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Peter Baker had never been more relieved in his life than he had been when he received the phone call from his college -and friend and hopefully soon to be something more- Tracey Thompson, informing him that the prisoner transfer had gone off without a hitch. Zoe McCallister was safely behind bars and there was no way she was ever going to get out, not in his lifetime at least. It was over. At least that's what he had thought at the time; if he looked back he could see that that was his first mistake.

It was only a week later that it all started. At first it was just the notes; they were easy enough to rationalize away. Someone obviously wanted to cause some trouble, stir things up, the details of the notes had been printed in the Coastal News, anybody could be behind them. What happened next was not so easy to explain away. Due to his work commitments, Jack didn’t have time to steal Martha away to some exceptionally exotic location for their honeymoon. Instead he booked a scenic helicopter flight up the coast. The helicopter crashed; sabotage. Jack had escaped, with relatively minor injuries, Martha was not so lucky. After three days lost in the bush, she was clinging onto life by a thread when the rescuers finally found them. But thanks to the fine doctors at Northern Districts Hospital, she was on the road to making a full recovery.

It was after the crash that Peter called Tracey back to Summer Bay, if there was anything he'd learnt from his confrontations with Zoe, it was that he couldn't handle it alone. And, to be honest, he was pleased to have an excuse to have Tracey around again. But their investigation into the crash, only reached what was an all too familiar conclusion. It seemed that the sabotage had been caused by a disgruntled former employee who had made threats toward the company, all the evidence pointed to it. But Peter's mind was not eased by this. It was too convenient, too reminiscent of the plane crash.

But still, Peter had foolishly thought that after the crash, things would settle down. Then Jack got another note, asking if he enjoyed his flight.

And then there was the latest attack. While on a picnic with her boyfriend, Kim Hyde, Dr. Rachel Armstrong had been attacked in what was a startling recreation of Zoe's self-inflicted stabbing. Kim had gone to check on some noises in the bushes and heard Rachel's terrified scream, he came back to find Rachel clutching her arm, blood pouring from between her fingers. Assailant nowhere to be seen. Conveniently, the stab wound had missed all of Rachel's major arteries and tendons. It was a fact that Peter could not overlook. He had to ask her, did she stab herself? The answer was a vehement no. And Kim had almost decked him, shouting about how Rachel was nothing like Zoe, she'd never do that. He seemed to take more offence to Peter's question than Rachel did.

"It has to be her!" Peter exclaimed, bursting through his office door after yet another fruitless search of the crime scene. He didn't know what he had been expecting to find, they'd already gone over the area with a fine toothed comb and found nothing.

Tracey followed placidly behind him, she took the time to shut the door before answering him. "How? I hardly think that they've been letting her out on day release and unless she can somehow teleport in and out of her cell, I can't see how it's possible."

"I know that she hasn't left her cell, Tracey. I called to check." Peter admitted sheepishly. "Twice. I think that they think I'm losing it."

"They're not the only ones." Peter shot her a wounded look. "Not me. The way you've been behaving lately, your fellow officers are starting to doubt you."

"I don't care what they think." grumbled Peter.

"You should. Whether you think it or not, you need them to support you and for them to support you they need to respect you."

Peter sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose -here he was thinking that the headaches would be a thing of the past-. He knew that Tracey was right, he was acting like a madman and for what? I didn't help him get any closer to the truth about how Zoe could continue her reign of terror from behind bars. "I think you were right the first time." He admitted. "She must have an accomplice."

"Any thoughts on who?"

"I can't get Rachel out of my head." Peter said, scratching at his hair restlessly.

"Dr. Armstrong, are you serious?"

Peter leaned back, putting his feet up on his desk and linking his hands behind his head. "Think about it. It makes sense. She's a doctor, she knows how to cut herself without doing any serious permanent damage. She's dating Zoe's ex. They both work in medicine, maybe they met before."

"That's an awfully big maybe. I think you're barking up the wrong tree there, mate. I don't think she's capable of it."

But Peter could not be dissuaded. "You remember how hostile she was in the hospital that day? She did not want us talking to that guy."

Tracey just gave him a 'are you serious?' look. "That might be because you'd just shot him." She pointed out.

"Then who? I've been racking my brains, trying to think and she's the only one I can come up with."

"What about Jeremy Olsen? If he was willing to set up the factory and break into Sally's…" Tracey suggested, flipping her hair back out of her face, making Peter's heart skip a beat.

"I would hardly say he was willing, the man was terrified." Peter scoffed dismissively. "Besides Olsen's still in custody, there's no way it's him."

"So who then? Who'd want to help her?"

Peter exhaled deeply and rubbed his chin. "Haven't got a clue." He looked up and caught the look on Tracey's face. "What?"


"You look like you have something to say. Just say it."

"You're not going to like it." Tracey warned him.

"I don’t care, if you know something…"

"No, I just…I have a suggestion." Peter motioned for her to continue. "I think we should talk to her."

To her surprise, Peter didn’t fly off the handle like she'd been expecting him to, he just started laughing. "You can't be serious." He said, once he'd got himself under control and wiped a stray tear from his face. He hadn't laughed that much in forever.

"Deadly." Tracey confirmed, completely unamused.

"No way, she'd never give us anything." Peter shut the idea down without even giving it any thought.

"I wouldn't be so sure about that. Zoe can be reasoned with." She said pointedly.

Peter shook his head disbelievingly. "Zoe cannot be reasoned with. She's a psychopath for crying out loud!"

"We both know that's not true. Zoe's smart, she must know that there is no way she's getting off the charges, if we offer her less jail time in exchange for her help, she will take it."

"Less jail time? Are you deluded?" Peter couldn't believe what he was hearing and covertly pinched the inside of his arm to see if he was dreaming. He wasn't.

"She's up for multiple murders, arson, kidnapping…they're talking about adding terrorism to the list. We both know she's going away for life. Five years off that isn't exactly going to mean she'll be walking the streets in a couple of years. When she gets out, if she gets out, she's going to be a very old woman. Not a threat to anyone." Tracey explained, trying to justify her idea. She liked Peter, they'd been friends for years but he'd always been thickheaded when it came to listening to others and that was one of the things she liked least about him.

"Tracey, I don't know…"

"Look, just…think it over, okay?"

"I can't believe I agreed to this." Peter grumbled, playing with the security pass attached to the bottom edge of his jacket. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't a little comforted by the rigorous security procedures he and Tracey were subjected to just to get into the place.

"Just let me do the talking." Tracey hissed. It was weird but she got the same feeling from the visitation room that she got from library's, they weren't places for loud conversations.

"Why you?"

"You have no control when it comes to her." Tracey sniffed. "She'll just goad you into blowing up at her."

"I have control-" He was interrupted by the sound of the locks on the heavy metal door being drawn back. His attention was completely focused on the doorway now, he couldn't bring himself to look away. Maybe Tracey was right about the whole no control thing. The door swung open, out stepped an armed guard and then there was Zoe. It was obvious the confinement had taken it's toll on her, her hair was limp and lifeless, more frizzy than curly and the standard prison uniform of grey shirt and pants hung off her svelte body like elephant skin even though they were the smallest size they had. It was Peter's opinion that it couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

"Well," Zoe smirked through the bars separating them, once she'd taken a seat in the hard plastic chair. "this is all very Silence Of The Lambs, now isn't it."

Tracey stifled a laugh behind her hand and Peter shot her a dirty look. "Sorry."

"However you're doing it, it ends now." Peter said sternly, completely ignoring Tracey's previous directive.

Zoe quirked an eyebrow and gave him a long stare. "What exactly is it I'm supposed to be doing?"

"You haven't heard?" Tracey asked.

"I'm in solitary, it's not like I get the newspaper delivered to my doorstep."

"You know what we're talking about, don't try and pretend you don't." Peter spat. "Someone's out there reliving your former glories and you have nothing to do with it? Give me a break. You must have someone working for you, an accomplice."

Zoe's expression didn't even flicker. "Maybe." She said teasingly. "Or maybe it's a copycat. Or maybe I was working for someone else all along, did you ever think of that? Maybe I was never the one you should be afraid of."

"Don't give me that crap, it's you." Peter snapped at her. "It has always been you."

"You sure about that?"

"I am absolutely certain." He replied without even an edge of uncertainty.

"Like you were certain that Marc Edwards was the Stalker?" Zoe asked with a smug smile. "You remember that, don't you? You told me, right to my face, that Marc was the guy." She paused and let that sink in. "Are you certain like you were certain that I was dead? Considering your track record, if I were you, I certainly wouldn't have so much confidence in the conclusions I jump to."

Peter clenched his jaw, he knew what she was trying to do, she was trying to get him to doubt himself. It wasn't going to work, he told himself. But the seed of doubt had been planted regardless.

Tracey glanced at Peter from the corner of her eye and could see that he was physically seething. She was going to have to step in if they wanted to make any progress whatsoever. "Why don't we just cut to the chase. We're here to offer you a deal."

Zoe smiled slowly, turning her attention to the female detective. "I always have time to listen to offers from beautiful women." Peter did not appreciate this.

"Don't talk to her like that." He warned.

"Pete-" Tracey put a comforting hand on his arm, Zoe filed this away for future reference. "It's fine." Once Peter had relaxed back into his chair, she turned back to Zoe. "If you tell us who your accomplice is, help put a stop to this here and now, we can arrange for a couple of years to be knocked off your sentence."

Zoe didn't even have to think about it. "A few years off life is still life, try again."

Tracey smirked, she was going to let Zoe boss her around. "This isn't up for negotiation, five years, take it or leave it."

"Deal." Zoe sighed after a moments consideration. "I'd offer to shake on it but these guys," She nodded to the two stern-faced guards standing against the wall. "have a thing about me touching people."

"So?" Peter asked, leaning forward, against his better judgment he was eager to hear what Zoe had to say.

"There was never any accomplice, I worked alone." Zoe admitted, she watched Peter's face crumple with disappointment. "Sorry to disappoint, but people are stupid. They make mistakes, they screw up, you think I'm going to trust someone else with my plans? If I want something done, I do it myself."

"What about Jeremy Olsen?" Tracey asked, her interest piqued.

"He was meant to screw up, I wanted you to catch him." Zoe explained impatiently. "He wasn't my accomplice, he was bait."

"You're lying." Peter chipped in.

Zoe shook her head. "Afraid not. Looks like you have a copycat on your hands." She grinned at the thought that she had caused such an impact. After all, imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. "I could still help you, you know."

"How's that?" Tracey frowned.

"Well, if they are copying me, I can get inside their heads, I can think like them." Zoe said earnestly. "You let me out of here, let me work with you, I will catch them." She promised without a hint of deviousness.

Tracey bit her lip. Zoe was a genius, at least that's what it said in her file, her problem solving abilities were second to none. To have her working with them rather than against them was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

Peter opened her mouth to object but Tracey got in first. "Done. But you will adhere to all of the restrictions placed upon you." She said firmly, leaving it clear there was no room for argument. "You put a foot out of line and you'll be back in here so fast your head will spin."

Zoe cocked her head to the side and smirked. "I'll play nice, don't worry." She looked at Peter who was gaping at Tracey. "Close your mouth Pete, you look like a goldfish."

"You had no authority to make that deal!" Peter exclaimed once they'd made to the parking lot. Tracey had been expecting it, he hadn't said a word ever since she'd made the deal with Zoe, he'd just fumed silently.

"Yes, I did." She said, speeding up to try and keep step with Peter's angry stride. Finally getting fed up with having to chase him, she reached out and grabbed his arm, forcing him to stop and listen to her. "Look Pete, you have the time to keep working this case forever, it's not like you have much else going on in that town. I'm sorry but it's true. I don't have that luxury, I have other cases in the city that need my attention."

"No one's forcing you to do this, you made the choice to come back. If it's such an inconvenience for you then you can just leave. I'll deal with it on my own."

Tracey groaned. "That's not what I meant. I want to catch the son of bitch that's behind this, Peter. And I'm not above using Zoe to do it. If this is a copycat, you know that she's our best chance of catching them."

"And if it's not a copycat? You know that you can't trust a word she says, how do we know she wasn't lying about not having an accomplice?"

"And if that's the case then we can use her to draw them out." Tracey pointed out quickly.

Peter looked at her admiringly. "You really have thought all of this out, haven't you." He sighed, noticing that her hand was still on his arm. Tracey must've noticed too because the second he looked down at the perfectly manicured fingers that were curled around his forearm, she let go, clearing her throat and nervously tucking her hair back behind her ear. "I'm still not sure I like this idea."

"Pete, she's going to have armed guards with her at all times, she'll be handcuffed and she's going to have a tracker on her; it's not like she's going to be free to come and go as she pleases. There's no way she's going to get away." Tracey assured him with an easy smile, that instantly eased the feeling of dread that had been threatening to consume him. "Trust me, it'll be fine. Nothing is going to go wrong." Famous last words.


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  • 2 weeks later...

It was another perfect day in Summer Bay, a slight breeze, not a cloud in the sky, the sun beating down in a way which warmed but not burned the skin. It made Zoe want to vomit. She stepped out of the heavily armoured van that had been special designed to transport dangerous prisoners. One of the guards took her arm, one hand just above the elbow the other on her shoulder, and lead her inside. The other two guards trailed at a safe distance behind them, just like they had been trained to do, the door was opened by one of the constables that had been placed there specifically for that purpose. They were not taking any risks.

"Delivery for Peter Baker." The lead officer and the more smartassed of the guards smirked, making Zoe glare at him out of the corner of her eye and take note of the name displayed on his ID badge, Levering. "Sign here please." He held out a clipboard containing the release forms. Peter took them without saying a word, the foyer of the police station was completely silent, save for the pen scratching on the paper, everyone had stopped what they were doing and gathered around to watch the show. "Okay, by signing this form you are confirming that you hereby assume all responsibility for Prisoner 9322-19. Do you understand?"

"I understand." Peter tucked the pen back into the top of the clipboard and resumed glaring at Zoe. Levering tucked the clipboard back under his arm and withdrew a small device from his pocket.

"Good, now this is the remote for the tracker, it's attached to her right ankle." Levering said, pointing to the barley noticeable protrusion that was covered by Zoe's black pants. "And on the card is the ID number you need to punch into the website if you happen to lose her. Which, seriously, don’t."

Peter frowned in confusion. "Why does it need a remote?"

"Not only is this baby a GPS tracker, it's an electronic restraint. We've just started using them." Levering explained enthusiastically. "You know those collars for dogs that give them electric shocks when they bark? It's like that, if the prisoner makes an escape attempt, you can just hit this button." He pointed to the small black button on the device. "And zap! They get hit with a whole lotta volts, not enough to kill them, just enough to make it hurt like hell."

"Can I see that?"

"Sure." Levering handed the device over to Peter. "It's yours for as long as she's in your care, anyway."

"Thanks." Peter hit the black button making Zoe cry out in pain as the shock hit her, she would've collapsed if the guard hadn't been holding her up. Observers gasped at Peter's callous action, none of them were big Zoe fans but it still shocked them to see one of their own inflicting what was tantamount to torture on a captive prisoner.

"Peter!" Tracey snapped. "What the hell do you think you're doing!" She grabbed the remote from his hand. "I think that this'll be better off with someone who has a little objectivity, don't you?"

"Yeah, I think that might be a good idea." agreed Levering. "That was not cool, Detective."

But Peter remained unrepentant. "My finger slipped, it was an accident." Zoe glowered at him but remained silent, she wasn't about to waste her breath on him, not yet. Her whole leg ached as if she had hopped a marathon but she'd be damned if she'd show in front of him.

"Fine." Tracey said in a tone that clearly implied it was not fine and this would not be the last he heard of it. "Is that all?" She asked Levering.

"Should be. Unless you have any other questions, she's all yours." Truth was, he wanted to get out of their as soon as possible. Zoe gave him the creeps.

"Lucky us." Tracey muttered, noticing that Zoe didn't seem to be appreciating bring talked about like she was an object. She nodded to Levering. "We'll take it from here."

Levering nodded and the other guards stepped back, made their farewells and left.

"Okay, here's how this is going to work." said Tracey, stepping up to Zoe. "No f*cking us around, alright. If we even suspect that you're leading us down the garden path…"

"You'll have me back behind bars before the day is through, I got it."

Tracey nodded to Lara, who took Zoe's arm and started leading her along as they walked. "You're going to stay in the cells here, we already have copies of our files in there for you to look through, so that should keep you occupied-"

"Putting me to work already? You are a demanding one."

"Shut up." Peter growled, he didn’t like this, not one bit. "You're here to work, if you don't like it, I'm sure I can call those guys back."

"Oh Peter, don't act like you're not happy I'm here." Zoe giggled. "Admit it. You're a little bit in love with me."

Peter let out a short bark of disbelieving laughter. "You're insane."

"I prefer mentally unsound."

Lara pushed Zoe through the open door of the cell, closing it and locking it behind her. "The cuffs only come off when you're in here." Tracey continued laying down the rules. "And you only come out when you have something useful to contribute. You got all that?"

"I think so." Zoe held her hands out so Lara could take the cuffs off.

"Good. Fitzy, you're on guard duty for now." Peter instructed, motioning for Tracey to follow him.

"What the hell was that?" Tracey questioned angrily once the were inside the confines of Peter's office.

"What was what?" Peter shrugged.

"You know what I'm talking about! What you did out there…that was practically torture, Peter! I mean, to do it at all is bad enough, but you did it in front of witnesses. Almost the whole station, as if they needed anymore proof that you're losing it."

"I am not losing it!" He furiously denied.

"I know, okay, I'm not the one you have to convince. Look, Pete you are going to have to tone it down with this…vendetta against Zoe. You're obsessed."

Peter exhaled deeply a rubbed a hand across his face. "I know," He admitted quietly "I know, but this…she…I thought it would be so simple, you know. With Felix, that's where it all began…All of this is because Dani Sutherland wrote a stupid little story in a newspaper. And then there was Sarah, she was dangerous, unpredictable but she wasn't smart. I should've…I could've stopped this. If I had…" He trailed off, lost in his memories.

"If you had what?"

Tracey's voice snapped Peter back into reality. "I don't know, this has been going on for so long, when we got Zoe I thought that it was finally over. Now I'm not sure that this is ever going to end. It's like I'm trapped in a nightmare and I can't wake up." He stared at Eve Jacobsen's picture that had become a permanent fixture on his wall. "Sometimes, it's easy for me to think that I'm still in a coma, that none of this is really happening. It's all just so unbelievable."

"I can't even imagine the toll this has all taken on you." Tracey said sympathetically.

Peter smiled humourlessly, he hadn't talked about this with anyone, not even Claire. He just hadn't felt comfortable, but there was something about Tracey that made him want to open up. Like she would be able to understand. "You could say that. I'm sorry for unloading all of this on you."

"Don’t worry about it. It'll probably do you some good to talk about it."

He grunted noncommittally and removed Eve's old ID tag from his drawer. It was burned, melted around the edges. He didn't know why he'd kept it for so long. He flipped it around between his fingers. Tracey put a hand on his shoulder, making him sigh heavily.

"She's really done a number on you, hasn't she." She felt Peter's tense shoulders relax slightly under her touch and gave his arm a squeeze. "You have to try and keep your cool, by reacting to her you're just giving her what she wants."

"I know." Peter hung his head and turned to face her, taking note of how close they were. "I just…she gets under my skin. I don't know how you stay so calm."

Tracey chuckled. "You just have to look at it objectively. She can be rather amusing at times, you know."

"She has her moments." Peter conceded. Tracey's translucent green eyes flicked up to look at him under her lashes, her hand was still on his arm, it was definitely a moment. He was going to kiss her and she was going to let him, their lips were frustratingly close when…knock, knock. They sprung apart, Peter clearing his throat and Tracey wiping at her still dry lips with the back of her hand.

"Oh don't mind us, please continue." Zoe urged, grinning from ear to ear, prompting Peter to ask what the hell she was doing out of her cell.

"Sorry," Lara apologized, tugging on Zoe's arm to lead her further into the room. "But she noticed something and I thought you'd want to know."

"But I can see we interrupted," Zoe smirked. "so why don't you two crazy kids finish up with what you were doing, I'm happy to wait."

"I don't think so." Tracey rolled her eyes, rethinking her comment about Zoe being amusing, and crossed her arms. "What did you find?"

Zoe pouted and took the file from Lara's hands. "I was going through the report on Rachel Armstrong's attack." She opened it up to the photos of Rachel's wound and set the open file down on Peter's desk. "Look familiar?" She held up her scarred forearm, making the handcuffs clink, and compared the two.

"It's the same as your cut, we know this." Peter snapped, unhappy at being interrupted for this.

"It's exactly the same as my cut, that's why I'm bringing it up." Zoe huffed. "Look, it's perfectly straight, that is not a defensive wound." She stepped closer to Tracey. "Pretend to stab me."

The detective's eyes widened. "Excuse me?"

"Don't get over-excited, it's just a little demonstration." Zoe said, looking over the report one last time. "So Rachel was sitting down when she was attacked, so she would've been stabbed with a downward motion, right?"

"I guess." Peter said, leaning back against his desk and wondering where she was going with all this.

"This is going to hard with the handcuffs on, do you think-"

"NO!" Three voices rang out in unison.

If Zoe was disappointed, she didn't let it show. "Okay, so-" She went to grab Tracey's hand but the brunette recoiled, Zoe rolled her eyes and held out her hand expectantly. Tracey sighed and allowed herself to be manhandled by the sociopath. "Rachel said that she put her arm up to defend herself, like this." She held an arm up to block and motioned for Tracey to pretend to stab her. "See? Now, assuming it was a single edged knife, and if the attack happened the way that she said, the cuts would've been either vertical or diagonal across that part of her arm, not horizontal and they wouldn't have been perfectly straight."

"This doesn't prove anything." Peter interrupted. Even though Zoe was confirming his suspicions about Rachel, he just couldn't bring himself to admit that she was right.

"Maybe not by itself, but there's something else."

"Which is?" Lara asked.

"I'm not complete sure yet, I need to see the exact spot where the attack took place."

"Absolutely not." Peter shot down the idea.

"This is not going to end well." grumbled Peter as he trudged across the grass, Tracey at his side and Zoe trailing behind, flanked by Constables Lara Fitzgerald and Alec McLaren who'd volunteered to accompany them.

"Don't be so negative." Tracey laughed, stopping in the spot where Rachel was attacked. "Here we are."

"And Kim was in the trees over there, right?" Zoe asked, even though she already knew the answer. "Checking out a noise?"

"That's right."

"That'd be, what, twenty - twenty five meters away?"

"Something like that."

Zoe nodded and looked at the surrounding area. "Then where did the attacker go? According to the report, Kim didn't see anyone running away, neither of them heard or saw a car."

"What's your point?" Peter asked impatiently.

"My point is, Kim is a fast runner, it would've been less than five seconds from the first time he heard Rachel scream to the time he had a clear line of sight of the area. He would've seen someone running away."

"Maybe she didn't scream." McLaren interjected.

"It says in the report that she screamed as soon as she saw the knife." Zoe sighed, she was already sick of doing these peoples jobs for them. "So in five or so seconds, the…what are we calling this guy anyway?"

Tracey shrugged and looked at a clueless Peter for an answer. "I…I guess we should just call him the copycat?" He said, leaving it open for someone to disagree.

"Works for me. Anyway, in five seconds the copycat stabbed Rachel, making sure that they got her in the exact same place I cut myself, and then completely disappeared without a trace? Unless our copycat is Wally West, I find that highly improbable." Confused looks all around. "Barry Allen? Jay Garrick? The Flash, people! You know, he can move at the speed of light? Pop culture references are pretty much lost on you guys, huh."

"She's got a point."

Zoe smiled at Tracey. "So glad you agree."

"Not about the pop culture stuff." Tracey said pointedly. "There are some serious holes in Rachel's story."

"So we talk to Rachel again." Peter added.

"Great." Zoe chirped. "Let's go."

"No. Not you." Peter disagreed. "We'll handle this. Fitzy, take her back to the station."

"Sure." Lara agreed, taking Zoe by the arm. "Come on." Zoe pouted but didn't resist as she was led away.

"So," Tracey turned to Peter. "It's not looking too great for the good doctor. Looks like you may have been right about her." Few things pleased Peter Baker as much as hearing that he was right.

"You're wrong." Rachel hissed angrily, conscious of how many prying ears there were around. "How dare you come into my place of work and accuse me of faking my own stabbing. I don't have to listen to this. I'm the victim here."

"Dr. Armstrong, there are just a few things that we need to clarify." Tracey said calmly. "Nobody is accusing you of anything." She gave Peter a pointed look.

Rachel sighed heavily, this is just what she didn't need after a fourteen hour shift. "Yeah, alright." The sooner she got this over with, the sooner she could go home and collapse into bed; preferably with her handsome fiancé.

"Is there somewhere a little quieter that we can talk?"

"We can use the break room, there shouldn't be anyone in there now."

"I'm sure that you don't need us to tell you that your injury is not consistent to what you reported happening." Tracey said calmly, sitting across from Rachel in the nurse's break room, while Peter paced the room like a caged tiger.

"I don't?" Rachel said defiantly.

"Could you just go back over what happened when you were attacked? Please."

Rachel closed her eyes, playing with her engagement ring. Kim had been so distant with her after the attack, she could feel him emotionally and physically pulling away from her, even more so after Peter had brought up the possibility that her wound was self inflicted. And she knew why, she understood, but when she tried to talk to him about it he just shut down. In time he'd gotten over it but she didn't want to go back there. She tried to call up the memories of the attack. "I-I…he grabbed me, my arm. He grabbed my arm and held it while he cut me."

"Why didn't you say that when I interviewed you?" Peter asked.

"I don't know, I was in shock! I'd just been attacked!"

"You keep calling the attacker he, what makes you think they were male?" Tracey interjected.

"I guess I just...it was dark. I couldn't see their face. I just assumed it was a man." Rachel grimaced. "Do you think a woman did this?"

"We're looking at all the possibilities."

"Since your memory has miraculously returned." Peter put both hands on the table, leaning over Rachel, trying to intimidate her. "I don't suppose you know how they managed to disappear into thin air after they stabbed you?"

Rachel glared up at him, unwilling to back down. "No."

"What do you think?" Tracey asked Peter as they headed back into the station.

"Definitely suss."

"So are you admitting that I was right to bring Zoe in?" Tracey teased smugly, following Peter into his office and closing the door.

"We would've picked up on Armstrong eventually." Peter said, unwilling to admit that he needed help from Zoe. For anything. An uncomfortable silence fell over them, one incident playing on both their minds. The near kiss.

"Tracey, we should talk…about before."

"Yes, we should." She agreed quietly. "Listen, Pete, I like you. A lot. We've been friends for years and in the future, I'd like to explore taking it further. But not now."

"But I-"

"I just don't think that it's a good idea at the moment, emotions are running high, we're all under a lot of pressure. I just don't think it's the best time to start a new relationship. If we're going to do this, I want to do it right and I really do want us to last." She touched Peter's cheek forcing him to meet her eyes, silently begging for him to understand.

"Okay." Peter relented, smiling ruefully. He gave Tracey's hand a squeeze, he knew what she was talking about, getting involved while in the middle of a case like that would be a mistake, a very huge mistake but he couldn't help but feel disappointed, rejected. "I can wait."

"You're okay with this, right? I don't want this to affect our friendship."

"Yeah." Peter assured her with a forced smile. "I need some air, I'm going to go for a walk. You able to hold down the fort while I'm gone?"

"Of course." Tracey watched him leave and frowned, wondering if she'd just screwed up and hurt his feelings far more than she had ever intended.

The walk had done him some good, the warm sunlight and sea breeze were just the thing he needed to help to clear his head. Now Peter could see that it was stupid of him to feel so rejected by Tracey's decision. She wasn't saying no forever, just for now. And she was right, he had made a mistake by getting involved with Claire while still wrapped up in the Stalker case and look where that had gotten him. No, this time things would be different. He could wait, until the psycho copycat was caught, until Zoe was safely back behind bars where she belonged.

"Look, I don't kill people for fun." Zoe's voice clearly rang out through the police station. "Only when they get in my way, so I'm not an expert or anything. But what I'm saying is strangulation is ineffective, especially when your only using your hands to do it."

Peter felt like he'd just walked into a parallel universe. Zoe McCallister was sitting up on the counter, surrounded by a crowd of seemingly enthralled police officers who were hanging on their every word, even Tracey. It seemed as though Jack was the only sane one in the place, he was just sitting at his desk, looking up every once in a while to glare; whether it was at Zoe or his workmates, Peter didn't know.

"Why?" Constable McLaren piped up.

"It takes way too long, I mean if you're going to kill someone you don't want to get caught while you're in the act right. So you want it to be quick. Stabbing's pretty iffy too and messy. If you're going to kill someone, your best bet is just to smack them in the head with a heavy object. Even if you don't kill them with the first blow, they'll be stunned enough for you to get a second shot in."

Fascinated cops nodded in agreement and mumbled amongst themselves. Giving Jack's shoulder a comforting rub as he passed by, Peter grabbed Tracey by the hand and tugged her away from the crowd.

"What is going on?" He asked with a false calm. "Why isn't she in her cell?"

Tracey bit her lip uncomfortably and looked at her feet, looking like she was back at school getting told off by her headmaster. "Well, it's not everyday you get to pick the brain of a criminal genius." She mumbled. "And she can be very personable…you know, when she's not trying to kill you."

"This ends now." He turned on his heel and pushed through the crowd. "Fun time's over, back to your cell."

Zoe pouted as he pulled her down off the counter. "Not again!" She whined. "It's so boring in there, it's almost as bad as being in solitary. I am a very social person, you know. I need people to talk to!"

"Yeah well, you'll just have to make do with talking to the voices in your head." Peter said as he tried to shepherd her along.

"I do not have voices in my head, I'm not schizophrenic."

"Okay, we'll be right there." Jack assured whoever was on the other end of the phone urgently. He slammed the receiver back in it's cradle and grabbed his hat. "There's a fire, it's the bait shop down by the beach, it looks like it was deliberately lit."

"What? I just passed by there twenty minutes ago." Peter dropped hand from Zoe's back and turned to the still unmoving uniforms. "Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there." At Peter's words they sprung into action, rushing to grab keys, hats and jackets before rushing out the door. "Lara," Peter addressed the woman behind the counter. "can you take Zoe back to her cell?"

"Wait, I should come with you." Zoe protested. "If the copycat started the fire, they'll probably be lurking around somewhere, I might be able to spot them."

"She's right." Tracey added, touching Peter's arm. "We should bring her along."

The blazing inferno had attracted more than it's share of onlookers. So many in fact, that most of the police presence had to be dedicated to keeping bystanders at a safe distance.

"Whoever it was knew what they were doing, they rigged it with kero cans around the perimeter, every now and then one explodes, it's too dangerous for us to get too close." Dave the fireman explained. "At this rate the whole thing is going to go before we have a hope of getting it under control."

"Any casualties?" Peter asked.

"The owner was trapped inside, we managed to get her out before the fire got too bad. She was lucky, a few minutes later and there's no way we could've gotten to her. She's with the ambos now, minor burns and smoke inhalation." The crowd let out a collective gasp as one of the rigged cans exploded. "I'd better get back to it."

Peter waved him off and went back to join Tracey and Zoe. "I don't get why they'd do this, you never set fire to a bait shop."

"Oh, please don't tell me you haven't figured it out yet." Zoe laughed.

"Figured what out?"

"Think about what used to be here, you know, before I burned it down."

Tracey looked to Peter for the answer, he was the one with all the local knowledge. "The palace." He answered absently, his thoughts drifting back to where it began, only not. Before they knew what was to come. Before Zoe had even come into their lives, well before they knew it anyway. Had they really ever been that innocent?

Zoe stared, entranced by the way the flames were licking the wood. "You've got to admire their initiative," She said as another can exploded, sending flames shooting up and forcing the firefighters to back up out of harms way. "This is a thing of beauty."

Peter turned, and whether it was the look in her eyes or the joyful smile playing across her lips, something in his head just snapped. He rushed Zoe before anyone could do anything, grabbing her around her neck and pulling her head up until their noses touched and she could feel his hot breath against her face as he spoke. "You sick little bitch, you're getting off on this aren't you? AREN'T YOU!"

"Peter!" Tracey tugged at his arm and he briefly considered shoving her off. "Let her go!"

"Yeah Peter, let me go." Zoe giggled mockingly.

"Peter!" Tracey voice brought him back to himself. He released Zoe, pushing her back in Tracey's direction. She was still smiling despite the red marks ringing her throat.

"Well, that was a lovely display of your self-control." She remarked, only to be ignored as Peter assured the shocked bystanders that everything was fine. Tracey sighed and took Zoe by the arm. She was starting to get used to Peter's violent outbursts where Zoe was concerned.

"I think I'd better her get her back to the station."

"Hey, I'm standing right here!" Zoe protested but was ignored. Again.

"Yeah, go, get her out of here." Peter said in disgust. He didn't know what he'd do if he had to look at Zoe's smug face any longer.

"You." Tracey said to Constable McLaren as he passed by. "Come with me."

"What?" Zoe licked her lips and looked Tracey up and down. "Afraid to be alone with me?"

Tracey gave Zoe a slow smirk and raised an eyebrow. "I thought you would've worked it out by now, Zoe. Nobody is afraid of you. Not anymore."

It took twenty minutes to get the fire under control, another forty before it was extinguished completely.

"Peter," Jack came rushing over from the smouldering remains of the building, plastic evidence bag in hand. "We found something, it was next to one of the kero cans. Look familiar?"

Peter studied the dirty silver ring through the plastic, even though he already had it’s markings memorized. "This is Sarah Lewis' ring! This is supposed to be in the evidence lock up."

"Maybe it just looks similar." Jack suggested. "It can't be the only ring like it in the world, they sell 'em by the hundreds at the markets."

"There's one way to find out." Peter ripped the bag open and, ignoring all protocols, extracted the ring. "Felix gave it to Sarah, he had it engraved with their initials. There. See?" He pointed out the FW + SL dodgily engraved inside the ring, if you weren't looking for it, it would've been easy to miss.

"But if it was locked up at the station, how could it have gotten here? Unless…"

"Unless, it was one of us." Peter finished the thought for him, curling his fingers around the ring, squeezing until the metal started to cut into his palm. "He's been right under our noses the whole time."

"But who?" Jack asked, genuinely confused by the turn in events.

"Who has always been hanging around her? Who's always conveniently there whenever she needs to be transported?" Peter paused for Jack to put two and two together. "Who was transferred here three days before the attacks began?"

"McLaren?" Jack gasped.

Peter nodded grimly. "McLaren, and he's with them right now." He slapped the ring against Jack's chest. "He's with Tracey, right now."

"Try her again."

"I've tried her mobile three times already, no answer. Just keep your eyes on the road, alright. We're nearly there." Jack instructed testily. He was worried about Tracey too, but with the way Peter was driving, he was a little more concerned about his own safety. He thanked god that they were only a block away from the police station.

"If that bitch has done anything to Tracey, I swear I'll…" Peter growled, tightening his grip on the steering wheel as the car screeched around another corner.

"I know, mate." He didn't bother to point out that Zoe may have nothing to do with it, that it may be all McLaren's handiwork.

"Tracey." Peter gasped, pulling the car to a halt. It was his worst nightmare come true, the patrol car was parked, the doors left wide open, and Tracey was laying face down on the hard cement. He couldn't even tell if she was dead or alive and Zoe was nowhere to be seen.

Peter leapt out of the car, ignoring Jack's pleas to secure the area first, he ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He dropped to his knees and gathered Tracey's limp body into his arms, silently thanking every deity he'd ever heard of when let out a groan and her eyes started to flutter open. "Wha...What happened? She squinted up at him, trying to get her eyes to focus. "Peter?"

""It's okay, I'm here." He kissed the top of her head, all pretense of waiting and just keeping it friendly flying out the window. He'd almost lost her and he wasn't going to waste another second just because things might end up going wrong.

Tracey raised a hand to the back of her head and hissed when it came away red and sticky. "I was attacked…" She said hazily.

"By Zoe." Peter concluded.

"No." Tracey cringed, trying to remember what had happened. "She…I got hit from behind and Zoe…Zoe was still in the car, I think…I can't."

"It's alright." soothed Peter, he didn't want her stressing out. "It must've been McLaren."

"I don't think so." Jack interrupted, coming around from the other side of the car. "McLaren's dead." He pointed to the body slumping out the open driver's side door. Peter had been so focused on Tracey he hadn't even noticed it.

"Maybe Zoe killed him once he'd outlived his usefulness, she has been known to do that." Peter tried to rationalize.

"He didn't even have a chance to get out of the car."

They both looked at Tracey, hoping that she could shed some light on the situation. She looked up at the two confused men helplessly. "I can't remember." She was quickly regaining full consciousness. "I'm sorry, I just can't." She shifted in Peter's arms until she was sitting up on her own.

Jack swore in frustration and tilted his head up, praying for a break, just one. "Maybe you won't have to." He said, a grin spreading across his face, he nodded to the security camera mounted high in the corner, it was at the perfect angle to have caught the whole attack on tape.

"Jack," Peter said with utter jubilation, they had them now. "You are a genius."

"Hello?" Jack called, having pushed through the door and, to his surprise, found the station seemingly deserted. There wasn't even anyone on the front desk. He held the door open for Peter and Tracey, who was leaning heavily on the blond for support as she walked.

"You need to go to the hospital." Peter insisted. "You're bleeding."

"No, I need to catch the bastard who did this." She gingerly touched the back of her head again. "And maybe an icepack."

Peter sighed, he knew Tracey, she was almost as stubborn as he was; there was no point in arguing with her once she'd made up her mind. He guided Tracey toward his office. "Jack?"

"Right on it."

"What's going on?" Lara asked, coming in from the back room.

"Where have you been?"

"Doing inventory of the property cage," She set down her clipboard. "McGrath's been on at me to do it for weeks. What's going on here? I thought you were meant to be out investigating the fire."

Jack once again ignored her baffled question. "Where is everyone?"

"A call came in about half an hour ago from Reefton Lakes, they have a hostage crisis, they requested we send every available officer as reinforcements. I had to stay behind and man the front desk." Lara explained vaguely, she was far more interested in why Jack seemed so upset. "So what's happening?"

"Tracey was attacked, Alec McLaren's dead and Zoe's gone." Jack gave a quick summary. "Now we need the tape from the security camera in the car park."

"And an icepack!" Peter's voice sang out from his office.

"Right, you get the tape, I'll get the icepack." Lara instructed, her voice taking on a tone of urgency now that she understood the severity of the situation.

"Here." Lara handed the paper towel wrapped icepack to Tracey as Jack popped the tape into the VCR in Peter's office.


"Okay, ready to go." Jack said, handing the remote over to Peter who rewound the tape until it reached the part they were looking for.

They watched the tiny black and white figures on screen intently as a figure, it was impossible to tell if they were male or female, wearing a balaclava, snuck up behind Tracey and hit her across the back of the head, knocking her out with a single blow. Then shot McLaren before he had a chance to realize what was happening. Then came the most interesting part, they then turned their gun on Zoe, forcing her to get out of the car.

"They look like they're arguing." Jack observed.

"Too bad there's no sound on this thing." Tracey added, idly wondering if the station had any equipment that was made after 1989.

Peter shushed them and they turned their attention back to the video. The mystery figure was holding the gun on Zoe while removing something from Tracey's pocket. "What are they-"

Tracey instantly checked her pockets and came up empty. "They took the remote for the tracker and the keys to the cuffs." She groaned. Onscreen the attacker gave Zoe a shove in the back and forced her to walk, off screen and out of range for the camera. With nothing left to see Peter hit the stop button.

"It doesn't look like Zoe was a very willing participant." Jack said reluctantly. "The guy is holding their gun on her the whole time."

Peter dropped the remote, he knew that something like this was going to happen. "We need to find her."

"I'll check the GPS." Lara said, sitting down in front of Peter's computer and logging onto the website. "You got the ID number?"

"It's on the card on the desk."

"Oh." Lara said, it had taken her a second to find the card underneath the clutter but now it seemed pretty pointless anyway. "We have a problem." She continued as 'No Signal' flashed up on the screen.

"They must've turned it off." Jack said, coming around behind her to stare at the screen.

"Or Zoe did."

"Peter," Tracey sighed. "You saw the tape, she was practically abducted."

The computer beeped and an instant message invitation popped up on screen. "Uh, Peter?"

"What is it?" He asked, leaving Tracey's side to stand besides Jack.

"You have an instant message from TickTock2, do you want to accept?" Lara read directly off the screen. Peter nodded and Lara clicked the mouse.

TickTock2: She's mine now.

TickTock2: You want her, come and get her.

Peter pushed Lara out of the way and took over the keyboard.

PBaker: Where?

TickTock2: Tyre factory. The clock is ticking, detective.

TickTock2 has signed off.

Peter looked at the other's worried faces, there was something wrong, something about this just didn't add up. But there wasn't time to think about it, not while Zoe was still out there. "We have to go. Now."


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  • 2 weeks later...

The two cars screeched to a stop, sending a cloud of dust flying up into the air, it only served to make the disused building seem even more ominous.

Peter could remember the last time he was here. Not the time with the dummies and bullets with names engraved on them, all specifically designed to push him to the edge, but the time that he came back. It had been a few days after Zoe was captured when he walked from room to room, trying to picture her escape, trying to imagine what Laura McPherson had gone through. Had she been scared? Did she even realize what was happening?

"Pete, you okay?" Tracey asked, touching his arm. He snapped back to his senses to find Jack and Lara looking at him expectantly.

"Yeah." He said shakily before repeating it more firmly, unsure of who it was he was trying to convince. "Jack take Lara and cover the back while we go in the front."

"Are you sure about not calling back up?" Lara fretted.

"Yes." He didn't know how to explain to them that this was personal, between him Zoe and whoever the sick f*ck behind the copycat attacks was. To bring reinforcements in just didn't seem fair somehow, like it would be breaking the rules. To have the other three felt like enough of a betrayal as it was. "They'd take to long to get here, we have to move on this now." Lara looked to Tracey for confirmation. "Don't look at her! She's not in charge here," Peter snapped. "Now go, and be careful."

Tracey waited until the constables were out of earshot before she spoke. "You sure you're up for this?"

"You're the one who was knocked out, shouldn't I be the one asking you that?"

"Don't change the subject."

Peter wrinkled up his nose and looked at her with tired eyes. "I need this to be over."

"Okay." Tracey agreed quietly, she shared the same sentiment. This had dragged on for far too long and she wanted nothing more than for it to be over, so everyone involved could move on with their lives. "Come on."

They both drew their guns when they reached what would be considered the front door, Peter took one look at the grate covered windows and shuddered. "You've got my back, right?"


Peter nodded in satisfaction and reached for the door. "Normally I'd say ladies first but…" He entered with his gun draw, keeping his back against the wall while conducting a sweep of the area, trusting Tracey to follow suit. His eyes were drawn to the closed door on his left. It was the room Sally had been held captive in, the room Zoe was supposed to have died in. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to repair it after the blast. One guess who that someone was. If they were going to find Zoe, it would be in that room.

He nodded to the door and mouthed "In there," and Tracey took the lead going to stand beside the door. Peter debated on whether to try the lock or to simply kick it down. Not knowing how reinforced the door was, he chose the more conservative approach.

"Zoe." He gasped as the door swung open easily to reveal his nemesis, sitting at a laptop computer with her back to him.

"What's the matter, were you expecting someone else?" She asked, not even bothering to turn around.

"It was you," Peter gasped. "You were the one who sent me the message."

Zoe continued to type. "Got it in one, you get a gold star."

"Put your hands up and step away from the computer." Tracey ordered.

"Just give me a second would you? I mean, you can't just barge in here and start ordering me around…" She was cut off by Tracey cocking her gun. "You know, on second thoughts, this can wait." She clicked the window closed and stood up, keeping her hands where they could see them. "So, what's up?"

"What's up?" Peter gaped. "One of my officers was murdered, Tracey was almost killed and you were abducted and you're asking me what's up?"

"Awww, you mean you came here to rescue me?" Zoe said sweetly, clutching her hands to her chest. "Peter, you really do care!"

"Drop the act. Where are they?"

"You know, it was about time you got here, I was getting bored."

"Zoe, where are they?"

Zoe shrugged guilelessly, casting her eyes around the room. "Oh, I'm sure they're around here somewhere." Peter's eyes darted around the room, between the stacks of tyres and darkened corners of the factory, there were dozens of places for her accomplice to hide, just waiting for the right time to ambush them. She started walking towards them keeping hands on the back of her head, making sure her body language was as unthreatening as possible. She walked slowly until she stood directly in front of the two irate detectives and then made a move to slip between them.

"What do you think you're doing?" Peter asked.

"I'm going to take you to meet who's behind all this. You do want to meet them don't you?"

Peter looked to Tracey, every instinct he had was screaming at him to just slap the cuffs on her and send her back to maximum security where she belonged. But he couldn't help his curiosity getting the better of him. He had to know. He nodded to Zoe and trailed behind her at what could be considered a safe distance as she happily made her way through the factory leading them to a large open area, the walls lined with stacks of tyres that shouldn't even have been there anymore. She stopped and turned throwing her arms out wide. "Here we are."

"So where are they?"

"You're looking at them." Zoe smirked, dropping her hands to her sides. "Didn't see this one coming, did you?"

Peter blinked, he knew that he should've been expecting this but Zoe was right, he hadn't seen this coming. "You, this was all your idea?"

"From the very beginning." confirmed Zoe.

Peter laughed bitterly, she'd been playing them the whole time. "So what do you think you're going to do now?"

"What am I going to do now?" Zoe mused, clapping her hands together. "Well, I was thinking of forcing you to watch while I played with your little sidekick's insides." She winked and licked her lips.

The comment achieved exactly what Zoe had hoped it would, Peter crossed the floor between them with an angry stride and held his gun to her head. "I'll kill you." He growled out through gritted teeth, dots of sweat breaking out on his creased brow.

"You can try and kill me." Zoe taunted, stressing the word try, as Peter took the final step. The muzzle of his gun now pressing against her temple. "You'd fail. But you can try." Her eyes narrowed dangerously. "Come on Peter, be a man."

"You know, for a woman with a gun to her head, you seem awfully calm." Tracey observed while covering Peter, keeping her gun trained on Zoe from a distance.

"Well, if I thought for a second, he actually had the balls to pull the trigger, I would probably be more concerned." Zoe cocked an eyebrow challengingly. "But I don't and he doesn't."

She was wrong. Peter pulled the trigger.


Jack cringed and swore under his breath as the old part of machinery that he had accidentally brushed against, tumbled down and bounced on a pile of pipes with a tremendous crash.

"You alright?" Lara asked in concern.

"I'm fine." Jack muttered, his face going red. He couldn't seem to do anything right lately. "Do you think anyone heard?"

"I haven't got a clue." Lara answered earnestly, stepping around a rusty discarded engine. "Hey, do you think you could see anything from up there?" She nodded to the landing of the second floor of the external fire escape. "We might be able to get a good visual on the interior, see what we're dealing with."

Jack gulped, he had never been good with heights. His fear was nowhere near as bad as his arachnophobia but it was close and his last encounter with Zoe had only made the problem worse. Swallowing his fear, he nodded curtly. "I'll go and check it out, you stay down here, it looks pretty shaky."

"You want me to…"

"No. I'll go." Damn his macho pride. But his foot was already on the first rung of the ladder and it was too late to back out now. Don't think, just do; that had practically become his motto lately. If he thought about Martha, laying there in that hospital bed, attached to all sorts of machines, if he thought about how close he came to losing her and he'd burst into tears. If he thought about Zoe, and what she had done, it made him want to strangle someone. So he just switched his brain off and focused on doing what he was told, doing what he had to do. It had worked for him so far.

The metal platform lurched a little as he set foot on the landing and Jack almost lost his lunch. Not that there would've been much to lose.

Griping the flimsy handrail tight, he closed his eyes and slowly counted to ten, waiting for his vertigo to pass.

"Can you see anything?"

Jack crawled to the window and peered in cautiously. From his vantage point he could see Peter and Tracey their guns drawn and pointed at some who was obscured from his view by a large stack of tyres. Biting his lip he willed them to move; was it Zoe or was it the copycat, he couldn't be sure. He saw Peter's lips move but, even though his ears were straining, he couldn't make out what was said. "I can see them."

"What's going on?"

"Peter and Tracey have got someone cornered. We should go and help them." Jack made a move to get up but stopped short, frowning when he felt something hard press against the back of his head. The barrel of a gun.

"I don't think so."

Click. Zoe didn't even flinch, and for good reason. Peter looked at his gun in confusion, the safety was off, it should've fired. If this had happened to anyone else, he would've laughed but it wasn't happening to someone else, it was happening to him. The corner of Zoe's mouth flicked up into a smirk. His confidence shaken, he tried again. Click. Again. What was going on?

"Ah, Tracey? A hand?" He called back, never taking his eyes of the passive, smug Zoe. He could hear Tracey's footsteps approaching behind him on the hard concrete floor.

"Certainly." He reached a hand back for the gun he had been expecting to be pressed into his palm. Instead, a rancid smelling cloth was pressed against his face, covering his nose and mouth. He tried to fight, tried not to breath in the fumes but it was futile, eventually he succumbed, he had no other choice. Zoe and Tracey shared a smile as he dropped like a sack of potatoes between them.

"I love it when a plan comes together."

If Peter had ever wondered what it would be like to be hit by a truck, he was fairly certain he knew the answer now. His head pounded like a tribal war drum, his mouth was dry and tasted like he'd been chowing down on stale chewing gum and, when he tried to move, his limbs they felt like they were filled with lead.

"Well, well, look who's waking up." The voice was familiar but he couldn't quite place it.

"About time." grumbled another. They were also familiar, this time his head had cleared enough for him to recognize the voice as female, at the very least.

"Peter!" Now that voice he knew; Jack. Peter's eyes snapped open at the sound of his name and immediately closed again when he was blinded by the bright light streaming in through the windows. He heard the first voice tell him to shut up and it finally clicked in his head who it was, Tracey. But why would she…then it started to come back to him. Zoe had escaped, Tracey had been hurt, the message, holding his gun to Zoe's head, the soaked rag being held over his face by…Tracey.

He tried opening his eyes again, slowly this time, squinting against the light he could make out four blurry figures, two wearing familiar blue uniforms. Jack and Fitzy. But why were they just standing there? Didn't they realize the danger they were in?

One of the dark figures approached him and as they got closer their face came into focus. Zoe. "It's about time you woke up, detective." She said, nudging him with a booted foot. "We were starting to get worried about you."

Her words gave Peter something to grab onto, something to help drag himself out of the dreamlike state he'd been trapped in. Slowly the blurriness started to fade and the images sharpened but were still a little fuzzy around the edges. Peter groaned and unsuccessfully tried to move again as Zoe swaggered her way back to Tracey's side. "I believe you've met my girlfriend." She said smugly, reaching a hand out and fondly tucking a section of Tracey's hair back behind her ear.

Peter's tongue flicked out against his dry lips. He looked over to the still unmoving uniformed officers. "Why aren't you doing anything?"

Jack swallowed hard and looked up at him, his eyes silently begging for Peter to forgive him for letting this happen. Lara stepped out from behind him, revealing the gun she had trained on his back.

"You!" Peter exclaimed, instantly regretting it when his head throbbed in protest. "But…are you…with her too?" He asked, trying to make sense of it all. There was no mistaking what he meant by the words 'with her'.

Lara and Zoe exchanged amused looks. "Ew," Lara frowned in disgust. "She's my cousin."

"What?" Zoe said gleefully when both men's jaws dropped. "You don't see the family resemblance?"

"And before you get it into your heads I'm doing this out of twisted sense of family loyalty, I'm not." Lara rolled her eyes. "She's paying me a rather exorbitant sum of money for my help."

"How the hell can she afford to pay you?" asked Jack. He knew that before Zoe went off the rails she worked as a nurse and everybody knew that they didn't exactly have the highest of salaries.

"Well, my parents and my grandparents all had very generous life insurance policies, policies that paid out to me on my eighteenth birthday." Zoe explained. "I made a few wise investments and well, you do the math."

"So you're rich?"


"You've been in on it all along." Peter mumbled to himself, unable to comprehend Lara's deception and he couldn't bring himself to even think of the magnitude of Tracey's betrayal. "You planned this, you planned all of this."

Zoe smiled arrogantly. "You didn't really think it was going to be that easy did you? Send a few notes, plant a couple of bombs and that would be it. I had twelve months to plan every detail and you think that that was the best I could come up with." She looked at him expectantly and shook her head at the fact that he thought her plan would be so, for lack of a better word, lame. "I've been in control since day one, ever since Tracey called you to let you know that I was still alive. And from that moment on, you've just kept on playing right into my hands. You're so predictable."

Jack was shocked to see Peter not sticking up for himself, not telling Zoe to go to hell. "You'll never get away with this. Someone will come looking for us."

If Zoe was concerned by his words, she certainly didn't show it. "Oh, I'm counting on it."

"So what are you going to do," Jack asked defiantly. "Kill us?"

"No." Zoe laughed. "Peter is."

Jack was blindsided. "What?" He gasped in genuine confusion.

"After all, it's been him all along." Zoe raised an eyebrow at Jack's gob smacked expression, Peter was still too out of it to truly understand what was going on. "He's the copycat…or at least that's what everyone is going to think." She meandered closer to a fuming Jack. "Let me explain, since you're never going to get a chance to hear the official story. Everyone knows how close I came to driving Peter crazy, they've seen it, he was completely obsessed with catching me. What they didn't realize at the time was that I succeeded. Once I was put away, Detective Baker found himself at a bit of a loose end, after all a hero can only be a hero when they have a villain to fight against. So he started the copycat attacks. It just started with the notes, a little something to scare people just enough so that they looked to him for protection. But that wasn't enough, this town had been through too much to be frightened by some lame notes. He knew about your surprise honeymoon plans and so he tampered with the helicopter engine and framed the hapless former employee. That started to get people's attention but once the danger was over they soon forgot. And so he stabbed Rachel, making sure it was a direct copy of my own attack." She explained, trailing a finger down the long scar on her forearm. "He knew that if there was something that was going to strike fear into the residents of Summer Bay, it would be the idea that someone was continuing on my work. And then today, he's the one who set the fire at the bait shop."

Jack looked at Peter who was struggling to make sense of Zoe's words. "It's not true, tell me it's not true." Deeply saddened by his partners lack of trust, Peter shook his head.

"Of course it's not true, you idiot." Lara said in disgust, nudging Jack with her gun.

"This was your big finish." Peter muttered. "This was what you had planned all along; the psychological torture, letting yourself get caught, the copycat attacks, Tracey making the suggestion to bring you in to help, so you could escape…"

"Mm-hmm." Zoe chuckled proudly.

"You'll never get away with this! Nobody will believe it!" Jack shouted, struggling against the deceptively soft bonds that were tied around his wrists.

"Why not? You almost did?" Tracey pointed out.

"They'll believe it." Zoe said with stone cold certainty. "At first they won't want to but they'll have no other choice. And then well…you've both witnessed first hand how quickly this town will turn on people; Kane, Josie, Jesse, Barry. Ring any bells?" The worst part about what Zoe was saying was that she was right. Peter had seen it happen, time and time again. It didn't matter about all the good things you'd done in the past, the lives you'd saved, once you were accused of doing the wrong thing, you pretty much became persona non grata, almost overnight. Never in his life had Peter met a group of people as judgmental as the residents of Summer Bay; it must be something in the water.

"All the evidence points to Peter." Zoe continued. "Tracey made sure of that. The notes the copycat sent will be matched to the printer found in his apartment, kero cans, identical to the ones used in the fire today, will be found in a storage shed that's registered in his name along with bomb making equipment and his little wall of obsession. You know, it's kind of scary how alike we are sometimes, Pete." She went off on a tangent before realizing what she was doing and getting back on track, enthusiastically revealing the last two most damning pieces of evidence against Peter. "The knife used to attack Rachel Armstrong came from his kitchen! And, best of all, he has no alibis for any of the attacks."

She was right, Peter realized with dismay, he had been by himself when every one of the attacks took place. All except one… "No, the night Rachel was attacked I was with…" He trailed off, realizing too late the reason that that excuse was not going to help his case.

"You were with me." Tracey smirked, slipping an arm around Zoe's waist as the younger woman looked at her adoringly. "All alone, with me. Unfortunate that I'm going to completely forget about that."

"You bitch!" Jack roared, watching Peter completely deflate. Tracey shot him a dispassionate look but said nothing.

"But I couldn't have helped you escape today, I was at the fire, there are witnesses." Peter said in desperation, he was clutching at straws and he knew it.

"You didn’t need to help me escape, I did that all by myself." Zoe smiled arrogantly. "I knocked Tracey out, took her gun, shot that other idiot, stole the keys to the handcuffs and took off. Never to be heard from again."

"But the security tape shows…" Jack began, only to be cut off by Lara.

"Not anymore it doesn't. I erased it before we even left the station. The only thing that tape is showing is static."

"I don't understand, if Tracey's in on it, why did you knock her out?"

"I didn't, we knew that the camera was there, the whole thing was staged."

"But she was bleeding..."

"Fake blood. Why do you think I didn't want to go to the hospital." Tracey sneered.

"Can we get back to my story now?" Zoe complained, tapping her foot impatiently, before charging ahead with her tale. "You and Peter arrived back at the station, found Tracey unconscious, went inside, where Peter pretended to get an email from the copycat, instructing him to go back to the place where it all began."

"But I didn't…"

"I know, why do you think I used instant messenger this time? There's no record of our little conversation ever taking place." Zoe giggled at the stricken look on Peter's face. "You pretended not to know whether this meant the abattoir or here, so you sent Lara and Tracey to check out the meat works, while you and Jack came here. You were adamant about not calling in backup, they couldn't figure out why at the time, but went along with your idea anyway. When you got here, in a sudden flash of brilliance, Jack realized what was happening, what you had done. He confronted you and you couldn't let the truth get out, so you had no other option but to shoot him. And then, consumed by guilt over what you had just done, you turned the gun on yourself." Zoe bit her lip and grinned at her brilliant plan. "Coming up empty at the abattoir and unable to contact either of you on your radios, Lara and Tracey came here only to stumble upon your lifeless corpses, I'm sure they'll be very scarred by the experience." Tracey took the opportunity to nod with fake sincerity.

"So what do you think, pretty good, huh?" Zoe questioned, quirking an eyebrow.

"You are one sick bitch," Jack spat out, his dark eyes burning like coal.

"Your point being?" Zoe deadpanned, before turning her attention to Peter who was still silently reeling. "You still haven't given me your opinion, Peter."

He looked up at her with heavy eyes. "Does it really matter?" He sighed in resignation. He wasn't angry, he couldn't be. He'd spent two years being angry, he just couldn't do it now, it was too much.

"I happen to think very highly of your opinion."

Peter smiled ruefully. "I think it needs a third act."

"So you want to know what's going to happen once you're out of the picture." Zoe smirked, she couldn't see the harm, in fact she relished the oppourtunity to rub it in. "I'm going to disappear, Lara and Tracey are going to make sure the brief against you is airtight and once the case is officially closed, Tracey, devastated by your betrayal, is going to take indefinite leave. And you know what we're going to do then, Peter?" She crouched down in front of him and leaned in. "We're going to take a holiday, somewhere nice, you know, one of those places where the waiters bring the drinks down to you by the water." She finished throwing his words back in his face with a maniacal giggle and gently tapped his cheek. "Face it, I won."

Peter glared back at her. He couldn't help but feel a grudging respect, he had to admit her plan was brilliant, she was brilliant and he mourned what she could have been, what she could have possibly accomplished, had Sarah Lewis never come into her life. He mourned for Eve Jacobsen and he loathed Zoe McCallister.

With gloved hands she picked up a gun. His gun. "That doesn't work, remember?" Peter called out, frantically trying to find a way out. Jack was going to die because of him.

Zoe ejected the magazine clip from the gun and exchanged it for the one offered to her, wrapped in a hankie, by Tracey. "Because it wasn't loaded." She informed him as she slid the new clip in with a satisfying click.

"You couldn't even tell the difference between a loaded and an unloaded gun." Tracey sneered. "You really are the worst detective ever."

Jack squirmed in Lara's grip, his arms straining at the bonds, he wouldn't go down without a fight. His family needed him. Martha needed him. Zoe nodded to Lara, who took two steps back, and carelessly fired off two shots into Jack's stomach.

"Jack!" Peter cried out.

Jack let out a scream as fire ripped through his belly and forced him to fall onto his back. Moaning in agony he looked down at the bloodstains spreading out across the blue fabric of his shirt.

"We've got to get the blood flowing back into his hands." Zoe told Lara, if he died before that had happened it would be obvious he had been tied up when he was shot and then the whole plan would be blown to pieces. That's why Zoe hadn't just put a bullet through his brain, the wounds to his stomach were painful and fatal and his death would be slow. "Untie him." She ordered Tracey, nodding to Peter, before going to assist Lara with Jack.

"So was you pretending to have feelings for me all part of her plan too?" Peter hissed as Tracey lent over him to untie his loose bonds. The drugs were starting to wear off but nowhere near fast enough.

"No." Her head whipped around, her hair flipping out to smack him lightly across his face, Peter caught a noseful of her strawberry shampoo and a small flicker of hope started to grow in his heart. "I came up with that all on my own." And the flicker was just as quickly extinguished, if not by her words then by the look in her perfect crystalline green eyes, she was proud of what she had done.

It was then that Peter realized that the only light at the end of the tunnel was the oncoming train and he was tied down to the tracks. In a last desperate attempt, he started to beg. "Please, I have a son…"

"Oh, we know all about Drew." Zoe said, she'd finished with Jack who had just gasped his last breath, and closed Peter's limp fingers around the handle of the gun. "Don't worry, we'll make sure he's well taken care of."

No. He couldn't let them hurt his son. Not his son. If he could take out Zoe, just her, then Drew would be safe. Summoning all his strength, his willed his arm to move, for his finger to pull the trigger and end that evil bitch's life. But as hard as he tried all he achieved was to make his arm flop uselessly by his side. Zoe noticed the movement and smirked.

"That's not very nice, Peter." She took his hand and pulled it up, pressing the muzzle against the side of his head. And Peter's life started flashing before his eyes, I'm sorry Drew. "Now, I promise, this won't hurt a bit."


"I still can't believe it." It shouldn't be sunny. Not that day. Not the day that he was putting his brother in the ground, Dan mused as sunlight glinted off the marble headstone.

Peter Kevin Baker

1974 - 2006

He Will Be Missed.

The town had turned out in force for Jack's funeral and it made Peter's small handful of mourners look even more pitiful in comparison. Even his ashamed parents hadn't turned up. Amanda had stood, one hand on Ryan's shoulder, her wet, red eyes hidden behind a dark pair of designer sunglasses. Leah had supportively held a stoic Dan's hand, occasionally swiping at her running nose with a crumpled up tissue while VJ clung to her legs. To the surprise of all, Sally Fletcher had shown up, explaining that Peter had once saved her life, she only wished she could've done the same for him.

"I know, I didn't want to either." admitted the only other non-related mourner. "He was sick, Dan."

Dan nodded bitterly at the brunette's words. "I should've of seen this coming, Tracey. I mean I'm a counselor for Christ's sake, I should've…"

"You can't blame yourself." She put a comforting hand on his arm. "I mean, if you're going to blame anybody, it should be me. I saw how obsessed with Zoe he had become, I saw how stressed out he was. I should've done something." She sighed regretfully.

Dan swallowed hard, watching Leah tell Ryan and VJ off for frolicking amongst the headstones. "I don't know how we could've made it through the past few weeks without your support."

"It was the least I could do."

"Are you sure you have to leave?"

Tracey smiled. "I do, my friend's already waiting for me in Fiji so…"

"When does your flight leave?"

"About two hours." Tracey replied, checking her watch.

"Well, I just want you to know that you'll always have a place here in the bay." Dan offered, turning to face her. Despite the evidence mounting against him, Tracey had remained Peter's loyal defender, right up until the time when the truth became undeniable. His brother was a murderer. "After everything we've been through, you're practically family."

"Thanks Dan, that means a lot."

"I've got to admit, I'm going to feel a lot less safe without you in town. Are you sure that Zoe's no longer a threat?"

"All of our intelligence suggests that she's fled the country. I guess she realized that freedom was more important than revenge." Tracey assured him, smirking internally, she knew exactly where Zoe was. "And don't worry, I'm leaving you in good hands."

"That's right, Lara Fitzgerald applied for detective, didn't she."

"And she's going to get it too, she's been a massive help through all this, I couldn't have done it without her." Oh yes, Lara had been a fantastic help, backing up every part of Tracey's story, conveniently stumbling across crucial pieces of evidence. Tracey had been dubious when Zoe had first brought up the idea of bringing Lara in on the plan but she had to admit that it had worked out perfectly. "She's going to do great things for this town." She looked at her watch once more. "I'm going to have to get going if I want to make my flight."

"You sure you can't stay for the wake? Leah's cooked enough for a small army." Dan joked while his heart silently broke, even after what Peter had done, they had been expecting more people to show up and pay their respects.

Tracey knew that she should feel bad, playing everyone for a fool like that, it wasn't right that all she felt was satisfaction that she'd been able to pull it off. She knew what Zoe had been talking about now, the rush that comes along with being able to convince people to believe your lies as though the were the gospel truth. "I'd love to but…"

"Your flight, right."

"Yeah, say goodbye to Leah for me?"

"Of course." Dan pulled her into a hug. "Take care, okay?"

"I will." Tracey pulled back from the hug with, what she hoped was, a sad smile. "Goodbye, Dan." She gave a small wave and turned her back on him. What she was really saying was goodbye to Summer Bay, to the ghost of Peter Baker, to her old job and hello to a whole new life. She just hoped that this one turned out better than the last.


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