A Quiet Life

It's three in the morning and the city outside sleeps, for the most part. Major Crimes is sparsely staffed and the Chief's office is dark. The phones are silent and no one's talking, locked in the circle of light over their desks, or lost in the shadows.

Ellison pushes his pen over paper and frowns at the  irritating scritch-scratch of the nib. It’s a ballpoint, not a quill, for God's sake. He's tired, punchy, that's all, he decides, and the next word goes on smooth as silk, in an inaudible glide, as if in agreement.

Quiet is good. Quiet means no one's murdering, raping, or doing the modern equivalent of pillaging.

Or they're doing it and they haven't been caught yet, with the morning light needed to illuminate evil deeds and dead bodies, blood-washed clean of sin and life.

He'll find out when he comes back into work, after a few hours sleep in the loft, filled to the ceiling now with an aching silence, quivering still with the echoes of the final argument he'd had with his wife and the jarring slam of the door as she left. He'll discover then what had happened in the quiet dark and wonder how he could have sat at his desk, cool coffee and stale donuts fuelling him, and done nothing to stop it.

The phone rings in a far corner of the room, a harsh, raucous jangle, and he flinches as if it had been his own, praying someone will answer it before his ears start ringing to match it.

Someone does, and he strains to catch the details, scenting the chase, ready to roll, but it's a wife -- or girlfriend, more likely, this late -- and the cop's voice drops to a confidential murmur after the brisk, businesslike greeting, and when he hangs up, the silence rolls back over the bullpen like a blanket.

Ellison yawns, caps his pen, and prepares to go home.

Quiet night. Quiet home. Quiet life.

Apart from that fucking pen. He grabs for it, one arm in his coat, his fingers scrabbling to get a grip, and then tosses it in the trash where it lands with a faint thud.

Leaves, after a satisfied nod for a problem solved.

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