This is for danielfan, who wanted to see what happened when Hardcastle went back to see McCormick before taking him home. Thanks for the idea.

Missing Scene:

McCormick let out a sigh of relief as he left the infirmary. Thanks to the nurse and the correctional officer, his sore, obviously infected hand, had been cleaned, medicated and freshly bandaged. Back in the holding cell minutes seemed like hours and hours like days. Just as McCormick was expecting supper, hearing the food carts leaving the kitchen, an officer arrived at his cell, "Get your things."

"Things?" McCormick asked.

The officer replied, "Put you mattress, linen and blanket out here. Get you personal items."

That was enough information for McCormick to know he was out of there. Quickly doing as he was told he was then taken to change into his own clothes, get his personal items and be sent out the side door. Grateful for the turn of events that sent him out that door, he looked up to see Hardcastle and Frank waiting for him. The hard look from them both told McCormick that he wasn't out of 'hot water' yet, but at least he was on the right side of the bars, at least for now, time would tell about for how long.

Hardcastle noticed a fresh bandage on his hand, "How's the hand?"

Not chancing giving too much information inside, McCormick only replied, "Cleaned up."

At that moment, the officer in the Control Center said, "McCormick."

Mark turned around.

"Nurse Jordan sent these with you to make sure that yard wound heels properly." The officer didn't have a clue what was going on, only repeated what the nurse had told him.

Taking the envelope of antibiotics, McCormick said, "Tell Nurse Jordan that I really appreciate this." He turned to see questions in Hardcastle's and Frank's eyes. He only replied, "Never mind."


The ride to Gull's Way was made in near silence from both parties. Only after reaching the den did Hardcastle say, "You know, you almost took things too far this time. Right?"

"I know, Judge..." McCormick's sentence was interrupted.

"No you don't know! Not only did you break your parole, but you broke into a FEDERAL building for Christ's sake! I'm good, McCormick, but this was something I was NOT sure I could get you out of. Do YOU realize that?" Hardcastle asked.

"I do now. Judge look, I'm, ..." McCormick started.

"Sorry?" Hardcastle finished. "Sorry? Sorry doesn't even begin to cover it!"

McCormick said, "I know. Look Judge, ..."

He was cut off again, "Never mind all that, how is the hand?"

McCormick worked it a bit slowly, "About the same, but the antibiotics should clear it up."

"That you got for a yard work injury?" Hardcastle asked.

McCormick said in total 'ah', "Did you really want me to go in there and tell them it was a dog bite?"

Hardcastle replied, "Well, no."

"Besides, the nurse knew I was lying. She said she'd rather me lie to her than loose the hand." McCormick explained.

"Well, I can't say I disagree with her, but McCormick! You have got to stop being a free agent. I've got to know what is going on so that we can plan this stuff BEFORE you get in so deep I can't get you out. This should prove to you that if it is on the up and up I'll help you, but you can NOT just go around breaking parole and committing FEDERAL crimes and expect me to get you off Scott free." Hardcastle said.

McCormick looked at the Judge, "Judge, I didn't expect you to do anything. I hoped not to get caught at it. I also knew what I was getting myself into IF I did get caught." Allowing himself to get a bit too close to the nerve he said, "Thanks for sticking your neck out for me and Teddy."

"I wasn't the only one sticking their neck out for you. Teddy was right in the middle of it, though even Frank admitted that he wished that it was you wearing the wire instead of Teddy." Hardcastle said.

"Judge, I hate wearing a wire, but I'll do it without complaining in the least for a long while now. Trust me I'd rather been wearing that wire than behind those bars." McCormick said.

"Just remember that next time." Hardcase said.

McCormick said far too quickly, "There won't be a next time!"

"Right."Hardcastle said, "That is until the next 'Next Time'."

McCormick shrugged his shoulders with a slight grin.


Thanks for reading. Please review.