"You sure he'll be here, man?"

"Of course I'm sure. We're detectives, bro. Guy follows a routine, we can figure out what it is. And according to routine, he'll be here in the next five minutes."

As promised, four minutes later a large, black SUV pulled into the parking structure not ten spaces from Ryan and Esposito's unmarked. A blond man in his late twenties stepped out of the driver's side and headed toward the door leading into the building, which the detectives were conveniently parked next to. The boys stepped out of their vehicle just as he was approaching.

"Excuse me, Agent Sorenson," Ryan began, "mind if we have a word?"

"Detectives Ryan and Esposito," Will said evenly when he turned to face them. "Didn't imagine I'd be seeing you two again so soon."

"We could say the same about you. Any detectives you didn't feel that way about?" Esposito asked pointedly.

Will laughed somewhat meanly. "Alright, boys, I see where this is going-"

"Oh, no," Ryan cut in. "You have no idea where this is going."

Another laugh. "Hmm… Yes, assault of a federal agent. That always does wonders for a cop's reputation. Not to mention the prison sentence… And, of course, we all know how popular an ex-cop is in prison."

"Listen, Will. All three of us know that's not what this is. And we don't ever want it to have to turn into that." Ryan told him.

"But if something goes wrong with you two, we will know," Esposito continued for him. And their patented rapid-fire speech cadence took off.

"If you hurt her."

"If you say or do anything that scares her."

"Or even just makes her uncomfortable."

"If you cheat on her."

"If you lie to her."

"If you do something to put her in danger."

"Or if you do anything less than everything possible to protect her from danger."

"If you take advantage of her."

"In any sense of the phrase."

"If you let her hurt herself."

"In any way."

"At all."


"If you do anything to indicate that you don't respect her."

"If you so much as think about mistreating her in any way."

"We will find out," they finished together.

"And we will spill your blood," Esposito said half-menacingly.

"And we will make sure that the crime scene falls within our own jurisdiction."

"And we will persuade Kate's best friend—"

"Who's just so conveniently a medical examiner—"

"To bury your autopsy report."

"And your case will not ever be solved."

"So you just keep that in mind, bro," Esposito encouraged, his tone somehow warning and a fake form of fraternal at the same time.

"Now you two kids have fun together," Ryan said with a broad, brotherly smile.

"See ya, man," Esposito called over his shoulder.

Thirty minutes later the pair was back at their desks in the Twelfth Precinct. Out of the corner of his eye, Ryan noticed Beckett check the caller ID on her cell phone, then get up and walk out of the bullpen. "Hey, Javi," he said over his shoulder casually.

"Yeah, man?" Esposito asked as Beckett came back around the corner. He looked up and saw the hazel eyes that were shooting daggers at both his partner and him.

"Run!" Ryan hissed, and the two tumbled out of their chairs, tripping over each other, and dashed for the elevator.