Author: Jennylyne PM
Detective Rachel Russo must risk her life to find the killer who has abducted her colleague and friend, Christina Regan. Vincent is her rock and Marcus her world, but the bond she has created with Regan is special and she feels it deep. Not just as another cop, another detective, but as somebody who totally understands her. It's up to Rachele to write the ending to this story.Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Drama - Chapters: 37 - Words: 114,798 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 04-13-13 - Published: 10-24-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3068443
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Unwritten Chapter 20
Easy reading is damn hard writing. - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Rachele struggled with the top button of her dark blue shirt. She struggled with it when she had two hands to use, so today was even more difficult. She hated wearing blues and she hated more than anything wearing the tie. It was part of the uniform and it was important to be in uniform, present as one force. Formal attire at her level was reserved for promotions and for saying goodbye. She dreaded being amongst her brothers and sisters in blue today as they prepared to say goodbye to one of their own. She needed it though; needed to be surrounded by her peers, colleagues and friends. Needed it as much as she dreaded it. Today she would say goodbye to Detective Vincent Lefevre; her partner, her friend, her rock.
"You look great, Love." Marcus stood behind her, capturing her eyes in the mirror. He reached around to take care of that last button. He took the liberty of tying her tie as well.
"Hate wearing blues. I look like a man." Rachele pulled her hair from the tight bun that would have kept it all up under her hat. Her long dark hair easily covered her neck and shoulders and with that Rachele began to breathe a bit easier. She stared at herself in the mirror before letting her eyes fall onto Marcus just a few feet behind her. "I don't know if I can do this."
Marcus took in the low, raw sound of Rachele's voice. It was hard on all of them when they lost one of their own. It was especially hard on the partner. "You'll get through it."
Rachele turned to face Marcus. How this man managed to steady her, comfort her and encourage her with a simple statement would always amaze her. She then put her hat on without pulling her hair back up, taking one last look to make sure she was ready. She knew she would be expected to speak and she also knew no one would fault her if she didn't. She would speak for Vince, mainly because she knew in a way she would be speaking to him.
Christina could hear the sound of the newspaper as Randy fought with it in the kitchen of her small apartment. The smell of coffee was nauseating to her, but it did feel good to recognize something familiar. She was glad he was here. She knew he volunteered to be her escort and of course he would. She felt safe with Randy or at least as safe as she could possibly feel right now.
"Looks like there will be a huge turnout today. Boston is probably the safest city to be in right about now." Randy's voice carried through the apartment and Christina couldn't help but smile. She didn't know why she smiled, there certainly wasn't anything worth smiling about right now. "Cops coming from all over, even as far as New York according to the news."
Christina stared at herself in the mirror as she tied her tie. It had been the same way at Marco's funeral. Cops from as far away as New York had shown; of course he had started his career there and many were friends, family and colleagues from his life there. She missed Marco, never as much as when she felt she needed him. Today she would need him as much as she was sure Rachele needed Vince. You don't attend funerals for fallen officers without your partner. You just don't.
It had been three years since she had worn the uniform. She had worn it to say goodbye to Marco and now she would wear it to say goodbye to Vince. It still fit perfectly; too perfectly. Her shoes made her feet look small; she wasn't sure why that bothered her.
"Batavia will be there today, you know. They don't quit showing up just because they're gone." Randy's voice was close and she stepped out of the bedroom to see him in his uniform as well.
It was then that it hit her hard. He had brought his uniform to attend his brother's funeral. She would accompany him to that without fail. He handed her the vest that she despised so and she returned to her room to put it on under her shirt. She wondered how Rachele would wear hers over her wound, but she had no doubt she would find a way.
Rachele responded to each officer and fellow detective that spoke to her, yet she barely heard her own voice as she did so. Her shoulder was still very painful and the weight of the vest pressing against the wound only made her angry. Angry that they had to wear vests at all, angry that she was here and furious that her partner was not. She hoped her fellow officers would find Nathaniel Davies, but a small part of her prayed they didn't. She wanted to find him and her reasons were purely unprofessional, selfish even.
Marcus was no stranger to the events of the day and he gently guided Rachele forward. It was standing room only and the church seemed small when filled beyond capacity. She took a seat in the front of the church, relieved when Marcus sat down next to her. He was her escort and she knew that would be the case even if not directed so by Ramano. The music filled the church and she found herself smiling even though there was absolutely nothing to smile about. Vince hated church music, he hated church. She knew he believed in God, despite what he saw day in and day out.
Christina entered the church, removing her hat and carrying it at her side. She wondered why it was part of the official uniform if they weren't to wear it. She met the eyes of the other officers as she and Randy made their way to the empty seats beside Rachele and Marcus. It was as if they were intentionally left empty for them and maybe they were. Boston Homicide sat together and she was now Boston Homicide. She took a few minutes to scan the church, it seemed everybody present knew Vince. And if they didn't, they knew his kind. She wanted to say something to Rachele, but there really was no need for words, at least not at this point.
Randy tapped Christina's leg and she realized she needed to move down a bit to allow for a few others to join them. When she did, she felt her gun as it collided with Russo's and she immediately looked up. Russo's eyes met Christina's and her hand stopped Christina from adjusting the position of her gun.
"It's alright." Rachele's whispered words cut into Christina when she realized Russo wasn't talking about the gun.
Christina removed her hand and went back to scanning the church. She wondered if every officer was doing the same and she wondered if Nathaniel would be anywhere near the church. It would be a foolish move on his part, but she knew her ex-husband would look at it differently. He would enjoy the challenge and then the victory should he pull it off. He would come for her and she had no reason to believe a church full of police officers would deter him.
Rachele's heart sunk as she watched Vince's mother as she was escorted in and led to the front of the church where she took her seat amongst her son's superior officers. She would be treated as royalty today and that is the way it should be. She appeared very fragile, delicate even but Rachele believed she was anything but breakable. It was known that spouses had to be at least part steel to put up with the hours, the stress and the grief that came with the job. She could only wonder what the mothers were made of as she stared at Mrs. Lefevre. Such a sweet woman and she was so proud of her son. Rachele wondered if she prepared for this day when Vince announced he would enter the academy or if there really was no way to prepare. Not as a spouse, a parent, or even a partner. You don't prepare for death, you survive it and Rachele wondered how either of them would survive Vince's death. She knew she wouldn't want this. She wouldn't want her family gathering to honor her. She quickly reminded herself it wouldn't be for her. Funerals are for the family, the friends, the colleagues. The mothers. The dead is beyond caring, so what she would want would be irrelevant at best.
Christina watched the preacher as he made his way to the front of the church to address those who had gathered. She wondered if he knew Vince, or if he preached from a general script for a fallen officer. Her question was answered quickly as she realized Vince had grown up in this church, an alter boy, a good kid. Christina listened carefully for she had hoped to get a better feel for who Detective Vincent Lefevre was. Suddenly Christina was angry. Angry, outraged and overwhelmingly sad at the same time. She had experienced Vince intimately yes, but she had yet to know him. She didn't have a chance to learn him, his hobbies, his preferences, his dreams. She had realized his passion when she first walked into the precinct her first day in Boston. He really was an open book if you cared to read. Christina cared, and it bothered her that she did. She knew she would forever remember Vincent Lefevre, and she knew she would never know him. He was one of them. He was Boston Homicide and he was one of them. He was Rachele Russo's partner and he was Margaret Lefevre's son. He was the police and he had lost the battle.
The slow movement of Rachele getting to her feet pulled Christina from her thoughts. It had been quite a few minutes since the preacher began speaking about Vince and she had missed it. Now Rachele would address his family, friends, and colleagues. She watched Russo as she looked everywhere but straight ahead. She was scanning, it was obvious and it was expected. She knew it was possible Davies would show although unlikely. She refused to be caught off guard and her walk showed that and then some. Christina knew Rachele wanted to speak about Vince, needed to, but she also wished she could just grab Russo and get her out of here. She hated that they had to risk their safety to express their grief and offer their condolences. It wasn't right. Nothing was right.
The short walk from her seat to the front of the church where she would stand and speak in front of Vince's family, his friends and their peers seemed to take forever. The ground felt further away from her feet with every step and it wasn't surprising to feel Marcus come up behind her and gently take her arm. He escorted her to the podium where she was to speak about her partner. Who he was to her, what he stood for and why they fought the fight without much hope of winning. Just staying in the game was a victory, not many would understand and even less would agree.
Rachele had avoided Vince's official police photo that had been enlarged and sat at an angle just to her left. Her eyes filled quickly when they did land on the photo and in an attempt to harden her heart she looked toward Marcus. Vince looked handsome in his uniform and Rachele realized his mother had chosen to use his rookie photo. He hadn't changed much and for some reason that comforted Rachele as she let her eyes travel around the church. She stopped when she spotted Christina, suddenly finding herself concerned with what was going on in her head. Marcus quietly cleared his throat and Rachele recognized the reminder that they were waiting for her.
Rachele had forgotten her notes she had written for she wanted to honor Vince in the best way she could. Another look toward Marcus and the panic that threatened subsided in favor of an unfamiliar calmness. She didn't need notes, she needed to find a way to overcome the grief that was consuming her. Her partner was lying a few feet from her, intentionally unseen per his mother's request. Vincent Lefevre had paid the ultimate price, and she somehow was expected to tell everyone here what they already knew.
Rachele addressed the packed church with a voice very much unlike her own. It wasn't until she made eye contact with Vince's mother that she was able to speak in full sentences. The pride that woman had for her son and who he was told Rachele nobody blamed her or anybody else but the man responsible. They all knew the risks involved in being an officer at any level. They all knew and accepted the danger and sometimes they even celebrated a victory. Rachele knew in her heart they would win this particular fight against Nathaniel Davies but she also knew there would be no celebrating when they did. A quick glance towards Christina and a lingering one to Marcus and Rachele began again.
Christina sat still with Russo's empty seat to her right and Randy German on her left. Randy was close enough that she could feel his arm as it rested against her own. He probably didn't need to be that close, but she found she welcomed the contact. He felt strong next to her and she was grateful for it as she realized how she felt anything but. Her chest bothered her and she fought against bringing her hands up to address the burn. The protective vest she was ordered to wear only contributing to the irritation. It was heavy and it was restricting and it was ordered. She knew the feel of the vest, the weight of it, the importance of it. She knew it bothered Rachele as well as she watched her hide the pain it caused her as she spoke to the silent crowd. It bothered Christina to see Rachele Russo in so much pain. She was willing to bet physical pain was nothing Rachele couldn't handle. Christina recognized how Rachele fought against the pain that ran along the outside of her heart. The pain that would eventually break in and invade her heart in a way she was undoubtedly unprepared for. Rachele Russo was a strong woman, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that she was as tough when she wanted to be and rough when she needed to be.
The tears that silently fell down Russo's face as she paused in her speech was enough to make Christina's heart hurt. She thought it was the weight of the vest that was causing her trouble breathing when if fact it was the pain that she knew Russo would face. The pain she still dealt with everyday. She could almost feel Marco Batavia sitting next to her and she could almost feel the baby move inside her. She sat still and hoped she would feel nothing at all. And it worked until it didn't. It worked until she looked up again and met Russo's eyes. It was then that she knew they were more than just women in a man's world. More than just detectives fighting a win less war. They were wounded, but they would continue to fight. It was what they did. It was who they were.