AN: First off, let me explain this story. I wrote this story based on a storyline by JacksTortugasLass. This was a collaborative work and she deserves credit for part of the storyline. The characters of Monk (Monk, Disher, Sharona, Benjy, Stottlemeyer and Karen) are property of Mandeville and USA. The characters of Joy and Julie Robertson and James Clanton belong to JacksTortugasLass. All other original characters belong to me, ClayandSarah4ever and are to not be used without permission. It had been previously published by JacksTortugasLass and she removed it after I pointed out a few things to her. What they were, doesn't matter. What matters is that this is being republished. I saw that a few of the readers left feedback and we appreciate your comments. I hope that the feedback will continue. With that said, the final word I have to say is, I, nor anyone else is making money from this little story, so please enjoy. Julia

The early morning is always the quietest time of the day, even in a city where nothing ever sleeps. The paperboy is the only one out and about, delivering the news in this quiet, well-maintained neighborhood. Not many residents stir at this early hour, not unless you are Lieutenant Randy Disher. Randy liked to impress his boss, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, by showing up for work early. Sometimes, he succeeded; other times, his boss would startle Randy by sleeping on his office couch, particularly after he had had a fight with his wife, Karen.

This morning, however, Randy had finished his breakfast and coffee, showered and dressed in a cream suit, with a blue shirt and red necktie, and was ready to walk out the door when the phone rang. Sighing, Randy hesitated at the door, after all, he was almost ready to leave for work and, of course, the phone would pick that time to ring. However, since Randy's phone rarely rang, maybe it was something important. After all, he only received an occasional call from his mother and since breaking up with Crystal, the wallet model, it hadn't rung for anything other than his boss calling him to a case or salespeople trying to solicit products that he didn't need. Rolling his eyes, he went back and picked up the receiver.

"Disher," Randy said, a little impatiently. Suddenly, he nodded his head, his blue eyes wide and serious. "Yeah, yeah, I'll be over." He hung up the phone, grabbed his suit jacket and ran to his car.

Walking into the precinct, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer's eyes surveyed his department. Most of his officers were busily at work, filing reports, talking on the phone, taking statements. As his eyes went around the room, he spotted an unknown child sitting at his lieutenant's desk, with her feet propped up on his desk, her eyes closed and her hands folded behind her head. Upon seeing a child at Disher's desk, Stottlemeyer started roaming the room, looking for Disher himself. Spotting him by the coffee pot, Stottlemeyer walked up behind him. Startling Disher, Stottlemeyer said, "Randy, I want to see you in my office."

Nervously, Randy followed Stottlemeyer into his office, closing the door behind him. If he was going to get chewed out by the Captain, he didn't want the entire department to hear it!

"Lieutenant, who's that young girl at your desk?" inquired Stottlemeyer.

"Uhm, sir, that's Joy Robertson. She's the youngest sister of Trent Robertson, my best friend at the Police Academy. Their parents died when Joy was young and he and his other sister, Julie, were caring for her. Trent was killed in the line of duty. You may remember that hostage situation, a few years ago, on Portage Street that went bad. He was one of the police that guy killed," Randy said, sadly. "Trent made me promise that, if anything ever happened to him, that I would watch over Julie and Joy. As it so happens, Julie was murdered a year ago. Joy witnessed it. The police in Sausalito found her sitting next to the body and in shock. Joy hasn't spoken since then. From what her caseworker told me this morning, when I got the call to pick her up, she has had a history of violent behavior. She has tried to burn down the last foster family's house and that is why they called Social Services. Social Services called me because they had no one else to take her in. That is why I brought her to work with me this morning. I didn't need for her to burn my place down."

Stottlemeyer smiled at Randy and said, "Right, well, as long as she doesn't get into trouble, she can stay. However, we need to focus on this suicide case. Apparently, one Mr. James Clanton, age 47, married with two children, decides he can't handle life anymore and decides to end it by drowning----- in his bathtub."

A look of incredulity passed over Randy's face. "A bathtub, sir?"

Sighing, Stottlemeyer said, "Yes, Randy, a bathtub. Apparently he locked the door so that his wife couldn't get in. He started the water and just laid down in it. Mrs. Clanton thought her husband was taking a shower before he went to work. After being in there for 30 minutes, she began to worry. Walking upstairs, she found water gushing from underneath the door. Panicking, she called 911. The EMTs arrived within three minutes. They broke down the door to find Mr. Clanton floating face down."

"So, what does Monk say about this?" asked Randy.

Grimacing, Stottlemeyer said, "I don't know, because I haven't called him, yet. I'm sure that he'll come in here and tell me that I am wrong, as usual."

Straightening up some papers on his desk, Captain Stottlemeyer looked past Randy, out his window, to Joy. Turning to see what his Captain was glancing at, Randy saw Joy writing on his desk, as one would do in school.

"You better get out there. I think the native is getting restless," said Stottlemeyer, with a slight grin, to a chagrined Randy.

Nodding his head, Randy said a quick thanks and walked out into the open office space. Walking over to Joy, Randy loudly said, "Quit writing on my desk." Startled, Joy turned around to face him and dropped the pen on the floor. Nothing but silence filled the office area, as all the other officers and detectives turned to look at the scene playing out at the lieutenant's desk. Joy narrowed her eyes at him, her defiance showing through her green eyes. Many stood and wondered who would win the battle. Disher was, by no means, the most terrifying cop in the department. As a matter of fact, Randy was only dangerous to the ones driving behind him, as Sharona once quipped. No, Randy Disher wasn't the most physical of cops. At only 5'10", the brown-haired, blue-eyed lieutenant was built more for accounting than for police work. The slim Randy was able to chase after a suspect and apprehend, when the time called for it. However, facing off against this small-framed, wisp of a girl, filled Randy with more dread than any hardened criminal. Joy was petite by most standards. She had short brown hair with the occasional black streak showing through. Her green eyes were clear and, at this moment, staring defiantly at Randy. She stood just barely over 5'0" and couldn't weigh any more than 100 lbs---- soaking wet. But yet, the determination in her eyes, told a story of stubbornness and survival. Although having gone through seven foster families in a year, since Julie's death, Joy still showed the spitfire spirit that often got her into trouble. Now, it was staring at this police lieutenant, who was the best friend of her brother.

Deciding to back down, rather than cause a scene, Joy picked up the fallen pen, replaced it on Randy's desk and vacated his seat. After exhaling simultaneously, the rest of the department went back to work. Randy sat down at his desk, opened one of the drawers and withdrew a pad of paper and took the pen she was using, handing it to her.

"There, entertain yourself. I have work to do," stated Randy, flatly.

Joy reluctantly took the proffered paper and pen and began to write. Relieved that she was cooperating, Randy turned back to his desk. Realizing that his desk now sported graffiti, and not wanting to deal with it himself, Randy made a note to himself to have the cleaning crew clean it off, and turned his focus back on the case at hand. Randy flipped through the file Captain Stottlemeyer handed him and began to read the details of the case, jotting down notes or questions as he thought of them, on the little notebook he kept in his inner jacket pocket.

He was so engrossed in his work and the case that he lost all track of time, until he felt something jabbing him in the shoulder. Shaking himself out of his reverie, Randy saw Joy pointing to the clock. Stretching, Randy got up, not realizing how long he had been sitting in one position. After clearing his desk off, he indicated to Joy that he was ready to leave. Silently, Joy followed Randy out to the parking garage and his car.

The drive home was silent, Randy engrossed in his own thoughts and Joy, well, because Joy stopped talking the day Julie died. On the way home, Randy didn't realize Joy was still writing until he pulled to a stop at a light. Glancing over, Randy tried to get a glimpse of what she was doing. Going out on a limb, Randy motioned over to the paper and said, "What have you been doing the whole day?" Her reply to his question was to turn her head and look out the window. Randy sighed and thought, 'This is going to be a long four months until school starts.'

Pulling into the driveway of 125 Lakeside Avenue, Randy thought about Joy's situation. She had had no permanent placement this past year and Randy didn't think that she would become all that attached to him. He couldn't quite decide whether or not trying to reach out to her would be worth his time. After all, she had made it clear to him that she could care less about him. But, then, he thought of how he felt without his father growing up, and the pain she must be feeling after losing everyone whom she ever loved.

Filing those thoughts away as he and Joy entered the house, Randy deposited his keys by the front door. Entering Randy's home made Joy a little nervous, as she carried all her worldly possessions---her backpack and the pad of paper Randy gave to her. Indicating that she should follow him, Randy gave her the nickel and dime tour. The first room he walked through was the living room, where a TV sat on an entertainment center. A loveseat was off to the right with a recliner positioned across from the TV. Randy told her that he had cable and TiVo and that she could feel free to surf the channels. The next room was his office and under no circumstance was she to be in there. He showed her where the kitchen and dining area were, pointing out where everything was kept. Finally, he showed her his guest room—which was to be hers—and the bathroom. Joy surmised that the only room Randy didn't show her, was his own bedroom, and that that room was also off limits as well.

Returning to her room, Joy laid her meager belongings on the bed and looked up at Randy. "I'm going to order a pizza since I'm sure that I don't have anything here that you'd like," he stated, plainly. "Do you like cheese? Pepperoni? Sausage?" he queried. When Joy said nothing, Randy sighed and said, "Fine, I'll order a half and half. You know, you're going to be living here for a while. It would be helpful if you would at least write out an answer."

Joy looked up at him and then down at the pad of paper she held and wrote, 'I prefer sausage and pepperoni.' She lifted it up to Randy while he read it.

"Ok, pepperoni and sausage it is. See? It wasn't that hard. I know you've had a rough year, Joy, but there isn't a reason why we couldn't get along," said Randy, "Tomorrow, after work, I'm going to take you to Wal-mart, to buy you the stuff you need. If you are going to be living here, you'll need more than just what you've got in that backpack. Until the pizza comes, feel free to do what you want. I need to finish up some work and I'll let you know when it gets here."

With that, Randy walked across the hall to his office and shut the door. When Joy heard the door shut, she placed her head in her hands and silently cried. 'What am I doing here?' she wondered.

Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang and the pizza guy delivered one large pepperoni and sausage pizza. Randy called for Joy to come out and eat. If he thought that the silence on the way home was agonizing, the silence that permeated the dining room was worse. Joy ate the pizza almost mechanically, as if her mind was reminding her body to feed itself. She showed no emotion, whatsoever, while eating. Her pizza was washed down with a Coke. After she had finished, she left the table and, the mess, for Randy. Randy watched as Joy went back to her room and closed the door. Sighing, and berating himself for getting into this situation, he started cleaning up the trash. After he was finished, he locked up the house for the night and retired to his room. Usually Randy would stay up and read before going to sleep, however, after the case today and the emotional wear from Joy, Randy fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Waking up, around one in the morning, to relieve himself from all the soda he drank, Randy went to the bathroom. On the way out, he spotted a light on in the living room. Going out to investigate, Randy saw that Joy was up and holding a book. From Randy's angle, it looked like a scrapbook or a memory book. Seeing tears flow down Joy's face, drew a concerned look from him. As he stepped forward to say something, she turned suddenly. Seeing Randy standing there, watching her, Joy sprung up from the loveseat, causing the book she was holding to tumble facedown on the floor, and ran into her room, slamming the door. In her haste, she forgot the book she was looking at. His curiosity overcoming him, Randy picked up the book, flipping it over to see what had caused Joy such sadness.