The only thing worse than admitting he'd been wrong about Ethan Mars is admitting Norman had been right. After the standoff at the old warehouse, Blake is honestly surprised the little fucker isn't dead. He hates that the other man was right because of who turned out to be the Origami Killer; Scott was once Blake's partner, his friend. How long had the bastard been drowning young boys?

Then Norman showed up with his fancy glasses and psychological bullshit, and what did he know about being a cop? He had no right to strut in here like he was so much better than Blake, and he sure as hell had no right to actually solve the case.

Carter just hates the whole goddamn thing. He hates Norman for being a bureaucratic prick, and he hates Scott for being a murderer; he hates Perry for making him sit here and recite every detail for his reports; all the captain ever cares about is appearances anyway. There are journalists like Madison Paige to give the public facts.

Most of all though, Carter hates himself, but he prefers to direct his anger at others. It's his way, and always has been. Everyone knows better than to question it by now.

"All right, Lieutenant, that should be enough." Perry declares. Blake stands up to leave. "I'll get Jayden's statement tomorrow. Oh, that reminds me..."

"Sir?"

He turns around and sees an odd look in the captain's eyes, almost like pity. "He's been through hell lately, you know. I'm not asking you to be nice to him, but just...try to be civil."

Civil? Doesn't Perry realize what this case meant to him? It went beyond the obvious blow to his pride; someone he thought he could trust, who Blake had called a friend, was a fucking serial killer for Christ's sake. "Of course, sir."

In the interest of keeping his job, he exits Perry's office quickly, but instead of returning to his desk, Carter finds himself wandering around the station thinking about the time Jayden punched him. Who would have thought such a scrawny asshole could punch like that? Where had he learned to fight at all? Maybe the other kids gave him a hard time. Blake tries to picture a young Norman cornered by thugs on the mean streets of Boston, gradually learning to defend himself and dreaming of the day all that studying paid off and he could join the FBI, maybe bring some justice into this world. Wasn't that what everyone imagined when they decided to work in law enforcement? Ha!

But Jayden still hasn't seen enough yet. Sure, it's one thing to catch a serial killer, but the fact that he let Scott fall to his death...well, that's what separates the survivors from the next victim.

Would you have done the same?

He likes to think so; Scott would have expected nothing less.

Blake enters Jayden's pathetic excuse for an office - at least the bastard has one - and finds said bastard just sitting at his desk, chin resting on his hands, staring into space like an idiot.

He slams one fist down on the desk and barks: "Norman!"

The FBI agent jumps, completely bewildered. "Huh?"

"What the fuck are you doin'?"

"Just...ah, thinking." is the reply. Blake tries very hard to ignore the fact that Jayden really does look like he's been through absolute hell.

"Well, look, me and Ash and some other guys are gonna get a drink later. You in?"

For a while Norman stares at him suspiciously, like this might be a trick or something, then says: "Can't. I have a lot of paperwork to do." An excuse that would seem much more valid if there actually was any paper on his desk.

"Oh, loosen up a little, Norman! You're a fuckin' hero now. You deserve a break."

"I don't want to get drunk with you." he says with such conviction that it amuses Carter.

"Why?"

"Maybe because you can't go five minutes without insulting me?"

"Don't be an asshole."

"See?" Then there is a pause in which the two stand their ground in the little room, waiting for someone to give up. At last, Jayden sighs in defeat. "Fine, but I still don't understand why doing my job causes you to treat me like an equal."

"There's nothin' to understand," Blake says, "And we're not equals."

)O(

The bar is about as typically dingy as any bar in Philly, but it fits their purposes just fine. After all, it's the alcohol that matters, not the atmosphere. Norman looks overdressed and out of place sitting with a group of hardened cops. He sips his vodka very slowly, and has only just finished one glass by the time Blake is nearly through with his second beer.

"What the fuck's your problem, Norman?" he demands, glaring at the FBI agent who doesn't look up from the table.

"Just got a lot on my mind, I guess." Jayden muttered.

"Listen," Blake leans a bit closer so he won't be overheard, "You're a little pussy sometimes, but the way you figured out where Shaun Mars was being...kept, and ran off to save the day without any back-up or anything...It was really fucking stupid. Brave, I mean."

Norman blinks, shocked. "I let that bastard die, Blake." he says quietly. "He begged me to save him...I should've..."

"No, Norman, people like that aren't worth saving. Sc—Shelby was too far gone by that point, trust me. Hell, you're the one with the fancy degree; you should know there's no curing a psychopath."

Carter had been so blind. For so long, he'd believed Scott was on their side, even pulled strings for him when the man he called a friend found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The bastard was just trying to cover his tracks...It certainly wasn't Blake's first failure as a cop, but it was too personal of one for his liking.

"Shelby was sick, but he could've gotten help." Jayden takes a long drink.

"You seriously believe that shit?"

"I don't know anymore," he admits. "But I'm tryin' to."

So that's why the asshole didn't shoot Nathanial...

You aren't expected to live long with that kind of outlook on life when you are what stands between people and the law. Cops have to learn quickly that you can't save everyone, and maybe you shouldn't, but apparently FBI agents don't.

"Then why'd you...let go?"

"I got too close this time," Jayden's hands are shaking now. "It's easy to talk about morality until a killer is pleading for his life and the choice is yours. I thought I knew what the right thing to do was, but all I could see were the faces of those kids, and poor Shaun..."

Blake nods solemnly. "You did the right thing; he didn't deserve to live."

It's the longest the two have ever gone without insulting each other. A fucking miracle. Carter may even miss the guy on some level once he has to go back to Washington. There is a grudging respect between them, although neither will admit it.