Some time later

When Bobby awoke next, he was feeling better. Not good, exactly… but certainly better than before. He opened his eyes slowly and lay still, staring up at the bars above his head, and the crumbling concrete ceiling beyond. Thankfully, his head was no longer spinning. His leg was still burning with pain, but at least he felt he had a chance of being able to sit up without his head almost falling off.

He shifted a little, and was surprised to find he was covered by a couple of thinning blankets. He stared down at them, puzzled but thankful for the minor warmth they provided, when a voice spoke and interrupted his musings.

“Hey, you’re awake.”

Bobby looked around slowly to find Mike sitting on the other bed, watching him with a mixture of weariness and concern.

“Yeah,” he mumbled. “Kind of. What happened?”

“I think you went into shock, or something,” Mike told him. He got up and limped painfully over with one of the water bottles. “I told you not to walk around like you were.”

“Sorry, mother,” Bobby retorted, but there was no anger in his voice at the admonishment, and Mike chuckled softly.

“Smart ass. Here, have a drink. Go easy, though. You don’t want to throw up and dehydrate yourself anymore than you already are.”

Bobby pushed himself up far enough to take a few sips of water, and then lay back down again. He knew better than to try and sit up again too soon, and he suspected that Mike would have stopped him if he had tried.

“Where did these come from?” he asked, indicating the blankets.

“Found ’em under the beds. I tell you, Bobby, I do not want to know what this place was used for before this.”

Bobby grimaced. Neither did he.

“Here,” he murmured, lifting up one of the blankets and holding it out to Mike. “Take one. It’s cold in here.”

Mike looked on the verge of arguing, but then he shrugged and accepted the blanket. Returning to the other bed, he sat down with a sigh of relief and pulled the thin blanket around his shoulders.

“How long was I out?” Bobby asked after a while.

“At a guess? I’d say a few hours, at least,” Mike answered. “Do yourself a favour, though, and try not to move around so much? I managed to stop the bleeding, but I don’t think it’ll take much to get it started again.”

Carefully, Bobby lifted the blanket and peered down at his wounded leg. Sure enough, even though the bandages were stained dark red with his blood, the wound itself seemed to have stopped bleeding.

He looked back over at Mike.

“What about you?”

Mike raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Me? What d’you mean?”

“Your… your leg.”

“Oh. It’s okay, the bullet went straight through. No real damage done, I don’t think.”

Bobby fell silent, looking away, and once again Mike felt the sickening sensation of guilt taking hold. Despite Bobby’s earlier insistence that he wasn’t to blame, Mike couldn’t stop himself from feeling guilty.

Regardless of Bobby’s protests, he was still responsible for taking them to a bar in a part of the city that he knew for fact was not cop-friendly. His bullet wound was definitely less serious than Bobby’s. He’d not taken as severe a beating as Bobby had… and hell, it seemed that even his head wound, where he’d been struck to knock him out, was not as bad.

All in all, it was a shocking situation, and one that they should never have found themselves in. It was one that they wouldn’t have found themselves in had he not been so eager to drag Bobby all the way across town for the sake of a lousy few shots of whiskey.

Mike swallowed a sigh. Yup, he was feeling pretty damn lousy right about now.

“You know, Eames usually starts throwing things at me when I get like that.”

Mike looked up, startled.

“Huh? What do you mean?”

A small smile curled up the corners of Bobby’s mouth, and he was quietly pleased having been able to actually get his colleague’s attention. He’d guessed easily enough where Mike’s thoughts were headed, and he was more than a little anxious to redirect him. He honestly believed in himself that Mike had nothing to feel bad about, but even so, it was not the time nor the place to wallow in guilt.

“When I go all quiet and introspective like you just did… I think Eames calls it ‘going spacey’. She usually starts by throwing paperclips at me if I stay like that for too long. And if paperclips don’t work, then she’ll graduate to pens.”

“Which would explain that big blue blotch on your forehead.”

Bobby’s hand came up automatically to his forehead before he caught the grin on Mike’s face. He let his hand drop, rolling his eyes in mock exasperation.


Mike shrugged, still grinning.

“Hey, I usually can’t catch you out like that, pal. I’ll take what I can get, if you don’t mind.”

Bobby merely grunted, but he couldn’t hide the smile that fought its way onto his face. It wasn’t so much amusement at the lame joke that had him smiling, but rather relief that Mike was still inclined to make jokes. He figured as long as they could both keep their sense of humour, then the situation – however bad it might seem – was not completely hopeless.

“Hey, can I tell you something, Bobby?” Mike asked.

Bobby regarded him in mild amusement.

“Should I be worried that you think you need to ask permission?”

“Nah. It’s just… I never know whether what I’m going to say might be over-stepping the boundaries with you. Sometimes you just don’t seem to care, but other times you seem to get royally pissed off at me, and I can never tell which mood you’re in.”

It was with some effort that Bobby didn’t just laugh out loud.

“Maybe you should start checking with Eames, then. She always seems to be able to tell what mood I’m in.”

Mike grunted.

“Maybe I will. So… can I…?”

“You can say what you like,” Bobby reassured him. “I’m not going to rip into you. I don’t think I have the energy, anyway.”

A strange look passed fleetingly over Mike’s face, but then it was gone and he shrugged.

“All I wanted to say was that I’m glad I never paid any attention to the stories about you when I joined Major Case. You’re a damn good cop, Bobby, and a genuine decent guy. I’m lucky I was given the chance to join the team, and work alongside you and Eames.”

Bobby looked thoughtfully at Mike.

“You seriously feel that way?”

“Hell, yeah,” Mike confirmed. “And I’m not just saying that because I never want to set foot on Staten Island again.”

Bobby snorted, and then laughed. A moment later, Mike joined in.

“You know,” Bobby said when he did finally manage to stop laughing, “Eames thought Deakins had lost his mind when he told us he was bringing you in to join the squad.”

“Yeah? And I thought we clicked so well that first time when you were investigating that prison guard’s murder.”

Bobby smirked.

“You might be a ladies’ man with all the moves, Mike, but Eames is no ordinary woman.”

“Trust me, pal, I noticed that.”

Bobby looked back at him with raised eyebrows, and Mike smiled sheepishly.

“I mean, hey, who wouldn’t?”

Bobby had to concede to that logic, although he still had suspicions about what Mike really meant.

“Well, that’s what she thought, and she told Deakins to his face that she thought it was a big mistake.”

Mike shifted uncomfortably on the bed. He wasn’t sure he liked where this conversation was going.

“And what about now…?”

Bobby smiled reassuringly at him.

“Now, she’s glad you stuck it out… and so am I. You’re an asset to the squad, Mike.”

Mike felt a rush of warmth through him, despite the bitingly cold atmosphere of their basement prison. He was not so fuzzy in the head that he missed the sincerity in Bobby’s words.


Bobby nodded slightly, and winced a little at the pain the movement caused him.

“Well, I meant it.”

“You know, I thought I’d be back on Staten Island after my first case with Barek?”

“How so?”

“When the kid made his third hit. Deakins was furious with us. He thought we’d pulled in the wrong suspect.”

“Oh, yeah. I heard he was kind of mad at you both.”

Mike grunted.

“I think that’s a pretty big understatement. He was seriously pissed off.”

“Hey, tell me something?”

Mike nodded tentatively. “What is it?”

“Did you really go after a guy with a pool cue?”

For the second time in a short space of time, Mike smiled sheepishly.

“I didn’t exactly go after him.”

“Well, what did you do? Because Deakins and Carver had one hell of an argument with one of the lawyers over it.”

“This guy had information we needed, but he was jerking us around. Wouldn’t say anything. Now, I admit that I lost my temper, but I never hit the guy. I snapped a pool cue in half, jammed it under his chin, and started walking him back towards the bathroom. He was ready to spill his guts by the time I got him to the door.”

“Dare I ask what you would have done if you’d gotten him into the bathroom?”

Mike shrugged.

“Who knows? Probably flushed the bastard’s head. I never planned on laying into him. I’d only been at Major Case for two weeks. I wasn’t that stupid.”

Bobby laughed softly.

“Never said you were, Mike.”

“So you’ve got a different way of doing things,” Mike said, again shrugging his indifference. “I don’t have the same skills you do. I gotta do things my own way.”

“I know,” Bobby murmured. “It’s okay, Mike. You don’t have to justify yourself to me. Just to your partner, and to Deakins. Especially if you get yourself injured.”

Mike snorted, and lay down carefully on his left side, draping the blanket over his body. He propped his head up on his hand, watching Bobby with a small smile.

“You ever gotten hurt? That mouth of yours ever not been able to get you out of trouble?”

“Generally speaking, or just in terms of my career as a cop?” Bobby wondered. A grin lit up Mike’s face.

“Let’s keep it to the time that you’ve been a cop.”

“Okay. Well, I’ve never been shot in the time that I’ve been with Major Case… but I’ve been slapped once in the interrogation room, and I got bitten on the arm once.”

“In interrogation?”

“No. We were out on the streets on Veterans’ Day about five years ago, looking for a suicide bomber. I got into a fight with the guy, trying to stop him from detonating the bomb. He punched me… I head-butted him… and then he bit me on the arm.”


“No kidding. I needed a tetanus shot after that, and I had teeth marks in my arm for a month afterwards. Son of a bitch bit clean through the uniform I was wearing, and into my arm.”

“And the time you got slapped?”

“You remember Connie? The kid we had talk to Ethan Garrett in Rikers? I baited him during interrogation, and he hit me in the face. Damn near knocked me right out of my chair.”

“So that’s what he meant when he told Ethan that he bitch-slapped a cop in his own squad room.”

“Yeah, Logan. That’s what he meant.”

Mike winced a little at the abrupt tone of Bobby’s voice.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean that how it came out.”

Bobby was silent for a long moment before answering.

“It’s okay. I know you didn’t.”

Annoyed by his own tactlessness, Mike threw the blanket off and got unsteadily to his feet.

“Mike? What are you doing?” Bobby asked with a frown. Mike looked around in growing agitation.

“I am not sitting around here, waiting for this goddamn place to blow up, with us in it. There’s gotta be some way to get out of here.”

“We’ve already been through this,” Bobby reminded him. Mike nodded as he made his way over to the welded door.

“Yeah, and we got distracted when we realised that we’re likely to get blown to pieces in less than forty-eight hours. And then you went into shock.” He paused, eyeing the welded lock with a deep frown. “There’s gotta be some way of breaking this open.”

“With what, Mike?” Bobby asked tiredly. “There’s nothing here we can use!”

“Hey, my hands still work, don’t they?” Mike retorted.

Frowning now himself, Bobby pushed aside his blanket and sat up slowly.

“What the hell are you going to do?” he asked incredulously. “Break it open with your bare hands? C’mon, Mike, be reasonable. Neither of us is that strong…”

Mike ignored him, grunting as he tried to get a reasonable grip on the welded part of the door, and then started to try and manually break it. Bobby was about to risk getting up to stop him when Mike’s hand slipped and he cried out in pain as he tumbled over backwards, landing hard on the cement floor.

“You idiot,” Bobby murmured, the faintest hint of amused affection in his voice as he eased himself down to the floor beside his colleague. “Let me look at that.”

Mike glumly held his hand out for Bobby to examine. The palm had been torn clean open on a jagged part of the metal weld, and blood was already free-flowing from the wound. Bobby tore a strip from the bottom of his shirt, which he fashioned into a bandage and wrapped carefully around Mike’s bleeding hand.

“Great,” Mike said dully. “Now I owe you a shirt, too.”

Bobby shot Mike a bemused look as he tied off the makeshift bandage.

“I’ll settle for you helping me up off the floor. How’s that?”

“S’okay. I’m sorry… That was pretty dumb, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Bobby agreed, “but gutsy, too.”

Mike sat in silence for nearly a minute, staring miserably at the floor, before speaking.

“I don’t want to die in here, Bobby.”

“Me, either,” Bobby murmured. “We’ll get out of here, Mike. Eames and Barek will find us. We just have to trust in them.”

Mike looked sideways at Bobby.

“You said it yourself, Bobby. Unless there’s a call-out, they’re not even going to know we’re missing until Monday morning. And by the time they act on it, it’ll probably be too late.”

“They’ll find us,” Bobby repeated insistently. “Eames and I have a psychic connection, remember?”

For a long moment, the two men stared at each other. Then, abruptly, they both burst out laughing, a slightly higher-pitched laughter that was just faintly tinged with a hint of hysteria.

“Funny man,” Mike retorted as he got up awkwardly, and then grunted as he helped Bobby up. “I tell you one thing, though.”

“What’s that?”

“The next time either one of us is dumb enough to sit down on the floor, they’re picking themselves up.”

Sitting back on their respective beds, Bobby looked solemnly across the floor at Mike, and he spoke in a quiet, serious voice.

“We’ll get out of here, Mike. Eames and Barek will find us.”

“Why?” Mike asked, staring back intently. “Because you say so? Eames is a smart woman, Bobby, and so is Barek. But we don’t even know where we are. How the hell are they going to find us?”

Bobby lay back down carefully, and tugged the blanket back over his cold body.

“They’ll find us, and it'll be in time, because I can’t accept any other outcome.”

“As simple as that, huh?” Mike asked softly. Bobby stared up at the ceiling, fresh determination written all over his face.

“As simple as that.”

Mike lay down as well and, in the silence that followed, he dared to allow himself a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, Bobby was right.

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