Notes: not mine, yadda yadda. This takes place during and directly after episode 2.? "Palindrome." Major spoilers for that episode.

Here is another part to this... Whether or not I write more, no idea. I'm pretty much going with where the muses take me. I had part of it written who knows how long ago... I just sat down and finished up the chapter while killing time over at my sister's place.

As before, if you like this, you're welcome to continue it. Just give me credit for the original idea, please, and a heads up on where to find your story. I'll enjoy reading it!

This has been spelling and grammar checked, but it unbeta'd.


Danny stood silently in the morgue of Precinct 11, as unaware of the unmistakable aroma of death as he was of his surroundings. On the table before him, the table where countless dead bodies, victims of murder, accidents, and sundry other reasons had rested, lay his partner. Her eyes were closed, but he knew their color as well as he knew their own; had been able to read her thoughts through them, at times. Her hair, instead of its normal auburn color, was dyed darker, with blonde streaks surrounding a face pale except for splotchy bruising.

Bruises he had given her. To match the broken bones he had given her. His father had taught him at an early age that he had to control his strength so that he never hurt anyone too badly when sparring. His other favorite reminder was not to let emotions get in the way of his fighting. If and when that happened, Danny would give control over to his opponent. If only he had followed his father's teachings that night. Could he have done something differently? Disabled his opponent instead of killing her? Not just his opponent, but his best friend and partner. Jake had tried to make him feel better, reminding him that he hadn't known it was Sara and that Sara shouldn't have even been there in the first place.

It hadn't helped. It wasn't Sara's fault that she was dead. It was his. He was the one who had punched her, injured her, and misjudged his strength in the final blow that crushed her larynx. Vicky Po hadn't done an autopsy yet, but that was how Sara had died. He had known what that move could do if he put too much strength into it.

Why hadn't she stayed down? Sara was no quitter. Was it part of her competitive nature? She had known whom she had been fighting; he hadn't. It hadn't seemed like one of the fights he'd come to expect from the Ring. People got injured, sure, but rarely too badly. Last night it had felt like a fight to the death. He'd reacted accordingly.

Reaching out with a shaking hand, he smoothed the dyed hair away from her face, carefully not touching the pale skin. His fingertips ghosted gently over the mottled bruises, hovering scant millimeters above the skin itself. He couldn't bear to touch her, didn't want to feel the unnatural coolness. Even this close, he could feel the lack of body heat and it almost broke his heart.

How could she be gone? One of the things that had attracted him to her most was her zest for life, her passion. He'd always done his best to take care of it, to help her when she faltered within herself. To protect it and her as much as her independent streak would allow. How could he have been the one who snuffed it out?

Sitting down on a stool that someone had put behind him, he reached over and rested his head on the cold metal table. "I'm so sorry, Sara," he voiced aloud, tears in his voice as his shoulders began to shake.

"Danny?" Vicki Po's voice was unnaturally subdued as she tried to get his attention. From the concern in her voice, it was apparent that he hadn't heard her trying to before. "Danny, Lee's here. Why don't you go get cleaned up and head home?"

He shook his head without looking up and the morgue technician. "I don't," he paused to take a gulp of air. "I don't want to leave her alone. She wouldn't want to be left alone," he said, voice breaking on the last word.

Vicki reached out and squeezed his shoulder. "Don't worry, Danny. She won't be alone; I'll be here. She'd understand you having to get cleaned up."

"I," he hesitated, looking again at the familiar face before continuing, "I don't know why she was there," he finally forced out.

Vicky reached out and gently squeezed his arm. "We'll find out why she was there, Danny." Her voice was sure, full of promise to the grieving detective.

He nodded slightly, knowing that he was going to do his best to find out his partner's motives. Not only was it something he had to do for work, finding out if Sara had known something about one of their cases that she hadn't shared, but it was something he had to do. He was peripherally aware of Vicki gently guiding him away from the metal table and he paused at the door that led into the morgue to look back. The table still had its burden; the body on the surface looking like hundreds of others had looked since the table had been installed in the police station. It was infinitely personal this time, the prostrate body making him shiver slightly.

The door behind him opened and a familiar presence impinged on his awareness, causing him to turn away from the sight before him. Standing nervously in the open doorway, obviously not wanting to enter the room for undoubtedly a variety of reasons, stood Lee. Her hair was tousled and her arms wrapped around the bulge that could be seen under the voluminous brown sweater. A plastic bag dangled forgotten from one hand as she watched her husband with wide eyes. Danny abruptly stepped forward, swallowing the emotions rising in his throat as he enfolded his wife in a bone-crushing hug.

Lee murmured quiet insensible words of comfort, holding him just as tight, as her eyes silent thanked Vicki for calling her and arranging for a police cruiser to pick her up so that she could be here. She nodded slightly as Vicki hesitantly reached out to touch Danny's shoulder, letting the technician know that it was all right. That sign of approval all she needed, Vicki placed a hopefully comforting hand on the Detective's shoulder before turning away and leaving the married pair alone.

The plastic bag scraped against his neck, the out-of-place feeling causing him to jerk away with a questioning look.

"I thought you might like to change," Lee answered the unspoken question quietly, handing him the blue bag.

"I do keep a change of clothes here," he reminded her gently, to which she shrugged and replied that she had wanted to feel like she was actually doing something. "Thank you," he said softly, turning back to look at where Vicki was standing over the table before squaring his shoulders. "I'll be at home, Vicki. Call and let me know anything you find out."

Vicki nodded her assent.

"Absolutely anything; even the smallest thing," he stressed.

It was only after she again agreed that Danny turned and followed his wife to the car, the plastic bag dangling from one hand. He obediently allowed Lee to maneuver him into the passenger seat of the police-issued sedan, a violation he never would have dreamt of her. It was only then that his shoulders began to shake. He flinched slightly when Lee laid a gentle hand on his shoulder before starting the engine.

Throughout the entire ride home, not a single word was spoken. He wasn't oblivious to Lee's concerned glances, but there was nothing he could think of to say in response to them. Nothing that she would want to hear in the first place, he was sure.

Lamentations of guilt; a recount of what he had done and what he could have, should have done; frantic wondering why Sara had been there in the first place. Half-baked plans to go rushing back in, guns blazing, as he demanded answers to questions he hadn't yet completely formed.

No, none of that would make Lee feel better, and he knew that she cared. She was nowhere near as close to Sara as he was, but then, they weren't partners. He knew there was some weird jealousy female thing going on between them; something neither acknowledged aloud but was there nonetheless. In spite of that, however, they both liked and trusted the other woman. Maybe it was because of that, even. The fact that both of them found him to be a good portion of their lives… He'd never understand women.

But no, none of that would help Lee. None of it would help him. The only thing that would make him feel better was to get some answers, solve the case. Make sure that Sara didn't die for no reason.

That was the only thing he could do for her. He wasn't going to let her death be meaningless.

After all, he never let any time he killed a person be meaningless.


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