A/N: I've been waiting forever for to add the Killing, and, look, it's here! :) I'm excited to see what all you other writers come up with. But I digress. This is my version of what happens after the season finale (which, by the way, was an absolutely amazing finale; I loved it almost as much as Castle's finale). Did anyone else get the song that goes "I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you" stuck in their head? That would be the one playing at the end. I definitely got it stuck in my head. Anyway, I'm rambling. I don't own The Killing - please enjoy, and reviews equal love. Honesty is the best policy. :)
It's dark by the time he finally gets home, and something's missing.
Maybe it's that he didn't stop by the police department, maybe it's because he forged the pictures - or maybe it's neither. He's well aware it's the third option, but he doesn't consciously allow himself to believe it. Instead, he busies himself around his gloomy, dirty kitchen, trying to make a meal out of the shit he has left - which really isn't much. In the end, he's got something that looks like pasta and still that feeling.
Is it guilt? Perhaps, but he thinks it's a mixture of different things, creating a poison that might just kill him. He forces his thoughts away from it and idly wonders whether Linden's actually gotten on the plane this time. This is when it hits him - he forgot to give her her "going away" present, the one he'd saved for when she was "actually going away." Yeah, he'd actually gone out of his way to get something small for her; it wasn't exactly the world's best gift, but he hoped it would get across the message: it was nice knowing you, now get the hell over to Sonoma, and be happy there.
He really does want her happy. It's obvious that the woman's becoming obsessive to the point of putting off her own life for cases. Maybe that's why he forged the pictures, maybe not. He thinks it's that, and the desire to see Richmond (the bastard, killing an innocent girl) in jail. Either way, he's done something wrong, and he knows it; he just hopes she won't find out.
Maybe that's the part that's missing. Perhaps he's still afraid of her figuring it all out. He was so careful in forging the pictures but what if - what if - ?
After all, she was pissy enough when he was doing his job right. He'd kill not to see her rage when he was doing things wrong.
He falls asleep imagining this. It's weird, considering he barely knows her, but, as his eyes close and unconsciousness calls to him, he can't help smile at the idea of a woman her size trying to appear intimidating. Because, yeah, she's scary, but there's not much she can do.
He snickers, and then he really is asleep.
While he can sleep, she can't let her eyes close.
Rick's noticed, but he hasn't said a word. She wonders if he thinks it's like before - after all, she obsessed over that case, the one that nearly tore them apart. She's obsessing over this one, she knows, but she has to find the girl's killer. She has to.
The difference between that case and this one is simple: in that case, her partner didn't forge the damn evidence.
She's still so fucking mad at him, but she's able to contain her rage - for now. She hasn't said a word yet, but she'll be on a plane the next morning, at around eight o'clock. Rick can take care of Jack - he's never failed her there. Yes, he'll be pissed at her; they have a wedding to plan, after all, but this can't wait. Even if she can't solve the case, she has to know why.
Why would Holder do that? Why would he betray her trust the moment he'd gained it? Why would he put his personal thoughts over actual evidence? Why, why, why?
Biting her lip, she tries to sleep. She really does. But she's still awake when seven a.m. rolls around, and she's out of bed not too long after. She kisses Rick, sweetly tells him that she's going for a run, denies his protests, and leaves.
She never looks back.
(yes she does - she looks back at the case, at Holder, at all of it, and wonders why the hell things had to happen this way - but she never looks back on leaving Rick.)
He's not sure what time it is when he wakes up, he's just aware of the sun streaming in through his window, blinding him. He blinks once, twice, before swinging his legs off the side of the bed and getting to his feet. At first, he reaches for the familiar jeans and grey hoodie, before remembering the case is over. There's no work today. He finally has a day off.
Holder snorts at himself. He'll only get a day off if a body doesn't drop. If it does, it's back to the station. Maybe he'll get stuck with a new partner, maybe not. Hell, maybe they'll ship him back to County, maybe they'll fire him - maybe he'll be working mall security by the end of the week.
Deciding it best to get dressed just in case someone does decide to die, he gets up and quickly throws on what looks to be a clean pair of jeans, a black t-shirt, and the same grey hoodie he's worn for thirteen days straight (this being day fourteen, of course). He idly wonders if he should wash it. Probably.
He's just shuffling out towards the kitchen, still blurry-eyed but a little bit more wakeful, when a pounding at the door startles him. For a moment, he freezes: he knows that knock. It's very police-ish. But after a second of thinking this, he smiles at himself. There's no way to categorize knocks, are there? He knows plenty of people who knock that way. It could be anyone.
Still smiling slightly, he makes his way to the front door. Briefly, he thinks it might be about time to get a house instead of a crappy apartment: he'd be allowed to install one of those eye hole thingies (hell, he's too tired to remember the name) and maybe know who was knocking. But no, he doesn't have the money to do that, not yet, so he's stuck with the good old fashioned way of answering a door.
He opens it.
What happens next is sort of a blur. He's utterly shocked. He's torn between horror and amusement; horror because (oh, God) she's here, she's figured it out already, and amusement because she'd actually shoving him as hard as she can, and, no matter how much strength she puts behind her blow, it's still as futile as he imagined it the night before. He doesn't move, only watches as she pulls arms back to strike him again. Instead of striking him, she seems to have a change of heart and drops her arms to her sides, not before growling, "What the hell were you thinking?"
Holder doesn't answer. He only stares, and it infuriates her. He's not sure what to say, she realizes; he didn't think she'd figure it out, did he? Well… Biting her lip in frustration, Linden demands, "Do you realize what you've just done? You've blown the case to hell, Holder! Richmond might be fucking innocent! The Larsens think it's over! What will they say when they find out it's not? Do you get what you've done?"
He's still shocked; she's never said that much to him before, not in one breath. When he realizes she's glaring at him, readying her hands for another attack, he draws a deep breath and tried his best to explain himself in a calm voice, "I thought-"
But she doesn't let him get another word in, not yet. "You thought what, Holder? That you'd go ahead and ruin this case, ruin your career? I hope you're happy. Look what you've fucking done." Her voice is quieter, but he's still surprised; not only is she talking more, she's actively swearing every few sentences.
Only when he's sure she's done talking does he start again. "Look, Linden, I know I screwed up," he pauses here, just to make sure she's not going to interrupt him again, "but the bastard was guilty. I knew it, you knew it-"
"All I knew is that the evidence pointed to him, not that the damn man was guilty. Don't you see, Holder?" He doesn't even try to stop her here. She's shocked him once again, her tone shifting from dramatically enraged to remorseful, maybe even a tad empathetic, but he knows better than to believe she is. Still, her next words are slightly softer than her first, "We might've just sent a good man to jail. All because - because - because…" she's struggling to find her words. After a second, she just gives up and goes with the next-best. "Why, Holder? Why?"
"I told you, I thought he was guilty," he tries to deadpan, but it comes out guilty anyway; it's obvious that's not the only reason, so he keeps going. "An'… an' you needed to get to Sonoma. You were obsessing over the case, Linden, and it just wasn't healthy, y'know?"
"Right," she rolls her eyes sarcastically, "because you've always given a damn about my wellbeing, and because that constitutes… whatever the hell you did. Forgery. Fuck-up."
Holder bites back a smile at her swearing. He shouldn't be smiling, not when he's feeling like shit and she's so pissed at him. Sighing, he tries again, "I just wanted it over, y'know? It woulda been good for you and me. You needed Mr. Sonoma and I… I dunno, Linden, I was just tryin' to be a homicide cop, and you weren' exactly teachin' me much, huh?"
"Oh, so now it's my fault?" The rage is back, and honestly, he's scared. He grabs her wrists before she can hit him again. She gets angrier at this but he doesn't let go, only steers her into the apartment, finally shutting the door behind him. If they're going to talk about skeletons in the closets and elephants in the room, the door may as well be closed; it would be no good for anyone to hear them before they'd figured out where to go next.
"It's not your fault," he mutters. She frowns, and he repeats it, louder, "It's not your fault, a'right? I screwed up, Linden. What the hell do we do now?"
Growling in frustration, she shakes her head. She looks as though she might speak but chooses instead to collapse into the nearest chair and bury her head in her arms. He stares, not entirely sure what to do, but he does take a few steps closer, desperately hoping she won't flip out on him. Instead of doing that, she loudly announces, "I've got no money to get back to Sonoma, Holder."
"So?" She glares, and he realizes. "Ohhh… shit. I could - I could pay for it."
"No, because we're not just gonna bury this. I don't know how the hell you can sleep knowing what the hell you did."
"Who said I slept last night?" She glares again. "A'right… I did. But you know what, Linden? I can separate myself from the damn cases. That's why I can fucking sleep. I'm secure in knowin' that bastard's in jail and the family's happy-"
"Happy? Happy? How the hell are they happy?"
Holder shifts from foot to foot. She's not looking at him anymore, and he decides he may as well risk his life, choosing to take the few steps to the chair, crouching down in front of it. As gentle as he can, he moves her arms from her face and lays them on the sides of the chair. Well, he's got her full attention now - that's a good start.
"Look, Linden, I screwed up. I told you that already, a'right? Just - just… we gotta find a way out of this. Gotta figure out what we do next."
"Easy," she deadpans. "I go down to the station, tell Oaks you're a screw up. Richmond walks free, the family's devastated, and you're out of a job."
"You can't be serious-"
"Of course I am!"
"We're partners, Linden, we gotta stick up for one another."
Her glare is nearly fire itself, cutting its way through him. He shifts uncomfortably, staring into her eyes, waiting for her to agree - but she doesn't. "We were partners before you did this. I can't believe I actually trusted you."
Though there's no measurable rage in her voice, the words themselves are enough to render him speechless. He can only stare as she continues. "Sticking up for each other only goes so far, Holder. If you want to screw with evidence, kill your career - that's your choice, you do whatever the hell you want, but I am not letting this happen. I'm not covering for you."
"Then don't," the words are out of his mouth before he even thinks. "Linden, I'm a rookie, aren't I? They expect me to fuck up. Maybe - maybe - if we tell Oaks the… right way, he'll listen. He'll put us back on the case, a'right?"
Linden shakes her head vigorously. "I'm supposed to be planning a wedding, Holder, not cleaning up your damn mess!"
"Well you obviously flew back here for a reason."
"Yes… well…" she sighs, putting a hand to her forehead, pushing it hard into her skull, eyes closed. They stay like this for a few moments; him watching, her thinking, before she opens her eyes. "I'm going to regret this but… fine, Holder. We'll figure this out."
"Partners?" He offers her his hand and a small smile.
She doesn't smile, but she does take his hand, and she does whisper, "Partners."