A/N: Muse of mine has taken up working in yet another H:LOTS AU, this one having been dubbed the "Beautifully Broken" AU, along with muse's directive that this particular AU focuses on Det. Bayliss. It's separate from the "Fire and Blood" AU that focuses on Det. Kellerman, but ties into the "Life Everlasting" AU, which focuses on the entire first shift, rather than a specific character.
This having been said, one can consider this a missing scene fic to fit in somewhere with the main set of fics already set up for this particular AU. It's set a few days after the last scene in the H:LOTS pilot episode, "Gone for Goode", in which Bayliss picks up the Adena Watson case. H:LOTS isn't mine; on the other hand, Lindsay Chandler is, and there you have it.
"Thought you said you knew what you were getting into."
The comment isn't really what he needs to hear at the moment, but for some reason, hearing it is better than hearing nothing at all. He wandered to the other side of Baltimore as soon as shift ended, determined to get away from the lights and sounds of the Homicide unit, but the stupid thing about it is that he knows he's going to have to go back. There isn't any getting out of it, not now that he's made the transfer….and definitely not now that he's picked up this case.
With this in mind, Tim Bayliss downs the remaining contents of the shot glass in front of him, and turns to look over his shoulder.
"Y'know, I'm starting to rethink that right about now," he says. "What are you doing here?"
The look that Lindsay Chandler gives the person currently sitting beside her former partner is enough to make them move; as soon as they're out of sight, she sits.
"Heard you picked up that redball," she remarks, without answering Tim's question. "That one out in Reservoir Hill."
"Don't remind me."
Two more shot glasses appear; another one in front of Tim and the first of what will probably be many in front of Lindsay. She watches him down the contents of his own, and reaches for hers, doing the same.
"They aren't too happy about you being primary, are they?" she asks. Tim glares at her.
"You have too many friends in the department," he replies. "Where'd you hear that from?"
"A little bird told me," says Lindsay, choosing to ignore his comment. "They thinking about taking the case from you?"
"How the hell am I supposed to know? None of them tell me anything; it's almost like they're waiting for me to choke on this."
"They probably are, bunk."
"Thanks a lot, Lindy. That's really what I needed to hear right now."
"Well, if they're not going to tell you, you'd better believe I'm going to." Lindsay trails off and casts a sideways look in the younger cop's direction and sighs. "You knew it wasn't going to be easy."
"Yeah, well, I didn't expect to be handed a murdered child as my first case," Tim retorts, annoyed, more at the situation at hand than he is at Lindsay. She says nothing.
"I know what you're thinking," he tells her after a moment. "I don't want to hear it."
"Since when do I ever listen when you tell me you don't want to hear it?" Lindsay asks, smirking faintly at the back of Tim's head. "You've gotta hear it from somewhere, bunk, it might as well be from me."
"I wish you'd quit calling me that. I'm not a rookie anymore."
"Sure you aren't. That's why you're in over your head with no idea how to get to the surface again."
"I know how to get to the surface. I'm just not there yet, and I know what I'm doing. I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't."
"City Hall got the department to send you to Homicide as a reward for spending a couple of years kissing their collective asses," Lindsay says bluntly, before downing the contents of a second shot glass. "That's all there is to it."
"So, what? I should turn around and go back there?" Tim asks, glaring again. "I'm not going to change my mind. This is where I want to be."
"Yeah, I know it is," Lindsay retorts, "So what the hell are you going to do about it? Sit here and get drunk off your ass trying to forget this case? That's not going to do you a damn bit of good, and you know it."
"There's nowhere for us to go," says Tim. "Every theory the unit's come up with has gotten us nowhere, and we're starting to run out of them."
"No. You are starting to run out of them. You're the one who answered the phone, bunk. and you're still the primary. This name is going to stay under yours in red until you close the case, and that's even if you close it at all."
"We're going to close it."
"Don't tell yourself that until it's closed. The biggest mistake any rookie can make is promising themselves that they're going to close any given case, never mind promising the victim's family."
This, Tim muses at this point, is actually a valid point, considering the fact that both of them have heard over the years about cases that the Homicide first shift hasn't closed, the names that carry over on the board, and sometimes go up in blue when new leads come along.
The problem with this is that they are already a few days in, and it's already starting to look like Adena Watson's name will never go up in black. Whatever look has crossed his face by this moment in time, Lindsay has noticed, because she downs the contents of a third shot glass and turns so that she's facing him directly.
"You told me that you knew what you were getting into," she says, picking up where she'd started the conversation in the first place. "I believed you, and honestly, kid, I still do. But I'm starting to get the feeling that you don't."
"That I don't what?" Tim asks. "Believe that I knew what I was getting into?"
Lindsay nods. "Yeah, that," she tells him. "It was easier in QRT, wasn't it? You and I, we never had to worry about things like this."
"Nah…all we had to worry about was whether or not we had a clear shot," Tim remarks, amused now. "Half the time, we didn't."
"No, we didn't." Lindsay trails off and shakes her head at him. "But that's my point exactly. Not everything's gonna be a straight shot. You know as well as I do that Homicide doesn't close all their cases. There's no way they could ever hope to, with the city the way it is. If this one doesn't close, then you're going to have to let it go."
"What if I can't?"
The question startles Lindsay enough that she nearly falls backwards, having shifted in her position just as Tim asked. She reaches out, grabbing onto the counter to regain her balance before looking over at him.
"You have to," she says. "And the reason why is because if you don't, it'll eat at you for the rest of your life. You won't be able to move forward, or backward…you'll just be stuck. The names in red will keep coming, some of them will turn to black, some of them will be pushed to the back and go up again in blue, but that one case will always be there to haunt you."
She trails off for a long moment, but Tim says nothing, somehow getting the feeling that she isn't finished. Sure enough, she isn't.
"Letting go doesn't mean that you don't give a damn anymore," she tells him. "It just means that you've done all you possibly can, and there isn't anything left."
There is a double meaning to the last part of her remark that isn't lost on either one of them. Burnout is one of those things that the two of them have heard about, one of those things that both of them have seen, but so far, it hasn't happened to them. At this moment, they are both wondering if maybe it's getting close, but it is a thought that neither of them voice…at least, not at first.
"How the hell d'you do it, Lindy?" Tim asks, finally. "How the hell do you just let go of the one thing that might've just altered the way you look at everything?"
"Might have?" Lindsay asks dryly. "I'd say it's definitely changed the way you look at everything. It's not all black and white anymore, bunk."
"It was never all black and white in the first place."
"Then let me put it this way. There are more shades of gray now. You aren't as naïve as you were before, and whatever innocence you might have had, it's gone now." Lindsay leans forward, and puts a hand over Tim's heart. "It's not harbored in there anymore. It's not harbored anywhere, because you no longer have it. You're not jaded yet, but you're going to be."
He looks down at where her hand is, and then back up at her. "I can't pretend it doesn't matter, Lindy. I won't pretend it doesn't matter."
"Everything matters, Tim. No one's asking you to pretend it doesn't. It can get to you, but it can't get to the point where you want to cut your heart out with a spoon."
"What happens if it does?"
"Then it's shot to hell. There's nothing more you can do. There isn't anything left." Lindsay leans back and moves her hand. "You haven't gotten there yet."
Tim casts an amused look at her, even though the conversation at hand isn't really funny. "Yeah? How do you know?"
"Once you get used to what you see, it's time for you to leave," Lindsay replies, quietly enough that he has to lean in to hear her. "But I know you, and I know that you aren't ever going to get to that point, because you won't let it."
"This is just a backdoor way of calling me stubborn, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is. But that doesn't change anything. You might not have that innocence you had when you walked into QRT for the first time, but you've still got your heart. That much hasn't changed. It's not going to get to the point where you get used to it, because somewhere inside there, you're going to keep wondering why."
"You sound so sure of yourself."
"Are you kidding me? If I were in your shoes, I might have handed this over to someone who'd been in Homicide for longer than a day, but here you are. You're still standing, Tim. If that doesn't tell you something, I don't know what will."
There is silence for a long moment between the two former partners, then, broken only by the sounds of other bar patrons around them, and the television overhead, playing out some game that neither of them are particularly interested in.
"So if it's not harbored in here anymore," Tim says, finally, motioning towards his heart, "Where is it harbored?"
A faint smirk crosses Lindsay's face at this; she slides off the bar stool and pulls her coat back on, takes her wallet out of it, and puts money down on the counter, enough for both of them before she answers.
"It's still in there somewhere. Just not on the surface. You'll find it again someday, but until then, you're gonna have to go with what you've got." She glances out the window, makes a face when she sees that it's raining, and pulls her department baseball cap on again before turning to leave, continuing over her shoulder as she does.
"I'll see you around, Bayliss."