so, this happened by accident, and there’ll probably be more in another couple of days and i only cried writing one of them.
some of you might remember mentions of “keller” from previous meta sets. just so there’s no confusion, he’s a random addendum and i like him.
Jay Halstead as a former Marine sniper and now first-time attendee of the Summer Olympics. Being heralded as one of the most anticipated athletes of the year as he lent his wartime combat experience to three separate Shooting disciplines. Alvin accompanying him as his longtime mentor and first coach.
Erin Lindsay as a returning athlete for women’s Boxing, having won a bronze medal eight years ago and planning on bringing home gold this time. Antonio as her coach since she started her Olympic venture and Hank as her surly father-figure of a security detail, there to look out for both her and Antonio after Erin’s split from the Fletcher family.
They meet in the stands of the first women’s beach volleyball tournament when Hank and Alvin spot each other from afar, having saved each other’s lives during the Korean War. Erin and Jay steal away to get food, leaving the old war buddies to their reunion.
It’s no surprise when the two groups switch flights to fly home together, Jay with two gold medals and Erin towing a silver that doesn’t smart as badly as she thought it would. Of course, the pleasure in Jay Halstead’s smile when she evicts Alvin to go sit next to Hank helps a lot.
Jay Halstead as a discharged veteran, traveling through America with nothing but his motorcycle and Keller’s dog-tags. Breaking down outside of Rivers Church, Nowhere in the middle of the Midwest and walking his bike back three miles to the dot-on-a-map town. Feeling something twist in his chest when he meanders into the only auto shop and she has green eyes, a black tank top, and the most endearing smudge of grease across her forehead he’s ever seen.
Anon, I hope you like how this turned out because these frakkers got super long. 3 and 4 have to be upwards of four hundred words. Apparently, I’m not cut out for writing angst in summary.
Not many cops appreciate the need to visit a hospital and the intelligence unit is no exception. Hospitals mean one of two things—a suspect/victim needs to be questioned, or one of their own has been admitted. It’s the latter that makes them balk. Erin’s most visceral memory of hospitals before Jay is from when she overdosed as a teenager, trying to escape the grief, and the only thing that kept her from succumbing to her own stupidity was Hank’s gravelly demands that she keeps fighting, because he’d lost Camille, he was not losing her too. For Jay, he will never erase the memory of slowly bleeding out in a rudimentary infirmary, trying to reach for his brother, for Keller, while the medics fight to save him and Gerwitz, because Keller was already lost. Their job just reinforces the belief that hospitals mean loss. The smell of antiseptic, the white walls, and the stark waiting rooms become the stuff of nightmares.
Someone catches Hank off-guard. Some man in a gray hoody and a scuffed 9mm steps out behind Hank and Antonio while the hunt a suspect, takes two shots, and then disappears before Antonio can return fire. The desperate call for back-up comes over the radio and Erin nearly gets herself and Jay into an accident in the process of changing their route to get to Hank. Her partner doesn’t try to offer words of comfort because they both know there are none that will make this better. Erin almost forgets to put the 300 into park when they arrive on the scene, throwing her door open and willing herself not to vomit as the shouts and sirens in the air hit her. Antonio trots over to meet them—there’s blood on his face, his hands, staining his clothes—and tells her that Hank’s been rushed to Chicago Med, but Jay’s the one to ask about the shooter, his hand fisted in the back of Erin’s coat to keep her attention centered. And later, Jay firms his jaw and gets between his partner and the surgical ward when she wants to storm through, weathering without a word when she pounds against his chest with her palms. “Move, Jay, move. I’ve gotta be there, I have to be with him, Jay. Camille’s already gone and I can’t lose him too.” It’s almost midnight before a nurse comes to take Erin back—everyone knows who Hank is and who she is to him—and Jay tells her to go when she looks back at him. (He waits in the hard chair the rest of the night and tries not to let himself think.)
Erin can’t hear anything but white noise. Her palms burn from where she had to catch herself on the asphalt, knees in a similar state, as she turns over, trying to grasp the situation. The car—she still doesn’t know where it came from—is gone and—where’s Jay? Her scrambled thoughts struggle to piece together what had happened and then Erin focus, sees his body sprawled across the concrete, leg at a wrong angle, and her heart stills in her chest. They hadn’t seen it coming, he’d noticed a moment before her and had given Erin a shove to get her out of harm’s way. “Jay. Jay.” Erin crawls across the pavement, too shaky to stand. (She doesn’t remember hitting her head, but she doesn’t remember the sound of the impact either.) All Erin can see for a moment is blood, dripping from his mouth, a wound to his forehead, his ear. Jay doesn’t respond when she tries to rouse him verbally, but Erin knows better than to move him. Secure the area, call 911, don’t move the victim in case of spinal trauma. It’s only the numbness that gets Erin through dialing, giving the address, saying they’re Chicago PD. If she thinks, she’ll stop. The minutes she spends sitting there on the ground next to her partner are unfathomable, innumerable. Jay’s chest rattles with his every breath, but he’s breathing. Keep breathing, baby, please. “He got hit by a car, I didn’t see it, no, I haven’t moved him.” Erin knows the looks on their faces—it isn’t good. The EMT’s try to separate them and she’s shaking her head. “No, he’s my partner, I’m coming too.” Will has to hand his brother off to Rhodes when they get there and Erin’s grateful because he’s there to grab her when her knees give out. Erin finds herself alone in a recovery wound, the wounds on her hands, knees, and temple cleaned and bandaged and the numbness collapses into the jarring reality that her partner got hit by a car. Hank is there later to take her to see Jay and he’s battered, bruised, and broken (five ribs, leg) but awake and grasping her hand. Rhodes explains that he’ll be fine and that’s all Erin needs to hear. She wants to say something smart but there aren’t words so she leans her forehead into his—bandage to bandage—and just breathes.
Jay stands at the sink and pumps soap into his palm with unnatural precision. The water is burning hot but he doesn’t turn it cooler, shoving his hands into the stream and watching the basin turn red as the blood washes away. He scrubs at his hands, his forearms, and wants to pull the shirt off his back except he doesn’t have a spare. Erin’s blood is cooling against his skin and Jay takes a deep breath to stave off nausea, because he has to go back out to where the team is waiting—for news, for him—but he just wants to slide down in a corner and ride out the anger, the grief, the helplessness. It’s one thing to know that this was likely to happen, because this is their job, but it’s another thing when he has to spend twenty minutes keeping his partner from bleeding out while making sure they aren’t overrun by gang members with nothing to lose. Jay finally looks at himself in the mirror, not wanting to meet his own gaze, and seeing the blood also smeared across his face. It’s another fifteen minutes until he emerges to face the unit, skin scrubbed raw. Antonio is outside, settling a hand on his shoulder, wordless, and walking back to the waiting room with Jay. Hank looks like he’s aged another five years, Atwater and Ruzek converse in undertones and Burgess and Roman are just arriving with Platt in tow. Jay finds a chair in the far corner and sits down in silence, eyes closed, to suffocate until he knows that she’s going to make it, that she’ll be okay. Three bullets—he can still hear each one’s impact—two in her stomach, one through her left lung, and he’ll never forget how it sounded to listen to her try not to scream. Then, Erin’s finally out of surgery, so much time later, and the doctor asks for her family, looking at Voight (who doesn’t know about Sergeant Hank Voight and the woman who may as well be his daughter, in this city) but his sergeant looks across the room at Jay and says, “Take him back to her.” And Erin’s so pale that she’s gray, with an IV and a morphine drip, but Jay just cares that the heart rate monitor blips steadily and that she twitches when he presses a kiss to her forehead.
And there are too many other times, gripping cold, limp hands between shaking palms, begging without words for a glimpse of familiar eyes, a hint of a smile. Sometimes it’s hours before they make it to the hospital, making makeshift bandages and splints to keep the other alive. Jay carrying Erin down dozens of flights of stairs because she’s not breathing, stopping to force her heart to beat, push air into her lungs. Erin having to drag Jay out by his hands, gasping because of the bullet in her thigh but having to keep going because she can’t defuse the bomb and she’ll never leave him behind—never again. All end in days or weeks at the hospital and when they finally go home, it’s enough of a relief to close their throats with emotion.