A/N: Last night, after I stared at the second chapter of Comfort that I am working on for at least an hour, I turned to tumblr for inspiration. I wanted to write, but Comfort wasn't working with me and I don't like forcing stories. All my other stories I had started were too angst-y for my mood. Well, this nugget was handed to me by lady-beckett on tumblr - write Kate and Ryan's first meeting. Then murdermondays mentioned writing a story of Ryan in Narcotics. I think I managed to combine bits of both prompts into something I am quite proud of.
Disclaimer: Nope. Still not Andrew Marlowe...
It was New Years Eve. It was cold, snow just starting to fall on the hoards of people gathering in the Mecca of Times Square. Some pop group had taken the stage, wrapped up in NorthFace jackets and Uggs, singing into the roar of the crowd.
That first year as a uniform, working New Years Eve was almost fun. It was a break from overseeing construction along Fifth Avenue or writing up the paperwork for the detectives who couldn't be bothered. She hadn't minded the snow that fell around her or the migraine she went home with.
The tourist event of New Years Eve in Times Square quickly lost its veneer by the time she traded her silver badge for the gold one of a detective. With that title, she had believed that she could, for the first time since joining the force, spend the night sleeping through the ball drop and simply wake up in a new year instead of watching it come in. The powers that be had different plans. They hadn't graduated enough officers that year to cover the area necessary and had pulled in most of their Grade 3 Detectives for the night.
So Beckett had ducked back into her apartment after end-of-shift, changed into warmer clothes, and taken the subway to Times Square. But the jeans, turtleneck over another long-sleeved shirt, and her thick peacoat were still not protecting her from the cutting wind.
She glanced across the open area, now packed with tourists and New Yorkers alike, to see what time it was. The giant countdown on the Coca-Cola sign declared it as 11:23. One hour. One more hour of this special hell and she could go home, turn the heat up in the apartment to semi-tropical, and sleep until whenever – anyone who worked crowd control for the event got the day off afterwards.
"You think they'd have enough uniforms to do stuff like this…" she muttered, shoving her gloved hands into the pockets of her jacket.
A shoulder bumped hers before she heard, "I second you on that."
She turned her head to check the person who had joined her at her post near the Minskoff Theatre, which she hadn't minded – she got to hear the sounds of The Lion King spilling out into the street. The man was a few inches taller than her, probably due to the fact she had gone with old hiking boots instead of her heels. His dark blonde hair was matted with snowflakes but it was the clear blue eyes that caught her gaze, mostly because they didn't show any form of heart-felt annoyance or frustration at his location.
"And you are?" Beckett was used to friendly tourists coming up to chat, feeling bold with alcohol and the fact that her badge hanging around her neck on a lanyard declared her as safe territory.
The man turned, holding out his own gloved hand. "Ryan. Out of the Two-One. Narcotics."
"Beckett. Vice in the Eighth." After the short greeting, accompanied by visible breaths in the air, she replaced her hands in her pockets. "You get pulled on the 'you're still a rookie' card too?" she asked, her eyes back to scanning heads.
Ryan nodded, doing the same thing as she. "You think they'd learn their lesson from years past."
"Bureaucracy at its best." The wind blew hard enough to cut through her layers and Beckett shivered. "You think someone would decide to act irrationally so we can at least stay warm by pulling drunks off each other."
"Seriously. First well-behaved Eve crowd I've seen in my years."
The entire conversation was taking place with no eye contact, but Beckett was smiling. She liked the company and Ryan seemed nice enough.
"And how many years is that, Ryan?"
She caught a shrug out of the corner of her eye. "Five in February. You?"
"I beat you by a year and a half."
The band that had been singing finally bowed out to loud cheers. Both detectives immediately started paying more attention. The downtime between acts tended to lead to boredom which led to people being stupid. Beckett had tangled with her share of people who got anxious to see Britney Spears on-stage and took their excitement a bit too far. She had a feeling it wouldn't be any different with One Republic tonight. And Ryan obviously had the same feeling as he shifted his hands outside his pockets, wrapping his scarf tighter around his neck.
But their easy conversation continued on. "So, you're a narc, huh? Don't look like one."
"Don't let my incredibly handsome face deceive you, Beckett. I can be quite a bad-ass."
Beckett grinned, glancing again at the detective next to her. Just as she opened her mouth to respond, two college boys right in front of them started swinging at each other. "Well, Detective Ryan, here's your chance to prove it."
Ryan walked over calmly, ducked under one of the men's fists as the man continued in a circle with the momentum. He grabbed the fist of the man and twisted it up behind his back. The drunken yells got louder as the pain laced through the alcoholic-blur. Ryan pulled a pair of cuffs from his back pocket and had secured one of the man's wrists when his fighting partner decided that wasn't fair.
"Hey, Five-Oh man!" protested the other person as he stumbled toward Ryan and the now handcuffed man. "Get yer hands off my friend!"
Beckett stepped up just as he started what appeared to be a well-aimed right-hook at Ryan. "Behind you, Narc." Instead of grabbing this man's fist as well, she stuck out a foot and tripped him.
The man's arms windmilled as he searched for something to grab onto. Beckett moved aside so he couldn't connect with her jacket. He managed to break his fall with his elbows. She knelt next to him, yanking the prone man's arms behind him to handcuff them.
"You got some moves, Vice."
Ryan held down a hand to help Beckett to her feet as she pulled the man up from the ground. She dusted her gloved hands off on her jeans, winking. "Yeah, well, we aren't all prostitution and S&M dungeons." She jerked her head toward the street behind them. "Nearest van is over on Eight and West Fourty-Sixth."
They discovered that this was where every uniformed officer of the NYPD was posted. Beckett and Ryan handed over their charges, signing the log with the citation for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.
"So, Ryan. Most interesting case so far?" Beckett asked, making companionable small-talk on the two-block walk back to the Minskoff.
"There was one about four months ago. Had a transvestite carting baggies of heroin in his breast implants. The squad had to flip a coin to pick who was going to demand the person remove said implants and hand over the drugs."
"Who won? Or lost, rather."
"Yours truly, of course." They rounded the corner onto West 45th as he shook his head with the memory. "And let me tell you, she wasn't a small person. There was a moment where I was sure I was going through the observation room glass. I'm sure your cases are more… interesting."
Beckett shrugged. "Just as interesting as any unit's cases, really."
"Aw, come on! I shared. Tit for tat, Beckett!"
She sighed, "Fine. About a month after I was transferred into Vice, we needed to check to see if one of the dungeons in the Bowery was conforming to health standards. Since it was an all female dom dungeon and I was the newbie, I drew the short stick for undercover work. After getting into the mistress's good graces, my first client was none other than the deputy district attorney."
"No way!" Ryan exclaimed, turning so he was walking backwards in front of her, his face the picture of disbelief. "Lou Karnacki was your sub?"
"Talk about awkward. Can't even begin to tell you how strange it is to go asking for warrants from him knowing the things about him I know now."
Ryan returned to walking forward, still shaking his head. "Yours blows mine out of the water. You Vice people have all the fun."
Back outside The Lion King, Beckett leaned against the wall, crossing her arms. "Well I, for one, don't plan on staying in Vice too much longer."
"Oh yeah? What do you have your sights set on?" asked Ryan, mirroring Beckett's posture.
She swallowed. The ring that hung around her neck was a chilling circle against her sternum. A constant reminder. "Homicide."
"Homicide?" Skepticism was evident.
"Yeah." Beckett turned away as the crowd started to chant a countdown from ten, hoping Ryan would take the hint.
Seconds later, Times Square erupted into sound, cheers and those silly confetti poppers mixing together. Dick Clark's voice boomed over the area, wishing everyone a "very happy New Year." Couples kissed, often grabbing strangers to smooch.
Ryan shifted his eyes to Beckett, an impish grin creeping onto his face. "Wanna?"
Beckett was taken aback, her brow furrowing as she narrowed her eyes at the man. "Seriously?"
"I meant, want to go in as a team rather than facing the horde alone?" The man laughed, stepping toward the crowd. "What did you think I meant, Detective?"
She forced her mouth to close as she smiled. "Sounds like a plan, Detective Ryan."
A year later, Beckett sat at her desk in the Twelfth, sorting through completed case files that needed to go down to Records. Her coffee had gone lukewarm in her mug, but she still took a sip from it, needing the caffeine.
"Yo! I heard we're getting a transfer."
She looked up when Esposito spoke, giving him a one-shouldered shrug. "That's the rumor." She flipped open a manila folder, scanning the report inside to decide which pile it belonged in.
Esposito got up, propping a hip on the corner of her desk, ignoring her glare. "Any idea where they're coming from?"
"Do you even care that this is going to mess up our whole system?" he asked, picking up a file at random and looking through it.
She snatched it back, replacing it in the correct pile. "Learn to be flexible, Esposito. Plus, this means you won't be the low man on the totem pole anymore. Now you just pawn the unsavory stuff off on the rookie."
"Seriously? After I told you the story about pulling the short straw you're going to suggest such a thing to someone else?"
Beckett turned, the hint of a smile tugging at her lips. "Ryan?"
He was rounding the corner of the bullpen, a cardboard box in his hands. Ryan dropped the box on the one empty desk in the huddle, brushing his hands off. "Nice to see you again, Beckett."
Esposito just sat on Beckett's desk, watching the exchange. "Uh, introductions?"
"Detective Javier Esposito, this is Detective Kevin Ryan. Ryan, Esposito." The men shook hands as Beckett continued. "Ryan and I met working Times Square on New Years a year ago. So, Narcotics kick you out?"
"Got bored feeling up transvestites. You finally made it to Homicide."
"So I did. Excuse me," she said as her phone rang.
Esposito pushed off Beckett's desk, claiming his seat across from Ryan's desk. "You one of those five-generation Irish cops?"
Ryan gave a short laugh. "If I had a penny for every time… No. Parents were teachers. So were the grandparents. I'm the black sheep of the family."
"Got an autopsy we need to observe," Beckett called out to the bullpen, replacing the phone on the cradle. "Hey, Ryan! This one's all yours." She winked, holding out the name of the victim she had scribbled onto a Post-It note.
"And so it begins…" Ryan muttered.
A/N: And there we have it. I'm spending the weekend pleading Comfort to work with me. Until then, review away - they make me happy!