Title: Second Chances
Rating: K+ (for now)
Date: May 2006
Pairings: Eventually Tracey/Chris, Kelly/Hector
Summary: Post-ep for "Blue Wall." Kibre and Ravell straighten out some issues after a tough case that's about to get tougher.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and am not using them for profit in any way, unless you count emotional fulfillment…
Author's Note: I'm well aware of the unorthodoxy of the pairings I've chosen, but they work for me, and one of the advantages of having only one season is that the TBJ canon is very broad with lots of room for creativity. Special thanks to Kait for being my beta.
The elevator doors slid shut behind her and she leaned against the wall, shut her eyes, and sighed. She felt old and tired.
She should have known better than to trust him with this. Cops. They're all alike. She remembered hearing that from Liz Donnelly the first week on the job.
"They don't like answering to us," she'd stated flatly.
"Us? ADAs?" Tracey asked innocently.
"Women," she replied, "It'll be even worse for you, being, well, Jewish." That was Liz: painfully, acidly blunt. Tracey almost flinched. She wondered what she was getting into.
But Chris was different than all those punk Irish Catholic cops she'd dealt with as a rookie. Ravell was reasonable, open-minded, committed to the job.
Maybe too committed.
Now Tracey, she chided herself, He practically apologized back there. Doesn't he deserve a second chance?
Being unforgiving, she knew, was one of her worst failings.
The elevator stopped and the doors slid open at the ground floor. Tracey walked, head held high, through the marble foyer. She just wanted to get out of there. To where?
She wasn't sure she could face the office, face pats on the back from the other ADAs, face Arthur hulking in her office door, reeking southern charm, offering his congratulatory words mixed with "I told you so-s." Arthur couldn't resist gloating.
She had won, but only by putting her friend on the stand. And Chris was her friend, despite everything, despite being her being hard on him. They respected each other. They each valued honesty.
She checked her watch – one o'clock. Well, she couldn't just throw away the rest of the day. Back at One Hogan Place, she tried to sneak in a side entrance, but Kelly ambushed her right away.
"Thanks," said Tracey flatly.
"So how did you get Ravell to change his mind about testifying anyway?" Tracey sighed, pursed her lips.
"We had a few words."
"You mean you read him the riot act."
"Come on," Tracey rolled her eyes, "Ravell was lucky I didn't charge him with obstruction or conspiracy. He doesn't want to be here and he makes that very clear." They reached the door to her office and Tracey moved to end the conversation.
"He did the right thing in the end," Kelly offered. Tracey paused pointedly.
"Don't you have a brief to prepare on the Kettlewell case?"
"All I'm saying is that you have to work with the guy. Did it ever occur to you that maybe his problem with working here is you?"
"Excuse me!" Tracey scoffed defensively. "What are you trying to say?"
"You can be a little intimidating. You push him pretty hard."
"So we can convict murderers. I'm sorry if he has problems taking orders from a woman, but this is a little bit more important, don't you think?" She said, a definite edge in her voice. Kelly tried to make her tone more conciliatory.
"It's all over now. You won. Don't you think it's time to straighten things out?"
"Have you got the phone logs for Kettlewell's office?" asked Hector.
"Sure." Chris began rifling through stacks of paper littering his desk. He had been out of the office more than usual working on the Tolbert case and his workload had started to catch up to him. "It's somewhere around here," he said. He backed up his chair and reached under his desk. "I think I put it under here."
"I'm not going to comment," Hector said with a wry smile. Chris got down on his hands and knees under the desk. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
Chris tried to stand, hitting the back of his head against the underside of the desk.
"Damn!" he cursed. He backed out and stood up, pressing a hand to his head.
Tracey was standing in the doorway, head cocked to one side, a look of curiosity written on her face. Hector stifled a laugh, turning it into a cough. She was wearing a black V-neck shirt and slacks with a bright red wool trench coat. Against the black of her hair and shirt, she looked pale.
"Detective…" she trailed off.
"Don't ask," he stated with annoyance, but quickly composed himself.
"Can we help you?" asked Hector. Tracey hesitated.
"I was here to see you," she said to Chris, giving Hector a pointed nod. He stood up from the desk.
"I was just heading out for some water," he offered. When he was gone, Chris sat back down, rested his elbows on his desk, and leaned forward.
"So what's this all about?" he asked. He looked tired and drawn. Tracey felt a sudden concern for him. She took a deep breath.
"Chris, I think we need to get some things cleared up. Are you free for lunch tomorrow?" He looked up at her, surprised and a bit apprehensive.
"Twelve o'clock. Café du Soleil," she suggested. He nodded.
"Great," she smiled. She so rarely smiled without sarcasm that the transformation shocked him. It lit up her eyes and face, made him forget she was exhausted, made him forget she was his boss. "See you there." As she left the office, she passed the old mail clerk, a balding man with a beer gut, sloppy tie, and Brooklyn accent.
"Frigid bitch," murmured the mail clerk. Chris stood sharply and approached the man.
"Hey. Don't let me catch you saying anything like that again," he hissed, glancing out the door. But Tracey was farther down the hall by the elevator and didn't seem to have heard.
"Come on. Give me a break. What are you, my mother?" The clerk was short, about three inches shorter than Chris, with stubble growing on his double chin. He smiled at Chris in that smarmy way that Chris hated. Chris wanted to smack it off his face. The clerk turned to look down the hallway at Tracey. "She your old lady?"
"My boss." The clerk smiled sympathetically.
"I know the type. Morticia Addams. All she needs is a good lay," he smiled again. "I'd do her." Chris grabbed him by the collar and shoved him up against the wall, anger pulsing through him.
"Get out," he said, warning in his tone. He stared hard at him for a moment before letting go. The mail clerk scampered out of the office, murmuring forced apologies, almost hitting Hector, who'd returned from the water cooler. Chris sat back down at his desk and pretended to busy himself in paperwork, trying to cool down.
Where did that come from? He wondered. Since when had he ever cared about the comments made about Kibre? Among the underlings in the office, he was one of her most vocal critics. He always respected her drive and commitment, but her personality was another thing altogether. And he knew she thought he was a cocky bastard. But when that jerk had said those things…
"What did Kibre want?" asked Hector, interrupting his thoughts.
"Lunch tomorrow." Hector sat back in his chair and leaned back, resting his arms behind his head.
"She's getting ready to fire my ass," Chris surmised.
"She say that?" Hector asked, incredulous.
"No, but it's in the cards. I'm not cut out to work for the D.A."
"You're a good detective," Hector said. "I think Kibre knows that." Chris shrugged. He hoped Hector was telling the truth. He needed this job.
Please constructive reviews only. Will post more soon and rating will likely go up.