Lessons learned, bridges burned to the ground, Down on my knees, I thought I was stronger It's hard to forget How I left you hanging
And it's too late now to put out the fire,
Tables turned, and I'm the one who's burning now,
Well I'm doing alright 'til I close my eyes and
Then I see your face and it's no surprise
On by a thread, when everything is said, I'll regret it
I was doin' alright, thought I could make it
Then I see your face and it's hard to fake it
I'd take it all back if only I knew that I could
Down on my knees, I thought I was stronger
It's hard to forget How I left you hanging
- Crawling Back to You: Daughtry
Stefan Bekowsky turned up the collar on his jacket and shrugged into it further. It was pouring rain, and being that it was the two-year anniversary of losing Cole in… that horrific way, and the weather had been the same the year prior, the weather seemed like a cruel joke. He glanced at the graveyard, trying to remember which section Cole's grave was in. He recalled it was on the right side, in a few rows, and about halfway down the row. He sighed and trudged up the small flight of stairs that led to the graves. He spotted the other '-sky' name that he recalled started Cole's row and pivoted to follow the line. He stopped abruptly upon seeing someone about thirty feet ahead.
Roy Earle, was standing there, looking down at the grave that Stefan recognized then as Cole's.
The young detective contemplating diving behind the nearest gravestone to avoid being seen by the older man, but A, on second thought that sounded like a dumb plan, and B, it sounded kind of disrespectful to whoever's grave he would've used as a shield. He looked around frantically, trying to find another hiding spot. Most of the LAPD who had known Cole had changed since… then. Even Roy had- to a point. The man was still easy to piss of if he jumped to conclusions about something, and there were about twenty conclusions that could be jumped to in their situation at that moment. Almost all of them ended in Stefan looking like a creep.
"I see you, Bekowsky. No one can miss that suit anywhere."
Stefan flinched when Roy's voice reached him. He had to bite his tongue to prevent the knee-jerk reaction of retaliating with "you should talk, Salmon Sleeves" that came to mind any time the vice detective had insulted him before. He simply pressed his lips together in a thin line and looked down, then glanced left and right. He hoped it looked like he was paying respects to one of the people on either side of him and not wondering why the Hell Roy Earle was standing in front of Cole's grave looking like he was in pain.
The black-haired man scoffed and backed away from the grave a couple of feet. He advanced on Stefan and tossed his arms out. "Here to chase me about like the German Whore or even the Former Missus Phelps did?" He demanded bitterly.
Stefan paused, then shook his head. "No, I'm here to pay my own…" He trailed off. Last he recalled, Roy and Cole hated each other- so what the Hell was he doing here. "… Respects… so why are you…?"
Roy scoffed again. "Of course, the heartless bastard who sold him out can't pay respects to the guy he knew was the best L.A detective in years, huh?"
Stefan opened his mouth, then firmly shut it again.
Roy shook his head, then shoved past the other man, taking care to let his shoulder slam into Stefan's own, nearly knocking him off balance.
Stefan righted himself and closed his eyes. He looked over his shoulder at Roy. "I don't blame you, you know…"
Roy stopped just at the mouth of the row of graves. He remained quiet, then replied without turning around. "Bullshit, Bekowsky. You all do. That kid Ralph, Biggs, Galloway punched me in the face as he announced the theory that Phelp's death was my fault. Connelly doesn't look me in the face, not that I mind the limey…" He trailed off. "You would think I magically raised those damn water levels in those pipes as opposed to giving the affair away."
Stefan shook his head. "We all know why you did that. You had no right to do it for that reason to begin with…" He bit his lip. It wasn't the place to argue about that topic.
Roy turned back slightly, and seemed to read Stefan's facial expression and came to the same conclusion. He shook his head and turned back around and started to walk again.
Stefan hesitated, then trotted after him. "Earle, hold on."
Roy stopped again and looked back at him. "What, Bekowsky? I have better things to do than stand around chatting with one of the boys who want me dead for starting to Golden Boy's fall."
Stefan slowed his pace. "I already told you I don't blame you." Stefan replied. "… You know the way to Rhodie's Bar?"
"Yeah, why?" Roy narrowed his eyes.
Stefan frowned."Just… come get a drink… for the… anniversary." He glanced back at Cole's grave. "Hell, call it for old time's sake, even if there were none between you and I." His frown deepened when Roy paled when he said 'old times sake' and looked like he was in pain again, while trying his damnedest to hide it. The younger detective decided to ignore it for now… or not bother unless Roy agreed to go for a drink… and he'd only ask if both of them were very, very drunk.
Roy loosened up after a moment. "Now why would I wanna do that? Last I checked we haven't spoken since that last case that overlapped both our departments a few months back."
Stefan tried not to growl. He was trying to be nice to a guy who he still honestly thought he was an asshole. Hell, he had bowed sarcastically to Roy during one of their first cases that overlapped- why stop that pattern now? The Hell with Graveyard Etiquette. "Fine then. The drink may help remove the get the giant pole that's stuck up your ass." He countered.
Roy raised his eyebrows and advanced on the man a second time. "Run that by me again?"
"You heard me, Earle." Stefan challenged. He put on a brave face, still expecting Roy to attack him, but to his surprise, Roy let out a genuine laugh a moment later as opposed to punching him- or breaking his neck with his bare hands.
"Yes I did, Beckow." Roy began, then sighed. "You know what? Fine. Who am I to turn down a chance at getting a drink anyway, huh?" He shrugged. "I'll meet you there. I have some stuff to handle- you wouldn't wanna hear about it."
"Hm," Stefan replied. He wasn't going to argue that point. He knew Roy was still corrupt. He was still in business with the Big Dogs- these days the Dogs were just a bit smaller.
Roy grunted himself, then shrugged further into his jacket. He took one last glance at Cole's grave before putting his hat back on and heading for his car.
Stefan watched him, arching an eyebrow when Roy passed him and he was confident the man wasn't going to turn around again. He briefly wondered if Roy had thought the offer for drinks meant that Stefan was buying. He pushed aside the thought. He was willing to buy a couple of drinks if they were essentially for Cole. He didn't mind the possibility of figuring out part of the mystery that was Roy Earle, either. It was enough for him that the offer had gone smoothly with no insults thrown his way- well, bad insults, anyway. He shook his head and made his way over to Cole's grave, nearly forgetting that was the reason of going to the graveyard in the first place. He knelt down, greeted his old friend, and told him all the things he could list off- how he was, how his girlfriend of eight months, Viv, was doing with him, how some of the rest of the crew that Cole had liked were, that Herschel had actually decked someone who had trash-talked Cole the week before, how they all missed him. He said his final goodbye- for then, anyway, and left, heading for his car.
It wasn't until then that he remembered it may have been a bad idea to go get a drink with one of the most hated cops in L.A. He ignored it, once again. Now wasn't the day to worry about that. He got in his car and started on his way to Rhodie's.