I'll Get You a Blanket. You're Going to Be Here a While



“I'll get you a blanket. You're going to be here a while.”


Jim looked up to see Leslie standing there with a steaming cup of coffee for him. The precinct was dark here in the middle of the night, but hardly abandoned. Cops on the night shift came and went, manning phones in the event of late night emergencies. Jim was supposed to have been gone three hours ago, but he was certain the answer to his case lay in these old case files. “There's got to be a connection, and I'm going to find it.”


“If it kills you?”


Smiling, Jim closed the current case file he'd been reading. Behind it sat a box of tissues he'd been dipping into them pretty consistently throughout the evening. But, generally, he thought he was doing a pretty good job at hiding this cold. Sure, Bullock knew. Bullock wasn't the best detective out there, but even he had noticed the sniffling and coughing all day and the few badly-timed sneezes. Those had been the worst. One had even been in front of a suspect in the interview room. It was on the record now. Embarrassing.


Apparently, Leslie knew as well. He shouldn't be surprised; she was more observant than most of the cops on the force. He wondered how long it would have taken Barbara to notice.


Leslie set the coffee down on the desk and settled herself into the chair next to him. “I could help you look. What are you looking for?”


Jim stared at the stack. His eyes blurred, unfocused. He thought about saying something stupid like “I'll know it when I see it,” but that wasn't going to help her help him. “Something unusual,” he said. “Something related to music, maybe. Something... something...” He reached for a tissue and turned in his chair so she didn't have to see this from him. “Uhngshhhooo!” It wasn't so bad. It even stopped at just one this time, not like last.


But when he turned back, she was frowning at him. “Can you read these at home?”


He shouldn't take them out of the station. He shouldn't stop working. But he could. And she knew he could. And they both also knew he wouldn't.


She stroked his arm. “I'm going to go get you that blanket now. At least you can be warm if you're going to work all night.”


Taking the next file off the stack, Jim nodded. “Thank you.”