A/N: AU fic because Abby's there, but set sometime after Meldrick gets suspended in season six. H:LOTS isn't mine.


There was always a reason.

Some of them were more ridiculous than others, but there was always still a reason. The funny thing about this was that those reasons didn't always become entirely obvious until much later, when the incident that had taken place was nothing more than a faded memory. Something that would linger in the back of a person's mind, but never completely go away.

Of course, when one was a cop, things were a lot less likely to fade away, but that was just the way it worked.

Midnight found me at the Waterfront, where Abby was currently shaking her head at Meldrick, who had finally resurfaced after being suspended.

"I can't believe you," she said. "You get suspended, and the first thing you do is go cause more trouble. What the hell is the matter with you?"

"Didn't come by here for a lecture," Meldrick replied. "Don't matter anyway, 'long as we're getting somewhere."

"Tell you what, if Kellerman can't keep his big mouth shut, none of us are getting anywhere," I said. Abby turned to look at me.

"John, for heaven's sake, 'least you could do is talk some damn sense into this fool," she said, scowling in Meldrick's direction. He glared back.

"Ain't nobody said you had to like it. What the hell else am I supposed to do?"

"Keep your hands to yourself, for starters. You're lucky Georgia Rae hasn't pressed charges.

"Georgia Rae had it coming," I said, earning a glare from Abby. I ignored it and went on. "She and her brother have caused enough trouble in this fair city of ours, and you know it."

"You two are going to get busted back down to uniform," Abby muttered. "Meldrick, Captain Gaffney's already looking to get you back down on a beat."

Meldrick snorted. "Gee should've been the damn captain," he said. "You can tell Gaffney that he can kiss my ass."

"I did. He wasn't happy," said Abby, wryly. "Neither was Gee. He threatened to tell Rose if I keep causing trouble."

I laughed. "I wouldn't put it past him if it keeps Gaffney from banning you from the squad room," I said. "And in any case, it serves Gaffney right."

"Well, he's not out there, he just needs to shut the hell on up," Abby said. "Told him that, too."

"No wonder Gee threatened to tell Rose what you were up to," I said. "Would've paid to see Gaffney's face, though."

"So would I," said Meldrick. "Back down to uniform...I'll give him back down to uniform."

Abby gave him an appraising look and sighed. "The hell am I gonna do with you, Meldrick? You keep at it, you're gonna end up dead."

"Well, someone ought to stop Georgia Rae. If it ain't the cops, who else?"

He had a point, and both Abby and I knew it. However, given the exasperated look that crossed Abby's face, I could tell that this point probably made more sense to me.

"Somehow, I doubt anyone would bother," I said. "But I also think you'd be a lot more useful in an official capacity."

Meldrick smirked. "Well, sure I would be, if it's you somebody was asking."

"Whatever this thing is between you and Kellerman, you two had better figure it out," said Abby. "We're in the middle of a drug war. Last thing we need is partners at each other's throats."

"You don't even have a partner, Abby," I said. "Granted, you're right, but don't you think it's more important to stay on your side of the aisle?"

"Well, yeah, but Danvers and Conroy aren't the only ones working with you lot," said Abby, and then, to Meldrick, "Why'd you do it?"

"Think you got me confused with Kellerman. I didn't start this mess," said Meldrick.

"I didn't mean why'd you shoot Luther Mahoney. I know Mike did it, and I know why." Abby trailed off and sighed. "I meant why'd you go out there and cause more trouble."

"What else was I gonna do? Sit there and wait? I'm still a cop, even if I went and got myself suspended. I still got a job to do," Meldrick replied.

"Abby, things have been shot to hell since Mike shot Luther Mahoney," I said. "It was only a matter of time before his crew started offing each other."

"Hell, it's only a matter of time before they off Georgia Rae," said Meldrick. "You wanna know why, Abby? Because ain't nobody else got the nerve to try and get these people off the streets."

"By any means, then," said Abby, and she reached for the glass in front of her, taking a sip before going on. "Guess I can't argue with that logic."

"No, you can't," I said. "There's no point."

Abby gave me one of those looks that told both me and Meldrick that she could find one if she really wanted to. But both of us also knew that she wouldn't. Meldrick had already told her why he'd done what he'd done, and that was enough. There wasn't anything more that she or I needed to know.

"So, are you going to disappear again?" I asked finally. Meldrick sighed.

"Nah. Ran by the squad room; Frank told me Kay called looking for me. I'm gonna go talk to her."

"She's worried about you," said Abby. "Stay a while with her, will you?"

Meldrick nodded, briefly, and got to his feet. "I'll see y'all around," he said, and then he was gone.

As the door swung shut behind him, I turned to look at Abby.

"You talked to Kay?" I asked.

"No, Gee did. She called everyone looking for Meldrick when she couldn't get a hold of him, which is more than I can say for that so-called wife of his."

"I see," I said, and I really did. It made sense that Kay would be the one to start calling around; even though she was running with the Fugitive squad now, she still kept contact with all of us...particularly Meldrick.

None of us ever asked why, though. There were too many things for which the reasons were unknown. But there was always a reason why.

We just had to find it. And when we couldn't, well...we just kept looking until we did.