Cautiously lifting one eyelid, Ethan Slaughter glanced quickly around the room before closing it again and grimacing. He vaguely remembered something about a girl who may or may not have been legal, a large bottle of tequila and a sharp pain in his head that had come on too suddenly to be caused by the alcohol. He hadn't even had the chance to make a move on the girl, as far as he could remember.

On the bright side, there wouldn't be a minors charge in the offing.

The dark side? Pretty damn dark was the best the detective could do at the moment as he tried to get up from whatever cold, damp surface he was lying on only to realize his wrists and ankles were secured with nylon rope. Firmly secured with nylon rope, he mentally corrected. And of course with the obligatory smelly and disgusting cotton bandana tied around his mouth and cinched tightly into the corners making clear speech impossible.

Hearing the sound of approaching footsteps, he relaxed his body and tried to appear unconscious, but this was difficult to pull off when his ears told him the footsteps ringing out contained the unmistakable click of high heels. High-heeled boots, to be precise. Really high. A female gang leader? He should be so lucky. Sure enough, the sarcastic drawl he had been dreading assaulted his reluctant ears.

"Well, well, well. Detective Slaughter. How the mighty have fallen. Or should I say 'been taken down'?"

Knowing that all he'd be able to do would be to mumble out something incomprehensible, Slaughter decided instead to lie there quietly and opened his eyes to glare angrily at his tormenter. Towering above him in four-inch heels and smirking with glee was Detective Kate Beckett, Homicide, 12th Precinct, the second-last person in the world that Slaughter would want to see him in his current predicament.

Beckett holstered her gun as she continued to speak in that maddeningly singsong, mocking tone that she liked to use whenever she was around him.

"Looks like you might be needing some help here. Or maybe not. Big, tough, independent man like you. Nobody's fool, never wrong. Oh, and the best part is it looks like you need my help. What do you say, Slaughter, do you need my help?"

Hunkering down to bring her face closer to his, Beckett lowered her voice and, in an almost confidential tone, demanded, "Ask me for my help, Slaughter. Ask me nice."

After glaring a moment longer just so she would know he hadn't given in too easily, Slaughter managed to bring his lips together in front of the bandana and whisper, "Bleez hep, Beged."

Wordlessly, Beckett rose and walked around behind his back where he could no longer see her, but he could tell the self-satisfied smirk was still there as she loosened the bonds from his wrists. He could feel it drilling into the back of his neck.

As soon as his hands were free, Slaughter reached up behind his neck to untie the bandanna and swung his legs into a sitting position on the floor of the empty warehouse, and when he could speak again, his first words came out in a low growl.

"I got one more thing to ask, Detective," he stated, averting his eyes from Beckett's face as he began to work on the knot behind his ankles. "Did your writer boyfriend see me like this?"

Kate froze in place for a moment at the words. Swinging her head around and directing her eyes towards the man on the floor, all the superiority drained from her, and she looked into the blue eyes that were warily checking for her reaction. Suddenly, all she could feel for Slaughter was compassion, camaraderie, a brothers-in-arms sort of feeling that prompted her to reply in a low and reassuring tone.

"No, he didn't. He's out front with Esposito and Ryan. I came in through the back."

"Thanks, Kate," he replied, his face turned once again towards his feet. It was said so quietly, she almost didn't hear it.