If the truth hurts - 3/9
Fandom: The Killing
Pairing: Stephen Holder/Sarah Linden
Category: Angst, Romance, Humor
Series/Sequel: Oh Snap!
Summary: They struggle to trust each other
Warning: Adult Fanfiction, Spoiler for season one + two
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I´m writing for free.
Feedback: You feel me?
Word Count: 3.433
Released: October 2013
Daybreak. Cold. Bitter. And still the early glint of light was sweet to the taste even though he had gotten almost no sleep. That had nothing to do with her. Nah. She came in, being her usual self, busy talking at the phone, just giving him a sign to wait for a second until she was ready to deal with him. He couldn´t, though, showing her the shots of Rosie proving that she had been inside the casino the night she was killed. Linden swallowed the bait and hung up. He concealed a satisfied grin. He had learned to push her buttons in the only way she was responsive.
"Was that little man?"
"Little man´s dead-beat dad."
"Sounded like you were tearin´ him a new one. So?"
"That´s who Jack was with yesterday."
"Wow..." he exhaled with honest compassion. That son of a bitch, he thought, now not surprised that she had been raging talking at the phone. He himself would love to beat the idiot´s ass for what he had put her through yesterday, no questions asked. You feel me?
So. No. The day they had shared searching for little man didn´t change everything. Yet. She was leaning close looking at the pictures. She showed more respect and listened. She struck him as more relaxed around him. Off and on she even smiled. Well. She was as easy-going as a woman like her was able to be. Don´t fuck this up, you hear? Don´t you dare fuck this up. His crush subsided into the depths of his very soul to make room for what was within his grasp. A good partnership. Yeah. Right. That mattered. Nothing else. Period.
He was in such a generous mood he even introduced her to his old partner Cami, with whom he was working undercover vice back then.
"Redhead your new partner?" Cami said, studying Linden coolly.
"Mm-hmm. This is Linden, my new ball and chain. Meet Cami, my old ball and chain," he joked to break the tension.
Cami played along, though not in the way he wanted her to. "He still trying to throw his skinny white ass around, act like he´s boss?"
"And thinkin´ he´s all that," Linden agreed smugly.
Hey. "Okay, we done here?" Linden teasing him like that was giving him a whole lot of new feelings. Damn. Come on. Let it go. You swore you´d turn this into a real partnership. Don´t even think about what could be. Just don´t. For the first time he was glad that the talk went to business, distracting the two women, so he was able to hide his feelings once more. The meeting was not in vain, though, because Cami had information that turned into a new lead on the case.
Back at the precinct they found a man sitting in their office, waiting. "Who are you?" he addressed him, almost stepping on the intruder's toes. The man only glanced at him briefly then talked to Linden, ignoring him. She asked him to leave. Okay. Good. He shuffled out of the room and she closed the door. So. That must be Jack´s father he figured. The asshole. His decision to let go of his infatuation was cemented. Jack´s father was one handsome, respectable looking guy in a suit. Quite the opposite of him. Simply disenchanting for his ego. Pacing up and down in the hallway, he was feeling uncomfortable and... yeah... say it... just say it... jealous even. Oh you dumb fuck. I thought we agreed to put this behind us, man. A few minutes later, he couldn´t take it anymore and went back in. "Am I interrupting?" Aw...great line...can you even be more obvious? The guy was looking unsatisfied with Linden but left anyway. Linden was looking furious. No shit!
"Is this the deadbeat?" he asked, hoping not to be caught in the crossfire. She nodded briefly and went out. Good. Meaning she was not mad at him for a change. Still he knew he was lucky to get off this lightly.
The case roped them in, yeah, both of them, but she got it worse. Every breath she took and every step she made was controlled by the need to find Rosie´s killer. He started to seriously worry about her being that obsessed. She never worried about him, though, hell no. They were working without resting. They were doing their job. They were teaming up. Following the lead she sent him on a fake date with a girl that could know more than was good for her. He benefits from the subject to ask her about dating. "Yeah, well, speaking of, when you´re going on some dates? You know your man in Cali´s M.I.A., and Jack´s running off to Chicago. So subtle, Stephen. You´re quite the man, yo. She did what she was best at. She was ignoring his poor attempt at flirting. "Linden, are you there?" Then she continued talking business. Oh. See. She is so not into you. Just give it up, idiot.
He tried to stop caring about her, but her obsession with the case turned really scary. First she put herself in danger and he almost freaked on the way getting to her. Next she ran alone through the woods pretending to be in the victim´s mind, thinking like her, feeling like her, which was even worse. He knew she was strong but she looked like she could collapse any second, like she was losing her mind. He only wanted to see her happy for once. He longed to be the one who made the impossible happen. No wonder that he was working his ass off to solve the case, even trying to do what he was worst at. Math! She was quite amused with him making a fool out of himself. Yeah, thanks for that, Linden. I know I´m pathetic without you judging me. So be so kind and shut up.
Out of the blue he got lucky. His mentor Gil helped him with a photo that blew off the main suspect´s alibi. He felt on top off the world being the one who could serve her with the ultimate clue to finally nail that bastard. Her relief and satisfaction was lighting up his heart. Seeing her like this was enough to make him happy. Making her smile was the highlight of the day, the grand prize, a gratification that wasn´t easy to achieve, a miracle of its own. Sadly he realized that his win also meant they had to say their final farewell and she was finally ready to leave for Sonoma after all.
"I´m thinking you can handle the paperwork."
"Oh, so now I´m okay to work alone." Fuck my life! He tried to keep it cool, not getting emotional or some silly shit like that, no matter how devastated he felt. Pull yourself together. Thirteen days. Don´t behave as if you´re losing an important part of your life, for fuck´s sake.
"You´re a pretty good cop, Holder. You´re gonna make a passable detective."
"Passable," he murmured, not even offended. Every compliment from her was a gift, no matter how shady.
"You want a tip? That mouth of yours? You don´t have to say every thought that runs through your head," she continued giving him kindhearted advice.
He wanted her to stay to work the next case together and the next and the next until the end of time. He wanted her to stay at his side forever. Fuck that guy in Sonoma. Certainly he didn´t say any of that out loud, though, but he made a joke instead. "Yeah, well, guess what I´m not sayin´ now?"
She grinned, pocketing his joke like a good sport, but quickly turned serious again.
"So get outta here," he pressed out in spite of his emotions. She smiled and walked away. He let her go in peace, secretly watching her until she turned the corner and vanished out of his sight. His mouth went dry. That´s done. What now? What have I left to keep on going? Huh? Really? What?
The night of her leaving quickly went to hell. First he couldn´t care less about the shiny things that Gil promised him to come. Then he got a call that Richmond, their main suspect, had been shot and put into a hospital. The shooter was Belko, a close friend of Rosie´s family, and he had killed his own mother, too. Seeing the older woman who once had called him cute swimming in her bloody bathtub made him sick with pity. He called Linden a few times only to talk to her but she didn´t pick up. He was drowning in misery when little man came strolling into his office like this was the most ordinary thing to happen. "Holy shit! What are you doing here?"
Jack grinned due to his language. "That´s way better than those Jesus freaks she put me with. Why are you even surprised? You really believed we would take off?" He lolled down in one of the office chairs.
He was blown away. "Okay. What´s up? Tell me." What´s happening? The case was solved. Her work here was done. Christ. What´s going on? His surprise was mixed with anticipation. She wouldn´t stay here without a reason. She wouldn´t stay for him. No way. No. He snorted. Meaning that this wasn´t anything good or joyful. Something went wrong. He hoped that it wasn´t him who had fucked up because he didn´t want her to be mad at him. Not again.
Like they had known each other for years little man spilled everything about his mom freaking out on the plane, shouting at the stewardess, leaving the plane like a criminal, not explaining to Jack what was going on.
His heart slumped to his stomach. Oh shit! What have I done wrong? There must be something. He called her once more. She didn´t pick up. Then he got the brilliant idea of asking Jack to call her. Of course she picked up. "What´s up, Linden? Where you at?" She hung up on him. What the hell? Now it was clear she was giving him the cold shoulder. Why? Really? What had he done? He didn´t have a clue and got really depressed about it. He thought they were good. BFF´s even. He figured he got it all wrong.
He wasn´t surprised that it didn´t take her long to show up at the office. He toughened himself to get through this without getting hurt. Yeah. Well. "Oh snap! What´s up, Linden? Busted. You´re like that monster in Friday, the 13th. The only way to kill you is chop off your head."
She grimaced feigning a smile.
Yo. That hurt. "I was only kidding. You know you´re my BFF."
She only talked to Jack. The boy escaped by fleeing to the bathroom.
He envied him and wished he could run off as well. For heaven´s sake. Be a man. "Hey, I called you about Richmond."
"Yeah, I was busy getting a new flight. We missed ours last night."
So. Now she was lying to him. This day was getting better and better. He pretended to be clueless. He didn´t want her to make a run for it.
"You´re wrapping up?"
"Yeah. You left a mess." Which is me.
"Looks like we both did."
Oh. Hey. What´s that supposed to mean? "So? Why you´re back? For real?" He hated how close to begging he sounded. No shit!
Still he got nothing but coldness and contempt in return.
And then Jack was back and broke the tension.
Bad timing, little man. He feared to never see them again. He feared he´d never know the reason why she was mad at him. He hugged Jack and realized with bitterness that he would never be allowed to hug her the same way. He was desperate enough to let her know that he knew that she was lying. Not that letting her know made this hurt less, but he couldn´t let her get away with it that easily. "I bet you can get the same psycho stewardess you yelled at so you can get off that plane?" There. Eat it.
She didn´t crack. She didn´t even blink. "Yeah. And good luck cleaning up the mess. I hope it was worth it."
This was a distinct accusation. He snorted in spite of everything. They walked out and he was feeling like she had ditched him on the streets once more. Crap! Not even on their first day had she treated him like this. He threw away the cigarette he had been playing with through their confrontation to keep his hands busy. At the moment he didn´t need a fucking smoke. He only needed her to tell him what he had done wrong. Obviously she thought the worst of him. He didn´t want to be left behind like garbage. He deserved better. He deserved an explanation. They were partners, damn it.
Later he told Gil about his doubts. Who else should he talk to when in need? "Hey, Linden is back. She lied about why. Why would she do that?"
"Girl with the control issues? Got no idea." Gil threw something at him. "Heads up."
He caught it and was yeah, well, maybe a little bit distracted by his shiny new detective badge. That didn´t mean he forgot about her. That meant that this was one good thing happening to him in a long run. Enjoy! He couldn´t have been more right.
That night Belko committed suicide at the precinct by blowing his head off right in front of him. He was feeling like pure trash afterwards, shaking for hours. Yeah. A redneck with a new badge turning to blood on his hands. Bad Karma. No doubt about it.
Everybody around him turned suspicious and hostile. He tricked them by giving the wrong backpack to evidence for testing. And he did good. He caught the L.T. lying to him about the results. He figured he couldn´t trust anyone anymore. He hid Rosie´s real backpack in the trunk of his car. He was on his own. Alone again. Yeah. Been there. Done that.
The final blow to his ego came with Gil, the man he had considered a friend. Look at me, huh! The man he had trusted with his life told him that the photo he had given to Linden as the one evidence to nail councilman Richmond was fake. Gil had betrayed him in the worst way ever. Gil even called him a low life tweaker. He threatened to ruin him, and what was worse, he threatened to ruin Linden. So she had been right after all. It was him who had fucked up, though he did it unknowingly. Certainly that didn´t matter. He was fucking done. There was just one thing left he had to do.
He went straight to her motel and knocked at her door. "Linden? Open the door, Linden. I-I know you in there. I need to talk to you." He pleaded. "Linden. Open the door. I-I know you in there. I-I saw your car parked outside. Linden? Open the door!" He begged. "Linden. Uh...I...Linden. Open the door. I gotta talk to you. I-I-I can explain...Linden." His voice broke. He started shouting. "Linden. Just open... Open the door, Linden!" He hammered at the door. He needed to tell her. He needed to get her back on his side.
She didn´t make a sound. She didn´t open the door. She didn´t let him in.
Finally he dropped to the ground. He hurt all over. His skin itched like hell. She didn´t want to talk to him. He pulled his badge out and looked at the damn thing. She didn´t trust him. He lost her because of a stupid symbol that meant absolutely nothing. She hated him. Was losing her worth the shiny prize? No. Not at all. He threw the fool´s gold away and left. He was a real loser. He was in need. He knew what that meant. He needed a fix. He needed the illusion of happiness because the real thing just slipped through his fingers.
The whole night he kept running through the streets, desperate to sweat the dangerous need out of his system. He didn´t want to fall back into old habits. He didn´t want to go down that path. Not again. In the morning he was hanging around AA but he didn´t dare to go in. He couldn´t face meeting Gil. He talked to a female loose contact who complained about her sponsor lying to her and that her need for a fix never went away. Well. Not a conversation he wanted to have right now. He told her he would join the meeting in a second, and then drove away, fleeing a place that was soaked with desperation. Just away from this place close to hell.
In the afternoon he talked briefly to his nephew Davey when the boy walked home from school. He offered him a ride home but Davey was not supposed to get into his car. Yo, man, that hurt, but his sister was right. He was no proper company for the boy, no, he wasn´t good company for any decent person. Afterwards he went to an old junkie friend and beat him up, even hit the old mom when she interfered with their struggle. He stole a bag of meth from the shady guy but couldn´t bring himself to take the stuff. His life was hell enough. So for now he put the bag away. Saving it for later. Instead he went back to AA and fucked the female contact he met this morning in her car which was no fun at all. Frankly that turned out to be more painful than anything else today. He couldn´t even bring himself to look at her while she was riding him ho-hum. He wasn´t even sure if he came. ´Course she noticed his absence of mind. No kidding! Only one woman was on his mind and in his blood. One woman he wouldn´t be able to satisfy in his condition even if she gave him a chance. Sorry. That´s just how it was.
Barely done the woman on top of him asked if he had any drugs and now he was really scared. He fled to the middle of a bridge running around there like a hunted animal. He didn´t care if the woman got away with his phone. He didn´t care for the fucking world. He was done. He wanted out of this life of misery. He couldn´t take this shit anymore. He longed to go to sleep and never wake up again.
"What the hell are you doing?" He turned around sluggishly. There she was. His partner. His nemesis. His coffin nail. She did come. He stopped right in his tracks staring at her. The sight of her was giving him so many more freaking feelings than having sex in a car or the longing for meth. He couldn´t believe that she was really here. She was glaring at him. He turned mute. He was so ashamed being seen like this by her of all people. Tears sprang to his eyes. He didn´t dare to explain himself. He couldn´t take any more rejection.
"I know you switched the packback. I know what you did, Holder," she said, meaning that she finally had figured out that he was not her enemy and didn´t betray her. That he was on her side. He still couldn´t believe, though, that there was the slightest bit of hope for him to go back, he was at such a bad place right now. He still couldn´t make a move.
"Come on. Get out of there before I leave you here!" she yelled, sounding pretty annoyed by his behavior. Yeah. That was her. That was real. No nice words. No pat on the shoulder. No sentiment. Sarah Linden. The chilliest detective in Seattle. The boss. That was what he had needed all the time feeling lost. A kick in the ass. That made him move at last. He shuffled over the street, passing by her, walking on. He didn´t dare to look at her or talk to her. He was too ashamed that she had seen him like this. At rock bottom. He could feel that she followed behind him, not saying anything either, respecting the kind of state he was in.
She came for me. This is a good thing, right? She found me. I´m forever in her debt. Oh snap! I got it bad. Really, really bad.