Chapter 1

"I come bearing popcorn," Lindsay Monroe exclaimed, stepping into the living room of her apartment, the plastic bowl in her hand. The young woman on the couch looked up happily.

"I'd be offended if you didn't," Emily Reichle shot back, curling up tighter under the blanket on the couch.

Lindsay laughed. "Am I the best aunt or what?"

Emily giggled at the same time. "You've always been the best aunt.

At only eight years Emily's senior, Lindsay was really more of a sister to her niece than her aunt. Emily's move to New York had been permitted mostly because Lindsay was living in the bustling metropolis. They got together monthly, so Lindsay could check in and make sure everything was still okay.

Tonight was one of the monthly movie nights.

Lindsay handed the bowl to Emily as she sat. Her next reach was intended for the remote but the ringing of her land line had her groaning and reaching for it instead.

"I know we're only supposed to use this for emergencies but your cell phone was off."

"Hi Danny."

"Plus, I guess this could constitute as an emergency."

Lindsay raised an eyebrow, though she knew Danny couldn't see it. "What's up?"

"I need a drink, thought I'd see if you wanted to come with."

"I can't."

" Montana, come on."

"My niece is over for the night," she tried to explain. "It's a thing."

"For the night? Isn't that kinda pointless?'

"She's a student at NYU," Lindsay explained, glancing over at the young woman in question. Emily's eyes were glowing and Lindsay knew she was in for the third degree as soon as she hung up the phone.

"You sure you don't want to come?" he cajoled.

"I can't. Raincheck?"

"You're on."

Emily squealed.

"What was that?"

"That was my niece. I've got to go or I think she might attack me." Lindsay could almost hear Danny's eyebrow raising. "Don't ask. I'll see you in a couple of days."

"Couple of days?"

"It's a sleepover, Danny. Mac gave me the weekend off months ago."

"A couple of days it is."

Lindsay chuckled softly. "Good night, Danny."

"Night Montana."

It was a peeved Lindsay Monroe that stepped into the apartment the next morning. Stella called her at around seven, apologizing profusely for calling her in on her day off but giving her an address for a multiple murder. The first thing she noticed when she stepped into the small apartment, kit in hand, was not the body sprawled in the hall or the blood on the carpet. Instead, she noticed the resemblance it had to most of the other drug-involved crimes she'd processed.

" Montana," Danny greeted as he stepped beside her in the doorway. "Isn't today your day off?"

"Stella called," Lindsay tried to explain.

"You got roped into it," Danny said knowingly, leaving her behind to head further into the apartment.

"I did not!" Lindsay replied indignantly.

Don Flack raised an amused eyebrow as he stepped up beside her.

"It was supposed to be my day off," she said in explanation.

"Ah… We've got three bodies. Girl on the bed, guy on the floor in the bedroom, and girl here in the hall"

"And ID?" she asked, falling into the routine easily.

"Two NYU students and a Julliard kid," Flack said. "Stella's got the girl in the bedroom and with the way Messer rushed by I'd say he's staking claim to the musician."

"Which means I get the girl in the hall," Lindsay agreed, setting her case down by the body. It was the better part of an hour before she was disturbed from her processing.

"She looks so young." Sheldon Hawks said as he crouched down beside her.

"Twenty. Same age as my niece," Lindsay agreed, lifting another stray hair. "Lynn Stevenson."

"Gun shot to the chest," he observed.

"Probably didn't have a chance."

"Coroner should be on their way up. I caught a ride out here with them."

Lindsay pushed herself up to stand, her eyes travelling over the room. "I was just about to do the room. You up for it?"

He grinned. "Let's do it."

Flashlights lit parts of the dimly lit room as they wandered over knick knacks, picture frames, books and magazines.

"Check this out," Sheldon called, shifting through the box on the coffee table.

Lindsay looked down at the box, picking up one that had been ripped in half. "Someone was upset. Is there another half?"

Sheldon pulled out three or four other halves and Lindsay nodded in understanding. "Bag it. I want to know what these pictures are about."

"You and me both," he agreed as Lindsay's cell phone rang cheerfully. She checked the caller ID and frowned.

"Go take it," Sheldon urged. "I'll keep looking."

She shot him a grateful glance and stepped into the hallway, flipping open her phone. "Hello?"

"Aunt Linds, it's Em."

"What's up?"

Emily never called her cell phone unless it was an emergency. "I haven't seen my roommate." Emily's voice sounded worried.

"You're in college Em. There's going to be nights where your friends don't come home," Lindsay tried to reassure.

"She wasn't in class and she didn't take a bag with her," Emily protested. "Something's wrong."

Lindsay sighed. "Did you file a missing persons?"

"You were the one that made the point about the college student. Who's going to believe me?"

"Okay. You caught me in the middle of a scene but when I get back to the station, I'll check in, okay?" she compromised.


"I promise. Take a breath. I'll call you later." She took a moment after she hung up to lean against the wall. Emily was her oldest niece, the first member of her family apart from her to leave Montana and was only allowed because her parents assumed and made Lindsay promise she'd watch over their little girl.

" Montana, you alright?"

"Don't call me that," she groaned. "What's up?"

"Stella and I are done. I'm going to take stuff back to the lab. You want a ride?" Danny asked, hiding most of his concern by the time she opened her eyes and looked at him.

"Yeah," she decided. "I've got to deal with something back at the station."

"Need your kit?"

She nodded. "Give me five."

Lindsay and Danny pulled up to the residence building at the university.

"I hate this part," she said softly as she unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door of the SUV.

"I can't think of anyone that likes it," Danny replied, stepping to her side.

"Do you have the room number?" she asked unnecessarily.

"Of course I do, Montana." Sometimes he was annoyed by her nagging but most of the time he was amused.

They made it up there together, down the halls, stopping at the door. Double-checking the room number Flack had provided them with, Danny knocked on the door. A muffled voice called fro them to wait a minute. The young woman that opened the door smiled widely, hope more than evident in her face.

"You found her?" Emily Reichle asked hopefully.

Lindsay blinked.

"Found who?" Danny asked, confused.

"My roommate. I called Aunt Linds because I was worried," Emily tried to explain.

"Aunt Linds? You didn't tell me," Danny said, a smirk skittering across his face.

"I didn't know," Lindsay replied slowly, shock still evident in her voice. "Emily, this is Detective Messer. Danny, my niece Emily Reichle."

"You're Detective Messer," Emily exclaimed. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Em," Lindsay said on a sigh. "This isn't a social call. Can we come in?"

Emily went sober. "What's going on?"

"Can we come in, Miss Reichle?"

Emily stepped back, opening the door. Danny and Lindsay stepped in, both of them taking in the room carefully.

"What's going on?"

"We found Lynn," Lindsay said softly.

Emily's eyes widened. "No…"

"I'm so, so sorry, honey," Lindsay replied softly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "We found her body this morning."

Emily dropped to her bed in shock, dislodging Lindsay's arm. "But Lynn…"

"We've got a few questions for you," Danny broke in.

The university student nodded her head, signalling he could ask away.

"When was the last time you saw Lynn Stevenson?"

Let me know what you think, especially about characters that may be OOC or if you think Emily's a MarySue... I promise I won't take it offensively!