Title: Contraband

Chapter 7: What Do You Want to Be

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. –Ivy Baker Priest

What Do You Want to Be

Tristan looked across the desks as Mark sat his phone down. "Well, you did it. That gun was the one that killed Daniel Steinberg."

"Just as I was hoping," Tristan said.

"It isn't registered to anyone though. Now tell me again how you found it, because I still don't think I'm getting it."

"I already told you. Rory was at Ann's house, interviewing Amy for an article and they found the gun in Amy's purse."

"So they called you."

"Yes. And okay, Rory and I were keeping watch on Tenth Avenue to see if anything suspicious happened. And something did happen. We got lucky."

"How lucky?" Mark dryly asked with a raised brow.

"Lucky enough to find a murder weapon—obviously."

"How long were you keeping watch?"

"What?"

"How long were you two keeping watch?"

"Oh, uh, a while."

"Right."

"You know, we should leave," Tristan said, standing up. "We need to ask Amy some questions. I don't think it was her gun."

Both men walked to the elevator.

"Why do you think it wasn't hers?"

"Because Rory saw her purse open when it was at Roman and Sarah's house four days earlier and it wasn't in there then. Someone from their house put it in there before having it returned."

"Ah, so you're friend is speaking on the behalf of a suspect now."

"It's not like she's lying."

"No, she hasn't done that yet," Mark said ironically as they stepped off the elevator and walked outside to Tristan's car.

"I think this time is different. Plus, her lie about the window worked to our advantage."

"I guess that's true."

"I think she might not hate me as much as I thought," Tristan said with a smirk. He started his car, but got his phone out to send a text before driving off.

"No kidding."

"Why do you say it like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like you knew that already."

"Because I did know that already."

"And you didn't tell me?"

"I think I indicated that about a week ago and you didn't believe it."

"Oh, well I'm starting to come around to the idea."

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Rory was at her desk, typing up her latest report, when she felt her cell phone vibrate in her pocket. She took it out and read the text.

"Yes!" she exclaimed. "I knew it."

"What is it?" Marie asked from the next desk.

"The police found the murder weapon from the original Steinberg murder."

"Where was it?"

"In his daughter's purse. I helped find it."

"What?"

"Yeah. We staked out the street and saw Amy's cousin take her bag over to her house—well, her mom's house."

"Who is we?"

"Tristan and I."

"That sounds cozy."

"Oh, it was. We fell asleep in his car, found the gun the next morning, and then we got some breakfast," Rory explained happily.

"Score. Did you get a kiss at the end of the date?"

"It wasn't a date and no. It ended with a yelling match."

"Well, that was going to be my second guess. Who won?"

"I'm not sure if there was a winner, but I said what I wanted to say."

"Okay then. We can come back to that later. Now, you were with the police when the weapon was found and you're just now telling me? You better not tell Jimmy you've known for two days without saying anything."

"I couldn't say anything. It wasn't necessarily the smoking gun."

"That's just a technicality."

"It wasn't confirmed until just now. I couldn't say anything. My hands were tied."

"It sounds like you're doing someone a favor."

"I'm not doing any favors. I was just waiting until the right time. I know the police weren't ready to release that information before. Now I can. But I'm going to leave out the part about where it was found."

"How considerate of you."

"How am I supposed to build trust with my sources if I write things before they want it to be public?"

"Right."

"Yes, right. No one is going to tell me anything if they think I'm just after a story."

"Uh-huh."

"You still don't sound convinced."

"Oh, I'm convinced all right," Marie said before adding, "I'm convinced you're full of it."

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

A little later, Mark and Tristan were sitting at Ann's kitchen table. She was sitting with her daughter.

Mark started the conversation. "Amy, I'm sure you're tired of talking about Tuesday night. It was a bad night for your family, but the gun found in your purse is the one that killed your father."

"I swear, the last time I saw my purse was at the reception."

"Yes, the reception where your brother was thrown from the building."

"I didn't do that either."

"All right, we need to know more about the bag you had that night."

"Okay, what about it?" she asked nervously. "I'll tell you anything you want to know."

"Where did you put your purse during dinner?"

"I put it in the empty seat next to me."

"Was there anyone else at the table with your family?"

"Only one of my great aunts."

Ann jumped into the conversation then. "I don't think anyone was too eager to sit with us. They probably didn't know what to say."

"That's understandable. Now Amy, did you move your bag at all that night?"

"No."

"Even when you got up?"

"I didn't take it with me. It was just family there, I didn't think anyone would take it."

"Did you see it any more that night?"

"No. I didn't even think about it until a couple days later. I've been here at the house with Mom. But I needed some money and couldn't find my purse anywhere. It was the first time I'd thought about it."

"So, you didn't see it again until your cousin brought it to you?"

"Yes. Even then, I just sat it on the table. I didn't know what was in it until that reporter came for an interview. She asked for some gum. When I opened my purse, there was the gun."

"Where was it?" Tristan asked.

"My purse, like I said. You saw it."

"I know. But was the gun sitting towards the top of your things or buried under stuff?"

"Uh, it was just like how you saw it. It was kind of lodged in there between some of my stuff. Not really on top or under. Just stuck in."

"And did you move it at all before I got here?"

"No. I didn't even touch it. That reporter told me not to touch it."

Tristan faintly smiled to himself. "Tell us again where you were the morning your father was killed," he requested.

"I was sleeping until eight thirty. I don't usually get up that late, but I hit snooze too many times. I was running around getting ready until I left."

"You left around nine ten, correct?"

"Yes."

"Your apartment has a fire escape, right?" Tristan asked.

"Yes. Why?"

"Have you ever used it?"

"Used it for what?"

"For escaping."

"No."

"But you could, if you needed?"

"Well I hope so, if there was ever a fire."

"Did you use it to escape Monday morning?"

"No," Amy answered firmly, remembering her last session of questioning with the blonde detective. "And I know, I could have, technically, but I didn't."

"How have you been getting along with your aunt and uncle?"

"You mean Roman and Sarah?"

"Yes."

"Well, we used to all get along really well. We've always been pretty close, partly because we literally live close. I used to baby-sit my cousins all the time."

"What about now?"

"After Mom and Dad bought that land from Grandma, we haven't really talked so much."

"Fighting your parents' battle, then?"

"I wouldn't call it a battle. But if I'm going to pick a side, I'm going to pick my parents. Wouldn't you?"

"Uh, no," Tristan answered. "But I'm not a good person to ask about that."

"Do you know where a person could buy a gun, if they wanted one?" Mark asked.

"No. I don't know how to shoot one either. I promise, if you just look at the fingerprints on the gun, they won't be mine. Remember how my prints weren't on that windowsill in the restroom? It'll be just like that."

"Did you have gloves with you at the reception?" Tristan asked.

"No. It's only October. It's getting cold out, but I haven't needed gloves yet. You can check my jacket pocket, if you want. I only keep gloves in my coats."

"I'll take a look," Mark offered. He and Amy stood up and went to the living room closet. When he was finished, he and Tristan left the house.

"Let's go have a talk with Auntie Sarah," Tristan said as they walked down the sidewalk.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Later that day, early in the afternoon, Tristan was once again sitting across from Sarah Steinberg in an interrogation room.

"Do you know why you're here?" he asked the woman.

She shrugged. "Not really. I've already talked about Tuesday night three or four times. I don't know what else you expect to find out about it."

"Actually, that isn't why you're here."

"Enlighten me then."

"Why did you pick up Amy's purse Tuesday night, after the reception?"

"What?"

"Why did you pick up Amy's purse Tuesday night?" he repeated as he watched her closely.

"So we are still talking about that night."

"Answer the question."

"Amy forgot it. I thought I'd pick it up for her since we live so close."

"Was she still there when you took it?"

"Of course not, she forgot it. That means she left it there after she and her mother had gone," she explained slowly.

"Right. Why did it take so long to return it to her?"

"I've been busy."

"Doing what?"

She shrugged again. "Running my household. When I remembered, I had my son take it over."

"Okay. Do you own a nine millimeter Smith and Wesson?"

"No. We don't keep guns in our house—you already looked for one, remember? People get hurt around guns."

"They sure do. Can you explain how a Smith and Wesson wound up in Amy's purse?"

"I suppose she owns a gun. It's New York. Some people think they need one for protection."

"Amy said it wasn't hers. She claims to have never seen it before."

"She must be lying."

"Someone definitely is."

"I don't know anything about it," Sarah insisted.

"All right, I'll leave that alone for the time being. Can you explain why your fingerprints were on the bathroom window at the hall where the reception was held?"

"I didn't think I was here to talk about Tuesday night."

"I changed my mind, it's my prerogative. Now answer the question, why did we find your fingerprints?"

"I already told you the window was open, so I closed it."

"You did say that. However, your prints were under the windowsill, too, indicating that you opened it."

"It was very hot in there when I went in."

"You didn't mention that before."

"I didn't remember."

"But now you do?"

"Yes, since you've refreshed my memory."

"I see. So it was hot in the restroom, therefore you opened the window?"

"Yes."

"And then you closed it before you left?"

"Yes."

"When you left the ladies room, word was spreading about your nephew's unfortunate demise?"

"That's right."

"One more question. Where were you Monday morning, week before last?"

"I go to the gym every morning."

"At what time?"

"I leave around seven forty-five."

"How do you get there?"

"A cab picks me up."

"What time do you get to the gym?"

"Right around eight o'clock."

"Okay," Tristan said as he stood up to exit the room.

When he had, Jacobs was waiting for him. "You know you're going to have to let her go, right?"

"But her story keeps changing," Tristan protested. "She's the one who's been lying to us."

"The fingerprints on the windowsill are still circumstantial. And as far as the gun goes, it's her word against Amy's. We have no way of knowing how long that gun was in that purse—or who put it there."

"There wasn't a gun in that bag Wednesday."

"How do you know? Did you go through it or something? Because I know you didn't have a warrant to do so."

"No, I didn't go through it. I have a source. And they say there wasn't a gun in that bag earlier this week when it was sitting in Sarah's foyer."

"Well, that's nice. But you know it's not good enough."

"You know what, go ahead and cut her loose. If she leaves town before we get more evidence, it's on you," Tristan said, somewhat threateningly. He didn't take his eyes from the prosecutor's as he called over his shoulder, "Stevenson, let's go."

"All right," Mark answered. "Where are we going?"

"The gym," Tristan said as he walked over to his chair to put on his jacket.
"Are you trying to tell me I need to lose some weight?" Mark asked with a grin.

Tristan merely gave him a grim look.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

"Now, I was walking Paul Anka yesterday afternoon, but it was raining," Lorelai said into the phone while Rory gathered her things at the end of the work day.

"So when you say you were walking Paul Anka, you mean you were driving him around in the Jeep?" Rory asked.

"Yes."

"Got it. Continue."

"Okay. I was driving Paul Anka around town. We were going by his favorite places—the town square, Miss Patty's, past Luke's."

"And when you drove by Luke's, I'm sure Paul Anka needed a fix."

"Well of course. You know how much Paul Anka appreciates a good cup of coffee."

"Yes, I do keep up with his Twitter account."

"Glad to hear, Luke doesn't think anyone pays attention to it."

"Poppy-cock. But when I think about it, I'm not sure if it was Paul Anka who needed the coffee or if it was you."

"I can't remember that detail. You might be right."

"He didn't lock you out of the Jeep when you went in to Luke's, did he?"

"Oh no, not this time," Lorelai answered reassuringly.

"All right, what happened, then?" Rory asked. She was leaning back in her chair, waiting for the end of her mother's story before she left.

"Well, after I got some coffee to go, we continued our drive. It had stopped raining by that time."

"But you were already driving, so you couldn't just walk?"

"No, then the jeep would be sitting at the diner."

"Right. So you were driving again."

"Yes. And we were close to the elementary school, which had just gotten out."

"Good timing, since you needed to pick your kid up anyway."

"Yes. And don't worry, I was not going to forget."

"I would never dream of accusing you of such a crime."

"Anyway, I turned a corner and all of a sudden, there is Mrs. Kim, with Steve and Kwan. They were crossing the street."

"Don't tell me you hit them."

"No."

"Good. Tell the boys hi for me."

"Will do. Now, they're crossing the street and when Mrs. Kim saw that it was me, I swear, she stopped and stared at me so defiantly, I felt like I was at Tiananmen Square."

Rory paused at this. "You felt like the tank?"

"Yes. And Mrs. Kim was the protester. I'm telling you, it was intense."

"It sounds like it must have been."

"Yes," Lorelai continued.

The police scanner squawked from a couple desks away and Rory tried to listen as her mother kept talking her ear off. She only got snippets of the details on the scanner.

Rory covered the mouthpiece of her phone and turned to Marie. "Did you hear what the radio just said?" she asked.

"Something about a domestic disturbance."

"Yeah, but where was it?"

"Fifty-seven hundred block of something."

"Was it Tenth Avenue? I think I may have heard Tenth Avenue."

"I think so."

"That's the block the Steinberg's live on," Rory said quickly as she stood. She uncovered the mouthpiece of her phone and cut Lorelai off. "Hey, Mom, I have to go."

"I know. That's why I called you around five, so I'd catch you as you were leaving work."

"No, something just came up. I have to go. I'll have to call you back later."

"Okay. I'll be waiting."

"All right, bye."

Rory quickly grabbed a portable scanner and left the newsroom.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Tristan was at his desk when he looked at his watch. He decided he'd give the lab one more hour before leaving for the day. It was technically quitting time, so he didn't feel guilty about sitting back and letting his mind wander to non work matters. After five or ten minutes though, he was jolted out of his thoughts when Mark's phone rang.

"Stevenson," he answered. He listened for a moment before responding. "All right, thank you," he said before hanging up the phone. Tristan looked at him with a raised brow. "The prints on the windowsill match the prints on the gun."

"Then let's go," Tristan said as they both stood up and walked toward the elevator. While they waited, his phone vibrated from his pocket. "DuGrey," he answered without looking to see who was calling.

"Tristan, what's your twenty?" Rory asked.

"We're heading to Tenth Avenue."

"Oh good, you heard. I'll see you there."

"Wait, what? Why are you going there? How could you possibly know?" he asked in disbelief as he and Mark stepped into the elevator.

"I heard the police scanner."

"What are you talking about?" he asked in confusion.

"There was a domestic disturbance. I didn't catch the exact address, but I'm pretty sure it's either Roman or Ann's house."

"There was?" he asked quickly as they walked outside.

"Yes, you didn't know? Wait, why are you heading there if you didn't know?"

"For a different reason. Listen, maybe you shouldn't go there. Just hang back."

"Why? I'm already on my way."

"Well, go somewhere else. I'll tell you what happens."

"No. What's going on?"

"Nothing," he said before he hung up the phone and scowled at it a little, as though a facial expression could be transmitted through a phone. He looked to his partner. "Let's go faster."

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

The cab Rory was in stopped a couple of blocks away from the address she had given. She looked ahead and could see the entire block was being barricaded by the police. Several police cars and an ambulance were parked on the street in front of Roman and Sarah Steinberg's house, lights flashing.

Rory quickly paid the driver and jumped out. She hurried over to where the street was blocked and looked around. When she was sure no one was looking, she slipped under the yellow tape. And even though it was starting to get dark out, she caught a glimpse of Tristan's car. It was a block away from the Steinberg houses. She ran over quickly and took in what was happening. Both Tristan and Mark were taking off their jackets and replacing them with vests with the word Police written on the front.

"Why are you putting that on?" Rory asked. Neither detective answered. Instead, they secured their vests and made sure their Glocks were loaded. "What are those for? What are you doing?" she asked, a little frantically. Again, she got no answer. The two men shut the car doors and started walking quickly towards Roman and Sarah's house. Rory followed, her one-inch heels click-clacked on the sidewalk.

"You're on the wrong side of the blockade, Mary. Go back," Tristan finally said darkly.

"Where are you going?" she asked again. She ignored his command and continued to walk quickly down the sidewalk to keep up with their longer strides. "What are you doing?"

"I'm doing my job. Do yours from back there."

"You can't go in there. After I got of the phone with you, I heard on the scanner that there were shots fired. Someone has a gun in there," she protested as they got closer to their destination.

"We can go in there. We have guns, too," Tristan answered. He started glancing around, but Rory didn't seem to notice.

"Are you looking for something?" Mark asked.

"Yes, that," he answered, nodding at a fence that was in front of a window.

Stevenson continued down the sidewalk, but Tristan had stopped. Before Rory knew what happened, he had reached across her and cuffed her left wrist to the fence. She couldn't move more than a step away from where she was.

"Hey!"

"I'm going to go do my job and you're going to stay here," he said firmly. "You don't get to follow this time. This doesn't stand for fashion police," he said, pointing to his bullet proof vest.

"You don't have to chain me to a fence," she protested, indignantly.

"It's not really my first choice either, but it'll have to do," Tristan said as he took a couple steps to follow his partner. However, he stopped before he got very far and looked up at the sky dismally. "Damn it," he half groaned.

He turned back and his eyes darted around quickly. Upon seeing that everyone's attention was elsewhere, his hands dove into Rory's hair and he pressed his lips to hers quickly, though not without feeling. She gripped his arm with her non-cuffed hand as she kissed him back. He pulled away after a couple seconds and looked at her. "Just in case," he said.

Rory's hand held tightly to his arm as though she'd be able to stop him, but he was stronger and tore his arm away. "Just in case what?" she cried out as she watched him run down the sidewalk to catch up with Mark.

She miserably tugged her cuffed hand a little, but she wasn't going anywhere. Instead, she looked anxiously at the house they had entered and shivered a little. It seemed colder all of a sudden.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Inside the house, Tristan and Mark were in Sarah's kitchen, guns drawn and pointed at Ann. She had a gun of her own, and it was fixed on her sister-in-law.

"Ann, put the gun down," Mark instructed firmly. "You don't want to do this."

"My daughter didn't kill anyone," Ann said.

"We know," Tristan said. "So let us handle it. Put the gun down."

"Sarah was in the restroom that night, too. It wasn't just Amy. She knows who else came in. She knows who snuck out the window and she isn't telling you. She's going to let Amy take the blame. I know she knows more than she told you."

"She's crazy!" Sarah said, terrified. "Get her away from me!"

"We know it wasn't Amy," Mark said, reiterating what Tristan had said. "Her fingerprints weren't anywhere. We looked. She's in the clear."

"She is?" Ann asked.

"Yes. In fact, we were on our way to make an arrest before we came here," Tristan explained. "Now put the gun down."

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Rory wasn't sure how long she'd been waiting before she saw a couple uniformed officers enter the house. When they came out again, they were leading Ann and Sarah Steinberg, who were both wearing handcuffs behind their backs. They were each put in the backseats of two separate police cars.

A minute later, Tristan and Mark walked out of the house and down the stairs. Rory let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding in. Both detectives went to talk with some of the other officers, as well as the captain, who had been waiting out on the street. After a while, a few of the police cars drove off. The ambulance, which didn't seem to have been used at all, drove away, as well.

Rory felt like she had to wait forever before Tristan finally glanced over and apparently remembered his other prisoner. He looked back at the men he was with and said something before he shoved his hands in his pockets and started down the street towards Rory. He stopped when he was about a foot away from her.

"What happened? Is everyone okay?" she asked him, her eyes surveying him quickly.

"Everyone is fine," he said reassuringly. "We made an arrest."

"It looks like you made two."

"Yeah. Ann kind of snapped and took things into her own hands. We had to arrest her."

"For what?"

"Criminal possession of a weapon."

"Then Sarah?"

"Her fingerprints were on the windowsill and the gun that was in Amy's purse."

"She did it? She killed two people?"

"That's where the evidence is pointing. We still have to talk to her some more. Maybe she'll stop lying now that she's in custody."

"I've been in her house," Rory said with wide eyes.

"I know. So have I."

"But you had a gun to defend yourself. And you had backup. I was all alone and defenseless."

"I don't think she was too concerned with you."

"But still."

"Hopefully she'll be locked up soon. She will be for the night, at least."

"Right. Good job."

He nodded. "Thanks," he said with a small grin. He took a small key out of his pocket then and reached over to unlock the hand cuffs. "You're free to go, ma'am."

"Thanks," she said, feeling slightly awkward. She crossed her arms to restrain herself from flinging them around him, to make sure he was really there and safe. But restrain herself she did.

"I should probably get back," Tristan said, tilting his head in the direction from which he had come.

"Right. You'll probably have a late night."

"There's a good chance. You'll be okay to get home?"

"Uh, yeah. I'll be fine. And actually, I should go back to work, too. I can file a quick report for tomorrow's paper. No names, of course."

"Arrests were made, you can name names. I give you permission."

"I don't need your permission to do anything," she quickly said, with a bit of defiance.

"Actually, that was one of the stipulations when I became your source. And I told you to write more than you were going to, why are you arguing?"

She shrugged. "Out of habit? Arguing is one of our traditions."

"I guess. Anyway, I really do need to go."

"So go. I'm not stopping you." She kind of wanted him to kiss her again before leaving.

But he just stared at her for a couple beats. He may have been sharing the same sentiment. "Yeah, I'm going. Good night, Rory," he said before he broke eye contact and turned.

She watched him retreat before she sighed and shook her head a little.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

NNNNNNNNNNNNNN

It was midday on Tuesday when Rory walked into the detective's squad, there weren't too many detectives there at the moment. Some were probably at lunch, while others were out on the streets doing their jobs. Rory went over to Tristan's desk. He was filling out paperwork and looked up when she sat down in the chair at the end of his desk.

"You didn't sleep here again, did you?" she asked.

"No, why?"

"Your face."

He rubbed a hand over his five o'clock shadow from the previous day and shrugged. "Oh. I was just too tired last night when I finally got home."

"I see. So, what's the good news?" she asked.

"Jehovah loves you?" he said with a raised brow.

"Okay, great. But what about the case?"

"Sarah Steinberg is guilty. She confessed last night."

"She did?"

"Yeah, it was too hard to keep lying since her fingerprints were on the windowsill—in two places."

"So she opened it and closed it?"

"Yes. The other day she actually said she closed it because you had it opened. So, I knew she was lying."

Rory smiled. "Wait. I helped solve both murders?"

Tristan shrugged and turned his palms up. "You might be able to look at it that way."

"I'm going to look at it that way."

"Anyway, it turns out you were right about the loudness of the hand drier. She pretended to walk out, but hid instead. So Amy thought she left, when really she was still in there. Since she climbed out the window, it was open when Dana went in a couple minutes later."

"So she was in there twice."

"Yes."

"I said someone was in there twice."

"Did you? I can barely remember."

"I remember. I am so good at solving mysteries," Rory said in a self-congratulatory tone.

"I suppose. I knew a few days ago she was the one who was lying, her story changed. So, yesterday we went to the gym where she works out every morning and got the surveillance tapes. She gets there at eight o'clock every morning, but do you want to take a guess at what day she was late?"

"Monday, two weeks ago."

"Yes. She was about thirty minutes later that day. Plus, the same cab picks her up every morning. We talked to the driver and he confirmed that she asked to be taken somewhere else that morning. It just so happened to be the same street where Daniel was found and at the right time. Her gym bag made a good hiding place for the gun, that's why it wasn't in their house when we looked when Roman was a suspect."

"But why did she do it?"

"It was the money. You've been in her house. It's not a Hartford mansion, but she likes nice—and expensive—things."

"I did notice that."

"I guess it wasn't just her husband who was upset about Daniel buying the inheritance—she just decided to take some drastic action."

"But what was she going to accomplish by going to Daniel and Jason?"

"She was trying to talk them into selling the land and sharing the profits with her. Dana did say she thought Sarah was flirting with Jason. She was trying to talk him into selling the land and he wasn't going for it."

"It sounds like she had a dumb motive, it's just money."

"We've already discussed the quality of motives."

"Yeah, I guess. But still."

"Some people do stupid things over money."

"Apparently. Do you think she'd have gone to Amy or Ann next?"

"It's possible. She probably thought the males of the family would be more easily persuaded."

"Right, the weaker-minded sex."

"Right."

"I wonder if Roman is going to stay with her. He has someone else ready."

"I don't know."

"I bet Sarah would kill him if she knew he was seeing someone on the side."

"Maybe."

"Do you think she would have killed all her in-laws until she got what she wanted?"

"Again, I don't know. I don't have all the answers, but I do know that she won't be able to kill anyone else now."

"So you probably saved some people's lives."

"Could be," he said with a nonchalant shrug.

"You're being very humble, considering."

"I was just doing my job."

"Still. You're not known for your humility."

"What am I known for?"

Rory thought for a moment. "I don't actually know. I'm finding that old opinions have expiration dates."

"And what of new ones?" he asked with a brow just barely raised.

"Those are still being formed."

"Fair enough."

Neither said anything for a minute.

"Do you think Sarah will try to get a plea bargain, since she confessed and all?" Rory asked.

"Most likely, but you know where to get that confirmed."

"Yes, I do. What will happen with Ann? Will she be charged?"

"Probably. Her best bet is to plead temporary insanity. She was pretty distraught about all that's happened with her family these last couple weeks."

"Couldn't she say she got a gun for self-defense?"

"No."

"Why not? She was in the room with a murderer."

"But she didn't know that. I was a witness, and if asked to testify, I couldn't in good conscious say she had a gun for her protection."

"Oh."

"That's not to say I thought she was going to use it to kill anyone. I think she was just using it to appear more threatening. But still." Tristan looked back down and wrote something on the paper in front of him.

Rory cleared her throat. "So," she started. "Let me make sure I'm tallying the points correctly."

"Points?" Tristan asked, looking back up.

"Yes."

"Were we playing a game?"

"Well, we were having a disagreement. One that was on-going. I think we should clear it up now."

"I'm still not following."

"You said Harvard would triumph in the end. I just want to see if that's true or not."

"Oh. Tally away then."

"Okay. I was right about the motive—"

"But you thought it was one of Daniel's siblings."

"That's a technicality, I'm counting it. The inheritance was the motive—and I was right about it a long time ago, way before you thought of it. I was right about the blow drier in the restroom making things noisy."

"But what made you think about how someone would dry their hands?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, why were you thinking about the restroom at all?"

"Oh. Because you thought someone could have snuck out onto the ledge. Which, by the way, was either really brave or really stupid of you to climb up on there like that, from eight stories up."

Tristan shrugged. "It's a fine line. Point for Harvard."

"Okay. I was the one who wanted to stake out the street, which led to finding the murder weapon."

"It sounds like you did all the work, when you put it that way."

"I know. However, you did a lot of the leg work. You were out finding information that I never could have got. Like security and surveillance videos. And you tracked down and talked to the cab driver. Plus, you disproved the theory about drugs being harvested on the land, as well as the theories about Ann killing her husband for insurance money or infidelity. There were a couple other ideas you figured out were dead ends."

"That's true."

"So, I guess we could call it a tie—what with my good ideas and your ability to look into things thoroughly."

"We could. But, I assume you'll be counting it as a win for Yale?" he asked knowingly.

"Yes. In fact, I think I'll be counting it as a win for Yale any time we have a tie—as a general rule of thumb. It seems fair to me. Unless, of course, you have any objections."

He looked at her for a couple seconds before grinning and shaking his head. "No objections, your honor," he answered. "Go ahead and put the win in the Yale column."

Rory licked her index finger and drew a tally in the air. She watched him as he looked down to continue filling out his paperwork.

"Hey, I have a joke," she said after a few minutes.

"Oh?"

"Yes."

"Is it any good this time?" he asked, looking back up.

"I think so."

"Go for it then. Dazzle me with your wit."

"Okay. There was a lawyer who was driving his BMW, and he ran into a tree. When a police officer got there, the lawyer was distraught about totaling his sports car. And the officer said, 'Oh my God, you're bleeding, and your left arm is gone!' So the lawyer looks down and complains, 'My Rolex, my Rolex!'"

Tristan smiled. "That was a little better."

"Thanks. I thought you might appreciate the subject matter."

"I did."

"And speaking of lawyers, I think I have an idea about Jacobs and why he doesn't seem to like you."

"You're just full of theories. What's your idea?"

"Well, I've been in his office—"

"I'm sorry."

"And I've seen his diplomas on the wall."

"So?"

"So, he went to Northwestern and DePaul."

"So?"

"Well, he probably enjoys getting to boss around an intelligent Ivy League man."

"Did you just call me intelligent?" he asked with interest.

"Yes."

"Was it painful to admit?"

"I've said it before."

"And it always sounds odd, coming from you."

"Anyway, back to what I was saying."

"Right, I'm intelligent."

"I meant the part about the schools Jacobs went to."

"Oh, that. I don't know. Statistics say Ivy League graduates don't do as well in the courtroom as their less educated constituents."

"Have you shared that statistic with him?"

"I have not," Tristan answered with a grin and shake of his head. "So, you think he has Ivy League envy?"

"It's possible. Plus, there's the fact that you get to run around and find the evidence. He has to sit in an office and prepare witnesses."

"Mm-hmm."

"You wear a gun and he carries a briefcase. Your job is clearly more exciting than his."

"Clearly."

"And it's perfectly respectable. How could saving people not be respectable? You make the world a little safer."

"I do what I can." He looked back down and Rory didn't make move to leave.

A minute later she spoke again. "Do you do anything to celebrate?"

He looked back up with furrowed brows. "What?"

"Do you celebrate after you solve a case?"

"Sure. I celebrate by filling out the fun paperwork. It gets pretty crazy sometimes."

"Oh."

"And maybe I'll have a drink when I get home later."

"Oh, sounds good."

A few more minutes ticked by. Rory was starting to fell anxious for some reason. Her eyes wandered around the precinct.

"Do you come here much?" Tristan asked without looking up.

"What?" she looked back over quickly.

"Do you cover cases from the twenty-first much? You once said you come round fairly often."

"Oh. Yeah, kind of. It depends. There are a few of us who report crime and not everyone covers homicide."

"That sounds about right. Not all the detectives here investigate homicides."

"Right. Plus, those of us who do report them rotate. It depends on who's already following a case when the murders take place. And there are a few other precincts we cover."

"I see. So, you have other sources."

"Yes, I do. But none of them tell me as much as you have. I have to be cleverer with those investigations. I guess they don't trust me with information."

"And you think I trust you with information?"

She looked him dead in the eye. "Yes. You do."

He just smirked slightly before looking back down. "So, we'll see more of each other then," he commented.

"More likely than not. Although, I'm not sure when I'll get assigned to the same case as you again. It'll happen eventually, I just don't know when that'll be."

"I see."

"Plus, I'll be doing some follow up, like attending Sarah's arraignment."

"Sure. I might be in attendance for that, as well."

"Maybe I'll save you a seat."

"Thanks," he said with a small grin and glanced up at her fleetingly.

Rory sighed.

He was wondering how long she was going to sit there stalling.

"I guess I should get going," she said, a bit disappointedly. But she didn't get up. "You owe me," she said suddenly and somewhat forcefully.

Tristan looked up, perplexed. "I owe you?"

"Yes."

"How so?"

"We went to lunch last week and I paid."

"And we went to breakfast Saturday and I paid."

"I got us coffee the week before."

"But I got us lunch a couple days before that—which was a whole meal. You just picked up coffee."

"We walked around the block one day and I paid for the hotdogs. That with the coffee should count."

"Okay, fine. But it still sounds like we're even."

"The art show!" she exclaimed.

He raised a brow. "What about the art show?"

"You were never formally invited. So you weren't accounted for when hor d'oeuvres were ordered."

"And I didn't have any."

"Oh. Right," Rory said, deflated.

"How about we go to lunch?" he asked. "Then you can owe me."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" she asked, getting a little bad-tempered.

"Hey, I'm just trying to help you out, here. It sounds like you want me to take you to eat a meal. You're apparently very hungry."

"No—I just thought—but . . . never mind," she said, frustrated. "Forget it."

"No, no, let's go get lunch. I have time."

"I can't now."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm working."

"It doesn't look like you're working."

"Well I am. And I've already had lunch, I can't have two lunches in one day. Plus, I still have to go upstairs to talk to your friend."

"Fine. When will you be available?" he asked with a pleasant grin.

"Tonight."

"Tonight?"

"Yes."

"Like, dinner?"

"Yes."

"I don't know, that sounds like a date."

"I know what it sounds like," Rory said through gritted teeth.

Tristan thought it would be best if he not let her see his amusement. It was pretty fun to watch her squirm in agitation. "Does it sound like a date because we apparently go on a lot of non-dates, and it would be another? Or does it sound like a date because it would be a date?"

Rory sighed impatiently. "It sounds like a date because it would be a date," she stated slowly.

"Okay, I just want to be clear. Because when I'm on a date, I like to say good night the naughty way," he explained. "And between you me, I didn't close the deal on my last two dates. Once because I talked too much about a girl who was getting on my nerves and the next because I was interrupted by the girl who was getting on my nerves."

Rory decided she'd wait until later to determine whether she was happy or annoyed with that admission. "Is that a yes?" she asked.

Tristan thought for a moment. "I don't really feel like going out tonight," he said with a sigh.

Rory felt her heart sink—pretty hard. "Oh, well, I guess you must be pretty tired. You had a late night."

He shook his head and put his thumb and index finger to the bridge of his nose, as though he was starting to get a headache from the conversation. "That isn't what I meant," he said, taking his phone out of his pocket.

"What did you mean, then?" she asked, tonelessly. Great, she thought, now he's texting. He can't even give his full attention.

"I mean that I feel like staying in. Maybe order pizza and watch a movie."

"Well have fun with that," she snapped, standing up to go.

"So what time are you coming over?"

She turned back to him. "What?"

"What time are you coming over?" he repeated, a little slower. He was still concentrating on his text.

"Over where?"

"To my apartment. For the pizza and movie."

"I thought you had a rule about girls not going to your place."

"I never said it was a rule. But keep talking and it can be. And you aren't a girl, you're a woman."

"I don't know where you live."

Tristan looked back up and put his phone in his pocket after he'd pressed send. He paused a couple seconds before they both heard Rory's cell phone vibrate and chime from inside her purse. "Now you do. You never named a time."

"Will seven work for you?"

"Seven sounds perfect. And you should wear your proton pack."

"You feel like busting some ghosts?"

"Well, it will be Halloween in a couple days."

"What if I want to put on fish net stockings and watch Rocky Horror Picture Show?"

"Then I'd say tough luck. It's my place and my TV. But feel free to wear the fish net stockings."

"Fine. I'll see you at seven."

"Don't be late," he said sternly. "And you should put your hair down. It looks better down."

"Well, you should do something about your face, it was scratchy last night."

"Deal with it."

She rolled her eyes at him in response before turning to leave.

Tristan put his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair as he watched Rory walk out of the precinct. He smirked a little and shook his head before he went back to filling out his paperwork.

Fin

A/N: If you'd like some extra scenes (BTSS = Between the Stories Scenes), go to my LJ.