Hey

This my first NYPD Blue story. I own nothing to do with the show or any of the characters. I just always liked Mary and I thought that they got rid of her WAY too early.

Dirt Is Your Lover Now

It was always cold here.

Andy Sipowitz shivered as the wind blew through the graveyard, huddling deeper into his overcoat, his hands buried in his pockets. He came here, every year, for the last four years, to mark the date, to remember his friend and his partner.

Maybe if he had been happier, stronger himself, he could have kept more of an eye on him, could have kept Danny Sorenson on the straight and narrow. It's not like he hadn't seen the warning signs. Bouncing from Franco to Russell, then getting himself mixed up in that mess after she left.

Poor kid. Getting himself in, out of his depth, then everyone had left him to hang in the sun.

"You gotta make your own mistakes." The words spoken aloud, however softly, were the only noise in the silent graveyard, didn't exactly comfort him, sounding like the hollow excuses of a man who knew he'd let his friend down.

Four years and he still felt responsible.

The chill wind blew, cutting through him, as Andy walked through the graveyard. He knew the way to Danny's grave, as well as he knew the way to Sylvia's, to AJ's, to Bobby's, to the marks of all of his other failures. He usually had time alone here, time to think, just to reassess, to….

She knelt in the dirt, in front of the gravestone, wiping years of neglect and wear from the stone, something he had always forgotten to. Fresh flowers, vibrant and alive, obviously brought by her, carefully arranged in front of the grave, a splash of colour in the otherwise desolate graveyard.

He recognised her. It had been four years since she had been a fresh faced cop in uniform, four years since she had transferred to anti crime to start her plain clothes career, but she hadn't changed that much. Her hair was a little longer, her face a little fuller, but she was still the same beautiful girl that had captivated Danny.

"Hello Mary."

His voice startled her from the daze she had fallen into. No matter how busy it was, everyone always thought they were alone in a graveyard. She glance over her shoulder, blinking as she tried to focus against the weak sun. "Hello, Lieutenant. I wasn't expecting you to be here."

"I come here every year, Mary. He was my friend and my partner."

"I know."

"You aren't the only one who misses him, you know."

She looked away from, her attention focused on the name carved into the marble. "I know. He tried so hard to be a good man, to be someone that you'd be proud of." Discreetly she tried to wipe her eyes, wipe away the traitorous tear, snaking its way down her face.

Andy hunkered down next to her, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I was proud of him. He was a good man."

"Why couldn't she have left us alone?" Mary made no effort to hide the bitterness in her voice.

"She's had problems of her own, Mary. Things hit pretty hard after Danny." Even after all this time, he still protective of Diane. She didn't deserve Mary's hate for something that Danny had done.

Mary wiped at her eyes again, smearing tears across her face. "She should have left us alone. We were happy together."

"I know." Andy's voice caught and broke in his throat. "He should have stayed with you. You were good for him, kept him sane. But she doesn't deserve that. She had her own problems."

"The day of the funeral." Her eyes gleamed wetly in the weak sunlight. "The day of the funeral, I sat at my sisters and I cried and I HATED him for making me feel that way. I hated her for taking him away from me."

"The night of the funeral." Andy cleared his throat, his arm still around her shoulders, her body slumped against his. "The night of his funeral, I was at Pats for the first time since my son died. I had them all lined up, all sitting in front of me on the bar. I even had the first one in my hand."

He could remember the smell, his mouth watering with the memories.

"What happened?"

"Connie."

She took another moment, pushing herself upright, mumbling her thanks, busying herself by adjusting the flowers she had brought. "You know I got my promotion."

Stupid question. He was a Lieutenant. Of course he knew.

He hid a smile and played along. "Really? You got your shield? Bet you're glad to get out of Anti-Crime."

"Yeah."

"Where did they send you?"

"Homicide at the 11th."

"The 11th." Andy frowned, his brows contracting heavily over his hook like nose, running through his mental list of veteran detectives. "That's a big step for a rookie detective."

"I know. I hope I don't screw it up."

"You wont. I've seen your work through Anti Crime. You'll do okay, Mary, I know you will." He hesitated, just for a second, not wanting to make the same mistakes as he had done in the past. "And if you need to, you can always call me."

Mary smiled, letting his offer settle between them, his praise easing her doubts and her nerves. Danny had always spoken highly of Andy, had always wanted to measure up to him, despite the drinking, despite the allegations, despite everything.

And now, Andy was a Lieutenant, while Danny rested in the cold damp earth.

"What about Connie and the kids?"

"Good. They're good." He started to fumble in his coat pocket for his wallet. "You know we've just had another boy. We called him Dan…" He stopped suddenly, his wallet in his hand, knowing he was rubbing salt in her wounds.

Before he could stop himself, he handed her his wallet, with the photos in it.

She flicked through them quickly, her eyes lingering on Connie's exhausted face, on the tiny bundle wrapped in her arms. "You've got a beautiful family, Lieutenant."

He grunted, taking his wallet back, tucking it back inside his coat pocket, eyeing her curiously. "You seeing anyone at the minute?"

"No." She laughed at the expression on his face. "Don't get me wrong, Lieutenant. I haven't been sitting at home, crying myself to sleep over Danny Sorenson. Just not seeing anyone at the minute."

"That's good. He wouldn't want you to be unhappy or miserable. You're a good girl, Mary. You deserve to be happy." He glanced at his watch. "I'd better be heading on, Mary. Connie's expecting me home for dinner."

"Yeah me too. I've a few things to do before my promotion comes through officially."

He stood up and offered her his arm, helping her to stand, looking away while she brushed the dust from her pants leg. "It was good to see you, Mary. I'm glad we could talk like this."

"Yeah, me too."

"I meant what I said. You have any problems over at 11th, give me a call and if there's anything I can do…"

'I owe you both that much.'

"I will. Thanks Lieutenant."

"Good to see you, Mary." Andy turned and started to walk off. Then he stopped, looking back over his shoulder at Mary, still standing in front of Danny Sorenson's grave. "He'd be proud of you, Detective Franco."

The End of Dirt Is Your Lover Now