After some MM's and ATC's, I thought I'd take up a story. I want to play with the characters for a while, and then return them safely.

Timeframe: after TCOT Musical Murder, before TCOT All Star Assassin.

Let me know what you think.

The Case Of The Envious Enemy

Prologue

He couldn't sleep of course. Adrenaline blocked melatonine. He knew how it worked, but knowing about it didn't cure the insomnia.

The solution to this one was there to grasp, yet he couldn't see it. As he sighed frustrated and wearily, he climbed in his bed, damning his knee and damning his tired mind. At times like this, Della would usually wake up, switch on the light and turn her attention to him completely. Noticing his 'casefever' as she used to call this state of mind, she'd force him to talk to her and she'd ask him questions: Which tracks are you following? Which one do you think is most important? What does your mind say? What does your gut say?

Sometimes he'd say he didn't know, and her next question would be 'What would it be if you did know?' She conducted the process of his thinking, always getting more details out of him, reaching into his subconscious, filtering information her way, giving it back to him to mold it into his carefully constructed timeline, twisting and turning until he saw the truth and the solution. Her hands would be on his face. Her eyes would be flashing to him. She would not take 'no' for an answer. She'd observe him, check his eyes and their movement to see him resolving and solving, and then she'd let him sleep in her arms, while his unconscious mind did the rest of the thinking, preparing for court. Her soft body being a safe haven for his still feverish, but now efficiently processing mind.

He needed this safe haven very much right now.

And that was exactly the point. She wasn't here.

Of course he would have her back, of course noone could ever take her away from him, he knew that. But in the past, there had always been something he could actually do about it himself. Now, he just had to wait for others to do what they were told to do. His mind was still working overtime in the oldfashioned way, yet his body was too old to run after her, to kick in doors, to seek her and find her himself. He could accept growing older, he had noticed his physical power and energy diminishing along the years. He accepted his aging, but only on one condition, being that Della Street was on his side.

Now that she wasn't, he felt utterly lost. He took her pillow, inhaled her scent, and tried to get some rest.

He was dozing off just a little, when the phone next to his head on the other pillow rang.

He instantly knew it was her.