a/n - An angsty story touching on a difficult subject. This is being written for the "They Said What?" Challenge where a misunderstanding causes problems. You'll find plenty of misunderstands here and a lot of hurt. Remember, that in my stories there's always an eventually.

Shattered Innocence


Emergency rooms were busy, no matter the time of day or night. Timothy McGee pushed his way through the crowds, using his badge to get the nurse's attention. "Sarah McGee, where is she?"

The nurse pointed down one of the corridors. "Room twelve, the detectives are with her." Tim recognized the Metro detective standing outside the examination room. They had worked together on a assault case last year. He didn't even register his feet moving.

"Detective Jeffries?"

"Agent McGee," he held his hand out. "It's good to see you again. I just wish it was under better circumstances."

"How is she?"

"She's alive, that's the most important thing. My partner's in there with her. Your sister was able to give a statement and a detailed description of her attacker." Jeffries gave him an encouraging smile. "She seems like a tough little lady, she'll get through this."

Not trusting his voice, Tim nodded in response. A nurse came out and handed Jeffries an evidence box, driving home what had happened to his baby sister. "Where's Abby?"


"Abby Sciuto. She was at the club with my sister, she was Sarah's ride home." McGee started to get worried. "Did something happen to her, too?"

"We didn't have any reports of a missing person and no one else was attacked." Jeffries started looking through his notes. "Can you give me a description of Miss Sciuto?" He frowned as Tim described his friend. "Do you know where Miss Sciuto was last Friday evening?"

Tim didn't like the question or the tone. "I think she went to a concert right after work that night. What does that have to do with what happened to my sister tonight?"

"What was the name of the band that was performing?"

"Some new group... Bloody something... I didn't really pay attention. What is going on?" The investigator in him realized that this was bigger than just the attack on his sister, but the friend in him couldn't connect the dots. The appearance of Jeffries' partner stopped the questions he had, but allowed him in to see Sarah.

Looking tiny and vulnerable on the exam table, Sarah sat with her knees up under her chin, her arms wrapped around her legs. Someone had given her a pair of sweats to wear, but they were several sizes too large. The left side of her face was severely bruised, her lip swollen and bloodied. Hand shaped marks were visible on her throat, and her right wrist was braced. She didn't say anything when she saw Tim, just broke down into tears.

He didn't say anything, just moved closer and held his arms out. Knowing how many choices had been taken from her that night, he allowed her to make the first move, to set the pace. He might be a man, but he was her big brother and that was more important to the traumatized young woman. She clung to him, crying and sobbing, telling a fractured tale of a dark room filled with terror and pain. Of being trapped, the maniacal laughter as a stranger took what he wanted. When she told of how Abby had introduced her to the stranger and then vanished it was all he could do to keep breathing. Eventually, exhaustion overcame the horror of the night and she cried herself to sleep on his shoulder.

Tim continued to stroke her hair long after she succumbed to sleep, until the nurse laid her back down and covered her with a blanket. He watched her sleep, his breath coming in shorter bursts until he had to get out of there. It was a straight shot out the door and across the hall into a public restroom and he barely made it in time. Jeffries was right on his heels, while his partner stayed with Sarah.

He'd long since stopped puking at most crime scenes, but this wasn't like most crimes. It wasn't the blood and gore that tore at his stomach, it was the knowledge and the questions that drove the spasms. Eventually, even the dry heaves stopped and he rinsed out his mouth and washed his face. Jeffries handed him a paper towel and waited for the question he knew was coming.

"Why do you think Abby is involved?" When the answer didn't come immediately, he rounded on the other man. "Damn it, Jeffries, if there is the slightest chance she was involved in hurting my sister, I need to know."

Jeffries leaned against the other sink, knowing he had to tell of his suspicions. "There's been four rapes in the last three weeks with similar MO's. The one last Friday... the victim remembered seeing a woman hanging around the man that later attacked her at the after party for the Bloody Zombies concert. We worked up a sketch and the mystery woman was seen near one of the other attacks. We're reinterviewing witnesses at the scenes of the other attacks."

McGee held out his hand and waited. The folded paper was laid in his palm without a word. Convinced they were wrong, believing he would see someone he didn't recognize, he slowly unfolded the page and stared into the inked eyes of Abigail Sciuto.