Standard disclaimer: The Law & Order universe and all characters contained therein are the property of Dick Wolf and NBC.


Enemy

They take the boy away like they take the mother, two half-shells hollowed by the same disease, the detritus of an old corruption. Logan stays and watches them go. He stands against the wall as though it is his to guard, the mother's file whispering like a snake between his hands.

Barek looks at him. The open door is a trap at her elbow.

"'Rum punch,'" he says, and the corner of his mouth twitches.

She does not pretend to misunderstand. "You wouldn't have told me if you didn't want me to know," she says. She thinks but doesn't say, And even if you didn't, I still would have used it.

He looks at her, his face unreadable. "I didn't tell you," he says dryly. "Partner." And she knows he's heard her anyway.

Seams

He sees things that she doesn't, and she sees things that he doesn't, and between the two of them there is a patchwork of dark and light, overlapping pieces that she can't quite find the seams to. She can't help but profile him, because it's as natural as reading the words on passing signs ("Joe's," "5 for a dollar," "Special tonight only") but there's a difference between adding new data to her repository, and analyzing it.

"If I were ten years younger," he says to a flirtatious witness. Outside, he tells her, "She's lying."

"I know," she says, because she's spoken to the woman's housekeeper, and then thinks to ask, "How did you?"

"She had the necklace in her front pocket. I could see the chain," he says. "Why? What'd you see?"

Fiction

At some point she realizes that he's playing a part for their benefit, living up (or down) to the myth of that one act, a decade gone. "So he's got a sense of humor," Deakins says, while she sits in her chair and contemplates the ash of an imperfect profile.

She thinks at first that she is the butt of the jest, but then she watches behind glass as her partner cradles a witness in his warmth, exposing his own old wounds to coax out the stumbling confession. And then watches as he walks in the door, walls raised so thick and tight, no light can sneak in through the cracks.

"I think he's our guy," he tells them.

"I think he is," she says to Deakins, and doesn't mean the same thing.

Communication

"Thank you," she tells the man in Cantonese. "If you think of anything anything else, please call us." She hands him her card. Logan leans in.

"Hey," he says. "How do you say, 'Stop, police?' in Chinese, anyway?"

"Stop, police," she articulates carefully, and explains to the puzzled witness, "He was wondering how to say--"

"How about, 'You're a lying sack of shit, and we have a witness who can recognize that ring you're wearing?'" Logan asks.

Her gaze drops to the man's hand just in time for the witness's arm to jerk, and for Logan to send him flying face-first into a wall. The man exhales sharply and winces. Too late, she goes for her gun.

"Never mind," Logan says cheerfully, twisting the man's fist behind him. "How do you say, 'What's your sign?'"

Guard

He is not watchful for his own sake, but for his partner's, though it takes another pair of eyes to see the change when bodies migrate out of the office and settle into the field. "It's kind of cute," Eames tells her, while Mike roves the squad room, trapped by walls. "In an, 'I holster my penis right next to my gun' sort of way."

"Mm," Barek says.

"As long as he doesn't misdraw when it counts," Alex says, because she's Alex.

"That isn't necessary," she tells Logan, when he holds the car door for her. "I can take care of the door by myself."

"You don't like gentlemen?" he asks, but returns to the other side anyway, his gaze restless. Looking for the shooter, she thinks, except the sidewalks are empty.

"Bad luck's not a disease," she says. "You can't have it, and you can't catch it."

His glance is saturnine. "Don't look at me," he says. "I'm going to live forever."

She's not sure why she suddenly feels pity.