Title: Husbands, fathers and partners

Author: Loz

E-Mail: T

Category: Mackenzie/Church/Hollister

Series: Nup

Spoilers: None as long as you know Mac and Hollister were once together.

Archive (if applicable): www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net

Feedback: The good, the bad and the very ugly it's all appreciated.

Summary: What appears to be a simple undercover case turns out to be much more.

Author's Notes: Having a bit of renaissance of Stingers writing after taking a trip down memory lane with some tapes. This story must be a record, it's been on my hard drive for years – at least four, only a page and a half was written, I've revived it and it's turned out to be twenty.

Disclaimers: I don't own, never have, never will.

"Say hello to Makayde Barron-Martin." Ellen Mackenzie slaps a picture of a brunette with fine features up onto the operations board. Blank looks are drawn from her watching team.

"Is she known to us?" Danni Mayo squints focusing closer on the photo that is taken from a distance.

"The exact opposite in fact." Mac taps the marker against the photo.

"Barron-Martin is she?" Church shifts his weight from foot to foot.

"Daughter to Benton 'Jack' Barron." Mac nods in confirmation waiting for the looks of surprise she is expecting.

"Jack'Jack of all trades' does not have a daughter." Oscar laughs looking for others to join him.

"Well it's not that much of a stretch." Angie offers. "He earnt his nickname by being involved in most criminal activity in this city, a secret daughter isn't out of the realm of possibility."

"Is she illegitimate?" Church asks leaning back against a bench behind him.

"She's his daughter alright and the daughter of his late wife Olivia Martin." Mac informs them. "And believe me, HQ were as surprised as you all are. They have the closest of relationships he would go to and apparently has, gone to any lengths to protect her. While she dotes on him and would do anything to protect him."

"So what has she done?" Danni steps up to inspect the photo closer.

"That's the unusual thingnothing." Mac stops letting the information sink in and reading the questioning glances.

"This doesn't sound like an operation." Angie offers sitting further forward in her chair.

"It's not in the usual sense." Mac states. "This is Connor Wilkinson." Another photo is snapped onto the board, this time a man with almost impossibly perfect hair looks almost directly at the camera. "Husband of Makayde."

"Good looking bloke." Danni comments.

"A month ago Makayde accompanied her father for his regular check up, we suspect the doctor told him if he doesn't slow down and look after himself his second heart attack is going to kill him."

"I'm a little confused as to why she's suddenly became known to us and the whole world." Stone questions.

"She's worried about her father, she's been getting second opinions from doctors all over town. She also hasn't been discrete about it." Mac's hands do the talking along with her voice.

"What's her husband got to do with it?" Church questions.

"He's a good looking bloke but that's about all." Mac looks pointedly across at Danni. "Two weeks ago Makayde came home to find her husband in bed with her best friend. A week later she invites him to her salon – studio Makayde. Very up side of town, caters only for the very rich and famous."

"I don't see where you're going." Angie recrosses her legs on the other side.

"Connor is a natural red head, a hair colour he doesn't like because he thinks it makes him look weak. So Makayde has always coloured it for him. On this particular day, whilst chatting him along and making him think there is a chance of reconciliation Makayde triples the usual dose of peroxide you would use on a persons hair and leaves it on for twice as long. Connor is now a balding blonde with a burnt scalp."

"That's one way to get revenge." Danni sniggers.

"So at the moment this woman is dealing with her father who could soon be dead because he shows no sign of slowing on the booze, rich foods, drugs and prostitutes. Then there's the betrayal from her best friend and husbandwe think she might talk."

"About the betrayal?" Angie guesses.

"A similar story to hers is going to be part of our cover but we think due to her relationship with her father and in an effort to save him in a way, she might come to us about some of his activities. The information would be obviously enough to make him think twice but not enough to get him into serious trouble. In the event she doesn't come to us voluntarily we want her to talk to who she thinks isn't us."

"None of what she says would be admissible." Danni points out.

"That's when we coax her that going to the cops is a good idea."

"So we want her to be cruel to be kind." Stone summarises. "Do we really think she'll dob him in, wouldn't that ruin the close relationship she has with him?"

"Also this is betrayal, wouldn't she stay away from that considering what's happened to her?" Church adds.

"This is her fatherwe're betting those rules don't apply."

"So which one of us is going in?" Angie lifts her coffee to take a sip.

"I will be." Mac carries her sentence on an exhale.

"You are Mac." Danni tries to cover her surprise.

"Given the betrayal at the hand of her blonde best friend it's unlikely you're going to be able to get close to her." Mac says seriously.

"That's just details Mac, Danni or I can go and buy a colour this afternoon." Angie offers.

"Yeah I've been thinking about changing my colour." Danni contributes

"It wouldn't look to good for you to then to walk into a salon, a salon where a blow dry is fifty dollars and you're sporting a supermarket chestnut job." Mac counters dryly.

"Ok." Danni draws the short word out.

"Look there is no reason for concern on this case, she has no criminal record and we have no reason to suspect she's involved in any of her fathers dealings." Mac argues. There's silence as Mac looks to Church as a judge of the entire unit.

"Well you might have the right hair colour, but we're going to have to help you get the right clothes." Danni leaps up smiling, followed closely by Angie.

What do you think? Danni pokes Church as the external camera picks up Mac getting out of a brand new convertible.

Yeah she looks good. Church shrugs.

Danni exclaims pushing back into her chair. Good, she's wearing a $3000 suit.I can't tell that through this camera equipment. Church defends.

Yeah that and your standards are sky high. Danni retorts.

A $3000 suit makes this a cheap operation. Church comments.

Are you kidding methe shoes were $300, the bag $200, makeup $100 and the carI don't want to know about the car. Church stops Danni before she gets back on the soapbox. His focus lies on Mac as she enters the studio.

No wire? Church breaks the short silence.

It isn't necessary, she's just making an appointment. Danni explains. A couple of minutes pass and Church starts to shift in his chair.

Ang, check it out would you? Danni says keeping one eye through the camera lens looking for signs of movement. Danni's mobile disconnects and a couple of minutes later Angie enters the view of the lens. She walks slowly trying to look discreetly inside the studio. She directs a secret thumbs up towards the van.

She's sitting down having a cut and colour as we speak. Angie's voice comes down the phone line seconds later.

I'm new. Mac smiles into the mirror above the counter that reflects Makayde's back at her.

You've just moved here? She's showing little signs of stress Mac thinks as her hair is tossed.

No, born and bred but I've just had a win. Mac replies and then she thinks she could have worded herself better.

Makayde asks as she pins sections of Macs hair up.

Not in the usual way, my divorce just came through, Mac smiles keeping up her cover.

Makayde replies from behind Mac's head.

So I'm here for the works, cut, colour, dry, manicure, pedicure and I've just had a massage. Mac explains feeling as though she's talking to herself. The bastard had an affair with my sister, caught them in the act.

Next to Mac the scissors clatter on the ground.

Makayde says almost shrinking away. She drops them into a cleaning solution and takes a new pair from somewhere around her waist. So what happened? the question is asked cautiously.

I was out shopping Mac launches into her cover story. My husband Peter gave me an allowance each week, can you believe thattight bastard. You see that's why I'm here usually I couldn't afford this. He wouldn't let me have a jobno I had to stay at home and look after the kids.You have kids. Makayde almost sighs.

Curtis and Sophie. Mac explains. Oh where was Iright so I see this divine pair of shoes and instead of spending my allowance that week I decide to save it and put it with next weeks allowance so I could buy the shoes. So I'm home early and I find him up to his neck in my sister.What did you do? Makayde asks as small locks of Macs hair fall to the polished floorboards.

Threw them out, I was so shocked Jenny and I are more like best friends than just sisters. I suppose I should have seen it coming, she always wanted everything I had.

The expression on Makayde's face tells Mac she's got her.

How long does this take? Church complains.

Relax, perhaps if you let your wife out a bit more she might come back to you sooner. Danni jokes and earns herself a playful slap.

Here she comes. Church spots Mac coming out of the studio.

I'm driving. Danni informs him.

Just gets us back to the factory in one piece. Church switches off the camera cutting contact with the outside world. The comment doesn't go unnoticed by Danni.

You had us worried for a moment there. Angie tells Mac as she slides out of the convertible that's done little damage to her new hair. Love the new cut.

Mac laughs, self consciously touching the side of her hair. She had an opening and was keen to have me sit down then. Church and Danni join them.

Only problem is you weren't wearing a wire. Church vocalises what they're all thinking.

Its not a problem, we only talked about the cover story. Mac assures them as she heads to her office.

What now? Danni asks perching on the edge of a desk. The question stops Mac on the stairs to her office.

Let's leave it a few days, if she doesn't make contact I'll ring the studio and make another appointment and we'll see what comes from that. There seems to be no objections but no one moves. I know you all have work to do. She smiles and shuts herself into the office, shedding her expensive jacket and allowing herself to relax a little, to take off her game face. She opens her mobile phone scrolling through its phone book until she comes to a particular entry. Bill Hollister's phone was extinguished in the car bomb and although she wants to, her thumb refuses to delete the entry.

Her hand drops, eyes casting over the mass of work on her desk, part of her thinks this operation is a waste of their time and resources, the undercover skills required are so minimal any officer from any department could do the job.

Outside her office unbeknownst to Mac her colleagues gather throwing occasional worried glances through the window where she's working.

Do you think she's alright? Angie asks with concern, her eyes look sad.

Of course, it's been almost twelve months. Church brushes off their concerns.

That's exactly the point. Danni drives home.

Why are you standing her second guessing her, if she says she's can do this then she can. Church walks off leaving the others in no doubt about his disappointment at their attitude.

Let's just watch out for her. Danni compromises. A little more than usual.

Her mobile phone intrusion is just one of many interruptions three days later. Church is itching to pursue a case having done some legwork; she practically has to push him out of her office. Danni spends half the morning on Mac's lounge coughing and sneezing until Mac can stand it no longer and she sends her home. Angie keeps shooting her worried looks, she knows what anniversary is creeping up, but it's the last thing Mac wants talk about. She quickly gives Angie something to do to stop her hovering outside her office door.

Antonia Holt. Mac answers not recognising the calling number but she knows it's the one she left at the studio.

Ms Holt, this is Makayde There's pause and Mac knows she's not sure what surname to use.

From the studio. Mac saves her the trouble; she waves through the window to Danni who enters her office with interest. Is everything alright with my card I mean?Oh yes. It's almost a gush, surprise at the question. Clients at this particular establishment don't usually ask, the embarrassment unspoken of and problems with payment are slipped discreetly onto the next bill.

I thought maybe my ex-husband had it cancelled. Mac adds a nervous laugh to her attempt to steer the conversation in the direction she wants.

I was calling to see if you'd like to go out for coffee.Coffee, that'd be civilised, adult. Across the desk from Mac, Danni directs her a thumbs up. Three o'clock? There's a pause. I'll be there. Mac finishes securing the location. She smiles as she puts down the phone calmly. She bought it, we're on, get Church and get everyone ready.

I think it would be best if we don't mention it. Danni says watching the screen for Mac's arrival.

Unless she does. Angie concurs, the van falling back into silence. Angie has information but she's apprehensive about sharing. She has his razor in her work bag. She immediately bites her lip knowing she shouldn't have said anything.

How do you know it's his? Danni asks softly.

It has W.H. engraved on it. Angie says sadly as the convertible pulls up. The conversation finishes through neither woman really wants to say more.

Mac's arrived, no sign of the target. Church's voice fills the van. She takes a seat and places an order with the tall waiter who almost swoops on her.

Here we go. Danni says as Makayde slips into sight and gracefully into the chair opposite Mac.

Makayde's voice comes through the wire loud and clear.

This place is nice. Mac plays along. Having been locked up for so long. The waiter swoops again and Mac waits till Makayde's ordered before controlling the conversation.

The same thing happened to me. Mac looks up surprised and she knows what the meaning behind the words is. Husband and best friend.

She's played right into Mac's hands. As they'd say around the factory deciding how to play the café meeting, empathy and sympathy were their main tools. Listen to her story about her husband and then use a cover to get her talking about her father.

Mac listens for the better part of an hour and comforts and commiserates with Makayde, all the while gaining her trust. The conversation falters once Makayde has aired her dirty laundry; Mac desperately searches her brain for a connecting sentence.

In her bag her mobile breaks into song, it's with caution she answers using her cover name.

This is your sick father who won't slow down working. Church's voice fills her head.

Mac says vibrantly looking across the road to the back up car hoping to convey her gratitude.

You dropped the ball Mac. Church tries not to sound like a disappointed parent.

I know I know dad. I'm fine. Mac doubles the purpose of her words.

Keep her interested in the call.I'm fine dad, how are you? Are you taking your medication you know I can't always be there.Yes, I took my funny pills this morning. Church comes back much to Mac's distaste with the reply. She chats him along for another couple of minutes in the strange conversation that's two sided but not connected. Mac glances across at Makayde a couple of times, flashing an apologetic smile to mask the fact she's checking to see if the phone conversation is holding her interest.

Sorry, it's my father, I ask him to call me everyday since the heart attack. He doesn't like me checking up on him but he co-operates. Mac tucks her phone away again.

Does he live nearby? Mac recites from the background story. I fly up every weekend to check on him, it used to be the only time I went anywhere outside the city – with the kids of course.Hs he not recovered? Makayde asks and Mac knows she has her hook line and sinker.

Mac lets out a hearty laugh. Oh, he's recovered all right, had the first heart attack after my mother died – he's recovered but it took me a long time to get him to slow down. The doctor said if he didn't retire, give up the beer and cigarettes, stop frequenting the fish and chips shop each night and start exercising he'd be dead in six months.

Mac studies Makayde's eyes for a moment, she's hanging onto each word.

He had this corner store he was running by himself, all those hours were killing him. The kids thought he was Santa the way he'd dish out the lollies when they visited.How did you get him to come around to your way of thinking? Makayde leans against the table closer to Mac.

I told him he had to live long enough for the kids to know him better and remember him – they're only four and three.My father would love to have grandkids.Keep talking. Peter says from the backup vehicle but that's all Makayde ventures.

I thought about going and living up there now, you know with the kids, country air, it's still a pretty big town, get away from this concrete jungle. Mac sighs as she feels Makayde slipping. I worry a lot about him.

Inside the van Angie takes off her headset and sighs herself. This woman is guarded.Or suspicious. Danni offers continuing to listen to the conversation that turns to married life. It stays on that topic until Makayde apologises that she has to go back to the studio.

Mac this is a waste of time. Church groans following her up the stairs and into her office.

I've got a live lead on credit card fraud right now. Church argues.

Keep working on it but you're not up to the stage of a sting yet. Mac says levelly.

This is a long shot at the best, this woman is unstable and unreliable.Pete you need patience. Mac doesn't hide the frustration in her voice as she falls into her chair. This woman's been burned, of course she's not going to trust easily anymore. It's going to take time and groundwork and that's what we're doing. It took a lot for her to open up the way she did the other day and she'll only open up more.The other day! That latte was last week.I know you hate surveillance and anything that doesn't move at work speed but I need you on this one. Keep me up to date on the credit card fraud.

Finally alone the calendar stares up at her. Although the date is not circled it stands out above the others. Thankfully there's enough interim reports, monthly figures and case reports to bury herself in for the rest of the afternoon and then some.

Mac fumbles with her phone when it rings a few days later as she negotiates the traffic to headquarters. Her colleagues know how much she hates going there now; Harry Love the man who replaced William J Hollister embodies everything he was not. He's cold to all where Bill was warm even in the smallest sense to criminals; he's smug and sly, calculating, unsympathetic and untrustworthy. His name is on the door of Bills old office digs up the remnants of her grief. The memories when she's in the room surround her and haunt her, flashing in front of her minds eye.

In the beginning she expected to see him round any corridor to come face to face, to have him be there as the lift doors open. Just once she convinced herself he'd be there when she opened the office door.

Antonia Holt. Mac slows for a red light.

Antonia, would you like to meet for coffee? There's optimism in her voice, same place as the other week.

Mac says yes before considering the appointments she'll need to reschedule and the fact her car is pointed in the opposite direction - to the café. Her fingers work madly after completing an illegal U-turn, setting Church into motion to set up the van. One by one she rings to cancel her appointments.

She allows herself a moment to enjoy the day's warm sun that's lasted longer than usual for Melbourne. Right now she should be in with Harry Love and even her over froff cappuccino is better than that.

She plasters a smile on her face seeing her new friend approach, dressed in clothes that cost more than her months salary. She knows something's amiss when she brushes off the waiter and doesn't remove her glasses.

Are you o.k.? Mac deliberately puts naivety into her voice, remembering she's a housewife who's been homebound for years.

I have to tell you something. Finally the glasses come off but they're not hiding any battle wounds.

Mac leans forward knowing the others will be thinking they're finally about to get what they've come for.

My father has had heart attack as well. She seems on edge, as though she thinks someone may be watching. He has business interests as well, his doctor has told him he'll be dead in six months if he doesn't slow down, but he hasn't and that was almost a month ago now.

Mac adopts an empathetic look although she's dying to get to information she doesn't know.

I don't know what to do, he likes to live hard and fast, my mothers dead and he doesn't have grandkids like your father.He won't do it for you. Mac dares to place a comforting hand over Makayde's.

He says he will but when I'm not there. There looks to be tears pooling at the bottom of her eyelids.

What are you going to do? Mac presses gently, she can feel Makayde wants to talk, restrained by the necessity of keeping family secrets.

I don't know, Imy father's a criminal. Mac manages to keep a straight face despite the sudden outburst of information.

You mean like taking cash for something's and not reporting it as income. Back to naïveté and Mac knows the team will be salivating.

No, big time stuff, the cops have been after him for years, they've never been able to get enough on him. Mac waits a minute as though she needs time for the new information to sink in.

But not you, right? Mac confirms.

No never, I hate his business. The answer is quick and acute leaving Mac in no doubt of her lack of involvement.

You're not going to do what I think you are? Mac ventures.

I was thinking about it, I mean I don't know, I Her hands are shaking, incredibly uncomfortable suddenly. I shouldn't have come, shouldn't have told you those things. Her glasses snap quickly back over her eyes from the top of her head and despite Mac's protests she's once again alone with her overpriced coffee.

Inside the van a frustrated Oscar sighs and drops his headset with a rattle onto the table.

It could take this woman months to talk. Oscar argues pacing the kitchen floor, beside him Church makes no effort to hide his agreeance.

She's opening up guys and we were right, she does want to blackmail her father into changing his lifestyle. Mac remains cool, glass of water in her hand.

She's so jumpy she could disappear at anytime, you're forgetting we rely on her to call us. Church adds a quiet bullet to Mac's counter argument.

She's not going to bail, in me she sees a kindred spirit, someone who's experienced what she has and has survived it. Mac's tone changes to one that indicates the discussion is over. Bring me up to speed on the credit card fraud developments.

Whether it's at the urging of her colleagues or the desire not to have the case run over the anniversary, Mac picks up the phone later that afternoon and dials the studio. When Makayde answers the phone, in her best caring and concerned voice Mac convinces Makayde to meet again tomorrow. The unit seems pleased at the forward motion.

Are you alright? There are large bags under her eyes, eyes that are blotchy from crying.

Kyndall's pregnant. Apparently she just has no more tears left to cry and although Mac can guess she has to ask.

Who's Kyndall?My ex-best friend who I found in bed with my husband, my husband who I tried for years to have a child with. Mac slips into the chair next to her and wraps a comforting arm around her. I have nothing and no one left, a tear that had held back before now, escapes.

you have meand your dad. Mac leaves it at that for a moment, hoping Makayde will come to the conclusion without more hints. She doesn't, maybe now's a good time to tell him how much you need him and you don't want him to leave you.Not today, I'm too upset. She sighs looking up and brushes away the salty track left by the lone tear. There's more anger than sadness inside of her. I'm sorry I'm blubbering all over you.That's what friends are for. Mac keeps it light.

Where are your kids right now? The question puts Mac back on alert, reverting back to the cover story.

They're with their father till the beginning of next week.You're lucky to have them. She almost whispers.

The attitude of the unit has changed significantly as they discuss the café events.

She's desperately craving family. Oscar observes but doesn't elaborate.

Well her husband has just broken up her family unit and now her father might die, so you can't blame her or needing to cling to something. Angie adds.

It's only going to take one more meeting. Mac assures the group, it's what her gut is telling her.

We'll need to tread carefully because it's either going to be the father or one of us she talks to. Church thinks into the future.

Our job's almost done. Mac smiles sincerely.

The ringing phone causes Mac to sit up with a start. She rubs her eyes remembering she was dreaming of falling, the electronic shrill had wedged its way into her dream though it was obvious it was foreign.

Mac's brain is sluggish, forgetting to look at who's calling.

The name instantly clears Mac's sleep haze.

Makayde, it's five in the morning. Mac flicks on the light next to her bed.

Can you meet me? Her voice is wobblydesperation has crept in.

Yes in an hour? She needs time to rally the team and make herself presentable.

Makayde says quickly. Same place. She doesn't give Mac the opportunity to protest, severing the connection.

The haze and sleep having cleared, the date pushes to the front of her thoughts in the shower. She breathes trying to be calm as the water cascades off her head but there's nothing able to hold back the emotion, some that's been stored since the incident a year ago. She crumbles onto the tiles, salty tears joining the fresh water on her cheeks. It takes her a long time to get off the tiled floor.

I'm not arguing with you Peter. She half listens to his protests about short notice as she pulls on her clothes. This woman is not going to harm me, you get the van and the team and you get there when you do.What about a wire? Church counters feeling this is an unacceptable risk, not to mention the information they'll miss out on.

Ring me when you get there. You'll be my ex and I'll get upset, send someone to the ladies toilets and I'll wear the wire from then. There's silence that Mac knows is meant to tell her how much he disapproves. It's part of the reason why Mac is shocked by the next comment.

I'm your ex. He emphasises the word I'm', it's almost as though he needs to remind himself.

We were over a long time ago. Mac says lightly but she's stopped what she was doing, trying to figure out what's going through his mind. Were you thinking? As soon as she's said it she wishes she hadn't.

I guess I always thought one day Now the silence is uncomfortable between them, Mac desperately needs something to say.

I have to go or I'll be late. Mac says hastily but makes no attempt to hang up. We're really over Pete.I know, I'll see you there. It's his turn to be hasty and this time the connection is severed.

Mac pushes the conversation from her mind and hurries out the door.

Outside the cab pulls up behind Makayde's convertible. Mac's cover car is locked safely inside the factory. The clock in the cab changes over to five forty five – the café not open yet. Discreetly she tries to look for Makayde as she pays the driver.

It isn't until she walks past the car that the window slides down and Makayde encourages her to get in. Mac hesitates quickly scanning the street for backup – they're not here and she takes heart in the fact she still has her mobile.

Makayde pulls quickly from the curb, shifting equally as fast through the gears as the sleek car makes fast work of the empty morning streets.

Are you o.k.? It seems to be her standard question on this operation.

My father's been taken to hospital with chest pains, I need you to be there when I tell him. Her eyes are wide and vulnerable and Mac relaxes a little. It lasts only a short time as the car puts more and more space between them and the major city hospitals.

What hospital is he in? She asks casually but becoming increasingly concerned.

He was visiting his vines in Adelaide. Her eyes don't leave the road.

Adelaide, we're driving to Adelaide? I have to call my husband and see if he can keep the kids. Mac fumbles for her mobile phone, contact with her operatives now essential.

We're flying in my fathers personal plane, we'll be six hours at the most. Makayde snatches the phone from Mac's ear and tosses it out the window. She never had a chance for the call to connect.

Mac exclaims and for the first time she thinks maybe she under estimated the woman's mental stability.

Please Antonia. Tears splash down her face. I can't lose him and I can't do this without you, I've been betrayed, I'm battered and broken and you're the only friend I have.

Mac comes to an uncomfortable agreement, her mind buzzing with ways to make contact with the unit as airport security waves Makayde through and the care pulls alongside a personal aircraft able to seat twenty.

Mac tries to quell her nerves as she gets on, telling herself her companion isn't a criminal just a desperate and lonely womanwho's been scorned. She feels no better.

She should be here. It only took a few minutes for Church to become worried. Although it's only six the café is beginning to fill with early breakfast patrons. He grabs for his phone, hitting the speed dial that connects him to Mac, it goes instantly to her voice mail. Something's wrong.Angie, something's wrong, stay here and radio us if Mac shows up. Get the licence plate of that silver convertible out to all units – stop and search.

Angie replies in the positive and Church stares at the café where Mac should be sitting. What was the address in that file?On it. Stone says starting at the car and flooring it into the empty street.

I didn't mean to scare you, I'll buy you a new phone – I guess the chest pains have made me a little different. Makayde apologises a few minutes into the flight.

I can understand. Mac treads carefully, not wanting to upset her further. She lets the conversation die.

Stone and Church find it slightly unusual the house is for sale this early in a separation. Doesn't the house usually have to be sold as part of the divorce? Stone questions. When no one answers the door they slink up the side of the house hoping the neighbours are also at work.

It's pretty bare. Stone comments as the two meet in the backyard. Church takes a pot, the plant in it long dead and smashes open the glass door next to the handle.

The furnishings are sparse and impersonal; it look impractical in an unliveable type of way, it bothers Church. Everything's new. He comments taking in the living area.

There's only a few plates and cups in the kitchen, a toaster and no food in the fridge or freezer. Stone joins Church.

Why is there nothing on the walls, where are the photos and collectables? Church adds and finally he says what he's slowly come to realise. No one lives here.Or lives anymore. Stone adds following Peter upstairs.

What's going on, why would they both move out? Church asks as he reveals an empty wardrobe.

What about the studio? Stone asks, they slip unnoticed away from the house.

We're about to land. Makayde says reappearing from behind the door that separates them from the pilots.

Mac secures her seatbelt, feeling better about the face they'll soon be on the ground, within reach of a phone.

How do we get to the hospital?A car will pick us up, by the way why did you arrive in a taxi earlier? Mac remains cool; it has a lot to do with the fact that Makayde looks happier.

Mine's in for a service. Mac smiles and looks out the window over Adelaide.

I don't like this. Peter pushes the open doors to the studio. He steps over the building products surveying where the studio once was. There's nothing left, only electrical cords that hang out of holes in the plaster. The floor has been ripped up, light fittings gone; water-carrying pipes poke out of the floor. The elaborately painted signage on the front doors is gone. Neither knows what to say.

Church paces across the broken pieces of tile and plaster as his mobile presses to his ear.

She hasn't shown up. It's the answer he expected.

Get back to the factory, something's going on.

We need to know everything about this woman, I mean shoe size, breakfast cereal, high school friends. The studio's gone and the house is practically empty and Mac's with her as far as we know. Danni, Angie, Stone. It's not often Church's features are crossed with so much concern.

Where are you going?To daddy. His car door slams and his tyres screech out of the factory.

I don't think I've seen him like this. Angie says mirroring Church's concern.

Let's get on with this and get her back. Stone shifts their focus.

Where is he now? Church demands from the head of the major crimes division. He doesn't get the reply he wants. I know you've got the dogs on him. He hangs up only slightly satisfied when he finally gets the information he needs.

It's not your average smoky pub, full of blue collared workers and a mixture of criminals and dole bludgers. Everyone here wears a tie and the counter meals look as though they've come out of a top chefs kitchen. The cost of an average drink is enough to keep undesirable clientele out.

Church looks around the establishment, he knows who he's looking for and he finds him not alone. His companion is downing scotch over a large rare steak. Church takes a moment to think about how he's going to play it.

The gun goes against the companions' neck before Benton Barron has a chance to push the chair back. Don't move, Church growls in his direction.

No one seems to have noticed as Church takes a moment to calm down. He's not surprised to find a scotch in front of Benton Barron and a steak with chips, seems his daughter's concerns are not unfounded.

Where's your daughter? For good measure he digs the gun in harder.

I'm sorry. Church has been reading people for years and as expected Mr Barron is good.

Your daughter where is she? Peter ups the aggression in his voice.

I'm not sure what you mean. Peter starts to sense something is amiss, he's too calm, his voice lacks the arrogance an answer like the one given usually has, especially where you're trying to hide something. There's not enough force in his voice.

Your daughter Makayde where is she? The urgency of the situation starts to filter in Church's words.

My daughter died when she was three days old, she's buried in Sydney. Although he hears the words and they make sense in the context of everything that's gone one this morning, it doesn't quite sink in.

MY daughter lived for three days. His voice rises a little and gives Church a moment before becoming bolder. I don't know who you are or what you want but I'm about to make quite a scene if you don't leave.

Without argument Church drops the gun and leaves the pub, somehow he feels even better with the knowledge Makayde Barron-Martin doesn't exist. Even though his only lead has just evaporated, Church feels better about knowing one way or the other and his suspicions confirmed.

Pete, it's not good. Angie approaches him as soon as he gets out of the car.

I know, she doesn't exist, died at the age of three days. Church replies as he strides towards the office.

What now? Stone asks looking concerned.

We get the person who gave us this case involved. Peter falls into the chair at the large table.

Who's that? Danni asks.

Mac knows. Angie says softly.

Mac watches as Makayde hurries to the door once the engines have silenced, there's still tension in her frame as she releases the locks and opens the door with the stairs sculpted into it.

Mac unlocks her belt but stops as she swears she sees Makayde's body language change, she's talking to someone on the tarmac but looks apprehensive as she walks back up the aisle.

I'm Senior Constable Georgia West, South Australian Police, Undercover Unit. She holds out her hand, in shock after a moment Mac numbly joins it with hers, she can say nothing.

I know you're in shock and in a moment you're going to find out why you're here but I wanted to tell you Makayde Barron-Martin died when she was three days old. Our unit initiated the case and set up the studio, house and car, all of which no longer exist. Your colleagues won't be able to find you, I've left no trace of myself behind – your mobile phone was the last connection I had to sever.

Mac simply stands feeling like jelly – she absorbs the information slowly. You're very good. Mac's unsure of how to approach the young officer who had her fooled.

Thank you, so are you, if you didn't know who I was sitting across from I'd have believed you easily.What am I doing here?

Georgia West says nothing stepping quietly to the front of the plane. You need to know you can go back. We'll refuel the plane, you can tell your colleagues it was a secret operation to get you here to consult for us, training or something and you can go back to your life. My boss asked me to come and get you, he hopes Her voice trails off. Well in a moment you'll see. I know this is a lot to absorb so when you're ready. She indicates to the stairs.

Mac feels overwhelmed; she sits on the front chair with her head between her legs and just breathes. She doesn't think about who could be outside or what she's just been through. She has an incredible urge to cry, it's all too much today.

Angie knocks softly on Mac's office door, on her dark lounge he puts his head up from between his legs. She asks gently.

no one will admit responsibility for passing the case onto us. He pushes back into the lounge; Angie thinks she might see tears. She's gone, disappeared.

Angie lets herself fall into the lounge, embracing her colleague.

The morning is bright and Mac squints, her legs wobbling like a young foal standing for the first time. She grips the handrail first noticing Georgia West at the bottom of the stairs and then the car parked ten metres away.

Her legs collapse underneath her when she sees him standing next to the vehicle. She crumbles, arm still clinging to the handrail, legs up to her chin and this time she does cry, her head resting against the side of the stairs, the world lets her for as long as she needs.

Ms Mackenzie are you alright? Georgia West sounds like a naive child, Mac bats a hand – sending her away and tries her legs again. They wobble down the last four stairs but they know their way, as Mac dares not take her eye from him.

He's got more hair, although it's all concentrated on his face, his suits are the same dark with a light shirt and tie that sometimes doesn't match. She lets the tears roll uninhabited now, finding the handrail to lower herself onto the second bottom step.

He takes two steps towards her, uncertain but wanting to go to her. Mac's hands cup her nose and mouth in a prayer like pose.

Mr Coughran is the head of our undercover unit, I believe you know him by another name. Mac takes her eyes for a moment to the young officer, she nods once and it's indication enough for her to step discreetly away.

When she turns back he's three steps from her, blurred by the tears that fill her eyes then spill over. She sniffs and wipes her eyes as if it will make a difference.

I cried buckets for you. Her words are soft which only affect him more, there's no malice or a tone that says she's astounded she could have been so stupid – just a simple fact of how much she cares.

I'd understand if you went back. After he's said it he realises how rehearsed it sounds, there is nothing in her tone to indicate she was about to do it. He just doesn't know what the next move is or what the words are. He doesn't need to decide as she pulls herself up, her wobbly legs have gone.

I never got to tell you I love you, I should have said it the last time I saw you. Like her legs before, her words tremble but it doesn't lesser their value. He knows it's all right when she steps towards him, needing only one step when he meets her the rest of the way. I missed you.

His fingers tangle through her hair, he breathes in her scent and nuzzles the side of her neck. She feels the same, a tower of strength in a curved feminine package, it's so good to feel her arms around him again. He pulls her closer, bunching her suit jacket in his hands and sighing contently.

Mac leans into him, letting the emotion she has left flow out, he doesn't seem to mind the tearstain on the collar of his shirt. She remembers his gentle touch, characteristic of his considerate and generous nature. She tickles the nape of his neck with her fingertips, she's never minded he lacks hair on the top of his head and she's not usually so openly emotional.

He takes her face in his hands, thumbs stroking across her cheeks, his features are soft and smiling. I wanted to get you before now.

Mac nods pressing her lips against his, he kisses her back gently as if now she's here he can relax. She rests her cheek next to his, nothing behind her registers with her, she concentrates on his breathing. I love you.

His lips find hers again, brushing across her cheek on the way.

For a moment she watches the plane taxi into its hanger out the car window, her hand rests comfortably on his knee, a protective arms across her shoulders.

You miss Sarah? She asks turning to find he's been watching her.

Everyday, as much as I did you. She knows the loss of contact with his only daughter will forever haunt him, it's obvious in his eyes. I hate the fact she thinks I'm dead.She's a good kid, you should be proud. She runs her finger along his cheek getting used to the rough and prickly sensation. She tries to sweep away the melancholy look on his face with a kiss that grazes his lips before demonstrating the full extent of her feelings for him. Where's home?Anywhere you want it to be once we get your stuff shipped over. He pushes an errant piece of hair behind her ear.

Don't need it. She shakes her head. I only need my work bag. It's his turn to frown at the unusual request. It's got your razor in it.

Danni knows the look on Peter Church's face, he hates the changes about to be put in motion and he hates that Mac's being replaced.

No one wants to touch her case. He says more to himself, his tone belies the fact he's astounded. Why didn't someone question the information?You mean why didn't Mac? Danni treads carefully. Maybe she knew?No, I don't believe she'd go and not say goodbye. He pushes the chair he stands behind roughly into the table, a small outlet for his frustrations.

What is it Pete? Angie sits next to him on his desk in their new offices at headquarters. In his hand he turns an envelope over and over. Across the room his eyes are fixed on the new boss in his office.

I hate this. He says absently, giving up the envelope to Angie. There's no return address and no other indications other than the name Peter Church. She seeks his permission to open it, he eyes don't linger long away from the boss' office.

She pulls out the plain white paper, folded crisply in half. Without reaction she reads what's inside.

My heart belongs where the good guys keep their guns.

What I once thought was lost has been found

second chances should never be turned down

I require no backup nor wear a device;

I will remember you always all through my life.

Miss E Callum Nellkeanzie

What does this mean? Angie slips the note back into its envelope.

I don't know. Church says absently.

I've been thinking about that note. Angie steps carefully in the kitchen the next morning.

Miss E Callum Nellkeanzie rearranged is Miss u all Ellen Mackenzie.' He can't meet her eyes.

Where we keep our guns are our holsters – Hollister, what I once thought was lost has been found, second chances she never be turned down. Angie adds and she doesn't need to be told there's a cavernous hole inside him right now.

She's happy Pete. Knowing the words will sting she takes him into an embrace. This is her goodbye.