It was Rafe's first day at Major Crimes, and he wanted to make a good impression. Captain Banks had seemed brusque but friendly at his interview, and the smell of cigar smoke that hung around him reminded Rafe of his old man, which was obscurely comforting in some ways, but still…first day, new department; he was jittery.
The night before, he'd set out his clothes for the next day, taking pride in the dazzling whiteness of his shirt, the crisply edged crease in his pants. Choosing his tie took ten minutes; picking out socks another five.
When he walked through the doors the next morning into the busy hum, he could've seen his face in his shoes if he'd looked down.
He didn't. He was looking around for Captain Banks, ready to report in. Ready to start making that good first impression. Maybe there'd be a murder called in as he was in the captain's office and Banks would raise his eyebrows and say, "I've got just the man," looking right at him with a quietly confident smile. Yeah…a murder. One he could solve in record time -- no, that was…wishing for a homicide? No. Definitely bad luck. Shit, what was he doing?
He moved past a group of people chatting about their weekends and decided to just go directly to Banks' office. Gaze fixed on his goal, he didn't see The Shirt until he'd smacked into it and the man wearing it, and by then it was too late to duck. Or close his eyes. Cocoa, hot and greasy, was dripping down his tie and splashing off his shoes.
"Hey, man, I'm sorry."
Rafe blinked in silence, distantly admiring the speed at which karma had struck him and wondering absently what drugs the shirt designer had been on. Orange flamingos standing on purple turtles? Or were the turtles rocks with eyes?
"Didn't see you there," the man persevered. "Course, you weren't looking at me, either…"
"What?" Rafe shook himself out of his daze and swallowed. "God, your shirt --"
The man glanced down and then shook his head. "Don't worry," he said, and patted Rafe's arm gently. "It's fine; didn't get a drop on me or my shirt."
"That's good," Rafe said through stiff lips that were trying to smile. His shirt. His tie. His pants. Stained. Wet. Ruined. His good first impression, completely shot to hell. "I'm glad."
"So am I." The man beamed and confided, "This is my lucky shirt. I wore this the day my nephew broke his arm --"
"The brakes on his bike failed when he was out riding with me and he got run over by a honking big truck. Lucky to be alive." The man patted his smooth, dark brown head. "If I had any hair on this, it would've turned gray that day, I tell ya. Explaining to my sister why I was bringing Tony back with his arm in a cast was bad enough; telling her I'd gotten him killed?" He shuddered dramatically, but there was a worried crease in his forehead that made Rafe see that the incident had left some bad memories.
"I'm glad it didn't get ruined when I ran into you," he said and meant it this time. He put out his hand. "Detective Rafe. Nice to meet you."
"Henri Brown. Likewise."
"I transferred here today," Rafe continued, releasing Brown's hand after shaking it, "and I'm looking for --"
"Me," a deep voice said behind him. "You're late."
Rafe spun around and Captain Banks' eyes widened. "Late and wearing your breakfast?"
God, this was a nightmare. He was going to back in uniform within the month and the paperwork would never get sorted out. "I --"
"My fault, Captain," Brown said, visibly turning on the charm. "See, I was walking across the room and thinking about this sweet lady I met last night --"
Banks held up his hand, palm out. "Save it. We both know I don't care." He jerked his thumb at Rafe. "Find your new partner something to wear that doesn't look like modern art, and get yourselves over to the jewelers on West and Franklin."
"Another break-in?" Brown asked, his engaging smile fading. "That's the third store hit this month, Simon."
Banks shoved an unlit cigar in his mouth. "So make sure there isn't a fourth," he said around it. "Think you and Rafe can handle that?"
Rafe waited for Brown to take their captain aside and tell him that no, he didn't want to be partnered with someone who couldn't walk across a room without knocking into people and spilling their drink, but Brown just grinned.
"Soon as I loan him my spare shirt." Brown patted Rafe's arm again. "I keep one in my locker for emergencies; this is your lucky day."
It was a plain, dark green, so Rafe decided that on the whole, yes it was.
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