With perspiration forming on his forehead, Mark raced to Steve's old room, still pondering the thought of how a child's slipper could end up in a place where a violent crime had happened. And why, if Steve was correct, a little girl would be in his room? Mark figured maybe it was just the Demerol playing tricks on him, but the obvious child's slipper couldn't escape from Mark's mind. He figured the only way to find out was to investigate like he always did when he was puzzled about something, and hoped to get some answers that didn't seem so out of place.

He made it to the room in record time, his heart dropping when he saw crime scene going through the room thouraly. "Oh, no!" he said to himself as he tried to walk into the room.

An officer suddenly stopped him upon his arrival and shook his head. "I'm sorry, sir. This is an official crime scene. I can't let you in here."

"Uh, I know. The person who was shot was my son and-"

"Your son? So that would make you Dr. Sloan, I guess."

Mark nodded. "Yes, I'm also a consultant with the police department," he replied going through his pockets. "Darn it, I must have left my identification in my office. I was taking a nap earlier today, and I took it out of my pocket because it's so bulky, and- well, if you talk to Chief Masters, he'll tell you."

"No need to," a familiar voice called out from behind the officer. "Let him in. He's harmless."

Mark made his way past the officer and relaxed a little when he saw Cheryl standing before him. "Thank god you're here. Have you seen any slippers around here?"

Cheryl gave a confused look Mark's way. "A slipper? You mean, like one Steve had or something?"

Mark shook his head. "No. I mean like a child's slipper."

"No, we haven't come across one. Why would there be a child's slipper in here, anyway?"

"I don't know. I saw one earlier, but got distracted and left it. Then when I last saw Steve, he was mumbling something about a little girl shooting him."

Cheryl stood in science for a few minutes as she tried to get rid of the confused look that took over her face. "Wha- wait a minute, let me see if I just comprehended what you said. You're saying Steve said a little girl shot him?"

"Well not... uh... real coherently, no..."

"So what, perhaps, did he say coherently that would make you think he said such a far fetched thing?"

"Well, like I said, he was mumbling, and he said, 'little girl', 'shot', and 'she was here', all in the same sentence. Then he fell unconscious again."

"Okay... Well I'll check it out, but my advice to you is to not say a word about this until we can get some solid evidence, or Steve's testimony to it, whichever happens, first."

"I know but I just can't shake this strange feeling I have about it."

"Look, I know you want to investigate it, but as you can see, there's nothing yet. And if you go around saying a little girl shot your son, well, do I have to fill in the blanks for you?"

Mark sighed. "No. You're right. I'll keep quiet. Just keep me posted."

"Same with you."

Mark's face drew a confused look on it as Cheryl rolled her eyes and sighed.

"Oh come on. I didn't just meet you. I know you're going to investigate whatever pops into that sleuth brain of yours."

Mark grinned slightly and walked out of the room. "I need to retire." **

Melissa sighed as she sat down next to Lacey's bed. "So what have you come up with?"

Lacey glared at her. "Why are you here? It's only been a couple of hours. That's not enough time to determine if Steve's going to survive."

"I know. I just got bored waiting. I think I've changed my mind. I want him dead. ASAP."

"No! You can't! What about Lauren?"

"What about her? Why should I cut you any slack?"

"Because she's all I have!" **

Mark decided to walk up to his office to call Amanda and Jesse there, to discreetly discuss the case with them. He figured maybe while on duty, they could both keep their eyes and ears open and maybe find something out about a little girl losing a slipper or something.

As he walked down the hallway, he stopped suddenly when he heard what sound like Melissa's voice, though rather angrily.

"Look, I don't care! I want him gone. Whether I kill your sister or not though, will depend on you."

"What do you mean by that?!"

Mark tried to get a little bit closer to the door, but slipped and fell right inside the room, alarming him and the other two.

Melissa stood up nervously. "Dr. Sloan! Have you been standing outside the door?!"

Mark helped himself back up by grabbing on to a chair and wiped off his pants and jacket. "Oh, uh, no. A new intern was a little anxious to get somewhere and sort of ran into me, and well sort of made me drop in!"

"Oh, well. Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I think I'll live. I see you're having your session with Lacey, but isn't it a little late?" he replied, looking at his watch.

"Uh, well, I was just examining her before she went to sleep to see if there was anything unusual going on, since she's been having these dreams and all."

"Oh. Makes sense," he replied with a smile.

"Uh well, I guess I'll leave you two. It's been a long day," Melissa replied, frantically grabbing her things.

"Yes, I'm sure it has," Mark agreed. "So, how about we continue our talk from earlier over lunch tomorrow?"

Melissa nodded. "Sure. I'll look forward to it. Good night."

As she left the room, Mark peeked out the door and making sure she was long gone, and made his way over to Lacey's bed. "So, how do you like Dr. Reed, so far?"

Lacey shrugged. She then squirmed a bit as Mark gave a slight grin, and a look that said he knew more then he was letting on. "You didn't fall in here accidentally, did you?"

"Oh no, I did, but only when I was trying to get closer after I heard Dr. Reed say something about killing your sister."

"Oh that? That wasn't what you thought it was. She's friends with her. My sister told me something embarrassing about her and Dr. Reed said she would kill her. You know, metaphorically."

"Hm, that almost would fool me, except, why would something metaphorically depend on you?"

"Uh, look, Dr. Sloan, I think you're hearing things. Why don't we just forget about it? I'm kind of tired."

Mark sighed, and then suddenly noticed something beneath him, that looked familiar. He bent over, and then came back up, only to reveal a small child's slipper in his hands like the one he saw in Steve's room earlier.

"Looks like you'll have past that tiredness. Because right now we have something very important to talk about." **

Melissa slowly drank from her wine glass, as she paced up and down her living room later that night. She looked at the calendar: January 23rd. Tomorrow. The date seemed to make her whole body cringe with anger as she downed the rest of her wine and slammed the glass against the wall. She then opened her desk drawer and got out a picture of Steve.

She examined it and calmly lit a match, and held it up to the tip of the picture. "This is your future, Lieutenant Sloan."

She then lit it, and dropped it into her fireplace, watching as Steve's blue eyes and smile, was taken over by the darkness of the ashes they turned into.