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Written in the Stars

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“Do you know why ghosts ride elevators?”

Renard tries not to sigh, but it’s been almost an hour and they are still stuck in the elevator. He’s taken off his jacket some time ago because the stuffiness became too much and it is now folded in Nick’s lap. Nick, who sits cross legged next to a young girl, 8 to 10 years old who has her knees drawn up to her chest. Her name is Isabella, and apparently she’s Franco’s niece. The other two adults in the elevator with them are acting even more antsy than any of them.

A woman from forensics, Patrelli, flips idly through the folder in her hands that she had been running up to Wu. She’s older, with white strands in her ebony hair that match her lab coat. There’s a certain handsomeness to her steely jade eyes and high cheekbones. Then there’s a beat cop named Meyers who can’t stand still for one second. His hands jitter and he paces the small space that he can. He perspires easily, causing his curly red hair to slightly matt to his forehead.

The young girl, Isabella, stares up at Nick with intrigue. “Why?” She asks in a shy voice.

“Because it lifts their spirits.” Nick replies with a slight grin. Isabella ducks her smile into the over-sized sleeves of her dark blue hoodie. His detective is obviously pleased with himself and Renard finds himself burning with fondness for that boyish smile and ridiculous humor, but also the compassion in his efforts.

“H-how much longer are we going to be in here?” Meyers speaks up. Obviously he’s not one for cramped spaces; as the time drags on it just gets worse for him. Renard worries about anxiety setting the man off. He himself isn’t fond of prolonged lingering in small spaces but he remains calm in the face of things. It’s required of him, not only by those in the elevator with him but by himself.

He checks his phone just to have something to do, even as he knows if there was an update to be had he would have been immediately called. The illusion that something is being done could be calming, however. “Shouldn’t be long now. The technicians are working as fast as they can.”

“Hey, elevator technician. I’m sure that job has its ups and downs.” Nick pipes up.

Patrelli snorts and Isabella giggles. Meyers just looks a little green.

“Hey Page, do you have any good puns?” The detective asks the forensics scientist.

She rolls her eyes, not tearing her gaze away from her papers. They were already filled out but it gave her something to do to reread it. Certainly, some extra proofing didn’t hurt. “I’m a scientist hun, not a comedian.”

“Aw.” Responded the little girl in a disappointed whisper. Page glanced down at her over the manila folder to be undone by brown puppy eyes staring up at her. Her gaze quickly retreated back to the black letters on the page that she was no longer really reading.

“When there was a murder backstage at the Grammys they couldn't find DNA but they did find Prince.”

A laugh escapes Renard before he can stop it and everyone turns startled eyes on him. He tries not to appear embarrassed at having had that slip, or the attention that his slip has garnered. Nick grins up at him like a vibrant light while Patrelli and Meyers appear surprised. The little girl wears a slightly confused expression and says, “I don’t get it.”

Some more time passes in the stuck elevator. Nick stands close to Renard and attempts to whisper to him about what they’re going to do if this situation plays out much longer. The beat officer is going to lose it very soon and the little girl is their top priority in getting out. They exchange some ideas but only a couple minutes into their discussion the lights flicker and the elevator gives a rough jerk.

Isabella shrieks and Meyers’ breathing becomes harsh. Nick loses his balance long enough fall straight into Renard’s chest. A large hand gently grabs his waist to steady him and the familiar sturdy chest before him is comforting. There’s a slight lingering in contact as he rights his detective to stand on his own.

The lights return to normal and the elevator doors slide open. “Oh sweet Jesus!” Exclaims the beat cop before zooming straight out, brushing past other officers and technicians alike. A cheer resounds from the small gathered crowd and Isabella is the next one running out and straight into the awaiting arms of officer Franco.

Patrelli walks out calmly with a hint of an irritated expression. She firmly presses her reports into Wu’s chest, ignoring his surprised look and says, “Next time you’re coming down to get your own damn files.” Then she strides off without a glance back.

Nick turns to Renard and offers him back his jacket. He takes it easily and slips it on. “Glad that’s over.”

“Yes.” The captain says in his typical dry seriousness. “This is why I usually take steps to avoid elevators.”

His detective’s eyes widen. “Did you just-?”

Renard smirks at him and heads to his office where he has to make up an hour’s worth of paperwork.