Disclaimer: totally not mine
Fandom: Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Characters: Barek, Wheeler, Falacci, Eames.
Rating: PG/13, for Set: post-Courtship (7.2) (written before the end of the season)
Notes: I blame A.j.

Not the First Wives' Club
by ALC Punk!

Barek gets there first. Even though Falacci drives like a bat out of hell landed on the back of her car and Wheeler is scared shitless of being late to anything, Barek still gets there first.

Luckily for Falacci, Wheeler's walking towards the table when she breezes in the door. Ms. I'm Always Punctual is almost the last one standing. Wheeler drops into her chair a second after Falacci, but Barek notes both and tilts her head to the side, studying them both.

"You're part ninja," Falacci suggests as she grabs for her glass of water. She's not actually hot or thirsty, but it's something to do.

"No. That's Eames," corrects Barek. She glances at Wheeler, "Are you enjoying your new job with the task force?"

The younger woman smiles, eyes sparkling. "Yeah. It was great working in Major Case, but there's just... so much to do, now. So much that isn't..." she stops, because if she continues, she's insulting the other two, or maybe not.

"No blood. Squeamish?" Falacci asks, setting her half-empty glass down. She discovered she was thirsty. "I can understand it. I mean, you're young."

Stung, slightly, Wheeler blinks. "Yeah, there's that." She squares her shoulders and shrugs, "I hear Rodgers thinks you're an idiot."

"The lab is too fucking slow," suggests Falacci, unruffled.

"You don't piss off Rodgers," Barek says, her tone mild. "Even you ought to be smart enough to realize that."

"Are you trying to tell me how to do my job, detective. Because as I recall, you were transfered at Logan's request." Her tone isn't precisely pleasant, but Falacci isn't exactly pulling punches, either.

Unlike Wheeler, Barek isn't young enough to be everyone's kid sister. Her eyebrows arch at Falacci, "Are you always such a bitch?"

"Yep."

The two women stare at her for a moment, then exchange a glance. "Maybe she'll be able to survive?" Wheeler suggests, reaching out for the vodka martini that'd been sitting there before she sat down.

Falacci narrows her eyes, "Was this some sort of test? Did I pass?"

"Not yet," replies Barek, her voice almost amused. "What's your poison, detective?"

"I drove."

"You can get a cab."

"I--" Falacci pauses, eying the two as they watch her with identically bland expressions. Her eyes narrow for a moment, then she shrugs, "I suppose I can. Tequila. Straight."

"Any limes with that?" asks Barek as she flags down their waitress.

"Nah. That would ruin the taste."

The silence that falls while they wait leaves only Wheeler slightly nervous. The younger woman toys with her drink, her napkin, and finally grabs for a handful of pretzels before Falacci makes an impatient noise. When neither of them respond, she makes the noise again, shifting as though she's going to stand.

Before she does, her drink arrives. Three of them. Falacci turns her gaze on Barek, then downs one shot without a word.

Looking almost as though she's won some sort of victory, Barek leans back in her chair, "So, Falacci, what do you think of Mike Logan?"

"He's an ass, an ego-centric male of the species like ninety-nine percent of the men," Falacci grabs her second shot and downs it, savoring it a little before finishing her sentence on a slight cough, "on the planet."

"Ya think?" replies Barek, looking more amused than before. She shakes her head, "Look, kid. You've got brains or you wouldn't be in Major Case. And you've got balls, or Rodgers wouldn't want your head. But you need a little sense if you're going to survive to make your next pay grade."

"Don't tell me what I need. You both, you both got transferred away from Major Case and Logan," snaps Falacci, eyes flashing.

Wheeler giggles. She actually giggles, then stops, hand over her mouth. "Fuck." She says, and then she almost blushes, like she totally didn't mean to say that, anymore than she meant to giggle. "Listen. Falacci, Barek. Stop, ok? Falacci's right. We got transferred. But I'm happy where I am now. Doesn't mean I don't miss the bastard, 'cause he was like that annoying brother my friends all used to say I lacked. And Barek--"

"I'm not exactly unhappy," Barek acknowledges.

"And Barek's right," continues Wheeler, like she hasn't been interrupted. "Y'need sense to survive Mike Logan." She grabs her drink and raises it. "And alcohol. Lots of alcohol."

"I'll drink to that," suggests Falacci, her shot glass up, and something almost apologetic in her eyes as she looks at Barek. "Peace?"

"Not with Logan around," Barek retorts before raising her screwdriver to clink their glasses.

Falacci laughs before the shot gets to her lips, and she looks like the alcohol might be affecting her, just a little. The laugh stops, because she needs that shot more than she thought she did. It's sliding down her throat, warm and harsh in all the right ways before she raises her eyes and looks at the other two--really looks at them.

"Hey, uh..." She totally doesn't apologize. Ever. Because she's always right, and an apology is an admission of wrongdoing and guilt. Hell, she'd gotten written up more than once for that very thing. Falacci licks her lips, looks away, then looks back at the two of them. "He hates me. I think."

"He hasn't put in a request for your transfer yet," Wheeler says, now on more even footing. As though her earlier nervousness was a front, or maybe this is the front.

"Well, if it's only a matter of time, it doesn't matter if he likes me, does it." As if that solves all her problems, Falacci waves down the waitress and orders another three shots. "My husband is going to mock the shit out of me when I get in."

"You don't want Logan to like you?" asks Barek, raising her own glass for a refill.

"Why should I? If he's just going to get rid of me after the year is up--" Falacci shrugs, but it's obvious this has happened before. And she expects it to happen again.

Wheeler looks at her, "Do you like moving around?"

"Yeah."

A beat, and then Wheeler laughs, and this is no school-girl titter. "No offense, Falacci, but even a first-year beat cop could tell that was a bald-faced lie."

Falacci grabs her fourth shot and downs it, almost squirming like a kid caught by her teacher. "Yeah, look. I don't mind moving around, but it's... It's hard on my family, me adjusting..."

"The truth is always good," suggests Barek.

Falacci picks up her fifth shot, then sets it down and takes a deep breath. "Look, this isn't some bonding thing, is it? Because if that's why--"

"Nah," says a new voice as Eames drops into the last chair and grabs for the glass of whiskey that's been sitting there, resting. "Bonding is for women. We're cops. This is chewing the fat."

"Talking trash," adds Wheeler.

"Or, y'know, gossiping." Barek says before shaking her head. "Eames, the new girl's still a bit wet behind the ears."

"I heard about the Rodgers thing." Shaking her head, Eames gives Falacci a hard look. "I'd suggest sending her truffles. Tomorrow."

"What the fuck? The lab were--"

"Doing their jobs," Eames snaps. "Just like you're going to do yours, everyday when you fill out your paperwork and rack up unsolved cases. You don't push your ME, and you don't push your lab techs. If something's fishy, they're not fucking around with you. Got it?"

"What the fuck is this, some sort of do-gooder's society?" sneers Falacci.

"No. This is just four detectives, having a drink. Now shut the fuck up, drink your shots, and maybe you'll learn something, Falacci."

Opening her mouth, Falacci starts to respond when she gets a good look at Eames' eyes. The other woman isn't pissed, but Falacci gets the distinct impression if she were, Falacci would have a bloody nose, broken knuckles and a concussion just from the force of her personality. She shuts up and picks up the fifth shot, downing it before slamming the glass on the table.

Fine. She'll listen. But that doesn't mean she'll take any of it, and just because they're women doesn't mean they're right.

But she has to admit the tequila here is really fucking good.

-f-