DISCLAIMER: CSI New York and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement is intended. Eden Ashley is an original character. All mine.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To debrafitzakerley[at]yahoo.co.uk
Eden Ashley Chronicles
Ashley can't believe her eyes. She starts to panic, there must be something really wrong with her, she must be ill. All she can't think is has she got brain tumour? It must be something like that for her to be having such vivid hallucinations.
Noticing the wave of panic on her girlfriends face. She can't bring herself to think of her as her ex-girlfriend, they never officially broke up after all; she moves forward and grabs Eden's hand.
Ashley looks at the hand now placed in her own. She can feel the hand. Surely that's not possible, if it's a hallucination she wouldn't be able to feel the hand in her own, would she? She looks back up to Katy's eyes, her brilliant green eyes, eyes she has looked into a million times before, she can see the emotion, and for that matter the tears that reside there now. She knows it's her, it really is Katy Peterson.
Ashley's brain can't comprehend what's going on. How can someone who's been dead for over 13 years be standing here in front of her.
"Eden I know this is a lot to take in."
You're not kidding. Ashley can't take it in. She needs to get away, she can't breathe. "No, no, this can't be real."
Katy tugs on Eden's hand stopping her from fleeing she needs to explain a little before she has a chance to run. She starts frantically throwing out little snippets of information at Eden, who is wearing a shocked face throughout, but with more than a hint of hurt. Katy hates that she is hurting the woman she loves right now.
"Eden please let me explain." They are almost dancing in the corridor of the lab now. "It wasn't my idea. After the attack I was drafted into the FBI, I've been undercover ever since. It was just a lot easier to be in the wind if people thought I was dead."
Ashley really can't take much more of this; tears are already streaming down her face. "Katy I can't do this right now."
Katy had expected this, so she has written a letter. She takes it from her bag and places it into Eden's hand. "Please read this. I'll be waiting."
Katy turns and walks back onto the elevator, Ashley watches her open mouthed. World upside down.
Ashley had retreated to the showers in the immediate aftermath of what has just happened. She just let the water wash over her, she couldn't help the sobs that invaded her body. When she got out of the shower and started to get dressed, she removed her wedding ring and engagement ring from the chain on her neck. Katy hadn't seen them previously. Her eyes were so filled with love and hope, and it was all aimed at Ashley. She runs her fingers over the rings in the palm of her hand; she can't help the new waves of tears that fall at the thought of Katy's hope for them. She sighs before placing the rings back where they belong, on her left hand.
Then she looks at the envelop Katy had given her, she needs to read it. She needs to know what's going on. She grabs it and quickly makes her way to the place she goes to most when she needs to think at work. The roof.
But instead of doing what she usually does and looking out over New York City. She sits leaning against the wall, facing into the roof. Her view of the city is blocked by various out houses and pipes that can be found up there. She doesn't want to be distracted by anything right now. Bracing herself she looks at the envelop in her hands, it simply says 'Eden' on the front, it's unmistakably Katy's hand writing.
She can wait no longer for the answers she's craves, she rips open the envelop, and reads eagerly, hoping everything will become clearer.
Mac waltzes into the main lab, expecting to see his daughter, he's after an update on her current case, from what he's heard it hasn't been too pleasant. He surprised when he's greeted by Adam. Only Adam.
"Hey boss how's it going?" Adam had grabbed a quick shower himself before returning to the lab to shift through all the crap (literally) that he and Ashley had collected.
"I was about to ask you the same question. Where's Eden?"
Adam doesn't want to get his friend in trouble but he really has no idea where she is. "I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" Mac can't believe Eden would leave Adam unsupervised.
"When we got back from the scene she said she was hitting the showers and then she'd meet me back in here in 20 minutes."
"Adam how long ago was that."
Adam checks his watch, and sighs when he realises the time. "Almost two hours ago."
Mac Panics. "I'm sorry Mac, I didn't realise how much time had passed, I've been kinda engrossed." He gestures at the work laid out in front of him.
Mac nods. "Don't worry about it Adam. How did she seem when you last saw her?" He's worried, although he knows, and Eden does for that matter that Adam is more than capable, she would never leave him alone for this long without good reason. He also knows if it was case related she would have updated her partner. But seeing as Adam has no idea where she is, he can only assume it's something else. He's just seen Stella, and apart from being massively pregnant and a little fed up due to that, she was fine.
"She was fine. She was absolutely fine."
Mac nods at Adam, and paces out of the lab at speed, he knows if anything has happened her at work that has upset his daughter, there's only one place she would be. So he heads for the roof at high speed.
He burst through the door and out onto the open space of the roof, his eyes are drawn down immediately, he sees his daughter, well more acurately at the moment she looks like a shadow of her former self. He drops to his knees and gently places a hand on the shoulder of the tear stained woman; she looks like she's in a trance.
"Eden, what the hell's wrong?"
Ashley slowly moves her eyes from the letter to the source of the noise she's just heard, she immediately sees her father's face in front of her, full of concern. She has no words for him, she can't speak. She simply hands him the letter, and leans her head back against the wall and watches him as he slowly reads it.
Mac is so worried about his daughter, he hopes the piece of paper he's just been handed will offer some sort of explanation, as the young woman in front of him seems incapable of doing so.
Love of my life. I'm guessing you've probably blown a fuse at the sight of me after all of this time. I'm well aware of your tendency to run away. So I thought I better write down what I have to say. I will probably explain it better in writing too, because I know after all this time, seeing you again will probably render me speechless or at best, I'll completely forget what I want to say to you.
First of all, before I explain the why's and how's I want you know that I am truly sorry. Above all else please know that.
So you're probably wondering what I'm doing here. I'm sure you were in attendance at my funeral all those years ago. Almost 14 years, has it really been that long?
Well let me explain. The attack was real enough; I guess you too have the scars to vouch for that. But my death was not. I survived. Just. It took months for me to get back full health. When I did there where two men sitting at the end of my bed waiting for me. I now know they were FBI agents.
You see Ellis wasn't just a nut, out on his own, doing god's work as he called it; it went much deeper than that. It was a whole religious sect, and they were hell bent, not just on destroying homosexuals. But on any group of people that didn't fit into their twisted religious beliefs. Which basically meant they wanted to destroy the whole of the USA, and most of western society.
As ridiculous as this sounds they were well equipped enough to do it. Unbelievably they funded themselves using drug money. So much for being religious hey?! They supplied most of the East Coast, and they were trading in arms too. Keeping a good supply of them for their own 'religious army.' Do you know how many wars have been started in the name of religion?
Anyway, as I said the FBI was waiting for me when I came round. They recruited me to their national security branch, and I've been undercover ever since trying to bust these guys. It's a lot easier to be undercover when people think your dead.
As to why they chose me and not you, I don't know. Either way, we would have been separated. You're probably wondering what I'm doing back?
Well we, the FBI succeeded in disbanding the army, and locking up the main players, and believe me the key has been thrown away. So I'm no longer imprisoned by the FBI.
I want you to know, that as soon as I was 'freed', I came looking for you. I want you to know the love I felt for you the last time I saw you is still burning as strong as ever in my heart.
I love you, I've missed you, and I want you back. You remember when I told you, you were the love of my life, and you said I was 'the one'. Well I hope you still feel the same?
P.S. I know you've probably got a million questions to ask me. Meet me at Buvette on Grove Street at 8.30am tomorrow, I'll buy you breakfast. I'll be waiting.'
Mac can't believe his eyes. "Is this legit?"
Ashley doesn't move to look at her father; she continues to look straight ahead, lost in her thoughts.
"I don't know. It looked like Katy, sounded like her, and that's her handwriting."
Mac puts his arm around his daughter, his heart breaking, he can't begin to understand what she's going through, I mean this would be like Claire coming back from the dead, except worse, Eden is married, with a family on the way, the panic he feels makes him sick to his stomach.
"What has Stella said?"
This time Ashley does move to look at him, a look of pure disbelief. "I can't tell Stella. Jesus, she's 8 months pregnant, this will induce labour."
"Eden you can't not tell her."
She lets her Dad's words wash over her, she sighs as she realises he's right. "I know, I know."
Nothing is ever simple.
Mac had taken Eden for a drink, boy did she need one, but it was just one, to settle her nerves and get her thoughts together, what on earth is she going to say to her wife.
Well she's about to find out. She just walked through the front door of the home she shares with Stella. Her wife has heard the door go, she immediately jumps up from her place at the sofa, she hasn't seen Eden all day, she assumes her wife is still mad at her over the 'you can sleep with other people' thing.
Eden slowly enters the front room, and sees Stella waiting for her. She looks beautiful. Stella's thoughts are the exact opposite, Eden looks like shit, she looks unwell. Stella can tell she's been crying, she looks like she's cried a river, her eyes are sunken and red raw. Her skin is pale, and although she smiled when she first saw her wife, that quickly disappeared and was replace with a look of pure utter despair. Stella's heart leaps into her throat, what on earth has happened.
"What the hell's happened Eden. You look like you've see a ghost?"
Eden chuckles, if only Stella knew just how accurate her words are. "I think we should sit down."
Eden moves and sits on the sofa. Stella starts to do the same, but she has an awful realisation as she is sitting.
"Oh my God." It's practically a scream, it certainly takes Ashley by surprise, she hasn't spoken yet has she?
Stella clarifies what she's thinking. "You slept with someone else didn't you?" Stella actually starts to cry as she speaks, as much as she thought she was okay with the idea, she really isn't.
Ashley had honestly forgotten about their previous argument, and the subsequent anger she felt toward her wife. She reaches over and takes her wife's hand.
"I didn't." She puts her mind at rest immediately. "I told you I didn't want to do that."
"I know but you just look so miserable. Is this down to our argument earlier?" Stella is still crying, she's been unable to reign in her emotions since the start of this pregnancy, damn these hormones.
"Stella, darling. This has got nothing to do with that at all."
"What is it then?" Stella is really confused.
"I don't really know how to say this. I can't quite believe that I'm going to say it."
"This is me, you can tell me anything." Stella encourages her wife.
"Apparently, Katy wasn't murdered." Ashley still can't believe the emotional effect that has on her; she struggles to keep the tears at bay.
"What?" Stella's initial thought is that Eden has been drinking. It is fairly late, and she hasn't seen her all day. She almost involuntary starts to smell the air around her wife for any whiff of alcohol. It's not so subtle, Eden is not impressed.
"I'm not drunk Stella. But thanks for the vote of confidence." She knows earlier in their relationship, Stella had been worried that Eden liked to try and find the answers to her problems in the bottom of a bottle.
"Look read this." She pulls out the letter from her back pocket, and watches intently as her wife reads it.
Stella goes through a myriad of emotions, she can't believe it. She certainly understands the state Eden came home in. She gets to the last few lines, and she can't help but worry, like the letter says, this woman was the love of Eden's life, what if Eden wants to go back to her. She can't help her next question; it comes out as a panicked mess.
"Do you love her?"
Ashley immediately hears the terror in Stella's voice, and she wants to reassure her. But she's not willing to lie to her.
"You know I do. I never stopped."
Stella did know this; she can't help the fresh tears that fall. She glances over Eden's shoulder and catches sight of a picture that has taken pride of place in their home for as long as Stella can remember, a photo of Eden and Katy, looking happy. Stella didn't mind it when she thought the other woman was dead, but now knowing that she's alive and well, and more than that she's obviously trying to steal her wife from her, looking at it makes her nauseous.
Eden carries on. "But Stella, I'm not in love with her. I'm in love with you."
Stella can't let go of her fears. "Is that just because she hasn't been around?" She looks her directly in the eyes, and if Stella didn't look so scared, Ashley might have laughed at how ridiculous the question was.
Instead she decides to be deadly serious. "Do you remember what I said to you when we got married?" She doesn't give Stella a chance to answer.
"I told you that I was glad she was dead. Because if she wasn't I might not have met you. Do you think I would say something like that lightly?"
"You are the love of my life." She makes sure she's looking Stella directly in the eyes, her wife sees the passion burning in the younger woman's eyes and she calms slightly, knowing that Eden at least has no immediate plans to leave her for her resurrected ex-girlfriend.
"What did she say when you told her about me?"
Ashley's expression changes immediately. "Stella, I could barely speak when I saw her, I don't think I actually said more than about two words to her. It's kind of a blur. I thought I was cracking up."
Stella chuckles and snuggles further into her wife. Ashley kisses the top of her head. "I'm gunna tell her everything tomorrow at breakfast."
She feels Stella tense immediately beneath her. "If you're okay with me going to meet her that is?"
Stella thinks about it for a second, she's never been jealous when it comes to Eden, she knows her wife loves her, and doesn't want anybody else, well at least she used to. But she guesses the sooner Katy finds out about her the better.
"Of course. Will you be okay?"
"I don't know. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
Its 8.30am on the dot. Ashley hates being late for anything, although she's not exactly looking forward to this breakfast she find herself entering the restaurant right on time. It's busy, always a good sign she supposes. This place is in the west village, not too far from home, which makes her wonder if Katy knows where she lives, just how much has she been stalking her?
She spots the woman in question, who seems to meet her gaze almost immediately. The most brilliant smile appears on her face. Ashley can't help but reciprocate. She makes her way over to the table and sits down opposite the beautiful green eyed, red haired woman.
"Hey." Katy is practically gushing with happiness. "I take it you read the letter then?"
"I wouldn't be here if I hadn't"
Katy smiles again. "I've missed you so much Eden."
"I've missed you too." She really has. But that doesn't stop her from feeling slightly uncomfortable as she says it.
"I ordered for you." Ashley looks surprised. "I remember when we were together you used to absolutely love Eggs Benedict, I took the liberty."
Ashley smiles at the memory. "We always did say we'd have eggs Benedict overlooking central park one day."
"Well we're not quite by the park, but I hear the eggs here are fantastic."
Eden again looks around, comforted once more by the amount of people in here; she guesses the eggs probably are fantastic. Katy watches her looking around, she hasn't changed that much at all, and she's as beautiful as she ever was. She's looking a bit tired, understandable she guesses, she didn't get much sleep herself last night.
"I'm so proud of you Eden; you always said you'd end up in New York."
Ashley pulls her eyes back towards her ex-lover. "It's a pretty special place."
"How long have you been here?" Maybe Katy hasn't been stalking her as much as she previously thought.
Ashley knows she needs to bring up Stella, and the impending birth of her children, as she struggles to find the words, that she knows will crush the woman before her, it seems Katy can't wait any longer, she needs to know where she's stands.
"Have you met anyone else?" Ashley doesn't speak, she can't. Katy can instantly tell from Eden's reaction that the answer to that question is most definitely 'yes'.
"I guess it was pretty naive of me, to think you'd stay single for close to 14 years." Katy feels like she's been punched in the stomach.
Ashley smiles. "Not that naïve. It took me ten years to really ever look at anyone like that again."
"Damn so I'm really only four years late." They both laugh but it's tinged with sadness. Katy can't help the next words that fall out of her mouth.
"Eden I want you back." She looks over at Eden hopefully. "I don't know how serious this relationship is, but I can't imagine loving anyone, the way I loved you, and I'm willing to fight for that."
That really is the last thing Ashley wanted to hear. She supposes it was too much to ask for Katy to say she was happy for her and watch her on her way.
"So is it? Serious I mean." Ashley is once again pulled from her thoughts by the sound of her exes' voice. She decides to show her how serious it is. She lifts her left hand, which so far she has been hiding under the table, to reveal her wedding ring and engagement ring.
"Oh." Katy can feel the tears starting to spill over onto her cheeks. Ashley's heart breaks at the sight before her. "You're married?"
She nods to confirm. "Well what's she like?" She barely gets the sentence out through tears.
Ashley reaches across and grabs her hand, her own tears falling as fast as the red heads. Never in a million years did she ever think she would be the cause of Katy's tears.
"Don't be silly, you've got nothing to apologise for." She squeezes Ashley's hand. She decides to try and lighten the mood a little. "So I guess the answer is really serious." She laughs a little, but Ashley isn't buying it, the tears are still falling thick and fast.
As much as she doesn't want to compound Katy's pain she knows she needs to complete this story, so she knows just how serious it is. "Yeah. Katy, Stella is eight months pregnant with twins."
This hits Katy again, right in the chest; her heart feels like it's exploded, she can't feel anymore. "Stella is that her name?"
"Yeah we work together."
Katy, just nods, again trying to smile, but failing miserably. She dissolves into tears. As does Ashley, she hates that she's just pulled the bottom out of Katy's world. She hates that the woman is this upset, and that she's the cause. Just as she's about to move around the table and pull her into an almighty hug, the waiter places their eggs down on the table, before practically running away. The sight of a crying woman obviously not for him. Ashley just looks down at the plate. Eating the last thing on her mind. What a mess.
After a very awkward breakfast, Eden had returned to work and filled Stella in on possibly the worst experience of her life, before heading out to her scene with Mac. Stella is due to go off on maternity leave in a few days, and hasn't been allowed out on a scene in weeks, so she's kept herself busy with lab work and paper work. She's working with Adam at the moment in one of the labs. He's still not sure what happened with Ashley yesterday, and he's really not sure he wants to risk asking Stella, he's well aware of what her hormone riddled moods can be like.
Katy had gone to take care of some business immediately after breakfast, but she now finds herself inexplicably back at the New York crime lab, the place she had first visited yesterday hoping to win back the love of her life. But it's not Eden Ashley she's looking for today. Right now she's looking for the woman she knows only as Stella. She guesses it shouldn't be too hard to spot her; she is heavily pregnant with twins.
Just has she has this thought, she sees her, it must be her. Laughing and joking with man who also looks around their age. Katy can see why Eden was drawn to her, she's beautiful. Pregnancy seems to suit her, the fact that those are Eden's babies makes her heart lurch, she almost automatically lets herself into the lab. Both Stella and Adam are taken aback.
"Can I help you?" Stella falters at the end of her question. She recognises this woman. "Katy?"
The younger woman nods. "You must be Stella." She holds out her hand, which Stella looks at before realising she should probably shake it. Adam has also recognised the woman; Katy Peterson has been a big part of all of their lives. He has no idea of the developments over the last 24 hours.
"But, but, you're dead."
Katy almost laughs at his confusion. "I was, but now I'm back." Before Adam has a chance to question her further. "If it's okay with you, I'd like to have a word with my girlfriend's wife."
Adam looks at Stella. "Will you be okay?" She nods, and Adam exits the room, but stays nearby, Katy obviously means business referring to herself as Ashley's girlfriend.
"So Eden told you about me then." Katy eyes Stella as she speaks.
"Of course. You were a huge part of her life."
"Were." Katy's voice is tinged with sadness.
"Katy she thought you were dead."
"I know, and I'll hate myself for that until the end of time." She decides to say what she's come here to say. "I still love her Stella. And not in a 'we had a great time back then; I'll always love her' kind of way. I'm still in love with her. Seeing her again has cemented that for me."
Stella clenches her jaw a little not really liking the way this conversation is going. "As long as you know that the love Eden has for you, is the 'we had a great time back then, I'll always love her' kind."
"Excuse me." Stella anger flares at this point.
Katy knows she's being highly unreasonable but when has love ever been fair. If love was fair Eden wouldn't be married with a family on the way. Katy just can't fathom that Eden could love anyone as much as she loved her, as much as they loved each other, and she knows given the chance Eden will realise that she is still in love with her too. So she intends to give her that chance.
"The work I did with the FBI means I'm fairly well known now in Police circles. The success of the operation means him highly sought after."
Stella listens intently not quite sure where this is going. "What that means is I have my pick of precincts. I've just confirmed that I'm joining New York's finest. Organized Crime Control Bureau."
Stella swallows. She knows where this is going now and she is not happy about it. Katy continues.
"What I'm trying to say Stella, is I'm not willing to give up on Eden. To give up on me and Eden. Regardless of the circumstances." She lets her vision linger over Stella's bump. "I'm sticking around, to give her the chance to remember, to give her the chance to realise that she is still in love with me."
Katy having said her piece moves to leave the lab. She turns back as she reaches the door. "For what it's worth Stella, I'm sorry that you have to get caught up in all of this. But I can't not take the chance. I love her."
Stella nods; she knows she would be exactly the same if these women's roles were reversed. "You do what you think you have to."
Katy nods, and leaves Stella alone in the room. Her main thought at the moment is that she really hopes Eden loves her as much as she thinks she does.
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