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In line with the new fan fiction rules we would appreciate it if you took 5 minutes to fill out this form.

Story Title: Give it a name, any name we can edit it later

Type of story: long fic/ short fic/one shot

Main Characters:

BTTB rating: see official ratings guidance (here)


Does story include spoilers: yes/no

Any warnings: Sexual content, violence, language

Summary: 5 lines max

Thanks, the librarians.


He pressed his foot hard to the floor as the car turned onto the long coast road approaching Summer Bay . Todd Allison enjoyed his job as a driver - every engagement was different - different personal stories , different destinations - and this looked like being a particularly pleasant one. He looked down and across at the sprawling coastline - today given even more of an allure as the warm morning sunshine picked out the white flecks of spray and random white seahorses created by the extravagant manoeuvres of the expert surfers operating well out from the seashore.

"Any idea how long you'll be staying ?" asked Todd semi-back over his left shoulder - and knowing secretly what he hoped the kind of answer would be.

"I'm not sure", came back the reply . "It's one of those 'how long is a piece of string' type of things, you know ?"

Todd nodded in a neutral fashion as he'd grown used to doing since being in the job - seemingly though now the conversational dam had broken and he continued to listen , as the reply from behind him continued "You know sometimes in your life certain things just need sorting - drawing a line under - closure, if you like ? "

There was another neutral nod and a final purr of the gears as the car nosed into the car-park at the Sands resort. Todd sorted the gears then turned round to face his passenger --a pleasant smile greeted him in return --- Danni Sutherland was back in Summer Bay.....

Alf supported his forehead with the palm of one hand and stabbed out another set of figures with his index finger on the calculator alongside him on the living room table.

He'd had to drag it out from under a mushrooming pile of invoices and receipts around him , but the bigger the pile grew, the darker his mood appeared to become.

After hammering out yet another set of figures, the silence of the room was fractured by a care-laden groan and a semi-angry , semi-exhausted "Hogan's ghost - how the flamin'heck did it GET like this, that's what I want to know..."

Morag worse a resigned expression as she slipped off her glasses and folded the broadsheet national daily newspaper she was reading carefully in half. "Alfred, you carry on in this vein and it'll be a heart attack or nervous exhaustion, whichever gets here sooner ! Now whatever's the matter - surely accounting can't be all that dire ?"

But, as Alf raised his face from the table to look at her she could immediately tell that all was far from well. Her normally redoubtable brother seemed to have lost its normal battling, resilient air and instead his face wore a deeply troubled aspect . A pair of sunken eyes looked over at her from a strangely chewing-gum coloured complexion - "Sis, if all this stacks up the way I think it does - it couldn't BE much worse....!"

Cassie hoped Ric hadn't seen her glance at her watch. He had in fact most certainly noticed and was fighting back the question that sprang instantly to his lips when he had.

The pair were strolling along the seafront enjoying an ice-cream - Ric had hardly started his cornet, but was a little taken aback to note Cassie's was already gone and she was stealthily licking the small blobs of mingled vanilla ice and raspberry sauce from her fingertips.

"Wow Cass, you shot THAT one down - can't have touched the sides !"

She shot him a quick, nervous smile and fidgeted even more edgily with the plaits at the end of her hair. With another huge withdrawal from his internal supply of self-control, Rick counted to ten and went on "ANYWAY - if you don't mind MY ice-cream hanging out with us for a little longer, what do you feel like doing ? Swim ? Mall ? Movies ? -or do you reckon it's shaping to be too nice a day to be indoors ? What do you reckon ?"

But Ric's developing curiosity and uncertainty was to be thrown yet another bone to feed on, as Cassie's manner grew rapidly more evasive, her eyes fixed at foot level as she said " Whatever - um, well, I mean - what I mean is, I need to go actually.."


Ric was gaping now as her words and movement sped up in unison...

"I- I need to go do some,,STUFF...I'll call you.." - and she slipped silkily away - almost immediately out of sight. Ric felt the splash of something moist on his foot.."OH ....!!!" His strangled exclamation came as he realized the hardly-touched ice-cream had melted to a sideways arm now leading a steady melt-down - started as he'd watched Cassie's bewildering departure.....

Colleen fretted with well-perfected levels of exaggeration as she bustled along towards the Caravan Park -it could ONLY have been there that she'd left the OFFICIAL Bowls club diary, she told herself. She remembered DITINCTLY putting it down on the table when she'd popped in there last night , and WHAT would Madge Wilkins and that painted hussy Dot Benson say if she'd LOST the wretched thing ? OH it didn't bear THINKING about !! And it WASN'T till she'd arrived at the diner that morning that she'd noticed it gone !- THEN the phone had been engaged so now here she was - on a REAL rescue mission.

Even THEN she'd seen Cassie and Rick near the beach but too far away to shout to -AND seen Sally driving past with baby Pippa in the high chair in the back but she hadn't been able to catch THEIR eye either ! So she could ONLY hope Doctor Saunders was in, and the phone HAD been busy and now - she'd finally arrived. !

Phew ! Colleen's inner ear deserved danger money for having to listen to every one of her rants - but now both it and its close outer-ear relation were focusing in on another voice - its low tones conducting one audible end of a phone conversation.

They belonged to Flynn, who Colleen could see had his back to the door. She hesitated momentarily - but was lost. The propped-open window proved another valuable confederate as the next segment of dialogue floated out.

"I've told you - come HERE and you'll be EXTREMELY unwise ! Right - you want to TRY me ? That I would NOT advise, ok...!"

Colleen's brow wrinkled deep with both concern - you rarely heard Doctor Saunders talking like THAT !! - and genuine deep curiosity...what EXACTLY had her ears just stumbled upon...?

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Kirsty turned the letter over and over as if the action would magically provide her with an insight as to what lay behind it. She hadn't heard from Jade for so long that her excitement had been almost child-like when she'd seen the familiar writing on the envelope giving a series of shrill whoops and yelling the news over and over to Kane.

He'd felt obliged to come out of the shower, the distant hysteria he could hear making him certain that either a winning lotto cheque must have been delivered - or at the very least the house was on fire.

Now though Kirsty was only gripped by a burning curiosity - "See, look babe - it says she has something REALLY important to tell me and she HAS to see me in person !"

Kane sighed patiently "Yes Kirst - I've seen it so often now I feel like I WROTE the flamin' letter !"

"Yes, but what do you THINK ??"

"Weird idea I know, but how about....."


"You just go --- and SEE HER !!"

Kirsty poked her tongue out, screwed the envelope up , and aimed it at his head. It missed comfortably and he returned the poked tongue compliment to her, saying "So you'll go ?"

"Yes, you know something, I WILL ! And today's as good as any, right ?"

"RIGHT" came the yell back over a soapy shoulder as a shivering Kane gratefully resumed his interrupted shower. If he thought again about his wife's proposed trip, it was only to file it away in his mind as some probable piece of extended sisterly gossip.....-how accurate that assessment was, he would discover...

"Um- Irene...."

"ALF - can you get OUT of me road, ya great doofus..!!"

Tensions were rising with the temperature in the diner kitchen - and Alf Stewart was NOT helping. He'd appeared around five minutes earlier and was standing in the middle of the floor, shifting from one foot to another like an awkward elephant at a flamingos' tea party.

Irene was hoping to convert the three dirty dishes she had in her hand into two "burgers with the lot " and a mushroom lasagna in a record-slicing 30 seconds. A cosy chat with the burly form looming up in front of her was decidedly not in the script.

"Gawd save us Alf you DO pick your times - I've got a family of six out there squawking like seagulls for their dinners - Colleen's wandered off who knows where, and "FLAAMIN...." - and it certainly was - as Irene ditched the dirty plates dramatically in the sink and began tossing the two char-coaled burger buns into the air and back like some demented juggler.

Even Alf's thick skin had by now absorbed the idea that it wasn't a good time to engage Irene in conversation, so he backed a step or two away from her and positioned himself at the foot of the stairs.

However, his retreat was a temporary one. Regrouping his forces he headed over to Leah, heading straight in with "Leah love, you LIKE working here, right...?"

Leah's reply - if any - was lost amidst the explosion of shattering crockery as Irene, talking to Barry as she backed in, came into contact with the solid rear of Mr A Stewart . The ear-damaging results almost certainly also hid some of the choicest language known to Mrs I Roberts , as Alf chose the safety-first option and , made off up the stairs. Leah and Irene were left staring open-mouthed at each other and almost simultaneously articulating the same shared thought - "What was THAT all about.....??"

Danni sat at the business table provided to all Sands residents booking Executive class - fax machine, internet access, clock displaying time zones in all the world's major capitals - and talked animatedly into the state-of-the-art cordless phone.

Executive class and Danni went hand in hand now. Her book about the

Chief had gone well-very well- in literary circles, and more importantly it had scorched off the shelves at the bookshops. She'd done the TV sofa chat-show circuit, toured Europe, wore her designer clothes with elegance and sophistication - but still that one thing had drawn her back to her spiritual home.

Summer Bay - the itch she couldn't scratch - but - THIS item needed some SERIOUS scratching - and she intended to get it right.

"But you'd be the PERFECT person, " she said cajoling down the phone "I just need to get past Stage One and who better to help me do that job ?"

The cajoling had clearly been greeted with reserve at best and downright opposition at worst. This new mid-Millennium Danni hadn't been used to opposition of any kind in her rejuvenated persona - something she'd imposed very firmly on Stafford McRae after he's got things rolling for here - but she and McRae had been another story altogether !

Her face grew harder - almost by stealth, but unarguably so . "Well, like I've told you, this is something I NEED to do and I MEAN to do - it would be EXTREMELY good to have you on side - but .." a distinct trace of ice shimmered around her voice - "it won't affect the final outcome either way.." and more or less with that pleasantry, the call was at an end...

"Just think - us owning our very own house ..!" Claire gave a little giggle and squeezed Peter's hand affectionately . "Almost seems silly somehow doesn't it --- like we're actually grown up or something !" The feelgood laughter bubble bobbing around inside her chest threatened to escape completely into full-blown hysterics and disgrace the pair of them.

Peter rolled his eyes to the heavens in mock despair and returned the squeeze of the hand - they were standing in the queue in the Yabbie Creek branch of their building society where they had an appointment to confirm withdrawing the deposit they were placing on a two-bedroomed property in Summer Bay set just back from the ocean foreshore.

Claire's transfer from the city had come through after her successful spell in homicide, and now the Brodie-Baker partnership was set to be formalized even further via the joint ownership of bricks and mortar

"So you DIDN'T tell Dan, right ?"

"No Claire, for slightly more than the ten thousandth time I DIDN'T tell Dan.."

The happy-bug struck again as she emitted a peal of laughter that was flavoured with the genuine moment of complete all-round life contentment that all crave but so few experience

"It'll just be SO cool telling him, Leah and all the others like a surprise !" she cooed

"Well, shouldn't be long now I reck......"

The change of atmosphere in the small branch was as swift and comprehensive as a total eclipse of the sun when it came..

The two of them writhed with instinctive reflex trauma as the gunshot seared through the pleasantly meandering atmosphere followed by the nakedly jagged demand of "FREEEEEZE !"

The one elderly couple who'd been ahead of Peter and Claire in the queue gasped with fear , the blood draining from their ashen faces as they staggered for support against the flimsy poles marking out the "PLEASE WAIT HERE" area .Peter's instinctive police training found his fingers twitching ready to head to his own inner pocket, but fortunately the desire not to yet reveal their profession kicked in a semi-second behind it. Before he could catch another breath though his heart - already pounding - took another sickening lurch as he felt the unforgiving steel barrel of a gun pressed against his temple ---then hurtle towards ground floor level as the corner of his eye detected Claire lying on the floor at his side -- her eyes closed.....

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After her eavesdropping masterclass on Flynn's telephone conversation, anyone but Colleen would probably have considered it wise to quit while they were ahead, take a short walk around the corner, then reappear with a choir-boy style innocent face as if they'd heard nothing.

Not so Mrs Smart. As Flynn's curt, low-toned and snappy conversation wore its way to a conclusion , the volume level she could command through the open outer window grew less and less sufficient for her. She tip-toed into the small prch adjacent to the doorway, and craned her neck closer and closer to hear the furtive but aggressive mumblings in the hope of abstracting a precious clue. Having by now forgotten almost completely about the bowls club diary she edged closer- and closer - before learning in the sharpest and most direct fashion that doors which are ajar are far less than perfect candidates for being leaned against.

Flynn spun round in amazement as the corner of his eye detected the rapid and perilous descent of his neighbour to the doormat.

He spun round, emitting an angry "COLLEEN - what the ??"

More than a little dazed, she rose slowly from the mat - luckily uninjured , and more than a little incoherent "OHH - Doctor Saunders ! - how LUCKY you were here - ANYTHING could have happened - --OOOH - I think I MAY have dislocated my pelvis...OOGH..- for someone dedicated to upholding the Hippocratic Oath, Flynn seemed hugely underwhelmed by this wildly home-spun medical bulletin, but his face darkened as she went on "..but I'm SO lucky to have you and Sally as my friends, and I hope you know if I can EVER help - I mean I'm SURE they won't come here after you told them not to, and I hope you know I'm the SOUL of discretion, so if you EVER need to talk about anything...."

Far from preparing to pop the kettle on for a cosy chat, Flynn's face had assumed a rarely seen harsh and almost ugly aspect. He crossed the room to stand less than a couple of paces from Colleen, and said in measured but stinging tones - "Colleen - if I'm assuming correctly that you've eavesdropped upon a private conversation let me tell you this - if I hear that even one SYLLABLE of It has been repeated to ANYONE - most particularly Sally - then I assure you - I WILL make you regret it - is that understood ?"

Colleen paused in the act of brushing dust from her arm - the fall had shaken her up somewhat - but nothing compared to this development ....she gaped....

Todd stood close by the top-of-the-range car and savoured the sea view. He enjoyed his work, and this particular engagement was proving particularly rewarding . A room at the Sands for the night had been a real bonus - Danni was proving a very agreeable client - and the fact she was rather easy on the eye wasn't to be complained about either !

After five enjoyable minutes of watching the squabbling gulls reeling and diving over the bay, the lady in question emerged - again with a picture-perfect quality about her - any hair that might have had ideas about being an inch out of place would have been very quickly reprimanded and called to order during her comprehensive post-breakfast preparation session. This wasn't dressing to kill - more a new genre she was perhaps helping to evolve - dressed to succeed.

"Morning Todd - sleep well ?" she called, getting ready to slip into the back of the car.

"Morning to you - yes, who wouldn't sleep well in there !" he smiled, angling his thumb towards the plush resort building.

Danni didn't immediately specify a destination , so Todd drove happily, waiting for his instructions and again savouring the spectacular sweep of the Bay as it unfolded in view just to their right.

"You know Todd, I liked living here, really I DID, - but - sometimes things just happen, and you realize you can't sort them out there and then..."

Todd nodded - he wasn't likely to do much else - it wasn't his job to "buy into" people's lives and situations - so he nodded again.

Danni's tone had become pensive - a little serious even

"But time - distance, and I guess ...well anyway - there's something for me to get sorted here - and BOY - do I mean to sort it !"

By now they'd reached the "Welcome to Summer Bay" sign, and while outwardly he'd never venture an opinion, even Todd was beginning to grow a little curious about what Danni's mission of resolution, closure - whatever - might actually be . "Sing out when you want me to stop" he called over his shoulder - to one side of the car Ric Daulby's mate Wazza was climbing over the small fence that accessed a grassy bank leading down to the beach - she didn't know or recognize HIM of course, but her heart gave a sudden tug of nostalgic familiarity as her eyes spotted the form of Colleen around a hundred yards away - bustling in her familiar fashion in the general direction of the diner, but clearly nursing some personal wound or other as her brow was knitted into an affronted frown and she was muttering darkly to herself as she stalked along the pavement. Danni gave a little smile to herself and wondered what the problem might be THIS time - maybe her Lancie jad been late with his weekly phone call, or Madge Wilkins got a better blow-dry than her ? Colleen dissolved grumpily into the distance - Danni was now feeling the REAL frisson of coming Back to the Bay.

She took a deep breath, and answered Todd with "It's not far now - not far AT ALL..."

"So let's go over it again..." .Dan Baker spread the map across the large living room table in the Beach House . The room had grown full even though he'd only had time for a quick "Hi/bye" with Kirsty as she'd shot out of the back door on some unspecified mission , clutching an overnight bag.

Nonetheless available chairs were occupied by Kane, Barry Hyde, Scott and Hayley - who'd becoming a leading light and powerful voice in the campaigning group they were assembling.

Residents were coming together to display their traditional battling spirit - the issue on this occasion was a plan to lay a pipeline to carry liquefied natural gas coming ashore just a matter of half a mile or so from their main coastline. The product had courted controversy country and even world-wide over fears of fires and possible explosions at the point where it was pumped ashore , and anger was growing through the community.

"Has anyone contacted Alf ? He's usually the troop organizer for this kind of thing ?" - asked Dan, folding down the corners of the map -

"Yep I rung him " volunteered Hayley , "but he seemed really odd - like he couldn't quite concentrate on what I was saying, or had something else on his mind - or both maybe ! Irene's going to come after her shift though."

"That's good" smiled Barry - two voices like that leave quite a gap to fill !"

Dan set things off, "Well - I guess the first thing is - practicalities ? How many people we can get - what can we do..that kind of thing...?"

Scott however had been brooding since his arrival and cut in..."No - I say we find out WHO'S behind this crazy scheme and exactly WHY they're doing it - I mean we came damn close to losing EVERYTHING the Bay has to that mongrel Brett Macklin's resort "project" and I say we break THIS one open from the start !..."

The others alternated expressions of doubt, mild approval and agreement but before any could articulate those thoughts a knock at the front door cut across them. As in many such situations there was no stampede with most appearing to have been struck miraculously dumb as they upped their talking voices louder in a bid to emphasize how over-busy they were to make the effort. The common sense tendency eventually prevailed with Barry sighing and heading for the door. As mass curiosity immediately swept aside laziness in those around the table, their voices dropped in unison to hear Barry in conversation with a female whose voice could be heard only at tantalizingly elusive volume.

After a brief conversation , Barry turned, semi-gestured and said reassuringly "No, no, don't worry -- he's here....." Three heads turned with interest and surprise to the door.....

The atmosphere in the Building Society office was thick with barely suppressed tension -eerily silent for the time of day, and an invisible but powerful fear permeating every corner.

There were two men that had burst in - one early twenties, one late - one an obvious "leader" - the other seemingly most useful for his muscle factor and obeying the others orders. It had been the "leader" who'd taken the radical , though arguably radical step of jamming the gun against Peter's head and claiming him seemingly as a lead or symbolic hostage.

Shuffling with his captive closer towards the counter he rasped "Empty those tills - do it NOW - and into THAT bag , " ..he indicated a large canvas sack being held by the broader and younger accomplice - "and if you DON'T" he continued - attempting to regulate the short, pumping bursts into which his breath had descended with the ongoing overdose of adrenaline, "then HE -" shoving Peter , " will just be the FIRST.."

The chilling warning brought an almost audibly physical tightening amongst the handful of other unfortunate customers now incarcerated by the criminals, but despite his most invidious position of all, Peter's attention was invested overwhelmingly in Claire..

The gut-wrenching demands of the scenario itself was trampled upon in his mind by the torture of uncertainty about the status of his other half - and - as hurtled emphatically into his mind and heart - the love of his life..

"She needs help mate, she.." his urgent plea was slashed short as the lead gunman jerked his shoulder upwards in a vicious grasp, spitting as he did "Just SHUT it, hero guy, or she'll need more......"

Now events moved really fast - that sudden movement of Peter's frame had sent his police ID card spinning out of his pocket to the floor-the crook leant across to look down at it and , emitting a violent snarl "A COP ! - Well, what the...."

At that moment - the starkly shrill peal of a single telephone bell howled through the highly charged atmosphere. That and the ID card had seen the older thief loosen both his grip and attention on Peter for a critical second. In the briefest heartbeat Pete had unleashed the gun from the holster he'd mercifully worn ahead of a later work shift. With one clubbing blow he'd used it to crash the pistol from the younger ones hand, and aiming squarely at the ribcage, prepared to bark a demand at the ringleader . Number One though had himself moved with dazzling speed and Pete's blood ran cold as he took in the sight of a sawn-off shotgun pointed down directly at Claire's head - The elder crook rapped from beneath wild, staring eyes "Forget it COP !!",a sneer entering his voice to accompany his contempt for the word "You DROP that like NOW , or that pretty blond hairstyle down there gets SERIOUSLY rearranged, you get me ...?" - the strangulated silence smothering the room lent a grotesquely harsh air to the ticking of the large sponsored clock on the main wall - as it beat a countdown towards a defining moment in the crisis.....

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