Disclaimer: All rights belong to Wolf Films.

Author's Note: My reaction to Jesse L. Martin's upcoming departure, so expect my usual speculative fare. Besides, I always wanted to address Jack and Ed's lack of friendly interaction in the most recent fare ("Tombstone" notwithstanding).

Timeline: Post Season 17-based.

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A stalwart, middle-aged man trudged his way to a metropolitan park bench. He leaned alongside a lamppost, white snowflakes landing on dark skin and hair. "Why couldn't the dude have picked someplace warm?"

He eyeballed the overcast skies, bustling pedestrians, dreary edifices and corroded dumpsters. "Don't you just love the typical New York City winter day, Detective?" a jagged male voice uttered.

His attention turned to the speaker: a gangling, mature gentleman. "Man, Jack, you look pale, even for you. I guess your new D.A. gig must have you running ragged, huh?"

"At least, you spared me a vampire joke, regarding my new pale complexion."

The two sat on opposite ends. "Give it a week, bro."

Jack narrowed his eyes. "'Bro'? Maybe I should call you 'Edward,' then."

The detective's spine shot up. "Nah, way too formal."

"Occupational hazard these days…, Ed. Expect a month or two before I can dare say 'Eddie.'"

His mouth was gaping. "You never call me anything other than 'Detective.'"

"First time for everything, I suppose."

Ed clutched the collar of his black overcoat. "Well, you called this meeting, so what is it you want — a new development on a case?"

Jack copied the motion with his green jacket, inhaling sharply. "No shop talk this time."

"Then, what?"

"A little bird told me that you're thinking about a transfer to a desk job."

"That little bird is going to find herself shot."

"What makes you so sure it's a she?"

Ed's forehead was knitted. "It's obviously Lieutenant Van Buren — whom else do we both know? Unless, it's your former assistant, Connie, as she's still on the job and I work with her."

The elder veered off. "Since you're the actual detective, I'll let you deduce that on your own. All I want to do is to try my best to talk you out of it."

"You wouldn't be the first to try, man."

"I'm sure I'm not, but what kind of D.A. would I be if I didn't make the attempt to interrogate you? You're a good cop, and you need to be out there."

He crisscrossed his forearms. "The kind of D.A. that would go out of business fast, I'd imagine. And thanks for the kind words, by the way."

Jack picked at his earlobe. "So, as the kids say…, spill."

"'Spill'? What are you — a fifteen year-old girl?"

His nostrils flared. "You're fortunate that you can still hang around with girls your own age, Detective; I don't have that luxury anymore."

Ed curled his lips. "Hey, wasn't that the point of last year with Nina?"

"I wasn't referring to Detective Cassady."

He shrugged a shoulder. "Sorry, it's still a sore subject with me. She had one hell of a temper; so did I."

"If you want to talk about it, we can." Jack extended his palms.

"Nothing to talk about. One day, she's here, and the next — boom — you know how it is."

Nudging closer, he briefly gripped Ed's arm. "Yeah, I would know, with my own revolving door of assistants. However, after saying 'hello, goodbye' almost every year, you can get real tired of it."

"That's not why I want a transfer, Jack."

"Then, why?"

Ed scratched at his goatee, sighing. "Because I'm starting to feel a little too old for this nonsense."

"That's not like you — I always thought you'd go down in a blaze of glory."

He snorted. "Was I ever that young?"

"Detective, you care to tell me what this is really about?"

He paused for a moment, jaw tightened. "My old man. Last year, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. So, if I'm shot at again, what will happen to him? Boy, I must sound like a real sadsack to you."

Silently, Jack's hand was over his chest. "I see; that is certainly good motivation to slow yourself down."

"It's not something I want many people to know — it's easier just to say I'm old."

"Image is everything."

Ed eyed a passing bicyclist. "Sorry."

"It's a fact of life, Detective — I know I'm old." He flicked at his short, gray locks.

"Would you like me to compliment you on aging gracefully?"

"I'll cite you for contempt if you do. I'm now the D.A., so I can actually do it this time." He expanded himself.

"Does that line ever work?"

The prosecutor smiled softly. "One time, it did, in the distant past."

"Yeah, well, I don't know why I told you about my dad."

"Ed, you have never told me anything about yourself before."

"It's why I showed up — we don't, exactly, chat much, do we?"

Jack inclined toward him. "Why do you think I called you? Anymore, I thought we were good acquaintances."

Ed nodded downward. "It hasn't been the same since Lennie died."

"Yeah, that old cop sure was something, alright. You'd be surprised how… connected you'd be when he was around." He suddenly shivered. "I don't know about you, but I obviously misjudged the weather, here. You want to carry this to someplace warmer?"

"Oh, yeah. I know a man has to look tough, but he doesn't have to stand out in the cold, like an idiot, either."

The pair arose, spying a cozy Chinese restaurant. "You up for some bad takeout, Jack?"

"Bad Chinese food is what I live for."

"You know, you should turn that into a sound bite one day."

"No, it would sound like a bad Nixon joke."

"Hey, at least, the dude went to China." Ed lightheartedly slapped Jack's shoulder blade. "Come on."

The senior observed the younger officer marching across a congested crossroad. "Yeah, he did."

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