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Officer Aaron Jahaz looked around the Mid-Wilshire precinct as he waited for the files.
Though he'd transferred to another precinct a few years back because it’d been closer to where he’d moved to, he'd done his time as a rookie here but hadn’t been back since. It was interesting to see what had changed since then and what hadn't.

He suddenly stiffened up in his seat as two people walked into his line of sight together.
Sergeant Grey was great, Aaron had always liked him, but next to him was Officer Bradford, though seeing the new additions to his former T.O's sleeves, Aaron amended that to Sergeant Bradford.

Bradford was one seriously scary man.

Aaron had been excited to officially become an officer. He'd entered Mid-Wilshire after acing all his academy tests and training and had been ready to enter the real world of policing. Aaron had been confident, certainly not overly so, but Bradford had immediately broken him down and made him second guess and question every single move he’d made, his confidence had instantly fallen down to zero, and it had certainly not helped that Bradford had been quick to criticise and yell at him for any minor mistake.
In all his time as a rookie, Aaron had not caused the man smile once.
He wasn't cruel by any means, but he sure as hell was terrifying, and even at the end of the year, when all his fellow rookies had grown to be somewhat friends with their T.O's, Aaron couldn't even claim to know Bradford any better than when he'd first met him.
He was no longer a boot, in fact, he'd been an officer for six years now, but even though his mind knew that, his body still reacted in fear.

God Bradford was terrifying.

Sergeant Grey walked into his office but Bradford didn't, walking in his general direction instead.
At seeing an old teacher, Aaron knew a lot of people would go say hi, catch up, and maybe reminisce a bit, but the norm was out the window in this one given who the teacher was.
Should he say hi, should he not? Should he say hi, should he not? But unfortunately, the matter was decided for him as his former T.O. saw him and walked over.
Aaron automatically stood up, and reaching him, Bradford nodded at him.
"Officer Jahaz."

"Good morning, Officer Brad- I mean, Seargent Bradford." Why did he turn into a nervous mess around him? "Congratulations on your promotion, sir."

"Thank you, Jahaz," he nodded. "Aren't you stationed at Brentwood now?"

Aaron nodded.
"Yes sir. I'm just here to get the files on a string of robberies. One of them has been committed in our area, but it's turned into a manslaughter charge now, so our precinct is taking the case from here."

"Stealing cases from us, Jahaz?"

He didn't sound accusatory, it had to be a joke, but with his former T.O. you could never be 100% sure. Wanting to be on the safe side, he answered with, "just doing what I've been told to, sir."

He was saved from whatever response Bradford had been about to give as an officer he'd never met before walked up and said, "sorry for interrupting, Sergeant Bradford." Tim nodded, and the man continued. "I got the file you were asking for," he said, handing it over.
Bradford opened it up and skimmed through it while the other officer said, "we're still pulling all the information we can find on the sister, but we'll get that to you or Officer Chen as soon as we're done, sir."
Aaron noted that while there was definitely a layer of professional politeness, the other man was not afraid of Bradford like he was, but then again, it probably meant that he'd not had him as a T.O.
There was no way that Aaron could ever become a friend with his former T.O. like he knew some rookies were, but he could probably do professional politeness, after all, that was probably the best that someone who'd been Bradford's boot was going to get.

"Thank you, Officer Laccone," Bradford said, and the officer nodded then walked off.
Leaving just the two of them again.

Aaron wanted to leave because there was absolutely no way he could do small talk with his former T.O, but at the same time he didn't have the guts to be the one to dismiss and end the conversation.
“Tim,” a bright voice suddenly called out, and Aaron instantly looked for the source, wondering who was so casually calling Bradford with no title or not even by his last name as was the norm for police officers.
A short, bubbly and smiley looking woman walked towards them, asking, “did you get the -”

“Yup,” Bradford answered, holding up the file he’d just been given, and Aaron was surprised to note that he didn’t correct her about the name. In fact, it seemed like he didn’t care at all.
Aaron was suddenly intrigued by this woman, after all, that definitely wouldn't have been the outcome if he'd said it.

"Ok good," she said as she came to a stop standing close to Bradford's side, then turned to him and said with a polite but warm smile, “sorry for interrupting.”

“No worries,” Aaron replied. He couldn’t help but like this woman, who exuded a genuine friendliness. The complete opposite of the man next to her.

Gesturing to him, Bradford said to the woman, “Lucy, this is one of my former boots, Officer Aaron Jahaz, and -” but the woman, Lucy, let out a pleased chuckle as she looked at him with interest, cutting off Bradford.
"You're a former boot of Tim's as well, huh?"

Her words took a second to register.
No way.
“Sergeant Bradford was your T.O?” he asked, slightly incredulously.
There was absolutely no way that that could be the case because he knew there was no way a former boot of Bradford could be so relaxed around him. Aaron had met another former boot of his, and she’d been just as terrified as he was.
How the hell was Lucy so warm and comfortable around Sergeant Bradford?
Here she was, calling him Tim, and cosying up to his side like he was a close friend of hers.
Aaron had never even imagined that that was possible with Bradford and any of his boots.

“Yeah he was,” Lucy brightly replied. “He’s a bit of a hardass to start off with, but he’s a big softie by the end.”

He was a what?!
Strict, scary and terrifying Sergeant Bradford a softie?
There was not a chance in hell.

Lucy was looking at him, her eyes bright with laughter, and it seemed like she wanted him to say something about his own experience.
There was absolutely no chance he was going to do that with the terrifying T.O. in question standing right there with a light scowl on his face, and besides, while he and Lucy had had the same mentor, they'd clearly had very different relationships with him.
In all the time Aaron had had him as a training officer, not once had he even come close to calling him a softie. In fact, hearing Bradford and softie in the same sentence felt so wrong and so alien.
And that aside, even if, in a fantasy world, he got a higher position in the force than Bradford, Aaron would never call him by just his first name.
In fact, Aaron swore he'd heard Sergeant Grey call him Bradford rather than Tim.
Aaron almost shuddered at how wrong the name sounded, even just in his thoughts.
Refusing to say any of that out loud however, all he said was, “Sergeant Bradford was a good training officer.”

The man in question nodded, in thanks or as an acknowledgement Aaron wasn’t quite sure, but Lucy studied him for a moment before turning to face Bradford.
“You can be strict and kind at the same time, you know. You should really be nicer to people, Tim.”
Holy shit!
Did she really just say that to him?
But somehow, the only reaction Bradford had was the smallest scowl while Lucy continued, “it’s no wonder you only have two -” she made a face “- two and a half friends.”
Tim raised an eyebrow at her, and she looked up at him, Aaron taken aback by the openly teasing grin on her face.
"Well there's obviously me and Angela."

Bradford rolled his eyes, but Aaron swore there was a hint of a smile on his face. Interestingly, he didn't dispute that Lucy, his former boot, was his friend, leaving Aaron stunned, and instead asked, "and the half?"

"I think you're friends with Detective Harper?" she replied while making a face. "But honestly I'm not so sure."

"I like her more than I do you right now," Tim scoffed.

“What?” Lucy asked, looking up at him with an incredulous yet fond look on her face. “Because I'm ruining your tough guy image?”

Aaron found himself tensing up.
He could see that these two were comfortable with each other, but he had never heard anyone tease his stern, hardass former T.O. before.
Surely he'd have some reaction now.
Aaron silently watched as Tim fixed her with a look, but he was slightly shocked to see no real anger there.

"Not just an image, Chen," Tim got out, the light scowl still on his face, but there was still no real anger, and Lucy seemed to know it as well because she was looking up at him with a knowing grin.
"Uh huh," she said, not at all intimidated.
They held eye contact for a moment.
Why did it seem like these two were… he searched for the right word in his mind and was slightly startled as he found it.
They couldn't be flirting, right?
No way would stickler-for-the-rules Sergeant Bradford be flirting with a former boot of his.

"Anyway," Bradford said, looking away. "We should get back to it." Aaron was glad for it. He'd only ever seen his former T.O. as a strict, scary, authority figure, and honestly, seeing him possibly flirting was making him feel slightly uncomfortable.
"Good luck with your case, Officer Jahaz," Bradford said to him, and as he nodded his thanks, Lucy added with a bright smile, "it was really nice meeting you, Officer Jahaz."

No matter how he felt about Bradford next to her, he couldn't help but smile at Lucy.
"Nice meeting you too," he said, meaning it.

Lucy gave him a warm smile, Bradford a nod, and then they walked away and he sat back down. He couldn't help as his eyes followed them, not able to help his curiosity.
They were walking close, and though he couldn't hear exactly what they were saying, it seemed like Lucy was teasing Bradford yet again, Aaron still not able to wrap his head around the fact that she felt comfortable enough to do that.
He watched as Lucy turned back to look ahead of her, but Bradford looked down at her, his side profile showing a hint of a soft smile on his face.

Aaron shook his head, absolutely incredulous.
Lucy was clearly no ordinary boot of Bradford's.