Written by Hayley Douglas
"Here we go, got a coat now. Now we can... walk," Meldrick
rattled nervously, shooting glances to his shivering partner
every few moments. The blonde man stared at the ground and
wrapped his arms around himself, tighter. Meldrick pushed his
arms into the sleeves of his overcoat and stepped quickly away
from his car.
He came up to Mike and stood at his side, waiting for him to
start moving. The blue eyes were distant, like he was in deep
thought, and was ignoring the man beside him. Meldrick sighed and
waited. Finally, his partner took a step forward and then
another, and soon they were walking down a street. It was silent
for a long while, and they just walked together. Mike shivered
and Lewis looked up at him.
"What?" Mike asked coldly.
"Nothin'," Meldrick felt the heaviness of Mike's Glock in his
hand and shoved it in his pocket. Kellerman snorted and rubbed
his arms in a futile attempt to get warmth to his bare skin. He
sighed and began to pull off his overcoat to give to Mike.
"Look! I don't want your damn coat okay!" Mike seethed,
stopping and grabbing Meldrick's arm, "So just... drop it."
"Okay," Meldrick replied, putting his hands in the air. Mike
let his gaze fall over the hands and then back to Meldrick's
face. Lewis looked away from the conflicting pain he saw there.
He lifted a hand and patted Mike's back lightly. Kellerman pulled
violently away from the touch and his eyes narrowed.
"Mikey, you can talk to me you know..."
Stung, Meldrick nodded. Mike jutted his jaw and cocked his head
to the side, content, then started back down the street. Lewis
stayed in one place, watching the bent figure continue to walk
away from him. He winced at the harsh words and debated whether
to follow. Mike stopped and turned, his arms dropped from his
"Are we going to walk... or what?"
Meldrick shrugged and shifted his weight uneasily, a few beats of
"Look, Meldrick, I'm sorry. I don't feel so hot right now--"
Kellerman began, raising a hand to his head to rub at his
"Don't apologize, man. I just want you to tell me what's going
on, you know."
"I already told you, on my boat."
"Uh huh, but I want to hear it again. I wasn't... wasn't really
listening, Mikey," He explained, raising an eyebrow in a pointed
way. His partner looked away and nodded, so he picked up his gait
and moved to stand by him, "So you goin' to tell me or what?"
"It's a lot of things, all rolled up into one. I feel like I
can't think through all the mess in my head."
"It's all jammed up, yeah, yeah," He said softly. Mike nodded
and walked slowly.
"I don't know which one made me do it though. Whether it was my
dad, or every cop thinking I'm dirty."
Meldrick stopped at a corner and surveyed the streets as
Kellerman continued talking avidly. Both streets looked too
dangerous to go down, so Meldrick pushed Mike back the direction
that they had just come. Mike looked confused for a second, but
as the reached the street and turned down the waterfront drive,
he shrugged it off.
"So, after Luther Mahoney went and capped it off, I went home
and thought. Thought about everything--"
" 'Cept me," muttered Lewis.
"I said, you thought about everyone except me. I mean, I'm your
partner, man, I told you about Crosetti. You know that's the
worst thing you can do to me. I just... you must not have been
thinking about me, your partner, while you planned to put this
gun to your fool head," Meldrick remarked patting the large
pocket that the Glock lay in. Mike swallowed and gazed at the
"Huh? About what?"
"About Crosetti, Meldrick, Jesus youíre thick."
Lewis snorted and followed Mike across the street to walk along
the wrought iron fence that stood between them and the water. He
watched his partner shiver again, and he wondered briefly if it
was because of the cold, or because of the night's events. It
could have been both, but Mike was different right now. Openly
depressed over his life when he used to be so happy. Did Homicide
do it to him? Seeing the bodies everyday?
"Is it Homicide, Mikey?"
"What do you mean?" Mike asked stiffly, looking out over the
"Are you so depressed because of all the death and pain we
murder poh-leece are surrounded with everyday?"
"No! I was /fine/ until this Arson thing came up," Mike looked
back to him, right in the eyes unlike earlier when he had been
avoiding them studiously, "I was a good detective until this. I
was... then this comes along, and- and my life is ruined because
of Roland and his bribery."
"You still a good detective, Mikey," Meldrick said firmly.
Chuckling, Mike looked up into the clear stars and rolled his
neck to the side and closed his eyes. Meldrick looked around
them, letting his natural cop instincts push through while Mike
went off in his own little world for a moment. There was nothing
going on around them. Sure, the horns on ships and tankers
pushing there way through the bay, some close to shore and others
"You heard that guy, Meldrick," Mike whispered, "he didnít want
to talk to me because I was 'dirty'."
Slowly Lewis turned back to him, letting his eyes sweep over the
street once more. Mike held on to the cold wrought iron, but it
was so tight that his knuckles were white and his arm trembling.
"It was beyond your control, there ain't nothing you can do
about the way people are going to look at you."
"How am I going to work as a cop, if people aren't going to
talk to me, or they think I'm dirty?" Mike relaxed his grip on
the cold iron, pulling his hands back to reveal red splotches.
Meldrick shrugged and sighed, turning to lean against the
"One man ain't Baltimore, Mikey, you know that. People are
going to see you, they're going to recognize you, but they won't
be able to place you. There's nothing you /can do/ about it."
"Except put a bullet through my head," Kellerman replied
bitterly, pulling his arms back into the coat when they got too
cold to keep out of shelter any longer. He immedeantly wished he
could take what he just said back, but instead shrugged. Meldrick
tensed beside him, and moved the pocket that held the gun a
little further away from the man.
"Uh-uh, I don't want to see you trying that again, okay? I need
you man, can't you see that?"
"Not really, I mean, how much caring can another man see in
another /man/?" Mike pondered, shifting to continue down the
"I ain't going to even dignify that with an answer, Kellerman."
Mike laughed, quickly, but it was enough to show Meldrick that
walking out in the freezing cold might not have been such a bad
idea after all. He twisted to follow the man, standing under his
own sports jacket. Walking in silence, each man questioned his
motives about walking in the cold weather.
Meldrick wondered briefly if Mike would have really pulled the
trigger. But he knew Mike was not a coward, it would not have
been lack of courage that had stopped him. If anything had, it
would have been sheer uncertainty. Lewis was not so sure that
Mike was the optimist he had thought him to be anymore, but maybe
the Kellerman he used to know would think about what good things
could happen. He did not know, but he was glad that he had gone
to his boat.
Mike would look over at Meldrick every few seconds and wonder if
his partner was as upset as he really looked. He did not think
that his partner did not care, he knew Meldrick did, but he had
just felt so sick of it all and he still did. He must have really
scared his partner though, enough for Meldrick to not even let
him go back into his own house for a coat, but instead spreading
his own over his shoulders. 'Aw,' a sneering part of his brain
though, 'isn't that sweet?' Shaking his head, Mike looked over at
Meldrick again, before looking down the street.
Meldrick pulled the coat tighter around him and stuck his hands
in his pockets. They brushed across the rough handle of the gun,
and he had a flashback of Mike's shaking hand as he kissed the
barrel. He looked over at the other detective and blinked as he
tried to imagine Mikey putting a gun to his head like that.
Problem was, he did not have to imagine it because it had
happened. He felt their whole partnership change now, and
Meldrick closed his eyes against it. Things could never be the
same, not now.
'He's mad at me', Mike thought, cursing himself. If anything,
he could get down on his knees and swear he would never do it
again. He regretted the snide comment about having any other guns
and rubbed at his arms some more.
Their footsteps were solemn in the silence, each man wanting to
say something to make it better, but neither knowing what to say.
Mike wanted to take it back, but could not. Meldrick was still
reeling from the fact that he had not noticed it. Finally, Lewis
said something, the only thing he could think to break the
"You ever sleep with a man?"
"What? Wait a minute, I thought you weren't going to /dignify/
that with an answer."
"Changed my mind. Be truthful now, we /soul/ partners now. No
more secrets, right?"
"So did you?" Meldrick asked earnestly. Mike just looked at him
"No. I never slept with a man, thought about it though... once,
"Really? Mikey the Dog thought about another man /once/?"
Kellerman frowned and nodded, hoping the embarrassment was not so
clear to see on his face.
"It was after Annie cheated on me. I wanted to hurt her, so I
went out to a gay bar," Mike gave a smile, "and hit on the first
guy who sat down next to me. I don't think he knew what to say.
Then I realized just what I was doing and got out of there. I
think he knew I was fake the whole time, but God... I just wanted
to get back at her for cheating on me so bad, guess I was
desperate. His name was... Kevin, I think."
Meldrick nodded, looking about the storefronts and benches, and
coming to one, he sat down on it. Mike followed and sprawled on
"How about you? You ever sleep with a guy?"
"How'd we start talking about this, we ain't even drunk,"
"Hey, you asked me first. Fair's fair, so spill it."
"I didn't sleep with him, just... talked and talked and then
there we were, across the table--"
Lewis nodded, shifting uncomfortably. A breeze pushed through the
cold night and a leaf skittered across the road. Both men watched
it with humorous fascination.
"I don't know what it was. I was a horny teenager, and I'd had
too much to drink. Freaked my roommate out when she came in.
Swear to God, she never did look me in the eye after she walked
in on that little interlude," he shook his head, and suddenly was
not so uncomfortable talking about it.
"At least you didn't expect to," Mike reassured him, "I went
straight into that place with a plan and everything, and I would
have done it, too if I hadn't seen my cousin on the dance
"What? You saw family in a gay bar?"
Mike nodded, "Yeah, got me thinking you know."
"I know what it is about you, Mikey. You're so lonely you think
too much, and when you think, everything goes to disarray."
Kellerman looked up at him, shocked that Meldrick would say
something like that, but not particularly upset about it.
"What's wrong with Dr. Cox, you guys seemed happy when we were
watching Brodie's little movie?"
"She's fine, I just don't think our relationship's the
greatest, right? I want it to work, but I don't feel like working
on it right now."
Sighing, Lewis rolled his head over to look at his partner, whose
head was leaning back to look up at the sky. The street lamp
behind him flickered and it caught Mike's attention for a second,
before the clear eyes turned back to the sky.
"Can we go back now?" Mike whispered, mumbling more then
Meldrick looked over at Mike, wanting to say no, but what would
walking /really/ do for them?
"Sure, Mikey, we can go back."
Kellerman stood and looked around, his eyes coming to rest on the
bay. Smiling, he sighed.
"I thought, once that fun was my god. But I'm not so sure
anymore. Have you ever just wanted to die?"
"Sure, lotsa times. Just don't mean I put a gun to my head
"I thought I was the only one..."
"Of course not. We Homicide, Mikey," Meldrick stood as well,
tentatively putting a hand on Mike's back, "We see the lowest of
all human capabilities. C'mon, you've seen Bayliss sometimes.
/He/ was the one I thought was suicidal, but in he would come
Mike nodded and stepped closer to Meldrick.
"Jesus it's fucking cold."
Meldrick rubbed Mike's back and smiled,
"Then let's get back to that tub of yours, huh?"
"Are you sure you want to go there?" Mike gave a small smile,
"Something about lumpy air?"
Lewis gave a weak laugh and pushed Mike in front of him
"Lumpy air... that was, I don't know where that came from."
"That's good," sighed Mike, looking back, "because I don't know
where half the things you say come from."
"Y'know, I don't remember half the things I was saying back
their on the boat."
"I can't believe I almost killed myself. What would my dad have
said then do you think?"
"I dunno, he sounds like he cares about you..."
"He thought I was dirty, Meldrick," Mike said stiffly, "I had
no one left who trusted me. Except Frank," at that he laughed,
"Frank knew I was clean."
Mike stepped down onto the familiar wooden planks of the dock,
relishing in the traditional thump. Home, sweet, home.
"Hey! I thought you were clean."
Meldrick hopped down next to him, and swung around in front of
"You doubted me though. Face it, it made you sit down and
think, 'How well do I really know Kellerman? He must have gotten
that boat from somewhere right?' "
"What do you expect, Mike? I don't know where you got it and I
don't know what you were like before Homicide."
"So you're saying you did?"
Meldrick threw his hands up with exasperation.
"I don't know what you want anymore! Do you want the truth, or
me to tell you what you want to hear?"
"The truth of course," Mike yelled back, slinking back and
narrowing his eyes.
"I sat down /once/ in the breakroom and said, 'Nah, Mikey wold
never do that. He can't he is /good police/' but inside I was
thinking, 'I seen the same kind of men do much worse, I've seen
Mike tried to take another step back, but Meldrick grabbed his
"Get your fucking hands off of me!" Mike hissed.
Meldrick pushed him back and turned to stalk to the boat. Mike
frowned and followed grudgingly.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to see you in all right," Meldrick replied. Mike
laughed and trotted to come stand next to his partner.
"Gonna kiss me goodbye, too?"
Meldrick didn't say a word; he just gave Mike a terrifyingly
bright smile. Mike laughed again, and shivered under the brown
jacket. Stepping n the deck, Mike sighed. He reached for the
door, but a hand on his arm stopped him from opening the door.
" 'Night, Kellerman."
"Good night, Meldrick... what?"
"You still want it?" Asked Meldrick.
"Want what? I gotta take a leak, c'mon."
"This," Meldrick said, deadly serious.
Mike felt himself pulled into a tight embrace and kissed, hard.
His eyes widened, but he was too stunned to move. Meldrick smiled
against him and pulled back.
"Wipe that stunned look off your face, Gilligan, you asked for
Mike shrugged out of the jacket and handed it to his partner,
keeping his eyes lowered to the deck instead of at his partner's
"You goin' to be okay tonight?"
"No," whispered Mike. Meldrick sighed and took the jacket. He
looked into Mike's eyes and reached up with one hand and placed
it on the back of Mike's neck. The eyes closed and Mike let out a
"Hold me," he said simply. Meldrick nodded and pulled Mike to
him, causing the man to stumble a step. Pressing a kiss to the
corner of his mouth, Meldrick leaned to whisper in Mike's ear.
"I'll always be there for you, Mikey, but this... is going to
The blonde man in his arms nodded, and Meldrick had to touch the
golden strands that seemed to move lightly with every small
breeze, so he moved the hand from Mike's neck, up to clutch the
back of his head.
Mike surprised him by grabbing his other free hand and pulling it
around himself before putting his head on Meldrick's shoulder.
"Are we still going to be partners?"
"Yeah, I wouldn't do that to you, Mikey," Lewis reassured him,
tightening the arm that had been placed around the man's waist.
"It scares me, when it feels right to be in another man's
"We're just partners, partners can hug."
Mike straightened up and stepped back. He caught the hand that
dropped form his head and tugged on it lightly, then walked into
the cabin of his boat. Meldrick followed, pulling off the long
overcoat. Inside, he tossed it down, not seeing the Glock tumble
out of the pocket as he reached for Mike again.
Mike was asleep, but he was still awake, looking down at the
peaceful face. He took two fingers and traced the lips before
bending to place one last kiss on them. Then, he lifted the arm
that was limply thrown over his waist and slipped off the pullout
He dressed quietly, watching Mike the whole time. Meldrick took
the Glock and set it on the top of the refrigerator and pulled on
his coats. Before leaving, he kneeled down and brushed a hand
softly across the pale face and sighed.
Getting up, he wondered briefly what Barbara would say, then
decided he really didn't care.