Epilogue: Two and a Half Years Later
Something told him that he was on the precipice of a major breakthrough. After an unseasonably slow month, the pieces were finally converging into clearer picture. They were just one misplaced hair, one falsified alibi away from finally getting David "Rabbi" Adler on the right side of a set of prison bars. He just needed to stay awake for one more hour to look over these pathetic excuses for witness accounts. One more hour. He was that close.
Danny sank a little further into his plusher-than-necessary couch as he held up the affidavit towards the light. He glanced at his glass once more, hoping to find something other than the steadily melting ice cubes that cooled his beverage not too long ago. He thought about just tossing back the pool of melted ice, hoping that would be enough to quench his growing thirst. Getting a brand new drink was also an option. That, however, required actually getting up and, much to his chagrin, the couch really was, as Mindy had assessed in the store, "comfortable as fuck." Still, he had created such a stink about having to replace his old couch that it would be impossible to admit that her choice for a stand-in was a good one.
The sound of something knocking over an outside garbage can jogged him out of his silent tangent. With a rapid shake of his head, he refocused on the task and tried to ignore the increasing dryness in his mouth.
"Babe. Seriously? Again?"
Briefly startled, he turned around to find Mindy standing at their bedroom door way, her hands perched on her fleece pajama-clad hips. Despite her questioning tone, she looked as if she expected to find him just like this.
"I'm so close, Min," Danny explained softly. "I just need forty-five minutes. An hour, tops."
"Why are you close?" she asked, walking around to meet him on the other side of the couch. "Why isn't Prentice close? This is his case, after all."
"I know, babe, but Peter is such an idiot."
"Okay, that's not fair. He's a good detective. You said so yourself last week."
Danny shrugged. "Okay, he's good, yeah. I just think he might be looking over something important. Look at this," he thrust the document towards her as she sat closely to him. "There's something off here, don't you think?"
"No," she denied, pushing it away. "I don't. And I didn't think so yesterday night, either."
"You're killing me," Danny mumbled, resuming his reading. Mindy tucked her legs underneath her body and faced Danny fully.
"You know," she started brightly, "when Maggie got promoted to sergeant of her division, she was soooo excited because that meant less time in the field and more delegating. Sure it would mean more responsibility, but it was more stable, calmer…"
"That's great, sweetheart," Danny appeased, only listening halfway.
"So when you got promoted a few months ago," she continued, "I thought, 'Oh, cool! That means he can take it a little easier. And by extension, that means I can take it easy, as well!'"
Danny looked up from the work in order to give her a somewhat authoritative look. "Min, that's not fair. You know I can't give you special treatment."
"Is that so?" Mindy tilted her head and narrowed her eyes. "That's funny, because when Betsy and Dennis were caught kissing in the evidence room, you gave them a disciplinary write-up and a full-on lecture. What punishment did I get after our quickie in the bathroom?"
He smiled at the memory of that day, just after his promotion has been announced. "Touché."
"Thank you. What I'm saying is, you're Sergeant Castellano now. You're always saying, 'I trust my squad, even that dickhead Lang.' Do you still believe that to be true?"
Sighing, he nodded. "I do. I honestly do. I just miss the work. Collecting evidence, talking to a bunch of crazy New Yorkers –"
"-You still do a lot of that stuff, Dan," Mindy reminding him sympathetically.
"Yeah, but not as much as before, you know?" He tossed the paper on the coffee table. "I don't have the time anymore. But I miss having actual cases."
"Oh, you want a case?" Mindy asked. "How about the case of the missing seating chart that my fiancé promised to look over, since Annette Castellano needs to be placed 'just so'?"
"Or," she continued a little louder, "The case of the replacement DJ after one of us canceled the really awesome one we had over a completely unnecessary background check?"
"She was arrested for stealing, Mindy! What, do you want our gifts to wind up on the back of a truck?"
"She was a teenager then, Danny!" Mindy argued. "It was over a decade ago! She clearly cleaned up her act. She was so cool."
He rolled his eyes. "Okay, we can't have this argument again. I promise I'll find an even cooler replacement."
"I know you will," Mindy replied, "but that's not what we're discussing here. Right now, I just want you to come with me to bed and let your team do their job." She leaned forward and rested a hand on his face. "I can tell it's stressing you out and turning you into an old man. I can see the flecks of gray in your stubble."
Danny smiled crookedly. "Who are you trying to fool? You told me just last week that my graying hair was - and I'm quoting you here - 'a turn-on the equivolent of Channing Tatum feeding you a steak sandwich.'"
Mindy groaned, then smiled softly. "Damn my big mouth."
"Yeah, that's what I thought," he mumbled into her palm before dropping a couple quick kisses there. He wrapped a hand around the wrist resting on his cheek and tugged her towards him until she was lying on top of his body. Once they were properly aligned, he anchored her to him with both of his arms secured around her waist. Everything he had been reviewing fell sloppily to the ground, but he didn't care. "I hope you don't feel neglected, baby."
"Stop being silly." She quickly kissed his pouting lips. "Of course I don't feel neglected. I'm just worried about you. Do you not like your job? You've worked so hard to get here."
"I love being Sergeant Castellano. I'm happy. I just get a little antsy at my desk. I miss taking down perps with you. Really, I miss being in a team with you."
"Well, in six weeks I am legally locking you down," Mindy said as she laid her head on his shoulders. "After that, you're gonna have all the teamwork you can stomach. In sickness and in fuckin' health, mister."
Danny guffawed throatily as Mindy planted a lingering kiss on his jaw line. "I can't wait. Alright, when you put it that way, I guess I'm not missing out on as much as I thought. Fine. I'll let Peter handle his own case."
"Good." Mindy lifted herself up until she was hovering slightly over him. "And I promise that the next case I have, I'll make sure to get a ton of input from you."
"We both know you don't actually need my input. You'd just be humoring me."
"Probably. Does that matter?"
Pausing for a moment, Danny grinned and lifted his head just enough to be able to kiss her softly on her lips. He breathed her in graciously, grateful that he was already beginning to forget a time that they were ever less in love than this. "No, it doesn't matter at all, really."
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