"Sir, the table in the interrogation room is sticky," Jack told him, as Welsh walked by Jack's desk to get to his office.
"Sticky?" Welsh stared at him. He's really coming to me about this?
"That's why we have janitors
, Detective." He moved on.
"Uh, yes, sir." Jack nodded.
"Maybe somebody spilled soda," Dewey suggested.
"Maybe," Jack replied doubtfully.
Welsh shook his head and moved back into his office to consider the Kowalski Problem. Maybe he was thinking too much into this. That was probably it. There he was, talking to Kowalski about lines while he was overstepping his own. But that was Kowalski for ya, like a baby plonked on your doorstep. Annoying and messy but precious and vulnerable at the same time. And there were definitely
days when I wanted to just get rid of him.Jesus. 'Precious and vulnerable'? And who is Vecchio? My little love-muffin?
Welsh snorted, cracking himself up, imagining Vecchio's reaction if he called him that.
He took a breath, calming himself. Ok, what do I know?
Zuko is ancient history as far as mafia goes. Welsh had managed to save the case by handing it over to the Feds as much as it pained them all to do it. He'd be paying back for the pride of the department. Is that what I'm mad about? Well, it didn't help
Zuko badmouthed Vecchio. Cops get hurled insults all the time. It just means they're scared. Kowalski knows
this. Uses this
. Like any good cop would. It was personal!
It was personal. Personal, how? Welsh reached for the transcript. Sounded like Zuko knew about the switch. Which was bad, Welsh figured, but the show was all over by now and Zuko never did anything. That was another curiosity, but Welsh figured that had to do with Irene's death.
The Zuko Thing left a vague ache in Welsh's heart. He hadn't been close to Louis but it felt like he was some kind of a failure when he had to tell his mother what had happened. He shook the morbid thoughts off and focused on the script again. You're the better cop, you know. Not that'd take much. Just like his old man. All front. Pathetic cop in the day, suspect beater in the night.
Kowalski denied it. Yeah? I had the bruises to prove it. He's just a violent thug, like his old man. That's how we can relate.
Kowalski wanted to think Vecchio wasn't violent. Didn't do things like that. Maybe he was worried about Vegas. But Vecchio had stabilised after that. I mean, sure, there was the whole Stella thing out of nowhere. Then when he came back he seemed worse off. But he seemed to get better, admittedly the hard way, with Kowalski around. Vecchio hasn't pulled an Armando for a long time now.
Welsh supposed Kowalski had a personal stake in Vecchio's recovery. Didn't want to see that harmed. But what was Vecchio, psychic
? Zuko didn't threaten Vecchio and he was in no position to carry it out, even if he did. So that wasn't it.
Welsh rubbed between his eyes. Had he
done anything that stupid? Sharon Duff. His old partner. His only female one. She was kinda tiny, but she made up for that by sheer force of will. One time, she broke a suspect just by sitting across from the guy and staring at him. She never blinked once. It was beautiful to watch.
It felt like he was coming on to something when Francesca burst in. "What?!?" Welsh barked.
"Geez! What's up with you
I'm amazed that, despite the fact that I tell you time and again, you have never knocked
"Ok, fine, I won't tell you about the Browning case."
"Give me the damn file!"
"How about two? You're fired."
"That's two and a half, smartass."
Welsh's head bounced a little when it collided with the desk. He looked up at her suddenly. "You know what's going on with your brother and Kowalski?"
Frannie blanched. "Something's going on? Sir?"
Welsh gave her a triumphant smile. "Apart from Kowalski beating up Zuko for him, you mean?"
Frannie snorted derisively. "Please, Harding. Zuko had it coming. Hardly the crime of the century! I'm not going to start crying about it."
"You should be. I had to give the case to the Feds. This department's good name has taken a hit, Ms. Vecchio.
"Whatever. That all, sir?"
"I'm going to find out about Vecchio and Kowalski."
"They're not doing anything wrong
, sir. Can't they just be happy? You don't think they've earned
that?" Frannie blushed after her outburst. "Don't you want them to be happy? That's your job? Unofficially, anyway." She shrugged and left.
Now their happiness
was at stake. Jesus. It was
just like Sharon Duff. All over again. There are very few moments wjere this happened. Even fewer when he'd admit
it, especially to his brother. But Harding Welsh was Out Of His League. He grabbed the phone before he could change his mind.
"Wilson. It's me."
"Hey. How are you, Harding
"Usually. Big Town, Big Crime."
"Those bins back in the drugs again?
" Welsh could hear the smirk on Wilson's face.
"Think you're funny? How's retirement?"
"Good. Well, the architect and the builder has had a bit of a falling out, but I think I can handle it
"Fire the architect?"
"The architect is there to protect my interests, Harding
"Yeah, yeah, sure."
"So what brings
your dulcet tones to my ear, Harding
"You remember, uh, Detective Sharon Duff?"
"...Yeah. What is she deputy chief or something
"Nah, she retired a few back. Head of some security firm. Filthy rich by all accounts."
"She offer you a job
"...She's not back in your life or anything, Harding
"You sound scared, Wilson," Harding replied with amusement.
"Well, not that she was in any way
scary, you understand. It's just...
"Have you looked into her eyes, Harding? I mean... yikes.
"I thought they were a nice shade of blue."
you would. It wasn't the
Look, if you're not back with her then why are you bringing her up
"Maybe I wanted to scare you," Harding suggested with a laugh. "Or... maybe I've got a similar situation with one of my detectives." They're not doing anything wrong, sir.
"Smacking a guy because he smack talks his partner."
"Well, that on its own
"Not on its own. Well, they seem really happy
, that's all. And they spend a shed-load of time together. Have cute little nicknames..." V.
"Maybe it's not as bad as you think. They could have a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend or something
"They're both guys
"Yes. No. They've had wives. Well, one of them had two, but the second was the partner's first. If that makes sense."
together but not gay
"Don't they have those bisexuals these days?"
"I guess 'gay' and 'straight' do seem kind of neat categories, when you think about it
"I tend not
to think about it, Wilson."
"Probably why you missed it for this long. I mean, if one of them's 'defending the honour' of the other, then it's pretty serious, isn't it
Welsh was silent while he considered that. "I'll have to split them up."
"They'll see that as a personal attack
"Nothing'll go into their records. It's not like I'd be discriminating against them for their preferences, I'd have to do that with any 'couple'."
"But you have no proof that they
are a couple
"I don't need
proof. It makes sense that I'd want to put guys like this into mentoring roles, rather than stick the two together, doesn't it?"
"...We talking about the Rays
Welsh smiled. This was why Wilson was wasted in the boondocks. "Gotta protect their anonymity."
"Right. Do what you think is right, Harding, but since your guy has only stepped out of line
once, I think it's premature
"I need to get this before
it becomes a problem," Welsh reminded him, though he was pondering that all the same. "Thanks."
," Wilson's voice sounded pleased. "Listen, I got to go. But call. Anytime
"Sure." Welsh hung up.