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Your Darkest Secret

Guest Oxidizer

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Type of Story Oneshot

Main Characters Zoe McCallister, Tracey Thompson

BTTB Rating T

Genre Romance

Does story include spoilers? No

Any warnings? None

Summary Detective Thompson breaks all the rules when she privately investigates a suspicious nurse working at the hospital...

One more patient then you can go home the nurse thought to herself, giving herself some encouragement to go on, as she stood in one of the many lone and silent corridors of the hospital. She was shattered from working so long, but needed the money to support her plans. The short brunette wig that she wore was beginning to itch; she had been wearing it all evening and the body heat emanating from her head was becoming all too much to bear. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't tempted to tear the damned thing off and toss it in the trash, but she knew, even now; presumed dead, that it would be too risky. She bit the curves of her lip and looked around to make sure that no-one was around to see, almost like a mischievous child up to no good. She only had one more patient to see anyway, and then her shift would be over. Surely no-one would notice if she showed her true face, even for a few minutes. What could possibly happen? Other than being caught. But even so, she'd whip up a convincing lie on the spot and talk her way out of it; she had one of those faces. Screw it she thought, raising her thin arm to her head; glancing around to make sure that none of her busybody colleagues were around to see, before removing the nuisance fabric from her head. A blissful sigh escaped her lips as her scalp was allowed to breathe; shaking her head and letting her lightly tied back ponytail to fall loose. That's better. She was no longer the ominous and brooding brunette that warned off the other nurses; now she was Zoe McCallister again.

Carrying a neutral green tray in her hand, balancing a small polystyrene cup containing two pills, Zoe glided down the hospital's corridors; the lights from the ceiling glowed calmly. Ahead were two other nurses, panic beginning to wash over her, her heart rate pulsing. She turned her head to an angle to remain inconspicuous and quickly scurried into the darkly lit room to the side. Luckily that was her patient's room; somehow I doubt she'd be able to talk her way out of that one in that state.

She smiled to the elderly woman sat up in her bed; the only light in the room was the dreary glow from the lamp on her bedside table. Zoe lifted the cup and handed it to her, their hands making brief contact.

A second or two later, the patient handed the cup back; exchanging it with a cool and refreshing glass of water that the nurse passed her. "Thank you, dear." she smiled gratefully, "You're an angel."

Zoe hid the smirk that played across her lips by a touched smile. If only she knew. "Sleep well."

Walking forward, out of the dark, she breathed a slight sigh of relief; now she could finally go home. Ahead of her was someone who immediately caught her eye, a brunette woman wearing a red shirt and dark pantsuit, crystalline green eyes that entranced. She couldn't help but smile at her as the other woman looked at her with a distorted facial expression. Zoe didn't have to have a degree in psychology to know that this woman was just like her; wearing a façade. She examined her cautiously in those brief seconds their eyes made contact. The brunette wore clothes that made her come across as more hardened and attitude-inclined, demeaning a protective persona. The giveaway? That look in her eyes. Beneath the steeled exterior lied a more fragile core. She noticed it just like she had done with Sarah a little under a year ago. Zoe continued to smile, now to herself for unraveling the lackluster layers that the woman tried to build up, as she continued on her way down the dimly illuminated corridor.

Off duty Senior Detective Tracey Thompson held her attentive gaze on the familiar nurse as she traveled further down the hospital's more darker side. She squinted suspiciously, racking her brain as to where she could've seen her before, but to no avail. No pointing hanging around here, she thought to herself, accompanied by a heavy and rueful sigh. I've got work in the morning. She ran her hand through her hair and rubbed her weary eyes, followed by a yawn stifled by the back of her free hand.

Tracey twisted and turned in her bed, the cool draft sneaked in through her bedroom window, making the curtains shuffle and motion. She had opened the window 20 minutes ago when she couldn't sleep, assuming it was from the heat, and not the unusual dreams that she underwent.

She rolled on her side, her hair tacky from sweat and dampening the sheets uncomfortably, small flashes occurred in her nightmare-like trance; flashes of that nurse from the previous night. Her heart began to drum against her chest as she groaned subconsciously, her eyes beginning to flutter whilst closed. "You'll never guess who the Stalker turned out to be," Claire Brody's voice echoed, it was distorted but clear enough to understand who it was and what she was saying. "It was Zoe McCallister."

The insomniac detective leaped up from her distraught state, a slight gasp escaping her lips as she blinked her sleepless and weary eyes, clutching the sheets in her chest.

10 minutes later and now dressed, Tracey sat at her table in the lounge area, and pulled up a browser on her laptop, typing in 'Summer Bay Stalker, Zoe McCallister, Eve Jacobsen' to see what would turn up. A couple of clicks later, she found herself stunned to see the woman in question's mugshot staring back at her with blank and dead-like eyes. The nurse she saw only the night before was reflected in two orbs of perfect crystalline green.

"Zoe," she grimaced quietly to herself, keeping her eyes fixed to the supposedly deceased stalker as she shaken-handedly took a sip from her coffee.

10am the same day and Tracey was feeling a little better, yet still unnerved and confused as to what to do about her new discovery. She sat at her desk and looked around at her colleagues cautiously, making sure that no-one was looking at what she was doing. Pulled up on her computer screen was all of Eve Jacobsen's details, information about the tyre factory, everything from its opening day, to when it was abandoned due to going bust, and then to the explosion and its now notoriety for being linked to the infamous Stalker.

She squinted and leant in closer to read the police reports after recovering the body from the building after the blaze had been extinguished by firefighters. Apparently it was burnt beyond recognition, but perhaps the most damning evidence that what she saw last night was real, was that the charred remains were never formerly identified; as Eve's dental records weren't traceable, due to her being in the bay under an assumed alias. Tracey's face was filled with a mixture of dread and relief: relieved that what she saw was true and that she wasn't losing her mind, and dreading the fact that a high-profile killer was still on the loose, working in a hospital -a place where dozens of lives were in her control- no less. Not to mention that she was uncertain of what to do; did she tell her colleagues and face being laughed at, and even more outcast than normal, or did she pretend that she never saw her and hope that someone else would make the same discovery, whilst continue on with that bland existence she called her life?

Her head hit the desk with a clunk. There was too much to process and take in; her head was beginning to hurt. She sighed heavily when she realized what she had to do; she had to go back. If not for 100% confirmation, than to see what she was like. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't intrigued, but she had to know whether or not if she was a danger to society. At least then her decision -whatever that would be- might be a little easier.

Ten hours later and Tracey found herself back at the hospital. Having wandered the same corridors from the night before, she found herself stalking up a hefty flight of metal stairs in a glass stairwell; the city's landscape viewable from the tower-like structure.

She stopped midway to catch her breath, leaning forward and resting her hands on her knees; the steps were steep and walking up one was equivalent to running a marathon. Or so it seemed. Tracey whipped her head up cautiously when she saw the outline of someone standing on the step above, looking down at her with a tender frown. The brunette nurse quirked an eyebrow. "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I'm looking for someone." Tracey explained as she climbed the final two steps to stand on the highest floor, stood beside the familiar woman. "A nurse who was here last night."

Zoe chuckled lightly, inching back and gently pulling the undercover detective forward, as not to stand in a hazardous position where one of them could easily fall to their death. "Well, I can tell you now, there were a lot of nurses working night shifts yesterday. It might help if you tell me what she looked like."

"Tall, slim build, blonde curly hair that was tied back," Zoe swallowed nervously when the other woman began to describe her. She knew she was the same person from last night, but didn't think that she'd notice enough to track her down the next day. "I don't have a name."

Zoe scratched at the back of her brunette wig awkwardly. "May I ask who you are?"

"Detective Thompson," Tracey revealed earnestly, making her feel uneasy. "I was hoping to have a word with her about one of our inquiries."

"Would I be of any assistance?" Zoe asked gingerly, trying to maintain her cool and not expose herself by the panic that was starting to reside in her. "Or is this enquiry something you need see her, specifically, about?"

Tracey smiled suspiciously as she examined the brunette nurse's face. She could've been wearing glasses and been drenched in make-up and it still wouldn't be enough; she knew exactly who this woman was. She had haunted her dreams long enough not to recognise her. "No, no. I just thought maybe she was the nurse that tended one of our suspects last night." she lied convincingly; this woman seemed to bring out the worst in her. "I saw her coming out of the opposite room, so I figured..."

"I understand." the stalker interjected, not harsh enough to make it look like she had clocked on like any other person would; she couldn't afford to make anymore mistakes. "What's the suspect's name?"

"Eve Jacobsen." Tracey smirked bitchily.

Zoe's heart almost leaped up into her throat; she blinked, holding her chest lightly as not to faint. "What?"

Tracey rolled her eyes and clarified. "You can stop pretending, I know."

"I-I've got to go."

The undercover detective quickly grabbed hold of the nurse's upper arm, pulling her back gently as she turned on the balls of her feet, in a futile attempt to make her escape. She turned around slowly to face the woman who was on to her. "Don't go," Tracey quickly stammered. "Please, I'm sorry, okay? I just want to talk. I promise."

Zoe squinted suspiciously in response to the real brunette's words, raising her arm to her head to remove the itchy wig from her head; unable to prevent the relieved sigh that escaped her lips. "What about?" Tracey watched on wide-eyed and stunned; there was no turning back now.

"I don't know," Tracey half-smiled, half-blinked. "It's a bit surreal talking to you now, I mean, you're believed to be dead."

The now-blonde nurse chuckled lightly. "Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased that you're not obtaining me right now, but I gotta ask; why aren't you?"

"I have no idea." Detective Thompson revealed blankly, slowly drawing out her words as she tried to process all of what was happening; she was right, it was surreal. She held on to the stairwell railing and used it to lever herself on the ground, sitting down on the top step as Zoe leant against the glass window, looking down at her awkwardly. "I've been up all night thinking about what I was going to do; I came here to see if it really was you I saw, to see if you were a danger or not." she looked up at her and smiled somewhat coyly. "Funnily enough, I don't think you are."

Zoe quirked an eyebrow. "So you're not going to arrest me?"

"I don't know," Tracey deadpanned; her uncertain response making the sociopath in her presence relax a little, sliding down the glass and crouching on the clean and cool floor opposite the confused detective, who looked up at her expectantly. "I guess it'd help if I knew why you did what you did."

"I can't just open up like that, you're practically a stranger." Zoe replied in an apologetic tone, her eyes enticed and entranced by Tracey's crystalline green ones. "My reasons are intimate."

Tracey sighed quietly to herself in disappointment - her eyes looking down the long, spiralled drop of the stairwell. "I understand, but you can trust me, you know." she muttered something silently under her breath. "It's not like I've got anyone to tell anyway."

The hazel-eyed killer whipped her head up in response to the quiet mutter that escaped the detective's laden lips. "What was that?"

"Nothing," she quickly forced a smile. Zoe saw straight through her and smirked slyly. She'd be lying if she denied that she considered using whatever was troubling her non-assailant to silence her on what she knew.

"Fair enough," Zoe's eyes darted around the room aimlessly, before counting the ceiling's tiles became boring even for the bored. She turned her head to face the attentive brunette. "I'll tell you one of my secrets if you tell me yours."

Tracey frowned in amusement. "Are you serious?"

"Deadly," she replied, playfully changing the look in her eyes to cold and distant.

"Okay," Tracey swallowed nervously; she didn't feel threatened or as if this woman was going to endanger her, but the fact that she was a known murderer made her feel a little unsettled. "You go first."

Zoe chuckled lightly, accompanied by a playful scoff. "Why me?"

"Just because!" Tracey argued playfully.

"No, you first." the sociopath insisted with a stern and dead certain tone to her voice.

Tracey narrowed her eyes and glared. "Hey, who's the detective here?"

"Okay, you got me," Zoe sighed adoringly, jokingly pointing severely in her direction. "But you have to swear to tell me yours after."

"Yeah, okay," Tracey mused cheerfully, digging her elbows in her knees to rest her chin in her hands, looking up at her dazed; there was just something playful and childlike about this woman people donned evil. She brought out the best and worse in Tracey, and she kinda rather liked it. "I promise."

Zoe smiled lightly before her playful persona quickly diminished; Tracey's eyes were filled with focus at this point, knowing that she was about to go to a deep and private place. "The reason it was so important for me to avenge Sarah was because I let her down."

"Come again?" Tracey frowned in confusion.

"I broke a promise and got her killed." Zoe sighed heavily, momentarily holding her head in her hands before looking up at her new, I guess you could say friend, with deject eyes. "I guess in the end, when I knew she was lying to me -and played me like an idiot- I did it out of guilt."

She clarified when Tracey looked at her with browed expectancy.

The flame-haired psychopath held herself as she rocked and back and forth in the chair opposite her nurse's end of the table, to the side of them was an audio recorder. "I hate them!" she protested tearfully, her voice beginning to crack as she choked on her muddled tears. "Do you hear me?"

Sarah Lewis twisted her face and continued to whine. "Until I kill them, I won't calm down."

"I know you miss Felix, but you shouldn't upset yourself." Eve placed a comforting hand on her patient's as she watched her breakdown sullenly.

"You understand me," Sarah slowly turned her head to face the younger woman who was assigned to look after her. "Don't you?"

Eve smiled ruefully, her squeeze becoming a littler firmer. Her eyes looked on widely and intense. "You know I do."

"Then you know why it's so important I have to pay them back."

"Of course," Nurse Jacobsen found herself quietly agreeing. She didn't mean it, it just slipped out; nothing other than comforting words. But she knew the moment those words passed her lips that she had taken a silent oath.

"Then promise me, Eve." Sarah held on to hand her tightly, clutching with both of her own, slightly unnerving the psychiatric nurse under her control. "Promise me that you'll help me, that they'll pay." her eyes pleading -begging- Eve to help her. How could she say no and risk breaking her secret lover's heart? "Promise me."

"Yeah, I promise," she reassured her ruefully. "They'll pay."

Tracey mindlessly empathised. "She manipulated you."

"I didn't realise it until Sally, of all people, told me at the tyre factory." Zoe shook her head in disbelief, accompanied with a tangible smile.

"Why did you believe her over Sarah?" Tracey hypothetically kicked herself and closed her eyes when she realised that she was prying, and quickly clarified to seem unrude. "For all you knew, she could've been the one lying."

Zoe sighed and understood where the detective was coming from, so continued to explain and open up, sharing a little -okay, major- piece of herself to this woman. "Because it all made perfect sense," Tracey looked on sympathetically; understanding a cold-blooded killer. "Thanks to the situation with Kim, I knew what love was." she wiped a stray tear that rolled down her cheek away, pausing for a moment to collect herself and smiling through tear-laced eyes when Tracey rubbed comforting circles on her back. "Sarah never loved me, she just told me what I wanted to hear, and like an idiot, I fell for it."

"You are not an idiot," Tracey replied sharply, holding the sociopath's hand in her own; sharing an intense gaze. "I think I probably would've done the same in your position."

"Really?" Zoe looked up and smiled effortlessly, drying her eyes with a swipe of the back of her hand.

Tracey held her gaze and returned the lightened smile. "Yeah."

"Look at us," Zoe shook her head and chuckled; remembering who this woman was and what her working life represent. "I can't believe we're just talking like this."

"I know, kinda weird, huh?" Tracey laughed agilely.

"Yeah." Zoe stood up and looked down at her fiercely; her mood changing in an instant. Tracey looked up at her in concern, about to say something but being cut off by the stalker's words. "But you're not tricking me that easily."


Zoe squinted suspiciously, leaning in. "I know your game."

"I'm not," Tracey stammered nervously; she thought they connected. Obviously not. "I swear."

"You're just trying to befriend me so you won't have to open up and tell me your secrets!" Zoe snapped playfully, keeping up the dangerous act for a second before giggling, Tracey following suit.

"You scared me for a second there."

"That's a relief," Zoe chuckled facilely as she dropped back on the step Tracey was sat and sat next to her. "I thought I was beginning to lose my touch."

She smiled bemusedly as the blonde squeezed in closely. "Not a chance."

"So," Zoe turned her head to the side to meet with the brunette's. "What's your darkest secret, Detective?"

Tracey smirked. "You."



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