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by s.a.

Date: Monday, March 31, 2003 8:42 PM

     Title: Focus
     Author: s.a.
     Rating: PG.
     Pairing: Nada.
     Fandom: Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
     Disclaimer: I don't make up the 'verses, I just fuck with them.
     Spoilers: Nothing special, just assume second season.
     Feedback: Always appreciated. email:
     Distribution: HiTG, as well as list
     archives. Everyone else, just ask.
     Author's Notes: This is a result of NBC's Saturday night
     crimefest, Law and Order Style. Vincent D'Onofrio is too
     awesome to not write about.
     Summary: Goren doesn't need drugs to get him high.
     Thanks to Min for indulging me in a once-over.

Goren is just a little bit crazy. He knows this. Hell, he plays it. It's not something that can be turned off; it's a facet of his brain that works like a fish net, catching the important parts of what he's seeing, what he's hearing, and putting them together.

It's a puzzle, with sharp edges. Like a broken mirror, where you might lose the seven-year bad luck streak if you put the pieces together just so. They're working on a homicide, a sorority girl who got whacked by what looks like a jealous boyfriend, but there are shards that just don't fit in the frame, so Goren's mind is just spinning.

This kind of stuff isn't the sort to leave when five o'clock hits its mark. Goren goes home and thinks, just sits there with Mozart and a beer and details things in his mind. Flashes, phrases of words, an errant look. This is why their Lieutenant gives them one major case at a time, why he and Eames are classified as a special unit--give them enough time and they can solve any case, but Goren gets so into things, into the story that when he starts to pick up the pieces he's good for nothing else till each thread is wrapped up.

When the case gets to the boiling point, when they know all the angles and they're just figuring out where the vic and the perp relate, Eames knows better than to let Goren go home alone. He'll just sit and think about the case, unraveling each part over and over in his mind until his eyes slip shut and his mind finally gives in to the inevitable pull of unconsciousness. Instead she makes him talk about mundanities, or watch television with a stream of chatter to make sure he's paying attention. She'll fix dinner to make sure he eats, and leads him to his bedroom while she spends the night on the couch.

Sometimes he goes over to her place.

He knows he's self-sufficient, for the most part. But he'll be the first to admit that he's also just a bit off the mark, so he appreciates the attention. It's not like they don't have lives separate of each other, like she doesn't have a life. It's just--partners. Extension of on-the-job, unpaid overtime, making sure your partner doesn't do something stupid.

Besides, it's only a couple nights every month, and they both shrug it off like it means nothing. He'll take her out for drinks or something to make up for the low-key babysitting, and she'll give him a rare smile every time another one of those bland manila folders is closed. It's a good deal on both ends.

Sometimes she just knows when he's having one of those nights where even sleep won't drag him from his thoughts, and then she shows up in her sweats at one in the morning with cherry pie and a knowing look. He lets her in, and they sit at the dinner table talking about a book she's read and politics and the Dave Matthews Band and the merits of cherry pie over competing flavors. They don't talk about tomorrow, or next week, or the vic.

Sometimes he's really pleased that he's just a little bit crazy.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to s.a.

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