TITLE: Scars
AUTHOR: Sugah Sugah
SUMMARY: They both have scars. Not all of them are visible.
SPOILERS: general season 3
PAIRING: Danny/OC, some M/S
RATING: M – I tried to keep it clean, but you know Danny and Molly.
DISCLAIMER: Insert comical "please don't sue" remark here.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The long-awaited multi-chapter sequel to "Falling", set approximately five months after the events of "Whisper" (roughly March/April). I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get this up. Season 4 kind of decreased my motivation. And I suck. Anyway, some of the stuff that happened in "Falling" is going to come up in this, so if you haven't read that already, you might want to go do that now. I'll wait.

AU. Season 4 never happened. Martin was never shot or addicted to painkillers. Jack never knocked up his dead friend's widow. Elena who? Yeah, you get the point.

This chapter is short, but it gets the ball rolling. I'm in the process of moving, so I don't know when the next update will be.

Also, what is Vivian's son's name? I forget.

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Scars

"Sometimes the deepest scars are the ones that you can't see." – Rowan Meade

These were the days that Danny Taylor hated the most – those days when the case was so gruesome, so horrifying, that it made him doubt all of humanity. Today was one of those cases where they tracked every viable piece of evidence, exhausted every possible lead, and ended up finding the missing person floating in the Hudson, having been dead almost as soon as he vanished. Danny had stood on the bank with Martin and Viv, watching as someone from the coroner's office pulled the bloated body of William Franks, age thirty-five, from the chilly waters of the river.

Franks's face was frozen in a perpetual scream, and though Danny was hardly squeamish and had seen more than his fair share of dead bodies, the sight made him ill. He turned away, his eyes coming to rest on the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Land of the free, he thought with a grimace. Land where you stand a better chance of dying before the age of forty than you do of buying a new car that doesn't crap out on you after a year. Days like this made him hate the fact that he was a human being. Days like this made him rethink his choice of career.

Days like this made him glad that he had someone to go home to.

He let his mind drift to the woman who would be waiting for him when he arrived. It was close to dinner time, so she would have already started cooking, and if he was lucky, she would have already decided that they would be staying in that evening – and revealed her decision by standing in the kitchen wearing one of his shirts and little, if anything, else. He loved nights when he came home to that. Moments like that almost made him forget seeing something like William Franks – almost made him forget that he had been seeing a lot more somethings like William Franks lately.

Jack approached the three of them, his expression somber. He used his head to gesture at Franks's body, which the coroner was wheeling to the van. "The police will take it from here," he said. His voice was hollow, defeated, much like it had been for weeks.

They were silent for a moment, until Martin voiced the thought Danny knew they had all been thinking. "That's the fourth one in three weeks."

"People get depressed around the holidays," Jack said, though his tone was unconvincing. He didn't even seem to believe himself. People got depressed around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not Easter, which was less than two weeks away. Danny had never heard of a rash of suicides because Easter was just around the corner. Still, it was always a possibility. This was New York. Stranger things had happened.

Viv didn't appear to buy Jack's excuse any more than Danny did. "You think it's a suicide?"

Jack shrugged. "We'll let the crime scene guys do their jobs. It's what they're paid to do. But it's not our concern anymore."

Danny felt his eyes being drawn to the coroner's van, which was rapidly speeding away. He cast a quick glance upriver, where the investigators from the crime scene unit were already processing the scene. Then he returned his gaze to Jack.

It was a rare occurrence to pull a body from the Hudson anymore. That it had happened four times in less than a month was suspicious. Suicide, Danny knew, was a statement; the fast current of the river often made finding bodies impossible, and people who committed suicide wanted to be found – if they were going to leap at all, they generally leapt from buildings. Finding a body in the Hudson reeked, not of suicide, but of body disposal. It reminded Danny of something the mafia might do.

"Look," Jack said, starting Danny out of his reverie, "it's been a long couple of days – a long few weeks – so why don't you guys head home." Jack's eyes darted from face to face. He looked older – his face haggard, his eyes haunted. The job was aging him. It was aging all of them. "We can finish the paperwork in the morning."

Martin and Viv exchanged a look and nodded at Jack. Both had reasons for wanting to leave early; Viv's son had mono and as a result had contracted a nasty eye infection. Martin was no doubt anxious to return to Sam, who was late into her first trimester and battling a serious bout of morning sickness. She managed to come into work a few times that week, but Jack usually sent her home after a few hours. She was no help to anyone throwing up in the bathroom. Danny watched them go, counting the minutes until he would be walking through his own front door, and turned to spare one last glance at Jack.

The guy looked like he just found out his dog had died. His father's health was failing, and his ex-wife still had custody of his daughters in Chicago. The man quite literally had no place to go. Danny briefly entertained the idea of asking Jack if he wanted to go out for a drink, but quickly decided against it. The pull of Molly wearing very little clothing was more appealing than watching Jack drown his sorrows in alcohol and then driving his drunk ass home. He'd had enough of that to last him a lifetime.

"See you tomorrow, Jack," he said, offering his boss a small wave as he turned and made his way back to his car.

"Good night, Danny," Jack said, though Danny could barely hear his voice over the sound of rushing water.

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As he had predicted, Molly had decided that they were staying in that night. When he opened the door of their apartment and walked into the kitchen, she was standing at the stove wearing one of his old T-shirts and a pair of panties. She was barefoot, and her glorious red hair was pulled up in a hasty ponytail. Several wisps of hair poked out of the whole mess, clinging to the beads of sweat that dotted the back of her neck.

She was focused on the task at hand and started when he slipped his arms around her waist. Almost immediately, though, she leaned back against him, their food forgotten. He kissed her temple and rested his forehead against her shoulder, breathing in the smell that was uniquely her.

She covered his hands with her own, squeezed them lightly, then returned to her cooking. "Bad day?" she said.

He nodded against her neck, not trusting himself to speak.

"Poor baby," she said. She said that a lot, whenever he came home complaining about his job, and she usually said it with amusement, her eyes sparkling, her dimples visible. But there was no mirth in her tone tonight. She read the papers. She knew what was happening. And she knew what it was doing to Danny and the rest of the team. "Another one?"

He nodded again, tightening his grip around her waist.

He heard her fiddling with the knobs on the stove but didn't raise his head from the crook of her neck to see what she was doing. "It's a little odd, don't you think?" she asked. Something clanged, which he suspected was her moving the skillet from one burner to another. "Fourth jumper in three weeks. Are you guys thinking serial killer?"

Danny pulled his head from her shoulder. "I really don't want to talk about work right now," he said into her ear. She craned her head around to look at him. "Please, can we just talk about something else?"

Molly smiled, her eyes compassionate, and nodded. She turned in his arms so that she was facing him and stretched up on her toes to press a light kiss to his lips. "Or," she said, and his ears perked at the change in her tone, "we don't have to talk at all."

He grinned and captured her lips once more. When he pulled away, he said, "I like the sound of that."

Their dinner lay forgotten on the stove.

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Danny prided himself on his increased stamina. Six months ago, he would've been the first one to fall asleep after sex. Now, it was Molly who first faded into slumber, so exhausted from their trysts that she lacked the energy even to crawl under the covers. They never made it under the covers. They could never stand to wait long enough to do that. It required too much effort – too much time would be wasted. So they didn't bother. It really didn't matter. Danny didn't care. It gave him ample opportunity to study Molly while she slept.

They both had scars; not all of them were visible. Sometimes, when Molly was asleep, Danny liked to trace her scars with his finger. He wasn't sure why, and he couldn't explain how it made him feel, but he liked that he had such intimate knowledge of Molly – that he was one of very few people who had seen the location of her scars. He supposed it would be similar if she had a tattoo on her inner thigh. Which she did – a butterfly – and it was sexy as all hell.

There were the usual scars, the ordinary childhood mishaps, the kind that every kid got – or should get – at least once in his lifetime. The scar on Danny's left knee was from when he was eleven – a spectacular wipeout while attempting to skateboard down a railing in Central Park. Molly had a scar on the top of her right foot from when she fell out of the top bunk at summer camp when she was seven. Danny had a scar on his right forearm from some broken glass at home plate during a pickup baseball game in high school. The scar just above Molly's eye was a relic of her losing battle with a chain link fence in junior high.

Then there were the scars they had given to each other – bite marks, scratches. It was tangible evidence of the passion they shared. They never left hickeys. Hickeys were for horny teenagers who hadn't yet made it to third base. Besides, hickeys faded too soon. The marks they bore didn't disappear so easily. Their scars were just as overt and permanent as the rings they both secretly longed to wear but would never admit it. Molly had a particular fondness for Danny's collarbone, just above his heart, and his back resembled a Tic Tac Toe board. He tended to leave his marks in places that no one else could see – her breasts, the inside of her thigh. Once in a while, if he wanted to teach her a lesson, he would nip at her neck hard enough to bruise. She would rant and rave about how she couldn't go into work like that, but Danny had a sneaking suspicion that she loved it.

Danny knew all of Molly's scars. He just didn't know how she had gotten all of them. Even after a year together, she still had her secrets. She shared anecdotes from her time as a wayward youth, but she didn't tell him everything. Some scars were too deep for that. He didn't push, he didn't pry, and he didn't protest, because he didn't tell her everything either. He didn't tell her how he had gotten the scars on his biceps that looked suspiciously like cigarette burns. He didn't tell her why he only had half of his right pinky toe.

Some of her scars, she claimed not to know how she had gotten them, which was a distinct possibility. Like him, she had spent several years in an alcohol-induced haze. It was more than likely that some of the scars on her arms and likes were from accidents she'd had while drunk. He had several of those, as well – on the small of his back, on his shoulders. He honestly could not remember how he had gotten them.

Her only unexplained scar – the one she knew where it came from and simply wouldn't tell him – was the one that ran the length of her belly. It was disgusting and unseemly, and if had been any deeper, it probably would have been fatal. He had asked about it only once; she had changed the subject so quickly that his head spun, and he learned his lesson. That scar, apparently, was a sore subject. So he didn't ask again. But he often wondered about it, at times like these, when she was asleep and his fingers were inexplicably drawn the long, ropy scar along her abdomen.

He couldn't help but wonder about it. He created scenarios in his mind to explain how she could have gotten it. The one he tended to gravitate towards was the one where she got attacked while in the field. She was a CIA operative, a fairly valuable one, so surely she would be worth something to the Agency. But she so rarely worked in the field that Danny knew that couldn't be the answer. Still, any other explanation, Danny did not want to think about. He liked thinking about Molly's less-than-reputable past about as much as he liked thinking about his, which was not at all. She was a different person now. They both were.

But that scar… It sometimes haunted his dreams. He imagined Molly lying in a pool of blood at the tender age of seventeen, having wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time. A scar like that would run deeper than the skin. The memory associated with that scar was so traumatic for her that she wouldn't even bring it up. It must have been terrifying for her. He wished she would let him in.

He lightly ran his fingers along the scar, and Molly moaned in her sleep – a low and highly arousing sound that had him rising to the occasion once more. When he raised his eyes to her face, he saw that she was awake, and her eyes were that dark, murky green color he had come to know and love. She shifted position so that she could run her toes along the inside of his leg, and he needed little more encouragement. It was time to make another scar.