Title: Professional Disguise?

Summary: Putting on his trademark 'everything's back to normal' expression might have fooled others, but to Greg he knows the disguise Ed wears to work is merely a mask waiting to dissolve into an emotional meltdown. Ed/Greg Post Ep OS to eppy 5.03 Run to Me 'contains some spoilers'

Disclaimer: If I owned anything to do with FP Ed would be all mine! Hehe *alas* I own only my DVD's that fuel my imaginative muse Alice.

A/N: Well not much Ed/Greg interaction in this eppy but I am really hoping they don't just hint at Ed having PSTD from the first eppy and then drop it and then all of a sudden he snaps b/c that will be beyond lame IMHO! Lol so am gonna try to keep these going and hope that's okay with you all.

Note: Words in italics and double quotes taken directly from episode (usual disclaimer haha)


Greg watches Sam and Jules leave the conference room, satisfied that she concluded her SIU debriefing without much emotional incident and happy that she and Sam were going to see Sarah and Maddy in the hospital; Greg knowing that Jules connected with the troubled youth and that she'd be a good role model for them if they'd let her.

He then heads into the quiet team one meeting room to finish the notes on the call that just ended, pausing to remember Jules pushing for Sarah to do the right thing and then happy that the two girls could be reunited once again. He hears a faint shot in the distance and pauses before he continues writing. Starting up once more only to stop and listen. Another shot.

Thinking that everyone had already gone home and wondering after the somewhat easy takedown, which one of his team might feel the need for a little target practice instead of heading home. Greg heads into the quiet locker room, noticing a particular locker still slightly ajar and frowning before he changes direction.

"Eddie," he whispers with a heavy sigh as he goes in search of his friend. Ed's part of the call throughout was clean and there were no issues. Why the need to blow of some steam tonight? It was mostly a rhetorical question, because if he was practical about it, he would be forced to realize that something was still be eating away inside Ed since he had been forced to take May's life.

Ah maybe I'm just being overly paranoid, Greg's mind ponders as he gently pushes open the door to the practice room and pauses. Or maybe not. Ed of course oblivious to his being watched by a concerned friend thanks to the heavy ear muffs and the noise from the gun going off every few seconds; allowing Greg to stand silent and witness.

Greg watches Ed's tense frame but doesn't really suspect anything is wrong until Ed utters that one fateful statement.

"May…move out of the way," Ed whispers just before another bullet leaves the chamber. "Oh god no…please no…"

Greg feels his stomach instantly tighten and shakes his head. Oh Eddie…this isn't good…you can't keep doing this to yourself, he inwardly laments as Ed looks at the target, his eyes fixed a few meters in the distance, his mind watching May enter his line of sight. But in that moment, what Greg can't see, is the others victims, claimed by the expert shot from Ed Lane's sniper rifle.

Greg thinks back to the moment Dean told him he wanted to be a cop and how happy he was; but looking at his best friend and feeling the inner torment starting to rise, he now wonders if he could bear to see his son like this. Alone…after work, in a darkened room, wrestling with inner demons that might never be silenced. Screams…questions…accusations…reasons…tears…curses…despair and then finally the inevitable emotional breakdown.

He knows Ed puts on a good face for the team because he knows he has to, he's their leader, they all look up to him to keep it together – day after day after…day. But as he had said one time before to the team on Ed's fifth anniversary as team leader – who picks him up? Who picks up Ed Lane?

Greg's head slightly bows as he knows the answer – no one. Sure Ed would claim that Sophie helps and in a way she does – but not the way Ed needs right now. It's not professional help. Damn it Eddie….why don't you just talk to someone.

Not even aware of Greg's presence, Ed continues his one man shooting tirade, trying desperately to replay the shot over and over in his head with a different outcome. May moving and her father raising his gun; Ed taking out the abusive father so that May and her mother could finally live their lives in peace. Him standing up satisfied and untroubled.

Instead he watches her falling to the ground with a haunted expression over and over and over…nothing could bring her back…nothing could change her destiny once it had been sealed – sealed by his doing. Him.

He hears her scream…he hears other voices scream…other parents yelling at him that it was his fault their children were dead. Children yelling at him…wanting to sue or take his life because he did his job and protected an innocent person while their family member met their fate at the hands of his skilled handiwork.

Ed's eyes water once more as he morbidly pictures May's face look up with haunted dark eyes after she was shot, her mournful expression piercing him to his very soul; her words 'you promised' continuing to pick away at his very core.

"May…oh god I'm sorry," Ed laments as his eyes blur. And then without warning he raises his head in a fury of unleashed anger and fires off a rapid succession of bullets until the chamber is empty and the black and white target figure hanging a few meters away has been reduced to smoldering shreds.

"Ahhhh!" Ed shouts in anger as he yanks the hard plastic ear muffs off his head and his fist angrily slams down on the button to bring the tattered paper figured forward. His hand keeps the button held tightly down until Greg's gently lifts his off, nodding that it was still coming no matter his continued pressure.

"Boss…" Ed huffs as he quickly looks away, almost embarrassed at his uncharacteristic public display of emotion. "Sorry."

"Don't be," Greg lightly shrugs as he looks at Ed; Ed's eyes now looking down at the practice weapon in his hands. "Eddie…" Greg utters softly, as his fingers rest on Ed's hands for a brief moment, stopping his actions but not drawing his gaze upward. "You can't keep doing this to yourself."

"Doing what? I'm fine," Ed tries to counter in haste, offering a small shrug as he tries to leave.

Greg cocks his head as Ed finally looks at him and his heart sinks as he notices the look of remorse in Ed's soulful blue sapphires. "You are not fine my friend…"

"It's just one…"

"You've been here every night since…."

"Since what?"

"Since that call."

"You mean where I murdered May…I mean…" Ed stops, his lips whispering a curse as he shakes his head. "Sophie's got a late gig and Clark's with friends and…you know I just …"

"Didn't want to go home to a quiet house. I get that…I do," Greg acknowledges. "I've been there. Alone in a quiet space…with my thoughts. They can condemn us can't they? Our own worst judge, jury and executioner."

"You know what Greg? I'm not you, okay? I'm not you."

"No and maybe that's part of the problem."

"Right. Fine…you know what...it's part of the problem!" Ed huffs in anger as he slams the weapon down and takes a step back to leave, pushing past Greg but pausing a just before the door at Greg's next statement.

"I am concerned about you."

Ed turns to Greg and shakes his head negatively, wanting to reaffirm that there was nothing wrong – he's in complete control.

"You want me to talk to someone?"

"I want you to talk to someone...you hafta want Ed. You."

"Tell me Greg…what would I say huh? What would I say? I shot her? Yeah I did okay? I feel guilty? Sure I do…what more is there to say. I did my job and that's it…that's the job. I'm not getting a new one so I gotta deal with it and I am. I'm fine. What more is there to say? Tell me," Ed demands sharply, his inner agitation starting to boil over.

"Forcing you to discuss anything emotional right now would be moot."

"It would be moot anytime, forced or not. Greg, I'm fine. You think coming in here to practice up a bit is a cause for concern?"

"Three out of four nights in a row? What would you think if you saw Sam or Leah or any of the team doing that? Wouldn't you call them on it?"

"I'm their team leader, not their babysitter," Ed insists, his heart still racing.

"Well I'm team supervisor and when I see something that concerns me, I ask."

"I just wanted…I didn't feel like the treadmill okay?" Ed counters as his posture finally softens a little.

"I get that you want to put on a brave face for the rest of the team; I get that. But Ed…you are always so busy helping them that I sometimes don't think you stop to let yourself be helped."

"I don't need help."

"What do you need?"

"I…nothing, okay? Nothing? Are we done?"

"Yeah…okay," Greg finally resigns, knowing that to back Ed Lane into an emotional corner would be an unwise move; he was still very much in denial and getting him to realize that deep inside he was hurting would take a little more coaxing; but he had to recognize it on his own for the inner turmoil to subside. Ed had to on his own. "But…" Greg starts once more as Ed pauses just before he pulls the door open.

"Yeah?"

"But if you are at home…and you are alone…and the silence gets too much…just come over okay? Or call…or text…or post a comment on Facebook or whatever," Greg smirks, inwardly delighted when Ed's face finally follows the same course as his posture and relaxes a little bit more. "Just don't think that you hafta face any of this alone okay? You're not alone."

"Fair enough. Goodnight," Ed replies with a small smile, not wanting to hint that even a small part of him was begging the rest of him to take Greg up on his offer.

"You know tonight…Marina's working late too…wanna grab a pizza or something?"

"I can't I gotta go…another time."

"Sure," Greg nods, giving Ed a small tight lipped smile. "See you tomorrow."

Ed grabs the dark leather jacket from his locker and heads for the exit doors, busting outside with his mind still racing; part of it angry at Greg for seeing through his thin façade and discerning that he wasn't as okay as he always tells everyone he is. The other part of his mind of course, happy that Greg's trained eye was seeing what even those closest to him were failing to realize – he was inwardly hanging by a slowly fraying thread.

"I'm fine," Ed once again tries to convince himself as he gets into his car and starts for home, turning up the radio to the latest rock song and praying the mindless lyrics will drown out the angry screams in his head. They don't fully.

"Today was a good day," he repeats over and over, replaying Leah's takedown, his own arrest, Jules rescuing Sarah…all things that were positive about the case – wanting anything to stifle the rising surge of tormented emotion that he still wasn't able to battle back.

He enters his quiet home, now regretting the fact that Sophie's catering job sometimes kept her away for longer hours into the evening, Izzy at her mother's and Clark out with friends.

"I'm home…" he calls out to his silent abode, lonely shadows wrapping their arms around him to greet him as he nears them in the hallway. First thing he does is head for the living room, flipping on the TV and lamenting the fact that the first few weeks of the hockey season was cancelled. His lips slightly smirk as he switches to Sophie's favorite channel, the cooking channel, watching some highly skilled chef take some odd looking piece of fruit and turn it into a show stopping masterpiece in seconds.

"Showoff," Ed muses to the TV as he looks at the phone, frowning at the blinking 'zero'. They would be having dinner with Wordy and his family on Saturday and for that Ed was thankful; always looking forward to spending quality down time with his best friend of over twenty years; taking his mind off his own inner turmoil for at least a few hours.

'Leftovers in the fridge. Warm in the microwave for five minutes. See you tonight. Love Sophie.'

Ed puts the note back down on the table and pulls open the fridge, glancing at the plate of cold meat but not feeling any inclination in his stomach to eat it. Instead he takes a beer, twists it open and takes down a few cool hearty gulps, his stomach stinging at first but then welcoming another hearty swig.

He wanders back into the living room and slumps down into the closest chair, his eyes instantly glancing over at a small picture of him and Clark taken at Wordy's anniversary party a few months back. 'Dad…I don't want to be a cop okay? I just don't.'

Ed feels his face wince at Clark's emotionally stinging words and gulps down another hearty mouthful of beer before looking away, his mind ordering his eyes to rapidly blink to keep the oncoming tears at bay – remorse and regret now starting to creep into his very subconscious.

"My son…the engineer," Ed grumbles…"or whatever," he huffs as he looks at the clock; too late to go out and too early to go to bed. With an angry curse Ed pushes himself back up, his stomach earnestly begging for something substantial to mix with the beer now teasing the angry stomach acids.

He peers back into the fridge at the plate of food and just can't bring himself to eat it. 'Just me tonight…wanna get a pizza?' He recalls Greg's friendly offer. Without putting much thought into what he's doing, Ed's fingers numbly start to dial Greg's number, but hang up just as it connects.

"He'll lecture me," Ed mutters to himself in frustration as he pads back into the living room and slumps down into the same chair; getting reacquainted with it in seconds. He rests his head back and closes his eyes, his mind this time showing him on the rooftop about to take the shot, lining up Clark in his sights before he pulls the trigger.

Offering an angrier curse than normal, Ed's eyes snap back open, his fingers twisting tightly around the cool bottle of half-drunk beer, shaking his head and praying for the tormenting images to disappear.

"I took the shot…it was legal," he tries to convince himself, nodding his head as if that was all the therapy he would ever need. "I'm fine," he insists, his inner voice laughing at the bold faced lie he just dared to utter. About ten minutes later he feels himself starting to doze off; his journey into darkness, however, interrupted by a firm knock on the door.

"What?" Ed utters as he looks at the clock with a frown, placing the beer on the table and hurrying to open the door. "Greg?"

"Parker pizza delivery service," Greg smirks as he holds up the large warm box. "I was in the area."

Wanting at first to argue, but knowing that he couldn't turn his friend away and at the moment not really wanting to, Ed invites him to enter, the smell of the warm melted cheese and cooked meat, now teasing his senses and making his stomach instantly beg for the first slice.

"Smells good."

"Cheeseburger pizza. Marina's favorite."

"Really?"

"Knew there was a reason I liked her," Greg smirks.

"Thought it was the cupcakes."

"Those too," Greg confesses as he follows Ed into the kitchen. "Soda?"

"Sure," Ed nods as Greg pulls out cans of pop as Ed takes out two small plates; Ed forgoing the beer still in the other room.

"Didn't like the leftovers?"

"Too much work," Ed smirks as he watches Greg push open the pizza box, his mouth instantly salivating at the take-out feast before him. "Boss about earlier…" Ed starts as Greg holds up his hand.

"Eddie I got your call and then it disconnected and I came over. Tonight I have on my pizza delivery hat okay…friend Greg…not boss Greg or therapist Greg…just friend Greg."

"Friend Greg. You got that from Dean right?"

"I did. I think he got it from TV," Greg lightly chuckles as they sit down to finally enjoy their appetizing meal. "Now…enough talk."

"All we're missing is a game."

"Don't get me started on them cancelling the first few weeks," Greg lightly moans as he watches Ed's posture finally relax back into his chair.

"You know what I think…I think they need…" Ed starts into his dissertation of why the players and owners of the NHL need to sit back down and what the real reason for the lockout was.

Greg looks at his friend with a kind smile, nodding in agreement as they both continue to eat and just enjoy the next few hours as friends. He knows the disguise that Ed puts on every day is something he's more than accustomed to wearing and something everyone is accustomed to seeing. But there are moments when Greg can see through the disguise when others can't, past the somewhat hard outer shell when others won't and into the soul of a man on the path to an emotional breakdown. He hopes and prays that Ed is right and that by doing a few things here and there he can deal with it on his own terms; battle his own inner demons without any kind of help. But part of him fears the day that something similar to what happened to May will happen again and it'll force Ed near the edge, taunting him to jump off.

I can't let that day ever happen, Greg's mind vows inside as he tries to shrug off the tension he hears in Ed's tone, trying to push aside the hard edges of his posture and falsity behind a thin smile. Please Eddie…just put away the disguise…and talk to me.

Please.

It was a silent cry from a friend, pleading with him to fully open up, a cry that Ed doesn't hear…at least…not yet.

THE END!


A/N: Well I am kinda nervous it was weak b/c no real eppy stuff in here but am hoping it was at least an enjoyable read-if not blame the FP writers for not putting more of Ed's emotional state of mind into that eppy lol but if you liked it a little please do review and thanks so much!