A gift to the wonderful Captainvegemite to make her feel better. Enjoy!
Sharon stared at the occupants of the murder room, her arms firmly crossed over her chest. Half a dozen things crossed her mind, not a single one of which was cordial or even remotely nice. Instead, her thoughts were as far from nice as possible. Heeding a lesson her mother had taught her long ago, she elected to remain silent and stare.
"Did you hear what I said, Captain?" Chief Johnson's voice easily cut through Sharon's thoughts, adding another dozen insults to her thoughts.
"Yes," she finally answered, drawing the single word out to procrastinate on saying anything else. She finally sighed and shifted her weight from one leg to another. "There's any number of warm bodies in the LAPD you could use for this operation." She paused. "Chief, you have five people on your own team. Why do you need another body anyway?"
Chief Johnson all but stamped her foot and looked heavenward. "We know our suspect is going to be at the state fair tonight, but it's too much ground to cover on our own. Between you and the SIS officers, we might be able to catch him."
"Shut the fair down and send in uniforms." Sharon shrugged but stopped midway.
"Because that would—"
"Alert and possibly spook him, I know," she interrupted. The thinking involved in Internal Affairs was a different line than Major Crimes and it sometimes took her a few moments to switch tracks. "I don't have a choice, do I?" She turned her gaze to Pope standing on the outskirts.
"No," he answered easily. Sharon resisted the urge to roll her eyes, wondering why everyone involved with Major Crimes was so petulant.
She shook her head and loosened her arms before spreading them to the division. "I'm at your disposal, then, Chief."
"Captain Raydor, it may help to have your presence. It could avoid any use of force issues in the future," Pope explained.
"I'm sure." She shook her head and stepped closer to the group. "Carry on with your briefing."
A few hours later, Sharon found herself surrounded by families, bright lights, and loud fair music. The smell of fried food overwhelmed her, but she still found herself craving a funnel cake. The craving faded to the back of her mind as her companion stepped up behind her.
"We're supposed to look like a couple," Flynn grumbled, glancing at her sideways.
"Couples don't always hold hands," she countered, thinking of her own husband. Hell, they could fight in the middle of the fair and look like a couple.
"We need to at least blend in."
"Lieutenant, there are several hundred people here. We'll blend in." She shoved her hands into her the pockets of her jeans to further discourage him from trying anything.
He shook his head and pulled out a couple of paper red tickets for the rides. "Might as well find something to do. We're going to be here a while." He looked around and Sharon watched him.
None of the rides looked particularly entertaining, obviously intended for a much younger audience. After getting jostled by the passing crowd, he finally made a decision and touched her arm before pointing to the ferris wheel.
"It'll give us a good view of the fair," he offered.
She hesitated, glancing from him to the ferris wheel. "Fine," she reluctantly agreed, her fingers balling into a fist as much as they could in her pockets.
He led the way and after a short wait in line, handed their tickets over to the worker. He didn't bother to help her into the carriage and she didn't ask for help, cringing a little when it rocked as they sat down. The ride continued moving and she kept her gaze inside, focused on her fingers, her jeans, anything but the view outside.
Flynn shifted to lean against the wall, his arms and head leaning out as he looked around. She raised her eyes a little to watch him, immediately looking down when his movements caused the carriage to rock. He moved again and the carriage continued rocking, Sharon's stomach flipping unpleasantly.
"You're not going to get a view if you're looking down," he grunted before pausing.
She looked up and saw the grin briefly flash across his face. "No—"
He slowly started rocking back and forth, the carriage starting to mimic his motions. The rocking increased and a barely audible creaking came from above them. Sharon's hands jerked out to grab on to anything, one hand gripping the edge of the carriage and the other his leg. She dug her nails in and held on as tightly as she could, her eyes squeezed shut. The rocking continued.
"Andrew Flynn, if you don't stop this moment, I swear to God!" Her voice flew up through the octaves and she held on even harder, surprised when everything started to go still.
There was silence between them, even the carnival music softened from their distance above it. She slowly opened her eyes but didn't let go of him or the carriage, her heart pounding away in her chest.
"You don't like heights," he finally said, his voice carrying some emotion she couldn't identify.
"No," she admitted, hating how shaky her voice was.
She started to let go of his leg, but stopped when she felt his hand rest over hers. "I'm sorry." She looked up at him, surprised by the obvious regret on his face. "It was… I'm an asshole."
"You are," she huffed, her hand on the carriage loosened as he held her other hand tighter. "If I don't look, it's not as bad… The rocking though, that's what makes you a real—"
"Horse's ass, dick, jerk," he supplied, giving her hand a firm squeeze.
"I'm sorry." He very carefully moved so they were sitting on the same side, never letting go of her hand. "I can offer you a distraction, if it helps?"
"You deserve a slap, not a conversation," she muttered.
"A slap counts as a distraction, does it not?" She looked at him and something in his eyes told her he'd let her do it.
Her hand twitched—the one he still held—and she sighed. "No… I just want to find the suspect and get out of here. Fairs aren't the same when you don't have kids.
"I don't think kids are necessary, just the right company." He raised an eyebrow and gave her hand a firm squeeze. "And some distance from the ferris wheel."
"What are you offering?" she asked hesitantly.
"That this could still be… fun, even if it's for work." He smiled and she found herself staring at him, wondering how he went from complete asshole to this.
"Haven't you heard? IA doesn't know how to have fun," she huffed.
"Oh, but you're not officially here with the rat squad. You're part of Major Crimes tonight." He easily hurdled over her barrier.
She found herself considering his offer; they were going to have a long night without a miracle, what harm could a little fun do? As long as she was careful with the hot-headed Lieutenant.
"Okay," she agreed.
He smiled and glanced over the edge. "We're almost down. Are you hungry at all?"
"I've been craving a funnel cake ever since I got out of my car," she admitted.
"Captain Raydor has a sweet tooth?" He sounded completely surprised and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes.
"I am human, you know."
"Oh, I know. A wicked witch wouldn't be afraid of heights." He raised his eyebrows at her and she gave in to her urge.
His words lingered in the back of her mind as he helped her off the ferris wheel and they climbed off the platform, his hand somehow still holding hers. She didn't pull it back, instead enjoying the comfort of a large, warm hand around hers.
They found a vender selling funnel cakes and ordered one topped with strawberries, syrup, and enough powdered sugar to alert a K-9. They got lucky and found a two-person table, settling across from each other with the cake between them.
Sharon gently picked off a piece and dipped it in the strawberry syrup before she ate it. A soft hum slipped out and her eyes closed as she chewed and swallowed, her craving happily satisfied.
"You look like you haven't had one of those in ages," he commented.
"I haven't." She shrugged and took another piece, watching as he dipped his finger in the powder sugar and licked it clean.
"When was the last time you were here? Or at a fair in general?" He dipped the same finger in the syrup and she rolled her eyes, but didn't find herself disgusted or annoyed.
"Oh, god." She shook her head and rested her elbow on the table to lean forward. "I think I brought my son and his girlfriend here. So, fifteen years?"
"You brought your son and his girlfriend." He raised an eyebrow and laughed a little, finally eating a piece of the funnel cake.
"It was their freshman year. Neither of them could drive and I wasn't going to leave them here alone," she defended.
"Oh, so you were one of those helicopter parents."
"I was not!" She glared at him and ate another piece out of spite.
"Definitely sounds like you were. Following them around on dates." He laughed and his hand came to rest on hers again.
"You're ridiculous. Once Ricky learned to drive, he took himself on dates." She shrugged and licked her fingers clean. She looked up to find Andy watching her, funnel cake halfway to his mouth. She blushed and cleared her throat, causing him to continue his movement and eat. "What about you?"
"Oh, I wasn't a helicopter parent. Quite the opposite, actually." He looked down at their plate and Sharon shook her head, well acquainted with his past.
"I meant the last time you've been to a fair," she corrected, turning her hand over to squeeze his.
"Oh. That." He shook his head and some of his smile returned. "Probably closer to twenty years. Not since my kids were little and still wanted to go places with me."
"Suppose we should make some good memories out of this and do our jobs." She smiled and they lapsed into silence, Andy focused on the people around them and Sharon torn between him and the crowd.
They resumed walking around once they finished off the funnel cake, hands to themselves but their shoulders brushing occasionally with how closely they walked. Sharon found herself getting lost in memories from watching little kids run circles around their parents, darting in between legs and large stuffed animal prizes. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a large stuffed kangaroo which caused her to stop walking so she could turn and see it better.
"Captain Raydor?" Andy pushed his way through the crowd to make his way back to her side, his hand grabbing her arm and turning her gaze away from the prize.
"You might as well call me Sharon," she murmured, still distracted.
He stared at her for a moment and then followed her line of sight, laughing when he finally saw it. "That's an odd prize. Normally, there's bears and shit, right?"
"Normally," she hummed. "He's kind of cute."
"Cute?" He looked back at her and raised an eyebrow.
"I want to try to win it."
"The team is gonna give you shit if they see you carrying that around," he said immediately, surprised when she only shrugged and pushed her way through the crowd to the booth.
He followed behind her, taking in the rigged carnival game. She offered up the tickets to the person behind the booth and started playing, Andy happy to watch and cheer her on. She got into the game, occasionally glancing back at him and smiling. Despite her enthusiasm and his encouragement, she didn't get remotely close to winning the large kangaroo. Instead, she was awarded a small pink bear.
"It's soft and cute," he admitted as he rubbed the bear's arm.
"It's not the kangaroo." She shrugged and hugged the bear close with one arm, her gaze moving up his body to meet his eyes.
"What, do you have a thing for kangaroos?" He couldn't help but chuckle, but there was no amount of judgement in his voice.
"They're cute. What more reason do I need?" She shrugged again and moved a little closer to them as they resumed walking.
They walked in silence, both taking in the people around them and the surrounding rides and booths. Suddenly, Sharon tugged on Andy's arm and turned them around. He moved willingly, knowing she saw something.
"That's him, isn't it?" She lowered her voice even though there was no chance of the suspect hearing them. "And he has the girl with him."
"Shit, you're right." He reached for the walkie in his back pocket. "Keep an eye on him," he said to her before he held the walkie up. "This is Flynn, we found him and the girl. We're by the…" He looked around, trying to find something distinctive to give their location.
"We're an aisle to the west of the ferris wheel entrance," Sharon offered.
Andy repeated the directions into the walkie and waited for confirmation from Chief Johnson. As they watched, the suspect started to move away from them. Sharon grabbed his hand and slowly trailed after him, struggling to see over the crowd.
"We need to take him now before we lose him," she finally said.
Andy sighed, but nodded his agreement. "We don't know if he's armed. He could take anyone around him down."
"No, up ahead." Sharon jumped up a little and nodded her head to the right. "There's an opening between the tents. We can force him in there and away from people."
"Tao should be here soon for backup."
"We need to go now." Her voice was firm and she looked at him.
The started forcing their way through the crowd, Sharon accidentally dropping the bear as she reached for her gun and kept it concealed. Andy did the same, both barely keeping sight of their suspect as they approached their only opening. Since she was smaller, Sharon was able to squeeze through the crowd a little easier and reached their suspect first.
She grabbed his arm with her free hand, her gun hidden by her leg on their other side. "Harrison Torres, LAPD. Come with me."
Andy reached Sharon and the suspect as Harrison tackled her to the ground. Her gun skidded away in the dirt and the crowd of people dispersed with loud screams. Harrison started to sprint away once he picked himself up off Sharon, but Andy managed to grab on to him and force him back down. He pulled out his handcuffs and cuffed his hands behind his back, quickly rattling off his Miranda rights as he did.
By the time he finished, Tao and Buzz arrived. Tao helped Andy up while Buzz started crowd control. Andy pushed their suspect off on the other lieutenant and turned to find Sharon starting to sit up. He knelt beside her and tilted her head, looking for any sign of injury.
"I'm fine," she muttered, instinctively swatting his hand away.
"You were just tackled by someone twice your size." He continued searching over, sighing when he saw she was gripping her ankle. "You need to have the paramedics look you over."
"I said I'm—"
"It's the rules," he interrupted, knowing she wouldn't argue against the rulebook.
She sighed and shook her head. "Will you at least help me up? I'd rather your team not see me on the ground."
"Of course. Lean on me to keep the weight off your ankle."
He gently helped her up and wrapped his arm around her waist, his hold tightening a little as she leaned into his side and kept her right leg up. He started to help her over to one of the booths but she stopped and tangled her fingers in his shirt.
"My gun." She gestured back behind them, worried when she didn't immediately spot her weapon.
"We'll find it, but you need to sit down first."
"Andy." He sighed at the firmness in her voice and nodded.
He helped her over to where she had lost her gun and left her to lean against the booth while he looked around, quickly finding it halfway under the table. He picked it up and slipped it into her hidden holster, pretending he didn't hear how her breath hitched when he accidentally touched her bare skin.
"Now will you see the paramedics?" he asked.
"Is the suspect handled?" She looked at him, pain barely hidden in her expression.
"He's with Tao." He glanced over at Tao and the suspect and amended his statement. "Tao, Julio, and the Chief. He's handled."
"Okay," she agreed, her voice softening.
Andy quickly explained to Julio where they were going as they walked by his team, Sharon limping along beside him. He wanted to pick her up and carry her to save her pain, but he knew she would vehemently oppose that. Instead, he helped her as much as he could to the end of the aisle where the first aid station was.
As the paramedic took over and guided her into a chair, Andy realized she wasn't holding her bear. He made sure she wasn't paying attention and was in good hands before he snuck off, returning to his team and the site of the arrest.
He started looking around for the pink bear, but couldn't find any sight of it. Tao came up behind him and cleared his throat.
"Uh." He cleared his throat and looked back at him. "Sharon—Raydor—dropped something. I'm looking for it while she's getting cleared by paramedics."
"What did she drop?"
"A bear…." he answered hesitantly.
"A bear?" Mike started to laugh, but Andy glared at him. "Right. I haven't seen anything."
"Damn it." He sighed and shook his head. "Is Chief Johnson gonna miss me?"
"Probably not right now. Buzz is grabbing an officer and a car to escort him to booking. We're just about clear for the night and we'll interview him in the morning. Unofficially, though. Chief hasn't cleared us yet."
"Cover for me if she does miss me." He didn't stick around to see Mike's response and instead headed along the aisle in search of the bear.
He made it to the game she won the bear at with no sign of it, and looked up to see the stuffed kangaroo looking at him. He raised an eyebrow at himself and dug around in his pocket for the tickets or his wallet.
Sharon sighed heavily as the paramedic wrapped up her foot and ankle, suggesting she rest it for a few days and not drive home. She looked up, shocked when Andy wasn't waiting there. Her earlier emotions about the night evaporated, leaving a sick taste in her mouth. She thanked the paramedic and carefully stood up, testing her weight on her foot.
She winced but powered on, taking slow steps out of the tent. Before she got too far, someone moved in front of her and blocked her path. Ready to snark at whoever it was, she was surprised to recognize Andy's shirt.
"Where do you think you're going?" he asked softly.
"Home," she answered, her brow furrowing a little. "Unless Chief Johnson has a complaint?"
"You were tackled by the suspect so unless you want to file charges, you're free to leave." He paused and looked down at her wrapped ankle. "Although, I don't think you should be walking or driving with that."
"I don't have much of a choice," she huffed, arching an eyebrow.
"I can help you to my car and I don't mind driving you home," he offered. "I need you to hold something for me though."
He moved his arms from behind his back and offered the large stuffed kangaroo. Her eyes quickly moved from the stuffed animal to his face, trying to process what was going on and what he was doing.
"I can't carry both that and you. Oh, and I don't think I have any room at home for it, so I might need you to hold on to it for a while." He could barely contain his grin.
"Andy…" She slowly reached out and took the animal easily half her size, her arm tightly wrapped around its neck. "You didn't have to do this…"
"No, I didn't." He shrugged and wrapped his arm around her waist. "I wanted to."
A small but pained smile crossed her face as she leaned into his side, allowing him to escort her through the fair to the parking lot. Confused tinged her feelings, wondering what Andy's intentions were and how far she could or should let things go. Deciding to leave those thoughts for another day, she held to both Andy and her prize.