Dedicated to lovely Ingebjorg9

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V


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7.00 am

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IT's good because it smells like coffee, toast, orange juice.

Waking up in a haze of couch and orange dawn light, she's never liked her father more than in this strange morning that shouldn't have been.

When she arrives at the station, she's late, but no one says anything to her about it.

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10.00 am

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TO make up for her tardiness she comes early to the meeting, and her coffee keeps her silent company until the usual seats by the round table are taken.

Pictures and red marker arrows fill the white board with bare-boned information; and this time she cannot look away from the photograph, "offret,jpg labeled without the name of the man that died because it fits two victims, not only one, not only this one. She discreetly turns her eyes away from it and hopes it goes unmarked.

"Very well, what do we have until now?" Wallander asks (standard question), but no one seems too eager to speculate. That would be her voice that's missing, but she can't share anything but grim looks and tight-lipped silence. She's very sorry.

It's all she can manage until the picture changes, because she's not seeing with her eyes anymore, and the victim is not sitting on a black leather couch, in a living room.

On the white board, next to the forbidding image, someone pinned the photo of the murder weapon, and she can't look at it either.

"I may be saying what's obvious," Stefan ventures, "But if they wanted this to look like a suicide, they could've chosen an easier way to do it and save a hell lot of effort."

"Stefan's got a point," Nyberg pipes in, "The victim was alive when he was shot, and must have struggled."

Wallander hmms, hops topics. "What did the neighbors say, Martinsson?"

Shrugging, the detective sees through some notes. "Not much. They seemed to like the guy quite a lot… he was… ah, a gym teacher."

"Anything else…?"

"Easy going… no, not really, much else" Martinsson says, a frown comes and goes while he speaks. "The Olssons weren't home. But except them, we talked to everyone… well, not that there were many people to talk to…"

Linda pulls off a confused look.

"The house's in the outskirts, not too many neighbors," he explains simply.

"Alright," Wallander says, "Linda, you and Martinsson go and try the Olssons again, ask them if they saw anything at all." He looks around. "Stefan, you come with me, we'll go to the school where the victim worked and see if there's any lead there."

Martinsson walks up to the white board and studies the mess of pictures and the little evidence they've got so far.

Linda summons confidence, but her voice comes out much fainter than intended when she asks "And what was his name… the victim's name, I mean?"

She does get a puzzled look or two from them that are already picking up their stuff to get going, but Wallander doesn't miss the misplaced question, and his look is much more severe: somewhere between surprised and concerned.

When Stefan brushes past her, he drops an "Oskar Lundqvist," and that's when Linda begins to feel that maybe, maybe, however absurd everything might be, maybe she can do this.

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A/N

It's not in me to write longer chapters, I'm sorry. To compensate I'm updating pretty fast :)