Title: Strangers at Heart

Chapter one: Six Fifteen and Onward

6:15 A.M…..Monday.

Nathan wasn't at all ready for this. It wasn't at all what he expected. He expected it to be easy. You pass the bar, you get a job, you make your own hours….you're rich.

That was stupid. He knew it. Being a new defense attorney, it was pro-bono work, odd hours, and little pay. It was falling asleep in the middle of sex, finding himself drinking his lunch, breakfast, and dinner, and it was…having no time for anyone else but the issues.

It was…caring too much.

For Nate, life was dragging on and was anything but stable. The last thing he wanted to do was burn out, but that was the card he had been dealt.

"Here! I'm here! Don't talk to them until I'm in!"

So at 6:15 in the am on a Monday morning, he had no choice but to running in to the police station in a rush to defend some might be rapist from facing a lifetime of hell. Tie askew, hair unkempt, Nathan fumbled through security into the interrogation room.

Almost immediately, he became face to face with a slim, middle-aged man who looked almost as disheveled as himself – sort of proof that the police system still worked on emotional brutality.

"Are you the one?" the client asked with a sigh.

Nathan sat his briefcase on the table and immediately straightened his tie.

"Yes. Nathan Green, defense, and on your behalf, Mr. Richardson, I'll start by telling you right now you don't have to say a word. By law, you don't even have to be here at all. There's no evidence to corroborate the so-called rape," he chuckled, and raked a hand through his tousled raven locks.

"Thank you, I…I've been waiting here for hours. I just…I don't know why Laura would lie about something so serious," Mr. Richardson leaned against the far corner wall of the room, and covered his mouth with a hand.

Nathan folded his arms over his chest with a lazy smile.

"Trust me, I've read up on this. Sometimes you sleep with a woman and they regret it the next day. Suddenly it all turns into a rape case for the poor lad." He reached to give his client a past on the shoulder when Richardson grabbed his wrist firmly.

"Laura is my littlegirl, you bastard. She's only bloody six years old!" he shouted, and for a moment, Nathan saw his life flashing before his eyes.

"Sorry," he managed to choke out. "I didn't realize…"

Mr. Richardson loosened his grip slowly, and Nathan caught a tear roll down his cheek.

"Mr. Richardson…Dave…it'll be okay," Nate mustered, and shoved his hands into his pockets. "I may be young, but I most certainly know something about people and no matter what, I'll stay by your side."

Mr. Richardson put his hands over his face and gave a soft sob. Nathan lowered his eyes to the floor. He had never seen a grown man cry, and it bothered him more than he thought it would.

"Because it's your job?" he asked softly.

Nathan closed his eyes and gave another smile.

"Because I care, sir."

With his hands still shoved deep into his pockets, Nathan shot the floor an angry look.

"I'll be right back, Mr. Richardson," he said suddenly and stepped out of the interrogation room.

Almost immediately, he ran into a blonde mancarrying a stack of paperwork under his arm. He looked quite pleased with himself, green eyes sparkling with an 'I'm-too-sexy-for-the-Abercrombie and Fitch-shirt-I bought-when-I-was-14-but-still-fit-in-ten-years-later' look.

"Excuse you," 'the shirt' scoffed, and began to pass when Nathan caught sight of his nametag.

Mike Zamboni -- Assistant Prosecutorial Attorney

"Yeah, wait…Mike, where's your superior? I need to speak to the prosecuting attorney," Nathan took a step forward and easily blocked Mike's path.

"Defense?"Mike countered.

Nathan merely nodded. "You and your cop buddies unlawfully detained my client. You have no evidence supporting the rape allegations yet you denied him right to counsel for hours and from the look of that room, youalso interrogatedhim."

Mike stumbled over himself with his papers in awe, but then shot Nathan a glare.

"I have no superior. My father owns the firm. Ms. Evelyn White and I work together. We build the cases, and I volunteer to do most of the foot work. That's called dedication…ass," he straightened the buttons on his shirt with one hand.

Nathan stood with a light blush on his cheeks, blue eyes glued to the floor once more.


"It's been a while," he whispered to himself.

6:30 A.M…..Monday.

Evelyn hadn't seen this coming. She never thought she'd have to deal with this kind of case…not yet. She never expected it to be easy…just terrifying. You close your eyes, take a breath, watch through the window, pretend that kid isn't at all like you.

That was stupid. She knew it now. Seeing the girl, Laura's big brown eyes, gorgeous smile, little fingers, little toes, it became far too much, far too quickly.

'This shouldn't happen to kids. This shouldn't happen to anyone,' Evelyn thought to herself, and curled a fist to her chest.

Her heartbeat was erratic as she stared into the family room, watching the female detective finish taking statements. Evelyn's eyes dropped to the floor.

She was used to the pressure, the long nights, the falling asleep on the subway, even crying herself to sleep most days. It wore on her last nerve, but god help her; the job wouldn't break her spirit.

Not then.

As soon as Evelyn closed her eyes, she felt a man's hand on her shoulder. The weight startled her immediately, and she spun around only to hit her head against the glass.

"Easy…Evvy," the mystery male smiled, green eyes shining brilliantly.

Evelyn heaved a frustrated sigh as she looked up and saw her assistant, Mike, holding a stack of paperwork.

"What the hell are you doing here?" she hissed.

Mike tucked the files under his arm and touched his free hand to Evelyn's cheek.

"I should ask the same of you, love. You're not obligated to see the victim yet. Besides, look quite pale."

Mike leaned in slowly to kiss her, but Evelyn pulled away at the last moment.

"Michael, Stop it," she snapped in a desperate whisper, but even with one hand, Mike was able to keep her pinned.

"I would have figured you'd have more fight than this in you. It's…almost sad," he smirked and forced a kiss on Evelyn's lips before releasing her.

Evelyn turned back towards the glass and caught her breath. Laura and the detective were gone.

"What did you want?" she asked.

"Besides a taste of you?" Michael chuckled and gave her a wink. "Hm, counsel has been ordered for the suspect. Just thought you'd like to know. Some newbie. Nathan Blue…Red—

Evelyn's head shot up.

"—Green? Nathan green?"

Mike cocked an eyebrow and frowned.

"Yeah…is…something the matter? What's he to you?"

The question made Evelyn tense and she covered her face with one hand.

"He's…he's nothing. Just go, Mike."

A/n: Whee! New story! Yay! We need some more interracial stories around here! Sorry for the shortness, but I'll follow up with a longer chapter. This was merely an introduction. I'm not sure about the title yet, but it'll do for now.

New: Thank you for your help ooies. I promise you next time I'll do a better job of proofreading. I'm glad you supplied such wonderful help. I've made the changes, and I can assure you, although Evelyn isn't the ideal strong willed woman, she does have quite an effect on Nathan.

Oh, and Erik is Mike. I...screwed up there...somehow.