We Cry 1/5

Apr. 12th, 2011 10:46 pm
whedonist: (Ritual)
[personal profile] whedonist
Story Title:We Cry
Chapter Title: It’s Empty in the Valley of Your Heart
Fandom: Dexter
Pairing: Debra Morgan/Original Character, toys with Dexter Morgan/Lumen Ann Pierce
Rating: R – Lots of Language and Adult Themes
Disclaimer: Debra and Dexter Morgan along with all the other folks from Jeff Lindsay’s world don’t belong to me…they belong to Jeff Lindsay and people at Showtime. I’m just trying to get Debra to bat for the team we all know she does.
Spoilers: Everything in canon is fair game up through Season 5 of the T.V. Show. This story replaces the last three episodes In the Beginning, Hop A Freighter & The Big One.



A/N: Every time I see Debra Morgan on screen I just shake my head and think, “Why aren’t they giving her a girl? ‘Cause LaGuerta’s a mixed bag most of the time and to me, really straight.” Also, I disliked how they brought Lumen and Dexter together, I disliked what they did with Debra and Quinn and I disliked how they took Lumen out of the picture…this is my fix…Additionally, I big thanks to Dirk and Howard, they shined up the story good and proper for Epic Proportions. I hope all of you read and enjoy it as much fun as I had writing it.




Ch. 1 – It’s Empty in the Valley of Your Heart


Det. Joey Quinn’s desk sits empty. I hang my head in my hands, trying to stop the headache that began sometime around the same time I was called to the scene of the now infamous Barrel Girl Murders. Twelve women murdered and stuffed into barrels of formaldehyde. The case broke open because four of those barrels and their contents were splashed on the pavement of a neighborhood intersection. This case is making my life suck more than there’re words to tell.

But then again, so is my partner. Between the bullshit Quinn pulled on the off-the-books investigation into my brother, and the other general crap of dating your partner, it’s just a big pile.

You’d think I would’ve learned?

Maybe Dad was right when he said, “Debra, I love you, but sometimes you make things too hard on yourself.”

Yeah. Thanks, Pop.

I thought Quinn would be here, seeing as how I slept on the couch last night instead of the bed and he was gone when I got up, but he’s not here.

Christ! Of all the fucking bullshit things he could have done…why investigate Dexter, thinking that he’s some creep named Kyle Butler? It just doesn’t add up.

I just don’t get it. Why Dexter? Why me?

And why do I have such horrible taste in men?

Groaning, I cradle my head in my hands and look down at my keyboard.

It could be worse…?

Maybe.

At least he’s not—no, I’ve been there; I don’t need to relive it again… for the millionth time.

I just don’t know what to do with this. He said he stopped the investigation before it went too far, but the fact is that the dick went behind my back. How he could think that Dexter would or even could be involved with the Trinity Killer…I just don’t get it. What in the hell would make him think Dex would be involved with the guy that killed his wife?

I rub the back of my neck and tilt my head back, trying to stretch the knotted muscle from the night on the fucking couch. My eyes close as the left side of my neck loosens just a little, just enough to lighten the throbbing behind my left eye.

“Morgan,” Lt. Maria LaGuerta’s voice calls out.

“Fuck me,” I mumble quietly. Cracking my eyes open, I tilt my head and look in the direction of my boss. She doesn’t look pleased. I just got back to homicide…do I really need to be chewed out by the bitch?

Shaking it off, I stand and tug down the rumpled pale blue button-up I threw on this morning. She holds the door to her office open and I enter, stopping in front of her desk. The door clicks shut behind me and her heels make this clickety-clack sound on the linoleum. It grates and causes my head to thump a little harder.

“Why don’t we take a seat?”

My head swivels around to find LaGuerta sitting on one of the couches in her office. She pats the seat next to her and smiles.

The involuntary curl to my upper lip and raised eyebrow cause her smile to falter. In true Maria ’Stab-You-in-the-Back‘ LaGuerta fashion, she recovers quickly. “We need to talk, detective.”

I roll my eyes and trudge over to the couch, sink into the leather and sit back to wait on whatever in the hell we need to talk about to start.

Her hands fold in her lap as she sits on the edge of the couch. “The department knows that I was pulled into the investigation on Det. Liddy. What I didn’t know until this morning was that the investigation wasn’t only on him.” I watch her swallow, her throat bobs up and down as her eyes skirt to the floor. “Internal Affairs had me call in Quinn early this morning. He’s been placed on administrative leave pending a hearing with the union and its review board.”

“No fucking way,” I growl, sitting up.

Her hand goes up and she says, “I know. I couldn’t believe it either. It’s not just one thing. I.A. was less than impressed with the off-the-books investigation your partner conducted. That’s only part of it. The other part has to do with evidence disappearing from the crime scenes he’s worked.” Her lips purse and the muscle in her jaw clenches. “A lot of the missing evidence has been money. Do you know anything about it?”

Do I what?

“You’re shitting me, right?” I jump from my seat and begin to chew on the pad of my left thumb. “You think I—? Are they on my shit?”

“No. Joey’s in trouble, pretty deep from what I was able to get out of the investigators. Since you’re his partner, I’m required to ask, but there’s been nothing to indicate that you’re under investigation as well.” She sighs and gently runs a hand through her hair. “I just— I wanted to talk to you first. I know…Debra; I owe you an apology for what happened with the Santa Muerte case. I’m sorry.”

The apology stops my tight pace across the length of her office. Did she really just fucking apologize for that shit and the hell she put me through? My mouth hangs open and I’m about to rip into her when a knock on the door chokes the first ‘fuck you’ in my throat.

The knob twists and a head pokes through the crack in the door. “Lt. LaGuerta?” A woman with mahogany locks and golden brown eyes peers in.

Maria stands and meets the woman in the now open door way. I look her over. The tanned olive skin looks smooth against the crisp white blouse and cream colored slacks. Black frames are perched on her nose and her smile is wide. The shield at her hip and gun on her left tell me all I need to know about what she is.

“Det. Herrera?” LaGuerta asks.

“Yes. The desk officer sent me straight up. Should I come back?” Herrera hooks a thumb behind her and moves to leave, giving us back the room for our conversation, but LaGuerta stops her.

“No, no, come in.” She ushers the detective in and closes the door behind her. LaGuerta spins on the low heel of her right pump and laces her fingers together. One index finger comes up and presses against her lips. She sighs and says, “Det. Debra Morgan, I would like you to meet your new partner, Det. Ivelisse Herrera. Det. Herrera comes to us from the Family Violence Unit out of the North Miami station.” LaGuerta shoots me an apologetic look over my new partner’s shoulder.

I close my eyes and shake my head. Just fan-fucking-tastic. If it’s not one damn thing it’s another. I swear to Christ on the fucking cross, I just don’t need this shit today. I pinch the bridge of my nose and my right hand rests on my hip.

“I take it I came too early?” the woman asks of no one in particular.

My left eye pops open and I look at her from under my hand. “Just a little. Shit.”

“Morgan,” LaGuerta says, her tone holding the barest hint of a threat. “I know this is all a little sudden, but with these cases I can’t have you running around without a partner and Angel is working on other investigations. You need a steady partner.”

“And when Quinn comes back?” I snap.

“We don’t know if he will,” she says softly.

“Well isn’t that just fucking peachy?” My hands drop to my sides and I look my new partner over. “Where are we putting her?”

“There’s the empty desk to your left that she can use,” my lieutenant answers.

I nod as my lips press together. I look over at Herrera. Guilt gives me a solid sucker punch. It’s not her fault. Shit. Shit. Shit. “Sorry, detective. Look, why don’t you come with me and I’ll show you around. Are we done?” I direct the question to my superior.

LaGuerta nods and adds, “Ivelisse, I’ll have a few pieces of paperwork for you to sign once you get settled. Deb, if you need to talk about this, my door’s open.”

I brush past her so she can’t see the eye roll I give her. I don’t need to be busted down to meter maid duty, or worse: fucking filing room duty. I’ll eat my service weapon if I have to see that place longer than five minutes.

I hear a set of footsteps follow me out of LaGuerta’s office. Pointing to the empty desk next to mine, I say, “If you have anything that you need to bring up, I’ll help. You can set up here. Let me know what extension’s on your phone and I’ll have the desk put it on the sheet.”

The short, lithe, detective looks around and shrugs. She turns to me and rests one hand on her left hip. “Why don’t we try again? I’ve been told of the situation so it’s not like I was expecting a welcome party, but a proper introduction seems like it would go farther at this point. Hi, I’m Ivelisse Herrera; most call me Ivey or Herrera.” She thrusts her right hand in my direction.

For some reason, I can hear my father chiding me for having shitty manners. I let the annoyed frown show a little as I reach for her hand. “Debra Morgan,” I say as I slip my hand into hers. Her hand is warm and incredibly soft. It’s a stark contrast to my calloused palms. It doesn’t matter how much lotion I slather on myself, my hands are usually pretty dry. Her fingers linger along my palm as our hands pull apart. “Sorry about that in there.” I’m trying to be less of a bitch. This really isn’t her fault.

To my amazement, she smiles; it’s wide and shows off her teeth. Not too white and not too straight. The smile, much to my annoyance, is welcome. No one’s smiled around here for a long fucking time. “Apology accepted.”

I take a glance down at my watch. I still need to run over to Chase’s office. Shit. I need to catch Ivey up on the case too. “All right, so how about this? We have some leads to track down. Why don’t I fill you in on our way over to the first person we’re going to fuck with today?”

She nods and I turn to grab my purse and car keys.

“Leave your keys; I can drive while you bring me up to speed?” Herrera offers.

I shrug and toss the keys back on top of my desk and snatch up the primary folder for the case. We head down and out into the bright Miami morning. It’s still early, but the sun is making sure that we know it’s around. I hear the beep of the alarm and see the lights of one of the best looking cars blink on and off. A 2011 GT500 Shelby Mustang, bright white with black racing stripes sits in the parking lot. I swivel my head and look at my new partner.

She grins, her lips don’t part, but the smile is smug as she slips into the driver’s side. I jog around and look inside before I dive into the passenger seat. The interior is red leather. “Holy shit,” I breathe.

Sunglasses drop from her visor and she replaces the eyeglasses she’s wearing with designer shades. Herrera wiggles her eyebrows as the car growls to life. Her nose crinkles and the smile is wider as she says, “I know she’s sexy. Try not to drool on the dashboard.”

I buckle up and snort, “All-fucking-right.” I grin as she peels out of the parking lot.






“I wanted to show you something,” Lumen says as she gets up from the couch. An eyebrow arcs as I watch her move out of the living room and around the kitchen counter. The door to the bedroom clicks softly and I hear the lock engage.

I press my lips together, my palms rubbing against my lower thighs by my knees. I turn my attention back to the chest that was brought out of my closet. Unlocking the trunk, I pull the top tray out and grab my tools, the oil rag and the bottle of oil.

That’s one of a few things that she does. If she’s in a room with a lock, the lock is engaged. Not that I mind. Locks are a good thing. For everyone, but especially for me. They keep my secrets hidden, behind lock and key for no one to see. Except those that I show and those few have come in small clusters with Lumen being the latest. The case is rolled out and I begin to meticulously shine and oil each knife.

It wasn’t that I intended for her to see. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time…

Or perhaps she was right where she needed to be. Our situation isn’t ideal and I tried unsuccessfully to make her go away. She didn’t. She stuck around and now I’m having a hard time seeing why I wanted her to go away to begin with. Lumen Ann Pierce creates complications for Dearest Dexter, but she gives him something, she gives me something too.

The problem with that is that I don’t know what to do with it. I’m not as well versed in the etiquette surrounding how to court—if that’s even what I want—a woman who was tortured for days or weeks on end and gang raped for that period of time as well.

There are parallels between her and Rita that don’t escape my keen insight. I think Dexter the Dashing has an eye for blondes—blondes who have been hurt, wounded and left broken. I also know that a romantic relationship isn’t something either of us needs right now.

I sigh and mop my face with my hand. I admit to liking her. I admit to the sense of happiness having her around brings. Her voice chases away the loneliness.

But there is something more pressing.

Helping her is giving me a sense of purpose. I am enjoying helping her and it’s something that I feel compelled to do. The Dark Avenger does not interact with the helpless he saves, normally. It seems Lumen is causing me to break all sorts of rules that have been put in place to protect Dexter the Demon.

It should cause more alarm that I can’t seem to muster up the proper fake emotion to care. She’s seen me, all of me and yet, she still wants to be around me. Lumen even seems to enjoy my company, as limited as my company may be.

The lock disengages and the door opens. I move to my messenger bag and grab Lumen’s present before she rounds into the kitchen. I want to give Lumen her gift and show her the tools of her new trade.

I stuff the gloves in my back pocket and look up from the collection of knives to one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. She stands there in black leggings and a tight dark blue shirt very similar to my olive green one. Her hands fidget with each other in front of her stomach.

She looks nervous. I try for a smile, but find one is already on my face. The corners of my mouth tug a little wider as I step in front of her.

Lumen looks to the carpet then shyly back up when she says, “I wanted…I wanted to get something similar to your outfit.” She tucks a strand of stray hair behind her ear and swallows. “I probably look stupid. I’ll just go…”

She turns to leave, but I stop her by reaching for her left hand. She tenses under my touch briefly, but then I feel her relax and stop resisting me. “Don’t,” I say, my voice a little deeper than intended. “You look nice. Beautiful even.” It’s my turn to be nervous as I let her hand go and stammer, “I – uh – actually, I picked something up for you today.”

Her face lights up for a brief second before the frown that’s been a permanent fixture settles back on to her pleasant features. Sometimes, she allows herself to be happy and then just as suddenly she remembers what happened to her. It steals away the brief moments of joy.

It has added to my…anger at Chase and his merry band of miscreants. I’m a firm believer that most things happen to people because said people have it coming to them. I don’t visit the scout leader down the street that volunteers at the Coconut Grove rest home for a reason. I’ve also accepted the loss of Rita as something that was my fault. I lost her; the children lost her because of me. I deserved that. The kids didn’t, but they’re in Dishonest Dexter’s orbit. They get caught in the gravitational pull …that’s reason enough for me to be happy that they’re with their grandparents.

I finger the gloves in the back pocket of my pants, trying to gauge what her reaction may be. Lumen didn’t deserve what happened her. She truly was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I think that reason dictates the magnitude of her suffering should only be reserved for abusers and monsters worse than me.

“Here,” I say, pulling the gloves from my pocket and laying them gently in her hands. Her right hand comes up and covers mine, smoothing down the hairs on the back of my hand. My sharp intake of breath at her touch startles her. Her caress goes away and the soft leather of the gloves with her. “They’re uh, like mine. I think they’re the right size.”

“Thank you…I—uh—I should try them on,” she manages between the short breaths of anxiety.

I nod and turn back to the knives. I lift one of the larger ones and see Lumen reflected in the steel of the blade. She’s tugging her last glove on and I turn to her, knife still in hand. She smiles at me as her fingers flex, adjusting to the constriction the new leather gives.

“They fit?” I ask and the lick the dry skin of my bottom lip.

She nods. “Well, thank you.”

I nod my own approval while she takes a look at the knife in my hand. I hand it over and allow her to get a feel for the weight in her hands. I watch transfixed as she wields the blade, slightly clumsy at first, but it takes her the barest of moments to adjust.

I step forward and adjust her grip, showing her exactly how to hold the blade. She quickly changes position and grip. My girl adapts quickly. She’s smart.

My…girl…?

Internally I shake my head. Thoughts like this won’t go well, but it doesn’t squash the sense of pride I feel. It doesn’t stop the affection tightening my chest. It’s a situation that I’ve never before experienced. Today we learned of the source of Jordan Chase’s depravity, of how he and his flock began. It all began with Emily Birch. Tonight we get to visit the home of Alex Tilden, a member of Chase’s group, to see what we can find.

We found the DVDs at Cole Harmon’s house. All thirteen women’s abuse and rape laid bare for a video camera. They taped each and every second of their sadistic whims. Luckily, I managed to get Lumen’s before it was discovered. I gave that earlier today too.

It doesn’t escape me that I am not a good person. I’m a monster, educated and well-behaved more often than not, but a monster still. I’ve done things to people that most would lose their lunch over. So what does it say that I was only three seconds into her DVD, to verify I had the right one, before I had to choke back the bile in my throat?

“Like this?” Lumen asks. She thrusts the knife down.

“Don’t arc the thrust,” I correct and she makes the adjustment.

I smile, thinking about what lays ahead. We may not get to all of Chase’s boys tonight, tomorrow or a week from today, but when we do…

It will be a thing of beauty.






A pen gets tossed across the table and a disgruntled sound is given off by my partner on my right. “I’ve been on the force since I was nineteen years old. Ten years in Philadelphia, the rest of it here in Miami and you know what?” Ivey doesn’t leave me room to comment as she barrels forward, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this.”

I look at her out of the corner of my eye and see the muscles in her jaw clench and release. “I want these bastards.”

“Join the fucking club,” I retort. Rubbing my eyes, I groan and then run a hand through my hair. “This is so fucked up; this would make ninety-nine percent of the prison population puke.”

She stops the seventh DVD from playing.

“Chase isn’t rabbiting,” I say to the air. I mean there’s no damn finer way to state the obvious.

“Yeah, well, I’m thinking Cole’s gone. We need more information about these jerks. Was the nerd herd able to get anything from the samples pulled at Cole’s house?” Deceptively long fingers reach for the coffee cup that’s been filled more times than I can count today.

“No. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to introduce you today, but I’ll wrangle my brother tomorrow and introduce you two.” I take a sip of my own cold coffee and wince. “Damn that shit’s gross.”

She smirks. “Didn’t know he was your brother. You have any other family on the force?”

“My dad. He died a while back. Dex is our spatter analyst. He likes shit like that,” I say shrugging.

“You don’t?” She leans back and stretches and I follow the lines her arms create as she arcs back, the pops heard clearly even with the chatter behind us.

“I like catching the bad guys. I like the chase and I like figuring the shit out. Dexter likes the order,” I inform.

Righting herself, her head bobs. “I get that. When I first joined the force it was hard, you know? It’s like your work days are nothing but barely controlled chaos. You learn to deal with it or you get out.”

“Ain’t that the truth?”

Ivey smirks at me, the gold flecks in her eyes sparkling just so to highlight the amusement.

“So why’d you come to Miami?”

“Change of scenery and a nasty break-up,” Herrera offers and I nod.

“I know how that goes. You like Miami?” I wonder. Not that I’ve ever thought of leaving. It’s my home. A fucked up home, but where else can I get a frita or chorizo at all hours of the day?

“It’s nice. Really different than Philly, but I like it. My parents won’t visit, even if I pay for the trip, but most days, when I go home and look around my place, I think that’s a good thing. My mother would die.” Ivey winks at me. “What about you? You from around here?”

“Born and raised. Never saw much value in leaving. Dexter’s here. My job’s here,” I answer.

“Makes sense,” she agrees and looks at the watch on her arm. “It’s late, you should go home. Weren’t you here way before you were supposed to be?”

I groan. Of course she had to bring that up. “Um, no, I think I need to sit and go through these videos again. We had to miss something the first three times we looked at them. You should go though. Get some sleep for the both of us.”

Her head cocks to the side and she studies me like I study a witness in an interview room. “I think we need to sit and go through these videos. I’m the new kid on the block. I need to pull my weight. How good would it look if my partner’s here and I’m not here to back your play?” Ivey sucks in her lower lip right before she goes for the kill, “We’ll go grab some food and you can tell me why you don’t want to go home.”

I shake my head.

“Come on, Morgan.” Ivey grabs my hand and hoists me up. “Let’s go. The only thing I’ve eaten today are the grinds I found floating in my coffee. I’ll fly, you’ll buy and you can spill.”

“Fat-fucking-chance, Herrera,” I grumble, but follow her.

Grabbing our purses on the way out, I direct her to a taco stand down the block. Not really something we can drive to, which is a little disappointing. Her car…fucking sex on wheels.

The night is warm as we sit outside with our cheap orange plastic trays and three orders of the best fish tacos God ever put on the planet.

“So,” Ivey breaks the silence of our meal, “since you don’t want to talk about going home or what’s at home, tell me about your partner Quinn.”

I cringe. I really don’t want to think about him right now. I really don’t want to fucking think about what the hell I’m going to do about my living situation. “It’s all sort of related.”

Her eyebrows hike into her hairline and she stops sucking on the straw in her mouth.

I swallow the bite of taco and give her the abbreviated version, “Quinn’s my partner—was my partner—shit I don’t know. He’s also the person I’m staying with right now. See, a few months ago, my sister-in-law was murdered. At the time, I was renting my brother’s condo. Rita died in their house. He couldn’t stay there so he moved back in with me. Which was cool, but with my nephew and Dexter it got to be too much. Quinn offered to let me couch surf, which turned to bed surfing and now the fucker’s being investigated by Internal Affairs.”

“And here I am,” Ivey groans. “I’m sorry, Morgan.” Her hand reaches out and squeezes my wrist. It lingers as I look at the hand, the arm it’s attached to, and then the mildly surprised brown eyes of my new partner.

Her hand retreats and I confirm, “Here you fucking are. So right now, going back to Quinn’s apartment isn’t something I’m looking to do. Dex said he’d drop by and pick up my duffle tomorrow morning. Besides, I’d rather try and shake something loose from this piece of shit case we’ve landed in.”

She nods. “Well then, we should pick up some more coffee on our way back to the station. The stuff you guys are brewing in there is enough to send my body into shock. We need something that’s not going to eat away the lining of my stomach.”

“Yeah,” I snort, “I think they dump battery acid in the grinds when no one’s looking.”

“Better than the arsenic-laced cat litter they served over at North,” Ivey jokes back. “Come on, partner, let’s go crack us a ring of serial rapists and murders.”

“You know,” I say, dumping the remnants of the lunch/dinner into the trash, “If you’re going to stay my partner, I’m going to need to adjust.”

“Why?” she asks, turning on her boot heel to walk backwards and talk to me.

“’Cause Quinn’s not nearly as much fun as this.” I send her a wink, and even under the shitty lighting of the streetlamps. I see the red dust her cheeks.






My car door slams shut and I look up against the bright morning sun to stare at Quinn’s apartment door. Too much seems to weigh on this one visit. He has information that I need, and while normally torturing someone for that information would seem very effective and satisfying, in this case I can’t.

I’m not sure what to be annoyed about more: the idea that I can’t go, as my wonderful sister would say, “fucking gorilla nuts on his ass” and get the information that I need to secure Devious Dexter’s dishonorable deeds, or that he’s hurt Debra.

Either way, Quinn’s going to tell me what I need to know. I’ll have to remember to thank Deb with a donut for allowing me to come pick up her stuff this morning. It’s providing an excellent opportunity to clean up Quinn’s mess.

I trot up the stairs and knock on the door. It’s just past seven a.m. I hope I’m waking him up.

The dead bolt slides free and I hear, “What, you forget your key?” My lips press together and I shove my hands in my pockets, rocking back on my heels, I wait as he opens the door.

“Deb?” he squints against the light pouring in from the outside.

“The other Morgan,” I chirp and step inside the apartment. I brush past him and smell the booze.

I’ve been to bars that didn’t stink of as much stale alcohol as Quinn is right now.

“What the…where’s Debra?” he fumbles with the door and it closes.

“Don’t know. She asked me to come by this morning and pick up her stuff,” I inform him and head to the bedroom. I usually dislike being this impolite, but considering Quinn’s hangover and I’m angry, it’s a justified state.

The apartment isn’t the cleanest, but I manage to find her duffle bag and begin gathering her clothes.

“Well—wait, why isn’t she here? She could come by and get her stuff,” Quinn tries to reason.

In the time it takes Quinn to figure out what I’m doing and begin to question it, I have Deb’s bag half packed. “Are you hungover because you’re probably going to lose your job, you fucked your girlfriend over, or something else?” I ask turning to face him.

He’s slumped forward in his chair. His hands are clasped together and his elbows rest on his knees. His head comes up and he looks at me, one eye closed and he shakes his head. “Look, you’ve got every right to be pissed at me. I fucked up. I know that. So me being hungover is a side effect of all the fucked up shit that’s happened. I didn’t want to hurt Deb. You’re fucking weird, but she loves you. I didn’t respect that.”

“You investigated me off-the-books because you thought I was Kyle Butler,” I bark. I need to at least make it seem like I’m indignant. I am Kyle Butler. He was right, but he doesn’t need to know that. “You sent Stan Liddy after me.”

His head drops to his hands.

“Just what in the hell did you think Deb was going to do when she found out what you’ve been doing?” I wonder as I spot a pile of Deb’s dirty clothes.

“I don’t know,” he groans. “But did you tell LaGuerta about the money at the scene?”

I shake my head. “I told you I could care less. I didn’t even tell Deb, why would I tell LaGuerta? Quinn, you have no one to blame but yourself.”

He sighs and nods. “Look, just tell me. Tell me what I can do to make it right.”

“I’ve looked into Liddy. He’s not a clean guy. I know you have your moments, Quinn, but not like Liddy. What does he think he knows?”

Quinn shakes his head. “Speculation at this point. He doesn’t like you. Hell, I don’t like you.”

I snort. “I don’t care.”

Heading into the bathroom, I find the toiletries that I think belong to Debra and silently thank whatever higher power could potentially be listening that my sister’s hygiene routines border on militaristic. Gathering the items, I bring them into the bedroom and dump them into the bag. Much to my surprise, Quinn’s moved and is now sitting next to the bag with an envelope in his hands.

“Here,” he says thrusting the envelope towards me. “I haven’t opened it. I don’t know what’s in it, but it’s what Liddy has, if it’s anything.”

I take the folder and bend it to fit in my back pocket.

“I stuffed the rest of Deb’s clothes in there, too,” he says zipping up the bag.

Hefting the duffle over my shoulder, I look down at Joey Quinn. Nothing really strikes me about the man. I’m fairly indifferent, but I recognize that he did hurt Deb, even though he only tried to hurt me.

“Let’s be clear, Quinn,” I say locking eyes with him, “I could give a shit what happens to you, but if you even think of coming near my family again, you will see a side of me that’s best left in the dark.”

My dark passenger beats its chest in the back seat of Dexter’s make believe soul, gnashing its teeth as Quinn breaks first and looks away. Not bothering with any more pleasantries, I spin away and head back to the car.

Pulling open the car door, I slip in and look over. Harry Morgan, in all my delusional glory, stares back at me. The fact that I know it’s not him, that he’s a figment of my imagination, does not deter me as I dump the bag right into Harry’s lap.

“Do you think that was a smart move, Dexter?” he asks, his tone flat, even.

“Yes,” is my simple reply.

“You need to be careful. Just because he’s in trouble doesn’t mean he still can’t cause some for you. Also, you need to neutralize Liddy. Any thoughts?”

I shake my head. “I’ll take a look inside the envelope when I get to work. Liddy first, then Tilden.”

I just need to figure out how to do it.


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