A/N: A quick recap... in this world, Alex and Bobby spent a year undercover trying to find justice for Ross' death. Upon their return to the NYPD, Alex accepted the position as captain of Major Case. Logan was brought back to the department as Bobby's partner. Stanley Maas is now Captain Maas and he's the Deputy Chief of D's. Logan is in a relationship with Liz, and of course, Bobby and Alex are together (because how could it be any other way?)
So...let's get started.
"How is that possible?"
"Are you doubting the veracity of the report?"
I was staring at the verdict from Logan's requalification efforts at the shooting range.
Nine days post gunshot through the hand.
"I'm…impressed," I admitted.
"Yeah, Liz says that all the time," he stated with a broad grin.
"Detective," I admonished, although I couldn't keep from smiling at him.
"Sorry, Cap," he said unrepentantly. "But yeah, it's official. You have to put me back on full duty."
"I'm sorry. I…have to?"
He looked down at his shoes for a minute and then glanced back up at me, and he almost reminded me of Bobby with his boyish sheepishness, and I made a mental note to ask Liz how in the world she ever denied him anything when he looked at her like that.
Although maybe she didn't.
I wouldn't blame her.
"Captain Eames," he began smoothly. "Can I please go back to full duty?"
I gave him a nod and then sat down on the front edge of my desk and said, "Call your partner in here."
He smiled fully again, and then turned and went to the door.
"Hey, Goren!" he called out unceremoniously across the squad room, and then he looked back at me expectantly and asked, "So you have a case for us? Because I've been riding that desk for a week and I'm starting to get saddle sores."
I could think of a few things to say to that remark, but every single thought would be very un-captain-like, so I bit back a smile and waited for Bobby to come into my office.
It only took him a moment, and then the two of them stood in front of me with the anticipation of long-time farm-leaguers who'd just been called up to the bigs.
"It's only been a week," I reminded them with amusement.
"What?" Bobby asked innocently.
"And not even that long for you," I pointed out. "You were helping Yuille and Wyatt all last week, so what's with the barely-checked excitement?"
"Helping isn't the same as doing," Logan said, answering for Bobby.
"And he's been on LUD duty," Bobby added, returning the favor. "We're ready to get our own case."
"You're ready to steamroll over the boss in an effort to find justice at any cost necessary," I corrected.
"Um…okay, maybe, yeah," they both mumbled together.
I held Bobby's gaze for a moment longer than I probably should have because admittedly, sometimes I have a hard time looking away. He's just so…unbelievably sexy and even though we've been together since last summer, I still get that same wave of pleasure through me just from looking at his face.
But work has to take precedence sometimes, and this was one of those times, since he and Logan were still staring at me, salivating at the prospect of a fresh mystery to solve.
So I put them out of their misery.
I reached back and picked up a file from my desk and then held it out to them.
"Okay, here's what we've got. Two victims last week, both young females, one in SoHo and one in Queens. The 9th and the 114th started haggling over jurisdiction yesterday because the geniuses managed to piece together the fact that the murders are related, and then early this morning a third girl was found."
"Where?" Bobby asked as he thumbed through the meager file. It contained the ME's reports on each of the victims, but not much more since we hadn't retrieved the data from the investigating precincts yet.
"Lower east side, so this guy's all over the map."
"7th precinct," Bobby mumbled with a nod. "So three jurisdictions…probably not an accident. Dump sites or murder scenes?"
I knew his question was rhetorical because we had no way of knowing the answer to that just yet.
But I'd bet my lunch money that he'd know it before the end of the day.
"So at the risk of sounding like less than a genius," Logan said. "What's the connection?"
"Post-mortem mutilation," Bobby mumbled. "Acid on the fingertips and the teeth were smashed all to hell."
"So we don't have any ID's?"
"No," I answered. "Except for the third girl. And she's the reason why we got the case. The ME just pinned down her identity, and Moran gave me the official word ten minutes ago."
"Who is she?' Logan asked, because her name wasn't listed on the reports that I had in the file. At the time the reports was printed, all three victims were still listed as Jane Does.
"Sally O'Hara. She's the daughter of a Connecticut senator."
"Oh, so this thing's going to be low-key," Logan said smartly.
"How'd the ME ID her?" Bobby asked me.
"Her DNA is in the system. Apparently, she's adopted and she registered on one of those websites where adopted kids search for their biological parents."
"We need to get ahead of this thing," Bobby said. "The press is going to be all over it."
"Uh huh," Logan agreed. "We need to ID those other two girls…we have to track their movements, find out if their paths ever crossed…"
The two of them went back and forth for a moment, mapping out their strategy and then paused and looked at me.
"Get going," I said encouragingly. "And try not to piss anybody off just yet, okay?"
They both nodded and appeared sincere about their response, but we all knew it was just a matter of time.
With a case like this, there were going to be secrets and egos and posturing…
"Thanks," Logan said to me, then he glanced at Bobby and added, "Ready?"
Logan headed for the door, first as always, and Bobby was close to his heels.
"Logan, I'm glad you're back," I said. "I wouldn't have wanted to give this case to anyone but the two of you. So get it done, okay?"
"You got it, Boss," Logan answered as he slipped out of the room.
Bobby paused in the doorway and looked back at me.
"You know I could've worked it alone, right?" Bobby said quietly once we were alone. The door was still open, but the activity in the squad room was such that no one would ever hear him. "I mean, if he hadn't re-qualified. I still could've handled it for you."
"If he hadn't come back, I was going to work it with you," I told him with a small smile.
Because that was what had first popped into my head after I hung up with Moran.
The murder of a senator's nineteen-year-old daughter?
Not to mention the likelihood of this being a serial killer.
Oh, yeah. I was definitely putting Bobby on the case.
And with Logan still on light duty, and my other detectives all knee-deep in cases…and yeah, okay so maybe it would've been a little self-indulgent, but whatever.
But now Logan wasn't on light duty.
Bobby stared at me for a moment before dropping his head to hide his grin, and then he looked back up at me, in a move similar to the one Logan had used on me earlier and said, "Are you sure you don't want to challenge the legitimacy of that marksmanship report? You know, maybe send him back to retest under another instructor?"
"While you and I are out catching the killer?"
"It's scary how easily you read my mind," he said on a chuckle.
Working side by side with Bobby again…I never get enough of it.
But I wasn't going to do it at Logan's expense. He'd obviously worked hard to rehab his hand in order to be able to fire accurately again so quickly.
And of course, Bobby was only teasing, too.
This was us now.
This was how it worked, and we were both happy with the status quo.
"You'd better go catch up to him," I said with a nod towards the window. "He just stole the keys from your desk."
Bobby looked back and saw Logan heading for the elevator with the pilfered keys in his hand.
"Keep me up to speed!" I called out after him as he hustled across the squad room.
He gave me a wave over his head and then hopped onto the waiting elevator.
With those two back in the game, I shifted my focus onto the next priority.
Wyatt and Yuille and the Judge Schuler case.
The addition of another body with similar forensic evidence had thrown them for a loop for short period of time but the last I heard, they were planning to pick up their prime suspect this morning.
"Wyatt, Yuille!" I called out from the doorway. When they looked up, I gestured for them to come into my office, but then I saw Captain Maas get off the elevator and start heading in my direction, so I added, "Give me a few more minutes, Detectives. Have you already gotten the warrant?"
"It should be here any minute," Wyatt answered.
"Okay. Don't go anywhere until we talk, okay?" I instructed them as Maas approached.
"If you're in the middle of something, I can wait," he offered.
"No, it's fine. Come on in."
We went into my office and I closed the door behind us. Despite us both being captains, he was still my superior officer, but as was typical of him, behind closed doors the hierarchy was ignored.
He didn't act like he owned my office.
In fact, he didn't even sit down until I suggested it, but after I waved him into a chair, he sat down heavily.
"Tell me about this O'Hara business. Did you put Goren on it?"
"Of course. The chief said he wanted the best," I replied.
"Yeah, but he's flying solo. I'm not sure if that's…"
"He's not," I interrupted. "Logan's back."
"Already?" he asked in surprise. "He's been released to full duty?"
I nodded and picked up the marksmanship report and handed it to Maas.
"He brought this in right after I got the call from Moran about the case," I told him. "And the stitches are out, he's off the pain meds…he's officially good to go."
"So Goren and Logan are on it," he said with a small smile.
"Don't sir me in here, Alex," he said. "I just came down to make sure you had it covered. I thought maybe you might try to slip back into the field on this one."
"It crossed my mind," I admitted.
"Well, make sure you stay on top of it," he stated firmly. I was surprised by his directive, and felt slightly offended that he considered I might do otherwise, but then he added, "Don't take that wrong. I'm just saying that the press is going to eat this up. And guess who the commissioner's decided will be the face of the investigation?"
I rolled my eyes and sat back in my chair.
"Uh huh," he continued. "His newest, most TV-friendly captain of Major Case. He's going to issue a press release in another hour or so, and he's directing all media to contact you for interviews and updates, so that's why it's important for you to know every detail. That way you can decide what gets said and what gets held back."
"Isn't that why we have a media department?" I asked in annoyance. "Come on, Captain. I've got a department to run. I don't have time for…"
"He wants you to make time. And I'm supposed to pick up any slack that results from your on-camera duties. This is going to be national news, Alex. And you're going to be the face of the NYPD."
I stared at him incredulously as I absorbed this latest development.
I couldn't think of much that I'd want to do less than give even one interview, let alone the kind of daily Q&A that a case like this would demand.
"Captain," I said, shaking my head. At his raised eyebrow, I corrected myself and said, "Stanley. I can't stress enough how much I don't want to do this. Isn't there anyone else…I mean, you can do it, can't you?"
He barked out a laugh and leaned back comfortably in his chair.
"Did you hear me say the commissioner wants a TV-friendly face? Sorry, Alex. This one's on you. But you'll be great."
"I'm not so sure," I mumbled. I pulled open my desk drawer and eyed the jumbo-sized bottle of Excedrin that Bobby had bought for me, supposedly as a joke. I pulled it out and popped the top on it, and then shook out two pills into my hand and said, "I can feel the headache coming on already."
"You can probably get away with not doing one today, since the commissioner will be handling it," he said, still looking amused. "But tomorrow, they're going to hit you up, so I hope your detectives find something for you to talk about."
"You mean after they visit all three precincts for the case files? It'll take them half the day just to drive out to Queens and back," I grumbled, and then I decided that I needed to suck it up and quit complaining. "Okay, you know what? It's fine. I'll handle it. So how are things with you?"
"You mean have I crawled inside of a bottle since my wife threw me out and changed the locks, and then started up a smear campaign with the kids?"
"She's trying to turn them against you?"
"Apparently I wasn't distraught enough about losing her, so she wants to make sure I'm properly upset," he said with heavy sarcasm. "But it doesn't matter. They're adults. They know the deal. And I've been thinking about your offer."
At Logan's suggestion, I'd offered to sublet my apartment to him. He needed a place to live, and I needed to keep my address. No one would think twice about Maas using a PO Box, especially after the rumor mill picked up the fact that his wife was divorcing him, but me…if I tried to get a post office box, the gossip would start flying about why I didn't have a useable physical address.
"And?" I asked him.
"I think it sounds like the perfect solution for both of us."
We chatted for a few more minutes and then he left, making me promise to call him if I found myself getting snowed under.
After he left, I started to call out to Wyatt and Yuille again, but my cell phone rang.
It was Liz.
"What's up?" I answered.
"I just wanted to let you know that I've ordered the transfer of both of last week's victims related to the O'Hara murder," she said. "One of them was slated for Potter's Field today, and I didn't want to run the risk of losing track of either of them."
"Potter's Field? They've given up on her already?"
"That's what it looks like, so it's a good thing Major Case picked it up."
"You're not kidding," I agreed. "Okay, so, you're going to take another look at them, right?"
"Yes. O'Hara, too. I'll send for her as soon as the ME finishes up, which should be any time now. Although you know, the ME working on her is top-notch, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to get anything more."
"Well, there's top-notch, and then there's Dr. Rodgers," I replied.
"Thank you, Captain," she said, and I could hear her smile.
"So...do I want to know how you helped Logan rehab that hand? Because I've never seen anyone get over a gunshot wound so quickly."
"Don't let him fool you. He's still in some pain. He's just working around it."
"I figured. But as long as he can still shoot, I'm not going to knock it. His timing couldn't be better."
"So he and Bobby got this case?"
"Yeah. I'm sure they'll be paying you a visit soon enough. When do you expect to have them all in your morgue?"
"Early afternoon at the latest, although I'll still need time to examine them."
"I know. It's just…this one's going to be…"
"A media circus, complete with glory-seeking, ass-kissing brass who want to use three dead girls as a stepping stone to fame and fortune?" she posed.
"Yeah," I said, chuckling uneasily. "Except guess who's the ass-kissing brass assigned to media duty."
"I can't imagine who Moran would…wait. You?"
"Ladies and gentlemen, step right up. It's gonna be a hell of a show."
A/N: Side note - if you haven't read RussellHolmes' "Doing the Work", then go immediately from here to there and check it out. It's really, really, really good :)