This is my first Common Law fanfic- I am still so upset that the show was canceled! God forbid good television be left on the air for intelligent people to enjoy. I hope Common Law enjoys a long and fruitful life in the fan fiction universe! Hope you like this- enjoy.

Feedback is loved and appreciated.

Late…

Travis had been on scene for the past 20 minutes. He stared down the computer screen in the mobile command center. The desire to pace was overwhelming. He needed to move, to punch, to yell….to be perfectly honest he really wanted to shoot someone. But the white van located directly across the street from the bank was just large enough to fit the five officers and special agents all crowded around a laptop reviewing the security feed from 30 minutes ago. There wasn't room enough for anyone to fidget much less pace around.

30 minutes had passed since the bank robbery in progress had turned into a hostage situation. 30 long minutes since two of the hostages had been shot in a botched attempt to stop the robbers.

"We need to get in there Captain," Travis clenched his jaw. Wes had always said that when it came to patience, his partner was the worst. At this moment, Travis was inclined to agree because right now he was barely fighting the urge to draw his weapon, shoot out the building's front window and run screaming into the bank getting off as many rounds as possible and ending this standoff.

"Settle down Marks," Captain Sutton put a hand on the detective's shoulder to steady him. He could tell that Travis was about to lose it, "we'll get in there, but we have to be smart about it." The Captain looked over at the FBI agent in charge of this mess, "How the hostages doing?"

"It looks like the first hostage got shot trying to stop the perps from leaving with the money," Special Agent Bethany Russo pointed at the footage on the screen, "a customer standing in line, I guess he wanted to be a hero- do we have an ID on this guy?"

Detective Amy Laroche looked down at her department issued Blackberry, "His name is Daniel Martinez, ex-military. I guess his training kicked in, second hostage went down as he pulled Martinez out of the line of fire." Laroche looked to her partner for further confirmation,

Looking up from the second monitor, a live feed from the lobby, Detective Kate Cafferty was grim, "both appear to be stable, one of the other hostages' looks to be trained in emergency response, maybe a nurse?"

Travis shut his eyes and concentrated on breathing. He could feel his blood pressure rising, "When do we go in?"

"It's not that easy Detective," Russo accepted a report from a junior agent, "when this was originally called in, you and your partner were supposed to intercept the suspects before they went into the bank, no hostages, no mess. The situation has drastically changed."

Travis winced at the mention of his partner. He had been 10 minutes late meeting Wes at the bank. Honestly, criminals were usually late and Travis had been expecting an afternoon stuck in Wes' car watching the entrance of the bank. He figured Wes would make a big deal about eating in his new SUV, so Travis had stopped and ate at the Taco Stand on 45th before hopping on his bike and driving over. They wouldn't miss anything; Wes was always on time and did things by the book. If there was trouble Wes would certainly never act without calling for back up. So Travis had sat at a picnic table outside the Dos Tacos truck and enjoyed 10 minutes of angry-partner-free tasty time. Ten lousy minutes and it had meant the difference between a relatively easy take down of some predictable bank robbers and an explosive standoff between the cops and some seriously edgy criminals. Ten minutes, Wes was never going to let him forget this.

Captain Sutton watched Travis; the young Detective's face a theater of emotion, guilt the leading man, "We make contact, we find out what they want and what it will take for us to end this."

Agent Russo nodded in agreement, "My people are already tapping into the phone system, in a few minutes I'll establish a line of communication," the young woman turned, opened the van door and jumped out. Marks and Sutton followed her, leaving the two other Detectives behind to continue monitoring the security feeds. The three walked to a makeshift command center where a phone was hooked up and another laptop broadcasting the bank security feed waited. "Procedure calls for the lead agent to build trust with whomever is in charge inside and rely on shrewd negotiation to get the hostages out."

"Wait a second," Travis held up his hand, "what do you mean procedure calls for?" the young officer took an angry step forward, "Have you done this before?"

Her face a mask of control that Wes would probably have envied, Russo studied the monitor in front of her, "Detective Marks, I promise you that we will do our best to clean up this mess." She looked up at Travis, "In the meantime, is your partner familiar with police procedure? Or is he like you-completely out of control?"

The comment had the desired effect, deflated, Travis looked the agent in the eye, "Wes is the most professional cop I know- guy lives for police protocol."

"Good," Russo gestured to the screen "then that means he'll know we're watching. I need you to watch this screen and tell us what this hostage might be trying to say."

With a questionable glance Travis moved to look down at the monitor. The angle was weird, but gave the view of most of the lobby where the hostages were all sitting in frightened groups. The last time Travis had looked at the footage both injured hostages had been unconscious, causing Travis' heart to sink every time he studied the scene. Within the last few minutes one of the hostages had opened his eyes and was clenching his fist in what looked like small random painful spasms. Understanding dawned on Travis.

"One of my foster brothers was born deaf and our foster mother made us all learn the basics of ASL so that he wouldn't feel left out." Travis looked around for a piece of paper and a pen.

"ASL?" Russo questioned.

"American Sign Language, its sloppy and slow going but he's signing letters of the alphabet."

Captain Sutton nodded encouragingly, "He's in pain and he's weak, but he knows Travis is watching and as long as the bad guys don't figure out that one of their hostages is a cop, we have an inside man."

Agent Russo nodded in agreement, "This is good, keep me posted as to what he's saying"

Travis looked hard at the man carefully signaling. His expression was pained and every few seconds his hand shuttered.

Ten minutes.

Ten minutes alone and Wes had been forced into an active bank robbery with zero back up.

In ten minutes Wes Mitchell had been shot and was now bleeding out on the floor of a bank.

Travis had never been more scared in his life.

He was never going to be late again. He waited for the next round of signaling.

I hear you partner and I'm coming.