Title: Adam, Eve...and Newby

Author: Lisa

Email: lisacheerio_85@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: I do not own Stingers, etc. etc.

WARNING: This fic contains much LENGTH!!!!



Mac got to her office as Pete held out the mobile phone.

"Ellen Mackenzie," he said as he handed it to her. Mac smiled as she took it, her eyes rolling to tell him to bugger off. He did.

"Mackenzie," she answered.

"Ellen Mackenzie?" The voice on the other end was male, but other than that, completely flat.

"Yes. Who's this?"

"No one important. Tell your mother I'm back-" Mac was met then with the dial tone. She sighed, putting the phone back on her desk. Fantastic, she thought to herself. Now they're stalking her parents. She'd been receiving prank calls for at least a week now – this was the first time they'd spoken to her.

She poked her head around the corner to look over at Angie, Oscar, Danni and Pete.

"I need a moment before the brief to make a call, okay?" They nodded.

"Sure Mac," "Whatever."

*

Mac sat at her desk and inhaled deeply. Now, she told herself, don't antagonise, just act concerned. It wasn't that Mac wasn't concerned; she just didn't want to have to confront her mother about why it crept her out that this guy said he was 'back.' She forced herself to smile as the long distance tone was heard and her mother picked up.

"Hi mum, it's me."

"Is everything all right?" Mac laughed.

"Yeah, just ringing to check up on you."

"That's a first."

"Mum-"

"Okay, what is it? You have to be calling for a reason!"

"Did you get my birthday present all right?"

"Oh I loved it, put it straight out on the deck. A pity I didn't hear from Michael." Mac hid her sigh.

"I'm sure he remembered."

"Mm..."

"Listen, mum, I just had a call..."

"Yep?"

"From a man..."

"A man? Is it serious?" Mac laughed.

"No, mum, I don't know him. You do, apparently."

"I have no idea what you're talking about. That job is really getting to you, isn't it?"

*

Mac sighed thoughtfully as she hung up. Was she lying about never having a reason for someone to be 'back?' She had to be. Mac shrugged, walking out to the briefing room.

"All right everyone, I'm read-" She stopped as a thought struck her, but she quickly shrugged it off. Yet it hung around in her mind.

Couldn't be! No one knew about Eve, no one except Danni. Mac's eyes stopped on Danni, who watched her cautiously.

"Actually no, Danni can I see you for a second?" Danni was obviously confused and Mac managed a smile. "It's fine, I just want to talk to you before we start." She shrugged, nodded, and followed Mac back to her office.

*

"How you feeling?"

"Not too bad. Actually I have to talk to y-"

"We'll do that later, eh?" Danni nodded as she tried to read Mac's expression. "Did you tell anyone about Eve?"

"Your mum? Why would I? She's a photographer. Not that that's, I mean, she's very good but-" Mac laughed.

"No, Danni, that she's my mum." Danni finally clicked.

"Oh! No, of course not. That's up to you, isn't it?" She paused as Mac decided to drift back into thinking mode. "Why? Mac? What's happened?"

"Oh, it's nothing. It's okay. Come on, we better get back then."

"Mac," Danni started as they forwarded out. She turned. "We'll finish that later too." Mac smiled, nodding.

*

"About time!" Pete mumbled as Mac took her place in front of the creatively decorated white board. Mac let her eyes slide to the balloons and squiggly lines around the edges of the board, and then at the pictures of the victims placed on the inside.

"Um..." she started, pointing to the board and looking at everyone else. "Is this case really that festive?" Danni rolled her eyes.

"Ange and Stone were bored." Mac looked over at Angie and Oscar. Angie was blushing and trying not to laugh, Oscar had a smug look on his face, arms folded.

"I think it looks good!" he maintained as Mac grinned. She turned to Pete.

"And Church, would you like to do my job?" He shrugged.

"Do you want me to?" Mac grimaced. There it was again – the Homicide issue. She would have to find a time to tell him before the day was out.

"Not for the moment. Can we get back to work?" They nodded, somewhat reluctantly, before Danni cut in.

"Oh and Mac, so how about tonight?" Mac looked over at Danni.

"What?"

"So we can talk." Pete looked carefully at Danni. What were she and Mac talking about? This he had to know. "You know, my place, I'll cook."

"Can I come?" Angie asked. Danni shrugged.

"Dunno, Ange, it's kinda um, personal." Angie leant back, offended as Oscar leant over to her.

"You can come to my place for dinner if you like." The grinned playfully and Angie burst into laughter.

Mac rolled her eyes, clearing her throat.

"Right now, eyes up here or you're doing all my paperwork for me!" That got their attention. She smiled. "Thankyou. Now back, to, work!" She turned to the largest picture in the centre of the board. "This is Bert Chambers. He's a phone technician. He fixes phones but he taps them in the process."

"Mac, we do that too," Oscar remarked. Mac nodded.

"Do you blackmail people with what you hear over the wire?"

"I could if I wanted." He leant forward. "I know all about you, Mac." Mac stopped, taken aback for the moment. Oscar realised he'd actually scared her somewhat. "Don't worry, I don't know that much!" She managed to laugh light-heartedly but Pete picked up on it as Oscar continued. "Yeah, don't even know what pyjamas you wear!"

"I do," Pete commented, turning to Oscar. "We should share information." Mac sighed, looking over at Danni.

"Was there something in the coffee this morning?"

"Probably, but I didn't have any so I'm pretty normal."

"Whatever you reckon Dan," Angie remarked.

Once Mac had their attention again, she looked back at the board, and then to everyone else.

"Usually it's just the tape, the money, etcetera, then he moves on. Except last time, one of his victims was killed. Our job is to work out whether Chambers killed Pauline Parojji or whether he was just an unlucky suspect. Whether we can get him on murder or not, we do also need the evidence to bring him in on the blackmail and tapping." They nodded. "Which is already quite comprehensive."

*

"So is that all right Mac?" Danni asked as Mac took a seat once again behind her desk.

"Sounds great Danni. Do you want me to bring anything?"

"Just yourself. We'll talk." Mac nodded. "Are you sure everything's okay between you and Eve?" Mac looked up.

"Huh? Oh yeah, everything's fine." Danni smiled.

"Good."

*

Danni met Pete back out at the desks. She leant against it as Pete fiddled, standing, with his computer keyboard.

"Do you want to come?"

"Won't that be obvious?"

"It's meant to be." Pete sighed, turning and looking at Danni.

Mac watched all this nonchalantly through the blinds. Looked to her like Angie having dinner with Oscar was the least of her problems.

"If I go as well Mac's going to think that we were in a proper relationship. She's going to take it hard, trust me. It's better if she thinks it was just a one-nighter, and for that it should just be you."

"I don't understand. Mac'll take it harder if we had a relationship? Why? We would've slept together either way."

"One's a lot more serious than the other."

"Well the consequences of this are just as serious I would think."

"Danni, trust me, all right? She won't be as mad if you explain it yourself, just like it happened."

"She hasn't been mad so far is all I'm saying." Pete turned to her.

"That's because she doesn't know I'm involved yet." Danni took a step back as Pete covered himself. "Look, it's a girl thing, this sharing business. You tell her, trust me she'll react much softer with you, than if I was there as well. Right?" He let a hand brush her arm for moments. Danni nodded.

"Okay, yeah."

Pete looked up as Mac called him from her office.

"Church!" He gave Danni a reassuring smile and forwarded up.

*

Mac smiled as he sat down.

"How you going Peter?"

"Good," he started as he took a seat. "Everything okay? You seem a bit on edge today."

"No, no, fine." She was interrupted by her mobile. Sighing and reaching out one of her hands, signalling for Pete to stay sitting, she answered. "Mackenzie...Hello?...Goodbye!" Pete watched her carefully.

"Who was that?"

"Some prank."

"Is it just the mobile?" Mac looked at him seriously.

"Don't you think if it was anything more I would be much more concerned?" He nodded.

"Yes, but..."

"But?"

"But I know you, you'd try to deal with it yourself anyway."

"So would you."

"Yeah, guess so. What can I do for you? So it's not serious? They haven't made any threats?"

"No, Church, they haven't." There was a moment's silence as Mac composed herself. "I didn't get the Homicide job."

"What?" Pete exclaimed. "Why not?" She shrugged.

"They just preferred someone else."

"Who?" Mac smiled.

"I'm not allowed to tell yet, not until it's announced formally."

"But you're perfect!" He paused. "For it, you are, you know it!" Mac tried to hide her smile and Pete knew she'd noticed his hesitation.

"That's one person's opinion and I do believe you're biased."

"I've always been honest about my bias towards you."

"Yeah, well- I'm afraid that means your promotion is on hold also."

"That's all right, Mac. I don't mind, really."

"You can always still apply for D or even Sergeant if you like, you just won't be getting my job."

"Mac, honestly, you can have it."

"Think about applying!" She called after him. He turned at the door.

"Will I be transferred to HQ?"

"Possibly."

"Then I'll definitely think about it."

*

"Hey Pete!" Angie called as Pete gathered his things later that night. "You wanna come over to Stoney's with me?" Pete shook his head.

"Narr, night in for me. You two have fun! Big day tomorrow..." He grinned at her and Angie opened her mouth, preparing to protest.

"Don't call me-"

"Sheila. See ya!" Oscar laughed as Pete waved them both off, grinning himself. He turned to see Danni meeting Mac at the door to her office. They were talking jovially, and Pete smiled. Hopefully his head would still be attached in the morning.

*

"So," Angie started. "Was it true?"

"What?" Oscar asked as they sat on the couch, trying to work out what to do next.

"That you know all about Mac."

"I don't know all about Mac!"

"Do you know some?" He shrugged.

"A little."

"What?"

"Like maybe Danni having dinner with Mac might have some repercussions tomorrow." Angie leant forward.

"Why?" He grinned, shaking his head.

"No way, I'm not telling."

"Please?"

"Well, let's just say that a few years ago, one day she forgot to turn off her wire, and then a few days ago, my ears got curious."

"Oscar!"

"What?"

"Just tell me!"

"Well you sorta already know the first bit, but, I'll tell you what I heard the other day. Why tonight's talk with Mac might be private." Angie nodded and leaned in as Oscar put a hand to her head, holding it close so he could whisper in her ear. Angie pulled back, looking into his eyes in shock.

"No way..." He nodded. "Oh my God, no way!"

"Yes way." They watched each other, before Angie broke into a grin.

"Church is in deep shit." Oscar nodded again.

"Oh yeah."

*

"Okay Danni, what was it you wanted to talk about."

"Nu-uh, you first."

"Huh?"

"What's going on with Eve?" Mac shook her head.

"It's nothing."

"It's not nothing. Come on, spill."

"Well this person, um, called me this morning." Danni nodded as Mac took another sip of her drink. "And he said to tell my mother that he was back."

"Are you sure he meant Eve?"

"Well my mum in Sydney doesn't know anything." She grimaced. "At least that's what she said. She sounded quite alarmed. Scared."

"What did you say?"

"I had to tell her that I'd found Eve, that it might be her."

"How'd she take it?"

"I have no idea. We sort of hung up pretty quickly."

"Have you talked to Eve?"

"Not yet."

"You should, this could be really serious." Mac nodded.

"I'm going over tomorrow, after the sting." She paused. "Thing is...someone's been calling me for a week now as well. Just holding the line before hanging up."

"Same person?" Mac shrugged.

"I have no idea." Mac shrugged again. "So, come on, what's your troubles?" Danni looked to the floor.

"Well it's not really a trouble. Not for me. I hope it won't be for you-"

"What is it?" She watched Danni watching her for some time before the silence was again broken.

"Well...it's about the, the father." Mac nodded slowly.

"Okay...What about him?"

"I just thought you should know, because, well it's going to be obvious and uh-"

"Who is it?" Mac asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

"Pete," Danni supplied weakly. Mac didn't say anything for a long time.

"Was it serious?" She shook her head adamantly.

"God no. I mean he wanted it to be, but I said no. I did. Um, it was just a once-off and I told him to forget it." She smiled. "Seems it came back to haunt me though."

"Was it just that one night?"

"Yeah."

"Are there any feelings still there?" Danni shrugged.

"I don't know Mac. I mean, it's definitely not love. I compare Pete and myself to you and Bill and I don't get close. I mean, it was just one night, and, and I think our friendship just got stronger-" Mac scoffed.

"Everyone says that Danni. It only cemented our friendship, brought us closer that way. Bullshit."

"I know, Mac I know you and Pete are close. I'm sorry-"

"Oh Danni don't be. It wasn't your fault." Danni watched Mac, before leaning forward.

"Don't tell Pete it was his, either. He was sceptical of all this. Mac, I screwed him up as well with this news, you know. He was working stuff out and-"

"What stuff?"

"Well we've talked, you know, about the future. He doesn't want to spend it solely with me, and that's okay, because," she grinned. "I don't want to spend it solely with him either."

"That's great news Dan-" she started sarcastically, before Danni cut her off.

"We're both perfectly aware that this kid's going to end up with step- parents, and, well this is where it gets sticky, and I don't even think I should be telling you."

"Why don't you give it a go anyway?"

"Well, see, Pete's really um, he doesn't want you to be uncomfortable, or be angry at him, because he thinks he's, by this one night, that he's stuffed his chances with you, he said like he did last time?" Mac looked down at the floor.

"Last time was my fault."

"Yeah, well, look, please don't be angry-" Mac looked back up.

"Does it look like I'm angry?" Danni shook her head slowly, realising that no, she didn't look angry, she actually looked sad.

"No, you don't," she replied softly, looking around her lounge room and standing. "You want another drink?" Mac nodded.

"Yeah sure."

*

"You ready Oscar?" Pete asked the next morning as they sat in the safe house just around the corner from Angie's safe house. He nodded, grinning.

"Oh yeah." They laughed as Angie's voice came over the bugs in her house.

"He's just left. Telephone is fixed. Giving you ten."

Ten minutes later Angie dialled the number. Oscar answered.

"Hello?"

"Gary it's me."

"You got it fixed."

"Yeah, called a tradesman."

"Cheap?"

"So-so. Gary can you come over?"

"Why?" Play it cool, Oscar told himself.

"You know why," Angie replied sensually. "Please?"

"What about Frank?"

"He's at work. He'll never know." There was a pause. "Oh and Greg, can you bring the uh, oh you know!" She giggled and Pete held in his laugh.

"No, tell me."

"The case," she whispered mischievously. "I like it."

"Meet me out the front?"

"Always my sweetheart."

"Love you."

"I love you too Gary."

They hung up and Oscar sent Pete a 'don't-say-a-word' look. He laughed anyway as the phone rang again.

"Yep," Pete answered. "Hey Mac, yeah, did you hear it?" He laughed again as Mac said something over the line. "Yeah, I know! Okay, so where is he?" He covered the mouthpiece and whispered to Oscar. "He drove around the block and parked. He's just jumped out and is coming back."

"Tell Oscar to go now, but wait till you see the guy in running clothes coming too." Pete passed on the message and hung up.

"Off ya go, mate!" he chuckled. "Have fun!"

*

Oscar held the figure of Chambers in the corner of his eye as he rounded the corner casually, small, brown case in hand.

He saw Angie sitting on the front stoop of her house. Both of them agreed it was completely stupid for a woman having an affair to meet the guy on the street, but it gave Chambers the means the take a photograph, which was exactly what he was going to do.

Angie got up, smiling widely when she saw Oscar and walking down the path to meet him. He opened the gate himself and let it close behind him. She walked right up to him, taking the case from him and holding it in her hand for moments before making the next move – they had to give Chambers all the time he needed.

"You brought it, thankyou," she whispered as Oscar nodded, moving in and kissing her gently. They kissed for moments and just before Angie started laughing, she grabbed Oscar and pulled him inside the house, shutting the front door.

She turned from him, walking into the kitchen, and burst out laughing. Oscar followed.

"Why is it you do that all the time?" She simply looked at him and laughed. "Am I really that bad?" She shook her head, getting her breath back. Oscar threw his head around. "I thought I was quite good thankyou!" Angie walked up to him.

"Sure buddy, hey Pete, did you think he was good?" she asked, knowing she wouldn't get an answer until they met up again later, but also knowing that he would've heard every word.

Mac sat down next to Pete as Angie finally stopped laughing and she and Oscar started making small talk.

"So what do you think Mac?" He said, grinning. "Was he really that bad? You had visual!" Mac rolled her eyes, but leant back in her chair.

"Oh, I dunno. I think you might have some competition with the women in this place." Here goes, Pete thought. "Danni told me last night."

"And..." Pete replied casually.

"And she said you weren't in a relationship, you weren't in love, it was just that one time." Mac leant forward again. "Is she lying?" Pete shook his head.

"No."

"Good."

"How's the caller going?"

"He seems healthy enough." Pete laughed.

"Yeah, he sounds so mentally sound." Mac rolled her eyes. "So, are you okay with things then?"

"Just for the record, I'm not going to transfer either of you – yet. Fact is you've been working well enough together so far, but if I see one-"

"You won't." Mac nodded.

"Right, well, it's going to take a while to get used to I think." Pete nodded.

"Tell me about it. But, you don't, you don't feel like I betrayed you or something?"

"By sleeping with Danni? No, perhaps Christina Rossi-"

"You remember her?" Mac scoffed.

"Of course I do. I was listening on the wire Church, on the boat – that day...Do I have to keep going or are you going to save me here?"

"No, I, okay, well, I'm sorry-"

"You don't have to apologise," Mac replied, standing. "You sure you don't want to marry her?" Pete laughed.

"I'm sure!" He looked over at Mac. "We decided on that one." She nodded.

"All right, well, this part's over. Get Oscar and Angie separated before Angie has another laughing fit and I'll be back at the factory this afternoon."

"Where are you going?"

"To see someone."

"Who?"

"Don't worry yourself with it."

*

Mac stood at the foot of the headstone, staring into the engraved rock as if her life depended on it. There was a bunch of now-dying flowers beside her feet, and she knelt down, reaching out and letting her fingers run over the musky, dry petals that no longer had any colour to them.

A tear came to her eyes as she looked levelly at his name. William. Funny, she thought, he'd never quite struck her as a William. It always seemed too formal. She ducked her head, letting her hands brush the earth where he lay.

"It was going so well," she whispered. "Miss you."

As she stood, wiping tears from her eyes and holding the dying flowers in her hand, new ones now in their place, she saw Sarah, watching her. Mac smiled, but there was no reciprocation and she simply ducked her head and walked off.

*

Mac took a seat in the made-over warehouse as Eve sat opposite her.

"You don't seem like you're here on a social visit," Eve observed. "How've you been?" Mac smiled.

"Good, yeah, you?"

"Can't complain."

"Um-" she took a moment's hesitation, before explaining about the phone call, and the mysterious voice on the other line. "See, Eve, I spoke to my mum in Sydney, and she says she doesn't know anything." She smiled. "And I've only got two-" Eve nodded.

"No, no, it was right for you to come to me. It's uh, it's a long story."

"I've got a lot of time. Is this a danger?" Eve didn't reply, simply watching Mac. It still took her a moment to remember that this woman was her daughter – she hoped she knew how much she cared. No matter what she told her, she could always see the expression in Ellen's eyes – it was her profession to pick up on those things – and Eve realised things weren't yet complete for her daughter.

"It could be. Certainly I don't like the fact that he has your number."

"Just my mobile."

"Still-" Mac leaned forward.

"Who knows about me? I mean, about us?"

"Well, just two of my closest friends."

"Your parents?"

"They did, before they died about ten years ago." Mac nodded softly. "That's all. What about you?"

"Just one. Danni."

"A good friend then?"

"Pretty much."

"And you haven't told anyone else? I would've thought-"

"Not like you've screamed it out either." They smiled at each other.

"No, guess not."

"The thing is," Mac continued. "The person knew I was your daughter. They said 'tell your mother.' It's someone who knows. Danni says she hasn't told anyone, I believe her. Either-"

"My friends wouldn't betray my trust like that."

"See that's what I thought, but there's something I just don't understand. Do you know who this man is?"

"Yes."

"Is it going to be a problem? Are you in danger?" Mac watched as Eve thought.

"I could be. I don't know, what he's here for."

"He hasn't contacted you? Nothing strange, calls, mail?" She shook her head.

"No."

"Who is he?" There was no answer. "Have you ever been married?" Mac asked. Eve grinned.

"Never could hold em down long enough." Mac laughed.

"Yeah, mine just die." She realised what she'd said and looked up at Eve's shocked expression. "Don't worry," she whispered, blushing and shaking her head.

"No, tell me."

"You remember that car bombing outside the police station, the cop?"

"Oh my God, the Detective?"

"His name was Bill."

"Ellen-"

"Narr, it's fine. Any kids? I mean, apart from me?" Eve followed Mac's eyes to the picture on the table of her in the arms of two youngsters.

"Effective shot, isn't it? They're my niece and nephew. Live in Greece."

"Live there?" Eve nodded.

"Yep, my brother married one of those gorgeous, suntanned things-" They laughed. "They're adorable. Haven't seen them in ages!" Mac fell into silence.

"Must be hard on you," she put in. Eve shrugged, looking over at Mac seriously.

"Much easier than other things I've had to deal with not seeing over the years." She winked and it made Mac smile.

"Um, so this, he isn't a disgruntled ex, is he?" Eve shook her head.

"Nope. Guess again!" Mac raised her eyebrows.

"I have no idea. You'll have to tell me."

"He's my stalker." She said it so matter-of-factly Mac was taken aback.

"Stalker?" Eve nodded.

"Oh yes, at least, I think so. I don't know how he got onto you though. It's why I changed my name."

"Really? I thought it was becau-"

"You thought it was because I didn't want you coming after me?" Mac blushed. "On the contrary, I didn't want 'him' coming after me!"

"How long has he been stalking you?"

"Well he's just resurfaced. Got a little out of hand in the States though."

"That's why you left? Is he American?"

"God no, followed me from here." Mac was shocked.

"How'd he find you?"

"I used to get a little bit of extra money when I was younger doing shots for schools and weddings and things like that. I think he was in his final year of high school when I took his picture."

"What's his name?"

"No idea, changes it every six months or so. Bit of a rolling stone really." At Mac's confused expression she added, "Gathers no moss, no one knows who he is. He's the pretender really."

"Well what was his original name?" Eve grinned to herself.

"You'll never guess."

"Try me."

"Adam." Mac nodded. "Adam and Eve? He thinks us being together is a biblical betrothal."

"Oh, fantastic!" Mac replied sarcastically, laughing. "Has he ever tried to hurt you?" Eve shrugged.

"I left the states when he started burning Bibles outside my apartment – wherever I moved he seemed to go – so I came back here. Haven't heard from him in years. Thought he was dead." Mac laughed.

"Well it appears not." She stood. "If he contacts you-" Eve nodded.

"Your number's in my speed dialler!" They laughed. "Hey," Eve added. "You want to come over tonight?"

"How about to my place?" Mac asked. "I can pick you up after I finish work."

"Sounds good."

"I'll call ahead, let you know what time." Eve nodded.

"And Ellen, if he tries to contact you, well, he might not be happy. Um, Ellen's not really a biblical name." Mac laughed.

"I know, I've dealt with jealous men before, don't worry!"

"Oh I bet you have!" They smiled as Mac bid farewell with an 'I'll call you' and left.

*

Angie sat watching television later that night in the safehouse. She jumped as the sliding door behind her – the back door – opened noisily.

"It's just me," Oscar called as he closed the door behind him. Angie laughed.

"What are you doing here? Frank's asleep you know!" Oscar rolled his eyes.

"I don't think 'Frank' will mind. I'm bored. How's it going?"

"Nyuhh, pretty boring too actually. Nothing on the box tonight."

"Is there usually?"

"Oh yeah, you get the good one occasionally." Oscar plonked himself down beside Angie and picked up a magazine.

"NW? What's that?"

"New Weekly." She looked over at him as he flicked through, enthralled. She laughed and he looked up.

"What?" She shook her head.

"I'm sorry for laughing today."

"Again!" She shrugged.

"Well I can't help it if you're cute."

"Am I just?" She shrugged again.

"Just!" Oscar picked up the magazine and showed her the section where they have pictures of the stars in the award-ceremony gowns.

"Now see I reckon some of these are really ugly." Angie laughed.

"Yeah, tell me about it." Oscar watched her carefully.

"I reckon you should be in one of these."

"Oh really?" He nodded.

"Mm, you'd beat some of these ones!" Angie shook her head.

"I don't think I'm their type."

"You don't have to be their type. You just have to be mine."

"And I have to be in a um, magazine, to be that, do I? Oh well, there goes that one!" She was going to keep going but Oscar cut her off, short and sweet.

"No, you already are." Angie didn't turn to face him, too afraid of what he was going to do next, too afraid that she wouldn't be able to stop it.

"Stone."

"Ange."

"Why'd you come here tonight?"

"Company."

"Did Mac talk to Pete yet?" He nodded.

"I think so. It's all sorted out."

"They're both staying?" He nodded.

"Yep." She chose that moment to let her eyes slide over to him. He was smiling at her and she felt her own lips start to pull up at the corners. She looked back, but turned to face Oscar again, smiling properly. "What do you say? Company?" She let her eyes drift skyward, but didn't have time to do much else before Oscar moved forward, letting his lips rest on hers. Angie let both her hands rest on either side of Oscar's jaw as she took her turn. They were soft and passionate, and didn't shift far from their position on the couch for the time being.

*

Pete drove through the streets. He stopped himself as he realised the street he was headed for, but he figured he was going for a drive, he may as well pop in and see how she was going.

Pete parked across the street and looked over. Her car was in the driveway, but there was an unnatural glow coming from near the front door. He jumped out and ran to the entrance, swearing under his breath as he saw the burning paper on Mac's doorstep.

He reached out over the flames and rang the doorbell repeatedly, stamping out the fire as best he could.

Mac and Eve looked up as the doorbell kept going.

"Must be stuck," Mac mumbled sarcastically. "Coming!" She called from the hallway, but was instantly alerted at Pete's urgent call.

"Mac!"

She opened the door to see him stamping out the last of the flames and helped him inside straight away. Pete looked up to see the photographer he remembered from a while back standing at the entrance, looking concerned.

"Did you see anybody Church?" Mac asked. He shook his head, bending down with her and sifting through the papers.

"What is it?" Eve asked.

"Well," Mac replied. "It's not a Bible." Pete watched her, confused, as she picked up the remnants. "But it is my personal file."

"Oh shit," Pete whispered, taking it from her and looking at the picture of Mac, taken years back when she was still in uniform, and the almost illegible text. "Are you sure?" he asked. Mac nodded.

"That picture's only ever been published in one place."

Pete put a hand around Mac's back and helped her get up.

"Come on, we should get inside here." She nodded, and didn't make a move to shake off his hold.

*

The three of them sat around Mac's lounge area moments later. Pete had made himself right at home, stretching out along the three-seater. Mac couldn't help picturing him as Bill. It seemed a habit she was getting into, but it was true. That was how he'd lain the last night or so they'd spent together. He loved that couch.

"Ellen?" Eve began. "Are you okay?" Mac snapped back to attention.

"Hm? Oh yeah, sure."

"Now," Pete said. "What's going on? Mac your security has been compromised here."

"I'm aware of that Peter."

"Yeah, well-"

"Just give me a minute. Remembering what was in the file might help there."

"Personally I don't see a connection-" Eve began, but Mac cut her off.

"How many of this guy's names do you know?"

"Hang on, this is Eve's guy?" Mac nodded, her eyes fixed on Eve.

"Adam Abrahams – don't laugh – was his original one, Paul Valentino, Robert Flack, and um, Brian Cool."

"Brian Cool?" Pete offered. She nodded wryly.

"Yep, B. Cool."

"Oh my God," Mac mumbled, trying her hardest not to laugh. She scratched her head instead, thinking. "Okay, um, Eve you shouldn't go home."

"You can't stay here either," Pete said. Mac nodded.

"Well I think I'm better off staying with Eve instead of here, if that's all right?" She looked at Eve, who nodded.

"That's fine. What about you Peter? Do you want to stay with me too?" They grinned. Mac grimaced – at least they were getting along.

"Well..." They laughed. "No, I'll be right. Mac do you want me to-"

"Run a check on those names. I want database information, and our own filing history."

"May have to get Oscar onto it too."

"Yeah, not a problem."

"You guys right to get back to Eve's place?" Mac stopped him.

"Actually Pete, we came in my car. Um, can we get a lift with you?" He nodded, concerned.

"Yeah, everything okay with your car?" He caught Mac's hesitation immediately and realised.

"Just that I don't know how much this guys knows, and um, well I didn't realise there was anyone outside-"

"You should use your garage," he whispered.

"I usually do." He nodded, smiled and stood.

"Not a problem. Come on then." As they all forwarded out, Pete took hold of Mac's arm. "I'll swing by and check it out in the morning." Eve stopped ahead and turned, watching as Mac turned to Pete.

"Thankyou," she said emotionally. He nodded, squeezing her hand lightly before letting go and grinning.

"I understand." They watched each other before Mac broke into a smile.

*

Pete was worried. Where the hell was Oscar? He wasn't answering at home or on his mobile. He didn't want to call Mac and alert her but he needed Oscar to help him get these files. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and drove past Angie's house, thinking. The light was on. He parked and got out, using his spare key to the safehouse to let himself in, just in case Angie was asleep.

"Ange?" he called softly as he entered. A couple of half-empty wine glasses were on the coffee table and the television was on softly. No sign of Angie. By now he was really starting to worry.

Pete checked the main living area first, before poking his head out the back. Apart from it being unlocked, she was nowhere to be found.

"Ange?" he repeated, making his way down the hallway. She must be asleep and just forgot to turn all her electrical appliances off, he thought stupidly.

He hesitated as his hand reached the doorknob to the bedroom, but it turned quietly and he pushed it open. The room was dark but there was Angie, sound asleep, and there was Oscar, sound asleep next to her. Pete grinned. He closed the door again, wondering how he should wake them up to get Stoney out of there in the most embarrassing way possible. He retreated back to his car and sat, dialling the safehouse number, remembering Angie's phone had been tapped by Chambers.

"Hello-" Angie mumbled eventually.

"Is Frank there?" She recognised Pete's voice.

"Peter?"

"Yep, Frank there?"

"Um...why?"

"I need him to help me with some technical things, I'm stuck between a 'stone' and a hard place."

"I think it's rock."

"No matter. Is he there?"

"I'll get him for you."

"I'll be there in five."

"Right..." He couldn't help the chuckle that escaped his lips as he saw the bedroom light come on from outside.

Angie opened the door to Pete in five minutes, and he was standing there expectantly.

"Hiya Frank!" he exclaimed as Oscar stood to meet him, looking better than Angie did. Her hair was all over the place and she looked like she'd been hit by a bus. "Big night, eh?" he laughed.

"Oh God," Angie muttered, retreating to her room.

"Oscar-" Pete started. Oscar put his hand up.

"Say nothing."

"Okay...I need your help. Mac's friend Eve has a stalker who's now going after Mac."

"What? Who's Eve?"

"We should probably get Danni over here." Angie emerged again, hair brushed and looking embarrassed – cheeks red and arms folded protectively across her pyjamas, which she must've thrown on as soon as she realised Pete would be at the door in that time, because five minutes ago she hadn't been wearing any, or so he'd seen.

"Why Danni?" she asked Pete.

"She was talking to Mac. Maybe she knows something."

"It's like one in the morning Church," Oscar started.

"Yeah, well, better early than late." He leant forward. "It's a breach of security guys. The prick got his hands on Mac's personal file, which might I remind you, has all the factory details, as well as if it's on the database, links to ours."

"Oh crap," Angie moaned, falling back onto the couch. "All right, call her. But use a mobile."

"Mine's around here somewhere," Oscar said.

"Funny if only it had been on I wouldn't have had to walk in here to make sure you were both okay!"

"Mm-hmm..." Angie mumbled.

"Sleeping comfortably too!"

"Okay Pete, we get the picture!" He laughed.

"Yes, I suppose you do." Oscar finally got Danni to pick up.

"You okay?" he asked. "Yeah, yeah, we're at the safehouse. All except Mac. We need you over here. Can you bring your laptop? Okay, are you sure you're up to- Yeah, okay, see ya."

"She okay?" Angie asked. Oscar nodded.

"I think so, sounds horrible."

"You woke her up at one in the morning," Pete reminded, keeping in mind that neither Angie nor Oscar knew about Danni's pregnancy.

"Probably just morning sickness," Angie whispered, leaning her head back, before reaching out to Pete, waving her hand around in the air.

"Don't worry Church. We heard you talking the other day. Well Stoney here did. Glad you still got your job. If I was Mac, I woulda killed ya!" She managed to laugh, before her eyes closed and she seemed to fall asleep. Pete raised his eyes at Oscar, who shrugged.

"Like you said – big night," he whispered.

"I heard that!" Angie managed from the couch. Oscar laughed, sitting down next to her.

"So..." Pete started as they waited for Danni. "Was this a first?"

*

Pete let Danni in about fifteen minutes later.

"Sorry I couldn't come sooner, had to stop a few times and-"

"It's okay," Pete responded, putting a hand on her back. "You gotta see this!" Danni followed him into the family room where Oscar was giving a small, sheepish wave and Angie asleep, head in his lap, Angie in her pjs and Oscar in his extremely crushed clothes from earlier.

"Oh Church did you have to drag Oscar over here in a tyre tied behind your car again?" She smirked and her voice softened as she looked at Angie's peaceful figure. "Is she asleep?" He nodded. Danni turned to Pete. "What the hell is going on then? Are Mac and her mum okay?" She stepped back when she realised what she'd said.

"Her mum?" Pete asked. Oscar watched, letting a hand brush Angie's hair softly, trying to wake her up without pissing her off – she'd want to hear this.

"Oh crap," Danni whispered. "I wasn't mean to tell."

*

Mac opened her eyes slowly to the smell of toast and coffee. She shifted on the couch.

"Morning," Eve stated.

"Hey..." Mac managed to stand and walk over to where Eve handed her a coffee.

"If you want a shower, it's just down the hall. Oh I never gave you a tour, did I? I'll show you around later."

"It's okay," Mac smiled, taking a sip. She sighed however, when her mobile rang.

"Mackenzie," she answered, rolling her eyes at Eve, who grinned. 'Never stops,' she mouthed.

"Mac, it's Danni."

"Hey, I'm not even going to ask if you're wearing a watch-"

"We all got together last night and we've come up with some stuff."

"What do you mean you all got together?"

"Well Pete and I met Oscar and Angie at the safehouse and we went through some files and talked and all of that. I um, I accidentally told. I was really tired and feeling sick and it was one in the morning and I wasn't thinking-" Mac shushed her.

"Hang on, hang on, I just woke up as well. What did you accidentally tell?" Danni explained. "Oh, that's okay. Look they had to find out eventually."

"Yeah but um, Pete's a little pissed you didn't tell him." Mac cringed, imagining.

"Ooh, okay, look I'll be in a little bit I guess."

"All right just checking up on you."

"Yeah thanks. Hey Dan?"

"Mm"

"What do you mean you and Pete met Ange and Oscar at the safehouse."

"Oh he was just already there."

"He lives half an hour away."

"I dunno. Ask them." Danni hung up soon after, cursing. She'd done it again. Oh well – they're the ones who hadn't let her get her sleep!

*

Mac strode into the factory later that day. Danni met her straight away.

"Where's Eve?"

"At a shoot. She's fine, thanks Danni. So," she started, looking around. "What did you find?"

"I think he might be a little angry," Angie spoke up. "You put him away a little while ago."

"Really?"

"Yeah, just after he came back from New York." Gears clinked into place in Mac's head – so that's why he hadn't bothered Eve up until now. "He got out two weeks ago."

"Well he's been calling me for a week."

"Are you sure that's him though?"

"Why?"

"Well for now," Pete put in. "We're going on the fact that it probably is, but it's not definite. It could have been someone else, for sure." Mac nodded slowly.

"What did I do him for?"

"You'll never guess." Mac took one.

"Stalking," she answered dryly. Pete shook his head in disbelief.

"Wouldn't that be good? Drugs," Pete answered.

"There's a shocker."

"He had a weed infestation at his house, let's just say."

"And he's been locked up ever since," Oscar finished.

"That's a long time for possession."

"While he was in the lock up," Danni put in. "He confessed to being involved in a riot at the minimum security – planned it actually. Got him a little extra time." Mac nodded.

"Don't remember any of that. So he knows-" Pete answered her.

"He knows who you are and that you're also Eve's daughter. So not only does he think he and Eve are meant to be together, well, he probably thinks you're evil for putting him away as well."

"I don't think he's schizophrenic Pete."

"No, you're not the devil's child, just illegitimate." Mac grimaced.

"Thanks Pete." He spread his arms.

"Well that's how he's going to see it. Eve was unfaithful all those years ago."

"He was young when I was born. From what Eve says he was maybe 13, 14 when I was born! I wouldn't call it unfaithful."

"No, probably not."

"I mean there isn't even any faith here! There's nothing wrong with what she did and what-"

"Mac, I know. But-"

"Pete, my office." She walked up and waited for him to follow.

"Do you have a problem with this?"

"I'm just telling you what he's going to be thinking."

"Are you a shrink? No, and this is sounding more like your own opinion with every word you add." Pete laughed.

"Yeah Mac, you're the devil child."

"I'm not!"

"I didn't say you were! Jesus, calm down. If you're so hung up about this."

"I'm not hung up about it. I don't know why you care."

"I care, Mac. It's you, for Chrissakes of course I care!"

"Well then-"

"Listen," he lowered his voice and caught Mac off-guard. "There is nothing wrong with what happened, got it? I like her; she's great. She's just like you!" Mac rolled her eyes. "There's nothing wrong with what happened."

" 'I' know that Church."

"Well so do I. Adam doesn't. Don't think what I'm telling you-"

"Danni said you were mad because I didn't tell you."

"Well it's not like you didn't have the opportunity to."

"I didn't want to go through anything like this, that's all."

"Mac, take a breath. We're not going 'through' anything. It's okay, I agree with you. I know you're worried – we all have stuff like this – and I know how much you care about your mum, all right?" Mac nodded silently. "We'll find him before he finds either of you. Simple, okay?"

"Yeah, right, simple." Pete smiled, reaching out as Mac hugged him briefly. He leant down, whispering in her ear.

"I hate to say this Mac, it goes against everything I've done but, um, keep an eye on Oscar and Angie, eh?" Mac pulled back, a small smile coming to her lips.

"Why?"

"I'm sure you can guess."

"Oh Pete, I don't want to know."

"I know you don't. I'm just telling you-"

"Hypocrite, maybe you should've told me this when you and Danni-" Pete stopped her, putting a finger to her lips and Mac put a hand up, removing it slowly. "Simple," she repeated, sighing.

*

Pete walked up to Danni after he'd finished with Mac.

"So you talked to her, right?" Danni nodded. At Pete's smile, she had to ask.

"Wh-at?"

"Nothing, just I knew you by yourself wouldn't get her mad."

"Yeah, turns out you seem to be able to do that quite easily – get her angry."

"It's a bit of a curse sometimes."

"Figured as much."

"But we're all right for the moment?" She nodded.

"Oh yeah, peachy!"

*

Mac picked up her mobile.

"Mackenzie."

"Is this Ellen Mackenzie?"

"What's your current name Adam?" she asked, walking out to the others and waving madly, pointing at her phone while maintaining a steady voice.

"Adam again."

"Ahh."

"I want to meet you."

"Okay, why?"

"Haven't seen you in a while."

"Yeah, seems that way. When?"

"I'll get back to you." Mac cursed as she looked over at Oscar, who was shaking his head.

"Sorry Mac, he hung up too quickly."

*

"I think we should be packing up here," Danni started. "Mac he has your details."

"As far as I know, he's not a threat to this unit."

"But he's a threat to you."

"We don't have the evidence."

"We shouldn't need evidence to move," Pete stated. Mac looked at him boldly.

"We're not moving until I say so."

*

"Eve!" Mac called as she entered Eve's house, Danni in tow. There was a long pause and Eve didn't reply.

Mac walked through to the lounge room where Eve was sitting, flipping through a book.

"You okay?" Mac asked. She nodded silently. "You didn't come to the door."

"Yes, well, I got a bit *tied* up with things, didn't I?" She looked over at Mac and sent her a look, before Mac followed Eve's eyes to the hallway tucked around the side of the house. Mac and Danni communicated non- verbally before Mac pulled out her gun, leaving Danni to untie Eve's feet.

*

Mac jumped as her mobile rang. She hadn't even made it to the hallway yet. She reached into her pocket and pulled it out.

"I wouldn't turn it off, if I were you." The voice came from all directions, it seemed, one of the disadvantages of having such a spacious living arrangement. Mac looked back at Danni who shrugged, looking around herself – Eve still seated, relatively calmly for the situation at hand.

"Okay," Mac called. "I won't turn it off." She blindly ended the call and ran her fingers along the keypad until she thought she knew where the memory file was. She knew who was first on the list, and it didn't take her long to press the necessary button. "I'm just going to put it over on the table, okay?"

"Turn it off then!"

"Okay, okay I'm turning it off." She pretended to press another button before letting it rest on the table in front of Eve and Danni. They both let their eyes wander to the phone, and both saw the text across the screen: Pete...

*

"Hello? Mac?" Pete talked into his phone. What on earth was going on?

*

"Where are you Adam?" He laughed.

"Guess, guess, little girl!"

"Oh come now, that's a bit generous, you're not that much older than me!"

"Aren't I?"

"Not really!"

"How much older?"

"Oh, ten years or so?"

"How can I be only ten? I'm your father." Mac stopped, telling herself he was just saying that but still. She couldn't resist looking back at Eve, who by now was definitely fraying around the edges. She shook her head strongly, putting Mac right back on track.

"Really?"

"Oh yes, I remember the day they brought you home from the hospital. You were so cute!"

"Where are you Adam?"

"Do you want to play guessing game?"

"Okay."

"You guess then." Mac smiled.

"Are you behind all the photography equipment?" He laughed.

"Nooo."

"In the kitchen?"

"Nooo."

"Well there aren't many places you can hide Adam – it's a pretty empty house! Not much stuff to hide behind!"

"I dunno."

*

Pete ran his hands over the car phone dials, calling all the necessary people as he turned the corner. Thankyou Mac, thankyou, he told himself, hoping she knew she'd said enough with the photography equipment, silently urging her to stop now. They'd be there soon.

*

"Oh well!" Mac exclaimed, turning to face Eve and Danni. "I give up! Where are you?"

"Not that easy. You gotta come and find me."

"Okay!" Mac answered brightly, but the next thing he said, his cold intonation, stopped her.

"Put down the gun though. Or I'll shoot your mother, then you, then your friend." Mac nodded, taking her gun and holding it out at her side, before lowering it in the corner of the room.

"I've put it down Adam. I'm going to find you now. But you have to promise not to hurt anyone."

"I promise not to hurt your friend."

"No, Adam, everyone, or I'm not coming to find you."

"What happened to you Ellen? You were so cute. Running around in your lacy purple dress-" Mac stopped in her tracks. Had to be a coincidence. Eve and Danni watched her carefully as she tried to get back on track. "I watched you Ellen. You had your first kiss when you were fifteen, down at the park with your next door neighbour." Mac's mouth opened in surprise and she took a step back, toward her mobile.

"Ah! Don't move." Mac stopped.

"Okay, I've stopped. I've stopped." She looked back at Eve. This was impossible. There was no way this person could know this. He was, he was only a teenager when she was little. He was at school-

"You never asked me if my name was Adam... If that's what you wanted to call me – quite fitting really. Adam and Eve," he spoke coldly. Mac bit her bottom lip, still not knowing where the voice was coming from. Her eyes were fixed on the entrance to the hallway. "Come on Ellen, come and find me."

"How old are you?" she asked.

"I was eight when you were brought home from the hospital. I watched them, I watched you."

"Who are you?" she asked again. She flinched as the thought she heard a car door outside, but didn't dwell on it.

"My name's Newman. Don't you remember?"

"Newby," she stated. "Do you know who Adam is?"

"He was talking to Eve here when I got here."

"Oh, was he? Where is he now?"

"Why don't you check it out? I saw it on TV once."

"Check what out?"

"Well, the backyard for one. Then the freezer. Off you go." Mac's heart sunk. She didn't even bother with the backyard. She knew about the freezer – she'd seen that episode as well. She had a feeling Adam was missing a frozen head, well and truly dead. "Good thing was, Adam did all the easy stuff, tying her up."

"How do you know about Eve?"

"I've been watching you my whole life. Don't I know that your mum in Sydney was never pregnant? It's not half obvious. You led me straight to this bitch weeks ago."

"But why did you come to her house?"

"Caught onto your other little friend – two at once, aren't you two lucky! Knew you'd turn up eventually. And of course, I had to hear the baby stories. I love baby stories. Especially about you, Ellen." Mac looked back at Eve and Danni. Danni was sitting down now, and they were both listening carefully. 'I'm sorry,' Eve mouthed. Mac shook her head, turning back to the hallway.

*

Pete paused at the entrance to the front door, listening to Mac calling Adam 'Newby' – he'd changed his name again perhaps? But she'd been calling him Adam only moments ago, and 'Newby' was quite a fond name, one you would call someone...someone you know already. Come on Mac, he whispered, give me something here. Pete looked back as cars began to pull up silently along the street.

*

"Come and find me Ellen!" Mac nodded.

"All right, I'm coming to find you. Where should I go?"

"Wherever."

"Why don't you tell me if I'm getting warm Newby?"

"I don't know-" Mac caught Danni's head motioning slightly towards the front door out of the corner of her eye.

"Why did you put Adam in the freezer Newby?" she asked suddenly.

*

"Adam's in the freezer?" Pete hissed to Angie and Oscar, who'd taken up their places at the front of the entrance.

"Then who's this?" Oscar asked.

"Newby!" They exchanged worried and ultimately confused glances at each other, working out what on earth to do.

*

"Why do you ask? Now, you're quite cold there. Forward." Mac took one step forward, closer to the hallway. "And again!" She followed. "Again! Again! Again!"

"How am I going?"

"I'm helping you. Let's see how you do on your own." Mac was aware that he might not be down the hallway, hiding somewhere else instead, and that if she left Danni and Eve by themselves... Yet she was contented to know there was a barrage of officers outside, hopefully Newby didn't know that piece of information. She stood forward again, edging her toe into the hallway. She didn't want to move the rest of herself in however, too afraid of getting her head blown off as soon as she put herself into the line of fire. Fight it Mac, she told herself. Fight it and move on. She was unarmed, and had never felt so naked without her gun before.

She looked quickly right and left as she entered the hallway. Darkness – no one.

Mac felt the tears come to her eyes - this was horrible! She didn't want to look back but did, and Danni tried to offer a small smile. Newman's voice came out again, and Mac was forced to turn. It was coming from every wall. Every direction.

"Ellen whatever happened to Bill?" Mac stopped in her tracks.

"I'm sure you know."

"Ah, that I do, that I do. Do you remember Millar?"

"Yes, he made the bomb."

"He was my next door neighbour, did you know that?"

"No, I didn't."

"Well he was!" Mac nodded.

"I believe you."

"I liked Bill."

"I liked him too Newman."

"Yeah, much better than that COP who's just pushed his squiggly little head through the door. Tell them to GET BACK!" Mac nodded. "GET BACK! GET BACK!"

*

Pete backtracked quickly, stepping on Oscar's toes as he did.

"Shit," he whispered. He turned back to the uniforms. "Get Special Ops, tell them it's a hostage situation. Shit!"

"My men can't see anything," the Sergeant reported. Pete nodded.

*

"Calm down Newby. Just take a moment. Now come on, can you let Eve and Danni leave?"

"Noo, why would I want to do that?"

"Danni then, let Danni leave."

"I ask you again – why?"

"She's not a part of this Newman. You know that. If you let her go I'll give you a go at solitaire!"

"You remember solitaire?"

"Of course I do. I beat you every time." Newman laughed.

"Yeah, you did. Why else should I let her go?" Mac didn't know whether what she was about to say would work for or against her – she looked back at Danni, who smiled, giving her permission. Mac cringed as she said it, waiting for a reaction.

"Because she's pregnant Newman, she's not well and she doesn't need to be here. You should consider letting her go free..." Silence.

"Newby?"

*

"Mac! What'd you do that for?" Pete tried to open the front door again.

*

"I'm thinking – and tell your man to GET OUT!" Mac turned her head.

"For Chrissakes Church, wait!" she called, turning back. "There, now, Danni – Newman you don't want to hurt her."

"No, I don't. She's not you."

"No, now see, why don't you let her go?"

"Okay, but she has to do exactly as I say."

"She will, she will," Mac said, looking back at Danni as she nodded.

"Danni put your hands on the table and spread your fingers, then lift your arms up, as if you're surrendering. Push your chair back and stand, and walk backwards three steps, before turning towards the door and walking – SLOWLY – to the front door. Understand?" Danni nodded.

"Yes," she called.

"Right then, go." She did as she was told, and walked slowly outside.

Pete was holding the door open for her and she was ushered outside quickly. Oscar took hold of her as she turned, unharmed and eager to find out what would happen next.

"Where is he?" Oscar asked. She shook her head.

"I don't know. Neither does Mac or Eve. It sounds, it sounds like he's everywhere. Mac almost lost it there for a sec." They nodded, Oscar patting her back as she was ushered out of the space by uniforms. Angie turned to Pete.

"You've been in there. He has to be able to see Mac and the front door. I can't see Mac from here, so he'd have to be in one of the other corners?" Pete sighed.

"Exactly but there's nowhere in those corners. It's the kitchen – I think – and if he's down a hallway how the hell is he seeing the front door?" Pete had a sudden thought and let his eyes drift skyward to the security system above his head. Beside the security light was a camera.

*

"Ahh, Ellen, your friends have found me! HELLOOOOOOOOO! Wave! WAVE, or I shoot them!"

*

Pete gave a slight wave.

*

"Excellent! So, Ellen, how's life?"

"Newby, you know how you said that Danni wasn't me so it'd be all right to let her go?"

"Mm..."

"Well Eve isn't me either."

"Ah but Eve owes me."

"Why?"

"I killed Ad-dam! Chop! But he'll keep for a couple of weeks I think. Sunday roasts – yummy!" Mac shuddered. Adam was so innocent compared to this.

"How much does she owe you?" He didn't hear her.

"And also, also, she is you. I mean really."

"How?"

"She's your mummy. Ma-ma, bub-bub, fifty percent D-N-A! I learnt that at school."

"Yes, but she's not me. And I'm who you want, aren't I?"

"Oh, I'm easy. She's enough like you to be classified as you. Come on, you still haven't found me!"

"How come you say my friends have found you but I still have to?"

"Because they only found my eyes – my hands and face are still missing."

*

"Hands?" Oscar turned back to Pete and Angie. "Hands..."

"Grenades, gun, bomb-" Angie started listing. "Knife, machete, hammer- "

"Ange!" Pete exclaimed. He looked up at the camera, moving his hand behind his back and making a spraying motion at the uniformed officer behind him.

In seconds, the camera above their heads was covered and Pete opened the front door slowly.

*

"Argh! My eyes, my eyes!"

"What happened Newby?" Mac asked. Oh God, she thought, what did they do? "Newby talk to me!"

"You PRICKS! They blinded me Ellen. I can't see any more!" He paused. "BUT – they can't go very far because I can still see you Ellen. Beautiful Ellen. I can see you purr-fectly!" She immediately held out a hand that stopped the police in their tracks. In the other corner of her eye she could see a couple beginning to prowl around the back, where they would ultimately find what remained of Adam Abrahams.

"Okay Newby, you just watch me. Don't worry about them. They won't hurt you."

"You lose a life cos of that Ellen."

"A life?"

"Do you remember Sniffy?"

"My cat?" She kept looking around. How could he see her? How could he see her?

"Yes, your cat. He had nine lives. I hear humans only have one. Come and find me. And if I see your police friends come near Eve or into where I can see them, then I will shoot you." Mac nodded.

"All right, it's okay, I'll come and find you. But you have to promise not to move."

"Okay, I'm waiting!" Mac nodded, adrenaline suddenly making her confident.

*

Eve let her head rest down on the table, tears streaming down her face as she saw her daughter disappear around the corner of the hallway, but she must've known, because she kept talking, letting Eve know she was okay.

"All right Newby! Here I come...Ooh, not there!...Or there. Where could you be?"

Eve turned her head to see a police officer in a dark suit standing against the edge of the wall perpendicular to the angle she was sitting at. His toe edged over the perimeter of the room. The reaction was immediate.

*

"Ellen, your friend has his toe over the line." Mac stood where she was – at the entrance to the main bedroom. "No more solitaire for Sniffy!"

*

Mac fell back, hitting her head against the wall as the impact of the small explosion rippled across her front.

*

Eve was guarded almost immediately by one of the officers, all carrying heavy weapons. She crouched, the noise of the explosions ringing out. She saw Pete and Ellen's other friends push past and disappear down the hallway.

*

Pete knelt beside Mac and let a hand rest on her neck, checking her pulse – which was reasonably steady thank goodness. She moaned as he shifted her slightly, checking for wounds. Angie crouched next to him, holding Mac's hand and helping to hold her sitting.

"Come on Mac," Pete whispered. "You're okay, you're okay." She shook her head.

"Mum," she managed. "Is she-" Pete looked over at Angie.

"She's okay Mac, she's fine." Mac opened her eyes, looking over at Pete.

"What was it?"

"He's rigged points along the hallway with small explosives, we think. Nothing serious, just to scare you," Pete replied, looking at the devices the officers were discovering around the place. Mac didn't have the energy to notice that they hadn't seemed to find Newman at all. Instead, Oscar appeared not so long afterwards, with an armful of technical equipment.

Pete helped Mac up, holding a hand around her waist, Angie standing close-by in case she couldn't handle the walk to the chair with only Pete to help her, but she seemed all right.

"I need a Panadol," she managed to whisper to Pete. "I have a splitting headache." He smiled, nodding.

"I think we can arrange that." They sat her down on the lounge chair – soft and comfortable – and Angie held onto her as Pete disappeared outside to look for Eve and Danni.

They were standing together outside, in between police cars. Eve ran up to him, tears in her eyes. But Pete smiled, taking her arms in his hands.

"She's all right."

"Can, can I come in?" He nodded, grinning.

"Do you have Panadol?" She nodded as well, disbelieving. "She asked for you anyway, mum." Eve let herself break into a smile, turning to Danni.

"Thankyou," she whispered. Danni shook her head.

"Not a problem."

"You okay?" Pete asked her. Danni nodded.

"I'll be right. Mac?"

"Same."

*

"So, where is he?" Mac asked, looking around. Angie sat next to her, still with an arm firmly around her waist and the other on her shoulder. Oscar knelt beside them, answering.

"He wasn't here. He was, obviously, to kill Adam-"

"Adam is dead then?" Oscar let his eyes drift to where Forensics had just arrived to view the fridge.

"Yes, he is. But he must have set everything up and left. Eve would've seen it all, but he would've warned her against saying anything. There were cameras and two-way wires and transmitters. He could be anywhere." Mac shivered but looked up as Pete returned with Eve in tow, who went straight to her cupboards. Angie stood and let Pete take over in steadying their friend.

"She's going to get you something for the head until the paramedics get here. We're not on the urgent list." She nodded as Angie went over to Eve and offered to get it for her, so Eve could see Mac. They smiled at each other.

Mac smiled as Pete nudged her innocently.

"Here she is, eh?" Mac looked up, dazed but focussed, and Eve knelt down beside her. They hugged tightly as Mac started to cry. Eve, for seconds, didn't know what to do. She looked over at Pete, who grinned, reaching out and letting his hand rest on Mac's back as well as Eve did her best to soothe her.

*

Eve leant her head back against Pete's couch and closed her eyes as she reached out, letting a hand rest on Mac's leg.

"Sorry I couldn't tell you," she whispered. Mac shook her head.

"Narr, well," she sighed. "Looks like we've got something else in common then." Eve turned and looked at her as Mac smiled. She was about to respond when Pete came into the room, followed by Danni, Oscar and Ange, and answered for her.

"Yeah, it's easy for people to obsess over you!" Mac nodded as Angie took a seat opposite her.

"Right, so explain Newman to us."

*

"Newman, uh, I don't remember the last name too well...Thomas? Or Thompson or something like that. He'd be 41 now I guess. He was, I guess, a bit of a loner. I hung round him."

"Or he hung around you," Danni added and Mac was eager to nod.

"Exactly. To my parents he was a good babysitter, but once I got to about eight, and he was sixteen, and was just as eager, they got suspicious about it. I wasn't allowed to see him again after that. Really, I, there was never any sign that there was someone acting strangely or watching me – I never felt that-"

"What about the phone calls recently, about telling your mum that he was back?"

"That was Adam. I can only assume that the silent ones were most probably Newman, and Pete before you say I-told-you-so, there was no-"

"Mac, I wasn't going to say that."

"Well what were you going to say?"

"Good work for today. If nothing you should get yourself into Special Ops Negotiating." Mac scoffed.

"Oh sure!" She shook her head. "Sorry guys, he could really be anywhere. I hardly know him, he just seems to know all about me." She turned to Eve. "Sorry about the freezer – you had to watch?"

"No, I was blindfolded, but I saw what was going on in the backyard. Territorial those men. Didn't last long. Told you Adam wasn't very good with violence, he was just a little – strange." Mac smirked, so did Danni.

"Tell us about it. Mac, he was just trying to scare you today, put you on alert."

"Can't wait till he's actually there," she cut in sarcastically.

*

Pete lifted his head off the couch later that night as Mac tiptoed past him into the kitchen.

"Hey," he started, hiding his laugh as she jumped a mile, turning quickly. He waved and she scowled.

"Don't do that," she hissed.

"Can't sleep?"

"Sort of not really. I'm awake, not really trying to get back to sleep, so I don't know if I can or can't." Pete nodded knowingly as he sat and Mac came over, sitting beside him.

"Thanks for getting Danni out of there. I wasn't sure whether you should have-"

"No, I know. It could've gone either way."

"I realise it might take a while for you to understand, what happened and-" Mac was shaking her head.

"Pete, it's all right-"

"No, let me say it." Mac didn't reply. "Thankyou for not biting our heads off. I know you could have, and I wouldn't have objected to that either, because I know it doesn't seem right, or it might not, that we were starting to work things out then this was sprung on you." He was silenced finally by Mac simply turning to him, her mouth flat but her eyes sparkling with what Pete eventually realised, were tears.

"If you're okay with things, how they are – are you?" Pete nodded. "Then so am I."

"So what you suggested ages ago, about, uh, the possibility of us-" Mac smiled, letting a hand rest on his arm.

"How about we take that pretty slowly, eh? See how 'all of this' pans out first?" He nodded, somewhat reluctantly.

"When I didn't reply, it wasn't because-"

"Church I know!" She paused. "I think I should be used as bait for this."

"Mac-"

"We can't just wait until he turns up at my doorstep-"

"We'll be ready when he does. You know you're not going home alone, don't you?" She nodded as Pete tentatively put an arm around her.

"What about Eve?"

"Someone will be staying with her as well, and Danni. Oscar and Angie are drawing straws tonight."

"So they're separating are they?" He chuckled.

"Actually I think it might've just been that one time. They don't seem to be, doing much-"

"So far." Mac laughed softly. "Oh God I'll have to talk to them."

"Yeah, but, um-"

"What?"

"You didn't get mad at Danni and I, so you can't-" Mac groaned.

"I just realised. You know you're all like little kids. Give one the go-ahead and you all jump in and do it too." Pete chuckled. "What about Newman then?"

"We'll think about that in the morning, okay?" Mac nodded as she leant her head into Pete's shoulder and closed her eyes, both of them continuing to make small talk until Mac drifted off first.

*

Eve was first up the next morning, and let Danni, Oscar and Angie in silently when they arrived. Danni smirked at Mac and Pete, glancing at Oscar and Angie.

"This is an all-too familiar scene." Eve creased her brow as Danni shrugged it off.

"I'll explain it later. Can I wake them up?"

"Oh, that's a bit mean," Eve started.

"Only Pete, not Mac, he can wake her up." No one objected as Danni approached Pete. She leant over, flicking his forehead with her two fingers. He reached up and grabbed her hand however.

"Been waiting for you to do that," he mumbled. "Five more minutes." They laughed, as Pete shook Mac awake gently.

*

"All right Eve, Angie, you ready?" They nodded efficiently. "Eve they're going to let you back into the house for the darkroom and things like that, but as we suggested, it's probably a good idea if you take a couple of days off, just until they finish cleaning up." Eve watched Mac and smiled.

"No problem there. I've let everyone know already."

"Good. Oscar, Danni, home." She turned to Pete. "You ready?" He nodded. "Newman Thompson, he's 41. I don't have a photo yet but I will, in about two hours. If anything happens here, call us after you get other help, got it?" Oscar smirked.

"Mac, we'll be fine till you get back this afternoon. It's you we're concerned about."

"Narr, what he's going to walk onto a plane with us now?"

"Well you don't know what he looks like." Mac lowered her voice.

"Yeah, I know. Okay, well, we have to leave now." They nodded slowly.

*

That night Angie and Oscar sat flicking channels, mindful that Eve and Danni were already asleep.

"Think of it this way," Oscar started. "At least this is a comfortable stake out." Angie smirked.

"Yeah, better than the car! Would you stop and watch something for three seconds at least?" They laughed, Angie grabbing the remote and flicking to a movie. Oscar groaned as he saw what it was.

"Meg Ryan?"

"I like her."

"An-gie!"

"You'll like it, just watch!" Oscar rolled his eyes and sighed as Tom Hanks walked on-screen. Angie looked over at him, smiling.

*

"Should we ring them?" Pete asked as he guided Mac back into his house later that night, both tired after their return flight to Sydney for the day. "We at least have to email them the photo from his mother." Mac nodded, yawning.

"Okay, just email though. They haven't called us, I'm sure they're fine." Pete walked over and sat at the table in front of his computer, turning it on as Mac fished for the photograph of Newman Thompson.

*

Tom Hanks walked casually past his laptop, looking at the screen as an envelope appeared.

"You've Got Mail," the electronic voice said, and at the same time Oscar's started to page him. Angie started laughing as he got up to check his own email.

"Nice timing," she mumbled.

"It's Newman's picture from Mac and Church. They're back."

"So am I, but if Ellen is back, I better go and find her. Bye-bye!"

Angie stood immediately, looking around.

"Shit," she whispered. "Where is he?"

"Gone to get Mac," Oscar started, pulling out his mobile phone and dialling.

*

Mac slid her eyes sideways as she sat on the couch, watching Newman, who didn't flinch as Pete's phone started to ring. Newman threw his small microphone transmitter on the floor and turned his eyes to Mac.

"Really quite stupid. They're trying to warn you I'm on my way, and I'm already here." He leant closer. "Now, where is Peter Church?" Mac looked back at him, her gaze steely.

"Really quite stupid," she mocked. "Coming through the front door and announcing you were here. Gave him time to run."

"That it did, but he wouldn't run from you. So, I'll just have to find him." Mac was not about to tell him where Pete had gone. She barely knew. Somewhere in the kitchen, she'd thought. He hadn't been in Newman's immediate line of vision, Mac had – she'd had to stay – he'd seen her as soon as he'd entered.

*

Pete tried not to move, doing his best to listen to every word. He peered through the cracks in the panels near the hinges, and managed to see Newman looking about, Mac's head visible over the top of the couch. Pete knew he was safe for now. As if anyone would suspect he was hiding in the long line of cupboards under the sink. He was a bachelor, he had little use for those cupboards and had – thank God – taken all the empty cans he kept there to recycling only a couple of weeks ago. It was a perfect fit.

He was aware of the gun in his hand, and that if he needed to, the bullet would almost certainly exit the thin wood and give Newman the shock of his life.

*

"Now see I thought what I did last time was pretty clever," he was telling Mac. "So I was thinking, what am I going to do now to top it off? It has to be better, don't you agree?"

"I agree," Mac replied, nodding. "So what did you come up with?" Newman shrugged.

"Well obviously this time I 'would' kill you. I was hoping Peter could join us, for, a party?"

"Well I'm sure he's sorry he missed it. I'll pass it on."

"You see, well, it would really be a party for me. What could I make the two of you do by pointing my gun and waving it about like a madman? You know, Ellen, even though your bedroom backs onto the back of the house, and there's no way any of the neighbours can see inside, I really think you should keep the curtains closed at night."

"Excuse me?" Newman spoke next, mocking her.

"Bill, oh Bill-"

"You're sick!" Mac hissed, sitting herself back in the chair.

"Yes but once I was exposed once, well you are highly addictive."

"Have you tried Nicorette? I hear that works well." Newman paced around her, before leaning forward and letting the gun swing an inch from her face.

"I'm sure it does, but the cure for you, Ellen, is much more complicated."

"Can you let me in on the secret?" Newman reached out with sudden intensity and grabbed Mac by her short hair, pulling her forward, off the chair and onto her knees, blocking Pete's view of her.

"Shit," he whispered ever so quietly as Newman bent over, disappearing behind the couch as well. He knew what he was doing, trying to draw Pete out, and he had to get out, just to see what was going on and try to stop it if necessary.

*

Mac cringed as she felt Newman's hot breath on the back of her neck.

"Which doors have locks on them in this house?" he asked. Mac didn't answer and she cried out when he snapped her head back far enough for it to hurt. "Answer or it goes further, like a stick." Mac nodded.

"Just the bathroom." She jumped as the barrel of the gun dug into her back.

"Crawl there, stop at the door. I'll be right behind you." Mac nodded and lifted herself off the ground slightly, crawling into the hallway with Newman closely following.

*

Pete watched Mac's foot – all he could see of her – disappear into the hallway, heading for somewhere, he didn't know where. But he was now able to get out without Newman seeing him, and that was good. Problem was, he didn't know where they were going.

*

Mac turned to what she knew to be the bathroom. She was going to have to be quick. The door was already hanging open slightly. She pushed it forward, at the same time pushing herself up and using all her energy to shut the door against Newman's advances, locking it securely. Newman screamed, pushing forward on the wood.

"Let me in Ellen! Come on, you know I'll get in eventually." He pointed the gun at the door and fired through.

*

Pete, now crouched behind the kitchen bench and moving forward quickly, stopped for only a second and he heard the gunshot. He stopped around the corner of the hallway, waiting for a signal of which way Mac had taken him.

*

Mac backed herself up against the corner of the bathroom as another gunshot rung out, this time sending the handle spinning across the room. It slammed into the opposite mirror, and the door swung open slowly.

*

Pete let his head and gun wander around the corner towards the direction of the second shot, just in time to see Newman enter the bathroom.

*

Newman looked around. Empty? Absolutely impossible, he realised, taking a closer look. His eyes stopped at the shower curtain. He walked forward. Slowly. Assuredly.

"Ellen," he whispered. "Ellen you can't hide forever."

He flung it open. Empty.

*

Mac held herself steady outside. He mustn't have noticed the open window yet, she sensed. Her ankle throbbed because even though the window was relatively low and easy to get through, there was a larger jump to the ground, and she'd completed the manoeuvre much more quickly than she'd ever had to in any academy exercises. She held her breath as she heard him calling her name. She moved slowly to the side, towards the front door, and re-entered the house.

*

Newman turned, to come face to face with Pete, the gun held steadily at his head.

"She's not here," Newman said casually. Pete's jaw was tight; he didn't flinch.

"Did you notice the window was open Newby?" he mocked. "She's smarter than you think." It took a moment but Newman's focus faltered and Pete made his move, walking forward, determined, getting the gun closer and closer to Newman's head. "Drop your weapon," he stated.

They both heard footsteps behind them, before Mac entered, her gun drawn also. She was out of breath and limping slightly, making her footsteps more audible than they would have ordinarily been.

"I've called the police Newby." He smiled maniacally.

"Have you now? How's your ankle?" In moments the gun was pointed at Mac's feet and the bullet released from its chamber. Pete didn't waste a moment, firing at his arm. They were all aware that in a room like this, ricochets were a real problem, or in Newby's case, advantage. Newman cried out in pain as the gun was flung from his arm, Pete moving forward as Mac held her ground. The bullet fired at her feet had embedded itself in the door frame behind her, yet it had cut her ankle, enough for her to have alleviated it off the ground while maintaining her sight.

Pete had a towel to Newman's arm and had cuffed him by the time that Mac managed to move forward. Newman was struggling against Pete and Mac knelt beside him, burying her own gun in the back of his neck.

"Stay. Still," she ordered, and Newman for once did as he was told.

*

"Why didn't he kill him?" Eve asked, teary-eyed as she said goodbye to Mac.

"I don't know, Eve, it's one of those split-second decisions." She smiled. "Right now he's wishing he had, but there's no going back now."

"Will I see you again?" Mac nodded as they hugged tightly.

"I promise you will. I'll come back, I promise – mum." She pulled back and Eve grinned.

"Twice in a week, eh? I feel special." Mac smiled through tears.

"Yeah, you are." They hugged again as Pete pulled up in their new car.

*

Mac took the stand a year and half later.

"Do you swear to speak truthfully, and only so, for the entirety of this hearing?" She nodded.

"I do."

*

"When's Eve testifying?" Pete asked afterwards. Mac shrugged, looking around their guarded hotel room.

"Tomorrow, we're not allowed to stay though." She turned to him. "We have to go back." He nodded, hugging her tightly. "Do, Pete do you miss not knowing about Danni?"

"Of course I do."

"Then why did you come?"

"You needed me just as much. Angie and Oscar haven't gone anywhere, just changed a couple of things." Mac nodded.

"Wonder how they're going."

"Yeah, won't know for a while I guess."

*

Angie sat watching the television in her uniform, getting ready for work at the Bank three years later. She looked up and smiled as Oscar brought himself out of the bathroom, doing up his tie.

"Spiffy," she smirked as he walked over, leaning across from behind and kissing her softly.

"Always."

"No drug busts today?"

"No, just patrol." Angie made a face.

"Ooh."

"Yeah, yeah," he laughed, coming over and sitting next to her. "Don't start till ten. While you, may I add, start just a little earlier." Angie looked over at him, shrugging.

"Doesn't matter, just means I'm the breadwinner in the household." Oscar scoffed.

"Oh really?" She nodded, grinning.

"I can lend you five bucks if you want-" She was cut off as Oscar kissed her again. They pulled back as Angie was immediately alerted by the morning news.

"The casualties of the riot include Newman Thompson, the man charged almost three years ago with decapitating another man. Both were stalking the same woman. Others include-"

Angie looked over at Oscar.

"Ring the station," she stated. He nodded, reaching for the phone. "No wait, ring Danni."

"She'll be dropping Jack off-" He was cut off by the phone. "Hello?"

"Did you just hear that?"

"Hi Danni," he looked over at Angie, who was grinning once again. "Yes, we heard. Where are you?"

"Home, took the day off today. Are you going to ring the station?"

"I was just about to – I'm off in an hour or so anyway."

"Yeah, well, no time to wait."

"Danni..."

"What?"

"Well I can't ring to check it out while you're on the phone to me, can I?"

"Oh right, call me back as soon as you find something out."

"I will, how's Jack?"

"Good, yeah, a little confused about why I just let out a huge sigh of relief and am grinning from ear to ear, but it's fine. What time do you and Ange finish?"

"I finish at 5, Ange at about 3.30."

"Good, I'll be round about 4?"

"Yeah, righto."

"Call." She hung up.

*

Mac entered, her bag hanging near her hips, slung over her shoulder, and her daughter cradled against her shoulder, her head against Mac's neck. She approached the woman behind the desk.

"Hi Brenna. Can I wait here for him?" She looked up, smiling and nodded.

"Course you can. He should be back soon anyway. Picked his lunch hour so I see. Ooh, she's so beautiful." Mac nodded.

"Thanks, make sure you tell her that." They laughed.

"Got the ear infection all fixed up? Sleeping soundly I see." Mac grinned.

"Oh yes, no trouble any more. Back to usual." Brenna raised her eyebrows.

"Just wait for the next one." Mac laughed.

"Believe me, I am. So anything interesting happening around here?"

"Not too much. He's fixing up a spiffy yacht."

"Really?" Brenna nodded.

"Big, lots of hours, started this morning. Means lots of labour billing and very high commission." Mac smiled, nodding.

"Always a bonus." She looked up as Pete and his mates came through the door, laughing. They all stopped when they saw Mac, who smiled. "Surprise!" she exclaimed as Pete moved forward quickly.

"What's happened?" he asked. Mac laughed, raising her eyebrows.

"What hasn't?" Pete watched her as she dug around with her free hand in her bag, pulling out a folded piece of newspaper – today's headlines. "You left so early and I didn't get up for another few hours after you put Stace back to bed-" She handed it to him. Pete opened it nervously.

"MAXIMUM SECURITY: JAILHOUSE RIOT LEAVES 10 DEAD, 17 INJURED" He scanned the first few paragraphs until he found the mention of casualties. It didn't take him long to find the name – he was looking for it. He folded it quickly and looked up at Mac. The others had lost interested and wandered slowly away, giving them some privacy.

"I just got this great job-" he started, running his hand softly over Stacey's dark hair, but Mac cut him off, a hand on his chest.

"I know, I know, Brenna told me. Look, I just wanted you to know. We can talk about it later, um, when you get home." Pete nodded.

"Okay," he replied, spreading into a grin. "Can I hold her a while?" he asked. Mac nodded, transferring Stacey carefully to Pete, who held her easily.

"Be my guest," she grinned, looking over at Brenna.

"He has a nack," she stated to Mac, who nodded.

"I've noticed."

*

"Are you sure you don't mind doing this first?" Mac asked three days later. Pete shook his head as he jumped out of the car. Mac was already freeing Stacey from her capsule. At ten months she was growing fast and Mac couldn't believe it.

"I'll take her if you like," Pete said as they crossed the road. Mac watched him, smiling. She handed Stace over to him as she rung the doorbell. Stacey lifted her head and looked around expectantly as Pete fiddled with her dress.

"Coming!" The voice called, and Mac grinned as the first part of the door opened.

Eve stood and watched Mac, breaking into a smile.

"Oh my God," she mumbled, fumbling for the locks. "Come in, come in!"

"Did you hear?" Mac asked. Eve nodded.

"Yes but, I didn't think you'd, be back-" Mac raised her eyebrows as she walked into Eve's arms.

"Well I promised you I would be." Eve nodded in the embrace, pulling back after a long while. She looked at Mac suspiciously. "Are you going to introduce me?" Mac smiled.

"You remember Peter?" Eve nodded.

"I'm sure I do." She grinned as Mac took a deep breath.

"And this is your granddaughter." Eve laughed.

"Oh God don't say that!" She walked forward as Pete offered her to her. She looked over at Mac nervously. "I haven't held a baby in a long time."

"Well Stacey here was my first go. I'm sure you'll be fine with a bit of experience up your sleeve." Eve nodded as she took Stacey gently in her arms.

"Oh yes five minutes and I'm so highly qualified. Hello Stacey! But looks to me," she glanced at Mac. "That Stacey might be giving me some much needed experience for the future?" Mac blushed.

"Yes, well, you can hold on all you like. I'm only four months." Eve laughed as Mac looked over at Pete, who nodded – going well, going well. Eve looked down at the baby in her arms, before handing her back to Mac.

"She's gorgeous. Stacey, eh?" Mac nodded as Pete cut in.

"Stacey Evelyn actually." Eve looked over at Mac and raised her eyebrows.

"Ah, even better!" They laughed as Stacey started to fuss, Mac shifting her position, which seemed to help somewhat. Pete grabbed onto her tiny fingers and Stacey pulled them, laughing. "Have you seen your other friends yet? Are you back for good?"

"No and yes," Mac answered. "We're on our way over now. We just have to find a place to put up for a while, till we can find a spot of our own."

"You're welcome here, you really are. I've replaced the freezer." They laughed.

"Are you sure?" Pete asked. Eve nodded.

"Of course!"

*

Pete grabbed Mac's hand as they approached Oscar and Angie's house, finding their names in the phone book easily – they knew where to look. Oscar had taken Angie's last name instead – perfectly reasonable.

"I don't know if I can do this," he started. Mac smiled reassuringly.

"You'll be fine. Just think of it as if I was introducing Stacey to you, all right?" He nodded, still unsure, as Mac knocked twice. Angie answered, and after some moments of re-introducing and introducing, led them back through the house.

"Oscar's still at work. He'll be home soon," she mentioned casually. Danni was standing, waiting – having heard the familiar voices and Angie's welcome – and Jack was sitting at the coffee table, drawing on some butcher's paper. Danni grinned as she saw Mac and Pete. More introductions, more welcomes.

Danni hugged Pete tightly and grinned as she was introduced to Stacey. Mac was nervous about this, Pete could tell, but he was much, much more so. They both looked over as Jack looked up as Danni called him.

"Jack, these are my friends, eh? Peter and Ellen – say 'hi.'"

"Hello," he said, looking up at them. Danni smiled.

"He's four." They nodded. He looked up at Danni.

"Mum can I go back now?" She nodded, patting his head.

"Yeah, sure."

"Does he know?" Pete asked.

"I told him one day I'd introduce him to his father. Bit much for you both I'd say though if I did that right now. Just got back. Been to see Eve? She missed you." Pete smiled, nodding.

"Thankyou." She shook her head.

"Not a problem." They looked at Angie, who was standing around listening anyway, grinning from ear to ear.

"So," Angie began. "He's dead, eh?" Mac nodded, leaning back into Pete as he put a hand up to help support her with Stacey.

"Never been so happy in my life!" she exclaimed, but backpeddled at Angie and Danni's surprised faces. She blushed.

"Well," she corrected, smiling around at Pete briefly. "One of the happiest days-" They rolled their eyes.

"Sure," "Yeah!" She turned to Pete, eyebrows raised.

"I should think so!" he exclaimed, kissing her softly as Angie ran to meet Oscar and drag him inside for the reunion.

The End.