A/N: Well this is it my dear readers, the last chapter of this part of the trilogy. Again, it was great sharing this with you and I'm glad to see all of you have enjoyed it. I will be taking a step back from this in order to finish my LOST/BUFFY fic that I'm posting here. I only have a few chapters left on Tabula Rasa so once that's finished I will post the third and last part of Angela's story. THE TITLE WILL BE : A KILLER'S ELEGY so be on the lookout for it or just add me to your alert lists!
Please REVIEW. Thank you!
Chapter Twenty-One: Only Time Will Tell
The notion that Internal Affairs wanted a piece of The Artist action was expected. In retaliation, the entire department backed the two of us completely. While an in-depth investigation couldn't be stopped, there would be no questioning of either us unless of our own cooperation and no charges were being filed.
To make things even more ridiculous I was being looked at as some kind of hero for having saved Dara, and she was being rewarded for her bravery and work as an officer with promotions, plaques, and grand speeches, the works. Of course neither of us wanted any of the attention. I simply wanted to move on with my life and put the memory of Edward far behind me. It would be easier for me of course; the road ahead for Dara was an extremely long and hazardous one.
A week passed and she was still in the hospital recovering. The first few days I would walk past her flower filled room to find Warrick there, the CSI not having left her side one minute since the crime scene. Henderson dropped by as well from time to time; it was nice to see both of them taking turns in caring of her.
It was very rare that Nick let me even turn on the television on my own but I enjoyed the comfort of knowing he would be by the bed each time I opened my eyes. My injuries required stitches, the cuts on my arms turning into permanent reminders on my skin.
They released me after two days with a clean bill of health but even then I didn't venture into Dara's room. I wasn't fully sure I could trust her. She had refused to shoot me but that didn't mean that once she recovered that she wouldn't point out the obvious to everyone around me. I was a killer. I enjoyed taking the lives of those that deserved to be punished but that still didn't make what I did right in the eyes of the law. Each day that began to pass made the wait for the bomb to drop amplify in the back of my mind.
"Baby?" I looked away from the doors of the hospital to gaze at Nick in the driver's seat. He smiled softly and reached out to stroke his hand down my hair. "You okay?"
With a nod, I reached out for the door handle. "Do you want me to wait until you park the car?"
"Go on. I'll be up in a minute."
I took my time in making my way to Dara's room. Her door was open and I peered into the glass window to see her on her side facing the wall, no one else in the room with her.
"You can go inside."
I turned to see Warrick standing behind me with a cup of coffee in his hand. We both shifted slightly on our feet and I managed a small smile. "I know."
"How are you holding up?"
"Never been better."
He snorted and surprised me by stepping forward to loop his arm gently around my shoulder. He pulled me towards him and I didn't know what to do as he hugged me. Awkwardly we pulled apart.
"It's been difficult this past week for all of us." Warrick scratched at the back of his neck. "Dara's been having nightmares, screams and sweats; she won't talk to us about it but maybe she'll talk to you?"
I doubted that. I had seen the look of fear in her eyes after I had killed Edward. I cleared my throat. "He told her about us."
Warrick blinked in surprise and by his reaction I knew she hadn't told him. It made me wonder exactly what else she was keeping from him.
"I don't know if she believed it or not. I just thought you should know."
"I don't really know what to say."
"It's probably best you don't say anything at all." I smiled softly. "What's done is done." I looked away to gaze inside her room again.
"Hey…" Warrick reached out to cup my shoulder and draw my attention back to him. "No matter what, I'm here for you. We're all here for you. Okay?"
I forced myself to push his hand away gently and I squeezed it before I took a step back. The elevator door chimed and I saw Nick escape from the coroner of my eye. I didn't say anything as I turned and entered Dara's room, shutting the door behind me. For what seemed like an eternity we simply stared at each other.
"I thought that you weren't going to come."
Let's get this over with before I lose my mind. "I need to know what you're going to do Dara."
She deliberately ignored the question and motioned for me to sit down on the chair that practically had Warrick's ass print embedded in it. "Sit down." I slowly did as she ordered. "I've got something for you." I watched her wince and reach under her pillow. She held out a box.
"What is that?"
She rolled her eyes. "It's a gift. Open it."
Still hesitant I accepted the black box and opened it to stare down at the black cord and charm nestled in the box.
"I know it's not your normal style but I want you to have it. My daughter Madison's father gave that to me when we first started dating, he'd had it since he was a boy and that's when I knew he was in love with me. I wore it every day for years until the cord broke. I thought I had misplaced it and Katrina came along so I gave it no more thought until someone sent it to me."
I looked up from the box. "Edward."
She nodded. "I always felt like it brought me luck. When Madison was little she'd spend hours playing with it." Tears swarmed in her eyes. "It doesn't remind of Edward, it reminds me of Trevor, and it reminds me of my daughter. It reminds me to have hope and I want you to have it."
What? Oh no, no thank you. "I can't…"
"You can and you will. It's nothing compared to what you did for me, what you did for us."
"Despite what you think of yourself Angela, you're not like him." Dara lowered her voice and I had to lean forward to hear her. "You could have let him kill me before you killed him and no one would know your secret, no one would know what you've done."
"You could have let me die but you didn't and that tells me something." Dara hissed as she shifted again on the bed and I couldn't stop myself from springing forward.
"Your pain killer drip isn't hooked up." Frowning, I moved to connect the tubes. "What kind of inept nurse do you have?"
"Don't. That's just for show." She exhaled. "I don't know how to make you believe that your secret is safe with me Angela, I really don't. The only thing that I can think of is to share something with you."
Well, we're just full of surprises. I cocked an eyebrow at her. "If you tell me that you're a killer too I'm not going to believe you."
"Fuck, I wish it was that simple." Dara let out a weak chuckle. "I'm five weeks pregnant almost to the day."
"Why is that a secret?"
"Almost five weeks ago to the day was the night you and Warrick nearly got killed at Gedda's place, and it's also the same day that I slept with Edward for the first time." She let out a sound somewhere between a sob and a laugh. "No one knows and I don't plan on telling anyone until I figure out what I'm going to do."
In the words of the ever-expressive Keanu Reeves, whoa. "So you pretend to take pain killers so Warrick doesn't worry?"
"Yes. He worries a lot and he's on the verge of falling apart trying to take care of me." Dara motioned for the glass of water next to the bed. "Will you help me take a drink?"
Is this a trick? Come close and let me slap the cuffs on ya! Surprise!
She chuckled as if reading my mind. "Please? I'm not going to bite you."
I moved forward to lift the glass and guided the straw to her mouth. "Don't drink too much at once."
"Thanks." She swallowed. "I really want a cheeseburger but they won't let me eat solid food yet."
"He did a number on you. I… I wish that I could have stopped him before he hurt you." After a quick internal debate, I squeezed Dara's hand briefly. "Warrick says that you've been having nightmares and that you won't talk to anyone. He thinks you'll talk to me."
"I don't want him to know what happened in there. I don't want anyone to know and I don't want you to tell them."
"Damn it Angela, he doesn't need that image in his head. Would you want Nick to know if it was you?"
"No. I won't tell anyone Dara." I bit down on my lower lip. "Will you tell me?"
She went stiff. "No."
"You need to talk about it."
"No, I don't." Her eyes suddenly had fire in them. "Let's not argue Angela. I don't want to argue with you. I…" She cleared her throat. "Let's just leave what happened in the room, in that room. Can we do that?"
I sighed in frustration because I knew that was the worst possible things for Dara to do. If she didn't face what Edward did to her and make peace with it she would never be able to fully recover. Damn it, you're going to make me share with you and I hate that.
"When Andy died I didn't talk to anyone for days." I focused my attention on the necklace and the box. "I was so numb from the pain and the sadness that I walked around like a zombie. It was the worst thing that had ever happened to me and even now it's hard for me to talk about it. My parents, my step-sister; they all tried to get me to open up to them and I wouldn't. I kept all that inside of me even when we buried him, even when the police arrested Dylan. I never shed a tear. I never said I missed him at all. I let all that fester inside of me. I still do."
"I'm sure your brother loved you very much."
"That's the thing Dara; everything I've done has been because of what happened to my brother, because I couldn't stand to think of anyone hurting the way that I did. It was my job to protect him because I was his big sister but the thing is I'm not."
"You're not what?"
"I'm not his sister. I'm not their daughter. They adopted me. Edward made sure I knew. He sent me my original birth certificate."
"Andy was your brother Angela, and you were his big sister. Let me tell you what I know. Blood doesn't mean shit. My partner back in New Orleans, Charlie; Charlie was my brother as much as any other child my mother could have given birth. Your family, they are your family. They chose you Angie. You have to remember they chose you."
I didn't have the chance to respond before the door opened and Nick and Warrick walked in. Nick immediately moved behind me and noticed the necklace in my hand. "What's this?"
I fidgeted at the attention. "Dara gave it to me. It's something that her daughter's father gave her, something that she's had for years and she wants me to have it."
"Well you should put it on." He reached down and plucked the necklace out of my hand before I could object, fastening it quickly around my neck. "It looks beautiful."
"You can't even see it dork." Chuckling, I tilted my head back and smiled at him. He smiled back, hands squeezing my shoulders, and when I focused on Dara again, I watched as she fought hard to keep her eyes open. "Thank you."
The words held their double-meaning that only the two of us understood. I felt more relief now then I had in the previous days but the voice of doubt still lurked in the background of my mind. I knew the voice would be there for a while, until I felt I could really trust not just her but myself.
Only time will tell.