A/N: This was inspired by a recent NYPD Blue marathon I had. The quotes at the start are from '4B or not 4B', the second episode, and it just sort of stuck with me. I'm posting this before I lose my nerve, as I'm not sure it's in character, so any comments at all will be welcome. Just be gentle with me.

Disclaimer: Not mine in the slightest - I'd have hung on to David Caruso and not let him leave if they were mine!


"I raised that kid!"

"Which kid?"


The word echoed in the locker room, as Sipowicz and Fancy stared at each other. Andy scarcely remembered the rest of the conversation, only that Fancy suggested he might just stand a chance of getting back out on the street. He hadn't meant to be so honest. God, he hadn't even consciously thought it to himself.

After all, he'd been a lousy father to his own son. It wasn't as though he was up for father of the year. He was so far from that, it was funny. Except it wasn't funny, he always meant to be a good father, before the drink got in the way. He walked back into the squad room, and Kelly looked up instantly.

"All right?"

Andy smiled to himself and laughed shortly. The kid would have to ask. He always had to ask. He grunted a reply, unwilling to show too much.

"I gotta get going," Kelly said as he walked out with Martinez. There was another kid coming up good from what Sipowicz could see. Martinez would be a good cop. But Kelly….Kelly was another matter. He was Kelly's first partner, his only partner since he got his gold shield, and he'd so far been a lousy example. Except the kid didn't think so. Kelly fought for him, Kelly argued that he still had it in him to be a good cop. Hell, Kelly would argue with anyone, but this was different.

He stared across at Kelly's desk, remembering the first day he'd met him. Kelly had just been given his shield and was so brim full of excitement and enthusiasm that Sipowicz nearly had to puke. The bright blue eyes had been shining with fervour, the desire to see justice done, and Sipowicz had despaired. Another justice-junkie, another kid who would never cope. Another kid who would be broken down by the inability to solve everyone's problems. Five years later, Kelly hadn't broken, Kelly hadn't given up. The worst of it was, the dark cynical side of Andy said, the worst of it was he was starting to infect Andy. The booze had dulled the pain of losing every time to these slimeballs, but Kelly was starting to get through to him now.

Now Andy wanted to win, wanted to see justice done. And it was all John Kelly's fault. The biggest problem, Andy knew, was that he didn't even mind. He wanted to fight this battle again. That was John Kelly's fault too. But Andy still couldn't blame him.