Chapter Twenty-Four (One Adam-12, One Adam-12...See the woman...)

An hour and a half later, the entire team, plus several police officers, plus the 'Military Guy', plus..the 'alien' bodies, found themselves summarily deposited behind soundly closed, decidedly bolted shut.. doors.

Large grey metallic ones that were part of Los Angeles County Hospital, Research and Infectious Disease laboratories. Vivid yellow and black warning signs posted outside the locked entrances warned off any trespassers with bold, black lettering: Isolation Ward, No Unauthorized Entry.

Morales would have penciled in: trespassers will be shot, beneath the other warning, if he could have found the opportunity, Flynn was certain, but the young Coroner was otherwise occupied at present.

Andy watched the other man do his thing through the pristine cleanliness of the glass partitioned rooms he and his constituents now shared.

Blood tests had been taken, X-rays snapped, MRIs done, urine samples..sampled. You name it..everyone present at the crime scene had suffered through it.

Brenda conferred with Morales, she and Gabriel were inside the autopsy room with the bodies, which had been encased in hermetically sealed chambers while the Coroner used the high tech gadgets.. 'bionic arms' as Morales had affectionately christened them, to do his usual business in this very special case.

Flynn didn't mind Gabriel standing in for this particular session, he admitted. While not squeamish as a rule, he avoided any and all autopsies if at all possible.

"What do you think those things are?" Provenza came up beside him, peering at the scene across the well lit rooms. "I half expected the Mother Ship to land somewhere nearby in a crop circle, didn't you?"

Andy smiled at the image presented, his eyes on Brenda's pretty profile. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever encountered.

"What the hell is it with us lately? We just step off the 'Dexter' set with people chopping off heads right and left, and now..we've crossed over to a Spielberg movie production?"

Andy chuckled. "There is a logical explanation." He knew as much. "Morales was just protecting our rights and his bodies." He rubbed his arm where the large bluish bruise was already beginning to spread out from the tiny needle prick the nurse had administered in his vein. "I wish he could have thought of another way to 'help out', though."

"Could be worse." Provenza philosophized. "He ordered a colonoscopy for the 'Military Guy'."

Andy could not help but laugh. "Mental note to self..never cross the 'Coroner Guy."

The silence was not uncomfortable for the pair. Andy went back to his hospital bed, sitting amid the rumbled sheets, the green blanket laid at the foot of the bed, as yet untouched. "Wish I had a cigarette."

"You quit didn't you?" Provenza followed, the hospital gown he wore held together at the side by a capable hand.

"You can tie that thing, you know." Andy motioned. "Need some help?"

"Nah, I'm hoping to flash Daniels first chance I get."

"Yeah, she needs a good laugh." Flynn commented, straight-faced. He felt better. Brenda seemed herself again, finally. The case was helping her cope with the other shit in her always. "Go ahead." He would have paid to see the outcome of that 'production'.

"So...she seems ok." Provenza checked on Brenda Lee as well. "Wasn't sure in that ride to the scene. Must have been pretty rough, whatever went down with the FBI guy."

Andy rubbed his eyes, suddenly a little wiped. The others were segregated into their own rooms, albeit, glass partitioned ones. There were only so many rooms available, of course. The males had to share. Daniels and Brenda, who was supposed to remain sequestered but had managed to work her way out of the 'details' their own separate quarters.

Keeping Brenda Lee stationary, was a job only the Lord God Jehovah could accomplish. After her tests, she demanded to see the bodies. Since Morales was now in charge, until the doctors from the CDC arrived, she got her wish.

"...I don't know. Work helps." Andy's concern was afterwards..after everything died down and Brenda was alone with her emotions and thoughts.

"It'll be fine." Provenza sensed Flynn's concerns. "Just be there to hold her hand and help her work through it. That's all anyone can do."

"Guess so."

"Wonder what went on with her and...Howard, though."

Andy shook his head, scooting back, leaning on the propped pillows, his head supported by his folded hands. "She hasn't said."

"You worried?"

"As long as he's in town..I worry." Flynn admitted.

"You can't control that part..let it go. Concentrate on what you can."

"Like what?" Flynn asked quietly.

"You're in here with her, he's not." Provenza reminded. "Use that to your advantage."

Andy's eyes drifted to the petite blonde yet again. "...She looks so hot in that gown." He smiled, for it felt great to be able to say things he was thinking and not feel the guilt or doubt.

"She's a lovely woman." Provenza allowed the man his fantasies for once. "Every man in here would trade places with you, you know..oh, not me. She's not my type."

"She's breathing." Flynn cut the older detective a 'yeah, sure', look. "And..don't even go there."

"Must be nice.." Provenza mused all the same. "To get to touch all the 'right stuff' anytime you feel like it though."

"Shut up." Andy warned, but, good-naturedly for all that.

The older man was getting restless. "Not even a damned television set in are we supposed to amuse ourselves?"

"I think..usually, if you're in this place, that's the least of your worries." It was reminded. "What? You missing your 'Soaps'?"

"You're pretty cocky when you're getting laid on a regular basis, aren't ya, 'Cop Guy'." Provenza was getting pissy.

"That's 'Detective Guy' to you."

Brenda could not make heads or tails of what she was seeing, literally. These poor little things, whatever they were, was just one big mess of strewn out organs and body parts now.

"So, what do we know for certain, Doctor? Anything?" She asked.

Morales placed the intestines, what there were of them, into the weighing pan. "..Look at that. Not even two pounds. Is that amazing or what?" He was giddy with delight.

"So what does that mean?"

"It means, I've never seen anything like what I'm seeing now." The man shook his head joyously. "You know, it may have been the most efficacious route, this isolation thing."

"Well, for whatever reason, I'm grateful you kept the Army Guys off our butts, so..thank you."

He waved the praise aside. "Alpha males love it when you put them in their place, but I didn't do it for that purpose. I did it..for this." He indicated his work in progress.

Brenda glanced at Flynn, reminded ..he was an Alpha male. One with great thighs, which were shown off very nicely by the short hospital gown. Wonder if he preferred a woman who was the 'take charge' type in the bedroom.

"So, when will we know something concrete?" She pulled her attention back determinedly.

"Trace isn't even back yet, cut me some slack." Morales snapped. "You are never satisfied woman!"

Brenda was impatient but she had done all there was to do here. She hated waiting though...she hated it.

Morales motioned her and Gabriel out of his domain with a curt... "when I'll know! I have work to do! Out!"

She reluctantly bowed to the logic of moving on for a spell. "Can I talk to my people?"

"Through the glass..hellllooooo!" Morales made mention. "Keep up appearances at least. My ass is in a sling here. I went out on a limb..don't saw it off behind me."

Brenda trudged out of the autopsy area, sending Gabriel on his way. Nothing more to be done for a while. She pushed the button for the intercom on the panel by the first room she encountered. Provenza answered the call dutifully, his craggy face appearing into view. For a man of his age, he was still rather an attractive specimen, in a rough-hewn sought of way.

"So?" He asked the proverbial question.

"Oh, Dr. Morales is sooooo slow! He can't say anything with certainty yet." Brenda reported the lack of progress. "We're no better off than when we first arrived, Gentlemen."

"We just got here, Chief." Flynn reminded, amused for her impatience.

"It seems like hours!" Brenda lamented moodily.

"Look on the bright side, Chief." Provenza declared his point of view. "We still retain custody of the bodies, at least."

"It's just so frustrating having to depend on someone else to find the answers." Brenda vented. "And now, I have to call Mama and tell her about Fritz."

Flynn perked up instantly at the ominous tone in her voice. "...What about him, Chief?" He jumped on the issue. " guys come to some kind of..understanding again?" His heart beat heavily in his chest, hadn't sounded as if they had at all.

"You know we didn't, Lt." She recognized an attempt at 'tact' when she heard it but the hopeful set of the handsome face gave away the man's true intent. He was fishing for information. "I'm sure it comes as no great surprise to you both. Fritz and I have come to a parting of the ways."

"It's ok, Chief." Provenza was philosophical about such things. "I've come to that same point three times before. You get past it eventually and things get better. It's usually for the best..believe me."

Gabriel had gone on down the way, preferring to spend his free time conversing with Daniels. Brenda watched the two young people, who were clearly in the early stages of 'romance'. Smiles, special looks and contained intimacy passed between them.

Brenda remembered when she and Fritz were at that stage. It seemed ages ago. So much had happened since. Not all good, certainly..but, there had been some wonderful moments. At least on her part.

"It will get better, Chief." Provenza read her thoughts. "They say it's like a death of a loved one. You have to go through the stages of grief. Just know?" He motioned to Flynn behind him for the man stood, arms folded, eyes observing the woman with gentle understanding and sympathy. "We're here for you..all of us. When you decide the time is right to tell everyone the situation? We'll back you to the hilt."

"I know that, Lt. and I do thank you." Brenda was touched and sincere. "I do." She felt a little better, not quite knowing the why of it. "I don't know what I'd do without y'all now. You've become my family. You don't know what your support means. You really can't..know."

"Well, for what it's worth." Provenza spread his hands then, for the first time ever...accomplished something tactful. "Eh..I'm going to take this opportunity to piss off, Chief. Going to 'sleep on the job' to speak." He cocked his head to the beds behind him. "I know that will come as a complete surprise to you, me falling down on the job and all, but..there you have it."

He made his way to the far bed, allowing them a few moment of privacy. That was as tactful as he was ever going to be, Brenda imagined.

Flynn appreciated the gesture, taking Provenza's spot by the intercom. "This sucks." He indicated the form of communication they were forced to use. "Wish I could be out there with you..especially now that you're wearing nothing but that flimsy little gown."

She smiled for him. "You'd try something on your death bed, wouldn't you, Lt. Flynn."

"With you? ...Yeah." His look made her believe him. Brenda felt her spirits lift even more so.

"What are you wearing beneath that?" He continued undauntedly, the swept of his gaze almost making her blush.

Almost. "What are YOU?" She countered evenly, recalling to mind Morales' comment concerning Alpha Males liking a display of confidence and boldness.

"Come find out." Flynn didn't quail so easily plus he was recalling Provenza's admonishment to 'make this time work to his advantage.' His voice had dropped to a sensual caress, his eyes accepting the challenge readily.

"I wish." Brenda sighed laconically. "I'm bored."

"Is that what I am to you?" He half-teased. "A relief from your boredom?"

Brenda realized the statement for what it was, taking her time in answering. "...No, Lt. You are ever so much more to me." It had come to her as she had stood, looking upon the incredibly endearing features.

"Am I?" Flynn desperately needed clarification at this point, but to his credit, he kept the edge from his tone.

"Yes." She nodded, holding his eyes easily. "Yes, you are. Very...VERY...much more." She made an executive decision, placing her hand on the glass, her fingers spread slightly, her gaze riveted and direct, softening two-fold for Andrew Flynn.

Brenda realized that other had been discretely watching the exchange. Wondering, perhaps..why she suddenly seemed favor Flynn so much..

She was going to show them...and the man..the why of it all.

Andy was floored by the simple but eloquent gesture, hesitating, not fully certain she meant what he hoped she meant.

He raised his hand, placing it against the opposite side of the glass, his palm pressed to her's, metaphorically..his fingers spread lovingly out, tracing her much smaller ones, hating the obstacle between them suddenly.

His face was flushed with an attractive hue, his eyes bright, intensely focused on her face.

Gabriel had stopped speaking to Daniels, standing now, a comical expression on his face, his hands brought to his hips in an 'oh, no, this can't be happening' stance, his head shaking morosely in disbelief for what he had just witnessed.

Brenda felt the young black man's astonishment clear across the area, amused by it. She refused to look from Flynn's solemn, thoughtful gaze, however. "...Imagine how I feel, Sgt, Gabriel." She quipped, her mouth pulling into a warm smile, directed at the tall man on the other side of the glass.

Flynn's eyes softened into a crinkled grin for her teasing, his spirits soaring into the atmosphere.

Sanchez pushed his intercom button, his voice laced with light-hearted teasing. "It's the alien virus, can't be held responsible for your actions. They can fix that..right?"

Andy chuckled throatily, seeking the young Chicano out. "Get bent, Julio."

Sanchez laughed, accepting whatever came in life, happy for the people he was most fond of. Tao took the news as he did most things in life, with nonchalant good will. "This will someday appear in the 'Strange But True' section of Guinness, Chief. Mark my words."

Brenda chuckled appreciatively,, astonished..that everyone seemed to be taking the news in their stride.

Well..almost everyone.

"Are you insane?" Daniels was..astonished,, if her expression was any criterion by which to judge. "Chief..get checked out! Something is horribly wrong with you!" But even the exquisite black woman finally laughed her nervousness aside., her face still showcasing just how stupid she considered the concept presented. "You're in the right place for it...Morales! We need help over here!" She called out playfully.

Morales had heard, choosing to ignore the insane people for the moment, going back to his preoccupation, with a wistfully dismissing wave of his hand.

"Ohh, people." Brenda chided. "He's not that bad." She crinkled her nose at Andrew Flynn. "Once you get past his little idiosyncracies."

"Thanks." Flynn drawled. The weight of the world had suddenly lifted from his shoulders by the simple gesture offered up by this woman. "Love you too."

"Next time you say that, Lt. Flynn?" Brenda warned sotto voce. "You better mean it."

"What makes you think I don't mean it now." The dark stare mesmerized her with it's vivid sweep.

Brenda's heart took flight, her eyes inadvertently flitting past Flynn's stocky figure to a reticent Louis Provenza.

The man's expression was neutral, as always but, his opinion mattered more than the rest for some reason Brenda could not phantom.

He finally gave his approval in one very minuscule, hardly there..nod of his head.

Brenda's face broke out into an infectious grin which she shared with Andrew Flynn. She had a feeling, it was only one of many, many more things she would be sharing with the man. The fact made her heart sing.

"Don't think this will get you out of those awful scrapes you and Sundance back there continuously perpetrate, either." She warned. "If anything, I will be harder on you two trouble makers."

"Is that possible?" Flynn joked.

"Very funny, Lt." Brenda's eyes narrowed, her head shaking slightly for the man's audacity.

"I have a name, you know...Brenda." Andrew's tone was laced with..familiarity. One the woman rather liked.

"I know." She thrilled to the way he had said her name but more so, the special 'something' behind the erotic caress. "...It's...Lieutenant."


Author's note: thanks to all the diligent, determined readers who stuck to the end. You are most appreciated and cherished. To the reviewers who never forgot to leave an encouraging or helpful remark, you are phenomenal, one and all. I have had great fun writing for your amazing realm. I will be a frequent reader and reviewer myself..promise! I'm sad to leave you all...really. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PERSEVERANCE! Callih