A/N: Da Ta! New story. And can I take a minute to proclaim my love for last night's ep? It was crazy. CRA- ZAY. Anywho - so here's my new story , and it will be unlike the previous - except for the whole shipping thing, because I am a shipping whore for B/A. Get over it.
Summary: AU. What if Alex and Bobby had met much earlier in their lives? What path would Alex choose? Basically this is my wandering muse wondering what if Alex had met Bobby before her husband? She worked Vice, he worked Narcotics - both units often work together, so what if their paths had crossed, hmm?
Disclaimer: I'm not making any money from them - and I don't own them. Juts playing in the pool that is NBC's
I twisted the card containing the information I needed in my nervous hands. The writing on it was probably screwed , but it didn't really matter now, since I was there. VED's Manhattan South unit. When I had gotten the promotion finally after two years out of the Academy, I had been excited and nervous and everything in between. Mostly though- I had been so damn eager to tell my dad. He had grinned, talking about how I was moving on up – and before I knew it I would be detective – and actually going places. My dad still to this day regretted his own decision to not go for his detectives. I frowned at the thought – I still hadn't voiced my own reluctance at the idea – but Vice was an exciting place to be. And if I wanted to get anywhere- which I did, just maybe not where Dad thought I wanted to be – then I needed to do my rota in Vice. Every female in the NYPD did, in the end.
I walked up to the front desk nervously, licking already dry lips and wishing it could be tomorrow or next week so these first few days would be over with. "Hi. I'm looking for uh.. Sargent Mike Malone?" The guy at the desk – pushing forty and clearly spent half his career with the company of donuts – rolled his eyes, and pointed a thumb over his shoulder.
"Upstairs, first door on the left. Welcome." He spoke this as if he had rattled off the same thing for days on end, and I walked past him muttering about the warm welcome. Jogging lightly up the stairs, I wondered briefly if I should have showed up in uniform. My brother Sean had warned me not to – but I felt oddly naked in a plain long sleeved shirt and jeans. After wearing a uniform everyday for two years- I felt stripped without it. Sean would probably laugh at me and welcome me to the 'real police work'. I found the door, and saw that it was slightly ajar. The writing on the glass indicated that it was indeed Mike Malone's office, but the lettering of Sargent had been rubbed out so it just read Sge. Taking a deep breath – this was it- I knocked lightly, and almost stepped back in surprise when the door jerked open in front of me.
"What?!" The woman who stood there looked pissed beyond belief, and I glanced around nervously, thinking she couldn't possibly be tat pissed at me, she didn't even know me. She was just an inch or so higher than me, with olive skin and dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her brown eyes literally sparked at me ash she stood glaring – but the shield she had hung from the chain around her neck clearly indicated she was a cop. "Well? Are you gonna just stand there or answer me?" Her voice was irritated and I snapped out of it quickly.
"I'm – uh Alex Eames – I'm looking for Sargent Malone-" She smiled as if amused by my stuttering and I cringed inwardly. Reaching out, she grasped my arm and pulled me in the office. Slamming the door fully shut behind us she walked behind the only desk in the room, a beaten up seventies model that was strewn with bits and pieces of paper, and had a colorful mug full of pens shoved on the edge. The room was slightly dingy, the walls once white – but not seemed slightly gray and forlorn. No pictures hung on them , but I did spy the corner of a frame behind the computer monitor.
"Ya found her. I'm Mike Malone – and you would be-" she pushed through the pile of papers finally spying a yellow personnel paper and waving it about triumphantly before sitting in the squeaky chair behind her desk and leaning back, putting her feet on the desk with a thud. "- Alexandra Eames – ah, my new girl." She grinned and transferred her gaze to me, her eyes running up and down my body once, and then twice. I felt a slight flush creep onto my face despite my best efforts not to, and she grinned again, laughing slightly. "Great – I love rookies." She muttered, pulling her feet off the desk and slamming them down to the floor with an expression of delight. She stomped her feet a few more times with an expression of satisfaction, and waved at the single chair in front of her, some horrible throwback that was probably red once but was now a muted rusted orange.
"Yes." I spoke quickly finally remembering to talk. "I was just transferred . I worked in-"
"Don't care." She waved me off with a frown. "Listen – you need to learn a few things. One always call me Mike or Sarge and that's it. You're one of two undercovers we have – the other one is Alicia Smith – you'll meet her later. We have four guys on our squad, and each of them is more of a pain in the ass than the last. They will make rude comments about the outfits- they will cat call, and generally piss you off beyond belief. But not one of them will let anything happen to you while you're out there. They're downstairs in the unit room. Conner, Jefferson, Deates and Richards. The most important thing you'll learn however, is that my word is law. I am a hardass, and I will bust you if you step out of line. If you don't we'll get along fine - hell I may even like you. Any questions?" She stood as she spoke and I stood as well, stammering but not managing to get an actual question out. She walked around me, and jerked the door open, stomping again really loudly. I walked behind her with a confused expression and she smiled back at me. "I like to let the boys know I'm coming that way I don't have to see anything I don't want to – or anything that would result in more paperwork for me. I hate paperwork."
"Really, I couldn't tell." The retort was out of my mouth before I could stop it and I paused, berating myself. Shit – like I couldn't keep my mouth shut for the first few days at least? Dammit.
"Yeah- you got that from my desk huh? Way to put those police skills to good use." She laughed as she spoke, and I sagged in relief at her words. She carried on forward, down the hall, pointing out things as she went. "Locker room – no separate one for the chicks, sorry about that. If the guys give you any real trouble kick their asses – as long as I don't hear about it. Break room, home of the worst coffee on the planet and literally no food. Any chance you're a domestic type?" She glanced back hopefully, and I laughed.
"Uh- not really no."
"Shit. Just once I'd like someone who is- we starve on our own." She shrugged and carried on down the hall towards the back staircase. "Detectives are through there- they're Homicide, we share the building, but they don't bite. Would make more sense for the city to have NEU with us- but why do things that save money and travel? That would be logical and the assholes that run this place are far from it. Down the very back there is our Captain – Daniel Hill. But don't ever bother him under any circumstances, got it? As far as you're concerned, I am Captain." By this point we had reached the bottom of the stairs and entered a large room down there. There were six desks, each in rows of three and currently there were four men sitting around one of them, talking loudly.
"Hey!" Sargent Malone- shit no, Mike – yelled out, and all four sets of eyes turned towards us. "This here is Alex. She's our new girl-" Suddenly the eyes were running over me and several comments were heard, along with a whistle. "Stop that assholes! Listen – she's new, and she'll be with me or Lish for the first few days. Lord forbid I leave her alone with you dogs – so – play nice with her, or I'll kick your ass so hard you'll be singing soprano in the shower from now on, got it?" They quieted down immediately and nodded. I glanced in shock at Mike – surprised and a bit in awe that someone so small inspired such respect. She slapped an empty desk next to her, and turned to me. "This is yours- do whatever with it- but keep in mind it'd have to be really impressive to beat Deates pinup collection over there." She waved a hand to her left and I saw the corner desk had was could only be described as soft porn photos lining the sides.
"Hey!" One of the men – a short burly man with red hair and innocent blue eyes – grinned. "It's art woman – don't forget it."
"You call me woman one more time, and I'm putting you on the street to catch the trannies Deates." She turned back to me, with a roll of her eyes. "Alright – so the short red headed perv is Deates. The tall one -" she pointed to a man who was well over six feet with close cropped sandy hair and twinkling brown eyes - "is Richards. He's been here longest- almost as long as me, but not quite."
"Yeah, I'm the only one with the distinction of seeing our Sarge work the street. She was smoking hot back then." He grinned and the guys around him laughed.
"What the hell do you mean – back then Dick? Screw you." She laughed as she spoke and one of the other men, a younger guy – all brown curly hair and a puppy dog face slapped him in the arm.
"She's got you there Dick. I dare anyone to say Sarge isn't still a shot today."
Richards glared at him and the puppy backed away slightly. "Shut the hell up Jeffs. You're just wetting yourself with excitement that you aren't the rookie anymore."
"Both of you shut up." Mike glared at them, and silence fell once more. "So where was I? Right Richards- we call him Dick for short- and not just cause he is one. And that is Jefferson – Jeffs. He was the newest til you showed up. Yo – where the hell is Lish?"
The last man – who looked to be in his late twenties and was practically so good looking you almost wouldn't believe it – stood up, running a hand through his blonde hair and grinned, showing off his dimples. He sidled over to us, shrugging apologetically at Mike. "She might have just finally succumbed to my charm and given up work altogether."
"Or she could be in the john, washing your latest attempt off." Mike frowned at him – but unlike the other times, she seemed serious – not a trace of amusement. "Don't make me kick your ass again Conner. No hitting on my girls." Turning she grabbed my sleeve again, as I stood there sizing up the men in the room around me. These would be the guys responsible for my safety in the future – and I wanted a good handle on them. Being dragged out of the room, I shivered slightly, somewhat unsettled by the feel of Conner's eyes on me.
Mike didn't say a word about it as we headed across the hall to another unisex washroom. Pushing the door open and walking through, Mike called out. "Lish – you in here?" A woman who looked to be just slightly older than me , maybe twenty eight or so to my twenty six, walked around the corner. She had pale clear skin, big hazel eyes and a mass of thick curly crown hair. She was also at least five foot eight and made me feel like the ugly duckling standing next to the beautiful swan. She smiled broadly at Mike.
"Had to get out of testosterone central for a bit. Is this the new girl?" She smiled even more warmly if possible and reached out to shake my hand – the first person in this whole damn place to do it. Of course she had to be beautiful and nice too. Sighing inwardly I shook her hand and grinned.
"Alex Eames. Fresh meat of the day, apparently." She released my hand with a laugh.
"I remember it well. A bit too well, actually. Let's not talk about it anymore. Mike- you leaving her with me?" Lish turned to Mike, who was waiting by the door, a touch of impatience in her stance.
"Yeah-" she grinned at Lish with a relieved air. "NEU is on my ass about that bust at the club last week. I gotta go give Stevens a call and tell him to screw off-"
"Are they sending anyone over?" Lish asked in a sly tone, and I frowned, merely watching the exchange.
"No- it's not that bad that they need to send him. Yet. But you damn well know he'll be coming by soon enough- all that action we caught down at 321 – they'll be begging us for help with the bust as usual." She rolled her eyes slightly, and turned to me. "Lish here is going to stay with you today. She'll take you through the ropes, take you on the oh so delightful shopping trip for your 'uniform' and tell you what beat you'll be working. Tomorrow night you'll start the real work. If you need anything, I'm always upstairs – unless I'm down here. Alright?" I nodded dumbly, not sure what to say and turned to Lish. She laughed at the expression on my face.
"It'll be ok. By the time I'm done with you today, you'll have embraced your inner whore. First thing though- we're gonna need to get this cut-" She fingered my hair, which was hanging in a single braid down my back. I tensed and she smiled sympathetically. "Sorry- but hookers don't walk around looking like Heidi. Come on – it'll be fun. A day out of this place at least- though we'll have to meet the boys for lunch. It's the rule so they can get to know you too. Don't worry though- I won't leave you alone with them."
The day had gone by with surprising swiftness. Lish was fantastically funny as well as being stunning and perfect. She made it hard to hate her – which was endearing and annoying at the same time. She was there when they cut my hair for it's long length to just below my shoulders. I told her about how, when I was a kid , my mother had refused to let me cut it much to my annoyance. It was her stake- her attempt to make me the girly child she wanted. I had hated it at ten, but had become used to it by high school, and was afraid to change it. She merely laughed and told me I didn't need the hair to prove I was a girl. The clothes would more than do that for me. And she was right. I almost wanted to die of embarrassment when I saw what she had selected for my undercover outfit. The skirt looked like it would wrap around a damn Barbie doll and the top – it you could refer to something transparent as a top – wasn't any better. The shoes had taken forever to find – but we achieved success right before lunch.
We entered the diner with a half hour to spare before the buys would arrive, so we settled at a table and ordered coffee to tide us over. Lish sat, smiling into her cup and telling me stories about stings – funny things that had happened. She didn't tell the scary shit though – even though we both knew it was there.
"So what about the unit? I felt like an idiot this morning- like I couldn't string two words together-"
"Don't be so hard on yourself. It's difficult to get a word in some days, between the boys and Mike." Lish laughed softly, her eyes twinkling.
"What about Mike? How is she as a Sarge?" My question was born of curiosity. Most females cops that went through Vice took off as soon as possible. It was just one of the rotas you had to do – but no one stayed.
Lish's face sobered and she stared at me a moment, before answering. "Mike is- she is a fantastic cop. I always bitch her out because she could go higher than she is- she just doesn't want to. She tough, but she's fair. And she really gives a damn about what we do- it's not just a job for her. She works way too long, and way too much. She hangs with us- but I've never seen her date. That's because of Mattie though – her daughter. She's four."
"She has a kid?" Somehow this came out more shocked than curious, but I had trouble picturing Mike with a child.
"Yeah- hard to picture huh? It always is until you see her with Mattie – then it's all clear. Mike had really good reasons for staying with Vice- but that's her story to tell. As for the rest of the unit- well, let me see. Deates is a guy. Basically- a man's man, but he's actually really funny and sweet when you get to know him. Dick is like the daddy. He watches out for everyone – Mike especially which pisses her off to no end. He talks a lot of shit – but is a fantastic guy to hang with. Jeffs is a baby, pretty much. He's sweet and over eager and everything that screams rookie. And Conner- well-" Lish broke off, a smile crossing her face "- he's a bit of a prick- but a well intentioned one. He's a womanizer – different dates every week, loves chasing skirts – but despite his bragging, he's never hit on any women he's worked with. And here they are, actually." I turned towards the door to see the group of men striding in, before spotting them and sitting down. Suddenly the table was crowded and noisy, filled with well intention jibes and teasing.
"Aww – I kinda liked the Heidi look Eames. What'd you cut it for?" Deates had sat next to me, and was grinning, his blue eyes teasing.
"Apparently it's not the 'streetwalker' look." I replied with a smile.
"There's a look? I thought having ti-"
"Shut up Conner!" Lish elbowed the man next to her and he gave a sheepish grin. He really was incredibly good looking – but you could tell just by looking that he was the type to avoid. The talk turned to getting to know you talk for a while – where were you patrolling, when did you graduate type talk, except for Dick – who apparently wore the fact that he was an Army transfer proudly.
I decided halfway through that I was going to like my co workers. They were fun, and apparently very close. They seemed a bit surprised that I wasn't very quiet at all – but I had more than enough experience making myself heard around too many men. Between my three brothers and father- lunch seemed more like a family meal to me.
When we arrived back at the unit, Lish and I sat at her desk, and she told me what would be expected. "Alright Alex – honest truth I was so nervous I thought I would throw up my first night. I mean, when I came in I thought hell, it's just standing on a corner right? Except it's not. There's a hundred other girls out there- so you have to have certain qualities. Be a bitch. For some reason johns love it, they eat it up when you treat them like dirt."
"Maybe because they are dirt?" I asked dryly, and she laughed.
"Second thing is be natural as possible. Try not to be uptight or mervous- and that's hard to get over. Third is this unit isn't like other units. We don't just go be bait and that's it. Mike expects us to do just as much of the police work as the boys. We investigate, we interrogate – those rooms are in the basement, with the holding cells – did Mike take you down there?"
"You'll see em soon enough. And the most important thing is to distance yourself." Lish's voice lowered as she spoke, her expression serious. "It's real easy to get too involved – you'll see girls out there that are beaten every week by the same guy, and keep going back. You'll see runaways and junkies, and children sometimes. We can't save them all – and you need to accept that before you start. Otherwise you'll never leave here." Her words echoed throughout my head the rest of the day – distance. I could do that right? Of course I could, I'm an Eames – emotional distance is like our family trait. All three of my older brothers did it successfully in their careers as cops. I could too.
As I packed my bag at the end of the day – and left with a smile from Lish and a warning the 'real work' would start tomorrow from almost all the guys – I walked out of the locker room with a satisfied smile. I had survived the first day – which was the hardest one, right? I was halfway down the stairs when I heard a voice.
"Yo Eames!" I turned to see Mike standing there at the top of the stairs with a bemused expression. "Welcome to Vice. Let's hope you survive." I smiled crookedly, and turned exiting the building. Hope I survive indeed.