Had to write this since the IIC sure as hell aren't going to! Oh, and considering the spoilers I'm not addressing psycho Marley and unbalanced Donna.  I mean if they're so concerned they should go after custody of Steven and Kirkland instead of the twins!


The phone on his desk shrilled and he raised his head from the papers in front of him. Sighing, he took off the reading glasses he just started using, shifting the papers he was reading to the side.  So much for getting home anytime soon,  he thought as he reached for it.  "Carlino," he said shortly as he reached for a pad and picked up a discarded pencil.  "And this had better be good. . ." He listened to the person on the other end, his features slackening with shock as the pencil slipped from his grasp, a curse on his lips.  "Yeah. . .Yeah, I'll ummm. . . I'll take care of it.  I'll let them, and everyone else know.  Thank you, Dect. Hughes." Shakily, he rose to his feet and yanked his jacket off of the back of his chair.  Swallowing hard he moved to his office door, yanking it open.  "SinClair! Watts!" he bellowed as he shrugged into the jacket and started towards the door.  The two officers in question exchanged glances as they rose from their desks and walked towards him.  "Boss?" Josie asked, taking in the look on his face and knowing immediately it wasn't good news. 

"I need you and Cameron to help me make some rounds.  Might want to call and get Gary to help too," Joe said as he started to stalk out of the bullpen, his gaze purposefully staying away from the cells. 

"Questionings?" Cameron asked.

"No.  Informing family members."

"I didn't hear anything on the scanner," Josie said, confusion evident in her voice.

"That's because it didn't happen here.  Oakdale PD just call.  Jake McKinnion was shot during a kidnapping attempt.  He died half an hour ago at Oakdale Memorial," Joe informed them stiffly.

"Not. . ." Josie inhaled sharply and shook her head.  "Want me to take Donna and Marley?"

"Yeah.  I know I should, but I don't want to take the chance that will Paulina hear it another way."

"Oh G-d.  I gotta tell Allie," Cameron realized.  "And Carl is not. . ." he shook his head.

"I'll make the call to Jamie.  The boys are going to need to be told," Joe added as he ran a hand through his hair, a mental list of who would need to be told forming.

"What about Sean, and the rest of the McKinnion?" Josie asked.

"I don't know.  I don't think Paulina knows how to get in touch with any one but Sean.  Maybe Cass. . ." Joe sighed.

"At least he'd know how to get in touch with Kathleen.  I'll ask Donna and Marley if they know. . ." Josie told him softly as they walked out of the police station and paused on the steps.  Their eyes going across the street to the offices of the Bay City Herald. 

For a moment, Joe could swear he caught sight of the ghost of McKinnion, hurrying out of the doors and swaggering towards him.  Complaints spilling from his mouth, paper in his hands, thumping against his leg as he bolted up the stairs.  "Joe?" Josie asked, causing him to shake his head, the image disappearing.

"Let's get this show on the road," he sighed, as he started down the stairs and towards his car, wishing he wasn't going home for this.

~Oh we never know where life will take us

I know it's just a ride on the wheel

And we never know when death will shake us

And we wonder how it will feel~

The offices of the paper were jumping.  The sounds of the keys tapping as the last minute stories were being edited or written before the deadline for the morning run filled the air as reporters and interns scurried around.  Phones rang as stories were called in, people complained, and ads were sold.  All in all a typical day in the office. 

Pushing away from his desk, the black man rose and rolled his shoulders, watching the bussle around him.  IT was times like this that he loved his job.  It was also times like this that he wished he had his old one back.  But, he had never been able to admit to the failure that had kept him stuck in this Florida paper. 

He was on the fasttrack here.  A junior editor.  Would probably be in charge before he knew it.  But it wasn't the same.  He had been on the fast track and a hell of a lot happier there.  Maybe he'd give a call.  Been too long since he had talked to his best friend.  Hell, he hadn't even been able to make it to the wedding because of a story.  But. . . hell, why not.  Not like he had a wife to hold him back.  To make him change to her whims. . .Smiling, he picked up his coffee and started towards the coffee machine, watching a couple of the guys as they watched the wire.  "What an idiot," one of the men said. 

Curious, he walked over.  "Who? We have something for America's Dumbest Criminals again?" he asked.

"More like dumbest would be heroes," the other reporter groused as he handed him the feed.  "Guy took a bullet while trying to save his wife from a kidnapper.  Didn't even go to the police.  I mean what the hell was he thinking?"

Shakily, he looked over to the other reporter, his face pale, unshed tears in his eyes.  "HE didn't trust cops, except maybe Carlino.  Probably didn't want to have to bury another wife."

"How'd you know?"

"Because I used to work for the guy.  Was good friends with him. . . was. . ." he let out the breathe he was holding.

"You OK, Chris?"

"Yeah.  Just can't imagine a world without McKinnion.  Guy was to tough to die.  To smart.  Guess he used up his nine lives. . ." slowly, Chris turned and walked back to his desk, fumbling through it for his phone book.  He flipped through the pages and found the entry for Jake.  Inhaling sharply, he reached for the phone and dialed the number, not surprised to get the machine.  He cringed as he heard Jake's voice coming over the line, then started in a choked voice at the beep.  "Molly, I know we haven't met but. . . My name's Chris Madison, I'm a. . . I was a good friend of Jake's.  I'd like to help in any way. . .Look, if you need a pallbearer. . . It would be my honor to do it. . .my number is 555-5555.  I'll be there either way. I'm so sorry. . ." he broke off, letting the phone dropped to his desk, his head following.

~So goodbye my friend

I know I'll never see you again

But the time together through all the years

Will take away these tears

It's okay now

Goodbye my friend~

Cameron stood in the doorway of the living room of the Corey-Hutchins residence and watched as Carl sat on the floor playing with Corey and Elizabeth, while Rachel sat next to Amanda on the couch, Jasmine in her lap, as Matthew walked into the room, teasing his daughter as she turned towards him, and reached over her grandmother's shoulder for her father. 

It was family.  Pure and simple.  Once that had lost so many people over the last few years, and now it was his job to tell them that another member of the extended family was gone. 

"Cameron, what are you doing in the doorway?" Amanda asked as she caught sight of her husband in the room.  He sighed as he stepped in, noticing how the adults all turned to him, and knowing that he couldn't hide the sadness that was creeping over him in his face.

"What is it lad?" Carl asked as he handed his son a block, his eyes on the younger man who stood uncomfortably in the living room.

"Cameron?" Amanda asked again, worry clear in his voice.

"Come on man, what's the story?" Matt asked as he shifted his daughter in his arms and sat on the back of the couch.  "You look like someone died."

"Because someone did," Cameron told them softly.

"Who?" Rachel asked as Carl rose to his feet and walked over to her, his hand on her shoulder as he let his eyes travel to 'the grubs' who were playing innocently on the floor.

"Where's Allie?" was asked he could asked as he looked around the room, for his stepdaughter.

"Upstairs finishing homework," Rachel told him matter of factly.

"Oh, G-d, it's Sam isn't it?" Amanda asked.

"No, it's not Sam."

"Then who lad?" Carl asked.

"Their was a kidnapping attempt," Cameron started, closing his eyes momentarily trying to find the words.  "Joe didn't have all the details, or at least didn't share them.  I think he was too worry about breaking the news to Paulina. . ." he paused as he saw the dawning of realization in Carl's eyes and felt Amanda grasp his hand, taking strength from that he continued, all the adults unaware of the person in the doorway who was also listening.  "Jake. . .um. . .Jake was shot and he. . . he didn't make it."

"No! NO! YOU'RE LYING!" the voice called, breaking the silence and the shock of the people in the room, their attention focused on her now.

"Allie. . ." Amanda said stiffly as she rose and started towards her daughter, Cameron next to her.

"No.  It's not true.  Jake's not dead.  He can't be. . ."

"Honey. . ."

"No. . .No. . ." Allie insisted as she backed up towards the steps, stopping only as she hit them with the back of her legs and was forced to sink to them.  Unsure what to do, Amanda just stood in the doorway, as Cameron walked to Allie and kneel in front of her, taking her into his arms and let her cry into his shoulder, as denial gave way.

~I've seen a lot things that make me crazy

And I guess I held on to you

We could've run away and left well maybe

But it wasn't time and we both knew~

Lila nodded as she walked Gary to the door, the news still not completely sinking in.  Jake McKinnion was dead.  It just didn't seem possible.  She'd only seen him a couple of weeks before at Carlinos when he was dropping the twins off. 

Closing the door, she closed her eyes and leaned against it, gathering her warring emotions together.  She needed to get those numbers for Joe and that meant that she had to call Cass.  Sighing, she leveled herself away from the door and walked across the room towards the table where the phone was.  She hated the idea of having to tell her husband over the phone, but she knew someone had to tell him.  "You just had to take the case in Springfield even when you couldn't help him, didn't ya Winthrop?" she asked the air before dialing his cell.


Cass smiled at Carmen Santos a retort ready on his lips as his cell rang.  "I'm sorry. . ."

"Go ahead," Carmen sighed as she played with the umbrella in her drink, glad to have the chance to flirt with the man.

"Winthrop . . "

"Cass. . ." Lila started, only to get cut off.  "It's not a good time Lila," he told her gruffly.

"When is anymore?" she shot back, her accent deepening because of her annoyance.

"Lila, I don't have time for this right now. . ."

"Don't you dare hang up on me, Cass Winthrop," she told him angrily.  "Especially not with what I have to tell you!"

"Oh, and what's so important? Because I know it's not something with the kids.  Jasmine's with Matt and Charlie's not do back from Oklahoma for a few days. . ."

"It's Jake."

Cass sighed, "I'm not having this argument with you again."

"Good, because that's not what this is about.  Gary was just here.  Jake died about an hour ago.  I thought you might want to know. Especially since you're the only one who knows how to get in touch with the majority of his family," she told him coldly. 

"Lila, I. . ."

"Don't Cass, it doesn't matter.  Go back to your ever so important case."

~So goodbye my friend

I know I'll never see you again

But the love you gave me through all the years

Will take away these tears

I'm okay now

Goodbye my friend~

He sat in the car watching her silhouette in the window, knowing that she was putting Dante down for the night.  He shook his head, knowing that he didn't have to words to tell her.

He had been there, before, when Jake had been presumed dead years before.

He hadn't been there at the beginning.  Just the end.  Just when Paulina needed answers.  He hadn't been able to give them to her then any more than he could now.  Truth was, he wasn't sure that it would matter.

Sighing, he opened the door and climbed out of the car just as the light in his son's room went out.  He couldn't put this off.  Jake was too well known.  The situation, made too good copy.  It was only a matter of time before the story broke.

Slowly, he walked up the stairs onto the porch.  His head hung low, he opened the door and walked in, watching as she walked down the stairs, her smile freezing at the look on his face.  "Joe? What is it? What's wrong? Who's hurt?" she asked as she continued down the steps and stopped in front of him.

"You need to sit down, Blue Eyes," he said softly as he bracketed her arms with his hands. 

"Who?" she demanded, a mixture of fear and worry in her voice.

"It's Jake. . ." he started, then paused trying to find the words.

Swallowing hard, she pulled away and started towards the couch, picking up the portable phone from it's cushions.  "What are you doing?" he asked as he watched her.

"I'm going to call Rachel and ask if we can borrow the plane.  I want to be there.  To help.  You have no idea what a bad patient that man can be," she said stiffly as she fought back tears.

"Paulina. . ."

"No," she said as she let the phone drop, and stood stiffly in his arms.  "Don't you dare say it.  He's going to be OK.  Jake's like a cat.  He always lands on his feet, and has nine lives.  You know that," she added as she swiped at the tears that had started to fall down her cheeks.

"He's gone, Paulina.  I wish to God he wasn't but he is," he told her softly as he rested his head on her shoulder and held her close as the shudders ran through her and he lowered them to the ground, rocking her slowly, till she fell asleep in his arms, and he drifted off.

He was somewhere between sleep and wakefulness when he heard a noise and looked towards the stairs.  Shifting the sleeping woman in his arms as he watched the man sit about half way up the stairs.  "What are you doing?"

"Haunting you," he deadpanned with a grin, watching as Joe rolled his eyes.  "Hey, I figured if I'm going to spend eternity watching over you and yours I could ask a favor in return."

"Do I really want to hear this? Your favors have a way of getting me and mine into trouble," Joe countered.

"Gee thanks.  And here I figured you weren't the type of guy to speak ill of the dead."

"That's to other people, not to their faces. So what is it you want?"

"Take care of them for me. They're going to need someone, even if it is your sorry self."

"You really think you have to ask?"

"I don't?"

"That's what friends are for."

"Really, Dionne?"

"You're a jerk even dead."

"Well, isn't it nice to know that somethings won't change?" Jake asked him.

"Yeah," Joe sighed as Paulina shifted in his arms.

"Well, it was nice knowing you."

"It sure was interesting," Jake acknowledged as he stood and started to dissipate.  "You were a good friend.  Even if you can be a jackass."

"Goodbye, Jake."

"Bye Carlino, see you around," his voice floated through the air as Paulina opened her eyes and looked up at Joe, who was still staring at the stairs.


"Yeah, Blue Eyes?" he asked as he looked down at her up turned face.

"I must have been dreaming, but. . . I could've swore I heard you and Jake. That he was here."

"Well, if he was, it was just to say goodbye."

She inhaled at that, "We're going to have to do that," she said softly as she pulled away and used the arm of the couch to lift herself from the floor.  "You know there are some people I have to call.  And someone should be there for Molly.  Give her help planning the. . ." she stopped and shook her head.  "I'm going to give her a call."

"You do that, Blue Eyes.  You do that," he told her as he watched her move to get her phone book. 

"He's really gone this time, isn't he?" she asked as she turned to watch him.

"Yeah.  This time, he is," he told her softly, watching her nod and swallow back tears and memories, shaking his head, he rose and walked up the stairs to give her time alone.

~Life's so fragile and love's so pure

We can't hold on but we try

We watch how quickly it disappears

And we never know why

But I'm okay now

Goodbye my friend~

Paulina flinched at the sound of Jake's voice on the answering machine and swallowed back tears.  "Molly, it's Paulina.  Joe just told me, and I know you probably don't want to talk right now.  So, ummm, I just wanted to let you know that I'll--- that we all--- we be there for you and the girls.  If you need any help with the funeral arrangements--- any thing.  You just call.  We'll be there.  And ummm. . .when you have the funeral plans finalized, call and I'll let everyone else know.  We'll be there."

Shaking slightly she ended the call and put down the phone before walking towards a nearby bookshelf and pulling out one of the many photo albums that she kept there.  Quietly she walked to the couch and started to flip through it, smiling at the memories that each picture brought back.

As she reached the end, she found the one she was looking for.  One of him alone, smiling at the camera, mischief dancing in his eyes. 

Funny, she couldn't remember now what he was up to, or why he was smiling, but this was how she'd probably always remember him.

"Goodbye, Jake.  It was one hell of a ride," Paulina said softly as she traced his features, and she could swear him on the wind, telling her goodbye and calling her 'Cupcake' one last time.

~You can go now

Goodbye my friend~

Song Credit:  Goodbye My Friend: Linda Ronhstadt- Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind