Title: Shield

Series: Warmness on the Soul

Summary: Jess has been in New York for a few weeks, and one of her cases brings her closer to a certain detective, and vicious rumors make her begin to doubt that very detective. Part of my 'Warmness on the Soul' series.

A/N: So! The second (very tardy, by the way. very sorry about that.) story in my Warmness on the Soul series. This will be the last pre-third season story. Afterwards, Serena will follow canon! I MIGHT add a few 'out of season' stories that take place between seasons... yep. That is all. Oh yeah, and notice that no one calls her Jess but Flack? I might be wrong, but I'm writing Jessica or Angell because he hasn't started calling her Jess yet. (complicated! I know :P) By the way, I don't know when the next installment will be up... can you believe I actually got homework over christmas break? HOMEWORK! OVER CHRISTMAS! I have a two-part bio-chem take home test two papers and a project. don't you love school?

Disclaimer:As much as I wished I owned them, I don't not own CSI; NY, or am affiliated with CBS in any way. One day, when I'm a billionaire, I'll buy em' out and make Angell come back to life. Until that happens, my stories will have to suffice your cravings for more Flangell.

"Hey, kid!" It was Benton, yelling at the young detective from across the station. Said detective looked up, seeing the older detective standing by the door.


"My son's sick. You're goin' with Flack today."

After Benton left, a smile spread across her face. As much as Detective Flack was hot, he was way out of her league. It bugged her at times, but she was content with being that snarky friend. In fact, she preferred it that way. They'd become friends of a sort, sometimes going out for drinks or chilling out in the locker room, but not much else. Flack was a good guy, and Angell really liked him. As a guy friend. Friend. "Got it," she called back to him.

He took a step out the door, but retraced his steps, "No funny business."

Angell's gaze returned to her keyboard with an eye roll as he walked out the doors. She was pretty sure rumors had already started flying about Flack and herself dating. Fabulous.

Jessica was in the process of logging out when she heard a voice in front of her. "So... you're with me today."

She looked up to see Flack looking down at her with his trademark smirk she'd come to know on his face. "Sadly."

"Oh, come on, am I that bad?"

"You have your moments," she said as she stood, grabbing her badge and gun, clipping it to her hip and replacing it in it's holster. Angell quickly checked the .22 she always kept around her ankle. It was there. "So," she said as she straightened. "Where are we headed?"

"Body of a young woman found in a dumpster over on west 57th."

"And I'm supposed to know where that is?" Jessica said with a smile, taking any sting out of her words. "I've only been in this city for three weeks. I still don't even know where I live."

He laughed, than asked, "How does that even work?"

"Mapquest is a beautiful thing, Flack." She stepped past him, walking towards the doors of the precinct. "Come on," Angell called over her shoulder, "we can carpool."

. . . . . . . . . . . .

"Who discovered the body?" Angell asked as she crouched next to the corpse of the young woman.

"Old lady's dog got loose and found it."

"Fascinating. Where is she?"

Flack pointed to the mouth of the alley they were in where a white-haired woman stood. Her face looked frighteningly akin to a withering tree, in texture and color. She had on what looked like sweatpants, and a heavy coat. Her frail body looked almost lost in it's hugeness. In her twiggy arms, she held a small ball of fluff that after a few seconds of study Angell recognized as a Pomeranian dog. She wrinkled her nose, "That's not a dog. It is the failed result of a cruel experiment to breed a dog with an inchworm."

Flack laughed, trying his best to contain it. He waved his hand, "Can you go question her? Just try not to insult her dog."

"That's inchworm dog hybrid to you, my good sir," Angell said sarcastically, not waiting around for his response. She walked to the end of the alley, and the woman looked more and more sickly as Jessica neared her.

"Excuse me, ma'am?" Angell stood in front of the old woman, trying in vain to get her attention.

It looked as though she was looking off into the distance for a few seconds before focusing on the detective standing in front of her. "My name is Jessica Angell with the NYPD."

"That's nice," was the woman's response.

"Um, okay, I've been told it was your dog that discovered the body?"

It took the old woman a few seconds to answer- Angell almost felt the need to wave a hand in front of her face. "I suppose so. Charles is good at finding things."

Jessica was having trouble containing her laughter about the dog's name. "Did you see the victim at all? Did you recognize her?"

"She looked a lot like my granddaughter, but she lives in California," she said, pronouncing California strangely.

"Did you see anything suspicious when you arrived?"

"Yes, I saw a group of kids with their pants at their knees a few blocks over! I cannot believe the kids these days, so disrespectful," she spat, face twisting in scorn.

"Around the alley I mean," Angell said, hopefully amending the question to a level the woman could understand.

"A homeless man asked me for some change. You know what I did? I shooed him away, I did. It's his fault he's living outside and not inside."

She sighed. Jessica was going to have a very hard time dragging any useful information out of the woman. "Anything else? No one running from the scene at all?"

"And just the other day," the woman continued, ignoring Jessica's question all together, "Some little hooligans tried to steal my purse! Charles scared them off, though. If he hadn't, I'd be short one purse!"

Angell bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud. Hooligans? And she could hardly imagine that dog scaring a bird, let alone a group of kids. "Okay, thank you for your time."

"Anytime, dear."

Jessica was about to turn away when Flack appeared at her side. "Sorry to interrupt," he said to the woman before turning to his fellow detective. If she didn't know any better, Angell would've said the old lady was checking him out. It seriously gave her the creeps. "We need you over here," he said, gesturing back to where the body was found.

Angell was about to respond when the old woman suddenly said, "You two are just an adorable couple."

Jessica could feel a blush rushing up to her cheeks, but instead she laughed, trying to cover for herself. She thought it worked out nicely. "Oh, we're not together."

She glared at Angell, then at Flack, saying "Well, you should be." With that, she marched away, a yapping Charles in her arms.

Flack and she stood in silence for a moment, before Jessica finally sputtered into a fit of poorly contained laughter. "I really think that woman is senile. She should definitely be in one of those assisted living places."

He laughed along with her, before saying, "Did you get anything useful out of her? I have a feeling it's pointless to ask."

"You're correct. She told me a story about how her dog is good at scaring purse-snatching children away and how disrespectful today's youth is."

After that, the duo did relatively little talking to each other, moving around the crime scene together as though they'd worked together for years, not weeks. Jessica found herself liking the almost informal modicum that they'd had fallen into, and the scene was processed in just a few short hours.

. . . . . . . . . .

"Dr. Hammerback, what do you think was the cause of death?" Angell stood a little ways off from the autopsy table, her notepad and pen in hand. She didn't want to admit it, but she hated autopsies. Not only was she disgusted by the sight of a person's guts laying open for everyone to see, there was something disturbingly invasive about the process. Angell was never one to believe in ghosts or spirits, but she had a feeling they'd be pissed off if they saw someone probing their insides. She didn't like thinking of slicing into someone's body, looking at whatever you wanted as though the body belonged to you.

Angell didn't like it. Whenever she looked at their faces, she always ended up seeing a bizarre illusion of herself lying on the table- skin gone pale, eyes gone dark. Jessica shivered at the notion, and tried to keep herself as far from the autopsy room as she could until it was absolutely necessary.

"It looks to be blunt force trauma to the back of the head," he lifted the girl's head up gently, revealing a bloody wound the size of a fist. Angell shivered again from her close proximity to the victim.

"Do you have any leads on a weapon?"

"Not as of yet."

She scribbled a few notes down. "Anything else I should know?"

He thought a few moments, "No. Nothing yet."

"You've been extremely helpful, Dr. Hammerback."

Angell began to head for the door, a bit quicker than necessary, when he said, "You can call me Sid, you know."

She turned back to face him. "I'm sorry?"

"Sid. You can call me Sid. Dr. Hammerback makes me feel old," he said with a chuckle.

She was about to laugh with him when she heard a moan come from one of the tables. Angell's laughter caught in her throat. She let out a blood-curdling shriek when she saw a body, which had previously been lying still, covered in a blue sheet, sit up, moaning. Angell's hand immediately shot to her on duty weapon, putting her finger on the trigger. "What the hell is going on?" Jessica screeched, voice panicked. Any doubt in her mind about the existence of ghosts and spirits vanished in that moment, and her heart began to beat in double time, adrenaline shooting through her veins.

She screamed again when a horrible hissing voice came from the apparently reanimated corpse. "Sid," it said, over and over, "Sid." Angell was about to squeeze the trigger when she saw Sid's face. It was contorted so much because he was trying to contain his laughter.

It began to dawn on her what was happening. And she'd walked right into it. "Not funny," Angell said, voice venomous.

"Very funny," insisted the intern, who she recognized as a young man named Brad, who threw off the blue sheet, clutching his sides as he laughed.

She reholstered her weapon, but her anger was diminishing. If you really thought about it, it was pretty funny. Angell began to giggle, and it grew into uncontainable laughter as she realized how idiotic she must have looked.

She was interrupted only by her cell phone ringing, summoning the detective back to the station. She was headed out the door when she said, "You're all right, Sid. You're all right."

. . . . . . . . . .

Back at the precinct, Angell was logging evidence at her desk, thoroughly recovered from Sid's prank when she heard someone approach. Assuming it was Flack, she immediately said, "You stalking me now, Flack?" Angell looked up, smile on her face, only to find herself under the intense scrutiny of Nick Benton. She locked in place only for a moment, thrown off by the unexpected visit. "Oh, sorry, Benton. Thought you were Flack," Angell said, trying to explain herself in a commonplace tone as possible.

His eyes betrayed little, but she could tell he was half-pleased, half-pissed about something. "Anything goin' on between you and Flack?"

Rumors around the precinct spread quickly, and Angell found herself getting pissed off that her mentor was doubting her just as she was gaining a few tiny shreds of respect around here. Flack and she were just friends, but she'd noticed that the cops here gossiped like old women and it was no wonder Benton already knew about the rumors. Angell had even seen a few questioning glaces thrown in her direction, occasionally hearing the phrase 'sleeping her way to the top'. She couldn't stand when people looked down at her when she so much as had a drink with a friend. Hell, Angell had always had enough issues being a woman in a man's profession. And being an attractive woman in a man's profession was like poking an alpaca-don't do it unless you want to get spit on. She gritted her teeth, trying to bite back a hard response. She sent him a seething glare, "I went to get drinks with Maka yesterday. Think I'm fucking her, too?"

The pissed look in his eyes disappeared. "No, just making sure. There's been a lot of talk..." he said, trailing off.

She softened a bit, "I know. I've been at the center of these kinds of rumors before. At first you hear it, then it becomes a low-level buzz you more or less ignore." Angell was silent a beat before asking, "How's your kid?"

Benton laughed, "Little bastard was faking it. Apparently, he had a test in science he didn't study for." There was good humor in his words. Angell had yet to meet the infamous 10 year old Peter Benton. All the women in the precinct thought he was the sweetest thing, and the men thought he was a pain in the ass.

"I've played that card once or twice," she chuckled with a smile.

"Everyone has. Listen, I'll let you finish the case with Flack," Angell was about to thank him when he held up a hand, silencing her, "but keep to your promise. Don't wreck your career over a womanizer who might not even care about you. Because if my insticts are right, you're gonna be one hell of a detective."

She nodded as he left before absorbing his words. Was Don Flack a womanizing jerk as Benton had described? Angell had a hard time believing it. He was a good guy, as far as she'd seen. But what had she seen, really? She'd only had drinks with him a few times, a cup of coffee here and there, and a few work-related exploits. What if he really was the sex freak that Benton had described? What if his whole 'We're Friends' thing had just been a charade to get close to her? And eventually get in her pants? Suddenly, her faith in Flack was shaken. Was Benton right?

She trusted Benton. He was a good man, and wouldn't lie to Angell, and wouldn't pussyfoot around the truth even if it hurt her. Who could she trust more? Flack? Or Benton?

Her mind fought over the two for longer than it should have and she heard another person approached her desk. Angell looked up, seeing those blue eyes. The blue eyes that had possibly seduced enough women to populate a small country. The blue eyes that stole her breath when she looked at them. The blue eyes that made her heart sputter in her chest.

No! Jessica Angell, get yourself together! You will NOT have feelings for him! You will NOT ruin your career for a man! Angell's walls of professionalism slammed into place, barring anyone from entry.

Jessica looked back down to her paperwork. "Hello, Flack. What can I do for you?" she asked, voice tight and controlled.

"I need to talk to you."

She looked back up, seeing only honesty in his eyes. She narrowed her own, looking at him dubiously. "Why?"

"We've got a suspect. We need to bring him in for interrogation."

Work. Angell ignored the deflated feeling in her chest. They headed out for the parking garage, presumably to get a squad car. She couldn't help but notice that they were alone. In a dark garage. Filled with empty cars. Angell skidded to a halt. He noticed her absence behind him, and turned to look at the new detective. "Why did you bring me out here?" Angell demanded harshly. She saw him visibly flinch, but he stayed silent. "There's no suspect, is there?" she asked, her voice the same demanding tone as before. He shook his head, obviously preferring to remain mute with a Great Angell Hurricane barreling towards him with a fury. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She storde up to him, hands on her hips. "Why did you bring me out here? Want a quickie in a car? Is that what you want?"

Hurt flashed across his features, but she was too angry to care right now. "Of course not," he said, finally breaking his silence.

"Then why?" Angell demanded, her voice raising to almost a yell.

"I wanted to apologize."

Her stubborn anger suddenly cracked. She'd been wrong about his presumably less-than-honorable intentions. That sweetness, that unexpected act of kindness made Angell's shield wobble. He took her silence as an invite to continue.

"I've heard the rumors about you. About us. I just want you to know that was never my intention. I'll stop going out for drinks with you, I'll never talk to you again if you want. I'm really sorry that this happened to you because of me."

She sighed, and words that she hadn't intended to say came out of her mouth, "It's okay. It's not your fault, really. Cops gossip, and that's natural. And besides," she said, a small smile finding its way onto her face, "When two hot commodities like ourselves hang out, we are kind of asking for it."

He smiled, laughing softly at my joke. "So you're okay? With us being friends?"

She reached out and squeezed his shoulder. The first time she'd ever touched him. Angell felt hard, sinewy muscle beneath her fingertips. Angell's walls of professionalism prevented her from exploring the possibilities of what else his body could offer. "Of course." She didn't know it at the time, but Don Flack had just chipped away a small chunk of her shield.

I hope this was worth the wait!