“How do you come out of that clean?” – Detective Carisi to Lieutenant Benson.
“Shots were fired. We’ve got the scene contained and are working through it now.”
Amanda stands up on her tip-toes and looks worriedly at the house. “Are they both still in there?”
“Who? Your team?”
“Yeah, they’re still in there.”
“Who exactly got shot?” Amanda’s heart is racing. Is he okay? Is he really okay?
“The perp.” It comes out sarcastically with a sharp nod of his head, but she is relieved at hearing the answer anyway. He’s okay.
“Okay, thank you. I’m going in.”
“No, you’re not.” The Uni holds up an arm.
“Amanda, wait. Let them do their job.” Fin grabs her elbow as Amanda starts to walk, intent to just barge in anyway. What exactly happened in there?
“He’s fine.” Fin says firmly.
“Hey, I’m worried about both of them.”
“Of course you are,” Fin says gently and then tips his head. “It’s just you’ve just got a soft spot for Carisi is all.”
“Yeah, right.” Amanda rolls her eyes.
“Okay fine. Play it off.”
His Lieutenant left the scene long before he did. He waited until the body of Sargent Cole had been taken away by the Coroner. He just sat there. Even after that. With blood dripping down his face. Drying.
The blood on the floor is drying too. Soon CSI would be allowed in … oh wait, they are already here …
“Detective, can you move please? We need to –“
“Sure, yeah. Okay.” He scooches back, but not out of sight from where the scene is still being processed. He is suddenly fascinated in it. Can’t avert his eyes.
“Carisi?” he hears her voice in the distance, but just barely. It’s like she’s a mile away and trying to communicate with him using two cans and a string. He doesn’t acknowledge her presence until she touches him.
She sees him sitting on the floor, his feet and legs in an awkward position, like his body doesn’t even matter – like he’s disregarded it. She sees the blood on his face and brings a hand to her own, covering her mouth, her dropped jaw.
Nothing. He’s still staring at the floor as the CSI team collects their evidence. It’s like they’re not even there. She crouches down beside him.
“Hey,” She touches his arm and he startles, practically jumping out of his skin. He slowly turns his eyes towards hers, green now in contrast to the bright red blood staining his face. He looks…
“I need to … I need to …”
“What hon?” she asks him, the Southern term of endearment slipping out of her mouth naturally. So naturally it escapes her notice. And his.
“I need to get clean.”
“Sure, I’ll help you with that.”
She helps him to stand, and he is so gangly with his feet in that odd position that he almost falls a couple of times just trying to get up. But is it just that position he’s in? He’s shaking. No, it’s probably more than that.
From behind the ambulance Amanda shouts out to an EMT inside of it, “Hey, do you guys have something to help clean –“
“Sure.” An EMT tosses her a towel, rag, some piece of cloth - what it is made of is irrelevant. What it needs to do is of the utmost importance.
She touches his arm to steady him and brings it up to his face. As soon as she touches his cheek he flinches.
“Sorry,” is his immediate, rote response.
“Nothing to be sorry about.”
He takes the cloth from her hands and says, “I think I need to do this myself. Clean myself up.”
“Okay,” she says and watches in silence as he drags the cloth down his cheeks, his nose, over his chin. He keeps eye contact with her and she watches as the greenness of his eyes change back to blue as the blood disappears, taking its contrasting color along with it.
Their sparkle is gone. It’s been missing for a while … but now his eyes are almost dead.
They hear their Lieutenant saying goodbye to the vic, talking her through the experience to help her make sense of it, to help her move past it. “They look for light and they look for goodness and they try to steal it.”
He had given his away. To this job.
“You’re alright. You’re alright,” Lieutenant Benson had said to him after she had saved his life - when she found him traumatized and crouching over the man she had just shot. She had gotten Sargent Cole’s blood all over his face in the process, trading one life for another.
Was he alright? He doesn’t think so. His light is now gone – but it hadn’t been stolen. He had surrendered it willingly.
“I think I need to go talk to the Lieutenant,” he says before he’s wiped every spec of blood from his face. He’s gotten most of it, but the remnants are still there. “Thank her for saving my life.”
“Okay,” Amanda says and rubs his arm. She reaches for the cloth.
“No I need this. I’m not clean.” He keeps it in his hands.
I’ll never be clean.