A SMALL WORLD
A/N: It’s bad enough that my muse has suddenly gone shippiness-happy, but I draw the line at writing dates. I resist still. You’ll just have to take it as canon that Alex and Mike, and Bobby and Carolyn had a lovely dinner followed by dancing. My fluffiness skills just aren’t up to par, and I’d rather skip it than ruin it.
And besides, any pairings are a secondary plot. The story is first and foremost about Mike and Bobby.
“What the hell are they doing in there that takes nearly forty-five minutes?” Mike grumbled, as they sat back in their hotel suite, waiting for Alex and Carolyn to surface. The women had disappeared into their shared bedroom shortly after finishing helping them both with their physio exercises, intent on getting ready to go out for dinner. That had been over half an hour ago, and both men were starting to get a little restless.
They’d agreed on going to the club that Bobby had told Carolyn about on the way to Miami, and both women had shown an enthusiasm that left Bobby and Mike feeling a little worried.
“If you value your life, you won’t ask either one of them,” Bobby warned him wryly. Mike smirked.
“Right. That’s on the same level as asking a woman how old she is, or what’s in her handbag.” His gaze alighted on Alex’s handbag, which sat nearby on the coffee table next to Carolyn’s, and a grin lit up his face. “Speaking of which…”
Bobby regarded his brother bemusedly.
“Do you want to get yourself smacked? Alex’ll shoot you if you go looking through her handbag.”
“What, you’re saying you’ve never looked? Not even a peep?”
“I value my life,” Bobby replied flatly. “But hey, if you don’t mind getting ’em cut off…” Mike grimaced at the image that presented in his mind, and Bobby chuckled softly. “There are some places that you should never even contemplate going, and a woman’s handbag is one of those places. If you never listen to anything else I say, at least listen to that.”
Mike regarded Bobby with amusement.
“You didn’t answer my question, baby brother. Have you ever looked?”
“Let me put it this way, Mike. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt me.”
Mike snorted with laughter.
“I knew it!”
Bobby rolled his eyes, but said nothing, and silence fell once more.
“I can’t just sit on my ass and do nothing, Bobby,” Mike said suddenly, agitation in his tone.
Bobby regarded him with a mixture of sympathy and warning, understanding that he was no longer talking about their pending double-date with Alex and Carolyn.
“Mike, don’t. It’s really not a good idea. Please, can’t you just trust me on this? Just leave it to Lieutenant Caine and Detective Tripp to find Richie.”
“And what if they can’t find him?” Mike argued. “Deakins only gave us a week!”
“I haven’t forgotten,” Bobby reassured him. “And believe me, as cunning as Richie can be, he’s not smart enough to avoid the police indefinitely. If they’re looking for him, they’ll find him. Hell, all they have to do is put out an alert to all the gambling venues in Miami. He’ll turn up at one of them sooner or later.”
“Gambling venues, huh?” Mike mused, and Bobby’s senses promptly went on high alert.
“So, what would it matter if we hit a few places? We’re on holiday, aren’t we? Technically? And if we just happen to run into Richie in the process…”
“Thin ice, Mike,” Bobby warned him. “Not to mention, the women will draw and quarter you.”
“So, we don’t tell them,” Mike said with a lopsided shrug. A moment later, he pulled away in annoyance when Bobby leaned across and pressed a palm to his forehead. “What?”
“Sorry,” Bobby apologised. “I thought you must have been sick. For a second there, I could have sworn you were delirious.”
“Funny,” Mike retorted.
“We’ve been down this road before, Mike,” Bobby said with a sigh. “It’s really not a good idea to keep Alex and Carolyn out of the loop! Besides, do you really think they wouldn’t figure out what we were doing? I don’t know about you, but Alex knows damn well that I don’t gamble.”
Mike frowned, increasingly irritated.
“This is fucking ridiculous, Bobby. All we need is five friggin’ minutes to ask him a couple of questions. That’s all! Just five minutes! Why is this turning out to be so difficult?”
“You don’t want me to answer that honestly, do you?” Bobby asked quietly, and Mike shot him a death glare.
“No. Keep it to yourself, Goren.”
Again, Bobby rolled his eyes, but before he had a chance to say another word, the bedroom door swung open and Alex and Carolyn emerged.
“Wow…” Mike said finally, staring appreciatively at the petite woman who had agreed to be his date for the evening.
“Good response, Mike,” Alex said approvingly. She was wearing a black skirt that came only halfway down her thighs, and a silky light blue top with a halter neck style that tied off at the back. In the front, it didn’t quite cover her midriff, leaving her belly button exposed in a tantalising display of flesh. She wore stilettos that gave her extra height, bringing her well up past Mike’s shoulders.
She wore her hair down, but a couple of well-placed clips kept it out of her face, allowing Mike to appreciate her highlighted features all the more.
Carolyn, for her part, had chosen a sexy red dress that clung to her body in all the right places, and came to just above her knees. She, too, wore heels, though not as pronounced as Alex’s stilettos. At Alex’s suggestion, Carolyn had put curlers in her hair, leaving them in just long enough to give her waves an extra kick. Alex had assured her it was sexy as hell and, judging from the appreciative way that Bobby was staring at her, she’d been right.
“So, do we meet with your approval, boys?” Carolyn asked, putting an extra boost of bravado into her tone to mask a sudden onset of nerves. Bobby finally snapped back to reality, and pushed himself up.
“You look absolutely beautiful,” he told her sincerely, causing an endearing red blush to creep across her cheeks. His gaze flickered to Alex, and he smiled warmly at her. “You both do. I… hope we’re the ones who meet with your approval.”
Alex paused, stepping back to eye first Mike and then Bobby with critical appraisal. Truth was that both the guys looked seriously good, with Bobby wearing black pants and Mike wearing tan coloured pants. Bobby wore a red shirt that Alex was positive she’d never seen before, open-necked with no tie, and a seriously expensive looking black jacket. Mike wore a soft blue shirt that matched the colour of Alex’s top almost perfectly, again with no tie and his comfortable brown leather jacket.
“Well,” Alex said with a barely concealed smirk, “I guess you’ll both do…”
Mike and Bobby exchanged wry looks.
“You hear that, baby brother?” Mike asked in mock disgust. “We'll do.”
Bobby looked at Alex, fighting a grin.
“Well, if you're worried we'll cramp your style...”
“Stop it,” Alex retorted, laughing and whacking him lightly on the shoulder before slipping her arm comfortably through Mike’s. “You both look great. Now c'mon. We're hungry.”
Bobby offered his arm to Carolyn, which she took with a shy smile.
“Thankyou, kind sir.”
He flashed her his warmest smile and, as they left the hotel suite, he couldn't help but think how lucky he was to have the company of such a smart, beautiful and kind woman for the night.
Miami Dade Crime Lab
Calleigh Duquesne looked up from the computer at which she was seated, and smiled wearily.
“Hey, Ryan. What are you still doing here?”
Ryan Wolfe barely stifled a yawn as he pulled a chair over to sit down beside his colleague.
“I was about to ask you the same thing. I was waiting for the DNA results on the Bellows murder. I promised Horatio that I’d have the analysis to him first thing tomorrow.”
Calleigh smiled sympathetically, and then nodded to the computer monitor in front of her.
“Horatio asked me to run a check on a couple of detectives that are down here from New York. Apparently one of them is Richard Goren’s younger brother.”
Ryan blinked in surprise.
“Goren has a brother? And he’s a cop? That’s just great. That’s all we need…”
“Well, according to what Horatio said, Richard’s little brother isn’t all that eager to help him out. It’s his friend, Detective Logan, who seems to have the interest in Richard. Oh my…”
“What is it?” Ryan asked, leaning in to look. A moment later, his eyebrows shot up as he took in the incident report that detailed the assault that had resulted in Bobby and Mike being trapped inside a condemned building. Ryan whistled softly as he scanned the report.
“Wow. Those guys have been through some serious hell together.”
“It doesn’t explain why they want to talk to Richard Goren so badly, though,” Calleigh mused.
“Horatio worried that they might interfere in our investigation?” Ryan wondered and Calleigh nodded.
“Partly… But I think he’s also worried that they might land themselves in trouble. You know what Horatio’s like when we have a case that’s linked in any way to the Mal Noche.”
Ryan grimaced. He knew, all right. Yawning again, he got awkwardly to his feet.
“I’m going to go and check on those results. I’ll see you tomorrow, Calleigh.”
Calleigh nodded in reply.
“Mm. ’Night, Ryan.”
Then he was gone, and she was alone again. A slight frown creased her features as she scrolled through the police records of each detective. With the exception of the incident she’d just read about, there didn’t appear to be anything particularly unusual in their records. There was nothing here to tell her what possible interest Detective Logan might have in Richard Goren.
It was even more confusing that Horatio had indicated that whatever the reasons were, they seemed to be personal rather than professional. It made no sense, no sense whatsoever.
Still frowning, she printed out the information she’d managed to gather, and went to find Horatio.
Much later that evening
“That was a great little club, Bobby,” Carolyn said with a happy sigh as they headed slowly away from the club. Bobby smiled, pleased that she’d enjoyed herself. They walked close together, with Bobby clinging to his walking stick with one hand, whilst holding Carolyn close to him with the other. At some point through the evening, his arm had found its way across her shoulders, and neither one of them seemed in a hurry to move it off again.
“I’m glad you liked it,” he said, still smiling. “I’ll take you back there again before we leave, if you like. I don’t think we got to dance nearly enough…”
“Please,” Mike retorted as he came up beside them, his own arm firmly around Alex’s shoulders. “You two spent ninety percent of the time we were in the damn club on the dance floor! I had to eat your desserts!”
“Don’t think I didn’t notice that, Logan,” Carolyn told him threateningly. “You owe me a Creme Brulee.”
Mike snorted, but didn’t argue. He glanced down, then, his attention going to his own date for the evening.
“Alex? How about you? You enjoyed yourself, didn’t you?”
She glanced up at him curiously. He sounded genuinely anxious all of a sudden, and she was touched to realise that he really did care about her, and whether she’d had a good time. Favouring him with a warm, sincere smile, she squeezed him once, briefly, around the waist.
“I had a great time, Mike. I didn’t know you were such a smooth dancer.”
Mike looked over at Bobby, and grinned playfully at him.
“Guess it must be in the blood, huh?”
Bobby had to smile.
“It may be,” he agreed.
They arrived at a corner, and Mike slowed to a halt, forcing all of them to stop as well.
“Hey, we’re not going back to the hotel already, are we?” he asked almost plaintively. Bobby raised an eyebrow at him.
“You had somewhere in mind?”
“Well, no,” Mike conceded, but there’s got to be somewhere we can go. It’s not even midnight yet!”
“Mike, don’t be an idiot,” Carolyn told him lightly. “Look at you, you’re already starting to limp again!”
“That’s what Vicodin is for, sweetheart,” Mike told her with a grin, but Carolyn wasn’t amused.
“Not a chance, lover-boy. You know the Vicodin is only for when the pain is really bad. This doesn’t qualify.”
“Where did you want to go?” Alex asked as Mike’s expression melted into one of disappointment. “After all, we’ve already done the dinner and dancing thing.”
Mike looked around, frowning. Then, his face lit up once more as he spotted a likely possibility.
“How about there?”
They looked to see where he was indicating, and Bobby had to fight the sudden urge to groan aloud. The place Mike had spotted was a poker bar and pool hall – just the kind of place that Richie was likely to frequent. He expected either Alex or Carolyn to lambast Mike over his suggestion, and was stunned when Carolyn nodded.
“Sure… Why not?”
“Dressed like this?” Alex asked doubtfully, but Carolyn was already urging Bobby in the direction of the bar.
“Why not?” she said again. “Anyone tried to hit on us, and Mike and Bobby can beat them with their walking sticks. Right, boys?”
“Absolutely,” Mike agreed enthusiastically. And, firing a triumphant look at Bobby, Mike ushered both Alex and Carolyn across the road to the bar. After a long, indecisive moment, Bobby sighed in defeat and followed.
“I don’t know why Mike bothers challenging you to pool, Bobby,” Alex said with a chuckle as Bobby racked up the balls for a third game. “He always loses.”
“I think he’s under some warped impression that I’ll start letting him win a few because he’s my brother,” Bobby mused as he lined the pool balls up on the table. “Either that, or he’s hoping he can get me drunk enough to beat me. Where is he, anyway?”
“He said he was getting another round of drinks,” Carolyn said. “Although, it looks like he’s getting pretty chummy with the bartender. They’ve been talking for a good five minutes now.”
Bobby looked around with a frown and, sure enough, there was Mike at the bar, deep in conversation with the bartender. As he watched, Mike pulled what looked like a photo from his jacket, and showed the other man. Feeling a rush of anger, Bobby abandoned the pool table and headed over to the bar.
Mike never saw Bobby coming. The only warning he had was the startled look on the face of the bartender before a hand slammed down on his shoulder, jerking him around roughly.
“Where the hell did you get this?” Bobby demanded angrily, snatching the photo of Richie Goren out of Mike's hand. Mike, for his part, had the decency to look guilty.
“I might have grabbed it from your bedroom... After we heard that Richie was in Miami... I figured it might help to have a picture of him... You know... If we had to look for him...”
For a split second, Mike thought Bobby was going to hit him, and he braced himself for the anticipated, albeit well-deserved punch. It never came. Looking warily at his younger brother, Mike was struck painfully by the disappointment in Bobby's expression.
“You went behind my back.”
It wasn't a question, and Mike suddenly found himself feeling distinctly queasy.
“I'm sorry, Bobby. I...”
“Don't,” Bobby said flatly. “Just... don't.”
Turning, he headed back to the pool table. Swearing softly, Mike followed.
“Problem?” Alex asked quietly, with no hint of attitude or snark to her voice. Bobby was stony-faced as he grabbed his jacket and pulled it on.
“We're going back to the hotel. Now.”
Alex and Carolyn exchanged baffled looks. They then looked to Mike, but he offered no protest, and the guilty look on his face spoke a thousand words.
Silence fell as they gathered their things to head back to the hotel. They had just reached the door of the bar, with Bobby in the lead, when the door swung open and a man matching Bobby's height and build walked in. Both men froze, and two pairs of brown eyes that were so much alike stared at each other in shock. The newcomer recovered first, and a sneer spread across his face, twisting what might have otherwise been handsome features.
“Lookit here... It's the runt... Fancy meeting you here, runt.”
“Richie,” Bobby said tonelessly in greeting. Behind him, he felt more than heard the astonishment of the others.
“You're not leaving yet, are ya, Bobby boy?” Richie said in an unnecessarily loud voice and, before Bobby could protest, Richie slung an arm around his shoulders and forcefully wheeled him around, herding him roughly past Mike, Alex and Carolyn and back over to the bar. Exchanging looks, the three detectives turned away from the door and followed in watchful silence.
At the bar, Bobby finally pulled out of Richie's grasp, barely able to conceal his disgust and anger.
“What's the matter, runt?” Richie asked as he thumped on the bar to get the attention of the bartender. “You not happy to see your big brother? Hey! I want whiskey, now! Doubles, for me and my little brother here.”
“No,” Bobby said sharply. “I don't drink whiskey.”
Richie snorted loudly.
“Bullshit you don't.”
Bobby grimaced as a double shot of whiskey was placed in front of him, and he pushed it away.
“I told you, I don't drink whiskey.”
“Fine,” Richie muttered. “I'll drink it, then. Fuck you. I'm just trying to be friendly.”
“Richie,” Bobby started to say, but his breath catching in his throat. Richie looked sideways at him.
“What the fuck do you want, Bobby? What the hell are you doing here? This is my territory. Not yours, you fucking little runt.”
That was all Mike could take, and pulled away from Alex and Carolyn to step up to the bar beside Bobby, intending on giving Bobby the support that he had promised him. Richie blinked in vague surprise as he found himself staring into a pair of hostile, green eyes.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Mike Logan,” he introduced himself with icy civility. “That's Detective Logan to you, asshole.”
Richie grunted, unimpressed by Mike's attempt to assert his authority.
“You work with the runt, do you? My condolences.”
Mike opened his mouth to speak again, but a warning glance from Bobby silenced him. Satisfied that he'd managed to reign Mike in, at least for the moment, Bobby returned his attention to his oldest brother. Out of the corner of his eye, he was aware of Alex and Carolyn waiting just beyond the immediate boundaries of this little confrontation. He hoped and prayed they would stay there, and not get involved. That they wouldn't do anything to bring themselves to Richie's attention.
“I'm not here catch up, Richie. I need to ask you something. That's all.”
“Uh huh,” Richie said. “You and your bodyguard here?”
“We just want to ask a few questions, and then we'll be gone,” Bobby said tightly. Richie turned to look at Bobby, then. His gaze went briefly to Mike, and then returned to Bobby once more.
“So it's a few questions now, is it? These questions... How much is it worth to you to get answers?”
“How much is it worth to you for us not to call the MDPD, and tell them where you are?” Mike growled. Richie's expression darkened slightly and he looked back to his drink.
“So how's Mom doing, runt? Insane as ever? You know, you always took after her more than you did Dad.”
Bobby tensed visibly, but admirably kept his cool.
“Mom's doing okay, not that you give a damn.”
“You're right,” Richie snorted. “I don't.”
Bobby drew in a long, steadying breath as he struggled to keep his cool. Less than five minutes with Richie, and he already remembered with almost painful clarity why he'd never wanted anything more to do with him. Damn Mike for forcing the issue...
“We need to ask you something, Richie. Something that you might remember... about Dad.”
Richie turned again, swinging around on the barstool to stare Bobby down.
“And what if I don't care to answer? Hm? What are you gonna do, runt? Sic your rottweiler here onto me?”
Bobby didn't hesitate. He didn't dare, for fear he'd lose his nerve entirely. Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew a card, and read the name on it.
“Lieutenant Horatio Caine.”
Richie winced, a reaction that was very visible to both Bobby and Mike. The detectives exchanged glances, and Mike spoke with a hint of smugness.
“Sounds like that name's familiar to you, Richie.”
With his other hand, Bobby withdrew his cell phone from another pocket.
“I'm getting an urge to call him... A really powerful urge. What do you think, Mike? You think I ought to call him?”
“Oh, yeah,” Mike agreed, not taking his eyes off Richie as he spoke. “I really think you should, Bobby.”
“Okay!” Richie exploded, his face darker than a thundercloud. “I get it! All right! Ask your fucking questions. And then get the fuck outta my face!”
Bobby nodded, and though his outward appearance was come, on the inside he was a mess. Now, more than ever, he wanted to get this over with, and get the hell out of Dodge. Screw their week's holiday. All of a sudden, he didn't want to be within a hundred miles of Richie.
“Before I was born, when you were maybe six or seven, do you remember Dad being around then?”
“What the fuck do you mean, do I remember him being around?”
“What he means,” Mike snapped, “is was he screwing around with someone?”
Richie fell suddenly quiet as he looked from Bobby, to Mike, and back to Bobby again.
“You want to know if Dad was having an affair before you were born? Why?”
“Just answer the question,” Bobby said impatiently, but Richie shook his head.
“Uh uh. No, you answer me, and then I'll consider answering yours. Why do you want to know? I mean, it's not like it's going to benefit Mom in any way... or you either, for that matter. What the fuck does it matter if he was or not?”
“So, you're saying he was?” Mike pressed, and Richie glanced at him irritably.
“I didn't say that. Who the fuck did you say you were, again?”
“Logan,” Mike answered coolly. “Mike Logan.”
And then they saw it. A flash of recognition in Richie's eyes as he stared at Mike. It wasn't much, and it only lasted a second, but it was there and they both saw it.
“What?” Bobby asked, suddenly feeling distinctly unsettled. “What do you remember?”
“Nothing,” Richie said softly, his tone flat and emotionless as he continued to stare at Mike. “Not a fucking thing.”
He stood up abruptly.
“I'm outta here. It's been great, Bobby. Let's do this again in another... what, ten years?”
“Whoa,” Mike growled, stepping in to block Richie's retreat, and ignoring the concern that lit up Bobby's eyes. “We haven't finished yet, pal.”
Richie's expression had become downright dangerous by then.
“Yeah. We have, Detective. Now, get the fuck out of my way. I'm leaving.”
“I said, we're not finished,” Mike growled, desperate not to let Richie go when it had suddenly become clear that he did know something after all.
It happened fast, and neither Bobby nor Mike saw it coming. One moment, Richie and Mike had been standing in a face-off, neither one backing down. The next, Mike was suddenly on the floor after Richie's fist collided with the side of his head in a brutal punch. Richie smirked down at Mike, who was out cold from the sheer force of the blow.
“We're finished.” He looked around at Bobby, who had started forward in anger, and a look was all it needed to bring his younger brother grinding to a complete halt. “That's right, runt. Don't even about it. You might be a fucking cop, but unless you're carrying a gun on you somewhere, I'll still kick your ass from here to eternity. No? I didn't think so.”
Richie turned to go, then seemed to think twice about it. Turning back, he delivered a vicious kick to Mike's chest, and another to his head, sending a spray of blood across the floor from Mike's mouth. Then, with a laugh, he sauntered out of the bar.
“Jesus, Mike,” Carolyn gasped as she dropped to the floor next to her felled partner.
“Call an ambulance,” Bobby told the bartender, before turning back to his unconscious brother.
“Bobby, why didn't you stop him?” Alex asked softly, and though her tone wasn't accusing, there was still confusion in it. “You could have stopped him. Why did you just let him go?”
In his anger, frustration and concern for Mike, Bobby rounded on her angrily.
“Me? Why didn’t you, Eames? I’ve seen you bring down guys twice your size. Don’t tell me you’re that much intimidated by Richie.”
She froze, her face as mask as she processed his words, and then his tone. Finally, she fell on the side of sympathy, and squeezed his hand in gentle reassurance.
“I guess I just paid attention when you talked about Richie.”
The anger melted from Bobby’s face like warm butter, and his shoulders slumped as he watched Carolyn try to tend to her partner.
“That’s more than Mike did, then,” Bobby said bitterly. He glanced down at his healing leg for emphasis. “I'm not exactly at full strength, and secondly... I can't fight Richie. I never could. I warned Mike from the start about this. Damned idiot had to learn the hard way, though, didn't he?”
“There's an ambulance on its way,” the bartender told them. “Cops are coming, too. Listen, I'll give a statement, tell them it wasn't provoked. You guys were just talking, that's all.”
“Thanks,” Bobby murmured in appreciation, wishing not for the first time that they were back home in New York, and as far away from Richie as was humanly possible.
Back Home Law and Order: Criminal Intent Main Page Next