It's Sort Of Like High School Sometimes


elisabeth_icon.gif terry_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Sort of Like High School Sometimes
Synopsis Terry and Liz have a convo in the precinct.
Date April 3, 2009


Liz is beginning to think that Murphy is her middle name. It's kind of been one of those mornings, where everything that could possibly go wrong did. Her alarm didn't go off, she was late to work (not that anyone's punching a clock lately, but the hours are at least getting a little more 'regular'), and she stopped to get a cup of really sweet coffee concoction on her way into the building and promptly got a little help in the full cup hitting the floor and splattering everywhere as she makes her way through the bullpen toward SCOUT's squad room. The sounds of masculine laughter, the kind you'd hear in the cafeteria in grade school when someone dropped their tray, are definitely heard — some all in good fun (Greene whistles loudly and calls, "Nice, Harrison!) while others are amused for more malicious reasons. Elisabeth slants a dirty look behind her at the uniformed guy who caused her to stumble like that, and just rolls her eyes for the benefit of those watching, a smile crossing her face. "I didn't need that jolt of caffeine anyway, right?" she comments to Greene. The napkins in her hand — cuz women always seem to carry the damn things — get dropped onto the mess and she says, "Hey, someone give the janitor a call, will you?"

A whole station full of cops, and it seems like all of a sudden they all have something better to do. Beyond a few snickers, and one overly dutiful rookie, it seems that no one can be bothered with helping Liz beyond pointing out that she spilled her coffee. Luckily, the rookie reacts faster to a mess and a request than the jibes of his peers, and he is on the phone getting a mop and someone to push it up here, despite a couple 'boos' from some of the more obnoxious officers. The boos stop, however, replaced by laughter, and call of "I wouldn't bother with that one, Collins, more trouble than she's worth," in a less than joking tone. Terry's gotten up from his desk, and is walking over towards the mess, and the unfortunate officer who made it with a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee in one hand, and a towel in the other. He holds out the towel towards Liz when he gets there, and seems to have missed the comment from his peer. "Here," he says, gesturing with the towel, and then looking over towards the uniform walking away, and shakes his head.

Uh-huh… pretty much what she expected of the maturity level of some of the guys in this place. Elisabeth merely shakes her head when they scatter like kids just told the principal's coming. She wipes up a lot of the mess with her napkins, and then looks up as the shiny shoes approach. Her expression is calm though her eyes are far more wary than they probably ought to be considering she's a cop in her own precinct. "Oh, hey," she greets Terry mildly. Standing up, she takes the proffered towel with a smile. "Thanks, that was nice of you." She wipes up the spatter off her slacks with the towel, seeming to ignore the antics of the clowns in the bullpen. "How're you settling in, Collins?"

Terry smirks at her response, or lack thereof, and says "fine. This place is a little…louder, than I remember," he adds, gesturing with his head to the man that called out his name. "But it's certainly no more boring. How you holding up?" he asks, checking to see if she's done with the towel, and then holding out a hand to take it back. "You look like you're having a rough day."

Elisabeth hands him his towel back and tosses her empty coffee cup with the sodden napkins in it into a nearby trash can. "Eh… just been one of those mornings, you know?" She's good at keeping up a good face — not the first time she's had some issues with men in uniform, after all. She glances toward the guy who gave Terry a hard time for helping, and merely shrugs as she turns her eyes back to him. "Overslept, computer crashed while I was writing a report, realized I hadn't picked up my dry cleaning yesterday, you know… random acts of senseless annoyance," she offers with a grin. "You enjoying being back?"

Terry nods his head a little at the story, and grins. "Thank God it's Friday then, huh?" he asks. Looking a little closer at him shows that he's different, as well. It's subtle. Very subtle. But his emotions are a little slow, and a little less than genuine. He's wearing the same kind of face he might use to talk to a suspect, and if it weren't for just a little too much tension in his jaw, he'd be able to sell it perfectly. He holds the Dunkins cup out towards her, and says "here, I haven't touched this, and you look like you need it more than me, today." He keeps talking, louder if he needs to to prevent interruption. "I don't know how you take your coffee, but from the look of the spill I'd say you're going to need the cream and sugar I keep in the break room. I'd hurry, and make sure you get to it first," he adds, making sure that the last bit is quiet.

"Like Fridays are meaning much right now," Liz grins at him. But she doesn't miss his attitude, either. She's been a cop too long not to see that he's giving her cop eyes. And although her own expression doesn't change, she makes a mental note to stay out of Terry Collins's way. "Thanks for the offer, but it's all right. I'm only going to be here a half hour or so. Gotta go follow up on a case, I'll just grab another one on my way out. Appreciate the offer, though," she says breezily. She glances toward the group of men who're pretending to work while waiting to see if Collins is actually going to get anywhere and smirks faintly as she looks back at him. "You'd think they'd outgrow it, hrm? Thanks for the towel," she tells him quietly. And then she moves to go ahead and resume the course she was on before she was so rudely interrupted. "Hope they've got you on cases that'll make it interesting for…. well, let me rephrase that, I wouldn't want to curse you with 'interesting times'. But I hope you're not bored, at least."

"No," he says quietly, and as she starts to walk away, he falls into step next to her. "Let me walk you to your desk," he says quietly. When he talks quiet he seems sincere enough, or maybe he's just stepping up the act, who can tell around here anyways. "We'll see if I manage to drop my coffee too," he adds, a hint of challenge in his voice at that, as he talks a little louder, and glances at the man who'd called out to him earlier. His voice quiets down again, and he says, "you're bad at accepting help. Half the guys here are treating me like I'm Internal Affairs, or something. I'd take advantage of it."

As he falls into step with her, Elisabeth glances at him with a small smile. "You're sweet," she tells him quietly. "Considering that they're pissed at me for being a rat, I think I'm just trying to keep you out of trouble. Your first week back on the job, you don't need to deal with my bullshit." She shrugs slightly. "I'm kind of assuming you're NOT Internal Affairs, though."

Terry chuckles, and then nods. "Nice of ya, but stupid. Best thing you can have in our little world is someone watching your back. Plus, I'm pretty sure most people who worry about a "rat" deserve to be ratted out." He falls silent for a moment, however, eyeing his coffee thoughtfully. "There a story behind that?" he adds, still looking thoughtful. He grins, and then says "you tell me that, I'll tell you if I'm IA."

Elisabeth looks at him in surprise. "You mean it hasn't made the rounds yet? I turned in the two who roughed me up in the stairwell." She shrugs a bit, walking into the mostly abandoned SCOUT squad room — there aren't that many people actually on the squad, so they tend to stay pretty darn busy. "The story behind all of it? Little bit long…. Jakes and Farriday are some of those tough-guy types. I worked with Farriday back when I was a uniform, and I made him look stupid. He's hated my guts ever since. I got out of the squad by training for hostage negotiation — I liked it, I seemed suited to it after 9/11. Ran into Farriday a few times, and he'd partnered up with Jakes by then. A double mess. I resigned for a while after the Bomb — couple of years. And then I ran into Will Harvard in the park one day, and he and I talked some. He was interested in having me come back onto the force, into SCOUT." She pauses and admits, "I hadn't registered yet. Heard some horror stories, like everyone else, you know? But I liked what I heard, and I was giving it serious thought when that group called Vanguard attacked the school I was teaching in. Killed a bunch of kids… almost killed me. That was what decided me."

She glances at Terry and shrugs, gesturing to a seat if he wants it. She gets herself some coffee while she talks. "Ever since I came back on board, Farriday and Jakes and the others of their mindset have given me shit. Most of it's the same shit women in positions of authority get around here. No big. But … it's escalated some. And since I'm the only Evolved female on the squad… there's some stuff going behind the scenes that I mostly deal with on the down-low. I don't need to go whining to my captain when people say mean shit. That was going too far, though."

Terry chuckles, and shakes his head when she asks if it's made the rounds yet. "You don't want to know how much shit goes around. It just helps to hear it from the source, so to speak. Helps to make sense of everything, get the facts." When she gestures to the seat he takes it, leaning back in the chair, absent mindedly adjusting the holster at his waist, and crossing one leg over the other, looking very comfortable. He listens quietly, and then nods. "Like I said," he says with a grin. "The ones that worry about it tend to be the ones that deserve it. I never knew Farriday, but Jakes had a few counts of Police Brutality brought up on him, so, I can't say I'm surprised."

As she finishes doctoring her cup of coffee from the pot, Elisabeth has the grace to look chagrined. "I'm sorry," she comments. "My mouth just sort of ran away with me. I'm still sort of fuming that they shoved me into a position to have to go to IA."

Terry nods and grins. "Don't worry about it," he says, watching as she makes the coffee. His lips turn into a frown for a moment, and he shakes his head. "Well, the goons out there'll be pissed that you sent those two upstream, but they'll think twice about doing it again, so, let 'em be pissed." He shrugs, and lets his free hand fall to his side, resting it on the butt of his pistol. "Anyway, I figure better to get on your good side now, before they figure out I've got nothing stopping 'em from doing the same to me." His voice drops again. "I figure we can help each other out."

She walks back toward her desk and pulls the chair out to sit in as she looks at him. "And how's that?" Liz asks with a bit of a smile. At the very least, he's kept her attention.

Terry leans forward on the chair now, so he can talk in a quieter tone. "Simple," he says quietly, glancing towards the bullpen once before turning back to her. "I told you before the easiest way to avoid trouble was to look like you're ready for it, and I meant what I said about someone watching your back. Safety in numbers, you know? You keep an eye out for me, I'll help watch after you."

Elisabeth looks thoughtful and then shrugs slightly. "If you like," she agrees easily. "Can never hurt to have more friends, Collins." She grins at him, studying him. "How much shit are they actually giving you?"

Terry shrugs, and leans back in the chair again. "For the moment, s'not that bad. Couple jibes here and there. One of the guys, I took him for a rookie, same as me, gave me some crap about watching my step 'round him and the others. I told him he kept barking up that tree, he was going to land in pile of trouble. I think that's how the whole IA rumor got started." He grins, and then shrugs. "And I'm not going to tell 'em they're wrong 'til I have to."

"Oh, Lord… you're just begging for trouble, aren't you?" laughs Elisabeth. "That's a good way right now to get your ass kicked in the stairwell, too. So I guess I better watch your back. When I can, anyway."

Terry smirks, and then glances over his shoulder again. "I haven't had someone threaten me like that since I asked a girl out before one of the football players in my high school could." He chuckles, looking like he's reliving the memory, and then shakes his head. "It all feels a little juvenile, don't you think?" he adds, frowning. "Anyway, if any of them read my file beyond the registration, they'll either leave me alone, or make things ugly, so, that's why I'm asking." He shrugs, and then glances at the computer. He thinks for a moment, and then says "I spent a night here over the football player."

There's a shake of her head. "Juvenile doesn't begin to cover it," Elisabeth replies with a sniff. "You'd think we were in some bad TV drama, the way they act." She glances at him, but pointedly doesn't look up his record. "It'll all blow over eventually.. but this whole mentality on the Evolved has to change if it's going to get better. There is no us versus them — there can't be because then you get this atmosphere of fear going on that sparks all these riots. I mean…" She shrugs a bit. "It'll have to come to a head eventually, Collins. We can't keep having kids killing themselves and cops beating suspects out of fear and … " She grimaces. "I had to talk down another 16 year old kid last night. I've seen more suicides in the past two months than I've ever been called out on in my whole career."

Terry nods, and then grins. "If I thought it was us versus them I wouldn't be here, would I?" he half asks. "I'd be out in the street, making your life Hell, 'til SCOUT caught up with me." He falls silent for a moment, and then nods. "I'd read about the suicides," he says quietly, letting his voice trail off. "I guess it makes sense that you'd have been on that. Those're always tough, but I can't imagine that being able to relate helped at all."

With a vague grimace, Liz comments, "Who knew hostage negotiation training qualified you for talking down jumperes too?" She doesn't sound as detached as she ought to be, but she's also not as involved these days. She can't be, or these kids would just destroy her. "It's tough to be able to relate. Hell…. I feel guilty about bringing in most of them. I don't like the way they get treated, you know?"

Terry falls silent, and looks down for a moment, looking thoughtful. "You know," he says quietly, "I don't, but you remember our first conversation," he adds, frowning a little. "I'm still getting over being happy that we don't shoot them." He shrugs, and then looks down again. "Plus, I haven't really gotten the chance to see it myself, for better or worse. All I've got is the papers' spin on it."

Elisabeth's faint grin is pained. "Well…. not on purpose, most of us. I'm starting to wonder how many people are actually on the other side of that fence," she admits. "I'm pretty sure you're going to see plenty while you're on the streets. And for God's sake, make sure you keep your kevlar on when you go out of here in uniform. Some friends and I got jumped in Chinatown just for being cops."

Terry's face falls a little, and he nods his head. "I'm sure," he says, letting out a quiet sigh. "And gangs're old news," he says, smirking a little. "Though, kevlar's a good plan. I like to think I've got eyes in the back of my head some days, and that'll help keep me honest." He lets out a quiet sigh, and then says "I just wish I thought it was for the gangs."

"Heh," Liz says with a smile. "Well.. mostly it is. The Chinatown folks have a serious mad-on for cops right now." Her blue eyes are somber. "If you think someone out there in blue is a serious enough threat to you, though, report it. Really… I wouldn't take any chances. On the up side, all you've got going for you is them wondering if you're IA. They're gonna just steer clear of that altogether, if that's what they think, and you know it. So you should be cool."

Terry shakes his head, and grins. "No one in blue, no. As dumb as they may be around here, the ones that are actually gutsy enough to do anything know that we need each other out there. Everyone else," he adds, and then shrugs. "Anyways, you said you had to get out of here, today, so I'll let you to it. I'm sure I've got work to do, too." He raises his coffee cup, and then takes a sip out of it. "Be safe out there, Liz. Catch you around."

She nods at him and Elisabeth offers a faint smile. "I will, Terry…. and next time I'll bring extra coffee in." If she's a little more wary now of his offer of friendship, genuine as it may be… well, chalk that up in the 'learned a lesson from an ex-lover' column. "See ya."

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