You sound a bit delusional, you know? But then again, who are you? You're a disgraced cop obsessed with her mother's murder. And who am I? I'm a decent man looking out for the little guy. That's who the public sees.

– Senator William Bracken, "After the Storm"

They take away her badge.

They cite emotional instability as a result of her ongoing PTSD and tell her she's to do three months of psych counseling before they determine whether she's fit for duty.

It's just the company line. She knows she won't get her badge back. They'll make a big show out of it, pretend they've done all that they could to reinstate her, but ultimately, she'll be honorably discharged from the force.

It's all an ugly lie—an elaborate theater for them to act the benevolent ruler while she's cast as the almost-villain.

She knows it's him.

He's behind it all. He's the one whispering in the ear of the Chief of Detectives that the Twelfth Precinct's star detective is a loose cannon, a danger to the public and a potential embarrassment to the NYPD. He's the one infecting minds with the rumor that she's been consumed with her mother's case until all she sees are assassins and conspiracies around every corner.

She's a liability, a threat. A public menace.

The same media that revered her as Richard Castle's muse are quick to sink their vicious fangs into the tragic tale of a disgraced hero. She sees her face plastered on newspapers and magazines as they catalog her unfortunate fall from grace, and she can't help but be amazed by the thoroughness of his campaign to smear her name.

It's brilliant really.

Undermine her credibility so that anything she says is suspect. Destroy her reputation so she'll never be a threat ever again.

He's succeeded in making her nothing more than a mentally unstable, washed-up ex-cop.

She has nothing, and she is no one.

She smiles.

It's all fucking perfect.

The magazine ejects with a soft snick as she checks the clip. Fifteen bullets, all there, copper jackets gleaming in the half-light filtering in through the curtained window. The magazine snaps back into place with a satisfying click. She tucks the Glock into her shoulder holster and repeats the process with her Sig before slipping the side-arm into her ankle holster.

A rush of adrenaline sharpens her senses, the dark of motel room settling over her like a comforting cloak.

Bracken should've realized that an animal is most dangerous when it's backed into a corner.

After all, he really has no idea just exactly what she is capable of or how far she will go.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

– Roger "Verbal" Kint, The Usual Suspects






A/N: Don't know where this came from, but it wouldn't get out of my head. Complete for now, but I'll possibly get back to this at some latter date. Update for Lost and Found coming shortly.