RETURN FROM THE DEAD 1

Setting

18 Months after station explosion

Ben also died in the explosion

Amy arrived but left to join Garth's cold-case squad

Current cops: Tom (not all mean and sullen like in show), PJ, Suzie, Jonesy, Alex (Acting Sergeant), Kelly, Joss.

Jo was thought to have died in the explosion but actually moved to Melbourne. Her parents let her believe everyone knew she was alive and let everyone in Mt. Thomas believe she was dead. A high ranked officer who was friends with her parents helped her get a post without anyone in Mt. Thomas finding out and without official transfer papers. She is currently working in a suburban station as a detective.

Story

Jo was going over some old newspaper articles with a colleague for a case when the letterhead of the Mt. Thomas Gazette caught her eye. She pulled the front page article out of the stack and leant back in her chair. She gasped as she read the headline. "3 DEAD IN POLICE STATION EXPLOSION" She began to quickly read the article and was horrified at what she saw.

Mt. Thomas is in shock after the horrifying explosion of the local police station. Three people, including two police officers, are believed to be dead following the tragedy. While the town is in shock over the violent attack, remaining local officers are mourning the deaths of colleagues and close friends Sergeant Benjamin Stewart and Senior Constable Joanna Parrish. A statement has been made by local constables Suzie Raynor and Evan Jones that the two officers will be greatly missed for their contributions to the Victoria Police Force, as well as for their friendship. Senior Constable Parrish was believed to be romantically involved with local detective PJ Hasham. However he was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print. A close source has said he is devastated by the loss of both his colleagues. Local resident Clancy Freeman also lost his life. The mentally disabled man is thought to have been involved, without his own knowledge, with the planting of the bomb.

Jo leapt from her chair.

'Jo, what's wrong?'

'I have to go. Tell the Inspector I might be few days.'

'He won't be happy.'

'I don't care.' She paused and glanced at the article again. 'This can't wait.' She ran from the room and out to her car. The precious piece of paper in her hands.

She arrived at her parents' house and burst inside to see her mother washing dishes.

'Sweetheart, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at work?'

'What the hell is going on?'

'Whatever do you mean?'

'I mean this.' She exclaimed and thrust the piece of paper in her face.

Bev read the page and her face turned pale.

'Where did get this?'

'It come up at…' She broke off in the middle of her own sentence and interrupted herself. 'It doesn't matter.' She cried loudly. A though struck her and her voice dropped. 'You knew. You knew that everyone in Mt. Thomas thinks I'm dead. Why didn't you tell me? Why did you lie to me?'

'I never lied to you.'

'Maybe not, but you deliberately kept the truth from me. You might as well have lied.' She turned and headed for the front door.

'Where are going?'

'I'm going to Mt. Thomas. To tell everyone what they should have been told from the start.' Her voice left room for no argument as Bev trailed after her and watched her jump in her car and speed away.

She arrived in Mt. Thomas at around 4pm and followed the signs to the police station. She stood at surveyed the building, so different to the old station before she hurried inside and pressed the buzzer. A young looking policewoman came out.

'Hi, can I help you?'

'I need to speak to PJ Hasham. It's important.'

'I'll just get him for you. Won't be a minute.' The young officer smiled as she went back through to what Jo guessed was the main office.

Kelly knocked on the door to PJ's office and then pushed it open slightly.

'Someone to see you at the front counter.'

'I'm busy,'

'She said it's important. She seemed anxious to speak to you.'

'Fine. I'm coming.' PJ followed Kelly out of the office shutting the door behind him. He headed for the door, not bothering to check the camera to see who is was.

'Can't a guy get a bit of peace around here?' he mumbled under his breath as he walked past Suzie's desk.

'Apparently not.' She replied with a smile.

A few moments later the door re-opened and a warm filling filled Jo's heart as PJ came into view. He stared at her and blinked his eyes a few times. His mouth opened and closed but no words came out. He blinked again before Jo eventually spoke.

'I am real.'

'I don't understand.' PJ finally found his voice.

'It's complicated.'

'I thought you were dead.'

'I had no idea everyone thought that. Not until this morning. My parents let me believe everyone knew I had moved to Melbourne.'

'How is this possible?'

'I know it doesn't sound real. But I'm telling the truth. You have to believe me.'

'Why did you come back here?' PJ asked, his voice changed from shocked to curious.

'I wasn't going to let you all believe I was dead. Contrary to what you probably think, I do still care.'

'I think you better come in.' He opened the door and she followed him in. He quickly opened the door to Tom's office and pushed her inside before anyone could see her. He closed the door quickly behind him. Tom looked up from his desk and recoiled in shock.

'Jo?'

'Yes, I'm real.'

'How? I mean, what? I mean,'

Jo repeated to Tom what she had told PJ plus a few extra details.

'How did you find out?'

'I was going over some articles for a case this morning. I found a page from the gazette. It had an article on the explosion. All about how 2 police officers had died. I couldn't let you all go on believing a lie. I confronted my mum. She admitted the truth so I came.'

PJ and Tom sat in silence.

'I know all of this is hard to comprehend, and I know you probably don't believe me.'

'Ofcourse we believe you.' PJ spoke for the first time since they entered Tom's office. 'If it was all a lie, I mean about not knowing everyone thought you were dead, why would have you have come back now.'

'Exactly. And thank you.'

'What for?'

'Trusting me.'

'I've always trusted you.' PJ said softly, a wistful expression on his face. Jo blinked back a tear and turned away and looked at Tom, who sometime during her short conversation with PJ had stood up. She stood up to face him and he enveloped her in a hug.

'It's good to know you're OK.'

'I can't imagine what you all must have gone through. Thinking you'd lost me and Ben.' She suddenly froze, as if realizing exactly what she had said. 'Ben. It hadn't hit home till just then what happened to him. My god.'

'You're alive. Let's just focus on that for now.'

'Exactly,' Tom agreed. 'Ready to face Suzie and Evan?'

Jo smiled.

'Ready as I'll ever be.'

Tom opened the door and stuck his head out.

'Raynor, Jones. A word?'

Suzie and Jonesy exchanged a look before heading into Tom's office. Suzie froze upon sight of Jo and Jonesy's mouth fell open.

'I've been in Melbourne.'

'You let us all believe you were dead just so you could get away.' The anger was obvious in Jonesy's voice.

'No. I had no idea, that everyone thought I was dead.'

'What didn't you ever talk to your parents?'

'Yes. They never told me, that everyone in Mt. Thomas thought I was dead. I didn't have any idea till this morning. I was going through some articles and found a report from the gazette on the station explosion. Telling me how I was supposed to be dead. I confronted my mum. And then I came here. I was not going to let you guys believe that. I had my reasons for leaving. But I still care.'

Suzie had stood silently in the doorway without a word. She suddenly leapt forward and into Jo's arms. Jonesy moved in and wrapped his arms around both women in a group hug. PJ and Tom faded into the background and Tom whispered something to PJ.

'Well?'

'Well what?'

'Are you going to say anything?'

'She left for a reason.'

'What, so you're just going to let her go?'

'What else can I do?'

'PJ. I saw you when you thought she was gone. I have NEVER seen you so unhappy. You have to try. Can you really just stand back and watch her walk away again?'

PJ escaped having to answer by Kelly coming in the door.

'Suze, Jonesy. Hospital rang. Guy's awake. You can talk to him now.'

They exchanged a look and turned to Jo.

'Go,' she said with a smile. 'I'll still be here when you get back.'

They both gave her a final hug before leaving the office together.

PJ and Jo faced each other and the smile fell from her face.

'Jo. I think we need to talk.'

'Yeah. I think we do.'