A/N: What to do, what to do…? This was originally intended to be a little post-script, to be tacked on to the end of Blood Moon. But then I read Shellster’s comment about continuing it on and, after some consideration over whether I could do that without dragging on the same old plot lines, I decided the postscript that I’d intended for Blood Moon served as a very nice springboard and opening for another story.

So the big question was, do I cut things off relatively neatly? Or do I jump into the deep end once more and commit myself to another story? Answer: I jump in the deep end, of course. Apparently head-first.

I had planned on getting stuck into ‘Nightmare’, but this whole drama has sucked me in like damned quicksand. There’s just no escaping it…

Point of reference: if you have not already read my other stories ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Blood Moon’, I suggest that you do so before reading this, otherwise it probably won’t make sense at all.

Disclaimer: Dick Wolf owns all Law & Order characters, and pretty much anything relating to said characters and franchises. I am but a poor, unknown and unpublished author. Don’t sue me, there’s no point. Really.

Major Case Squad,
One Police Plaza.
Four months on...

Bobby Goren made his way slowly into the bullpen of the Major Case Squad offices. He’d arrived at work alone that morning, opting to catch a cab as Alex had taken the morning off for her nephew’s birthday. He had been invited to join the Eames family, but had politely declined. He had instead sent along a gift care of Alex.

It wasn’t that he felt unwelcome with the family, far from it. The plain and boring truth was that he had a mile-high pile of paperwork to do, and with daily physio sessions to consider he just couldn’t afford the time off.

He crossed the floor, taking extra care to ensure the walking stick didn’t catch on anything. The embarrassment factor aside, he really couldn’t afford to risk a fall. He grimaced to himself as he reached his desk. He’d used up too much luck over the last several months to be wanting to take anymore chances.

Wrestling off his coat and slinging it over the coat rack, Bobby finally sank into his chair with relief. As grateful as he was to be out of hospital and back at work (again), his injuries guaranteed that he couldn’t go for more than a few hours without running out of steam. Even the effort of merely getting to One Police Plaza in the morning was enough to tire him out.

Swallowing a sigh, Bobby turned his attention to the paperwork. With a bit of luck, he’d have the bulk of it completed by lunch, giving him the chance to relax a little during the afternoon. His hand froze mid-air, halfway to the waiting paperwork, as his gaze fell on a velvet box that sat innocuously in the middle of his desk, along with a plain white envelope.

Bobby stared at the unidentified items with growing curiosity. He glanced upwards, then back over his shoulder, half-expecting to see Deakins watching him from his office, but the captain’s door was shut, and the blinds closed.

Returning his attention to the mysterious items in front of him, Bobby picked up the envelope and opened it up.

Two sheets of paper slipped out, one bearing formal letterhead and typed print along with what Bobby instantly recognised as the royal seal of the House of Windsor. The other page bore the letterhead of the Denton Police Department, and was filled with neat handwriting.

Dear Bobby, the content of this box is the result of a long discussion between your captain and my superintendent, and consequent discussions between Mr Mullett and various relevant authorities. We understand that this may not be officially recognised by your department, but be assured that certain allowances have been made to guarantee that all is quite official at our end.
We know that neither you nor Alex asked for this. Please accept it, though, as a mark of respect to the bravery you both showed, not only in bringing David Graham to justice but also in finding the courage to come to our aid in the first place. We will always be sincerely grateful for your help.

Detective Inspector Jack Frost

P.S., Graham pled guilty to four counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, one count of abduction, four counts of false imprisonment, and five counts of assaulting police officers. I shan’t go into details of his sentencing two weeks ago, suffice to say that he will never see daylight outside prison walls again.

Bobby sat back a little, his breath escaping him in a relieved sigh. A moment later, a thought struck him and he looked up quickly. Sure enough, there was an identical velvet box and white envelope sitting on Alex’s desk.

Curiosity finally overcoming him, he picked up the box and looked inside.

“You deserve it, you know.”

Bobby looked around, startled out of his trance-like state minutes later by the voice behind him. It was Carver, and he had a small, knowing smile on his lips.

“Captain Deakins told me about what happened, Detective. There can be no doubt whatsoever that you and Detective Eames saved his life, and at great risk to your own. It’s just a pity that our city won’t recognise this honour.”

Bobby looked back down at the George Cross medal, feeling his face flush red with embarrassment.

“We’re not looking for praise.”

“I know that, Detective, but I have to say that I’m glad at least one side has acknowledged everything you and Detective Eames did.”

Bobby watched as Carver walked away before returning his attention to the medal. He knew what the George Cross was. It was the second highest award for gallantry in the United Kingdom, and he also knew it was unheard of for someone who was not a citizen of the UK or the Commonwealth to be made a recipient.

He lifted the medal out of the box and turned it over.

Awarded to Robert O Goren for courage above and beyond the call of duty.

He set the medal back down carefully inside the padded box and put it away in his top drawer, out of sight. He paused, glancing with a small smile at the box that sat on Alex’s desk, then bent his head low over the desk as he got stuck into the waiting paperwork.

Alex arrived shortly after one, crossing the floor to their joined desks with a weary smile. Bobby smiled back in greeting.

“How was the party?”

“Great,” she enthused as she hung up her coat. “He’s getting so big now, Bobby. You really should have come. He asked after you, you know.”

Bobby regarded her in mild amusement.


“Yeah. Wanted to know why Uncle Bobby wasn’t coming to his birthday.”

Bobby laughed softly and shook his head.

“As much as I love the kid, Uncle Bobby has the mother load of paperwork to do, unlike Aunty Alex, who somehow managed to completely clear her pile before we left for the hospital yesterday.”

Alex smiled, and leaned over to kiss him affectionately on the temple. She took care to avoid his cheek; the wound caused by David Graham’s knife was healing well but still tender to the touch, even four months after the fact. Bobby’s doctor had explained the reason for that was because the facial nerves that were damaged by the blade would take time to heal. It was going to leave a scar, no doubt, but Bobby had been less than concerned about that. When pressed on the issue by their counsellors, he had simply answered that it was a small price to pay for stopping Graham from killing Jack. The subject had not been raised again.

Still smiling, Alex returned to her side of the desk, and dropped into her chair.

“What’s this?” she asked, finally seeing the box sitting on her desk.

“What’s what?”

Alex looked up at her partner, but he had his nose buried in his paperwork once more, and wasn’t looking at her. Shaking her head in mock annoyance, she picked up the box and opened it up.

In the silence that followed, Bobby looked up again slowly, a smile fighting its way onto his face as he took in her stunned expression.

“It’s the George Cross,” he offered finally. Alex looked up at him, looking even more astonished.

“That’s what Jack was awarded that time when he was shot stopping that gunman…”

Bobby nodded. “That’s right.”

“But… He said it was the second highest honour in the UK… after the Victoria Cross…”

“Right,” Bobby confirmed again, still grinning.

“Then how…?”

He indicated the envelope that accompanied the medal.

“Read the letter.”

She did so. Finally, minutes later, she sat back with a thud.

“Oh boy… I knew Deakins talked to Mullett about something like this, but I never thought they’d actually go ahead with it.”

“Did you look at the back of the medal?” Bobby asked.

She stared at him for a moment, then looked down. Her eyes widened when she saw the inscription. A moment later, she looked up at him quickly.

“Did you…?”

He nodded, and produced his own medal from the desk drawer. Alex looked around at Deakins’ office.

“Was he watching for you when you came in this morning?”

“No,” Bobby said. “I haven’t seen him at all. I’m pretty sure he’s in there, but he hasn’t come out once.”

The two detectives stared at each other for a long moment before getting to their feet simultaneously and, in silent, mutual agreement, headed across to Deakins’ office.

Alex rapped once on the door of Deakins’ office, waiting just a moment before going in. Deakins looked up from his desk as they came in, a wry smile on his face.

“I was expecting to see you a lot sooner, Bobby.”

“He thought he’d wait and have fun watching my reaction,” Alex retorted. “Captain, we didn’t ask for this. We were just doing our jobs…”

“You did far more than just that, Alex. You both saved my life… and you saved Jack’s life, Bobby.”

Bobby looked genuinely embarrassed. “Well, he saved mine. It was a mutual thing.”

“What about Jack, anyway?” Alex asked with a frown. “If anyone should be getting acknowledgment, it ought to be him.”

“Don’t worry,” Deakins reassured her. “I spoke to Norman Mullett last night. Jack now has a matching pair of George Crosses, although apparently the more recently acquired one is going to be framed and mounted in his office. It won’t be joining the other one in his desk drawer. According to reliable sources, the good Inspector is willing to concede that he did legitimately earn it this time.”

“I’ll say he did,” Bobby muttered. Deakins regarded him thoughtfully.

“You do remember what happened, don’t you?”

Bobby nodded, and with his gaze fixed firmly on the floor, he missed the surreptitious, knowing looks exchanged between Deakins and his partner.

Right from the start, the detective had insisted that he remembered nothing of that last incident beyond tackling Graham, but both Alex and Deakins had long suspected otherwise. Now, they knew they had been right in their suspicions.

“Yeah. I didn’t at first, but I do now.” He was silent for a long moment before elaborating. “I remember tackling Graham and falling down that slope. Graham was lying next to me, not moving… But I knew he was faking. I saw him pull that knife out to use on whoever came down to us. When Jack came, I tried to warn him, but I couldn’t even speak, let alone move. Then Graham attacked Jack, and stabbed him in the shoulder… He was going to kill him, I was sure of that. I don’t know where I found the strength to pull Graham off him. All I know is that I managed to do that, but then I didn’t have the strength to fight him off myself. Then Jack clubbed Graham in the head with that branch…”

Deakins smiled, and chuckled softly. “That’s another thing Mullett told me. Graham’s lawyer made a formal complaint of police brutality, and tried to have charges filed against Jack over it.”

“They didn’t, did they?” Alex asked, frowning darkly. Deakins’ grin widened.

“Mullett threatened to send photos of Graham’s handiwork – including pictures of our injuries – to every newspaper that would publish them, along with the statement that if it weren’t for Jack, we’d be dead. Apparently the Powers That Be backed down very quickly, and the brutality allegation was very quickly quashed.”

Bobby shook his head. “Mullett actually supporting Jack. Miracles do happen after all.”

“More like he saw how you operate and got an attack of the guilts,” Alex retorted to Deakins. The captain laughed.

“Let’s think positive, people.” He paused, looking from one to the other questioningly. “I know you’ve both been asked this a hundred times over, and please don’t be angry with me for it, but I’m going to ask it again. Are you both okay? I mean, really okay?”

Bobby and Alex exchanged glances.

“Yeah,” Bobby confirmed finally, speaking for the both of them. “I think we are. Physical issues notwithstanding.”

Deakins nodded in agreement, his eyes going briefly to the walking stick that he himself was still required to use.

“Well, I really can sympathise now. But I swear, Bobby, you had better not let me catch you walking around the office without yours.”

An irritated look passed briefly over Bobby’s face, mixed with reluctant resignation.

“Don’t worry, Captain. I’ll be a good boy, I promise.”

“No need to be smart about it, Detective. Just be sure not to give Salinger any reason to get shirty over you. Because it’s my ass that’ll get nailed to the wall if that happens.”

“Would that be before or after the Commissioner nails his ass to the wall?” Alex inquired lightly, and a moment later all three of them were laughing.

The animosity of Chief of Detectives Gary Salinger towards Bobby and Alex had gradually turned into an ongoing soap opera, particularly since their return from Denton. The incident that Alex was alluding to specifically, though, took place in St Clare’s less than a week after their return home. Funny though it had been, it had also resulted in Salinger hating the two detectives more than ever. Unfortunately for Salinger, and very fortunately for Bobby and Alex, he could do nothing to them without raising the ire of both the Police Commissioner and the Mayor. So, for the time being at least, they were safe from his wrath.

Less than a week after coming home, Alex had gone to see Bobby in hospital and, after some cajoling and some outright begging, the doctor had conceded to allowing Bobby to leave his bed so they could both visit their captain. Whilst they had been with Deakins, Salinger had arrived and, effectively ignoring the presence of the two detectives, proceeded to issue Deakins with a formal reprimand for so-called inappropriate conduct and misuse of his authority whilst in Denton.

Later, Alex would admit that she’d been grateful that Bobby had been confined to the wheelchair, under strict orders from his formidable doctor not to stand or walk under any circumstances. Otherwise, she suspected that he might just have gotten up and punched Salinger out. As it was, she’d had a hard time not doing that herself.

As it turned out, any retaliation on their part had been unnecessary. In the middle of Salinger’s rant, a new visitor had arrived – Police Commissioner Gerald Adkins. What had followed effectively provided the two hospital-bound police officers with enough entertainment to last them a month.

Salinger? What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Salinger spun around, caught totally off-guard by the sudden appearance of his immediate superior.

C… Commissioner… What are you doing here?”

Last time I checked my job specs, Salinger, I had to explain my actions to the Mayor. Not to you. Now answer my question. What do you think you’re doing?”

Salinger’s expression had turned positively stony by then. It was a well-known fact that the man could not stand to be chastised in front of anyone, especially subordinate officers. Particularly when those subordinate officers were Bobby Goren and Alex Eames…

I’m here to issue a formal reprimand to Captain Deakins for his questionable conduct while in Britain, and for his failure to adequately control or monitor the behaviour and actions of his detectives.” Salinger shot Bobby and Alex a harsh glare. “I’ll get to the two of you later.”

No, you won’t.”

Salinger looked around sharply at Adkins, and visibly winced under the force of the other man’s glare.

Sir…” Salinger started to protest, but Adkins cut him off fiercely.

Don’t even start, Gary. I mean it. Now, apparently unlike yourself, I took the steps of contacting the local DCS at Denton… that’s Detective Chief Superintendent, Salinger, for your information… and if the so-called questionable conduct you’re referring to is the manner in which a vicious serial killer was apprehended, then you and Superintendent Mullett have very different takes on what was or wasn’t inappropriate. The bottom line is, Chief Salinger, the Denton authorities have nothing but praise for the conduct of Captain Deakins, Detective Goren and Detective Eames, and if you don’t mind I’ll go by Superintendent Mullett’s version of events, since he was there and you weren’t. Now, I would very much like for you to turn and walk yourself out of this room right now, before you make an even bigger ass of yourself than you already have.”

Salinger tried just once more to assert his rapidly dwindling authority.

Commissioner, I have the authority…”

And I’m overruling that authority,” Adkins snapped. “I don’t know whose interests you think you’re serving, but I want you out of here now. And I hope I don’t have to spell out what you can do with that reprimand.”

It had only been with supreme effort that none of the three had laughed once Salinger left. Fortunately, Adkins had only stayed a few minutes himself, long enough to get an update on their physical conditions, and to insist that they all take as much time as they needed to recover before returning to work.

Only when Adkins had left, and Alex reported that he was out of sight and out of earshot, did they finally give in and explode with laughter. They had still been laughing uncontrollably when Deakins’ wife arrived ten minutes later.

“Seriously,” Deakins insisted, though he was still grinning, both at Alex’s retort and the memories said retort elicited. “I want both of you to take care, okay? Don’t do anything stupid that might mess up your rehab. You especially, Bobby.”

Smirking, Alex got up and stepped towards the door. Bobby was about to follow her when Logan’s face appeared in the doorway.

“Thought you might like the heads up,” he said quickly. “Angie from downstairs just called me. She said the Chief of Detectives just went past security and is on his way up here.”

“That’s it,” Alex growled. “Grab your walking stick, Bobby. We’re out of here.”

“Thanks, Logan,” Deakins said appreciatively. And then to Bobby and Alex, “If you two want to avoid him, I suggest you go hide in the break room, and then slip out to the lifts when he gets to my office.”

“This is so juvenile,” Bobby said dryly, and succeeded in winning himself a threatening look from his partner.

“If you want to stay and deal with him, be my guest, but don’t you dare drag me down with you. I didn’t spend the morning with my nephew just to have that jerk spoil the rest of the day.”

“Go on, both of you,” Deakins ordered them, struggling not to laugh openly. “Go take a long lunch break. A really long lunch break. I’ll fill you on everything later.”

Exchanging amused grins, the two detectives went to do as they’d been told.

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