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This story is No. 7 in the series "Reconciliation". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: "Lodovico, will you please, for once, just be plain and speak - the English that the rest of us speak? Not 'Lodovico Lockley Fitch English'? Bobby can understand you, but I can't." AtS/Detroit 1-8-7/The Departed;

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Detroit 1-8-7
Movies > Departed, The
AngelfirenzeFR1815,6450028827 May 1127 May 11Yes
Cosaint
By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Jason Richman and the rest of Remainder Men, Mandeville Television, ABC Studios, etc., own Fitch, et al. Joss and Mutant Enemy own Kate, et al. The Departed. Dir. Martin Scorsese." Warner Bros.: 2006, Film. 3 Doors Down. "Away From the Sun.". Universal Records, 2002.

Summary: "Lodovico, will you please, for once, just be plain and speak - the English that the rest of us speak? Not 'Lodovico Lockley Fitch English'? Bobby can understand you, but I can't."

Notes: Well. So I've rewatched the bits and pieces involving Lou and Linda, this time, in 'Motor City Blues' and this started to take shape from their dialogue, which - needless to say - was strained.

Notes, cont'd.: I've decided that, in keeping with the tradition I've already set up, Bobby's legal name has always been Roberto Garrety. Just a tidbit for later use. Also, right in episode seventeen, there is a reference to Bobby being taught how to hack the 1300 precinct mainframe and Fitch doesn't react in surprise or anger at all. I've decided to use that. Also, a respectful nod to John Elder Robison and his fine automobile restoration service in Amherst, Massachussetts.

Notes, three: There is a very clear reference to Dawn's pre-Sunnydale escapades in 'Slayer, Interrupted' here. I figure she wasn't the first to do anything like that, especially since when Wes was six or seven, he brought that bird back to life and his mother was so impressed with his magick. Also, Willow always said she hoped she'd meet up again with Oz one day and that they'd always have something. I'm making use of that, as well.

Timeline: 1.17, Motor City Blues/1.18, Blackout; post-ANGEL: After the Fall. All of The Departed has now happened, including the last moments.

Spoilers: The entire canons for both Detroit 1-8-7 and ANGEL, though only up to 'Immortality for Dummies' because that's all I've read up to so far. I'm working on getting 'Crown Prince Syndrome' (possibly aka 'Connorland', which hee.). The entirety of The Departed.

Rating: M for language.

Part VI: Nocht

A hundred days have made me older since the last time that I saw your pretty face...A thousand lies have made me colder and I don't think I can look at this the same...But all the miles that separate disappear now when I'm dreaming of your face...

"We were already havin' trouble, you and me, before I decided to leave."

"You really wanna get into this?"

"Yes, I do!"

"Well, I don't think that we should."

"Well, I think that we have to!"

"Whatever it is that you feel like you need to say, or what you want to say? Say it to Bobby."

"What happened never meant that I didn't love you or Bobby!"

"No, but you show me the difference. Draw me a picture - make me understand."

"Linda, I just want you to stay a couple days, I don't want you to go on thinking what you're thinking - okay? It never was what you imagined it was." - Detective Louis Fitch, Linda Garrety, 'Motor City Blues', 1.17. Detroit 1-8-7;

Linda squeezes Mark's hand, careful to maintain a humanistic grip, and gives him a tentative smile. They're on their way into Detroit Metropolitan Airport now, coming back to this city not only to pick up Bobby, but to speak to Lou about Bobby's call several days earlier saying he wanted to leave Westchester and come to live with his father in Detroit because he was ready to stay with Lou now.

Linda, of course, disagreed and had vehmently put the idea down, reminding Bobby about how he'd sat the Stuyvesant test and gotten in and how important that was, but Bobby wouldn't be swayed and had even mentioned his father's sister, Kate, who had never once bothered to keep in touch with any of them and was suddenly deciding that Lou and Bobby were so important and worth her damned time.

She doesn't know Kate had literally been to Hell and back and finally realized what she had been missing, but that isn't the point right now.

Linda takes a deep breath as they leave the airport terminal and hail a cab to Lou's apartment, Linda fully prepared to do Bobby's packing for him if that was what it takes, but when they get there, Lou and Bobby aren't alone. A couple - the male obviously Lou's partner, though Linda only knows him as 'Uncle Damon', as Bobby has so enthusiastically called him, and his wife, an 'Aunt Lauren'.

The infamous Detective Ariana Sanchez isn't there, but that was just as well. It was bad enough Lou's partner and his family are here for what she has to say to her own. Part of - her own. Part of.

Linda takes another deep breath and knocked firmly, but she could tell Lou was already on the way to the door. When he answered, he was wearing a Detroit Tigers t-shirt, jeans, and - well, Bobby told her they call sneakers 'gym shoes' here. Everything but the jeans is stark white. Lou's father had taught him how to do laundry well from a young age, she remembered.

Immediately, now that she is up close to him again, Linda can see his eyes flash an iridescent tone, something they do without warning - usually when Lou is suprised, particularly by her. Lou glances over at Mark and immediately the iridescence turns that dark blue they somehow manage and Linda reaches out, gripping Lou's forearm even as he starts to open the door more widely. He isn't about to just let Mark into his 'territory', Linda knows, and she has to try and quash his anger now, for Bobby's sake.

"Lou, is there somewhere we can go and...and talk?" she asks as quietly as she could, but even before she finishes she could see that defiant expression she knows so well taking shape on Lou's face as he backs up and gestures to the living room at large just behind the door.

Linda peeks in and sees a very surly Bobby perched with inhuman grace atop his suitcase, something Lou's partner's wife apparently can't stop herself glancing at. Before Linda could get upset, however, Lou pulls her back to the conversation at hand.

"Whatever you want to say, you - me - " Lou gives Mark his own surly yet dismissive expression, which Linda can feel Mark bristle at, but knows the Marine has no chance at besting Lou, should her ex-husband decide to get the drop on him. There was just nothing he could do.

"We can say it all right here. You didn't want me to say anything to you? Just Bobby, well, too late - Trinchen took care of a lot."

Trinchen.

Linda tries to hide her own scowl, but is unsuccessful at keeping Lou from seeing it entirely. Lodovico's sister's own name is Trinchen. God only knows what she's told their son about anything.

Linda takes a deep breath again and steels herself. Before she can speak, howevever, Lou halts her.

"Ya might want to keep in mind, Bobby's godbrother's here - kid's only six months old. Don't wanna go sayin' anythin' you'll regret."

The emphasis Lou had put on the word 'regret' raises both the hairs on Linda's neck, as well as her own hackles.

"You've got a lot of nerve, Lou - "

"No, I don't," Lou cut in, this time full-on glaring at Mark, who rises to the challenge, but stays quiet as she'd asked, if only to help keep the peace. "But you do, bringing him to my place unannounced - "

"You made those people our son's godparents without even consulting me!"

In one swift movement, Lou puts an arm around Linda's shoulders and sweeps her into his apartment where Bobby meets her with his deepest scowl yet and before Lou could close the door, Mark follows, but not quickly enough to keep it from squashing his foot. He bites back a groan and Lou throws out a cursory 'sorry', but everyone present knows he doesn't mean it.

"Well, to be fair, Linda," he continues as though nothing has happened. "You had Bobby sit the Stuyvesant test without consulting him. He doesn't want to go."

"It's not up - "

"It's not up to the kid where he'll go to school for the next four and a half years? Really? No say whatsoever. Gee, I remember that. Wasn't fun, let me tell you. I remember runnin' away a buncha times 'til they finally had enougha me and tossed me to the DRI."

It isn't until then that Mark becomes the center of attention. "You know anythin' about the DRI, Mark? My ex-wife, my son - hey, me? We nothin' but science fair projects to you or are you on the up and up? Because I'll be - "

Lou glances at the still-sleeping form of Sean in Lauren's arms before reforming his sentence. "I will not let you lock them up in some facility, prodding at them, studying them - "

"I have no idea what you're talking about, sir - " Mark begins, but Lou cuts him off.

"Of course you don't, clandestine and all that. But that's what you were so interested in Linda for, huh - why you and Bobby can't seem to do nothin' but butt heads? Nothin' but pet projects to your superiors, right?"

"Lodovico, Mark served in Afghanistan!" Linda cuts in sharply, as quietly as she can, however, with the baby present.

Lou rolls his eyes, "Yeah, yeah, so he says. Whatever. Bobby knows to stay away from him and that's all I care about. Well, that and the fact that you wanted me to draw you a picture, Lin? Well, I can draw you a terrifically bloody picture now if you care to see it."

Lou's eyes take on that iridescent tone again and Linda hopes Mark isn't backing away or, worse, preparing for what he thinks is a fight.

Quietly, she reaches over and takes hold of his hand, gripping it, silently asking him for patience.

"Or do you not know what she is? What I am, what my - our son is? Huh? Do you have any idea?"

"I have absolutely no idea what you mean, sir," Mark answers respectfully and Linda tries to ignore the way her blood is running cold.

"Louis," she tried, but Lou is ignoring her now in favor of sizing Mark up again. "Stop it!" she snaps as quietly as she can manage. "Please! What are you going to do, blackmail me?"

Lou looks at her, surprise on his face now. "What? No. I want to know he's not going to slice and dice our kid up and put his cells on some Petri dish for the DRI to look at up close and personal-like."

"Of course not!"

"Oh, my God," Lou's partner was going now and he was looking at Bobby, who met his astonishment head-on, a bit of a smirk on his face.

"So you told them!" Linda bites out, glaring her worst at Lou, who - instead of getting a guilty look, merely watches her back, his face completely blank that way she hates more than anything.

"I told them about me. Washington's a detective, it's his job to draw dots and connect them. He's young, but he's good and he'll protect Bobby with his life if need be, part of my reason for leaving the responsibility of getting him back to you if the worst had happened - "
Lou pauses, "Well, hey, maybe you don't think it's the worst anymore. Like I said, you and me, we were havin' problems long before Al Stram showed up anywhere to make them all the worse."

"Al Stram? What - that gangster that they found dead in Canada? What's he got to do with any of this?" Linda asks, now completely nonplussed.

"Same thing Frank Costello's got to do with my cousin, Madolyn, Lin - maybe nothin', probably everything."

"Will you - " Linda forces herself to stop and collect her thoughts, inviting herself to a seat on Lou's empty chair that she now knows he'd been sitting in before she arrived. She glances up through her fingers and sees a Tigers game playing on the television. Confused again because it wasn't baseball season yet, Linda is almost thrown off her point before she realized it was a DVR'ed game on pause.

Of course, Lou can't watch them live. He had likely been working when this one originally aired. Linda sighs and glances at Bobby, who had a red and white Detroit Red Wings jersey with a large white 'C' in one corner on under his coat. Lou had turned the game on for Bobby because he'll be gone long before baseball season starts and he won't get to go to Comerica Park because Lou knows Linda won't ever let Bobby come back to Detroit after this.

She'd come back to get him early after finding out what Lou had done with his guardianship behind her back. Bobby is glaring at her and she knows that even when they get home, he won't speak to her for who knew how long. He had his father's face, her Roberto.

"Lodovico, will you please, for once, just be plain and speak - the English that the rest of us speak? Not 'Lodovico Lockley Fitch English'? Bobby can understand you, but I can't."

Surprisingly, she hears Lou's partner snort only to be shushed sharply by who she assumes is his wife.

"Yes, you can, Lin," Lou says quietly. "Just because you don't tap into it every day, don't live it every day, doesn't mean it's not there. I hated it when I found out, but...it made sense. All I could think about was what Anna used to tell me. You are very unique, Lodovico. Do you realize just how? To anyone's knowledge there is literally not another child like you, because - you see - they simply don't live long enough to reproduce, but you were a lucky early start, weren't you? And your mother lasted a long time...longer than most...maybe longest of all..."

Linda's breath hitched in her throat then and she stared at Lou now before shaking her head 'no'. "Lou - no, it can't! I'm not - it doesn't manifest in a girl who hasn't reached or has already surpassed puberty, you know that. Your mother was fifteen - it - no!"

"You know about the Great Activation Willow Rosenberg did just like I do. Only I didn't have to wait for that, did I? No more than Connor Angel did - no more than Bobby, because the rules are different for Y chromosomes, aren't they? You know, it's amazing he's here at all. Everything I heard said - "

"Lou!"

"Oh, you mean you haven't told him - you're gonna marry the guy and he supposedly has no clue. Why do you think he and Bobby can't say two words to each other without one of them gettin' angry? Why, Linda - come on, you know this as well as I do."

"But he's a boy and you're a man - it doesn't work that way!"

"Tell that to Connor Angel, as I said! Tell that to Angel -- if one of us ever dies and was good enough to get to the higher planes, tell that to Connor's mother, Darla! Tell him what he's not! Tell us what we're not!"

"So how's movin' to Detroit gonna fix that, huh, Lou? How's it gonna stop it, since you say Bobby's three-quarters instead of just one!"

Both Lou's partner and his wife both gasp, but Linda forced herself to ignore them. "How, Lou!"

"Because you've denied it. They sent notice out to as many as they could find, I know they did because I got one. I dreamed it. Rosenberg spoke to me, Summers did, too. They said I was an anomaly, so was Bobby - but it didn't matter. We were already strong, but could we handle what it was going to throw at us now that they could all find us? But I told them they were too late. Stram had already found me, found Bobby. The Angel kid - do you know where he grew up, Linda? Do you? This ain't nothin' new for us and I told them that.

"This was all before I met Detective Clock Radio here, but it doesn't matter because if they come after Bobby, they're gonna come after him and Lauren, too, and Sean. They've been comin' after us since before Bobby threw the remote out the window and it got stuck in that tree trunk when he was ten months old. Since I was five and did that spell that brought my teddy bear to life because I was lonely and it backfired and the magick expended almost killed me.

"My pappa forbade me to do any ever again, but he knew I had to break that rule once they stuck me in the Watcher's Academy after my mamma died. Anna gave me an amulet that I still have. I don't normally take it off, but I did once and was almost shot because I wasn't payin' attention. A detective who's now dead saved my life that day."

Linda watches as Damon Washington's eyes widen and she knows he realizes what Lou is saying. The younger man puts his hand to his chest and made a fist and Lou actually smiled a bit. "And you were so worried about what I was writing in your peer review." He snorts and Washington is too stunned to make a rebuttal.

"Bobby told you his godbrother's name is Sean, I know he did. But the point is that I made sure that when they decided to become Bobby's godparents they had all the information they could handle. I even offered to have Angel wipe their minds if they didn't want the jobs. But they've sworn they do.

"And we went back to the church were Sean was christened and made this official. It's not just a figure of speech here. Bobby was baptized again and Sean was connected to him because the priest made them both brothers in God's eyes, not just as a symbol."

Lou ignores Linda's speechlessness and turns away, talking more to himself now, as usual, than anyone in the room. "Well, there is a symbol, but you can't see it. No one will. Not unless Damon, Lauren, you, or I die. And while proximity's the best thing, because I knew you'd be up in arms about this, I asked the priest to strengthen it because I knew you'd come back here dragging Bobby back to New York even though he doesn't want to go and you said he could stay here for three weeks, but the second you found out about all this, you renegged and said 'no' and told him he was goin' home. But you have to remember, Linda. Home isn't just where they have to take you in and all that bullcrap."

By now tears are clouding Linda's vision. "It's where...w-where a Slayer wants to be, needs to be, to protect. Is drawn. You didn't...you didn't just pick Detroit. Something about this place is in your blood. But...Lou. You owe me this. If I'm leaving Bobby here with you until he goes to college or-or dies when somethin' comes after him, damn it, you owe me a goddamned explanation. I know what I told you, but I take it back. You said it was never what I thought it was, well what the hell. Was. It?"

"Does the Big Boy Dress Blue want to know? Or does he even need to?"

Linda resisted the urge to roll her eyes, but finally acquiesced to Lou's suspicions. "Mark, do you work for the Demon Research Initiative? Have you ever? Were you dispatched to the Hellmouth in Sunnydale, California, before it collapsed in on itself? Have you ever been to the one in Cleveland, Indiana?"

"Cleveland?" Detective Damon Washington obviously can't stop himself from saying in disbelief, but he is completely ignored by her as she stares at the man she is going to marry, letting the Slayer senses she usually suppresses come to the fore.

She will tell if he is lying.

"No, Linda. My deployments were to Egypt and to Germany when it was first united."

Linda breathes a sigh of relief, but Lou merely snorted sharply, "You're so far out of practice, you may as well be human, my love."

"Stop - " Linda starts to say, but Mark interrupted her. "She is human, what are you - "

"And you have been debriefed but good. Why don't you call her 'dear' or somethin'?"

"That's none of your - "

"He never does, Dad," Bobby cuts in, the dark expression on his face now aimed squarely at Mark. "He never calls her anything but her name. And he makes all these phone calls on his cell he doesn't want Mom to know about. To places like Uttar Pradesh and St. Petersburg. Collect, even though the cell is untraceable and sounds like a throwaway even though it doesn't look like one. He has a new one every week. The voices on the other end are usually either British or Italian, sometimes Irish, Indian, or Russian, though - like I said."

"What are you doing lis - "

"Excuse me?" Linda cannot help but ask, turning to face Mark, who whips from glaring flames at Bobby to an instantly placating expression with her.

"It's for work, honey - "

"Oh, don't start now! Work for the DRI?" Linda cannot help but protest now and Mark's eyes widen as his mouth falls open.

"What - no!"

The Marine - or so he says - tries to keep from glaring at both Lou and Bobby, but manages to fail, and by now Lou's retrieved his gun from the shoulder holster he had hidden behind his couch and his partner has gotten his own gun while shunting his wife and the boys both into what Linda can see is Bobby's room here. Linda can see a computer and would ask Lou why Bobby is allowed one, but her mind keeps going blank.

"Is the Watcher's Council keeping tabs on my ex-wife and son?" Lou asks in a deadly, dangerous voice he's never used around her and her skin prickles again because he sounds like a Slayer to her. She'd know that tone anywhere and she's never even used it herself, never even heard it personally before now. Lou always kept his work and home life completely separate before now.

Everything in her is electrified, as if she's touched a live wire, but she can only stare at the man she thought loved her, losing his usually stone-cool under the glare of the son of a Vampire Slayer.

"No, sir," Mark finally caves, glancing at where Bobby has gone with the others - Detective Washington has followed Lauren and Bobby - but his eyes are back on Lou in an instant. "Nor the DRI."

"What the hell are you doing, then?"

"Mr. Giles asked me to keep an ear out in case it was true and there was more than one male Slayer that had entered the line."

Linda wants to choke, wants to vomit, but her throat is dry and parched.

"Rupert Giles wouldn't ask, let alone do anything like that unless he was absolutely certain of the validity of the claim. The Watchers' Council - especially the International Council of Watchers doesn't do things like that anymore. Who do you really work for!"

And, in an instant, Lou's hand is gripping Mark around the throat and his feet - Mark's feet are dangling almost a foot above the carpet. "My sister told me Watchers have been going rogue since the Council was blasted apart some years' back. Who. Do. You. Work. For?"

"No one!" Mark gasps, trying to breathe even as his face reddens as if his head is about to burst.

"Lou, you're gonna kill him!" Linda gasps, horror at both her ex-husband's actions and, moreover the implications of the entire situation, clawing at her inside like a rabid dog.

"Who's to say he wouldn't happily kill Bobby, Mr. I-Work-For-No-One? Who's to say he wasn't gonna kill you once he'd gotten whatever information he needed from you?"

"Lou, you don't have to do this - put - you and your partner can put him under arrest!"

"And whoever he actually works for would have him out in a matter of hours on a technicality. The Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart was the only one actually driven from this plane."

Lou easily brings Mark's face right up close to his own, Mark's feet dragging on the floor beneath him as he's beginning to lose consciousness. "Your bosses won't be too happy you failed. And I know for a fact that Stram's pack is loose now without their boss running the show. He gave me and mine immunity against them, made the call himself before I disposed of him, but you? You're on your own, pal."

Lou finally let Mark go and the Marine fell to the floor, gasping and coughing, gagging for breath.

Linda is staring at him now, a sort of blank fear coming over her, "'Disposed'? You mean...you killed - "

"Did what I had to do to the werewolf who threatened our son's both life and livelihood for as long as he's been alive and tried to dirty me up. That's what I did in Canada and why I missed Sean's public ceremony. That's why the bullets near the front door are silver, Lauren."

This last part is said slightly more loudly and everything behind Bobby's closed door stills once more.

"The majority of the original Watchers in the Council were driven out after Buffy Summers took over. By and large they're now almost all mercenaries or working with them. Like the scum you were about to marry. Who knows what he'd do for money - sell you? You're of Slayer blood even if you were never Activated. Bobby's three-quarters Slayer and was Activated when Sunnydale was destroyed.

"He's untrained, any remaining branch of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart - any of their other dimensions - they'd pay who knows how much just to get their hands on our son. Connor Angel survived Quor'Toth, the darkest of the dark worlds and Hell A. - he's damned indestructible - they're not going to touch him unless they want those fingers detached and handed back to them...but Bobby's untrained and not the human son of two vampires. Just...two non-Slayers."

Linda blinks away the tears that had been gathering steadily as she now watched her now-former fiancé recover from his near-enough torture on her ex-husband's living room floor. "You're hiding him, like the deal you made with Stram before - keeping him away from...from whoever."

Lou nods. "Stram's former pack is going to get in touch with Daniel Osbourne - he's a benevolent werewolf living in Tibet with Rosenberg - "

"She's with the Council, she did the mass Activation," Linda gasps around her tears and somehow is surprised when Lou wraps his arms around her and kisses the top of her head, making sub-sonic 'shhhh'ing' noises that verberate in her chest.

"Lou..." Linda whispers and he sighs.

"I know. We're over, we're done. It's not like Summers and Angel with us - or even him and Darla. But I can't just let you stand there and cry, that'd be inhuman."

Linda's breath hitches and she wraps her arms around his neck, crying quietly and listening to Bobby wanting to come out of his room, but being told to stay put by his godfather.

"What now?"

"Well, like I said, Rosenberg's with Osbourne - they're dealing with the fact that Rosenberg overstepped her boundaries when she did the mass Activation. Her magick is starting to overpower her again and it's like with him bein' a werewolf - she's got to control that or it'll control her again, poison her even. But my point is that you're right, you weren't Activated, but Bobby's only thirteen. If I can rig something with his hacking -- "

"Lou, you know he's not supposed to do that, he's been in trouble for that already - you're a cop!"

But Fitch held up a hand, asking to finish, "And as long as he's doing legal 'white hat exercises', the ICW thinks they can find a use for him, so he'll get immunity on that condition, but they also think that with him and with Rosenberg, they can strike a middle ground. Bobby can learn legal ways to hack and stay out of trouble that way and she can learn to teach and exercise the control she never had growing up.

"If she feels responsible for him and if Osbourne's there to keep her in line - he's learned a lifetime of control to keep the wolf at bay - then there's no reason Bobby will ever do anything that will get him arrested or worse."

Linda sighs and nods, "You bought him that computer."

Lou shakes his head, 'no', "The ICW sent it on expedited order, actually, through Madolyn with help from Massachussetts SIU, though they don't actually know where the computer went or why. They don't ask questions - you know how Sean Dignam is, everyone's a mushroom. But she's coming here to stay for a while like Katie is - Katie's at the airport picking up them both, Maddie and Dignam - that shithead. I gave her my GPS - Bobby finally taught me how to use the damned thing after we went to lunch when he got here. And they - he and Sanchez, uh, forced me to find out I own a Land Rover."

"Don't ever change, Lou," Linda gives him a small smile, still shaken from earlier's events, but managing to put it aside for now. "And please remember, Bobby can hear you just fine. Stop swearing."

Lou blushes, which actually makes her chuckle, and then he continues, even while reddening even more.

"Anyway, she needs a break from Southie while she's on bereavement and maternity leave - Dignam's arranging the whole thing and accompanying her on the flight at Faith Lehane's - I told you they were cousins, right? - request - and she'll - "

"What?" Linda backs away and looks Lou in the eye. "Bereavement? Maternity leave, since when?"

"Maddie's pregnant since about four weeks ago, she thinks, Lin - " Lou starts to say before jerking away from Linda and turning to hold his hand up, "Possideo!" he hisses without hesitation and Mark freezes in place from where he'd been about to attack them both from behind.

Calmly, he turns back around and pinches the bridge of his nose before looking back at Linda's once-again shocked expression.

"Bobby told you he didn't like the guy. Here's why. Now, as I was saying, Maddie wants to find out if the father's Officer William Costigan, Jr. - yeah, I know how it sounds, but he was the only one after his dad who didn't cross the line, though he was in deep with Costello and his crew for over a year - or that ratfink fuckin' murderer, former Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan. I've gotta keep an eye on her, Lin. If it's Sullivan's, I'm - I don't want her to do what I think she'd do. I'd take the kid before I let that happen."

Linda's eyes widen and before she knows it, she's shaking her head, "No. No, tell her - tell her, I'll take it, if...if it's his. You've got B-Bobby and - and Sean."

Lou stares at her for a moment, his face softening and the iridescence coming back to his eyes yet again, the most often she's ever seen it.

"I know you..." he sighs. "You're lucky you were never Called, you know. We only get one - one, uh...I know I'm not yours and, and that's okay, it's gotta be okay. I can live with it because I know you'll be safe. Safer. Even if it means you're my mate, but that I'm not yours. At least you have a better chance of stayin' alive. I'd rather be alone than you die. I guess ya gotta find a new one, though. I - sorry, I couldn't let him just...lie to you..."

"Lou..." Linda finds that her voice is breaking, but this was as overtly honest as he's ever been with her and it was what she'd demanded all that time, asked for now? How could she blame him?

She forces herself merely to touch the side of his face, not to move her hand in any way, before removing it and letting it drop back to her side. "Don't ever be sorry for what you just did. You saved me and Bobby from God only knows what."

Lou purses his lips before nodding and flinging his hands in that so-familiar way that makes her smile again on the inside, "Yeah, anyway, so Maddie's coming here. If we use magick, we can find out a lot sooner who the father is, and you know we'd have to wait if we used regular means. I've told her it's up to her. She and Katie are the only ones who ever knew what my mother was and I would have kept it that way if the Rookie back there hadn't made things so damned difficult and made himself my friend. Bastard."

Against her will, considering the circumstances, Linda laughs, "You could use a friend or two, it's good to let someone in once in a while."

Lou exhales, "Yeah, so...so am I that bad guy or that good guy? Now that you might know and all?"

Linda smiles softly at him now, "Do you really think I could call you a 'bad guy' after tonight?"

For the first time more than ten years, Linda sees Lou Fitch smile even as his cheeks color again. She once more forces herself not to touch his face.

"So who's this Detective Ariana Sanchez Bobby keeps going on about? Since you know all about what was going on with me...is she pretty?" Fitch distinctly hears a muffled guffaw from Bobby's room followed by Bobby's higher pitched giggles.

"Pretty? She turns him into a high schooler!"

"Damon!" That was Lauren and Linda had a feeling that they'd be good friends eventually. Both of their - well her former man and Lauren's current - were immature idiots at heart, albeit Lou much more deeply so.

"She does, you should see it!" There's more laughter and by then Fitch is glaring daggers at his son's closed bedroom door.

He turns back around to see Linda watching him expectantly.

He closes his eyes, running his hands over his face yet again.

"Oh, God."

...TBC...

Translation:

Nocht being the Irish for 'reveal'.

"Possideo! being the Latin for 'freeze'.

The End

You have reached the end of "Nocht". This story is complete.

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