Characters: JJ, Drake, Chief Smith, Ted, Marty.
Setting: Vol. 1, between Acts 2 and 3.
Summary: JJ arrives at the 27th Precinct on his first day in his new job, but what is he going to make of the man assigned to be his partner?
Word Count: 1719
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, any, “Smells like a locker room in here!" "That's because it is a locker room”,’ at fic_promptly, and for BelletristWordSalad, who wanted something about JJ’s first impressions of Drake.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh
JJ looked about himself with a certain amount of disappointment; his new precinct didn’t look much different from the one he’d just transferred from, just a bit more shabby and worn. Oh well, he wasn’t here for the décor; he was here because he’d finally tracked down where Dee had landed, and if New York’s 27th Precinct was good enough for Dee then it would have to be good enough for him. Would his new chief partner him with Dee? That was almost too much to hope for, but you just never knew in this job.
Checking in at the front desk, he got directions to the Precinct Commander’s office, knocked on the door, and a voice from inside immediately invited him to enter. Or bellowed ‘come in’ might be the more accurate way of phrasing it. JJ did as he was told; being bellowed at by superior officers was all part of the job.
“Detective Jemmy J Adams reporting, Sir.”
“Ah, the new transfer, and right on time. Good.” The chief picked up his phone and put through a call to somewhere else in the building. “Send Parker to my office, and tell him not to dawdle! I don’t have all day.”
Parker. That must be the detective he would be working with. JJ stood in front of the Chief’s desk, waiting patiently, having not been invited to sit. This wasn’t a social call, so he hadn’t really expected that anyway, although it would have been nice. His new shoes were hurting a bit after the long walk from the nearest subway station. JJ knew he could have taken a cab, but it had been a few years since he’d been in this part of New York and it had seemed a better idea to start re-familiarising himself with the city immediately. He’d need to know his way around.
A knock came on the door, and twisting around where he was standing, JJ saw it open a few inches, a tousled head poking through. “You wanted to see me, Chief?”
“Get in here, Parker.”
“Yes, sir.” The man shuffled quickly through the door, closing it behind him, and JJ got his first look at his new partner. He wasn’t overly impressed. Parker was about his own age, maybe a year or two older, but an air of gloom seemed to hang over him. He was dressed in a shapeless suit and a shirt that was at least two sizes too big, his tie tugged down and the top couple of buttons of his shirt undone. His hair looked like it hadn’t seen a comb in days, and he needed a shave.
“Parker, meet Adams. He’ll be your new partner.”
“Oh, great. How come I get stuck with the new child?” Parker sighed, shoulders slumping further.
“Because you’re the only one without a partner since Michaels retired,” the chief growled, “and I’m tired of you bellyaching about working alone, that’s why.”
Parker heaved another sigh and offered an ink-smudged hand. JJ saw there was a coffee stain on the shirt cuff that protruded from his new partner’s jacket sleeve, but shook hands with the other detective anyway. If they were going to be working together they should at least try to get along.
“Jemmy J Adams, but everyone calls me JJ,” he said with a bright smile.
“Drake Parker, nice to meet you,” the other man responded, with a notable lack of enthusiasm. “C’mon, suppose I’d better show you around.”
“Thanks. That would be great.”
“Yeah, get outta here, I’ve got work to do,” the Chief snarled. “Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!”
Drake ushered JJ out. “Don’t mind the old badger, he yells at everybody that way, it’s just how he is. You’ll get used to it.”
“I wasn’t worried,” JJ replied. “And for your information, I’m not a new child.” Better get that straight right away so there’d be no misunderstandings. “I’ve been a detective for two years, and I’m also one of the top police marksmen in the state.”
“Wow, I think I’m impressed!” JJ wasn’t sure whether Drake was being sarcastic or not because of the lack of expression on the other man’s face. Drake slouched along beside him, leading him towards the stairs, hands jammed in his pockets. “Why the transfer then? Trouble at your old precinct?”
“No, my parents live in Annadale; we’re a very close family, so I decided to move nearer to home so I could visit more often. Mom hasn’t been in the best of health recently.”
“Oh, that makes sense I guess. My folks are in Brooklyn, so I can drop by any time I want. Not that I do. Mom always nags me, wanting to know when I’m getting married. She wants grandkids.” He glanced sidelong at JJ. “Annadale’s a pretty swanky area, isn’t it? That’s what I’ve heard anyway; I’ve never been out there.”
“It’s nice,” JJ said as they headed upwards. “My dad works in finance, so I guess the family does okay.”
“But you’re a cop?”
JJ shrugged. “That’s all I ever wanted to be.”
“Guess that’s true of most cops,” Drake said with a somewhat lopsided grin. “Sure as hell aren’t in it for the money or the glamour. Here, this is the squad room, where we detectives hang out. Guess you already had that figured, probably not much different from what you’re used to.” He led JJ inside and over to a pair of back-to-back desks. “That’ll be your desk.” He pointed at one. “Hey, guys,” he called to two other men standing over by the water cooler. “Come meet the new hire!”
The two men, a stocky redhead and a tall black man, ambled over.
“We hirin’ midgets these days?” the black man asked, looking down at JJ, and the redhead snickered.
“These two comedians are Ted O’Neill and Marty Shaw. Guys, this is JJ Adams, my new partner. Better watch your step around him; he’s a sharpshooter.”
“We’re just teasin’ ya, kid, welcome aboard,” the redhead said with a genial grin as he shook JJ’s hand. There was a definite hint of Irish brogue evident in his voice.
“Yeah, what he said,” the black man agreed, offering his own hand to shake. “You’re the second new hire in a couple of months.”
“Oh? Who was the other?”
“Ryo Maclean. He’s a pretty good shot too, you might have competition.”
“I doubt it,” JJ replied. “I am one of the best in the state, if not the whole country.”
“Lucky us,” Marty laughed. “Not lacking confidence either. You can watch our backs; keep ol’ Red here from getting his damn fool head blown off. Stands out like a beacon.”
“I’ll do my best.” Rough and ready though they were, JJ decided his new colleagues didn’t seem like a bad bunch, so he dared to ask the question foremost in his mind. “Is Dee Laytner in today?”
“Yeah, he’s somewhere. Don’t know where though,” Ted said, looking around as if Dee might be lurking nearby and he just hadn’t noticed.
“You know Dee?” Drake asked curiously.
“We were at the Academy together, we were pretty close,” JJ explained. “We kind of lost touch after we graduated though.”
“That happens. Come on, I’ll give you the rest of the tour.”
Ambling out of the squad room, Drake led JJ down a hallway, pointing out the stationery closet and the break room along the way before pushing open another door. Following Drake inside, JJ wrinkled his nose in distaste.
“Ew! Smells like a locker room in here!”
Drake glanced over his shoulder. “That’s because it is a locker room, dummy!” he grumbled, looking vaguely offended. “See? It has lockers and everything.” He pointed at the battered metal lockers and the slatted wooden benches, the doorway at the end leading into the showers.
“Yes, but…” JJ gave Drake a pained look. “Haven’t you guys ever heard of air freshener?” At Drake’s blank look, JJ sighed. “I’ll bring some in tomorrow. Just because it’s a locker room doesn’t mean it has to smell like one. Don’t you have a sense of smell?” It wouldn’t have surprised JJ if Drake didn’t; as far as JJ could tell, his new partner’s other senses were singularly lacking, from sense of humor to dress sense, which seemed notable by its complete absence. He’d have to do something about that too.
“Guess we’re just used to it.”
Not for much longer, not if JJ had any say in the matter. The building may be a bit… okay, a lot rundown, but that didn’t mean the squad’s detectives had to live in this kind of animal squalor. A bit of air freshener would make a world of difference.
“There’s an empty locker here.” Drake pointed at a dented grey metal door.
“Thanks.” JJ swung it open and decided to come in early the next day, with antibacterial wipes as well as air freshener. It needed a thorough clean before he could risk putting anything in it. All the others were probably in the same cruddy state, except… With his keen sense of smell, JJ quickly became aware that the locker two doors down from his was exuding the scent of sandalwood. At least someone was trying to keep things smelling less awful.
“Well, that’s about all there is to see. Best get back to our desks.” Drake led the way back out, pointing out the men’s room on the way, which was necessary since the sign that should have been on it was missing. Oh well, old and poorly maintained though the 27th was, JJ had been in worse precincts, and despite his shortcomings, Drake didn’t seem like a bad sort; he was certainly helpful enough.
“I think Dee might have gone down to the firing range if you want to surprise him,” Drake said. “I can show you the way if you want.”
“No, that’s alright, I’m sure you’ve got a lot to do. Just give me directions and I’ll find it myself. I’ll just go say hello and come right back, then you can fill me in on whatever cases you’re working.”
“Okey dokey, I can do that.”
Yes, JJ decided, Drake was a bit of a loser but he thought they’d get along just fine.