A fourteen year old black kid without a father who just lost his last family... if this had been the first case she'd worked with John and his friend, Joss would have suspected them of picking it to appeal to her sympathies. It isn't, though; John has no need to set the hook that hard anymore, and he knows it. So the fact that she thought of Taylor the minute she looked up Darren McGrady? Probably just incidental.
Probably. Not that he ever answers her questions about how they choose their cases. It galls Joss a little that she'd told him she was buying in because she wanted to know more, and weeks later she's still as much in the dark about their operations as ever. She'd already known their methods are illegal, their resources vast, and John's smug attitude at least eighty percent justified; every new thing she's learned since has only come at the cost of more questions.
It's all just a little too cliché to be comfortable. Every so often, she can't help but glance over and check the verge for primroses.
The thing is. For every unexplained demand she receives over that extra cell phone, every lie she tells another officer to cover, every crime John commits in pursuit of something she's told him... there's also that moment when he hands a life he's saved over into her care, or punts another scumbag off the streets with enough evidence to convict him. John intervenes in situations the police can't or won't touch, to help people he doesn't know who will probably never be able to pay him back for his assistance.
She believes in that kind of service. It's why she's a cop. It's why she joined the Army. And it's probably at least half of why she keeps cutting him slack, when he pulls this kind of bullshit on her.
John's like a cat, wary and untrusting, even though Joss wouldn't even be involved if he hadn't kept provoking her. Or a teenage boy. She's a mother, she knows the signs when she sees them. He's testing her boundaries to see what she'll do: which today apparently means smirking in her rearview mirror and stealing her cruiser.
He'll be back soon enough, all charming smiles and disingenuous apologies. He'll save the kid's life, help solve Travis McGrady's murder, and then disappear wherever he goes when he's not playing plainclothes Batman. There may or may not be a few more wrecked cars and kneecapped perps along the way, like mangled mice dropped on her doorstop.
It's cute, really, but also infuriating. Joss does like him, despite everything, but there's times she'd really like to turn him over her knee and pop him a good one. Figuratively speaking... though he'd probably take it with a grin and a smart-ass comment, even if it wasn't.
She watches him drive off with a shake to clear her head of that image, then snorts and finishes cuffing the latest offering.