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Story Notes:
Okay, so the summary may have been a little misleading---uh, I mean, "overdramatized." *cough*
There's no explicit death or anything in this story; just the aftermath. And a lot of the details are left up to you. I just happened to be listening to a song and realized that it reminded me of BlkLunaDragon's Lassiter, and once I got this scenario in my head, I couldn't get it out. Enjoy.
Author's Chapter Notes:
The song is "No Good Way," by Fozzy. It clocks in around 3 minutes and 40 seconds, in contrast to Fozzy's 14-minute stuff. It's very much worth the listen, because when you hear it, the story will make much more sense. (Maybe.)

Also, even though my father's family is Catholic, I am actually Methodist, so if I got any of the details wrong, forgive me.


The tie still had bloodstains on it. He'd gotten rid of the pants, the jacket, the shirt...not really because he'd wanted to, because if it were up to him he'd probably still be wearing them. He got rid of them because they'd made him. Which was fine. He didn't need them anyway. He'd managed to keep the tie, though. He'd kept it hidden and he wasn't dumb enough to mention it during the counseling sessions.

He'd never understand why the department paid for all six of those stupid things. It's not like they even worked, especially since Maddie Spencer wasn't the shrink, thank God.

Speaking of God, as he kneeled at the altar, he felt crazier than ever. He hadn't been inside this Catholic church for years, but he'd spent his childhood coming here on Sundays, and he remembered all too well his first communion and his first confession and all that stuff. While he was going to the academy and right up through his rookie years, he still came by on Saturdays to ask for strength. It was only in recent years that he'd started backsliding.

The altar was a long wooden semicircle that surrounded the pulpit, where every Sunday, Father Westley---or more recently, a younger member of the clergy---would preach during Mass and bless the bread and wine. There were many candles here, more than in most churches. There were rows of them everywhere, in candelabras and on tables. Above the pulpit, a larger-than-life carving of Jesus dying on the cross hung on the wall, the Savior of all the congregation that stared at Him every Sunday.

It was funny how intently Lassiter was staring at the crucifix right now, because, he slowly realized, even though he'd been here thousands of times over his slightly-more-than-four decades on the Earth, he'd never really believed in it. He guessed that he was probably like a lot of other people---you just show up, confess, stand when you're supposed to stand, sing when you're supposed to sing, recite when you're supposed to recite, pray when you're supposed to pray, and kneel when you're supposed to kneel. Then when it's all over, you go home and live your life just like the next guy, only to come back on Sunday and do it all over again. But now, suddenly, everything seemed different.

Now it actually mattered. Now it wasn't a convenience to believe in the afterlife; he actually needed it to be true. Desperately needed it.

He glanced around to make sure that the priests and nuns weren't hanging around before he began to speak, even though at this point he didn't really care. "Tell me it's true," he said to the Jesus carving. No, not to the carving this time; to Jesus Himself. To God. Wherever He might be. "Please. Just tell me it's true. Tell me she's there. I don't care for myself. I don't care if I go to Purgatory or whatever, but I need her to be there, in Heaven. If anybody deserves to go there, it's her."

After a long silence on both sides, he looked down at the tie. Slick olive green blotched with dark red circles. It reminded him of Christmas. She loved her big weird family Christmases. He carefully unknotted it and slipped it off his neck, placing it on the altar in front of him. "She died saving me. It should've been me. But she died saving her partner." Somewhere in his mind, obscured by weeks of darkness and bottles of Jack, he recalled the shadowy silhouette of the killer. "Took him out right as he got her. One more sicko off the streets. She did good, didn't she? She deserves a reward, right? Going out on top like that. It's not a bad way to die, is it?"

Then he scoffed and shook his head. "What am I saying? There isn't a good way to die." He leaned his head against the wood of the altar. What was it made of? Oak? Poplar? It was shiny and cool, and the furrowed skin of his forehead smoothed as the sensation calmed him. "She's there, isn't she?"

For the first time that Lassiter could recall, some still small voice inside him told him to shut up and listen, really listen. He did.

He sighed in relief. "I was so scared." He was surprised to hear the emotion in his voice, and equally surprised that he was speaking his emotions out loud. He just didn't do that, but something was different. "I just want her to be okay." He was silent again for a while, listening to the new voice inside, feeling warm somehow, deep inside. Then, he voiced what he really wanted: "I want to go too. Please. Let me go with her. Just end it. I don't want her to be alone."

Lassiter had heard in sermons for years that God always answered prayers, but sometimes the answer wasn't the one you wanted. Like many other things, he'd never really believed it until now. Now that he was listening to the still small voice and it was saying no.

"It's not my time, is it?" His shaky voice said. "Well...fine. I'll wait." He got up, wincing and grabbing the altar to help himself stand, still aching in his bad left knee. He thought about all the time he'd spent like a hermit in his home the past few days, with all the lights off and his sidearm next to him, with only one bullet in the chamber. "Fine. One more tomorrow, then. One more tomorrow, and then I'll just ask you again." One tomorrow at a time." He glanced up at the carving of Jesus again as he picked up his tie from the altar. The eyes of the sculpted face seemed to be crying, almost, grieving, watching with compassion. For some reason, Lassiter felt the compulsion to lift his hand in a tiny wave as he turned and walked out the big wooden double doors.

He immediately walked back in, realizing he'd forgotten something. He slipped into the adoration chapel, where the candles you lit as prayers for your loved ones were kept. He always wondered what was the connection between candles and prayers; maybe the smoke lifted the words up or something. He figured God could hear him just fine without them, but just for his own comfort, he gave in to decades of habit and lit one of the little white candles, watching it burn in its tiny red vase. He dropped the tie on the flame, and this time he walked out for good.

"I'll be back tomorrow," he assured the still small voice, and then he began to walk down the street to the police station.


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