Dimming of the Day
Summary: In the quiet night of an empty house, Captain Sharon Raydor ponders the events of her life over a glass of wine.
Notes: My first fic outside of Rizzoli & Isles, just dipping my toe in the water for a little character point of view piece.
The corner of her mouth turned up in a semi-amused smirk.
Brenda Leigh Johnson hadn't been the first to utter those words in exasperation and if all of her years on the Force Investigation Division were any indication, she wouldn't be the last.
"Yes, that woman…" she muttered as she gently eased the cork out of the chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio. Perspiration collected on the amber glass as its temperature collided with the warmth of the room. It was a white night. The kind of night when something cold and sharp was required to keep her on the edge. Red was too warm and too comforting. She could always feel its heat trickling down her throat, wrapping around her mind in a restrictive embrace, dragging her off to sleep. With her feet propped up on the sofa in a moment, she'd barely make it to the second glass of red before she nodded off. She knew that. White it was.
She could hear the words rolling off the Deputy Chief's tongue in that high-pitched, affected southern drawl that she had. People trusted that accent; they heard it and they saw a sweet, genteel southern belle. It was the criminals' folly if they fell victim to it. Perhaps that's why Brenda had earned her nickname: the Closer. She made them trust her and then before they even realized it, with the bat of her eyelashes, a crocodile smile, and a "bless your heart" as a parting gift they had walked right into her trap. Hook. Line. Sinker. Case closed.
A career in internal affairs had required its own bag of tricks. Dealing with fellow officers wasn't like dealing with criminals, though sometimes, sadly, fellow officers were the bad guys. But, there was no room for the innocent act. No situation that called for batting eyelashes. And she had no endearing southern accent. She was the Captain of FID. Strike one. She was a woman. Strike two.
No, her act was quite the opposite of Chief Johnson's. She had to play it hard, tough as nails, unbending, unyielding, and ever confident…even when confident was the last thing she felt. Her investigations weren't of bumbling, hack criminals. They were of cops. Trained professionals in law enforcement. Amongst the pack of her brothers in blue there was no space for a lamb, only a fellow wolf.
The wine was crisp and dry; she lingered at the kitchen island as she held the glass.
The more she played the words through her head the more she chuckled under her breath. She had to have a sense of humor too; it was necessary for everyone on her unit. Otherwise, the sneers, the name-calling, she unabashed vitriol from peers would eat a person from the inside out. For a unit like Major Crimes, detectives washed out because they couldn't handle the analytical difficulty of the cases, or the content. In FID, good detectives quit or transferred because they couldn't keep inter-unit hatred from becoming self-hatred.
It didn't mean the comments didn't hurt. Chief Johnson's best Scarlett O'Hara didn't mask the ire that formed the foundation of the words. Provenza didn't even try to hide the exasperation in his gruff voice when he said it. Chief Pope, Commander Taylor, they thought she didn't see the eye rolls. She did. But, it wouldn't eat her up inside.
The sad fact of their career was that indeed someone had to police the police. It was a job that no one wanted, but that someone had to do, and one in which very few were suited. Especially, when it came to heading the entire unit.
And so…she'd be: that woman, she-wolf, bitch…Judas. The last one hurt most of all. But, none would eat her up inside.
She tipped the bottle and poured a second glass and then corked the vintage and returned it to the fridge. Two glasses. Only two glasses. Her husband had sought solace at the bottom of a bottle and never found his way out. She wouldn't go down that road, not even under the weight of the most difficult questions in the dark of night.
It had been awhile since she'd heard Brenda utter those words. Sometimes that happened. Sometimes, despite the requirements of her job, she and a fellow officer could come to an understanding of one another. Perhaps even develop a rapport. She had often wondered if a friendship was too much to ask, but she felt as close to it with Brenda as she ever had with anyone.
Enemy and ally could become muddied and indistinguishable at times. In the world of internal affairs she was presumed enemy by all those outside of her unit. In reality, she wanted nothing more than for every internal investigation to clear the name and return the badge. But, that was a fantasy, a pipe dream. Sometimes, her colleagues in other units came to a realization: that her primary goal was not to punish them, but to serve the people, the same as every other upstanding officer on the force. When they could realize that, realize that it wasn't personal, they didn't necessarily come to like her, but they did respect her.
She felt like she had reached that point with Brenda and maybe even moved a little beyond. They had a lot in common it seemed. But now, everything had been thrown off kilter.
Brenda Leigh Johnson was leaving the LAPD and it was difficult for her not to feel some responsibility for that. As the rumor and whisperings had made their way to her ears, she was usually the last to be privy to the gossip train; she had run all of her interactions with the Deputy Chief through her mind. The tapping of Brenda for Chief and most importantly the Terrell Baylor investigation and her much despised babysitting of Major Crimes afterwards. She tried to conjure recollection of anything she could have done differently. Anything that wouldn't have led to this, but she couldn't. It wouldn't eat her up inside; it was, however, despite the opinions of Brenda's naysayers, a loss for the force.
But, that alone wasn't the cause of her reflections. She stared down into the yellow wine and it reminded her of the gentle glow of her office desk lamp. The one she had been writing reports under while she waited for maintenance to get around to the burned out fluorescent overhead. The one she was writing under when now interim Chief Pope and Assistant Chief Taylor had walked into her office that afternoon and offered her Major Crimes.
She took a sip and held the cold, tart liquid in her mouth as she closed her eyes. Their faces were so clear as they deadpan delivered the offer. They seemed almost as shocked to be delivering the offer as she was at hearing it. It was more than she had ever fathomed at this stage in her career. It also seemed, on some level…wrong. They expected an answer by tomorrow.
It had been a while since anyone had said it in ire. She chuckled and shook her head with a sigh. She supposed that soon enough, that would change.