Author’s Note: This chapter was
probably the hardest to write because I loved “A Dead Kid, a Notebook, and a
Lot of Maybes” (3x07) from beginning to end, especially the way the episode
ends with Jay and Ethan talking. I’m not sure anything needed to be added to
that episode, but I tried my best to put together a scene that fits within the
direction of the show.
His wallet is two business cards lighter
– one for Ethan, one for Ethan’s mom handed out with the promise that either
of them can call him at anytime. Whether it’s the middle of the night, or
whether it’s the middle of his shift. Whether Ethan’s mom has questions about
the support groups and the schools Jay mentioned to her, or whether Ethan just
wants to grab a burger and talk.
It’s one of the few cases that Jay wants
to see to the end. Most of the unit’s cases don’t have living victims, and
those that do, Erin usually walks through the next steps. Goes with them to met
with Kot for the first time; handles their calls when they’re freaking out
thinking they can’t testify. She has a way with connecting with victims that
most of the unit lacks; gruffness, silence, and goofiness usually offputting to
people who have been through major trauma and trying to come out the other
But this case? The loner getting into a
bunch of fights at school and arguments with his teachers? The violent
videogames on his computer and the thoughts of revenge? The whole thing was a
reflection of what Jay used to be, of the daily events of his life from ages
thirteen to seventeen, and he had volunteered to be the one to talk to Ethan.
Told the unit that he’d see them tomorrow as he followed Ethan and his mom out
of the district; told Ethan and his mom that he’d be there through every step
of the court case against the swim coach.
Voight won’t be happy when he finds out
about this particular promise. The Chicago criminal justice is notoriously
slow, and sitting down at the courthouse with Ethan could take him away from
whatever case the unit lands next for days at a time. But Jay doesn’t care what
his sergeant might say about that promise at this point – not after listening
to what happened to Ethan, not after learning Ethan also lost his dad in the
That last piece of information causes a
sigh to fall from Jay’s lips as he twists the key to his apartment in the lock
of the front door. Tries to remind himself that his buddies made a sacrifice so
he could be here to help kids like Ethan as he pushes open the door and steps
into the apartment.