Here's a fanfic that reads like an episode and features characters from seasons six and seven. This one, like "Keeping Secrets," was too long for one issue, so we broke this one down into two parts: The first half, below, is the "Law" half of the show and the conclusion, which will appear in our next issue, is the "Order" section.

Stand Off
By Kim Hood

The boys, seven and eight years old, were climbing on the rocks. The younger one was having a hard time keeping up with his friend. He whined, "C'mon, Kevin, we're gonna get in trouble!"
Kevin didn't even look back. "Not if we hurry. Once we get in, nobody can see us!" Kevin climbed over a hump and was out of sight. The younger boy stopped, then smacked the rocks with his hands and followed. After he climbed the hump, he could still see no sign of Kevin.
"Kevin? Where are you?" He heard a stumbling noise. "Kevin?" He yelled and scurried in the direction of the noise. When he found his friend, Kevin was frozen in place, staring at the dead body of a man.
Briscoe and Curtis arrived on the scene just as the photographer was finished shooting the body. An uniformed officer was filling them in.
"Young white male, 20 years old, if the I.D. in the wallet was his. Gunshot wound to the face. The kids that found him are pretty shook up. They're over there." He jerked his thumb toward the small children, who were sitting in a squad car talking to an officer squatted beside the vehicle. "They were out playing, mountain climbing or something. Came over the hill and there he was."
Curtis asked, "This place a hangout for kids?"
The officer shook his head. "It's not s'posed to be. It's trespassing, but one of those kids comes and plays here every weekend. It was the other one's first time."
Another officer climbed up behind them. He was winded. He dropped a handful of shell casings into Briscoe's hand and explained, "There's more over there. They're all different kinds. Somebody must use this place for target practice."
"Thanks," said Lennie as he and Rey walked toward the area where the casings had been found.
Rey whistled loudly, getting the attention of all the officers nearby. He shouted, "We need to pick up all the shell casings over here. We'll need some help." Several officers came over and started poking around in the rocks.

When the detectives walked in, Lt. Anita Van Buren tossed the file she had been reading onto the growing pile on her desk. Briscoe sat down and crossed his legs. Curtis began filling her in.
"Forensics sorted through all the shell casings we found at the quarry. Several were fired from the same gun that killed Rodney Gibson."
Anita was not surprised. "Any luck with finding the target shooters?"
Briscoe jumped in. "It's a tight neighborhood, lots of gang activity. None of the kids we talked to would say anything, and the parents either don't know or don't wanna know."
"So how you gonna find 'em?" she asked, knowing from their comfortable looks that they already had a plan.
Curtis explained, "I talked to some cops in gang watch. They got an undercover in the neighborhood. They're gonna see what he can find out without blowing the case he's on."
Anita was impressed. "That's mighty nice of them. How'd you manage that?"
Curtis smiled, "I set up one of their guys with this girl I went to high school with."
Lennie chuckled.
"What about the victim?"
"He had money problems." Lennie uncrossed his legs and sat up. "His car was repo'ed last month and his landlord had the furniture on the sidewalk when we got there. He hadn't held a job in a couple of months. He was fired from the last job for gambling in the break room. He was running a crap game for a couple of his coworkers."
"People he owed money to. Ex-girlfriend. That's it for now."
"Find out how he made the rent last month. Maybe he gambled somewhere other than work." The two detectives set out.

The two detectives arrived at Sylvia Gallegos' apartment just as she was balancing two grocery sacks and fumbling for her key. Rey took a grocery bag from her, saying, "Here, let me help you with that."
She opened the door and they followed her in. "I don't know what else I can tell you. Rodney and I broke up a year ago. I have no idea what he's been doing lately." She put the perishables in the fridge as she spoke, then leaned her back against the kitchen counter so she could face the policemen.
Lennie asked, "When you and Rodney went together, did he have money problems?"
She almost laughed. "Rodney was a good man, but he had no sense when it came to money. When we were together, I had to take care of all the important stuff -- rent, utilities, car. I used to go pick up his check at noon while he was still working so he wouldn't be able to blow it."
"How did he get spending money?" Rey asked.
"I used to give him some after the bills were paid. Usually it was around fifty bucks. Sometimes it was less. That's how he ended up hitting me. He was mad 'cause I only gave him twenty bucks."
"He hit you once?" Briscoe inquired.
"Once is enough, detective. I don't put up with that shit."
"What did he usually do when he needed money and couldn't get it from you? Gambling?" Rey was taking notes as they spoke.
"He tried the gambling thing, but he never made any money that way. Usually he'd pawn stuff. One time he took the TV. I was so pissed that night!"
"Did he have a favorite place to pawn?" Briscoe asked.
"Yeah, he usually went to Pawn City on 112th. The owner's gay. Rodney used to say he trusted him, 'cause a gay dude has enough to fear without pissing off a bunch of shady pawn customers."
Rey closed his notebook. "Thank you Ms. Gallegos. You've been a big help."

Dionicio Lombardi was not at the Pawn counter, nor was he in sight. Curtis started looking around at the pawn while Briscoe yelled, "Hello!"
Lombardi had the look of a middle aged karate instructor, or ex-linebacker. He was short, but tough. Before he said a word he saw two badges. "My stuff is clean! He said. I have receipts for everything!"
Briscoe shrugged and said, "We were hoping to get information on one of your customers." He held up a photograph. "Rodney Gibson, you know him?"
"Yes," the store owner said. He used to come in once a month or so, to pawn something and tell me about his woman trouble. He rarely got anything out of pawn. Except the TV. His girlfriend drug him down here and made him get the TV." The man chuckled.
Curtis asked, "What kind of stuff did he usually pawn?"
The man shrugged, "A little bit of this, a little of that. Wait. I have records." As he walked to the back room he yelled, "Receipts for everything!" He returned with a ledger book. "It's all in here."
Curtis began flipping through it. "October 6, an electric guitar...September 12, a handgun, .45 caliber...Can we borrow this?"
The man's smile faded, his brow furrowed. "You write me a receipt, you may borrow it."
Briscoe grabbed a pen. "Where do I sign?" Lombardi's smile returned.

Lennie and Rey were eating lunch at a pizzeria when Rey's cell phone rang. "Curtis," he answered. "Great! Thanks!" He replaced the phone in his pocket and turned to his partner. "We have some names from the quarry gun club!"
Lennie wiped his mouth and put money on the table. "Let's go."

The two detectives stood in the office of P.S. 104, Parkland Middle School. The principal came out of his office, looking much like a police chief does on a full moon. "What can I do for you gentleman?" he asked.
The counselor's office was small, but was the only office that afforded the officers real privacy with the students. The windows were covered with drapes, presumably to give a child with a problem a safe place to go and talk. The two detectives, the principal, and an eighth grade boy sat in an assortment of chairs. The boy was very upset.
"The policemen just want to ask you some questions. You're not in any trouble right now, Enrique. Go ahead and talk with them." The principal tried to encourage the boy.
"Enrique, you like to shoot guns at the quarry with the other guys?" Curtis asked quietly.
"Y-Y-Yeah. I go when I can. I'm good at it."
"What do you shoot at?" Briscoe inquired.
The boy took a deep breath. "Just trash. Cans, bottles, milk jugs."
"How many of you go shooting?"
"It's usually about ten of us. We have to wait until real late at night, so we won't get caught." He looked up sharply at the officers, afraid he'd admitted something.
Briscoe patted the boy's shoulder. "It's okay. You're not in trouble right now."
Rey smiled at the child. "Where do you get the guns to shoot with?"
"Well, some guys have their own, and Juan has a lot, so if you're lucky, he'll loan you one."
Briscoe was looking at the list they had received from the undercover cop. "Juan one of your friends here at school?"
"No, Juan's older. He's got a car and everything."
"High school?" Rey asked.
"I don't think so," the boy said. "I think he's too old for high school."
"What kind of gun do you usually shoot, Enrique?" The young detective probed.
"I like the 9 millimeter. It's small enough I can keep control of it."
"What was Juan's last name again?" Briscoe had his pen poised over the list.
"Martinez. Juan Martinez."
The officers thanked the young man and asked him not to practice again unless it was at a shooting range with a grown-up. The boy jumped from the chair and was gone.
"Well, he's not the killer." Curtis observed.
"Are you kidding? That .45 would have knocked him back into 6th grade!" cracked Briscoe. There was a knock at the door and another student came in.

The two detectives were back in the Lieutenant's office. Briscoe was explaining, "Apparently, Juan Martinez is a small time crime lord. He's been in and out of juvie his whole life, and was arrested twice in the last two years. Was acquitted both times."
Rey was leaning against the door, looking a little bored. He said, "Word on the street has Martinez dealing weapons to his gang and inspiring them to break the law whenever he can. He knew Gibson, had gambled with him a couple of times and apparently let him come shoot with the boys a few times."
Briscoe jumped back in, "In October, Gibson pawned a .45 caliber handgun. We think he got it from Martinez."
That would establish motive. Got any proof?" The lieutenant asked.
"Not yet," admitted Curtis.
"Get some and bring him in."

Briscoe checked the address and knocked on the door of the tiny house. An old woman answered the door. "Maria Jiron?" The old woman began arguing in Spanish. Curtis held up his badge and explained in Spanish that they needed to ask Maria some questions.
"Ella esta aqui?" Curtis asked in his most polite manner. The woman looked at the badge again, then looked Curtis up and down.
She yelled, "Maria!" The young woman came to the door and her mother explained, "Policia." The old woman went inside.
Curtis introduced himself and Briscoe in Spanish. Fortunately for the older detective, the girl responded to this in English. "What do you want with me?"
Briscoe piped in, "We need to ask you some questions about your ex-boyfriend, Juan Martinez?"
The girl came out and sat on a milk crate on the porch. "Creep. What do you want to know?"
"Well, we have some questions about his firearms."
"He always had guns. He would sell them to the little kids and everything. Took them out, taught them how to shoot. Jerk."
It was Curtis' turn to question her. "Do you remember him doing business with a white guy named Rodney Gibson?"
"Rodney used to come around once in a while. He would set up a poker game and try to scam some of the guys. I think Juan kind of liked him, though. Usually, somebody like Rodney, he'd just hang out with him once. He used to take Rodney to the quarry once in a while."
"Did Rodney have a gun?" Curtis asked.
"Not at first. But then Juan lent him one. Like I said, I think he liked him."
"Do you remember what kind of gun it was?" the elder cop queried.
"I don't know kinds. It was a small one, and it was silver with a white handle," replied the girl.
The two detectives gave each other knowing looks, thanked her, and left.

Rey Curtis showed the elderly man the search warrant and explained in Spanish what they were doing. Lennie Briscoe and two uniformed officers went into Juan's room and began searching. After a few minutes they found a stash of weapons, mostly handguns, under the bed. There were two rifles as well. Lennie squatted over them and his partner peered over his shoulder.
"How much you wanna bet there's no permits for these?" Briscoe smirked. Rey turned to the old man and asked him for the paperwork on the guns.

Briscoe, Curtis, and two uniformed officers moved with authority through the mall. When they arrived at Jimbo's Arcade, they milled through the crowd, searching. Finally, Curtis waved his hand in the air and pointed to a young man intensely playing Mortal Combat. The police officers regrouped. Rey and Lennie each grabbed an arm. Lennie recited, "Juan Martinez, you are under arrest for the murder of Rodney Gibson and for the illegal traffic of weapons. You have the right to remain silent..."

Jack McCoy and Jamie Ross stood in front of the Judge's bench. To their right was Juan Martinez and Jacob Keller, his lawyer.
The judge muttered, "And to the charge of murder in the first degree, Mr. Martinez, how do you plead?"
"Not guilty, your honor." The young man said.
"People request Mr. Martinez be held without bail, your honor," McCoy stated.
Keller fired, "That's preposterous, Your Honor. My client has no history of this type of crime. The state's evidence in this case is tenuous, at best, and, given my client's successful rehabilitation, I see no reason why he can't continue living in his community until this comes to trial."
It was McCoy's turn. "Your Honor, The police recovered a stash of unlicensed weapons under Mr. Martinez' bed! He has been arrested three times in the last two years of his 'rehabilitation' and although he's never been arrested for murder before, he has repeatedly been arrested and convicted for violent and dangerous acts."
"Your Honor, my client was acquitted the last two times he went to trial. He doesn't know how the weapons got into his room."
"He shot a man in the face, repeatedly!" screamed McCoy.
The Judge interrupted, "That's enough, gentlemen. Bail is set at 2 million dollars." She banged the gavel.
McCoy turned to Ross and shrugged. Ross said, "Pretty high, and without asking. The Judge must like you."
McCoy replied, "Let's just hope Martinez has bad credit."

Ross returned from the coroner's office with the coroner's report, photographs, and a sour stomach. She sat at her desk and dug in a drawer for an antacid. Jack popped in, too cheerful in her estimation. He picked up the photographs and let out a sound of disgust.
"Blew the guy's face off."
Jamie slammed the drugs down and hurried out of the room. Jack watched her exit, then began reading the coroner's report. Jamie returned a few minutes later, looking a little better, but not much.
"You okay?" Jack asked sweetly.
Jamie closed her eyes and responded, "Not a good day for me."
"Want a soda or something?"
Jack gathered up the materials from the coroner and stood. "Tell you what. I'll take these and you can read up on Martinez' juvenile record. Take it easy." He left her to suffer in peace.

Curtis walked briskly into the break room where his partner was refilling his coffee cup. He banged on the door frame and smiled. When Lennie turned around, he said simply, "We got the murder weapon."

McCoy met Jamie at a local restaurant. He ordered a salad and then focused his attention on her. "You up on the juvie record?"
She nodded. "You didn't tell me you prosecuted him the last three times."
"I knew you'd read it. He beat me the last two. We just didn't have enough to make anything stick. Kind of like this time." Jack's salad arrived, and he took a bite.
"There's the weapons charge."
"We'll be lucky if he serves five years for that."
"Curtis said they found the murder weapon," Jamie commented.
"In the possession of one of the other target shooters, with nothing solid to link it to Martinez. It's not enough."
"Keller will lay heavily on the rehabilitation line. Juan's a good, church going citizen." Jamie ate one of the remnants of her own meal.
"And he's probably doing a community service teaching little kids sport shooting!" McCoy was not pleased with the case.
Jamie thought McCoy was a little more involved in this than usual. "Is there something more I should know?"
Jack looked down, picked at a crouton, then gave up. "After the last trial, Martinez waited for me by the elevator. It was just the two of us."
"Did he threaten you?"
"Not exactly. He just said that I would never again send him to prison. But the way he said it, it was...if not a threat, a challenge. He's going to jail." Jack drank his tea.
Jamie looked at her watch. "I have to go. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Library time."

Lennie hung up the phone, hard. He said, "That was Ms. Ross. They need more evidence."
"The gun's not enough?" Curtis asked.
"Apparently, it's not solid enough to link it to Martinez." He got up, slinging on his sport coat. The two left the station.

The two detectives pounded the streets of Martinez' neighborhood. They had spoken with enough people to establish that Martinez was with Gibson the night of the murder. The two were seen an hour and a half before the incident occurred. Now they approached the small house where Juan's ex-girlfriend lived. This time, Curtis knocked on the door. A small boy answered the door.
"Buenos Noches. Maria esta aqui?" They showed the boy their badges. The child ran inside. A few minutes later Maria appeared.
Curtis' voice was quiet. "We need to talk with you some more."
She seemed alarmed. "He's not out is he?! If he finds out I helped you..."
"No, he's not out." Curtis said. "However, we'd like to make our case a little stronger, so we're checking back with people to see if there's anything we missed."
She stepped back, holding the screen door open. "Come in."
It was a tiny house, filled to capacity with mismatched furniture. There was a dog, some sort of collie mix, lying half under the coffee table. Maria sat down. The officers followed suit. The boy reappeared and leaned against Maria, who smoothed his hair with her hands.
"Did you see Juan prior to the murder?" Briscoe asked.
"No. I had been working...I used to baby-sit during the day, before I got my job at the restaurant. I didn't see Juan until that I told you before. He came in around 10:30, cleaned the gun and fell asleep."
Rey quietly requested, "Think back. Try to remember every detail of that night. What was he wearing? Did he change clothes before he went to sleep? Talk to anybody, write anything..." He waited.
Maria thought hard. "He came in the door. He was wearing blue jeans, his high top Nike tennis shoes, a red shirt that had the marijuana leaf on it. He had his jacket on, but he took it off after he came in. He threw it on the chair. He had pulled the gun out of the jacket when he took it off. He sat down on the couch and cleaned his gun. When he finished with that, he set the gun on the coffee table, and went into the bedroom. He took his shoes off and went to sleep in his clothes."
Both detectives had been taking notes. Rey asked, "What about his clothes? Do you have any idea what may have happened to the clothes he wore that night?"

Briscoe and Curtis waited in the visitation room. Two guards escorted Martinez in. He tilted his head and rolled his eyes. "You already arrested me, what the hell do you want now?!" Hate rolled from his body like steam after a hot shower.
Curtis walked over, Martinez' eyes following him closely. Curtis glanced at the boy's feet. "Nice shoes," he said, grinning.

"No deals." McCoy said. He was simple and direct and there was no doubt that he meant it. Jamie twirled her pen between her fingers. Martinez and his lawyer sat across the table.
"I don't see any reason we can't --" Keller began.
"No deals!" McCoy said again, staring them down. There was a heavy silence. McCoy continued, "Your client has been testing the limits of the system his whole life. Now he's taken someone else's life. This time, he's going to pay." McCoy stood. Jamie joined him. McCoy pointed a finger at Martinez. "You're going to jail," the prosecutor said. The two left. Martinez followed McCoy out with his eyes.

McCoy eased down the street and reviewed his day, as he always did when the work was finally set aside for the night. Suddenly, he felt a searing pain in his right calf. Although he wanted to inspect it with his right hand, this would have released the accelerator and caused him to lose control. He hunched his body to the right. Unfortunately, he lost control of the bike anyway. His right arm pulled back harshly and the motorcycle spun to the ground, pushing him forward on the pavement at thirty miles an hour. Jack observed the event as if it were in slow motion. Finally, the motorcycle slid to the right of him and Jack tumbled in the opposite direction. The next lucid thought he had was the realization that a car had just missed running over him by inches. Jack rolled to his side. When McCoy mustered the strength to try to move out of the street, a young man was gently shaking him, saying, "Hey buddy, are you all right?" That's when he felt the pain.

Rey Curtis and Lennie Briscoe entered the D.A.'s office with grim looks on their faces. They split in the reception area, Curtis headed to Jamie Ross' desk, Briscoe to Adam Schiff's office.
Jamie ran her fingers through her hair, head bent over a law book, taking notes with the other hand. Rey stood, waiting for her to notice him. Jamie looked up, saw the look on Curtis' face, and waited to hear the bad news.
Adam was closing up files on his desk as Briscoe finished explaining, "He's okay, he's at St. Mary's hospital. We're gonna escort Ms. Ross over there now, if you want a ride."
Adam reached for his coat. "I'll follow you," he said as he pulled it on.

McCoy lay in his hospital bed, counting the items in the room for the hundredth time. The pain medication had kicked in, and he was no longer focused on his injuries. Jack had never felt so alone. He had already given his report to the police, and he knew Adam and Jamie must have heard by now. The hospital staff had said they would release him as soon as the surgeon had another look at his leg, but that it was a very busy night, and it could be a while.
Jack's entire body twitched at the sound of the door clicking open. The two detectives and his coworkers walked in.
"Hi there," Jack smiled.
"You don't look so bad, for somebody who let his motorcycle ride him." It was Briscoe, breaking the ice for the group.
Jack grinned again, "Don't be fooled. It's the drugs. Your pals find anything yet?"
Curtis stepped in, "Not much. 9 millimeter shell casings, hole in the taxi that was behind you. Nobody saw the shooter."
Jamie stood at the foot of the bed, her handbag clutched squarely in front of her. "I think we all know who's behind this." She looked around the room for agreement.
Jack studied his partner. "You should get protection."
Jamie motioned to the two detectives. "That's what they're for."
Briscoe explained, "Until we find the shooter, Ms. Ross has a twenty four hour police escort."
McCoy painfully shifted his position. "Good. Do me a favor?"
Jamie returned McCoy's gaze. "Yeah, sure."
"Stop by my place and find me some clothes? Probably sweat pants...I'll need something that's easy to put on. My keys are in the drawer over there."
Briscoe opened the drawer, extracted the keys, and handed them to McCoy's partner.
Jamie accepted the keys and allowed herself a smile. "See ya later." Briscoe and Curtis mumbled, "Get well" and the three left the room, leaving McCoy with his longtime boss and friend, Adam Schiff. Adam was sitting in the visitor's chair.
There was a moment of silence until the door was completely shut. Adam stared at the floor. Jack said, "Don't worry, Adam, he didn't scare me off...I'll fight him harder than ever. This is exactly why he should be in jail!"
Adam continued looking towards the floor. As always, his speech came in grunts, punctuated by slow breaths. "Didn't scare you...didn't scare you...Do you realize how lucky you are?!"
Jack became defensive. "He's a punk, Adam. If it wasn't me, it would be somebody else."
Adam looked McCoy right in the eye. "You're a cowboy, jump into something and you don't stop until it's don't stop to think about what it costs."
"You want me to give up?"
"I want my assistant district attorney working, not lying in a hospital bed...not killed. It's one thing to stand up to a man, and another to strut around in front of him...You're a good man, McCoy. You're a good prosecutor. You should be more careful." The elder man got up, stood close to the bed. "Do the state of New York a favor and think about that while you're waiting around in here." Schiff gently patted Jack on the shoulder and walked out.
It was one of the rare times in his life that Jack McCoy found himself speechless. He stared at the ceiling and replayed Schiff's words in his mind.

Rey Curtis walked along beside Jamie. He had been explaining that the officers "escorting" her would stay back out of her way unless they felt she was in immediate danger.
"That's good. I've got too much work to do to have to deal with a bunch of people in my way."
Curtis stopped her and pointed to a man in a car across the street. "There's your friend. I'm going now."
"Thanks Rey." They waved to the man in the car, and then Curtis walked the other way down the street.

Briscoe was talking to a uniformed officer on the sidewalk near where the accident had happened. Traffic flow had resumed. Curtis walked up.
"Thanks." Briscoe said to the officer, who then moved away.
"What's up?" Rey asked, hands on hips.
"They talked to everybody in these apartments over here, nobody saw anything. Two people heard the shots, but they swear they came from the direction of the alley."
"So the shooter was in the alley."
"No, there's a dumpster in the way. If he was in front of it, somebody would have seen him. If he was next to it, the angle wouldn't have been right."
Rey shrugged, "Well, so he was in it."
Briscoe frowned. "Again, the angle's wrong. Too much down angle." The two shared a frown.

Jamie sat across from a wiry blond man in an orange jump suit. The man had a nearly invisible beard and was missing two of his front teeth. The man's lawyer sat beside him, a large woman in a pinstriped skirt suit. "Ms. Ross, why are we here?"
"I'm looking for some information. As you know, Jack McCoy was in a motorcycle accident yesterday."
The blond man grinned, "Yeah, you shoulda heard the shouts of joy in this place. Guards made us all go back to our cells. I guess they were afraid to let us party!" The lawyer glared at her client. His grin slowly diminished.
The lawyer looked at Jamie. "I fail to see what a traffic accident has to do with-"
"He was shot." Jamie said bluntly, reading the reactions of both people instantly. "We think we know who was behind it."
"And you want me to...verify that for you?"
His lawyer placed her hand on his shoulder and said, "What are you offering?"
"Recommendation for early parole."
"Not good enough."
"Home incarceration for the remainder of his sentence."
The two lawyers stared at each other. The inmate's representative turned to him. "It's good deal. It's up to you."
The man grinned. "Who do you think did it?"
Jamie looked at her files. "You just tell me what you know."
"Tell me who you want to know about and I'll tell you whatever you want to hear."
Jamie sighed angrily.
"May I speak to my client alone for a minute?" The larger woman requested. Jamie left the room, stood in the hall next to a silent guard. There was a knock from inside the room. The guard opened the door, and Jamie entered. The guard shut the door. The lawyer apologized for her client. He stared at his feet and took a deep breath.
"Everybody was excited when they heard. Hell, McCoy put half of us in here. When they showed that video tape of him being loaded into the ambulance you couldn't hear yourself think, for all the cheering. People were calling him names, you know. Except for Juan. He stayed pretty quiet. He was smoking and playing solitaire. He looked up when the cheering started, but he went right back to his game. He seemed pissed off." The man scooted his chair back, folded his arms.
"Juan who?"
"Martinez. He just stayed quiet, playing cards. The only reason I noticed him was that last week, after he met with McCoy, he came back in screaming, calling McCoy everything in the book. I figured he'd be really happy, so I looked for him."
"Thank you, Mr. Brazer." The three stood.
"So when do I get moved?"
"I'll have it arranged." Jamie knocked on the door. The guard let them out.

Rey Curtis sat at his desk with photos of the street Jack was shot on. He also had a protractor, and a ruler. "Hey Lennie, look at this." His partner leaned over his shoulder. Rey pointed to the photograph. "All right, from the angle of the bullet, we know that the shooter was at first floor level. We've already ruled out the apartments. The witnesses said McCoy's bike went down in front of the Six Four Art Gallery. The only place the shooter could have been is the alley. Look at the angle." Rey put the ruler from the spot where the motorcycle went down at a 5 degree angle toward the alley. It went right toward the dumpster.
"The dumpster." Lennie frowned, trying to make that work in his head.
"I think the shooter was in between the dumpster and the wall. Nobody would have seen him there, and the angle works."
"He'd have to be pretty small. I know I wouldn't have fit back there. Or even you, for that matter."

Jack McCoy carefully moved to his door. The crutches did not seem to be much of a help, so far. He looked through the peephole, then unlocked the door and opened it. He stepped back, and Jamie came in, carrying two files. She stood and looked Jack over. "You look terrible." He was in green sweatpants and a white T-shirt. His hair was sticking up on one side, and although the helmet had protected his head from injury, fatigue left its marks there.
Jack started to make his way back to the couch. "I hope I'm not supposed to thank you for that observation." He sat on the couch, laid the crutches on the floor, then turned and put his right leg up on a pillow. "What'd you bring me?"
"People v. Alexander, juvenile history which was admitted in an adult trial... and People v. Renkin, juvenile detention records admissible...and Discover." She handed him the files and held up the science magazine with a grin. Then she tossed the magazine onto his chest and walked into the kitchen.
McCoy thumbed through the magazine. "Thanks, Jamie." She returned with two glasses of iced tea, handed one to Jack, and sat down on the easy chair next to the couch.
"Did you eat yet?" She asked, and then sipped her tea.
"I haven't really gotten hungry yet...I guess it's the medication."
Jamie got up and thumbed through the phone book. "Well, you have to eat something. I'll get us a pizza."
Jack watched her in amazement as she ordered the pizza and hung up. "What are you doing?"
Jamie sat down, sighed, looked at the floor as she collected her thoughts. "I guess I don't much like the idea of losing my partner." Their eyes met.
"Thanks. It's good to have a friend." Jack had never meant anything more. Since the accident he'd had a lot of time to realize how empty his life was. He knew that he had to start opening himself up if he wanted that to change. "Adam thinks I'm reckless...he called me a cowboy."
Jamie leaned forward. "What do you think?"
Jack sighed, stared at the ceiling. "I don't know. I just do what I think is right."
There was a long silence and then Jamie said, "I have a flimsy report from a fellow inmate that Martinez responded strangely when he heard about your accident. It's not great, but if they catch the gunman, it'll be good enough."

Rey Curtis couldn't sleep. He had spoken with his wife -- ex-wife before he went to bed. It was good to talk to the girls, but it seemed every time he spoke to her, things went downhill. He really wanted to leave the ugliness behind. On his own, he hardly thought about her anymore. He'd even had a couple of dates. Then they'd get on the phone, he'd hear her voice, or he'd pick up the girls, and bang! back to the old war again. It was hard to believe that it had been a year and a half and it still hurt.
Curtis got out of bed and put on sweats. He decided to take a run. Maybe that would drive that sinking feeling out of his chest.
Rey moved easily through the lamp lit streets. There weren't many people out at this time of night, but Rey found comfort in the glowing apartment lights of fellow insomniacs. As he ran, he found his thoughts turning toward Juan Martinez and Jack McCoy.
Although Martinez was legally an adult, he was still so very young. Curtis never understood how someone could take a life as easily as taking a picture. "Well, maybe prison will straighten him out," thought Rey. As Rey returned to his apartment he realized that the chance of catching the gunman was rapidly approaching none. Rey grabbed his gun, badge, wallet, and keys, and walked out, determined to change that.

Jamie pored over People v. Anderson. This case held a gold mine of precedent for her and Jack in People v. Martinez. As she read, she was distracted by a low growling noise. She looked up. Jack was asleep, snoring, on the couch with People v. Renkin spread across his chest. "Poor guy," Jamie thought, realizing how much he'd been through in the last two days. She got up and removed the file from his chest. He was bleeding through his T-shirt, the mark of one of many nasty scrapes received while sliding down the street. She inspected it a moment, then decided it was not bad enough to wake him up.
It seemed very odd to her. Before she began working with Jack, she had heard all the rumors: that he was a womanizer, at least as interested in sex as he was in his work...that he cared more about winning than he did about justice; but she had decided to take her chances...and Jack had never come on to her. He had treated her with respect from the start. Well, the first weeks were rough, but she understood what had been behind all that. They worked well together. She disagreed with McCoy often, but she respected him. He was true blue. It wasn't winning that drove him; it was his overwhelming sense of right and wrong. They had become friends.
Jamie gently laid a blanket over him. He had stopped snoring, but was still in a deep sleep. Jamie sat on the easy chair, evaluating her feelings for Jack. She had been so shocked when Rey told her about the accident. Jack was a constant. He never missed a day of work, except for the occasional vacation. Word had it that Adam had to force Jack to vacation every year. There were days when Jamie felt her whole life was a disaster, but when she went to work, there was a gratifying calm. Even in the whirlwind of changing cases, something was always the same. It was because of Jack. Without him, the place felt like a boat with no anchor. Jamie was so glad that he had not been killed. She quietly gathered her things and left.
Jack dreamed that he was alone in a courtroom. He was reading his notes, when suddenly he had the feeling that he was not alone. He stiffened, then slowly turned. Juan Martinez stood in the balcony, glaring at him. Jack said, "You come to finish me off?"
The young man did not answer, but laughed. At that instant, another boy, younger than Martinez, swung a baseball bat and struck McCoy in the back.
Jack woke up with a start. He had fallen off the couch. He slowly and painfully picked himself up.

Briscoe awoke to banging at his door, not his favorite sound at 5:00 a.m. He stumbled into the living room. He yelled, "Who is it!"
Rey's voice replied, "Me, Rey."
Briscoe groaned and opened the door.
"We've gotta go pick up the kid right now," Rey said.
"What kid, whattaya talkin' about?" Briscoe said grumpily as he walked into the kitchen. He filled the coffee machine and started it.
"The gunman, Lennie! Who do we know that's small enough to fit in between the dumpster and the wall and is a sharpshooter with a 9 millimeter? I've been down in the 'hood all night, I know where he is, but he won't be there long. We gotta go get him!" Rey explained.
"Enrique." Lennie was quite displeased with the thought of his partner working all night alone. He went into his room and returned dressed. Fortunately the time it took to change clothes was time enough for the coffee to finish perking. Lennie filled his coffee cup and the two hit the streets.

It was 6:15 a.m. Rey Curtis and Lennie Briscoe stood at the back door of an abandoned restaurant. Behind them was a team of uniformed officers. On a nod, the door was kicked in and the group entered. They searched what used to be the kitchen, and upon entering the former dining room, saw movement toward the bathroom area. Curtis and Briscoe ran and tackled the boy in the doorway of the men's room. Curtis cuffed him and mirandized him, arresting him for attempted murder.

end part one

go to part two

whaddya think?