The young patrol officer frowned as she stood at the window and saw the Superintendent and Tom Anderson arriving at the precinct in the same car.
Dani had known since the whole Olson fiasco that she didn't stand a chance with the beautiful blonde but nevertheless, she hadn't been able to drop that tiny sliver of hope that there would come the day when Stella Gibson mustered her like she'd mustered James.
It was hard not to swoon over the older woman and she knew that she wasn't the only victim who'd fallen prey to her captivating blue eyes and her commanding presence. One just had to tear their eyes off of the DSI for a moment whenever she entered a room to have the visible proof, painted into the faces of Burns, Eastwood, Martin, and hell, perhaps even McNally. Stella Gibson was like a very contagious sickness – once you met her, you wanted her. It really was as easy as that.
Dani turned away from the window, disappointed in herself for still letting the DSI get to her and angry at Tom for looking the way he did and possessing the one thing she could never offer, a dick. She knew it was childish to be angry at her colleague because of her own jealousy but as illogical as it was, she really couldn't help the way she felt.
She sighed, suddenly feeling nervous about the little gift she'd left on Gibson's desk this morning. It was really only meant as a nice gesture – even though, yes, Dani had spent about half an hour staring at it in the bookstore, internally debating whether to buy it or not – but now she wondered whether it would make the other woman uncomfortable, whether she would laugh about the little love-sick fool she'd made her ‘right-hand man’, or whether she simply wouldn't want it.
Dani was about to go back in there and retrieve it, when she heard the telltale sound of her heels, soon followed by her voice.
It was already too late it seemed.
Cursing herself, Dani decided to at least be far away when she found her present and snatched her hat from her own desk, rushing out of the station past the mesmerizing blonde, greeting her with a polite “Ma'am” as she passed by her.
When she jumped into the patrol car and slammed the door behind her, signaling to Stone that she was more than ready to leave, her partner merely raised a brow at her strange behavior before he wrote it off – ‘maybe she had her period?’ – and started the car for their morning patrol through Belfast.
Stella strode into her office and quickly shut the door behind her, irritated by the kicked-puppy-look Tom had just given her in the hallway. Why did men always think that they had to have the same opinion on everything after a night of meaningless sex? Why did they always think that women were incapable of separating sex and love, that the woman just had to have fallen in love with them after their sheer endless prowess in bed? Men could be so arrogant...
She shook her head at herself, shrugging out of her coat and placing it on the hanger. She just hoped Tom wouldn't turn into a second James Olson. She did really not have the nerve for that right now.
Spector was still on the prowl and Rose was still missing. There were more important things to deal with.
Pinching the bridge of her nose – she could feel a headache brewing – she walked towards her desk only to abruptly come to a stop right in front of it, staring at the small wrapped object that was innocently lying on its organized surface.
God, she was so not in the mood for this, whatever it was.
A gift from Jim who just couldn't forget her, who had nearly assaulted her in his drunken state only four days prior?
A gift from Anderson? No, he'd been with her the whole night and arrived at the precinct with her. He wouldn't have had the time to leave something on her desk.
Spector? She frowned at the mere possibility of him invading her privacy once more but quickly discarded that idea. He couldn't have gotten into and out of the police station without being seen. He was too intelligent to risk getting caught like that.
Sighing, Stella decided to stop playing her little guessing game and picked up the small parcel, impatiently tearing off the wrapping paper.
Her eyebrows shot into her hairline as her eyes fell onto the little black notebook she now held in her hands.
She'd pretty much expected something thoughtless and unwelcome like a box of chocolates from Jim, if she was being honest. Did he really go to the lengths to buy her a new notebook, knowing hers was lost to her? She felt strangely touched by the gesture, not having expected such depths from him at all.
She ran her hands over the cover and finally opened it.
A note fell out of the book and landed on her desk; Stella picked it up and began reading:
“I heard that your notebook has been confiscated as evidence. I know this one can hardly replace the one you've lost but I hope it will bring you some comfort.
“Dani,” she spoke the name out loud, a soft smile spreading on her face. She should've known that no man would ever gift her something so thoughtful.
But Dani? She honestly hadn't even known that she knew about her notebook. Or rather that she knew about it being sealed away for the time being. After all, Stella had once asked the redhead to pick it up for her at her hotel room, along with a change of clothes.
She put the note back into the book – carefully squeezing it in between the pages to make sure it didn't fall out and get lost – and placed her new dream diary into the drawer of her desk, locking it afterwards.
The loss of her dream diary had weighed heavily on Stella and she felt relieved knowing that after her next dream, she would be no longer left alone with her thoughts and emotions. She'd have to thank Dani when she saw her next.
‘Dani’. She idly wondered when that had happened. Had she already been calling her that yesterday or even the day before? Had she called the PC that to her face? She couldn't recall.
But somehow, it sounded just right to her.
A knock on her door startled her out of her thoughts.
“Stella,” Jim Burns entered her office. “PC Hagstrom is bringing in Katerina Benedetto, apparently she's been destroying evidence in a hotel room rented by Paul Spector.”
Stella tiredly massaged her temple. That Benedetto girl was just what she needed. 15 and obviously head over heals for a psychopathic serial killer. At least enough to obstruct their investigation. If there was a god, he was undoubtedly laughing about his creation.
“Make sure they bring in an appropriate adult, too,” Stella ordered, thinking of everything that needed to be done. This had to be done by the book or their case wouldn't hold. They couldn't risk letting that pervert run free because they forgot a step or two. “We might have to perform a strip search on the girl.”
“I'll let them know,” Jim nodded, fumbling with something in his hands. A folder. “I also went to talk to the Father who ran the home Spector was in for some time during his youth,” he finally went on, pushing the thick folder into her hands. “Father Jensen remembered him quite well; this is Spector's juvenile record. His name used to be Peter Baldwin. You were right, several incidents of breaking and entering. And he only ever took clothes, underwear. He wrote a diary too, had a stalker map of where and when he could best observe women.”
The blonde could easily read the disgust on Jim's face and she couldn't blame him for it. The more they uncovered about Spector, the more she doubted the entire human race, the more she despised the man.
“Ma'am,” a young officer briefly wrapped his knuckles against her open door. “Spector's on the move. Botanic Gardens.”
Exchanging a look with Burns, they followed after the young PC, joining the technician who was on duty for monitoring the happenings on the street.
“Everyone, this is DSI Gibson. We have enough to warrant the arrest of Paul Spector. Do you copy?”
“Copy, ma'am,” all four patrol teams called in, as eager as their boss to finally bring that fucker behind bars.
So as there really isn't enough Stellington out there, I thought I'd add to it. I have the first couple chapters written up and I'll be posting them soon, once I have reread them for typos and such. Part one of this series will be following the storyline of the tv-series pretty closely with minor changes. Part two - and there definitely will be one, will take part after season three.
Also I'm not quite sure whether to rate this story mature or explicit, maybe you can tell me where to range it once that chapter comes up.
And on a side note - promise I'll be done babbling after that - I recently saw the idea with Dani and the notebook gift in another story as well. I do not want to step on the author's toes (I loved your fic by the way!), I just had the very same idea, even before reading it in yours and didn't want to change it. I think it is a very Dani thing to do.
I'd love some feedback, but no pressure ;-)
Thanks for reading.
A while later, Stella was frustratedly pacing the room, staring at the abundance of monitors with utter contempt. They'd lost him. They'd been so close to catching the bastard and now they'd lost him.
Her phone rang and Stella pulled it out of her pocket, quickly answering as she saw the caller I.D.
“Ma'am,” the redhead shortly greeted her. “Just responded to an emergency call, back of Elmwood Mews. The caller described two men in bomber jackets and a man in dark running clothes. It made me think of Spector running in that CCTV footage.”
Excitement build up in Stella's stomach as she heard what Dani was saying. Maybe they hadn't lost him after all. “Good thinking,” she praised the PC, proud at the young woman's quick mind. She would make a great detective one day. “How far are you away?”
“About four minutes, ma'am.”
Stella nodded and added, remembering that Dani couldn't see her: “Good. Do not let him get away, do you hear me? And stay on the phone.”
Stella waited anxiously for the two officers to arrive at the scene. She was sure that those four minutes of waiting and hearing nothing but Dani's breathing and the sounds of the car were the longest four minutes of her life.
Would it be him? Would this wild goose-chase finally find an end?
“We're at the scene now, ma'am,” Dani informed her and she could hear the patrol car coming to a stop.
“Is it him? Ferrington, is it him?”
Suddenly, a series of gunshots rang through the receiver and Stella almost dropped her phone.
Her chest suddenly felt constricted and she was certain the temperature in the room had fallen.
“Dani? Dani, what happened?” she shouted into her phone, wishing she could see what was happening. “Dani?”
She heard the young woman gasp in pain and all the blood seemed to leave her face.
“Dani, are you hit?”
“Yes,” came the shaky reply.
Stella's heart was beating a mile a minute.
“Took one in the flak jacket.”
The blonde sighed with relief. For a moment there, she'd thought she might've lost her. But the PC wasn't badly hurt.
“Is it him? Dani, is it him?” Stella repeated her earlier question, holding her breath for the answer.
It didn't come right away. Instead, she could hear the arrival of another police car and Dani barking a description at them; apparently, one of the men had been able to flee the scene, together with her partner's gun.
There was a brief moment of relative silence, then:
“Sorry, ma'am,” Dani was speaking into her mobile again. “Yes, it's Spector.”
“Any serious injuries, Dani?”
“No, ma'am, I think he's bleeding from his nose.”
“Good. Do not let them take him to the hospital, Dani, do you hear me? Keep him at the scene.”
She ended the call and quickly found the number she'd only called last night.
“Anderson, there's something I need you to do for me.”
Dani was sitting in the ambulance, her eyes never straying from Spector, watching as he was answering DC Glen Martin's questions.
She thought she could see a nervous twitch in his eyes now and then but maybe, maybe that was just her own imagination. Spector didn't know that they were onto him, couldn't know how the evidence against him piled up at the station.
Dani couldn't help but think that he looked too ordinary to have killed all these women. She knew, of course, that psychopaths often looked like you and me, but still…
She vividly remembered finding Sarah Kay. The images still haunted her, as did the guilt she felt.
It was very possible that her voice had been the last thing Sarah had heard and it made her shiver. If only she'd done more than just call. She should've thrown the regulations over board and gone inside. Wasn't it her duty to protect?
She'd utterly failed...
Dani hissed in pain as the paramedic spread a creme onto the quickly darkening bruise that covered half of her chest. Fucking bastard. She'd never been shot at like that. She was glad her mum and dad lived in the countryside. They would never know about how close she'd come to death today; she certainly wouldn't tell them.
“All done, ma'am.” The paramedic gave her a nod, already packing his things away.
Dani quickly slipped back into her uniform jacket, grimacing at the pain the swift movements brought her.
She'd just gotten fully dressed, when Spector walked past the ambulance, studying her intently, turning the game around.
She furrowed her brows – why did they let him go? – but stayed where she was, knowing that there was probably a reason behind all of this. Surely they'd arrest him?
Didn't Gibson order his arrest earlier?
She watched him walk down the alley, his steps never once faltering but not in a haste either. He felt comfortable, was sure he'd gotten away.
And Dani was beginning to wonder if he really was.
She hesitated for another minute or so, then started following Spector at a safe distance.
She was no longer needed here and should probably return to the police station, yet she clearly remembered Stella's words to her: ‘Keep him at the scene’.
If there was a plan she didn't know about – fine. But she wouldn't just let him walk away as long as she didn't know for sure.
Putting distance between her and the scene of the shooting, the noise of the crowd that had been drawn out turned into a whisper in the background, much like a bird's song, and the sound of her own footsteps seemed to echo for miles and miles ahead.
She carefully observed Spector for any changes but found none. Either he was a good actor or he was unaware of her presence in the shadows behind him. Dani hoped it was the second.
Suddenly, Spector tensed, his whole body language speaking of flight.
Dani ducked behind a dumpster, certain that he must've noticed her, but quickly realized that the change wasn't because of her but because of the figure standing only a few meters away. Tom Anderson.
Spector looked around, probably searching for a way out, but before he could even think about running back the way he'd come from, Dani had drawn her weapon and stepped into the light.
“Go on,” she said, gripping her gun with both hands as she ushered him forward. “Don't do anything stupid. I will shoot if I have to.”
Spector looked back at her in surprise, his eyes cold and calculating. Eventually though, he started moving towards the waiting Tom.
He knew there was no way out now.
“Fancy seeing you here, Ferrington,” Tom called out, his voice sounding somewhat annoyed, maybe even angered. A pair of handcuffs was dangling from his hands. “Aren't you supposed to be patrolling the streets?”
“I was,” she answered shortly, not willing to explain her actions to him. He might be a Detective Sergeant but he wasn't her superior.
Two patrol cars drove into sight from around the corner as soon as the handcuffs had snapped shut around Spector's wrists and Tom had given him the mandatory speech about his rights.
A blonde figure stepped out of one of the cars, briskly walking towards them.
“Anderson, Dani,” she nodded at both of them and Dani couldn't keep the victorious grin off of her face for being called Dani when Tom was only ‘Anderson’.
‘1 - 1, Tom. Watch out, I'm coming for you.’
Then, Stella turned to Dani and the grin immediately faded at seeing the way she looked at her.
“Dani, you could've ruined the whole operation if he'd noticed you earlier. You could've been seriously hurt! What were you thinking?”
Dani looked at her feet, practically feeling the smirk that was doubtlessly appearing on Anderson's face now. She gulped, then met the piercing blue eyes.
“I'm sorry, ma'am. I didn't know about the plan and I didn't want to let him get away. I know I shouldn't have acted on my own.”
The blonde sighed and there was a moment of silence. “I should've informed you, Dani,” she admitted, a small smile now on her lips. “You were just doing what you were told to do. Good work. Both of you,” she added as an afterthought, nodding at Tom.
“Now let's get Mr. Spector back to the station. Dani, you're riding with me.”
A moment later, Dani found herself in the back of a patrol car, sitting next to the cuffed Belfast Strangler. Tom was driving the car, having switched with Turner who was now riding in the second car, and Stella was in the seat before her.
And as much as Dani felt she needed to be alert, sitting next to Spector, her focus was mostly on the woman in front of her and the sweet scent of her hair.
“Where were you shot, Dani?” Gibson inquired, turning in her seat to look at the redhead. “Does it hurt badly?”
“Bullet hit me right here,” Dani stated, pointing at her chest. “Just beneath the collarbone. And it's fine, merely some bruising.”
“Still,” Stella responded. “You should go home and get some rest once we're back at the precinct. The bruising is going to spread and you should try not to exert yourself too much.”
“I'm fine, ma'am, really. The paramedic cleared me for duty.”
“I would still prefer it if you got some rest.”
“I'll consider it, ma'am.”
The DSI nodded and turned back around. The rest of the drive remained silent.
“Shit,” Stella cursed when they reached the police station, seeing the crowd of reporters that had formed in front of it.
Had someone at the scene recognized Spector from the sketch that'd been printed in every newspaper across the country?
Were they here because of the shooting?
Or… and Stella didn't like to even consider that option… had one of their own people tipped off the press about Spector's arrest, trying to further their career and wanting to stand in the spotlight?
She really hoped that wasn't the case.
However, no matter the reason, the press were here now and needed to be dealt with.
“Dani,” she turned to face the redhead once more, her eyes briefly lingering on Spector who seemed to be watching the PC intently. What was he playing at? “Dani, can you clear us a way through the crowd?”
“Of course, ma'am.”
“Very well,” she picked up the radio receiver and informed Turner and McNally of their plan, instructing them to come to their car and to cover their rear. To Anderson she said: “Anderson, you and I will flank Mr. Spector, we have to get him inside the building safely.”
“Yes, St-, ma'am,” he corrected himself, seeing the frown that appeared on her face at the familiar address.
'Seriously. Who did he think he was to her?'
A knock at the windshield announced the arrival of the two DCs.
Dani was the first to get out of their car. While Turner and McNally walked around the car to help Anderson with getting out Spector, Dani opened her own door, holding out her hand for her to take.
Stella found herself pulled to her feet with astounding strength and soon all of them were headed towards the entrance of the building.
“DSI Gibson, have you caught the Belfast Strangler?”
“Ma'am, a comment, please?”
“Can the women in our city sleep safely again?”
“Was he involved in the shooting at Elmwood Mews?”
“Were there any casualties?”
Stella didn't give any comment at all; most of her focus was on getting Spector inside and the rest was on the delicious sensations of being pressed against Dani's back as she parted the masses for them like Moses parted the Red Sea, innocently unaware of the desires she awakened in her superior.
It was that innocence and sweetness that kept Stella from taking the redhead to bed.
Dani could never be a simple ‘sweet night’ to her. She already liked the young woman too much to do that to her. Because Danielle Ferrington, very much unlike herself, didn't exactly scream the one-night-stand type. And Stella wouldn't, no, couldn't ruin the PC. She deserved so much more than a night with a bitter old woman. Even though that night would surely be remarkable.
Second one :-) I hope you're enjoying this so far.
Do you like the POV switch or would you prefer I stayed with Dani or Stella only?
It was already past midnight and Dani knew there was no real explanation for why she was still at the precinct and not at home in her bed.
The bruising on her chest had spread even further and turned a very dark, almost black purple – and now it really hurt like hell to just move her arm – but she couldn't care less about it.
Spector was in there with Gibson for more than two hours now and Dani wouldn't stop pacing the hallway in front of the interrogation room until she came back out.
Eastwood and Anderson were watching the interview from behind the mirror wall and she felt hot jealousy bubbling up inside of her once more.
Not because she was curious and wanted to watch Spector but because she wanted to hear what he said to the blonde, wanted to know if she was all right in there.
She knew that Spector had read Gibson's diary, knew that he had a window into her person that no-one else had. And she knew that Spector was going to use it to torture her. This had long since turned into a game between him and the DSI. It was personal for both of them.
Dani was just about to give up and go home – realistically, what good would it do Gibson if she was waiting for her? – when the door opened and the blonde stepped out.
Seeing as she wasn't immediately noticed, Dani took the chance to study the older woman.
She looked worn and tired, much more tired than when she had first set foot in the room, and much more tired than the late hour warranted. But there was something else that Dani couldn't quite place. Anguish, maybe? She wasn't sure.
“Dani, what are you still doing here?” Stella asked once she discovered her standing in the hallway across from her, clearly surprised by her presence. “Didn't I tell you to go home and rest?”
“You did, ma'am,” Dani sheepishly agreed, fumbling for the right thing to say and finally finding it. “I didn't want to leave without knowing that you would get some rest as well. Some proper rest in a bed, not on that cot in your office.”
“Dani, while I appreciate your-”
“Ferrington, what are you still doing here?” Anderson repeated the blonde's earlier question. His tone was almost accusing.
Dani hadn't even noticed that the two men had stepped into the hallway.
Now both Anderson and Eastwood were staring at her, making her rather uncomfortable. She fished her mind for an answer but Stella was faster:
“PC Ferrington was waiting for me, I asked her to drive me to my hotel.”
“But I could-” Tom began, breaking off as he felt Eastwood's inquisitive gaze on him. “Of course, Superintendent Gibson. Good night.”
“Good night. Eastwood. — Come along, Dani.”
Dani fell into step beside the DSI and, once they'd rounded a corner, said: “Thank you, ma'am. Would you like me to actually drive you to your hotel?”
The blonde looked to be about to decline but obviously decided differently. “That'd be nice. Thank you, Dani. I just need to make a quick stop at my office before we go.”
“Of course, ma'am.”
Dani smiled to herself, glad that her prolonged stay hadn't been for nothing after all. She'd rest easier tonight, knowing the blonde would get some decent sleep as well.
She followed the smaller woman to her office, waiting just outside.
It took only a moment until Stella returned and Dani found herself blushing as she recognized the black book in her left hand.
“Thank you for the gift, Dani,” she briefly touched her shoulder and Dani felt the rest of her blood rush to her face, cursing her fair skin and red hair for being so obvious. Fortunately, the other woman didn't comment on it. “It was very thoughtful of you.”
“You're welcome, ma'am.”
Stella nodded. “Let's go then.”
Once at her hotel, Stella surprised herself by inviting Dani up to her room. Not for sex, of course, but to talk.
To her own surprise, the redhead quickly agreed even though she looked as nervous as a virgin before her first kiss.
It was cute, really.
“So, Dani,” Stella immediately cut to the chase, offering her a glass of wine as they sat on the sofa in her hotel room. “What was the real reason you waited for me?”
“While I do believe that your answer about my sleeping was honest, I do not think it was the initial reason for you to stay.” She raised a brow at the young woman, wondering whether she'd answer her question or simply evade it.
It took a moment but finally, the PC answered, meeting her gaze.
“I wanted to make sure you were all right,” she confessed, a beautiful blush creeping onto her cheeks. “I know that he's read your diary and thought he would surely use it against you.”
“It is merely my dream diary, the one I write my thoughts and feelings into after waking up from a dream. Of course, it still holds very intimate information,” she found herself saying; it was easy to talk to Dani. “And you were right, he used his knowledge against me.”
The redhead nodded.
“Thank you for watching my back, Dani.”
Stella smiled at the sincerity in her voice. It wasn't hard to feel safe and protected with the patrol officer around. And, she had to admit to herself, she wasn't quite ready to lose that after the events of the day. The video of Rose and the interview with Spector had taken its toll on her. She felt raw and weak and entirely not like herself.
“Dani, would you consider spending the night? To sleep,” she clarified in amusement; the hazel eyes had almost widened into saucers. “It is already rather late and I feel myself wishing not to be alone.”
“I… uhm.. of course, ma'am.”
She made to stretch out on the sofa as Stella got to her feet.
“Don't be silly, Dani, the bed is more than big enough for two. Do you have something to change into? No, how would you,” she answered the question herself, already going through a drawer of her wardrobe.
“Here, these should fit you,” she threw one of her own pyjama sets at Dani, who swiftly caught it, followed by a slight wince. “Are you all right, Dani?”
“Perfectly fine, ma'am,” the redhead hurried to say, getting to her feet and making her way to the bathroom to change. “Just a little sore, is all.”
“I'll take your word for it, Dani.”
Stella shrugged out of her clothes and slipped into her own pyjama, not bothering to wait until the bathroom door clicked closed.
She wasn't exactly shy around people and she'd even changed in front of Dani before. No need to hide.
When the redhead returned, she was already lying in bed, lifting the covers for her.
“I uh.. I can really sleep on the sofa if-”
“Get in here, Ferrington,” Stella raised a challenging brow at the young woman, smirking to herself at seeing her in her pyjamas. Dani was a good deal taller than herself and the top that was already short on Stella almost left her wearing a belly tee. It was cute, yet it also made Stella's insides tingle.
“Yes, ma'am. Goodnight, ma'am.”
She chuckled at the redhead's response, content when she finally crawled under the covers. “Good night, Dani.”
It didn't take long for Stella to fall asleep that night, lulled by Dani's scent and the sound of her soft breathing.
Dani however, couldn't sleep. Not for a long time at least.
The day had been long and eventful, but thinking about the woman sleeping next to her kept her up half the night.
When she finally did succumb to sleep, it was with the fear of waking up cuddled up to her boss. She'd always been a cuddler and had surprised more than one overnight guest by clinging to them in the morning.
She could only hope her body knew exactly whom it was sleeping next to.
Dani being her sweet and protective self. I love that officer!