After patrol, we debrief, even marking in our negligible trouble spots (like the occasional drug deal, but not cats) so we can pass it off to the next shift and let them try to find a pattern. I’m not hopeful, but Stranglehold and Sass think we only need a few more nights, and we’ll get a lead or two. I’m never sure whether they’re actually that optimistic, or whether they just forget to turn it off even when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Then there’s a brief argument over whether we actually covered all the areas we said we were going to cover. Laces almost demands we actually sketch out where we were at all times (up until Bartok smacks him in the back of the head), but at least no one demands Boomerang’s video footage as proof. He seems a bit happier right now, actually acting like he’s part of the team, arguing over how thorough we were and how thorough we should be tomorrow night.

Bartok asks what other cases are flagged in that area, aside from the main one, and there are a handful, but a quick glance at the files Hunch throws up on the screen tells me there’s nothing to look for I wasn’t already looking for.

I wander into the locker room to change, and grimace. I forgot to bring a change of clothes again. “Shit,” I say, staring down at the pile I dropped into the bottom of my locker.

“Something wrong, Agent Kuiper?” Arsenal asks, from the locker next to mine, where I’m a little annoyed I won’t be able to keep extra stuff anymore. Then I remember I have an office, now.

“You should probably go with Teke, Arsenal,” I say.

“Um,” he says, rubbing the back off his neck with one hand while he uses the other to fiddle with the strings on the hoodie he’s been wearing since the briefing. “You know you can call me Eli?”

“Better not,” I say, “opsec and all.”

He looks crestfallen. I don’t think he realizes I was joking.

“If I’m going to call you Eli, you’d better call me Travis,” I tell him.

“Okay,” he says, with a ghost of a grin, “um, Travis.”

I resist the urge to ruffle his hair. I hated that beyond belief by the end of high school, even when it was only meant to show affection.

“Um, Travis,” he says.

I try to look open and friendly while I wait for him to finish his fucking sentence.

“Is something wrong?” he asks.

I cock my head. Oh, right, because I just looked in my locker and screamed ‘shit’ at it, and now he thinks something really bad happened or is going to happen, or whatever.

“No,” I explain, gesturing at the crumpled clothes, “just forgot to bring a change. I guess I have to suck it up and wear the sweaty clothes. I mean, I’m definitely not going home in this.”

He laughs slightly, covering his mouth with his hand. “The costumes are pretty silly, huh?”

“Well, I like your redesign,” I tell him, gesturing at the suit he’s hung back up. “I have no idea what setting that is possibly camouflage for, but it’s very patriotic.”

He nods. “I like it better than before. I mean, the action figures sold really well, but I felt like, well, an action figure. So.” He shrugs and grins shyly at me.

Oh, for fuck’s sake, he has a crush.

“Um, Travis?” he says, fidgeting some more.

Fucking hell, what now? I smile at him. “Eli?”

“You could, uh, I have some clothes you could borrow?” He grabs a clean t-shirt and sweats out of his locker, shoves them into my arms, and runs away.

I mean, presumably to take a shower, not, like, fleeing the building. I shake out the clothes, which at least look about my size, and tug off my costume, hanging it carefully. The skintight undersuit I toss in the laundry, because I’m not wearing one of those twice in a row if I don’t have to. (And I’m sure they have more for me.)

I leave the underwear on, because I feel like I’m much better off not taking a shower right now, so I may as well not go commando. The sweats are kind of thin. I’m sure it makes it more comfortable to work out in something less bulky (and I’m sure the kid finds it all kinds of exciting to wear something a little clingy), but I don’t think the city needs that level of transparency from its law enforcement apparatus. It’s going to be cold, but this, at least, I can throw a sweatshirt and a coat over.

Then I curse my lack of socks.

But not out loud, in case Eli tries to hand me his.

My sneakers aren’t all that uncomfortable without socks, anyway, they’re just going to smell worse than they usually do come morning. I’ll have to get more of that deodorant spray, even though it smells like permanent markers: still better than feet. I wonder if Darren’s been to the store yet, or if I can still pick it up with the detergent and shampoo.

I wander back to my office, making up a shopping list on my phone (which I actually don’t forget to send to Darren, this time), and sit down to file an incident report. It’s sketchy enough on details that there’s no way the police are going to find anything, but if we’re putting it in our notes for the night shift, it had damn well better be on record somewhere. Hunch, like most precogs, is pretty fucking lucky about picking when to slack off, but it’s never going to be Hunch that they yell at for it, anyway.

The thing is like a paragraph long, and that’s only because just the one sentence looked lonely and half-assed. I’m glad someone stuck those cards in my pocket, though. I have a feeling they’re going to come in handy a lot while we’re out patrolling that area, especially if our asshole neighborhood serial rapist (serial killer? I should really look up what he’s been doing) keeps lurking around.

Then, thinking of Eli’s bright red face, I make a note to check and make sure I have cards for LGBT shelters, too, because some of these kids aren’t going to want to be anywhere near the Christian ones, and aren’t going to risk getting kicked out on the off chance they aren’t. Then I make a note to add more cards for hotlines, because at least that’s a kind of help most of the kids won’t expect to come with a price.

Then I look up the asshole, and it’s mostly just physical assault in varying degrees, although maybe more than one asshole is involved, all carefully photo documented so as to be legible. I shake my head and try to dislodge the images the whole way home.

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