Adrift and Apart
Disclaimer: This is not my sandbox. These are just my favorite toys. I promise to return them when finished.
A/N: This idea has been with me for a while. Like others, I can't help think that there was something going on with Sharon & Andy well before Major Crimes began. The spark was there, and even Duff has stated it was always a possibility (See his recent Redditt AMA for those comments). It made me wonder if groundwork was being put placed to go a certain direction, but then with the decision to end The Closer, something else had to be done. So with all of that in mind, could something have happened between? If so, what did it look like? What happened to it?
This story spans the period of time from The Closer to present. Spoilers for both series up to Episode 3x17 Internal Affairs. Specific episodes touched on are placed in parenthesis in the title of the chapter.
As always, special thanks to my awesome beta deenikn8 who goes above and beyond! Any errors found are all mine. Also thanks to my girls, kate04us & lontanissima who put up with my muse... it's like a ferret on crack. We never know what it's going to do or where it's going to go...
Chapter 1 - The Beginning (Old Money)
The first time that he kissed her it was a moment born in anger. They were furious at one another, frustrated, and in an instant, and before he could recognize what he was going to do, his mouth was covering hers. His hands were in her hair and soon his head was swimming with the taste of her, sweet, and a bit spicy, like cinnamon. It shocked him. He was completely astonished at his own actions. He had never considered laying hands on her before, and even if he thought she was an attractive woman, touching her was the last thing on his mind.
In those moments following that first kiss they stared at one another, wide-eyed and breathless, neither knowing what to say or how to react. The argument was immediately forgotten. It seemed completely unimportant in light of that new development. He couldn't even recall why he followed her to her office, or what had set him off. They had encountered each other in the elevator, each having found a spare moment on a quiet Saturday to finish moving belongings from the old Parker Center headquarters to the new Police Administration Building downtown. Amidst the boxes stacked in her office, angry words were given life, although the reason for them was now lost in a haze of surprise and heat.
He left her there. Too confused over his own actions and deciding that withdrawal was the better part of valor, he apologized for the moment and fled. He wasn't ashamed to admit running away. She seemed keen to allow it.
This never happened.
Those were her words. He didn't much mind them. It was better for both of them if they just forgot it.
He tried. God only knew just how hard he tried to forget it, but the feel of her pressed against him was seared into his mind. The taste of her was emblazoned on his tongue. Every time he laid eyes on her, every time they were in a room together, he was reminded of it. It irritated him to no end. He struck out, sniping at her, more annoyed and angry at himself for acting like a randy twenty-year-old than he was at her. She annoyed him plenty on any given, normal day, but it wasn't her fault that he couldn't stop thinking about what it would be like to get his mouth on her again.
Or was it?
The second time that he kissed her it was outside of a crowded cop bar a few blocks from the office. They bumped into each other, quite literally, in the narrow hall that led to the restrooms. He was struck by the sight of her, hair falling in softer layers, and a sleeveless silk blouse tucked into a high-waisted black skirt. Her blazer was gone, and the blouse was thin enough that he could just make out the outline of her bra. His eyes were drawn to the sight, and when he looked down, he caught a glimpse of lace. That he looked, made her eyes narrow. The hiss she directed at him, as her lip curled, just made him smirk at her. The flash of emotion in her eyes had him curling a hand around her wrist and drawing her down the hall and out a side door.
He backed her into the side of of the building, pressed her into the brick as his head bent and he sought her mouth. This time, it was her hands in his hair, while his gripped her sides and drug her against him. He tried to tell himself that he was only kissing her to prove that it was nothing special, that the memory of it was made more intense by the fact that it was so forbidden. Or at least, it should be forbidden. What he found instead was heat curling through him, and the discovery that she tasted even sweeter than he remembered. When she moaned against his mouth, he pulled her closer, let his hands slide down to cup her hips.
The sound of the door opening beside them had the two of them quickly breaking apart. It was her turn to flee. Fingers pressed to her lips, she hurried back inside and sought the sanctuary provided by being surrounded by members of her team and other colleagues from Professional Standards. He followed at a more sedate pace, returned to his own table, and the cranberry and soda his partner had already ordered for him. His gaze kept finding her in the crowd, and more than once, he found her looking at him. She was wary, and he saw the same question in her eyes that was running on a constant repeat in his head.
What the hell were they doing?
When she left, he made excuses to his companions and followed her. It was an odd compulsion, at least given everything that he knew about their history and their present relationship. They could hardly stand one another, and wasn't it only a few days ago that they argued? He was drawn to her. She was a flame and he was a moth.
He caught up to her as she was unlocking her car. He took her keys out of her hand and announced that he was driving. Her eyes flashed again, but he caught her mouth in a third searing kiss before she could argue with him. Get in the damned car, he practically growled it at her, and palmed her keys as he maneuvered her around the vehicle and into the front passenger seat.
He glanced at her, several times, as he pulled into traffic. He could feel her gaze on him. The wariness was back. She was as unsure of him as he was of her, but she seemed just as drawn. She wasn't fighting him, and she wasn't fleeing. Not this time. When she gave him her address, she spoke so softly that he almost didn't hear it, but the silence in the car caught her words, and he pointed them in the direction that she indicated.
It was a silent drive, with not another word spoken between them. The air in the car was thick. It was electric and heated. His finger tips tingled, his palms itched. From the corner of his eye, he watched her clasp her hands together. A thin, but deeply drawn breath had her chest rising. The sight of it had his jaw clenching.
The drive itself felt as though it lasted forever, but only minutes passed before he was pulling the car into the parking garage. She directed him toward her assigned spot, voice still soft, and god help him, just a bit breathless. After they were parked, she didn't wait for him to open her door for him. They both left the car at the same time. They stood in silence, staring at one another across the top of the vehicle. Minutes continued to tick by, measured in quick breaths and pounding hearts. When finally she moved, it was to walk, wordlessly, toward the door that would take them inside the building.
He followed, and his eyes appreciated, not for the first time, the way her hips swayed as she walked. His gaze was drawn to her legs, and he was reminded that he had admired them before. Yes, he thought her attractive, but the thoughts he was currently entertaining had never crossed his mind before.
He managed, by sheer force of will, to keep his hands off of her as they strode across the lobby of her building. In the elevator, his hands itched again. His jaw clenched while heat licked at his center. He watched her from the corner of his eye and was pleased that she seemed just as bothered. She wore an impassive mask, but he watched her toy with the strap of her purse and draw her bottom lip between her teeth. Her eyes were fixated on the digital counter above the door that was slowly counting the floors until finally the elevator stopped, and they were allowed to leave its confines.
As they made their way down the hall, she searched blindly in her purse for her keys. They were in her hand when they reached the door. He reached around her, fingers igniting at the contact as he pushed her hand aside and turned the lock himself. His arm circled her waist as the door was pushed open in front of them. He drew her flush against him as they moved inside, enough so that he could kick the door closed behind him.
Her purse and her jacket, and the keys, those damned keys, were all tossed aside the moment that they were enclosed in her apartment. There were boxes lining one wall, and the smell of fresh paint still hung in the air. New, he thought, and not quite lived in yet. It was a thought that was pushed aside when his head lowered and his mouth traced the length of her neck.
If he thought that he could have her just one time and forget about it, he was wrong. In hindsight, thinking was probably the one thing that he should have been doing that night, but it was as if his mind shut off completely. Instead he found himself lost in a cloud of heat and desire, in the feel of soft lips and questing hands.
They thought that, like that first kiss, they could get it out of their systems and forget it. He would never forget the feel of her legs wrapped around him that first time, or the sound of his name wrought from her lips as her back arched and she came apart beneath him.
This never happened.
Her words, and his, and he resolved to stick to it this time. It lasted a week. A long, cold, miserable week in which he had yelled at her and she yelled back. She threatened him with insubordination and he told her to do her best to make it stick this time. An hour after that argument he was at her door, his hands were in her hair and hers were pulling at his tie, dragging him inside so that they could do their very best to each other.
The start of it was buried in anger and heat, explosive and unpredictable. It was only fitting that the end had the power to be just as tumultuous.
"Captain Raydor. It's Lieutenant Flynn."
"Lieutenant?" That was odd. She couldn't fully suppress her surprise at the sudden shift, his use of their ranks. She was waiting for him, and he was late. Sharon glanced at her watch, and then at the table across the room. It was set and ready for dinner, a dinner which was waiting in her oven. He should have been there half an hour ago. She supposed that his meeting could have gone late, but it wasn't like him not to call. Although, he was calling now.
They had been seeing each other for just over four months. She wasn't sure that they could call it a relationship, at least, not in the beginning. They didn't particularly like each other when they began sleeping together, not in the way that they probably should. She kept expecting that whatever this was between them would burn itself out fairly quickly, but it hadn't. Sex had given way to something else, and over the course of a few weeks, they got to know each other a little better. They realized that they had more in common than they didn't, and there was a deeper history there too. He knew her husband. They were once drinking buddies, at least until Andy had gotten sober. Something that Jack was never quite able to accomplish, at least not for any length of time. Sharon realized that it might have colored her perception of him.
It was a perception that had changed. They still had their arguments, but these days when they tangled, it was mostly in a professional setting. They weren't perfect people, they were opinionated and just as prone to moodiness as the next individual, and so they had their fair share of personal arguments too. The difference was, when Sharon and Andy argued, they typically made up. If not right away, then within a few days. They couldn't seem to stay away from each other. Whatever need had brought them together, it kept bringing them together. It just wasn't about sex anymore. At least, it wasn't only about sex. Not for her, anyway, and after four months, she thought that she knew Andy well enough that it was more than that for him too.
Sharon wasn't sure that she was ready to define exactly how she felt about him, but she enjoyed the time that they spent together. He was funny. He could make her laugh and, surprisingly, he was affectionate. At some point over the last several months, their time spent together expanded to include quiet dinners, either at favorite restaurants or in one of their homes. They went to movies and, before the summer was over, they had gone to their fair share of baseball games too.
She was a Giants fan. Andy was a Dodgers man. It made for some interesting discussions. Interesting and amusing.
Andy wasn't big on museums or art, but he'd gone with her to a couple of gallery showings that she was interested in.
They both liked driving up into the hills, just to watch the city, particularly at night, and they'd gone camping back in October. They'd gone out into the desert, well away from the city, and spent a few evenings enjoying a clear, star-filled sky as much as they had enjoyed each other.
Basically, she knew it was safe to say that they were dating, even if they hadn't exactly told anyone about it yet. It was a subject that was strictly off limits at work, and neither of them was ready to talk about it to their kids. He rarely saw his, and both of hers lived far enough away now that those visits were limited too.
It wasn't only about the time they spent out, however, as this evening was an example of. They were just as content to spend their time together in, and as it was her day off, she had offered to make dinner. She preferred his lasagna, but he seemed especially fond of her roasted potatoes. He was looking forward to tonight. Or rather, when she spoke to him earlier in the day, he certainly acted as though he was looking forward to it. She had no reason to doubt him, even now, but it still struck her as a little unusual that three hours ago he was joking about not being sure which he wanted to do more, get his hands on her, or her cooking, and now he was using her rank.
Sharon's mouth opened, and she thought that maybe she should say more, but he went on before she could.
"Yeah. This is your lucky day."
He sounded frustrated and out of breath. Her brows climbed into her hairline. Sharon leaned forward in her seat and closed the book that she was reading while she waited for him. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear as little tendrils of worry began to dance in her stomach. What had he done?
"Why is that, Lieutenant?" She asked it carefully, not wanting to jump to any of the wrong conclusions, but this was not the laughing, joking man that she spoke to earlier. Then it struck her, why she thought this was so odd. This was not Andy at all, and that was who she was expecting. It was indeed Lieutenant Flynn, and he was not her biggest fan. Or more precisely, he wasn't a very big fan of her job.
Sharon felt her stomach clench, almost painfully. They'd spent the last several months walking a very fine line. They didn't want anyone to know about them. It wasn't shame, they were simply private people. There was also the fact that those they knew would laugh themselves stupid upon hearing that they were romantically linked. They were one of the most unlikely couples that either of them knew, and yet, it seemed to work. She liked him. She really, really liked him, and maybe it was time to bring them out into the open.
She shook her head as he drew a breath, and realized that it sounded a bit labored. That gave her more cause for concern. "Andy?" It was a slip, but now she was worried about him.
The sound of his name jolted him out of the pain filled haze that was beginning to cloud his mind. He straightened a bit, where he was leaning against his car. "Yeah." Andy blinked, then he hissed. "Roll a team. I'm still at St. Francis. I discharged my weapon, and listen, Captain, you better roll out an ambulance too." Her sharply indrawn breath made him wince. Andy realized that calling his girlfriend while he was beaten and bleeding probably wasn't the best idea he'd ever had, but she was the first person he thought of when he reached for his phone.
Her hand dug into the seat cushion beneath her. Sharon nodded, despite the fact that he couldn't see it. Her mouth had gone incredibly dry. She licked her lips and readjusted her grip on the phone in her hand. "I will take care of it, Lieutenant," she said, voice thick and hitching just a bit. "I will see you in a few minutes." It was quite likely that her people would get there first. St. Francis was across town and she would need to change before leaving. Arriving at a possible crime scene in a pair of jeans and form fitting blouse might not be the best idea at the moment.
"Yeah." Andy hesitated for a moment. He grimaced against the pain that was burning through his side. "Shit. Sharon…" He hissed, and then he grunted. He shook his head, as much to clear it as to try and shake loose the words he wanted to say and couldn't seem to find. Finally, Andy sighed. "I'm sorry about this."
Their night had just gone straight to hell. He was looking forward to it, and he thought maybe she was too. Andy was thinking that, tonight, they might talk about letting others know about them. He was beginning to think that, maybe, this wasn't so temporary a thing and they could bring it out into the open. It wasn't like they could take it to work with them, but he wanted to be able to talk to her throughout the course of the day, and dammit… Sharon wasn't some dirty little secret that should be hidden. She was worth a hell of a lot more than that, and Andy thought that it was time he acted like it.
"I wanted to see you tonight," he continued. "Just not like this."
She hummed quietly. "I know." Sharon's lips curved into a soft smile, her voice dipped, growing softer, more affectionate. "Andy, it's okay. I'll see you soon."
"No." He sighed again. "I'll see her. I wanted to see you."
Her eyes closed and she shook her head at him. "I promise to make it up to you if I have to yell. Now, let me go. I need to change. I'll be there soon." Sharon paused. "Try not to get into any more trouble, okay?"
How she could make it sound both affectionate and like an order at the same time, Andy didn't know. He snorted at her. "Yeah, I'm going to do that. You just get everyone out here. I haven't got all night, Captain."
Sharon disconnected the call at that point. She hurried through the condo, first turning off the oven and then moving quickly down the hall to her room. Maybe, she thought, after she finished clearing up whatever mess he managed to stumble into this time, there would be enough of the night left for them to enjoy. Maybe.
By the time that Sharon arrived at the church where Andy's AA meetings were held her team was already on scene. There were several black and whites parked along the street and in the church parking lot as well, along with the ambulance. She listened, with only one ear, as she was briefed on the situation. The words Lieutenant and attacked rang through her mind. She pondered over them as she strode toward the ambulance, where most of the activity seemed to be taking place. As she rounded it, Sharon was not prepared for what she found.
She was expecting that he had gotten into a fist fight or some other asinine thing. Andy was hot-tempered, and while age might have mellowed him a bit, she knew that he wouldn't turn his back on a fight if it was pushed on him. Bruised knuckles and a sore jaw, those were the things she was expecting. Her stomach twisted painfully when he turned to face her and she realized just how badly hurt he was. Sharon buried her reaction, and while her fingers itched to touch him, to sooth his hurts, she satisfied herself by simply placing a hand against his shoulder.
He was speaking to her and it was a jumble of words that echoed through the haze of concern in her mind. She forced herself to focus on what he was saying, and not the fact that he had, apparently, been sliced open with a knife and lost a considerable amount of blood. Stubborn, she thought, when she realized that anyone else would have passed out already.
She wasn't prepared for the fear that settled through her when finally he reeled and lurched and gave in to the blood loss. It cost, more than she imagined it could, to walk away from him in that moment. She knew that she liked him, but she hadn't realized just how much she had come to care for him until that moment. Sharon wanted to climb into the ambulance with him, keep a watchful eye on him as he was taken to the hospital, but she also needed to find the man that had done this to him.
There was a conflict of interest there. She focused on that and the details of the attack as she walked away from him. Sharon knew what she needed to do. She would get this ball rolling, and then, as soon as possible, she would find a way to recuse herself. She would need to notify his division head, and in that, Sharon realized she had her way out. Chief Johnson would want to take over the case. For once, Sharon thought, she wouldn't fight her. Let them have it, and then, she could focus her attention where it was really needed. On Andy and not the Lieutenant.
She waited for them to leave. Sharon lingered in the lobby, tucked into a corner while she spoke on her phone and watched for the members of the Major Crimes division to exit the hospital before made her way back to Andy's room. There was still an officer posted on the door, and when she stepped into the room, there was a sketch artist seated by the bed. Sharon caught his eye, but said nothing as she crossed the room and set her purse and phone on the cabinet that ran the length of the wall. She saw the question in his eyes and shook her head. She cast a pointed look at the sketch artist and walked over to close the blinds on the large, double window that looked out into the corridor.
Sharon was silent while he worked with the sketch artist. Andy cast questioning looks at her, but continued to describe the young man that he spoke to prior to the attack. He had a few questions for her. Primarily, what the hell was going on? It wasn't like Raydor, at all, to turn over an investigation so easily, especially an officer involved shooting. He already told her that he shot the son of a bitch, but she had practically gift wrapped the damned thing and threw it at the Chief. Never had he seen her so intent on being rid of a case before. It was confusing the hell out of him.
Andy kept a lid on it until the sketch artist left. Then his eyes tracked Sharon as she walked across his room again, this time she spoke to the officer outside the door. Her voice was soft as she told him that she had a few more questions for the Lieutenant and wanted to conduct that interview without being disturbed. Then she closed the door. Andy's brows drew together in a frown. He watched her move closer, and when she smoothed her hands down her skirt, he shook his head at her. "You okay?"
"I think that is supposed to be my question." Sharon hesitated beside the bed for a moment, then she eased down onto the thin mattress beside him. Her hand stroked the length of his uninjured arm. She drew a thin breath and let it out slowly. "How are you feeling?"
"Hurts like hell." He continued to study her, curious and concerned. Finally Andy sighed. "Sharon, you know, that guy—"
"No." She pressed her fingers against his mouth. "No, no." Sharon shook her head. "Don't even say a word. Major Crimes has the case. At least until ballistics come back, and then…" Well, she would need to think of something else. She could let Sergeants Elliot and Davies run point on this, maybe, at least as far as the officer involved shooting was concerned. It was a bridge she would have to cross when she arrived at it, for now, Sharon managed to buy herself a little bit of time. "In the meantime," Sharon continued, "I'm fairly certain we're going to miss dinner tonight. I think we should plan on doing it another night."
Andy grunted. "Yeah, that might be a good idea. I don't think I'm getting out of here tonight." He shifted on the bed and winced as he did. "So is that all, you came back here just to tell me that dinner was off?" Andy reached out and took her hand, when he felt the tremor, he frowned. "Hey." He watched her look down, she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear with the other hand, and drew her bottom lip between her teeth. That was a tell, the usual sign that something was bothering her. "Sharon."
She exhaled again before she looked at him. Her mouth and throat suddenly felt incredibly dry. Anxiety danced in her stomach. Sharon shrugged at him. "I was worried about you," she admitted, a bit haltingly. "We're in danger every day, but I never thought… I didn't expect…" She broke off and looked away again. "Dammit."
"Oh." Realization swept over him with startling clarity. He had frightened her. She cared enough that the attack, and his injuries, had bothered her. A smile tugged at his mouth. Andy tugged on her hand. "Come here," he said quietly. He repeated the request and tugged on her hand again. "It's alright, come on."
Sharon hummed as she lay down beside him. She was careful not to jostle him too much, but stretched out along his side. Mindful of his stitches, she settled her hand against his chest and tucked her small body against him. Her eyes closed when she felt his fingers slide through her hair. "I'm glad that you're okay," she whispered quietly.
"I'm glad you're here," he rumbled quietly. He turned his face, let his lips rest against the top of her head. The soft scent of her perfume, familiar and comforting, drifted over him. "So I guess this is that conflict of interest thing that you were worried about happening?"
"Yes." She tipped her face up and let her lips brush the curve of his jaw. "This is exactly that. I don't know how I am going to get around that when the ballistics come back, but I'll figure something out. It doesn't really matter right now." Her hand stroked his chest in slow, gentle circles. "Any mention of when they might let you leave?"
"Tomorrow sometime." His fingers combed through her hair again, then his hand slipped down her back. "It's a little fuzzy, but I think my car is part of the damned crime scene."
"Mmhm." Sharon turned her face into his neck. "I'm afraid so, honey. You shot out the window when… uh, well, when you discharged your weapon. We had it towed in. It's in the print shop right now. SID is looking over it, and then it's going to the garage to have the window replaced." That was the upside to his having been in his service vehicle. The department would bear the cost of any repairs. Sharon lifted her head and propped it in her hand. "You were intending on spending the night with me, anyway, so perhaps it wouldn't be too preposterous for me to insist that you let me take you home tomorrow. By home, I of course mean my condo, and not that bungalow on the other side of town. I really don't think that it's a good idea for you to be alone right now."
She spoke quickly, and with the way her gaze shifted, flittering away from him, he could tell that she was nervous. This was a little new for them, even after four months together. It felt like they were upping the ante a little, moving to the next level. He didn't mind it. He thought that maybe it was time. Andy reached up and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "Best offer I've had in a while," he said. His finger stroked the curve of her cheek, and then down along the length of her neck. "Maybe I can even talk you into making breakfast?"
A smile curved her lips. Her eyes lit and sparkled warmly with affection. "You know, I think that can be arranged." Sharon's lips pursed. "Why is it," she added, "that I'm beginning to think that it isn't me that you want, but my cooking?"
"You spoiled me." He smirked at her. The sparkle was back in his dark eyes. "What am I supposed to do? Go back to takeout and microwave meals? Hell no. My girl can cook, so I might as well take advantage of it, sweetheart." Andy didn't know when they began using the pet names, but it wasn't new, not entirely.
"Hm." She hummed thoughtfully. Sharon lowered her head again. The corners of her mouth twitched toward a smile. "Your girl?"
"Yeah." He grinned crookedly. He slipped his hand into her hair, let his thumb stroke the length of her jaw. "I think so." Andy shrugged, and while it hurt, he ignored the pain. "Why the hell not? We've been at this for a little while."
"Yes we have." Her nose nuzzled at his cheek. She kissed the corner of his mouth on the uninjured side of his face. Her hand lifted, and she gently, carefully, traced the wounds on the left side of his face. "Looks painful," she murmured.
"I've had worse." His hand stroked through her hair. He cupped the back of her head. "I can't really think of when, right at the moment, but I'm sure that I have." He urged her face upward, and ignored the way his cut lip pulled as he kissed her.
She hummed against his mouth. The slow, lingering kisses, they never failed to send little sparks of excitement dancing down her spine. A smile curved her lips again as she trailed kisses along his jaw, only to tuck her face against his neck again. She sighed softly. "Okay," she said easily, "your girl."
Andy chuckled quietly. "You're a tough nut to crack, Sharon Raydor." He held her closer, turned his face into her hair again. She was married, and at the moment, he really didn't give a damn. She and Jack had been legally separated for something like twenty years. He was out of the picture, long out of it, according to her. That suited Andy just fine. They hadn't reached the point in their relationship that it would be an issue, not yet anyway. He wondered if that might be their next step. He resolved not to think about it, she was there with him, and that was all that mattered.
"I should go," Sharon said. "Let you rest." She nuzzled his neck, in no great hurry to move.
"Stay." His arm tightened around her. "I'm resting just fine right here." His voice rumbled quietly in the room. "I like having you around, Sharon."
"Good," she replied. "I like being around." She burrowed just a little bit closer. She would stay where she was, just for a little while longer. She would worry about his case, the conflict of interest, and all the complications that lay ahead of them later, much later, possibly even tomorrow.
She knew that he would be angry. The moment that the ballistics report, along with the case file and update from Major Crimes crossed her desk, Sharon was painfully aware of the fact that Andy would be furious with her. They had argued at work before. It was simply the nature of what their jobs entailed. It was also a part of who they were. They were both passionate about their work. What she was not prepared for, nor did she expect, was the raw hurt that she saw in his gaze as he was informed that she knew he was being investigated for witness tampering and intimidation.
If she were honest about it, Sharon hadn't really given that case more than a cursory look. She received dozens of those complaints on a weekly basis, and her department had to look into each and every one. Despite what others might think, she did not look into each and every FID investigation herself. She had a team of well trained officers to whom she was very comfortable delegating. Which was what she had done with this latest accusation against Lieutenant Flynn. Sergeant Staples was handling it. He was as familiar with Flynn's file as she was, and yes, while his personnel package was crammed full of similar accusations, they had cleared him of all of them over the years.
Sharon expected this to be no different. Only it was. It was incredibly different. This time they were involved, and he was reacting as though she had purposefully withheld that information. Well yes, of course she had, legally she couldn't tell him about the accusations, but it wasn't personal.
She decided to give him time to calm down. That seemed to be the best way of dealing with their arguments. Sharon waited until they closed the case before she went to see him. He wasn't answering her calls, and that was just frustrating. He had gone back to the bungalow, although they had decided that he would stay with her while he was recovering. Obviously, he was angrier than she expected he would be.
He scowled upon seeing her. Andy opened his door and felt the anger well up again, hot and thick, bitter at the back of his throat. His teeth ground together. His lip curled in disgust. He turned away from her and walked back into the house, but left the door open behind him. "What do you want?"
She exhaled softly as she stepped inside. "I wanted to see how you were doing." Sharon closed the door behind her, but her stomach clenched painfully. "I tried calling."
"Yeah." He tossed a look at her. "I didn't feel like talking." Andy lowered himself onto the couch with a grimace. "I'm fine." He tipped his head back and allowed his eyes to close. She was the last person that he wanted to see at the moment. He thought that she knew him better, but he thought maybe he was wrong about all of that.
"Andy." Sharon stopped beside the sofa. She hesitated for a moment before she lowered herself onto the cushion beside him. Her fingers were gentle when they brushed his arm. "You don't look fine."
The fact that she sounded like she cared just made him angrier. Andy lifted his head and glared at her. "I'm sorry, Captain, is there something that I can do for you? I thought you closed your case? Or is there something else that you need to investigate me for?"
She drew her hand back, as though he'd burned her. Sharon's jaw snapped closed. Her lips pressed into a thin line. Anxiety twisted her stomach into knots. "I understand that you are angry," she said carefully, "but I could not—"
"Tell me. Yeah you covered that," he drawled thickly. "What I really want to know is, if you were spending all this time investigating me, was sleeping with me part of the job, or just an extra little perk."
"Okay." Sharon stood up. Pain sliced through her. She had been accused of a lot of things in her time, but sleeping with a suspect just for the sake of closing a case, was certainly not one of them. In fact, she had taken great pains over the years to make sure that she would never be accused of that behavior or similar. It was one of the reasons she was still married, despite having every reason to divorce her estranged husband. She would have thought that Andy knew that. Apparently not. Obviously, she had misjudged him. "I think that I should leave," her voice hitched as she spoke. She looked away from him. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing the tears that were stinging her eyes. "You can go to hell."
"Shit." Andy ran a hand over his face. He knew the moment the words were out of his mouth that he should have swallowed them back. He was pissed, he was hurt, and he knew he was bad company. Talking to her was a bad idea, it was why he wasn't answering his phone. It was why he didn't want to see her. "Sharon." He pushed himself up, groaning in pain as he rose. "I didn't mean that."
"I think you did." She walked to the door. "It's fine, Lieutenant. The case has been closed, and you won't need to concern yourself with how I spend my time outside of work any longer." Sharon tipped her head down and let her hair obscure her face.
"Dammit." He caught her arm before she could escape the house. Andy drew her around. "I knew that talking was going to be a bad idea. It's why I wasn't answering my phone. I'm rotten company tonight, sweetheart." When he saw the tears in her eyes, he swore again. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."
She held herself stiffly. Sharon stared at a point on his chest. She shook her head. "Apology accepted, Lieutenant. May I go now?" She spoke quietly, pulled her bottom lip between her teeth. He was standing too close and she was uncomfortably aware of the wall behind her. She exhaled quietly and allowed her jaw to clench.
"Sharon." He slipped his hand beneath her chin, tipped her face up. What he saw in her eyes made his chest tighten painfully. She was attempting to draw her indifference around her like a blanket, but it couldn't completely mask the hurt in her eyes. "I'm an ass," he rasped, sorrow filling his tone.
Her eyes closed. Sharon wrapped her hand around his wrist. A tremor ran through her. "I'm sorry too," she whispered. She stood there for a moment before she opened her eyes again. "I could say that I wanted to tell you, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I barely gave the accusation a cursory look. My division gets dozens of these a week. Dozens. You had been cleared in the past, there was no reason to believe it wouldn't happen again. If Rick Zuman had not tried to have you murdered, the odds are, you never would have known." Her jaw clenched again. "But to stand here and be accused of behavior that is not only grossly inappropriate but also just… completely disgusting, is something that I simply will not do." She tugged on his arm, pulled it away from her. Sharon's eyes flashed as she looked up at him. She placed her palm against his chest and pushed, gently, to move him back a step. "Now if you will excuse me, Lieutenant, I think that I should be leaving."
The chill that settled over him, it was reflected in the coldness that had encompassed her with that statement. Andy watched her go, too shocked to stop her. "I said I was sorry."
"I know." She looked back at him and shrugged, a bit sadly. "I believe you. Words have power, Andy. They have meaning. Some words can shatter a reputation just as surely as they can shatter a relationship. The problem is, some part of you really felt that way, something inside you questioned my motives, or you never would have said it."
"Wait a minute." He turned to face her. He the hand of his uninjured arm through his hair. "Just wait a damned minute. Are you ending this, because I said something stupid?" Andy stared at her, a bit incredulous, but chest tightened again, until breathing became a bit painful.
Sharon drew a breath and let it out slowly. She nodded at him. "Yes," she said softly. "I think that would be best. If you think about it, this never really made a lot of sense to begin with. We hardly liked each other before all of this started. I think ending it now will… save us both from a messy and possibly embarrassing situation further down the line." It was hard, forcing the words past the aching lump in her throat, but she managed. Sharon tilted her head at him. "It isn't going to work, Andy. We're just too…" She trailed off and gestured helplessly with her hands. "Maybe if our jobs were different, but they aren't. At the end of the day, I'm still going to be Professional Standards, and a part of you will never be able to look past that." She shrugged again, but smiled sadly. "The next time that my division has to investigate you, there won't be any question as to my motives."
"Just like that." He couldn't believe he was hearing it. Andy shook his head at her. His jaw hung slightly agape. "You don't even want to talk about it. Just one dumb comment and that's it, you're done." He shifted where he stood, leaned back against the wall when his legs began to feel week. "Hell, Sharon. You know that I—"
"Just like that," she said, cutting him off. "Andy, If I stay, if we talk…" Her voice hitched. Sharon looked away from him and folded her arms across her chest. She would forgive him. They would continue on as they were. "This will happen again," she whispered. "Maybe not in this exact fashion, but it will happen. It's better to end it now, while we can walk away with some dignity." She swallowed hard, tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "I'll be sure to have anything you left at the condo delivered. If you could…" She gestured helplessly at the interior of his house.
"Yeah." Andy heaved a pain-filled sigh. "I'll look around." He continued to stare at her, not really sure he believed what was happening, or the pain that had centered itself in his chest. His stomach twisted and he took a step forward. Letting her go just didn't feel right. It didn't seem possible. "Sharon."
She took a step back, moving quickly, eyes wide and wary. Sharon held a hand in front of her, as if to ward him off. "I really hope that… well, I hope that you feel better soon," she said, cutting off her original statement. "Goodbye Andy."
He watched her turn, watched her flee. Andy followed her to the door, but she was moving much too quickly for him to catch her this time. By the time he stepped out onto his porch, she was already striding toward her car. He drew a ragged breath, felt it throb right through him. When she reached the car, he watched her hesitate, and as she looked back, he saw the tears. It wasn't that he'd angered her. He hurt her. Andy swore silently, bowed his head. He screwed his eyes closed and tried to stamp down on the rising anguish. He forced himself to look up again, to watch her drive away.
It was only after her car disappeared down the street that he turned again. He walked back into the house and pushed the door closed behind him. Andy stood there for a moment. He felt his side burn when he moved. He reached for the nearest object, a plaque that he had earned some years before, and hurled it as hard as he could against the wall. "Goddammit!"
One stupid remark. One angry, unbelievably dumb comment, and that was it. Sharon was gone. Andy knew her.
She wouldn't be back.