Author's note: The chapters may be somewhat shorter from here on, purely in the interest of providing regular updates.

To Shellster: I think you'll find the reason my my stories are not in the general listing of CI fics is because I have given them an 'M' rating. I felt this was appropriate because of the violent content of the stories. I think you will find this is the case with all the stories whose authors have decided on an 'M' rating. The one story I gave a lesser rating to can be found in the general listing - it's just a matter of scrolling through to find it.

To Juliette7179: This is the only site where you will find these stories. I have not posted them anywhere else on the internet.

After leaving the morgue and a very bemused pathologist behind, Jack took the detectives to a favourite café for lunch, where they talked over sandwiches and coffee.

“How do you do that, exactly?” Jack asked as he bit into an extraordinarily large sandwich. Goren regarded him questioningly.

“How do I do what?”

“What you did with that boy’s corpse,” Jack said. “I’ve never seen anyone but the pathologist get so… so…”

“Hands-on?” Goren suggested lightly, and Jack nodded.

“Yes, exactly. Poking and prodding at it like that… It’d be enough to ruin anyone’s appetite.”

Goren shrugged, unfazed by Jack’s comments.

“A dead body is just evidence that needs to be examined… Like any other piece of evidence.”

“Interesting theory,” Jack mused. He looked at Eames, who was watching them both with an amused smile. “How about you, Alex? Does that theory work for you?”

Eames’ grin widened.

“Oh, I have my own methods.”

“Which are…?”

“When he starts doing really freaky things, I look the other way.”

Jack favoured Goren with a wry smile.

“You’re just a little bit odd, Bobby. No offence…”

Goren smiled openly.

“None taken. I’ve been called a lot worse. But the bottom line is, I admit that I might have strange methods, but it gets the job done. Between Alex and myself, we have the highest success rate for cases in our squad, and one of the highest in the NYPD.”

Jack smiled around his sandwich.

“Well, no wonder your captain was so desperate to get you both back safely. He just didn’t want to spoil his perfect record.”

The comment didn’t have quite the effect that Jack had intended. Rather than laughing, both Goren and Eames exchanged sobering looks. Jack swallowed hard, and spoke quickly to make amends.

“Sorry, that was a stupid thing to say, wasn’t it?”

“It’s okay,” Eames murmured. “Don’t mind us. Some things are still a little bit sensitive.”

“I can imagine. Ah… Do you mind me asking… Just how long were you both in hospital for after you were rescued?”

“I was in hospital for six weeks,” Eames said , her tone noticeably more subdued. “Bobby was there for nearly four months.”

“That’s a considerable difference in time,” Jack commented quietly. “Were your injuries that different?”

There was a long moment of silence as Goren and Eames stared at each other, giving Jack the unnerving impression that they were somehow communicating without speaking a word. Then, finally, Goren spoke softly.

“Alex was able to go home sooner because she had family to look after her. I didn’t have that… advantage, so my doctor wouldn’t release me to go home until I’d completed stage two of my rehab.”

Jack eyed Goren sympathetically.

“No family at all to fall back on?”

“Just my mother and my brother. My mother’s more or less an invalid. My brother flat out refused to come when he was contacted.”

“That’s lousy,” Jack muttered. Goren managed a small smile that didn’t quite hide the pain in his eyes.

“It could have been worse. And the rehab wing was a little better than the main hospital.”

“You mean the food was better,” Jack interpreted, and Goren laughed aloud.

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“I should think it was better,” Eames retorted. “Considering he had four or five people bringing food in for him every day on a rotating basis. What was it again, Bobby? Deakins on Monday, with a home-cooked meal from his wife… Bishop on Tuesday, with whatever take-out you asked for… My dad on Wednesday…”

“Okay,” Goren grumbled. “We get the picture. Anyway, it’s not like I asked for any of that. They just started bringing food in.”

“Don’t get all defensive,” Eames told him gently. “The truth is, your doctor is really the one who was responsible for the food delivery service.”

Goren stared at her in surprise. He hadn’t known who was responsible for mobilising the kind souls who had brought food to the hospital for him, so this was news to him.

“Dr Evans? He arranged it?”

“He didn’t actually arrange it himself. What happened was that Deakins came around to my dad’s place one day while I was still there. His wife was with him, and they’d decided to stop in to see me. While they were there, Deakins told Dad that your doctor had said that you’d stopped eating. Apparently he was pretty worried. He’d told Deakins that if they couldn’t get you to start eating again, they’d have to put you back onto an IV drip, and if they had to do that it’d set your rehab back in a big way. Dad said he didn’t blame you for not wanting to eat the slop that the hospital dished up, and that’s when Mrs Deakins said she’d start cooking extra meals for the captain to take in for you. Dad said he could take for food in for you, too, a couple of nights a week. Then it kind of snowballed from there.” She grinned at Jack. “He was even getting home-cooked meals from the wife of our Assistant District Attorney, Ron Carver.”

Jack chuckled. “Sounds like you never had it so good. It must have been quite a letdown when you did finally get to go home, eh?”

Goren merely smiled, but Eames laughed aloud.

“Not likely. That’s another one of this boy’s hidden talents. He’s one hell of a good cook. He didn’t suffer for want of a home-cooked meal once he got out of hospital, believe me.”

“I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone that,” Jack said. “Especially since the best I can do is a fry up.” He paused, taking a moment to drain the last mouthfuls from his cup of coffee, then sat back and looked across the table at the two detectives. “Well, it’s been an interesting first morning. So tell me, what do you think so far of our fair city?”

“What we’ve seen is nice,” Eames replied honestly.

“And the coffee is great,” Goren added. Eames laughed.

“All the more important, because that’s the only fix either of us can get at the moment, since alcohol is off-limits.”

“Yes, well, it would be, wouldn’t it?” Jack agreed in amusement.

“More than anything else, though,” Goren went on sincerely, “we appreciate the hospitality. Truth is, we weren’t expecting a very good reception when we got here. We figured our coming here would probably be seen as interference, and that we weren’t going to be very welcome.”

A guilty look flashed across Jack’s face.

“I have a, um… a confession. When Mullett told me you were coming, I wasn’t exactly… happy about it. Told him I didn’t have time to baby-sit a couple of Yankee coppers.”

To Jack’s relief, both detectives grinned widely at that, the humour of it not lost on either of them.

“It’s okay,” Eames reassured him. “The point is, you at least kept an open mind when you met us. Mullett, on the other hand…”

“Mullett’s a pompous windbag,” Jack declared. Goren nodded.

“Well, the look on his face when we came off the plane said it all. He took one look at my leg brace, and at Alex’s arm brace, and decided we weren’t up to standard.”

“Like I said,” Jack repeated flatly, “he’s a pompous twit.”

“You, however, didn’t make a snap judgment,” Goren said as he pushed aside his now empty plate and lifted his notebook onto the table. “And that was greatly appreciated by us.”

He pulled out the copies of the file they’d gotten from David Graham’s office, and passed one to each of his colleagues.

“So what, precisely, are we looking for?” Jack wondered, more a question to himself than to either Goren or Eames. “Roommates…”

“Anything,” Goren murmured, his attention already almost completely fixed on the file in front of him. Jack regarded him curiously for a long moment before looking at Eames. She was watching Goren with an affectionate and indulgent smile. When she realised Jack was watching her, she just shrugged.

“All a part of the charm,” she said by way of explanation, knowing that by now Goren was probably so engrossed in the files that he wasn’t hearing a word she said. “By the time he finishes reading that, you can be sure he’ll have committed most of it to memory.”

Jack regarded her in puzzlement, choosing his next words with caution.

“Sounds as though you might as well not even bother.”

He meant more than just Erik Mathers’ file, and she knew it.

“It’s always worth the bother,” she murmured. “It isn’t a matter of trying to keep up with Bobby. It’s more a matter of balancing things out. You wouldn’t believe some of the tangents he goes off on sometimes. It really freaks out our captain. Of course, Bobby usually turns out to be right…”

“Are you two going to read, or are you happy to sit there talking about me like I can’t hear you?” Goren asked, his attention still fixed firmly on the pages in front of him.

Eames and Jack exchanged amused smiles, then settled down to read their respective copies of the file.

An hour and three cups of coffee later, Jack finally surfaced from having his face buried in the files, attracting the attention of Goren and Eames by swearing loudly.

Goren looked at Jack questioningly.

“What is it?”

“Mathers’ roommate,” Jack said, looking distinctly unhappy.

“Thomas Moore?” Eames asked. “You know him?”

Jack nodded ruefully.

“Yes, I do. Quite well, in fact. I’ve nicked him before. He’s got form for burglary and aggravated assault. Last I knew, he’d come back to Denton about six months ago after a stint in prison for assault with a deadly weapon.”

Goren pushed the file back into his notebook, and stood up.

“Well, let’s go talk to him.”

“Be aware,” Jack warned them as they made their way along the ground level of a squalid-looking housing estate. “Tommy Moore and the police do not have a happy acquaintanceship. There’s every chance he’ll try to do a runner.”

“He’d better not, for his sake,” Eames muttered. “We can’t chase him, so if he makes us shoot him it’ll be his own damned fault.”

Jack couldn’t smile at that. The residence of this particular estate frequently complained about police harassment, and the last thing Denton CID needed was another such complaint, especially as they always seemed to find their way to the Press. He halted outside a door and, favouring the detectives with a grim look, rapped firmly on the door.

For several seconds there was no response from within. Then, finally, the door opened part way to reveal a battle-hardened face and piercing blue eyes staring out at them. When those brown eyes saw Jack, the owner groaned loudly.

“What you want, Inspector? I ain’t done nothin’.”

“Relax, Tommy,” Jack said as patiently as he could. “We only want to talk to you.”

“About what?” Moore asked suspiciously, his gaze flickering to Goren and Eames. “And who are they?”

Eames pulled out her shield, showing it to Moore.

“I’m Detective Eames. This is Detective Goren. We need to ask you a few questions about someone that you shared a room with in college.”

Moore blinked, caught off guard.

“American? What’s American coppers doing here?”

“That’s none of your concern, is it, Tommy?” Jack snapped. “Now, are you going to open the door, or do we have to get a warrant, come back and break it down?”

Moore scowled, but backed off, opening the door for them enter.

Contrary to the state of the building exterior, Moore’s small apartment was fairly clean and tidy. Jack looked around in mild surprise before speaking.

“Been making an effort, I see.”

Moore shrugged.

“It’s my place. Figure there’s no reason to live in a dump like everyone else here.” He looked from Goren to Eames, noting their injuries with slightly more than a passing interest. “You two in an accident or something, then?”

“Or something,” Eames retorted, a hard edge to her voice. Moore smirked at Jack.

“Friendly, ain’t she?”

Goren moved around into Moore’s line of sight, drawing his attention.

“Mr Moore, we wanted to ask you about someone you knew when you attended Denton University. A man called Erik Mathers.”

Moore stared at Goren for a long moment, as though sizing him up. Finally, he nodded.

“Yeah, I remember Erik. Why are you asking about him? I haven’t heard from him since he went home.”

“We want to know what you remember about him,” Jack said.

Moore shrugged again.

“He was okay. Bit weird, but okay.”

“Weird in what way?”

“Well… He wasn’t much of a socialiser, was he? I tried to get him into the social scene, but he didn’t like being round a lot of people. Only club he joined while he was over here was the Archery Club.”

Goren and Eames exchanged grim looks. The Archery Club. Go figure.

“So you’re saying you didn’t do much together outside of the classes you took together?”

Moore grunted. “Didn’t do nothing much at all, and we only had one class together. It was some psychology thing. I dropped it after a semester, and then we didn’t have any classes together. Then he went back to America after a year, and I haven’t seen him again.”

“What about email?” Eames asked. “Did you keep in touch that way?”

Moore turned a scathing look on her.

“Look around, lady. Does it look I have a computer here? And if I did, the coppers’d nick me for stealing it, wouldn’t they, Inspector?”

“Watch it, my son,” Jack growled. “Show a little bit of courtesy, or I’ll nick you just for the hell of it.”

Moore scowled.

“No. I ain’t talked to Erik, not on the phone, not on email, and not in person. And me carrier pigeons don’t fly to America, see?”

“Do you remember if there was anyone else Erik was friends with?” Goren asked. “Any particularly close friends?”

“I just said he didn’t socialise much, didn’t I?” Moore said impatiently. “Although… Yeah, there was one guy. I think he was someone Erik must have met at the Archery Club, because I never saw him at the university. He was an older guy. Looked maybe old enough that he could have been Erik’s dad. Erik was around with him a bit. I sometimes saw them in the pub together.”

“I don’t suppose you remember this other man’s name?” Goren queried, and Moore smirked at him.

“You’d suppose right, Detective. I never asked and Erik never told. Weren’t none of my business, see.”

“What do you remember of Erik specifically from the one class you did take together?” Eames asked. Moore shrugged.

“He understood it more than I did. All that psychology bull… He was real hot on it, he was. I remember he said it was going to be a big help when he got home and started working on his plan. I asked him what plan, but he never told me. I didn’t care much either way.”

“All right, Tommy,” Jack conceded. “That’ll do, for now. But don’t get any ideas about going wandering, all right? We may want to talk to you again.”

“Has Erik done something, then?” Moore asked as they exited the apartment. Eames ignored him entirely, walking past Jack. Goren, however, paused before leaving the apartment.

“Thankyou, Mr Moore. You’ve been very helpful.”

Again, Moore seemed taken aback by the quiet civility displayed by the tall detective. A moment later, though, he quickly resumed his cocky arrogance.

“Just doing my bit as a concerned, law abiding citizen. Why don’t you come back and visit again soon, Inspector Frost?”

Jack turned an icy stare on the younger man.

“Careful, Tommy. I might just take you up on that.”

Moore smirked openly.

“Just remember to call ahead, and I’ll have a cup of tea waiting for you, eh?”

Jack shook his head, following Goren and Eames back to the car.

“Smart mouthed little twit. I wager I’ll be picking him up sooner or later for something.”

“We need to try and find out who this friend was,” Eames murmured as they climbed back into Jack’s car. “The archery club that Moore mentioned, would that have been part of the university?”

“Well, the university might have had an archery club,” Jack said, “but the only archery range in Denton is in the south side. That’s where our Mr Mathers would have gone with this friend.”

“It’s possible that the friend might have been an employee at the range,” Goren mused. “Moore said it was an older man.”

“If Mathers was officially a member or, better still, if he was there as a guest of a member, they should have those records,” Goren said. Jack nodded.

“All right. Let’s get out there and see.”

Back                         Home                              Law and Order: Criminal Intent Main Page                              Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!