Me: Love the fact that it's cannon that these three knew Tessa when she was younger, however briefly. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my obsession with this show!
The First Time I Met Tessa
Fisk, Imogen, and Thorne all reflect on when they first met Tessa Vance.
Charles Vance was an ass.
He thought he knew all, and when he didn't, he was arrogant enough to convince you he did. He had the ability to get under everyone's skin, aside from his partner, whom Thorne could only assume had grown immunity from exposure for so long. The only reason the man was still employed in the department was because he was brilliant, as his record of arrests could testify.
Unfortunately, he wasn't as brilliant in his personal life.
Thorne was halfway to his desk when he paused, turned, and saw through the glass a little girl sat in the corridor. He thought she looked familiar.
He went back into the hall. ''Hello there,'' he said, approaching her. She watched him come over, staring back at him unabashedly. Well, there was no mistaking those cold eyes. ''Are you Detective Vance's daughter?''
''I am,'' she replied simply. Thorne remembered now. He'd seen her enough times when he'd been over to the Vance's house, though this was the first time he was speaking to her.
He sat down on the chair next to her. ''I'm Detective Thorne,'' he introduced himself. ''You must be Tessa, right?''
She nodded. ''I know who you are,'' she said. ''Dad told me about you.''
''What are you doing here?''
''Waiting for what?''
She shrugged. ''I don't know. I'm not supposed to ask questions about cases.''
''A good thing,'' Thorne replied approvingly. Tessa swung her legs back and forth on the high seat. He studied her wiry frame and long, unbrushed, blonde hair. He wasn't sure on her exact age. Seven? Eight?
''It's police procedure,'' Tessa said suddenly.
''Hmm? What is?''
''Not talking about cases,'' Tessa explained. ''It's procedure. So it has to be good. If procedure isn't good, then it doesn't work, and you can't have procedure that doesn't work, because that wouldn't be good, it would be bad.''
Thorne nodded slowly. ''I'm with you so far.''
''So it has to be good,'' Tessa finished with importance, as if he had argued the point and she had won.
Thorne decided it would be impolite to laugh. ''Agreed,'' he said, managing to keep a straight face.
A few moments of silence passed, which did not seem to bother the little girl at all. Thorne was aware he had work that he needed to do, but felt extremely awkward at the prospect of leaving a child alone in the busy hallways of the police office. ''Would you like to see some more police procedures?''
Her cold eyes flashed in excitement. ''Yes, please.''
Thorne led the way through to the offices. He intended to show her the interrogation room, but when he turned around to lead her in, he saw she was still in the middle of the offices, taking in the noisy surroundings of other officers taking phone calls, retrieving files, and organizing shifts. ''Tessa?''
He found her face amusing- as if she were trying to hide her excitement. She quickened her pace and made her way over to him. ''It's loud,'' she told him.
''It is,'' he agreed.
He shut the door on them. ''This is where we interrogate suspects.'' He pointed through the window. ''They sit there, and-''
''-And someone else talks to them, while other people sit here and watch, and the suspect doesn't know, because it's a one way glass,'' Tessa finished for him.
Again, Thorne gave her the politeness of not laughing. ''You're very smart. Probably know this station better than I do.''
''I hope not. For the city's sake.''
Her air of seriousness and her childish voice explaining things was adorable; there was no other way to say it. Thorne seated himself in a chair. ''So, do you know when your dad's going to be finished with his case?''
''No,'' Tessa said, shaking her head. Her blonde hair swung around her. ''But I should go back to the hallway. He told me to stay there.''
''You can sit in the office with me, if you like.''
''No, I'll go back. But thank you for showing me the room.''
''Anytime.'' Thorne watched as she turned and went back the way they came. He got up to watch her slip though the glass doors back to her assigned perch.
''Who was that?'' Asked his partner, Gibson.
''Charles Vance's daughter, Tessa,'' Thorne told him.
''He brought her here again?''
Throne frowned. ''What do you mean, 'again'?''
''This is the third time this week I've seen her,'' Gibson explained. ''I saw her in his car Monday, Wednesday she was in the hallway, and word around the office is she was actually at his crime scene this morning!''
''Something wrong between him and Mary?''
Gibson shrugged. ''Maybe. I just hope the boss doesn't see her.''
''She seems to be interested in our work.''
''Interested? Mate, I saw her walking around with Investigative Procedures Handbook. I asked her if she finished Nancy Drew first, but I don't think she got the joke.''
Thorne laughed. ''Maybe she'll follow in her father's footsteps.''
''That's just what the world needs,'' Gibson muttered. ''Another Detective Vance!''
Fisk was not yet in charge of the crime lab, but one wouldn't know that from the way he acted.
His boss had no qualms about it, as it meant less work for him. Fisk's peers were a little peeved, but Fisk had never sought the approval of his co-workers, and as long as they agreed on the science, their opinion of him did not bother him a bit.
''You're not boss yet,'' was a remark often sneered at him.
''Key word being yet,'' was his only retort.
Maybe his peers didn't like that he was given more work and more responsibility than them, but they didn't seem to mind deferring to him whenever there was a problem that needed attending to.
Selma Key, an assistant like him, poked her head around the corner. ''Um, Fisk? Need you?''
Fisk rose from his desk. ''If Denero has messed with the equipment again, I swear to god-''
''No, not about Denero.'' Selma shifted her weight from foot to foot. ''There's…a kid here? I think she's lost?''
''Then take her to lost and found? We do work at a police station.''
Selma huffed at him, pointing silently to the other room.
Fisk walked where she pointed. He didn't know what he expected. By Selma's definition of child, he supposed a toddler, not a ten year old who by appearances seemed perfectly capability of stating her identity and reason for being here. Honestly, the idiots he worked with…
''Why are you here?'' Fisk said, approaching the girl. She was standing by the evidence table, her hands curled on the edge and leaning on the top, swaying on it.
''You have a microscope,'' the girl said, which was not an answer to Fisk's question. ''It's cool.''
''Its a tool for solving crimes,'' Fisk corrected her. ''Because that's what we do here, solve crimes. It's not a playground.''
''I know that.'' The girl scrunched up her face. ''I was just looking.''
''I can't have a third party touching my evidence.''
''I said looking, not touching.''
''I heard you, but incompetence is deaf.''
''If you touch evidence, you compromise it by leaving fingerprints or exposing it to fibers and things that weren't originally there.''
Fisk raised an eyebrow. ''True. How do you know that?''
''I like science,'' the girl explained. ''We have a microscope in school, but mum won't let us get one at home. She says it'll break.''
''Clumsy, are you?''
''No. But we'd have to put it in dad's office and he would knock it down with all his books and things. He's a slob.''
''Who's you're father?''
''He's a detective here. Charles Vance.''
''Ah.'' Now Fisk could see the family resemblance. The blonde hair, cold eyes. ''What's your name? Tessa?'' She nodded. ''And what are you doing here?''
''I'm waiting for him to be finished with work,'' she explained. ''I was waiting upstairs in the hall, but his boss told me to go away, so I came down here. Are you going to tell me to go away, too? Because all that's left for me to go to is the office floors and those are boring.''
''And here isn't boring to you?''
''You have microscopes,'' she reminded him. She pressed one eye to the lens, squinting her other eye shut.
She raised her head, looking confused. ''You have to adjust the magnification,'' he told her, guessing at the problem. He showed her how and she immediately peered through it again.
''Are you the scientist Dad drinks with?'' She asked suddenly, raising her head to look at him.
Fisk raised an eyebrow. ''Is that how I'm referred to?''
''It's how mum refers to you,'' Tessa explained, ''When she's yelling at dad for when he forgot to bring home milk with him.''
''Because he was drinking with me?''
''I assume so. So, are you?''
''I've shared a scotch with him from time to time, yes.''
''Scotch looks gross.'' She pulled a face.
''You'll change your mind when you're older, I expect. Most people do.''
''All alcohol smells funny.'' She glanced again in to the microscope. ''What're you looking for?''
''Fibers, smudges- anything small that could be useful later on.''
''How do you know if it's useful?''
''Evidence finds it's place when the time comes.''
''Cool.'' She looked up again. ''Does this piece have anything on it?''
''What do you think?''
She shook her head, her long blonde braids swinging around her. ''I don't see anything.''
''Just because you don't see anything doesn't mean it's not there,'' Fisk chided.
''So there is something on it?''
''No.'' He glanced at the table, picking up one of the pieces of evidence he already checked. ''This one has something that may prove interesting, however…''
He showed her his findings on the cloth that had been recovered from the crime scene. Tessa was a much more captive audience than his co-workers, and even the detective he had shown the findings to, had been. When the clock showed the hour, Tessa announced her need for departure and swept out of the lab with the same manner she had swept into it.
''Thank you, bye,'' was her parting.
Fisk watched the girl go with a nod. An interesting creature, he had to admit.
It was a normal day for Imogen, but not for anyone else in the department.
She had only been at the police morgue for about a month, and hadn't gotten to know anyone, especially the detectives, very well yet. So she was the perfect impartial party to do the autopsy on the murdered detective, Charles Vance.
She was aware of the tension in the air as the body was delivered and the preparation for the autopsy begun. Her assistant- a new hire, also painfully aware of the uniqueness of the situation- kept glancing at the dead man, as if wondering what he had been like alive. Imogen had heard stories about him, had seen him around, once or twice been on the same case as him, but that was all.
''Is someone coming to make a formal identification?'' Her assistant asked.
Imogen nodded. ''His wife. She's on her way.''
Their preparations were cut short when the doors burst open. ''Lance!'' Imogen said in surprise. ''What are you doing here?''
''My job,'' he replied simply. He began to sort through Charle Vance's belongings. ''This everything?''
Imogen had caught the way he entered, without glancing at the body. ''Lance, don't you think-''
''I think I need to do my job,'' he cut her off. ''And you need to do yours, no?''
Imogen let it lay. She let him continue sorting through his things.
''Umm…'' Her assistant was looking through the viewing window. ''I think someone's here to identify…?''
Imogen wasn't sure why she sounded so uneasy, until she followed her gaze and saw the person. A girl, unmistakably Vance's daughter.
Lance muttered a curse. He exited the room. Imogen followed.
''Tessa…'' Imogen watched Lance approach the girl. She couldn't have been more than fifteen, more likely younger. She was still in her school uniform, her long braided hair messy and frayed.
Tessa's eyes were bright but dry. Her face was hard. ''I need to see him,'' she said simply.
Lance sighed. ''You really shouldn't.''
''Mum's stuck in traffic. And every second counts, right?'' Her eye's got brighter. ''That's what he always said. So, just…let me make the identification and you can get on with…with it.''
She had stopped herself from saying autopsy. ''You should wait for your mother,'' Lance said quietly.''
''Tessa, he's been shot. He's bled a lot. The mur-… he fought,'' Lance corrected. ''And he lost and it isn't a pretty sight.''
''I put that together, thanks.'' Tessa looked past him and stared at Imogen, so hard Imogen wondered if those cold eyes were looking into her soul. ''I want to see him. I'm family, I have the right to see him.''
Imogen was tempted to defer to Lance. She agreed with him. If Tessa insisted on seeing him, then she should at least wait for her mother. But one stubborn tear slipped out of the corner of Tessa's bright eyes, and instead of strengthening Imogen's resolve, it weakened it.
She nodded. ''Alright.''
She headed back to the room, listening for Lance's protest. But he said no more, and let her go, staying behind with Tessa.
Imogen and her assistant wheeled the body closer to the window. They pulled the sheet back.
Imogen could see the shock on Tessa's face, finally confronted with what was before just words, a horrible idea. She recovered herself quickly, folding her arms across her chest, and nodded, the silent confirmation that was the language of the morgue: yes, that's him.
And then she turned and cried.
Imogen averted her gaze as Lance silently comforted the girl. She pulled the sheet back and instructed her assistant to wheel the body back to the autopsy room. She waited a moment before following, still seeing Tessa Vance's face in her mind. Tessa, stubbornly refusing to do anything but her duty, and then falling apart at the horror of it all.
After collecting the data from the autopsy and realizing death had not been instantaneous, Imogen wondered if Charles Vance's last moments were filled with similar feelings; stubbornly refusing not to not be on duty this night, and then falling apart when he realized he would never come home, never see his wife again, never again see his daughter. His Tessa.
Me: Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed, please leave a review!