Good evening everyone! Here is a little update before I head to work. I've been working full time for the last month trying to get back all that money I spent so I've had very little time to do any writing. Hope you like the chapter. It has a sort of mature part in it but if you watch the show you should be fine as it's mostly implied. Thank you for the reviews for the last chapter and kirst92 for making me put some effort into finishing the chapter...

Some new characters, let me know what you think! Pretty please review. Makes me feel good about life haha. And write more because I feel like people other than me care.


Shannon wearily opened her eyes, feeling Lawson's arms tightly wrapped around her. It was the third time she had woken up in the last hour having restlessly tossed and turned, waking Lawson up with her. But every time he had kissed her and pulled her close to him, reassuring her with his words and warmth. This time however, he was still sleeping and she carefully extracted herself from his arms.

Very gently she put one of her pillows in his arms and grabbed the other, walking out to the living room. Flicking on the mindless early morning TV she settled herself on the couch, bringing the blanket up under her chin and slowly falling asleep.

"Shan," Lawson mumbled as he opened his eyes. Seeing the bed empty next to him, his arms wrapped around a pillow instead of his girlfriend he frowned in confusion and rubbed his hands over his face.

Walking out of his bedroom he saw Shannon lying on the couch. He walked slowly over, unsure as to whether or not she was awake. Her eyes were shut but she was yawning in tiredness. Shannon however had obviously sensed he was there and peeked her eyes open.

"Care to tell me why you are sleeping on the couch?" Lawson asked her in a stern voice.

"I wanted you to get some sleep Laws. You were exhausted. And I was only going to keep waking you up. So I just thought it would be good..." Shannon was interrupted by Lawson.

"WE are a couple honey. Yes?" he asked her.

"Yeah, but..."

"But nothing. For better and worse and all that stuff,"

"We aren't married Lawson," she said with a small laugh.

"Yeah, but its good practice for when we are," he smiled back at her.

"So, you still want to marry me?" she asked.

"Mmmhmm," he mumbled and leant down to kiss her. She kissed him back eagerly and scooted forward on the couch. He sat down behind her and she leant back between his legs, her head resting against his torso. Pulling the blanket over them she shut her eyes.

"Are we really watching Dr Phil?" he asked, rubbing his thumb gently over her hand.

"Please no, I saw enough of it when I had to sit and home and do nothing,"

"Ah yes, the week of avoiding me," he replied. Shannon's cheeks flushed a deep red. She remembered telling him she was trying to avoid him when she was drunk so she couldn't even try and deny it.

"Sorry," she mumbled.

"I was so scared I wasn't going to pass my evaluations to get back to work and I..."

"Should've talked to me about it?" he suggested to her. She wasn't sure what to say, instead just turning her head into his chest trying to bury her guilt and anxiety.

They lay on the couch for another hour, both drifting in and out of sleep but savouring their quiet moment together.

"So I wanted to ask you something," Shannon said running her hand over Lawson's.

"Ah, ok. That sounds ominous," he said resting his chin on her shoulder.

"My lease runs out in two months," she said hesitantly.

"Right," Lawson said back, not entirely sure where the conversation was heading.

"And the owners are moving back to Melbourne and so the property isn't going to be rentable anymore," she continued when he didn't say anything.

"So if you were serious about saving 100 bucks a week with me, well, I would like the next place I move into to be with you," she finished quickly.

"It'll be much harder to avoid me if we live together you know," he said seriously although Shannon could hear the edge of hope that laced his voice.

"I know, that is kinda the point," she said sarcastically.

"But do you think this is a good time, with everything that has happened in the last two months?" he pressed and instantly knew he probably shouldn't have said it.

"I knew I should have kept my mouth shut," she said and pulled away from him.

"No Shan, wait," he said and grabbed her arm pulling her back to him. He moved her onto his lap trying to reassure her. He could feel her heart rate had increased and she was trying to mask the pain on her face.

"I want us to live together, I just need to know that you're not making this decision because you feel like I pressured you or you need reassurance or something. Because you know I'm with you no matter what and if you want to wait..."

"That's the thing Lawson, I don't want to wait. I mean I am kind of scared, I haven't done this before but I think it's a really good idea and I really want to do this with you. Besides, it's good practice for when we're married," she teased.

"You're right," he agreed with a smile.

"Yeah, I usually am," she said in mock modesty.

Lawson gave a snort of laughter before planting a firm kiss on her lips.

"Well, that's what I like to let you think," he replied seriously.

"Take that back," she said as she lightly slapped him on the shoulder.

"Nope," Lawson said and started tickling Shannon lightly. Her laugh echoed through the room and it made Lawson's heart skip a beat. He was making her happy, which made him feel better than he had in months.

The moment was ruined however when his phone started ringing.

"Leave it," Shannon giggled as she kissed Lawson. But when it continued to chime, he gave in and answered, a smiling Shannon still sitting on his lap.

"Hello," he answered with a grin, reaching up to put a loose strand of Shannon's hair behind her ear.

"MARY," he sat up in alarm, shocking Shannon.

"Mary?" she mouthed at him, wondering who the random woman ringing her boyfriend was.

"Your mother," he mouthed back at her and she almost fell off the couch in surprise.

"What?" she exclaimed loudly.

"Er, how are you?" he asked her politely.

"I'm well Lawson how are you?" Mary replied, her voice now filtering through the lounge as Lawson put his phone on speaker.

"Ah, we're good," he said hesitantly.

"So my daughter is with you? I guess I can cancel the missing persons report then?" she replied sarcastically. There was no question of where Shannon got her sarcastic wit.

"Hello mother," Shannon said dryly.

"Oh and it speaks too," her mother continued.

"I've been meaning to call you," Shannon said guiltily.

"And yet here I am, calling your boss to get your boyfriends phone number because the last time I heard from you was the day of your friends funeral,"

"You called Kerry?" she responded in surprise.

"Of course I did Shannon, I know what you are like, something happens and you bottle everything up,"

"I'm fine Mum," she tried to reassure her.

"Fine or Shannon fine? Because they definitely are not the same thing," her mother says in a concerned voice.

At that Lawson gave a snort of laughter, but quickly replaced it with a sombre look as Shannon glared angrily at him.

"Hmmm," she said obviously not convinced.

"And what about you Lawson?" she asked, "are you okay?"

"Oh, um yeah, I mean yes, thank you" he replied almost nervously.

"You're a liar too," Mary replied knowingly, at which Shannon rolled her eyes.

"Ah, thanks mum. Can we not try and send my boyfriend running to the hills? I'd kind of like him to stay,"

"Me too, after some of the other people you've dated, I blame your father,"

"Anyway mum, how is Mitch?" she interrupted quickly wanting to change the subject so steering it towards her step father, knowing it would distract her mum.

They spoke for another ten minutes her mother only hanging up when Shannon agreed she would call her the next day.

"Well that was fun," Shannon said to Lawson.

"Why haven't you spoken to your mum? You guys are close, you should tell her what's been going on,"

"You mean tell her I was raped? She still works full time and she has Mitch and his business to worry about. It would just be getting another person involved, stressing her out and having to go through everything again,"

"I know that you are more important to her than anything else toots, just think about it," he said to her gently kissing her temple.

"I need to go for a run before I die of laziness,"

"Is that a..." Lawson began.

"Do not start Lawson. I had to pass a 5km run before I could go back to work. I just want to do a couple of kms. You can stay here lazing about on the couch or come with me, it's up to you,"

"I just don't want you to feel insecure when I beat you," he smiled trying to dig himself out of trouble.

"Stupid, arrogant, hovering man," she muttered under her breath but loud enough for Lawson to hear as she stood up and walked out of the room.


They ended up running 4kms and both got back to his place in a much better mood than when they'd left.

"Happy exercise hormones," Shannon said as she kissed him.

"You stink," he said smiling.

"Come on," she said pulling on his arm and walking into the bathroom. She started running the bath as Lawson disappeared, adding her favourite scented bubble bath to it. He returned a few minutes later with some candles, lighting them and placing them around the room.

"So many boyfriend brownie points," she smiled at him.

"Well you know me, I live to serve," he said in mock seriousness wrapping his arms around her waist. He leant down and kissed her lips, "I'll let you have your bath,"

"Wait," Shannon said as he pulled away.

"Stay," she continued.

"For a bath? Like a naked bath?," he strangled out, shifting uncomfortably and lowering his eyes.

"Well that is generally how it works,"

"Are you ok with that? You're ok with me seeing you?"

"Lawson," she raised her voice slightly, "how do you expect us to live together if you can't even look at me anymore?" She turned around facing the bath, trying to keep her emotions in check. A few stray tears leaked from her eyes.

He was horrified at how quickly things had gone downhill. Slowly walking up behind Shannon he rested his hands on her shoulders, hearing her breathe out and release some of the pent up tension.

"I could look at you all day," he told her and moved his hands down Shannon's arms.

"You're super hot," he said as he leaned down and kissed the nape of the neck. He saw the tears on her face and leant around, kissing their trace.

"I just can't deal with the thought of pushing you or doing anything that will heighten your anxiety,"

"I need us to start moving on from this Lawson. I feel like we are stuck in this black hole where all we talk about is my attack and work and then back to my attack and our relationship is suffering. I just need a little bit more normal so I don't feel so completely...shit," she told him.

"Just a bath?" he asked her hesitantly.

"I'm not asking you to marry me and father 10 kids, it is just a bath. A non sex, wash my hair, normal kind of bath. But you know what, don't even worry. Just go and watch football or whatever it is you want to do," she grumbled, completely fed up.

"10? Please...we should at least aim for a soccer team," he smiled slightly swaying on the spot.

"We are not having 10 kids. Or 11. Or 18 for an AFL team before you suggest it," she said untangling herself from his arms.

"Get in, the water is getting cold. I'm going to get some clothes and then WE can have a bath," he smiled.

Pulling her top off as Lawson walked out she looked at some of the marks on her back and cringed. Gingerly pulling the rest of her clothes off she sat in the bath, feeling her muscles relax in the hot water and shut her eyes.

"Don't fall asleep Shannon," Lawson said as he climbed in the other side of the bath, facing her.

"Enough bubbles?" he asked her, scooping a handful and blowing them towards her. She gave him a wicked smile and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

"That smile is concerning," he said to her.

"Knew you would like them. My favourite," as she ducked her head under the water.

"What?" he said in alarm and smelt his hand.

"Oi," he said grabbing her ankle under the water. Shannon brought her head up, taking a deep breath in.

"You did that deliberately didn't you?" he accused.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she said innocently.

"I'm going to smell like pomegranates for the rest of the day. You used pomegranate scented bubble bath,"

"You're going to get so much shit today," she smiled and moved up the other end beside him.

"I feel betrayed," he pouted.

"Ohh babe, I think you smell delicious," Shannon said as she moved her nose over his cheek. Looping his arm around her shoulders he gently hugged her.

"So beautiful," he smiled down at her and was surprised when he saw her face turn red.

"Are you blushing?" he asked.

"No...maybe," she smiled shyly back. Reaching forward she grabbed the shampoo bottle.

"I'll take that," Lawson said grabbing it from her hands.

"Oh, so you want to smell like pomegranate AND vanilla," she questioned.

He ignored her, squeezing a bit on his hands.

"Well now you've moved all the way over there I can't reach you," he admonished. She moved closer, settling herself between his legs as her back pressed against his torso.

"That is very close," he shifted slightly, "you aren't uncomfortable?" he asked worriedly. She had obviously decided that she wasn't going to respond to his badgering anymore instead resting her head on him. He gently massaged the shampoo into her scalp before moving his hands over her shoulders, his fingers gently tracing over the faint marks on her back.

"You are amazing," she mumbled sitting up slightly.

"Let's call in sick and just stay here doing this all day," she moaned slightly and washed the shampoo off.

She leaned back into Lawson's embrace as he wrapped her in his arms. They lay there in silence for a while until Shannon realised most of the bubbles had disappeared.

"Everything alright?" he asked her. She nodded, bringing her cheek against his.

"I feel very safe," she said quietly.

"Thank you for trusting me," he said trying to offer her some comfort.

"Thanks for loving me," she replied.

"Oh you are very loveable, I promise.

"Yes, I can feel you enjoying this naked bath," she said with a grin, raising her eyebrows.

Lawson seemed very embarrassed as he realised there wasn't anywhere he could go in the bath. Shannon climbed out slowly wrapping the towel around her.

"I'll leave you to it. You might need to add some cold water babe," she said with a smile.

"Ha ha," muttered sarcastically.

"Don't be all weird and embarrassed you big oaf. Makes me feel kind of good that you can look at me; all of me, and not feel totally put off ever touching me again,"

"How many times a day will I have to tell you that you're beautiful before you realise I never lie?" he asked.

"Hmmm, not sure. Keep telling me and I'll get back to you," she laughed as she walked out.


"VKC to TR1, we have a potential domestic in progress in Hampton, reports of a shotgun. Caller was a child. Request you respond immediately,"

"TR1 to VKC, we're about 10 minutes away,"

"We're in Sandringham, we'll be there sooner, meet you there," Lawson said over the radio as he flicked the lights and sirens on in TR2.

"Leon, can you get us some more info about this. Any priors at the address, weapons registered, anything," Lawson requested.

"Leon, what did the caller say? Did VKC say the it was a child?" Shannon asked from TR1.

"Yeah, I'm just getting the details now. Kid said her name was Harriet, screaming could be heard in the background. She said she was in the laundry with her little brother. We know that Harriet is 12 and her brother is 7 and she said that her mother's head was bleeding before the call was disconnected. Number was engaged when VKC tried to call back but the number is registered to 54 Vaucluse avenue Hampton,"

"Right Leon, keep trying to call back the number and find out what you can,"

As they pulled up a cautious distance away, Lawson could hear raised voices and the unmistakable sound of smashing glass followed by a loud female scream.

"Shit," he said as they took cover behind the car.

"Leon, get me a mobile number or something for him, I need to establish contact, I don't want to go in until I know what the deal with the kids is,"

"I have a mobile number here for Tim Walsh who is also the homeowner, just sending it through to you now,"

The phone rang out as the other TR car pulled up.

"Right, we need to focus on establishing contact and our number one concern is getting those two kids out. I'm going primary. Josh work out an entry plan, Christian and Stella I want vision, be discreet I don't want to set this guy off," Lawson quickly dished out orders. As the others quickly snapped into action Shannon glared at Lawson.

"Forget anyone?" she asked annoyed.

"No, I need you here to help me you're the secondary. If we get through to the kids, I want you to talk to them,"

"Isn't that more of a Christian job?" she asked with her eyebrows raised.

"No, you're a negotiator, it is your job," he snapped back, both of them starting to feel the bad night's sleep they'd been having clashing with the tension of their job.

"Am I speaking with Tim Walsh?" Lawson asked as the phone was suddenly answered.

"Who's this?" he yelled.

"My name is senior Sergeant Lawson Blake. I'm a police officer. Is everything ok?"

"Everything is fine, just a disagreement with my wife,"

"Well everyone has disagreements, but when the police are called it's a little more serious. Is your wife hurt?"

"She's fine, who the hell called you anyway,"

"Well Tim, you seem to be making a lot of noise that people nearby can hear. Now, my intel officer tells me you have two children, are they home?"

"Do you think I'd hurt my children? Stupid prick, I love my kids. That's why I'm doing this,"

"Ok, well we can talk about that in a minute but first I need you to let your kids and your wife come out here so you and I can talk about this,"

"NO," he yelled in response.

"They are my kids and no one, not her and sure as hell not you are going to take them away from me so piss off," he shouted before disconnecting the call.

"Shit," Lawson muttered as he ran his hand over his head in frustration.

"Lawson," Leon's voice came through the coms.

"What?" he snapped back.

"The girl in the house, Harriet," he continued.

"Yeah, what about her?"

"Well her Mum got the cut on her head because her dad threw the phone at her,"

"I don't see how that helps us Leon, she is a scared kid stuck in a house with an abusive father and we don't know how she is because as you have now reminded us, we can't communicate with her,"

"Actually, if you cared to listen to what I had to say then you'd know we can,"

"What?" he said, suddenly taken aback.

"She has her ipod with her. She sent her aunt an iMessage so, if you use your iphone, you can imessage her,"

"Great," he said shortly.

"Shan, you get on that," he continued as he continued making notes.

"Um," she said moving closer to him, "can I borrow your iphone?" she asked awkwardly.

"It's dead, why can't you use yours?"

"Kerry still has it, I asked her for it back but she hasn't had the chance yet," she responded quietly.

"God, what is she still doing with it, this is bloody important, " he commented angrily as he went to speak into the coms.

"Wait," she said and grabbed his arm.

"What?" he said shortly.

"I don't want this shared over coms Lawson, I don't want the team asking questions," she said quietly as she avoided his scrutinising glare. She regretted not having this discussion with him earlier, and it having to come up during a stressful work situation.

"What, you don't want me asking questions?" he blurted out. Shannon tried to keep her face from displaying the hurt she felt from the sting of his words.

"Let's just concentrate on the job, you can ask me as many questions as you like when we get home," she said before walking away towards Stella.

"Stel," she said walking towards where she was now covering the entrance of the house with her handgun.

"Do you have you iphone, we want to try and imessage the girl,"

"Yep, back pocket," she said as she kept her gun pointed at the house. Shannon reached into her pocket and grabbed the phone out as josh walked up to them.

"This looks fun," he winked at them with a grin.

"Piss off Josh," she snarled as walked back to where Lawson was standing, taking some deep breaths attempting to gain back some professional composure.

"Right, what's the number?" she asked Lawson as she began typing. He wrote it down on their negotiation communication pad as she punched it in and waited for a response. All they could do was wait now, listening to the crackles of the radio and intently watching to see a response from the newly set up cameras.

Glancing sideways at Shannon, he could tell she was upset, even if she was doing a good job of hiding it. Lawson knew he had probably gone too far in his moment of fear about what secrets the phone held. He ripped off a piece of paper from the note pad and looked around to make sure no one was watching.

Love you, he scribbled down and pushed it over to her.

She gave a small smile and took a deep breath before scribbling down a reply.

Lame, she wrote back with a grin and pushed it back.

He gave a small pout and looked at her.

"That was romantic Sergeant," he grumbled.

Kidding, Thank you. I love you too. Now, stop writing inappropriate notes and concentrate.

He read the note with a smirk before giving her a sideways glance. She grabbed the note and folded it carefully, putting in her pocket.

"Ok, we have a reply," Shannon said opening the message, their minds quickly back on the precarious situation at hand.


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