This is my attempt at The Deep's challenge, I got Stella, Lovato and the quote "Well it's me, you'll find something" I've done things a little differently but I hope you all still like it :)
I want to say a massive thank you to 2NYwLove for going over this story for me and giving me the ideas to add a few little extra bits :)
Don Flack hated the number three, he remembered as a child how his father would always tell him that things happened in threes. But at only seven years old, he thought his father was just talking some garbled nonsense. As the years went by, however, and he got older, he started to learn that his old man had been right. Things did happen in threes, though they were never good things.
Just that morning he'd had three cases come in one after another and he'd dealt with them all and then the fourth came in just as he was sitting down to have his coffee. He was visibly annoyed at being disturbed on his break, so much so that Lovato had seen this from her desk. Intent on being a wonderful girlfriend, she'd offered to take the case, so he could have ten minutes to just relax. Flack had thought nothing of it at the time, he'd thanked her and told her that he owed her one.
Then there was the staff at the crime lab, three of them were off. Lindsay was still on maternity leave after having Joshua two months ago. Hawkes had come down with a rotten case of food poisoning. Sid, who technically didn't work in the lab but was still classed as one of the team, was having another round of chemotherapy. As luck would have it, with so many staff members off, two big cases came in at the same time.
Jo, Mac and Adam were working on the death of two teenage girls when another case came in involving a man found dead in a hotel. Danny was assigned the case, but he really needed someone else with him. Mac was debating calling another local crime lab to borrow someone, when a visiting Stella stepped in to help. Mac told her she shouldn't have to work on her holiday, that she had come for a visit and to meet the newest Messer and not to work cases, but Stella being stubborn had insisted. So Danny, Stella and Lovato had headed off to the hotel.
Which is where three of the most important people in Flack's life, his two best friends and his girlfriend, were now in the hotel trying to figure out who'd killed the man. Flack sat in the precinct drinking his coffee when he heard the announcement over the radio saying there had been an explosion at the hotel. An explosion which had led to the death of two detectives and a third being severely injured.
Tragedy had struck just a week ago, a week Flack had spent cooped up in his apartment, mourning the latest losses in his life. He found himself in the local cemetery, standing next to two gravestones. He couldn't believe they were gone, couldn't believe the curse of the threes had struck again.
First there had been Aiden, he'd loved Aiden and every day he regretted not telling her how he felt about her. If only he'd been there for her then maybe she'd have been able to talk to him, told him what was going on and he wouldn't have lost her to the hands of DJ Pratt.
Next there had been Jess, the true love of his life. He'd planned his future with her, not out loud, but in his head. They were going to have a beautiful summer wedding and two children and live happily ever after. But then there was the shoot out and he lost her too.
After Jess he didn't think he'd be able to move on and love another, but three years later Jamie Lovato showed up and taught him how to love again and now she was gone too, lost in the hotel explosion.
He looked at the other grave and thought of his dear friend Stella. He couldn't believe that she was gone, she was like a sister to him, they'd always been there for each other through everything and now he was alone. He didn't even have Danny to turn to because he was hooked up to machines in the hospital and although the doctors had said his injures weren't life threatening, he still had a long way to go. He hadn't even woken from his coma yet. Lindsay had spent every day at the hospital. She sat unmoving by Danny's bedside, only leaving to come to the service today because Danny's mother insisted she come. She'd left before the burial to spend a little time with Lucy and Joshua before heading back to the hospital to be with her husband.
Everyone else had also left rather quickly after the burial, all wanting to get back to the lab to carry on the investigation of who planted the bomb in that hotel. The investigation so far just kept leading them to dead ends, but they were all working endlessly to try to put the pieces together. Mac had promised him, just before they entered the church that morning, that they would find out who did this and whoever it was would be punished for it.
"They will, you know."
Flack looked behind him and frowned as there was no one there, but he'd definitely just heard a voice. He shook his head and guessed the wind had maybe just carried a voice nearby over to him. He turned back to the two graves.
"Tell him to look harder."
Flack frowned as he called out, "who is there?"
No one replied.
"I know you're out there," he called again.
Flack was utterly confused "Stella?" he then felt a cold shiver go through his hand.
"I'm here. You need to tell him."
"Tell who what?"
"Sid, tell him it's me, you'll find something."
"Find what, Stella? I don't understand!"
"Where?" Flack asked frustrated. "Where's the evidence?"
"It was in me."
"The autopsy results?"
"I need to go now, Flack."
"No... no don't go, Stella. Stay a little longer?"
"I can't, I don't belong in your world any more but I'll always be in here..."
Flack felt a cold sensation on his chest and knew that Stella was referring to his heart. "I love you, Stel," he whispered in the air.
No reply came and Flack sat, over what had just happened, had he actually been talking to Stella or was his imagination just playing tricks on him? He'd like to believe that it was the former but knew in his heart that it was probably the latter. Pulling out his phone from his pocket. He wondered if he should call Sid and get him to take another look at Stella's autopsy results, maybe even if it was his imagination, there might have been some truth in it. After a few minutes of deciding what to do, he finally called the M.E's number and told him to double-check the autopsy results. Sid had been a little confused at to why, as it was unusual for Flack to call him, he decided to do as Flack had asked and prayed something different would come up.
"You've done the right thing."
"Stella?" Flack asked with a frown.
"No, it's me, Lovato."
"I'm so sorry."
"It should have been me" Flack explained "I should have been the one to go to that hotel with Danny and Stella."
"No, things happen for a reason. It was my time to go."
"No it wasn't, I should have gone, I should be the one under all this mud now," Flack said as he picked up a handful of dirt and let it slip between his fingers.
"You're still destined for greater things, Don Flack and your time will come but it's not yet."
"When? When can I be with you again?"
"Soon... but you need to be there for the others now, they need you, Flack. Lindsay needs you, she's not coping as well as she'd like you to believe. Adam is struggling too, he's not slept since it happened."
"Adam? I didn't even think..."
"Jo is suffering from regret, the last time her and Stella spoke ended with a small argument and Hawkes is feeling sad that he never even got to see Stella due to his illness."
"That couldn't be helped, I'm sure Stella understood and Jo she shouldn't feel regret, people argue all the time and I'm sure Stella's not holding it against her!"
"No, but you need to make it right, Flack, you need to help them."
"How?" Flack wondered.
"You'll find a way, you always do."
"Wait... what about Mac?"
"Mac's struggling... he misses Stella a lot but he's got Christine, although I'm sure he'd never turn down your friendship."
"I'll try my best to help them all." Flack promised.
"I know you will."
"I love you, Lovato. I wish we'd got to spend more time together."
"I love you too and I'll see you soon..."
Flack felt a cold wind embrace him before quickly disappearing. He knew Lovato was now gone with Stella. He looked around the cemetery and saw that it was still empty, which in a way he was thankful for as he was sure people would think he was weird if they saw him standing there talking to what appeared to be himself, even if he knew differently.
He waited, hoping to hear a third voice, maybe Aiden or Jess but none came and he didn't really expect it as that would have been a good things and good things don't happen in threes. He said one last goodbye to the two headstones before making his way out of the cemetery and to the hospital where he planned to sit with Lindsay and tell her something that he should have told her a week ago, that he was here for her.
What Don Flack didn't see as he exited the gates to the cemetery were the two raven haired women that followed him out. Angel and Aiden, who had both stayed with him since the day each of them had died, guarding him, making sure he stayed safe to fulfil his purpose here on earth. They agreed with Flack, that bad things did come in threes, but they knew something he hadn't figured out yet, that good things come in fours. Which is why Flack needed to leave and go to the hospital to be there for Lindsay, for all of the Messer family, especially since the two detectives were raising the future head of the crime lab and police commissioner.