A/N: So, after that mind-blowing part one of the "AWAKE" season finale, I just had to write this. It's based on Britten and Bird's interactions during "Two Birds", how much they seem to trust each other, and how and Britten and Vega's relationship was rocky at first. This is a bit short but it'll do.

Takes place in the red reality, sometime during season one—it's not specific. No real spoilers, this is just my take on things.

Disclaimer: As much as I wished I owned it, I unfortunately do not own "AWAKE".

"You're Detective Freeman, right?"

Bird looks up from where he's staring down at his drink and he's met with a man probably a couple inches shorter than him, most likely of Hispanic descent. Curious brown eyes, with a tinge of apprehension in them, observe him.

He's dressed casually, but Bird instantly knows who he is. The face and the voice tug at his recent memory.

"Yeah," Bird conceals his slight surprise. "Officer Vega, is it? Or, Detective Vega now?"

Vega sits down at the bar next to him and accepts the new title humbly. "Yes, I suppose it's Detective now. You were Detective Britten's old partner, weren't you? Michael Britten?"

"Yeah," Bird nods his head, unconcerned. "Mike. How's he been doing?"

Vega shifts uncomfortably. Bird knows that this little meeting is a little awkward—it's comprised of Britten's old partner and his new one, engaged in stilted conversation. Bird harbors no animosity toward Vega because getting transferred to another district, to another section of the city is regular police procedure—but still, the fact that he's staring at Mike's new partner stings a little bit.

He feels…replaced. Which, technically, he has been, but it still bites.

"Britten's…" Bird doesn't miss the fact that Vega is not comfortable calling Michael 'Mike' like he himself does but dismisses it as the opposite continues, "Been kind of…weird."

This slight bit of info piques interest in Bird, and he sets down his drink. "Weird how?"

"We worked this case recently," Vega hedges. "He had some…unexpected hunches. They turned out to be right. I don't know, it just…surprised me a little bit."

Bird tenses. "Mike doesn't believe in hunches."

Vega tips his bottle toward his lips, commenting, "You mean, you don't believe in hunches."

Bird acknowledges this fairly. "Not gonna deny that. Hunches only happen on T.V."

Vega laughs, shaking his head before he asks another question: "What was it like? Being partners with him?"

What was it like?

Vega must take his silence as confusion because after a few seconds he elaborates, "Was he hard to work with at first?"

"Has he been mean to you or something? Hurt your feelings?" Bird knows that his little jab is a bit too condescending, and Vega bristles at this.

"He's been fair," Vega concedes, not divulging much information.

Bird nods carelessly. "Good for you. Mike's not mean, he's fair. He does the right thing."

At this, Vega looks doubtful and pauses. Bird assumes he's reliving some memory in the past and his little theory is proven correct when Vega opens his mouth again. "What was he like when you worked with him? When you guys first started as partners?"

"I trusted him instantly." Bird's reply is short and to the point, and he knows that he believes it fully.

After all, it is true.

Vega isn't hesitant in countering with another question. "Do you still?"

Bird considers this a little longer. After all, Mike's been through an accident, he's lost his goddamn son—and Bird's been hearing some really weird reports from the precinct when calls come into his division, things about Mike having unexplainable hunches and odd theories that always seem to work out. His behavior has been erratic, suspicious.

Vega waits expectantly.

"Let me put it this way: I would trust Mike with my life, no questions asked," Bird states simply.

There is no need to lie about something like this because it is completely true.

Vega looks taken aback by this to-the-point statement and Bird is surprised he's been able to shake this detective, the one that has seemed cool and confident so far. Vega must really be hungry for information about his new, presumably not-so-nice partner.

Bird stifles a snort. Typical Mike.

"…Why? Why do you trust him so much?"

Bird gives a noncommittal shrug, taking another swig from his drink as he answers slowly, "He gave me reason to."

Vega's eyes widen, but he attempts to conceal his eagerness by gulping down another portion of his drink. He tosses out, "What did he do?"

Bird's not in the mood for an interrogation but he figures Mike's new partner deserves to know at least some history between him and Mike, so he gives it to him. "The guy took a bullet for me."

Bird doesn't miss the fact that Vega's eyebrows hike up his forehead in slight confusion, and the newer detective picks up his drink as well, shrugging, his posture more relaxed now. "Admirable, but we're detectives. Law enforcement. We have partners—that doesn't mean much in our line of work, does it?"

Bird's silence seems to worry Vega.

"…Does it?"

Newbie, is Bird's first thought.

A bullet is not something to be reckoned with. A bullet is not something to be taken lightly, and the circumstances under which it was fired can only deepen the meaning and the true amount of sacrifice. Bird has taken down his large share of criminals during his time as a police detective. He knows what a bullet can do, what it's capable of starting—or stopping.

Bird stands up, pays for his drinks, and looks back down at Vega, who's still sitting in his chair at the bar. Their eyes meet, brown against brown, and something—an unknown understanding, a hidden signal—passes between them.

"It does when you're still strangers."

A/N: I thought this would be an appropriate backstory for Bird and Britten, based on how much they seem to trust each other. I suppose writing this will tide me over until part two of the season finale.

The promo looks mind-blowing, and I'm sure the second part will be just as good as the first. The only thing that breaks my heart is that it will be the last "AWAKE" episode—NBC really made a poor decision by cancelling "AWAKE" and they practically never even gave the show a chance. Poor promotion, not enough attention…but we're still trying to save "AWAKE" on Twitter, help us if you can! #SaveAwake

Anyway, reviews would really cheer me up. Drop me one if you've got the time.