Actions, Reactions
by Nicole Clevenger

They watched him through the glass, sitting motionless in that familiar grey room. His hands clasped together on the table top, fingers squeezing together into white-knuckled bloodlessness. His unwavering focus on an empty spot somewhere just past the far edge of the table, the same place it had been since they brought him in a half-hour ago. If it weren't for the twitch of his clenched jaw and the occasional full-body shudder, Goren could just as easily have been a statue.

"Eye witnesses say he lunged at the guy after Eames went down," Deakins told the man standing beside him. "Knocked the kid to the ground, sent the gun flying... and then apparently made our perp's head real friendly with the pavement."

Neither of them took their eyes off of the man in the other room. "He didn't draw his weapon?" Carver asked.

"Sounds like there wasn't time. They were getting out of the car, the gunman stepped out of a doorway and fired. He -" Deakins cleared his throat, tried again. "He hit her twice - shoulder, chest - and then Goren tackled him..." The crack in his voice betrayed the forced distance in his tone. He rubbed his eyes, turning away from the window. "I can't believe this."

"Do they have any idea why...?"

Deakins shook his head. "Still working on that." He looked back through the glass at his detective. Goren's nostrils flared and he swallowed hard, but that blank look never slipped from his face. "Kid doesn't have a record. And if doesn't ever wake up, we sure as hell can't ask him."

Another soundless shudder overtook the seated man. "Detective Goren doesn't have any ideas?"

"Goren hasn't said a word since he got in here. If he knows anything, he's not sharing it with us." When Eames's face flashed through Deakins's memory, she was smiling. If they lost both of them over this... "We've got to do whatever we can for him," he told Carver.

Carver sighed, turned to face the captain. "Unfortunately, I don't know how much we can do. You've got a dozen eye witnesses who saw him repeatedly bash a man's head against the sidewalk. He didn't identify himself as a police officer, didn't attempt to take the suspect into custody, didn't -"

"This guy killed his partner," Deakins growled. "Christ, Carver, he killed Alex."

"And Detective Goren may have killed him."

Deakins felt his hands spasm in tight fists at his sides; he let out a careful breath through his nose and tried to get them to relax - with only marginal success. Carver hadn't been there when the uniforms had escorted Goren in, the cuffs of his sleeves and breast of his shirt covered in dark blood. (His jacket was nowhere, Deakins recalled now - probably unsalvageable anyway.) He'd already had that hollow look on his face, his feet barely tracking as they'd led him into one of the unused interrogation rooms.

"This scumbag killed a cop," Deakins said slowly. "You do what you have to do to make sure the blame lands where it belongs."

They stared at each other for a long moment. Then Carver held up his hands. "I don't like this any more than you do, Captain. But if this man dies..." He let the possibilities play themselves out in his silence.

They both turned back to look at Goren. He still hadn't moved, his body so tense they could almost see it vibrating from where they stood. An exclamation point of mass, contrasting eerily with his absolute lack of expression.

Deakins saw her in his memory again. Goren leaning in close, his body casting a faint shadow across her smaller frame as he murmured something in her ear. She looked up and smiled at him, and whatever she said in reply made him laugh out loud. In his mind they got up and left together - for that moment, the only two people in their world.


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