Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
The ride back to the station was filled with silence as Norton stared out the window and Winslow found it hard to focus on the drive. Hazy thoughts came back and forth in his mind as the drugs were still having an obvious effect. He had almost let himself cave and had almost let someone else take care of him…
But the detective couldn’t let anyone else get involved. Just their looks from up in Reilly’s office reminded him of how odd his life had been. And how sane, civilized gentlemen are not used to getting kidnapped on a day to day basis.
As they rolled into the parking lot, Norton jumped out of the car before Winslow could even come to a stop. The younger detective walked across the parking lot with the coat hanging off his shoulders, and Winslow was left to sit alone in the squad car. All with his head leaning against the dashboard as a familiar dizziness took him over once more.
Winslow should have gone home.
As the buzzing got louder in his head, the detective slumped over the steering wheel and tried to push the bad memories back. The screams were almost always present - the simple sound of hearing his comrades die on the battlefield and the destruction of the society around him. He let this destruction surround his mind once again and only woke some time later when there was the familiar knocking on the window.
“Winslow, unlock the door! Winslow, you better not have died in the car we have to share, you bastard.”
Winslow opened his eyes enough to see young Norton knocking on the window, for the countless time today. The young man shouldn’t have had to worry about him. And he felt a bit of guilt as he barely managed to open the door. He had been dragging this bit on for too long, being too dramatic in the arms of his friends, and leading them into trouble that they simply were not prepared for.
In fact, they deserved much better than him as a friend.
“Hey Winslow, buddy, don’t do this to me again today. I don’t want to carry you inside,” the young detective sighed while pulling Winslow into an upright position. “And by the weight of you, I don’t think I would even be able to carry you inside.”
He managed to straighten up enough to brush Norton’s hand away, saying, “I’m alright, kid. Just give me something to lean on so Jones doesn’t notice all that happened to me.”
The young detective looked confused and asked, “Didn’t you mention that Jones knows that you were knocked out in the car? As in, wasn’t the man there during the whole event.”
“Yes, but I don’t want him to know how affected I was by what went down.”
Winslow pulled himself and his thermos out of the car, realizing as he stood that he most definitely should not have driven back to the station. If the car was free of dents and scratches he would truly be surprised. He tried to carefully shut the door but it slipped, causing a loud slam. Officers resting in nearby cars peaked their heads out of windows like turtles out of shells. Upon realizing that it was simply Winslow, they seemed very eager to go back to hiding from the sergeant and keep sleeping on the job.
“Winslow, are you sure that you want to go in there? I can just radio Morgan and Tornes back to take you home.”
Norton was holding onto Winslow’s shoulder as he slowly pushed off the roof of the car. He would have liked to have walked into the station all by himself, but leaned partially on the younger detective. They walked across the parking lot - the one he had run across just hours ago and Winslow tried to categorize everything that had happened. The memories of the day were blurring with everything that happened in the past, and he was remembering a hell of a lot of things about Reggie. That man was simply insane, but still the perfect mixture for what is expected of a federal government official.
The door to the station swung open before Winslow was able to put his hand on the knob and out walked a pair of nameless detectives - Mark Jones and Howard Mason. Of course those were names, but with plain names and matching plain personalities, these men were just reminders of numbers in the system. One of them patted Winslow on the back and said, “Hey Smith, how was that murder down at the Saenger?”
Norton took his chance to answer with, “It wasn’t a murder. It just turned out to be another stage manager with no fucking clue how to take a pulse.”
Jones remained silent while Mason snickered, flicking his cigarette into the pavement and continuing with his questioning.
“So what then were you all doing all morning?” He left his hand on Winslow’s shoulder and asked, “You know you’ve got a speck of blood on your collar, yeah? Were you getting into a rough tumble with someone, Smith?”
Winslow pressed his fingertips to his collar, rubbing the edge and pulling it down to see flakes of blood. If he hadn’t notice the blood that was on his collar, what else hadn’t he noticed? With the way Mason was looking at him, Winslow began to wonder if his face was showing the signs of having a wild morning.
He only missed a couple of beats before responding with, “Yeah I had to go a whole block over to find someone with the pride to fight me.”
Winslow pushed Mason’s hand off his shoulder, lit a cigarette in a lightning fast motion and then adding, “And unless you want to end up in the same gutter as all of ‘em who picked a fight with me, you better get out to your jewelry store robbery.”
He didn’t wait to hear their answers, simply pushing through the door and leaving Winslow to deal with whatever snarky comment they might be able to dish out.