Disclaimer. Not a lot on this one. It's mine. There is an adult theme and it is between two women. So I'm afraid if you are underage you will have to go elsewhere. If it offends then stop reading it, it won't get any better over time.
This is a sequel to Essence. I'd advise you to read it first, although this story will stand on its own, you might not know what on earth is going on.
First, thank you to all of the readers who sent feedback and nagged me quite often for a sequel.
This story was helped by the wonderful artist Vast, I use his work without permission and no profit is made. The same goes for Kelly Clarkson. Think of it as free advertisement.
As always this is for Lynne. It's been another rough year for us and I'm now a proud owner of an ICD and Pacemaker. I couldn't have gone through this hell without you by my side. I'm still here baby, I'm just a little bionic now. <GRIN> I love you.
I stood on mountaintops
That overlooked the world
I can't find anything
Except a void inside
I went to places where
I could forget your name
I can't find anything
Except a void inside
I don't have anything
Because I don't have you….
The room was small and like most of its kind throughout the working world it held no age, no life, no windows, fluorescent neon the only lights source. Which made the grey walls even drearier if that were possible. The room didn't need to emanate peace or tranquility, it wasn't used for pleasantries, this wasn't someone's working personal space, that wasn't its purpose in life. This was a place of judgment and reviews.
A large oak desk took up most of the room itself. Two men and one woman sat talking in hushed tones amongst themselves, all very much dressed the same, formal suits which didn't really give away who they were or what they were, each could have been mistaken for any normal business man or woman, but they weren't. They were independent judges assigned to Case. 847220X/CB1. For this was an Internal Board of inquiry, the final stage of Internal Affairs, the watchdog for the police department. The few spectators who sat in the room were witnesses, no members of the public were allowed.
In front of the large desk, was another smaller desk, facing the three Judges. One lone woman sat, dark hair braided back, blue eyes dull, yet alert. Her face was strained, and much too thin, her left arm was held in a green sling, which strapped her arm across her chest. She was dressed in full police navies blue. Her cap sat on the desk in front of her, fingers idly played with its edging. The fingers stilled, she drew back her hand, sitting straighter.
The three judges finished talking, turning their attention to the front. The main judge, who sat in the middle, shuffled his files into a pile, his Grey eyes, going around the room. The second man to the left of him, lent near, whispering words that could not be heard by anyone else. The older man nodded, then he turned his attention to the dark haired woman sitting. “Detective Shannon Rhimes, would you please stand.”
She rose, shifting slightly, her jaw tensing, her blues eyes locking onto him, eyes that gave nothing away, she waited.
He cleared his throat, speaking directly to her. “Internal affairs have presented us with all information concerning your conduct and total disregard for protocol, during the ‘Tooth Fairy Case.' of July of this year. We all….” His head nodded to his left and right, indicating his colleagues. “…. Have heard and read the statements, including interviews, proved by Detective Jane Emerson, Marcus Wiley, as well as Captain Grieves and written evidence from Miss Jennifer Newton. “
Blue eyes dipped slightly, before coming back up.
He continued. “We have also heard from the two head FBI agents on the case; Special agent Ryter and Special Agent Thomas….” His eyes went to his notes, before shifting forward to lean his elbows on the desk. His eyes bore into to the woman in front of him. “What cannot escape my colleagues and myself is how someone with your credentials and excellent law-enforcement record for the last 14 years, could so blatantly disregard protocols and rules.”
Shannon 's jaw muscle twitched.
His tone changed. “We can understand the need to keep Miss Jennifer Newton safe, and we can also understand certain decisions you made whilst under the direct orders of Captain Grieves. We can neither forget that as a result of your actions, they did indeed lead to the ‘Tooth Fairy' killer being identified as Dr Steward. We have also taken into consideration you were seriously wounded in the attempt to arrest him, and you acted bravely and without thought to your own safety, when Detective Emerson, Marcus Wiley and Miss Newton were being held hostage by Dr Steward.” His eyes steeled. “Which has prompted us to ask, if full protocols were followed, would such a dangerous situation have arisen? Which led to the tragic loss of life of four Lexus Security Guards.”
Shannon swallowed hard.
“However, because of the…” He paused looking for the right words. “….The unorthodox methods of Miss Newton leading to the identification of Dr Steward and the situation needed to do so…. We find it hard to answer our own question on this. What we have answered is based on the facts available.” His eyes steeled. “…. Because there was no time to report and request back up to apprehend Dr Steward, once you had identified him. The resulting events were unavoidable. We feel in this instance you acted within full protocol in trying to apprehend him. As well as believing the course you took to be the right one. With this in mind we find that you were no way to blame for the tragic end result.”
A murmur went around the room, he waited until it settled.
“However, we cannot disregard the fact you removed Miss Newton from her place of residence after being given a direct order from the FBI, for her to remain there. Nor can we ignore the action of giving a civilian Marcus Wiley a weapon, which resulted in the later shooting of Dr Steward. Or the fact, certain decisions you made led to this whole situation being put in an area it never should have been in. We also would like to point out for the record, impersonating an FBI. Agent is a federal offense and will be dealt with outside of this internal investigation….” He paused... “This panel has gone over this case very hard, while we can understand the reasoning of many of your choices, we cannot condone them.” He lent forward. “Rules are there for a reason Detective, as are protocols.”
Shannon swallowed hard.
He straightened, as did the two others either side of him. “We are all agreed on the actions needed to be taken. We have taken into consideration your excellent record and a killer was stopped. We have also taken into consideration all statements presented on your behalf. Therefore we feel no criminal action need be taken.”
A low exhale escaped Shannon 's lips, which matched the sound in the room from the watchers.
His eyes came up to her again. “The decision of this internal investigation is that you be demoted from Detective third class to Detective first class starting immediately. A six month suspension of heading or working any cases is also enforced. Maybe time behind a desk will make you realize the trust you abused…. Before this takes effect we feel a month's suspension without pay is needed to show the severity of your choices. You will be reviewed every six months for the next two years….” His eyes locked with hers. “I'd think very seriously about your career Detective Rhimes. If there are any other instances of misconduct or breaking of rules, we will not hesitate to take your badge…. Case Closed.” He picked up the files in front of him, rising with the others, they filed off to the door to the left.
Shannon looked down, her eyes closing. She knew she'd just gotten off lucky, she'd half expected to be sitting in a jail cell right now.
Shannon took a long inhale, turning, seeing the concern in her friend's eyes. “You can't exactly call me that any more, Jane. You're a higher rank.”
Jane frowned, not finding any humor in Shannon 's words. “Well that's bullshit. You're always the boss. They shouldn't have done this, you did the right thing. We stopped the son of bitch.”
Shannon smiled, sitting back down, wincing slightly as the stitches on her chest pulled. “I'm lucky I've still got a badge. I broke rules. People died.”
“You nearly died, they seemed to forget that.” Jane gritted her teeth, but her anger vanished replaced by concern, she quickly moved around to Shannon 's side, not liking the pale color spreading across her friend's face. “You should be at home.”
“Don't think they would have accepted a sick day.” She took a breath feeling her lung burn. She felt lost, she felt alone, she hurt on so many different levels. Levels she couldn't go near, without pulling up questions and a much deeper pain that had little to do with hole in her chest.
Jane's voice softened. “I thought at least she would have been here for this?” She shut up as blazing blue eyes shot up to her.
Jane bit back her anger, she just didn't get Jenny Newton at all. After what she seen pass between her friend and the physic through the weeks of the case and the bond they'd formed, she found it harder and harder to understand any of Jenny's actions after the shooting. She'd watched as Jenny had fallen apart in front of her eyes cradling the injured Detective to her. Watched, as Jenny had passed out when Shannon went into cardiac arrest. Watched, as Jenny argued and fought to go with Shannon in the Medical evac helicopter. Then watched after five days of agonizing waiting, Jenny was told Shannon was finally out of danger. Then to Jane's amazement Jenny had simply turned and silently left the hospital and disappeared. She'd tried to find her, only to discover her house boarded up. Jane had even gone to Marcus, an ex lover and friend of Jenny's who had helped on the Tooth Fairy case, only to be told Jenny had left for Europe and all communication was to be done through a lawyer and that he was as worried as everyone.
That had been two months ago
Another week after discovering Jenny had fled, Shannon had regained consciousness, her first words were of Jenny, Jane had no choice but to tell her the truth. Then she'd watched as her friend took it all in. She'd seen the confusion, the disbelief and hope Jenny would return. Finally after two weeks of no communication or visit the pain of realization had hit, shattering the hope. It was one of the worst sights Jane had ever seen in her life, even thinking about it made her stomach lurch.
That was two months ago, and since that day the subject of Jenny was never brought up again, it was totally off limits. Oh, she'd tried to talk to Shannon about it and all she'd gotten was anger from her friend, which she didn't really blame her over, she had some anger issues of her own. So she'd sat in silence watching as Shannon went through her recovery and withdraw further and further into herself. Knowing the final wound was this internal affairs trail today and Jenny's screaming absence.
Jane exhaled. “She should have been here. She owed you that much…. Sending a god damn statement.”
Shannon stiffened. “Drop it. She owes me nothing. She wasn't required to be here.”
Jane shook her head, now concentrating on the woman in front of her, seeing the strain of what today had done. “Come on, let's get you outside, your mom and dad are probably going nuts out there.”
Shannon nodded, allowing herself to be helped up and guided from the room.
I've been stripped of everything
Except some flesh that bleeds
And I've been robbed of everything
Except a soul, except a soul
That needs...you, sweet you
I don't have anything
Because I don't have you.
Six months later.
Shannon bit into the ham on rye sandwich, muffling a curse as she tried to balance the large stack of files in her arms and the action of digging in her back jean pocket for her house keys. Finally she bit down on the sandwich, holding it in her month, shoving the files tight against her body. Her head came up as the phone rang inside her apartment, letting out a growl she pulled the keys free, quickly shoving the right one into the lock, kicking the door open, just managing to juggle the files from falling as she kicked the door shut behind her. She rushed to the phone, tossing the files onto the already untidy couch. She quickly pulled the sandwich from her mouth, lifting the receiver.
“This had better be good?”
“Is that anyway to answer the phone Shannon Rebecca!”
Shannon stilled, clearing her mouth of bread. “Um… Hi mom.”
“That's better. So, where were you today?”
Shannon frowned. “Where was I?”
Her mother sighed. “You forgot didn't you?”
Shannon sat down on the couch, shifting the files out from under her butt. She raked her mind but nothing was there, she slouched back. ”Yes, I forgot.”
An exasperated sigh followed from the phone.
Shannon licked her teeth clean, placing the sandwich down. “What exactly did I forget?”
“You were supposed to take me into Newport to get your brother's wedding present.”
Shannon cringed. “Shit…. Mom I'm sorry I was working the Plaza today, it totally slipped my mind…. Can I take you on Saturday?”
Another sigh. “I suppose. Look Shannon if you can't do this just tell me, this is the third time you've forgotten. I'll get your father to take me.”
“No. no, it's okay. I want to do this. I'll buy you lunch we can make a day of it.” he pulled out her PDA, setting a memo alarm for Saturday. “How about I pick you up at ten. Okay?”
“Well…. I'd love to spend the day with you. We haven't seen much of you lately.”
Shannon sighed, knowing where this was going to lead. “I'm sorry about that too. But I've been pretty snowed under at the precinct.”
Her mother's voice hardened. “Doing paperwork? Are they still giving you all the crap jobs? You don't have to stand for it.”
Shannon's eyes dipped to the expanse of files around her. “Not as much…. Besides it's to be expected.” She moved to lift the sandwich then realized she'd lost her appetite, she dumped it in the already full bin beside the phone.
“I don't care if it's expected. That Grieves man should know better. He was the one that started this whole thing and got off Scot free.”
Shannon closed her eyes, not wanting to start this argument again. ”Look, I've got to go…. I'll see you Saturday.”
“Running away never solved anything Shannon.”
Another subject she didn't want to argue about. “Mom please.”
Her mother let out a sigh. “Okay, Saturday. But I mean it daughter, if you let me down on this one, I'm taking your father and making his life a misery in every shop.”
Shannon smiled, knowing what that meant, her mother would make her father's life a misery, therefore her father would make hers. “I'll be there. “
“Right. I love you and stop working yourself so hard, go out and have some fun for once.”
Fun? What was that? She forced a grin. “I love you too. Bye.”
She put down the phone, sitting back. “Well shit.” Her eyes fell to the files laid out around her. She groaned. It was going to be a long night.
It is said, when Rome burned Nero watched while playing his lyre, singing a lament he had written for such destruction. Whether he caused the burning or ordered it to make way for his new Rome, one will never truly know, scholars will forever continue to argue the point. But the spectacle of a city afire has many ancient writings, telling of the horror and death, few who lived through the event saw any beauty in it.
The man who watched from the ridge, thought the warehouse in flames below him, was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. His face reflected the glory of his work. His eyes danced as towering flames of red and orange, reached outward towards the night sky, momentarily blinding out the stars. Sparks crackled, spat, hissed, escaping like fireflies upwards into frenzy. A cloud of smoke rose, dividing into snaking columns, kiss curling their way to join the night flames, mixing together and twisting into candy cane shapes.
He didn't flinch as an explosion rocked the earth around. Another explosion followed, lighting the shadowed surroundings into a flash of brilliant red angry light. He could feel the heat of it now; feel the prickling of sweat on his skin. Smell it, the wood, the iron, and the fire itself. It had life; he'd given it life. It truly was a glorious thing. Soon he would have what he wanted, this was his beacon, this was his call.
His head turned, seeing the flashing red neon in the dark distance, signaling the arrival of the men who would battle and finally extinguish his magnificent child. His jaw clenched, with one last look back to his work, he turned, disappearing into the darkness.
Shannon erupted from sleep with a cry, eyes wide with panic, sweat heavy on her body. Slowly waking reality penetrated, her eyes closed as she flopped back. “Shit.”
Her hand self-consciously went to her heaving chest, fingers chasing over the raised scar below the thin fabric of her damp top, feeling the mirroring scar on her back pulse wildly. Her eyes shifted left to the red digital display of... 3:01. She could feel her heart beat start to return to normal and with it the pulsing in each scar tampered away. Calming her breathing, she lay staring at the ceiling, trying to push aside the fragments of the nightmare. Just once she'd like a full night's sleep, the dream was the same, always the same, not her death, but…. She stilled, gritting her teeth, stopping the name and memories that were going to start.
Knowing sleep wasn't going to come again, she pulled the sheet back, rising, stretching out her back with a pop, rubbing her shoulder blade as she moved to the open kitchen, clicking on the coffee maker. She stopped by the sink, rotating her shoulder again until the tension in the muscle eased enough so the ache became a dull one. Two months of physio and still it ached when she slept, at least though she was back on track at target practice, that had been the most frustrating thing, not being able to just hold her damn gun steady. She knew she shouldn't complain, she was alive and the damage could have so much worse, leaving her with a desk job for the rest of her career. She snorted, that's what she was doing now anyway. Shaking her head to clear her mind she picked up a dirty mug from the pile of dishes running it clean under the tap.
She looked out of her kitchen window, nothing moved in the street below, which didn't surprise her given the time. It was at least another hour before dawn. It was always peaceful at this time, it was one of the reasons she'd chosen the area, that and the fact the rent was cheap, considering most of the Keys was aimed at tourism, she'd been lucky to find an area which was for long term rental. It wasn't perfect, the AC sucked in the summer and the windows let in the wind in the winter, but it was home, a haven, a haven that for the first three months of being signed off duty drove her absolutely nuts.
The click of the coffee maker made her realize she'd been standing staring into nothing for ten minutes. Filling her mug, she added the sugar and cream, before heading towards the couch, clicking on the side lamp as she sat. The pile of files from the night before sat tidy before her. She cupped the mug, wondering why she always felt chilled after a nightmare, considering it was the middle of summer, the heat of the day still hung in her apartment, making it near impossible to sleep without the A/C on. But still she was cold.
She sipped the coffee, welcoming the heat to her stomach. The ring of the door intercom made her start, sending said heat splashing over the edge of the mug and across exposed legs. She swore, wiping her legs of liquid as she rose, wondering who the hell it was at this hour. She pressed the talk button. “Hello?”
“Hey boss.... Wanna buzz me up?”
“Jane? It's three in the damn morning.” She wiped again at the now sticky feeling of coffee on her skin. “What the hell is so important it couldn't wait until tomorrow?”
“We got a case.”
Shannon could tell Jane was grinning. “You're kidding me?”
“Come on boss, let me up and I'll tell all.”
Shannon buzzed open the downstairs door, taking a mouthful of coffee, she moved across the living area, stopping for a moment to think. Then she glanced down at herself, placing the coffee down, she headed into the bathroom.
By the time Shannon opened the door, she was dressed in jeans and a t shirt. She raised an eyebrow in question as Jane moved passed her. “A case? I'm on suspension, remember?”
Jane nose creased as she looked around the apartment. “You ever thought of getting someone in to clean?”
Shannon ignored her, moving to lean against the work surface. “Case?”
Jane shook her head, moving her attention away from the mess. “Yea case, and for your information, the suspension order was up last night at midnight. Sooooooooo, here I am.” She opened her arms wide, grinning.
Shannon scoffed. “How time flies. Grieves okayed this?”
“You betcha. He's been clock watching for days.”
Shannon stood silently. Her eyes noticed the file in Jane's hands. “That it?”
“Yep.” Jane held it over. Wondering what was going on behind those blue eyes that didn't seem to have any life any more. She'd hoped Shannon being back on a case would change that.
Shannon took it, flipping it open. She quickly read, her eyes came up surprised. “Arson?”
Her eyes returned to the file. “There hasn't been any fires reported on the news?”
“No…. We've managed to keep the press out of it, well…” Jane paused.
Shannon looked up. “Well?”
Jane exhaled. “Until tonight. That's why I'm here. There's been another one. It was called in at two fifteen this morning, anonymously. Difference is, he called the press as well.”
Shannon nodded, her attention on reading the information in front of her. “I guess I must have missed this, I've been in the file morgue for the last month, I don't tend to go upstairs much.”
Jane stayed silent, already knowing this.
Shannon pulled up the forensic. “The same arsonist? For the last three fires? What about the caller? The same?”
“Forensic guys seem to think it is. Although they got jack shit on DNA, or anything else.... As for the callers, it's male and so far we haven't been able to trace anything except it's on disposable cell phone, no account registered, never used before or since. Each fire, new cell phone.... Forensic broke down the call, Male voice 20 to 30. Background sounds, the fire nothing much else out of the ordinary. He has an American accent, they think he's spent time in the mid west, but mostly it's very much normal no other afflictions. He's short, precise on the phone and hasn't asked for anything or claimed the fire in response for any groups. Up until tonight he just phoned in the fire itself. The call to the news station is his first break in pattern.”
Shannon looked over the crime photographs, while she listened. “All warehouses?”
Jane nodded. “He seems to have an issue with them. But the warehouse areas are pretty remote, so he could just be picking them because of lack of security. It's these new types of storage, all electronically locked, no security post or guard near them. They mainly connect to alarm systems which notify the security business in charge. All three warehouses and now this forth, they all have different security suppliers.”
Shannon nodded, now she was getting an idea of the case. “So, I'm partnered with you?”
Jane grinned. “Yep.”
Shannon turned, lifting her mug back off the counter, sipping, smiling. “You requested me didn't you?”
Jane shook her head slowly, the grin still present. “Nope. Grieves wants you on it and I didn't have any argument to be partnered with you again.”
Shannon laughed. “Maybe you should rethink, considering what happened last time.” She walked away, pouring the remains of the coffee down the sink.
Jane exhaled. “When are you going to stop beating yourself up over that? “
Shannon shrugged, moving past her to open a drawer and take out her gun, clipping the holster to her hip, she pocketed her badge into her jean pocket. “Probably never.” She pulled her jacket off the back of the chair, slipping it on, stopping in front of Jane. “.... but I'm glad to be working cases again and with you.”
There it was, Jane saw it, the spark returning to Shannon's eyes. “Then let's get it done boss. “ She pulled open the front door, waiting.
Grinning, Shannon squared her shoulders and for once felt the bounce in her step as she moved out first.
Fire may hold some sense of beauty, but the aftermath of it did not. Shannon slammed the door shut on the Explorer, her eyes taking in the devastation around. The warehouse walls still stood, no longer the white of untouched stone, now they wore the scars of black burns and smoke. The metal roof was twisted by heat and hung broken at a right angle. Even the close area around had scorched trees and ground. In essence it looked like a war zone. Shannon coughed, holding her hand to her nose till she got used to the acrid taint of air. It stank of burnt wood and wet ashen earth and the chemical foam used to suppress the fire. She waited for Jane to fall into step, seeing by the look on her partners face she wasn't liking the smell any more than she was. They headed to the police taped area, dipping to go under it. Shannon wiped her hands on her jeans, looking around. She turned as a voice sounded.
“It's not safe enough to go in there yet. Detective.”
Shannon smiled, recognizing who it was now. “Jack.... How you been?” she held out her hand. Noticing he hadn't changed much in the ten years she'd known him.
He grinned, smoothing his hand back through his sandy hair, which was already heavy with ash, taking her offered hand. “Well, I've been better?” his eyes slipped to Jane. “I'm Jack Ramsy.... head of investigation into fires.”
Jane took the offered hand into a brief shake. “We've spoken on the phone. I'm Detective Emerson.”
“Oh yes. Pleased to finally meet you in person.” He looked to each of them. “I suppose you want to know if it's the same guy?”
Shannon looked around the area again. “Is it?”
Jack exhaled. “I'd bet my next two months pay check it is. But if you want confirmation you're going to have to wait till we can get in there and go over the debris and let my team do their magic.”
Shannon met his brown eyes. “What's your gut telling you?”
He chewed his lip, thinking. “Ex army. He defiantly has knowledge of demolition, explosions, charges, set timers.”
Jane scoffed. “So do half the idiots who go on-line. You ever Googled how to make a bomb?”
Jack smiled at her patiently. “To some detective, making a bomb is an art, and this isn't a bomb as yet. It's an incendiary device, contained, compact and aimed to burn not blow up. However this guy is an artist. This isn't simply following instructions. What we've picked up so far shows us three types of accelerant; oil, petrol and Benxium. For the trigger he's using Nitro with a TNT base. First off Nitro is unstable at high temperatures. TNT isn't the most reliable for directing flames and as for Benxium you have to make the damn stuff from scratch.” His eyes went back to Shannon. “This guy is good, very good. If he isn't ex army, he's an ex something or been trained by one.”
Shannon looked over to the warehouse. “Why are the walls still intact? I thought the fire burnt red hot?”
Jack grinned at her before turning his attention to the warehouse. “He set the charges that way. He focused the strength of the explosion and fire to the center of the warehouse.”
Shannon eyes rose to the roof, seeing the huge expansion to the metal. “What about inside? It focused there too?”
“Oh yes. Believe it or not one part of the warehouse was untouched. There's still intact furniture at the back, smoke damaged to hell and back and got major issues with the heat. But they're there.”
Jane looked at him sharply. “You're kidding me....” she pointed. “....something survived in that?”
“As I said this guy is good. He created a fire break and because he focused the fire what he didn't want destroyed, wasn't. He totally controlled it from the word go.”
Jane looked at the warehouse again, not getting her head around it at all. “Well, shit.”
“Could he have been in there?”
Jack looked at Shannon surprised. “Not at the heat this baby produced.”
“What about a suit?”
Jack gave a snort. “He couldn't have gotten out Shannon. The clear area is in the back, no exits. He would have had to wait until the fire reached non critical to get to the way out…. In this case about two hours. No suit I know can with stand that amount of heat for that period of time. He'd have burnt up.... Besides, we'd arrived by then, we would have seen him.”
Shannon finally turned her gaze from the area to him, smiling. “Just checking.”
He shook his head chuckling. “Why you never became a fire woman I'll never know. You should have followed your father and brother, not gone and worked for these heathens.” He shot an amused look to Jane.
Jane laughed. “I'll have you know I like being a heathen.”
Jack grinned. His eyes went to Shannon again. “What you thinking?”
Shannon shrugged. “I'm not sure but it doesn't feel right. Why would someone torch a warehouse but leave areas untouched? Anything special about what's left?”
Jack shook his head. “Usual stuff. Insurance records from the owners list provided detailed info, it's mostly personal stuff…. Nothing of high value, stored furniture, packing cases.... We haven't been over this one yet with a fine tooth comb, but it's in the reports what we found last time. Who's to say what's in the mind of an arsonist Shannon. Maybe he just gets his kicks off of leaving stuff untouched?”
Shannon turned, her eyes going to the surrounding area. “Maybe.” She took a few steps away from them, moving towards the warehouse, she stopped, bending down to pick up a small piece of wood. Her eyes went back up to the warehouse. “How long did it take the fire department to respond?”
“After the call was made they were out here within fifteen minutes.”
Shannon looked at the wood in her hands, rubbing her thumb over it till ash came off. She threw it away, wiping her hand on her jeans before she turned back to them. “He watched it, probably from over there....” she nodded to the western ridge. “.... It's the clearest view. Then he made the call. He took his time.”
Jack rubbed his chin, nodding. “Pretty much what he did at the other fire sites. Shannon, you know as well as I do an arsonist likes watching. I don't see where you're going with this?”
Shannon quirked a smile. “Just thinking out loud. He hasn't made any demands?” she looked to Jane.
Jane shook her head. “Nope. This is the first time he's told the press too.”
Mack looked down as his cell beeped. “Excuse me.” He walked away pulling the cell free, to talk.
Jane shook her head, her eyes taking in the ruins around. “You know, I don't understand a lot about why people do what that do. But, I really can't see what this kinda of destruction does to get someone their jollies.” She spat the ash from her mouth in disgust.
Shannon kicked out at the earth, sending up a thin mist of ash. “Me either. But that's cos we're not wired that way.”
Jane snorted. “Well thank fuck for that.....” her voice turned serious. “There isn't a connection between the security services monitoring the warehouses. None of the leasing agents are the same either. These aren't business warehouses, so no connection there.... I'd like to start looking into the backgrounds of the leasers themselves, see if there is a connection there..... What you think?”
Shannon looked down smiling. “You're the boss Jane remember. I go where you go.”
Jane growled, taking a step in front of Shannon, waiting till she looked at her. “Okay let's clear this up right now. I don't give flying rats ass that you're now a 1 st grade detective and I sure as hell am not going to start treating you like a rookie. I want a partner I can trust and one who speaks their damn mind. Just because some guy in suit cut your balls off for a while........”
Shannon's eyebrows rose.
“....... Doesn't mean he gave you a lobotomy too. Jesus Shannon if you're going to act like a beaten dog, why the hell did you stay? I know you were offered a position in L.A. Training.”
Shannon hid her surprise, she didn't think anyone knew. She stayed silent.
Jane let out a frustrated breath, seeing the stubbornness set in Shannon's eyes. “Fine don't tell me.” She took a long breath, looking over her shoulder as Jack approached.
His face gave nothing away, but Shannon caught the flinch of muscle in his cheek. “Problem?”
He stopped in front of them. “You could say that. Local news KYS, are all over the first three fire scenes, and they're on their way here. They just informed us the arsonist sent a message to their office an hour ago.”
Both Shannon and Jane stiffened. Jane exhaled. “Saying what?”
“This is only the beginning.”
Jane tried to keep her attention on the road, but the fingers drumming on the dash board to the side of her were really beginning to get on her nerves. Her eyes slid to Shannon, knowing she was deep in thought and totally unaware of the annoyance she was causing. Neither of them were in a particular good mood after finding out the arsonist was now making himself known. It was never good when a fruit loop wanted attention. It meant two main things, he wanted something and if he didn't get it he'd make damn sure the world paid.
Shannon turned her head from the window, she wasn't watching the changing scenery, her mind was going through the two fires and what was known. “I'd like to talk to the leasers of this last fire first?”
Jane frowned looking sideways at her. “Why? Wouldn't it make more sense to start at the beginning?”
Shannon shrugged. “The first fire was three weeks ago, if you haven't found a connection between that and the following two, I'm not going too. I've read your interviews; I don't see a need to go over things again with them. You covered anything I would have asked anyway.”
Jane smiled. “Why thank you.”
Shannon sat back. “I'm not that bad am I in rechecking things?”
Jane turned to her, raising an eyebrow.
Shannon laughed. “Okay maybe I am. But that usually because I've worked with idiots.” He smile faltered a little. “Which reminds me. Whose idea really was it to bring me in on this case? You normally work homicide or undercover.”
Jane sighed, knowing this question would be coming sooner or later. “Okay if I'm going to be interrogated I need food.” She saw the sign up head for the drive in, she turned the car heading towards it.
Ten minutes later they were parked up, eating.
Shannon grimaced looking across as Jane bit into her egg chilli muffin. Carefully she folded the napkin back over hers and deposited it back into the brown bag, choosing to just have coffee this morning.
Jane chewed, looking across. “What? It's good and you need to eat.”
Shannon rolled her eyes. “You've been talking to my mother again.”
Jane grinned, chewing another mouthful. “I like her.”
“She likes you too. She likes you because she has a spy to rely on.” She sipped her coffee, slightly smirking at Jane's busted look.
Jane stopped in mid chew, swallowing hard. “Your mother is very persuasive. I didn't tell her any of the good stuff. Just that you weren't taking care of yourself. Besides she already knew that. I think she has bat sense when it comes to you.”
Shannon laughed. “Don't I know it.”
“Yea well I'm right and she's right.... you lost too much weight after the shooting and you've never really put it back and you didn't exactly have that much to lose in the first place.”
Shannon sighed. “Jane. If we're going to work together you're going to have to stop this. I'm fine. Now tell me why I have you as a partner?”
Jane scoffed. “Yea right. You're fine.” Shannon shot her a look. She sighed. “Okay I'll leave it.” She bit into her muffin again. “Grieves brought you in on this, he already had it all set up as soon as your suspension was up. All the paperwork and who he wanted to partner with you, he's been chomping at the bit to get this started. He asked me to come over about a week ago and offered me the position of working with you on this.... I took it.”
Shannon waited, knowing there was more.
Jane took a sip of her coffee. “Grieves has thought all along this guy wasn't just a one off wonder, that he was leading up to something big. Guess he was right....” she bit into the last of her muffin, wiping her hands free of grease on the napkin. “As for why I'm here, he didn't want some ass hole railroading you as a partner, treating you like a rookie or worse. The only other person to offer to work with you was Peter.”
Shannon glanced across surprised. “Peter? As in the Peter I smashed in the nose?”
Jane grinned. “A huh”
Jane shrugged. “Maybe he thought you were right to hit him. Grieves didn't say much on the subject, but he said enough for me to understand that Peter had something to do with D.C. and Newton.”
Shannon looked away, swallowing heavily. “Yeah.”
Jane watched her, recognizing the flash of pain. “You ever gonna talk about her again?”
Jane shook her head sadly. “Well, that's why I'm here and why we're on this case. Anything else you want to know?”
Shannon turned her head, looking directly at her. “Why?”
Jane frowned. “Huh? Why what?”
“Why did you leave homicide to come here and babysit me?”
Jane stilled, then threw the napkin into the bag. “Jesus Christ Shannon get over yourself martyr stage. I came here because Grieves asked. I know how they're treated you. Believe it or not I like working with you, even though you're the biggest pain in the ass sometimes.” She screwed up the bag, dumping onto the back seat.
Shannon looked down. “Sorry.”
Jane calmed, shaking her head. “Do we have to deal with this again?”
Shannon shook her head.
Jane hated it, she didn't think she'd ever seen such a defeated woman before in her life. “Shannon?” she waited for Shannon to look over to her. “We have a case, you have a case. Do what you do best okay.”
Shannon inhaled as if steeling herself, then a small smile crept on her lips. “That I can do.”
Jane smiled back. “So, let's go and talk to?”
Shannon sat straight. “Claire Randell. 1832, Morden street.”
Jane whistled, starting the car. “Rich area. Wonder if she knows her stuff just went up in flames.”
Jane stepped out of the car, looking around. The whole area stank of money, right down to the perfectly trimmed trees and lawns. The house was situated in the western part of the Keys, original built in the late eighth century. The red bricked house ahead reeked of age and money. It reminded her of the old plantation houses of the Deep South, even the veranda had a rickety swing seat, which right now was swaying and squeaking in morning breeze. She looked across to Shannon. “If Miss Randell offers me a mint tulip, I won't be responsible for my laughter.”
Shannon knew exactly what Jane meant, she was getting the same sense. She'd often passed by the line of eight houses as a child; her mother had told her tales of the people who had come here in the past, tales of riches and snobbery. She shook her head clear, grinning over to Jane. “Should we look for the servant's entrance?”
Jane snorted. “As if.”
Shannon looked around as she followed Jane up the steps to the door, seeing the car in the driveway off to the side, recognize it as the latest jag.
Claire Randell looked up from the phone she was on. “Hold on. I got someone at the door....” She moved towards it, seeing the two women standing the other side of screen. She opened it. “Yes?” she looked to each of them.
Jane pulled out her badge. “Miss Randell? I'm Detective Emerson and this is Detective Rhimes.”
Claire looked briefly to the badges. “Just give me a moment.” She stepped away returning her attention to the phone. “Jacob, the police are here. I'm assuming it's about the fire so I'll call you back.” She clicked the phone off, stepping back. “Come in please. That was my attorney on the phone he just called me about the fire.... That is why you're here?”
Jane nodded, stepping in. “Yes Madam, we have a few questions for you?”
“Of course. Go straight through please.”
Shannon let Jane lead, following into the house. She resisted the urge to whistle at the expensive décor.
Claire let her eyes follow the taller detective. In other circumstances she would have appreciated the beauty of the woman. But right now she was just too pissed off about her destroyed furniture. “Excuse me?” her head turned to Jane as she heard the end of question.
Jane hid her smirk. She'd caught the look Randell had given Shannon's body. “I asked who your attorney was?”
Claire went to the sofa, placing the phone down on the coffee table, reaching across she took a cigarette out, lighting it. “Sorry if this bothers you, but it's not every day one is told that family heirlooms have just gone up in smoke.... Forgive me, please sit.”
Jane chose the embroidered seat opposite, shifting slightly as the wood creaked, hoping to god she didn't break it, it had to be as old as the house.
Shannon took the chair by the door, running her eyes around the room until they settled on the brown haired woman they were interviewing. Somehow the jeans and white shirt didn't seem to fit the woman at all. Shannon expected she was more at home in Armani and Gucci. Perfectly manicured nails held the cigarette, Shannon felt herself start as amused Grey eyes caught her, she however held the gaze, until finally Randell looked away to Jane.
Claire exhaled smoke, her lips twitching a smile. “My attorney is Jacob Randell. He's my uncle.”
Jane pulled out her notepad. “Why was he notified of the fire and not you? Your name is on the lease certificate?”
“He handles all my affairs at present. I've only recently returned to the Keys. He was my contact while I was away.” She drew in another lungful of smoke, studying the taller detective again, who as yet hadn't said anything. There was something familiar about her, but Claire couldn't as yet put her finger on it.
“When was the last time you visited the warehouse?”
“As a matter of fact I was there two days ago. Thank god I took out some of the better objects.” She snubbed out the cigarette rising. Going to the bureau she took out two typed up sheets, taking them back she handed them over. “I have to update my insurance every time I remove or add objects to the manifest. This is exactly what was in the Warehouse.”
Jane took it, giving Shannon a sideways look.
Claire saw it. “If you think I had something to do with this fire, to claim insurance Detective you're very wrong. I deal in antiquities and just the thought of losing this much family history in a fire and things I've collected over the years, makes me want to find this son of bitch and drive a stake in his nuts.”
Jane swallowed a half cough. “Um.”
Claire smirked. “Didn't expect me to know such language? Don't judge a book by his cover. I may come from a very long line of money…. But I've made my own way in the world and most of it good ole daddy didn't like.” She looked across at Shannon, seeing her quickly hide her amusement. “Do you have any idea who did this?”
Shannon shook her head, meeting the angry Grey eyes. “No. Could someone have done this to get back at you for any reason?”
Claire laughed a deep laugh. “Good god. I know of a few who'd want me died. But setting fire to my furniture…. Doesn't that just reek of jilted lover?”
Shannon stiffened. “Does it?”
Claire studied her again, getting the same feeling of déjà vu. “Do I know you?”
Shannon looked across surprised at the question. “No.”
Claire kept her stare up. “You're sure?”
Jane looked to each of them, shifting uncomfortably, wondering if this was about the press surrounding Shannon's shooting. She cleared her throat. “Miss Randell?”
Claire kept trying to piece together where she knew this woman from. Shaking her head clear she looked to the detective. “Yes?”
“How much roughly is your insurance for the furniture in the warehouse?”
Claire sighed. “Barely nothing.”
Jane blinked. “Excuse me?”
“I told you I took out most of the furniture two days ago and replaced it with other pieces. I haven't had time to send that list to the insurance broker. So, all I'm going to get is the warehouse insurance which covers barely anything. If you'd checked, you would have discovered the warehouse contract offers nothing more than protection and storage.” She snorted bitterly, returning to sit. “So much for the protection part…. So the pieces I've lost won't be reimbursed in anyway. Thank god I took out the most valuable.....” her attention went to each of them. “You're sure it was arson and not just an accident?”
Shannon voice was low. “What makes you say arson?”
Claire sat back, lighting another cigarette as she did so. “Asking about how much I get in insurance for one. Cops don't tend to ask when it's an accident. Also I don't think two detectives would follow up an accident…. You leave that to the boys in blue.” She lifted a cocky eyebrow.
Shannon smiled. “You're not the first warehouse that has been set on fire….Yours is in fact the forth. We're trying to find out if there is any connection and yes we suspect arson.”
“A truthful cop, how refreshing.” Her hand stilled half way to the ashtray, the sentiment of those words, suddenly cleared her mind. Surprised she looked quickly across to Detective Rhimes. She blinked. ' Holy shit. ' Now she knew why she was so familiar.
Shannon frowned. “Miss Randell. Are you okay?”
“I.... yes.” She forced a smile. Taking a deep inhale of the cigarette, her eyes went to her watch. “I just remembered something.”
Shannon was confused by the sudden change in the woman. She looked nervous, hell she looked like she wanted to run. “We only have a few more questions?”
Claire swallowed, smiling. “Of course, but I do have an appointment soon.”
“We'll be as quick as possible.” Shannon looked across to Jane, seeing her questioning gaze back, telling her she'd noticed the change too. “First do you know or have had any dealing with Henry Michaels?”
Claire thought, then shook her head. “No. Not that I'm aware of.”
Shannon continued down her mental list. “Harvey Phillips?”
Claire chewed her lip, removing from it a bit of filter from the cigarette. “I know of a Phillips who runs Bradshaw investments. Is he part of that? I would have met him about a year ago at the Hamptons?”
Shannon resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the fact this woman thought everyone was rich. “No. He's a school teacher at Martoc School here in the Keys. I doubt his salary would cover a dinner at the Hamptons.”
Claire's smile turned sheepish. “Ah.... Then no I don't know of him. As I said I've been away.”
“Okay. The last one.... Pierce Sutcliff.”
Claire laughed. “Of course I know him.”
Jane frowned, giving Shannon another look.
Claire saw it and laughed again. “You mean you two don't?”
Shannon shook her head. “Should we?”
Claire gave each of them a disbelieving look. “I can't believe you don't know him.... He's a photographer, one of the best in the new arts. He is going to be the antiques of the future.” Her face suddenly changed to genuine concern. “Oh my god how much of his work did he lose in the fire?”
Jane wasn't sure what to answer, the sudden concern threw her. “I'm afraid we can't discuss that. Do you know him personally or by reputation?”
Claire's eyes dipped to her watch again. She smoked the last of the cigarette before stubbing it out. “I met him for the first time in Paris last year at a signing. Other than that…. No. I don't know him. I do own three of his pieces which hang in my Rome office.... Are we finished?”
Jane gave her a patient smile. “Nearly. You said you'd only just returned here. When? Was that the reason you rented the storage?”
Claire sighed, sitting back again. “I left here two years ago and yes it was the reason I rented the storage. I have been renting this house out and I didn't want any of the furniture I valued damaged. So I put most of it into the warehouse. When I was overseas I spent my time between Rome and Paris, with various trips to England. I came back here to America a month ago and I've been back at my house for exactly two weeks.”
Shannon had been watching her, if she didn't know better, she was sure now, Miss Randell was expecting someone. Someone she didn't want the police to see. “What exactly do you do?”
Claire looked across intrigued by the new tone, seeing suspicion spark in the blue eyes watching her. She resisted the urge to swallow. Instead she smiled, almost warmly. “I deal in antiques, the older the better. I have brought for private collectors and for many museums. I track things down and I make damn sure I get myself and my clients the best price, whether I'm buying or selling. I'm good at what I do. My business is run by me. You can of course check all this out.” She smirked.
Claire's smirk froze. “I don't like the insinuation I'm lying.”
Shannon rose. “I'm sorry you think that. I assure you it's simple routine.”
Claire rose, thankful they were finally leaving. “Why do I get the feeling detective, nothing about you is exactly routine.”
Jane rose just managing to contain her snort. Randell had sure figured Shannon out fast.
Claire froze, hearing the car door slam. Her eyes went to the hallway waiting, briefly flicking to Shannon's face.
Shannon heard the door open, knowing this was the guest Claire was nervous about, now she'd find out why.
Jane stretched herself up to look out of the window. She blinked. Surely she didn't see what she'd thought she'd seen. Her head snapped around at the sound of running feet, small running feet.
Shannon kept a close watch on Claire out of the corner of her eyes, surprised to find her doing the same to her. Her head came around slowly at the sound of something running. Her sharp inhale seemed to punctuate the room, when her eyes fell on the bounding Labrador. She tried for all of millisecond to argue with what her brain was telling her, that it couldn't be.
Then the Labrador skidded, his claws slipping on the tiles until he came to a stop, his eyes widening, he sniffed the air, recognizing the scent, with a yelp of pleasure he shot forward barking right towards the one person he had missed so much over the past year, he jumped up at her, barking, whining for attention, his tail a blur.
Shannon swallowed hard, stepping back from the dog, avoiding his licks and pleas for attention, her eyes now were locked on the doorway into the living room, knowing with a settling dread who was going to appear next. She swallowed hard as the hairs on her arms prickled, but still nothing could have really prepared her for the explosion of emotions which hit as the small blonde she hadn't seen for over a year came into view. First was the shock of seeing her again, second was blow to her stomach which robbed her of breath as smiling eyes turned to shocked translucent ones, when they locked on to her and recognition dawned. Shannon heard, felt the gasp Jenny made to her core. The third emotion she felt was how good Jenny looked, her hair was shorter, her skin tanned, her body stronger, gone was the sickly look of a woman who didn't care about herself and kept herself locked away on an island.
Shannon let a breath out slowly, feeling a different emotion now, anger. How dare she look this good. How dare she be here. Shannon gritted her teeth, turning her attention to Bud who was now going mad for attention. She dropped to her knees, allowing him to lick at her face, his tail whipping at her legs. From somewhere she mustered a smile. “Hello you.”
He yelped again, rubbing himself along her. From somewhere inside her Shannon laughed at him, but she wasn't sure it wasn't a laugh of madness.
Jane's eyes were still on Jenny, reading the shock. She saw the questioning glance to Claire, who just shook her head, while she moved next to Jenny. Jane gritted her teeth as Claire placed her hand on Jenny's back, rubbing circles. Her eyes jumped to her friend, wondering how the hell Shannon was handling any of this. She watched as Jenny moved away from Claire, moving to the sofa to sit.
“Hello Jane.” Jenny felt like she'd been hit by a truck. Her eyes flicked to Shannon seeing she looked like the same thing had just happened. She made herself smile as she looked to Jane again. “How are you?”
Jane managed a smile back. “Jen.... How you been? Didn't know you were back?” Jane's eyes shifted to Shannon briefly, seeing her friend was using the time with Bud to get herself under control.
Jenny noticed there was no friendliness in Jane voice. Her eyes slipped closed as she composed herself for a moment. “I'm okay. I.... I've only been back for two weeks.”
Shannon hand stilled on Bud, with a huge effort she made herself rise and face Jenny. “We're here investigating a fire.”
Jenny almost sat back at the ice that was aimed at her. Well, what exactly did she expect. She focused on the words. “Fire?” her eyes went to Claire in question.
Claire took that as a cue, moving to sit next to Jenny, taking her hand, well aware that Jenny had stiffened, she ignored it and kept the hand in hers. “Seems someone burnt down my warehouse.”
Jenny mouth opened. “Oh god. Did you lose much?”
Claire shrugged. “Not as much as I would have, if we hadn't moved some of my stuff last week.” She twitched a smile, hoping it let Jenny know it was okay, that she was here.
Shannon wanted to be sick, it was clear these two were more than friends.
Jenny shifted uncomfortable, aware Shannon was watching her. She couldn't look at her, not yet, not here. She simply looked down, trying to get herself under control. It wasn't supposed to be like this, she was going to go to Shannon, to explain. But now, now she didn't have that option.
Jane moved forward giving her card to Claire. “We will be in contact again with any questions. I'd appreciate it that if you think of anything, anything at all you might deem relevant. You contact us?”
Claire took it, nodding. Her perennial vision took in the form of the detective, she looked just as shook up as Jenny did. “Thank you both. I'll have my attorney send you all information on the insurance.”
Jane nodded, moving to the doorway, stopping briefly to ruffle Bud's fur. “Hey cutie. You been a good boy?”
“Arffffoo.” He gave her a long lick, but his eyes were fixed on Shannon, he moved over to her, sitting, whining again.
Shannon swallowed, looking down, knowing he sensed her distress. She gave him a sad smile, before moving towards Jane. The whole time she was walking from the house she resisted the urge to look back, to see if Jenny was looking.
As soon as the door slammed shut, Jenny put her head in her hands. “Oh god.”
Claire shifted next to her. “I'm sorry. I didn't know who she was. By the time I did there was no way to warn you.” She placed her arm over Jenny's shoulders pulling her close. “Shhhhh. it'll be okay.”
Jenny shook her head. “I doubt it. She hates me.”
Claire tightened her hold. “Come on, you just knocked each other for six......” she paused. “Jen why didn't you sense her? You told me you always could?”
Jenny pulled away, sitting forward, rubbing her hands over her face. “Because I stopped myself from doing it, after I left her. I couldn't....” she swallowed. “I couldn't take feeling her anymore.” Jenny composed herself, she couldn't deal with this yet. Her eyes came around to Claire. “How bad was the fire?”
Claire sighed. “From what Jacob was told, it pretty much torched the lot.”
Jenny grabbed her hand. “Oh Hun. I'm sorry.”
“Your Detective thinks it was arson.”
Jenny stiffened, rising, releasing Claire's hand. “She isn't my detective and if she thinks its arson it probably is. I need to change.”
Claire nodded, keeping her opinion to herself, knowing it wouldn't do any good right now. Sadly she watched Jenny call Bud and leave the room.
Jane slowed the car, pulling into the lay-by, looking across to Shannon for what seemed like the hundredth time in the short ten minute journey. She hadn't said a word and she looked like hell. “Shannon?”
“Oh god.” Shannon jerked forward, releasing the door handle, running to the bank by the side of the road, throwing up.
Jane knew better then to go out there, so she sadly just sat and waited.
Shannon took long gulps of air, well aware the whole action of throwing up pulled on her scar, just another reminder of the past. Jesus, she hadn't been ready for that. She stood straight, well aware Jane was watching her from the car, waiting. What the hell was she supposed to do now? She swallowed hard, the case, that was what was important, what she should have done last time, concentrated on the case and only that, she wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. She turned and headed back to the car, all her emotions back where they belonged under lock and key.
Captain Grieves sat back in his chair, his eyes fixed on the figure at the desk outside his office, a figure that had been missing from his squad room far too long. His jaw clenched, he'd tried everything to get Shannon off the hook, even taking full responsibility for her actions on the Tooth fairy case. But even he couldn't protect her when it came down to it. Right now however he was more concerned with the present rather than the past, wondering if he'd made the right choice putting her on this arson case so soon. The psychiatrist Shannon had been forced to see after the shooting had given her the all clear in his report to him, but had added a note that Shannon was bottling her emotions. Grieves had read between the lines knowing it really meant, to go careful with her on assignments. His eyes went back to her working on the computer, he could see the strain in her face, he also saw that a big part of who Shannon used to be was missing, and there was no spark. He had hoped pairing her with Jane would have given her back some sense of being who she was. He knew something had happened that morning, but neither Jane nor Shannon gave away what exactly had happened. He looked up as Detective Kaplan entered.
“We just got a call from Sidney Hutchinson.”
Grieves resisted the urge to growl. “What did our esteemed district attorney want?”
“He wants to know what's being done about the fires. Especially as one of the warehouses that went up belonged to his good friend Stanley Carter.”
Grieves let the growl out this time. “Of course that means we now have to pull all our resources out of asses and find the criminal just like that!”
Kaplan wisely chose to stay silent.
“Just once I'd like to run my investigations without someone yelling at me down the phone to get it done quicker.”
“He didn't yell.” he shut up as Grieves eyes locked on him.
“Oh he may not have raised his voice but he was shouting believe you me. Okay, get him on the phone for me. Give me five minutes before you put it through.”
Kaplan nodded, leaving.
Jane looked up seeing the Captain coming towards them. “Captain?”
He stopped, waiting till he had both their attentions. “Anything on the arsonist?”
Shannon turned from the computer screen. “Only what's in the reports. We've only just gotten the fire chiefs report. Same accelerator as before, same burn pattern.”
“I know that I've read them. I'm talking about what your take is on it now you've been to the sites?”
Shannon's eyes slid to Jane briefly before coming back to the Captain. “I don't know what you expect me to know sir. The report pretty much sums up where we are.”
His jaw twitched. “What's your gut telling you Rhimes?” he studied her closely.
“The reports don't have anything I don't already know. My gut says he isn't going to stop now he's brought the press in he wants a name for himself.”
Shannon frowned. “I'm not sure what you're expecting me to say.”
He exhaled, shaking his head. “Nothing. I'm just looking for something or anything on this guy before he makes the world know who he is. The networks have just picked up on his story and I don't like it, they're turning this little pissant into the new panic of the week. We don't need another serial guy here. “
Both Jane and Shannon stiffened.
“....we've only just gotten back full tourism to the Keys. I don't have to tell you both we need this cleaned up fast. That's why I wanted you on this Rhimes you get results. So tell me what is your damn gut telling you?”
Shannon put her pencil down, turning the chair fully to meet his eyes. “This isn't going to be cleaned up quickly. He wants something more than just air time. He's too careful. His fires are set a certain way for a reason. What I don't know.... but if you're asking me if he's going away anytime soon.... the answers no. he's in this till he's either dead or caught or gets what he wants.”
Grieves jaw clicked as his jaw tensed. He nodded slowly. “Yea that's what I thought. Son of a bitch.” he turned as Kaplan announced the district attorney was waiting on line three. Nodding to Shannon and Jane he left to pick up the call.
Jane went back to her screen.
Shannon however was watching Grieves as he closed his door. “Why did he ask me that, if he already thought the same?”
“Because he was checking to make sure they hadn't taken all your balls.”
Shannon eyes shot to Jane. Jane just smiled.
“If he doubts I can do this, why the hell give it to me.”
Jane slowly looked up. “Is he doubting you anymore than you are yourself?”
Shannon exhaled. “I didn't think this would be that hard. I've been chomping at the bit for six months to get back here.”
“Look give yourself a break, this morning seeing her again threw you.”
Shannon rose. “This has nothing to do with this morning or her.” she slammed the chair back against the desk.
Jane shook her head, watching Shannon sulk away. “Yea right.” She turned back to her screen, only to swallow as she saw Grieves coming out of his office, beckoning her with a finger.
She rose. “Shit.”
Jenny stood on the sand dune looking at what was once her home. The storm boards over the windows made her shiver; the place looked forgotten, unloved. There were many things she had neglected her home was just one of them. She hadn't intended to come here so soon, but after this morning something just pulled at her to return. She couldn't help the smile as she watched Bud mark all his territory in gusto, it almost looked like he was telling the world, I'm back I'm back so stay off, mine.
She felt Claire come up beside her.
“When did you get the fences put up? I don't remember those.” she made a face as she saw the sand covering her new Reeboks.
Jenny gritted her teeth to the image that wanted to invade, she made herself walk between the gate posts to the veranda, well aware Claire had fallen into step. “They were done last year.”
Claire looked around. “Well they look good. The rest of the house needs some work though. Maybe you'll let me help.” her voice was unsure. She stomped her feet to get rid of the sand.
Jenny chose to ignore the question, she didn't have answers to any of Claire's questions, she'd been avoiding them since they'd started three months ago. All she wanted to do now was come home. She unlocked the door, pushing it open, inhaling the scent, it didn't smell to bad considering it had been boarded up for over a year. Entering she pulled her sunglasses from her face, relieved to be in darkness for a while.
Claire fanned her nose as she entered. “Lordy, old building may look good, but Jesus do they smell.”
Jenny let the comment pass. “I happened to like the way it smells.”
Claire turned. “You would. At least let me open some windows before I have an asthma attack.”
Jenny just shook her head moving towards the back. “If you gave up smoking you wouldn't get asthma.” she paused, her hand on the guest room door, steeling herself she entered, knowing already there was no reminder left of where Shannon had stayed. In fact there was no reminder of anything of the year before, Marcus had made sure of that for her. That didn't seem to matter, it still made it hard to walk across the room to throw open the door to let the breeze through. She turned back, only to find Claire leaning against the wood frame watching her.
“You sure you want to stay here so soon? You know you can stay with me.”
Jenny smiled. “I know and thank you. But it's about time I decided what I want to do.”
Claire stepped back to let her through. “You still thinking of selling the place? Seems a shame, all it needs is some work done on it. Although if you do it up first you'll make a killing on the market, these places sell like gold.”
Jenny finished opening the last of the windows, blinking her eyes back to focus from the suns glare. “I don't know what I want to do yet. I don't know if I can stay here.” The truth was she didn't want to sell either, this was still her safe haven. She'd felt it as soon as she'd entered, even with all the memories, the peace, the tranquility, it seeped into her, reinforcing her walls, herself doubt.
Claire moved towards her, feeling the change in her. “Too many memories?”
Jenny moved away from her, towards the open door, just watching Bud running around in the surf. She watched until her eyes screamed enough in the sunlight. She turned back to Claire. “Too much Essence.”
Claire's smile strained. “Ah.”
Jenny gave her a knowing look. “Don't pretend to understand. You still have a problem with this side of me. Even after everything I told you?”
Claire reached into her bag, drawing out a packet of cigarettes, lighting one, exhaling smoke. “Of course not.”
Jenny looked away, she didn't need this conversation again.
Uneasy now with the whole topic Claire pulled one of the sheets off the couch, coughing as dust rose. “Well if you're going to stay here tonight, we need to get cleaning. I'll start bringing the stuff in from the car.”
Jenny just nodded, suddenly she wanted to stay there very much, no matter what demons the house held, it still gave her a sense of security she hadn't found anywhere in the last year. Her eyes went guiltily to Claire as she went out. No, she hadn't found security with her either. For a moment her mind escaped to Shannon , shivering she locked down on the thought and the part of her that was trying to search out her essence. Grabbing her sunglasses, she left to help Claire.
The house cleaning had taken most of the day, now they both sat out on the porch. Jenny eyes were fixed above on the stars. She missed this clean view of the sky, Paris held its own stars, yellow neon's, not once had Jenny found anything in the darkness she recognized there. She inhaled deeply filling her lungs with the freshness of the sea and sand, if she'd done that in Paris she would have coughed up a lung. Now she was back she began to realize exactly how much she had missed this place.
Claire sipped her scotch, her eyes studying Jenny's profile. God she was beautiful, she still took her breath away, she'd been a fool to walk away from her. She took another drink. “You ever going to talk about what happened this morning?” she watched Jenny stiffened, before she sat back to look at her.
“What's there to talk about? You were there, you saw. I would have thought you'd be more concerned by the fact your warehouse just burned down.”
Claire took a longer sip of her drink. “I'm more concerned about you than furniture. I would have thought you'd know me enough to know that.” she couldn't keep the snap out of her voice.
Jenny inwardly cursed. “I'm sorry you're right. But I'm not going to talk about Shannon . You know what happened before, what's the point of going over it again.”
Claire sighed. “Your plan was going to see her this week.”
Jenny pushed down on her anger. “Yes. Well that isn't going to happen, this morning blew any chance of that.”
Claire lent across, resting her hand on Jenny's arm. “Look just go and see and explain.”
Jenny head shot around. “Explain what? Oh sorry Shannon I meant to come see you but you got to me first.”
Claire removed her hand, taking another sip of drink. Sometimes Jenny's stubbornness really annoyed her. “That's not what I meant and you know it. Go and explain to her exactly why you ran away last year. I'm sure if you explain it she'd at least give you a chance.”
Jenny rose, suddenly feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. “There isn't any second chance, so please leave it Claire.”
Claire was about to argue when she saw the fatigue on Jenny's face. “Okay. I'll leave it.” she kept the ‘for now' too herself.
Jenny paused at the door, her anger gone, she knew Claire was trying to help, suddenly being at odds with her was too much. She didn't want to be alone tonight. “Are you staying?”
Claire finished her drink rising, flashing a grin. “Thought you'd never ask.”
Jenny smiled sweetly, before turning. “I'll fix up the guest room.”
Claire's grin fell.
Bud snorted before following his mistress.
Shannon lifted another noodle from the box, shoveling it into her mouth, not really taking any notice of the ones that missed. Her eyes were fixed on the file open on her laptop, she used the end of the chopstick to scroll down of the report. She paused in mid chew as she read the paragraph again.
Distinctive patterns were found at the center core of the fire at sites one through five. No fire actually reached the furniture within the warehouse. Forensic proves that furniture was moved away from the inner area where the explosives were set. The surrounding area outside of the warehouse held very little damage, most was due to heat. The evidence at present suggests the explosives were set to form a contained funnel effect. No explanation as to why is forth coming at this time.
Shannon continued chewing as she sat back. “What sort of arsonist leaves things undamaged?” The room was not forth coming in its answer. She took another mouthful of food before leaning forward again, back scrolling to the beginning of the report.
The radius of the fire measures thirty foot by forty foot in a circular pattern. The containment of the fire was achieved by the main explosive of TNT being placed into a lead boxed detonating device, when this exploded it detonated the Nitro package and accelerator Biennium, causing an upward explosion of intense heat. The flame itself reached more than sixty feet in height and well above 200 degrees, which melted the iron struts of the roof, causing a cave in about fifteen minutes of the fires start.
Taking a sip of soda, she scrolled backwards to the diagram of the radius of the fire. It showed the furniture all placed around the main source, very few items were in fact damaged by the fire, most were destroyed by the heat and the foam and water used by the fire department to get the blaze under control. Placing the soda can down, she pulled up on the screen the other two reports, pressing print on each diagram, the Wi-Fi printer by the window began to churn.
Rising, she grabbed a pancake roll from the box, chewing as she lifted and read each page as they came through. When all five were complete she returned to the couch still reading.
Each report contained photographs and sketches of the area within the warehouse, revealing the circular area of the fire itself and placement of each and every package and furniture within. Going from one to the other, Shannon could see that none of the placement of furniture matched another from a different fire, if anything the placement of each looked random. The only thing that was an exact match was the circular area itself and the device used to cause the explosion and fire. She let out a frustrated exhale, throwing the pages onto the coffee table, sitting back down, as she snagged the box of noodles to finish.
She wasn't sure what she'd expected to find that the fire officer didn't. Jane was running the reports on the history of the customers and warehouse owners, she should be doing the same. But something was telling her those things had nothing to do with why this arsonist picked their property. It was that damn niggle of hers. She swallowed the last of the noodles, reaching over the arm of the couch to dump it in the waste bin, grimacing as she heard it bounce off its already full contents onto the floor. Closing her eyes she lent her head back on the couch knowing the real reason she'd looked into the reports, it was something to take her mind off what she'd been avoiding facing all day, Jenny. As soon as the thought and image entered her head, she was up, grabbing the trash can by the sofa, shoving in the rubbish from the floor, moving quickly to the kitchen to grab the trash bags out of the drawer, turning her full attention to the mess that was her house, avoiding the real issue of the mess that was her life.
Jane threw another handful of seeds to the birds who were waiting at her feet, she leant back, letting her eyes go around the park.
“Why detective don't you know it's illegal to feed the birds around here?”
Jane didn't jump, in fact she smiled before looking over her shoulder to the voice. “I'll arrest myself as soon as I've emptied the bag. How are you Marcus?”
He grinned, moving around to sit on the bench next to her. “I'm grand and you?”
She threw the last of the seed, wiping her hands on her jeans. “Actually I'm pissed off.”
His eyebrows rose. “One of the birds donate some luck to you?”
She couldn't help it she smiled. “I wish. No, actually I'm pissed off at you.”
He blinked. “Me? What did I do this time? Did I forget a date?”
She glared at him. “I'm being serious. It's what you didn't do. I thought you'd have at least warned me your ex girlfriend was back…. If not for my sake, but Shannon 's.”
His face lost his amusement. “What? Wait...You mean Jenny? Jenny's back. Where?”
She read his face and knew he seriously didn't know. “Shit, she didn't even tell you.”
He sat forward. “No it seems she didn't. Last I heard she was in Paris , that was over three month's ago.” he exhaled. “….where is she?”
“Staying with someone called Claire Randell.” she watched him closely, catching the tightening of the lines around his face.
“Claire, well I wouldn't have guessed in a million years she would have gone to her.”
“You know her?”
“Oh yea. It's the woman Jenny took up with a year after we split up. Damn why didn't she come to me instead of getting back into that with her.”
Jane's interest peeked. “They were lovers then?”
He looked at her. “They were more than lovers they were together for over a year…. Till Claire had enough of Jenny's mumbo jumbo.”
Jane shifted uneasily, she still thought parts of what Marcus and Jenny had were a kind of mumbo jumbo, spooky shit. But she couldn't deny whatever it was worked. She decided to stay on the subject she was trying to get into. “Well they looked pretty cozy.”
He fidgeted. “That's nice.... where the hell did you meet them?”
“We're investigating the fires, Claire was renting one of the warehouses, we went to interview her and Jenny arrived there.”
Marcus paled. “Don't tell me the we, is you and Shannon. Please tell me she didn't walk into that blind?”
Jane exhaled. “Can't she did…. Yesterday morning. Bam!”
His eyes slipped closed. “Fuck.”
“Yea and then some.”
They both fell silent, both caught in their own thoughts. Till Jane turned to him. “Grieves knows she's here.”
Marcus looked across. “You tell him?”
Jane nodded. “Had too, he wanted to know what had crawled up Shannon 's butt.”
“Yea.” he couldn't imagine what Shannon was feeling, for once he was glad Shannon wasn't near him, because one touch and he knew he wouldn't be able to block out her feelings. A thought occurred to him. “Why tell me Grieves knows? Is he going to arrest her for being a bitch?”
Jane blanched. “No. he wants to ask her to help on this case.”
Marcus just stared at her. “You're not serious.”
“What about Shannon ? Does she know about this?”
Jane looked away. “Not yet. I was ordered not to tell her, Grieves wants to run it by Jenny first. He wants this case solved quickly before it gets out of hand in the press and before any one is hurt. He thinks Jenny can do that, he's always trusted her talent.”
Marcus's eyes went out to the surrounding area, wondering how on earth Shannon was going to handle this one. As an afterthought, he wondered how he was too. “He doesn't much trust in mine though.”
Jane sighed, recognizing the look in his eyes, one he always had when he was thinking of his ex. It was one of the reasons she constantly decline when he asked her on a date. She didn't need to get into a relationship with someone who was still in love with their ex, no matter how attractive she found him. “It wasn't like he didn't come to you before…. you've just always turned him down on cases. Are you okay with her being back?”
“I don't think I am. But I'll survive.” he forced a brief smile. “If she wants to contact me she knows where I am.” he looked away trying to hide his hurt.
Jane saw it and once again cursed Jenny Newton.
Jenny stared, not quite sure of what she was seeing, her mind was telling her that Captain Grieves was walking up her yard path, while the other part was in total disbelief that Grieves would come anywhere near her. She swallowed, waiting, leading against the door frame.
Grieves waited until he was at the porch steps. “Jenny?”
“No. whatever it is no.” She crossed her arms.
“What makes you think I'm here for something, other than to check out you're okay.”
“Very touching of you and the answers still no.” She turned, moving back into the house.
He didn't wait for an invitation, he moved into the doorway, he looked down as Bud gave a growl.
“I'm not coming in unless invited boy.”
Bud sniffed, then lay down across the doorway at Grieves feet, just to make sure.
Jenny sat. “Thank you for your concern, I'm fine, now go away.”
He smiled, wiping his face for the second time with the handkerchief. “You look well.”
Her answer was to just stare at him, the stare unsettled him. “Are you reading me?”
She rolled her eyes. “When are you going to understand I can't do that and it doesn't take a psychic to know you enough that you don't make house calls unless you want something and the answer is still no. I'm not doing it anymore.”
He frowned. “Doing what? Working for me? Or the whole psychic thing?”
“Both.” she swallowed.
His frown deepened. “How can you just switch it off? It's part of you. Just because you've had bad luck in some cases.”
She looked away. “I'd call it more than bad luck and you're right I can't just switch it off, it's taken me a year to get this far.” she looked right at him. “And I'm not coming to work for you, first because I don't want too and second because, well you know the second.”
He adjusted his jacket on his arm, feeling the prickling of sweat under the heavy material. “I'll deal with Shannon .”
Her eyes blazed. “She's shouldn't have to be dealt with. I ruined her life once before I'm not doing it again, so end of discussion.” her anger dulled, replaced with tiredness. “Go away Captain. I'd be no use to you even if I did want to help, which I don't. Just go away.”
He watched her stand and move away back into the den, looking down he found Bud watching him. “She still running I see.”
Grieves smiled. “Always her protector. Eh?” he pulled a file from his jacket pocket, laying it down at Bud's feet. “Don't eat it. Just give it to her.”
Bud sniffed it, but didn't move from his guard post.
Grieves gave one last look into the house before heading back to the dock and his ride home.
Shannon stared out the window of the car, well aware Jane was giving sideways glances towards her, she had been since she picked her up at 6am, by 8am it was becoming annoying. They were headed now back to the precinct after checking out two leads on the arson case, which turned out to be nothing more than witnesses who weren't witnesses looking for the reward money. Reward money always brought the crazies out in force. Problem was you didn't know they were crazies till you interviewed them, all in all it was one of the biggest waste of police time.
“You want to stop off for breakfast?”
Shannon looked sideways at her. “It's not going to be that chilli stuff is it?”
Jane gave a mock hurt look. “Come on there's nothing wrong with it.... but okay today you choose?”
Shannon shook her head. “I ate before I left. Go............” her voice tailed off as the police radio sounded.
##All units All units. Request assistance at 23 rd East Bayreuth . Shots fired. Units 14 and 37 already on route.###
Shannon lifted the mike. “Rhimes and Emerson about ten minutes away. We're on our way.” she nodded to Jane, who already had turned on the light and siren, pulling the car into a turn, hard enough to send Shannon slamming into the door frame, she braced her hand against the framing, watching the speedometer go from 40 to 80 in a blink.
Ten minutes later the car turned into the Bayreuth road. Seeing the two squad cars Jane aimed for the center of them, then turned the wheel sharply to bring their car as close as possible.
“Jesus.” Shannon swallowed hard as her breakfast threatened to reshow itself.
Jane sheepishly grinned. “Sorry.”
Both got out, their hands resting on their guns at their hip.
A patrolman appeared from behind the second squad car, running over slightly crouched. He looked to each of them. “Detectives.”
They nodded back, just before they both ducked down behind the car as a shot ran out from the building opposite. “What's the situation?” Shannon pulled her gun out making sure to keep it pointed to the ground, Jane followed suit her eyes darting around.
“Well.... from what I can tell the man inside is Kenneth Willisson. He was fired this afternoon from his job at the fishery.” he nodded to the paramedic van. “…..His wife and kid are in there. They're not hurt just scared shitless. She said he just came home and started shooting. So far it's not aimed at us, just things in his house. He hasn't responded to calls or us hails. He threw his wife and kid out about ten minutes ago. You two are the first on the scene so it's your show.” he said the last part with a touch of relief.
Shannon couldn't help the flinch as another shot ran out. She felt a nudge at her arm, surprised to find a flak jacket being thrust at her. She met Jane's eyes in question.
“Put it on and don't give me shit about it either.” to make her point Jane pulled on hers, slapping down the Velcro at the sides.
Shannon didn't want to argue, for a moment she'd seen the fear in Jane's eyes, understanding why. She quickly pulled on the jacket.
Jane looked around. “We need more assistances, the whole damn street is out to watch.”
The patrolman looked around seeing what she meant, with a nod he headed out towards the far side of the round to get the watchers back.
Jane took a quick peek over the top of the car to the window. “What do you think? We wait for Swat?”
“If swat get here he isn't going to listen and probably get himself killed.” Shannon chewed her lip thinking.
“So now what, we sit till he runs out of ammo?
Shannon rose a little. “MR WILLISON I'm DETECTIVE RHIMES I'd LIKE TO TALK TO YOU.” She ducked quickly as two shots rang out this time one of them shattered the front window of the house.
“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME. JUST GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE.”
“Well that went well.” Jane took another quick peek over the bonnet of the car, ducking back down. “Looks like automatic handgun, at a guess it's a Glock, can't see any other weapons. Don't think he was firing at you though.”
Shannon nodded, rising again but ducked quickly as she made eye contact with the shooter and his gun came around to her. “He looks terrified.”
“Well I'm not going up there till I know he hasn't got a bug up his ass about cops.” Jane turned her head, watching as another two squad cars roared into the street. She flagged them over to the far side of the road. Rising, she ran over, making sure when she stopped she kept the car between her and shooter.
“Okay I need this road cleared, get them back as far as you can, if they won't go arrest them.”
The youngest of the two coughed. “Ma'am?”
She stared at him, annoyed she had to explain herself. “He's shooting wild in there, the Glock can reach a distance up to sixty meters and that's without rebound.” her eyes shifted to the line of people no more than ten meters away. “Get it.”
He flushed, swallowing, turning to join the other three as they went to do crowd control.
Jane shook her head, wondering if recruits were getting younger or simply she was getting older, with one last look to the group of watchers, “Dumb shits.” she quickly ran back to where Shannon was knelt
“He's stopped shooting, he's just sitting in the chair by the window.” Shannon motioned to the house.
Jane took a look, seeing Shannon was correct. “You think he's had enough?”
Shannon swallowed, she was getting a bad feeling, her whole skin was tingling. “Yea I think he's had en..........” she didn't finish as another shot rang out, this time is sounded dull and if it were possible for a shot to have an emotion, it had finality to it.
Silence seemed to be louder around them. Both Jane and Shannon exchanged a knowing look, both rose running, guns up towards the house. Shannon went first kicking the door open, going inside quickly slamming her back against the wall, her gun sweeping the hallway, she motioned to Jane, who came in the same position, gun sweeping.
“POLICE MR WILLISON..... THROW OUT YOUR GUN.”
They both knew it wasn't needed, but they had to be safe than sorry. No answer came and neither of them were surprised.
Jane nodded to the living room door, standing to the side of it. Shannon moved closer her hand already turning the door handle, with a push she eased it open. Her eyes darted around the room, her gun up. She swallowed hard, Mr. Willisson was propped against the wall in the far corner, a wall that was splashed in deep red blood and white speckles of bone. Her eyes dipped to his face seeing the small hole in his forehead where the bullet, knowing the back of the skull wasn't going to be as tidy. Her eyes shifted to the floor, written in black ink and large letters on the new wood floor stood out. I'm sorry.
Shannon slowly walked over, not lowering her gun until she'd checked to make sure he was no threat, even though she knew he wasn't going to be one to anyone anymore, she lowered it, exhaling. “Damn.”
Jane grimaced as she neared. “Yea.”
Both jumped, turning quickly guns up again as an anguished scream ripped across the room.
Shannon lowered her gun, holstering it, already on the move grabbing Mrs. Willisson and dragging her through the door, she glared at the patrolman who looked sheepish in the hallway. Gently she led the distraught woman back towards the paramedics, “hey you'll be okay.”
Mrs. Willisson pulled away from her, turning so fast Shannon couldn't do anything about the slap that connected with her cheek. Shannon just stared in shock as the paramedic grabbed Mrs. Willisson restraining her. She pulled against the hold, trying to get at Shannon again. “It's your fault all of you. You should have stopped him, he just needed someone to talk too. Oh god oh god. David…. David!”
Shannon stood ridged, not really knowing what to do.”I'm sorry.”
Mrs. Willisson swung around to her. “Everyone's fucking sorry.” then she dissolved into tears again and let the paramedic this time lead her back to the ambulance.
Jane came running over. “ Shannon you okay?”
Shannon jaw clenched. “Peachy.” she turned to head back into the house feeling like the biggest heel on the planet. Mrs. Willisson was right, she should have stopped him. Once she would have gone in there and talked him out of it.... or taken the gun off him. In anger she pulled the flack vest off, the Velcro ripped under the abuse.
Jane moved to follow, then slowed, holstering her weapon, looking to the crying woman in the back of the ambulance and the small boy who sat shocked in the cabin of it. Sometimes being a cop really sucked. Sighing she headed over to Mrs. Willisson.
Jenny looked at the file on the table. First she'd thrown it straight in the bin, but once again curiosity reared its head. Now she sat staring at it. Her mind was already turmoil, she knew if she read it she wouldn't be able to stop trying to solve it, which brought up a whole bunch of problems, namely Shannon , she'd have to either work with her or face her. Not one part of her believed she could handle either. She could already feel the shift inside, no matter how hard she tried to erect the walls they were cracking, she could feel the Essence around her, whispering, calling. She rose moving quickly away from the file, moving to the couch, laying back just staring into nothing. She shouldn't have come back, no matter how much she'd missed this haven, she should have stayed away. But she couldn't because she realized she couldn't just run away anymore, there was nowhere to run too. She suddenly felt angry at Shannon , how dare she show her what life was like again. How dare she prove that the world wasn't full of monsters and make her feel again. Damn her for coming into my life. Damn her!
She didn't want to cry, she was tired of that too, she tilted her head back, swallowing down the lump in her throat. The truth was she couldn't run away from Shannon any more. She needed to put to rest the past, more to the point she needed Shannon to understand why she'd run away from her. It was so hard thinking back, because the past brought up all those feelings. She actually flinched when a vivid memory of Shannon being shot got through the walls. She leant forward, wiping at the cold sweat on her forehead, slamming a wall into place. It was exhausting always doing this, her mind ached, her heart ached and her soul ached.
She rose, moving back to the table, her finger tips tracing a pattern around the file. She knew if she read it she'd have little choice but to face everything from the past. She turned, walking away.
Bud lay by the wall, his eyes had watched her the whole time, at first he was going to get up and go to her when he felt her distress, but lately she hadn't wanted his comfort, so he lay and watched, letting out a small whine when she left him alone in the living and closed her bedroom door.
Shannon sat in the waiting room, her whole body tense, she couldn't believe that Grieves had sent her for a physic evaluation so soon after one shooting. She shook her head, barely containing her anger at being in this place again. Two months she'd had to come here and talk. She scoffed, talk! She couldn't see how talking had helped, it was just another waste of time, she was fine. She looked up as the door opened, revealing a tall woman with hair nearly as dark as hers. Shannon clenched her teeth, she never trusted that woman when she was smiling. “ Hello Dr Phillips.”
Dr Phillips smiled more. “Hello Shannon . You're very formal today. It's Lynne remember....Would you like to come in now?”
No! “Sure.” Shannon rose.
Dr Phillips stepped back, letting her through, noting the tension. She closed the door, moving across the room to take her seat behind her desk, well aware Shannon chose not to sit as usual and simple stand back to her looking out of the window. Phillips stayed silent, knowing asking questions got her nowhere, if Shannon wanted to talk she would. So she waited.
Shannon shifted, taking a sly glance over her shoulder, her jaw tightened, seeing Phillips simple watching her. It always came down to a game of patience, one that Shannon usual lost, today she wasn't in the mood to play games. She turned quickly, taking a seat in the big leather arm chair. “I don't know why I'm here?”
“Grieves asked me to see you, after what happened this morning.”
“I know that.” Shannon answer was curt. “What I don't know is why at all? Nothing happened I couldn't handle.”
Dr Phillips eyes gazed over the report on her desk. “A man died.” she caught out the corner of her eye as Shannon quickly looked away.
Phillips sat back. “According to the report all protocols were followed and the man simply took his own life.”
Shannon 's head swung around. “There's nothing simple in someone taking their life.”
Phillips barely resisted the urge to flinch at the glare. “I'm sorry. I chose the wrong words.”
“Yea. As for protocols I've learned my lesson haven't I.” Shannon folded her arms.
Phillips made a note on her pad. “I wasn't insinuating otherwise. Remember Shannon I'm on your side.”
Shannon didn't answer and simple stared.
Phillips stared back for a while, then read from the report again. “Do you think you could have done something to stop him?” She watched Shannon careful, through all the months of seeing her she learned pretty well how to read her, and she wasn't wrong this time, she watched the uncertainty enter her eyes. “ Shannon ?”
Shannon looked away. “I don't know. Maybe, if I'd gotten him to talk.”
“What would you have done before you were shot?”
Shannon 's eyes sparked again. “What the hell has that got to do with anything?”
“I don't know. That's why I'm asking?” For a moment she didn't think Shannon was going to answer, then she saw the tension grow in her shoulders, she waited.
“I'd have done the same. There wasn't anything different I would have done. He didn't want to listen to anyone. He was lost, so damn fucking lost he couldn't see straight....” her anger now was showing as her voice as it rose.
Phillips chewed the edge of her pen, listening.
“….We couldn't have gotten near him, if we'd charged the house he either would have shot himself then and there, or shot at us and we'd have to take him down.”
Phillips nodded slightly. “Seems reasonable to assume that's what would have happened. But his wife believes you were to blame didn't she? The report says she struck you?”
Shannon snapped her mouth shut, her anger gone, replaced with guilt, her eyes went to her hands. “Yea.”
Lynne lent forward, her voice softening. “Mrs. Willisson would have been under considerable strain Shannon , she would have lashed out at anyone, you unfortunately were the first she came across.”
Shannon snapped. “I know that.”
“You know all this yet you are blaming yourself and second guessing your actions.”
Shannon was about to argue, when she realized Phillips was right. She hated it when she was right.
Phillips studied her again, there was something else going on, tenseness surrounded Shannon she hadn't seen since those first few weeks after the shooting. She took a leap of faith. “What else has happened?”
Shannon took a deep breath. Damn it. “Nothing.”
Phillips let out a sigh. “I thought we were past hiding things.”
“I'm not hiding anything.” Shannon clamped her mouth shut on what she knew wanted to come out. The worst thing about seeing Dr Phillips was the fact she did end up talking and she didn't know why.
“Other than?” Phillips could see the battle going on. She waited, knowing either Shannon was going to share or she wasn't.
Shannon rose, going back to the window looking out, debating whether she really wanted to get into this, if she could even handle talking about it. In the end the anger in her made the decision. “Jenny's back.”
Phillips actually sat back in the chair, she really wasn't expecting that one. “When?”
“Couple of weeks, I however didn't know till I ran slam bang into her in another woman's home yesterday.”
Phillips made another note on her pad. “How?”
“A case I'm working on. The woman owns one of the warehouses that caught fire, we went to question her and.....” she swallowed. “…. and Jenny simply walked in.”
“How did she react?”
Shannon looked over her shoulder. “Don't you mean how did I react?”
“Actually no. I'm interested in how she did for now.”
Shannon frowned, her head turning back to the window as she thought. She swallowed hard as the whole meeting replayed itself in her head. “She …... she looked how I felt. Gut punched.”
Phillips hid her smile, knowing this was the first time Shannon had looked at it outside of her own pain and feelings. Something she'd been trying to make her do for the last two months. “Well that doesn't surprise me considering your history.”
Shannon moved back to her chair, now she was confused. “What does it matter what she felt, or what I felt, she didn't bother to tell me she was back. Hell, I haven't heard one word from her since I was …........”
“Since I was shot. Nothing.... Nada... zip.” now the old anger came out. “So fucking what if she looked gut punched. Good.... at least I wasn't the only one.”
Phillips waited for the storm to pass, which it always did.
Shannon sat back, crossing her legs, her emotions reined in. she shook her head. “You want to know something stupid doc?”
“I doubt it's stupid.”
Shannon gave a false laugh. “I felt her. Before she'd even came into the house I felt her. I knew it was her.”
Phillips sat back, keeping eye contact. “You're talking about the psychic side of Jenny and the connection you shared?”
Shannon looked away briefly, before meeting her eyes. “Yea. But now I know she didn't feel me. ” she swallowed hard. It hurt when she figured that out. “….. If she did she wouldn't have looked so surprised. She didn't feel me. ” her voice tampered off into a whisper. “She didn't feel me at all.........”
Phillips didn't really know what to say. They'd had long talks about how the case was solved by the psychic and the connection that Shannon felt with her. Even now as she looked across she could see the effect of this on her patient. This was the last thing Shannon had held on too, that that link was still there. She suddenly felt very sorry for Shannon because even over the year Shannon had held on to that as her last hope. She shifted forward, leaning on her desk. “Has it occurred to you that Jenny may be doing this purposely?”
Shannon flinched. “Well that makes me feel a helluva lot better. Thanks Doc.”
Phillips exhaled. “That's not what I meant. You told me that Jenny had to lock out things because of the day to day pressure of life around her.”
“Well maybe she needs to lock you out for a reason. The link as you call it is still there, that well, well she's blocking.” it was hard for her to form words on this. She was a woman of science of facts of figures and tests. But the mind was different, it was a vast area of the unknown, that's why she'd chosen psychiatry to help those lost in the unknown. Maybe that's why she was more open in some understanding into what Shannon felt and Jenny did. She didn't believe or disbelieve, but she wasn't going to argue about something someone else believed in vehemently.
“ Shannon . I'd advise you to talk to her.”
Shannon stood up so suddenly Phillips sat back. “No. this is closed. I'm not going into this anymore. Can I go? Am I suspended because of this shooting?”
Phillips sighed, closing the file on her desk. She knew she'd pushed too far. “This wasn't an official meeting, Grieves just wanted to make sure you were handling things okay.”
“Great. Thanks.” Shannon walked quickly to the door, wanting out of there.
“ Shannon .”
She didn't want to stop but she did, she waited.
“Pushing her away inside won't get rid of her. Facing her might put those demons in your nightmares to rest, so you can move on.” she kept back the part of ' if you want too.”
Shannon didn't believe that for a second, but she gave a curt nod before opening the door and leaving.
Phillips sat back, knowing Shannon wouldn't do anything she didn't want too, but she also knew that once she'd planted a seed of thought in Shannon 's mind, she couldn't help but to respond to it or act. She closed the file, lifting the phone to call Grieves.
############# # In the rockets' red glare, bombs burst in the air......# ################.
He turned his head to the direction of the stadium a few streets away, smiling as the words of the anthem carried, they seemed so fitting. He walked across the stone floor, his footsteps echoing against the old stone walls, placing down his package, rising as he looked around, noting the boxes in the corner, he moved to them, pulling each with ease to the far side wall. He didn't want anything to spoil his work. He stood straight, smiling again at the words of the anthem as they reached full volume, it was as if they were singing just for him. With one last check of his work, he moved silently down the warehouse steps, walking among the passing people, blending in unnoticed. It gave him such a buzz, knowing who he really was and none of those he past seeing it. Soon they'd see, but not yet.
He kept walking until he reached his position in the multi-storey car park opposite, looking down at the warehouse, reaching into his pocket he pulled out the small remote, his head tilted again, his sandy hair fanning his face as he waited, his dark eyes fixed on the horizon. The anthem reached its end, just before the applause started, he ever so gently pressed the button.
His eyes reflected his work, orange, gold, black, red, white, all of it mixed into a pillar of power. Exploding upwards towards the heavens, dragging and pulling, melting anything in its way. His grin widened as it took the shape he wanted, his beacon. Car alarms and building alarms shrieked as the force rocked them, people below ran as debris fell, screaming in pain and horror.
He lent forward, looking down, seeing the chaos. His eyes came up again to the fire, it was all consuming now, tendrils licking their way for any sign of food to devour. His eyes slipped closed in ecstasy as the roar of it grew and still he could hear the applause from the stadium, congratulating him on his work. He froze, stepping back, eyes opening, shifting to the street, his jaw tensed, he thought he'd have more time. He tracked the blue flashing neon and red engine as it neared. Sadly almost, he looked to his child, it was never long enough, he wanted more. Anger sparked as he turned and fled.
Shannon looked at the chaos around her, she'd arrived nearly two hours ago and still she was in slight shock by what she saw, how anyone wasn't killed was beyond her. She'd been interviewing passersby, injured and uninjured and it all came down to the same thing, they saw nothing, heard nothing until the building fell on top of them. Forensic were in there now picking over the wreckage, she wasn't going to get anything until they had done their full report. She watched as Jane walked across the street, she wondered if she looked as bad as her. Jane's face was covered in soot, her walk weary. Shannon closed her notepad waiting.
“Anything?” Jane stopped, drinking deeply from the bottle of water one of the fire guys had given her, she offered it over to Shannon .
She took it, taking a long deep drink. “Not a damn thing. There's no surveillance on this warehouse at all. He just walked right in, set up his stuff and boom.”
Jane took the bottle back, finishing the last of it, before tossing it to a blacken trash can. “Yea. But he's not picking on isolated warehouses now. It's damn lucky no one was killed.”
Shannon wiped her hand back through her hair, feeling the grease and soot and dirt. “Yea. There's nothing more we can do here till we get the forensic report.”
Jane took a deep breath, wishing for clean air. “I think it's the same guy. ” she looked to Shannon for confirmation.
Shannon nodded. “Oh yea. But now he's changed his pattern. Question is why?”
They both turned as one of the paramedics pulled away sirens blaring.
Jane swallowed. “One of the fire guys got caught under falling timber,”
“Shit.” Suddenly Shannon didn't want to be there, it was dirty, it was tainted, it was wrong so very wrong. She shivered, she could feel something but she wasn't sure what, she stepped away from Jane, her eyes going up and down the street, stopping on each building, her gaze settled on the large car park on the corner, then she looked back at the burnt building. Without a word she started down the street.
Jane turned to talk to her only to find empty space. “hey.” she took off after her partner.
Shannon didn't stop until she reached the top floor of the car park, moving directly towards the edge. She stopped, looking down, almost gasping as she now had a perfect bird's eye view of the warehouse and the hole that was once its roof. She stepped back looking around, her eyes dropping to the floor, she could see her own foot mark in the clay and oil of dirt that cars left behind. She moved along the wall, looking down, not looking up when she heard Jane come running up the stairs.
“What the hell.......”
Shannon held her hand up, stopping Jane in her tracks. “Wait.”
Jane waited, taking the time to give her lungs some oxygen.
Shannon paused by one of the stone beams, crouching down, she saw it, a small indent, it was new close to the wall, no way anyone passing could have left it. A smile began, she knew it, he'd watched from here. “Jane. Call Forensic tell them they got a crime scene up here. The son of bitch watched his work again.”
Jane's cell was already in her hand, she grinned. It was good to have her boss back.
Shannon made sure not to touch or mark anywhere in the area. She stood straight, looking out and down. She could almost feel it, the power, the pleasure. She stepped away quickly, slightly shook up at the feeling. Taking a breath she moved back towards Jane to wait for the CSI.
Claire sipped her wine, watching Jenny, she had been through the whole course of the meal. She'd arrived back on the island late in the afternoon with food in tow. She'd found Jenny quiet and withdrawn, no matter what conversation she started, Jenny just kept to simple replies. She wasn't sure what had happened in the time she'd been away, one thing she did know it was beginning to annoy her. She sipped her wine again, watching Jenny push her meal around the plate. Coming to a decision Claire placed her glass down. “Mind telling me what's happened?”
Jenny's fork paused in its movement. “If I say nothing will you leave it?”
Claire put the last of the cheesecake in her mouth, swallowing. “No.”
Jenny threw down her fork. “I didn't think so.”
Claire wiped her mouth, placing the napkin down before lifting her glass again. “So?”
Jenny pushed her plate away, sitting back, debating if she really wanted to get into this, she knew what it would lead too. Sighing, she took a drink. “Grieves came to see me today, brought that.” She motioned to the file on the coffee table.
Claire brow frowned for a second as she tried to place the name, then it came to her, she grimaced. “The cop! Jesus can't they just leave you alone. I hope to god you told him to fuck off.”
Jenny exhaled. Here we go . “I told him no.”
Claire shifted, reaching behind the chair for her bag, pulling out her cigarettes, lighting one right up.
Bud sniffed the air then sneezed.
Jenny tried to keep her temper. “Can't you smoke outside?”
Claire glared, then snubbed the cigarette out on the plate, Jenny winched in disgust.
“Fine.... Well? What did he say and how did he know you were back here?”
“Nothing, he left the file behind. I would imagine Jane told him.”
Claire didn't miss the fact she chose Jane and not Shannon as the messenger. It annoyed her. “I know you. You're thinking about it.”
“No,” Jenny looked down, knowing her eyes would give the truth away.
“Good. Throw it in the damn trash. Maybe then they'd leave you alone. Get into their heads it's a waste of time.”
Jenny couldn't help the flinch inside, she knew she shouldn't bite, her eyes came up slowly.
Claire realized her mistake, the glass paused at her lips. “I …. I didn't mean that the way you think.”
“I know exactly what you meant. You've always hated what I can do.”
Claire kept her face neutral, sipping her wine, before placing it done. “Do you really want to go over this again? You've known all along right from the start of us what I thought of ….... well........ well.” she couldn't find the word.
“Psychic ability Claire. It isn't a swear word.”
“I know that. Damn it Jenny you've agreed with me this last year that it's brought nothing but trouble into your life, it's why you've tried so hard to stop it.”
Jenny slapped her palm down on the table, making the cutlery, glasses and Claire jump. “I can't stop it. It's part of who I am. Do you have any idea, any! How hard it is to suppress it. I can't just make it go away. It's taken me months to build walls strong enough to even keep the whispers out. “
Claire swallowed. “I know. I do know. But look how well you've been on it. Remember how I found you in Paris , well you looked like a lunatic.........” the word tailed off.
Jenny gritted her teeth. “Say it.”
“I'm sorry. I'm only saying what I saw, Are you denying you were that far gone?”
Jenny looked away. “No.” Even the memory of how lost and out of control she'd been made her shiver.
“Then why even think of going back to that?” Claire exhaled in frustration. “You told me you couldn't do it anymore. Were you lying?”
“I wasn't lying...... but I'm not so sure I chose the right path.”
Claire scoffed. “It didn't look to me like you had a choice in any of it. This seeing things is destroying you, it still is. Look at you. You weren't like this at my home in Paris . Jenny can't you see what even thinking about helping is doing to you again?”
Jenny ignored her, her gaze was fixed across the room to Bud in the corner, she could see the rippling of anxiety on his coat. She called him over, surprised when he didn't move at once. It suddenly became clear to her exactly what she'd been doing this last year, pushing everything and everyone away, shutting them out. She beckoned him again, almost crying in relief when he rose and came to her straight away, tail wagging, licking at her hand.
Claire looked at the action in slight disgust. Dogs to her belonged outside in the yard. “Jenny comes back to Paris with me.”
Jenny closed her eyes, hugging Bud to her more, feeling that heat of love he gave, letting it warm the coldness inside. “I can't do that Claire I'm sorry.”
Claire shook her head sadly. “You're going to help them again aren't you? And please don't lie.”
Jenny sat straight, keeping her hand moving through Bud's fur. “I don't know.”
Claire gave a wry laugh. “Oh yes you are.” she sat forward, taking Jenny's hand in hers, she could feel it, she was losing her again to this damn curse. “I thought some part of you wanted a normal life.”
Jenny met the gaze. “Maybe I wasn't meant to have a normal life, have you ever looked at it this way, seeing what I can do as a gift not a curse.”
Claire stiffened, pulling her hand free.
Jenny knew right away what had happened. “I didn't read your mind. I just know you enough that's how you see the things I do.”
Claire instantly lit a cigarette. “This is what destroyed us.”
Jenny laughed bitterly. “No Claire what destroyed us was me having to explain day after day that I hadn't read your mind or read your emotions. Or trying to explain to you I just saw a ten year old boy killed. You couldn't handle it.”
She blew smoke. “I was supportive as much as I could be, I didn't understand it okay, I still don't. I just felt so damn threatened.”
Jenny blinked. “I threatened you?”
Claire looked across seeing the surprise. “Oh come on don't tell me you never realize that. Jesus Jenny I was on guard nearly every day with you. You sense so damn much, didn't it occur to you I didn't want to talk about a shitty day I had, just because you sensed it. I wanted to come home and forget, make love to you and think of nothing but you.”
Jenny shifted uncomfortably.
Claire took a long drag on the cigarette. “Was it so bad living with me?”
Jenny sighed. “No. What was hard was you not believing in me one bit.”
A muscle flinched in Claire's cheek. “And I suppose Saint Shannon did?”
Jenny's eyes flared. “She at least kept an open mind. With you I was always fighting and explaining. That's what destroyed us, because I was tired of fighting.”
“I'm the one that left as I seem to remember.”
“Yes. Because you were tired of it too and I can't say I blamed you when you finally did leave.”
Claire snubbed out her cigarette, leaning across again taking Jenny's hand. “I made a mistake.”
Jenny shook her head. “No you didn't.”
Claire pulled her hand closer. “Yes I did Jen. I knew I had the day I saw you in Paris .”
Jenny couldn't help it she laughed.
Claire stiffened, hurt.
Jenny quickly held on to her hand as she tried to withdraw it. “I'm sorry. That just sounded so cliché, something out of a romance novel.”
Claire didn't see the humor in it. “I'm glad to amuse.”
“Claire please. I'm sorry and you didn't make a mistake in leaving me. We....... we weren't meant to be together forever.”
This time Claire snorted. “Now that is a cliché Jenny. Is there such a thing in modern life that is forever?”
Jenny smiled. “I'd hope there is.”
Claire saw the sadness return and something else, wistfulness. She swallowed, needing to know something. “Jen.” she waited till she had her attention before continuing. “We're not ever going to have a second chance are we?”
Jenny shook her head, tears threatening to spill. “No.”
Claire squeezed her hand before letting it go. “Well I'm not giving up.”
Jenny felt the loss immediately. “Is it wrong of me to just want you as a friend? Is that too much to ask?”
Claire rose, lifting her bag from the back of chair, slipping on her jacket. “I'm still your friend Jenny, no matter what and I'm not going to give up on us. But for now I'm going to cut my losses and withdraw from the field of battle. I'll stop by tomorrow.” she ducked laying a kiss on Jenny's cheek.
Jenny couldn't stop the tears this time as she watched Claire walk from her house. Bud nudged at her leg, relieved to be back in his mistress's life. He could feel the change in her, she was no longer cold, the old heat and sense was there from before. He buried himself against her.
She smiled down at him, then her eyes slipped closed and slowly she began lowering the cage surrounding her gift. She felt it, it was like a bird set free, tingling and running through every vein and pore, soaring, flying. It gave her such a feeling of giddiness she nearly laughed as a sense of herself returned. Yes it brought back all the fears but at the same time gave her the feeling of belonging and peace. The fears she locked away again to face another day. When her eyes opened they were fixed on the file on the table, she rose, lifting it, sitting in the rocker by the window, tucking her hair behind her ear as she began to read, an acceptance fell around her like a cloak, this was what she was born for.
“You wanted to see me?”
Grieves nodded to the chair, as Shannon poked her head around the door. “I just got the report through from forensic. It's the same guy.”
Shannon sat, lifting the file as it was passed across. “We thought as much.” she opened it quickly reading it over.
“Were putting out an alert too all warehouse owners. There's roughly two thousand one way or the other. We've included storage sites.” he watched her carefully. “He's escalating.”
Shannon nodded, finishing the report, there was nothing new, same M.O same pattern made, same explosives and nothing new on DNA or the why. Something niggled at her from earlier, just as quickly as the thought came it was gone. “I agree. But I don't know why.”
Grieves sat back, steeling himself for what he knew what was to come. “So you agree we're behind on this one?”
She shifted. “We know as much as possible. It's not as if he's telling us anything yet concerning demands.”
Grieves grunted. “It isn't going to be long before someone is killed.”
“I know.” she suddenly had a bad feeling.
“I've decided to bring someone in on the case.”
Her gut clenched. She met his eyes and without him saying she knew who he meant. “ Newton ?”
He actually felt bad as he watched her pale. “Is it going to be a problem Shannon ?”
She didn't think she'd heard him use her first before, it threw her for a moment, she squared her shoulders, meeting his concerned gaze. “No sir.”
“Good. Miss Newton only agreed to help on this case if it didn't cause any concern to you.”
Shannon swallowed hard, she wanted to yell it caused more than concern. But she was a cop, there was an arsonist out there and potential killer as much as she hated this, she knew if anyone could help catch the killer Jenny could. This time she'd stick to the case. But she couldn't help but feel slight concern for Jenny. “Does she want protection again?”
He hid his surprise. “Actually she didn't mention it. I'll make sure she's protected if that what she wants.”
Shannon just managed to keep the crack from her voice. “I'd appreciate it if you assigned someone else to that sir.”
He gave a curt nod. “I approached her yesterday, she's back at her home on the island. She wishes to remain there and work the case as before. I sent all relevant files and any evidence down to her this morning. She'll communicate as and when she has any leads. Up until then you and Emerson will still lead the main investigation, but keeping Newton in the loop. I don't care how you do it…. If you want Emerson to be the go-between, that's fine.”
Shannon took a breath. “I'll keep her in the loop. As I said it won't be a problem.”
Grieves gave a nod, even though already he knew it was a problem. If he could do this any other way he would have, but right now they needed every piece of help they could get and for some reason he felt time was running out. “Good...” he cleared his throat, getting back to the business at hand. “So, where are we on the employees and owners of the warehouses?”
Glad of something she could keep her mind on Shannon began telling him exactly where they were, the turmoil inside could wait.
Jenny moved the picture of the first fire to the top of the wall, placing underneath the main fire report and the diagram of the warehouse its self. She did the same to the following two fires. Stepping back she let her gaze go over each of them. This was a tough one, there was no immediate clue she could see as to what this arsonist wanted. She turned, lifting her soda taking a sip as she printed out the final police and fire report, reading it as soon as it was done. She looked over the small items on the desk in evidence bags, tying her hair up into a pony tail she sat and began her work.
Shannon looked up as Jane sat opposite at her desk. “Hi.”
Jane studied her partner, noting the lines around her face; she gave a slight guilty smile. “Hi. Grieves told you then?”
Shannon just pulled open the drawer, taking her gun out. “You told him she was here didn't you?” she rose clipping the gun to her belt.
“Sorry yea. You okay with her helping?” She winced. Stupid question dumbass.
Shannon paused, looking across. “I'll survive. Anyway I'm logging out for today. I've got to pick my mother up in an hour I need to go back and change. You going to be okay?”
Jane sat back. “Sure. I'll call if anything comes up. Shopping with your mother eh?” she bit her lip.
Shannon rolled her eyes. “Don't start, I've been avoiding it. If I don't go this time she'll set my father on me. ” she added a smile.
Jane suddenly saw how tired she was, how dull her eyes were. She leant forward. “ Shannon . I'll deal with all the stuff with Jenny okay. You don't have..........” she stopped as Shannon eyes locked on her.
“I'll handle it. It's just another case. Look, don't stay here all day, go take a few hours this afternoon, get some rest, we're both wound tight on this one. Okay? We can't do anything until the fire investigator report comes in.”
Jane forced a smile. “Sure boss.” this wasn't going to be easy for any of them.
With a nod Shannon headed out of the precinct for home.
Jenny stretched her back, hearing the resounding pop in relief, she still hated it when she hunched. She looked at her watch surprised to discover three hours had passed. She placed the pencil done looking at her notes, there was very little there. This guy was either very good at hiding himself or he was very lucky. Yawning she rose, moving through the house to the kitchen, clicking on the kettle, smiling as she watched Bud run past outside, he was very glad to be home. Sighing, she had to admit so was she. The kettle clicked and she quickly made herself a cup of tea, moving with it to the rocking chair. She wasn't hungry yet but she knew she'd have to eat soon, that was one of the things that went first when she'd left a year ago, appetite, she looked down at herself, she really couldn't afford the weight she'd lost, she have to get back into swimming. She looked out of the window, smiling without knowing it, as her eyes fell on the sea, it was a beautiful day, calming.
She blinked, suddenly sitting forward, she wasn't afraid of the outside anymore, there wasn't one part of her that argued about the dangers, the fear of wanting to be outside, be amongst others. When did that happen? It felt strange to have this part mended, to be part of the world again, that her solitude was a choice and not a demand. Her eyes fell, sad, she knew when it had started, she swallowed. A year ago, everything had started a year ago, all the healing, all the reawakening and it was because of one person. Her eyes slid closed to the other memories, ones she didn't want to face. She didn't know what to do about any of it, she knew she shouldn't have left, but she couldn't have stayed, she'd become nothing, she had to fix herself before she could fix anything else.
Her eyes opened, a determination set on her face, suddenly she wanted it to be fixed. She placed the untouched tea down on the coffee table, rising with purpose in her step, grabbing her jacket from the rack, lifting Bud's lead, putting on her sunglasses as she called him to her as she stepped outside, locking the door. He came bounding over, his fur wet from the sea, his jowls smiling as he ran.
“Hey boy. How about a walk?”
If a dog could show surprise this one did, but he didn't say no, he sat, waiting for the lead to be attached. There was something different about his mistress, something he'd never felt before, something he decided he liked the feel of. He barked, jumping up as the lead was attached, pulling her towards the beach.
Laughing, she rubbed his neck, then taking a deep breath she allowed him to pull her free from the yard and head out.
Anne Rhimes looked across at her daughter for the third time, this time she frowned, she knew Shannon hated shopping but this was getting ridiculous, her daughter was miles away. Deciding to test that theory she picked out a little black dress with side slips. “I think Gary would look stunning in this at the reception. What do you think?” no response but a grunt came from Shannon . Anne reached across picking out a bright pink leather bag. “How about this for his honeymoon? I'm sure Mary will love the color?”
Anne shook her head, taking out another garment from the rack, ignoring the woman not far from them who had overheard the whole conversation in shock. “What about a Barneys outfit? You of course could just turn up in your tinker bell outfit.”
Some part of tinker bell registered, Shannon turned. “What!?” her eyes fell to the garment. “Who the hell's wearing those?”
Anne smiled at the woman, turning the smile to her daughter. “Oh you're back with me are you? How nice.”
Shannon was about to argue, when she realized she'd been miles away. “Sorry.”
Anne placed the garments back on the rack, moving to sit next to her daughter. “What's bothering you? Ever since you arrived this morning at the house you've been elsewhere.”
Shannon shifted, her eyes low. “Just this case mom.”
Anne studied her, sometimes her daughter looked about seventeen again. “Well I'm not buying that. But I will leave it for now. Could you at least help me pick out a suit for your brother that he isn't going to hate.”
Shannon was relieved at the get out card, she rose. “No worries, he'll be wearing his fire uniform for the ceremony anyway, so anything casual he'll agree with.” With that she strided away, going and picking out the clothes she knew her brother wasn't going to have an aneurysm over.
Anne watched, trying to figure out what was bothering her, but as always Shannon hid her feelings well. She sighed rising, going in search for T- shirts for her husband while she was there.
Jenny sat looking out over the bay, she couldn't believe how far she'd walked, she was on the far side of the island now, it wasn't that much different to her side of it, but it was somewhere she hadn't been in a very long time. She'd more than enjoyed the walk and now she just sat thinking and watching the world pass by. The solitude of the moment of course meant her brain needed something to do, so it had decided to go over the reports and fire sheets. Jenny had opened herself to the evidence and had gotten very little, only the image of fire, and ecstasy. She hadn't liked either. The body had a natural fear of this element and it was hard to keep the essence of the power of the flame separate from trying to figure out who was using it. She sighed, tilting her head back, welcoming the warmth on her skin, if she kept this up she was going to start having to wear sun block, for some reason that thought made her laugh.
Bud looked up from the bit of seaweed at the sound, he ran quickly over.
She rubbed his face with both hands. “No I'm not going insane again. I just realized I'm outside and could get sunburn.” she laughed again.
Bud blinked, sometimes humans were just plain strange, with a bark of neither agreement or disagreement he headed back to see what was hiding under the seaweed. He was in his element here, he hadn't liked the kennels he'd been placed in when his mistress went away and he hadn't liked the foreign place much either she'd taken him too, the dogs were stuck up. He snorted, digging at the seaweed again, he yelped as he reached his prize chasing after the scurrying crab in glee.
Jenny laughed at his antics, she was sure if he'd been human he would have worn a t shirt which said. “I love long walks on the beach and poking dead things with my paw.” she chuckled, closing her eyes, inhaling the sea air again, letting it seep into her lungs, fill her senses, all of them. There was a joy inside her, suddenly she felt guilty for having that joy as her mind turned to Shannon, she'd looked so ill, so...... . She stopped the thoughts, knowing they were going to drive her crazy. She needed something to focus on until she was ready to face the detective again. Right now she was a coward, a coward because she really didn't want to face the fact she'd screwed things up so badly there might be no going back.
Leaning back onto her elbows she kicked her shoes off and let her toes dip into the warm sand, closing her eyes as she opened her sense. It was like liquid warmth all the things she felt, the life, the trace of people, the sea. She opened her sense a little further taking her breathing down a notch as the after waves of the past hit her, the fishing boats, the nets laid out along the shore, the storms which battered the eroded wooden posts on the shoreline. She stayed there feeling the freedom of the sea, its tempest, its calms. She stayed with the calm for a long while letting it bath her. Slowly she withdrew, leaving the past behind, coming to the future, for one brief moment she stiffened.
“Shannon.” a whisper sounded in the essence of her mind.
She sat straight, her eyes springing open, her head twisting as she searched up and down the beach, she could have sworn she felt Shannon 's warmth, her essence. She calmed her breathing when she saw Shannon was nowhere to be seen. Rising, trying not to admit how rattled she was she picked up her shoes, wiping the sand from her hand as she whistled for Bud. Lazily they both made their way back along the beach. While all the time Jenny kept what she'd felt right out of her mind and body.
Half way back along the beach her mind had returned to the case, knowing there really was only one thing left to do. She pulled her cell phone free, hitting speed dial, swallowing nervously. The phone answered.
Jenny took a deep breath. “Jane. Hi. It's Jenny.” For a moment only silence was her answer.
Jenny swallowed her fear. “I need to go to the fire scenes. I …. I don't want to go on my own and......” She kicked at the sand at her feet. “I wondered if you could come with me?”
Jane put down the sandwich she was about to bite into. “Me?”
“Yea. I don't think I.... well.” she moved the phone away from her mouth, taking a breath and swearing at herself to get a grip. “I don't think calling Shannon would be a good idea and I need to see those scenes…. So if you can't do it can you arrange someone you trust and get them to take me?” She fell silent well aware she sounded desperate. She waited, more than ready to hear the phone being put down on her.
“I'll take you. Do you want to visit them all? I can arrange a safe hotel?”
Jenny exhaled. “Yes all of them. I won't need the hotel, but thank you. I can stay at Claire's.”
Jane glared at the phone. “I'm sure you can....” she bit back the rest. “I'll pick you up at the dock first boat out. That's 10 am isn't it?”
Jenny didn't miss the first comment. She exhaled, rubbing at her neck. God her life was complicated. “That's fine.”
“Right see you there.”
“Thank you.” Jenny didn't get an answer as the phone was hung up. She slid the cell back into her pocket, continuing slowly down the rest of the beach, her home was already in sight. She turned her head, welcoming the breeze, pulling back a stray hair as it came loose. The sun was low now, low enough for her to take her sun glasses off, so she did. She stopped, turning fully to the sight, it was beautiful, the orange of the sun was streaking itself in amongst the dusk as if in one last desperate attempt to stay in the sky. As she stood there she wished Shannon was standing next to her.
Shannon opened the door, throwing her keys onto the side bureau, pulling off her light jacket, she rolled her neck. God, shopping was a bitch and shopping with mothers was an even bigger pain in the ass. As she moved to the ice box she knew that wasn't strictly true. What had gotten to her was her mother's interrogation, oh it was subtle, but still she'd spent most of the afternoon informing and convincing her dear parental unit she was okay and nothing was wrong. Of course her mother didn't believe one word of it.
Opening the ice box she pulled out a beer, pssssting the top off on the opener, drinking while she walked across the living room to the bay windows. The bottle paused at her mouth, her eyes glowing in reflection to what she saw, the sunset was magnificent, yellows and reds hung on the edge of night clouds, the colors and grandeur of it transfixed her, she forgot about being angry, she forgot about shopping, in fact for a few moments she forgot everything, then she wanted, truly wanted something so much it made her eyes brim, suddenly she felt it, the touch of breeze on the hairs on her arm, she looked down, it felt so much like..... Knowing what and who it felt like broke the spell. She angrily turned, swigging from the bottle until it was empty, slamming it down on the coffee table and headed into her bedroom, knowing sleep tonight wasn't going to bring the oblivion she craved. She grabbed her gym bag from the wardrobe and headed out, grabbing her keys before she left, the door slamming in her wake.
Marcus looked sideways at her, and then returned his gaze to the cinema screen, wondering if it was possible for Angelina Jolie to get any thinner without disappearing under the hat she was wearing in? He frowned looking down at his ticket, ‘The Changeling.' He still wasn't sure if he liked this movie or not.
Jane fidgeted again.
“Are you sitting on ants?” he whispered out the corner of his mouth.
Jane fidgeted again. “No.”
He looked at her, smiling at the expression on her face, sometimes she was just so damn cute. His smile vanished when brown eyes locked on him. “Why are you fidgeting so damn much? If you don't like the movie we can leave.”
Jane sat up then down again, giving a look of apology to the man sitting next to her as her seat squeaked. She leaned across to Marcus. “Actually, yea can we go.”
He was surprised it had been her idea for this movie. “Okay sure.” he rose, following her through the cinema until both of them were outside again, he looked at her in concern. “What's up?”
Jane always thought that straight to the point was the best policy, no bull shitting, so she followed her code, in one long gush of air she began. “I'm taking Jenny to the fire sights tomorrow. Shannon doesn't know and I don't know what the hell to do about it? And I was scared shitless of telling you I was taking her because I know she fucking well hurt you by not telling you she was back in the first place and I mean Jesus she could have asked you on this one too and I feel like such.................” a hand over her mouth shut her up.
“Breath please.” Marcus smiled, removing his hand.
Jane took a long deep breath. “Are you pissed at me for not telling you sooner or for taking her?”
He smiled again, shaking his head. “No. If I'm going to be pissed at someone that would be Jenny. Besides she couldn't really have asked me to view the sights of the fires, they're police controlled. So we'd need permission from you or Shannon anyway, she just went to the source.”
Jane exhaled in relief. “Yea.”
He nudged her. “Still Buddies?” as soon as he said it he felt a regret that they were just Buddies.
Jane nudged him back harder, so that he momentarily lost his balance. “Buddies.”
He shook his head laughing. “Okay cinema is a dud, so how about foooooooooooooooooood.”
She didn't really have to think about, she liked his company, she nodded to the MacDonald's on the far side of the car park. “Sure.”
They starting walking, Jane fell into easy step with him. Her eyes gave him the once over, she couldn't help it she found him attractive, the more time she spent with him the more she wanted. Sighing she shook her thoughts clear returning to less dangerous ground. “You really okay with me taking her tomorrow?”
He shrugged, pausing to open the Macdonald door for her. “Sure. I said before she knows where I am.”
Jane stepped through but not before she caught that wishful look in his eyes, and for some reason this time it really pissed her off, however the next words which came from behind her made her forget those feelings.
“I don't envy you telling Shannon though.”
She stopped so suddenly he bumped into her. He laughed at the look on her face. “Jane you have to tell her.”
She stepped out the way of passing mother and two kids in tow. “I was hoping the Captain would after I'd left.”
Marcus snorted. “Coward.”
“Damn right I am, she's armed.”
He grinned. “Don't I know it.”
They sat down in a booth, waiting until the main line of customers slowed down.
Marcus grinned faltered. “You have to be the one to tell her Jane. I don't think she'd see it as anything else but a betrayal if you didn't. Either that or you're taking sides. She knows Jenny working on the case and she's as much said to you she wants you to handle it. But she's still gonna feel hurt if she hears it from the Captain and not you.”
“Aw shit that's what I was thinking, I'd hoped I was wrong.”
He sadly shook his head.
Jane let her head fall back to the point it bumped the back of the booth. “I'll call her.” she twitched a smile. “Why do you think she came back?”
Marcus mouth paused on the end of the straw he was about to blow the paper off. “It's her home.” he didn't feel much like playing anymore he dropped the straw onto the table. “She left........ Well she left because.....” he paused, running his hand through his short brown hair. “Hell I thought I knew why she left, but even I'm not so sure anymore. Especially as she came back with Claire.” his jaw tightened.
Jane looked out of the window, noticing the light summer rain. “I thought I knew her too..... Yea know. That she and the boss were ….... well …....... you know.” her eyes came back to him.
He smiled. “Yea I know. So did I.”
Jane looked down playing with the straw on the table top. “After Shannon got....” she exhaled noisily. “….after she was okay after the surgery. I thought Jenny would have wanted to see for herself or at least stay with her.”
Marcus looked away. “She already knew Shannon was okay Jane. The same way she knew Shannon had died.” he swallowed hard this time. He hated those memories, feeling Jenny's pain as he held her, while Shannon fought for her life and lost. “I think that's why she left.”
Jane looked to him in question.
His eyes came back to her filled with pain and sadness. “Jenny felt Shannon 's Essence stop.” he wished he could make her understand what that meant exactly.
Jane blinked, trying to understand, it was one thing to see Jenny and Marcus doing their spooky shit and watching in amazement. another to believe that Jenny could feel everything around her enough to feel Shannon , just didn't make sense and she didn't think she ever could make any sense of it, it came down to faith. She exhaled, shaking her head mentally, faith, yea right. Her gaze came back around to him, one thing she did understand was the pain she saw in the eyes opposite her, she didn't like it. She reached across surprising him by taking his hand. She squeezed it, giving a smile. “I want.....”
His eyebrows rose, swallowing at the seriousness in the hazel eyes watching him. “You want?” he swallowed again, feeling the warmth of her hand was making it very hard not to cheat and feel what she wanted, but he didn't
Jane nodded. “Ahuh. I want.”
This time he swallowed till his Adams apple bobbed, his stomach tightened. “Um?”
She leant forward, lowering her voice, caressing the back of his hand with her thumb. Her voice hushed. “I really want a happy meal.”
He blinked, it took all of nine seconds for his brain to register exactly what Jane had just said.
She grinned impishly at him, rising pulling out her wallet. “Want one?”
Marcus couldn't help it, he burst right out into a full belly laugh till the point people stared.
Jane grinned as Marcus pulled away in his car, she watched until the tail lights rounded the corner. She had a good time with him, when he wasn't being a first rate asshole he was the most charming man she'd met in a long time. She knew she shouldn't have teased him but lately both of them had stepped in to the territory of teasing. She grinned again, well, she couldn't deny she liked that too. Turning she took the three steps to her apartment entrance in one leap, yes it felt good to be wanted and she was nearly sure Marcus was interested, the only thing that stood in the way was Jenny and his feelings. Her smile froze, it always did when she thought of those two and what they had and have. She unlocked the door, stepping into the hallway, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator, needing to run off some of the tension she was feeling and it wasn't only just a sexual one. She was finding herself more and more jealous of Jenny, she told herself it was absurd, Jenny had made it completely clear to Marcus they were nothing more than friends, it still didn't stop Marcus from getting that misty, puppy look when he talked or thought of her.
She increased her speed up the stairs, welcoming the burn to her lungs as she rounded her floor, pushing open the fire door. Why couldn't something be simple for once. As she opened her door to her apartment she knew she'd have to make a phone call that was going to complicate her life more, she didn't relish it. She pulled her cell free as she pulled her jacket off.
It answered. “Hi Jane. What's up?”
Jane took a long breath, sitting. “I'm taking Jenny to the fire sights tomorrow, she phoned and asked me.”
Shannon inhaled sharply, sitting up from the reps she was doing, wiping at the thin line of sweat which ran down her temple. “Okay.”
Jane could hear the deep breathing. “If you want me to assign someone else I will?”
Shannon grabbed the towel, standing, rubbing the back of her neck. “No. she needs to feel safe. There isn't a problem. What time are you picking her up?”
Jane knew damn well there was a problem by the tone Shannon was using. She sat back, suddenly exhausted. “Ten at the dock.”
Shannon nodded, although she knew Jane couldn't see it. “How many she seeing?” she opened her water, drinking half of it down.
“All of them.”
Shannon swallowed the last in her mouth. “That means she'll have to stay on the mainland, have you arranged a safe place for her?”
Jane's eyes slipped closed, hating the next part. “Ah.... no. She …. Well she said she can stay with Miss Randell.”
Shannon crushed the plastic bottle in her hand, seeing what she was doing she tossed it into her bag, shoving the towel in after it, zipping it closed, holding the phone under her chin while she pulled on her sweat top. “Then I guess she'll tell you if she needs anything else.”
“Yea.” Jane rubbed her eyes. “I'll do the fire scenes in order.” she paused waiting, but all she heard was breathing. “… You know I'm not comfortable with all this spooky shit boss.”
Shannon grabbed up her bag, walking from the gym, nudging the glass door open with her shoulder. “Just deal with it. What she does works.”
Jane flinched at the tone. “Sure. I was just saying.........” she felt like she was betraying her. This sucked. “I'm sorry Shannon .”
Shannon tossed the bag into the back of her car, slamming the top down, stopping to lean against her car, her head bowed. Sighing, she didn't know why she was angry, it's what she'd wanted, Jane to handle everything close to the psychic. She turned, unlocking the driver's door, pulling it open. “No need to be sorry. Just protect her. Keep me updated, night.”
Before Jane could answer the cell clicked, she threw it onto the sofa in disgust. She wanted to slap Jenny silly even after everything Shannon still wanted to protect her, Jenny did not deserve any of it and tomorrow she decided she was going to let Jenny know exactly what she thought of her, case or no case.
Jenny loved the feel of the morning breeze on her face as she stood on the deck of the ferry. She'd chosen an area with few people in, her new found freedom still had cracks in it, ones that appeared when she starting feeling the closeness of others and the old fears rose of who they were and were they out to get her. As much as that fear was still there she tried not to let it ruin the feeling of pleasure at being out.
Bud nudged her leg, looking up, the sea breeze making him sneeze occasionally. Jenny lent down enough to pat his head, he “arffeffed.”
She turned her attention to where he was looking, seeing the figure of Jane standing on the dock. She took a long steadying breath and for a moment she was disappointed Shannon wasn't there, she knew Jane would have had to have told her. She waved back as Jane waved at her. Moving away from the railing she headed down to the lower deck as the ferry pulled into the dock.
Jane took in a long lung of air pushing her anger from the night before away. For one thing she didn't want to screw up Jenny helping on the investigation and for another she got a feeling if she upset Jenny in anyway Shannon was still gonna shoot her. She watched Jenny make her way along the ferry and for a moment she actually saw how much it took the psychic to do so. She was turning into one hell of an actress in hiding it, but she could tell by the way Bud kept close, he knew it too. She didn't want to admit it but she still cared enough about Jenny to want her safe and out of harm, including knowing she was okay. She couldn't help but answer the smile directed at her as Jenny stepped off the ferry onto the keys.
“Hi.” Jane held out her hand for the bag Jenny was carrying. “I'll put it in the trunk.” she grinned down at the dog. “Hi ya fur ball how you been?”
His answer was to offer a paw. Jane laughed taking it, ruffling his fur before turning to lead the way back to the car.
Jenny followed, well aware Jane was taking quick peeks back at her, she was actually glad she wasn't the only one who was nervous. Reaching the car, Jenny opened the back door letting Bud jump in, she chose the front seat whether it was offered or not.
Jane came around getting into the driver's side, finding herself nervous as she clicked the seat belt into place. “So... um?”
Jenny smiled. “How have you been Jane?”
Jane resisted the urge to let her anger out, instead she steeled herself to be polite and not make this day any worse than it was going to be. “Not bad. You?” loaded question number one for the day Jane.
Jenny could feel the tension rolling off Jane in waves. “I've been okay.”
Jane fingers tapped on the steering wheel, waiting for more information, when none was forth coming she started the car. “I guess we get down to business then.”
Jenny nodded, turning her gaze out the window, swallowing the lump in her throat. This was going to be so hard, all she wanted to do was ask how Shannon was, but she knew as soon as she saw Jane things weren't going to be like before.
Jane made it easily through the morning traffic, reaching their first designation in less than half an hour. The whole time the silence in the car hung like an anvil. She was aware of Bud looking at each of them in turn, with a question look on his face, until finally he gave up and fell asleep.
“We're here.” Jane slowed and turned the car towards the warehouses.
Jenny took in the area, opening her sense slightly, she didn't pick up anything, concentrating she looked passed the warehouses to where she knew the arsonist had stood. When the car stopped she was already undoing her seatbelt, twisting around to Bud. “I need you to stay here and not eat the car.”
He gave an affronted look, blinking innocent deep brown eyes. Jenny shook her head, not falling for it. “I mean it. No chewing.”
Sighing heavily he lay back down, his mischievous eyes shifting to the left, fixing on a juicy looking armrest, he licked his chops, sighing even deeper.
Jane stepped free of the car, taking a quick check of the area before moving to Jenny's side and opening the door. Jenny smiled her thanks, moving away from her.
Jane frowned. “Um Jenny. The fire was over there.”
Jenny just kept walking.
Jane muttered, following. “You know the big black burnt area with the roof gone.”
Jenny heard it, barely controlling her laugh before continuing towards the elevated area, she really did like Jane. She turned flashing a smile. “I know.”
Jane exhaled. 'Great, more spooky shit.' Shaking her head she followed, knowing to keep some distance. When Jenny stopped she stopped, finding herself watching intrigued as Jenny went statue still.
The psychic took in a long even breath, letting her walls slowly down, kneeling, she closed her eyes searching in her mind. Yes he had stood here, he watched, he breathed the fire. She concentrated harder, rising, turning to face the warehouse and she saw it in all its glory, ablaze, shooting streaks of flame into the sky, burning, consuming, crackling. She could smell the ash in the air, the acid aftermath of flame, feel the heat on her face even from this distance. It, she frowned, no, he was all consuming, the feeling made her shiver. He was totally focused on the fire till the point she couldn't separate which was which and who was who. She extended her senses a little more till the point she could feel the essence of nature sparking and burning around her, it was like the fire was a shield she couldn't get through. It started to frustrate her she couldn't find a way through it, she slowly began to withdraw, distancing her own essence from the entwining flames, bringing the present reality back.
Jane turned her head trying to see what Jenny was looking at so intensely, seeing nothing she turned her attention back only to find Jenny not standing on the ridge anymore. She jolted, breaking into a run. “hey.” she stopped at the rise looking down, exhaling in relief as her eyes fell on Jenny kneeling and touching the soil. “Jesus don't do that.”
Jenny looked up her face serious, showing the strain of looking into the past. “Sorry. He left this way.” she rose pointing out towards the wasteland to the east, then rubbed her hands together to wipe them of the soil. “He just walked away when he saw the fire department come. He wasn't scared or hurried he did it all in his own time. Just like when he set the fire.”
Jane nodded, walking down the incline. “Yea. We thought so too. If you keep walking about half a mile you hit the road. Forensic didn't find any signs of a parked car, but not surprising considering the route is used daily.”
Jenny turned her head, looking back towards the warehouse. “He loves the flames Jane.”
The way she said it made Jane shiver, lighting a foreboding in her gut. “Another.... psycho?”
Jenny head snapped around, getting hit by the huge wave of fear, knowing if wasn't for herself but for... she shook her head clear, swallowing. “I don't know yet. Maybe?”
Jane kicked out at a rock. “Well shit.”
Jenny looked back at the warehouse. “Can we go inside?”
Nodding, Jane fell into step with the psychic. “Sure, forensic have finished.”
Jenny wasn't listening she was already focusing. She followed the way he did, so confident, so sure. Stepping through the burnt doorway she ducked under a fallen steel beam, stepping over burnt debris. She turned her gaze, seeing the area where furniture once stood, the white outline the only reminder, knowing they'd been removed.
Jane hung back at the doorway, just watching, her arms crossed.
As Jenny neared the center she could see where the most devastation had been, like in the report a circle of black charcoal and twisted metal and wood lay approximately fifteen foot in diameter around her. She walked through it grimacing as the wet soil and soot covered her pumps, she shook out a foot to dislodge the worst. Going back to concentrating, she knew the heat from the blaze would have been astronomical. She also knew from the report he'd used an accelerator of petroleum jelly impregnated with lighter fluid, simply painting it where he wanted the fire to go. She stopped, looking at the flash point, noticing the concrete floor was actually chipped, she expected a bigger crater, she knew this was where the ignition source had been, this arsonist was clever, he'd made the detonator out of a model car remote control, using a steel barrel attached to the mechanize that when ignited caused it to turn and crack the small vile of Nitro and spark enough to ignite the Benxium, thus starting the flash point, then the fire would simple follow the accelerator where he wanted.
She looked up into the claw like steel bent and twisted almost like fingers, forming a strange canopy over their heads. Her gaze went back to the huge blacken area, her eyes stopping on the scorched concrete of the source. This part wasn't as important to him as she would have thought. Something was missing, a reason, she couldn't feel one, there wasn't one residue of anger, of power, of revenge, there was nothing. It was if he was simple doing a day to day thing with no emotion involved other then wanting perfection. Yet, out on the ridge she'd felt his emotions, but they were fully focused on the flames, almost like ecstasy. That thought made her swallow, she hated feeling sexual emotions. She made herself refocus her attention. Jenny slowly turned to Jane. “How did he get though the security door? It wasn't in the report?”
“I know, forensic are having a hard time finding out. No code and no security card were entered to get in, they would have shown up at the main security office, everything is logged coming or going.....The main idea at the moment is he somehow cut the power to the key coder, it was so badly damaged in the fire they're having trouble finding a trace of anything.”
Jenny frowned, looking back at the flash point then to the distant towards the door. “It's nowhere near the fire?”
Jane inwardly smiled. “Nope. He used his accelerant on it, covered his tracks. Fire wipes a hell of lot of evidence. Clever shit isn't he.”
Jenny nodded. “Oh yea.” she took one last look around, before heading back towards Jane. “Can we go to the second?”
Jane nodded, stepping back letting her through first, then followed her back to the car.
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