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A Mother's Treasure Is Her Daughter

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Story Title: A Mothers Treasure Is Her Daughter

Type of story: Long Fic

Main Characters: Charlie and Ruby, with the addition of other characters for minor subplots.

BTTB rating: G

Genre: Drama, Tragedy, Family.

Does story include spoilers: No.

Any warnings: Violence.

Summary: Charlie and Ruby's relationship has been strained since the revelation that Charlie is Ruby's biological mother. But will all this change when a life is left hanging in the balance?

Hey this is my first Home and Away fan fic about two of my favourite characters. As you can probably tell I started it a while ago so I hope you like it.


"Yes I understand that chief, we're moving as quickly as we can, but this case is a lot more complex than we originally thought" Senior Constable Buckton argued down the phone.

It had been a week since the discovery of the twelve bodies on the boat and progess being made to solve the case was slow. Too slow for the liking of everybody concerned. It was particularly frustrating for Charlie who had to deal with the Chief of Police breathing down her neck almost every other day. She could understand his impatience, even Charlie was beginning to grow tired of how long it was taking to crack the case, but there was nothing she could do.

"Yes Chief, I'll take that on board. Bye", Charlie said trying her hardest to place the phone down without slamming it.

"Senior, we've just pulled in someone we think might be connected to the boat case", Constable Watson exclaimed.

"I'll be right there", Charlie pulled herself out of her seat and rushed out the door.

"Get off me. LET ME GO!" the man shouted. He wrestled with the officers who were trying to hold him down. Charlie walked up to the third officer who was trying to process him for finger prints.

"Place him in holding when you're done. We'll interview him when he's calmed down. Find out whatever you can about our John Doe here" she said.

Just then Angelo walked in along with a fellow marine officer. He looked at the man the officers were dragging into the holding cell and then walked up to Charlie.

"Have we got any info on John Doe?" Angelo asked.

"Not yet, he was only brought in just now. But we took his prints so hopefully we'll be able to put a name to the man soon", Charlie answered.

Charlie grabbed the file Watson had placed on the desk. She gave it a quick glance over and signed her name on the dotted line. Angelo handed her a coffee and smiled at her. She looked tired. Angelo placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"Charlie you need to go home, get some sleep", he said with concern.

Charlie took a sip from her coffee, stroked his hand and proceeded to make her way back into her private office, Angelo following suit. She walked over to her desk and picked up the files that she had been working on earlier. She opened the filing cabinate and placed them inside, making sure to lock it when she was done. She walked back to her desk and sat down, slouching down to a comfortable position, taking the coffee cup back into her hand. Angelo sat in the empty chair beside her.

"Charlie, I'm serious. Go home. I'm sure the place can cope without you for a couple of hours at least", he said

Charlie looked at him with a forced smile. She could undestand his concern and was grateful for it. But she also knew she couldn't do what he was asking.

"I can't. If I'm not working all I do is worry about Ruby. Works the only thing that keeps me sane right now. At least here I can be productive".

Angelo nodded. He could understand Charlie's reasons for staying at work. Ruby is Charlie's whole world. He knew that and he accepted it because he knew that, while Charlie did care for him deeply, he had only been a part of Charlie's life for a small period of time. Ruby is Charlie's flesh and blood and he knew he could never compete with that. Ruby was Charlie's main concern and he knew that by accepting Ruby as part of the package deal he had won over Charlie. He cared a lot about both of them and would do anything for them.

"How is Ruby anyways?", he asks with genuine concern

Charlie shifts in her seat, putting the coffee cup down on her desk. She straightens up and leans forward, playing with the watch on her wrist.

"I just feel so helpless. My daughter has diabetes. She has this illness that's going to affect her for the rest of her life and there's nothing I can do about it. You know, I've been protecting her for her whole life, I've always felt like I was in control, that I could keep her safe. And...and now it feels like I've lost that sense....that feeling of control and it scares me" she says, becoming emotional at the sheer thought of it.

Charlie strokes her forehead in a frustrated manner. The very topic of Ruby's health made her tense and anxious. The whole developement was still very new. In fact it was only a couple of days ago that Ruby was diagnosed. Charlie was still in the stage of acceptance of the condition and was on full alert. It was going to take her a while to relax a little. Angelo could sense her worries. He reached out his hands and cupped hers into his.

"I know this is hard right now. It's tough to watch someone you love develope a condition like this. Even when you have accepted this your still always going to worry about Ruby and how she's doing. But as hard as it is for you imagine how hard it is for Ruby. She's going to have to deal with this everyday for the rest of her life. Instead of worrying about her condition why not sit down with her and talk to her about how she's coping. I'm sure she's sick of everyone talking about her blood sugar level's and diabetes. I would be if I were a teenager" he says with a slight grin.

Shifting into an upright position, Charlie began to think about what Angelo had said and she realised he was right. She had spent the last few days worrying more about the diabtes than Ruby. She couldn't help it. But she realised now that what her daughter needed the most right now was emotional support and comfort and not a drill sargent calling every hour to check on how Rubys blood sugar levels were. She was neglecting one of the main areas of concern. While Ruby did have to keep her levels in order, she also needed to feel like if she had a problem or wasn't coping she ccould sit down and talk to someone without having them try to mirp manage everything. Charlie couldn't help it. Her maternal side just takes over at that moment. It's almost like that side of her she bottled up for sixteen years was trying ot come out in one out burst. She realised she was probably overwhelming Ruby.

"You're right. I've been so highly strung over this I'm completely ignored what Ruby wants in all of this. Which I'm sure is certainly not me going into panic mode everytime she calls" Charlie says with a sigh. "I'm going to go over there tonight and talk to her properly and lisen to what she has to say. Maybe we can come to a comprimise".

Angelo smiled at her. It felt like he had made a breakthrough and released some of Charlie's stress. It made him feel slightly more upbeat.

"Good. We'll I'm going to see if our boat man has settled down. Maybe I can get some answers out of him now", he said as he got up out of his chair and made his way to the door. Before he walked out Charlie called him.

"Angelo, thank you" she said with a smile and the he walked out.

Charlie turned back around and faced her desk. She looked at some of the files on her desk she had yet to sign off on, took in a deep breath and exhaled. She then looked at the picture of her and Ruby sitting on her desk and smiled. It was a picture of Charlie and Ruby on the couch as Leah's house. Charlie has her arm's wrapped tightly around Rubys shoulders in a protective manner while Ruby has her arms wrapped around Charlie's waist. They both looked so happy when the photo was taken. I t always made Charlie smile whenever she looked at it. She looked at the clock, 4:15. Ruby had called earlier to tell her that she and Geoff were going over to Nicole's to watch some DVD's and wouldn't be home until late that night. Whatever the time, Charlie was going to talk to Ruby tonight. It was too important to leave until later.

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For anybody who has read this on fan fic.net I will update it soon. And if your interested in a preview of what's potentially to come mail me and I'll drop you a few hints. For the members reading it here....here's chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. I know 'm crazy to post them all one on top of the other!! lol

Chapter 2

Angelo walks out of the interview room looking disgruntled. He slaps the file down on the desk and checks his watch. He cannot believe he has just spent two hours interviewing John Doe. A second police officer walks out behind him and grabs his attention.

"What do we do with John Doe?" he asks.

Angelo turns to him, he looks in the door of the interviewing room and turns back to the police officer.

"I'm going to make a call, see if I can get an order to keep him from leaving the Bay. If I do, I want you to process all his details so we can keep track of him and then him go", he says sounding slightly defeated.

The police officer nods at Angelo and walks back into the interview room. He grabs John Doe by the arm and leads him out into the holding cells. Charlie walks out of her office. Her nose buried in a file. She looks up to see John Doe being led away and walks over to Angelo to find out if he's made any head way with him.

"Any luck getting any information out of him?" she asks.

"No. He claims he doesn't know Hugo Austin or anything about the people on the boat" he says in a manner that would suggest his annoyance.

"What are you going to do with him?" Charlie asks.

"We're going to let him go, keep an eye on him. Maybe if we trail him for long enough he'll led us to someone or something that will help us with this case" he says trying to sound convincing.

"So you still think he knows more than he's letting on?" she asks him.

"I hope so, otherwise we'll be stuck at square one trying to solve this case. Anyways I've got to make some calls. Isn't your shift over? he asks her, sounding slightly confused.

"Yea it finished a half hour ago. But Ruby won't be home till late so I thought I might as well get some paper work done and then head over there later". she says to him.

Angelo nods at her and then picks up the phone to make his call. Charlie closes the file she was looking at and places it in the filing tray with the other files that have been taken care of. She walks around to the far side of the reception desks and starts opening up documents on the computer. Angelo hangs up the phone and informs the police officer he was interviewing with that he had received the order and that it was being faxed over . The police officer walks into the holding cell area and releases John Doe. He brings him up to the reception desk where Angelo is standing.

"Your free to go. There's one condition. I have an order that prohibits you from leaving the Bay until we are finished with the investigation. Do I make myself clear?" he asks sternly.

John Doe looks at Angelo and laughs in his face.

"Perfectly Constable" he replies.

With that he collects his belongings and makes his way out of the police station. Charlie and Angelo watch on.



Chapter 3

It's evening and the sun is beginning to go down. John Doe hops into his car and checks for police officers who might be trailing him. He turns on the ignition and pulls out of the car park and drives off heading out of Summer Bay. He pulls a map out of the glove compartment and and studies it. It has pen marks on it marking a particular location.

After driving for about Fifteen minutes he pulls into this off road lane way and drives down. He pulls up beside an old abandoned house, kills the engine and gets out. He makes his way up the door where he hears angry shouting coming from someone inside. He opens the door and walks in.

"Aghh" the angry male voice shouts as he topples over a table sending it crashing into a wall.

John Doe walks in and lets a shout at the man so he can acknowledge his presence.

"Oi, Derek, what the bloody hell are you playing at?" he shouts, sounding annoyed.

Derek turns around to face John Doe.

"It's those kids" he exclaims.

John Doe looks at him.

"What kids?" he asks.

"The kids, the two blondy kids from the island. They live here in the bay" he says anger building up in his tone.

"So what's the problem?" John Doe asks.

"The problem is mate, if they see me and go to the police, I'm cooked".

John Doe picks up the table and turns it upright. He walks over to the empty chair and pulls it over to the table. He sits down and props his arm around the back of the chair. He looks at Derek and grins at him.

"Well then just don't get caught" he says in amocking manner.

Derek cuts him with a menacing looking stare. He slowly walks towards him and leans forward so that he is looking straight at John Doe.

"No. No I've got a better idea. I'm going to do something I should have done when they were on the island" he says. He stands up straight and walks over to the rickety old cabinats and opens them. He pulls out a black box. John Doe looks on from behind.

"Oh yeah, and what's that?" John Doe asks feeling nervous.

Derek removes a gun from the box, loads the weapon with a couple of bullets and turns to John Doe.

"I'm gonna take care of them before they get a chance to squeal to any of the coppers", he says with a look of pure evil spread across his face.

John Doe sat up straight and swallowed hard. He knew he was in for a long night.



Chapter 4

"Hey guys. Miles and Jai are in Yabbie Creek and Alf's doing a shift at the bar so we've got the place to ourselves. Sit down and choose a DVD," Nicole said as she made her way into the kitchen.

Ruby and Geoff made their way over to the couch and sat down. Geoff picked up the bundle of DVD's Nicole had rented from the store and began to laugh.

"Are you kidding me? These are all chick flicks...Sex and the City, Fools Gold, Bride Wars, Mamma Mia. You can't be serious?", he asks with a pleading look.

Nicole and Ruby begin to laugh at Geoffs pleading look. Nicole finally stops long enough to answer them.

"Well if Jai or Aden were here then maybe there'd be a more even selection of DVD's. But since you're out numbered, yes Geoff, Ruby and are I are serious".

Geoff looks back down at the DVD's and drops them back down onto the coffee table, giving up hope of there being any chance of watching something that involved slapstick comedy or car explosions. He leaned back in the couch and put his arm around Ruby and she looked at him with a smile.

"Cheer up Geoffrey, ten minutes watching a Kate Hudson movie and you'll be tapping into you're feminine side in no time" she says, laughing at thought of it.

Nicole made her way out of the kitchen and over to the couch. She placed a big bowl of popcorn on the table and some glasses. She looked at Geoff and she knew exactly what he was thinking, she could read him like an open book. She knew his concerns when she saw him glancing at Ruby

"Don't worry, it's organic popcorn, No additives, suitable for a diabetic. Now Ruby, would you like a sugar coated candy stick or are good?" she jokes, throwing a mocking glance at Geoff. Nicole waked back into the kitchen and grabbed the juice out of the fridge.

Ruby was laughing at the joke Nicole had made and playfully punched Geoff in the arm. He smile a little, finally allowing himself to relax and laugh at the joke himself. Nicole made her way back over to the couch and sat down next to Ruby. She poured the juice into the glasses and handed them out.

"So Ruby, not to sound annoying or anything but how are you dealing with the whole diabetes thing? Most be tough?", she asks, genuinely interested.

Ruby sits up and crosses her legs under her, takes a sip of her juice and places it back down on the coffee table.

"OK, I guess. I mean I'm still trying to get used to the whole special diet thing. The injections are not the most fun thing in the world or pricking my finger for that matter. It's something I don't think I'm ever going to get used to, but, if I want to stay healthy it's just something I'm going to have to get used to", she says in a matter of factly way. "I've just managed to get Geoffrey here, to chill out about it and stop fussing. Now all I have to deal with is Charlie".

Nicole places her juice on the table and grabs a cushion off the chair across the way. She hugs it tightly to her chest, crossing her arms. She rests her chin on the top of the cushion and leans her back against the arm of the couch, facing Ruby.

"Is she still in over protective mode?" she asks.

"Yeah. I know she means well and I know she's got my best interests at heart. But it justs feels like she's smothering sometimes. A hundred calls a day is a bit much. I mean if anything was wrong I'd call her", Ruby says seeming a little tense.

"Yeah but Ruby she's your mom,,,", Nicole trails off, unsure if Ruby was comfortable with anyone referring to Charlie as her mother. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Ruby had found out the had taken her and Charlie a while to get back to their ususal ways. Only with the exception that instead of being sisters. They are now mother and daughter. Nicole couldn't see how anything could possibly change anyways. Charlie had always been very protective of Ruby. As far as she was concerned nothing had changed.

"What I mean is, she cares about you more than anyone else in her life. Of course she's going to be worried. Maybe you two just need to sit down and talk it out", Nicole finished.

Ruby nodded. She could see Nicole's point of view. Being diabetic was hard, and having to deal with made it hard for to see everyone else's concerns. She realised now that although she is dealing with the condition, Charlie's dealing with worry and probably scared at the thought of something bad happening to had to talk to Charlie and have a proper conversation with her. It was the only way they were going to come to an understanding about the situation. Geoff put the DVD in the the player, picked up the remote and pressed play. When he sat back down, Ruby lay her head against his shoulder and he placed his head gently agaist hers. All three of them sat back and settled into comfortable positions for the film.

Just as the film was about to begin...crash...there was a noise outside. They all jumped and turned around.

"What was that? Nicole said sounding spooked.

Geoff jumped over the couch and headed for the back door.

"I'm gonna check it out" he said as he made his way across the room and into the kitchen.

"Geoffrey be careful", Ruby called after him.

The girls sat in silence as they waited for Geoff to return. The heard the noise of a struggle and Ruby grabbed Nicoles hand. Just then they heard footsteps.

"Geoff", Nicole shouted.

Just then Geoff made his reappeared. He had his hands raise in the air and then following from behind, Derek. He held is gun to Geoff's back nudged him to move over to the couch. Geoff sat down on the couch huddled himself up beside both girls. Derek pointed his gun at all three of them.

"Nobodys going anywhere", he said as he glared at them.

Ruby, as subtly as she could from behind the couch remover her phone from her pocket. She pressed the speed dial number one and placed it gently on the couch, hoping that they could hear what was going on....



Chapter 5

"Charlie, the report on the rest of the bodies has just been faxed through", Constable Watson informed her.

Charlie got up from the desk in her office and walked over to the door to where Watson was standing. She took the pages of the report off her and looked at them. She analysed the as much of the report as she could and then walked over to her desk and picked up an empty folder. She placed the report inside and walked back over to Constable Watson.

"Leave these on Angelos desk. He'll want to look at them when he comes back from the dive sight. Make copies as well, we need to make sure we have as much information about this case as possible", she says.

Watson nods at Charlie and makes her way back to the reception desk. Charlie returns to the incident reports she had been reviewing over. She picks up the near empty cup of coffee, finishes it off and pushes it to one side. She picks up her pen and continues where she left off in the reports. Just then...ring ring...ring ring...she looks down at her phone. The screen flashes as it continues to ring. She checks the caller ID and it says Ruby Calling. She inhales a large breath of air and then exhales. Part of her is worried that something is wrong and that Ruby is in distress. Another part of her thinks she's overreacting and it's just a friendly call. When she finally settles her nerves she presses the answer button and puts the phone to her ear.

"Hey Rubes, what's up?" she asks, trying not to sound worried. "Rubes, hello. Ruby are you there?" she says confused.

She pulls the phone away from here ear to look at the screen so she can make sure she that the call is actually coming through. She put's the phone back to ear and calls Ruby's name again, hoping for an answer.

"Ruby, answer me?" she says, but still no reply.

Just then she hears voices in the background..."please, just put the gun down ok, we don't want any trouble"...another more menacing voice begins to speak..."yeah well darling it's not about what you want, now sit down and shut up or I'll blow you all to hell". Just then Charlie hear's sobbing and an all too familar voice begins to speak..."please, just let us go we haven't done anything". Charlie's heart begins to race uncontrollably. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Panic, fear, dread and anxiety all begin to take control. She leaped out of her chair and bounded out into the main office area, keeping her phone in her hand with the call still open.

"We've got a hostage situation in Summer Bay caravan park. There's man with a loaded weapon holding three, maybe more people against there will. We need all available units and whatever back up we can get" Charlie barks out orders at all police officers in the station.

The minute she had finished the station became a buzz of excitement. Police officers loaded their weapons. Officers working the desks called for back up and everyone that was ready headed for their patrol cars. Just as Charlie was about to leave Angelo brushed pass all the exiting police officers and up to Charlie who was loading the gun she had never been forced to use in her career. Angelo looked at her with concern.

"Charlie what's going on?" he asked, trying to keep up with her as she walked out into the car park and headed towards a waiting squad car.

"Someone's holding Ruby, Geoff and Nicole hostage at the caravan park and he has a gun", she says. Her voice quivering as she spoke.

Angelo looked at her in complete shock.

"WHAT? Are you serious?", he asked.

"Yes Angelo of course I'm sure. I have to go I can't afford to waste anymore time".

With that Charlie hopped into the passenger side of the squad car and it sped of in the direction of the caravan park. Angelo looked on as the car rounded the corner. He called on his marine officer companion and they got into their squad car and took off after the rest of the officers.

As Charlie sat in the car she could feel herself clenching her fists so hard it almost cut off blood flow. She could still feel her heart racing. It felt like she was having a heart attack. In the few minuted since she received the call she couldn't believe all the different thoughts and scenarios that raced through her mind. Fear had turned into sheer terror. Sruby was her life. She couldn't comprehend anything happening to her. The thought of it was unbearable. Charlie had never fired a single bullet against anyone in her entire career in the police force. But when it was her daughters life at risk, choosing not to may be a price to high to pay.

The car reached it's destination and pulled up alongside the flurry of police officers and squad cars that were surrounding the place. Passers by and van occupants in the park looked in in horror at the sight before them. Charlie got out of the car and began to run towards the officers who were standing the closest to the house, one of which was the Chief of Police who had arrived in town before the fiasco broke loose. From the corner of her eye Charlie could see Miles and Jai talking to a police officer, a look of shock across their faces. But she was too concerned with saving Ruby to really pay any notice to them.

She stopped running and instead began to speed walk up to them. She climbed under the police tape that was put up to keep people out of the area surrounding the house and bareged her way past the other officers and made her way straight up to the Chief.

"What's going on, why aren't you doing anything? There's people in their", she argued as the Chief of police looked at her.

The Chief lowered his head and began to rub his face with his hand that would suggest something was not right. He looked at Charlie.

"A couple of seconds after we arrived we heard gun fire. As far as we know two shots were sounded" he says in a tone that would suggest his fears that would suggest his fears for the hostages.

Charlie's heart sank. Who was shot? Was anybody shot? Is Ruby alright?. She felt Angelo's presence behind her but did not acknowledge him. Instead she looked at the house, tears welling up in her eyes. She began to run towards the house. Angelo and and two othe rofficers chased after her. Before she could any closer Angelo caught up with her and grabbed her from behind. Wrapping his arms tightly around her and holding lifting her slightly so her feet no longer touched the ground. But Charlie fought his grip, Trying desperatly to free her arms from him. But she couldn't all she could do was sob.

"My daughters in there", screamed as everybody looked on. At that moment her legs collapsed from under her and she fell to the ground, Angelo clutching her close to him, trying to comfort her. Gently kissing the top of her head. He then picked her up and held her against him for support and they retreated back behind the police tape. The Chief of Police then began to gather officers around and from where she was standing, Charlie could hear him.

"Ok, this is a very sensitive situation. We need to get those hostages out of there now. The priority is them. The gunman can come out in a body bag for all I care. Alright let's clean this mess up, move!" he ordered. With that the the city officers began to prep themselves in SWOT gear. Preparing themselves for whatever outcome.



Chapter 6

The noise of the gun fire echoed through the house for what felt like an eternity. The noise of shattering glass and screams was like something out of a horror movie. The tension in the house was unbearable. Ducked down behind the couch Geoff, Nicole and Ruby huddled down as close together as they could possibly get. All three of them terrified at the nightmare they were living out. From his standing spot, Derrick stood laughing. Laughing the laugh of a twisted mad man.

"Haha. You're making this too easy", he said, a grin on his face as he spoke.

Just then from outside he could hear the screams of a woman, a woman who was sobbing. He made his way over to the back door of the house with quick, quiet movements, making quick glances over his shoulder to make sure the three hostages were going to try any heroics. When he got to the door he peered out through a gap big enough for him to get a proper glance outside but small enough that he wouldn't be seen.

To his horror he could see an entire police force outside, blue lights flashing from squad cars, police officers everywhere and a policewomen who looked hysterical, just a few feet away from the house. He heard her shout..."My daughter's in there"...as she struggled against the grip of another officer that was holding onto her from behind. At that moment the penny dropped for Derrick. Somebody had made the call from inside the house. But who? He could feel his blood beginning to boil as he looked over at the couch. As he finally began to lose control he made his back over to his three hostages. He flipped the dining chair over as he knocked it out of his way with blunt force and stood hovering over them, pointing his gun over each of them, back and forth.

"So which one of you made the call, huh?", he asked with a cold tone. "ANSWER ME!!", he shouted, But he got no answer.

He looked at the couch and say a phone sitting on it. He picked it up and opened and looked at them again. He opened up a message on in the phones inbox that read 'Hey Ruby, need to talk, Charlie x x. When he saw the name Ruby he swallowed hard. He flung the phone against the couch and bent down.

"So which one of you is Ruby then?" he said, glaring into their faces. "Is it eeny, meany, miney...moe", he said through gritted teeth as he grabbed Ruby by the wrist and pulled her up onto her feet. "So you thought you'd get away with it did ye? Well tough luck sweetheart, your luck just ran out".

Ruby winced in pain as he gripped her wrist as tightly as he could, almost snapping it. She cried, tears streaming down her face. The fear apparent all over her face. Derrick flung her across the floor. Nicole and Geoff screaming at Derrick to leave her alone, but there words falling on deaf ears. As Derrick made his way over to the kitchen Geoff suddenly bounded over the couch and ran straight for Derrick. But Derrick turned at the last second and pointed his gun directly at Geoff. Laughing at him.

"Haha, aww look at the knight in shining armour, out to protect his princess", he said. From behind he heard Ruby get to her feet and he turned and looked at her. He moved back a couple of feet so that he had both of them in his sights.

"Please, just let us go" Geoff pleaded with him.

"See I can't do that because your friend here called the copers and now I've got no way out of this", he said, the anger building up in his voice.

"Look just let her go if you want to make someone suffer then do it to me", Geoff exclaimed.

"No", Ruby yelled.

Derrick looked at Geoff, then looked over to the couch where Nicole was now standing, watching what was unfolding before her. Then he turned back and looked at Geoff and saw him staring at Ruby. He he ket out a large breath.

"Alright, you wanna suffer?" he said as he raised his gun, "your wish is my command".

Derrick cocked the hammer of the gun and at the last second turned...bang..........

"NO", Nicole screamed.

Geoff stood there stunned, his breathing intensifying. He looked at Ruby and watched as she collapsed to the floor. He dove for her to break her fall. He wrapped his arms around her and cradled her in his lap. He put his had over the wound trying to stop the blood. He began to shake her.

"Ruby, Ruby, come on stay with me...Ruby", he said over and over.

Ruby lay in Geoffs arms, She could feel pressure on her chest and could feel a rush of blood at that one spot. She felt herself getting sleepy but she forced herself to stay awake. She began to cough and splutter blood. Her lungs were filling up. She wanted to scream but it felt like allt he energy had left her body.

Derrick stood there laughing down at Geoff as he held Ruby in his arms. Nicole felt to her knees and began to sob. Clasping her hands over her mouth. Out of the corner of her eye she was startled to see two heavily suited figures appear throught the front door. They walked in, making no sound and rounded the corner to Derrick, who's back was turned. The first man held a gun to Derricks back.

"Don't move", he shouted at him. "Your under arrest, drop your weapon, get down on your knees and put your hands behind your head" he ordered.

The second officer passed by him and rushed over to the spot where Geoff was holding Ruby. He knelt down to check her pulse.

"The culpret had been aprehended. We need the paramedics in here right now. We have a gun shot victim, I repeat we need emergency medical assistance", the officer ordered over the his walkie talkie.

The first officer cuffed Derrick, pulled him up onto his feet and led him out the back door, passed Geoff and Ruby out to the waiting police van.

Ruby coughed again. Pain was beginning to set in. She could feel herself drifting in and out of consciousness. She closed her eyes. She could hear a familar voice...Ruby, Ruby, come on wake up, baby wake up...She opened her eyes. Staring down at her was Charlie. Her eyes bloodshot, welling up with tears, worry lines creased across her forehead. She placed her arms under Ruby, relieveing Geoff. She pulled her daughter into her embrace and held onto her tightly. Removing one arm and placing it firmly over her wound, She kissed Ruby on the forehead. A long kiss that was marked with fear for her daughters life.

Ruby began to move her lips as if trying to speak,

"Ssssh", Charlie said "don't try to speak, just stay with me".

But persisted. She tries once, twice, three times to form what she wanted to say but couldn't. Then with one big painful breath she uttered one word.


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