Disclaimer: I don't own Law & Order: Criminal Intent or its characters…

Author's Note: This is a random episode tag for The Healer. It takes place (theoretically) sometime during or just after the events of the afore mentioned episode. It does not have grounding in probability of occurrence or characterization…but it was a fun thought! Enjoy! (maybe?)


Detective Carolyn Barek went to the sink to wash her hands. She smiled at the woman who was currently doing the same. Detective Alex Eames returned the genial gesture before she turned the faucet off, shook her hands over the sink and made for the paper towel dispenser mounted on the wall of the women's bathroom at One Police Plaza.

Carolyn Barek debated with herself as she washed her hands and tried not to focus on the intense itching her inflamed skin was crying out to be relieved from. Should she ask the other woman for help? She seemed like a nice person and her back itched oh-so-much!

"Uh…Alex?" she asked hesitantly. The woman turned to face her after depositing the wadded up paper towel she had used to dry her hands in the trash. She gave her a questioning look. Well, I'm committed now, Carolyn thought. "Could you do me a favor?"

The quizzical look spread across the petite detective's pretty face deepened. She must've picked that up from her partner, Barek credited the infamous detective, becoming nervous over the appraising stare.

"Sure," Eames said, shedding the critical look and regaining her friendly manner. "What do you need?"

Carolyn walked past the other detective and got a paper towel to dry her hands with. Be strong. Be strong. You have to ask her now or else she will really think you're crazy. Oh God, it itches! She focused on the paper towel, embarrassed at the request she was about to make.

"My back really itches," she told the other woman, avoiding eye contact. She tossed the paper towel into the trashcan. Well, she would have to look at her in order to gauge her reaction. She looked up at the face of her would-be-savior. Amusement accompanied confusion upon her features.

"You want me to scratch your back?" Alex questioned, smiling in a manner which was almost a laugh. Barek was caught off-guard by the response.

"What?" she said before she caught up with the comment. "Oh, no. I have a rash" she pulled a bottle out of her pocket "and was wondering if you'd put some of this on by back because I can't reach. It's been itching all day and driving me insane!"

She paused for a breath. It was easier to get it all out at once. Alex just stared at her blankly for a few moments. From what she had known of the detective, Barek appeared to be a soft-spoken woman of few words and not too excitable. This was a different person, one driven mad by affliction, specifically an itch that would not go away. She took the bottle from the troubled woman's hands.

"Where do you want it?" she asked.

Without a word, she turned her back to Alex and pulled her shirt up to reveal the offending skin. She didn't have to voice her 'thanks,' the look of relief in her eyes had said it all. She resisted the urge to sigh as she felt the cool clear liquid mollify her burning skin. Unlike her partner, Carolyn had at least the sense to have gotten the clear kind of calamine lotion. Of course, everyone knew that Detective Mike Logan had gotten poison ivy from the curse of a Voodoo witch, so what did it matter if he had little white spots all over his neck and arms? She on the other hand didn't especially want anyone to know about the rash, or where she had contracted it from.

"This looks like poison ivy," Eames said, thankful that Barek's back was to her and the mirror so that she could not see the smile that spread across her lips. The only way she knew of getting poison ivy was having some bare skin come in contact with the plant's oil. And it could spread after initial contact with the plant; the oil could remain on the skin, couldn't it? And was it just coincidence that this rash would appear on the lovely brunette detective's skin just a few days after her partner broke out?

Oh Shit! Carolyn swore at herself. You just couldn't keep your mouth shut, suck it up and deal with the annoying itch! Well, she asked for help when she knew she'd probably get scrutiny. She just hoped that Detective Eames was a good confidant. She didn't look like a gossiper, anyway. The only one she could see the detective telling would be her partner, Goren. But he would be the worst of all, with his piercing, analyzing looks.

"Yeah," she finally conceded the fact. There was no point in denying it. The other female detective already obviously knew what the rash was.

"Where'd you get it?" Alex hazarded a question. She knew it was none of her business and that the infected woman was already embarrassed enough about it, but it was amusing to her on some level. Plus, there was the curiosity that she never could seem to deny. Maybe that's why she loved being a detective.

"I don't know," Carolyn outright lied, knowing the other woman would easily identify it as a lie, but hoping that she'd take as a hint that she didn't want to talk about it. Damn you, Logan. If you had just gone to see the doctor like I told you, before we had stupid hot and sweaty sex, maybe I wouldn't have an itchy tortuous rash covering most of my body! She cursed her partner knowing it was just as much her fault, but felt better for it anyway.

She pulled her shirt down and Alex handed her the bottle. Her savior from an itchy hell headed for the bathroom door. Something seemed to occur to her though, for she stopped and turned to face Barek before exiting the ladies' room.

"Maybe you got it from Detective Logan," she suggested innocently while thinking, She got something from him alright, because she's infected bad. That's right, Carolyn. Don't think I haven't noticed the way you look at him. And the way he looks at you. She added aloud before the bathroom door shut behind her, "He has a pretty bad infection going on there."