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Mother Hen

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“Hey stop,” he says in agitation, moving away from her slightly - as far as he can in the cramped squad car.

She pays him no attention and just licks the tips of her fingers and goes back to trying to straighten out that one piece of hair on his head that will not cooperate.

“Quit it!” he says more forcefully and bats her hand away.

“Hey, I’m just trying to help you out here.”

“You know Rollins, I already have a mother,” he looks at her sideways with a wry grin.

“Well, she certainly didn’t help you get ready this morning.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asks defensively.

“I’ve never seen you with a hair out of place Carisi. Frankly it’s unnerving. And look at that cuff –“

She reaches down to roll it up from its position dangling halfway down his forearm in complete contrast to the neatly folded cuff on his other arm. She can feel him tremble slightly before he jerks his arm away.

“I’ve got that.” He rolls it up himself.

They sit in silence for a beat when he’s done.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine,” he says with gritted teeth. And then he remembers something. “You’ve seen me without ‘perfect’ hair before, you know.”

“When?”

“When I was undercover in the shelter last year.”

“Oh yeah,” she says softly and they both remember how worried she had been about him back then, too.

“Look Rollins, you don’t need to hover like a Mother Hen you know.”

She’d been doing a lot of that lately – didn’t really have the chance to when he was living in the shelter – but since the shooting they’d been working together non-stop and it was annoying the hell out of him.

“I’m not hovering,” she says defensively with wide eyes, her expression somewhere between disbelief and anger.

“Look Rollins, I don’t do this to you. Don’t do this to me.”

“What?” She practically throws her hands in the air.

“Worry.”

“Carisi, you just had a gun held to your head. You were seconds away from being killed –“

“I know, I know,” he puts his hands up in surrender. “It’s just . . .”

“Just what?”

“You don’t need to be a mom about it.”

“But you’re not okay, Carisi!” she shouts.

There is deafening silence in the car.

He hangs his head and finally breaks it with a quiet ‘I know.’ 

FIN