|Playing With Fire
Author: Madison Bellows PM
Born into a NYPD/FD family, Samantha Murphy had one last chance to prove her family wrong; would the men of Ladder 62 let her in? Even if they don't, Sam is still going to end up playing with fire. L/S/V SLOW UPDATES!Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime - Chapters: 7 - Words: 11,171 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 06-17-10 - Published: 05-28-08 - id: 4284510
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Needed to take a little break from my other stories, and the plot bunnies would not leave this one alone. Don't know what I think about it yet, but would love to hear any feedback you have. Like CSI:NY and CBS, I don't own Rescue Me or FX or Dennis Leary or any of that. I am simply a girl with too much time, too little money and a laptop. Italics in the story are thoughts, usually Sam's internal dialog. Starts with 101 "Guts", spoilers for all. Thanks for reading!
Samantha Murphy nervously hitched her tote from one shoulder to another, debating if it would look more professional if she puller her hair up or if she should leave it down. Dr. Goldberg was supposed to be meeting her there, but was running late; having had an emergency at her private practice. Sam desperately hoped today would go better than last night, she needed to find some house that would let her do her research otherwise she was never going to finish her damn degree. Of course that would prove everyone in her family right and she would never be able to show her face at a family function again, cutting down on the only social life she currently had to speak of.
"Should have just gone through the academy", she grumbled to herself.
"You lost or something?" a man appearing to be in his early forties wearing an FDNY pullover and black pants asked, taking a long drag off his cigarette.
Sam shook her head, "Waiting on someone".
"Let me guess, Franco?" Sam shook her head again. The man wrinkled his forehead."Garrity?" Another shake. "It can't be the new probie, no way he could pull-"
"I am waiting on Hannah Goldberg, they sent us from headquarters?" Sam cringed as her voice rose on the end. Her nervousness getting the better of her, making everything seems like a question.
"Headquarters? They pulling pencil pushers out of elementary schools now? Jesus!" The man threw down his cigarette and crushed it with enough force to cause Sam to involuntarily press herself closer to the brick wall.
"I'm not a pencil pusher", Sam said, her voice coming out much more meekly than she desired. Come on girl, get it together. Remember what pop said about not showing weakness, you can do this.
"What the hell are you then?" the man snapped.
Sam felt the last dregs of her bravado shrinking."A psychologist?", she squeaked out.
"You asking me or telling me?"
"I'm working on it, I'm ABD...all but the dissertation and that's actually why I am here, I'm interning with Dr.-"
The man made a swiping motion in front of his neck, "Don't want to hear it sweet cheeks, but good luck with that". His sarcasm made it clear he was wishing her anything but good luck.
"Er, thanks." Sam sighed as the man walked back into the firehouse.
Tommy Gavin walked into the kitchen and snorted in disgust,"Christ, they sent out two head shrinkers. Do they think this is a fucking nut house?"
"Some very well might say it is", Lieutenant Ken Shay replied, barely glancing up from his newspaper, busily puffing away at his cigar.
"Sorry I am late, it has been one of those days. You could have gone inside", Dr. Goldberg said rushing up to the younger woman.
"Seemed safer out here", Sam answered taking a deep breath.
The woman looked around apprehensively, "Samantha this is Harlem!"
Sam shrugged, "As I said..."
"Well I suppose if any of my interns can take care of themselves, you can".
Sam gave a small grin. "Thanks for the vote of confidence. Oh and by the way, I am betting the mood of this firehouse is just about as welcoming as the one last night".
"We won't know until we go in there", Dr. Goldberg answered sunnily, striding inside.
"Oh hey, one of them nature programs where they fight to the death", Franco Rivera exclaimed, stopping his incessant channel surfing.
"I've got 50 on the lion", Chief Jerry Riley announced, pulling a wad of money from his pocket.
"Hyenas to match", Shay replied.
The older woman walked in, looking prim and proper in her suit. The younger one came behind, busily taking notes and not seeming to notice the eyes following her every move. "Is Chief Riley here? I'm Doctor Goldberg and this is my associate, Samantha Murphy".
The Chief rose to shake the older woman's hand. The rest of the men continued to watch tv, pretending to pay little attention to the women in the room, despite desperately trying to steal glances of them.
Sam took in the heart of the house, the smoke curling in the air and desperately wished she hadn't promised her grandmother she would quit smoking.
"This is the shrink", Riley announced.
"Actually I am a psychotherapist, and Ms. Murphy is my intern".
Riley all but rolled his eyes, "Yeah well. Headquarters thoughts it might be a good idea for these doctors to stop by the firehouse for a coupla hours at a clip so we could get our feelings off our chest".
Sam wanted to roll her own eyes at the laughter in his voice, but restrained herself and continued to stare into her notebook. Dr. Goldberg sank into a chair with ever present grace and ease, something Sam enviously admired. Sam stood awkwardly behind her, silently observing.
Dr. Goldberg explained their presence as she untied the chic scarf from around her neck. "We're finding that the effects of 9/11 are still being felt. Especially among members of the police and firefighters-"
A younger man wearing an FDNY hat cut her off yelling out, "Jesus, look at the lions".
Sam followed the man's hand to the screen, watching as a lioness devoured another animal on screen. She smirked to herself as the other men reacted, taking note of the pile of money on the table. Good to see these boys operate the same way, betting on anything and everything.
"Well we are here to help if you would like to talk", Dr. Goldberg continued, seemingly unruffled, though Sam knew she was.
"But we don't have to if we don't want to, right?" a man wearing a shirt embroidered 'Rivera' asked.
Typical, Sam thought to herself, and just like every male in your family. Which is why they would let you in any house where they knew anyone, leaving slim pickings for you, Samantha my dear.
Dr. Goldberg looked at the olive skinned man with empathetic eyes. "No you don't but-"
Even as she trailed off, Sam knew exactly what was going to happen, just as it had happened last night and every other time she had witnessed someone trying to get New York's finest or bravest to open up.
The man pushed quickly back from the table, his chair screeching against the dingy linoleum. The others quickly followed suit, grabbing their winnings from the pile on the table as they rapidly disappeared from the kitchen.
Only one man remained behind, the same one Sam had encountered on the street. Just great, he is probably going to give us the whole brotherhood speech about how we don't understand because we aren't one of them. Which is true for most of these hippies. But Downtown is right, they aren't dealing with it, at least not in a good way. Just ask my dad or my brothers or my cousins or their friends Jack, Jose and Evan.
Dr. Goldberg scratched her head, not shocked, but feeling like this was a waste of her time. She also felt bad for Samantha, who wanted to get her research done so badly, who was still young and idealistic enough to think she could actually make a difference, poor kid.
"Look Doc, um", the man apparently named Gavin started in.
Dr. Goldberg held up a hand, "Oh you don't need to explain. I was at another firehouse last night and the reaction was quite similar".
Sam chewed her lip, drinking in the other woman's tact. At least they didn't chase us out of here with their halagens, that is an improvement.
"Yeah well the guys are not going to talk to a therapist, especially a female one", Gavin replied, going for a pot of coffee that was dark enough to make Sam spontaneously drool.
"What about the female firefighters?" Dr. Goldberg pressed on.
The reply was the one Sam expected, "We don't have any female firefighters.
"Are you threatened by women?"
Sam inwardly groaned at this, knowing that baiting the man wasn't going to win any favors or open any doors.
"You don't seem to think a woman can be a firefighter".
"I'll tell you what, it's not being about a man or a woman", Gavin shot back, walking over to face off the older woman.
Sam circled around the other side of the table, pulling her travel mug out of her bag and helping herself to the coffee.
"It's about doing the job. It's about me getting home safe and sound in the morning to see my kids", Gavin continued, barely glancing in Sam's direction as he continued his speech. "So if you got a woman who can do the job better than the guys on my crew, bring her on".
Sam stopped listening as she stirred creamer into her coffee, knowing from personal experience what the speech sounded like. She had heard it many times from her grandfather and several other men on her mother's side of the family. It didn't even stop after her cousin Ginny joined Rescue Company No. 3 out in the Bronx. Of course that may be because Ginny was built like a battle-axe and could bench press the Giant's starting lineup, so she didn't really count as a woman.
Sam fought down a snicker as she heard Dr. Goldberg say "I am sensing a lot of hostility" and Gavin shot back, "You are very, very perceptive".
But she could not contain her shock when Gavin did actually start talking about his feelings, in the round about way that men of his ilk did, through storytelling of calls gone bad. Sam sucked in a sharp intake of breath as Gavin revealed the house had lost four men, one of whom was his cousin. His pain and grief was clear as he told them about Jimmy Keefe. Sam felt her own grief welling up in her eyes, an uncle and a cousin lost when the towers went down. She felt herself nodding when Gavin said, "if there is a God, he's got a whole shit load of explaining to do", but stopped as Dr. Goldberg shot her a look and Gavin kicked out at the table and stormed out of the room.
"What?" Sam asked as Dr. Goldberg rubbed her head.
"Are you sure you have dealt with your grief enough to handle this, Samantha?"
"Aren't our own issues why we become therapists?" Sam shot back, taking a long pull of her coffee and wishing there was whiskey in it.
The older woman closed her eyes. "Not to the detriment of our jobs".
"I'm dealing with it, as much as anyone else. Better than they are. And I have to do this". Sam looked at her mentor with pleading eyes, knowing this was one of her last shots. If they didn't take her the past few years had been a waste of time and money, neither of which Sam had to spare.
Dr. Goldberg nodded slowly before speaking, "Fine, if they'll take you, I'll sign off. Good luck, you'll need it".
With that, she exited, leaving Sam behind in the empty kitchen with her last hope and little prayer.