Okayyy so, hopefully this isn't too ridiculous - I'm really nervous about posting this! Originally posted on psychfic for Veggiewoppa

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

New Years Eve.

The youth of Santa Barbara were living out the remainder of 2009 as much as they could. Attempting to live as much in that last rushed half hour of drinking and dancing as they had lived in that entire year. Dancing under the twinkling fairy lamps as the countdown began was replaced by drinking under flashing club lights.

Still, the twilight remains, even if there is just myself left to enjoy it before fireworks tear apart the sky like the bombs and gunshots ripped apart my life.

Though, that was many years ago. I doubt anyone will remember, but it was still too easy to be torn back. Another year of mindless killing in some God-forsaken corner of the Earth and a new one just beginning. How far into 2010 would it be before the fresh list of casualties begin again?

I used to wander the streets on New Years Eve, hoping to see at least one remaining scrap of proof to make me believe once again that it's all worth it. But it becomes harder with each fleeting year.

I didn't expect to be so harshly and forcefully reminded of the ever subtle presence of goodness on that otherwise eventful night of December 31 2009.

It had started normally. Shoving past yet another drunken girl in too short a dress, with half an hour to go. Had these people nothing better to do? I wandered into a generally quieter part of the city, too wrapped up in my hopelessness to even bother to continue my searching tradition, when suddenly a series of far too familiar noises sliced through the cool Californian sea breeze. Accompanied, of course, by a familiar jolt through my arm. As if I needed more convincing civilized society was coming to an end. My own cry however, was drowned out by another man's scream

"NO!"

Stirred by the amount of raw panic in his voice, I shot over to his general direction. There he was, on a grassy patch by the side of the road, silhouetted in the darkness. I could tell he was leaning over on all fours, almost curling into himself. Was he hit too?

Edging cautiously closer, I could see he was, in fact, leaning over another figure. A woman. Was she...?

"It's fine," I heard her grind out. Good, not dead then. "Just a graze."

I prepared myself to run in and help until I caught a glimpse of the man's face. The kid's face. What was he? Thirty? And the woman beneath him even younger. But that wasn't what stopped me. The look of raw emotion, plainly etched on his moonlit, youthful features as he looked at his companion.

Fear.

Pure fear.

With an edge of well concealed guilt.

Just observing them from the shadows made me feel as though I was rudely interrupting. From here, even I could tell it the wound wasn't too bad, but I knew somehow that the man would see it differently.

He placed a hand gently on her thigh, covering the bullet wound. Superficial, but enough to lightly coat his hand crimson.

"I'm so sorry," he said, his voice warbling, "This is all my fault."

She sat up, despite his feeble protests. "Look at me. It's fine," she said seriously. "It was a good lead. I'm a cop. I can deal with it."

They were cops? SBPD? Bust gone wrong, I guess, especially considering their lack of uniform. Undercover work – maybe they had been found out?

He ran his free hand through his hair in frustration, "He took my cell."

The blonde one smiled. "The one time you need it, huh?" She joked before muttering, "Took mine too."

At the man's apparent reaction to this, she hurriedly added, "Don't worry. Sooner or later, Lassiter'll come find us with back up."

I took it "Lassiter" was a cop too. Maybe there was something I could do to help after all, I realized, stroking my own cell phone thoughtfully.

"Santa Barbara Police Department."

I didn't realize I had dialed. That awful, nasal voice was possibly the best thing I had heard that night.

"There's been an incident... I'm calling for a Lassiter?"

The voice on the other end of the line seemed to perk up a little - I had apparently made her equally uneventful evening a little more exciting.

"What's the nature of this incident, sir?"

She was probably used to answering to drunk accidents by now, so I couldn't really blame her for her somewhat inappropriate excitement.

"There's been a shooting- I believe the two victims are police officers and one mentioned a "Lassiter"?

"Hang on a second..." The phone was suddenly silent as she confirmed the absence of two on duty officers, or indeed, the very existence of this "Lassiter".

There was a cracking as she returned. "We've alerted Detective Lassiter. Are there any injuries?"

I again glanced over at the two cops who were conversing almost silently as I replied, "Just one. The woman."

A sigh - she knew the victims, "What's your location? We'll have an ambulance and police back up dispatched immediately."

After giving them our location, I stayed on the line to ensure this Detective Lassiter joined the back up, though I promptly hung up when they asked about my personal details.

My arm was slick with blood.

I had forgotten all about that.

But it didn't matter - Lassiter was coming. That seemed significant, whoever they were. An ambulance would patch up the girl, the police would take the boy's statement and catch those responsible for this, and I would go home and lick my own wounds, so to speak. A nameless, thankless stranger. I deserved as much, anyway.

I sat and watched the pair once more - Blonde was sitting up against her partner, his arms wrapped protectively around her as she shivered in the breeze. Something was nagging in the back of my mind. The boy looked strong enough to carry her away from No Man's Land and yet... he wasn't.

His manner spoke of nothing but the best wishes for his companion and maybe even a hint of something more. It clearly frustrated him that he couldn't do more than sit there with her until help showed up.... But he could. Why was he just sitting there? Unless... I realized with a pang... Unless I should have reported two injuries.

10!

The countdown began in the distance from those sober enough to coherently count backwards.

9!

The boy shuddered in the wind.

8!

His head knocked lightly against her shoulder, and she reached up absently to play with his hair.

7!

There was a shadow coming up behind them. Lassiter wouldn't try to be so secretive, would he?

6!

There was the flash of the warm moonlight hitting the cold barrel of a gun.

5!

The girl shuddered a little - perhaps cold. Perhaps intuition.

4!

I was ready to move. To save these people in my own selfish need to end this pointless quest of mine by the end of 2009.

3!

The shadow was closer. There was a light click as the pistol was cocked. The boy's head shot up like a meerkat's.

2!

Suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, "SBPD!" a furious voice roared. "Drop your weapon! Drop. Your. Weapon! Hands where I can see 'em! Hands!"

1!

"O'Hara!?"

Happy New Year!!

I'd found the ones I'd been looking for.

Chapter End Notes:

Good, bad, stupid? *runs and hides* Let me know what you think! All feedback is of course appreciated (: