for you! I'll always be here in your heart, in your mind. I will always be the defender of your soul. I won't let you down."

Matt stood up "Hey Blondie I gotta go now, time for you to nap. Remember you promised me to be strong, to heal, to live, to laugh and to smile. Remember, I won't let you down."

Sam watched as Matt faded away "Thanks Matt. I promise to live and find the beauty in life."

As she finished her checks the nurse saw a faint smile cross his face as his body relaxed into a deep healing sleep. She gently stroked his blonde hair, gave his forehead a gentle kiss and whispered "Thank you. Find peace. You are a good man Sam Braddock. My granddaughter Sara says your soul is safe." Then nurse Clarry left the room.
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