Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
Harry could feel the pain shooting through her legs as they slowly climbed the stairs from the bottom level of the basement. In her head, she had miscalculated the number of steps that it would take. And now as she was barely handling the motions necessary to get there, she certainly wasn’t going to let anyone know of her struggle. After all of these years of pain and moving, the only distraction was thinking about how Will must have noticed the scars on the inside of her mouth. Instead of adding to the issue and even though she knew the answer, Harry decided to grill Leo while they were making the journey.
“So, did the pig say what he wanted to talk to us about?”
Harry saw Leo’s shoulders shift like he wanted to question her but didn’t want to take the risk of turning around.
“You know, slang for police officer.”
Saying “you know” when the person obviously did not know was a recurring habit. On a planet like Zinnia and in a city like Delta, the local language had crueler slang for the boys in blue. Another phrase that no one here would recognize with police uniforms being in the same variety as Federation uniforms. Sorted by color and rank and given a number and nothing else.
“He was asking about the explosion at Beit’s store.”
“And he said that he knows you were behind it and so does everyone else in the city.”
Harry pulled Will up when they reached the landing for the second-floor offices, leaving her hand around her partners waist while they walked through the door. She noted, while passing by, that they would soon need to repaint the lettering.
The whole “gang” that had quietly been assembled over the past few days sat waiting for her. Robe stood in the middle of the still cleared floor, still very much covered in photographs and masking tape. It showed exactly where they had been and where they had gone in their process. And it was certainly not something the police department should have been seeing.
“Robe, my dear! What a wonderful surprise!”
Her hands spread out in a dramatic, movie embrace and took the surprised detective into her arms. While he was trying to move away from her grasp, Harry moved the both of them into her office, giving the “one minute” signal to Will. The door slammed shut and the blinds came down in a moment. It wasn’t much privacy against the crowd that was certainly eavesdropping but as long as they believed it was safe, that would be enough.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“What the fuck am I doing here? That’s what you’re going to honestly ask me?”
Robe shouted the phrase back at her while finding a chair to sit in. He took out a familiar pack of cigarettes and reached for the box of matches on her desk, striking it against the board.
“What questions would you prefer that I be asking? Where you got your tacky trench coat?”
“I’d prefer if you didn’t ask any questions and just answered mine. You bombed a building under police surveillance and now they think that you killed somebody.”
Harry was in agreeance with him up until the mention of murder. The bits and pieces that she managed to find in the basement had been long gone by the time Harry had to wade through their souls. Yes, she had torched a vital piece of evidence that the police would be pissed about for a long time. But there was a justification for everything, and she would easily find a way out of it. The only thing she would have trouble with was the twice stolen, extremely fried portal jump unit.
The murder weapon.
In the back of her van.
After a long time sitting in the cigarette smoke and watching eyes peek through the blind, Harry found a response she was happy with.
“I didn’t kill anybody.”
“Then what did you do?”
“I cleaned up a mess that the police department couldn’t handle.”
It was entirely true.
The police would not have been able to handle the scene in the basement. Harry had been working on this planet long enough to know what they would have thought. Any sign of there being an illegal jump spot in the basement would have been erased and an anonymous fire marshal would have marked it down to electrical failure. That’s how the city liked to work. No one knew enough about anything to be able to rat on anyone else.
This was Delta.
“How do you know that we couldn’t handle whatever was happening?”
“Robe, how many bodies did the department techs find?”
“They uh don’t know what they found, to be entirely honest with you.”
Harry set her cigarette down and leaned across the desk to say, “And why don’t they know what they found?”
“Because they can’t identify the species or origin of the bodies that we managed to find.”
The cigarette stayed in the ash tray, but an amber bottle was brought up from under the desk, along with two crystal glasses. Harry touched the bottle of water on her desk, forming a few ice cubes that went into their respective glasses. Delta brought an unbearable cold in the winter for her joints, but Jack was one to help with that issue.
“I thought you didn’t let me drink this because I couldn’t appreciate it.”
“I’m not allowed to change my mind?”
“Of course you are. Which is why I want to check and see if you maybe changed your mind about Will?”
A chip of ice got caught in her throat, conveniently causing a coughing fit after Robe’s accusation.
“Whatever do you mean?”
“Robe, well what?”
“We’ve been down this road with Ita. You fell in love with her and you were fully intending on proposing to her and becoming involved in all of that. And with how things ended-”
“Yes. I see your amount of concern for me.”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt. Again.”
The cigarette stayed in the ash tray.
The ash tray did not remain on the desk.
And Robe’s reflexes weren’t adapted enough for avoidance.
“What was that for?”
“Assuming that I needed your protection.”
“Well, you do.”
“Get the fuck out.”
Robe got up quickly, pushing his cigarette butt into the remaining ash tray and gathering the hat from the rack inside the door. She stared directly into eyes while saying, “Get the fuck out.”
“Harry, I’m sorry but you know this means the Federation is going to come around. I’m going to try and keep your name out of it, but I am praying to whatever god, that your face was covered in that stunt you pulled.”