He first saw her in the airport.
Pete Shanahan was coming back from DC, some annoying terrorist training seminar he didn't want, and didn't need, to be sent on. He'd been in a bad mood for a few months now, taking out his heartbreak on everyone at the precinct, so he knew the trip was a punishment and a way to make him take a break. He'd become a workaholic since his break-up with Sam.
He was heading towards luggage claim when a woman with loose black curls walked by him with purpose. He reacted to the weapon holstered at her hip at first, as her black coat flapped back with her quick movements. He was going for his badge and gun, feeling neither at his side and panicking for a second, when he saw her face and stopped still in the middle of the airport, people passing between them, bumping into him and bringing him out of his daze a little.
He was looking at Sam, but with long black hair, and he almost called out to her, but there was enough difference in her face to stop him from doing so. She was smiling at someone, and his heart jumped in response to the familiar curve of her lips.
Then she was gone in a whirl of black. He tried to follow her, but lost her in the crowd of people in the airport.
She was at the station the next day, coming out of his Chief's office, wearing full leathers and confusing him further. She kissed his boss on the cheek, smiling and he was caught staring when he was pointed out by the older man, the woman smiled brightly at him. Too late to look away, or look innocent, he smiled back at her, mind ticking over as he studied her face, then her body in the tight leather.
"This is your man," he heard his boss say as they walked towards each other. "Pete Shanahan, this is Dr Helen Magnus."
He shook the woman's hand, still smiling, trying not to get caught up in her familiar beauty.
"Nice to meet you Detective."
"Pete," he told her, glad to hear her speak, her British accent very different to anything he'd heard before, let alone compared to Sam's own voice. "What's going on Chief?" he asked, not taking his eyes off the Doctor, her face so similar but with darker, older eyes.
"Dr. Magnus is here about the Crawford murders."
"What about them?"
"I'd like to see the file please Detective," Magnus said, "I've already gotten permission from Colorado State Penitentiary to visit him."
"Are you sure you want to do that Doctor?" he asked. "He killed seven people. He's in the state pen for a good reason."
"I'm sure I'll be more than able to handle it," she said with a touch of venom in her voice and a smile that told him she could handle anything.
"Can I leave you to take care of our guest Pete?"
The older man nodded and walked back into his office.
"Can I get you a coffee?" Pete asked, as he headed over to his desk.
"I don't suppose you have any tea?" she said.
"I don't think any of the guys here know what tea is Dr. Magnus."
She smiled at that and he offered her a chair at his desk, and he pulled open the top drawer of his filing cabinet. The Crawford murders were three dark months of his life, seven gruesome deaths due to electrocution of an unknown source, and the file was still in the very front of the drawer. He pulled it out, and handed it to her, leaning back on the desk, arms crossed, watching as she looked through it.
"So where you from?" he asked, as she flicked through the pages of reports and photos. "FBI?"
"Not quite," she said, glancing up at him for a second and Pete hadn't really thought so, no one in the FBI looked like that.
She huffed out some laughter and he smiled.
"Yeah, okay, I didn't think so."
"All you need to know Detective is that Mr. Crawford is no longer your concern," she told him, standing and holding the file to her chest.
"He's my concern until he sits in the electric chair."
"I doubt that will happen."
"Lethal injection then."
She didn't reply to that.
"Thank you for the file," she said, shaking his hand.
"You can just take that with you."
"I think you'll find, if you ask your chief, I can," she said with a smile. "But I will return it to you."
He dug in his pockets quickly, pulling out his last business card, corners bent, and handed it to her.
"If you have any questions about the case," he said.
"Thank you Detective."
"Pete," he told her again, and she smiled before leaving him at his desk, still thoroughly confused and a little aroused.
Pete spent the night thinking about the strange British doctor and the Crawford case. He'd looked into her after she left the station, but she didn't exist. There were no records of her at all, let alone in connection to an security agency or authority. He'd gotten out his photos of Sam that he'd hidden away, to compare the two women, and it could quickly become an obsession, he realised. He wondered how much of the similarities he saw between the two women were because of his broken heart and lingering feelings for Sam Carter.
He was still trying to decide that when he went to the State Penitentiary the next day.
He was leaning against the wall of the room where Paul Crawford was sitting and waiting to be interviewed by Helen Magnus. She was in black slacks this time, and the leather jacket, curls still loose and smiling brightly when she approached him.
"Here to talk me out of speaking with Mr. Crawford again?"
"Nope, just had some questions of my own, but I didn't have your number."
"What did you want to ask?" she said, looking through the window at the thin pale man sitting chained to a desk.
"Why are you so interested in this case?" he asked.
"I'm afraid I'm unable to divulge my interests."
"No, not at all," she said. "Perhaps it's best for your security, and that of Mr. Crawford's that my reasons remain my own."
He didn't know if he entirely agreed, he didn't know this woman, or what she was capable. Just because she carried a weapon didn't mean she knew how to use it.
"We still don't know exactly how he did it," he said.
The evidence had been clear he had done something, fingerprints at the scene, DNA on the bodies, one victim in his own apartment.
Helen Magnus didn't seem to care about that though.
"Does anyone ever call you Peter?" she asked, ignoring his comment.
"On your birth certificate it's Peter Shanahan," she said, "does anyone call you Peter?"
"Um, no, not since my grandfather died."
She nodded, taking in the information and he was completely distracted by the question, forgetting why he'd gone to the prison to see her in the first place.
"Thank you again, Peter," she said, smiling, nodding to the prison guard to open the door.
"Careful," he managed to get out before she went inside and the door was locked behind her.
He was back in the airport two days later, searching through the crowd for the now familiar black curls. He was pissed off, and storming through the concourse, everyone moving out of his way. He saw her heading into the first class lounge and picked up his pace, pulling his badge out and pushing his way inside.
"Detective Shanahan," Magnus said, from her plush armchair, taking the tea from the airline attendant, and placing it on the table. "Join me."
"You had Crawford released!" he said, trying no to yell.
"Into my custody, yes."
He laughed at that.
"Can you get my friend a cup coffee please?" she said. "Cream, two sugars."
He wasn't even going to ask how she knew how he took his coffee, anyone who had seen his birth certificate, probably knew everything. The attendant gave him a suspicious look, before heading away and the detective sat down in the chair opposite her.
"I looked into you too," he said.
"Really?" she said, with a devilish grin.
"You don't exist."
She waited until his coffee was served and the attendant had left again.
"I can assure you Detective I do exist."
"But you're not part of any agency."
"Perhaps not, but Mr. Crawford will be with me regardless."
"Why?" he asked.
"He's not what you think," she said, sipping her tea. "It's much safer for all involved if he's with me."
"You'll just have to trust me," she said, and he sat back to mull it over. He had no reason to trust her, except for her word. But his Chief trusted her implicitly of course, and she had the ear of every judge in the city.
"Did he kill all those people?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm afraid so, but I promise you, he won't harm another person."
"Okay," he said, finally agreeing. It wasn't like he could change the decision, it had been made way above his head. He just wanted to be sure that this doctor could handle Crawford.
He suspected she was the only one who really could handle Crawford.
"Okay," he repeated, smiling. "You should still be careful."
"Of course," she said, smiling back.
Pete picked up his coffee, downing it quickly before he stood, and she followed, getting to her feet.
"Good luck Doc," he said, shaking her hand.
"Thank you," she said.
He smiled and walked away, the door open when she spoke again.
"Has it been hard," she said, "looking at me and seeing Samantha Carter?"
He turned, frowning, and knew he shouldn't be surprised that he knew about Sam.
"I was shocked myself when I saw the resemblance," she said. "And I would've sent someone else, but I felt Mr. Crawford demanded my personal attention."
"I'm sure our paths will cross again," she said.
He didn't have to think about his reply.
"I hope so."