Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Pat Maguire, Marco Marinetti, Chet Kelly, Roy/Johnny, Joe O’Hanrahan, Henry, Mike Stoker, Hank Stanley, Marco Lopez
Genres: Challenge, Holiday, Horror
Rating (this chapter): Mild ‘R’
General Summary: Something Wicked This Way Waits.
Chapter Summary: Joe O’Hanrahan has an interesting story to tell about a fire from long ago.
Date Of Completion: October 17, 2010
Date Of Posting: November 11, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1266
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2010 Station_51 Emergency! Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. :)
The entire series can be found here.
In the sky.
Soars the eagle,
So very high.
Penny Two Feathers
"Tales Of The Lakota"
Firemen shouted as they dragged hoses into the burning building, the fire fully involved at the northeast corner of the structure.
“Maguire! You and Marinetti check the upper floors for tenants!”
Pat Maguire was a rangy blond with lively blue eyes, his partner raven-haired and brown-eyed, husky and shorter. They hustled up the stairs to the second floor.
The elegant hotel’s flocked wallpaper was curling off the walls, the chandelier in the grand lobby reflecting the fire with a thousands prisms of light. Already furniture was collapsing, the wood burning like logs in a fireplace.
Pat grunted as he nearly tripped over the last step. He and Marco pounded on the doors, opening them with a turn of the knob or a kick. They did a quick search of each room, marking an ‘X’ with chalk on each door.
Haunting strains of Celtic music floated down the hall, Pat frowning. Who could be playing music while the hotel fell down around their ears?
“Hey! Anybody in here?” Pat called. “No time to be playin’ music!”
“What are you talkin’ about, Pat?” yelled Marco.
Pat saw a flash of white further down the hall. A girl’s skirt!
“Hey, little girl! We gotta get outta here!” Pat could hear the music again. He ran down the hall, the powerful notes wrenching a great sadness from deep in his chest. “Hey! We have to get outta here!” Tears ran down his face as he ran through the doorway of the last room, what his mother called ‘Irish melancholy’ settling into his bones. “Come on, honey!”
Blond pigtails and a frilly white dress filled his vision. He could hear the ceiling crashing in downstairs as someone cried out. The little girl turned and Pat stopped, stumbling back in shock.
Down the hall, Marco gasped as he saw a fireball explode from the room his friend and partner had just gone in.
“Gage is cookin’? We’re doomed!”
Chet’s plaintive lament elicited chuckles from the rest of A-Shift except for the cook.
“Ha, ha, Chet. It just so happens that I’m cooking Irish stew."
“Hey, that’s my heritage you’re messin’ with!”
“Mine, too, Chester B. My non-Indian half has a little touch of the Auld Sod.”
“Got some Irish in me, too, ” Roy said, setting the table.
“Let’s all sing ‘too-roo-too-roo-too-roo-la’,” Chet snarked.
Laughter went around the room as Johnny cut up onions to add to the simmering pot.
“Go ahead, jibe, but Joe O’Hanrahan’s coming over, and he loves a good Irish stew.”
“Pity he won’t get any.”
More snickers greeted this sally, Johnny studiously ignoring them. He blinked as the onions prickled his eyes.
”Need any help?” Roy asked.
“Cut up the carrots?”
They performed this domestic task in sync, just as they did out in the field.
Roy was happy in this moment. He had learned long ago to treasure such small moments in their chaotic lives. Danger lurked on many calls, the danger that one of them wouldn’t come back.
While the pot bubbled, good smells permeating the kitchen, Joe arrived. He petted Henry on the couch, the basset hound actually stirring at the aroma from the stew. Joe sat down at the table and talked to the men, taking notes on their tales of adventure, Chet puffing out his chest as he told the retired firefighter, “And I battled my way to the back of the building…”
“…blowing out the fire with his super-breath,” Johnny smirked.
“And after he eats Marco’s jalapeno chili, it’s even more potent,” Mike quipped.
“Ha, ha.” Chet echoed Johnny’s earlier response as laughter rolled around the room. “How about helpin’ a fellow Irishman out, Joe?”
Joe grinned. “Chester, me boyo, I can’t fight against jalapeno peppers.”
Chet sighed as his crewmates echoed Joe’s grin.
“How’s the research going?” Hank asked as he sat down at the table.
“Real good. I’ve been all over the place, checking records and talking to guys.” His green eyes twinkled. “I’ve talked to Chief McConnikee.”
Hank shifted uncomfortably while his men stifled snickers. “Well, Joe, were you over at 16s the other day? I heard that they had some stories to tell from last week.”
“They did, they did,” Joe said, eyes still sparkling.
Johnny got up to check on the stew, Roy leaning forward.
“Are you including the ’72 brushfire in the canyon?”
“Definitely. There’s plenty of good stories to add since ’63, though I have to admit, some of the older stories have really piqued my interest.”
“Like what?” asked Marco.
“There’s a story of a fire at the Endicott Arms apartment building here in Carson.”
“Endicott Arms?” Hank asked, “I’m not familiar with that place.”
“No reason you should. It burned down in 1914. On Halloween, no less.”
“Did everyone get out?” Roy asked.
“No. One of the firefighters, Sean Flynn, was on the second floor when it flashed. One of his crewmates claimed he was yelling for a little girl, but the only body found was his.”
“Then she got out.”
“So was anything built on the site?”
“I’ll have to check further on that.”
Johnny began bringing bowls of stew over, setting the first in front of Roy and second in front of Joe.
“It was really tough to fight fires back then. My father and uncles talked about literally eating smoke without SCBAs, and Grandpa and Great-Grandpa had even less equipment,” Chet said. Johnny put a bowl in front of him.
“Hell, they were still using horses in your great-grandfather’s day, for cryin’ out loud.” Joe picked up his spoon. “Imagine taking care of horses instead of trucks! Mmm, John, this stew is good.”
“Thanks, Joe.” Johnny stuck out his tongue at Chet, who rolled his eyes. Johnny set the last of the bowls down and took his seat next to Roy.
“Are you doing the research all alone?” Marco asked.
“Actually, I’ve got an assistant. Serina Ashby runs a New Age shop here in Carson, but she’s very interested in firefighting.”
“New Age? You mean crystals and incense and all that stuff?” Chet asked.
“Yeah. I was looking for a birthday gift for my granddaughter so went to her shop.”
“Sure, Joe,” Chet winked.
“Hey, I don’t carry crystals, but I don’t scoff at people who do.”
“It’s a little too hippie-ish for my taste,” Hank said.
"Well, I'll admit that auras and chakras and seances are a bit beyond me, but we've seen some strange things in our time."
“Your eyes can play tricks on you in a fire.”
“That’s true. We’ve seen odd things,” Mike said.
“Well, isn’t faith the same thing? Visions and miracles and angels?” Roy asked.
“I agree,” said Marco. “Hey, Johnny, your stew is better than Chet’s. Not mine, tough.”
Johnny smiled as the men laughed, Chet sighing theatrically. “Thank you, Marco,” Johnny said.
“Well, I wouldn’t scoff at visions and such. I just don’t think you need a crystal to channel anything,” said Hank.
Johnny leaned toward Joe. “Former engineer.”
Joe laughed as Hank mock-scowled. “Practical sorts, all right.”
Talk continued about some of Joe’s calls back in the day, and Johnny got up to get a second helping of stew.
A shadow crossed the floor and he looked out the window, eyes widening.
A golden eagle soared high in the sky, sunlight gilding its feathers that looked like fire.
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