Partners and Friends
Written by Maggie the Cat
"Beau. We got a shooting in Federal Hill Park. Let's
"Just one second, Kay--I'm nearly done...."
"Come /on/, Beau. We don't need the body getting any
Beau Felton crammed the rest of his meatloaf sandwich
into his mouth and followed the short, determined
figure of Kay Howard down the stairway, tugging his
jacket on with no small amount of difficulty.
Trying not to choke on his lunch, he trailed after
her to one of the department's Cavaliers, marvelling
for the umpteenth time at how fast his partner could
march for such a small woman. How much hair she had
for such a small woman. And, as she leaned against
the driver's side door to glare at him, shuffling
along with his mouth stuffed full and his arms
tangled hopelessly in his jacket, how much annoyance
she could project for such a small woman.
No, wait, Beau corrected himself. Beth could do the
same thing. She could make her annoyance felt
halfway across the state of Maryland. If you got on
a train for New York, you could feel Beth's martyred
irritation following you right down the line....
Swallowing painfully, he leaned against the passenger
side door, matching glares across the roof. "Kay, I
was eating lunch. You could've let me finish my lunch."
"Huh." She opened her door and threw herself in,
starting the car almost immediately. "If I let you
finish one of those jumbo lunches Beth makes for you,
Beau, there'd be just bones left at the crime scene.
Beau had barely managed to sit down and close his
door before Kay tore out of the station garage,
squinting in the sudden sun with an expression which
suggested that she considered its brightness a
That was Kay all over, though. Whenever anything--or
anyone, for that matter--presented an obstacle, she
did her level best to mow it over. Beau relaxed and
watched, amused, as Kay leaned closer to the steering
wheel, smacking down the Cavalier's sun visor to cut
the sunshine's glare. Always leading with her head,
"So how's it going with you and Danvers?" he asked
casually, trying to keep the reflexive disbelief from
his voice. Kay only shot him the most cursory of
warning glances before turning mutely back to her
"From what /I/ hear," Beau continued, using the drawl
he knew set Kay's teeth on edge, "you and the Dan-man
are a pret-ty hot ticket." He frowned. Still no
reaction from her.
Time to pull the heavy artillery.
"Still, I gotta say, compadre--you've got the right
idea. No lowly attache for you, right? Might as well
go for the Assistant State's Attorney--"
"Oh, Jesus Christ, Beau!" Kay growled at him, anger
sparking in her eyes. "As if you're really one to
point fingers, considering who /you're/ sleeping
Beau flinched. "Okay, okay--I'll back off. It's
just..." He turned in his seat to look at her, his
face polished with earnestness. "You're my partner
and my friend, Kay. I tell you what's going on in
/my/ life...I'd like to think that you trust me, too."
"It's not a matter of trust, Beau...." Kay's
reassurances trailed off as she pulled the car to a
stop just off of Hamburg Avenue, taking in the gaggle
of spectators grouped outside the yellow tape of the
crime scene. "Shit. I hate dealing with gawkers."
"Just be glad we don't have to smile for the five
* * * *
Three harried hours later, they were back in the
Cavalier, after having spoken to each and every
single possible witness and some people who just
wanted to feel important.
"Stone-cold whodunit," Beau groaned, trying to
massage his temples and roll down the window
simultaneously. "I'm glad /you're/ the primary on
this one, Howie."
"When /aren't/ you glad about that, huh?" Kay
"True," he said affably. "But then, why bother to
catch primary when you know your partner's got the
"I don't have a 'golden touch'. I'm not 'lucky'. I'm
a damn good detective, that's all."
Beau cocked an eyebrow. "Danvers doesn't think you
have a golden touch?"
"Why are you so suddenly interested in Danvers? Just
because you think I'm sleeping with him? You're
really starting to piss me off, Beau. Just because
you spill every single detail about you and Beth to
me doesn't mean I'm bound to reciprocate, okay? And
it doesn't mean I don't trust you!"
"Yeah. Yeah, I know, Howie." He was genuinely
repentent. "I just...I'm having problems. And I kinda
wanted to know if it's hard for you, too."
Kay frowned at him, puzzled. "You want to know if me
and Ed are like you and Beth...?"
Beau furrowed his brow. "No--if having a relationship
with someone you work with can really...work out."
"Ohhhh." Kay relaxed, almost smiling. "You're having
problems with your /work/ relationship and you wanna
know if I can relate."
"Well, not exactly, because Ed and I work two
different angles of the justice system , but...it's
kinda a Catch-22, huh?" She paused to push her heavy
hair back from her face, tucking it neatly behind her
ears. "I mean, the whole reason you click when you
get together is because you both deal with the same
stuff. Same criminals, same witnesses, everything.
You understand each other."
Beau nodded, a small ironic smile touching his lips.
"And then you start getting on each others' nerves
because you both know how the job goes, and you see
each other every day at work, doing the same stupid
job with the same irritating mistakes...."
"...and it ends up that the only time you're not
bugging each other is when you're in bed," Kay
finished, practically crowing with shared
frustration. "Because it's such damn good sex that
you can't give it up just yet."
"Amen to that!"
They rode in silence for some time, both mentally
evaluating their relationships in this new light,
enjoying the fresh air blowing through the car.
Finally, stealing a sly, sideways glance at Beau, Kay
said, "Well, at least Ed isn't in any position to
promote or demote me...." She left the rest in a
pregnant trail-off, hoping he'd catch on.
Beau screwed up his face in confusion. "Whaddyou
mean?" he asked, mopping his forehead with one sleeve.
"You know...you and Russert. If something goes wrong
for you two, you could get shafted."
"/Russert/?" Beau blinked at her, still baffled.
"Yeah, your lover, Megan Russert? Blonde, bitchy and
Finally, her words seemed to get through to him. "Oh,
you're talking about my affair with Megan!" Beau was
happy to have cleared that up...but then, he was
frowning again. "Kay, I wasn't talking about Megan.
We broke it off a month ago."
"You what?" Now Kay was thoroughly at a loss. "Well,
who the hell /were/ you talking about?"
"You really don't know?"
"No, I don't! Are you gonna tell me, or what?"
Taking a deep breath, he turned to face her. "Munch."
The Cavalier screeched to a halt, its tires
protesting noisily as they skidded along the warm
asphalt. Kay Howard swiveled in her seat to gape,
wide-eyed, at her complacent-looking partner and
"/Munch/?" she repeated dumbly. "You...and...John
"Yeah." Beau seemed remarkably calm. "We just sort
of...clicked. And, y'know, his apartment is so
chilly that it's about the only place in the whole of
Bawlmer that I feel comfortable without full-blast
He noticed Kay gawping at him and stopped babbling, a
mite self-conscious. "Uh...Howie? You okay with all
Kay closed her mouth with a snap and shook her head
slightly, more to come back to her senses than to
"So you..." she stopped and swallowed, "you and
She passed on hand over her mouth, eyes still wide.
Beau leaned forward, worried.
"C'mon, Kay," he wheedled. "Tell me how you feel
Drawing a deep, shuddery breath, Kay looked Beau
straight in his squinty blue eyes, her voice coming
out an intense, low whisper.
"Can I watch?"