2010-12-26: Home



Guest-Starring: Detectives Kotowski and Jordan

Date: December 26th, 2010


It's where the station is. (And the gossip)


Stretching out below them is a blanket of stars on earth, the veritable sea of lights of civilization — a landmark unto itself; New York. After swathes of darkness, smooth rolling mountains, dashed with a white companionable to the clouds they pass through, and the speckle of lesser cities between Wyoming and their destination — unchallenged by the unstoppable mass of the West Coast — there it lies, alive in the early morning hours where the sun just traces the horizon with an arc of light over the womanly curves of the earth. From above this curvature can be explored, the bird's eye, where the world is untouched and precious — a model, full of potential. Maybe, to one looking out, like a painting.

But to both, hunkered into the non-personal seating of business class, between those for whom going home was a chore and those for whom the holiday was just another day on the calendar, it is a welcome sight. At least, a familiar one.


It isn't the considered comforts — hearth, bed, privacy — that others might associate with the term. This is New York. One Police Plaza is open and, by association, all of its offspring in the burroughs. And for some, this means home.

NYPD Police Station

The blocky grey walls haven't much changed in the past couple of days, except to become that many hours older, and they oversee the same measure of bustle inside. The day after Christmas: the station is a-buzz with activity, though a few desks sit emptier, their more family-minded attendants making use of oft-neglected vacation days. Then others halfway in and out of either plan, staying or going — Detective Kotowski, wrapped in a beaten sports jacket, hovers on the cusp of the bullpen threshold, as if finished with his morning and intending to spend the rest anywhere but there. In this way, he's one of the first to turn a head when the wayward detective and consultant return home.

It doesn't take long for it to be everyone else, however brief or subtle or lingering. In Cheyenne, Detective Powers was the prodigal one, a strange sight to be seen, but here, where her disappearance was far less unannounced — or questioned, right on the holiday — it's the man beside her who is gets ogled at like a carnival attraction. Fair enough; it's been over three months since anyone's seen the consultant, and only slightly less since the headlines stopped asking the same question: Where is Mafia Miles?


Resistant to the gaping, speculative atmosphere of the locale, Laurie ruffles his shoulders, knocking off stray snow onto the cool entrance floor of the station already wet with the slush of other travel in and out. "Well— " he declares to Maggie beside him, "This isn't my stop. I suppose it would be amiss to tell you to not work too hard on the day after Christmas…" Peeling glove off after another, and indulging the bared right with a scratching that reignites all the blotches, he ascertains a path towards the elevator.

And gets basically nowhere. "Hey, hold on," pipes up the watching Kotowski, his eyes having widened and then gradually narrowed, and now plateau somewhere even and sardonic, "You've got a few things to collect down here, too." Barely a perceptible turn of the head, his nose just glancing off his shoulder, and Jordan's taken the cue. The darker-haired partner peels out of his seat, bends to the side, and rising up he has a very large cardboard box that he slams right onto the desk. It's fit visibly to bursting with paper of all different varieties, shapes, and colors. Victim to his own curiosity, Laurie hovers, grasped by the bug and then — inevitably — pulled to walk over towards that detective's desk.

"It's fanmail," Kotowski goes on to explain, quite confidently. Laurie jostles a few of the notes around and grabs one up at random, turning it to the inside where, notably, the seal has been ripped — and not even delicately. His eyebrows rising, his blue eyes flicker to Kotowski.

But it's from Jordan that comes the absently factual, "We've been reading them," leading Laurie's highly peaked eyebrows in the other's direction, but Jordan's flatness does not fluctuate. "It got pretty slow around here a couple of days. You're also a tall drink of the best gossip."

During this visual distraction, Kotowski hasn't moved from his position, keeping him between Maggie's approach and the letters — or whatever interior space should be her goal. Taking advantage, as soon as she comes abreast of him, he thrusts a box of a different variety at the woman detective's chest. "Here," he mutters, gruff and unforgiving for the very badly wrapped package's appearance, "This one's for you." Then, after a second to contemplate, he appears to balk and, eyeing her, adds, "Look, don't get any ideas. I'm not coming in between you and your wonderboy over there; it's from Jordan. He's just shy."

Jordan who, oblivious, is now helping to point out all the most interesting letters to their more intended recipient. "This one had a part one," he's saying, in the same tone, "But Kotowski sold it on Ebay last night."

New York, New York might not welcome Maggie back with obviously open arms, but she seems to welcome the bright city lights so foreign to her original home. She's content to be at the station of the present day: she moves with a sort of ease, in the good spirits of the lingering holidays, smiling, quite perceptive but ignoring of the attention Laurie is getting — mostly. The intended first stop, her desk, isn't marched toward with her usual on-duty determination — and it is, besides, waylaid. First, by curiosity over the arrivals for Laurie; second, by the package being shoved at her by Kotowski. Both interrupted are a quirked eyebrow toward Laurie's fan mail and a swipe of her own hand along her red sleeve. Snow just can't be escaped; the knit hat she wears again attests to that, too.

To Kotowski — then Jordan — she gives a faintly skeptical look, followed by a glace at the package she's suddenly holding. The variety of wondering it earns inches toward suspicious: should Maggie be careful with this thing— is something going to jump out at her? Her first word — so to speak — upon her return is thus: "Ummmm." But, gamely enough, she's still smiling even if it is unsure. "Oh. O-oookay…"

She carries it to her nearby desk, still decorated with a little reindeer, and sets it atop her inbox (which has grown slightly since her departure). Technically off-duty, at least so far, she is already thinking about work, but she's perfectly happy doing so; she's momentarily torn between the package and the files and memos underneath it, but the badly wrapped box, so easy to pry and peek into anyway, wins out. "Fan mail now…" she sends over to the others, meanwhile, in a tone that doesn't quite decide between surprised, unnerved, and amused. "You know, in my experience, that rarely leads anywhere good…"

"Some of these names…" Laurie speculates, the thoughts pulled out of his lightly creased position by Maggie's prompting observations, more than he is actually responding to her critique, "I recognize…" He gives the letter he's been examining a shake, unsettling a photo from inside. "Christmas of '02. Warren and Fay. Kidnapping case. He kept their hair… two-story, one bed-room. She made turkey and apologized that it was the same recipe she uses for Thanksgiving because it's her best…" Jordan, and Kotowski — who stormed back to this game someone on Maggie's oh — exchange glances of similar disinterest for this tale of reminiscence.

"They started out mostly like that when ADA Danvers petitioned for her whole good faith campaign," Kotowski explains, glum for one reason, but bolstered mostly by his importance at being the expert on the situation. Other officers around peer at the returned curiosity, and poke their noses about, but will end up doing most of their talking behind the celebrity's back. Several more wander by the newly opened desk of Detective Powers to wish her generic but well-meaning holiday cheer, even if it is a day late. "Turns out," Kotowski continues, "You know a shit ton of people— anyway, then the others start coming in. From God knows where. Ranging from the encouraging," he selects one, "to the pathetic," this one includes a locket in a plastic zip-bag; a call for the all-star solver's help on some questionable mission or another, "to the downright creepy." Here, the detective wades his hands through a few more stuffed into the sides.

Meanwhile, his — ahem, Jordan's — unveiled package has revealed nothing ready to bite the hand that opens it. Instead, inside, is a hat not unlike the one already on her head. Beige, the crocheted head-wear is baggy, meaning to envelop the head as a beanie, but for the enthusiastic bright blue pom-poms jutting out from either side. They seem to serve no actual purpose except to bounce along the wearer's shoulders like two small animals. But they won't bite.

On the other side of things, vaguely its epicenter, Laurie proves the least interesting, in the end. Stopped in front of the box, his feet a 'V' of relaxed standing, he boggles at the large hand-written message We're sorry to hear about the hardships of someone who helped us through the most difficult time of our lives, but know no one better to weather them as if the brainiac consultant is baffled as to what to do with the encouragement. Eventually, his determination comes to a very vague: "Well."

Detective Powers offers polite thanks and replies to those who pass by with cheer, just as generic, but the smile each is paired with is brighter than usual within the bounds of the station; happy holidays! She's listening all the while, interest inspiring her away from the box a couple of times — she's intrigued precisely where Kotowski and Jordan are bored by Laurie's reminiscence — then pathetic and creepy are hit: yep, there's the familiar.

A glance down is surprised to fall on the contents of the box from Kotowski — ahem, Jordan — and she gives it a quizzical eye and amused smile. The rather… cute hat is in her possession as she appears by Laurie. "Thanks, for the— " Subdued but sincere, Maggie address Jordan — but a quickly sweeping glance doesn't exactly exclude his partner, either — as lifts the knitwear; blue pom-poms trail along and bounce, "uh, hat…"

The hand-written message, having caught Maggie's eye — anything that seems to confound the consultant ought to be worth attention — is quickly read. "Well," she repeats, quipping casually, "I'd believe them." Her reaction turns as encouraging as the note to add: "That's lovely, Miles." It's clearly not Call Me Laurie Day. "I suppose all fan mail isn't so bad."

Jordan bats dark languid eyes at her that show no understanding initially. He looks pleasantly enough at the hat she indicates, but it isn't until his eyes are rising from the present and his mouth beginning to open to respond that, oh so suddenly, eyes that aren't quite on her for a flash of an instant alight with comprehension. "Right," he announces in his dulcet tones, "You're welcome. It looks like a good hat to go ice-skating with— " his eyes leap to that tiny spot way from her and back, " — you don't go ice-skating." His partner is found to be conveniently a space or so behind Maggie, and, as she glances over, his hands seem to stutter in the task he's sufficiently absorbed in — a blur of something else, but now clearly occupied — moving letters about at what, when studied, appears to be a random method.

As baffling as this charade is, Laurie's attention is reluctant to pull off of the note, and he does so as though expecting it to set on fire as soon as he takes his eyes off the words. Perhaps as a result of this, the letter's given an idle shaking as he glances at Maggie. "I think they're just hoping I don't remember I never invoiced them," he declares, high in humor, but dry in dismissal, and the sweet gesture of affection is tossed onto the pile of others less personal. Fanning fingers out, he replaces his grip on it with one from the 'creepy' genre as Kotowski so helpfully pointed out. When moved, it sends up an alarmingly thick scent of women's perfume, fueling the heaviness of wryness in Laurie's quip, "I think I'll take this one upstairs with me when I thank the attorney for her efforts." Plucked up, the card is kept there, tentatively, between his fingers as he turns about from the detective's desk and strolls for the hallway and the elevators — with a passing glance for the stairs.

Maggie seems on the verge of calling out after the consultant as he heads for the elevator, but the need dissipates and she looks off. Instead, she moves to the box of mail and plucks the discarded note up, swaying back slightly for the wave of perfume Laurie stirred by taking the other. She lays it, gently and with purpose, on the very top, its message of good intent unavoidably turned to the world first thing.

That done, she moves around her desk, and just as immediately, Jordan and Kotowski earn skeptically raised brows and a vague flicker of amusement at one corner of her mouth. "Ice-skating?" Brows raise to additional heights an expression not unlike a that of a teacher waiting for secretive students to confess their shenanigans, although it might be taken more seriously, perhaps, if it weren't for the current hat on her head — even though only half as silly as the one in her hands — making it look like she is about to go ice-skating.

Most likely exactly as he spent most of his years in school, Jordan shrugs without really looking at the teacher at all. Besides that his desk is now converted into a stand for the box of yet unclaimed letters of good intent, he's returned to the task that inspired him before the two entered; it looks like paperwork. It looks like Kotowski's paperwork. Perhaps even more like school. Kotowski blunders along — past the looks, and past Maggie's purposeful attempts; he heavy-handedly takes the note she so prominently displayed on top, seeing its set-up as a beacon to interfere.

It's held more in gesture, as he leans an arm over the side of the box. "So how were your holidays, Detective Powers?" He inquires, smacking his lips together as if exercising some amount of gum there. "Did you finally find out boxers or briefs?" His eyes sparkling, he ventures to give her a little smirk — of encouragement; in fact, no luridness at all, exorcising the come-on from the question entirely. "Inquiring minds want to know." Not his own, as it turns out, and as he gives a smack — with that precious card — to the side of the cardboard box of fans that wouldn't mind getting a gander — for research.

Strangely adorable hat set aside, the additions to Maggie's desk — case updates — have become the focus she's making an attempt to stay upon, sifting through files, though she's clearly in a state of flux as she doesn't settle in or take off her winter gear while she does so. The attempt is just an attempt: her head abruptly shoots up; there may as well have been luridness to Kotowski's inquiry-by-proxy, for how suddenly wide her eyes unconsciously go in dismay in those quick seconds. Dismay, lingering with nowhere to go since she doesn't answer straight away, takes a shortcut to reprimand.

"Kotowski." Blinking her way back down at the files in hand, she flips through and tugs at a post-it on one page very studiously. The detective's jaw clamps down rather hard. Lighter than her admonishing, but just as quickly dismissive, she adds without looking up: "The inquiring minds will just have to keep inquiring themselves." Are her cheeks red, or are they still cold from outside…

"Wh— " Whatever Kotowski meant to defend himself with is abruptly cut short by Jordan laying a hand on the other's arm. Rerouted to eyeing his partner, the two exchange what is outwardly just a glance, but between them appears to be a glance. Kotowski's return to Maggie is twice as informed — a feat in itself — "You're right," he admonishes himself, without sounding particularly guilty, but no less sincere, "That was inappropriate." Then, his loose hand latches onto the one slung over the box edge, turning him into Jordan's desk conversationally. Which is exactly how he phrases, "What do you think, man… he dresses real prissy like, but you should never underestimate a man's preference underneath."

Jordan's head raises from the paperwork — long, time-consuming paperwork — to eye his partner. He looks ever like he's about to release a sigh, without quite doing so. His hands calmly fold over each other, over the pen he was working with. "We've seen him in a t-shirt before," Kotowski plows on, gesturing at his own chest, stuck in a bulky jacket, "But always those huggy, girly form-fitting ones." A conspiratorial nod, "I think he knows what he's got going on."

As she bites her tongue — hidden by firmly closed lips if literally — Maggie's inbox becomes awfully engrossing, or else she's managed to focus on it. She busily flips through papers, determinedly gathering up new details and checking out notes— several moments into Kotowski's one-sided conversation, she runs out of new information to read. "Really, you know I think— ?" she suddenly, then, rejoins the conversation with upbeat enthusiasm, looking up as she sets a folder back in its temporary place on the corner pile. Whisking around said corner, she's on her way to somewhere — perhaps the chief's office if her change of direction is any indication, though her eyes are only on Kotowski (and Jordan) on the way … and, with especially exaggerated skepticism and a small smile, the box full of 'inquiring minds' as well. " — you pay an awful lot of attention to Miles's 'form-fitting' clothes."

He did want to know what she thought, and once he hears it, Kotowski presses his lips together evenly, holds out a hand, and admits, "I'm a detective; I pay attention to detail." The hand becomes a fist and, when brought near the space over the desk, is met in pair by Jordan's knuckles as the other stares a twin neutral expression at Maggie. "Like," he adds, giving a nod of the head towards her desk while his arms cross purposefully over his chest. "You didn't open your invitation to the New Year's charity ball." Eyes to the chief's office, the usually dim-witted detective seems to have noted her movements, too. But rather than accusingly, his very accusingly phrased query is phrased more mournfully — "Or do you have some other obscure homestead to visit instead then, too?" — if he had a sentimental bone in his body.

Maggie's eyes divert long enough to look straight at the point on her desk on which the invitation was left — the inbox, abandoned for more pressing matters. "Does what may or may not be my presence there concern you Kotowski— ?" she casually challenges as a counter, good-natured enough toward the other detective; there's a quick smile — though she's certainly dismissive of the unopened invitation. It's eyes ahead to the chief's office a moment later, her strides taking her further away from her colleagues, though she still speaks, lifting a hand in gesture at her side as she walks away, "I'm imagining it goes something like 'you are cordially invited to…'"

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