Notes: Three-way prequel crossover between The Good Wife (Kalinda Sharma), Lost Girl (Bo Dennis) and Once Upon A Time (Emma Swan).
Just another broken-down building with cracks in the walls, and in a bad neighbourhood, too. A hallway reeking of fresh urine and mould. A shoddy wooden door with a standard lock, the likes of which can be picked in less than 10 seconds by a novice burglar, let alone by a professional investigator like Kalinda Sharma. But instead of picking the lock or turning away at the sight of banners indicating the flat as a crime scene, she chooses to knock, and waits. Only silence follows, trying her patience. Luckily, soon enough someone looks through the eyehole on the door and opens it cautiously.
A pair of brown eyes slide slowly over the knee-high boots, short pencil skirt and red leather jacket, and finally meet a black-eyed gaze.
It's hard to read any emotion into the greeting, but Bo Dennis knows the unexpected visitor well enough to recognise that she's glad to see her.
"How the hell did you find me?! Two years without so much as a phone call, and you manage to track me down in another city?"
It almost sounds like an accusation of sorts. The woman standing in the hallway takes it as a compliment instead.
"I guess you taught me too well," she shrugs with a smug smile and laughing eyes.
"Yeah, no kidding," the pretend anger in Bo's voice fades. "I must be slipping, too. Nobody's ever found me before."
Kalinda leans forward to emphasise her next words.
"I'm not nobody."
Understatement of the century.
Bo's dark auburn hair bounces in a tight ponytail as she shakes her head.
"Oh, you are most definitely not a nobody, I've always known that."
The two women exchange the kind of looks which speak of shared history, and the past no longer seems distant.
"Can I come in?"
It's not a question that requires consideration, yet Bo does seem to consider for a moment.
"Did you bring tequila?"
Before replying, Kalinda lifts a bottle in one hand, then a net holding fruit in the other.
"I even brought lime."
Bo twists her mouth in a sour pout.
"Ugh, you know me too well, Leela."
She relaxes her grip on the baseball bat she's been holding behind her back and steps away from the door to let Kalinda in.
One sweeping look of the flat is enough to clue Kalinda in as to Bo's recent activities - the familiar always-packed travel bag, a half-empty bottle of wine, a map of the city, a pocket knife and some cash, all laid on the table. The poster image of life on the run.
Yet Bo is wearing a fluffy robe that says 'relaxing at home' rather than 'ready to run at a moment's notice'. Kalinda can't help but smile. It's one of the qualities she likes most in Bo - making the best of any situation, even when it means having a party while the world is falling apart. Bo's voice brings her train of thought back to the reason for her visit.
"You must be in quite a shitstorm if you're trying so hard. Should I go look for my shovel?"
"No dead bodies today, but I do need a favour."
"That's too bad, I was hoping to meet your assface of a husband in the dead flesh. Or perhaps you'd like to arrange an introduction?"
Husband. The word evokes upleasant memories of overwhelming fear, frustration and helplessness. However, Bo's sentiment is touching.
"Sorry to disappoint, I don't think he'll find me anytime soon. The Leela he once knew doesn't legally exist anymore."
"What do you mean?"
"I took extra care to erase the paper trail. You're now looking at Kalinda Sharma."
"Sweet! So you're legit? Who did you have to bang to swing that deal?"
The joking remark makes Kalinda turn away in awkward silence. It doesn't go unnoticed by Bo.
"Oh, you did? Hey, I'm not one to judge. Tell me, who is Kalinda Sharma then?"
"An investigator working for the State Attorney's office. I use everything you taught me about being on the run and covering my tracks, only I'm on the other side now."
"Hiding in plain sight? Smart," Bo nods approvingly.
"I make connections. It's useful to have good connections."
"Is that what I am now, a good connection?"
It's another playful tease, but Kalinda suspects it reaveals sincere disappointment.
"No, no need to sweet-talk me, Kay. Look, I get it. Besides, I owe you. You know I'm always ready to bury the body with you. You've done the same for me..."
Bo makes a brief pause, and chills run down her spine as she remembers the cold November night, the guilt, the panic, the mud on the man's heavy boots; the matter-of-fact tone of Kalinda's instructions was the only reason she got trough the ordeal.
"So... What is it? Why did you find me?"
"It's about one of the suspects I've been investigating recently - a woman in her early twenties, no friends or family, no home, troubled past, apparently hiding something..."
"Sounds familiar, alright."
"Yeah," Kalinda presses her lips tightly, glad to hear it coming from Bo. "She's spent some time in juvi, but she doesn't seem to be the type to go robbing jewellery stores and shoot at security guards. She's just a lost girl who's got herself involved with the wrong people, and it won't be long before she ends up dead or in prison. Only someone like you and me can help her."
"What do you need me for? You're the one who's working for the State's Attorney's office and has connections."
"She needs some guidance, that's all, but she won't trust me. You can be more...persuasive. Look, when we met, I was a lot like her but you showed me another way and made me into who I am today. I'm just asking you to do the same for her."
Bo sighs in resignation. She knows she lost the battle with her own common sense the moment she opened the door.
"What's her name?"
"Emma. Emma Swan."