Disclaimers: It's Pet Fly's, I know, but Pet Fly is going to start giving us more pieces soon!
Note: This is an answer to the "View from the Bullpen" challenge that Brak issued the other day...in a way. Okay, so it's the locker room, not the bullpen, and it's technically Jim's POV, although all he's doing is listening, and it doesn't include any of the known secondary characters. I just had this scene, it seemed mildly relevent, and I didn't know what else to do with it since I've got heavy writer's block these days.
Summary: Jim overhears a new uniformed cop being told the facts of life in Cascade.
Warning: The "R" rating is for bad language.
Jim paused momentarily as he stripped out of his gym clothes, hearing his name behind him.
"Hey," said the unfamiliar voice, "isn't that Jim Ellison?"
Someone else laughed. "So you've heard about Ellison already?"
Jim glanced over his shoulder to see two of the uniformed cops leaning against the locker room wall next to a man he didn't know. It was a rookie, getting his first tour of the station, he guessed, and pulled a towel out of his own locker before heading for the showers. A little guiltily, he tuned his hearing toward that corner of the room.
"Sit down, Harry. I think we need to tell you about Jim Ellison," said the other uniform -- Baker, his name was. Baker continued, "Now you've probably heard that he's a fag."
This was interesting enough that Jim felt justified in listening as he showered.
"Yeah," said the new guy. "I don't know why they let him stay on the force."
"Okay, kid, facts of life time." That was the first uniform, Taylor. "First rule of survival around here: never mess with Ellison."
"That guy's been disciplined for excessive or lethal violence more times than most of the smaller departments together. He's got a short fuse and a fondness for his fists."
"And the best scores on the firing range, by a big margin," Baker added.
"Are you saying he's dangerous to work with?"
"Not if you jump when he says jump," Taylor said.
"And bend over when he says bend over?"
"He won't, Harry."
"That's not what I heard."
Baker snorted. "You heard that his partner, the one who looks like he ought to be working Narcotics, that that's really his boyfriend, right?" Harry must have nodded, because Baker continued, "See, here's the second thing about Ellison: the partner, what's his name, Goldberg--"
"Sandburg," corrected Taylor.
"--he didn't have to earn that job letting Ellison suck his cock. Word is that he's Major Crime's pet genius, that he used to work for the CIA and still has connections."
Taylor chuckled. "Lieutenant Opace thinks he's a practicing sorcerer, but then you've met the lieutenant already. I say CIA myself. Or hell, KGB for all we'd know."
"But he is Ellison's boyfriend." Jim couldn't hear the response to that, but Harry continued after a pause, "You mean he's not?"
"Nope," said Taylor. "Ellison may be a prima donna, but he's no queer."
Jim stepped out of the showers and headed back toward his locker, towelling off as he went. He kept the rows of lockers between himself and the three gossipers.
"What he likes," said Baker, "is rubbing our noses in the fact that the Mayor kisses his ass every time he turns around. He can say whatever the fuck he wants, and no one can touch him, not even IA. So he swishes around the bullpen with his partner just because it pisses people off, and he loves to piss people off. Gives him an excuse to break their faces."
"He planted the rumors that he's gay?" Harry sounded like he was having a hard time believing that.
"All of the Major Crime hotshots were in on the fun," Taylor said sourly. "They went around playing like Ellison and Sandburg were the department lovebirds, thumbing their noses at the rest of us plebs who weren't good enough to be one of them. They had a secret, ooh."
"Sounds like nasty politics," Harry said.
"Oh yeah," Taylor said.
"How come Ellison leads a charmed life, anyway?"
"Couple of high-profile, media-happy cases... you know how it goes," Taylor replied.
"Well," Baker added, "more than just a few, to be honest. They sic him on all the serial killers and out-of-town mobsters." There was a pause. "You have to admit, he's a good guy to have on our side."
Jim finished dressing in front of his locker, occasionally biting his lip to keep from laughing. He slammed his locker door shut, stuck his hands in his pockets, and strolled around the corner toward the door.
"Better than being on his bad side, that's for-- Ellison!" Taylor squawked.
"Gentlemen," Jim said with a nod. He held his hand out to the stranger. "You must be the new guy. Harry, right? Good to meet you."
"Good to meet you," Harry managed to say.
Jim smiled at them. Fingers tapping not-quite-subtly against the large hickey on his neck, he said, "Have a good evening." Dead silence reigned behind him, but as soon as he was sure he was out of their hearing range, he staggered against the wall and started whooping with hilarity. Wait 'til he told Sandburg about this. His lover would die laughing.
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