Written because that scene where Colby first walks back into the FBI offices in Hollywood Homicide haunts me.


He'd finished lathering his face some minutes ago, but was reluctant to take the next step. Once this was done he'd have no reason to delay any further.

Eventually, exasperated at himself for dicking around, Colby raised the razor to his face. The rhythm, the sound, the feel were comforting in their familiarity. What was it Pastor Swanson used to say, back when the Granger family went to church every Sunday? 'Inaction breeds fear, action breeds courage.' He'd also said sinners were reviled – a good Biblical word that Colby had never really thought about until he was labelled as a traitor and, yep, reviled. Seemed even child-molesters ranked higher than traitors in prison. Everyone could feel superior to someone who'd betrayed his own country.

"Damn it."

Blood welled slowly on his cheek. Stupid. He must have moved; it wasn't because his hand had faltered at the prospect of walking back into the place where he'd been taken in handcuffs, head down in shame at the disgust and hatred flung his way.

Having completed his shave, he splashed water over his face. If his eyes stung as a result, well, that wasn't too surprising: the water was cold. He patted his face dry and then ran fingertips searchingly over it, making sure he was flawlessly smooth. He couldn't afford any errors today, nothing for anybody to criticise.

Everyone would know by now he was no traitor to his country, but on the charges of traitor to the FBI, traitor to his team? Guilty as hell.

By the time he'd tied his tie – it took four attempts; it was too long since he'd last worn one and today it had to be faultless – the cut had stopped bleeding and the face that looked back at him expressionlessly from the mirror was perfect.