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"Darkness Surrounding"

Darkness Rising

Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

This story is still in progress.

Disclaimer: Lee, Harold, and Rosanna belong to me. Everything else, in one form or another, belongs to Marvel.
Okay, here's the thing, last time, when I first wrote this, I got a bunch of letters saying they just couldn't see Jubes as a judge. Well, here's why, Madeline Lee isn't Jubes. I just happen to like the name Lee. Okay? <G> Glad that's cleared up.

Darkness Surrounding

Chapter Two

5:36 PST; September 29; Police Department; Charlottesville, VA

The sun sank slowly down behind the mountains, casting some of the most beautiful colors on the few clouds left from the day's rain. The moon wouldn't be coming out tonight, but maybe it would still be a good night to go outside and set up the telescope to look at the stars. There wouldn't be many more nights like this -- cool ... but not cold -- until after the winter months had past.

But right now, standing on the third floor of the Police Department, the Homicide floor -- where all the walls were made of windows -- Detective Remy LeBeau wished, more then ever, that his wife was right there beside him watching this sun set.

He could almost see them now: on the deck of their ranch-like home, their arms around each other, holding on, emitting love from their every pore; just watching something this simple as the Earth completing its full turn yet again as it did every day. Knowing that, as the sun was setting here, somewhere it was a whole nother day where a couple just like them was watching the sun rise together.

After awhile, when the sun was gone and only a little of its radiant glow lingered on behind the mountains in the distance, he turned away. Yet another beautiful sunset he hadn't been able to share with his family, not that Jean or Kyla, their daughter, were home anyway. Kyla at school in Richmond, and Jean working today, and, because of their fight, probably not coming home until late.

It was a wonder, really, that they had even had a chance to make the baby now growing inside his Jeannie, and Rem's only hope was that she would take time off so that they wouldn't lose this one, as they had the last three.

She'd gotten angry at him when he'd asked her to do so that morning when the stick of the self-pregnancy test had turned pink, and had left that way. He sighed, all he wanted to do now was hold her and tell her how much he loved her ... and watch the sun set with her.

He'd give a thousand dollars just to be able to spend one quiet night with his wife without getting into a fight. One night where neither was angry with the other. Just one night they didn't have to send their daughter away so she wouldn't hear them yelling at each other.

He sat down on the edge of his desk that stood in one corner of the room. He didn't have his own private office, and the room around him buzzed with talk, heavy footsteps, telephones ringing, and someone typing on a keyboard; the background noises that filled all of his days.

He picked up his coffee mug from the blotter on the desk. It was one Kyla had given him for Father's Day when she was five, and it read “The Best Daddy In The Whole Wide World!" It was in childish handwriting, and until Jeannie had told him differently, he had thought they had bought it that way. Kyla had learned to write those eight words and Jeannie had taken them to a shop where they put it on the mug. It was the best gift, next to the birth of his daughter, that he had ever gotten.

He smiled and put his mug up to his lips, taking a sip of the coffee in it, then spit it back out making a face.

It was cold.

He sighed again, and looked at his watch. It didn't matter, he'd get a cup at the diner when he left work in ten minutes. No since in going home to leftovers if he was going to be alone. Maybe he could call and convince Kurt and Kitty to join him ... a few beers, a game of pool, maybe a little poker if Kurt felt sorry enough for him. Then he'd be able to go home and sleep at least.

With that in mind, he dumped the cold contents of the mug into a plant beside his desk, and set it back down where he wouldn't forget it. Getting off his desk, and sitting back in his chair, he gathered up loose papers and shoved them into the file folders they belonged in; putting them in a pile so he could take them home and work on them some more.

The phone rang and he picked it up, putting the receiver to his ear and holding it with his shoulder, leaving his hands free. “Hello? Homicide. Detective LeBeau speakin'," he said, shifting his shoulder slightly for more comfort.

"Ah! Remy, mein Freund, I was hoping to catch you!" a definite German voice said on the other end of the line.

Rem smiled, and put his papers back down. "Damn, Kurt! You gettin' as bad as Jeannie! I was just thinkin' 'bout you."

"Do I take that as a compliment?" Kurt Wagner asked. Rem could hear the laughter in his voice.

"What? Dat I be thinkin' 'bout you, or dat you as bad as Jeannie?"

"Take your pick," Kurt laughed. "I didn't catch you at a bad time did I, partner?"

"Non, non. Just gettin' some paperwork ready t' take home."

"Ach, paperwork. Definitely something I will not miss about being a homicide detective."

"You call f' somethin', or just t' rub your retirement in my face?"

"Can't fool you, can I? Kitty and I got some great news today, and we wanted to invite our favorite perfect couple out for a few beers, maybe dinner."

Rem raised an eye brow. "You are as bad as Jeannie. I was just goin' t' call you f' de same thin'. Only, I thought you and Kitty could come and cheer up your lonely ol' partner."

"Oh? And why would we ne-" Rem heard Kurt's chair squeak, and something heavy fall to the floor, then a feminine laugh in the background.

"Kurt?" Rem asked. His answer was a series of long drown out German curses, "zum Teufel" among them, and more laughter. "Hey, Kurt, you still dere? What hap-"

"Hi, Remy," Kitty's voice came over the line. She was still laughing. "The fuzzball's chair broke, you get to put up with me while he goes to see how much damage he did to his tail."

Rem laughed. "I think I can put up with dat."

"You're laughing, but you don't sound too happy, Remy. What's up?"

"Jeannie's pregnant, 'gain. We found out dis mornin', and I 'ad to go an' say somethin' stupid."

"I see. And what stupid thing did you say this time?"

"I ask her t' stay home, so we didn't lose dis one like de others..." he sighed, moving the papers on his desk around, trying to keep his hands busy. He was itching for a cigarette even though he hadn't had one since just after Kyla was born.

"You like the taste of your own feet, LeBeau?"

He smiled. Slightly. "She didn' take dat so well."

"I can imagine she didn't," Kitty sighed. "I think that was the wrong thing to say, at really the wrong time."

"Tell me 'bout it. She half way across town now, and, with de way she left, I don' think she be comin' home 'til late. Or you be gettin' a call from her askin' if she can stay de night."

"Remy after ten years of marriage, you're still as dumb at being a husband as a newlywed. Look, Kurt and I are going out to celebrate, go get Jeannie as soon as you get off work, drag her into the car if you have to, and come meet us at Charlie's. We'll talk about it, tell you what we'll be celebrating."

He smiled. "I think I would have t' drag her." Captain Logan was heading toward his desk. He raised an eye brow at him, and gestured to the chairs in front of his desk. "Hey, Kitty? Logan just walk up. Let me go, and we'll talk 'bout dis at Charlie's."

"Okay, Remy, I've got to go anyway, Kurt's whining about hurting his tail," she teased. Kurt said something Rem couldn't quite make out in the background. "We'll see you in a little while."

"Bye, Kitty."


Rem hung the phone back on it's cradle, and looked at Gray Logan who stood across from him.

The captain was a short, stocky fellow, who almost always had an unlit cigar in his mouth or hands, although he didn't have one now. He looked like a very dangerous man, even his past suggested it; ten years working as an army Ranger, twenty more working for the government at things that were kept in closed files. He looked like he was in his mid-fifties, but claimed to be much older.

He had one very striking feature, his eyes. They were the only thing about him that didn't seem to scream "Danger!" Well, that and his humor. He'd never make it as a stand up comedian, but he did know how to throw a good joke into any conversation every once in a while, just to liven things up. That, combined with his obsession with giving everyone who worked under him a nickname, made him a pretty likable fellow. He had the trust, and, more importantly, the respect, of his people. Without that, this wouldn't be a good division, and this was more then a good division, it was a great one.

"Rem," Logan said, putting a hand on his desk. Rem looked up, noticing the man standing behind the captain for the first time. He was a good looking kid with light brown, almost blond, hair, blue eyes, and a cocky grin on his face as he looked around.

Rem hid his own grin, with the way the kid was looking around, he must have been a homicide rookie. But, looking at him, Rem decided that he already liked him, although the kid was a little overdressed in a blue pinstripe suit and jacket. Remy himself never wore actual suits like that -- in truth, no one here did -- not unless someone important was going to be at the office that day; He usually just wore ordinary pants and a button down shirt with a tie, then his trenchcoat over it when he was out and about. This kid would have looked very out of place if it weren't for his tie, and, at that, Rem had to smile. A black tie with a man in a blue and red easy to identify costume that everyone in the world would reconize; Washington DC's own superhero, Spiderman, swinging into action. If it weren't for that tie, Rem'd think the kid was some stuffed shirt cop who did the work not out of enjoyment like he himself did. But, because of it, he just looked like someone Rem would get along with. Wasn't it funny how something as trivial as a tie could do that?

"Rem, this is Detective Lieutenant Robert Drake."

Rem nodded curtly. "Nice t' meet you."

"The same, and it's Bobby, if you don't mind." Bobby Drake held out his hand, and Rem shook it. You could tell a lot about a cop by his hand shake. Robert Drake's was firm, confident, Rem liked him even more.

"Bobby, this is Detective Lieutenant Remy LeBeau, our finest. Th' best detective we got. One o' th' smartest too. He also does freelance fer th' B&E department once an' a while. Been known ta give counseling' ta 'bervics' too."

Rem's eyebrow rose, Captain Logan didn't butter people up like that unless he wanted something from them. He sighed and leaned his chair back so his weight was only being held by two legs ... waiting for the ball to drop.

He didn't wait long, because the next words out of Logan's mouth were, "Rem, Bobby here is yer new partner."

"I hear you right, Cap?"

"Yeah, ya did."

He sat up, putting all four legs of the chair back on the ground. "Oh no. Non, no way, out o' de question. You want me t' have a partner, you find a way t' make Kurt come back t' de force, otherwise, I go solo; no 'fence t' you, Bobby."

"None taken."

Logan sighed, his hands started twitching, he taped the fingers of one hand on Rem's desk. "Wish it were that simple. I'd love ta have Kurt back. Hell, we all would, ain't been th' same since th' Elf left, but it ain't happenin', Rem; an', as fer Bob here, well I got my orders from above. They don't want ya workin' alone no more. If it were up ta me, ya'd be solo, ya've done well on yer own so far, but it ain't up ta me."

"I don' have de time t' teach a rookie 'bout my case."

"Oh, you don't have to do that," Bobby cut in. "I know all about it. I read up on all the files the department has last night. I know what's going on, in fact, I've been following the case before I even found out I was being promoted. You're very popular all over the station, Detective."

"See? Ya don't got ta teach him nothin'. Look, Rem, jus' think o' it this way ... it's an order. Ya don't have ta like it, but ya've got ta do it."

"Damn," was Rem's response. Today of all days... He put his hands to his temples, he was getting a headache.

"It ain't all that bad. Bobby's a good-"

The phone rang. Once, twice. Rem picked it up, getting a brief, and needed, diversion.

"Hello? Homicide. Detective LeBeau speakin'," he said, shooting daggers at Logan with his eyes. After a second, he realized no one had answered. He frowned. "Hello? Wh-" then it dawned on him, "fils d'une chienne!"

"What?" Drake asked, confused.

"Damnit! I want a trace on this call, an' I wanted it yesterday!" Logan yelled out, sending dozens of people rushing about. Everyone else moved a little closer to Rem's desk to hear what was going on.

Rem turned pale and hung up the phone. "Dere be another one. 'Bout a mile away from de last."

"Good God in Heaven," Logan said, running his hand through his wild black hair. Rem was already up, putting his revolver into his shoulder holster, and picking up a deck of cards from his desk and putting it into his pocket. Then he grabbed his trenchcoat and started to half run, half walk to the elevators, pulling it on.

"Take Drake with ya, Rem! It's a good time fer him ta start." Logan yelled after him.

Rem held his hand up and stuck his middle finger up at his Captain, but he held the elevator door open for Drake to get in.

5:25 PST; Charlottesville Court House; Room 582; Judge Madeline Lee Presiding.

Jeannie LeBeau rubbed her hands together and then tugged on her suit jacket. It was chilly in the court room. Someone had decided to leave the air on in the building, although it was nice outside. She shivered, she didn't like being cold, and she knew she wasn't the only uncomfortable one here.

Her green eyes flicked to the little girl sitting at the witness stand. Twelve-year-old Rosanna Mander was shivering as well; but, unlike Jeannie, she wasn't only shivering from the cold. Rather, she was shivering from genuine fear: fear of Jeannie's coworker and friend, Victor Creed, who sat beside her.

Jeannie really couldn't blame the child, for Victor was indeed a frightening sight to behold for anyone who didn't know him. Although he was dressed to kill in a tailor made pinstripe suit, a small, warm smile lighting his face and eyes, he easily had the look of some sort of mountain man. Were his shortly chopped dirty blond hair a little longer, and his face unshaven, he would look feral indeed. Even in a suit.

Although, Jeannie knew he wouldn't harm a flea on his dog, at times, when he was angry, he was frightening; even to her, his friend. And to others, especially to children, who didn't know him, he was terrifying.

She heard him sigh, and gave him a tight smile. She leaned over to him, covering her mouth with her hand, and keeping her eyes on the child. "She's scared out of her wits, Victor," she whispered softly to him.

"I know, Jeannie. I can smell the fear," he whispered back.

She gave a brief thought to Kyla, her own daughter, and how she too had had a fear of Victor when they had first met. She also thought of how Victor had turned her daughter's thoughts of him away from "serial killer," to "pretty nice guy," and how he had won her over.

"Maybe it's time you should call in ... reinforcements?" She smiled at the look he gave her and the twinkle that came to his eyes.

"That was just my idea." He pat her hand, and stood up. Her eyes followed him as he moved away from the desk where she sat second chair. "Permission ta approach th' witness, Yer Honor?" he asked.

"Proceed, Counselor," Judge Madeline Lee said. Without even needing to read her thoughts, Jeannie knew she was curious about what tactic Victor would use to calm the little girl down.

"Miss Mander," Victor moved closer to the girl, but stopped when she seemed to shrink back away from him. "Can I call ya Rosanna?" he asked, purposely letting his words draw out, his accent showing through.

She nodded slightly, her eyes never leaving his face.

"Well, Rosanna ... ya know, that's a very pretty name. Ya look like a rose, ya know that?" She shook her head. Jeannie could see she liked the compliment though. "How old are ya, Rosanna?"

"T-twelve," she stammered in a low whisper.

"Twelve!" Victor said, his voice excited. Rosanna jumped, then tried to bite back a tiny smile. Victor looked happy enough to clap his hands together. The corners of her lips curved upwards a tiny bit. "That's th' age o' my daughters. Pretty little girls ... why, you might even go ta same school with them."

"You Honor," Marcus Harold, the defending attorney, stood from his chair. "What does Mr. Creed's children have to do with the case at hand?" His voice was that of someone tired of his work.

Jeannie caught Victor's gaze, and rolls her eye at him. Victor smiled. "Permission to approach the bench, Yer Honor?" he asked.

Lee's eyebrow lifted, and she waved her hand, summoning him closer. "Proceed, Counselor."

Victor gestured for Jeannie and she stood just as Marcus did.

"Yer Honor, I call for my second chair's opinion."

Lee nodded, and they all turned to look at Jeannie. She flicked her eyes to the witness stand, and the little girl therein, then back. "She's frightened," she said. "You don't need a telepath to tell you that."

"An' so sayin' Yer Honor, may I open a window?"

"You asked to approach the bench for that?" Marcus asked unbelieving.

The judge ignored him and smiled. "She goes right back out."

"Thank ya, Yer Honor."

They stepped away from the bench, Marcus more confused then before. Jeannie leaned next to him before they separated. "Don't worry about it, I didn't get it the first time either." Marcus gave her a look that said her remark made him even more confused, and Jeannie smiled brightly.

"Do ya like dogs, Rosanna?" Victor asked. Jeannie saw Rosanna's interest picked up, and she nodded. He smiled, walking over to a window and opening it. He stuck his head out and whistled, then, a second later, a mutt of a dog in a brown and black coat put it's paws up on the window sill. She seemed to have a grin on her face, and lifted her head up to lick Creed's cheek, her wet tongue going over his eyes.

Rosanna smiled, and the shivering stopped a little as she looked at the mutt.

"Permission ta take th' witness down from th' stand, Yer Honor?"

"You may, Mr. Creed."

"Your ... Your Honor! Mr. Creed is making uh ... uh ... a mockery out of the court!" Marcus said standing.

"How so, Mr. Harold?"

"With all do respect, Your Honor, this is a courthouse, not a pet shop."

There was slight snickering from the Jury and the press.

"Mr. Harold, the court can see this young lady's distress, if petting a dog will make her a little bit easier, I'm all for it."

"But, Your Honor-"

"If anyone is making a mockery of this court, it is you, Mr. Harold. I have given my permission to allow the child to see the dog, if you do not like this, I suggest you get out of my court room. Until then, sit down, and shut up!" Marcus's face turned red in embarrassment, and he sat back down in his seat. "And you may keep that on the record," Judge Lee told the stenographer.

Victor walked over to the witness stand, pushed the microphone away, and helped the little girl down. Then, holding her hand, walked her over to the window so she could see the dog.

"This is Poochie. She's my dog."

"Yours?" the little girl asked, astonished. She looked at the big man in a new light, anyone who had a cute little doggy like this couldn't be mean. Jeannie put her hand over her mouth to hide her smile.

Rosanna petted Poochie, who seemed to love the attention, for a little while, then went back to the witness stand.

"Now, Rosanna," Victor started again, petting Poochie one last time before pushing her out gently and closing the window back. "'Member when I told ya I have two daughters yer age?"

"Yes, sir," she answered back. She didn't seem as frightened of him anymore.

He smiled, "My daughters are th' same age, twins. I love 'em very much, an' I have no doubt that they love me back. Th' two o' 'em 're always doin' things fer me, like cookin', and cleanin', just ta make me happy."

"Your Honor? What is the relevance between this and Miss Mander?"

"Yer Honor, I'm just tryin' ta set a picture in mind fer th' witness."

"Proceed, Mr. Creed. I want to see where this is going," she turned in her chair, looking at the witness, and propped her head up with her hand.

"Why am I not surprised?" Marcus tossed his hands up in the air.

Judge Lee decided to ignore the coment.

"Thank ya, Yer Honor," Victor sighed and looked at his watch. Jeannie followed suit, and looked at her own. 5:50, ten minutes more. "Now, Rosanna, have ya ever done things like that fer yer father?"

"Yes, sir. But everything I do, I seem to do wrong ... and then..." she looked down at her hands, fidgeting.

"And then...?" Victor led on, waiting for her to finish the statement.

"Then I make Daddy mad." Her voice was so soft, it was hard to hear.

Jeannie leaned up in her seat, leaning her elbows on the table, and putting her crossed hands in front of her mouth. She was frowning at the image those few words brought to the girl's mind.

"How so, Rosanna? How do ya make yer daddy mad at ya?"

"I ... I'm clumsy. I drop dishes sometimes, and they break. Daddy says he works hard for the things we have, and I tare them up. He doesn't like that, he ... he gets really mad at me 'cause of it," she said it as if it were a common thing. As if it was something that happened to everyone. Dear God, Jeannie thought, this child actually thinks that is how a family was supposed to work!

"Rosanna, I know this is hard, it's really scary bein' up here, yer Mom an' Daddy not even in th' same room. Ya don't know anyone here. I know yer scared, but I want you ta tell me somethin', okay, darlin'? When yer daddy ... gets mad at ya, has he ever ... touched ya-"

"Objection! Leading the witness!"

"I'll rephrase Yer Honor. Rosanna, when yer daddy gets mad, what does he do?"

Jeannie closed her eyes, willing the images and thoughts whirling in Rosanna's mind out of her own. She shivered.

Rosanna looked down at her feet, suddenly shaking again. "Daddy says I'm not supposed to tell you that." Her voice was tiny. "He says you'll send him to a bad place if I do." She looked up at Victor, her eyes wide and bright with tears. "You wouldn't send him to a bad place would you, Mr. Creed? You wouldn't hurt my daddy ... would you?"

Victor's mouth hung open slightly, and he looked helplessly toward Jeannie. She shrugged, not knowing what to say to that anymore then he did.

He thought for a moment, then turned back to the child. "Rosanna," he started, picking his words very carefully. "Sometimes, daddies do things that ... aren't right. They ... do these things and make their children think they did something wrong, when, they really didn't. Daddies like these need to be ... helped. They need to ... learn that what they are doing is wrong, and it sometimes hurts their kids. We need to find out if your daddy needs help, too. Do you understand that, Rosanna?"

Rosanna thought about this for a moment, then nodded. She looked over toward Marcus Harold. Jeannie turned her head that way, her eyes staying on the child, then slowly sweeping around toward Marcus. "Mr. Harold says you're gonna try to make me say something to hurt my daddy."

Marcus was turning red again. "Your Honor! I never said any such-"

"Sit down, Mr. Harold," Judge Lee said, then started to write something.

"But ... but, Your Honor..."

"Mr. Harold, if you do not sit down, right this moment, I will be forced to fin-"

The doors to the room slammed open. Everyone in the room whirled around in their seats as Scott Summers ran in, trying to tighten his tie as he came.

Judge Lee stood up, so did the rest of the court, except for Rosanna, who looked from one adult to the other, not knowing what to do, or say.

"What is the meaning of this?" Judge Lee asked, trying not to yell at Summers.

"Permission to approach the bench, alone, Your Honor?" Scott asked, fixing the red sunglasses on his face.

Lee raised an eyebrow and sat down. "You've already burst into my court room, and disrupted this trial, I don't see why not."

He blushed and walked up to the bench, leaning over it to tell the judge something. When he was done, she picked up her gavel, and slammed it down, "Court is adjourned until seven AM tomorrow morning. Mrs. LeBeau, Mr. Creed, I want to see you in my chambers ... there is something we need to tell you." Lee stood up and walked down from the bench, then through the door beside it.

Jeannie stood up very slowly, her heart thumping in her chest. Victor gave her a sidelong look, worry shining in his eyes as he wondered if something had happened to his girls. Jeannie moved like there was lead in her feet, her mind ripping through one-hundred-and-one reasons for Scott to just burst in here like he did, most of them lingering on Remy and weather or not he was hurt. She still remembered the day she and Kitty had been out together, and they'd gotten the call that Kurt had been shot...

When she reached the door to the judge's chambers, Victor was beside her. He put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, as if he were the one reading her mind, and not vis versa.

She took a deep breath and steped into the room, Scott closing the door behind them.

A moment latter, the door slambed open again. Jeannie, her face pale, ran out and through the cort room, making her way to the dubble doors leading to the main hall. Victor came running out behind her, then Scott, who stood with the judge looking after them both.


Continued in Chapter Three


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