AN: This was written as a response to a writer/reader challenge and inspired by the lovely "meixel". An alternate ending to the season one episode "Act of Duty" which takes place right after Steve drives Sherry home and checks her apartment. He leaves and starts to pull out of the parking inspiration was to add more H/C into the scene and extend it. Hopefully I succeeded to depict the right amount of action and H/C while still keeping to the canon of the scene. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, should you have the time, as it will tell me if I have succeeded in conveying the scene to your enjoyment as readers :-) Thank you.\

Disclaimer: The following contains dialogue and scene reconstruction borrowed from the season one episode "Act of Duty". I do not own any of the original characters, locations or canon information depicted in the series "The Streets of San Francisco". I'm just borrowing them for my pleasure and hopefully the enjoyment of others.

Some Wounds Never Heal

As Steve pulled away from the parking lot of the apartment block, he pressed on the brakes when something caught his eye. He rolled down the window and peered out into the lashing rain at the licence plate of a light colored sedan, parked in one of the spaces. Without hesitation, the young Inspector reached for his mike. "Inspectors 81 to headquarters. Alert all units vicinity of Pacific Heights area to 10-30 at 421 Terry Drive. Vehicle registered to rape suspect Prentiss. I think he's in apartment 212. I'm going in. Send backup units," Steve calmly relayed into the receiver before replacing it hastily beneath the dash, then jumping out of his LTD and running back to the apartment, leaving the driver's side door hanging open.

Hoping he wasn't too late this time, Steve raced up to Officer Sherry Reese's door and called out to her.

"Steve!" Sherry screamed as she lay on the floor beside the bed, struggling with her attacker.

The SFPD Inspector rammed his shoulder against the front door but it wouldn't budge. He vaguely recalled telling Sherry to keep a chair under the door handle for the night until she could get her lock fixed. Cursing under his breath, Steve knew there was no way he could smash his way in through the front door. He decided to go out on to the balcony and make his way in through the window. His heart hammered in his chest as he climbed out onto the balcony and sought Sherry's window. He could hear the young woman's struggles and saw the light was on in her room. Through the rain streaked glass of her bedroom window, he saw her fall onto the bed as the rape suspect struck her across the face. Turning his face away, Steve used his elbow to break through the glass. The noise alerted the attacker who took out the gun he snatched out of the officer's purse earlier. He turned away from Sherry and faced the Inspector, with the gun pointed at him.

"Don't do it!" Steve called out as he kept his own piece directed at Prentiss's chest.

With one hand holding the gun and his eyes never leaving the window, Prentiss shot out his other arm and grabbed Sherry's wrist. Yanking the young police woman to her feet, he pulled her to him and held the gun to her head. "Drop it, cop!"

"It's over, Prentiss. You don't have to do this. Just drop the gun," Steve tried to reason with the gunman.

"If you don't drop that gun, right now, I'm going to shoot this pretty lady. Now, you wouldn't want her death on your conscience, would you?" Prentiss drawled breathlessly as he started to panic.

"Come on, let her go. It doesn't have to be this way."

Prentiss ground his teeth in annoyance then pointed the gun at the inspector and fired.

Pain ripped through Steve's right shoulder and the gun fell from his grasp. A grunt of pain escaped his lips as he clutched his wounded shoulder and stared at Prentiss.

"Open that window and tell your cop friend to get in here or I'll shoot to kill this time!" Prentiss ordered as he shoved Sherry away from him.

Shaken up by the ordeal, Sherry did as she was told and walked over to the window. Pushing the window open, she looked out at a soaked and bleeding Steve. "Are you okay, Steve?"

Steve nodded and motioned for her to block Prentiss's view as he reached for his pistol with his left hand.

"Get back!" Prentiss yelled as he lunged forward and grabbed a fistful of Sherry's dark hair. He pulled her away from the window and backhanded her across the face. He pointed the gun at her and started to squeeze the trigger.

Sherry gasped and tried to crawl away as a shot rang out.

The young suspect cried out as a sharp, burning pain hit him in the thigh. Wheeling around toward the window, he clutched his thigh with one hand while he lifted the other and pointed the pistol at the young Inspector. Though his fingers trembled over the trigger, he smiled with cruel intentions shining in his eyes.

"Don't do it, Prentiss. I won't ask again," Steve gasped desperately as he gripped the gun in both hands. He gritted his teeth as the pain in his shoulder intensified and threatened to render his arm useless. The young Inspector wished there was another way to end things but he knew it was either his life or Prentiss's. With the choices laid out before him and a split second to decide both their fates, Steve freed the bullet from the chamber of his service revolver and watched the sociopath's face contort from agony to one of peace and finality as he fell back onto the floor. A crimson mark began to spread across his chest.

Sirens blared and neon lights flashed outside.

Lee Lessing was first to reach Steve on the balcony. "Are you okay, Steve?"

"Yeah, I'll live," Steve mumbled as he straightened up then moved closer the window. A wave of dizziness washed over him and he leaned against the window frame as Lessing placed a supporting hand on his back.

"Oh my God. Oh my God!" Sherry whimpered as she scrambled to her feet and stumbled to the window. She eyed Steve with moisture clouding her vision.

"Steve!" A voice filled with concern sounded nearby.

Turning his head to one side, Steve saw Mike running toward him.

"I'm okay," Steve held up a shaky hand to ward off Mike's worried glance in his direction.

Mike wanted to say more but Lessing gave him a nod that told him Steve was not too badly hurt.

"Oh my God," Sherry chanted as she gripped the window frame and looked into Mike's piercing blue eyes.

"Officer Reese. Get an ambulance," Mike ordered and watched the police officer as she left the bedroom without another word. He turned to Steve and placed a hand on his shoulder. After a brief examination of the wound, Mike shook his head. "I thought you said you were okay, Buddy Boy. You should be lying down before you fall down. Here," the seasoned Lieutenant pulled out his handkerchief and placed it over the wound to staunch the bleeding. The young man winced and swayed on the spot. Mike wrapped an arm around Steve to steady him and keep him from falling flat on his face.

"He didn't give me a choice," Steve said weakly as he looked through the window at Prentiss's inert form. Sadness and pity marred his voice and Mike wished there was something he could do to heal the emotional wound that would leave its scar on the young cop before him.

"Happens sometimes," Mike replied gently. "Maybe nobody gave him one, either," he nodded at Prentiss's body. He knew that taking another human life took its toll heavily on Steve and nothing he said could change that. I guess some wounds never heal, no matter how badly I wish I could erase them for you, Buddy Boy. Maybe someday, Lenny can at least take some of the pain away. "Like Lenny said, in the beginning there was childhood," with his last words of comfort, Mike steered his protégé away from the scene and walked him to the ambulance.