A/N: Well, seems I can't physically stop writing, so here's a new story. Updates may be less regular than before, unfortunately, as I'm really busy at present.
I really welcome feedback, especially as I've decided to play with writing characters I've neglected before. There may be pairings, but you'll just have to wait and see, and hope that they survive that long! Also, the first couple of chapters are not so much action, so please bear with me through them.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, or the show. Probably to general relief.
The city was drowning in walls of water falling vertically from the sky. Ropes of it snaked down window panes, pooled in gutters, drew streams down every slope which then converged to rivers in the streets.
According to some people, this was a good day to commit crimes. According to others, this was not a good day to have to solve them.
Rain lashed and drummed against the glass of the windows as Stella strode quickly, heels clicking out an allegro, into the lab where Hawkes and Danny were examining evidence. She was wearing her coat buttoned up, and looked to be in a hurry. "Danny, you ok to run solo with your mugging vic?" she asked, before either of the men could greet her.
Danny glanced out of the window and shrugged. "Yeah, sure. You claiming the doc?"
She nodded. "Afraid so. We've got a callout, and Mac and Lindsay are already at another scene." She turned to Hawkes. "Can you grab your kit and meet me by the car in five minutes?" Hardly waiting for a reply she headed off intently.
"Sure," Hawkes said to her retreating back. He passed the trace results he was holding to Danny, and headed to his office, where his kit was on the floor by his desk and his coat was over the back of his chair.
Danny was leaning against a wall in the hallway when he came past again. Hawkes looked at his triumphant smile and sighed. "Let me guess. The rain isn't forecast to stop?"
"Nope. You've got the short straw today."
"Have you waited here just so you could gloat?"
"Yep. Mind you," Danny shrugged, "Adam was more fun."
"Adam's coming too?" Hawkes asked in surprise.
"Apparently so. He looked pretty excited about it, despite the rain. Anyway, hadn't you better get going before Stella wonders where you've got to?"
Shaking his head and smiling, Hawkes took the elevator down into the artificial light of the parking garage, where Stella waved him over to the black SUV.
"Did Danny slow you down by gloating?" she questioned.
He laughed. "How did you guess that?"
"He hates bad weather and complains like hell whenever I've worked a case with him on a day like this one. There's a reason I called you onto this case and not him."
"No bad deed goes unrewarded," Hawkes commented wryly, gesturing in the direction of the exit, and the threaded sheets of rain."
Stella laughed. "S'only water, Hawkes, you aren't going to melt, I promise. I swear, you're worse than Adam." Adam was sitting in the back seat, smiling at the exchange. Hawkes walked around the front of the car and climbed into the passenger side as Stella slipped into the driver's seat.
"So what's the case?" he asked.
"As far as I can make out from Flack's very descriptive text, a body in an empty office building." She started the engine and drove out through the exit. "Apparently there's no cell service inside, or else he just didn't bother to reply after that." Bucketfuls of water immediately torrented down the windscreen and she switched the wipers on. The drumming on the metal shell of the roof drowned out any impulses towards conversation.
The car fought its way along the road which was beginning to resemble a river, wheels spraying water into the air from the shallow pools. Hardly any other vehicles were foolhardy enough to attempt journeying.
The rain sheeted down the windows, a shifting film of liquid, obscuring the view. It was difficult to imagine it being any worse, or very different, to being completely submerged. "Rain, rain, go to Spain," Adam muttered. He watched his breath condense on the glass, not that he had been able to see anything before beyond grey blurs of buildings and the scattered white of headlights and shop fronts.
"Did you say something?" Hawkes called, catching his reflection in the mirror and twisting his body round to look into the back seat. Adam shook his head, and Hawkes disappeared from his view again.
He shifted his gaze from the heads of Stella and Hawkes back to the misted window. Memories rose up – old rainy day memories from his childhood. The good memories. Comic books in the backseat of cars as they inched their way through a holiday queue. Breathing on the window and drawing shapes in the fog, writing 'HELP' with backwards letters. Songs of summer playing on the radio, crackly and out of focus.
The car at last stopped, and Hawkes and Stella exchanged looks. Stella gestured at the blurred world of shades of grey on the passengers' side. "That way! Just get inside the door!" She half-shouted to make sure they both heard properly over the percussion orchestra on the roof. "Come on!" she yelled, and Adam pushed open his door, grabbing his case from next to him.
The whole of the East River and Hudson combined seemed to pour down over him, drenching into him immediately. He slammed the door shut and followed the shape of Hawkes in his black coat, arm over his head, case slamming awkwardly into the side of his leg as he ran. Almost straight away he slipped and fell to his knees, pushing himself up quickly and racing for the shelter of the building, splashing through the puddles to reach the open doorway.
Hawkes set down his case and began brushing loose water from the surface of his coat. Adam blundered in after him and shook his head vigorously, droplets of water flying from his hair. There was mud on the knees of his water-strippled jeans. "Stella with you?" Hawkes asked him.
Adam peered out of the doorway. "Dunno. I thought she was just behind me."
Hawkes shrugged. "Perhaps she's drowned." Adam laughed slightly at the joke, water beginning to seep from his trainers to pool around his feet as he shifted his weight from foot to foot.
Stella emerged from the grey curtains of the rain, one hand held to cover her face, pulling the door quickly closed behind her. The noise of the falling water diminished.
She was soaked too, her hair darkened and separated into strands, but she looked as if she was enjoying herself. "You didn't wait for me?" she asked, grinning. Droplets ran from her curls and splashed on the bare concrete of the floor.
"We thought you'd been washed away," Hawkes said.
"My case was in the trunk," she said, a wry smile on her face. "Forgot about the rain when I put it in there."
Hawkes laughed. "Well, you're the one who pulled us out in weather like this."
"I suppose I am," she conceded. She gathered up her hair in an attempt to squeeze the water out of it, and succeeded in getting a cold stream to trickle down her back, beneath her collar. "Ugh. Where's Flack?"
"Is he supposed to be here?"
"I presumed so." She strode through the empty room to where a stairwell folded away upwards. "Flack!" she yelled, her voice echoing.
A door to the side of her jolted open, and Flack appeared round it. "It's the three drowned rats," he greeted them cheerfully. "The doc doesn't look as bad as you and Ross, though."
Adam again smiled uncertainly at the joke, but no one was looking at him. Flack made him nervous. His sodden clothes were stuck against his skin by the water they held, and he wished again that he'd brought his coat. But when Stella had stuck her head into his lab, clearly in a hurry, and told him that she wanted him down by her car immediately or sooner, he hadn't wanted to annoy her by taking the time to fetch it from the locker room. Especially, he hadn't wanted to run the gauntlet of Danny's jibes again on the way back from his locker.
But then they'd been waiting for Hawkes for several minutes afterwards, so it had probably been the wrong choice.
Stella and Hawkes followed Flack into the room he'd come from, and Adam trailed after them. He looked around, expecting to see a body, but apparently it wasn't in here. There was only Flack's coat thrown over a wooden crate, this seating obviously the room's main attraction as it was otherwise completely bare. He waited for one of the other two to voice the obvious question. It was Stella.
"No body, Don?" she asked. "I mean, I know you didn't do a science degree or anything, but…"
"Ha ha," he retorted. "You think I was gonna sit by some dead guy while you took your time getting here?"
"So where is the dead guy?" Hawkes asked.
"Upstairs," Flack said. He seemed to realise that this answer wasn't terribly helpful. "Gunshot wound to the chest."
"Why are we in here, then?" Stella asked. "Afraid you'll faint at the sight of blood?"
"Because I'm getting my coat, and you followed me. I know I'm supposed to stay here, but I've just got another call, Angell wants help somewhere. As you little fishes may have noticed, it's chaos today with this weather. You don't need babysittin', do you?"
Stella rolled her eyes. "Run along then, or swim along, might be quicker. You need to run through the case with us first, though."
"Yeah, I was comin' to that. Ok, this building was scheduled for demolition today, a couple of workers were checking it over and found our vic, third floor up. That's your primary crime scene, judging by the amount of blood. There's no obvious sign of a struggle, but then everything's been stripped back to concrete and breezeblocks, so it's kinda hard to tell. No gun, neither."
"Ok, got it," Hawkes said. "Which room is it?"
Flack pulled his coat from the crate and hit it roughly to shake the clinging dust off. "The one with the body in. The door's open, it's hard to miss." He shrugged his arms into the sleeves and began to button it up.
"Take your litter with you," Stella ordered him. Flack picked up the wrapper from a bar of chocolate which had fallen out of his coat as he put it on.
"Want some?" he asked. He pulled another, unopened, bar from his pocket. Adam, still hovering unnoticed and invisible beyond the threshold, watched him snap it into three chunks, and hand a piece each to Stella and Hawkes, taking a bite from the third piece himself before slipping it back into his pocket. He buttoned up his coat and grabbed a black umbrella from where it had lain against the wall.
"Damn, I should have brought one of those!" Stella complained. She swiped at the wet mass of her hair again, tiny droplets showering from it.
Flack grinned. "Yeah, but you didn't though, and nor did any of you, so evidently I'm the most intelligent one here, despite your fancy science degrees." Stella narrowed her eyes at him, and he waved the umbrella in her face. "I'll be off now, have fun!"
Adam stepped back out of the way into the hall as Flack came out of the door. Stella walked with him to the front door, while Hawkes also stopped and waited next to Adam. He went to put the chunk of chocolate he held into his pocket, then suddenly stopped. "You didn't get any, did you?" he asked, guilty at the realisation.
Adam shook his head mutely and looked at his feet, uncomfortable that this fact had been noticed. Hawkes snapped the chocolate in two, and held one half out to Adam. "You need to speak up for yourself, man, we forgot you were there!" He felt the words fall flat even as they left his mouth.
"Thanks," Adam muttered. He had never been good at dealing with situations like this, away from the safety of his lab where he was on familiar territory and in control of what happened. He took the proffered piece, and slid it into his pocket without looking at it, but smiled gratefully, just as Hawkes turned his head to see where Stella was. She came striding back towards the two of them.
"Let's go play 'hunt the body', then."