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Suit of Armour

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There’s a reason Kevin is so fond of his shirts and ties. Relishes the mornings without a case when he take his time to layer up, put on his armour and leave the apartment looking like the stand-up citizen he is.

Fresh out of the shower the under shirt goes on along with boxers. He paces with a cup of coffee, shaking out the final few cobwebs the water didn't quite catch at the edges of his consciousness.

Fully awake and comfortably caffeinated the shirt is next. Pale blue and soft to the touch, one of his better ones since it’s a paperwork day. Good quality cotton sliding over his arms and chest, a small reminder when he twists in his chair just the right way.

His tie is next. Deft fingers tugging and looping as he skims the morning headlines on his laptop. He never bothers to check which tie he’s grabbed. They all go. Regardless of what Esposito and Castle might think he is not colour blind. He just appreciates a good splash of colour; something other than red in a city of grey.

Trousers are slipped on just as the toaster pops, buttons done up hurriedly as he tries not to drop the slice hanging precariously from his mouth. Every time he swears he’ll change his morning routine so it less resembles a heavily domesticated juggling act. He knows it’s in vain, but he likes to think himself capable of change. He’s always been adaptable, some changes are just more important than others.

Finally it’s time for the waistcoat. He smiles as he runs his hands down the breast plate, tugging it into place over his shoulders. He smiles as he does up the buttons, the routine soothing. His mother always said a waistcoat was the sign of true respectability. To Ryan it’s his coat of armour, coat of arms even; layers projecting the image of what is underneath.

Grabbing his jacket as he leaves, keys, phone and badge sitting in the pocket, holster on, Ryan doesn't actively think of his armour. He doesn't think of the ten months spent undercover as low-life addict, jack-of-all-trades. It was a low-key op, just information gathering, looking for a bigger in to one of the cartels. When Ryan does recall it the almost-but-not-quite-a-year memories are tinged with grey and cold and isolation. He showered until the hot water ran out when he came out from the cold. He still didn't quite feel clean enough. Never again does he want to feel so vulnerable, so invisible.

So, if every morning he puts on his armour and his splash of colour, well, even Ryan doesn't have to realise it for what it is.

He can just appreciate a good suit.