Picks up at the end of "Iced" for the prologue, then jumps ahead a few months. I've tried to incorporate plenty of characters from the series; obviously the Candy Store crew, but also Captain Parish, Roland Hill, Jarod (aka the boy wonder from '101'), Two-Tears and Rosaria (from episode 4),Gabriella from 'Dosed' and 'Iced', and everyone's favorite thug, Aquarius.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that Alton's last name was spelled with an 'i', but I decided to slick it out with a 'y' instead, ala Club Ryde. ;)

The Candy Store was silent as soon as Parish hung up the phone. No one spoke. It looked like Hill was about to make some smart-ass comment, but scorching glares from both Van and Deaq made him shut his mouth with a snap.

All four men just stood there for a minute, blinking and trying to process the information they had just received. Three of them were worried and pissed, but Hill, the only non-cop in the room, seemed oddly blasé about the situation. However, he was smart enough to try to hide his lack of concern for Lieutenant Chambers' well being.

After about a minute, Van's phone rang, shattering the silence. He numbly reached into his pocket and took out the phone, flipping it open and holding it up to his ear.


"Van, it's Jarod."

Van shook his head, flashing Deaq a 'wait a minute' gesture. He angled the phone away from his mouth and covered the receiver with his other hand. "Sorry," he said to Hill, not looking or sounding sorry at all. "But I gotta take this."

He turned away from the central desk and walked towards the red couch. He didn't want to sit down, but he just had to get out of Billie's office for a minute. If he had to be in there for another second while Hill was standing behind Billie's desk and acting like he owned the place, Van thought he might throttle the little weasel, and it wouldn't help anything to do that in front of witnesses. Van kept a smile on his face as he went, which wasn't too hard to do since the thought of slapping Hill around made him all kinds of happy. Once he was out of earshot of Captain Parish and the blonde IA watchdog, he growled into the phone, "Really not a good time, Jarod."

A sigh from the other end. "Yeah, but you're gonna want to hear this."

Van smiled tightly, maintaining the illusion that he was talking to someone important. "Talk fast. Billie's gone missing and…"

"I know," Jarod interrupted. "Black Chevy Suburban, plate number 86G2LV4. Got a call from the tip line about an hour ago that a brunette fitting her description was forced into that car over by Sunset. I ran a check and the registered owner came back 'Nick Mcussick'. I put out an APB for the car, and a sighting just came in. Patrol car saw it parked outside an old slaughterhouse near Venice Beach."

"Maybe she just dumped the car there, and she's taken Billie somewhere else." Van didn't want to get his hopes up, but it was pretty damn hard. Of course, the fact that Billie was being held hostage inside a slaughterhouse took his optimism down a few notches. He couldn't help thinking that it was oddly appropriate, almost poetic, even, for a building like that to be the site of a murder.

Jarod's voice cut through his macabre thoughts. "My captain has a unit sitting on the place, and they've seen a blonde woman pass by a window a few times. If anyone comes out of there, we'll know."

At some point in the conversation, Van realized that he had started pacing in front of the couch. "Make sure they stay out of sight. If Gabriella knows that we're on to her, she might just kill Billie and run."

"Yeah, they're lying low. Oh, by the way, my dad heard that IA is giving you guys some grief. I told him how you guys operate, how good you are at what you do, and what a tool Hill is. He said he'd take care of it, but he wants to take the McQueen car out for a spin. What can I say? The man loves 'Bullitt'. Anyway, here's the address…"

Van felt himself grinning as he jogged back into the office, skidding to a halt at the desk and gesturing with his free hand for Parish to give him a pen and paper. "Dude, I might love you."

Deaq watched with concern as his partner hastily scrawled out what looked like an address on the paper. Had his partner finally lost his mind? He glanced at Parish, then back to his partner, who was reading back the address to make sure he had written it down correctly.

"Alright, that's great, man. Thank you!" Van hung up the phone and flashed what Deaq referred to as his 'Cheshire-cat' grin at his partner. "That was Jarod."

Deaq stared at him, waiting for more. "And?"

Van handed him the paper and turned to Parish. He tried to look like a professional and not a little kid on Christmas morning, but he couldn't quite manage to wipe the grin off his face. "We just got a break."

He gave Parish the lowdown and a few phone calls later, SWAT was on the way.

Deaq and Van headed up the rescue mission. Since Gabriella already knew that they were cops, they didn't have to worry about maintaining their cover, but it turned out that they didn't get the chance to square off with her anyway. Parish was worried that Gabriella might not actually be calling from the place where she was keeping Billie, so the next time she called, he asked her to put Billie on the phone.


Right away, he was worried. "Are you alright?" Her voice sounded strange, slurred. The only time he remembered her sounding like that was when… but no, he thought. It couldn't be that. She'd been clean for over two years.

"I'm… I'm good, Bob…" She started laughing to herself, and then he heard Gabriella's voice drown her out.

"Satisfied? Now, have your guys meet me below the Venice fishing pier in two hours. I'll get my diamonds, you'll get your little junkie," she chuckled cruelly, and Parish heard something that sounded like a slap, followed by a low moan. "And we all go away happy."

Parish balled his hand into a fist, glaring at a spot on the floor as he nodded, keeping his voice even. "You'll get your ice, but if you hurt her, I will hunt you down."

More derisive laughter from Gabriella. "I only took her on a trip down Memory Lane. No harm in that…" the laughter cut off suddenly. "Just make sure your guys are there with the goods. I'm really looking forward to seeing Van again."

The line clicked off, and Parish leaned forward in the desk chair. He dialed a number and heard Van pick up. "What's the word, sir?"

Parish sighed, pointedly looking at Hill. "Tell the snipers to go ahead if they have a clear shot, but they are not aiming to kill. I want this head case to smell the inside of a cage for a long time."

He could almost hear Ray nodding on the other end. "So she's in there? Shouldn't we worry that they might-"

Parish cut him off. "I'm pretty sure that Gabriella shot her up. Heroin. If so, she's in no shape to get loose, but just in case, tell them to take out the blonde. I'm calling Marina Del Ray Hospital and telling them to send an ambulance your way, no sirens."

Van gave the 'go' order to the SWAT snipers, and twenty minutes later a shot rang out.