A/N This is the final chapter. It's also the day that Brenda finally confronts Will Pope. It's been a long time coming. This is a short chapter but it was a very satisfying chapter to write.
As they were both getting dressed Brenda commented that she was going to see Will Pope this morning.
"Oh, today's the big day, is it?" Fritz asked.
The conversation continued at the breakfast table.
"I'm gonna tell him that my resignation is effective immediately. I'll use some of my benefit days to cover the rest of the time. I've got enough of them." Brenda had chosen one of her new outfits and noticed that it did make her feel more powerful.
"What I wouldn't give to go with you for that conversation. I'd like to contribute a few choice words of my own."
She rolled her eyes. "All I need is for you two alpha males to start buttin' heads."
"I know. You want to handle this yourself. I'll just have to resign myself to waiting for you to tell me all about it tonight."
"Can you resign yourself to helpin' me pack up my office?" Brenda asked.
"Ok. Providing you give me all the details later."
"You'll hear it all. I promise," she replied and got up to put her dishes in the dishwasher. Fritz did the same and followed her out of the duplex, locking the door behind him.
They drove separately to the police station where they parked their cars in their usual parking spaces, meeting at the elevators. After stopping to pick up some empty boxes from Building Maintenance, Fritz pushed the buttons for Brenda's floor as well as for Chief Pope's new floor.
"I'll start packing up your books while you meet with Pope," he said as the elevator stopped.
Brenda nodded and continued up to Will Pope's new office. "Well, he finally landed in the Penthouse Palace he's had his heart set on for so long. I hope it was worth it to him," she thought bitterly.
Pope saw Brenda holding a file folder and standing at his secretary's desk. He stepped to the doorway and invited her to come in. He beckoned her to have a seat and Brenda looked around at the impressive size of the office and its sumptuous furnishings. "So this is what he sacrificed everythin' and everyone to achieve," Brenda thought.
"How are you?" Pope asked in his most solicitous tone.
"It's a little late for your concern, Will."
The anger in her tone caused Pope's eyebrows to rise. "Brenda, I..."
"Nevermind. It's over now."
"Brenda, be reasonable. I didn't cause Stroh to break into your home. And I certainly didn't cause you to attack him in the elevator."
"Will, I didn't come here to listen to you defend your lack of support," Brenda replied grimly. Pope just looked at her so she continued. "Capt. Raydor said that the City Attorney is demandin' that a formal reprimand be placed in my permanent record."
"That's true. Because your attack in the elevator was unprovoked," Pope replied.
"I did that because, thanks to your decisions, I had no other way to get Stroh's DNA."
Will looked annoyed. "Well, the City Attorney doesn't see it that way."
"But the City Attorney is not your boss. You do not have to accept his opinion. Oh, wait. I forgot. I guess you do. After all, it wouldn't do for the Mayor and the Police Commissioner to see that everythin' that happened was a result of your lack of support. You have to protect your position at all costs. And we both know that stopping a serial rapist and murderer isn't as important as your fourth star. Isn't that right, Will?"
He couldn't miss the bitterness and sarcasm in her voice. "Brenda, you simply cannot blame others for your poor decisions," he countered, his anger rising.
She decided not to be sidetracked by arguing any further about just whose decision created the problem. "Well, Will. I absolutely will not accept a reprimand so I'm givin' you notice that I'm resignin', effective immediately." She reached into her file, retrieved her letter and handed it to him.
"I've accepted a position with the DA's office. I'll be the Chief of the Bureau of Investigations. And I'm requestin' that you assign David Gabriel as my liaison officer. That should heal the damage to Major Crimes that the whole leak business created. And it will further your agenda of having the DA's office involved more directly with LAPD's investigations."
She could see the surprise and sadness in his face as he turned to read the letter. When he had finished, he cleared his throat and spoke softly. "Is there anything I can do to change your mind?"
"You could change your attitude and your values, but we both know that isn't gonna happen." Brenda saw his annoyance and hurt but continued anyway. "So, no. There's nothin' you can do."
"Look, Brenda. I know you blame me for Stroh breaking into your home but I had no idea that he would try something like that."
Brenda thought Will sounded like he was talking to one of his children. "I don't blame you for Stroh's actions, Will. I blame you for yours. For bein' so concerned about your precious fourth star that you were willin' to short-circuit my investigation of a serial killer and place not only my life but the life of a child at risk too."
Pope's face went white and he looked like he'd been sucker punched. Brenda didn't give him time to catch his breath. She forged ahead. "Don't bother to deny it. I wouldn't believe you anyway. You've lied to me so many times."
By now Pope had caught his breath. "Brenda, I've never lied to you," he protested.
"Oh, please. That's not even worth denyin'. You've lied to me throughout our entire relationship. Startin' with not tellin' me that you were married, and then that you loved me and wanted to leave your wife and marry me. Then tellin' me that you had to end our relationship in order to work on your marriage. When, all the time, you were cheatin' on both of us with Estelle. But that's ancient history, Will. The only reason I brought it up is so you'll realize that I know how long you've been lyin' to me. I'm much more interested in recent history."
There was nothing he could say so Will just stared at her and simply asked, "What recent history?"
"You lied to me when you said that Captain Raydor interviewin' my entire squad was necessary to finish up IA's internal audit. You were lookin' for a way to place the entire blame for Tyrell Baylor on me. Internal Affairs was willin' to clear me but you needed Capt. Raydor to keep tryin' to dig up somethin' that would let you off the hook for givin' immunity to a child killer over my objections." Brenda was guessing. But the look on Pope's face revealed the truth of her accusation and it further fueled her anger.
She continued, "And you lied when you said that you had to make 'compromises' in order to keep me and to save Major Crimes. The Police Commissioner said that he never asked you to make any compromises at all. As a matter of fact, he said that he realizes that we always have liabilities and that he has always admired my work. He considers me to be an asset to the LAPD."
Pope's face paled again. "You spoke to the Commissioner?"
"Who I speak to is none of your business. All you need to know is that I now know the truth. You never cared about me at all. You are only capable of carin' about yourself. You are a fuckin' liar and a snake." Brenda's language surprised even her, but she didn't care. It seemed the least offensive of all the appropriate descriptions of him that she could have mustered. As a matter of fact, she was pleased with her restraint.
"Brenda, please. You have to know that I really loved you," Pope pleaded.
"Oh, please. You don't know what love is. But I don't blame you for that. I didn't know either until Fritz. You see, Will, unlike you, he loves me unconditionally. He would never lie to me. And he would never, never sacrifice me for anythin' at all. Certainly not for a job. He would take the blame for me, whether the blame was actually mine or not. And he certainly would not try to make me look guilty of anythin' at all just to make himself look good. He would give his own life to protect me. That's what real love is, Will. I thank my lucky stars that I found such a decent, honorable, lovin' man. And I pity you because you will never let yourself be half the man Fritz Howard is."
And with that, she put her gun, her badge, and her car keys on his desk and walked out with a smile on her face, and with her head held high.