A/N: And here we have the beginning of the "Forgive Us Our Trespasses" AU. For the record, this is the only shift-based AU that leads straight into the "Life Everlasting" AU. The other AU's that lead there are all character-based. Don't own H:LOTS, or any of the characters; the OC's you'll see throughout all of the AU's are mine. That's about it for now, so I'll leave you to it.


"Why does it seem like we always draw midnight shift on New Years' Eve?"

"What, you got somewhere better to be, Howie?"

"That's not the point. This is the third year in a row. Why the hell doesn't second shift ever get landed with it?"

A football sailed across the squad room towards Kay Howard's head as she spoke; reaching up with an absentminded hand, she caught it and went on.

"Maybe I do have somewhere better to be," she said, in answer to Beau Felton's question. "That would be my point. What's it to you anyway, huh?"
She threw the football across the desks; Beau caught it and smirked.

"Nothing, really," he said, and threw it back across the squad room. "Hey, Lewis, what d'you think? Third year's the charm?"

"Maybe we'll get lucky and no one will go around killing people." Meldrick Lewis reached up to catch the ball before it could fall to his desk. "So far, so good."

"You wait. Once midnight hits, all of these phones are going to ring at the exact same moment, and by the end of the night, we'll all be primary on something." The football sailed across the squad room; this time, John Munch caught it, and before any of the others could say anything, he continued. "This momentary silence is too good to be true. We're stuck in a vacuum, and the minute the clock hits midnight, it breaks."

"You're startin' to aggravate me, Munch." Across the desks from where John was, Stanley Bolander looked up from the paperwork spread out across his desk and glared. "Why does everything have to be a damn conspiracy to you?"

"There are conspiracies in everything," John replied, "Some of us are just more gifted at picking up on them than others."

"I'll give you gifted," Stan told him, still glaring. "It's New Years' Eve, Munch. Find something to be happy about and quit aggravatin' me."

"Now why would I do that?" John asked in reply, smirking. "What would be the fun in it?"

"Leave him be, Munch," said Kay, catching the football as he threw it back towards her. "Hey, Crosetti…think fast."

The ball sailed towards the far end of the squad room, where Steve Crosetti was coming out of the break room; he reached out and caught it before it could hit him.

"To what do I owe this?" he asked, throwing the ball towards the back of Meldrick's head.

"Sheer boredom," Beau replied. "That, and there seems to be a sudden lack of murders for us to investigate."

"A miracle in and of itself," said Steve. "None of the phones are ringing yet?"

"It would appear as if the good citizens of this fair city have seen fit to cease fire for a few hours," Meldrick replied. He bent down to pick the football up again and threw it towards the desk closest to the shift commander's office. "Hey, Frank, how much longer we got till midnight?"

"We have exactly two minutes." Frank Pembleton turned and caught the ball a split second before it would have hit the window in front of him. "1992 will soon be upon us, as will more names in red."

"Third year's the charm," Beau said again. "Who's for shoving midnight shift on second shift next year?"

There was a noise of general agreement, loud enough to cause the office door to open; as silence fell between the seven detectives, they all glanced towards the doorway. There stood the shift commander, one Lieutenant Al Giardello, known to all of them as Gee. He said nothing, but waited, watching them throw the football back and forth around the squad room, and sure enough, once two minutes had gone by, midnight struck.

Before the clock hit 12:01, the phones started to ring. Kay reached for the one on her desk and kicked at Beau's feet, smirking.

"Happy New Year."