I know it's taken me forever to finish this fic. I'm really turned off by nowadays Lilly, she's nothing like she used to be, and keeping her in character (her season 2 character) was harder than I expected. Still, this fic has been the best fun I've had in a while and I don't regret one minute of it. A million thanks to all you kind, patient reviewers and non-reviewers who stuck by it the whole way, in spite of my long breaks and shameless deviation from the show's pattern. You made my day. I'll miss you like crazy!


Epilogue

And the bitch has caught me, just like I knew she would. From the minute I laid eyes on her, I knew she'd find me out. And she did. I was doomed before I began.

They say I gave myself up and I guess they're right. The blonde bitch did something to my head—made me crazy. Blonde bitches do that. Erica Bailey did. And she did it on purpose, too.

I should have known she was trouble the minute I saw her come bouncing into Kemp's. But I never did. Boys said she was Newton's chick but that kid she always had with her was definitely not Newton's. Once Newton saw me staring, but he was so slow, he just never caught on. Poor bastard never realized I wanted her.

She was hot, that little slut. Pale and perfect and nimble. I barely knew how I found myself tangled in the sheets with her. We were like animals—doing it wherever we could, however we could, whenever we could. Forgetting everything and everyone while we were at it. Can't deny I enjoyed fucking her and she was insatiable.

But that's all she was. Just a damn fling. Why couldn't she just accept that?

I never got why she refused to go with Newton. Their plans to run off together had been laid down for ages. She was just itching to leave her husband and that boring old life of hers, sick of being the perfect little wife—the soccer mom. But then she dumped him. And decided she wanted me instead.

First few times I was nice. Told her I wasn't leaving my wife for her. Told her clearly. I loved Kylie—still love her—and we were gonna make a baby together.

And then she dropped her bomb. She was pregnant—and swore the kid was mine. That made me crazy. I didn't want a kid from her. I wanted a kid from my Kylie! Besides, fat chance I was really the father, what with all the other farts she probably had lying around her bedroom. Whore who screws over one guy will screw over others.

And then she said unless I left with her, she was gonna tell my Kylie. Everything.

I was scared of what Kylie might do. She's sweet and fragile, she didn't deserve this. It was my fault—but it was the blonde bitch's fault too. She got me caught up in her sick, sneaky little spider web. It was impossible to get out.

I never meant to kill her. Honest I didn't. I was just gonna scare her—maybe hurt her a little. Make her go away. But she got unreasonable, the uppity bitch—mocking me, like she was better than me or something. It set me off like nothing else ever had. We were in that shed and I didn't even feel like sex but suddenly there we were—and she was taunting me—who the fuck gave her the right?—and I saw red—and then there she was, sprawled on the ground with the wall covered in blood, and to this day I don't really know what happened, there's a huge void in my mind where that memory should be.

She had it coming, though. She really did.

What I don't get is why they keep raving about gunshot. I never had a gun in my life—wouldn't know how to shoot one if I did. They're fucking lunatics, these cops. They'll do anything for a conviction. Well—if they're hoping for a confession, they sure as hell ain't getting one from me.

And now my Kylie's finally pregnant, like we always wanted—and she hates my guts, so I don't get to see my baby grow up. Guess she'll never understand that everything I did, I did it for her, to protect her and this kid, to keep them together, to make them real—a family.

Self defense. That's all it was. A man's got a right to protect his family.


Maybe it was wrong for Stillman to feel gratification as he ground Feldman's face into the table. Maybe it was wrong, but—the hell with it. Bastard had it coming, even more than suspects usually did—that low down, cheating, murdering, stalking, raping bastard. Someone had to rid the world of this kind of scum. Sure he couldn't be taking justice into his own hands all the time, he was a law-enforcement officer after all. But for once in his life he decided rules could just fly out the window. Backing off that time, at his own daughter's request, was the hardest thing he'd ever done, and damned if he was doing it again now that one of his own had been similarly affected. The wellbeing of his detectives was his responsibility—what the hell made this punk dream he could just waltz into their world and threaten them? Physically harm them even?

In the land of limited options, he was definitely king. He couldn't very well beat the perp's face to a pulp as would have been desired—and deserved. But no one would deny him the pleasure of intercepting his onslaught on Lilly with just a little more vigor than necessary.

That should teach you to pick on the good guys, he glowered, unabashedly crushing him against the wood as he clicked his cuffs into place.

Funny how Janie's face seemed to smile back out at him, mirrored in the glistening steel rings.


Scotty couldn't help himself. He had to do it. He knew it was wrong—nosy as hell—and would probably earn him not only the Wrath of Lilly but the fierce disapproval of everyone else. Even so, it had to be done. His mind had been turning it over for so long—since George mentioned it, to be exact—he knew he'd never rest easy till he got to the bottom of the mystery.

Lilly's forbidden 49.

Her fragmented state following the Feldman interrogation was what settled it. It was too much—too much, even for someone jumped by the same thug the night before. Something else was up, something no one knew—something dark and sinister and terrible, a secret buried deep in her past. One stirred awake by recent happenings, rearing its ugly head in unsettling ways. Something Scotty felt he had to know. Not out of curiosity, but to understand.

The cool dusky archive room where the 49s were stored had a lingering ominous air to it—grim reminder that George was still at large. Lilly's file, wedged in a dank, dusty corner, had all of two mistyped pages in it—flimsy and insignificant, old, yellowed, brittle and forgotten. Had it been any other casefile, Scotty wouldn't have graced it with a second glance.

The bruised, mangled little face that leapt out at him as soon as he flipped the cover open was so painfully recognizable he nearly dropped it.

Crap. Oh, crap—I shouldn't have done this. Leave well enough alone, Valens. Leave it alone. Now!

But he couldn't. To his shame, curiosity was greater. He just had to know.

His mouth was dry as sawdust by the time he'd finished, his movements sluggish as he half-heartedly jammed the file back where he'd found it, lost among all others.

He understood now why Lilly was so eager to leave her past in the past—why she defended her territory so jealously, fending off anyone who didn't belong—Christina included. He had no business dragging everything back after she'd spent so many years burying it. All he could do with this information now was… keep it to himself.

Dammit, you really are a prick, Valens.


Not quite the fairytale ending Lilly had in mind, turning his wife's body over to an averse Aaron Bailey. Aaron's eyes were obscured, indecipherable. Try as she might, she hadn't been able to keep the gory details from him. In a way, she guessed he deserved to know. His wife was no saint—far from it—and she had meant to leave him and the kids, but that wasn't the reason she'd disappeared. Who knew what would have happened if she'd stayed alive? Maybe she would've changed her mind and not left after all, or she would have realized what she was missing and returned.

At least he and his children had some answers now. They could put her memory to rest, leave the past behind, pick up the pieces and move on. Lilly only hoped Aaron Bailey would be equal to the task—because resolution was all she could offer them. Maybe some family counseling and rehab for the boy, if he wanted it. A little bird had told her he'd gone home to visit his father and sister. Who knew? Maybe he had a chance after all. But there would be no miraculous family reunion, no benevolent Erica Bailey ghost watching over them. Not this time.

As for herself, she felt oddly at ease. Comfortable, even. Her injuries still throbbed as much as ever, but pride and honor had been restored. It hadn't been a piece of cake, but it was worth it—knowing she'd been able to come back and face the bastard. Let the others know she wouldn't be crushed—that she could still do her job. She wasn't some frail piece of glass that shattered if you looked at it funny. She faced adversity, as everyone else did—cried a little, moped a little, then sucked it up and got on with her life. As people did.

Would the frightened little ten-year-old waif come back to haunt her tonight? Probably. She'd been hanging around for so long it would take more than mere closure to chase her away. But she had the hunch even those dreams would be less terrifying now.

"Uh… Rush?"

She glanced up, hardly believing her ears. "Kite." Not precisely her favorite person at this moment. "What do you want?"

"Just to see how you were doing." He was giving her that smile—the charming, apologetic one. Well… it wasn't gonna work this time.

"Just fine and dandy, thanks."

She had to hand it to him, his concern seemed genuine. Too bad it hadn't been around when they needed it. He'd managed to make himself plenty scarce then.

"Listen," he began awkwardly. "It's not that I didn't want to help. It's just that, if you wanna get a conviction, you have to follow the rules. That's just the way it works."

"Uh-huh." Well, you've got your conviction now, Kite. So congratulations.

"I promise we'll condemn him to the fullest extent of the law," he added pertly, trailing after her like some pesky sort of puppy as she gathered her belongings to put them away.

"You do that, Kite. Now, if you'll excuse me, I really have to go."


As I turn my back on the police with a baby in my womb and free of the tiresome burden of years in an unhappy marriage, I can't help thinking about how perfect it all turned out. Perfect to the last detail. And I didn't even have to spend that much time planning it—things just sort of fell into place.

I always knew Robert had it in him to kill someone. You don't wake up with a person every morning for twelve years and not notice. His raptures were always so violent—greedy, almost. With me he was always gentle, but I knew there were others. Erica Bailey wasn't the first, but she was the most dangerous—the only one who managed to put a kink in my plans.

She deserved to die. If I didn't think so when I first found out about their affair, I knew it for sure when I heard them arguing in that shed. About her pregnancy. That kid she was expecting but that I was supposed to have. The nerve of that ho.

And then Robert lost it and flew back to the trailer in a panic—such a sissy. But I stayed. Someone had to. You didn't have to be a genius to realize those injuries wouldn't kill her—just a measly cut on her scalp.

Pulling the trigger was easy as pie. She was already unconscious so she didn't feel a thing. And I had a good silencer. I'd never fired a gun before but it's amazing what you can do when your instincts tell you to. Gotta thank my Pa for keeping so many of those around.

Robert never found out about the gun. I don't think he even noticed I'd been prowling around that shed, watching him, before running into him washing up that blood. It was just one of the many things we never talked about again.

I don't know what made me put up with him for so long afterwards. We were never really happy, except maybe at the very beginning. But I needed this baby, needed it to feel alive—and he was the only one who could give it to me. No matter how long it took.

Soon as the test came back positive, though—I knew it was time. And then fate lent me a helping hand. Who knows? Maybe there is a higher power after all. Because I sure never expected to come across those babies buried in my backyard—and I never dreamed they'd eventually be connected to Erica Bailey. That was just plain luck.

When Erica Bailey's name came up, I knew the die was cast. And I did everything in my power to help it along. Increasing Robert's paranoia, asking questions that couldn't be answered without resorting to lies, egging him on. Seeing him so nervous was hilarious—I knew it would only be a matter of time before he incriminated himself. And then I'd be free.

I'm sorry that detective lady had to take the brunt of Robert's rage. But in, every war there will be casualties, and she was one of mine. At least this is a war I've won—with Robert out of my life and Erica Bailey dead, no one will ever suspect me. My baby and I will make a life for ourselves far, far away from here.

Good-bye, Robert. Good bye and good riddance.