Disclaimers: This is an uber story, the characters in it may bear some resemblance to ones in a certain show we all know and love. In no way, shape or form am I trying to hurt these characters owned by MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures.

On a more personal note; this is my first piece of writing I decided to share with the outside world. So be warned and proceed on your own risk..<g>

Violence/language warning: While there are some ‘nasty’ words in this story, I don’t think it’s something you all haven’t heard before and it isn’t any worse than the average stuff shown on tv. Same goes for violence. There’s some action coming, but nothing too graphic.

Sex warning: This story deals with the romantic involvement between 2 women. Hardly a surprise I think..<g>..But if you happened to stumble upon this story while this isn’t your kinda thing…Sorry to hear that, but you’d better move on and find a story that’s more your style. The sex is there, but not too graphic. My fault, I didn’t want to get jealous of the love life of my own characters..<g>..Just to cover all bases; if you’re under age you might want to leave and come back when your old enough.

Any and all comments, ideas, thoughts, criticisms (wrapped in nice words..;-)... and preferably constructive or just a nice chat are very welcomed at: d.vansteenvelt@hotmail.com

And now I think I’ll let you be and read the story.


Past and Present

By Niki

The tall man was walking towards the underground parking lot where he had parked his car that morning, dodging the many people on the streets who were also on their way home after the end of yet another busy working day in the financial district of downtown San Francisco, when his phone started to make noise in his pocket.

‘Please don’t do this to me now. I really need to reach the grocery store,’ he groaned.

The man had a date that evening, very promising actually since he was going to make her dinner in his apartment and he was hoping to finally make some progress. He was planning to go all out on the romanticism this evening, but he needed to get some final ingredients for his famous lasagna. The sandy haired man pulled out his phone and listened to the other end. Suddenly he stopped, turned around and headed back towards the big building he left not that long ago.

Deciding to bypass the elevators and just use the stairs to get to the 3rd floor where a newspaper was situated, he was once again reminded of the fact that his condition had definite room for improvement and he took a few deep breaths before entering the large room that was cluttered with desks and had people milling about. A few offices could be seen at the far end, as well as a coffee machine, water cooler, copiers and a fax. The atmosphere was typical of that of any news medium - ringing phones, people going from one place to the other and papers all over the place. It seemed like chaos to an outsider, but it was a well-oiled machine in reality, capable of bringing the news fast and accurately.

At a desk in the far corner a woman was busily typing the last lines of her assignment. The red-blonde head was bowed over the keys as if that would make her find them any faster. It was close to five and she needed to turn this piece in for the morning paper.

"Finally, ‘ with a sigh she hit the last button and sent the article on its way to her editor who had asked for it a couple of times already.

‘Enjoy it, Tom’, she thought, ‘I’m going home and take a long, hot soak in the tub.’

She wearily leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes, which were stinging in protest to having watched the screen for the last few hours.

"Ashes, Ashes, where are you? I need to see you please and fast!" The tall man who had received the phone call just minutes before was waving his arms and looking to the far corner. "Come on, come on!" he urged.

Kelly Ashwood groaned and rolled her eyes at the ceiling.

‘How come I have a feeling that bath has to wait for me a bit longer?’

She got up and stretched when she felt her muscles protesting.

‘O yeah, soaking was definitely very welcome. Ah well, maybe I should make up some personal life so I can make excuses to be gone at five o’clock sharp,’ she thought wryly, knowing that most of her co-workers usually did end up going home around five. Not that she begrudged them their time with their families, of course. She just sometimes wished she could enjoy the same.

‘Gotta find someone who can cope with you first, now don’t you, Kel?’ the woman mockingly said to herself. "Yeah, yeah, keep your pants on, Tom!" The blonde softly added, ‘Please,’ and chuckled to herself…’O girl, don’t even start thinking about that, it was bad enough when you saw him in his speedos that one day!’ She still had to grin when thinking about it, although Tom was a handsome enough looking man with his sand colored hair and the boyish lock of hair that threatened to fall in his eyes at any point of the day. Not to mention his well-shaped torso and tanned muscular arms. But with his pants down, one could see the milk bottles he referred to as legs and, in comparison to his trained upper body, they looked like matches which would snap at the lightest strain. She’d always wondered if he just trained totally focused on his arms and chest without caring one way or the other for his lower extremities or if it was something that could not be helped.

"So, what is it you want me to go out and do? Well past my work time I might add," Kelly inquired.

"As if you had any plans tonight," Tom paused and continued, " and a night in front of the television after a hot bath doesn’t count in this case, my hot-shot reporter. Only a good-looking guy and the promise of a passion-filled night would motivate me to let you off the hook."

"Just great. You had to ask the impossible now, didn’t ya?" the retort came with a small sigh.

"Now, Kel, you know there are a lot of guys in this town who would love to show you a good time. You just keep brushing them off. Maybe if you took one of them up on the offer then…."

"All right already," she cut off the speech heard about a thousand times before. "Just tell me what, where and who and I’ll be on my way already."

Tom shuffled through the papers on his desk and mumbled: " I know I put it here. …" A little louder he said, "Another body was found just now. We got a good tip, so we should be the only ones with this little bit of news in the morning if you can manage to turn a piece in before midnight. Maybe we can even make a big article out of it in the next couple of days. It is the fifth one found. You know that supermarket at Pasadena?"

"OK, I’m on my way. I hope to be done at the scene pretty fast. Is it all right if I type it at home and just mail it over? Saves me another night on this god forsaken torture machine you call a sofa bed," was all Tom heard before the elevator doors closed behind his reporter.

The last three months a murderer seemed to be working his way around town. Officially it wasn’t stated yet that the murders were connected but around the newsroom it was common knowledge. They had all seen enough in their line of work to recognize a pattern when there was one. These last five people were all ‘einzelgangers’ so to speak. They lived alone, never bothered their neighbors, lived in apartments in parts of town where every building looked the same and all of them were found dead in an alley behind one of the many supermarkets in town. Death had come quickly for most of the victims…a vicious stab in the heart with, so was suspected, a big knife and their time on this earth was over.


The precinct immediately looked familiar to the woman standing in front of it. ‘Nice to know this place looks like any other I have seen. Not that I expected anything else, of course,’ she thought wryly to herself. ‘Imagination is clearly not one of the many qualities the police has to offer.’ She straightened her shoulders and walked in the door, pausing for a minute to get a good look at her surroundings. She could see a desk straight ahead with an uniform behind it, to the left seemed to be a public waiting area, filled with numerous people who were hoping to get some sort of help and bathrooms, while a turn to the right would probably lead to the squad room, offices and interrogation room.

Walking up to the desk the woman waited to be noticed by the young man who was busy drinking his coffee. He seemed in no hurry to even look at the person standing in front of the desk and a glint appeared in pale blue eyes.

"Hey!" she slammed her hand down on the surface of the desk. Hard.

The boy spilled his coffee down his shirt and started to wipe at the stains frantically.

"Are you out of your mind!? What did you think you were doing? I need to get a clean shirt now." He turned to leave only to feel something come down on his shoulder, effectively pinning him in place. ‘Now she’s gonna get it. What does she thinks she’s doing, stopping me like that!’ The cop glared at the woman, but was taken aback by the raised eyebrow over the bluest eyes he had ever seen. He kept staring at her and totally forgot what he was about to do, or where he was for that matter.

"You are not going to change that shirt until you tell me where I can find Commissioner Bailey. Got me?" the low voice practically growled. The grip on his shoulder was loosened and he stumbled a bit trying to find his balance.

"I can’t just send someone to his office," the man said and regretted it almost instantly when those cold blue eyes pinned him down mercilessly.

"I’m not just anybody, so you’d better give me some directions, rookie."


"Uhm…okay…down that hall, through the squad room and it’s the office at the end of the room. Please knock before going in."

"Don’t you worry, I’ll knock." She turned in the direction she had to go and added, "and you might want to do the things you applied for while entering the police force and start helping that people in the waiting area. I think their problems might be more important then you drinking your coffee."

The young cop saw her disappear around the corner and sunk down in his chair shaking his head and releasing a huge sigh. ‘Don’t know who she is, but I don’t think I want to have a run in with her anytime soon. That’s one tough lady. Gorgeous eyes though.’

The squad room was buzzing with agents all over the place. Some were behind their desks, a few could be seen in their offices. Agents were talking on the phone, informing each other of running cases or just plain socializing around the coffee machine.

"Hunter, Hosa, could you check out this report of a fight at the Wolf bar? It apparently happened last night but for some reason no charges were pressed until just now." A gray-haired man was handing out assignments to the teams. "McGrady and Capster, you’re gonna patrol the high school at Montesina. There have been complaints about a drug dealer hanging around, so keep your eyes open."

The door to the squad room opened and the conversations halted as all heads turned in the direction of the woman who stepped inside. She was tall, about six feet, with dark hair, high cheekbones and the most amazing blue eyes one had ever seen. She wore a knee-length leather coat, blue jeans and black boots.

Her face was an unreadable mask when she crossed the room, knocked on the door and stepped inside without waiting for an answer.

At that point the room began to stir again and a dark-haired man was just about to step after her when a soft chuckle was heard and someone uttered, "Rambo, well I’ll be damned!"

"Huh? You know her, J?" J nodded and explained, "I went to the academy with her, that’s one fine cop you just saw walking past."

"She seems a bit different, doesn’t she?" a blonde cop asked, "and what’s with the ‘Rambo’-stuff?"

"Oh, she’s different all right…But if you need the best; that’s her." People started muttering, obviously not totally agreeing with that assessment.

J ignored them and went on, "And as for the Rambo, she got that nick fresh out of the academy. A group of us rookies was sent to make a routine arrest, never imagining that the man we were about to arrest for his part in a drug deal was right at that moment selling his part of the drugs to the next group in line. Two of us were caught by surprise inside the house and a third one got shot. All I know is I was lying in the blood of the shot cop, making my last prayers while seeing a gun trained at my head and then suddenly the door bursts open, I hear a shot and see the man standing over me falling down. When I turn to look I see it’s her, she took out a guy in the kitchen, got his gun and is standing in the doorway with a gun in each hand. She waves for me and my partner to get to the kitchen since we could hear the other thugs coming down the stairs. I tell her Ricky is probably dead because of the hit he took in the head but she doesn’t seem to listen. Next thing I know Sydney, that’s her name, Sydney Rambuletti, dives for Ricky, firing at the staircase at the same time and hitting two other men who come tumbling down. And this next part really left me open mouthed. She just picks up the guy like it’s nothing and believe me, he had a few donuts too many! Takes him on her back and walks back to us. We all reach the back yard and call for an ambulance. It wasn’t until then that I noticed the red stains on her blouse and discovered she had been hit in the shoulder. That was the reason she was outside in the first place and not inside with the rest of us. The shot made her fall backwards, landing in front of the door that got kicked closed by the guy standing in the doorway leading towards the kitchen. Guess they never really knew she was there."

"What was she thinking going back in, without back up and with a shoulder wound? That’s not the way the job is supposed to be done," the dark-haired cop grumbled.

"Shut up, Goat! Like I said, Sydney is different and she might do things a bit different then you’re used to, but she can do that every time she likes if you ask me. Saved my life, that’s for sure!" J snapped at his colleague.

"Well," Lisa, the blonde cop, said thoughtfully, "she certainly seems fascinating and if she gets the job done and keeps her partners alive she’s more than welcome. But I do wonder what made her come down here all of a sudden. Gotta be a story behind that!"


Sydney casually walked across the room, feeling the eyes on her. She had put on her unreadable mask and she grinned a bit internally.

‘Never hurts to be mysterious on the first meeting. And intimidating is good too. Maybe I should’ve driven in on my bike…Nah, this bunch would probably die of shock.’

She paused briefly in front of the door that was supposed to be the Commissioner’s and knocked before turning the knob and stepping inside.

‘Well, I did knock before going in, rookie,’ the dark-haired woman smirked.

Behind the desk at the far end of the room she saw a middle-aged man. His hair revealed streaks of white, but his original brown color could still be seen. The commissioner looked like someone who had been behind the desk for some years, but Sydney knew the amount of experience this man possessed and she respected him for it. John Bailey looked up from his phone call with an irritated expression, because of the information told to him on the phone as well as the unexpected interruption. His eyes lit up, though, at the sight of Sydney and he waved her over while pointing to one of the seats in front of his desks. She strolled over, bypassed the chairs and chose to sit on his desk in stead, fingering the photos standing there and picking them up to take a good look.

If she would have chosen to look outside to the squad room at that moment she would have seen several jaws dropping to the floor. No one had ever dared to do something like that with their tough boss and they were quite surprised when she wasn’t immediately kicked out. Instead Bailey just looked at her with an indulgent expression, silently shaking his finger in front of her face. Sydney shrugged innocently at him and returned her attention to the photographs of a woman and two young girls in their teens, obviously the wife and daughters of the man sitting behind the desk.

"Aw shit, you know, I’m really beginning to hate this darn case. Well, you know what to do. Just secure the site and I’ll send a detective over. Make sure everything stays the way it is right now and keep the public away. Especially the press, last thing we need is them finding out about the marks." The commissioner listened to the officer on the other end. "I don’t give a flying fig that there’s already a reporter there and I’d better not find out you gave some hot tip. You got me! Just keep everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE away. Think you can manage that, Adams? Good, then do it!" he barked and slammed down the phone.

"You seem kinda stressed, John," Sydney mentioned in a teasing tone.

"You can call me Commissioner Bailey and you know darn well why I’m stressed!" He slumped down in his chair and eyed her, "You look great though, you doing better?"

Blue eyes clouded over and she pointed to the pictures. "How are Amelia and the girls doing? They look real grown up, must be quite a handful; two teenagers to look after."

Commissioner Bailey decided to leave the evasion for what it was…at the moment. "They’re doing good. Missed you like crazy. As a matter of fact when I told them you might be coming back to town they insisted you stop by. So, you’re expected for dinner tonight. Be there."

"Yes sir," she saluted while watching him rise from his chair and close the blinds of the window to the squad room, effectively preventing the other agents from looking in.

"I want to bring you up to speed about what has been going on here. You’ll probably know a lot of what I’m about to tell you already, but I want to be complete. As you might have guessed, the phone call was about another victim found. You arrived at the right time, huh?" She merely looked at him with an expressionless face. "All right, let’s get this briefing out of the way. After that I’ll introduce you to the rest of the squad and I’ve got to warn you, there might be some hurt feelings about you stepping in and taking over the case. Sorry about that, I’ll tell them the truth and let them know I asked you to come and do it, but you know they’ll probably won’t believe it."

She shrugged, "You know how I feel about that John."

"Yeah, yeah, I just wished you stopped scaring the other agents with your ‘feelings," he smiled, only half jokingly.


It was just like any other dark, obscure alley like there were probably hundreds of around town. Situated behind a well-visited supermarket with trash all over the place, not to mention the rats one could see scurrying away to find another quiet place to hide from mankind, this one particular alley was the main location of tonight’s event. In the middle of a pile of garbage a hand could be seen. You had to look good and know it was there before even noticing the body attached to it.

The yellow tape used to keep spectators away was fluttering in the wind at both entrances to the alley, although most people were most likely at home enjoying a nice meal with their families and loved ones. The agents in their dark blue uniforms were standing in groups at a little distance from the victim, quietly talking amongst themselves while a photographer was busy taking pictures of the body, the surroundings and everything else he found important.

"Almost done", he nodded to the waiting paramedics. They were obviously too late to do anything for the man and were just waiting until all the formalities at the crime scene were wrapped up so they could take the body back to the morgue.

"Hey, Tones, what have you got for me?" Agent Adams turned around to see the blonde reporter walking towards him. As usual the woman had not paid any heed to the yellow tape and ducked under it to get to her contact. The other officers didn’t say anything when they saw Kelly approaching. They were used to seeing her on a scene and, if the truth must be told, they liked this spunky woman and allowed her these little privileges at times to beat some of her colleagues at other papers.

Tony met the blonde woman halfway down the alley. "I’m sorry, Kels, but I’m not allowed to let you any further this time. I can give you an official statement and that's it. Direct orders from the commissioner." Kelly turned a brilliant smile on to the young cop, who was looking at her apologetically.

"Aaahhh, Tony, come on now. I know you wouldn’t drag me down here for nothing past my worktime. Do you know I’ve got to turn in a story before midnight? I’d rather have it be something worth the effort I have to put into it. I missed a long hot soak in the tub for this, ya know!"

"I’m sorry, but…"

She cut him off quickly, "I don’t even see a detective here yet, so what do you say about me taking a peek over there and then I’ll be out of your hair…Hmmm?" Kelly looked up at him innocently.

Tony took a look at those green eyes and breathed an exasperated sigh. "All right," he grumbled, "you know I can’t deny you anything when you bat those pretty lashes at me. Follow me, but only for a minute. You do know the dates you owe me have just gained another number right?"

The reporter followed, chuckling lightly: "I know, I know, but what would your girlfriend say, Tones? Besides, I’m really not the dating material you know…a crazy workaholic, that’s what I am."

Kelly looked down at the man lying on his back in the garbage. He wore some faded blue jeans with brown hiking boots and a red sports jacket. Underneath the jacket that was slightly open, a white shirt could be seen with a red stain around the heart area.

‘Poor guy, one minute he was doing his shopping and the next moment he’s being stabbed and left for dead like some dispensable rag doll.’ She shook her head sadly. The first four victims found had gotten a short article in the San Francisco Gazette. All but the first one were from her own hand. ‘Guess this story line is starting to get bigger, five victims found with the same types of death points towards a repetitive killer,’ she thought to herself. ‘I bet Tom wants a background piece on the murders for the weekend edition.’

Her eyes wandered over the body one last time when suddenly something flashed through her mind. Something looked very familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Kelly looked at the rolled up sleeves at the man’s arms and tried to call up the previous victims. It hit her and she unexpectedly took a step forward to get a closer look. Tony was caught by surprise and stepped after her, trying to pull her back.

"No no, wait up a minute…these marks. There were similar ones on at least one of the other victims, right?" Kelly tried to visualize what she had seen the previous cases and she was pretty sure that she had noticed the rolled up sleeves a couple of times. Of the marks she wasn’t too sure though, until she saw Tony’s expression. "Every victim had these marks? What are they?. Looks like some sort of letters written on the arm." She bent down to take a closer look. Before the reporter could get close enough to see what was actually written a hand grabbed her by the arm and pulled her up again.

"You must be Officer Adams," a low voice almost purred from behind them. "And that would make you the reporter that was supposed to be kept well away from this place. At the very least behind the yellow tapes, but preferably at home with the little husband, cooking him dinner and fetching his paper or something."

Kelly pulled herself free and turned around with blazing eyes, only to stop in amazement at the vision of the woman in front of her. ‘Okay, so I’m not one of the most lengthy people on this earth. But when did they start making women that damn tall.’

’Scuse me?" she sputtered. "Who do you think you are, grabbing me like that.? You could have just told me to get up you know." ‘After I read the letters,’ she mentally added.

The woman just raised her eyebrow and looked at her with a slightly bemused expression. ‘Sure, and give you the chance to find out what it is we want to keep hidden. For now.’ Outwardly she said, "I’m Sydney Rambuletti, the new detective on this case. We really don’t want that info out in the public yet. Don’t write about, ok?" The cop commanded more than asked. It rubbed Kelly the wrong way.

‘What is it with her. Did she never hear about asking nicely?’

"I know this reporter, Detective Rambuletti, she always cooperates with the police the best she can," Agent Adams interjected. Rambuletti’s gaze left Kelly’s face and bored into Tony’s.

"You’d do better to make yourself disappear out of my sight pretty fast, Officer Adams," Sydney retorted in a cold tone of voice. "You went against a direct order and I don’t really appreciate that. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t have to work with the media on this, now would we?"

The young cop looked at the ground before catching Kelly’s eye apologetically and moving to stand with his fellow officers at the end of the alley. He was received with sympathetic pats to the back and the whispers started, with the occasional glances back to the tall woman.

The blonde woman had taken the opportunity to look the dark cop over and decided she was a bit different then the cops she usually met. The faded jeans, leather jacket and boots made her look more like a woman who rode a bike to one of the bars downtown. She startled a bit when she met patient blue eyes and offered a sheepish smile.

"So, do we have an understanding?"

"You’re new here aren’t you? Never saw you on the streets before, I think I would have remembered you. You don’t look like the ordinary detective." The reporter stopped talking when she noticed the detective examining the body more closely. ‘And not much for polite chit-chat either I see.’

"Look, Miss…." Sydney trailed off, glancing up at the woman behind her with a slightly impatient look.

"Ashwood, Kelly Ashwood."

"All right, Miss Ashwood. I just need to know you won’t put this in your article and then you can leave this place to let me do my work."

‘So much for simple cooperation,’ Kelly thought. "And what can I expect in return?"

The dark-haired woman stood to her full height and watched the reporter with a blank expression.

"I’m definitely not going to leave the marks out of my story because some new, rude detective who thinks she can give orders to everyone surrounding her tells me so. Freedom of speech and all that blah blah," Kelly let a bit of her anger filter through. She had had just about enough of this prehistoric cavewoman. A cavewoman who, again, surprised her by, almost invisibly, lifting a corner of her mouth.

‘Ah, so you’re amused by all of this aren’t you? Let’s see if you’ll still be after you hear my demands,’ was the irritated remark running around in her head. Instead she said, "I’m willing to lay off the marks - for now. If you can guarantee me the exclusive on every new development in this case." Sydney nodded in agreement. "And I want to do a background story about you which will also include an interview. To let the public know about their new detective and welcome you with open arms," she added innocently.

"No way," the other woman grumbled. "The ‘public’ doesn’t need to know anything about me. I’m sure you can find more interesting things to write about. I’ll give you the exclusives, but that’s as far as I’ll go."

"You seem under the impression this was a negotiation…It’s not," was the retort in a challenging tone.

"I could throw you in jail on some charge or another," the cop said half-heartedly. She knew very well, just as this Miss Ashwood did, that the blonde would be out in no time and ready to turn in her story for the next paper. Kelly noticed the slight tone of defeat and smirked, waiting patiently for the final answer.

"Ah, crap. Seems like there’s no getting out of it. One condition though: the background about me can’t be placed before we catch this guy. I don’t want to tip him off too soon."

‘Hmm, don’t see why that would make it harder to catch the guy, but I can live with that condition. Would be better timing anyway to place an article about her after she has caught the murderer.’ A smile broke through on the blonde’s face and she turned to leave. "I’ll go now to write my story for the morning edition. Without the marks," she added in a teasing tone. "I’m expecting to hear from you again then…And don’t worry, I’ll be in touch to set a date about the interview and all."

"Yeah, yeah," came the mumbled reply, "I’m sure you will."

Sydney watched the small woman walk away before turning her attention to the crime scene again.

She didn’t really have to look at the marks to know what was there. For some reason the killer carved a star in the skin of the arms of his victims. No one knew what he meant by it, but so far every single body spotted the same mark. They wanted to keep it out of the media so that another person wouldn’t come up with the same bright idea. These marks were the reason they knew it was the same person doing the killing as the one she was after a year back in LA. The tall cop shook her head to get rid of the memories those thoughts brought up. ‘No need to go down that road tonight,’ she thought.

"OK, guys, wrap it up. I think we’re done here for the moment," Sydney announced and the paramedics came forward to claim the body. She walked over to one of the agents to get a ride back to the station. ‘Guess it’s time to go do some paper work now, my favorite thing to do,’ she thought glumly.

After filling in all the necessary papers, three times, Sydney walked back into the office of commissioner Bailey.

"Ah, Syd, just the person I wanted to see. I’d like to introduce you to your new partner."

"Come on, John, you know how I feel about one of them. I don’t need some tag along holding me back while working the streets," came the irritated reply.

"I do know actually. Just like you know it’s standard policy and no one goes without a partner. Besides, I think you won’t mind this one," the older man answered good-naturedly.

"And if anybody is going to do some holding back young lady, it’s going to be you. Believe you me!" a deep voice came from the doorway, prompting Sydney to turn around with a big smile on her face. "If that ain’t Jeremiah Maximillianus Kingston!"

"Sssshhhh, you know darn well I use J for a reason. Don’t go blabbing my name around this unit." The big, black man made shushing motions with his hands before opening his arms wide in welcome, a beaming smile on his face.

He was about a head taller then Sydney and almost twice as big. ‘It’s like being hugged by a bear,’ she thought before her feet left the ground and she had to pound him on the back to get her footing back.

"You big ox! I didn’t know you were working at this station. It has been some time since our last meeting, hasn’t it? How have you been doing?"

Outside of the office the remaining detectives were watching the interaction with some surprise. Of course they hadn’t wasted any time digging up information about the dark-haired woman as soon as they knew she was going to join their team and the information received was very impressive, to say the least. An almost hundred percent success rate for the cases she worked on, many honorary mentions and supposedly one of the best, if not the best, cop in the country.

Strangely enough there wasn’t much to be found on a personal level. She had a younger brother who got killed about a year ago, nothing could be found on the father and as far as they knew, she hadn’t been in contact with her mother for quite some time. No mentions of friends, lovers or other people she hung out with, she was described as aloof, very private and kind of cold by many of her fellow cops.

‘Didn’t expect her to react like that,’ was what most of the people in the room were thinking.


John Bailey shut off the engine of his car and turned in the seat to look at his passenger. The woman was looking out the window, seemingly deep in thought.

‘Can’t believe I’m nervous about seeing them again. I know I should have come sooner, the funeral was a whole year ago. These people deserved better from me.’ She was startled by the feel of a hand on her thigh. "Don’t worry about anything, Syd, they’ll be so happy to see you again. We know you’ve had a tough time. OK?"

She looked at him gratefully and whispered, "I know, but I should have known you’d be here for me. It might have kept me from doing some of the things I did…" She trailed off and stared out of the window again.

"Now look at me young lady!", the old man spoke in a commanding tone. "You’re not going to feel guilty about it. What’s past is past and we’ll deal with that later if at any point you feel like talking about it. Right now I see my lovely wife making her way out here and I know she made your favorite dinner so you’d better enjoy eating it!"

She smiled at him, "You’re right, so let’s get our butts out of this car."

Dinner was a loud and cheery affair. Alma had gone all out and had prepared Sydney’s favorite meal: her lasagna. It was even better then Sydney remembered. She could feel herself relaxing as the evening wore on and after dinner John and Alma’s daughters whisked her away to the living room to watch some TV. Tess and Laurie were 15 and 17 years old, spontaneous girls and very fond of Sydney. They looked up to her and had missed the woman terribly this last year. Right now they were sprawled on the couch, watching an episode of ‘Star Trek Voyager.’ That was something they used to do all the time and after an awkward beginning they were laughing and making comments like old times. Laurie was trying to convince the cop to stay at their place until she had found her own instead of staying in a hotel and Sydney finally surrendered after a tickle assault by the two girls.

John and Alma were sitting in the kitchen, listening to the sounds coming from the living room. John looked at Alma and grabbed her hand when they heard Sydney laugh at something the girls said.

"I’m glad she’s here honey, I think this could be exactly what she needs."

"I know you’ve been worried about her, John, and she’s not quite her old self yet, but at least she’s here now and maybe she’ll let us help," Alma said.

The older people grinned when they saw Sydney being dragged through the kitchen. "It worked, Dad," Tess winked, " we’re going to get her stuff from the car and show her to my room. I’ll bunk with Laurie for a while."

"Worked huh? " Sydney threw a mock-threatening look towards John, " So that’s how they knew I was ticklish." John just innocently shrugged his shoulders.


The apartment was quiet, save for the rattling sounds of a keyboard. At a desk near the window a woman was finishing up a story. A small light provided the only illumination in the room.

Five minutes to twelve. Kelly clicked send in her email program and the story about murder number five was on its way to make it in the morning edition. She attached a short note stating that she wouldn’t be in before noon, since she had been working all night. The reporter stretched her back and got out of her chair to walk to her kitchen and get a drink.

‘A beer would hit the spot right now,’ she thought. She had already slipped into her sleeping outfit of shorts and t-shirt, figuring she might as well get comfortable while doing her work. The bath was postponed until the morning. She had more then enough time now, even with her sleeping habits. Kelly always had trouble waking up in the morning, but now she could sleep in a bit. She finished her drink and decided to head for bed.

‘Ah, let’s make a note in my organizer first about getting in touch with that new detective. I think I want to start with the background as soon as possible, tomorrow I'll do a search myself to see what I can dig up. She seems very interesting. OK, rude, but interesting.’ Kelly made the note, turned off the lights and was asleep in minutes.


It was a cool morning. Not many people were out on the streets besides the occasional other early morning jogger. Sydney was sweating heavily and pushing herself a bit more to run the last mile to John’s home. She wondered what the day would bring, she needed to go over the files on the other four murders and talk with J about possible things to do.

‘I guess today will be spent to get updated about the case until now. Not much more to do besides that.’

She walked up the driveway and started the stretching exercises for her cooling down. John walked out to go get the paper and stopped at her side.

"Morning. "

"Yup, it definitely is," came the mumbled reply from the woman who was bent at the waist.

The older man hesitated a bit, nodded his head in confirmation and asked, "Syd, can I talk to you about your mother?"

A dark head snapped up and she looked at him, a bit confused. "How come, haven’t talked to her in a long while, you know that. She’s not waiting to hear from me that’s for sure."

"She lives around here."

"I know that," came the short reply.

John pushed a bit more. "You know, after Cory, she would like to see at least one of her kids once in a while and I think….."

"Don’t you mention Cory. I do not want to talk about him," came the clearly enunciated reply, "And as for mommy dearest, she was the one that kicked me out, not that I can really blame her for not wanting to see me ever again." In a soft tone she added, "God knows I blame myself since it was my fault…"

The commissioner could clearly see the walls going up behind the blue eyes and he knew he wouldn’t come any further at this point. He sighed and turned to enter the house when his eye caught the headline on the front page: Marks found on the supermarket victims. Serial killer loose in back alleys?

He cursed under his breath and showed the paper to Sydney, realizing too late that it wasn’t a very smart move to show this to the woman who was plagued by unpleasant memories at the moment. His suspicion was confirmed when he saw her hands shaking while reaching for the paper and he tried to pull back. It was too late though and a string of curses he hoped his daughters would never hear left the tall woman’s mouth. She looked at the name under the story: Kelly Ashwood and just took off, leaving the older man standing on the lawn kicking himself for bringing up the very private and hurtful memories surrounding her brother.


Kelly was waking slowly and found herself in the middle of her kingsize bed, as usual the blankets had ended on the floor sometime during the night and she yawned while stretching her arms over head. She looked at the clock.

‘7.00 am!? You’ve got to be kidding, Kel, what are you doing up at this time of the morning?" This was definitely very unusual and she flopped back down to do some more sleeping when she heard the banging on the door. ‘Aha, guess that that was what woke me in the first place, but which idiot is knocking on my door this early?’

She groaned and got up: "Yeah, yeah, keep your shirt on will ya, I’m coming, I’m coming!" For some reason this only made the person making all the noise keep it up at an even pace. Becoming irritated Kelly marched to the door and flung it open. "What!? There’d better be a big fire or something."

She was unceremoniously pushed back inside and the door slammed shut. Just as she was about to scream her lungs out Kelly realized the unsuspected guest was the tall detective she had met the day before. Anger started to bubble up and she got ready to ask some serious questions when the other woman pushed her up to the wall and asked in a dangerously low voice, "Care to explain the article to me, Miss Ashwood? I do believe we had some sort of arrangement. Granted, I wasn’t happy about it, but I was willing to keep my part of the deal. But no, you had to write the darn thing and tip the guy off I was in town."

Kelly looked up in the blue eyes that were pinned on her face, she could see the cold anger simmering back there, but there was something else as well. The cop seemed to be hurting because of something. Right at the moment though Kelly’s arms hurt from the death-grip the dark-haired woman had on her arms and to be honest, she was kind of scary.

"Um, could you please let me go and explain yourself? I have no idea what you’re talking about and...you’re hurting me." For a minute nothing happened, the reporter could see all sorts of emotions running behind those blue eyes, the jaw clenched tightly shut and then, suddenly, the detective let go of her and all that was left was a very tired, embarrassed woman.

Sydney saw the small reporter rub her arms where she’d grabbed her and she berated herself for losing control. ‘You promised that would never happen again, and what do you do the first time someone mentions Cory? You lose it and take it out on a person who hasn’t got a clue about who you are, what you did and why you’re reacting the way you are. Just great.’ She turned around to leave when a hand reached out and took her arm.

Kelly just couldn’t let the other woman leave like this. For some reason she just knew the anger she saw wasn’t directed at her and the cop looked so sad there for a second.

Sydney stopped but didn’t look at Kelly.

"Come on in will you and let’s talk about why you’re here. I gather it has something to do with my article?"

Sydney nodded and handed the paper to her wordlessly. The detective looked up in surprise when she heard the small blonde woman let loose with a few curses and saw her heading to the phone.

"Tom? What the hell is that headline supposed to mean? That was not what I turned in and someone has added stuff to my article"

Sydney simply stood there and stared at the reporter who was getting angry with the guy on the phone and the hand gestures got more and more agitated until she finally slammed the phone down. Kelly blew out a breath and continued to stare out the window, totally forgetting about the presence of the cop in her living room. A cough got her attention and she turned, a bit startled.

"Oh, sorry about that. Seems someone felt they could just change my article without consulting me. Something about an anonymous tip. Looks like there’s someone who wants the information about the marks in the paper. I had nothing to do with it, but the bright side is that you’re off the hook about that background story."

"Don’t worry about that. I’ll give you the article, it’s the least I can do after barging in here like a mad bull and scaring you half to death," came the tired reply.

‘No way I’m saying no to that,’ Kelly thought. She eyed the tall woman and noticed for the first time the tanned, well-toned legs in her shorts. Sydney wore a sweater from the Detroit police force and her hair was pulled back in a pony tail.

"Looks like you’ve been up for a while already," indicating her appearance. ‘And wow, do your legs look good!’

Sydney finally focused on the reporter and noticed her blonde hair standing up, the sleeping clothes and the not-so-awake eyes and had to fight the urge to brush down her hair. ‘She looks adorable’

"And you look like I just woke you up. Very sorry about that. I’m going to get out of your hair. Just get in touch with me to talk about some times for the interview all right? And I’m very sorry about me storming in here, I know it’s not much of an excuse, but there were some other reasons for reacting the way I did. Those had nothing to do with you though, so I was wrong to lash out at you…." She trailed off when she caught herself rambling on. ‘Get a hold of yourself, girl, and just get out of here before she thinks you’re a total basket case.’

"I was just about to make some coffee. Would you like some?"

Sydney looked at her and just thought, ‘That can’t be true. I just woke her up, stormed in her house, slammed her up against the wall and now she’s asking if I want any coffee?’ She saw only gentle inquisition in those green eyes and she was very tempted to take her up on the offer. ‘No, Syd. Don’t do it, it seems like you’re starting to like this woman and you definitely don’t need that now. And she doesn’t need to get hurt by you.’

"Hmmm, no. Thanks for the offer, but I need to get to the station and I’d better change before going in," she said, looking down at her sweaty clothes. "I’ll hear from you then. Have a good day."

"Same to you," the blonde woman said to the closed door. For a minute there she really thought the detective was going to take her up on the offer. Kelly was a bit disappointed, she would have liked to get to know her better. ‘Ah well, I’ll get my chance when doing the interview.’

She looked at the clock and saw that no more then an hour had gone by since the arrival of Sydney. After a brief internal debate she decided to go back to lounge around in bed for a while.


The woman in the tub decided to get out since the water had started to get a bit chilly. Just as she was about to leave the bath, a knock sounded in the apartment. She grabbed her robe, stepped out of the water, rushed through her bedroom, slammed her feet against her bed and ended up hopping her way to the front door, meanwhile cursing a blue streak. Kelly held her foot and checked the damage while opening the door with her other hand.

"Seems like I caught you at a bad time again," a low alto voice sounded. The blonde woman jerked in surprise and, forgetting she had one foot up in the air, lost her balance. She ended up sitting on the floor, looking up to a very amused cop standing in her doorway.

The dark haired woman had gone home to change and wore some kaki pants, a tight black t-shirt and a brown leather jacket. The black boots were the same as Kelly saw the day before.

As for Sydney, all she could do was admire the view. The fall had made the robe slide up to reveal some very nice, toned legs and she was able to get a good look at the soft skin above her breasts. She tore her gaze away and met the green eyes while holding out her hand. "Need some help getting up?"

Kelly allowed herself to be pulled up and motioned the cop inside. "Give me a minute to get dressed, all right. I need to get to work in a few minutes. Make yourself at home, drinks are in the fridge."

Sydney moved into the living room while the reporter moved into another door at the side. She looked around curiously, that morning she hadn’t had the chance to get a good impression of the place. It was nice and warm, a pillowy couch that invited a long and relaxing sit, many plants around the room and a couple of pictures adorning the walls. She could see a TV, stereo and a big collection of CDs at the wall across from what she assumed was the bedroom. The kitchen was off to the right. It had a big window and was decorated in light colors. Obviously a room that was well-used.

Just as she was about to check out the CD collection, the smaller woman returned wearing black dress pants and a silk blouse. She was still bare foot and Sydney saw she was limping a bit.

"Come over to the couch for a minute so that I can take a look at your foot."

The reporter demured, but when the taller woman shot her a look she reluctantly made her way over. Sydney took the foot in her hands and started to examine the little toe. After a few minutes the examination was complete. "There, all done. Nothing wrong with it as far as I can tell. It’ll probably stop hurting in a little while."

When no response was forthcoming she glanced over to see the blonde-haired woman staring at her fingers.

"What, they dirty or something?"

Kelly startled back in awareness and flushed "Uhm...no...no...not at all…. Eh... Let me go put on some socks and then I’d better get going." She pulled back her foot and hurried out of the room.

‘Now that was interesting,’ Sydney contemplated.

In her bedroom Kelly sat on the bed shaking her head. "How could you lose it like that? So she has nice hands….Very soft, and gentle yet strong, caring and it felt just soooo good…. Stop it! Get a grip, you don’t even know if she’s into women and besides, it’s not like you two hit it off right from the start."

Kelly pulled herself together and decided it was safe enough to go outside again.

She still had to find out why the cop was sitting in her living room in the first place.

Sydney rose to her feet when she heard the other woman come back into the room. "Uhm, I just wanted to come back and apologise properly for the way I woke you this morning. You did nothing to deserve my outburst and I felt a bit guilty about the way I handled all of it."

Kelly waved her apologies away. "No harm done, so don’t worry. Besides you don’t want to experience my temper at times, it can get really ugly."

The tall cop just nodded and stared at her feet, seemingly lost in thought. "But now that I have you here, how about making a first date for some talking? Do you have any time this weekend?"

Sydney thought for a bit and said, almost disappointed, "Well, I’ve got to be at the baseball game this Saturday. Our station against the one from central SF, I’m ordered to be there. You know, getting to know the crew and stuff like that."

"That’s no problem at all. I love baseball and it’s supposed to be a nice weekend. How about I meet you there. We can talk while watching the game and maybe go for a drink afterwards?"

"Sure, that works. You know where they play?"

"Yep, just a short walk from here actually, so I’ll see you then?" came the hopeful reply.

After receiving an affirmative nod Kelly looked at her watch and decided she really had to go now if she wanted to make it before noon. Sydney caught the look and said, "You need a lift to work? I’m heading that way for some research anyway."

The reporter hesitated, "I don’t want to be any trouble, it’s just a twenty minute walk and that’s what I usually do,"

"No problem at all. Wouldn’t have offered if it was. Get whatever you need and let’s go," the woman insisted.

Noticing that she was going to be late if she went by foot, Kelly decided to take the other woman up on her offer and rushed to get her stuff together.

"You can’t be serious! That’s yours!?" came the exclamation upon seeing the huge bike stationed on the street in front of her apartment. Sydney just raised an eyebrow and held out a helmet.

"Euh….I’ve never been on one of those things before…" the blonde woman was a bit apprehensive about this whole adventure.

"Take it easy. Lyco won’t harm you in any way."


"Yup, don’t you name your horses?" the cop started to get a bit impatient by the lack of speed the blonde woman showed to get on the bike.

"This ain’t no horse"

"Yeah, well, he’s special to me. And the only man that gets between my legs," Sydney added with a wink and mischievous look. "Now, hop on!"

The reporter just looked at her slack jawed and didn’t protest when the dark haired woman pulled her on the bike and fastened the helmet.

She realized just in time she’d better grab Sydney around the waist if she wanted to stay on the bike and proceeded to almost effectively cut off the other woman’s breathing.

Sydney smirked and decided to gun the engine a little, just to show the blonde woman what this bike could do. A tightening of the arms around her waist was her response and with a tiny yelp from the passenger they were off.


"Wanna go and grab a bite to eat?"

It was Friday afternoon and Sydney and J had spent the last few days checking out tips and talking to every informant of J’s to see if they had anything helpful to tell them. Not much had come up, but enough leads to go ahead with the search. They had managed to get a fairly good description of a guy hanging around alleys, coincidentally at approximately the same time periods of the murders.

A picture had been made and spread around the city, from that lead a call had come in from the airport. Someone fitting that description had come into town several weeks back. Only reason the stewardess still remembered the man was because he was rather strongly hitting on her and he wasn’t too happy when she refused him. It was a lucky break in the case since they now had a name to go with their search: Tomas Shine. Probably not his real name, but maybe enough to track down a rental car or hotel room.

"Yeah, why not. Nothing much we can do today anyhow. How about I buy and then we call it a day?" The big cop shrugged and turned his car onto the parking place of a nearby diner. It didn’t seem to be crowded at the moment and he knew the food was great even if it didn’t look like much, appearance wise.

"I can live with that, Syd, got myself a date tonight anyway."

"You have huh? Have fun. Don’t have too much fun though, don’t you have a game to play tomorrow?" the dark haired woman playfully nudged him in the ribs before getting out of the car and walking into the diner.

After securing a booth in the back and ordering their food, J came back on the subject of baseball. "Aren’t you playing? We were always smokin’ out there, girl. We’ll win for sure if you play with us."

"Cut that out J. I’m not planning on picking up a bat or glove anytime soon, so you can shove that lip back and lose the eyes. I will be there though with Commissioner Bailey and his family"

J stopped his playful pout and puppy dog eyes and asked, "How long are you planning on staying in his house anyway? Don’t you need your own space right about now?"

Sydney answered between bites, "Nah, I like where I am. They’re family, you know. But I have made some calls and I’ve got people looking out for me. I’m supposed to get a call when something suitable comes up."

"Hey, Syd, I’ve been meaning to ask you something, " J leaned forward to whisper conspiratorily, "is that cute reporter still coming tomorrow? I saw you two on your bike the other day…Looked awfully cosy. And not to mention cute." he teased gently.

The woman sitting across from him held her face blank and continued eating.

"Aaaaawwww, come on now, you know you can tell me. I think it’s time you found yourself some romantic interest." The dark cop wasn’t about to give up. He could see she was trying hard to keep her expression one of disinterest so he knew he hit a soft spot.

"For what it’s worth. I think she’s one hot lady and from what I’ve heard she’s really nice too. And no boyfriend mentioned. Ever."

He startled a bit when Sydney shoved her chair back, rose to her full height, pulled some bills from her wallet to slam on the table and walked out.

‘Guess she wasn’t really in the mood to communicate about this,’ the man left behind thought ruefully.

When J arrived at the parking space where he had parked his car, it was empty. He looked around confused and mumbled to himself, "I know I put the damn car here, I’ve got the keys. So where the hell did it go?"

After standing there a few minutes, it hit him. "Sydney! She’s not here, either. No Syd and no car. Shit! No way, she didn’t steal my car just because of me teasing her with the blonde, did she?"

He only had to think about that question a few seconds before he knew the answer and muttering to himself, he started to walk off the parking lot. He hopefully looked down the street, maybe she wasn’t planning to let him walk all the way home. He sighed disgustedly and headed in the direction of his home.


Saturday arrived and as predicted it was bright and sunny. Kelly was in a good mood. She even managed to get up fairly early and she enjoyed her walk to the park a few blocks from her place. Approaching the baseball field, she could see several cops milling around, hefting bags on their shoulders with clubs and gloves. Several snide comments could be heard flying across the field between the two departments. It was a friendly competition but neither one of them wanted to lose and hear about it for a long time to come.

Her eyes were searching the surroundings in the hope of finding that one tall cop she was coming for and she eventually saw her standing on the opposite side of the field leaning on the railing surrounding it, flanked by two teenage girls who were chatting away amiably. She looked relaxed and said something that caused the girls to break down in laughter when suddenly her head turned in Kelly’s direction, as if sensing her arrival.

The reporter waved and made her way over to the other woman, meanwhile admiring her long legs and toned arms. Sydney wore a t-shirt from the SF police department just like her colleagues, but she didn’t look to be playing.

‘Guess she’s only here to watch and bond, just like she mentioned’

"Hey there, ready for an exciting match?"

"Ok, now I know you have never seen your new colleagues play. It’s going to be a walk over for the other team. You’re no match for them, they haven’t lost in quite some time," Kelly replied with a grin.

A snort came from behind them. "Oh yeah, they’re absolutely terrible, but don’t ever let my dad know I said that. It would be a different story if you played Syd, you and Cory…Ouch! Are you nuts, what was that for?" the younger girl glared at her sister who had just stamped on her foot and was now looking at her with an exasperated expression.

Suddenly Tess realized what she had just said and a shocked expression crossed her face. "Oh my god, Sydney, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean…."

"Just leave it," Sydney snapped, causing the girl to walk away with slumped shoulders.

Kelly looked confused during the entire conversation. She saw the woman react violently to the mention of baseball and some guy named Cory, making her grip the railing so hard her knuckles turned white. Sydney’s jaw was clenched tightly and her blue eyes had turned a steel gray. Instinctively the blonde reached out to touch her arm in comfort when the dark haired woman abruptly turned and walked a few paces away.

Somehow this hurt her, even though she didn’t know why. It was not like she knew the cop for that long and for a large part of that time she hadn’t even liked her. Yet, she saw that same vulnerability in her eyes she had seen in her apartment and it touched a chord in her heart.

Startled out of her thoughts, Kelly saw the other girl standing at her side, looking at Sydney with a sad expression.

"Hi, I don’t think we know each other. I’m Kelly Ashwood," she reached out her hand to the young brunette.

"Oh, hi. I’m Laurie, the daughter of the commissioner. Syd is staying with us for the moment…." She trailed off, unsure of what she could tell this almost stranger.

"Don’t worry, Laurie, I won’t ask you all about Sydney. If she wants to tell me, she will at some point."

Laurie looked relieved and said, "It’s okay. Anyone can find out about Cory if they look into it. He was her brother."

She made no move to offer any more information and together they watched how the woman standing a short distance away pulled herself together, squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath. Sydney looked around and when she spotted Tess sitting alone, pulling at the grass, she walked over to her and sat down beside her.

Kelly watched the interaction between the woman and the teenager, meanwhile filing away the info about Cory. She knew Sydney had had a younger brother who was killed around a year ago and judging from the emotions that arose upon mentioning him, he must have meant a great deal to her.

Not coming from a very loving family herself, the reporter envied the bond Sydney obviously had with her brother and felt even more sorry for her, imagining losing someone so close.

A relieved sigh was heard at her side and she looked over to see that Sydney had managed to get Tess to look at her and after a short talk a small smile broke through on the girl’s face. A hug served to make that smile bigger and the cop gracefully rose to her feet, before making her way over to Kelly.

"Shall we start again?"

"Hey, been here long?" Kelly decided not to ask about Cory right now. She was rather curious about him and had planned to broach the subject that day during their interview, but she felt it was better to let it rest for the moment. Obviously it was still a very sensitive subject.

"Sorry about this," Sydney softly said, "I didn’t mean to dampen the mood."

"I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just got here remember?" Kelly smiled at her. "Looks like the game’s about to start, let’s get a better spot."

They wandered over closer to the playing area and ended up behind home plate where they made themselves comfortable on the grass. The game went on the way and they spent their time watching and getting to know each other a bit better. Talking about favorite movies, music and books they had read, both women realized they had a lot in common and they enjoyed the company.

After a short while Laurie and Tess joined the women and it became clear that Kelly fit right in. Sydney leaned back to observe the blonde interact with the teenagers and couldn’t help but notice the deep green eyes and easy

laugh that did something to her.

‘It is funny,’ she thought, ‘how comfortable I feel around Kelly. I’ve only known her for a few days, yet it seems longer and I actually like spending time with her. Haven’t felt that in quite some time.’ A frown crossed her face. ‘ I’d better be careful though and not get too attached. That has gotten me nothing but pain in the past and once she finds out the whole ugly story, she probably won’t even want to have anything to do with me’

Kelly, for her part, had noticed Sydney drifting off while she was talking to the two young girls. Her eyes kept wandering over to the cop and she caught herself thinking about the amazing blue eyes and how she could drown in them.

"Geesh, Kel, get a grip. She’s a very good looking woman, that’s for sure but we are kind of past the high school phase, right?’

Shaking her head she returned to the present only to find two pairs of very interested eyes on her. Laurie and Tess had seen Kelly’s attention shift towards

Sydney and they were looking at her with knowing smiles.

‘Busted,’ a blushing reporter thought, and turned even redder when she caught two very amused blue eyes.

"Oh damn!" Kelly fell backwards to the grass, trying to block out the giggles and just groaned.

The match was well on its way in the third inning when suddenly a shout and some very choice words could be heard flying across the field.

"Son of a goddamn…" J came off of the field, limping to favor his left knee which he had twisted when colliding with the guy at home plate in a final, desperate attempt to reach it.

Kelly and the girls had been very surprised to see that ‘their’ cops had held their own and were only one point behind. This had served to make the cops on the field even more fanatical and that’s why neither of the two men involved in the collision had budged an inch.

"Rambo! Come on over here!" J shouted from home plate, holding out his glove for Sydney to take while the teams were changing places. "I can’t go on anymore and you need to cover first base for me."

The woman just shook her head no and indicated the commissioner. "Let John take it, I’ll sit this one out."

Kelly could see the tension once again building in the body beside her and instinctively she reached out. Both women sat stock still for a few seconds, both in shock about the action. Kelly was about to apologize and pull her hand back when she felt the other woman relax under her touch. She looked up into clear blue eyes that stared at her with a wondering expression. No words were needed, so she just gave a squeeze in the arm she was holding while nodding reassuringly. The reporter was sure Sydney could do this and needed to do this to work through some of the pain.

The cop was having thoughts of her own, she wasn’t planning on joining the game, too many painful memories and she was sure she couldn’t do it.

Actually she had been ready to bolt, knowing that J wouldn’t give up, when that

warm feeling suddenly came from her arm and she looked down to see that small, delicate, yet strong hand lying there. Seeing that warm, compassionate look in the green eyes, along with a faith in her she hadn’t seen in a long time, touched something inside of her. Sydney knew she had to move on at some point.

‘Maybe this is the first step,’ she thought and hesitantly moved to get up.

Kelly stood up as well and they both waited for J to arrive at their sides.

"Come on, Syd, just take this glove and go kick some butt, will you?"

The woman took the offered glove and turned to the blonde woman at her side. "See you in a few okay?"

"Of course, I’ll be waiting here and first thing I want to know when you get back is: what’s the deal with Rambo?"

Sydney just rolled her eyes.

"Like she’s going to tell you," J stated while putting his arm around the small woman’s shoulder "but since I was there, I’ll…."

"J…." a low growl.

"Ah, ah, ah, Syd, you owe me big time for that stunt with my car remember? Consider this a payback, and aren’t they a total bitch?" the tall black man grinned at his partner.

Kelly had looked on with an amused expression and piped up, "What stunt with a car?"

Sydney moved in front of the woman and said, "Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll tell you that as well" Moving in to whisper in her ear, "Just don’t believe everything you hear…."

Kelly just stood there, thoughts everywhere but at that exact place in time. The hot breath on her ear and the close proximity of the dark haired woman sent shivers down her spine. It wasn’t until J turned her away to lead her to a more shadowy spot that she noticed the cop had snatched her cap and was wearing it,

looking from under the rim straight at the blonde woman with a mischievous smile on her face. A wink and then her attention turned to the batter that was about to step onto the plate.

After a hesitant start, Sydney actually started to enjoy herself and she let herself get caught up in the game. Never one to accept a loss easily, she wasn’t about to play for the losing team and a determined woman covered first base. Like a predator she got all the balls heading in her direction and they managed to get through the next few innings without a score against them.

The end of the match neared with Sydney’s team at bat. They had managed to keep the score at one down and the tension on the bench was palpable; never had they gotten this close at beating the rival police station. Sydney was sitting on the bench with a relaxed posture. From the corner of her eye she could see the reporter sitting with J, Tess, Laurie, and the commissioner with his wife. She had kept an eye on her during the game and it pleased her to see the blonde woman get along with her friends.

"You’re up, Syd!" woke her from her reverie and she looked up to see Goat and that reddish cop on first and third bases.

The tall woman strolled to the plate and took a few practice swings while ignoring the catcalls from the other team. After loosening her shoulder muscles, she positioned herself and cocked her head at the pitcher, raising her eyebrow in challenge. Sydney didn’t even swing at the first four throws and just let them float by without moving a muscle. This resulted in three wide balls, a strike and an annoyed pitcher who was really itching to get that self assured woman off the plate.

At the side of the field Kelly was asking J why Sydney hadn’t done a thing while on the plate.

"Ah, little one," he started to explain, "she’s just playing with him, you see the twinkle in her eyes? She enjoys these mind games…she’ll hit the ball out of the stadium, mark my words."

As if on cue, the dark women turned her head and caught Kelly’s eyes to give a fast wink before returning her attention to the pitcher, straightening her shoulders and sporting a feral smile that slightly unnerved the man standing opposite from her.

The ball came rushing towards her and Sydney focused on it while flexing her muscles. In one fluid movement she brought her arms forward and the ball flew away. She started walking the bases. She didn’t even have to wait and see to know she had hit a home run, she heard her teammates shout in victory when Goat and the other cop passed home plate. At a leisurely pace she walked around the field and headed home, accepting the slaps on the back and hugs from her colleagues while her eyes searched for a certain reporter. Sydney spotted her jumping up and down in excitement with a wide grin on her face and she couldn’t help but laugh back at the passionate little blonde.

Kelly was standing a few feet away from the police crew that was celebrating its victory, with the tall woman in their midst. Sydney didn’t look all that comfortable with the compliments she was getting and the reporter could see her get antsy and making her way to the edge of the group so she moved forward to meet the other woman.

She still couldn’t believe she had made such a spectacle of herself, Tess and Laurie had looked on a bit surprised at first and later amused by the support she had shown for a certain cop on first base.

‘Add that to the staring they caught me at and I must look like one of their class mates with a crush for sure’ Kelly groaned internally.

But then the image of Sydney smiling at her after hitting that home run sprang to mind.

‘She didn’t seem to mind me jumping up and down like some monkey on dope because the person I’m interviewing hit a home run. Aaaaarg, who am I kidding?’, the reporter chastised herself, ‘ofcourse she’ll make a great story but that’s not why you want to spend time with her and you know it Kelly Ashwood! For some reason you’re drawn to her and it’s not all because of gorgeous blue eyes and incredible legs, not to mention…..


A steadying hand was placed on her shoulder and she heard a low voice ask: " What’s with those legs you’re mumbling about?"

Amused blue eyes saw a face turn redder then thought possible and Sydney was about to follow up on her question when J approached.

"Hey little one, no need to get all flushed in front of old Rambo here. It was a great thing she did what earned her her name, but no need to feed her already blown ego."

He put a hand on Kelly’s shoulder and received a grateful look from the blonde woman while the darkhaired one looked on with a mock annoyed expression.

J winked at Sydney and shrugged. He had a weakness for petite blondes and he really liked the reporter so he decided to jump in when he saw her looking for words. ‘Besides, no need to let Syd scare the poor girl off with her teasing, they’re cute together’ he thought.

‘Then again, it doesn’t look like Ash will scare off easily’ he amended, seeing the admiring look the blonde bestowed on the female cop.


"Okay, so I know about your nickname, the reputation you have in the force, the basic info that can be dragged up anywhere and that you play a mean softball game." Kelly stated from behind her already empty plate that had a lunch on it just minutes ago. Sydney could only stare in awe at the blonde reporter. ‘Where does she put that food, that soon and still keep that amazing figure?’

"Huh? O yes, seems to me like you have all of it, don’t you think so?" she inquired hopefully, only to sigh resignedly when she spotted a quick shake of the head across the table.

"Nope miss-tall-dark-and-mysterious," Kelly pointed her pen at the woman sitting opposite of her and continued, "now I want to know about you. What made you decide to get into law inforcement, how was your childhood. That kind of stuff."

"Somehow I don’t quite see the public wanting to know about that, it’s really not that interesting."

"Maybe not, but it sure is what they want to read, people here like to know who the people in blue are that protect us. Besides, I’m gonna write the story so who wouldn’t want to read it?" the reporter concluded with a cocky expression.

It earned her a raised eyebrow look and half smile from Sydney who let some of the tension ease away.

‘It’s not like I need to tell all the dark and dirty details, I can give some basic stuff I guess,’ she convinced herself.

"Okay then, here goes. I grew up in Detroit, moved to this area. Oakland to be precise"

Forestalling the question she could see was about to come. Kelly closed her mouth, smiled and motioned for Sydney to continue.

"That’s when my mother met John Bailey and he, along with his wife, became a big help to her. And Cory and me while growing up and in need of a father figure. I guess he was the one that made me want to become a detective, I saw how good he was, or is, in his job and how he was helping people. Add to that the challenge of going up against criminals and my character flaw of never being able to resist a challenge and you’ve got a young girl going off to the police academy."

Kelly, who had been busy writing along on her note pad, used the silence to ask something she had been wondering about ever since pulling the cop’s file.

"Where’s your father? I mean, you refer to John as the father figure when you needed him and your file doesn’t mention him at all…."

"My file huh?"

The blonde woman started to apologise, but stopped after Sydney raised her hand. "No problem, Kelly, honest. I kinda figured you’d be doing that, you wouldn’t be a very good reporter if you didn’t prepare for an interview now would you? Besides it are public records, so it’s alright."

"Anyway, I can’t tell you much about my dad. He left when I was very young, about 4 I think, just after Cory was born. Haven’t heard from him since, nor do I have any desire at all to find him."

"What about your mother?"

The reporter could immediately see that it was a sore spot. A flash of hurt darted across Sydney’s eyes before the cool façade was up again. She almost regretted asking it. Almost, but she was also really curious.

"Mom wasn’t too happy when I left for the academy, not a suitable job for a woman. And then I went on to Los Angeles where I started to work, she really hated that, so when Cory decided to follow me, go to the academy himself and also got stationed in LA, that was when things began to get even worse.

She has lived here ever since we first moved here, which was good cause she had the support of John and Alma while Cory and me were away. We came to visit often, but things were strained because of our career choices. And then Cory…

Well, you know what happened to him, I’m sure."

The darkhaired woman had whispered the last few sentences while looking at the table and it was hard for Kelly to keep writing instead of reaching over to clasp Sydney’s hand. She sensed there was more behind this story then Sydney was offering, but the reporter also knew it wasn’t necessary to push. That would only be to satisfy her own curiosity since she would never publish information that personal in the paper.

‘I hope someday you’ll trust me enough to share everything though’ she thought wistfully

"I haven’t talked to her since the funeral, but I hear she still lives in Oakland," Sydney said while pushing her chair back. She put on her sun glasses and stood up, indicating the end of the conversation.

Kelly scrambled to get all her stuff together and followed the darkhaired woman from the terrace. "Hey," she put her hand on Sydney’s arm and was a bit surprised when it wasn’t immediately pulled away like she knew the cop’s first reaction was. "I’m really sorry about dragging up those bad memories, I could have steered clear of them. It’s not like I’m gonna put that stuff in the story anyway. I guess I was just…." The reporter searched for the right words…"well, interested in you. On a personal level I mean," she blushed a bit, "and that wasn’t fair of me. I shouldn’t have made it look like it was part of the interview and more or less manipulate you into telling."

Kelly couldn’t look the other woman in the eye and opted to look out over the field in front of her instead. She felt a bit embarrassed about her ramblings and a bit unsure of how they were received. Sydney was a private person, that much she could tell almost from the first meeting and she could only hope to have not blown her chance of befriending the woman. Kelly had liked the fact they were getting more at ease with eachother.

‘I’d probably really miss spending time with her if she decides to leave it at this right now. Which is weird cause it’s not like we’ve know eachother very long, yet…’

The little woman was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she startled a bit when a finger tilted her chin and she was forced to look up into a pair of really blue eyes who looked at her warmly.

"It’s ok, Kelly. You’re right, it are bad memories, but I’ll have to learn to live with them. As for the manipulating part; I could be mad about it, but to be honest it’s good to hear you are interested in me on a personal level. The same goes for me. And if you give me time I just might be able to share the whole ugly story with you. But for now I’d like to get to know you, before sending you screaming in the night." Sydney said seriously.

"Never," came the reply.

"Never what?"

"You could never send me screaming in the night," Kelly stated with conviction in her voice.

Two pairs of eyes locked on eachother and for a precious moment they felt like they were the only two people on earth. Sydney saw the sincerity in the green eyes and almost, almost started to believe in it. In a future where she might be able to accept, move on and be happy again.

"Maybe," she whispered.

"Ring. Ring. Ri…"

Kelly almost stamped her foot while Sydney answered her phone and took a few steps away from the reporter. She could have sworn the cop was going to kiss her.

‘Damn,’ she thought in shock, ‘here I am being frustrated because she didn’t kiss me instead of being relieved because I wasn’t outed in front of all the people in the park. How’s that for a change of heart!’

It was a sunny Saturday so the park was very crowded with people who took the opportunity to get some fresh air after spending the week in their offices.

It wasn’t like Kelly wasn’t comfortable with being gay, she was. It was just that she never told anyone here and they all just assumed she was interested in guys. After a while it just seemed easier to leave it that way and she never went out where everyone could see her.

‘But I think I would come out on the middle of the Golden Gate bridge if she chose to kiss me there, so I guess that settles that,’ Kelly smirked to herself.

Sydney returned to where the blonde woman was standing and told her it was someone from a real estate agency on the phone who had given her some places to look at.

"Ehm, would you like to tag along? I might need some input on the neighbourhoods I’ll be looking at, it has been a while since I lived around here and changes happen very fast."

For some reason Sydney was feeling a bit nervous and she couldn’t look the smaller woman in the eye. An amused blonde was mentally shaking her head: ‘It sure is good to know I’m not the only one affected by all this.’

"Sure I’ll tag along. I’ll even help you move when you find something. But there is a catch…"

"And that is?"

"You’ll have to buy me dinner at the end of the day," Kelly stated, already licking her lips in advance.

Sydney smiled in relief before following the blonde reporter to the street: "It’s a deal."

Then her smile began to fade. ‘Holy shit, how much money do I have on my bank account? Judging from the food she ate for lunch, she’s gonna bankrupt me at dinner!’


"I like this one, what do you think?"

Sydney was standing in the living room of the 3rd appartment they visited that afternoon and spinned around to get one last look.

It wasn’t a huge place, one bedroom, but she didn’t need much more. The bedroom was sunny and spacy, connected to a bathroom with shower and bath. Leaving the bedroom you entered a large living space with glass sliding doors at one end that led to a patio overlooking Dolores Park. A spacy kitchen was in the corner, separated from the living area by a counter.

Kelly turned away from the view and wandered back inside. She smiled at the other woman and said: "Looks like I get to use my muscles moving you in here, but first things first; I think you promised me dinner after the hunt was over?"

The reporter looked on with an amused expression when all she got was a distracted wave cause Sydney was busy trying to get the real estate agent to give her the key as soon as possible. The red head was obviously impressed by the dark haired woman standing in front of her and tried to get Sydney interested in a drink with her. Sydney didn’t seem to notice the flirting actions of the woman and was a bit startled when she said: "Tell you what, go out with me this evening and I’ll make sure you’ll have the key by tomorrow morning."

A surprised Sydney looked over at Kelly standing a few feet away and shrugged a bit sheepishly. The little reporter crossed her arms, started to tap her foot and raised her eyebrow.

"No way you get out of buying me dinner that easily Long Legs, I’m not used to being dumped just to get a key a few days ealier," she said, strolling past Sydney and leaning in to whisper something in the red head’s ear.

Sydney just stood there and mouthed: "Long Legs?" Suddenly an apprehensive red head came into her view.

"Ehm, you know what. You can come get the key tonight if you’re willing to stop by the office this evening. Anytime before 10 will be ok, I have to work late tonight. I just remembered, so I have to withdraw the drink offer…"

Sydney stared at the woman in front of her, she didn’t even look her in the eye, instead she was seeing something very interesting on the floor and she kept fidgeting with the keys in her hand.

‘What on earth did Kelly say to her? The poor woman almost seems frightened’

"Sure, I’ll stop by later on then, do you….?" Sydney trailed off. The woman had already brushed by her and made her way out of the appartment.

"No problem, we’ll lock up here," she muttered sarcastically.

"What did you say to her that made her practically run away from here?" Sydney inquired curiously.

Kelly blushed a bit and mumbled: "Nothing important, I mentioned something about me having a bit of a temper, in combination with pretty impressive fighting skills. Thai boxing you know?"

"Uhuh, and why did she get scared by that?"

That made the reporter’s face turn redder and all Sydney could understand was: "….you and me living here….one bedroom…" before Kelly made a hasty retreat and followed in the footsteps of the red head a few minutes earlier.

"You were jealous!" Sydney accused with a teasing voice. "Time for dinner now, don’t you think?" was the last thing the tall woman heard before she was left alone in the appartment.

"You were" she whispered aloud. And with a huge smile on her face she crossed the appartment to buy a certain blonde reporter the promised dinner.


Sydney took a last look around the room to see if she hadn’t forgotten anything. "If you find anything that isn’t yours just let me know ok Tess? Or not if it’s something you can use." She smiled at the girl.

"Sure Syd, everything is in the car now. Laurie and me are ready to go when you are."

Sydney had been able to borrow J’s car with the promise to bring it back at the end of the afternoon since he had a date, again. Some of her furniture would be brought by John at noon with a van he borrowed from a neighbour and now she and the girls would start with moving the boxes that contained her clothing and other small stuff like cd’s, books and kitchen equipment.

"Okay, let’s head out then. We’ll have to swing by Kelly’s to pick her up, let’s hope she’s already up. She doesn’t seem to be much of a morning person." Sydney winked at Tess.

Laurie giggled. "Pretty mean of you to start the moving at 7 am then if you ask me." The tall woman smirked: "Yep, especially since I dropped her off at 11.30 last night." And with that the 3 took off grinning.


The car was quiet and 3 persons were stealing glances at the blonde woman who was in the car with them. She didn’t seem too happy and all she did was stare out the window.

Kelly had been almost ready when Sydney and the girls had arrived, okay still half asleep, but more or less ready. All she had to do was put on her jeans before being able to leave. When the 3 had entered her flat they were all being a bit playful and after a few good natured teases about her being late they decided they had waited long enough. Suddenly Sydney had picked the reporter up, ordered Laurie to get the jeans and marched on out to the street to the car.

Kelly had been shocked at first, but when she realized she was about to greet the neighbourhood in nothing more than her panties she tried to convince Sydney to put her down. Which the cop didn’t do, instead she and the 2 girls were having a blast. Unfortunately Kelly always had somewhat of a bad mood in the morning and she was getting really mad. As soon as she was put in the car and they took off, she put on her pants, started to stare out the window and hadn’t said a word since. The others were getting a bit worried that they had gone too far.

Sydney shot a quick look at her passenger. ‘Smart move dumb ass, looks like you went a bit overboard on the teasing. It’s not like she’s used to this side of you and you know she’s not on her best in the early morning.’

She pulled the car over in front of a coffee shop and asked the girls: "Would you mind running in and getting us some coffee?"

Tess and Laurie were relieved to be able to escape the athmosphere in the car and got out as fast as possible. "Sure, no problem. We’ll be back in a few."

Sydney turned off the engine and turned in her seat to face the irritated blonde.

"Kelly?" No answer was coming, so she sighed and moved on.

"Uhm, I just wanted to apologise for this morning. I think I went a bit too far, I tend to get a bit more playful when around the girls, I should have remembered you’re not used to that from me and the fact that you don’t like to get up early.

But believe me when I say that I had looked before doing it and I knew no one was outside. I wouldn’t show your pretty butt to the whole neighbourhood." She ended with an apologetic little smile.

A blonde head turned and green eyes locked on blue. ‘Come on Kel, she’s trying to make things right here. Don’t you think you’re over reacting just a little bit? It’s not her fault you always have a foul mood in the morning.’

Sydney turned her eyes downwards. "If you want me to bring you back home I understand, I can manage the moving with Tess and Laurie to help me."

‘Damn, I think you really blew this one Rambuletti. Looks like she doesn’t want to be around you for a while. Well, you’ve dealt with that before, story of your life.’ She thought sadly.

Kelly noticed the defeated slump of the shoulders and caught the glimpse of sadness in the blue eyes before the cop turned to stare out the front window.

"No, no I don’t want you to bring me back. I’d like to help you move, I’m sorry about the way I was acting. You got a taste of what a difficult person I am to deal with in the morning."

She reached out and turned the dark head with her hand. Looking into blue eyes she stated: "I’d never want you to bring me back, surely not over something stupid like this. I kinda like spending time with you, so you’re not getting rid of me that easily. Understand?"

Sydney leaned into the warm hand on her cheek and nodded. "Okay, glad we have that settled." Kelly whispered while caressing a soft cheek with her thumb.

Sydney turned her head slightly and kissed the reporter’s palm before turning back to sit behind the wheel. The back doors opened and two teenagers entered the car with warm cups of coffee. They looked at the women in front and saw a slightly flushed reporter, looking at her hand and a smiling cop. Tess and Laurie glanced at eachother and winked. ‘Looks like things have been worked out’ they both thought.


"Okay, looks like this is it for the day." Sydney said, wiping her forehead. She had put her dark hair in a pony tail and donned a cap to keep her face clear while unpacking. "I sure could use a shower now."

"Indeed" Laurie replied, holding her nose for emphasis. She got a smack with a towel for that remark and a threatening: "Watch it young lady, you still need a lift home."

"Well, I need to bring the car to J, wouldn’t want him to miss his date. You ready girls?"

After dropping Tess and Laurie off at their place, exchanging a few hugs with them, John and Alma and making a vow of coming over for dinner on a regular basis, the two women made their way to J’s.

The big dark man was already waiting impatiently in his front yard and came almost running to the car when they drove up. The women had to laugh at his eagerness and Sydney remarked: "Jeremiah my boy, it sure looks like it’s one special lady you’re going to."

"Quit the Jeremiah crap Syd," he growled, "but yes she definitely is. Just like the one you’re hanging out with at the moment." J softly said while leaning towards Sydney. Chuckling he gave a slap on the back when she flushed a bit, "I’ll see you tomorrow, have fun!"

Kelly looked at Sydney after the dark man had driven off and asked: "So, now what, can we walk from here?"

Sydney didn’t want to see the blonde woman go so she impulsively said: "Well, want to take a stroll back to my new place, have some take out and maybe see a movie or something?"

"Hmm, sounds good, but only if you let me do some cooking instead of take out. We can do some grocery shopping on the way back."

Sydney smiled and answered: "It’s deal miss Ashwood. Let’s go."

Kelly was standing in the kitchen, making the finishing touches on her lasagna, meanwhile shaking her head when she again noticed the newness of the pots and pans Sydney owned. She had asked the tall cop about it and reluctantly the other woman had explained that she didn’t have any skill in the kitchen at all and that she usually steered clear of anything that could not be heated up in the microwave. The reporter was so engrossed in her thoughts that she didn’t notice Sydney padding barefoot in the kitchen. The dark woman had taken a shower and now wore sweat shorts and a red tanktop.

"Dinner ready yet?" startled Kelly out of her reverie. Sydney was putting plates on the counter and leaned over her shoulder to sneek a peek at what she was getting for food. "Hmm, smells and looks really good. You want some wine?"

holding the bottle for Kelly to see.

"That would be nice yes, let’s eat." She replied, meanwhile filling the plates with food. Dinner was a pleasant affair, they shared a few laughs about childhood antics and got talking aboutall sorts of stuff. It turned out they had a lot of similar interests and both women were enjoying themselves immensely.

"Tell you what," Sydney told Kelly, "I’ll go and do the dishes. Why don’t you take a shower and after that we’ll pick a movie to watch. What do you say, I’m sure you’ll enjoy a shower right about now?"

The blonde woman didn’t have to be asked twice and after Sydney made sure she had some towels and a few clothes to wear afterwards Kelly disappeared in the bathroom to take a nice hot shower.

Afterwards a totally refreshed reporter returned to the living room, she was about to call out to Sydney when she saw the woman talking on the phone. Even from across the room she could see the relaxed demeanor of the day had changed into one of tension.

"Okay, you handle the rest of it and try to find out more from the other guests and the owner. Let them come to the station tomorrow, I want to speak to them in person. Thanks Lisa, I’ll see you then." Sydney put down the phone and sank down on the couch, putting her head in her hands and letting out a deep breath.

"Good news or bad?" the soft voice asked. With a tired expression Sydney said: "Both I guess, a tip came in pointing to the whereabouts of Thomas Shine. Some agents went to follow up and it looks like he really was there. He’s gone now though, but maybe this will help us get a little bit further with the case."

"Can I ask you something?" Kelly said in a hesitant voice. "You seem really affected by this case, why is that?"

"Because it’s goddamn personal!" the cop snapped, her eyes turning dark with anger. Kelly backed up a bit, the sight of Sydney unnerved her. The woman had her jaw clenched tight, curled fists and looked ready to explode at any second. She didn’t understand the severe emotional reaction the question evoked and the memory of Sydney pushing her against the wall was still fresh in her mind.

Sydney was brimming with anger and felt old pain coming to the surface. ‘I have to fight this, I can’t let myself fall back in that old pattern again. Not before catching Shine.’

Then the little blonde came into view and she saw the fear that shone in the green eyes. Suddenly the anger deflated and left her extremely tired, she fell back against the cushions and closed her eyes. ‘I can’t fall back into that pattern ever. She’s worth fighting it for, don’t you think so Cory?’

"I’m sorry" was what she said aloud, "I owe you an explanation, please sit down"

Kelly moved over to the couch and gingerly sat down. "Okay, I’m here. You don’t have to tell me though if you don’t feel up to it."

She was worried about the dark woman, Sydney looked like she was dead tired and she’d rather have her lie down and get some sleep.

Sydney rolled her head sideways to look Kelly in the eye: "I won’t be telling a long story, I just want you to know why this is personal. Thomas Shine is the one responsible for the death of my brother Cory. I bet you didn’t get that from the computer."

The reporter looked at her with a stunned expression: "But how come nobody knows about that?"

Sydney told Kelly about Cory, new at the police force and eager to learn. He had responded to a distress call and when he and his partner arrived at the scene they had entered the alley to look for the one who had placed the call. Somehow the intruder managed to escape their attention, but when they were about to leave the house he attacked from behind. Stabbed Cory a couple of times and ran off, the other agent being to busy with Cory to follow.

They found the body of another man behind a dumpster later on, the second one within a week. The details surrounding Cory’s death were never revealed to not make it hard on the family.

The story had taken a lot out of Sydney and she leaned back, closing her eyes to try and let the pain subside again. Dredging up all the memories of Cory’s death led to the remembering of other things, things she didn’t want to think about at the moment. She was startled out of her dark thoughts when she felt the cushions move and a presence made itself known next to her.

"Here’s some coffee, I thought you might like some" a cup was handed to her.

"Thanks," she said gratefully, "didn’t even notice you were making it, but you’re right, I could really use some right about now."

"I want to tell you I’m sorry for what happened to your brother," Kelly softly said, while laying her hand on top of Sydney’s, "and that you don’t need to worry about this going into the papers. This won’t go any further than my ears."

"I know" was the reply before a comfortable silence stretched out in which they enjoyed their coffee.

Later that evening they decided to watch some tv and both agreed on a rerun from the X-files. Halfway through the show Kelly noticed Sydney had fallen asleep. She guided the other woman with her head onto her lap, trying to make her more comfortable and turned down the volume a bit. Kelly observed the sleeping woman’s face and saw the tension lines that were still there. Hesitantly she reached out and stroked Sydney’s face, pleased when she saw her relax and burrow more into her body. It felt really good being able to see her sleep and get the cop relaxed, in a very short the dark haired woman had started to mean a lot to Kelly. This was a new experience for her, ofcourse she had had girlfriends, but never did she feel as if she should make time for them. Instead she had always spent a lot of time working on stories, even when those girlfriends had started to complain and the relationships had started to break down. But these two days with Sydney were different. She had never once had the urge to get away and do some writing or research, that was a bit unsettling in a way.

‘I really like her. A lot." Was the last, slightly surprised thought going through the reporter’s mind before slipping away in a deep sleep as well.

to be continued in part 2

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