"A Balmy Morning in Hell"

L&O/SVU Crossover; Lennie Briscoe, John Munch; Rated PG13
Written for the Post-Apocalyptic Multifandom Ficathon on livejournal. My request was: Lennie and Munch; "Lennie's really getting too old for this crap."

Detective Lennie Briscoe winced as another explosion reverberated from outside. "It sounds like all hell is breaking loose out there."

"This country's been going to hell for years, my friend," John Munch announced. He wound up for a lengthy rant. "It's been going on long before the conservative right-wing power mongrels -"

"Don't get him started." Fin said as he walked up the corridor with a take-out coffee in each hand. He handed them over, one to each, and then started walking away.

"Where are you going?" his partner called after him.

"Gotta meet Elliot and Olivia at the United Nations Building." With that, he turned the corner and was gone.

"Great, just great," Munch said, flinging his arms wide and almost spilling his coffee. "They get all the action while we're stuck babysitting."

"Life's a bitch," Lennie agreed, sipping cautiously from the styrofoam cup in his hand.

Munch stared at the prisoner in the cell; the man ignored him, muttering under his breath in an Arabic language, same as he'd done ever since they'd been assigned "guard duty."

They were in the basement of the 16th, had been since roughly nine fifteen that morning, ever since the first bombs went off and Homeland Security called in a favor.

Mustafa al Jahad happened to be sitting in the 16th lockup, a suspect in the rape of teenage girl. When they ran him through the system, it'd sent up a Homeland Security flag, and the agency had called Captain Cragan. Evidently Mr. al Jahad was on their "Most Wanted" list and suspected of recruiting for terrorist cells in the New York area. They'd asked the precinct to sit on him for a day until a team of agents could haul him in for questioning. As usual, the detectives were reluctant to hand over a perp, but the request had come from so high up they'd need a stepladder as tall as the Empire State Building for their complaints to be heard.

When the first bombs had gone off, he'd been moved to the rarely-used basement cells. From all reports, the city was in chaos, and Lennie found himself assigned to helping sit on the prisoner until the Feds showed up.

"Has anyone claimed responsibility yet?" Munch asked, filling the silence with something other than Mustafa's hushed prayers.

"I haven't heard specifically," Lennie answered cradling his cup in one hand as he gestured with the other, "but talk at the precinct before I left was Al-Qaeda."

"I heard Iraqi Liberation Front."

Lennie smiled. "Weren't we the ones that liberated them?"

"Evidently they want to be liberated from our liberation." He grinned back and was taking another drink of his coffee when the whole building shook. The dark liquid sloshed out and down the front of his shirt. "Damn!"

"That was too close for comfort," Lennie said. He broke through the chatter on his radio to ask, "Everything okay up there?"

Captain Cragen answered back, "What do you think?"

"Any idea when the Feds are supposed to get here?"

"When they show up." The strain was evident in the Captain's voice.

As if on cue, the door at the end of the corridor opened, and several men walked through.

Lennie and Munch drew their weapons, coffee forgotten.

The man in the lead drew closer, and handed them a badge along with a set of papers. "Special Agent Flannery of Homeland Security. These are agents Cruz, Tomes, Harris and Stone." The four extra agents nodded at the two detectives.

"Those papers transfer custody of the prisoner over to us." Agent Flannery nodded toward the papers in Munch's hands. "Your country thanks you, detectives."

"I'd rather my country tell me what the hell is going on," Munch replied.

Lennie unlocked the cell, and two of the agents went in and secured al Jahad.

"I'm afraid information is sketchy at best. We've got confirmed attacks on targets in San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and DC, as well as New York." Agent Flannery gestured to the prisoner. "The sooner we can start interrogating him, the better." The Homeland Security contingent, plus one, started for the door.

"As much as I'd love to be somewhere else," Munch said, hurrying to keep up with them, Lennie quick on his heels, "we're not to let him out of sight until he's safely in your custody."

Agent Flannery frowned. "He is in our custody. We just took him off your hands." They stepped out into the hazy morning air. Sirens were going off all around, looters were hard at work and traffic was even worse than it normally was, if that was even possible. Lennie didn't envy the Homeland Security guys having to maneuver around in that.

"To us 'safely in your custody' means waiting until the cherry-red taillights of your government issue van fade into the distance," Lennie clarified.

Munch could see the van idling, two of the agents walking ahead and opening the sliding door.

Special Agent Flannery flashed them a condescending grin. "I appreciate your diligence, detectives, but I assure you everything is under control."

Just then the tiny alleyway exploded in a rain of fire and metal. Munch and Lennie were knocked backward off their feet, as the fireball receded and debris rained upon them.

"Holy crap!" Munch exclaimed, struggling to his feet. Lennie stood up with a wince and put his hand to his lower back. Together they surveyed the damage.

The van was a hollowed out shell, flames still flickering from inside. There was no way the driver nor the two agents who'd climbed inside were still alive.

They watched as Agent Flannery got to his feet, hand pressed against a gash in the side of his forehead. "Where's al Jahad?" he shouted, eyes darting around the alley.

The two other agents who hadn't been killed in the blast took off, while Flannery talked into his cell phone. Munch took off after the agents.

"I'm too old for this shit," Lennie mumbled, running after him. He stopped when they got to the corner, looking both ways for any sign of the prisoner.

"How're we supposed to find him in all this?"

Lennie surveyed the chaos around them. "Let the Feds do it?" he hazarded a guess.

"And miss out on all the fun?"

"Well, he's the one wearing an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg shackles," Lennie said. "How hard could it be?"

"That's the spirit!" Munch smacked him lightly on the shoulder. "The Feds went left, so let's go right." He jogged off down the street, Lennie following him after only a slight hesitation.

They scanned the street and surrounding area for any sign of an orange jumpsuit. Three blocks into their search Munch spotted him heading for a subway entrance. "Oh no you don't," he said and took off at a fast sprint.

By the time Lennie caught up to them, several yards down a subway tunnel, he was out of breath and nursing a stitch in his left side. "Now (gasp) I know (wheeze) why I'm (pant) retiring (gasp) in three (pant) months."

"I tried that once, but it wasn't for me." Munch was actually sitting on the prisoner, even though said prisoner had been knocked unconscious; he was taking no chances that al Jahad would get another opportunity to escape.

"Yeah, I remember, your bar." Lennie leaned his back against a wall and slid down to sit on the cold concrete. "How's it doing by the way?"

"Probably a pile of rubble," Munch said morosely. An explosion from above caused him to question the prudence of remaining underground for a lengthy period of time.

"Come on," Lennie said trying to lighten the mood, "after all this is over, I'll let you beat me at pool."

"I'd rather you tell me that Gwen called out my name during sex."

Lennie shot him a look, noticing the smile on his face. He chuckled. "I can't lie like that."


Lennie laughed harder.

"Thank God." Munch stood up and Lennie looked to see who he was talking to.

Agent Flannery, Harris and Stone stood over them. "Nice work, Detective Munch, Detective Briscoe." His face held a look of genuine respect. "Mind if we take over from here? There's a helicopter waiting for us on the roof of the building next door."

Munch held out a hand, helping Lennie to his feet. "He's all yours."

Harris and Stone stood on either side of al Jahad and hauled him up between them, supporting his still-unconscious frame.

They started to walk way when Agent Flannery turned around. "Aren't you coming with us?"

Lennie and Munch looked at each other. Munch shook his head while Lennie answered for the both of them, "We're good." As the two detectives watched the Feds - and one pain-in-the-ass suspected terrorist - walk away, they followed, but at a much slower pace.

"Wanna get a drink?" Munch asked.

"How about we go back to the station and find out what the hell's going on?"

"After we get a drink?" Munch was nothing if not persistent.

"Tell you what, after we help save our city and maybe even our country, I'll buy you as many rounds as you can drink before passing out."

Munch smiled at him, then started walking faster. "What are we hanging around here for? The sooner we clean up this God-forsaken wonderful city, the faster I collect on that."

Lennie smiled back and, shoulder to shoulder, they walked out into the smoky morning light.

Copyright July 2007 by Cait N.

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