Well, I feel weird posting this without the actual rights to the HF Nicholas/Danny table at fanfic50
, but I must press on! This is going to be 12 chapters long, including a *special* wrap-up chapter at the end.TITLE:
Stand Your GroundRATING:
In the aftermath of a revelation, can Nicholas go on anymore, or will the past pull him under?WARNING:
This chapter includes language, violence, gore, and murder.DISCLAIMER: All Hot Fuzz characters and places are property of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, affiliated actors and personae.
Inspector Holton “Tony” Fisher, 38, born and raised in Sandford, Gloucestershire. Graduated Trinity College in 1991 for criminology with a minor in political science. Showed extreme aptitude in the field of hostage negotiation. Captained the national debate team three consecutive years and attended the Future World Speaker’s Debate in New York City, United States, winning for personal achievement and leadership. In the last ten years has served under volatile command and in the midst of a terrorist cell, more recently taking an active role in homeland security maneuvers and receiving the rank of Inspector.
He has a wife, Meredith, and two sons, Delmore, 8, and Jonah, 4. Both boys excel academically and participate in sports. Meredith runs the local book shop. Church is mandatory every Sunday.
None of Tony Fisher’s training could have prepared him for what awaited him when he went out for his first call Thursday morning.
In the aftermath of wide-spread terrorist attacks throughout the greater UK and Ireland, a noise complaint on Brookline Road, one of the quiet residential roads within the village, struck him as a good excuse to go for a stroll. The heat had finally dissipated, leaving only the familiar warmth of English summers in that part of the country, where the air was just hot enough to condense around your temples and give you a headache, but not enough to floor you completely, unless you happened to be Jasper Montgomery, and then anything
could be a crisis.
Coming down the lane, Tony had the distinctly unsettling feeling that something was out of place. Usually, the road was filled with children heading off to school at this hour, parents shooing them along as they prepared for work, and other general traffic. Today, however, there was no one to be seen, as if they had all shuttered themselves indoors to escape the looming threat of vague perril. Yet from the outside, 113 Brookline looked just like all the other neat little homes on the street; white-washed, blue-shuttered, with large windows and dark drapes, a cute and tidy garden, and children’s bicycles lined up neatly beside the front door.
Coming up the front walk and mounting the steps, he noticed nothing out of the ordinary. There were no signs of entry, no overturned lawn furniture or displaced shrubbery. He knocked three times, his knuckles aching slightly from the vigorous impact, and called out as he knocked again: “Hullo? Mr. Crane? It’s the police, sir. We’ve had a complaint about the noise.”
Of course, the noise complaint had been filed at 2AM, several hours ago. His presence was simply a formality, a slap on the wrist, really. He waited, thinking how silly it was for him to be there at all, and looked across the street at some of the neighboring homes, thinking about various shades of paint for his sons’ soap box car, and perhaps if he should change the tires on the Honda before Meredith took the boys to see her mother. Sighing, he turned and knocked a third time, this time hearing a distinct crashing sound from within, and assumed someone was trying to make it to the door through the normal morning chaos of family life. Yet there was still no response.
For some reason, he felt inclined to try the door, perhaps thinking it would be alright to come in and spare Mrs. Crane, a real estate agent, from coming to the door, although Mr. Crane, one of the school teachers, could have done it.
It was unlocked.
For a moment he froze on the threshold, the door cracked open just enough to show it was dark inside, but not to view more than the pattern of the tiled foyer and the inside casing of the door frame. He heard something, but he wasn’t really sure if he’d heard it properly…
“Turner,” he radioed, grabbing his receiver as he gingerly pushed the door open, “It’s Tony. I’m at the Cranes’ home. Something isn’t right, but I don’t know what yet. Stay close, will you?”
“Ugh…alright,” Turner grumbled, the distinct flapping of a page sounding over the static.
Tony was inside now, his eyes taking a moment to adjust to the relative darkness in the home as compared to the early morning sunshine. He could hear something still, overhead now, and a dull thump told him it was footsteps, or perhaps something falling over.
“Mrs. Crane?” he called, “It’s Inspector Fisher. We had a complaint… Is everything alright?”
He walked tentatively down the short entryway, anticipating the living room to open up in front of him, with the dining room to his right behind a partition wall, and the kitchen hooking the two together beside a steep set of stairs leading to the second floor. All the houses on this street were the same, and as several of his friends lived in homes of the same style, he was used to the layout.
“Mr. Crane?” he tried again, coming into the living room and blinking hard as light from the front window suddenly splashed into his field of vision, “Is everything al-”
He swallowed hard, arms falling limply to his sides as every fiber of his being began to prickle to life, his senses violently acute, ready to fight for his life. His fight-or-flight was triggered immediately at the sight before him, and suddenly the gentle thumping and muffled sounds from the second floor were not as innocent as he’d first assumed.
Jeremiah Crane, a tall, agile man with dark, wavy hair and a hearty laugh. He was sprawled across the carpet, the side of his head caked with dried blood, as he lay in a shallow pool that had long since ceased to spread. Both his arms were broken and twisted at odd, grotesque angles, as were his legs, so that he appeared to be mid-stride, despite the fact that his limbs were positioned so that his front was his back, and vice versa. His neck seemed to sparkle, and as Tony was inexplicably drawn closer to the body, he noted that they were actually sewing pins, inserted randomly into his throat.
“D’you like it?” came a voice from behind him.
Tony spun so hard he nearly fell over, his hand going for the pepper spray at his hip, before really taking in the man in front of him.
He was average height, well-toned, with blond hair and steely eyes. He grinned like it hurt, showing a mouth full of teeth filed into perfect points, like miniature oral daggers. In his right hand, he clutched a mop of red hair, belonging to the decapitated head of Mrs. Crane, which hung like a morning star at his side, dripping fresh blood as the horrified expression of death screamed wordlessly at the officer across the room.
“D’you like it?” the man asked again, still smiling as he motioned toward the body at Tony’s side with his free hand. “He didn’t come out at all as I’d hoped, but it’s got it’s own artistic flare.”
“Y…you’re un…under…under arrest,” Tony stuttered, teetering somewhere between tears and laughter, torn between running for his life and beating the hell out of this man. “Now, drop…Mrs. Crane…and…”
“Won’t you ask why?” the man chuckled, tossing the head aside casually. It rolled into the kitchen, a strangled shriek suddenly reminding Tony of the Cranes’s twin daughters.
“Where the hell are the girls?” Tony spat, his fear overwhelmed by concern and rage. “You better not have hurt them, you-”
“Don’t worry, mate,” the man replied, “They’re still on the Missus, if you get your jollies from that sort of thing. Her neck was better, really…Aren’t you arresting me?”
A moment later, Tony’s fist collided with the man’s jaw, sending him sprawling to the floor beside Mr. Crane, unconscious.
“You alright, Inspector?” Nicholas asked, appearing on the scene as the body bag containing the bits of Mrs. Crane were wheeled into an ambulance. After recovering the head from the living room, the Andy’s, with the help of CSI out of Abbotonhill, pulled her legs and torso out of the upstairs bathtub, her arms later discovered folded neatly in an ice chest in the basement.
The twins, Cherry and Sherry, were both alright. They’d been hiding in the kitchen cabinets, and besides being horribly traumatized, suffered no real injuries.
“He didn’t even know them,” Tony choked, his glasses folded in Danny’s palm as his fellow officers tried to comfort him. “He just rolled into town and killed the first family he found, didn’t he? The world….This world is killing me, I swear to God…”
“Who is he?” Danny asked, furrowing his brow, as he looked up and tried to spot Wainwright, who was standing with the perp in custody just inside the door until they brought him back to the station. They wanted to question him properly, but first they had to make sure they could safely get him into the squad car without the growing rabble around them in the street from tearing him to bits.
The man appeared on the front steps, sporting two sets of handcuffs and Cartwright’s vest, as the detectives lead him to one of the cars. Clumps of dirt and small rocks began to fly, but nothing substantial enough to cause more than a string of curses to spew from Wainwright’s mouth.
A hand suddenly gripped Danny’s upper arm a bit too tight, and he turned to scold Nicholas for it. The look on Nicholas’s face made him stop short, however. He’d never seen such an expression of total terror and hatred on anyone’s face, and especially on Nicholas, which scared him to his core.
“Nick,” he murmured, stepping closer, making Tony look up from his self-destructive reverie, “Wassamatter, mate?”
“I…”Nicholas began, gritting his teeth as he slipped on his sunglasses, hiding his rage, “I know him.”
**As a matter of clarification to the careful readers here, I bumped Tony up to the level of Inspector, but Nicholas is Chief Inspector, still one rank above him.**