Author - The Julesmonster who is trying to reclaim her crown as the Queen of
Fluff

Title - Crown of Glory

Date - 20/7/00

Summery - Rach attends the National Police and Fire Games - sequel to
Around Behind Up and Through.

Disclaimer - well the people in this fic own themselves, well the REAL ones
anyways, I can still dream about the Rachel and Frank dolls though. Rat the
Cat is also mine :)

Authors Note - This is a sequel of sorts to Around Behind Up and Through,
Hell I felt like a little fluff :) I have also mixed the names of a few of
my friends (first names only cos I didn't wanna incriminate anyone :) in
here just for a bit of fun.

Warning - Mild course langauge in here.. nothing we havn't heard them say
before :)


Crown of Glory
----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Rachel Goldstein groaned as she tried to make a resonable copy of the
'Frank Holloway Trademark 5 Second Flat' knot in her tie. The more she tried
to recreate the motions Frank had shown her, the more the lump around her
neck resembled something Rat had transformed into a basketwarmer sometime
last week. Tugging futiley at the knot-gone-wrong she tried just about
everything to undo it, short of raiding the kitchen cupboards for the
scissors, before giving up and reefing the material over her head and
throwing it in disgust in the corner. Sighing she headed for her bedroom and
raided the 'Horseland' bag, pulling out a navy blue elastic slip-over-your-
head-and-it-still-looks-like-a-decent-tie pre-tied tie, and slipping it over
her head. Checking out her reflection in her mirror she smiled.

*Much better than last time* she thought happily as she slipped a faded old
jumper over her head and headed downstairs for a quick coffee before Frank
arrived.

Filling the jug with water, Rachel also filled Rat's bowl with catfood,
making sure his water was full and his basket was clean for the day he would
be spending at home. As much as she wanted to take her beloved cat with her,
she knew that while she was in the ring, Frank would be looking after Rat,
and knowing Frank something would happen. She didn't know what, but where
Frank was concerned, anything was possible! Hearing the jug boiling she
poured herself a mug of steaming coffee before sitting at the breakfast bar
and mulling over the program for the day. The more she read, the more nervous
she became. She'd been in horse-shows before, hell she'd even done WELL in
them before, but she'd never been in something as big as this. Never the
Police and Fire National Games. She hadn't really wanted to enter, but
pestering from Jeff and Helen, and most of all Frank (who she assumed had
come up with the crazy idea in the first place) had persuaded her, heck,
conned was the better word, promising her a case of beer if she nabbed a
medal.

A beeping horn startled her out of her reverie, causing her to jump
and nearly spill her coffee.

" Shit!" she exclaimed, stuffing the program into her dufflebag, grabbing
her coat off its hook, and sculling the last of her coffee, she cuddled Rat,
told him to be a good Kitty, and took off towards the waiting car.

"Gez, Rach, in a bit of a state are we?" Frank smirked as he changed seats,
catching the dufflebag Rachel had thrown at him and tossing it into the
backseat.

" Shut it Frank, I wouldn't even BE in this mess if it weren't for you and
you're stupid 'But Rach, ya did so well at the last horse thing' stunt you
pulled RIGHT in front of Jeff" She snapped back, nerves making her sharp
remarks even more fatal than usual. Frank made a mental note to cut out the
wisecracks as they drove towards the stables, Rachel's nerves making her
driving just a little more hairy than Frank would have liked.

" Jesus Rach! Slow down a bit will ya!?" He cried as they narrowly missed a
truck while rounding a corner at high speed.

" Well we wouldn't be running late if it weren't for YOU picking me up late!"
she snapped back, pulling the car sharply to the left to negotiate the
driveway to the stables. Slamming on the brakes she grabbed her gear and
leapt out of the car, leaving Frank to wander off by himself to find the
horsetruck...again.

Swinging open the massive wooden doors of the stables Rachel tossed
her things in corner and headed towards the tack room to pick up her gear.
Switching on the light she gazed in awe at the rows of gleaming leather
before finding the saddles and bridles she was supposed to be using and
adding them to the growing pile of things in the corner by the doors.
Heading back into the stable complex she looked at the names on the doors,
searching for the elusive Flash Toby that she was supposed to be riding.
Nearing the end of the stables she finally found the gorgeous animal, and
offered him a carrot from her pocket before slipping his halter over his
satiny head. She mentally thanked Camilla again for letting her use her
wonderful horses as she lead 'Toby' towards the truck that Frank was parking
at a very strange angle.

" Hey Frank, nice parking!" she yelled as he carefully jumped down from the
cabin and noticed, for the first time, that he had parked the big truck at
a 45 degree angle to the stable doors.

" Oh well, you know I can't drive, let alone park!" he shot back, thankful
that her nerves seemed to have settled for the time being. He opened the
tailgate and tossed Rachel's gear in the tack compartment while his partner
loaded the horse, carefully tying him up before closing the partition and
finally the massive tailgate. Doing one last check of the stables for things
she had forgotten Rachel headed back to the truck and climbed in.

" So where are we off too this time?" Frank questioned as he turned the key
in the ignition, smiling as the giant truck roared once again to life.
Pulling out her program from her dufflebag Rachel looked at the cover.

" Eastern Creek, just off the M4, shouldn't take us too long to get there
should it?" she asked as they lumbered down the gravel drive of the stables.

"Nah, its just round the corner" he replied, pulling the truck onto the main
road and revving the engine.

45 minutes, and many arguments later Frank admitted they were lost.

" Well its not MY fault you can't navigate!" he exclaimed in frustration.

" How am I supposed to navigate with a street directory that belongs in the
national museum!" she shot back.

" I can't help it if I never drive and therefore don't NEED a current UBD"

" There's good reasons for me not letting you drive"

" Yeah like?"

" Like the time you nearly crashed the car when I was away on leave, that
replacement told me ALL about it!"

" I only drove cos he REFUSED to drive!"

" Yeah and there's the time you drove me home after the Lipinski brothers
and nearly took out a 4wheel drive coming the other way"

" He was on MY side of the road!"

" yeah yeah whatever ya reckon... look, turn here!" she exclaimed as they
passed a sign with 'Police and Fire Games This Way' in big bold letters
printed on it. Frank slammed on the brakes, causing a barrage of hooves on
the floor behind them in reply.

" Gez Frank.. take it easy!" Rachel cried as she braced herself against the
seat.

Half an hour later they pulled into the Equestrian Complex, following
the parking officials direction to a parking bay. Rachel leapt out of the
truck in such a hurry, that she twisted her ankle on the landing.

"Ouch!" she cried as she rolled to one side clutching her now throbbing
ankle.

"FRAAAANKKKKK!" Frank popped his head around the front of the truck to see
him partner rolling on the ground clutching one blackbooted ankle.

"Gez Rach, I thought you'd have learnt by my mistakes about that first step,
its a doozy!" he smirked as he grabbed the firstaid kit out of the cabin.
Rachel struggled to remove her boot, pulling it at all angles and wincing
at the pain before giving up and waiting for Frank to return with the first
aid kit.

"Frank, my boots' stuck" Frank looked at her as if she'd just become the most
wanted murderer in all of Sydney. Grimacing Rachel explained the situation.

" Frank, I need you to pull my boot off, I can't do it from here, just.. just
... OUCH! Not that hard!" she cried as he pulled a little too hard. Finally
after much pulling, grimacing and more pulling, the boot slid off revealing
a rapidly swelling ankle.

" aw shit Frank, I can't ride with this!" Rachel laid back on the grass,
disappointment written all over her features.

" Nonsense! " Frank said as he knelt beside her, gently picked up her foot
in one hand and a bandage in the other. " Look if we strap it well enough,
it'll support it enough for ya to get through the day, Rach ya can't quit
now, the whole Water Police is counting on ya!" he empathized, meaning that
if Jeff found out that they had pulled the day off for the competition, and
then didn't compete, they'd both be wearing Jeff's bootmarks for the rest
of the year. Groaning Rachel sat up and looked at Frank, mulling the
situation over in her head before nodding and letting him strap her ankle.

" Competitor number 73 please report to the dressage marshaling area please,
competitor number 73" the loudspeaker boomed as Rachel managed to wrestle
her boot back on and tentatively stand.

"Shit Frank, I'm number 75, quick help me grab 'Toby' and get him ready!"
she shouted as she hobbled towards the Tack compartment. Frank managed to
untie the horse and lead him down the ramp as gear started to emerge from
the tack compartment. Saddles, bridles, brushes, jackets, bandages, and
just about everything a horsey person could ever need lay spread on the
grass by the time Rachel was finished. Unfortunately due to a severe lack
of time, Rachel saddled and bridled her horse, got Frank to brush around
the gear, bandaged Toby's legs and got Frank to paint his hooves before
shrugging her jacket on, slipping on her competitor number, fastening her
helmet and limping back to wear Frank was waiting to give her a leg-up.

" Thanks" she said as she settled into the saddle, not really ready to go
and compete, but knowing she had little choice in the matter.

" Competitor number 75 please report to the dressage marshaling area.
Competitor number 75."

" That's you Rach" Frank said as he handed her her gloves. Rachel slipped
her gloves on before taking the reins and starting off towards the marshaling
area. Suddenly left with nothing to do Frank idelly followed her, finding an
inconspicuous seat in the back of the stands to watch from.

Entering the marshaling area a steward approached Rachel for her
gearcheck.

" Name, rank, department and number, please"

" Senior Constable Rachel Goldstein, I'm a detective with the Sydney Water
Police, number 75" Rachel said as she adjusted her reins. The steward
checked the gear for rips, stress points and frayed stitching before waving
Rachel through.

" Ring 2, good luck" the steward said as she turned and met the next
competitor. Rachel steered Toby towards the second sand arena, watching in
awe as the horse currently in the arena performed a perfect set of movements.
Her hope started to sink as she saw the standard of riders here was higher
than any she had ever competed against. Then she spied a face in the stands,
Franks, followed by a series of more familiar faces. Helen, Tayler, Gavin,
and even Jeff were all watching her. Her heart swelled with pride as she
saw them wave. They had all wrangled time off to see her ride, she was that
important to them, that and it was a good excuse to get out of the office
with all the time all of them had owing. Returning her eyes to the arena,
Rachel saw the previous horse finish its test and leave. Hearing the bell
she took a deep breath and headed in. Entering the arena at a trot she
halted in the exact center and saluted the judges. Her mind worked in
overdrive as she guided Toby through the movements. Halt at X, proceed at
working trot, canter at B, circle at C, back to trot at E, change diagonal
at K. From the stands Frank held his breath. He'd helped Rachel work on
this test for weeks preceding the competition, spending endless hours
calling out the movements as she practiced. He murmured the movements in
order as she rode them, as if just doing so would help her remember. He
exhaled as the once again halted and saluted, then left the arena, leaving
forward and patting Toby on the neck as she did so.

Exiting the dressage area Rachel was engulfed in her friends appraises.

" Great work Rachel, Wonderful ride, you looked gorgeous out there" That
one of course from Tayler.

"So, What's next?" Helen asked as they started to walk back towards the
truck. Rachel's mind drew a blank and she looked towards Frank.

" Ahh, showjumping at 1oclock I think" he replied, digging around in his
pocket for the program that he had found on his seat.

" Great! Time for lunch, I'm STARVING!" Rachel said wearily as she slid
off her horse, careful not to put any weight on her sore ankle as she did
so. Unfortunately Jeff noticed.

" Goldstein, what have you done to yourself?"

Frank covered for her as her face started to resemble the shade of beetroot.

" She, ahh, got kicked by Toby loading him this morning boss. Copped her
right in the ankle" he lied, hoping Jeff wouldn't see through him, but
knowing that Rachel now owed him big time.

" Ahh I see, you alright then?" Jeff asked her as she hobbled around Toby,
loosening his gear and tying him to the truck.

" Yeah Boss, just a little sore that's all, nothin' to worry about. Now...
Lunch! I'm HUNGRY!" she swiftly changed the subject. Soon after they were
all seated in the cafe eating sandwiches and watching the competitors on the
cross-country course.

" Gez, looks tough" Helen mentioned as a rider took a tumble at the Water
combination.

" mmm yeah sure does" Rachel replied softly. She had walked the course a
few days ago, memorizing the jumps and routes she would take to minimize
time and penalties and knew how tough it would be out there. Frank glanced
at his watch, noticing the time and tactfully mentioning that he and Rachel
should get back to the truck and ready for the next event.

Arriving back at the truck, Rachel changed the saddle and bridle on
Toby before once more getting a leg-up from Frank and landing again in the
saddle.

" Competitor number 75 report to the Showjumping marshaling area, number 75"
the loudspeaker erupted.

" That's you again" Frank said as he watched her fuss with her helmet.

" yeah yeah I know.. give us a minute" she said while she tightened the
chinstrap. Showjumping was not her best event and she knew that she'd have
to go clear to remain in the contention for the major medals.

" Good luck!" Frank mentioned as they headed off together to the marshaling
area. Rachel smiled down at him from the saddle, ever so thankful that he
was there to support her. As she entered the marshaling area Frank left to
find his other colleagues and nab a good seat.

" What position is she in?" Jeff asked as he sat down.

" Fourth, and if she goes clear, she'll stay there" Frank murmured as Rachel
entered the ring, cantering Toby around in a large circle while she waited
for the starting bell. As they approached each jump Frank once again held
his breath, his heart in his throat the entire time. Once again she was
faultless, sailing smoothly over the obstacles. Only once did she knock a
rail, Frank's heart felt like it would explode as he saw the rail shudder
in its cup, rocking violently before settling once again into its original
position, staying in place. A cheer erupted as she galloped through the
finish line. Grinning like a madwoman Rachel gave Toby a huge hug and left
the ring. More cheers and congratulations followed her back to the truck
where she prepared for the third and final event, the cross country.

" Where 'bouts am I ?" She asked Frank as she once again changed Toby's
gear.

" Fourth" Frank said, he wasn't sure how she thought she was going, but he
knew how nervous she was about the final event. The Cross country was the
most dangerous, more risky event in the whole competition, the course taking
its toll on many of the riders and horses. Rachel seemed surprised to hear
she was doing so well, but dismissed it as her ankle started to throb with
more intensity. Grimacing she limped over to the cabin of the truck and
rummaged around in her dufflebag before pulling out a package of pills and
popping two of them into her hand. Grabbing her waterbottle, she swallowed
the pills with a mouthful of water before carefully jumping down and
plonking on the grass.

"Hey Frank, you got any ice up there?" she asked as she sipped her water.

" Yeah its in with the beers, why?" he replied, idelly wondering what she
would want ice for.

" Its the ankle, its hurting like hell again" she replied, taking another
swig of her water and getting comfortable against the tree she was leaning
against.

" you sure you want to keep going?" Jeff asked gently, seeing that one of
his officers was in pain never did anything for his air of authority.

" Yeah, if Frank'll get me that ice, and I've just popped some Neurofen's,
I'll be right as rain in a jiffy" Rachel replied as she willed Frank to
hurry up with the ice. Almost as soon as she had finished speaking Frank
leapt out of the back of the truck, lugging an esky with him. Plonking next
to Rachel he lifted the lid of the esky, revealing more ice than Rachel
could have ever thought would fit into such a small space.

" We aint gonna get that boot off again" Rachel sighed wearily as she leant
back against the tree.

" Elementry my dear Goldstein, we shall just leave it on!" he replied as he
lifted her foot, boot and all, and gently placed it in the esky. Rachel
grimaced as the cold aggravated the pain, then sighed as the throbbing
subsided to a numbness.

"Number 75 please report to the Cross Country area, calling number 75" the
loudspeaker announced a short while later, causing everyone to jump from
their sprawled out states on the suncovered grass.

"SHIT!" Rachel exclaimed as the tried to extricate her booted foot from the
esky. All hands were on deck to get Toby ready again and Rachel back in the
saddle.

" How's the ankle?" Helen asked as they all walked towards the marshaling
area.

" At the moment, great, I can't feel a thing down there, but you might
wanna get back to me at the end of this" Rachel smiled nervously.
Cross-country was the most thrilling, yet most dangerous thing she had ever
willingly participated in.

" number 75?" the steward asked as they approached the area.

" Yep that's me" Rachel replied, smiling nervously once more at her friends
before heading off to the starting area.

" You'll be right mate! Good Luck!" Frank called towards her back as she
entered the starting box.

Rachel took a deep breath as the starter counted backward from 5.
Hearing the 'Go!' Toby shot out of the starting box, slightly unseating her
as they raced towards the first jump. Up and over they went as Toby took
charge and they galloped onwards. Rachel's heart was in her throat as she
tried to regain control. More jumps came and went as Rachel fought for
control. Panic started to grip her as the water jump loomed up ahead.
She desperately tried to gain control as it raced closer, tugging futile on
the reins and trying to slow the frantic pace they were going at. All of a
sudden Toby's hoof slid on the clay in front of the jump, causing them to
hit the logs chest first. Already slightly out of the saddle in her
attempts to control her horse, Rachel flew head first into the jump, falling
over the logs before hitting the water with an almighty splash. The crowd
gasped as they saw the rider hit the water, medics started moving and a
group of the competitors friends started running towards the fallen women.

Rachel groaned as she sat up in the water, her ankle resuming its
throbbing adding to the collection of throbs that were emanating from
numerous areas of her now very bruised body. Wincing she stood and hobbled
out of the water, waving off the paramedics and her colleagues at the same
time. Accepting a leg-up from the bloke who'd caught Toby she once again
righted herself in the saddle and this time took control of events. Kicking
him into a canter they approached the dreaded water jump for a second time,
this time clearing it with ease before splashing through the water and onto
the rest of the course. A thunderous applause followed her at each jump,
the spectators amazed that one would have the courage to continue after
such a fall.

Moments later they were across the finish line where once again
Rachel as engulfed with people, this time not only her friends, but other
spectators, officials, and paramedics were all concerned as to how she felt
and what on earth went wrong. Having officially finished for the day Rachel
rode stiffly back to the trailer, her aches and bruises making themselves
even more known now that adrenaline no longer dulled the pain. Wincing she
slid out of the saddle, landing in a heap on the ground as Frank managed to
tie Toby up to the truck. Helen helped her up and she gratefully plonked
down by her tree, watching Frank and Tayler untack Toby and throw him some
hay.

" Well you've got a whole 13 minutes before they announce the places" Jeff
stated, looking at his watch. Rachel seemed to remember the fact that she
was actually here to try and win a medal for her station, the last event
turning into a contest of survival of the fittest just to even finish. The
time passed ever so slowly and just as they thought the time would never
come the loudspeaker once again roared to life.

" You're attention please ladies and gentlemen. The places for the 2000
National Police and Fire Games will now be announced. In 10th place, Sarah
Trundle from the Perth Police center. In 9th place, Erin Wilmark from the
Hobart City Police Headquarters, in 8th place, Sonia Reader from the Sydney
Police Center, in 7th place, Christianna Crawford from the Melbourne Fire
Department, in 6th Place Jaye Cruise from the Maroopna Police Station.." on
and on the loudspeaker droned, and Rachel was sure her name wouldn't be
mentioned.

"... 3rd place Camilla Surry from Norwagious Fire Department, 2nd place
Percy Hargraves from the Brisbane Mounted Police brach, and 1st place,
Rachel Goldstein from the Sydney Water Police. Could all placegetters
please report to the dressage marshaling area for the presentation. Thank
you and congratulations to all our winners."

" Congratulations Rachel, Way to Go Rach!, Goldie you did us proud" echoed
through Rachel's happy brain as her friends helped her too her feet and
they slowly moved towards the marshaling area. Moments later a proud Rachel
Goldstein stood at the top of the podium, wet, grass stained, and
incredibly happy.

" I still don't know how ya did it!" Frank exclaimed as they loaded Toby
onto the truck some time later.

" Yeah well cos Toby bolted at the start, we picked up so much time they
even when I did fall off, the penalties didn't cancel out the massive time
we'd made up. I mean everyone else went out really slow and ended up with
heaps of time penalties. Then we went out, totally flew through the first
3/4 of the course, had a slight altercation with a water jump, then finished
with plenty of time to spare." Rachel explained from her comfy spot on the
sunbaked grass. Helen, Jeff, Tayler and Gavin had all taken off home
already, leaving Frank to fix Toby up while Rachel relaxed, if not somewhat
stiffly and sore, on the grass.

" I dunno Rach, you still cease to amaze me" Frank smiled as the tailgate
slammed shut. Smiling he held out his hand, offering to help her up.
Smiling in return, she accepted his offer, levering herself back onto her
feet and into the cabin.

" I dunno Francis, I bet I had ya worried out there"

" Nah way"

" Yep I bet you were scared"

" You're dreamin again Rachel"

" Nup, I saw your face, you were worried!"

" Was not!"

" Was"

"Wasn't"

" Was too!"

"Was not!"

Toby stomped his hooves at the racquet and reminded them what they were
there for. As the sun set the weary driver, his prizewinning companion, and
their trustworthy, well maybe not, steed, headed home.

The End!

Twas fluffy, Twas scary, Twas slightly romantic.. well maybe not... what
did yas think?