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Hey and welcome back once again to the Fallon legacy! I got one last chapter out before school starts, whoo! Although that means that updates might get less frequent ^-^" Stupid school :/ Anyway, yeah, that's all I have to say! Enjoy!

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Dylan had left the theatre in a rush and leapt into her car. Much to her relief, Junior hadn't followed her outside and she didn't wait around for him to show up. She started up the car and drove away.
She had intended to drive straight home, where she could curl up on the couch and watch cheesy old movies all evening, but with a single turn of the wheel, it became apparent that that was not where she was going.

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Maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise to her when she found herself pulling into the parking lot of Sunset Valley's cemetary--it was, after all, where she had always gone when she was upset--but she was shocked to find herself there. It only took her a moment to get over her surprise, and then she ran again. She ran to the familiarity of the little spot between the two gravestones that she always sat in when she was upset, to the comfort of just feeling as though she were in her parents presence. She ran and then she collapsed, and she sobbed into her hands.
She was overreacting. She knew she was. She was being silly. But she couldn't help it. She felt as though her entire friendship with Junior had changed drastically. It would never be the same, she was sure. It had changed, and if there was one thing Dylan didn't like, it was change.

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After a few moments, she looked up at the graves before her and opened her mouth to say something, but she couldn't think of what to say. She sat there, opening and closing her lips over and over again as she searched desperately for someway to explain what was going on, but nothing came out. She hated feeling so vulnerable... So scared...
"Why do I feel this way?" she finally managed to squeak out. "Why am I so scared all the time? Why can't I be brave like you were? Why do I always run?" Her voice shook violently as she sat there.
And because she'd finally found the words to say, she finally manage to relax ever so slightly and cry.
Time always seemed to pass quickly here, and next thing she knew, she felt a hand lightly touch her shoulder, followed by a familiar voice. "Hey."
It wasn't Malachi, Dylan knew that even before she'd heard the voice. Malachi was always more panicked to find her, as though if he didn't get to her fast enough she would do something to join her parents beneath the ground. No, it wasn't Malachi. Dylan turned around to find her best friend smiling sadly at her and holding out a hand to help her up.

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Dylan, now feeling all cried-out, and just very tired, attempted a smile back, although she was sure it looked more like a grimace. It felt like one, at least. "Thanks, Taylor." She took her friends hand and was pulled to her feet. They didn't have to speak as Taylor led them over to a cold, stone bench a little ways away and sat them both down. "How'd you know I was here?"

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"Junior called me and told me you took off on him. I figured this was my best bet," Taylor replied. It was strange for her to see Dylan so broken and upset. She'd only seen her like this once or twice in their entire friendship and although she did her best not to show it, Taylor was genuinely caught off guard by this side of her best friend. "So he finally told you?"
Dylan didn't need to ask what Taylor was talking about, nor did she need to ask how she knew. All she did was nod.
"I'll take it it didn't go well?"
She looked up then and saw that there was a grin on Taylor's face. That was her best friend, never serious for long, always trying to lighten the mood. But Dylan had long since become immune to the contagiousness of Taylor's smiles, and instead just looked down and shook her head.
That was enough for Taylor's smile to vanish. "I'm sorry. Maybe I should've warned you or something..."
"It's not your fault."
They sat silent for a second or two, during which Dylan wipped away her tears and once again got to work on hiding this vulnerable side of her. By the time Taylor spoke again, Dylan was nearly back to her usual self.
But Taylor's words were enough to throw her off guard once again. "What else are you upset about?"
"Nothing!" she protested too quickly, and she winced at herself. "Nothing." She repeated it, calmer and slower this time, as though it would make it more believable.
Taylor wasn't buying a second of it. "Dylan, I'm your best friend. I may not have any of those fancy profiling skills that I've heard about, but I know you well enough to be able to read you like a book. What else is going on?" She lightly touched Dylan's arm and Dylan, knowing she could trust Taylor, leaned her head on her shoulder.

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"I'm scared, Tay," she said simply, quietly. Nobody knew how difficult it was for her to say those words, especially since she'd said them to Junior and it hadn't gone well at all.
"Of what?"
"Of falling in love... Of falling in love with someone who can leave me at any time..." Her composure was cracking again, and she could feel the tears once again stinging her eyes. She tried to blink them back, but she sniffled in the process, which Taylor heard, and caused her to begin to gently stroke Dylan's hair, the way her aunt used to when she'd wake up screaming in the night. The memory and the familiarity of the touch was enough to make the tears fall once again.
"This isn't about Junior, is it?"
Dylan had buried her face in Taylor's shoulder now, and she shook her head. "Who is he then?"
"His name is Ali... He works with Malachi..." She didn't need to say anything else there. Taylor knew what Malachi did for a living, and she knew what had happened to Dylan's father. The day she'd told Taylor all about her past was one of the two times she'd seen Dylan break down. She knew why she was scared. "We-we almost kissed, but... I couldn't do it, Tay... It was too much..."
Taylor just nodded. "Let's get you home, okay sweetie?" She only ever called anyone sweetie when she was trying to be comforting. Usually Dylan would protest being called that, she'd snap at her most likely, but she didn't. She just nodded and followed her best friend to the car. She'd come back tomorrow to pick up her own car, but right then she couldn't bear the thought of driving home alone.
Taylor, however, knew what she had to do, and once she dropped Dylan off at home, she went to do it.
***

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Taylor pounded her fist against the door a few times before calling out. "Open the door, Fallon!" She'd done this a few times already to no avail and she was getting sick of standing out in the cold, night air. She knew he was home, she could see the flickering lights from his television through the windows.

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Sighing, she raised her fist to knock again when the door swung open and instead of her hand being inches away from the door, it was now in front of Malachi's face.
Malachi was surprised to see his sister's best friend here. Truthfully, they'd never interacted much before, if at all. They'd met briefly, once, he was sure, which was probably why he was able to recognize her. It wasn't as if her pale blonde and blue hair and intense blue eyes were easy to forget. "Taylor?" That was her name, right? "What're you doing here?"
"What took you so long to answer?" Taylor asked. Her tone wasn't snarky, like what Malachi would expect from Dylan. It was actually quite pleasant.
"I just got home from a long day at work, okay?" Malachi answered. Once he and Ali had gotten back to the station, they had gotten a long lecture from the captain followed by an awful lot of paperwork. The second he had gotten home, he'd collapsed into bed and fallen to sleep, only to be rudely awoken by Taylor. "It was either you wait or I answer the door with no pants on. I figured you'd prefer the former." He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and tried his best to smooth down his bedhead. "So, what're you doing here anyway?" The truth was, Ali had been quiet all day, and Malachi was pretty worried about him. He didn't want to have to deal with his sister's best friend at that.
"I need to talk to you about something. It's about Dylan, sort of."
Malachi nodded for her to continue, a little concerned. "What's up?"
"Can I come in? It's getting cold out."

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"Oh, yeah sure." Embarrassed for not having thought of that himself, he quickly moved out of the way and gestured for her to come in. Of course, he only became more embarrassed when he remembered that his house was pretty messy. He'd never been a particularly neat person, and his living alone just tended to showcase that.
Fortunately, it didn't look like Taylor was going to do much more than stand in the enterance way, rubbing her arms to warm them up.
"You can sit down or something, if you want," Malachi suggested, despite the fact that he didn't want her to see the disarray that the living room was currently in. Taylor only had to peer briefly glance at the couches before forcing a smile and shaking her head.

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"No thanks," she said, before getting right into what she'd come here to talk about. "You work with some guy named Ali, right?"
Malachi raised his eyebrows at this strange question. Sure, Dylan had mentioned that Taylor was a bit of an odd ball, but this wasn't something he'd expected. "Yeah, he's my partner. Why?"

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"Tell me about him." She leaned up against the wall and looked at him expectantly, a smile lighting up her pretty features. She was so sweet and friendly that Malachi was honestly a little surprised that her and Dylan were such good friends. Oh well, opposites attract, right?
"Well, uh, he's a good guy, I guess. Follows the rules out in the field, but avoids paperwork." He honestly didn't know what she was expecting to hear, nor what he should say. He wasn't sure why she wanted this information, nor did he know whether Ali would be okay with him giving it out.
"Tell me something... Non-police work related." She smiled at him again and Malachi found himself talking again.

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"Um, I don't know. He likes to go to parties and stuff. A bit of a goof, I guess. Why do you want to know this stuff?"
Taylor shrugged and absently readjusted her bangs. "Just curious and stuff."
"Wait, you said this was about Dylan..."
"I'm getting there." Taylor stood up and in a second she was standing quite close to Malachi. That was another thing about Taylor: she wasn't one for respecting personal space. Her personal bubble was non-existant, and it rarely occured to her that other people weren't the same way. "How has he been lately?"

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Malachi took a small step back. There wasn't a lot of room in this small enterance way, but it was something at least. His ears had been turning red from how close she'd been standing. "He was really quiet today. He said he was upset about a girl."
For some reason, this made Taylor's entire face light up with a big grin. "Did he tell you the girl's name?"
"No..." This was just getting weird, he thought, raising an eyebrow at Taylor's excitment. "Wait... It wasn't you, was it?"
She shook her head. "Nope! But I know who it was."
Malachi's natural curiosity peaked at that. "Really? What's her name?" he asked. Not only was he curious, he also hoped that maybe he could help his friend make things right between him and his mystery girl.
Then Taylor spoke and all of those plans came crashing right down. "Dylan."
Malachi just stared blankly at her before he managed to find his voice. "Dylan? My sister, Dylan?" he repeated, all while cursing himself for having allowed Ali to drive her home those few days ago.
"Yep. Apparently they'd be hanging out and something and they almost kissed but then she took off. She seemed pretty upset about it."
Of course, Malachi's 'brother senses' seemed to go into high gear and he only heard one part of what Taylor had said. "He upset Dylan?"
"Not intentionally, I think. You said he was upset too, and--"
She stopped short when Malachi shoved past her. He was going to kill Ali, forget him being his best friend. He'd upset his sister, he'd hurt her, and he was going to be sorry. She wasn't just one of those girls that he played with before throwing away. She was important, and he was going to go remind Ali of that. With his fists.
"Where're you going?" Taylor had grabbed him by the arm and even though it would take Malachi almost no power to shove her off, he didn't. Something about her touch was almost calming.
"To teach that bastard a lesson about hurting my sister," he replied through clenched teeth.
Taylor stared at him before shaking her head. "Did you not hear a word I said? They're both upset about whatever happened. I think they really like each other! We just need to get them together somehow, then maybe they'd be happy again."
Malachi still hadn't shoved her hand away, but as he turned to face her, she released her hold. He wasn't barreling towards the door like a crazed bull anymore, so she probably had no reason to hold it there. "Have you met my sister? There's no way in hell we'll be able to get her to meet with Ali." Ali, however, was a different story altogether. Promise him free beer and good music, and he'd go anywhere.
"I have a plan, actually." Taylor was good with those type of things, which, according to her next few words, was something Malachi was going to learn within the next few days. "And I'm gonna need your help."

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