DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are
property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was borne from the Drabble Noir challenge over at LiveJournal Community svu100 and I liked the universe so much I decided to expand on it a little. big.Big.BIG. thanks go to aqua_blurr and heathers for their tireless beta work and putting up with my writing ignorance (former) and grumpiness (latter). Gracias, chicas!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
I see it every day.
There's always one getting booked, swaying left and right, expression switching from belligerent to apathetic in the blink of an eye. I see it when I roll their fingerprints, each digit like its own story that they study while I work. By this time it starts to sink in, they look around and see the Wanted posters next to the Stay In School banner and the Drugs Kill calendar. They shuffle to lock up and then they start looking at me like they can't understand why they're here. Wide eyes plead for forgiveness when the barred door slides shut and they wince under the resonating clang. Sitting carefully they look at their hands and I can read their thoughts as clear as comic book pages.
It's the sad reality that finds me here, my ass slowly going numb as the hours tick away in the tidy 8'x8'. I pinch the bridge of my nose. The smoke from the dwindling cigarette between my fingers circles my head like a noose. I shake my head and lie down on the thin mattress I'd been so graciously provided. I wasn't like the people I saw come in every day because unfortunately I remember exactly how I got there.
The proposition was simple. Whispered between heated breaths and moans, her request reached my ears and took a moment to register. It wasn't all bad. She couldn't take care of it because of her connection and I could because of my own. On the soft sheets of her uptown apartment, it seemed like some kind of kinky sex game.
"I want you to ice someone for me," she said, my lips warming her breast.
I didn't answer, instead dipping my fingers between her legs. There wasn't much for me anymore. The Job was stale, my life had ceased to move, like I'd been caught in a holding pattern. Like a rat in a maze, I walked the cold streets saving little old ladies from purse snatchers and flashing my badge at people who viewed it in disgust. I got home sometimes long after the sun had set and like a good little rat, morning found me back in the maze again. No one wanted the police anymore. We were racist, sexist, power hungry and corrupt. The city was coming apart at the seams, but no one seemed to care.
So all that remained was my life such as it was; my meager surroundings and the refuge of an old acquaintance who went places with her life and sometimes allowed me the pleasure of her company and body.
I looked out her bedroom window an hour later, my clothes already replaced and waiting for me to embark on the wet New York streets below. My shift started in half an hour. I glanced at the building across the avenue and blew a cloud of smoke around its image through the window. My holster lay in wait on the occasional table in front of me. I could leave like I always did. She'd understand, that's the way we work. But instead of slipping the gun onto my waist, I took another drag from the cigarette between my fingers.
"Who is it?" I asked. I looked back at the mess of sheets; her naked form has been blessed upon birth, I'd swear my life on it. Her dark eyes shined and she could tell I was hers to command. I'm pretty sure I was hers before we'd even met.
"You'll do it then." Her rough voice was thick with sex. I watched her approach me and I boggled not only at the swaying curves of her body, but the window beside me displaying her for the entire city.
"Why?" I asked.
"He has something of mine." She picked the cigarette from my fingers and brought it to her mouth. "So, will you?" she said before inhaling. Her free hand found that button I knew I'd forgotten to fasten on my pin striped shirt and her fingers brushed against my stomach.
My mind faltered when she scratched my skin and I watched her take another drag. Her angular face was flawless. "What other choice do I have?" I managed to say.
She smiled wide then and stubbed the cigarette out on the window sill. "Good girl," she whispered, her hand sliding beneath the waistband of my pants.
I knew it was wrong. I stepped out of the cab and handed the man a few bills and shut the door. He sped out of sight, past the swirling clouds of steam from the sewer grates. I stood in front of the tall grey building (like every other tall grey building that loomed over me) that announced its address like its presence was already that much better than mine: One Hogan Place.
I'd been here enough. Taking the steps in front of the courthouse two at a time and spending heated late-night trial briefings on the seventh floor, I could easily call this place my second home. I sighed, checking the small Sig at my waist that I'd bought on the street earlier that week. If there was one thing I learned while being a cop, it was how to be a criminal.
I looked across the street and spied a tall dark figure on the other side. I nodded at him silently and he began a short jog between honking cars. Henri Marcus was a petty thief who had no backbone and was waiting for his trial coming up in a month. He was easy to lean on (not to mention in need of whatever cash I could afford him) and agreed with little reservation to go along with me in my task. I followed him up the steps and through the large doors.
It wasn't difficult to make our way through the building. I grabbed Henri's arm roughly to complete the illusion of a cop bringing in a criminal to talk deal. Anyone we ran into brushed past with an air of apathy I don't think anyone actually looked at us. Just another two bodies walking the halls. Security shoved the sign-in book at me, busy with his Grisham novel; the spine cracked unmercifully. I signed the book (the wrong name and with my left hand) and continued on without a moment's hesitation. The building was next to deserted at this time of night and almost all the night staff knew who I was. Ordinarily I'd be concerned by that, but like the rest of the city, I was having a hard time making myself care. Besides, not everyone (including Henri) had a top prosecutor on their side.
This was like the quiet nights I'd sign in and stalk up to the seventh floor. Abbie's office wasn't spectacular. It wasn't in the corner and it only had one window. But it had a small leather couch which was perfect for fucking. The late nights meant there was no one in the halls to hear us, but we never made that much noise. Quiet whimpers and the soft squeak of worn leather was the soundtrack of the times when I had a life, when she would tell me she loved me before I took off down the hall again. When sex was recreation and not an outlet for frustration.
I double checked the nameplate on the door and handed the gun to Henri. "You know the deal." I nodded toward the door and pressed my back to the wall. Henri tested the weight of the gun and reached for the handle. I couldn't hear what he said once inside the office; I hadn't really told him anything in particular. We were going in, scaring a prominent member of the Manhattan DA into dropping a case, and taking off. That's what I told him anyway.
Two minutes later, I slid a pair of gloves onto my hands and pushed through the wooden door, the soft sound of it brushing against the carpet was loud enough to wake the dead. He was sitting at his desk, the lone desk lamp casting a warm glow on the pitiful old hand grasping at the small tumbler. He was I noted with an inappropriate smirk exactly the way Abbie said he would be.
His face was red with agitation and though I didn't know what Henri had told him, the frustration in his expression was obvious. Henri stood with the gun at his side and I mentally chided myself for getting a guy who'd never shot anyone. I stopped next to my less-than-useful partner in crime and took the gun from him.
My target's first words barely reached my ears before I leveled the gun at his chest. Even I was surprised at my unwillingness to hesitate or to even speak. I did pause, though, taking in the look on his face that shifted between confusion and fear. The scent of old books tickled my nose. The apathy in my head didn't match the beating of my heart, but my aim never wavered. Why did this seem so natural? I felt comfortable there, the warmth of wood and books.
"Why?" was the question he chose to ask. Was it me? Was it that condescending way he treated cops?
"Nothing personal, Jack. You have something that belongs to her." My voice was remarkably even and cold.
"What? Who?" He sat forward, his heart an easy target. My eyes narrowed and I envisioned the red sight laser, pointing directly at his chest.
"Carmichael wants a bigger office." His expression was all I needed to confirm his ignorance about the entire setup. I glanced at Henri who stared at the gun like it promised him the meaning of life. "Go," I said. My wrist jerked when I pulled the trigger. I watched Jack's body hit the back of the seat, twirling it slightly to my right. Henri, with his wide eyes and once-innocent face, took off down the hallway and I supposed right into the waiting arms of the semi-capable security guards.
I didn't flinch when the door swung open and a blonde woman burst in without flourish. Her eyes were wide and her skin paler than I imagined it would be under normal circumstances. I could almost see the blood disappearing from her face when her brain finally registered the scene.
"Mr. McCoy!" she said, half with the concern that her boss was wounded and half with a frightened helplessness like she'd lost a lover. While her back was turned, I held the gun under my arm as I picked the gloves from my hands and tucked them in my pocket. I took a pen from the desk and slid it through the trigger guard.
"I'll get help," I said and disappeared out the door.
The cold seeped into my bones here; a chronic, aching chill. My knees felt the weight of my elbows, but I ignored the dull pain. The entire room felt heavy with its grey concrete walls; mildew seeped through the cracks. I flicked the burning cigarette between my fingers.
I tried to forget her face, that voice. A dark seductive presence that crawled into my mind and nestled there. The smoke that curled around my head reminded me of a time before, tangled in twisted sheets and relishing the soft curves of southern comfort.
"Am I interrupting?"
I expected the sultry drawl to incite more than a wanton shiver through my body. "Everything looks different from this side." I got to my feet.
"I'm terribly sorry about all this," she purred, her eyes fondling the stripes on my shirt.
I stopped before her. "You're not." The cigarette bounced as I spoke. "But I appreciate you stopping by."
She reached through the bars and pulled the cigarette from my lips. I watched her watch me, her dark eyes closing as she inhaled. "So it's done?"
I smirked. "The look on his face was priceless."
"Good." She took another drag before handing the cigarette back, her fingers lingering. "Serves him right."
I leaned in close to the bars and glanced quickly at the guard stationed down the hall. "So when do I get out of this place?"
"Oh honey," she chuckled and I thought I could almost see some kind of sympathy for my poor pathetic soul. "What would it look like if I freed the dirty cop that murdered my predecessor?"
"You're not serious."
"Sorry, baby." She kissed me through the steel bars. "No one fucks quite like you, though."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?"
"Makes me feel better." She smiled. "I'll see you around."
I watched her turn and followed her hips to the door. I took the smoke from my mouth and grabbed the bars. I'd give her a few hours to get settled, think about how she was going to deal with the press in the morning and maybe watch some television. Once midnight rolled around, I'd call the guard and tell him everything. After all, it gets lonely on the inside.
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