Disclaimer: Not mine. And the summary is from The Fray's How to Save a Life.
A/N: Thoguht of this while singing How to Save a Life to myself. Little weird, I know, but that's how it wrote itself. If it's too confusing to follow at all, tell me, I'll try to explain it.
You're being interrogated. In your own interrogation room. By rats in suits. It's a dream, no, a nightmare. You are a little boy again, with rats, bigger than you are, bearing down on you, their pointy noses and beady eyes threatening you, chasing you, cornering you. This time, instead of tag teaming you, only one is in the room with you. The bigger one. You don't have a chance; it must be three times your size. And you're tired, so tired. Your bones are jelly, your muscles rubber. Why won't they let you sleep? You're sure the rats must have gotten your friend already, back in the alley, they came up from the sewer and shot him.
Wait. No. The rats didn't shoot your friend. You shot your friend.
No. That wasn't it either. The man you were chasing shot him.
Yes, that's it. The man you were chasing shot him. But why is the rat in a suit here? What's he asking?
Detective, you and your partner were chasing Shevlin. He turned a
corner and when your partner continued around the corner, Shevlin
shot him. Then what did you do?"
"I shot Shevlin." You're talking to the rat now. Why are you doing that? You know. The rat is controlling you with his eyes. All you have to do is look away. Look away. Look away.
"Did he aim his weapon at you?"
Look away. Don't talk. He'll kill you if you say the wrong thing. Run away. Run back down that alley, in reverse. Maybe you'll get your friend back. Stop him from turning that corner. Make him wait.
"Detective Munch, did he aim his weapon at you?"
Keep running. Look, a window, on your right. Maybe you can break it. Gun in hand, elbow first. It shatters, raining glass down on your tired, thirsty body. Can't stop now. Keep running, down that hallway.
"I'll understand if Shevlin pointed his weapon at you, that's what you're trained to do. Shoot. But I can't help you if you shot him in revenge."
The rat is chasing you. Quick, turn the corner. Don't talk. Don't say a word, don't even scream for help. Then more rats will come and you'll never make it out alive. You'll be dead before you hit the ground. Bam. Dead. Just like that. Before you can blink, you'll be dead. A light bulb smashed on the ground, glass littering the pavement and the light never to be on again.
"Your partner goes down, it's scary. He's your other half, functioning without him is like breathing in water. I'll understand if you shot Shevlin to even out the score, but I won't be able to help you. You took a man's life without a second thought. That's a split second decision made in the heat of the moment. There's no time to check and balance yourself before you pull that trigger. I need to know if he aimed his weapon at you, Detective."
Don't listen to him. He's trying to trick you. Lead you to the left, where more rats are waiting to feast on you. Keep right. Don't stray. Right. Right. Right.
"I have all day, Detective. I'm sure you'd like to see Detective Tutuola, but I can't let you do that until I get your statement, and I can't get your statement unless you to talk to me."
It's a trap. No, don't go there. That's the left, where you are is the right. Keep right. You'll be fine if you keep right.
Look, up ahead, there's Shevlin, running toward you. Behind him is your friend and then you. Shevlin turns left, your right. Turn right, now. Stop him. Jump on him. Get his gun. Disarm him, like they taught you all those years ago in the Academy. That's right. You've got him now. Your friend stops running and the other you catches up as both stare down at you. They're trying to figure out what in the hell is going on. Maybe they don't know you're on their side. You reach to your side for your handcuffs, but they're not there. Where are they? You look up at the other you, eyes pleading, words stuck in your throat. Understanding, he kneels down and snaps his own handcuffs over Shevlin's wrists and you both get up, dragging Shevlin with you. You hand Shevlin to your friend and he looks at the both of you, every shade of confusion painted on his face.
You look behind you, to where the rat is gaining. The other you follows your gaze and then looks back at you, into you. He nods and you smile a bit before running to your right, down the alley. Looking up to the buildings on either side of you, the ones on the left say 'fear' and those on the right say 'blame' in large, blazing letters, glaring down at you, making your legs pump faster. You hear a gunshot as the other you fires his weapon and the rat falls, an unearthly screech tearing through the rat's vocal cords, ripping them to shreds as the sound meets your ears, making you clasp your hands over your ears. You stumble and then fall to your knees as the screeching continues for what seems like an eternity. Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop.
"He aimed his weapon at me after shooting my partner. I did what I was taught. I shot him. I did not do it in revenge." The alley begins to fade from your mind. The glaring buildings are falling behind you. But still, it's dark and damp and you want to be warm and in the light badly. So badly. So strongly. Keep running. Don't stop.
"Detective Munch, are you sure?"
"He aimed his weapon at me after shooting my partner. I shot him. I did not do it in revenge." If he asks you again, you'll repeat it again. You're tired. Home sounds good right about now. And bed. Oh, that sounds the best. Keep running. You can almost see it. Almost.
"All right. I'll be back in a minute. Don't move."
The rat is gone. It's warmer. There's light all around and look, there's Olivia. And Elliot. Captain. Casey. Olivia walks up to you, jogs actually, and you wonder how anyone could run when all your legs want to do is collapse beneath you.
"Where is he?" you're asking. You don't remember getting here, but you sure as hell remember why you're here.
"He's in surgery. They don't know if he's going to make it. I'm sorry, John."
You feel yourself slipping into that childhood dream again, the nightmare. Looking around, you feel as if you don't know anyone, even though you've worked with them for... how long? Oh, God, don't let me fall back in. Don't let me. Please. I'll do anything. Please, don't let me fall.
"Why don't you sit down, John." She guides me over to a chair. "Here you go."
"I wanted to be here. When they brought him in. But the rats came and got me. They made me tell them what happened. I didn't want to. They tried to trick me. Why did they do that?"
Dimly, I notice Captain and Elliot and Casey walking away, leaving me and Olivia alone. Just as dimly, I hear a little voice telling me to shut the hell up, she doesn't know what I'm talking about, how could she possibly explain it all to me? I can't even explain it to myself.
"It's the rat squad, John. You know how they work. Lock you in a little room and make you tell them what you did. They just wanted your statement so they could convince themselves it was a good shooting."
I lean back in the chair, my head against the wall where many other heads have rested, trying to catch a nap before the inevitable. "When he was talking to me... I had the weirdest dream. I was awake, but I could picture the whole thing as if it were a movie. I felt like a little kid again, and I was having a nightmare. A huge rat was chasing me down these alleys and dim streets. He kept trying to make me go left, but I kept telling myself to go right and not to yell or talk because then he'd get me. And then I saw Shevlin running towards me, and behind him was Fin, and then me. But there was two of me. One running away from the rat and towards Shevlin, and then the other one, running after Shevlin and Fin.
"And I knew, I knew that Shevlin was going to turn the corner and shoot Fin, so I ran faster and tackled him. I got him down good and then Fin ran up, and the other me caught up with him. They stared at me like I was an alien. I tried to cuff Shevlin, but I didn't have any handcuffs. The other me knelt down and cuffed Shevlin and we got him to stand and then Fin took him. It seemed like then the other me understood the me that was being chased by the rat. I ran to the right and heard a gunshot and then the rat screamed, this awful sound as it died. And then I was coming back and finally, in real life, I told them what had happened. And he left, and I was alone and it felt like then I was really awake. Like it had all been a dream, but I don't think it was. It felt so real."
Olivia isn't really one of those women that hugs her friends whenever she sees them, nor does she hug us at special occasions or anything. Only rarely will she hug us. But sitting there, in that horrible waiting room, at some unspoken hour of the night, with me scared shitless and feeling like a child, she leaned over and pulled me into an embrace. And not a quick, 'hey, how are you thing', the kind of embrace mothers give their children after nightmares. Exactly like that. I let her, too. I let her pull my shoulders and let my head rest in the crook of her neck and let her stroke my hair and let her rub my back. I let her hold me.