The Shock of His Life

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Disclaimer: I don't own these characters … although I wish that the people who did had made an episode where Frank sailed back to Australia! I almost started up a "Bring Back Colin Friels" campaign in 2001!

Author's Message: I think I almost started crying when I was writing this story … it's what may have happened if Frank came back and found out that Rachel was dead.

I also made up a date for Rachel's birthday and the day she died … I can't remember the date on the organiser that Jack found … and I don't think we ever found out when Rachel's birthday was.

Summary: Frank returns from Venezuela to convince Rachel to go back with him, only to find out that she was killed not long after he left.

Category: Angst/Despair

Rating: PG-13

The lyrics in this story are 'Against the Odds' by Phil Collins (or is it Against all Odds?)

- - - - -

The Footloose headed towards the Harbour on a bright and beautiful day in Sydney. Frank Holloway stood at its helm and sighed.

"It is bloody good to be home," he said to himself.

Frank steered the Footloose towards a pier, where he thought that he would be staying for a while, before he settled back in the rhythm of things.

It had almost two years since Frank had left his home, Sydney, for Venezuela.

His mind was fresh and clear, he finally knew what he wanted in life, and he had come back for it.

This time, Frank was going to take Rachel Goldstein back to Venezuela with him. He didn't care what she said, or how many times she pushed him away. He was going to take her with him.

Last time, Rachel had told him that she couldn't go with him because she had too many responsibilities. Frank was sure that that particular reason wouldn't have changed, but he hoped that something had.

Once he had tied his boat to the wharf, Frank took a walk around familiar territory. He stood outside his old house, remembering when it was his. An old lady, he knew, now lived there.

Frank continued on walking. He sat down on a park bench and watched children running around after birds, whilst their parents where telling them not to do it.

He smiled to himself as thought about Rachel and her young son David.

How old would he be now? About 12? Frank thought. I'll have to ask Rachel when I see her. That will definitely be my next trip.

- - - - -

Detective Jack Christey headed down the stairs of the Sydney Water Police station. Waiting for him downstairs were fellow detectives Michael Reilly and Alex St Clare.

"Hurry up Jack! I'm waiting for you!" Alex yelled, when she finally saw a pair of feet walking down the stairs.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming Alex. Hold ya bloody horses," Jack replied, shaking his head in disgust.

"That's what I've been doing for the past ten minutes Jack," Alex said.

"We've," Mick corrected her.

"Whatever."

Mick frowned, as Alex walked out the door in a huff.

"What's her problem today?" Jack asked Mick.

Mick shrugged, "Who knows!"

"Pissed off with me for taking so long?" Jack suggested.

"Maybe," Mick replied, "But, she has been like that all day so far … and I'm not pissed off with ya for taking ya time."

Jack raised his eyebrows, "Geez, Mick. That's a bloody first!"

"Yeah. Well, I think I've just decided not to argue … or be pissed off with people," Mick replied seriously, as he held the door open for Jack.

Jack gave Mick a confused look behind his back, "Okay …" he wasn't quite sure what Mick actually meant by that remark.

Soon, the three detectives were on their way to Balmain, where earlier, they had received all call about the body of a young woman being found in her home.

- - - - -

Senior Sergeant Helen Blakemore stood at the front desk, clearing up files that had been sitting on the counter for days.

She took a quick glance up when she heard the front door being opened.

Helen looked back down again, but not for long, because she then realised who it was that had opened the door.

"Frank Holloway," Helen said deadpan.

"Ah, Helen Blakemore!" Frank smiled.

She smiled back at him, but it was a sad smile, "How are you Frank?"

"Good," Frank replied cheerfully, seemingly not noticing Helen's sadness for the moment.

Helen looked down at the files in her hand, before looking back up at Frank, "That's good to hear. Did you just get back?"

"Yeah, about half an hour ago."

"Oh … okay."

Frank gave her a confused look, "Anything wrong?"

Helen raised her eyebrows, "Um … no …"

"That means that there is," Frank guessed.

Helen shrugged, "It's just that … well, I know why you're here."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah," Helen replied, "And I haven't been looking forward to this day …"

"Huh?" Frank said. He even more confused now then what he was before, "What?"

"You're here to see Rachel …" Helen said sadly.

"Well, yeah," Frank replied, his eyes gleaming, "And everyone else of course! Well, except for Jack, who I know was my replacement."

Helen rolled her eyes at his last comment, "But mainly here to see Rachel."

Frank shrugged, "I guess so," he lied, knowing that she was the real reason that he came back.

Helen nodded slowly; tears were starting to build in her eyes, "Frank. Rachel's not here."

"Oh?" Frank said, his eyebrows raised, "Has she got the day off or somethin'?"

Helen looked down and closed her eyes for a brief moment, "No," she said, not knowing how to break the news to Frank, "I'll take you to her though …"

"Oh okay."

Helen wiped her eyes, hoping that Frank hadn't noticed the tears. She walked around the counter, and to where Frank was standing, before they headed out the door.

Frank followed Helen, unsure of what was going on and where she was taking him.

He soon though, realised where they were heading.

The cemetery.

Frank was confused. Helen has to be tricking me, he thought. What's going on?

Still, he continued to walk along, following Helen, trying to comprehend what was happening.

Helen stopped when she reached a particular grave. She looked back at Frank with tears in her eyes. Frank was looking back at her meaningfully.

Helen then pointed at the grave, "I'm so sorry Frank."

Frank was almost too scared to look at the grave, but in spite of everything, he turned and faced the tombstone.

"Rachel's dead …?" was all he could manage to say.

Helen nodded, tears were falling down her cheeks, "I'm sorry," she repeated.

Frank, who was close to tears, slowly read the writing on the tombstone.

- - - - -

Here lies
Rachel Marie Goldstein

Tragically taken from us
Now resting peacefully,
With the angels
Will never be forgotten

24-11-1966 – 15-07-1999

- - - - -

"H- … how …?" Frank stuttered, still not believing that his best friend was gone.

"Rachel was stabbed," Helen answered.

"Stabbed?"

"Yes."

"Why would someone … stab her …?"

Helen shrugged, "Rachel recognised him … he panicked, picked up a piece of glass off the ground … and stabbed her in the stomach," she tried to explain.

"Recognised who?"

"Graham Denton."

Frank looked up at Helen, through teary eyes, "Who's that?"

"At the time, Rachel and Jack were investigating a passport scam. Denton was a part of the passport scam from the beginning… they didn't expect him to be at the warehouse."

"They? Warehouse?"

"They … Rachel and Jack. Warehouse … where Rachel was killed."

Frank looked back down Rachel's grave, "Jack was with her?"

"Yeah."

"Who else?"

"No one else," Helen replied quietly.

"Why wasn't anyone else … there?"

Helen sighed, "Backup was slow … they couldn't find Jack and Rachel … and by the time they did, Rachel had already died."

Frank closed his eyes, "She died straight away?"

"No," Helen said, "No ... she didn't."

"Oh," Frank still had his eyes closed.

"Frank … I'm sorry …" Helen walked over to him and put an arm gently around his shoulders, "I know this wasn't what you expected to come back to. I guess no one expected anything like that to happen …"

Frank opened his eyes and looked at her, "Yeah," he said sadly.

"I should go back to work …" Helen said, "Will you be okay here?"

"Yeah," Frank said again, not looking up as Helen left him there in silence.

- - - - -

Helen arrived back at work; tears were still in her eyes.

She walked back behind the front desk and went back to cleaning up the area.

Jack, Mick and Alex walked through the door minutes later.

Helen didn't have to look up to know it was them, because they were arguing, as per usual.

"You drive like an old woman!" Alex exclaimed.

"I do not!" Mick retorted.

"Yes you do! I mean, it took us bloody ages to arrive back at work, all because you were driving at 40 kilometres an hour!"

Mick rolled his eyes. He just couldn't be bothered with Alex for now … if at all.

Jack, through all of the bickering, remained quiet. He was staring at Helen, who he noticed, had been crying.

Alex and Mick walked through the door and up the stairs to their office, still arguing.

Jack however, stayed downstairs, "Helen? Are you okay?"

Helen looked up at Jack briefly, "Yeah … fine."

"It certainly looks that way," Jack said sarcastically, "What's the matter?"

Helen just shrugged; tears began to form in her eyes again, "Nothing."

Jack rolled his eyes, "You've been … or you are … crying."

Helen shrugged again.

"Come on Helen …" Jack persevered.

Helen looked up at Jack, "Alright, alright … Frank was here earlier on …"

Jack frowned, "Frank? Frank Holloway?"

Helen nodded.

"Oh …" Jack looked down at the ground, "So you told him? … About Rach?"

Helen nodded again, "I took him to her grave."

Jack nodded slightly, "I'd hate to be in his shoes right now."

"Yeah …"

"He just got back did he?"

"Yeah …" Helen repeated, "Listen Jack. I think that maybe you should talk to him. I mean, you were the last person to see Rachel alive … and talk to her."

"I don't think so Helen," Jack replied bluntly, "Frank hates me … and I sure as hell don't like Frank."

"But you've both got one thing in common," Helen said, "Rachel."

Jack looked at Helen, one eyebrow raised.

"Frank and Rachel were best friends. You and Rachel …"

Jack closed his eyes, "I know … but, I just don't think I'd be able to talk to him … You know?"

Helen nodded, "I understand that Jack. But Frank needs to know what happened. I can't tell him everything because I wasn't there. You were."

Jack looked at her sadly, "I just don't think I could explain it to someone, especially Frank, all over again. It was hard enough trying to explain it to bloody Joe Da Silva."

"I know Jack."

He sighed, "Anyway, I'd better get back to work."

"Yeah … but just think about it Jack," Helen said.

Jack pushed open the door, "Okay."

Helen watched him as he walked up the stairs, and disappeared.

- - - - -

When Jack walked into the office, he found that Alex and Mick were still arguing.

"Oh, cut it out you two," Jack exclaimed, as he walked over to his desk and sat down on the chair.

Alex looked over at him, "Jack," she said bluntly,"This is none of your business."

"Yeah? Well, since we share this office, I think it is my business because I can hear every bloody word you say."

"Oh get stuffed Jack," Alex replied.

"No, you get stuffed Alex!" Jack yelled, "I am not in the mood to listen to your shit!"

"You arrogant little b–"

"Alex, that's enough," Mick interrupted her, "Just leave it."

"You shut the hell up!" Alex yelled as she gave Mick the evil eye.

Jack rolled his eyes.

"HEY!" Chief Inspector Jeff Hawker poked his head in the room, "Shut up! If you wanna yell, go outside and do it!" he was gone as quickly as he had appeared.

Jack looked at Mick, then Alex then back at Mick again.

"Bloody hell," Mick said quietly as he shook his head.

"What now Mick?" Alex asked.

"Nothing."

Alex stared at him, and was about to say something when the phone on her desk rang, "St Clare …?" she answered.

Jack looked over at Mick as Alex continued speaking on the phone, "What is it with you two?"

"God knows," Mick replied. He looked at Jack, and appeared to notice that something was bothering him straight away, "What's wrong Jack?"

"Huh?"

"What's wrong?"

"Who said that there was anything wrong?"

"I can tell there's something wrong."

Jack closed his eyes, "Nothing is wrong."

"Yeah … sure," Mick said sarcastically.

Jack looked at him, "Okay. You didn't notice Helen when you walked in before?"

Mick looked confused.

"No. You wouldn't have, because you and Alex were too busy arguing."

Mick rolled his eyes, "Alright … what was wrong with Helen."

"She told me …" Jack sighed, "That Frank had come back."

Mick frowned, "While we were out?"

"I guess so," Jack replied.

"Shit," Mick said, "Oh shit … did Helen tell him …?"

Jack nodded.

"Shit," Mick said again, "Jack, you'll have to talk to Frank …"

"No," Jack replied firmly, "That's what Helen said as well."

"Well you have to! You were the last –"

"Person to see Rach alive …" Jack finished off Mick's sentence.

"Exactly!" Mick said, "Frank needs to know."

"Needs to know what?"

"What she said …" Mick whispered.

Jack sighed and closed his eyes, remembering Rachel's last words, "I know … but, I just can't talk to him. He hates me and I hate him."

Alex got off the phone, "I can see why he hates you," she interrupted.

"Shut up Alex," Jack scowled, "You have no idea who I'm talking about."

Alex sneered.

Jack shook his head, but continued despite the interruption,"Plus Mick … he'll probably leave now that he knows anyway. Rach was probably the reason he came back here."

Mick nodded understandably, "Yeah, I know."

Alex sat at her desk quietly and just listened.

"So that's another reason why I can't talk to him," Jack continued.

Mick nodded once more.

"You could talk to him though …" Jack suggested, "I mean, that is if he doesn't leave before you get to him."

Mick shook his head, "I don't think so. I only knew him for like a week …"

"I don't know him that well either."

"But, you'd know him better than me," Mick replied.

Jack merely shrugged and got back to typing on his lap top.

Mick sighed and looked up at Alex, who was just watching Jack.

- - - - -

At the cemetery, Frank had his eyes closed.

He began to reminisce about some of the many wonderful times he had shared with Rachel Goldstein … his best friend.

Like the night before he left for Venezuela … who could forget that?

- - - - -

"So two years, eh?" Rachel asked.

Frank nodded, "Possibly."

"That's a long time. Anything could happen. You know, you could meet one of those Miss World's that Venezuela's so famous for … I could meet someone …" Rachel stared at nothing in particular.

"Yeah, you could," Frank replied, "But you'd tell me if you did wouldn't ya?"

"Why? To get your approval?"

"Yeah, something like that."

"Would you give it?"

"Nope."

- - - - -

Frank smiled sadly as he sat by her grave.

He wondered if Rachel had met anyone …

He shuddered at that thought ... Jack?Frank knew about their past "relationship."

He also wondered what would've happened if Mick hadn't knocked on the door moments after he said "nope."

Another memory soon came flooding back …

The day Mick had arrived …

- - - - -

"I don't know what to make of this Mick Reilly," Frank said.

"He seems alright," Rachel replied with a shrug.

"Yeah, funny bloke."

Rachel looked at him confusingly, "Why do you say that?"

"Oh, makes you laugh."

"Well that doesn't make him funny! I'm such a pushover."

"You don't laugh at my jokes," Frank said.

"Well I may be a pushover, but I've got my standards!" Rachel laughed.

- - - - -

Good old Michael Reilly … Frank thought.

He wondered where Mick was when Rachel died. Helen said that she was with Jack, and no one else.

Strange.

Another memory …

Frank and Rachel a couple of weeks after they first started working together …

- - - - -

"You still seeing that creep?" Frank asked Rachel as they walked outside the station.

"Which one?" Rachel asked with a smile.

"The phone call."

"No!"

"He's got a wife and three kids!" Frank exclaimed.

"Yeah and a girlfriend in records, I know, I know …"

"And he's in uniform! How could you sleep with anyone in uniform?"

Rachel stopped walking, "You have!"

Frank walked back over to where Rachel was standing, "But they were sheilas!"

"Geez you're a jerk Holloway!" Rachel poked Frank in the shoulder.

- - - - -

Frank couldn't help but smile at that memory.

It seemed like a lifetime ago when they first started working together. Of course, back then, they didn't know each other very well, and didn't know if they could trust each other or not. But like any partnership, they built up their trust for one another and it began forming a very strong friendship.

Frank stood and looked up into the sky.

What's left for me here now? he thought, Kevin's gone … and now Rachel's gone. I have got nothing left … and more importantly, nobody left.

Frank put his hand on Rachel's grave and took one last look at it. A silent tear fell onto the grey stone.

"I'll miss you Rach," Frank said, "Seeya soon …"

And with that, he walked out of the cemetery and headed back to the Footloose, never to be seen again.

- - - - -

How can I just let you walk away?
Just let you leave without a trace?
When I stand here taking every breath with you
Oh, you're the only one who really knew me at all

How can you just walk away from me?
When all I can do is watch you leave?
Coz we've shared the laughter and the pain
And even shared the tears
You're the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now
Oh there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
Ooh take a look at me now
Well there's just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against the odds
And that's what I've got to face

I wish I could just make you turn around
Turn around and see me cry
There's so much I need to say to you
So many reasons why
You're the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now
Well there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
Now take a look at me now
Coz there's just an empty space

But to wait for you
Is all I can do and that's what I've got to face
Take a good look at me now
Coz I'll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
It's the chance I've gotta take

Take a look at me now

- - - - -

The End

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