Welcome to the FLPD
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a female police detective in possession of a hip-defying swagger must be in want of a wife. Or at least that was how the women of Femslash-Land viewed the matter and, as everyone knows, there isn't a force on the planet that can dissuade a lady of Femslash-Land from chasing down her prey once she's set her sights.
So it was with some nervousness that Sofia Curtis and Emma Swan took up their new posts as deputies in the Femslash-Land police department. For Sofia, it was an opportunity to escape the insanity of Las Vegas, where she felt almost invisible, and lick her wounds after a particularly disagreeable romantic liaison with her former boss's wife. Emma, on the other hand, was one of nature's drifters, and was simply looking for a new place to hang her hat until boredom struck.
"Welcome to the FLPD," said Olivia Benson, the sheriff, and former possessor of one of the most spectacular swaggers in all the known world. "I hope you'll enjoy your stay with us."
Emma thought she sounded like a hotel receptionist but not wanting to rock the boat that early, she gave the requisite nod. "I'm sure we will." She looked towards Sofia who appeared equally unimpressed by the pink-shirt-wearing-sheriff. "One question; do we all have to wear pink?"
Olivia's face broke out into a megawatt smile. "Do you like it?" She gave a semi-twirl. "The Mayor said it was totally inappropriate, but I rather like it, don't you?"
Sofia and Emma exchanged a look but managed to refrain from agreeing with the obviously not-colour-blind Mayor. "So, we don't have to wear it?" Sofia checked.
"Not unless you want to," Olivia said hopefully, but when neither woman seemed eager to follow her fashion lead she pointed towards a door at the back of the station. "Uniforms and equipment are through that door."
The deputies quickly made for the door and away from the silently brooding sheriff who appeared to be buffing her nails with an item from the custom-built manicure set she kept in her holster.
"Do you think she's really the sheriff?" Emma asked the second they were on the other side of the door and out of earshot.
Sofia nodded. "I saw a picture of her from her NYPD days, and it's definitely the same woman." Olivia Benson had been somewhat of a legend back then; with an arrest rate that was second to none and a harem of women fighting for her attention, she'd been somewhat of an inspiration to Sofia Curtis, and one of the reasons she'd transferred from CSI to the Sheriff's Department. "I think I've made a terrible mistake."
"In coming here?" They may have only known each other a few days, but the ride down from Vegas had given them plenty of time to get aquatinted, and Emma rather liked the other blonde. Plus, with Sofia there, she wasn't the only outsider. "You're not thinking of leaving, are you?"
With a shrug, Sofia opened the nearest locker, which happened to be displaying her name, or at least a misspelled version of her name. "It's F not PH," she muttered, before yanking open the door and pulling out what she assumed was her new uniform. "It's not pink," she said, examining it closely.
Emma opened her own locker and withdrew an identical set of clothing. "Kind of informal, isn't it?" The sleeveless white T-shirt, Doc Martens and jeans were staples of her own wardrobe and didn't exactly scream law enforcement. "At least the jacket looks more official."
Sofia tried on the calfskin jacket, with its FLPD badge, and agreed that it looked the part. "Looks like we'll be sporting hip-holsters," she said, having ascertained that the jacket was far too snug to provide room for her 9mm.
"Ex-army issue, by the looks of them," said Emma, as she retrieved the handguns and holsters from the bottom of her locker. "Do you think we're meant to carry two guns at a time?" She'd often done so in the past, but it had never been official, and after meeting Olivia she hadn't got the impression that Femslash-Land was the crime capital of the world.
Sofia shrugged. "We can check with Benson after we've changed."
"Are they here yet?"
Olivia turned to see an eagerly approaching Alex Cabot and her shadow, Kelly Gafney, neither of whom appeared the slightest bit interested in her health or well-being. "I'm fine, thank you for asking," she muttered, snapping closed her manicure set and re-holstering the treasured item. "Is there something I can do for you, Counsellors?"
"Are they here yet?" Alex repeated, with the kind of snappish expectation that can only come from an ex with a grudge. "The new deputies," she added, when Olivia appeared baffled by the question.
"Well?" Newcomers to Femslash-Land were rare and newcomers with a swagger - because, surely, the universe wasn't so cruel as to send swagger-less female cops, again - were like gold-dust. "Are they hot?"
There should be a law, Olivia thought, that made it a criminal offence to ask your ex-lover about the hotness of other women, especially if those other women were subsequently going to be working for said ex-lover. "I failed to enquire as to their temperature," she said stiffly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."
Across town the Mayor and her deputy were discussing the new additions to the Sheriff's Department and the wisdom of spending more public money on a police force that never seemed to do anything but wear pink and try to swagger.
"Do you think they're hot?" asked Doris Wolf, as she took the seat across from the Mayor. "Leslie Shay said that they stopped by the fire house this morning asking for directions and that they're both blondes!"
"Two blondes?" Mayor Mills looked bored, but then she had made it her goal in life to look bored by anything that wasn't her idea. "Did Shay say anything else?"
"Not really, Dawson came over and she kinda lost track of what she was saying, and then an alarm went off and they both disappeared." It was strange, Doris thought, that despite all the alarms and sirens going off at the fire station, she'd never known anyone in Femslash-Land that had had a fire.
The Mayor thought that it probably behoved her, as leader of their small community, to greet the two blondes in question and gauge for herself whether or not they were hot, erm, suitable for the task they'd been given. "Tell Thomas to bring the car around, I think it's time I met our two new blondes."
Emma and Sofia emerged from the locker room to be met with the sight of Olivia Benson going head to head with an irate looking blonde. The Sheriff's hands were balled into fists and she was exuding menace with every single syllable, not that the haughty looking blonde seemed to notice, as she dripped acid with her own barbed words.
"That must be the ex," Emma murmured, familiar with the symptoms of a bad break-up, even though she'd never been with someone long enough to experience one.
Sofia nodded. "It's odd, but it's almost as if the argument has leached some of the pink out of the Sheriff's shirt." It was true, the more Olivia threatened, the whiter her shirt became, only to step back a shade into pinkness with every caustic word that broke through her defences.
The argument continued unabated for several minutes before Alex realised the deputies had entered the room and even then she was reluctant to end her tirade and douse the fire she saw in Olivia's eyes. "Deputies, welcome," she said, turning her back on Olivia in a way guaranteed to send the other woman into a fit of anger. "I'm Alex Cabot."
With some reluctance, both Emma and Sofia shook the woman's outstretched hand, but made sure to keep the contact brief.
"Kelly Gafney," said another woman, who'd obviously been hiding behind the filing cabinet while Olivia and Alex were doing battle. "We're with the District Attorney's office."
Alex looked at her crossly, as if she'd divulged a national secret, before adding, "I'm the senior ADA."
Olivia made a 'Pfft!' noise and began playing with her handcuffs.
"The District Attorney," said Kelly, with a contented sigh, "would like to invite you to dine with her tomorrow evening, if that's convenient?"
Emma shrugged, "Sure, why not?"
A far more seasoned officer, Sofia wasn't quite so blasé, "The District Attorney wants to dine with us?" In Vegas you needed to belong to the right club or have twenty years seniority and a dozen or more commendations under your belt before the DA would even give you the time of day.
"Yes, her house at seven," said Kelly. "It's pretty informal," she assured them, "but I'd suggest you leave the denim and firepower at home."
"Kibre's okay," added Olivia. "She was a prosecutor for fifteen years before she took up the post." She stared daggers at Alex. "And, unlike some, she's not just in it for the glory."
With that, the bell sounded on round two, and Alex launched the first of her jibes, only to be counterattacked by a home-truth from Olivia. The two deputies, fearing they'd be caught in the crossfire, started to edge their way towards the door, just as Olivia threw a set of keys in their direction and told them to go explore the town.
The Mayor was not amused. She'd interrupted her day to formally welcome the latest additions to the already overstaffed FLPD and the ingrates hadn't even had the decency to wait for her arrival before swanning off to enjoy themselves. True, they hadn't known she was coming, but the Mayor didn't see why she should make allowances for their lack of foresight.
"When will they be back?"
The still bickering Olivia and Alex ignored her and it was left to Kelly to explain the Sheriff's instruction that they explore the town. She had thought that enduring the fighting ex-couple had been bad, but Kelly's world suddenly grew a lot more terrifying as the Mayor turned a death-stare in her direction. "They went exploring? What are they, girl scouts?"
Kelly shook her head and tried to summon the inner-Tracy she knew resided within, only to have her attempt fail as she was met with a second incendiary glare from Regina. "It was the Sheriff's idea," she squeaked, before rushing from the room and towards the nearest bar.
"There's something weird about this place," said Sofia, as she and Emma escaped the war raging inside the station house for the relative quiet of the street. "I think the inhabitants might be insane."
"Uh-huh." Emma wasn't listening, she was too busy scouting out the cars in the lot and trying to work out which of the unmarked vehicles was theirs. She pressed the button on the key-chain, but nothing beeped, so she kept on walking, only half-listening to Sofia's concerns about the mental well-being of the people of Femslash-Land. Eventually, a car beeped, and its indicators started flashing. "Sweet!"
Sofia looked at the car. "An El Camino?" Her theory of insanity appeared strengthened, in her eyes at least, as they made their way to the black muscle car.
"I'll have a martini," said Olivia Spencer as she settled into her 'spot' at the bar of the Lazy Lizard. She had been coming to the bar regularly for years but only taken claim of her 'spot' the winter before when a new barmaid, the perpetually chipper Natalia Rivera, started working the day shift.
Natalia stared at her in mock irritation. "It's not even noon," she said, placing a cup of coffee before the other woman in lieu of her requested beverage. "Why aren't you at work?"
"The same reason as everybody else," said Olivia, motioning towards the gaggle of women lining the room, every one of them glued to the goings-on beyond the window. The Lazy Lizard's proximity to the police station had never before been seen as a plus, but when word came down that two new and possibly hot blondes had just rolled into town and set up shop in the Sheriff's office, everybody wanted to catch a glimpse.
Natalia looked towards the window, beyond which two figures could just be seen admiring Nora's old El Camino. "You're interested in blondes?" she asked, her lack of confidence making her voice break before she could finish the question.
"Me? No." It was true, Olivia had no interest in blondes or redheads or brunettes who weren't currently standing before her, but she did have a big interest in making sure the new blondes in town didn't take a shine to her favourite bartender.
Before Olivia could enquire as to whether or not Natalia harboured any secret fascination for the fairer haired members of their community, an excited buzz grew up around her and before she knew it the doors to the bar were being thrown open and the two new blondes in question were striding into the bar. "Damn their swagger," muttered Olivia as she watched Natalia quickly move to take their order.
"What can I get you ladies?" ask Natalia, a welcoming smile on her face and inquisitiveness gleaming in her eyes.
Emma and Sofia exchanged a look that bespoke the need for alcohol tampered by the realisation that it was far too early to be caught drinking. "Club sodas," said Emma, her disappointment in her choice of beverage soon evaporating under the warm smile directed her way by the gorgeous bartender. "I'm Emma," she said, holding out her hand in Natalia's direction. "Sofia and I are the new deputies."
"Oh, we all know who you are," Natalia assured them, "you hadn't been in town two minutes before the phone-lines started buzzing with news of your arrival." She smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, we're harmless really."
"Speak for yourself," Olivia grumbled, as she counted how many seconds it took the 'Emma' person to release her bartender's hand. "Is this normal police procedure?" she asked the new arrivals. "Stroll into town and head for the nearest bar?"
"Olivia," Natalia warned.
"Because you don't know how safe it makes me feel to know that two of the FLPD's finest start their day with a trip to the local gin-joint."
"Olivia, hush!" Natalia glared at her friend, before turning back to the new arrivals. "Ignore her, she's not a morning person."
Emma looked ready to bitch-slap Olivia into next week but managed to refrain. "That's okay, Natalia, we know how some people like to rile the police." She aimed a shark-like-smile in Olivia's direction. "Isn't that right, Ma'am?"
The 'Ma'am' was too much and Olivia was halfway out of her seat before she was thrown back by the sudden onslaught of female attention aimed at the two new blondes. "Hi," said a chirpy little redhead, "My name's Cindy Thomas and I work for the Globe and I'd love to do an interview with -"
"Andy Sachs," interrupted a brunette, "from the Mirror, is it true that you're here to investigate allegations that the sheriff has been laundering money for the mob?"
"Oh, please," said Cindy, "that story is so 2012. I heard that Benson was caught on camera performing unmentionable sex acts with four members of the German ice-hockey team."
"Pfft!" countered Andy, "I saw that tape and it definitely wasn't the Sheriff."
"She's right," said Olivia, as she tried to part the sea of reporters and glare at Emma. "Not enough pink."
"No," said Cindy, "it's an old tape, from before she lost her swagger." She turned an imploring eye on the two blondes. "I swear to you, it was her!"
"What kind of unmentionable acts?" questioned Emma.
"We're not here to investigate anyone," broke in Sofia, her foot 'accidentally' colliding with Emma's shin.
Emma looked at her oddly. "But we're detectives, isn't it our job to investigate people?"
"Yes, but not..." Sofia decided to count to ten and start planning her escape. "It's nice to meet you, ladies," she said in the meantime.
Alex had run out of insults ten minutes before, but she couldn't quite bring herself to leave, and was therefore forced to repeat herself inanely. It was embarrassing, really, for such a renowned wordsmith to be caught parroting herself, but Olivia left her no choice, the damn woman just looked so damn good when she was riled.
"You've said that already," cut in Olivia, neatly putting an end to Alex's plan to wile away the rest of the day trading insults and simmering glares with her ex. "If you've nothing original to say...?"
"Are you sleeping with them?" Alex blurted, the words forcing themselves past her lips without her brain's permission. It had been the question at the forefront of her mind since seeing the two new deputies, but she'd been determined not to give in to her jealousy. "I know how much you like blondes."
"Liked," corrected Olivia, "and they just got here."
"So you are interested in them?" Alex had know, the second she saw those blonde haired hussies enter the room, that they'd be trouble. Not that she wanted Olivia back, of course, that would be ridiculous, considering her swagger-less status and all, but that didn't mean she wanted to see her with another blonde.
Olivia hadn't really given them much thought, beyond how their presence would affect the duty roster, but she wasn't about to tell Alex that. "Maybe." Neither woman had seemed particularly impressed by her ensemble but she was willing to overlook their obvious lack of fashion sense if it meant irritating her ex.
"Are you sure it's a good idea to invite the Sheriff and Alex?" Kelly questioned, as she looked over the seating chart for the forthcoming dinner party. "They can be a little..."
"Explosive?" Tracy smiled in a way that let her subordinate know that she could more than handle anything the Sheriff and ADA could throw at them. "If we limited ourselves to inviting people who'd never been lovers I'd have to totally rearrange my seating plan." She indicated several names on the chart. "The way the women of this town are constantly jumping into each others beds we'd probably be eating alone before too long."
"That's true." At least, Kelly thought, it was true of most of the women in town, but not of Tracy Kibre, a fact that had frustrated Kelly for years. From all accounts, Tracy had been as much of a bed-hopping fool as the rest of the town before she'd become the District Attorney, but the second she swore the oath she abandoned her flirtatious ways. It was almost enough to make Kelly give up the law and take up drinking.
Emma and Sofia had just escaped the attentions of the roving reporters and were halfway to the bar's door when they ran smack bang into Alex Cabot. "Don't for a minute think you can stroll into town and take what is ours," the lawyer seethed, "because I will fight you every step of the way!"
Before either woman could ask what the hell she was talking about, Alex turned tail and marched out of the bar, the door quivering in her wake. "Insane," Sofia muttered. "The lot of them."
Emma couldn't argue with that.
The Mayor was fuming. She'd left the Sheriff's Department and taken a leisurely stroll around town, expecting to 'accidentally' bump into the new deputies, but instead she'd been ambushed by an obviously deranged Alex Cabot and subjected to ten minutes of rabid accusations of impropriety and gross misconduct aimed at the very women she'd been hoping to meet.
"Enough!" She was getting a headache. "What do you mean, you found them in the nearest bar?"
"They were in the Lazy Lizard," said Alex. "Not even noon and they were already downing shots and carousing with women of the night."
Regina's eyebrow twitched. "Women of the night?" She didn't know whether to lead with the obvious - if it was before noon, they were hardly women of the night, day, maybe, but definitely not night dwellers - or the simple fact that having a police force and judiciary the size of Femslash-Land's had chased the last prostitute from the area more than ten years before. "Do you mean Bo Whatshername, the sex therapist, because I've seen her credentials and she's fully certified."
"What? No." Alex lost her train of rant. "They come waltzing into town," she said, feeling the need to reiterate the main point of her argument, "and think they own the place. It's not enough that they're taking jobs away from hardworking Femslash-Landians, but now they're going after our women!"
The Mayor's head was starting to throb and she was quickly coming to the conclusion that the new deputies were more trouble than they were worth. "Firstly," she said, wanting to derail the ADA's rant once and for all, "Femslash-Land has a zero unemployment rate, and not a single person answered the add for the vacant deputies posts, which is why the Sheriff, District Attorney and myself decided to advertise nationally." She hated having her decisions questioned by an underling or anyone else for that matter. "Secondly, you and Olivia broke up, get over it!"
Sofia and Emma had escaped the insanity of the bar and headed for the nearest safe haven, which happened to be a small antique shop on the opposite side of the road. Neither woman was particularly interested in hundred year old tea strainers but anything was better than the barrage of questions and indecent proposals they had received from the bar's patrons; although Emma had made a note of the more salacious proposals for later consideration.
Two women sat behind an old scarred desk, one reading aloud and the other watching her with rapt fascination, a smile of adoration on her face. The reader, an upper-class English woman from her accent, was the first to spot their arrival, but she continued, a slight nod of greeting her only outward sign of recognition, until she had finished the chapter and slowly closed the book. "Good morning, ladies, how can we help you?"
The second woman blinked several times, as if in a daze, before turning to smile at the newcomers. "You must be the new deputies," she said, confirming Natalia's earlier assertion that everyone in town knew who they were.
"That's right," said Emma. "I'm Emma Swan and this is Sofia Curtis," she added, pointing unnecessarily at Sofia, "and we just wanted to have a look around town and introduce ourselves to the local business owners." She felt like she was intruding, somehow, despite the 'Open' sign on the door.
"It's lovely to meet you," said the reader, "I'm Helena Wells and this is my partner, Myka Berring." She smiled tenderly at Myka before reaching out to shake the deputies' hands.
"Nikki used to drop by all the time," said Myka, as she extended her own hand to be shook, "and Nora would stop by every now and then to drag her out before she spent her entire salary on a vase." The two shopkeepers laughed at the private joke but the deputies were none the wiser.
"Nikki and Nora?" asked Sofia.
"Your predecessors," explained Helena. "They won the Femslash-Land Mega-Jackpot and decided to sail around the world for a year or two." Craning her neck, Helena spoted the El Camino at the kerb outside the Lazy Lizard. "You're driving Nora's old car."
Knowing that their predecessors hadn't died in a hail of bullets was reassuring, but both women quickly came to the conclusion that they'd be better off setting fire to their money in the town square than buying a lottery ticket. At least that way they wouldn't be a slave to false hope. "The Sheriff never mention it," said Sofia.
Twin lines of disapproval carved themselves between Myka's eyebrows. "The Sheriff doesn't mention a lot of things," she said.
There was an ominous tone to Myka's voice that left both deputies feeling somewhat unnerved. Could there really be more to the Sheriff's lack of a swagger than they'd realised? "She seems different," said Sofia, "from her NYPD days. Not that I knew her personally," she added quickly, "but the way people described her I was expecting someone, I dunno, different."
"She's charming," said Helena, earning a look of incredulity from Myka. "She might have lost some of her edge since she and Alex broke up, but she's a lovely woman, and very understanding."
Myka's arms were firmly crossed over chest and she did not look happy. "Just because she didn't arrest you for -"
"Well, ladies, don't let us keep you," cut in Helena, a pointed look quickly informing her partner that there were some things best not spoken about in public. "I'm sure there's lots more for you to see."
Outside of 'Berring and Wells' Sofia and Emma took a moment to ponder their latest acquaintances. "Compared to everyone else in this town, they seemed almost normal, but even they..."
"Are a bit odd?" Finished Emma.
"Yeah," agreed Sofia, "and what's with that stuff about the Sheriff?"
They may not have come to Femslash-Land to investigate Sheriff Olivia Benson, but both women had a suspicion that they soon would be.
To Be Continued
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