I'm curious to see where the FBI story line is going. This story is meant to be gen, by the way, not Carter/Donnelly. (Even though I could go for that as well.)

"But why did he shoot him?"

Carter raises an eyebrow at Donnelly. "You tell me," she says. "He didn't explain why." It's not exactly a lie; she sifts through the file again, looking over her signature, her notes, all the work she did while chasing her man in a suit.

"What do you think?" he asks; it's a much better question.

She's been sorting through what to say and what to withhold throughout this conversation. Easy enough- it's like playing chess when the opponent doesn't know which pieces are still on the board. Unfortunate that Carter feels like Donnelly is, in fact, an opponent. But so is Elias; unlike a chess match, there are more than two players in this game.

Her city- she knows a lot more about it than some Fed. Eventually Donnelly will get transferred somewhere else, but she'll still be here, sorting through the pieces. She doesn't completely trust John, not without knowing how he gets his information. But working for Elias? No. If anyone holds those strings, it's Norman Burdett or Harold or whatever the hell his name really is.

"Maybe the man in the suit didn't approve of Elias making the order for the hit," she offers. "If he's a gun for hire, he's got more leeway than someone who's sworn allegiance because of family connections." She shrugs, letting the theory float in the air between them.

"Why would he go against Elias's order?" Donnelly looks intrigued at the idea.

"Assuming we're right about this guy's background, then he and I are both ex-military. So he... felt a connection." She glances at Donnelly before pulling out another sheet from the file. "Or he's not working for Elias. Or he just likes shooting people." This last thought has crossed her mind multiple times. John is clearly not a sociopath- Donnelly's word from their previous meeting- but he does have far less compunction about shooting people than she'd like. It's yet another way that working with him was problematic.

Carter hands him her report about Bottlecap. "What's more interesting to me is that Elias got to my C.I. How would he know about that connection unless he has sources within the NYPD?" Or unless Bottlecap spilled that information himself. She guesses that it's both- Elias already knew BC worked with her, but Bottlecap probably told him as well.

Donnelly glances at the paper before setting it back on the table. He's not interested in that; from her point of view it's short-term thinking, taking care of one gun for hire when the man allegedly employing him will still be operating. "You said you didn't get a good look at him. Where were you when he shot your informant?"

"Lying on the ground. You ever been shot at point-blank range in the chest?"

His eyebrows go up at the question. "Can't say I have," he admits. "I'm guessing it doesn't feel too good."

"Hurts like hell. And then my C.I. points the gun at my head before he gets shot. So I didn't think to ask why." She twists her mouth in what she hopes is a wry grin, although she doubts it comes across as lighthearted as she would wish. That moment is still burned in her memory: writhing in pain, thinking that Taylor would be waiting, waiting, and she wouldn't ever make it home.

Donnelly's still looking at her, big sad eyes like a basset hound. He looks even more tired than when she met him at his center of operations the other day. It's late; at least he came to her this time. She can leave the precinct in a few minutes, maybe run a few errands on her way home.

"My own people thought I was lying. That I was covering for this guy instead of trying to catch him," she tells Donnelly. That still stings- get shot at and then grilled by Internal Affairs. That was exactly why she didn't tell them about what John said to her. Whether you like me or not, Joss, you're not alone.

Funny how her work as an Army interrogator keeps coming back to haunt her; the techniques, watching for tells. Right now she's garnering Donnelly's sympathy, just like she did with so many in Iraq and Afghanistan. Adding this piece of information to the pile seems like a logical step, especially since he probably has a copy of I.A.'s report in a file somewhere anyway.

The irony that she is, in fact, now covering for the man in a suit doesn't escape her.

"I have friends who work for the police. Sounds like I.A. is the same everywhere." Donnelly pushes his hair back from his high forehead. "I've stared at these files for too long," he tells her. "Time for a break. Do you want to go get a drink?" He uses his sad eyes to give her a hopeful look. "I promise we won't talk about the case."

Her mouth twitches at the corner. "Sure," she tells him. "Just let me grab my stuff." Donnelly starts putting the papers back into his file as she walks out of the interrogation room to her desk.

Carter takes her purse out of the drawer. Gathering information, deciding what- if anything- to pass along to John and Harold... that's one thing. Going out for a drink with Donnelly, however, is a gamble that she doesn't need to take.

Playing with fire; maybe she misses the risk and danger more than she thought she would. She takes the burner phone out of her pocket and glances at it before grabbing her coat.