Night Crawlers and Day Dreamers
By Lisa

Chris picked up the remote control that laid beside of him and pushed stop. The movie was over, and it was late, he wondered if he should wake her, and send her home now. He looked down at Rita, who had fallen asleep with her head in his lap earlier. He had been happy about it then, she hadn't been sleeping too well with her mind always on the case. Sheer exhaustion had finally taken it's toll on her, not even half way through the movie, and he had let her sleep. Occasionally he would glance down at her, and smile, thinking how he could really get used to this. If he could only tell her how he really felt about her.......

Not wanting to wake her, he decided to just let her sleep. He carefully gathered her up into his arms, and stood. She never awoke as he climbed the stairs with her cradled in his arms. He gently laid her on his bed, and pulled the covers up over her.

He stood there, then just staring at her, wondering what made her so different from every other girl he knew. He tenderly wiped some hair from her face, then leaned over , kissing her softly on her forehead, but longing to taste her lips. Walking over to his closet, he pulled out a set of sheets, and an extra blanket for himself. He couldn't resist one last peek at his Sammy though. She looked liked she belonged there in his bed, he thought.

"Sweet dreams, sunshine", he whispered to her before leaving her alone, in his bedroom... In his bed..... And hating the very thought of it.

A few hours later, Rita woke with a start, wondering where the hell she was for a few seconds, then recognized the room.... It was Chris's. She was in his bed, could smell his scent... She breathed it in deeper. He must have brought her up here.... She barely remembered what movie they were watching.... She had been so content just lying in his lap. It hadn't helped that he had been lightly stroking her hair either, making her feel so relaxed and even sleepier. She had just let him, and closed her eyes, imagining his gentle touch on other parts of her body..... She had dreamed of it, and in her dreams it had been so wonderful, so perfect.

He must be asleep on the couch , she thought... Poor guy..... He was never comfortable on couches.... he always woke up with a back ache. What a guy, she thought... Always putting others before himself.... Always putting her before himself.

She got up, and tiptoed down the stairs, giggling as she heard him lightly snore.

Could she get used to that? she wondered. She went over to cover him with the blanket that had fallen off him. He rolled over, mumbling . 'Rita...."

She smiled at him. "Yeah, it's me Sam" she said.

He was quiet again, and she stood watching the rise and fall of his chest, longing to run her hands across it. She sighed, before turning around to go back up the stairs. She grabbed a blanket and pillow off his bed, and came back down, snuggling in the chair near by. She soon fell asleep again, listening to him softly snore, her last thought being, yes... She could definitely get used to that.

They both woke up with sore backs the next morning, but each had their own sweet memories of the dreams that had come that night, and nothing, even the case itself, could take away the smile on their faces, or the good mood they woke with.

Their smiles lasted almost all day almost, as they prepared for that night . As the evening drew closer, their professionalism took over and they brought their heads out of the clouds. It was time to pretend to be Mr. and Mrs. Claymont themselves now.

"Now.... We have the place staked out.... No one would even suspect.... There are wires all over the place... We'll hear what's going on..... When we see them approach, we'll let you know. Got that. You know what to do.... We'll have the killer or killers in by sunrise" Harry gave his last minute instructions to his detectives. As Chris and Rita were walking out of his office, he called out to them.

"Hey, be careful, you two... Okay?" They understood his meaning... What he wasn't saying with words.

Chris and Rita nodded...."Don't worry, cap" said Rita...."We got ya " said Chris.

They looked at each other, caught off guard by the look they each saw in the others eyes.

Cap noticed this exchange, noticed their mood the entire day, and again wondered, and worried.

"Alright, you two... We have work to do. Let's go... Move it... Move it!" Chris and Rita were again brought back to their senses, and hurried out of Caps office.... While he sat back down at his desk, rubbing his stomach again..... Oh those two would be the death of him yet, he thought, as he popped four more Rolaids into his mouth.

The shades had all been drawn, although it was clear to any passerby on the street, that the family who lived there was home. What wasn't clear to anyone, but the PBPD, was that the Claymont’s had taken a trip to Disney World for a few days. No one knew that several unmarked cars had been discreetly parked within proximity to the Claymont’s house, or that several other cops were close by to watch the house closely. Inside , while their colleagues waited outside bored and uncomfortable, Chris and Rita cozily sat in front of the TV, bidding their time until it was time to make it look as if the Claymont’s had gone to bed. They had even went upstairs and turned on the light in Kimberly’s room at her bedtime, and after a few minutes turned it off. They followed the schedule the Claymont’s had given them exactly. At eleven thirty, they turned off the news and made their way up the stairs, into the Claymont’s bedroom.

Billy had driven by their place earlier in the evening, and watched. Everything seemed to be as it had been since he'd been watching the place. He was glad Mr. Claymont was home with his wife, he could get them both. He had worried that Mr. Claymont would go away on a business trip like the last time he had tried to come to this house. Then , it had been simple enough to pick out another house, but now, he was almost done, and he wanted this house bad... Worse then the others. The Claymont’s were like The Richardson’s.... They had it too easy, too perfect.... And pretended to so nice... All the while looking down on him.

He had gone back to pick up Gina. She was flustered again, begging him not to do it, to find another way. He had to again remind her it would all be over soon, after this one, only one more probably.... She had to think about their baby, their future.... He had taken her hand, with the engagement ring she wore only in the apartment, and kissed that finger, moving slowly up her arm until he found her lips, and delved deeply into her mouth.

It didn't usually take long to relieve her fears, to set her sights on their future, in a way blinding her to their present.

And when most everyone else in Palm Beach was asleep, or standing guard over their house and family , knowing that this was the night, Billy and Gina quietly left their apartment, and drove to the next house on his list. He parked three blocks away, and they silently walked through the quiet night.

Unknown to them, a cop watched them from atop a tree, hidden from their view by it's leaves. When they passed, he whispered into his radio to another cop , who was also hidden.

Billy and Gina arrived at the house, his blood beginning to race through his veins from anticipation. Gina was nervous now, feeling something different.... But he urged her on, ignoring her fears.

Chris knew they were there, long before he had been sent word, he could feel them, feel the evil approach, as he had the last time. Rita must have felt it too, because he saw her shiver. He reached over, and gently rubbed her arms, before they went to their places. They didn't say a word to each other, but they knew what the other was feeling. Being cops , one had to be brave, or at least pretend to be... But a hero is only someone who overcomes the fears, and because of that, a life or lives are saved. It wasn't easy for either of them to wait for that fear to come face to face with them. Chris gave her the signal then, and smiled his encouragement to her. She nodded back, blowing him a kiss his way.

Downstairs, a hidden wire picked up the almost silent sound of Billy and Gina's entrance. Whispers could be heard, but barely. Soon after, the soft sounds of footsteps were picked up by the wires on the stairway, and then approaching the bedroom. Chris watched as Rita tensed, feeling himself do the same thing. Every nerve in his body seemed to be standing at attention, just waiting.

Billy quietly opened the door, his rifle already aimed towards the bed. He saw them laying there, and smiled at just how good he was... That he never made a sound to awaken these people. He pulled the trigger.

BLAST.... BLAST.... BLAST.... BLAST.... BLAST.... BLAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He lowered the gun, ready to a step over to Virginia Claymont’s jewelry box, when suddenly he heard a voice.

"Put the rifle down now Billy, and raise your hands over your head. Your under arrest."

Chris pointed his gun in Billy’s back. Billy had no choice but to do as he was told, and Chris had him quickly cuffed. He called to Rita, that everything was under control... It had gone easier then any of them had hoped.

"NOOOOOO! "someone screamed . Like a flash, Gina was rushing toward Chris with a knife in her hand, knocking him to the ground.

BANG, BANG, BANG. More gunshots went off now.

Gina fell to the floor, clutching her stomach, crying. Chris , being closest to her, got to her first. She had been shot, twice, once in the chest, another in the stomach. He looked up to see Rita calling in the back up and for an ambulance. She came over then to kneel down by Gina.

Billy was screaming Gina's name over and over again, struggling to get to her, but couldn't because he was handcuffed to the heavy bed post Gina was still conscious but barely, and she looked over to where Billy stood now, crying.

"Bill.... It hurts..... Oh, Billy.... Our baby.... Our baby." she cried through her pain, then looked over to Rita.

" My baby..... Please... Don't let my baby die."

Chris spoke to her, "Gina, help is on the way, your gonna be fine, just keep hanging in there, alright."

He looked up to Rita, and saw a look pass across her face, a look he didn't like at all.... It worried him.

Gina was fading fast now, begging over and over for them to save her life, to save her baby. The paramedics rushed in just as Gina lost consciousness, and behind them was Chris and Rita's backup. Gina had no heart beat, and the paramedics tried to bring her back, while everyone in the room stood by watching. After a few minutes of trying, Gina was pronounced dead. "No, Gina.... Nooooooo Come back to me Gina.. I love you!!!!" Billy cried. And as Billy Crago , palm Beach's Night Crawler, was led out of the room, he turned to Rita .

"You bitch, you killed her... Why'd you have to kill her? You killed her, and our baby.... I won't forget that... You will pay for what you've done, lady cop!" Billy said this with pure venom in his voice, and spit on Rita as he walked by.

Chris had been standing by Rita, and had it not been for the other cops quickly leading Billy away from the detectives, Billy would have had Chris all over him. Instead now, he turned to Rita and saw the tears in her eyes, as she watched Gina's dead body being placed on a stretcher. He stood in front of her to block her view.

"Rita... It's over, come on, lets get out of here." he said softly to her. She looked right past him, as if she was still seeing Gina.

"I did it, Chris... I killed her baby.... Just like what he did to Karen....." she was mumbling the words to him. Chris was worried about her. He knew how she had been so affected over Billy killing Karen’s baby.. And he knew she would take to heart the words Billy had said to her.

"It wasn't your fault, Rita.... You did what you had to do."

"I should have warned her first, Chris.... I came right in and shot her..."

"No, Rita, there was no time for a warning, you acted on your instincts as a cop,.. If you had warned her, even waited another second, Rita, I would have been stabbed... It would have ended differently. You did good, Sam" he tried hard to make her see that

Now she looked him in the eye, and she looked so lost, so miserable. His heart broke seeing her pain.

"I killed a baby, Chris" she said sadly, the tears that had once been in her eyes, now rolled down her cheek.

"Oh , Sammy... No... It wasn't like that."

Chris took her into his arms, and held her, while she cried. He felt her knees give out on her and she began to sink, his arms still around her. He lowered himself down with her, and tightened his hold on her.

"I thought she was going to kill you... I thought I would loose you.... I can't loose you, Chris... I love you so much!..... I just didn't know she was pregnant, I just didn't know!"

She was so upset that she wasn't thinking about the words she said, she only said what she felt.

She leaned in closer to his chest, and continued to cry. She cried for Gina, the baby, and for all the other victims in the case, and she cried for herself and Chris.

Harry had walked in the room earlier, and now he stood quietly by watching his two detectives, and keeping everyone else away for the moment. A crowd had begun to form outside the room, as they waited for permission from Cap to enter, and begin their work they still needed to do.

He let Chris comfort Rita for a few minutes, and then he walked up to them, and tapped Chris on his shoulder.

"Chris... Is she okay?" he asked worriedly. Chris looked up to his captain, and only Cap could see the tears he had on his face as well. Chris gave Rita a gentle kiss on the top of her head, never letting her out of his hold.

"Yeah... She's gonna be, cap, she's gonna be...... I'm going to take her home now... Is that okay?"

"Go on..... stay with her, and call me later. I'll take care of the paperwork, but I still need a few facts.

Chris stood up, and pulled Rita with him. She was no longer crying now, only quiet, breathless sobs remained , as she faced her captain with her tear stained face. Cap took her into his arms then.

"Sergeant Lance... Whether you choose to believe it or not, that was a good call, and some good work. I want you to know that." He spoke to her as her captain, but gave her a hug as her friend.

"Thanks... Cap." Rita faintly smiled. She leaned into Chris's arms, and walked away with him.

Chris kept his own arm protectively around her, as they walked past everyone. She seemed to hide from all the congratulations and compliments offered to them both.

Chris nodded to everyone, but kept on moving , wanting only to get Rita back to her place. He needed to talk with her, alone.

She was quiet on the way home. Chris didn't push her into talking either. When they reached her apartment, Rita finally spoke to him.

"Thanks for the ride , Chris..... But I think I would just like to be alone tonight, okay?" she looked over at him, expecting him to understand, to agree.

He shook his head. "No... I don't think so... Not tonight, Rita.... I'm not going to let you do that to yourself , sunshine... Your gonna let me help you through this."

She turned away from him, clearly annoyed.

"Chris... I'm not "doing" anything to myself... I just want to go to bed, okay.. I'm tired."

"Fine... You can go to bed as soon as we are finished talking, alright.

Rita gave in to him then, partly because she was just too exhausted to argue with him, and partly because she really did need him with her tonight, and she knew it.

"Fine, Christopher, you win"

She opened the car door, and headed to her apartment, without waiting for Chris. Chris watched her go in, still sitting in the car. He wondered if now was the right time for the discussion he planned on having with her tonight. She was pretty upset over the evenings events..... And he could tell her anytime, maybe tomorrow even.

He recalled her words from earlier "I love you so much, I can't loose you", and wondered if she even knew she had said them, wondered if she had meant what he hoped it meant.

Getting out of the car he followed her inside.

He made them some coffee, and brought it to her, as she stood outside on the terrace, facing the ocean.

"Here Sam..... Some coffee."

She turned around, startled almost, as if she had forgotten he was there at all.

"Oh... Thank you."

Chris let the silence take over again, but after a few minutes he could stand it no longer.

"Damn it, Rita! You got to get passed this. You did not kill Gina's baby. You shot Gina because she was coming at me with a knife. If you had known she was pregnant, do you really believe you would have not shot her? Would that really have made a difference in your actions tonight, Sam? Tell me.... Do you regret that you shot her? Would you rather have her let attack me with that knife?" She turned to him now, a look of horror on her face,

"No! I would never have let her do that, Chris! How could you even think that?"

"Because, Rita, you are thinking it yourself. You are questioning your own instincts as a cop, your own integrity .... Why would you do that?" he pleaded with her to understand what he was saying to her.

"Because, Chris! I have to question my motives.... Why I shot her! Did I shoot her because it was really necessary,... Or... Be... Because" she began sobbing now. "Because,.. I.... I saw her coming at YOU... And I got so scared... All... All I could think about was you, Chris... Just YOU.... And how I couldn't loose you." She inhaled a deep breath now, trying to collect herself together, trying to find the courage she felt she needed now, to continue on. "Chris... I forgot all I ever learned about being a cop.... I wasn't thinking like a cop..... And it's because.... You mean so much to me.... Chris.... I love you.... I mean I'm in love with you."

He understood now. She had acted accordingly, but she was confused.... She believed she had shot Gina only because his life had been in threatened . She was questioning her worth as a cop now.

Chris went over to her and took her in his arms.

'No, Rita... It's alright... You didn't do anything you haven't been doing for years now. We have always saved each others butt, haven't we? Did you question it then each time,, just because we were best friends ? No. Rita, she was the one who was wrong... She tried to attack me... You acted as a cop to save your partner... You would have shot her if it had been any other cop. You did your job, that's all. It doesn't matter if you suddenly realize your feelings for me have changed, don't you see that?"

He tilted her chin up to face him. He saw some relief in her eyes now, and he knew she was finally beginning to understand what he was telling her. He also saw some anxiety though, when he mentioned her new feelings, and now he knew he had to wipe that look away, and fast.

"Sammy, wanna know a secret?' he said quietly to her, as he wiped her tears away.

She smiled a little, as a spark of interest came to her eyes.

"Yeah... What is it?" she urged him on.

"Promise you won't tell Cap? I mean, if he knew about this, he would break us up as partners... He would kick me in the butt so hard!" Chris chuckled.

"Sam.... What????" she said, impatiently now.

Chris leaned over into Rita's ear, and whispered to her.

"Sammy... I'm in love with you too"

She smiled as she heard his words, then pulled away, looking at him, with her beautiful green eyes again filling with tears.

"Really" she asked.

"Really." he said

Again he leaned over and whispered into her ear.

I have always been in love with you, and I always will be..... Your the other half of me, Sam."

Again Rita asked him a question.


"Always." he said.

They came together in a kiss, slowly at first, but soon the tenderness of the moment, turned into the passion of a lifetime. All their dreams came together in that one kiss, and blended into one shared by both. When the kiss was over, they went back into Rita's apartment, where Chris insisted he tuck her into bed for the night, and Rita insisted he join her.

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