Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real places and organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
A/N: Nearly there, one more after this and then we're done.
Isaacs was becoming increasingly agitated as he made his demands into the phone.
Isaacs then said words to the effect: "Get me some crack."
Isaacs pointed his firearm in our general direction without aiming and pulled the trigger.
I felt an impact on my upper left shoulder and fell back against my brother. A moment later I felt a searing pain and I realized I had been shot.
I was able to sit up and looked to my shoulder to judge the seriousness of the wound. My shirt was already starting to become soaked with blood as I pulled it aside. I saw a jagged furrow through the top of the muscle, what I would call a deep graze.
At this time Charlie put his shirt against my shoulder and provided pressure. The pain was intense but the actions were necessary to treat the wound.
I heard Isaacs continuing to yell.
I then became aware that Levi was in distress and was trying to edge away. I set Charlie to look after her as I concentrated on Isaacs.
Isaacs was yelling words to the effect: "He's still alive. You come near that door and I'll fill them all full of holes."
I turned to my brother and told him something. Charlie then helped Levi lie on the floor and interposed himself between her and the door.
I turned to see Isaacs rapidly approaching. With my right hand holding my brother's shirt against the gunshot wound I was only able to partially raise my left hand at the clear threat of the firearm.
Isaacs grabbed my left wrist and pulled hard, forcing me to my feet. The increased stress on my previous injury caused me further pain.
Isaacs shoved me hard in my back, almost causing me to lose my balance. He shoved at me again and I moved towards the phone.
The firearm was then raised and pointed at my face. The weapon was shaking as Isaacs appeared to be suffering more effects of what I believed to be withdrawal symptoms. His finger was again on the trigger.
Isaacs shook the firearm at me and said: "Tell them."
I picked up the phone handset and recognised the negotiator's voice. I said words to the effect: "I've been shot but I'm okay."
The negotiator asked me something. I said words to the effect: "Single gunshot wound, non-life threatening. The others are unharmed."
Isaacs pressed the firearm to my forehead. He said: "Tell them I'm serious, get me some crack and a car or I'll kill you."
I repeated the words. The negotiator then said something. I said: "Sergeant, he will carry out his threat."
Given Isaacs' actions to this point I firmly believed he was capable of killing me. The shot he'd fired at us had not been aimed and I believed he did not care whether the shot was fatal or not.
Isaacs took the phone from my hand and stood back pulling the firearm away from my head but keeping it aimed at me. I believed that if the rest of his conversation with the negotiator went badly I would be shot.
Isaacs said: "He's bleeding and I got my gun in his face. … I'll do it! One… Two… Hurry, I need it."
He then hung up the phone and indicated with the firearm that I was to return to the dais.
Charlie still could not believe how non-emotive and factual his brother's statement sounded. He'd read witness statements before and they were rarely this dry. He understood now why he'd not been permitted to type up his own. As a LEO Don was able to write his own but as a civilian Charlie had to have his taken by an officer. He had no illusions; the officer was going to have his work cut out for him reducing his memory of the siege down to bare facts. That moment as Don had fallen against him after being shot had given him nightmares the last two nights. He couldn't help the flashback his thoughts caused.
"No!" Charlie couldn't help yelling in denial. It had happened, it had finally happened. The near misses in the past paled into insignificance as his brother's body fell back against him and remained still. Despite the evidence he refused to accept it. Shaking at his brother he called his name. "Don! Don?"
The relief he felt as his brother stirred then pulled away from him was almost overwhelming, he was alive. "Don!"
"Shh!" Don hissed at him. He twisted and started pulling at his shirt to look at his already bloody shoulder.
Seeing the rapidly spreading blood Charlie pulled at his own shirt, uncaring that the buttons went flying in his haste. Finally getting his outer shirt off he wadded it up into a tight bundle and pressed it hard against Don's shoulder. He heard the indrawn breath and knew he was hurting Don but he didn't ease up, the bleeding had to be stopped. Don looked up at him, eyes clouded with pain but there was a hint of a smile on his face in thanks. Abruptly his eyes shifted to the side. Even now he was alert and following more than one thing at a time.
Charlie tuned to see Ms Levi edging away, her eyes wide as she tried to distance herself from the violence. He reached out a hand and snagged her arm, aside from a whimper she didn't resist as he gently pulled her back. The gunman was yelling into the phone again but he didn't hear a word of it as he concentrated on calming Ms Levi and looking after Don, a hand on each. Even though it felt like forever it had to have been only seconds before his brother suddenly pushed him away, clamping his own hand over the rude dressing.
Don's voice was commanding. "Get down, Charlie. Be ready."
Charlie understood immediately, after the sound of the gunshot the police outside had to be seriously considering breaching the synagogue. The most logical assumption was that a hostage had just been executed and they would hold grave fears for the remaining hostages.
"Ms Levi? Ms Levi we need to get down." Charlie explained, taking hold of the older woman's shoulders and gently easing her down to the floor until she was lying on her side. Again she didn't resist but looked perplexed. "The police might be about to come in."
Getting her settled as understanding dawned Charlie moved so he was between her and the door to protect her as much as he could. Suddenly he realised that the yelling had stopped. Looking up quickly in alarm he saw the gunman striding rapidly towards them behind his brother's back.
Before he could say anything in warning Don sensed the danger and turned, his unoccupied left hand coming up as he shifted to put himself squarely between them. Charlie heard Don's gasp of pain as his raised arm was grabbed and he was pulled roughly to his feet. Given that he was supposed to be wearing a sling the yank on his arm could only have done more damage to the damaged tendons and muscles in the shoulder. He watched helplessly as his brother was shoved up the aisle, the gunman seemed to have a thing for manhandling his brother all of which Don took without offering any resistance or complaint.
Charlie didn't know how many more times he could witness the man point his gun at Don's head or jam it up against his forehead as he was now doing. It scared him half to death every time, certain that this was the time that his math would be proven right and he would see his brother die in front of him. The scare a few minutes ago had been almost too much but he was unable to turn away. Forcing himself to breathe he waited an eternity before the man pulled his gun away. Another impossibly long moment passed and it seemed that the negotiator finally said something to his liking as the man flicked his gun to the side and Don walked slowly back towards the dais. When Don rejoined them he saw that his brother's face was pale beneath his dark hair, lips pursed shut against the pain from his injuries.
"Don?" He put all of his concern into the word.
"I'm fine, Charlie."
Charlie reacted to the lie, Don hadn't even tried to sound convincing. "You're not fine."
"As fine as I can be." Don corrected pointedly. It was an acknowledgement that he was hurting but there was really nothing more that could be done for him given the situation and their resources. He nodded at his younger brother, "Just like you are."
Charlie managed a wry smile at that, he was doing his best to shrug off his headache and understood exactly where Don was coming from. The whole thing about stones and glasshouses came to mind, he was just as guilty as Don at the moment for denying an injury even if his was far less serious. He gave himself a moment to file away the disparity between a gunshot wound and a sore head, now was not the time or place to visit that argument.
Don nodded at the expression on his face then held out his left hand as far as he could, hiding a wince in the process. "Ms Levi?"
Charlie had let her sit again once it seemed less likely the SWAT unit were going to breach. Since trying to edge away she had been quiet and withdrawn, now she looked up, responding to her name. Hesitantly she reached out her own shaking hand.
"Ms Levi, it will be okay." Don said in reassurance.
"He," She started, glancing briefly at the man causing her so much terror. "He's going to kill us, kill you."
Don flashed a reassuring smile. "Not if I can help it. There are a lot of people out there working to get us out of this."
"What about the drugs he wants? You said they wouldn't give them to him. If he doesn't get them he'll-"
"They'll find a way around it." Don soothed.
Charlie listened and wondered how. The man seemed very determined to get more crack. As his desperation rose he was resorting more and more to violence, lashing out at his helpless hostages. On the whiteboard in the corner of his mind a few more lines were added to the continually evolving expression. It was becoming ever more likely that someone was going to die and at this point it was going to be Don.
He looked over at the man, watching for a while as he paced back and forth. The tremors were becoming ever more pronounced and he would stop every now and then to scratch vigorously at his skin. Charlie had read about that, addicts feeling that spiders or snakes were crawling under their skin in later stages of withdrawal. The phantom sensations could only force the man's already agitated state to worsen.
He knew as well as Don that the normal tactic for hostage/barricade situations had the authorities slowing everything down, taking their time and working to calm the offender in an effort to reduce the stress of the situation they'd found themselves in. Charlie understood the theory but could only feel that it was the wrong tactic to employ in this situation. It would be some time yet before the gunman's withdrawal incapacitated him, in the interim he would only become more dangerous, the risk to his hostages increasing, not decreasing over time.
Ms Levi finally started to relax slightly after the latest shock to her system. Charlie felt safe to move closer to his brother, keeping his voice down so as not to undo his brother's efforts.
"They have to do something."
"They're working on it, Charlie." Don answered. His breath hissed through his teeth as shifted the pad on his shoulder.
"Let me look." Charlie demanded, removing the makeshift dressing and making to pull back Don's soaked shirt from the wound. Don's hand lightly slapped his and he realised his error, the shirt was aiding the clotting, disturb it and the bleeding that had all but stopped would start up again. He let Don press the pad back into place. "What did they tell you? Who is he?"
Don glanced over at the subject of their discussion. "They haven't ID'd him yet."
That was a bit of a shock. "If they don't know who he is why were they after him?"
His brother seemed reluctant but finally answered. "He robbed a shop just down the road. The clerk was shot."
He saw the answer in Don's face before he asked his question. "Dead?"
Don's jaw muscles clenched as he nodded once. "For twenty-something dollars. I can't lie to you, Charlie, it's bad. They know it's bad."
Another few points on his mental whiteboard were underlined with this new information. "Don, the numbers-"
"Don't listen to them." Don interrupted firmly. "You don't have the whole picture."
Charlie wasn't so sure about that, he figured he had more than enough to see the possible outcomes. There was only one outcome that gave them the best chance of survival as far as he could calculate. "They have to breach."
Surprisingly Don agreed. "I know. We discussed this. Sergeant Hale wanted to try a little longer but I think he's coming to the same conclusion."
Charlie could understand the police reluctance, the handbook the negotiator was working from demanded restraint where possible. He'd seen enough and had read enough reports of similar situations, some even managed by his brother, to know that. The same book however, allowed for action where needed. As far as he was concerned it was needed sooner rather than later.
"When they come, get down and stay down no matter what." Don instructed. "Look after Ms Levi."
"What about you?" Again he knew the answer to that.
"I'll do whatever is needed."
He still had to object. "But-"
"Charlie." The agent's voice was firm.
That's what Charlie saw then, an agent working a situation, not his brother. His duty and training allowed for nothing else. With everything that had gone wrong this afternoon that was one thing that worked in their favour, they had an expert on the inside.