This one isn't very long, and it's nothing spectacular, really, in terms of content or anything. I was just re-watching "Kick The Ballistics" from season four yesterday, and I was pretty much overwhelmed with the urge to write this. (The library scene is so friggin' funny, to me, that it's easy to forget that the whole shtick was born out of brotherly solidarity. I just wanted to acknowledge that a little.)

Yes, again, this is a oneshot. As much as I appreciate Story Alerts, it will not do you any good here. I don't plan to add anything; this was just something that came to me. It picks up during the latter half of the library scene.

So, here ya go. Short and (hopefully) sweet. Enjoy.



"I'm talking about your life."

Ryan kept his gaze intent on Ben Lee's face. The young man barely moved or blinked, but Ryan knew he was listening. There wasn't much time left to say everything that still needed to be said.

"Jane died fighting your battle," he pressed. There was more in his whisper this time than a warning. There was a window, too. A way out. "I know you can honor her better than this."

Ben Lee swallowed hard, though he was trying not to let it show. And then from the back came the sound of the exit doors clunking open. His bought time was up; the Lees' pet thug was making his way back to the table.

Ryan quickly scooped up his cap and pressed it back on his head, and before he stood, he flipped over the evidence photo of Jane Herzfeld, tucking it into Ben Lee's jacket.

"You know how to find me," he whispered, and then he stood, turned and started walking and didn't look back, disappearing as best he could into the library, praying so desperately for the payoff he needed that he swore he could taste metal.

Kevin made a few moments' show of going through the motions, acting like he was just browsing for books like anyone else. But he was too antsy to sell it completely. What was done was done, wasn't it? Now all there was to do was wait; wait to find out this had been the biggest mistake of this case, of his entire career…or for Ben Lee to come forward, and this time, of his own free will. It was the only chance for…no, no. He couldn't start obsessing on that again. The best he could do was everything he'd already done. He had to get out of here.

There was a single door marked 'EXIT' in neon built into the paneling to his left. Kevin spotted it quickly and started that way. In passing, he finally registered the genre of the shelf of books he'd been pretending to browse. Religion. It only made him think again of how Jane had clutched her cross necklace in the moment she died. Kevin turned his eyes down as if the shelf had burned him. He walked faster.

The light and noise and smog outside the library was harsh, making his eyes sting. His throat burned with it - then again, it could've also been the half-pot of coffee he'd had this morning. Looking once each way, he immersed himself into foot traffic, quickening his pace to a slow jog as he banked right, around the corner of the building.

Esposito was already on his feet when Ryan approached, an unmistakable pop of color at a bench up ahead where, until now, he'd been examining his sleeve. Now he was locked on, alert. He took a few steps forward, and he waited only until Ryan was within earshot to speak. "How'd it go?"

Ryan was grateful for his partner's directness, now more than usual. He pulled the ball cap off his head and looked down at it, exhaling as he ruffled his other hand through his hair. "I dunno."

Esposito shrugged. "Well. 'Least you're honest."

"Yeah, but not helpful, is it. I'd be thinkin' it too." He shook his head. "God. I just…I just wish I knew, y'know? I saw the look in that kid's eyes. I know he's in pain - he's gotta come forward eventually."

"He will, bro."

"But what if he doesn't? Then where are we?"

"Ryan," Espo stopped him. Right away, Kevin knew that tone, and he forced himself to be more calm. He wouldn't do anyone any good if he let himself get riled up, and he certainly didn't need to be any more anxious than he already was. "You did everything you could on this. I'm talkin' above and beyond. Okay? Give the kid a little time. If he's really as broken up as you say he is, he'll meet you halfway. You did your part, you just gotta let him come to you this time."

"Yeah. I know." Ryan nodded, turning the cap over in his hands. "Just seems like time we don't have."

Espo shook his head a little. "He's not gonna wait long," he said. "This'll eat at him and it won't stop 'til he puts his foot down. He wants the truth just as bad as we do."

No one wants it as bad as I do, Kevin nearly said, but he caught himself. There was a kid in that library who'd been robbed of the girl he'd been in love with. Jerry Tyson or not, maybe there was one person who wanted this case closed as badly as he did.

He looked up from the cap to his partner. He was giving him that look. The 'you're being hard on yourself' look, with something about a wheel metaphor in there. And though he knew he was biased, Kevin had the thought that maybe it was more than just he and Ben Lee who wanted it.

"So." Esposito swung their car keys around his middle finger. "Think we should get outta here?"

Kevin took a deep breath in and nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I wanna be where I know Ben can find me. If we run into Gates I'll just tell her I couldn't sit still at home…I dunno, I'll make something up."

"Motto always worked for me," Espo agreed under his breath. He'd just stepped off the curb and cued the power lock on the Crown when Ryan spoke up again, pausing with his own door half-open.

"Hey, Javier?"

The driver's side was open, but he didn't duck in yet. He looked at Ryan over the car. "Yeah."

For effect, Kevin lifted an eyebrow as he looked his partner up and down. "…You look ridiculous, you know that, right?" Then he couldn't help but start to smile, just a little bit.

Espo feigned affront, raising his brow high, like he'd just been issued a challenge. He pulled that obnoxious green cap back out of his hoodie, popped the dent out, and stuck it back on his head, poking it defiantly to one side. "Just for that, I'm wearin' this the whole ride back."

Kevin genuinely grinned as he dropped into the car. Yeah. He definitely got the point.



(I was tempted to recycle "I'm with you 'til the wheels fall off" directly, but I feel like that gets overused. When people even bother to write about the boys in the first place, that is.)

So, yeah. There you have it. I've been referring to it as a "deleted scene" from the episode, at least in my personal notes. I like to think something like that happened at some point during/after that case. Besides, backhanded thanks are exactly their style, you have to admit.

As I always say: if anyone's interested in joining a roleplaying community, go to my profile page and read the two paragraphs in the middle-ish. The bold one and the one with all the links. There's more information there.

I would love to hear what you think about this, what you liked best, why, etcetera. That'd be lovely.

Thanks all. Until later, peace and love.