Disclaimer: This is not my sandbox, this is just my favorite place to play. I promise to put all of the toys back when I'm done.
A/N: I just cannot help myself... since the first time I paired them together I ship this couple so hard... and no, I don't just mean Shandy. The idea of them together is just so adorable, at least to my mind... and besides, doesn't Buzz deserve a partner?
I started this before our darling couple revealed to Taylor the status of their relationship. That makes this chapter a little bit out of date. With the season ongoing I'm sure that most of this will be A/U by the time I finish writing it. I hope that you enjoy it anyway!
As always special thanks to the most awesome beta deenikn8 and additional thanks to my best pals Rocking Robin B, alyc98, and the best twin ever kate04us! Additionally I'm adding a thank you to Sixty Five Roses - since she and I share a love of the Buzz/Emily pairing!
Russell Taylor saw a lot of paperwork during the course of his day. There were even days when he could close his eyes and still he could see white pages with perfectly aligned black text. He could recite the forms that he signed daily, and without giving the recitation much thought. He had even come to know, at a glance, the handwriting of his department heads.
For example, without having to read it, he could recognize that the slanting, dramatic scrawl that would undoubtedly give him a headache belonged to Deputy Chief Monroe, who was in charge of traffic. If the letters were looping and cheerful, the writing belonged to Commander McGinnis, proving that the handwriting did not always match the personality. If he was presented with neat and bold print, precise and to the point, that was his guy Fritz. He liked reading those missives best; he never had to guess at what the words were. It was completely unlike the scrawling chicken scratch that he could barely decipher that came to him from Major Crimes.
Taylor groaned every time that he had to sit down and read something written by Raydor. She did it on purpose. He knew the woman to have a neat, slanting script, but if it was headed to him, the words were barely legible. He made fun of the preciseness with which she had written a simple note just one time, about ten years before, and now everything meant for his attention looked as if it had been quickly jotted down by a third-grader just learning cursive. He knew better than to comment on it again; Taylor felt like he had learned his lesson. Don't screw with Raydor, even if you're joking. The first few times he had to deal with that messy scrawl, she had simply smirked. Now he just took it like a man and if it was truly illegible, he got his assistant Ida to help him out. Ida was an expert in almost indecipherable writing. She said it was because he wrote like a serial killer. Taylor didn't think that was exactly true, or polite, but Ida was another one of those people he didn't mess with.
He learned a long time ago to keep the difficult, but valuable, women in his life happy. The trick was just not necessarily letting them know that he was keeping them happy. His wife taught him that lesson. He practiced it daily, whether he was at work or at home. There were just some moments when it couldn't come in to play. Such as when Raydor had come by his office a few weeks before, reports in hand. Ida sent her back, but he had been on a call with the Chief of Police and the Mayor's office. He had waved for her to leave the paperwork on his desk and go on about her day. She had arched a brow and smirked at him, something that should have given him a sense of deep foreboding, but instead, he was just pleased to see that the reports she was leaving on his desk had been typed and not hand-written.
It wasn't until later, well after his call and another meeting that he was able to turn his attention to the reports. The first of them were pretty standard, weekly budget and expense forms. Another was the overtime request for her division. He scowled at that one. He couldn't argue with the results that Major Crimes got, but Raydor was getting bad about turning in the overtime after the fact, rather than allowing him to decide if they could have it before it was worked. He made a mental note to comment on that again, not that it would do him any good. She was going to do what she wanted anyway, but at least he could claim that he tried. All of his thoughts and intentions went out of his mind, however, when he saw the last form that she left on his desk.
Official Notification of Departmental Fraternization.
He stared at it for several long moments. At first he thought that it was a joke, or that it had gotten mixed in with her reports by mistake. Someone else must have surely left that on his desk. It could not belong to Raydor.
Then Taylor actually read it. Twice. He knew now why she had smirked at him in the way that she had.
The form was filled in, completed, as it should be. Every I was dotted and every T was crossed. There were no gaps; there were no points for misinterpretation. There were also two very distinct signatures in place on the form. For about half a second Taylor hoped that she was turning it in for Sykes, but then he remembered that the department already had one of those on file for Amy. She was involved with Chuck Cooper. That just proved to remind him how often he saw these particular forms.
Relationships were not forbidden, just so long as they were reported to the appropriate parties.
That was exactly what Raydor had done. She was reporting her involvement with another department employee to her immediate supervisor. Not just any employee, oh no, he couldn't get that lucky. In hindsight, Taylor figured he should have seen this coming. He wasn't blind, and despite what some might think, he was not an idiot either. He had been witness to the looks, the smiles, and even the flirting.
Now it was official. Raydor and Flynn were dating. At least, they were dating on paper. They were dating for a whole year before that, but Taylor just let it go. So they went out to dinner? What was the big deal? It wasn't like they were going to be acting physically inappropriate in the office. They were the last two people that he expected to find making out in a break room. At their ages, he wondered what, exactly, had changed that she was turning that form in now.
Taylor decided that it probably had a lot to do with timing. There had been the divorce, and then Rusty's adoption. He thought this form probably would have crossed his desk a lot sooner if it hadn't been for the Stroh situation. Whatever it was, Taylor never actually cared what was going on with those two behind the scenes. They were what, sixty? Well, he knew Flynn was probably up there in age, or just about at the very least. Raydor was closer to his own age, and if he was honest, probably a year younger. They had both come up through the academy within a year of each other.
The only problem with it was that now he couldn't needle her about it. She left the form, and now it was official. He couldn't exactly call her in to his office to poke at her, and he wasn't going to step into her lair to do it either. It was a missed opportunity. Dammit. She won this round. She knew it too. Taylor resolved to work harder at winning the next one. She didn't let him have many, but by god the next one would be his.
Russell talked the situation over with his wife on their way to dinner that night. After she finished laughing at him, she told him to be patient. He would get his opportunity for payback. Maybe. Of course, then he remembered that Cassandra and Sharon had once been thick as thieves, back when Ricky Raydor had played little league with their eldest son Christopher. Naturally Cassie would be on Sharon's side. It was why he was glad that the boys had grown up, moved on, and didn't hang out together anymore. Those two women always ganged up on him when they were together.
So bide his time he had. Taylor was sure that the opportunity to get even with Raydor would present itself at some point. He would just wait and exploit it when it happened. In the meantime, there was work to be done. The murders never stopped. Neither did the overtime, although he did remind her that their budget was very tight. Of course, she just smiled and told him that they would try to remain mindful of that. Like hell they would. Damn that woman. She did give him a headache sometimes.
Raydor was the last thing on his mind on that particular Saturday evening, however. He had promised his wife a night out away from their teenage son and his friends. Michael had been a surprise. The age difference between him and his older brother and sister was considerable enough to have made it almost feel like they were starting over when he came along. Christopher had ten years on his brother, and Serena was only thirteen months younger than him. It had definitely been interesting, having one child still in elementary school while the other two were off to college. At a time when they should have been very much done with PTA, ball games, and carpool, it was still going strong.
It made the moments when they could get away together all the more important, and enjoyable. So when his Cassie asked for a night out, he gave her a night out. He took her to a trendy jazz club downtown. She had wanted to go for a while now, and he had been putting it off. When he saw how she had dressed for the evening, Russell kicked himself for waiting. His Cassie was still a beautiful woman, even if they were both now on the back slide of middle age. She had worn the green dress he liked, and although the credit card bill would make him wince, he noticed that the shoes were new and that she had gotten her hair done. She beamed at him for noticing, so he would swallow back the complaints later when the bill came in.
He focused on having a good time. That wasn't a difficult thing to do. They danced and they laughed, and as they left the club, his wife snuggled in to his side. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and jiggled his keys in his other hand while they strode to their car. The parking lot behind the club was dark, lit by only a few security lamps. As they moved through the rows of cars, he spied a couple leaning against a dark sedan. He shook his head and huffed a sigh. He was looking forward to getting his hands on his wife, but there was a time and a place for that. A darkened parking lot was not it. A man should treat a woman better than that, he thought, particularly if he cared about her, or what other people thought of her.
Taylor turned his gaze away, but not without noticing that the woman had her hand fisted in his hair. Her head was thrown back; dark hair cascaded around her shoulders while the man's head was turned in to her neck. Her back was arched, and as they passed, they noticed the man's hand sliding beneath the hem of her short, black dress. Taylor snorted in derision. His wife chuckled. Maybe he was getting old and set in his ways, but he saw enough of the crap that went on in this city. He didn't need to be witness to couples making out in public when they could be making out in private.
"Hey buddy," He called, despite his wife nudging him with her elbow. "Maybe you should save some of that for when you take her home."
"Russell!" His wife shook her head at him, but her eyes were sparkling. "Let them be."
The man's head popped up and turned toward them. Eyes widened. "Chief!"
Taylor felt his jaw drop open. He stopped walking and stared. He felt his wife stumble into him and he shook his head. "For crying..." He heaved a sigh. "Buzz!" Now he didn't feel at all bad for interrupting the couple's fun. He would have expected better out of that particular individual. Taylor shook his finger at the younger man. "Go home," He admonished. His gaze flickered over to the young woman who was poking her head out from around the cameraman's shoulder. "Take your girlfriend and-" He trailed off when her face moved out of the shadow of Buzz's form. He blinked a few times. Then he felt his brows draw into a scowl. "Does your mother know you're in town?"
Emily Raydor smoothed her dress down and stepped out from around her date. "Not yet." She looked duly chastised for her behavior, and the fact that she managed to sneak home without informing her mother of that fact. "I was going to call her in the morning," she said, and that was true enough. She was going to tell her mother that she was home at some point during the next day. She just wasn't necessarily there to see her mother. "It's a surprise," Emily added, and hoped that her mother wouldn't hear about it before she had a chance to call her.
"Oh, I think she'll be surprised all right." Taylor frowned at the pair of them. He waved a hand at them. "Does she know about this?" Somehow he didn't think so, considering the fact that he had not heard about it. There wasn't a lot that went on in the Department that he didn't eventually find out about. He wasn't the resident gossip king for nothing! When Buzz looked away and shifted uncomfortably Taylor sighed again. "That's what I thought. You," he pointed at the young man, "take her home, and you call your mother," he instructed Emily, "and the both of you had better come clean before Monday morning. Or I will."
"Now Russell," his wife laid a hand on his arm. She gave him an indulgent smile. "Leave them alone. They're young. Let them have their fun." Cassandra shook her head, and then offered a brighter smile at Emily. She hadn't seen the girl in more than five years. Not since the boys stopped playing baseball together. "It was good to see you, Emily. Mister Watson. Have a good evening," she turned and gave her husband a pointed look. She nudged him in the direction of their car.
He grumbled, but let his wife push him along. "You heard me," he called back to them, determined to have the last word. It wasn't necessarily that he thought it was any of his business, but if it were his daughter, he would want to know what she was up to. He would also want to know if one of his employees was putting his hands all over her. He imagined that little Emily's mother would want to know that too. He would give them the rest of the weekend to tell her, and then he'd have a chat with Sharon himself. Someone had to do it. Heaven only knew the girl's father wouldn't bother.
He took care of his own. He would worry about getting even with the Captain another time.
They watched the couple disappear around the side of an SUV. Silence stretched between them, only broken by the sound of car doors being closed. Emily turned and pressed her face into his shoulder. Her hand gripped his upper arm while her shoulders shook with laughter. "Your face!"
"Oh my god." He groaned as he covered it with his hand. His head bowed and his shoulders slumped. "I do not believe this." Sneaking around had never been his idea. He knew that they would be caught, but Emily had not wanted her mother to know about them yet. He wanted them to come clean from the beginning, so that there wouldn't be any need for subterfuge or worry. Emily had put forth a reasonable and logical explanation that changed his mind. At least, at the time it seemed reasonable. Now he was questioning whether or not he just let her maneuver him into the worst possible set of circumstances that their relationship could have been conducted in.
It was all something of an accident, really. It began the previous Christmas. While he was walking around wearing his very green face, and trying to forget that he was going to have to sport it for another few days, Rusty insisted on drawing attention to it during the impromptu Christmas party.
"Buzz, what happened to your face?" The teenager was looking at him, wide-eyed and just a little bit worried.
He sighed heavily and suppressed the urge to stomp his foot in frustration. "Lieutenant Provenza," he grumbled, and decided that should be explanation enough.
Rusty's brows shot into his hairline. He looked across the break-room, where the Lieutenant was talking to his friend Patrice and Lieutenant Tao. "I don't understand," Rusty began. "What did he do to you?"
"He ignored me." Buzz waved him off. "It was nothing, Rusty. Don't worry about it. It's going to fade in a couple of days."
"A couple of days?" Rusty shook his head. "Oh man." He offered a sympathetic smile. "I'm really sorry. I guess that's really going to make Christmas dinner with your parents interesting."
Buzz thought about the jokes that his sister would make and rolled his eyes. "You have no idea," he said dryly.
"Rusty." His sister had appeared beside him then. "Ricky and I were thinking about giving Mom her gift now," while she spoke, her gaze shifted to look at the man her brother was speaking to. Her eyes widened and before she could stop it, she snorted a giggle. Emily slapped a hand over her mouth. "I'm so sorry. What, um…" She wriggled her fingers at his mostly green face. "Did you know that you have something green…"
Buzz sighed. He rolled his eyes heavenward while his shoulders slumped. "Yes. I am aware. Thank you." He might have been blushing, but it was hard to tell beneath the dye stains.
Rusty laughed. "He was injured in the line of duty. It was a drive-by coloring. They're very dangerous this time of year."
Emily pressed her fingers to her lips again, but she couldn't stifle the giggle. Her hazel eyes sparkled at him. "Rusty, be nice," she admonished.
"What?" He looked at her. "This is nice! Besides, it's just Buzz." He grinned. "Don't worry, he said it would wear off in a couple of days. Did you and Ricky need me for something?"
"What?" She was still staring at the green-faced man. Emily blinked and looked at her new brother. "Oh. Right." She shook her head. "We were thinking about giving mom our gift now, this way Ricky and I can do the Christmas thing with our father in the morning," she almost rolled her eyes as she said it, "while mom sleeps in. After all this murder, Santa stuff," she said, waving her hands in the air in front of her, "I think she probably needs the rest. We can do our family Christmas with her tomorrow, at dinner, and not feel like we have to rush out to see dad."
It would also limit the amount of time that they had to spend with him, Rusty realized. He nodded at her. "I'm okay with that," he told her. He was really surprised that they were even including him in the decision. "Actually, I think she will enjoy it a lot more."
"Great." Emily gestured behind her. "So, let's go do that then." She started to back away, but her gaze found Buzz again. She smiled, and the barely contained laughter was lighting up her eyes once more. "Baking soda and dishwashing soap."
He frowned at her. "What?" Buzz tilted his head, confused. "I don't understand."
Emily gestured toward his face. "Baking soda and dishwashing soap. Make a paste; use some cotton balls or an old toothbrush. It will probably come off."
"Really?" His brows lifted in surprise. "Doctor Morales said it would have to wear off," he told them.
"I don't think Doctor Morales has ever dyed his hair before," Emily said. "Just trust me. Try it." As she turned, she shot a smirk back at him. "The worst that can happen is that your mother has a Grinch in her Christmas pictures."
"Oh god." Buzz sighed. "Hey Rusty, beware of sisters, they're evil," he called after them.
He tried her suggestion that night. It had taken a couple of applications, and while it didn't remove the green dye completely, it did fade considerably. Buzz sent a text to Rusty asking him to thank Emily for the idea. It had almost worked. His face wouldn't stand out quite so much in the family pictures that his mother would be taking the next day.
To Buzz's surprise, the following morning, an hour before he was to leave to meet his family for the holiday, his doorbell rang. He was surprised to find Rusty there, along with both of the teenager's siblings.
"Christmas with their dad was a bust," Rusty explained, but left it at that. "We're hanging out so Sharon doesn't find out."
"Don't ask." Ricky found a chair and dropped into it with a sigh. He didn't want his mother to know that his father had been completely trashed by the time that they had gotten there. Instead, he picked up Emily, who insisted on bringing her bags with her, and they had gone back to the Condo. Their mother was still asleep, and they didn't want to spoil the festive mood that they knew she would be in. Rusty still thought that they should tell her everything, so they convinced him to come out with them. Anything to get him away from their mom before the news could be shared.
It was Emily that suggested they go and see his friend. She wanted to see the results of her suggestion; she stood in front of him, and despite the way that he fidgeted under her scrutiny she studied his face closely. The green had faded. It didn't stand out quite so starkly against his skin. "Almost. But not good enough for family pictures."
"I don't know what else I can do." Buzz shrugged at her. "I used your disgusting paste twice. Anymore and I'm going to start to smell like a janitor's closet."
Emily laughed at him. She held up the makeup bag that she brought in. "Well, maybe we can avoid that. Come with me." She took his hand and drew him into his kitchen. It was a small space. His apartment wasn't that big. Somehow, it was still nicer than her father's place. Emily placed the cosmetics bag on the counter and drew him toward the sink. The baking soda was still sitting on the countertop beside it. "Stand still," she instructed him.
"Wow." Buzz sighed as she backed him into the corner of the cabinets. "Who knew bossy was genetic," the sarcasm filled his tone, and he let it.
"So is my sense of occasion," she snarked back at him. "I'm just trying to save your poor mother the hours she will have to spend photo-shopping the family pictures." Actually she was doing it because Rusty was all worried about him, and she wanted to do something nice for her new brother. Perhaps to make up for the fact that she knew that he was right, but she and Ricky were stubbornly trying to protect their mother anyway. "Now hold still," she ordered.
Buzz rolled his eyes at her, but he stood perfectly still while she mixed up another bowl of the strong smelling cleaning paste. She scrubbed at his skin with it in a way that made him scowl at her, but she just smiled serenely. When she began to hum a Christmas tune, he just folded his arms across his chest and tried not to laugh. The sense of occasion was definitely genetic, he decided.
Afterward, with his skin looking only a pale shade of sickly green rather than Grinch-stealing-green, Emily sat him down at his dining room table. Her brothers looked on, and had a great deal of fun at his expense, when she began using concealer and foundation to hide what remained of it. Buzz wound up looking a lot more like himself, although he was still going to have to explain to his family why he was wearing makeup to Christmas dinner. It was a lot better than showing up green-faced.
Emily was still in town for the rest of the week. He took her to dinner two nights later to thank her, and by that time he hadn't even needed makeup to look normal. It wasn't a date, but they had a very good time that evening. It wasn't even a secret. Rusty had teased him about it, but Buzz hadn't cared. He was only being nice, thanking her in a way that was appropriate.
What Rusty was not aware of was that they two of them continued talking afterward. Emily's new contract with the Ballet Company had given her more flexible hours. She was able to visit her mother more often. The next time that she was in town, they went on their first date.
They were both aware that long distance relationships were difficult, but theirs was casual and flirty. They had a lot of the same interests, and they were able to talk and laugh, and banter, about a great many subjects. Emily's schedule in New York had always been incredibly busy anyway; she was never much for the dating scene. She was too focused on her career. The guys that she had dated were not willing to understand that they would not be her focus. Those relationships always ended in the same way. So it was a bit of a relief to be able to date someone who understood that her time was not just limited, but that they would only see each other sparingly; someone who was as equally focused on his own career.
When they were apart, they could text or email. There were skype chats or evening phone calls. When they were together, they were better able to focus their attention on each other. Emily had started making a point of flying home at least once a month, now that she could. It allowed her to see her mother more, and to get to know this new brother of hers, but it also gave her the opportunity to keep a long distance relationship alive. She was not the only one travelling for the sake of their relationship, although it was harder for Buzz to get away, especially now that he was in Reserve Officer training. They both did their best, though, and that was all that they could ask.
Buzz never set out to have a secret relationship with his boss's daughter, but every time he mentioned bringing it out into the open, Emily disagreed with him. It was never the right time, she told him. Her mother was so worried about everything that was happening with Rusty, she had not wanted to add to that. Not that she thought that her mother would have an issue with them, but it could wait. It could be theirs for a little while longer, and when the timing was better, she would tell her mother about them.
"You're going to have to tell her now," Buzz said. He looked down at the laughing woman beside him. "There is no way you're getting out of it this time."
Emily lifted her head. She shook her hair back and hummed thoughtfully. "Well, I probably could, but I was going to tell her anyway." She flashed a smug smile at him. "Don't look so worried! Everything will be fine. My mother adores you." She slipped her arms around his waist and leaned into his side. "We are perfectly competent and consenting adults. Besides, the most important thing for you to remember is that I adore you." She tugged her bottom lip between her teeth. Her eyes sparkled while her hand slipped slowly down his front.
He groaned. He captured her wrist and turned her toward the car. "I'm taking you home before you get us arrested."
Emily laughed as he guided her into the car. She waited for him to join her on the driver's side. "I worry about you. You're always so concerned about doing everything right. Life doesn't have to be perfect, you know. It's okay for it to get a little messy."
"I know that." He arched a brow at her. "But why get arrested for indecent exposure when I can spend the whole night having a good time?"
Her lips pursed. "Good point." She sat back in her seat with a smile. "Why aren't you driving yet?"
Buzz laughed as he turned the car on and put it in gear. "You are trouble," he decided, and not for the first time. She only laughed at him, but the car was barely down the block and headed toward his apartment before she was leaning over the center console and kissing his neck. He really didn't mind her brand of trouble.