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Mea Culpa 2

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CHAPTER ONE

 

Total chaos greeted Talia as she pushed the squad room doors open and stepped inside. Bofur, as usual, was mucking around trying to pour a cup of water down Bombur’s back. Fili and Kili were wrestling over a hotdog, knocking a pile of folders onto the floor as they crashed over the top of one of the desks. Dwalin was in a heated argument with Dori, complete with the occasional fist being smashed off the filing cabinet at his side as he strove to make his point. Balin roared in frustration as Kili’s elbow caught the back of his head in the middle of their tussle. Ori sat to one side, scrunching up sheets of paper and tossing them at the two brothers as they rolled off the desk and landed in a heap of tangled arms and legs on the floor. Thorin marched out of his office, stepped on the paperwork that had scattered out of the folders, skidded about four feet and tripped over his nephews.

His coffee shot out of his hand and hit the opposite wall.

“Goddammit, you bunch of imbeciles!” he roared. “Look at the state of this goddamned fucking squad room! Get this lot tidied, get yourselves organised, and get your lazy arses out to work! Jesus-fucking-Christ!”

Detectives scattered and busied themselves rectifying the wrecked work area. Chairs were put back upright, desks moved back into position, and garbage lifted from the floor. Paperwork was hurriedly tidied and filed away, and coffee cups were shifted out of harm’s way.

Thorin turned with a heavy sigh, a smile brightening his face as his eyes settled on his lead detective’s child. “Hello there, little Miss,” he grinned, walking towards them. “Morning, Talia.”

“Good morning to you too, Thorin,” she replied with a grin. “Anarchy, much?”

“Definitely,” he said dryly as he held his hands out for her daughter. “I swear I’m going to throw this lot in lock-up before the day’s out. Oh, aren’t you just a little peach?”

“She’s been an absolute menace today, haven’t you Tasha?” she said. “An utter menace.”

The youngster’s eyes turned towards her mother. “Dada,” she said, settling into Thorin’s arms.

Talia’s cheeks turned scarlet, much to his amusement. “Uh no, not Dada,” she said with a cough. “Thorin.”

“Dada.”

She turned away.

Thorin laughed heartily as a muttered fuck reached his ears. “Hey, kids always do that,” he told her. “It’s the first word they learn nine times out of ten, so everybody ends up being dad at some point. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine.”

“She’s doing it to everybody since she picked the word up,” she admitted. “Listen. Have you got any plans for after work?”

He shook his head as he tried to disentangle his beard from the iron grip of the nine-month-old he held. “No.”

“Why don’t you come to ours for dinner?” she suggested. “Tasha, stop that.” She reached over and gently untangled strands of facial hair from her determined fists. “I’ve already prepped it, and I kinda made way more than we could eat…”

“Has Thranduil been putting ideas in your head?” he asked suspiciously.

Her eyebrows rose in a show of exaggerated innocence. “Nooooo…”

One eyebrow cocked in disbelief. “I wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble,” he said.

“Shite,” she retorted. “Come on. It’s dinner, for crying out loud. You’re not exactly moving in and laying claim to our living room floor or anything. Besides – a bit of company might do you good.”

“I’ll think about it,” he decided.

“So we’ll see you at our place later,” she said with a grin. “I made steak pie.”

He laughed, shifting the Oropherion baby to his other hip. “In that case, how can I refuse?”

“You can’t,” she quipped. “Where’s Thranduil?”

“Down in Interrogation,” he told her. “I’ll keep Tasha if you want to pop down and see him.”

“Thankyou,” she replied, leaning forwards to kiss her daughter’s chubby cheek. “Behave, Princess.” Turning and leaving the still slightly chaotic squad room, sounds of Thorin babbling nonsense to her child drifted after her as she made her way along the corridor and down the stairwell. The cherub had managed to endear herself to everyone in the precinct from the day she was born, and only managed to work her way deeper into their hearts every time she dropped by with her.

Her eyes were the same shade of ice blue as Thranduil’s, and she had his white blonde hair. She seemed to bewitch everyone she came into contact with, being a happy, cheery little one who always had a smile or a giggle.

Her mind went back to Thorin as she passed lockup with a wave to Nori. The sixth anniversary of his wife’s death was fast approaching, and both she and Thranduil felt that he needed support as memories from times past resurfaced. Subtle hints had been dropped and plans put into place to ensure that he didn’t spend too much time alone.

Officers passed her in pairs as she approached Interrogation, talking amongst themselves and nodding as they acknowledged her. The secured rooms were situated in the eastern wing of the precinct and she knew them well.

Coming to a halt outside one of them, she folded her arms as she gazed through the one-way window.

Thranduil stood with his back to her, his fists resting on the table in front of him. Long, perfectly straight blonde hair poured down his back like liquid. Strong shoulders hunched as he leaned forwards, his intimidating height lowering as he spoke to his prisoner. He shifted one foot as he moved, his long legs drawing her eye. Black denim jeans hugged his backside like a second skin, making her mouth go dry and her heart beat a little faster.

She jumped, yanked out of her illicit daydream, as he thumped a fist on the table. Muffled exclamations of anger filtered through the glass. He rose back to his full height and slowly circled the prisoner. Deliberate, calculated steps carried him around the table as his eyes remained on the scruffy figure seated before him. His lips moved as he spoke, his words not audible to her hearing range. The prisoner shuffled uncomfortably before responding.

The blonde swooped down so that his face was less than two inches away, his features contorted in anger as he hissed something. The handcuffed man turned pale and began to shake uncontrollably.

Talia smiled to herself as she folded her arms.

Thranduil’s tactics were renowned for extracting details from people who otherwise were reluctant to part with them. He had a way of lulling them into a false sense of security, before tearing down the supports they stood on and bringing them down to a base level, just with words and his delivery of them.

“Enjoying the view?”

She turned to see Bard appear at her side. “Hey!” She gave him a quick hug. “Yeah…caught drooling.”

He laughed as he took a swig from his coffee. “He hasn’t even warmed up with this guy yet,” he said.

“What’s he been booked for?”

“Drugs…what else? He was caught outside the high school over on Main with enough coke to supply a third world country.”

“Fucking scum,” she muttered as she turned back to the window. “Pushing to kids is the lowest, man, the absolute lowest.”

Behind the glass, the man was babbling non-stop. Thranduil had perched his hip on the edge of the desk and folded his arms, listening to whatever he was saying. His hand moved at speed, flipping forwards and grabbing his throat as he leaned towards him.

“Ooof…finger marks, babe,” she murmered softly. “Don’t bruise the dumb fuck.”

Bard chuckled. “He won’t. He knows what he’s doing. Has Tasha started cursing and swearing yet?”

She grinned. “Nope. I don’t swear around her,” she replied. “Or at least…I try not to. Although sometimes that’s easier said than done. She’s just deciding to call everybody Dada these days.”

He laughed heartily. “My Tilda did that too,” he told her. “Everybody she saw, be it the desk sergeant or the mail man, became Da. I don’t think she missed anybody out in her name-calling.”

“It’s embarrassing,” she said. “Poor Thorin is Dada as we speak. She’s upstairs with him as he tries to bring order back to the squad room.”

“Do you miss it?”

She turned her head to look at him. “Yeah,” she admitted softly. “I do. I miss the adrenalin rush. I miss the interaction. I miss the carry-on and the anarchy that goes with the badge. I miss the crap that only cops talk. I miss all that shit. But I wouldn’t swap Tasha for anything.”

He nodded and took another mouthful of coffee. “I can understand that. Maybe one day, eh?”

Her eyebrows lifted briefly in acknowledgement. “Maybe.” Her attention went back to the interrogation room, where Thranduil was back to pacing around in circles. His prisoner had his head leaning on both hands, looking absolutely terrified. She grinned.

Bard rapped once with his knuckle on the window, making the blonde look over. He stepped past Talia and opened the door, disappearing into the room. A few words whispered into his partner’s ear made the taller detective glance towards the window. He shouldered past Bard and exited the room.

A broad grin lit up his face as his eyes settled on her. “Hi!” he said, stepping over to her and wrapping both arms around her. His mouth swept a gentle kiss across hers. “I’ve missed you, little kitty.”

“I missed you too, Blondie,” she smiled back. “How’s it going in there?” She tilted her head towards the window.

“He’s almost there,” he replied. “He’s almost ready to give me names, places, all that crap. Where is our little Princess?”

She groaned. “Upstairs, calling Thorin Dada and embarrassing the hell out of me,” she said dryly. “He thinks it’s hilarious.”

Thranduil chuckled. “It is. Legolas did the same. It’s nothing to worry about, trust me. How’s your morning been?”

“Hey guys, I got this,” Bard announced, coming back out of the room. “He practically spat out what we want to know. I didn’t even have to say a single word.”

The tall blonde grinned. “Good. Can you handle this? I’m going to go upstairs and see my daughter.”

“Sure thing. Clear off,” he answered, and disappeared back inside again.

“I painted another coat onto the walls in Tasha’s room,” she said as they interlocked fingers and walked along the cool hallway. “It’s looking amazing, and the curtains should be ready by tomorrow if I have time to finish them.”

Thranduil held the door to the stairwell open and guided her through in front of him, with his other hand still firmly held in hers. “And then we can finally have our room back to ourselves,” he said. “Just think of all the things I will be able to do to you, without you being worried that she’ll see us.” A sexy smile curved his mouth.

“Quit that,” she laughed, smacking him lightly on his arm. “You know I get put off when I spot a pair of blue eyes watching us. It gives me the heebies.”

“She is too young to know what we are doing,” he told her. “Besides…I swear that fighting my way through quilts and blankets not being able to breathe is stunting my growth.”

Her laughter echoed off the walls as she entered the squad room. “Yeah, right. Like you need to grow any more.”

“Does he hell,” Bofur quipped on the way past with a sheet of evidence photos. “He’s a human totem pole already.”

“Hey, y’all stay the fuck away from his totem pole,” she retorted in response to the ripple of laughter that circulated the room. “I’m perfectly capable of taking care of that, thankyou very much.”

Thranduil snorted with laughter behind her. “Disgusting,” he muttered.

“You don’t want me to take care of your totem pole?” she murmered as she turned her head and gazed up at him.

His pupils dilated. “You are a menace,” he whispered, and dropped a brief kiss onto her upturned mouth. “Fuck. I have to get through the rest of the shift with that thought on my mind.”

She grinned. “It’ll give you something to look forward to,” she replied. “But not when you get home - I’ve asked Thorin over for dinner tonight…is that ok?”

“Of course it is,” he replied with a frown. “Why would it not be? Why are you asking for my permission?”

She scoffed and shoved him away. “Go and see your child. I’ve no doubt she’s swinging off Thorin’s beard by now.”

“Hey Talia! How do you say fuck off in German?” Kili yelled over.

Verpiss dich,” she replied. “Why d’you wanna know that?”

Thranduil shook his head as he left her to wade into the debate that was taking over Kili’s desk and went through to his Captain’s office.

“Dada!” Tasha squealed. Her arms lifted as she caught sight of him, demanding to be held.

“Hi Princess,” he greeted her as he lifted her. “How are you today, my baby bird? Are you behaving?”

“She’s an angel,” Thorin replied as he straightened his facial hair. “Talia has asked me to come to yours for dinner tonight – is that alright with you?”

“Why does everyone think they need my consent for everything? Of course it’s alright,” he said. He shifted his head in an attempt to free his hair from Tasha’s fists. “You know you’re always welcome to come over. What is wrong with everybody?”

The smaller man smiled. “I just wanted to make sure, that’s all,” he told him. “How’s it going downstairs? Any luck with your dealer?”

“He spilled his guts to Bard the second he stepped into the room,” he replied. “Tasha, stop chewing my hair, baby girl. He’s spouting his deep, dark secrets as we speak, no doubt looking for some sort of deal.”

“He hasn’t lawyered up yet?” Thorin asked in surprise. “I thought that would’ve been the first thing he did.”

“Nope. He’s all too happy to give us what we want,” he said.

His boss’s eyes narrowed. “What did you do to him?”

“Not a thing, you suspicious creation of a man,” Thranduil shot back. “Really, Thorin. Your lack of faith astounds me.”

The Captain barked a laugh. “Listen, BigFoot…I’ve seen you down there, and I know exactly how you intimidate suspects and witnesses. If I had to take the stand and swear on the big book, my soul would burn in hell for all eternity.”

“Any more of that BigFoot nonsense and your soul just might,” he warned with a grin. “I never harmed him. I never struck him. And I never…accidentally…made him fall off his chair.”

“Ha! I assume your partner is tidying up behind you and clearing your mess?”

The blonde nodded. “Bard is more tactical when it comes to detail,” he answered. “What in the name of all that is holy is Talia doing now?”

Thorin leaned to peer around him in the direction of the squad room.

Talia had Fili in a headlock, and he was struggling like hell to free himself. The cops congregated around them cheered and waved twenty dollar bills around as they jeered and yelled.

“I have to live with this shit,” Thorin muttered. “For chrissakes get out there and control the mother of your child.”

Thranduil grinned as he made his way over towards the door. “See you around seven?” he said over his shoulder.

Thorin nodded. “Yes. Do I bring anything?” Tasha’s baby ice blue eyes watched him over the broad shoulder she leaned on, a handful of long blonde hair being chewed thoughtfully.

“Just yourself,” he said.

“Dada!” his daughter decided with a yell.

Thranduil shook his head and waded through his colleagues.

Fili was turning rapidly in circles in an attempt to loosen Talia’s grip around his neck. She obligingly turned with him, maintaining her hold as she laughed. Her eyes lifted and met Thranduil’s as he neared her.

A squeal left her lips as her captive flailed a hand out and tangled itself in her long black hair, tugging hard. “Oh you bastard!” she yelled, stamping hard on his foot.

He howled, and everyone around laughed.

“Ok guys, break it up,” Thranduil said decidedly. “Before someone gets hurt. “Durinson – get your hands off her before you’re the one who ends up hurt, by my doing.”

Muffled grunts rose from him as she briefly tightened her hold around his neck before granting him his freedom. He shot upright, red in the face and gasping.

“One of these days, Not-So-Special Agent,” he warned threateningly.

She swiped his pointed finger out of her way. “Yeah right…in your dreams,” she laughed. “And way more special than you, dumb-ass.”

“They’re actually pretty well-behaved until you come in here,” Thranduil said pointedly.

“Are they hell!” she laughed. “You should’ve seen them when I came in – it was like Happy Hour at the Royal Rumble with those two nutters.” She pointed at the two brothers. “Bloody tables and chairs scattered all over the show. Poor Thorin just about broke his neck because of their antics.”

“He mentioned dinner tonight,” her lover told her as he yanked his hair out of his child’s grasp yet again.

“He needs people around him right now,” she said. Her eyes followed her daughter’s angry fist-waving in response to the hair being moved over her father’s shoulder out of reach. “If he’s left alone, he’ll just wallow in misery.”

He nodded in agreement. “Are you hanging around here for a while?”

“No. I’ll take Tasha over to the Water Babies session at the pool, then head off home so she can have her nap,” she replied. “C’mon tinytot, we’ll see Dada later.”

“What did you come by for?” Bofur asked as he looked up from his desk, confusion evident on his face.

“To find this stud and service his totem pole,” she shot back, taking her daughter. “Unlike some, he doesn’t need porn sites to get his rocks off.”

Bofur spluttered on his soda and turned beetroot red, to the salacious roars that echoed around the squad room. 

Thranduil’s cheeks turned pink as he shook his head with a grin. “You are incorrigible, little kitty,” he said.

“I know.” She rose up onto her toes for his kiss, murmering in sensual pleasure as his warm flesh rubbed over hers. A moan sounded from her as he twisted his hand in her hair and held her still, plunging his tongue into her mouth.

Cat-calls and whistles deafened them as their friends started a cacophony of racket that echoed off the walls and was boisterous enough to haul Thorin out of his office yelling in temper.

“I’d better go,” she whispered, pulling back to look up at him. Her eyes sparkled.

“I’ll see you tonight, baby,” he replied, and dropped another kiss on her lips. “Drive carefully. And you be good for Mama,” he added as he turned to Tasha and kissed her cheek.

He watched as Talia and their daughter left the squad room, then turned back to face the rest of his shift with a sigh.