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"Hey," Marcus says automatically as he sees Joan walk toward his desk at the police station.

"Hey — oh my god!" Joan’s equally automatic ‘hey’ back is interrupted as she notices what’s missing from his face. "Did you—?"

"Yeah, I did." Marcus runs a hand over where his signature stubble used to be. He sees Joan looking at him, head cocked to her left, face screaming disapproval. "You don’t like it."

"Our age difference is wide enough as it is, and now it’s gonna look like I’m dating a kid!" She throws her hands up in exasperation. "What the hell possessed you?"

"I thought it’d make me look older," he admits wryly, eyes downturned so he can't look at her.

Joan pulls out her phone, scrolls through several photos before holding it up to show him one of the two of them out at his birthday party several months earlier, both smiling, Marcus leaning on Joan’s shoulder. More importantly, he still had his goatee. “Look at that picture and tell me, with a straight face, that the guy I’m posing with at his birthday party looks younger than the guy I’m talking to now.”

Marcus looks at it with intent but can’t bring himself to admit to Joan that she’s right, that facial hair helps him. He sighs a sigh of surrender and gives the phone back to her.

"No more dates until you grow that back. I hope it doesn’t take long." Joan puts her phone away and makes her way toward one of the vending machines.