With A Capital J
By Maquis Leader
Author’s notes: This story is set in the Season 6: Reloaded universe. It stands alone and you don't need to read the other chapters before you read this one. Please read the note on the main page. Thanks to dollfinluver1076 for telling me what really happened to old man Finney.
Previously on Third Watch:
For over fifteen years, John Sullivan has lived with the knowledge that CT Finney murdered his partner. Keeping silent was part of the code -- being a part of the blue line meant keeping your mouth shut so that the widow and children collected the pension they were due. A dirty cop’s sins went with him to the grave so that the innocent didn’t suffer.
With Ty searching for the truth and their friendship fracturing from the weight of the past, Sully broke ranks for the first time. Joining up with Sasha, who was bearing her own burden of sins, they gathered the witnesses and the proof to bring CT to justice.
The price for the truth may be more than just breaking the blue line of silence -- Sully will certainly lose his shield and possibly his freedom.
Episode 41: With A Capital J
“The gray suit? Hmm… The uniform? It’s still mine ‘till they take it away.” Sully held his dress uniform up to his chest and eyed himself in the mirror. “Go all the way with it?”
There was a knock on the door and he frowned. “Who in the hell?” Hanging the dress uniform up so that it wouldn’t wrinkle, he headed for the front room.
The knocking came again, louder this time just as he reached the door. “Hang on, will ya!”
“Hey, Sul, it’s me.”
“Ty?” Pulling the door open, Sully found Ty standing in the hallway. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Um… well…“ Ty stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets. “I figured you’d be getting ready to go downtown.”
“Yeah. I’m trying to figure out if I should wear my uniform one last time or just save them the hassle of taking it off me.” Once the case against CT started up, he’d be an ex-cop in a hurry. And probably in jail to boot.
“Um… about that…”
“Listen, this is hard enough. Don’t make it any harder.”
“Can I come in?” He looked past Sully into the apartment. “I mean, we are still friends, right?”
How could Ty even ask him that? All the years he’d watched him grow up – and the past six years they’d spent as partners – and he had to ask? “Of course we’re still friends.”
“Good. Okay.” The door opened wider and Ty made his way inside, sitting on the edge of the sofa. “You don’t have to go downtown today.”
“Ty…” Sully shut the door and turned to lean against it. “All this crap to bring your dad’s killer to justice and now you want me to bail?”
“Well, no, not exactly.” He grinned. “The prosecuting attorney may not go ahead with the case. CT Finney was found dead this morning.”
“CT’s dead?” Sully moved to the chair and sat down. “He’s not the type to eat his gun.”
“It looks like a mugging.”
“Looks like?” He cocked his head. “As in ‘victim of an apparent mugging gone wrong’ but we all know better?”
“Nobody’s saying it, but yeah.” Ty had trouble keeping the grin off his face. He shouldn’t be happy that a man was dead, but he couldn’t help but feel a sense of joy at the justice of the act.
“The department would love for this to go away.” A smile covered Sully’s face, the first smile in days. “The head of IAB setting up a hit on one of his own? The press would eat the commissioner for breakfast.”
“And the chief and all the chiefs under him – there’d be a lot of people losing their jobs.”
“Jesus, there’d be more crap than we had back when that book of Noble’s came out.” The press had kept the NYPD under a spot light for months after the book had been published. Until the next scandal got their attention and they ran to persecute someone else. “How did you find out?”
“Sasha called – I let the machine get it – but – “ Ty shrugged. He’d had to force himself to pick the phone up after he’d heard her say that CT was dead. “I guess we’ve still got to go downtown this morning, but she’s pretty confident that the DA is going to just drop the whole thing.”
As much as Sully wished that Ty and Sasha would patch things up, he just didn’t see it happening. Ty was as hard headed as his old man had been. “She’s got a source inside?”
“Of course she does.” His lip curled up and he shook his head in disgust. “She’s a rat – they’re everywhere.”
“Ty, she never used you to get information – you know that.”
“That’s not the point – it’s the principle of the thing. She lied to me.”
“She didn’t lie, she just didn’t tell you.”
“And my mom always said that was the same as lying when I was a kid.”
“My mom said the same thing, too.” Sully sighed. “Just… give yourself some time, all right? Don’t throw away something good just because your pride is dinged up. You don’t want to be like me and be old and alone.”
“I thought you had a thing going with Bosco’s mom.”
“I do not have a ‘thing’ going with Rose!” He glared at the younger man.
“Oh, so it’s Rose? Rose and Sully sittin’ in a tree – “ Ty leaned back as Sully got up. “Okay, I’m joking! I’m joking!”
“I like Rose, okay?” Sully sat back down. “We’ve just had coffee a few times, but I kinda like her. I dunno that we have a ‘thing’, but I like her.”
“Bosco giving you grief?” Bosco’s reaction to Sully dating his mom, if short trips to the cafeteria or the diner around the corner from the hospital counted as dates, had been funnier than hell as far as Ty was concerned.
“Not so far. Of course, he’s still confined to bed for the most part, so I can walk outside when he gets too bitchy.” He grinned. “Plus Rose will say ‘Maurice, behave yourself’ and it just embarrasses the hell out of him.”
“I would pay to see that.” Ty reached out and tugged on Sully’s shirt sleeve. “So you going to put on the uniform or what?”
“Nah, if they’re not going to cart me off to jail, why bother.”
“If you’re ready, I can drive you.”
“I’ve ridden with you. No thanks.” Getting up, Sully grabbed his jacket off the hook by the door. “I’ll drive, I’ve got a better chance of getting there in one piece.”
“I resent that. I’m a good driver.” Ty followed Sully out the door. “And I see better, cos I’m younger and not living in denial that I need glasses.”
“Whatever, junior.” He slapped Ty on the back as they walked outside.
“I’m kinda worried about Brendan.”
“Finney’s kid? What are you worried about him for?” Sully paused with his hand on the door handle leading into the precinct house.
“He idolizes his old man. This is going to be hard on him.”
Sully was quiet for a moment. Personally, he didn’t give a rat’s ass what Finney’s kid thought or felt. He opened the door and went inside, Ty following behind him.
“Finding out your dad isn’t the man you thought he was…” Ty let the words trail off.
“Your dad loved you, that’s all that’s important. He was a man and he made mistakes, there’s nothing you can do about that.”
“I know, but it sucks sometimes, you know?”
“I know.” Sully started up the stairs for the locker room. “But you just have to let it go.”
“Now you sound like my mother.”
“Sully!” Lieutenant Swersky called to him from the desk. “Give me a minute, will ya?”
“Sure thing, Lieu.” He made a detour to the desk.
Ty followed and Lieu looked up at him. “What do you want, Davis?”
“Uh… nothing. I was just… you know… waiting.”
“Well, wait upstairs.”
“Yes, sir.” He backed away. “I’ll just be upstairs.”
Waiting until Davis was out of earshot, Lieu leaned in closer to Sully. “Monroe was in earlier. She cleaned out her locker.”
“She transferred? Damn it, I thought she was going to tough it out!” He’d been riding with Sasha for several weeks now, and she’d been adamant about staying at the 55.
“She didn’t transfer, she quit.”
“Quit?” Sully stared at him. “You mean – quit the force?”
“Turned in her paperwork and quit.” Lieu was sorry to see her go on the one hand, but the fact that she’d been an IAB plant was something he hadn’t been able to get past. “I think she’s taking a job downtown.”
“She’s got this plan.” A sad smile crossed Sully’s face. “She’s going to run for mayor one of these days.”
“I wanted to be the one to tell you, Sul. I didn’t want you to hear it upstairs.” He glanced upwards. “The place is full of enough rumors right now as it is.”
“What’s going on?”
“CT Finney. How he set up Davis’ dad.” He nodded at Sully’s surprised look. “With the old man dead, the cork’s out of the bottle. My advice is to make like you’re a politician and stick with no comment.”
“Got it. Thanks, Lieu.” Eyeing the stairs, Sully considered going home. The rumors would still be here when he got back. He sighed and started up the stairs.
The locker room was full, third watch getting ready for roll call while second watch was getting ready to go home. There were several small clumps of officers in conversation, and they turned to look at Sully as he came in.
Ignoring them, he went to his locker and opened it up. Ty had changed into his uniform and was standing next to his locker, looking around the corner at someone in the back. “What’re you looking at?”
“Brendan. He’s cleaning out his locker.” Ty looked around the corner again. “I don’t know if I should say anything to him or not. What should I do?”
“You rode with him for weeks.” Sully began unbuttoning his shirt. “What do you think you should do?”
“I think that you should tell me what to do, ‘cos that’d be easier.” He sighed. “But… I guess I’ll just go talk to him.”
Ty closed his locker and made his way around the end of the row to the set of lockers in the back. Brendan was throwing his things into a trash sack. Tears streaked the pale face and he sniffled as he pulled a uniform out of the locker.
“Hey, Brendan.” Ty leaned on locker next to Brendan’s. “What are you doing?”
“What am I doing? What the hell does it look like I’m doing?” Brendan wiped his face on his shirt sleeve. “I’m getting out of here!”
“Brendan, hey man, just take some time, okay?” There wasn’t any need to ask why the kid was packing his stuff up, the word had hit Ty the minute he’d walked into the locker room.
“To see things a little more clearly.” Ty wasn’t sure that time would help, but he was sure that rushing into a decision like this wasn’t smart. “Just wait and cool down a little.”
“Wait? Take time?” Brendan jerked his medal rack and shield off the front of the uniform and held it up. “You see this? You see it?”
“Yeah, man, it’s your shield.”
“All I ever wanted was to earn one of these! And I did earn it – no matter what any of you think!”
The others in the locker room turned away from him, effectively shutting the blue wall against him.
“Nobody passed me ‘cos I was CT Finney’s kid! I wouldn’t let ‘em!” He curled his fingers around the shield, squeezing until the edges bit into his hand. “I busted my ass to earn the grades! I was at the range for hours every day trying to beat Boscorelli’s score! Five points – that’s as close as I got – and you know what? They said they could fix it – and I said no – “
Ty raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t realized Finney’s influence could extend that far.
“I earned it all!” Brendan slung the shield on the floor. It bounced across the concrete, snapping free of the medal rack. “And for what? Trying to be as good a man as my father?”
“Brendan, come on, man.” Ty reached out to put a hand on his shoulder but the other man pulled away. “Everybody wants to please their dad. We want to be just like them.”
“Now there’s a joke!” Slamming the locker door shut, Brendan started to laugh. “There’s a big fucking joke! Why don’t we all laugh?”
“Brendan – “
“Come on, everybody – let’s have a good laugh!” He pushed past Ty and into the center of the room. “Here’s this dumb kid tryin’ to be the great cop his old man is – only his old man is a murderer! Somebody has to think that’s funny!”
“Come on, don’t do this to yourself.” Ty took Brendan by the arm and tried to pull him away.
“Let go of me!” He turned on Ty. “How can you be so damn nice to me? My father killed your father – you should hate my guts.”
“I should, maybe, I don’t know.” As much as he’d tried, he couldn’t bring himself to hate Brendan. “But I don’t. I’m not holding you responsible for what your father did. A lot of people thought I’d be just like my father – and I’m not.”
“Your old man took a little money here and there – my old man murdered one of his own! He broke the code!”
Ty had no way to dispute that. His father had been dirty, but not to such an extent that he couldn’t be forgiven by his fellow officers. What CT Finney had done was to break ranks – something that could never be forgiven.
“Just take some time and think about what you’re doing, kid.” Sully stepped up and held out the discarded shield. “You worked hard for this, do you really want to throw it away?”
Brendan stared at the shield. He had worked hard for it – it was all he’d ever wanted. A laugh, short and bitter came from that thought. “I just wanted my father to be proud of me.”
Turning, he picked up the trash bag and shouldered his way through the crowded locker room.
“Crap.” Sully looked at the shield.
“This wasn’t what I wanted, Sul.”
“I know.” He’d hated Finney’s kid from the moment he’d laid eyes on him, but now Sully realized now how misplaced the feelings had been. “I thought it was.”
“Roll call in one minute!” Lieu stepped into the locker room. “I’ve had enough of latecomers, move your butts!”
The locker room emptied quickly, leaving only Ty and Sully. Lieu held his hand out. “I’ll take that and put it with the rest of the kid’s stuff.”
“Sorry, Lieu.” Sully gave him the shield.
“It’s probably for the best. The sins of the father and all of that.” He tucked the shield into his pocket. “It seems like you’re both short a partner now. I don’t know if I like the idea of sending the two of you out alone in David and Charlie.”
“I could – I could ride in Charlie.” Ty offered. “If Sully doesn’t mind.”
“No, no, that’d be fine.” Grinning, Sully nodded in agreement. “Better safe than sorry, right?”
“All right, now that that’s settled – “ Lieu motioned to the door. “Why don’t you ladies get to roll call? You’re late!”
“Yes, sir!” Ty rushed out of the locker room with Sully right behind him.
Something on the floor caught Lieu’s eye and he stooped to pick it up. a broken medal rack with a few medals attached. “Hmm… “ He put it in his pocket along with the shield and left to start roll call for the men who still had a job to do.