Percy and Edward stopped when they came to the signal that James had stopped at, they knew it had to be here that he dissapeared at since it was the only signal box that he would have passed when he took his train.
"Percy" Edward instructed "we will take separate routes just to be on the safe side, although I still think he will have taken the short route"
"Okay Edward" Percy agreed without complaint, Edward was one of the few engines he took seriously.
Since the points were still leading to the short cut route and Edward was in front he immediately went that way.
Percy waited for the signalman to change the points after he whistled, no reply nor did the points change, Percy knew something wasn't right.
"Driver?" he called out "shouldn't we check on the him?"
Percy's driver snorted "probably nothing but I think it is best to check to be on safe side"
He dismounted Percy and told the fireman to stay there and keep an eye on Percy's fire while he went and checked.
Edward meanwhile was puffing as carefully and fast as he could go on the narrow and silent track, he'd been really concerned about James before and now he was scared for him and his crew, what if he didn't get to them in time? What if they were rusting away right now because of the snow storm?
He quickly shook all thoughts away, no he would not think like that, he could not think like that, he would find James, his crew and help them even if it took him all night.
"Hey Gary, that blue engine is here" informed the shadow that represented Bert's driver "what shall we do now?"
"Let him find James, then we make our move" replied Gary who had not kept his eyes off of Edward the whole time.
They watched as Edward came to a stop near the big bank of snow in the middle of the valley, they could hear the panic in his voice when he called out to him even though he failed to keep the panic out of his voice, oh how naive this train was, he was beginning to get the 'love bug' without even realising it, for goodness sake no wonder the steam engines were so dense these days, the diesel's had more knowledge than them.
Gary frowned when he saw Edward's driver shoot a flair into the sky, blast that meant that he had just sent for help and it more than likely wouldn't be long until that help came.
"What do we do now?" asked Bert's driver.
"Stick to the plan until I say otherwise" Gary hissed as he continued to watch.
He watched as the blue engine's Driver and Fireman got out of the cab and head straight for the slightly unconscious who had not been able to take shelter or free James from the drift, they ended up passing out from the cold, the workers found them holding onto each other in an attempt to keep warm but ended with snow clinging onto them with only their feet showing and both pale blue.
The workers then shouted orders and the Diesel drivers watched with twisted smiles as the almost dead people were taken into the cab in order to get warmer and taken care of properly, they still hoped they died from the Pneumonia.
The second driver was now wondering if the avalanche was a good idea, because of the weather they could easily remove the engine and it would be working within a few days, they wanted to make sure he never worked again.
Taking a deep breath before exhaling it the leader got up from where he had been kneeling in the snow, brushed himself down and informed Bert's driver "there's too many people that will spot us if we try anything else, let's retreat and tell the boss before they really spot us, next time though we'll make sure it's permanent"
It took some time but they eventually managed to get James out of the snow, Percy, who had seen the flare signal ad taken James' crew and the signal man to hospital to see if they had any permanent damages.
The Fat Controller had told Percy to meet him at the main station, when he had heard that James' driver and fireman were in hospital he couldn't help but cry in relief, he wanted a full report on what had happened.
"Alright Percy, tell me exactly what happened from the start" The Fat Controller ordered as politely as he could, he knew it wasn't Percy's fault but something was telling him this was no accident, his instincts were never wrong.
"Well sir" Percy began "it started with me and Edward stopping at the signal box, Edward said that he would take the short cut while I took the long route, I tried whistling for the Signalman but the points didn't change"
Percy's driver took it from there "Percy said he thought he saw something and wanted me to go and look..."
Percy's driver walked up the signal box as quietly as he could, he had a spare shovel that he had taken from Percy's cab, he didn't want to take any risks.
The door to the signal box was slightly open so he opened it with caution, there was no one in, at least from where he was standing.
He opened it some more only to realise that the light wasn't on and there was an abandoned lamp near him, grabbing one of his spare lights that he used for Percy's firebox he re-lit the lamp and began moving around with his shovel in his left hand, he stopped though when he found what looked like a foot.
It was the Signalman, knowing that he could not phone The Fat Controller he quickly opened up a window and shouted.
"I NEED SOME HELP NOW! THE SIGNALMAN HAS BEEN KNOCKED OUT!"
Four workman got out and went into the Signal box and carried the unconscious man into the coach, they had just done that when they noticed a signal flare, knowing that it was coming from Edward, Percy's driver quickly changed the points and leaving a big sign saying that the signal box was not operational before quickly getting into Percy's cab and going down the short cut.
(End of Flashback)
"Thankfully the signal man was only knocked unconscious" Percy's driver continued "but James' driver and fireman had been out of the snow for so long that they developed hypothermia, they didn't say anything else"
The Fat Controller's face didn't show any emotion, but Percy's driver noticed a bead of sweat run down his boss' face.
"Thank you for telling me this" The Fat Controller said at last "please go on with your work, but if you can could you check on Edward and James when you see them? I want to know if they're okay"
"Yes sir, I promise sir" Percy promised before leaving the station feeling slightly happy that the Signalman was okay, but why did he get the feeling that he was missing something?
(Author: just so you know this is after Jack and John were taken to hospital and the Signalman, they had not got James out properly)
"COUGH COUGH" gasped James when the last bit of snow left his face "FREE!" he cried out happily.
Edward couldn't help but chuckle at James obvious happiness "your welcome James"
The slightly covered in snow engine gasped when he realised who his rescuer was "Edward?" he squawked (although he would never admit it)
"Uh, nothing" he was thankful Edward couldn't see his face, he was pretty sure he was as red as his paint.
"Come one then let's get you to the works, don't want one of your pipes to burst now do we?"
As much as James hated to admit it Edward was right, Oliver had an incident with snow before and landed in a snowman, when they rescued him they forgot to check his pipes, resulting in one of them blowing up and him having to stay longer at the works. James personally hated the works unless it was to get a new coat of paint and made a mental note to remind the workers should they forget.
He was brought out of his thoughts when he was bumped, resulting in him letting out an unmanly squeal.
"Are you okay James?" Edward asked with concern "something on your mind?"
Oh you have no idea what I am thinking about right now James thought to himself "I'm fine, next time warn me before you bump like that"
"I did James, but you never replied" Edward's driver finished coupling them up.
James wanted to retort and say Edward was lying when he remembered that Edward never never lied, he was always truthful with everyone he met.
Taking a deep breath he said with honesty in his voice "I'm sorry"
Edward was surprised by that but smiled even if James could see it "don't worry about it"
James could hear the smile in that sentence, he stayed silent as Edward began the journey to the Steam Works.
(Meanwhile at the Diesel works)
"AND YOU LET HIM GET AWAY?!"
The two diesels that were suffering from the wrath of Diesel were cowering back in fear, their drivers were suffering the same thing as well, they knew Diesel had a temper but they didn't think it could be this bad.
"B-but Diesel" Bert stuttered "there were too many people, if we tried to do something else they would have spotted us, it's not as if our driver's were dressed to blend with the snow"
Diesel and his driver seemed to consider that sentence.
"Perhaps we were a bit too careless" Diesel's driver considered after what looked like a mental conversation between him and Diesel.
Then Diesel had an idea "let's wait for a while, then we can give James a little 'Christmas present' it is only fair after all"
"And it would give us time to make sure the plan doesn't backfire" Diesel and his driver were wearing identical smirks.
"Alright then, what do we do?"