Disclaimer- I own nothing I wish I did but I just get to play with the characters.

Comfortable

(Takes place sometime towards the end of the 8th season)

"Hello" Robert Strickland called as he entered the UCOS office on a path towards Sandra's office.

"Sir normally I would never stop you but you do not want to go in there. She's mad as hell." Gerry quickly warned him. The younger man stopped in his tracks looking between the two men sitting at their desks and the office ahead with the blinds and door closed.

"What did you do?" he asked the men with a sigh.

"Oh this has nothing to do with us." Gerry told him professing their innocence.

"She came in this morning ranting and raving and immediately shut herself up in there." Jack spoke up trying to explain the situation to him better than Gerry had.

"Brian is hiding in the file room after she yelled at him for droning on about something. I don't even remember what." Gerry added further creating a picture in Strickland's mind of how the morning had progressed.

"Did she give any indication what this is all about?" He asked concerned about the woman who was holed up in her office.

"No" Jack said shaking his head.

"I thought I heard her say that men were the scum of the earth followed by some choice words but that doesn't really narrow it down." Gerry told them with a grimace.

"At least to you it doesn't" Jack snorted.

"And she has been in there all morning?" Strickland asked trying to gather as much information as he could.

"She came out once to get coffee and then we thought she might break her cup when the water wasn't ready." Gerry answered him this time.

"She also came out to go to the loo and yell at Brian but other than that, no she hadn't come out nor has she spoken to us since" Jack confirmed. "She won't answer any of our questions and doesn't appreciate our attempts to help her."

"Well then" he said taking a deep breath and making a split second decision. "Jack, you and Gerry take Brian and go out to get some coffee." He told them with determination in his eyes.

"What are you going to do?" Jack inquired skeptically.

"I'm going in there" he replied firmly.

"You sure you want to do that?" Gerry questioned.

"I need to talk to her plus someone should check on her and it is actually part of my job." He replied sounding less sure of his decision as he spoke. Yet he knew this was the only choice.

"Your funeral, I will say you are brave, stupid, very stupid, but brave." Gerry told him as he stood and put his coat on.

"Thank you Gerry, bring her something back" he requested.

"Sure, you want anything even though you will likely be dead and unable to enjoy it?" Gerry asked him with a grin as Jack rolled his eyes at his colleagues words.

"No I'm good, thanks" he answered ignoring the older man's comments.

"Bye sir and good luck" Jack called as he ushered the other man out of the office clearly eager to get away.

"Bye" he replied before taking another deep breath. Now that he was alone he was beginning to truly second guess his decision. He had learned over the years that an angry Sandra was dangerous and best left alone.

"Oh just do it you coward" he whispered to himself. There was no question he needed to make sure Sandra was alright. Plus he had been on the receiving end of her fury before and he could weather that storm again. Robert let out another sigh and walked to her door knocking loud enough for her to hear.

"What the blood hell do you want? What part of leave me alone did you not get?" Sandra yelled from inside her office. He took that as his cue to open her door. Turning the knob he pushed it open just enough to pop his head through.

"Can I come in?" he asked calmly.

"Oh it's you-yeah sorry" she replied when she saw him. He didn't think she actually meant the sorry but he chose not to comment.

"What do you need? Please tell me those three haven't done something, or did they call you down to deal with me?" She grumbled becoming defensive. She was sitting back in her chair arms folded as anger radiating off of her. Strickland wasn't sure exactly what to think, he couldn't remember ever seeing her upset.

"No I came because I needed to talk to you about a case. Though Gerry and Jack did warn me not to come in." He informed her hoping to improve the situation and created an immediate detente.

"How wise of them. I see you didn't listen. Where did they run off to?" She huffed at him as she looked through the now open door.

"I sent them to get coffee" he answered.

"They may never come back" she warned him darkly.

"Yes they will" he countered confidently.

"How can you be sure?"

"Deep down they are worried about you, they are also frightened of you at the moment and they don't want to find out what happens if they don't come back." He told her with a grin.

"That may be, we'll see" she replied unconvinced.

"May I sit down?"

"Might as well you're here."

"Thank you" he acknowledged before taking the seat across from her. "So do you want to talk about what's wrong?" He asked carefully trying not to make her more upset.

"I thought you had a case to discuss?" she counted with a frown.

"I do but it can wait a few minutes, why don't we talk about what's wrong." He pushed her lightly, he wanted her to open up but not explode at him.

"I would rather not" she growled at him.

"You clearly need to talk to someone and you aren't talking to the guys. So who are you going to talk to?" He asked her determined not to let the issue go.

"I don't need to talk" she professed but he didn't believe her.

"Yes you do or you are going to put your fist through the wall. I can see it in your eyes and take it from me hitting walls only hurts you." He told her firmly hoping she would realize that what he said was true.

"Pain would be preferable" she grumbled.

"I know but it won't help in fact it will only make the anger worse." He advised her, once more speaking from experience.

"And talking will make it better?" She questioned not believing that his solution would actually be any better.

"Sharing allows someone else to help" he advised.

"You can't fix this" she told him, though it came out more like a threat.

"I'm not trying to fix your problem I am trying to help you deal with it and feel better." He tried to explain but she still wasn't interested in the idea he was trying to sell her.

"I would rather wallow in my anger" she snapped.

"I am sure you would but I can't let that happen" he responded calmly.

"Why not?" she demanded. Her eyes became hard as she fixed her glare on him.

"Because I'm your boss and when you recover you will not be happy to with the way you treated your team, even if they might have deserved it." He tried to convince her that she needed to listen to him ignoring her glare.

"I don't like you right now" she huffed because she knew he was correct.

"I know I won't take it personally" he assured her daring to smile.

"You are really annoying and I want nothing more than to hit you." She hissed at him as her anger reached a boil.

"Then do it" he told her seriously.

"Do you have a death wish?" she asked him in disbelief.

"No but if hitting me would make you feel better go for it." He offered rather selflessly.

"I can't hit you" she cried shocked at the idea.

"But you could hit the wall?" he asked an idea forming in his mind.

"Yes gladly" she sighed frustrated.

"Do you have gym clothes?" he inquired surprising and confusing her slightly by changing the topic.

"Yes in the car, why?" she huffed not in the mood for guessing games.

"Then come with me" he instructed instead of answering her question.

"Why?" she demanded. She was not going with him until he told her what he planned to do with her.

"So you can hit something that won't break you." He replied standing up.

"What about work?" she asked looking around surveying the office.

"Don't worry about work we'll only be an hour or two and I'm your boss" he assured her.

"Fine" she reluctantly agreed standing up and throwing her pen on the desk giving into him.

As they left he sent Jack a quick text telling him to grab lunch while they were out. He also informed the older man that he and Sandra would be stepping out for a little while. Less than twenty minutes later dressed in gym clothes the two stood in the middle of the fives court.

"I thought we were going to the gym so I could hit something like a punching bag not playing handball?" She asked confused and slightly annoyed.

"This will be better" he promised handing her a pair of gloves and choosing not to correct her on the name of the sport.

"You want me to hit that small ball with my hand?" she asked him in disbelief pointing at the ball in his hand.

"Yes" he confirmed. "We won't play fives just hit the ball" he assured her.

"And how is that better than hitting a punching bag?" she grumbled clearly not enthusiastic about his idea.

"Here you have to focus on the ball and concentrate which will allow you to dispel your anger better than just going at a punching bag. Trust me" he asked her once he explained his theory.

"I don't have much choice" she grumbled.

"Take this" he instructed holding out the ball to her. "Bounce the ball a few times then when you are ready hit it with your hand. And keep your eye on the ball, don't take your eyes off it."

"What happens if I do?"

"It will likely hit you" he warned her.

"Oh joy" she replied sarcastically.

"Put the gloves on and just give it a try please. We'll stop whenever you want" he promised.

"Fine" she huffed once more.

It took a few tries before she got the feel of the ball and found a rhythm but once she did Sandra began to smash the ball into the wall with precision. Strickland was impressed by her coordination and he simply stood there watching, waiting for the moment she would open up and talk about what was wrong.

"I hate it" she yelled after a few minutes of hitting the small ball with her gloved hand.

"What do you hate?" he asked unsure if she meant the activity or something else. His question was accented by the sound of the ball colliding with the wall.

The SMASH reverberated off the other three walls each time her hand made contacted with the ball and a BANG answered back as it impacted the concrete wall and bounded back toward her.

"I hate being treated like a fool" SMASH Sandra growled hitting the ball extra hard sending it flying wildly around the room. Robert easily caught it handing the ball back to her.

"Who treated you like a fool?" he asked as she took the ball from him. He fought his sudden desire to punch whoever treated her that way.

"Geoff" she replied smashing the ball again this time she didn't lose control and she continued to hit it over and over.

"Who is Geoff?" he asked more curious than he should have been.

SMASH…BANG

"A guy I foolishly trusted."

SMASH…BANG

"What did he do?" he asked carefully, irrational anger rising in him.

SMASH…BANG

"At first he was nice. SMASHBANG And caring. SMASHBANG Even seemed interested in what I said and what I thought."

SMASH…BANG

"What did he do?" he asked again.

SMASH…BANG

"Cheated on me. SMASH…BANG With a woman half his age. SMASH…BANG She is nothing more than a kid. SMASH…BANG She is still in university."

SMASH…BANG

"How did you find out?"

SMASH…BANG

"Yesterday after work. SMASH…BANG I went to his place. SMASH…BANG I lost an earring there. SMASH…BANG These are the only gift my mum gave me that I actually like. SMASH…BANG And this kid answered the door in lingerie. SMASH…BANG She didn't even seem to care. SMASH…BANG She handed my earring right over. SMASH…BANG Said it was digging into her knee while they were having sex." She was yelling now as her anger rolled through her body.

SMASH…BANG

"What did you do?"

SMASH…BANG

"What could I do? SMASH…BANG She was so calm. SMASH…BANG I couldn't act all crazy. SMASH…BANG Geoff tried to explain. SMASH…BANG I told him not to call me. SMASH…BANG And I got the hell out of there. SMASH…BANG Not sure if I was more upset or embarrassed."

SMASH…BANG

"Did he try and call you?" he asked.

SMASH…BANG

"Oh yes, five times last night. SMASH…BANG Seven times this morning. SMASH…BANG He can't seem to take a hint."

SMASH…BANG

"You answer any of them?"

SMASH…BANG

SMASH…BANG

At first Strickland wasn't sure she was going to answer him. Sandra just stood there hitting the ball over and over again. He chose not to interrupt or push her. She was doing what he had brought her there to do and that was enough for now.

SMASH…BANG

SMASH…BANG

SMASH…BANG

"Third call today" she answered surprising him.

SMASH…BANG

"What did he say?"

SMASH…BANG

SMASH…BANG

"He apologized for not telling me. SMASH…BANG But he didn't understand why I was so upset. SMASH…BANG He still wanted to date me. SMASH…BANG He thought we were both in it for a good time. SMASH…BANG At least I know why he was the only man SMASH…BANG I ever dated who actually SMASH…BANG wanted to wear a condom." She growled at him.

SMASH…BANG

"Was it serious in your mind?" he asked gently.

SMASH…BANG

"Yes a little I suppose." She answered after a moments hesitation.

SMASH…BANG

"Do you love him?" the words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself, he wanted to know.

SMASH…BANG

"No SMASH…BANG but I was comfortable with him. SMASH…BANG I was happy SMASH…BANG he made me feel special."

SMASH…BANG

"Was comfortable enough?"

SMASH…BANG

"Yes it was. SMASH…BANG I was happy with comfortable. SMASH…BANG It is the best I can hope for these days."

SMASH…BANG

"I find that hard to believe" he countered.

SMASH…BANG

"It's not like my life SMASH…BANG is filled with all these possibilities. SMASH…BANG No one is lining up. SMASH…BANG At this point in my life SMASH…BANG there aren't many opportunities anymore."

SMASH…BANG

"I highly doubt that" he argued.

SMASH…BANG

"Tell me SMASH…BANG how easy is it for you these days SMASH…BANG to find a date?" She asked him turning the tables on him.

SMASH…BANG

"I stopped looking."

SMASH…BANG

"Everyone is looking. SMASH…BANG Even if they say they aren't."

SMASH…BANG

"I stopped actively looking" he amended his statement.

SMASH…BANG

"And why did you do that?"

SMASH…BANG

"I know what I like. SMASH…BANG What I want and it wasn't on offer" he answered.

SMASH…BANG

"Exactly" she yelled.

SMASH…BANG

"Doesn't mean you should SMASH…BANG settle of comfortable."

SMASH…BANG

"Why? SMASH…BANG It's better than being alone."

SMASH…BANG

"I guess I can't really argue with that. SMASH…BANG. But I personally don't think you should settle for just comfortable."

SMASH…BANG

"Lately that feels like a luxury."

SMASH…BANG

"I hope it doesn't SMASH…BANG have to be."

SMASH…BANG

"Moot issue now" she yelled hitting the ball extra hard.

SMASH…BANG

He silently watched her for a moment as she violently hit the ball with her hand while he carefully chose his next words.

SMASH…BANG

SMASH…BANG

"What are you mad about?" he asked finally.

SMASH…BANG

"I'm mad he cheated."

SMASH…BANG

"Are you really?" he pushed her.

SMASH…BANG

SMASH…BANG

"No" she growled.

SMASH…BANG

"I feel like a fool. SMASH…BANG He made a fool out of me. SMASH…BANG When that kid answered the door she wasn't surprised at all. SMASH…BANG I was the only one surprised. SMASH…BANG I thought I had found someone I could talk to. SMASH…BANG Have a drink with. SMASH…BANG Relax with after work. SMASH…BANG. I thought he cared about me. SMASH…BANG He really seemed to care. SMASH…BANG But he didn't. SMASH…BANG It was nice to think someone actually care." SMASH…BANG As she spoke her saw a few tears slide down her cheeks.

"I care" he told her.

As he spoke those words she hit the small ball with all her strength and anger. And surprised by his words she turned her head and looked at him. Their eyes locked and both forgot his words of warning from earlier. Unobserved the small ball BANGED off the wall and came flying back towards her. But instead of meeting her waiting hand it collided forcefully with her right shoulder.

"Ow" Sandra cried out in pain, the force of the impact caused her to lose her balance. After a moment of shock Strickland quickly reacted pulling her into his arms terrified that she was seriously hurt.

"Sandra are you okay? Are you alright?" he cried out frantically looking her over. She was clutching her shoulder clearly in pain as more tears slid down her cheeks.

"I'm fine" she replied as she took in gasps of air trying to catch her breath.

"No you're not you're crying" he argued confused and worried. He felt terrible this was all his fault, he had brought her here. It had been his intention to help her get rid of her anger and frustration. Instead he had managed to injure her.

"I know" she sobbed unhappily. She completely gave up and dropped her head on his shoulder. In turn he pulled her close and allowed her to cry harder. Strickland was at a loss, he didn't know what to do. He wanted to make her feel better but he only seemed to be making things worse. At that moment he decided to simply let her cry and not risk causing her more problems. Silently he stood there gently rubbing her back hoping she would calm down and allow him to examine her shoulder. Time completely seemed to slip by as they stood in the middle of the fives court and neither of them seemed to notice.

"I'm not crying cause it hurts" she explained breaking the silence and surprising him.

"Does it hurt?" he asked still concerned.

"Yes quite a bit" she admitted.

"Why are you crying?" he asked. He didn't need an explanation but he sensed she wanted to tell him.

"I didn't realize how much I wanted to have dinner with someone on a regular basis, have someone to talk to and now I don't have that anymore." She told him through her tears.

"I know what you mean" he replied softly.

"And I know that Geoff really didn't care but it was nice thinking someone cared."

"I care" he said once more.

"Why?" she asked looking up at him. He had two choices, replied with some generic platitude or tell her the truth. Robert Strickland decided this was the right moment to take a risk.

"You know how I said I stopped looking for someone?" he asked her instead of answering her question.

"Yes, you said it was because what you wanted wasn't on offer." She replied, her tears were beginning to slow.

"And because I couldn't find anyone remotely like you. How could I? You are unlike anyone I've ever met. So why keep looking?" He said finally admitting the truth to her after all these years. He nervously waited for her to respond and as the silence stretched on his nerves only grew and his hopes began to fade.

"I'm sorry" she said eventually. It was not an answer he had been expecting and he just stood there holding her silently. "I don't think I'm worth it. All that consternation and trouble, I'm not worth it. I'm sorry I'm not that special." She added softly breaking eye contact.

"Yes you are, you may not be able to see it but I do" he told her firmly.

"I think you might be biased and slightly delusional." She countered looking up with a slight smile. He was once again taken by surprise and he couldn't suppress the slight laugh that escaped.

"You are probably right" he laughed again pulling her even closer to him and she rested her head on him once more. "At the risk of sounding like I am begging, will you allow me to care about you? I don't care if that makes me the rebound guy. Let me show you that you are in fact special and worth it." He truly was begging her at this point but he didn't care. This was likely the last chance he had to convince her.

"You would hardly be a rebound" she told him softly looking up with a genuine smile. She was full of surprises today.

"Does that mean you would be willing to have dinner with me some time?" he asked hoping he understood her correctly.

"Yes as long as you promise me this isn't a pity date?" she insisted.

"I promise you this is about as far away from pity as one could get. And might I say you have surprised me at least four times today."

"Really I didn't know I could manage that many after all these years" she laughed.

"I suspect you did, and did I hear you agreed to dinner?"

"Yes you did" she replied still smiling.

"You free tomorrow night?" he asked afraid that if he didn't get a specific date now she might change her mind.

"Pick me up at seven" she told him nodding.

"I'll be there" he promised. "Now are you feeling better about that tosser?" he asked her hoping he had managed to dispel her anger.

"A bit though despite your obviously better offer. I'm still mad. I know it is vanity but he made me feel so foolish" she huffed.

"So what do you want to do about it?"

"Honestly?" she asked and he nodded. "I want to put a few deep scratched in his little red sports car, destroy some of the leather interior too. Maybe even smash his head lights and slash a tire or two." She admitted with an evil glint in her eyes.

"Remind me never to get on your really bad side" he exclaimed.

"I said I wanted to do this but I know better."

"Would you settle for having his car clamped? I have a friend who owes me a favor in the traffic division." He asked and he watched her think about it for several moments.

"He will know it's me" she moaned unhappily.

"What if it didn't happen for a week or two?" he suggested.

"Are you being serious?" she asked slightly surprised.

"Yes" he assured her.

"How could I turn down such a pleasing offer." She agreed with another evil grin.

"You really are scary sometimes."

"Thank you" she countered as her smile became more friendly.

"What do you say think, we're done here?" he inquired.

"Yes I think we are" she agreed and he released her. He watched as she removed her gloves. "Here" she said as she moved to hand them to him. "Ow" she exclaimed grabbing her shoulder. During their conversation, he had completely forgot the reason she had ended up in his arms in the first place.

"I'm sorry I forgot about your shoulder" he exclaimed quickly taking the gloves from her and dropping them on the floor they were hardly important at the moment.

"That's okay" she replied but her face told another story. "I'm fine" she tried to argue but he didn't believe her, the pain was all over his face.

"Well I know you aren't fine so will you tell me how much pain you are in?" he requested.

"On a scale of one to ten I would say a seven or an eight" she told him and he believed her.

"You don't think you broke anything, do you?" he asked her concerned. He didn't know if he could forgive himself if he was responsible for breaking her shoulder.

"No I just think it is bruised" she tried to reassure him but he wasn't completely convinced.

"Can I have a look?" he asked hesitantly. For him to inspect her injury she would have to remove her shirt.

"I don't…" she mumbled blushing slightly.

"I promise to be completely honorable" he said quickly misunderstanding her reaction had to do with her modesty.

"No that's not what I meant" she laughed and he looked at her confused. "Robert my sports bra covers more than a bikini top."

"Oh…then what's wrong?" he asked very confused.

"I don't think I can get my shirt off at the moment" she admitted slightly embarrassed.

"Then let me help" he offered and she nodded. It took a little work as he tried not to cause her any more pain. Once her shirt was off he stared in horror at the giant darkening bruise encompassing a good portion of her right shoulder.

"That doesn't look good" she observed calmly looking down at the bruise clearly not as bothered by it as he was.

"Maybe you should see a doctor" he suggested feeling incredibly guilty.

"I don't think that is necessary. I will take some ibuprofen and it will go away in a few days" she assured him.

"At least let me get you an ice pack" he insisted.

"I won't turn that offer down, if you could just help me put my shirt back on" she requested.

"Of course" he agreed. "Eh... will you be able to change your clothes with that?" he asked as he helped her.

"I'm going to leave this shirt on and just change back into my jeans."

"Ah...Good thinking, I am sorry you got hurt" he apologized still feeling very guilty.

"It's not your fault you did warn me not to take my eye off the ball or I would get hurt." She reminded him.

"Yes but I distracted you" he countered.

"This is true though I am hardly blaming you for that" she said managing a weak smile.

"I still feel guilty" he whinged.

"If I let you buy me lunch can we both agree you're forgiving?"

"Deal, come one let's go" he agreed bending down to retrieve his gloves before leaving the court with Sandra by his side.

A hour later Robert and Sandra sat around her desk, the three men of UCOS were still gone though neither were surprised by their absence. She was holding an ice pack on her shoulder and the remains of their lunch was on the desk.

"Okay I have to ask is there anything you don't do?" Sandra inquired sitting back in her chair.

"What do you mean?" he questioned confused.

"You sail, you play in a band, you use to box, you play whatever the hell that game is."

"Fives" he said providing her with the answer.

"Yes that, you seem to do everything."

"You mean I never found something I love doing so I just keep trying new activities" he countered.

"I put it in a better light" she joked. "You seem to enjoy doing most of those things. At least you look like you had fun on your boat" she argued.

"I do like sailing it is peaceful on the water. Maybe if dinner goes well tomorrow I can convince you to come for a sail with me." He suggested hopefully.

"As long as the boat doesn't attack me I would like that" she agreed with a laugh.

"Don't worry I will give the boat a strong talking to first, make sure it is on it's best behavior" he replied playfully.

"Then I would be happy to go with you."

"Good, your shoulder feeling any better?" he inquired.

"The ice pack and ibuprofen have appeared to do their jobs. I can move it a bit more now." She said demonstrating by rolling her shoulder a little.

"I'm glad, I should warn you it will likely hurt worse tomorrow morning. I speak from years of experience" he told her as another twinge of guilt spread through him.

"I know, I hate to break it to you but this is hardly the first time I have been injured."

"Right sorry" he replied feeling foolish.

"Though this is the first time a tiny ball has kicked my ass" she added with a laugh.

"Oh I am all too familiar with that occurrence, that ball can be merciless. I only hope that before it hurt you it was able to help you a little."

"Yes I might be sore and tired but I am no longer furious" she assured him.

"Then I managed to do something right."

"I think you did a few things right. Yet as I recall when you first entered my office you said you needed to talk to me about a case?" She asked him and he suddenly remembered what had brought him down to her office in the first place.

"Oh yes, I had completely forgotten thank you. I wanted to congratulate you and your team for having one of the best clean up rates I have ever seen." He quickly replied over doing it slightly in his attempt to keep the conversation happier.

"Thank you but I suspect there was something else" Sandra pushed. She wasn't one to boast of her success and she could read him well enough to know he was holding something back.

"Yes there is, I need you to let me know if you are getting any negative push back or uncooperative behaviors from other teams or divisions." He requested getting down to his true purpose and regretfully the smile disappeared from his face.

"In response to our success?" she asked her brow furrowing at the thought that others might retaliated for their success. It wasn't a new idea but this was the first time Robert had brought it up to her.

"I won't lie, your team managing to solve cases others couldn't has ruffled some feathers, but unfortunately the issue is larger than that. It is possible this behavior has become systemic. MET cooperation levels have hit new lows and this needs to stop. With cyber-attacks growing and mixing with other more traditional crimes it is essential everyone works together." He explained choosing to confide in her the larger situation facing the met.

"So you want everyone to tattle on everyone else?" she joked.

"No getting them to tell isn't the problem, there are complaints in abundance, trying to find the root cause is the issue." He lamented to her with a sigh.

"No one likes someone stepping on their toes" she wisely observed.

"Well, people need to get used to it, criminals seem to be diversifying their actives and so must we."

"Lucky us, never a dull moment for the MET" she laughed darkly.

"Makes you miss the old days" he moaned.

"Don't you dare say that around those three" she warned him.

"I won't don't worry, I also want to talk to you about this case you are working on." He added wishing she hasn't reminded him of his real reasons for coming to see her hours earlier.

"Okay" she nodded sitting up in her chair.

"You believe the victims dead nephew is your murderer, correct?" he began carefully.

"It is looking like it, yes" she confirmed.

"Then I am begging you not to use all your energy trying to prove it. We can't punish the dead." He reminded her hoping she would listen to him for once.

"The family deserves to know what happened" she argued.

"And you will find out and tell them I'm sure" he agreed with her.

"But resources are limited" she finished for him sounding annoyed.

"Yes UCOS' resources are finite and by that I specifically mean the four of you. You and your team are not robots you will burn out after too much work. And I would hate for you to do that on a case where justice is not truly possible. It will only frustrate you and lower moral." He warned her and he meant it. Sandra and her team were good, very good but everyone needed to pick and choose where to spend their time so it would do the most good.

"I understand what you are saying I do, but it can be hard" she admitted to him with a sigh.

"I know, just promise me you will try" he requested.

"We will" she assured him with a smile.

"Good" he nodded returning her smiled before glancing at his watch. "I would much rather stay here with you but I have a meeting in half an hour, and I have to read some reports for it." He groaned unhappily, he really would rather have stayed with her.

"Thank you for lunch and everything you did for me I really appreciate it."

"More than happy to help sorry you got hurt though" he apologized once more.

"It's okay I'll be fine in a day or two" she assured him.

"Dinner tomorrow at seven?" he confirmed as he stood up.

"Yes and…will you be trying to sleep with me?" she asked him playfully standing up as well.

"What would you say if I did?" he asked hopefully they were now only a foot apart.

"I would be disappointed if you didn't" she countered and there was no playfulness in her voice this time.

"Good…listen Sandra I need to be honest with you. I don't do just comfortable." He informed her it had never been his style.

"I think recent events suggest I don't either" she told him and then to his surprise she leaned forward and kissed him. It was only a little more than her lips brushing over his but it held a promise of possibilities to come.

"See you later" he said softly when he had composed himself.

"Bye" she called and as he left he noticed the three other men standing in the main doorway starring at him.

"She doing better?" Jack asked him flatly.

"I believe so yes" he answered before slipping between them and out of their office.

"Sandra?" Gerry called walking towards her office as the other two followed.

"Yes Gerry" She sighed sitting down once more holding back the moan of pain that threatened to escape.

"You and Strickland have fun while we were gone?" he asked her as he eyed the remains of their lunch on her desk.

"Yes we did" she replied firmly not backing down.

"Brought you some coffee" Jack told her as he handed her a cup and all three men notice her wince as she accepted it.

"Thank you Jack" she said trying to smile.

"You weren't wearing that shirt this morning" Brian observed.

"What did you and Strickland do while we were out?" Gerry asked suspiciously.

"He took me down to the gym to hit that little ball around which is why I have a different shirt on Brian." She informed them pointing to the fives ball that still sat on her desk.

"Ah that makes sense then" the other man commented satisfied.

"He took you to play fives?" Gerry asked surprised.

"No I just hit the ball around" she corrected him.

"Which one of you got hurt?" he pushed picking up the ice pack off her desk while a smile played at his lips.

"I did, the ball hit my shoulder while it was going very fast, hurts like hell and you can all keep any comments to yourself." She warned as she caught Gerry snickering and doing a poor job hiding it.

"Are you alright?" Jack asked more concerned than his colleague.

"I have a nasty bruise but nothing permanent. That is the real reason I am still wearing this shirt it hurts too much to change." She admitted as her cheeks turned pink from embarrassment.

"Ah, I suppose that is good to hear that it isn't worse" Jack replied nodding.

"Did I see you kiss Strickland?" Gerry asked unable to hold the question back any longer. She was amazed he had managed to hold it back as long as he did.

"Yes you did" she replied daring him to make a comment about it.

"So are you done being mad then?" he questioned instead.

"I think so" she confirmed.

"Good can we close this case now?" he demanded sounding like a petulant child.

"The dead nephew clearly did it" Jack argued.

"You don't think it is possible someone else could have done it?" she asked playing devil's advocate.

"No, we have discounted all other possibilities" Brian told her firmly and she was inclined to agree with him.

"It was him not that we can do much about it now" Gerry whinged. They all hated not being able to get true justice.

"We can at least let the family know what happened" Jack pointed out and she nodded.

"Let's write it up" she replied with a hint of finality.

"You in some type of rush?" Gerry questioned a playful glint in his eye.

"Yes a nice hot bath to reduce the pain and swelling. I would like to have regained some movement by tomorrow night" she answered him.

"And what is tomorrow night?"

"I have some where to be and it is none of your business." She warned, she was not about to let him mess up her date.

"I'll bet you do" he exclaimed with a grin.

"Leave it now before I hit you" she threatened him picking up the small fives ball Strickland had left behind.

"I don't think you could in your condition. But don't worry if you're happy then we can be happy." He teased her before flashing her a genuine smile and sauntered out of her office. All Sandra could do was laugh as she played with the sports ball in her hand and marvel at how much had changed in one day.


a/n Currently I am not actively writing New Tricks fanfiction. For a while now I have been working on fanfics from other interest/fandoms. But I still have a handful of short completed fics sitting on my computer that I wanted to share. I will be posted them just in case anyone is interested in reading them. I hope they are enjoyable and I apologize for any typos still floating around. Additionally I would like to say a heart felt thank you everyone that I has read this and anything else I have written over the years...Thank you.