Title: Cold Case – Hope Lives

Summary: Detective Lilly Rush finds a little more than the truth when the Squad investigates an unsolved murder.

Pairing: Lilly Rush & OFC

Rating: M for F/F sexual content.

Disclaimer: No profit or copyright infringement intended during the writing of this story. All characters other than original remain the property of creator Meredith Stiehm, Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Warner Bros TV and CBS Productions.


Chapter 1

As I walk into the Philadelphia Homicide Division located at Police Headquarters 750 Race Street, I scan for a familiar face. I know my ex-colleague has been working here since 2006 after leaving the Narcotics Unit. The detective and I had worked numerous undercover cases together between 2002 and 2003 before I transferred to the Violent Crime/Fugitive Task Force. The Unit had been established in conjunction with the FBI and investigates onboard aircraft crime, robberies, violent fugitives, major thefts and kidnappings.

Walking past several vacant desks, I realise the detectives of the Cold Case Squad must be out in the field. I search for Lieutenant John Stillman's office to my left and rap lightly on the doorframe.

A handsome man in his late fifties glances up from the open file on his desk and says warmly, "Detective Cooper I assume, I've been expecting you." He stands and extends his hand to me. "Captain Sorrell called this morning and outlined the case you're working."

I approach the six foot tall Lieutenant and accept his handshake, "Pleased to meet you Sir. Captain Morrell speaks most highly of you."

Smiling broadly, John Stillman retorts, "You have got yourself one hell of a Commanding Officer Detective Cooper. Frank and I go back a long way and you'll not find a more loyal or trustworthy man."

I smirk slightly, "Cap said the same thing about you Lieutenant."

We both share a laugh understanding the respect the two men who served together in Vietnam have for one another.

"Can I offer you a cup of coffee Detective?" Stillman asks while heading out the door towards the break room. "The Squad Detectives should be back any minute."

I follow and reply, "Thank you for the offer Lieutenant, but I don't drink it."

"A wise move," jokes Stillman as he nears the coffee machine. "I see you've brought some paperwork with you."

I wave the folder I am carrying in my left hand, "Yes, it's a copy of the original file. If you point me in the right direction, I would be more than happy to pull the case file from storage."

With coffee mug in hand, Stillman ushers me three floors down to the vast storage room. I hand him the file and he opens it then peruses it while sitting on the corner of a nearby table.

Stillman reads out aloud, "August 6th 1999, Brenda Jo Walker, 22, is abducted while making her way home from work. Body was recovered three days later floating face down in the Schuylkill River."

I begin to search the relevant rows of boxes as Stillman continues to read in silence. "The victim had been tortured and raped," I tell him as I locate Brenda's file.

John looks in my direction with arched brows and asks, "And the original investigation turned up no leads?"

"Not one and Forensics came up empty handed. Any DNA traces that may have been left behind had either been contaminated by the environment or meticulously eradicated by the perp or perps." I place the box on the table that Stillman is currently perched on.

"No witnesses?"

"No, Brenda finished work at the South Street Diner a little after midnight. She said goodbye to her colleagues then headed towards her car, a late model white Mitsubishi Colt sedan."

"Were there any surviving family members?"

"At the time, there were only her parents Ronald, a retired train driver and her mother Robyn. Robyn passed away in 2000. Ronald blamed his daughter's murder for his wife's early demise. Brenda's best friend, a Trudy Wilcox stated that Brenda was not romantically involved with anyone and all investigations confirmed that fact."

Stillman smirks, "You've got a pretty good handle on the case."

"I've read the statements and reports a dozen times," I state. Actually, it was more like a hundred times. Picking up the cardboard container, I follow Stillman back upstairs to the Squadroom and am immediately approached by Kathryn Miller.

The thirty-four year old brown eyed beauty regales, "Well look out, the Princess is in the house. What are you doing here? Not enough work for you over at Violent Crimes?"

I smile. I always did have a soft spot for the bubbly brunette, "I have plenty of work Kat, but a case I'm working has led to information on a rape/homicide. I thought you guys would like to take a look at it."

"Damn!" she exclaims with genuine distaste.

Placing the box on the nearest desk, I open my arms to greet Kat properly. The five foot six woman steps in and we embrace warmly. "It's good to see you," I whisper.

Kat pats my back, "I'm sorry I haven't stayed in touch."

"It's cool Kat. Having a lively child tends to take up your time."

"Yes, Veronica certainly does that," counters Kat proudly.

I step back to notice we've been joined by a six foot African-American male, a younger male of Cuban decent and a robust Caucasian male.

As Stillman begins introductions to Will Jeffries, Scotty Valens and Nick Vera, a stunning five foot seven blonde settles on the corner of a nearby desk. I subtly take in the long hair pulled back into a high pony tail, the slim frame covered by a dark blue pinstripe pants suit with a light blue buttoned shirt and the chiselled facial features. My breath catches in my chest for a split second before my thoughts are interrupted by Stillman's voice.

"Detective Lilly Rush, Detective Sergeant Connie Cooper from the Violent Crime/Fugitive Task Force."

The beautiful blonde nods her head at me, "Oh yeah, over there with the Feds, right?"

I suddenly wish I was dressed more appropriately. My low waisted black jeans, combat boots and untucked dark purple Oxford shirt seem underdone as I reply, "Yes, I get to babysit them."

My joke brings a laugh and smiles from the others. The looks of interest from the male detectives have not gone unnoticed by me. I'm used to it. Over the past fifteen years, it's become second nature to be leered at. It is also a complete waste of their time.

Lieutenant Stillman continues once the laughter ceases, "Detective Cooper's current case has unearthed some information on an unsolved rape/homicide dating back to 1999." He quickly gives a rundown on the facts we had discussed earlier before handing over to me.

"Thank you Lieutenant. Two days ago, a perp by the name of Chuck Palmer was arrested for the armed robbery of a United Savings bank. When questioned regards the identity of his two cohorts, Palmer asked for a deal in exchange of information pertaining to the Brenda Jo Walker murder."

Nick Vera scoffs loudly, "Damn low lives looking to deal."

"Detective Vera," I say. "I don't make deals with criminals."

"Oh, sorry about that," he replies with surprise.

Kat interjects, "Yeah Nick, Princess here is not namby-pamby when it comes to perps."

The blonde's eyebrows arch, "Sounds like you two have history?"

"We do," answers Kat. "Three years working undercover with Narcotics."

I note the detectives are impressed with the news and I carry on, "Palmer gave up his partners in crime and a lead on two men he witnessed taking Brenda from her car the night of her disappearance."

"Real stand up guy," offers Scotty Valens. "Nice to see he contacted Police with his concern way back when."

"I don't think it was on the list of priorities at the time Detective Valens. Palmer was too busy trying to score a hit in the car park," I explain.

"So what's the lead?" asks Lilly Rush in a soft voice.

"Description of the two males and a partial index on the white Ford Taurus they drove away in."

Jeffries tilts his head and asks, "So how come you are handing it over to us?"

"I've got a twelve case workload at the moment and this case is better suited to your expertise."

"Gee thanks," grumbles Nick. "Another frigging case, just what we need."

"Hey Hot Shot," says Kat angrily. "I believe that was a compliment."

I quickly add, "It was. No offence meant guys. I've done the vehicle check through DMV on all Ford Taurus that fit the partial and there are only ten registered owners. I've also arranged to bring Palmer over here for questioning this afternoon at three." I look at the nodding Nick Vera, "I've done as much as I can at this stage. I wish you luck and will see you in two hours."

As I walk away, I overhear Valens ask, "So Miller, what's the story on her and why do you call her Princess?"

"Scotty, she looks like Lucy Lawless who played Xena the Warrior Princess on television."

"She certainly does," admits Vera as I retrieve my Glock from the gun locker then holster it.

"Ah don't bother guys," Kat says. "You are not Connie's type."

I smile at the comment and make my way out of the area and back to my office on the eight floor at 600 Arch Street.

-0-

After signing the transport authorisation papers, I grab hold of thirty-two year old, lanky Chuck Palmer's arm and lead him towards my dark blue Ford Crown Victoria sedan. "Remember to be on your best behaviour Palmer," I say while pushing his head down as he climbs into the back seat.

"Yeah, I know and trust me, I'll cooperate. I don't need anymore trouble."

"Good to hear," I comment before slamming the door shut on the piece of shit. Although reluctant to sing Palmer's praises to the DA's Office regard his assistance, I didn't push for a reduction in his sentence, but did put in a good word for the career criminal to serve his sentence in nicer surroundings. At the time, Captain Sorrell had looked up from behind his desk and asked if I was going soft. Reassuring him that wasn't the case, I'd headed to lock up to collect the weasel like Palmer.

The short trip is silent, just the way I like it. I pull into a car park and escort Palmer inside the building while holding onto his cuffs firmly. We enter the Homicide Squadroom and Stillman and Jeffries take Palmer to an interview room.

As I step into the Observation Room, I am pleasantly surprised to find Detectives Rush and Valens in the Interrogation Room with Palmer sitting at the table. For thirty minutes, the two detectives ask a series of questions then I take Palmer back to lock up.

I return to my office and proceed to the locker room where I exchange my service weapon for my off duty piece.

-0-

I arrive home fourteen minutes later and note the red light flashing on the answering machine. Deleting the message, I know who it is from and don't wish to deal with their shit one more time. After showering and dressing in shorts and tank top, I go to my garage to workout. My anger towards the message leaver spurs me on for two hours until I finally stop punishing myself and head indoors for another shower then dinner.

While putting away dishes, my cell phone rings with the number I deleted six months earlier. "What?" I answer with more than a hint of annoyance. I am not in the mood for another round of lame ass excuses or hollow apologies.

"Connie, please don't be angry," pleads the voice that I used to love hear, but now makes me cringe with disgust.

My retort is full of hate and venom, "Oh for Christ's sake, I will always be angry at you. What part of "you're a fucking cheating liar" don't you get? It's been six months, you and I will never be friends again and we will definitely never be lovers. Just suck it up and stay out of my life." I disconnect the call before a reply is forthcoming.

Grabbing a beer, I retreat to the confines of my bedroom and proceed to cry until exhaustion finally takes control and allows me to sleep for four hours before the alarm is due to go off and herald in another work day.

-0-