Title: Secrets of the Darkness

Disclaimer: I don't own Touching Evil or its characters. USA Network gets all the credit...I'm just having fun and being a big fan...please don't sue me.

Ch.1

David Creegan was laying in the dark, awake. He felt numb, he could not sleep, and he did not want to wake Cyril. So, in turn, this left nothing. His cell began to ring. He looked at the clock, 5am. He picked up his phone and looked at the caller ID. It was Branca; he smiled a little as he answered, "Creegan's all night diner."

"Joggers found a girl murdered in the park. If you need a ride, I will pick you up."

"Nah. It's not that far." He sighed as he closed his phone. He threw the covers off of himself and went to get dressed.

Branca stood silently looking at the covered body of the girl. She was very much deep in thought and Creegan came up behind her and grabbed her. She jumped a little and Creegan stepped beside her laughing, "Scared you."

"No you didn't." She objected. David smiled at her, "Did too."

Susan shook her head, "An eighteen year old female. Appears she was strangled, and then the killer removed her eyes."

Creegan pulled back the white sheet and looked at her, "Name?"

"Michelle Williams, she was a senior at the local prep school, she went missing two days ago after a rowdy senior party."

Creegan nodded, "I'm gonna walk around."

Susan nodded. She still did not get him. He confused her at times with his actions. They had been partners for a year now and she understand a certain part of him, but not what drives him. "I'll come with you," she called after him. He slowed his pace to let her catch up.

David was looking at the ground, the tables, the swing sets, the parking places to find something. A clue. A sign. A suspect. It was silent between the two and Branca spoke softly, "David?"

He looked at her. She continued, "How are you doing?"

He was surprised, she had not asked him that in a long time. The last time she asked was about two weeks after he sent Holly and the kids away. Some time had passed since that time. "I'm fine."

"I know you're fine, but how are you, really."

He stopped sighed and stopped walking, "Susan, I am fine. I am great okay. I have never felt so free in my life. I can go out and have fun and not worry about Holly and the girls...it's...uh...great."

Branca started to object again and then heard her name being called. It was Bernal.

She started to walk back to him leaving David standing alone. David watched her walk off to meet Bernal. He scrunched his eyebrows, "Hello..."

Branca was already to Bernal. He watched them as he started off toward them. Susan was smiling and laughing with Bernal. 'What was this about.'

He smiled at Bernal as he stepped close to their little circle, "So..."

Bernal rolled his eyes, "As I was saying we have a guy in custody."

Creegan nodded, "Okay, let's go." He motioned as he began to walk off. Branca did not move and he turned around and studied her. He motioned again, "Car...that...way."

Susan crossed her arms, "Cha.....Bernal wanted to show me something, so I'll hang back with him." She took out her keys, "Here drive my car."

David eyeballed her. This was not like her just to hand over the keys to her car. Bernal began to walk off and stopped, "Susan."

David looked at him blankly, 'He called her Susan."

"I'll be there in a while," Susan smiled a little and then trailed after Bernal.

Creegan turned and headed for her car murmuring, "Susan....I'm gonna stay with Bernal....yada yada, me, me, Susan....."

David sat at his desk trying to look busy. He knew that Susan would return any minute, hopefully, and he did not want to seem bored. Not that he cared. Susan and Bernal walked into the hall laughing. David could hear them and grabbed a file pretending to read. He looked up at the door then back down at the file turning it right side up just before she walked in.

He pretended not to see her. She sat down at her desk and glanced up at him, "Hey."

David looked up, "Oh...hey... didn't see you come in."

"What are you workin on," Branca stood up walking toward him, "the case?"

He closed it and tossed it back on his desk, "You and Bernal good friends now?"

Branca crossed her arms, "We have always been friends, you know that."

He nodded still looking at her. Susan gave a small smile, "Are you jealous...."

He stood up saying, "No. It's none of my business Branca."

She looked surprised, "Are you mad?"

He stepped closer. She felt the heat radiating off his body and it sent a chill through her. Creegan realized how close he was and smiled to take off the tension building, "Nope, we do have an interrogation to do though."

Branca nodded stepping away. She went back to her desk and grabbed a legal pad and a pen. Creegan followed her out the door and Branca stopped abruptly as she turned and he almost slammed into her.

"Red light," he said quickly smiling.

"Pen," and with that she went out of the office.

David nodded, "Pen...pen...pen..." He patted himself down and spotted one on Branca's desk picking it up.

He turned to walk out of the room, "Green light."

Ch.2

In the interrogation room, Branca was standing in the corner reading the suspects file. She had neglected it. She should have gone back to headquarters with David instead of staying with Bernal and eating breakfast. She wouldn't call it a date, but they had been on one before. She glanced at Creegan who was looking at her, her eyes quickly shifted down. They had actually been dating for a little over a month... She felt a little guilty for not telling David. She shook the thoughts out of her head, "Mr. Timpson."

The old man looked up at her. He looked innocent, but some of the worst criminals looked innocent. He was a fifty-six year old man with a cane who just had a heart attack five months ago. He was in the park at the time standing over the girl when the joggers found the body. "Yes Ma'am."

"What were doing in the park at 5am?" Creegan leaned against the back wall watching her. She was hiding something he just knew it, but didn't know what. He looked at the suspect and shook his head, 'this guy didn't do this.'

"Well, my doctor said that I needed to get more exercise because of the heart attack."

The old man was scared, you could tell. She handed the file to Creegan and he opened it and viewed it again. He, unlike his partner, had actually done his homework. Usually it was the other way around. She sighed because she knew this was pointless, "Why didn't you go later like say after eight, when everyone else does."

"The world is dangerous. My brother went jogging with everyone else and ended up in the hospital because someone beat him wanting his wallet. You ask why. That and it gets too hot...heat stroke, that's all I need. My wife wouldn't let me do anything then."

Creegan closed his file, "Sir, have you talked to your wife yet?"

Timpson shook his head. Creegan replied, "Call her and tell her you are on your way home."

Creegan motioned for Branca as he walked out of the room. They began to walk back to their office, "This guy committed this murder...no way."

Creegan shot her a look, "Ya think?"

Branca walked into the office, "What's your problem?"

He shrugged, "Nothing...you?"

"I don't have a problem David."

"Are you sure, Susan...," he said sarcastically. He tossed the file down on his desk and sat down. She crossed her arms and started to speak, but was interrupted by Enright who opened the office door, "What happened?"

"He's not our guy sir." Creegan answered quickly.

Enright looked at Branca and she shook her head, "He doesn't fit. He can barely walk and according to the doctors he should be in a nursering home."

"Alright...morgue wants to talk to you. So, go over there." He left and Branca looked at Creegan, he smiled. She rolled her eyes.

"What?" he stood up and followed her to the door.

She ignored him, "Don't talk to me right now Creegan."

He shrugged, "You know I don't like morgues."

"Creegan."

"Huh...oh...yeah..." he smiled as he pretended to zip his lips.

The girls' body lay on the examing table. Branca never liked seeing dead bodies' especially young women. Creegan blew a bubble in his bubble gum and then popped it. The mortuar glanced at him and then looked at Branca, "Just never mind him...what did you want to see us for?"

"Oh yes, the girls' eyes were taking out before she was strangled."

Branca looked down at the girl then back up at him, "How..."

Creegan interrupted her, "How do you know?"

"Her eyes are cauterized I'd say day or so ago," he pulled the sheet back over her head.

"So, she was still alive...," Susan stepped back crossing her arms. She felt very bad, sick like. She felt dizzy. Creegan was listening to the man talk and looked at Susan,"Are you okay?"

She never answered him, but just ran out of the room. Creegan watched her leave and then looked back at the mortuar, "I'll...we'll be right back."

The man shrugged, "Some people just have a weak stomach."

David jogged down the hall to the Ladies Room and went inside, "Susan?"

He bent down looking under the stalls and saw her on her knees in the fifth stall down. He opened the door just in time to see her throw up. He got some paper towel and wet them with cold water and knelt down beside her, "Susan, are you okay?"

She took the paper towels and put it over her face. She nodded faintly.

"You don't have to go back in there. I'll finish up."

"No, it's not that. I'm usually fine...I just. Got sick. Bad Thai food."

Creegan smiled reassurangly, "Go wait in the car and I'll finish up."

He got up and went to the door and out back to the morgue room. He was worried about her. She never got sick. Bad Thai food...yeah right. He went back into the room and smiled, "Alright. Lay it on me. What are we dealing with?"

Branca was sitting in the passenger side leaned back in the seat with the cold paper towels on her head. Creegan opened the door and she jumped, "Scared you."

Branca removed the towels from her face "Did not."

Creegan brushed the hair out of her face, "How are you feeling?"

"Like I'm gonna puke," she put the towel back over her forehead.

"I'll take you home." He ran around to the other side and got in starting the car, "Just don't puke in the car."

She smiled and then it faded, "Hurry..."

Creegan was almost there and Branca spoke, "David."

"You want me to pull over or take my gun out?"

"Bernal and I have been seeing each other for over a month now."

Creegan looked at her. He didn't say anything and looked back to the road. He was quiet, he didn't know what to say. I'm happy for you. That's great. I'm mad. I'm jealous. Or how about why? Why Bernal?

Branca removed the towel and looked at him, "And?"

David glanced at her, "And what?"

Branca shook her head and sat the seat up, "I think I'll be okay."

"You're white as a sheet Susan and you look awful."

"God, thank you. You are just so uplifting." Creegan pulled up into the lot and stopped the car. "I'll help you up."

"No, that's okay."

She opened her door and David was already there, "I said I'll help you up."

Creegan walked back into the OSC and Bernal noticed him with no Susan. Bernal followed him into his office, "Where's Branca?"

Creegan turned toward him, "She went home sick."

"She okay? What's wrong with her?" Bernal actually looked worried. Creegan was surprised. Bernal actually had feelings.

"Yeah, she's fine. Just some bad Thai food." Creegan sat down and watched Bernal leave. Susan and Bernal, Branca and Bernal, Branca and Chas. He leaned back and looking at the ceiling. David sighed and closed his eyes.

Ch. 3

Next day.......

Creegan knocked on Branca's door. He waited patiently. He knocked again. Branca opened the door. Creegan scrunched his eyebrows, "You look like hell? You feel any better?"

Branca shook her head, "Do I look better?"

"Brought your car back. You got any food in your frig?"

"Help yourself," she went back to her place on the couch and laid down, "You're going to anyway." She mumbled. Creegan poured himself a glass of apple juice and went to sit down. He sat down at the end of the couch, "You know this is a lousy way to miss work. If I was gonna miss work, I'd fake it. You think they'd believe a crazy guy? Nahh...probably right. I couldn't skip," Branca starred at the wall zoning out while ignoring him. He continued to yak on, "And what's up with you and Bernal? I mean I would have thought some weird nerd guy, but Bernal. He's in a category of his..."

"I think I'm pregnant," she interrupted. David looked at her, "What?"

"I think I'm pregnant."

"What you mean, you think? You're supposed to know." Creegan said.

Branca sat up, "Well, excuse me, I'm not really an expert here David."

"Like I am?"

"Just never mind." She lay back down. Creegan sat there stunned. He sat his glass on the table and knelt down in front of her. She was crying.

"Have you told Bernal?"

"He's not here is he?" That made the tears flow even harder. David wiped them away, "I'm sorry, Sus."

He caressed her face and smiled gently, "You want me to stay with you?"

"No, you need to go to work. I'll be there tomorrow," she said as she sat up. David got up and kissed her on the head, "Okay...call me."

He went to the door, "No, I'll call you."

He opened it and began to step out, "You better call me. I'll forget."

Susan smiled and laughed a little, "Alright."

Creegan walked into the conference room and sat down. He was about fifteen minutes late, but Susan was more important. Enright stopped talking and looked at Creegan, "Branca still sick?"

"Yes sir. She said she probably be back tomorrow."

"Okay." He continued and Creegan looked at Bernal. Jerk. He watched him closely, he wasn't even suffering. He didn't look remorseful. Everyone started to get up. The meeting was over. Creegan had no clue what was going on but he knew he needed to have a few words with Bernal. He got up trailing after Bernal and Enright stopped him,

"There is another murder down by riverside. Go over there and do...whatever..you do."

Creegan looked around for Bernal but didn't see him anywhere. He looked back at Enright, "Okay."

Creegan put on his gloves on as he stepped under the crime scene tape. He knelt down beside the body and pulled the sheet back. Bernal knelt down across from him, "Nancy Cotter, twenty. The eyes have been removed and she was strangled just like the other."

Creegan starred at Bernal, "Do you love her or is it just a quick fix?"

Bernal looked at him, "What?"

"Susan. What does she really mean to you Chas?"

Bernal stood up, "That's none of your business." His cell phone rung, "Bernal."

Creegan stood up watching him closely. Bernal gave him a look as he walked away trying to be quiet.

"We talked about this."

Creegan tried to get closer to listen. Bernal continued his conversation ignoring Creegan sneaking up behind him. "No. Well how do you even know? It might be his for all I know."

Creegan froze. He knew it wasn't his, but why would he think that. Bernal's talking became louder, "I don't care. Sorry, gotta go."

Bernal turned to find Creegan standing behind him, "Do you mind?"

"Not often, no." Creegan followed as Bernal went off walking to talk to the local cops, "Was that Branca?"

"Like I said that is none of your business."

Creegan was getting angry. He wanted to yell at him, punch, kill him, something, but he didn't want everyone to hear Susan's personal issues. He sighed as he went back to the body.

Branca was standing infront of the mirror pooching out her belly. What if she was pregnant? Maybe she should go get a pregnancy test done. She was trying to convince herself to get one. She shook her head and grabbed a pillow stuffing it under her shirt. Creegan had let himself in and was standing at the stairs watching her. He smiled as she posed again. She turned sideways and huffed. David laughed as he came down the stairs. Branca gasped when she heard him, Creegan...."

"Scared you."

"Did not.." she rolled her eyes and smiled. David looked down at her make believe baby and pulled the pillow out by the fringe, "If that is your baby, I'm worried, Susan. I really am."

She laughed a little, "How did you feel when Lily and Samantha were born?"

Creegan starred past her picturing his long gone daughters, "Like I was on cloud nine. It was really amazing." He looked back at her, "You've heard this story before."

She shrugged, "Sometimes it's good to remember David."

Creegan sat down on the bed silently. Susan sat down next to him and looked down at the pillow he was still holding. She took it from his hands. "I miss them."

She looked up at him and had to catch her breath as those dark chocolate eyes met her. David noticed her frustration. He smiled inside and frowned on the outside. At least she cared for him, she cared whether he lived or died. Inside of his darkness she was his light, his promise, and his hope for tomorrow.

"I know you do." She eased her hand to his and held it. He looked away and swallowed hard as he squeezed her delicate frame. "I...wish I hadn't sent them away...but then again it's amazing because I don't feel worried for them. I mean I'm worried for their future, but at least getting killed by one of my cases is not an option."

Susan didn't know what to say. She released her hand and he looked her. She smiled softly and hugged him. It felt good to be hugged especially by her. He could feel her warmth, her beauty, and her compassion. At times Susan was amazing. He pulled back to look at her and when he did he saw something different about her. He smiled as he pushed the hair in her face back; it was always hanging in her face. Susan closed her eyes and David kissed her on the forehead. She opened her eyes and beheld his own. They starred at each other for a moment that felt like forever. David held her face caressing it and moved slowly to kiss her. He deepened the kiss and moved his hands to her neck and her back getting used to her body. He was very used to looking at her wonderful body and now he was studying every inch. She started to lean back and David followed her. He pulled back from the kiss and starred into her eyes. He felt her skin react to his touch as he slipped his hand under her shirt and roamed throughout. She wrapped her arms around his neck as she began to kiss him. For a man who wasn't supposed to feel, he felt something and it took away every piece of darkness and shattered it letting her light through.

She rolled him over and helped him pull his shirt off. She swallowed nervously as she began to kiss his neck and down his chest. He closed his eyes and his breathing heaved. He sat up and held her close as he kissed her neck. He let the straps drop on her tank, kissing the trail. He moved to the other side and did the same. She moved her hands down to his pants as he continued kissing her neck. She gasped as he moved to her ear lobe. She unbuttoned and then unzipped his jeans. He picked her up as he stood up and spun around laying her on the bed. He shuffled out of his shoes as he crawled on top of her. She loved his kisses, they were amazing reaching deep into her soul. He kissed her lips and pulled back to look in her eyes, "Susan."

"Yes," she nodded and kissed her neck as she fumbled to remove his pants. He let his hand cross her waist line and roam down under her pajama pants. He looked into her eyes as he explored her. She moaned softly and kissed him. He watched her eyes, searching her eyes. She bit her lip and squeezed her eyes shut. He began kissing her neck and up to her ear. She gasped again. She was loosing herself to him or maybe she had already.

Ch. 4

Enright sat in his office looking at the clock. Creegan and Branca were late. Creegan, well it was expected, but Branca. She said she would be back today. He sighed, he had a case to solve and no Detectives. Creegan walked into his office and sat down. He had left Susan's early this morning. She hadn't even got up yet. Susan walked in shortly followed by Enright. She turned to see him, "Good morning sir."

He nodded, "You're both two hours late."

Creegan suppressed a smile, "I didn't get very much sleep last night sir. I will try not to be late, again."

Enright nodded, "Sure."

They both looked at Branca, "I forgot to turn my alarm on." Which was untrue. It went off and David turned it off. He never bothered to wake her, but then again she never got up when he did. Enright nodded, "I'll excuse you this time. Creegan."

"Sir?"

"Just...don't be late." Enright left the room mumbling, like that's going to happen.

Creegan got up and look around to see Enright round the corner and he looked back at Susan. He went and sat down on the edge of her desk. He starred at her.

"What?" He shook his head grinning from ear to ear, "You're beautiful."

Bernal came in and Creegan looked at him. Bernal glanced at him and then looked at Susan, "We need to talk."

Creegan stood up, "We have work to do, Bernal. What do you want?"

Bernal kept starring at Susan, "Just for a few minutes."

Branca looked up at Creegan then back at Bernal, "Okay."

Creegan looked at her, "Susan..."

"Just a few minutes," she got looking at David and smiled a little, "I'll be back."

He watched her walk out with Bernal. He couldn't stand this. It ate him. He stood there impatiently. He was trying to decide to give them privacy or go listen in. He leaned on the edge of Branca's desk as he crossed his arms. He looked at his watch and nodded, he'd give them two minutes. He looked back at his watch, twenty seconds. He nodded that was long enough. He went out into the hall and snuck down the corridor. They were in a corner in the vending area.

Bernal leaned against the wall, "I know I haven't been myself lately. And I think my decision was rash. I want to rethink the situation."

She shook her head, "You already said no, Chas."

"I know. I'm trying to change Susan. Go from obnoxious and sarcastic to nice and caring. Just give me a little time."

Creegan leaned his head against the wall. Say no, say no, say no.

"Creegan!" His head shot up as Enright shouted his name. His cover was blown, so much for his small stakeout of his future. Susan and Bernal appeared in the hall also. Susan crossed her arms.

Creegan looked at Enright, "Sir."

"Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?"

"Uh...I'm at work sir." Bernal looked at him sarcastically, "The meeting genius."

Enright shot him a look, "You're supposed to be there too, Bernal. Go. Branca."

She nodded as she followed Bernal to the conference room. Creegan watched them walk down the hall together and Enright brought him back, "You don't seem yourself David, are you alright?"

Creegan looked at him surprised, "Really? Huh...okay...I'll get right on that. See you in the meeting."

He continued to follow Susan and Bernal. He eased against the wall and peeked his head around the corner, he looked around to make sure that no one was watching and moved quickly around the corner. Enright shook his head and sighed, "Progress..."

Creegan and Branca sat next to each other. He was thinking about her and he couldn't focus on the case. This was bad. He wasn't giving his full potential to the case. He needed to keep his personal life separate from work. It was hard in a way. Branca was always around him and he could already smell her perfume. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to hold her. He made himself ignore Susan and listen to Enright. Listen to Enright. Listen to Enright.

"Alright, we have another murder. This morning about ten minutes ago, they found another woman. She is thirty years of age, same MO."

David slumped down in his chair and starred at the two pictures on the screen. He studied them. No Susan. No Susan. Two women, strangled, eyes are gone. No, don't think about Susan. Eyes. Susan. The connection. Eyes. Susan. He sat up, "They both have green eyes."

Enright stopped talking and looked at Creegan, "What."

"They both have green eyes."

Enright looked at the screen and then back at the people in the room, "Why didn't anyone notice this before?"

David shrugged, "Wasn't payin attention I guess."

Branca looked at him. He didn't look at her. He picked up a piece of paper and began to fold it . Branca suppressed her smile as she watched him from the corner of her eye. She slid her foot out of her shoe and rubbed it against his lower leg. He stopped folding the paper and looked at the table. She was making this very difficult. He looked at Bernal then back at Enright, "We need to get going, right?"

Creegan stood up and Branca was left disappointed. Enright nodded, "Go."

Enright ended the meeting because it was obvious it was going no where. Creegan headed back for the office and Branca trailed after him, "Who's driving?"

"You." She nodded as she got her purse and followed him down the stairs. They got in her car and she headed straight for the park.

It was quiet in the car. Susan didn't know if it was last night or Bernal. Probably both. Creegan kept looking out the window. He started humming. It wasn't a tune, it was incoherent and then spoke, "What did Bernal say?"

Susan focused on the road, "He wanted another chance to prove himself."

He looked down at his hands that were tearing open a gum wrapper, "And what did you say?"

"I couldn't tell him anything because Enright interrupted us."

"What were you going to say?" Creegan looked at her. She didn't return his look. She didn't say anything.

Creegan nodded at her response, "One night stand huh."

Branca shot a look at him, "It's not that easy David."

"Sure it is, you just say, 'Chas, sorry, but I'm banging my partner right now. Call back later." Creegan mimicked her actions and even threw in a high pitch to top it off. Branca shook her head, "Trust me I wasn't the only one doing the banging Creegan."

"Well, dear, I think we both know who wanted it more," he leaned over, "'David...oh David... yes...yes ..'" He mimicked again. Branca ran off the road slamming on the brakes and put the car in park.

David looked at her, "Drive much?"

Branca got out of the car and slammed the door. He watched her as she began to walk on down the road. He growled as he got out, "Susan."

He tagged along behind her, "Susan, get back in the car."

"Go away." Creegan followed her remembering she had a gun, so he stayed a safe distance away. "Susan...let's talk."

"I think you already did, Creegan." She increased her speed trying to get away from him. He caught up with her easy, "You gonna walk five miles."

"Taxi."

Creegan agreed with her, "Okay. But that's your car."

She shrugged, "So leave it at the OSC and I'll pick it up later."

"Susan," he grabbed her arm and she jerked it away. He held his hands up as defense, "Just let me drive you to the scene. You can sit in the back seat if you want."

She looked at him blankly. She didn't know what to say. She realized she didn't have any money on her. She looked back at her lonesome vehicle, it was in there. She wanted to kick herself as she started to walk back to the car. Creegan sighed. He glanced up at the sky and mouthed, thank you.

Branca got in the back and Creegan slid behind the wheel. They went on their way. Branca sat behind David starring out the window. He glanced at the rearview mirror she was crying. He looked back at the road. He made her cry. Branca wiped away the tears. She wasn't sure if they were because of what he said or what he had meant by it. Branca closed her eyes trying to get the tears to stop. Creegan looked at her again, "I...."

Susan cut him off, "Don't talk to me right now, Creegan."

Creegan obeyed. He drove silently onto the side of the road by the riverside. Branca was already out before he completely stopped the car. He did the same following about ten feet behind her. He looked around the area. He noticed the local police trying to keep people back and the coroner was already there. They were late. It was becoming a trend of theirs now. The team was just getting there. Branca knelt down beside the body and pulled the sheet back just enough to see the face and neck. Creegan went to the opposite side, "Her eyes are done the same way."

Branca didn't acknowledge his presence. She looked at the coroner, "What do you think on the time of death?"

The man shook his head, "Guessing about six hours ago. Don't quote me."

Branca smiled back at him, "Okay."

"Detectives!"

Both Branca and Creegan shot up and looked in the direction of the voice. A local waved and shouted, "Found something, over here."

Branca took off toward him. Creegan followed behind her keeping his distance trying to give her space. At the same time this gave him a chance to think about the case. To look for clues and just breath the riverside air. The local was holding something showing it off to Branca. He, then, hurried over. It was a wallet that had blood on it. Creegan scrunched his eyebrows and stated, "None of the victims had lost any blood."

Bernal and Rivers had come up and were studying it. Rivers stuck his hands in his pockets, "None of the victims lost blood."

Creegan nodded. Branca looked at Rivers, "What if it is the killer? Maybe she defended herself."

Bernal nodded putting it in an evidence bag, "Let's get it tested."

"Alright." Branca nodded walking off with him. Branca had ignored him. He was talking about the case. Rivers looked at him, "You know that Bernal and Branca are going out, right?"

Creegan looked back at him, "Who told you?"

"Bernal, he is telling everyone. Their real serious apparently, if you know what I mean." Rivers winked at him and walked to the handful of locals standing next a huge oak. Creegan pressed through the bushes where the wallet had been found. He smiled, "Hellooo."

He knelt down smiling at the footprints that were left.

Ch. 5

Everyone sat around the table in the conference room. Branca had moved down a few seats from Creegan somehow managing to get Rivers by him. Enright was on the end with Bernal.

Creegan spoke up, "Something is not right. He was neat the first two then all of a sudden, he gets sloppy. It doesn't seem right."

Branca came back, "Maybe he wants to be caught."

Creegan looked at her, "And why would he want to do that?"

"Feel recognized for something so awful. He wants to feel important so he kills women, inside and out." Branca crossed her arms, sinking into her protective shell. Creegan knew the answers he just wanted to hear her voice, "What about the eyes?"

"Window to the soul. Again, maybe he felt guilty, maybe he is ugly, or just is weird."

Enright looked at the pictures on the screen. He flipped the projector to their pictures of when they were alive and then back to the pictures of them dead. "This woman had green eyes also."

Rivers replied, "Favorite color."

Bernal shrugged, "Coincidence ."

Creegan sighed aloud, "What about this guy's wallet, Adam Ta...Taberel."

Branca motioned to Enright, "Adam Johnson Taberel." Enright flipped it to the next slide showing a picture of him along with a record and Branca continued, "He lives about two miles away from the park in a small apartment. He was released from prison six months ago for raping a woman whom he strangled then afterward."

Bernal huffed, "What's he doin out?"

Branca shook her head, "Good behavior. He committed the acts when he was sixteen and now he's thirty-five."

Enright glanced at Rivers who was reading Taberel's file, "Anything you want to add."

"Yeah, actually, Nancy Cotter do we know if she's related to John Cotter, Taberel's next door neighbor?"

Creegan shrugged looking at Branca. She glared at him and looked back at Rivers, "Have no clue."

Enright looked back and forth between Branca and Creegan and then smiled inside, "Why don't you and Creegan go look into it, Branca."

She looked at him in shock but then suppressed it, "Sir...I have work to do here."

"It can wait, I'm sure," He stood up and looked over his team, "Alright, we need to buckle this thing down and find this guy. Bernal and Rivers find a connection between these women and check on Taberel. Creegan and Branca will check on Cotter and see what the neighbors know, stay after you two. The rest is dismissed."

Branca got up and was putting her stuff back together waiting for Enright to give them a lecture on teamwork and how partners should get along. Enright nodded toward his office, "Office. I'll be there in a second."

Branca and Creegan walked to his office quietly. Branca was thinking if the whole silent treatment was really necessary. She knew Creegan. He meant some things he said and then again, he didn't mean them. She thought that maybe she'd be used to his emotional mood swings and his fearless attitude. She thought wrong. She sat down in a chair and Creegan remained standing.

"I've been thinking," Creegan looked at her as she continued, "Maybe we should just forget about this whole thing. You know at least until the case is solved. We can't do good police work while we're ripping each other's throats out."

Creegan sat down in the free chair, "So, we act like nothing happened. And then, we take care of it later."

"Yes. We're just throwing this way out proportion."

Creegan laughed a little, "Okay. Done."

Enright walked in agitated, "What is going.."

Creegan interrupted him, "Hank...Enright sir... we have settle our issues and we are fine. Thank you for all your help."

Creegan walked out the door and Branca followed. Enright nodded, "Your welcome."

Creegan knocked on John Cotter's door. Branca walked to the edge of the front porch just in time to see Rivers and Bernal walk in Adam Taberel's home about fifty feet away.

John Cotter opened the door, "Yes."

"Sir, I'm Detective Creegan and my partner, Detective Branca. We want to ask you a few questions about your daughter. May we come in?"

Cotter stepped back allowing them to enter. Creegan let Branca go first. Creegan caught a glimpse of her eyes sparkling and smiled instantly. Branca didn't notice Creegan's reaction and followed Cotter into the living room. Creegan took his time shutting the door, looking around on his way to the room.

Creegan smiled at the old man, "This is a nice place you have here. I live in a hotel, so anything is nicer to me."

"Thank you," Cotter replied, "Nancy mainly fixed this all up. She was always cleaning. I made her happy."

"Sir, do you know who might have wanted to murder your daughter?" Branca leaned forward off the couch.

Cotter nodded, "I know...just know... it was that boy down the street. Taberel. He was always flirting with my little girl. I filed a complaint against him just last month. He was stocking my daughter, day and night. He even broke into our house. I should have done something."

Branca smiled reassuringly, "You done all that you could have. Don't make yourself pay emotionally for something you didn't do."

Creegan looked at her. Was she talking to him? It felt like it. He sat down in a chair against the wall and glanced at some pictures on the mantel. Nancy and her mother, maybe, were on the front porch hugging. That was a nice picture.

"Sir, is that your wife?"

Cotter looked at the mantel, "Yes. She was killed about five months ago."

Branca watched Creegan as he moved to the mantel for a closer look, "Did your wife and daughter have green eyes?"

Cotter smiled as he leaned back in his chair, "Yes. Both of them. The prettiest green eyes you've ever seen in your life."

Creegan's cell phone rang and Branca stood up, "Well, Mr. Cotter, we should get going. Thank you for time. We are very sorry for your loss."

Cotter stood up to shake her hand. Creegan watched both of them carefully. He wasn't jealous, but a man's actions can give anything away. Cotter smiled at Branca, "You have green eyes, don't you?"

Branca was surprised and she even blushed a little bit, "Yes."

"Their very pretty."

"Thank you."

Creegan hung up, "Mr. Cotter, we'll be in touch. Or you can call at anytime."

Cotter nodded and then smiled at Branca, "I'll show you out."

Back at the OSC......

Bernal and Rivers was waiting outside Branca and Creegan's office. Creegan and Branca walked up. Creegan looked at Bernal, "You two have an appointment?"

Bernal spoke, "We brought Taberel in, he tried to run."

Rivers pointed as he handed the file to Branca, "He's in Interrogation 2. He's a little off..."

Bernal chuckled, "So we saved him for you Creegan."

Branca rolled her eyes as she walked off to interrogation 2 and Creegan followed her. They both walked in. Taberel was sitting in the chair facing the mirrored window. Creegan studied him, he looked very poor and pitiful. He was wearing baggy jeans and a dirty white shirt, and his tennis shoes were almost nothing. Branca glanced over the file and then looked up at him, "Do you have your wallet?"

Taberel didn't look up. Creegan looked at his hair, dirty and oily. He face looked dingy. He wasn't neat at all. Creegan shook his head, "We found your wallet at a murder scene. Do you know how it got there?"

Taberel didn't look up. He just starred at the table. Creegan took the file from Branca and read from it, "Nineteen years in prison for the rape and murder of a woman. That's a long time. Says here you spent ten years of it in a mental institution, Adam. You crazy or something? You know how long you're going to prison now? For life. Murdering three women..."

"I didn't do that." He talked. Branca looked at Creegan then back at Taberel. Creegan sat down in front of him, "Who did Adam? All the evidence points toward you. Your wallet with blood on it. Your footprints. Witnesses that say you threatened the life of Nancy Cotter."

Taberel shook his head, "No..."

Creegan leaned back in his chair, "Well everyone says you."

"No. I was doing work for J.C. He gave me that wallet. He sent me down to the park to get flowers. I was doing his work. Work for him."

Creegan leaned forward confused, "J.C.... John Cotter. He had you do work for him?"

"Yes. I followed Nancy to make sure she was okay. He told me to look out for her."

Creegan looked back at Branca then back at Taberel, "Adam... where were you when Nancy was killed?"

"I...um...," he stuttered and then went to rocking back and forth. Creegan stood up and went to stand next to him, "Where?"

Adam began to shake his head, "No."

Creegan raised his voice a little, "Where Adam?"

"I killed her. I killed her. I killed her. I killed her." Taberel rocked back and forth repeating it over and over. Creegan looked up at Branca as he backed away. He crossed his arms and bit his lip. Creegan was having second thoughts. He walked out and Branca followed. Rivers looked at Creegan as soon as he came out the door. Creegan returned the look, "Give him something to settle him down."

Creegan looked around for Branca and motioned her , "We need to talk."

He walked to their office and closed the door as soon as she came in, "That's not right. Talking about the profile, he's not a neat person or even clean. He doesn't like eye contact. He never once looked up. What do you do when you're telling the truth, you look the person in the eye. Right?"

Branca nodded not sure where he was going with this. "What if...he is covering for someone."

"Creegan..." Branca sat on the edge of her desk, "I think this is the one."

Creegan didn't answer her right away. She didn't agree. Now what? "How many times have I been wrong Susan?"

She shook her head, "It's not about that...just look at the facts. The evidence points straight to him. Adam Taberel. Guilty."

"Forget the evidence! Look at the man, Susan. What do you see?"

Branca starred at him for a few seconds and then looked down at the floor shaking her head. Creegan sighed as he went back to his desk and said as he turned to face her, "You are going to let an innocent man take the blame for these killings and you can't even see what's infront of you. Or maybe you do, but you don't want to believe it because everything that you have ever learned would be wrong."

Enright knocked and came in, "We've got a confession on each of the women. Details also."

"The eyes?" Creegan asked.

Enright nodded, "That too."

"Motive?" Creegan asked again.

Enright shrugged, "Likes the color green."

Creegan shook his head, "I don't think this is our guy."

Enright started to open his mouth and Creegan interrupted nodding, "Yeah....yeah...evidence. Big word, little meaning."

Enright faced turned hard, "Go home...both of you. You both look crappy."

He left and Creegan looked at Branca, "I look crappy."

Branca shrugged, "Not getting anything out of me."

She went behind her desk and began to gather her things up. Creegan stood infront of her desk, "He said you both. He didn't say, 'hey Creegan you look like crap.' He said both."

"Well, I'm taking his advice. I'm going home."

Creegan nodded, "Are we going talk?"

Branca had her things and was already to the door and stopped. She turned, "What do you want to do?"

He shrugged, "We gotta talk about it, right? I mean it's hard to look at your partner the same after something like that."

"I still look at you the same." Branca added. Creegan sighed silently, "Oh."

Branca looked at her watch and then back at David, "Why don't you come over later and we'll talk."

Creegan noticed something, "You have green eyes."

"Yes..." Branca smiled awkwardly.

"I never noticed before now." Creegan studied them. They were pretty the earth pretty

Branca smiled at the almost a compliment comment, noticed them too."

Creegan's face got serious, "He noticed your eyes."

"Yeah...his wife and his daughter both had them." Creegan nodded, "Okay...I'm gonna stay here a while. I'll be over later and we can talk."

Branca looked confused and started to say something and he stopped her, "I'm fine. Just finishing up."

He winked at her and smiled. He watched her turn to leave. He made sure she was gone before grabbing his keys and leaving the office.

Ch. 6

Susan got out of her car and locked it. She began her walk toward the entrance to her apartment complex.

"Susan."

She jumped and found it was Bernal, "Oh God...you scared me."

"I need to talk to you.." Bernal said.

"What is it?" Branca said still trying to catch her breath.

"Not here...upstairs." Bernal walked off leaving her to follow him.

Creegan was in Taberel's house. He was looking around for something to prove Taberel's innocence, which he believed in so much. Creegan saw a photo album on the kitchen table, he sat down and opened it. He turned the pages slowly taking them in. He turned the next page to see Nancy, her mother, and Taberel all posing together. He took the photo out and looked on the back, 'April 2005'

He turned it back over and looked at the picture. It was July. He took out his cell phone and pressed in Susan speed dial. He waited for her to answer will turning the other pages. Her voice mail came on. He ended the call and tried again. Still there was no answer. He closed the album and went to his car, starting it and driving off.

Bernal sat on the couch across from Susan. Susan didn't like being stared at for so long, "Did you want something, cause I have company coming."

He nodded, "Have you given any thought to what I said earlier?"

She nodded and replied, "Well, you should know....I found out I'm not pregnant. And..."

Bernal interrupted her, "Really! That's great Susan."

He got up and headed for the door. Branca was a tad-bit muddled, "Excuse me? What about all that stuff about...missing you, you have been a jerk, you want another chance?"

Bernal scrunched his eyebrows, "Did I call myself a jerk?"

"No, I did."

He laughed, "I deserved that."

Susan nodded, "Yeah..."

Bernal went back to his seat on the couch and leaned back, "So...What's all the gossip about now?"

"Swopes."

"This is Creegan. Are you at the office still?"

"Um...yes."

"Stay there. I need you to check something out for me."

Creegan hung up. Of course Swopes would still be there. He spent all of his time with his head in a computer.

Creegan walked into Swope's office and laid the picture on his desk. He pointed at Nancy's mom in the picture, "I want to know about her."

Branca showed Bernal to the door, "I'll see you tomorrow."

Bernal waved as he went down the hall, "Tell Creegan I said hey."

He laughed a little.

She closed the door and walked off to her kitchen. There was a knock at her door, "Coming."

She opened, "Yes."

Creegan tried to call Susan again. He didn't show up. He had too much to do at the office. It was about six o'clock, Swopes and him had been working on the picture for about three hours now. They had to start from scratch.

There was no answer and Creegan sighed as he hung up.

"Creegan..."

He swung around, "Yeah."

"This woman," he pointed to Mrs. Cotter, "Her name is Abby Cotter Smith. She and John Cotter were married for nineteen years."

"Nineteen...Nancy Cotter was twenty. A love child?"

"Adopted ten years ago. Abby filed for divorce six months ago."

"Cotter said his wife was raped and strangled to death six months ago."

Swopes shook his head, "She just disappeared. Nobody knows."

Creegan rubbed his eyes, "Okay...what about Michelle Williams? Or the recent victim... Gracie McPeak. Any connection at all that you can find."

Creegan patted Swopes on the back , "I'll be back."

Swopes looked at him, "What?"

"I'll be on the back," he smiled at his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. Creegan walked out.

Creegan was tired. He leaned on his steering and closed his eyes. His weight against the steering wheel made the horn go off and he jumped back. He laughed at himself as he leaned back in his seat. 'You need to go home, take a shower and change clothes.' Okay, he nodded. He told himself what to do. He started his car and remembered Susan. He sighed as he picked up his phone and it rang. It was Swopes.

"What?"

"Creegan...I found that Gracie McPeak was the babysitter for them when Nancy was first adopted."

"That's on your computer?"

"No, I called her brother, George."

Creegan smiled and rolled his eyes, 'Duh.' "Okay... I need you to call Bernal.."

"He said he was going to Branca's for the night."

"What...where did you here this?" Creegan switched hands as he turned into his motel parking lot.

"At the vending machines...he was joking about it to Rivers." Swopes shook his head, "I would have said something but I had food in my mouth and could.."

"Just try him and Rivers. Call Enright. Tell them we have the wrong guy."

He hung up as he stepped out of his car. Bernal had been with Susan. He went in his room and tossing his keys and phone on the bed heading for the shower.

Creegan came out of the shower wearing a towel around his waist. He looked at Cyril's bed. It was empty. His phone beeped at him telling him of a voicemail. He ignored it and put his clothes on. He lay down on the bed closing his eyes. He yawned. He phone rang. It rang again.

"No..." he growled as he sat up trying to find it and answered, "Don't want any."

"Where are you?" It was Enright sounding ticked at him. Creegan ran his hand back and forth through his damp hair messing it up.

"At home trying to get a little sleep. Where are you?"

"It's 8:30 Creegan."

"Yeah I know....I know. Bad Creegan..." He hung up and picked up his keys and headed for the office.

Enright was sitting in Creegan's chair when he came in. Creegan gave him a look, "Are we switching offices?"

Enright pointed over to Branca's desk, "Where is she?"

Creegan shrugged, "How am I supposed to know. ESP? .....oooo!"

Enright stood up, "Meeting."

Creegan nodded, "Yes sir."

Enright left the room and Creegan looked at Branca's empty desk. He opened his cell phone and dialed Susan as he walked out to the conference room. There was no answer still. He entered the conference room seeing Bernal talking to Rivers.

"Bernal."

Bernal looked up at him, "What?"

"We need to talk."

Bernal followed him out of the room. Creegan turned around, his face was stern and serious, "Where's Branca?"

"How should I know?"

"You were there last night..."

"Yes..but I left because you were coming over."

Creegan shook his head, "You left?"

"Yeah... I went there...found out that she wasn't knocked up and left afterward."

"I kept calling her and there was no answer."

Bernal shrugged, "I don't know. She's not here. Are you sure?"

Creegan's eyes became wide, "Taberel's not the killer. I'm going to her apartment."

Bernal went back inside and Creegan ran down the hall to his car.

Branca woke up in a small room. It looked to be 10 x 5 at least. She looked around the dimly lit room trying to find a door. Her head was pounding. She'd been hit with something. She raised her hand to her hand felt a deep gash that was still oozing some blood. She tried to stand up, but fell back down in the process. She scooted against the wall and accepted her failure. Her pain was too great for her to handle. She leaned her head back against the wall and thought about David as her eyes drifted shut.

Creegan was at Branca's door and breathed in slowly hoping to not find her lying on the floor dead. He knew that seeing Susan dead would be the end of him. He tried the door handle and it gave way as he opened the door. He stuck his gun through and the blood on the floor caught his attention. It looked like a lot to him, especially since it was presumed his partners blood. He didn't have to check the rest of the apartment because he knew they weren't there. He knew that she was gone. He lifted his phone to his face as he stood up.

"Enright."

"The killer has Branca...the real killer."

"So, where do we start?" Rivers asked. Creegan didn't know what to tell them. He was too confused, too concerned about Susan. He looked around the conference room at the faces starring back at him.

Creegan said the first thing that crossed his mind, "Search John Cotter's home."

Bernal jotted something down and then spoke, "What makes you think he did this?"

"He said that his daughter and wife had green eyes. He loved green eyes. He thought they were beautiful. Branca has green eyes," Creegan fell silent for a moment picturing her face, "We need to move now."

Bernal and Rivers shot up and left as some other agents followed them. Swopes and Enright stayed behind. Enright moved toward Creegan, "You gonna be okay?"

"Why does everyone ask that? What if I said no instead of yes. What would you say then?" Creegan looked like he was ready to crack at any moment. Enright shrugged a little and replied, "Get it together and go find your partner."

Creegan nodded as he left. Enright looked back the screen with the man's picture on it.

Ch. 7

The entire team was outside Cotter's house ready to strike. Creegan wanted to go through the front door. He left Bernal to go through the back and the agents would split up with them accordingly. Creegan nodded at Rivers standing across from him. Rivers nodded back signaling the men to be ready. Creegan knocked on the door holding his gun down ready, "Cotter open the door, OSC!"
Creegan had had enough waiting only after ten seconds. He looked at Rivers and nodded. Rivers tried the door knob first and it turned giving way. He pushed the door open. Rivers looked at Creegan, "It's open..."

Creegan went in flashing his gun across the front room. Rivers and three other agents followed him in through the front. The remaining four agents followed Bernal in through the back door. Creegan nodded pointing toward the stairs. Rivers backed them as they climbed the stairs. Creegan burst through the first door, probably Cotter's bedroom. Rivers continued on to the next room. Creegan entered keeping his gun set to unload a clip in this unfound man. Creegan heard something in the bathroom just to the right of the bed. He pushed the door open with his leg and sighed heavily at the sight.

"Rivers!"

Rivers rushed in and shook his head, "That Cotter?"

"Yeah.....Dammit!" Creegan sunk to his knees. Now what? Creegan paused trying to gather his thoughts while starring at the gun Cotter had used to kill himself. Find Susan. Creegan stood up, "Search the entire place. Start with barn outback and the basement."

Rivers left Creegan standing there alone. Creegan put his gun away. He was loosing it, he could feel it creeping on him. He leaned back against the wall and then started to shake his head, No, can't. Can't loose it. Keep it together.

He took a deep breath and walked out of the room. He went outside and out to the barn. Bernal spotted him and went to stand beside him. Bernal was quiet for a few seconds, "Well...at least she wasn't pregnant."

Creegan looked at him. It wasn't a funny look nor a serious look. I was a look of anger like 'I'm going to kill you after this is over' look. Bernal gave a quick smile and went back to what he was doing. Creegan looked at the ground. He had ignored what he had said before, Branca wasn't pregnant. Susan wasn't pregnant. Creegan flashed a smile and then it quickly died again. He breathed in deeply as he saw Rivers coming toward him with a long and dreary face. Creegan knew that face. His heart fell, she was not here.

They had found nothing. No sign that Branca had even been there. Of course, some of these kidnappers nowadays were good at what they do. Creegan somehow had found his way to Susan's apartment. He turned the knob and let himself in. He stood looking around the room. He got an eerie sense of deja vu. He felt sick. He followed the stairs to the bedroom and set down on the bed. He starred at the mirror. It was his fault. He didn't show up last night like they had planned. If he had then they would be talking, laughing, maybe convicting the real murder, the real killer. Creegan lifted his left hand to reveal a brown paper bag with a bottle of scotch. He ripped it away and opened the bottle taking a gulp. He winced as it went down. He could only imagine what the killer was doing to her. He took another drink, more than the first. He set the bottle down on the floor and leaned back. He grabbed the pillow with fringe on it. He smiled as he thought of her posing infront of the mirror. She would have made a good mother. He sat up throwing the pillow away from him. He had to stop talking about her in a past tense. She will make a good mother. She will day someday, but not today. He pulled out his phone and punched Swopes number. As the call connected, he picked up the bottle and starred at it. Swopes answered, "Swopes."

"Do you have an address for Abby Smith?"

Creegan found himself on a farm about an hour out of town. He looked around at his surroundings, an old barn, cellar, and maybe a tool shed. Creegan stepped on the front porch and it creaked like it was going to give way under his weight. He knocked on the door a few times and then saw a buzzer. He pushed that a few times. He alternated until the woman came to the door.

"What is it?" She said as she jerked the door open.

"Abby Cotter?"

"Smith."

Creegan held his ID up, "Creegan, with the OSC. May I come in?"

She stood back with her hand out. Creegan came in and she shut the door. Abby offered him a seat and he took it, "What can I do for you?"

"Tell me where my partner is." Creegan starred at her. Abby starred back, "I don't know who or where you partner is."

"No, I'm pretty sure you do. Average height, kinda skinny, blonde-brown, green eyes. You remember?" Creegan was agitated and Abby was calm as could be.

"Sir, I have nothing to hide. Search the place. She isn't here."

Creegan scooted to the edge of the seat, "I never said she."

Abby looked away just a few seconds and Creegan caught it. Abby shrugged, "John told me that a male and female cop had come to see him. The female had the prettiest green eyes he'd ever seen. Better than my eyes."

Creegan smiled sarcastically, "That make you jealous?"

"Sir, I am not jealous. Why would I be jealous because my lousy ex-husband thought some broad was prettier than me. It's a lie anyhow. I've seen her. She's really quite beautiful but she has no clue. She's not pretty."

"Where is she?" Creegan said it low, almost growling at her. Abby smiled gracefully, "Can't tell you."

Creegan took out his gun laying it on his knee and Abby laughed as she pulled out her small revolver, "I have one too. What a consequence. My ex husband always put me last. The man was obsessed with green eyes. Green eyes this and green eyes that. We looked for four years to find the perfect green eyed daughter with his beautiful thick black hair. I couldn't have children of my own. Then our babysitter, she had green eyes."

Creegan eyes were on the gun that she had put to her head in the middle of her speech. He watched it knowing that it would be very bad if she killed herself without mentioning Branca. She was their only hope, killer or not.

"He was screwing our babysitter, did you know that? That little whore, Michelle, she was screwing him. He never laid a hand on me the last five years we were married. Nothing."

"And Nancy..." Creegan flipped the safety off unnoticeably. Abby laughed again, it was wicked this time. It sent chills through his spine.

"Oh...John was screwing her too. Since she was sixteen. It wasn't a family. John was insane. He committed suicide, poor man. After loosing his daughter. He just couldn't take it."

"Why my partner?" Creegan asked calmly trying to hold back the frantic Creegan waiting to get out.

Abby shrugged, "Why not? A whore is a little dirty whore, Mr. Creegan. You not agree?"

"Where is she?"

Abby picked up the control to the TV and turned it on. It was Branca. She was in a small room lying on the floor. Creegan heart flew as he saw her but fell once more when she failed to move the slightest bit. Abby smiled as she gripped her gun once more and laughed a little, "You know what's sad?"

Creegan took his eyes off of the screen to look at Abby.

Her smile got bigger, "You'll never find her."

She moved the barrel of the gun to the inside of her mouth and pulled the trigger. Creegan didn't get a chance to yell no or stop her. The rest of his back up rushed in guns ready to fire at any given moment and found their target had been eliminated already. Creegan starred at the bloody mess and then back at the screen. Rivers and Bernal watched him and the looking at the screen they understood. Creegan got on his knees and crawled to the TV set and dropped his gun as he touched her picture with both his hands. Bernal's cell rang and he tried to pick it up quickly not to disturb Creegan. He went off in another room and left Rivers and Creegan. Creegan brought his head down and held it against the screen as he let the tears give way. Rivers starred at the screen and saw her move. She moved her arm.

"Creegan!" Bernal and Rivers shouted at the same time.

Bernal looked at Rivers then at Creegan, "Taberel gave us a location of a secret fall out shelter built in the twenty's. We could check it out."

Creegan turned around as he got up, "Okay."

Rivers pointed at the TV, "She's not dead. Watch."

Everyone watched and sure enough, she moved again. Creegan smiled, "Find her."

Creegan was down in the basement looking for the room in which Branca was hidden. He couldn't find the room. He huffed, he just couldn't get a break. He growled as he kicked a cabinet under the stairs. The doors made a hollow sound as they shifted. He starred at it. He grabbed the handles and pulled it open. There was another door behind it. He down at the lock on the door and pulled on it, "Rivers! Bernal!"

He backed up looking around for something to break or open it. He opened the toolbox searching for a crowbar. He grabbed it going to the door and inserted between the bars of the combination lock. Rivers came down the stairs, "Creegan...," he looked at the door, "Is she in there?"

Creegan nodded, "I know she is..."

He pulled down on the crowbar, his face turning red, "Ahhhh...." The lock gave way and Creegan let out a loud sigh. Rivers opened the door and Creegan rushed in. Susan was lying on the floor. He knelt down on the floor, "Susan..."

She didn't answer. He turned her on her back and checked her pulse while he examined the huge gash in her head. He looked behind him and Rivers had left. Hopefully to call an ambulance. He turned his attention back to Susan. "Susan...wake up."

Her eyes were heavy as she tried to open them. She moaned. Creegan smiled, "Hey.."

He said as she opened her eyes. Abby had apparently kept her drugged with something because it was making it hard for her to come around.

Rivers came back down, "Ambulance is almost here."

Branca was lying in her hospital bed. She starred out the window. The left side of her face was swollen and bruised. Creegan knocked and she ignored it. He came in and sat down in the chair beside the bed. He set the sack down that he had with him.

She turned her head and they both smiled instantaneously.

"Brought you something," Creegan pulled out a small bunny rabbit. Susan laughed as she took it.

"Thank you."

David watched her quietly as she rubbed the purple bunny, "Rabbit's aren't purple, but that's all they had. That and green."

"Purple is fine." She laid the rabbit down on her lap and looked at him, "I honestly thought I was going to die. I thought about you the whole time."

David nodded as he took her hand, "I understand. And about that talk."

"I'm sorry about that. I don't want to leave anything unfinished like that again." Susan squeezed his hand. David smiled softly, "Well, I shouldn't have said what I said. But you know..." He rolled his eyes toward his scar.

She smiled, "I know. Crazy."

"Better believe it," he moved to her bed sitting on the edge. He leaned up and kissed her forehead.

The end.

Thanks ya'll—Andrea ï