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
Flack had been on his phone for about 20 minutes, he thought it was slightly strange that Ashley hadn't come out of the house yet, especially after her earlier boast. He strolled back in through the front door.
"Yo, Ashley what's taking you so long?" As he enters the room that he'd left her in, he surveys the scene in front of him. Her kit is still open by the window. Fingerprint duster rested on the window sill. No sign of her.
The panic starts to rise in his chest. "Ashley, this isn't funny." He is secretly praying that this is one of Ashley's jokes; she has a questionable sense of humour at times. As he gets over to the window, he notices the back door is open, he runs over to it in a flash. It leads to a small court yard, the gate to which is wide open, Flack runs out into the alley. Looks left, then right, no sign of her. Just tyre tracks.
"Damn it." He's knows he's in trouble, but that is the last thing on his mind right now. He grabs his Cell phone and dials Mac.
"Mac, its Flack. Ashley is gone."
"I stepped out to make a call, when I got back she'd gone, no signs of a struggle or anything, I don't know what's happened."
"Calm down Flack, I'll be right there."
Mac hung up. He can't believe Flack would be so irresponsible to leave her alone, but he swallows his anger for now. He needs to get out to the crime scene; he needs the whole team on this. He heads straight for Stella's office.
He strides in, which startles Stella.
"Mac hey." She immediately notices the expression on Mac's face, and starts to worry. "What is it?"
Mac is struggling to find the words to say, he knows Stella and Ashley have become close recently after a getting off on the wrong foot.
"It's Eden." A million thoughts run through Stella's mind, panic most definitely rising. She needs clarification as to what he actually means, but she can barely bring herself to speak, she's so scared what Mac might say.
"She's not. . ." Mac instantly knows what Stella is asking. He's puts her mind at rest straight away.
"She's missing, that's all we know so far. Kidnapped from a crime scene."
Stella's worry was quickly overtaken by anger. "What?" Mac was taken aback by the venom in Stella's voice. "I thought Flack was with her?"
"He was, he stepped out to make a phone call."
Stella can't believe what she's hearing. "Are you kidding me? I knew you shouldn't have sent her on a solo."
"Listen Stella, were all upset, but arguing amongst ourselves isn't going to help us find Eden. We need to pull together, and find her. We gotta get to that crime scene."
Stella knew Mac was right, but it's so hard for her to keep her emotions in check when it comes to Eden. Doesn't he realise this is the woman I love? Well she knew the answer to that question, of course he didn't, he doesn't understand why she feels so strongly, Stella knows she needs to keep a lid on it, for Eden's sake. She knows one thing for sure; she won't rest until she finds her.
It's been an emotional day for Stella; they went and processed the crime scene, nothing. No sign of a struggle, it looked as though Eden had just walked out. She couldn't look Flack in the eye, and he knew it. To be fair to him, he was devastated, he and Eden are really close, and he was beating himself up. But Stella just couldn't bring herself to forgive him. If anything happens to Eden, she doubts she ever will.
They have no leads from the crime scene. The tyre tracks are standard issue, and could have come from any vehicle. The upside is that they of course already know who their number one suspect is. Mac and Flack are currently trying to locate him, Stella is sitting in her office, she feels helpless, the woman she loves is out there somewhere, having god knows what done to her, and all she can do is sit here. She doesn't even know if Eden is still alive. Deep in heart she thinks she is. But she doesn't know if that's just hope.
The door to her office slowly opens and Adam steps through and sits opposite Stella, he's the only who can remotely begin to understand what she's going through.
"How you holding up?" Adam was drained, and emotional himself, he knew whatever he was feeling Stella must be a million times worse.
"I'm not really." Stella answered honestly, she feels likes she suffocating.
Stella couldn't hold it in any longer, she starts to sob. Adam moves around the desk and pulls Stella in a hug. A lone tear escapes Adam's eye as he's comforting Stella.
Ashley has been sat in a dark room for hours now. She is tied to a chair she's in the middle of the room, there are windows on both sides, but she can't see out of them, due to sheets or old curtains concealing the view, and the fact that it's now pitch black outside. She had followed Ellis to his car, where he had wasted no time in hitting her over the head; he obviously didn't want her to know where he was taking her.
She had come round a few hours ago, tied to the chair, she hasn't seen Ellis again yet, she's just been taking in her surroundings, trying to figure out how she was going to get out of this mess.
A door in front of her opened, a light switch was flicked, the brightness hurt her eyes, a lot, after all that time in the darkness. It takes her eyes a few seconds to adjust to the light. When she does, Ellis is in front of her, smiling.
"Detective Ashley, nice of you join me. You must have needed that sleep."
"Oh yeah I was real tired, nothing to do with that hit on the head." Ashley can't help the sarcasm that spills from her lips. God she hates this man.
"I thought maybe you'd been up all night, seems you and you're lady friend spent the night apart, didn't have an argument did you? Nothing serious I hope."
Well he's obviously been watching me, the mention of Stella's name made her sick to her stomach. "You leave her out of this."
"Oh don't you worry, I'm not interested in her, her soul can be saved, from what I'm told she doesn't normally act the way she has been recently. That's all down to you seducing her. Turning perfectly normal women, abnormal, making them stray from God's path, it's unnatural. You need to be stopped."
Relief sweeps Ashley's body, it seems he won't go after Stella.
"But I do intend to teach her a lesson she'll never forget. The kind of lesson I tried to teach you all those years ago, seems that you just don't learn. I'm sure Detective Bonasera will be more receptive."
Ashley flinched at the mention of Stella's name, how does he know so much about them.
"Don't look so surprised Detective Ashley; I've kept tabs on you over the years. You where always the one that got away. You and Detective Bonasera work together right?"
Ashley just looks at him; she won't give him the satisfaction of actually answering his question.
"Well we're gunna pay her a visit. Give you a chance to say goodbye. Could be quite awkward, I understand she's been too embarrassed to actually tell anyone about your relationship. Can't say I blame her."
He smirks at Ashley as he says it, if it's possible she hates him even more, as much as she knows his statement isn't true it still strikes a chord with her, and makes her want to smash his face in. The good news from his latest statement is that it appears they will in fact be leaving, Ashley knows if he takes her anywhere near the crime lab or her colleagues she has a chance of getting out of this alive.
It's the middle of the night, but none of the team can actually bring themselves to leave the lab, they are all in the main lab, Mac, Stella, Danny, Lindsay, Hawkes, Adam and Flack. The latter still beating himself up. Stella still can't bring herself to forgive him for his stupidity.
At the moment nobody is really saying anything, mainly because they don't have a shred of evidence. Stella can't take it anymore.
"We shouldn't just be sitting here. We should be out there searching."
Mac tries to calm her down. "Searching where Stella, we have no clue as to where she might be?"
Stella is going out of her mind. She hates that no one but Adam knows what she is actually going through.
Just as Stella is about to launch into an argument that they should just search the whole of New York, the elevator pings. Everybody hears it; they all look amongst themselves, confused. Danny voices the confusion.
"It's 2.30 in the morning, who the hell is that?"
Intrigued they all head into the hallway. Stella can't believe what she sees. A man in his 50's greying hair, practically dragging Eden; she has her hands tied behind her backs. And blood all down her shirt, which seems to have come from a head wound. Her eyes are open, but she looks scared. Which is understandable, Ellis has a gun to her head.
Mac begins to speak.
"You must be Reverend Ellis. I'm Mac Taylor."
"I know who you are; I'm not interested in you." He turns his attention to Stella. "Detective Bonasera, we're here for you."
Stella hasn't broken eye contact with Eden until now. Her heart is breaking. She looks at Ellis; she doesn't really know what to say. Mac and the rest of the team just look confused. Ellis continues.
"We're here to show you the error of your ways, put an end to your dirty little secret. See I'm a great believer in negative reinforcement. I know you didn't mean to do what you did, that it's all down to this one here." He kicks Ashley at this point, Stella inadvertently moves forward. "Ah ah ah, I wouldn't come any closer." He waves the gun at Stella, which stops her in her tracks.
The rest of the team still look completely bemused as they take in the scene in front of them.
"You see she is one sick individual." He gestures towards Ashley again. "And I'm going to show you what happens to sick individuals like her, in the hope that you won't follow her down the same path."
Stella, immediately understands what he means, he's going to make an example of Eden to stop her being gay.
"You don't have to kill her, I'm not gay." Stella can't help the tears that fall.
"Aw that's sweet. Let me guess you're not gay, you just fell in love with the person right?" Danny and Lindsay look at each other in disbelief, Mac is struggling to understand why he is saying these things? Stella and Eden, surely not he would have noticed.
"Right." Stella confirms.
"Well if that's true, if I kill her, it will put an end to at least one sordid relationship, so its win win."
He kicks Eden again forcing her to her knees. He places the gun to the back of her head execution style.
"No please, don't." Stella sobs. Ellis smirks.
"Any last words Eden."
Ashley looks up at Stella, drinks her in, this could be last time she ever sees her. She doesn't know where her next words come from. She should tell Stella she loves her or something. But she doesn't.
"Our father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. . ." The smirk immediately disappears from Ellis' face; Ashley starts to cry as she continues to recite.
". . . Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. . ."
Ellis is becoming more and more agitated. "I said stop that."
". . . On earth as it is in heaven . . ."
"How dare you use the lord's name in vain?" Ellis raises the gun and brings it down viciously against Ashley's temple, she goes sprawling. In an instant Flack raises his gun and shoots Ellis. Stella runs straight over to Eden and pulls her to her, she is out cold.
Mac just stands and takes in the scene in front of him.
Ashley had been taken to hospital, and against her wishes was being kept in. Ellis was dead. As much as it wasn't in Ashley nature, she was glad. She was currently in her hospital bed Stella hadn't left her side. She is currently holding her hand, stroking her fingers. Ashley can't help but smile. Stella sees her.
"What are you smiling at; this must be one of the worst days ever?" Stella smirks as she says it.
"You're joking. Best day ever. I ended it alive."
"Good point." Stella's mind drifted back to the scene. One problem well and truly dealt with, but another out in the open. Ellis' words are bound to have raised suspicion with the team. She supposed they could lie there way out of it, but really Stella was ready for everyone to know.
"I think I need to talk to Mac." Ashley knows what she means, and she knows what a big deal it will be for Stella to tell Mac about the two of them.
"You don't have to you know, if you really don't want to. We could blame it on the incoherent rambles of a crazy guy."
"Ha, I guess we could. But I don't want too. I'm ready for people to know."
"You absolutely sure, cos it's not. . ." Stella knows what Eden is going to say, that its more difficult than she thinks, but Ellis's words got to her, Eden is not her dirty little secret, and she doesn't want anybody thinking that, especially not Eden herself. She cuts her off.
"Listen to me. I am going to tell Mac, and then we can tell the rest of the team. And any repercussions that come from that we can deal with together." Stella smiles, Ashley reciprocates her smile heart bursting with pride.
"Okay, you're the boss."
"Now get some sleep." Stella leans over and kisses Eden, then positions herself on the hospital bed next to her. Snuggles in, Eden wraps her arms around her. It's not long before they both fall into a peaceful slumber.
The next morning Eden has been patched up and released from the hospital, and she and Stella have headed straight to the lab. They are most definitely biting the bullet, they just want everything out in the open as soon as possible, and they know the team are bound to be speculating after yesterday's goings on.
They step off the elevator and are greeted by Adam.
"Hey guys. You're looking a lot better than you did yesterday princess." Ashley rolls her eyes at Adam, Stella just laughs. "But you know I don't think the boss man is expecting you back at work quite this quickly."
"Ha, I know, I've just come to annoy you."
"Seriously though Ash, what are you doing here, that's quite the bash you've taken to the head, you should be resting." Adam is genuinely concerned.
"Relax; I'm just her to take care of some business, they I'm heading home."
Stella steps in at this point. "We figure the cats pretty much out of the bag after yesterday, so we've decided to confirm it."
"Hmmmm so you're having a little coming out party?"
Ashley can't help but giggle, "Yeah well you can keep me entertained for a bit, while Stella goes and does the deed."
"Cool, let's go."
Stella and Ashley had already decided that Stella would talk to Mac alone. Eden gives Stella a reassuring smile. "Good luck." Before following Adam off to one of the side labs.
Stella takes a deep breath and heads to Mac's office. She has known Mac for years, but she has honestly never felt this nervous about speaking to him. She knocks on the door to his office; he looks up from his computer, smiles and waves her in.
"Stella hey. How's Eden?"
"She's fine, she with Adam out there somewhere." She gestures out into the lab as she's sitting down.
"Mac we need to talk." Mac had kind of guessed this was coming, what Ellis had said was weird, it needed an explanation either way, Mac still wasn't sure what kind of explanation he was going to get.
"About what Ellis said." Stella looks up at Mac; he just nods for her to continue. "What he said was true. I am in love with Eden."
Mac would be lying if he said he wasn't shocked, but he guessed he probably could have figured it out, they have been really close the last couple of months. Stella braced herself for a bad reaction, as much as she loved Mac, she wasn't willing to give Eden up for anyone, so if he had a problem with this, she was ready to fight her corner.
"Wow Stella." Here it come Stella thinks. "I'm really happy for you. If she's the reason you've been so happy recently, then all I can say is congratulations. You've been walking on air the last few months, I had a sneaking suspicion it was probably down to a new relationship. Don't get me wrong though, I had no idea it was with Ashley! But I guess I'll just have to get used to it."
Stella was relieved. "Thank you."
"We will have to clear a few things with HR, what with you being second in command and all, but I wouldn't think it will cause any problems, Just means I will have to do all of her reviews."
Stella smiles trust Mac to be so professional and analytical about it. She walks round to his side of the desk and kisses him on the side of the forehead. "Thank you".
Mac smiles sincerely as Stella exits his office in search of Eden.
She finds her in the main lab with Adam, Danny and Lindsay.
"Hey, how did it go?" Ashley jumps straight in with the inquisition. She is very aware that Mac is like Stella's family, her only family for that, if he were to have issues, it would cause huge problems for them.
Stella smiles. "Really well. You?" She gestures at Danny and Lindsay.
"Not told them yet." Ashley can't help the grin that takes over her face. Stella instantly mirrors it.
Lindsay is intrigued. "What is going on with you two, does this have anything to do with what Ellis was going on about earlier?"
"Of course it does." Danny butts in. "Look at them, it's obvious."
"Well I think I need you to confirm it, for me to actually believe it!" Lindsay smiles as she says it.
Stella grabs hold of Eden. The giddy smiles still ever present, and apparently contagious, as Adam, Lindsay and Danny are all wearing matching grins.
Stella puts Lindsay out of her misery. "We are a couple. And extremely happy so far."
"I am so happy for you guys." Lindsay jumps on them both, and bear hugs them. Danny gives Stella and hug and moves to Ashley.
"Congrats man, quite the coup! Can tell your both really happy. Happy for you." They exchange hugs.
"Right I don't mean to be a spoilsport, but Lindsay, Adam we gotta get back to our case. Catch you guys later."
They all leave the room, Stella turns to Eden, she can't believe how easy it has all been. She is just so happy; the relief from the last view days, the huge weight from her shoulders now that everybody knows the fact that they can live their lives without fear now that Ellis is out of the picture. It really does feel like a new beginning. She sides her arms around Eden's shoulders.
"What are you smiling at?"
"You. I was just thinking how incredibly happy I am."
Ashley was slightly taken aback; she loves it when Stella talks to her like this. "Glad to be of service."
"I love you Miss Ashley."
"I love you too Bonasera."
Stella knows they probably shouldn't put she can't help herself, she steals a quick kiss.
"Right let's get you home."
Latest drama averted. Ashley was beginning to think New York was a very dramatic place to live. But when the rewards are as good as Stella Bonasera, the lows are most definitely worth the highs.
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