title: Afterthought
fandom: NYPD Blue
characters/pairings: Bale, his boss
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Lt. Thomas Bale, in the hospital.
notes: for rithy, for her request on fic on demand.

His wife sat next to his bed, and didn't touch him. He was looking at the orderly with the cute butt, but his eyes weren't focused. She was making sniffling noises, the dainty pink-trimmed handkerchief her mother had made at her nose. She had already said everything she had come to say.

The monitor at his elbow was beeping steadily. He was calm.

His marriage couldn't last much longer.

He heard the man's voice before he bumbled into the room, startled to discover that he was in the right place. He started to babble, quietly and nervously, fluttering about like a butterfly with his ridiculously large bouquet of flowers. He said something about the detectives pitching in to get him this.

Detectives didn't pinch in for carnations and lilies. Detectives brought in bottles of whiskey, and gave the eye to anyone who tried to stop them.

They did for people who weren't like him.

The orderly came in, and John smiled at him, and the orderly smiled back.

It was so easy for him. Too easy.

"Sipowicz? Are you serious?"

He calmly nodded. Of course he was. Wasn't he always?

"Look, Bale..."

"He knows the job. He knows the people. He's got the grade now. He's put in the years."

"Look, I'm not saying I'd never... but Sipowicz? Really?"


"Why?" He leaned forward, his big, grubby hands scrunched up on his knees. Bale despised disorder, like the stains on the man's sleeve.

"I know he'll do it right."

He shook his head. "Don't know what Sipowicz did to impress you, but it must've been big."

He felt heavy. "It was."

Shrugging, he stood up. "All right. His name's on the list. All I can promise."

He knew that was enough. Whether Sipowicz got the job now, well, that was up to someone else. He'd done what he could.

Every day of his life, ever since he was little, and he first started to sense that he was different, he'd been cautious. He followed the rules to the letter, no matter what. As long as he followed the rules, he was covered.

He had secrets. Everyone did. But he was spotless. No one knew. And if no one knew, it didn't exist.

If it didn't exist, he could be a good cop, a good husband, a good man.

As long as no one knew.

He squeezed his arm to make the pain burn. It was dulled by the drugs, but it hurt, nonetheless.

Sipowicz had seen both sides of him, and he hadn't condemned him.

It was hard to let go of the image, but it was easier if he could let it slip to someone he trusted.

whoops, prolly not quite what you were looking for... and also, fudged some of the details i didn't remember clearly. *sheepish*