Disclaimer- I own nothing I wish I did but I just get to play with the characters.
A Million Reasons
"The murder squad is looking for new leadership once more" Robert Strickland said entering Sandra Pullman's office. It was nearly seven at night and the three men of UCOS had long since left for the day.
"Again? What in the world is going on up there?" she asked shaking her head.
"There has been some reshuffling, reorganizing and a few chose to take retirement. I don't blame them but that means the top position is once more open and they are specifically asking for you." He explained pacing as he spoke.
"Me?" Sandra exclaimed in shock.
"Yes, of course this would mean promotion to Chief Superintendent." He added tersely, Strickland seemed agitated and upset about something. He was stalking around more than he was pacing and he wouldn't meet her eyes, instead he kept shooting her a glare every so often when he looked up in her direction.
"When do they need an answer?" she replied evenly trying to ignore his looks.
"The sooner the better—a week, ten days at the most." He nearly growled at her. She was taken aback and confused by his attitude and she shot him a look which he ignored as well.
"I'll think about it and let you know" she told him diplomatically.
"Fine, I need to be somewhere" he huffed bolting from her office as quickly as he had arrived.
"Nice chat" she sighed softly as he disappeared.
That conversation had been a week ago and throughout intervening the week Strickland had gone out of his way to avoid Sandra and her team. And when he couldn't avoid her he stalked around like a wounded bear. Sandra thought her relationship with him had been steadily improving over the last year. They had gone to the pub—just the two of them—on a few occasions and she believed they had had a good time. The two were now on pretty friendly terms, when her three colleagues weren't around. She thought their growing feelings for each other has been slowly developing into something, possibly something more than just a friendship. Yet his serious attitude change took her by surprise. But whatever the reason, after a week of this behavior she had her fill of him and his poor attitude.
Her boys had made it clear how they felt about her possible promotion but he had avoided topic. She was now running out of time and she needed to know how he actually felt. She needed to know exactly why he was acting this way. Was it just about losing a valued officer or was it something more. It was long past the end of the day, her team had gone home leaving her alone. With a sigh she made a decision and picked up the phone.
"Hello Sandra" he answered flatly.
"Sir I need to speak with you about this promotion and the sooner the better I think." Sandra replied getting straight to the point.
"I'll be right down" He grumbled at her and hung up the phone.
A few minutes later she watched him silently slink into her office as if he had already been defeated. It was a complete change from the image he had been presenting for the week and it only filled her with hope.
"I take it you have made a decision" he said dejectedly.
"I actually haven't" she replied.
"Really?" he exclaimed perking up. "Why not?"
"I still have a few questions I need the answers to" she countered.
"Oh?" he replied and his shoulder sagged once more.
"Do you honestly want me to take this promotion?" she asked him getting right at the heart of the matter.
"I don't understand? This is your career, I want what is best for you." He argued as his eyes went wide like a deer caught in the headlights.
"And that is why you have been avoiding me and angry with me all week." She shot back at him with a pointed look.
"Ah…yes…well…it hasn't been a good week" he mumbled only loud enough for her to hear.
"This past week you and the guys have given me about a million reasons why I should take this promotion. And yet Gerry, Jack, and Brian have also made it very clear they don't want me to take this job. None of them have actually asked me to stay but they had made it clear in their own way what they want." She snapped at him frustrated that all the men in her life were incapable of expressing their feelings through verbal communication.
"We would never want to be responsible for holding you back." Strickland told her softly, a sad look in his eyes.
"Yes well I am asking you if you can give me a reason to stay?" She was practically begging him and she couldn't resist standing up and moving closer to him.
"I would be acting selfishly if I answered that question honestly." He replied refusing to meet her eyes.
"Be selfish" she countered closing the little distance that remained between them, taken by surprise he finally met her look.
"I don't want you to go" he whispered as he gently caressed her cheek. Sandra didn't know if she was the one who closed the final gap or if he did or maybe they met in the middle. But regardless of how they got there, their lips made contact. The kiss was soft and light at first but she quickly deepened it and to her delight he eagerly reciprocated.
Sandra didn't know how long they stood there kissing, she wasn't even sure when her fingers became entangled in his hair. But eventually the two were forced to break apart so they could breath. As they did she rested her forehead against his for a moment.
"If you didn't want me to leave why didn't you just say something?" She asked him softly.
"I told you I didn't want to be selfish and I still don't." He replied pulling away from her and taking a step back creating space between them which she did not appreciate.
"You grumbled and growled around here for the last week like a bear with a thorn in his paw. You think I didn't notice something was up?" She countered with a knowing look.
"Alright yes I wanted you to know I wasn't all that happy" he admitted.
"Then why not say so instead of acting like a child?" she sighed.
"I didn't feel like I had any right to say something, this is your career."
"Yes it is my career and my life and I'm not interested in promotion." She told him firmly.
"You're not going to take the job?" he asked looking for clarification.
"No I'm not" she confirmed.
"Look Sandra I don't think you should turn it down simply because I asked to you to stay and then kissed you." He argued beginning to panic.
"And here I thought I kissed you" she countered playfully.
"Fine you kissed me" he agreed quickly
"One kiss and you're a complete push over." She teased him enjoying herself.
"Sandra seriously I need you to know that you shouldn't give up a promotion because of something I said. We can keep kissing each other regardless of where you are in the MET." He was emphatic and the frustration on his face only made her want to laugh but she resisted the urge.
"Good to know you want to keep kissing me." She replied still refusing to be a as serious as he wanted.
"Of course I want to keep kissing but that has nothing to do with this promotion. This is your career and they really want you."
"Well then let me put this plainly, they can't have me." She responded her tone finally serious to matching his.
"Sandra-" he started but she cut him off.
"No as you pointed out this is my career and I don't want to head the murder squad and I don't want to be a chief superintendent. I am truly happy being a detective superintendent. I thought we settled this three years ago when you lot basically offered me promotion the last time?" She said cutting him off, he was wasting their time arguing with her.
"Three years is a long time many things can change in that time."
"Yes like my feelings for you, but not my feeling towards my job. I said it then and I am saying it again, job satisfaction means more to me than rank. I love this job, I love the challenge and I love getting to go out in the field and catch the criminals. I wouldn't get to do that in the new job, you lot would chain me behind some desk. Well no thank you." She huffed at him getting slightly worked up and making it clear to both of them that she didn't want the job.
"Those are some very good reasons." He replied evenly giving her a small smile.
Sandra took a deep breath relaxing and letting go of her frustration. A smile soon appeared on her face once more and she stepped close to him removing the distance he had created between them.
"Most of all I love annoying you, you look too damn cute when you have that frustrated look on your face." She teased him again enjoying the physical closeness and levity she felt towards him.
"Is that so?" He asked seductively his lips only inches from hers.
"Absolutely" she confirmed fighting her urge to laugh or kiss him.
"To be clear I am going to kiss you" he said.
"I'm waiting" she teased again but before she could say anymore he captured her lips with his. This kiss lasted even longer than the first and Sandra was reluctantly forced to pull away gasping for air. She remained in his arm panting trying to catch her breath. Not only had their kiss stolen her breath it made her head spin as well.
"Can I take you out to dinner to celebrate?" He asked her, he was breathing heavily as well.
"What are we celebrating?"
"You staying, you kissing me, me kissing you" he suggested.
"That sounds more like a date than a celebration dinner" she countered recapturing her playful tone.
"Then will you have dinner with me as a date?" He countered confidently.
"I thought you would never ask, I would love to" she happily agreed. "Oh should I let the murder squad know I am passing on their offer?"
"Let me do that tomorrow, it would bring me great pleasure to let Commander James Talon know that you will respectfully be declining his offer." He said with a grin.
"I take it you two have a past?"
"He has pilfered several of my best officers, it is nice to finally tell him he didn't win you over. I also may have been a little grumpy that he was the one offering." He explained slightly embarrassed.
"Well I am happy to help you finally one up him."
"Sandra let me be clear I am thrilled you are staying with UCOS you are a phenomenal officer. But this isn't a competition between me and James. Yes it was frustrating to know he has more to offer in the way of career advancement than I do. I would still be happy for you if you took the job, I want you to be where you are happy. But currently that kiss is more important to me than anything else and you can go wherever you want as long as I keep getting to kiss you." He informed her making it very clear where his true intentions lay and it was not her career.
"That is very good to hear cause I plan to keep kissing for the foreseeable future." She assured him giving him another quick kiss.
"Wonderful to hear" he agreed.
"Robert I was never seriously considering taking the job" she admitted being completely honest with him.
"Oh...not ever a little?"
"Okay for about a minute I actually considered it but only for a minute" she countered lightly.
"Why didn't you say anything sooner?" he questioned confused by her admission.
"We got busy and you were avoiding me. Plus it is nice to be wanted and I don't just mean by another department. The four of you might have been grumpy all week and it was highly annoying but at the same time I knew I was wanted. At least I knew how those three felt, you were the one I wasn't sure about." She tried to explain how she had been feeling all week long.
"Me? How could you not know how much I wanted you to stay, how much I appreciate you?" he demanded sounding a little hurt.
"I knew you were upset but the exact nature of those feelings was less clear." She tried to clarify her thoughts, she didn't want him to think she was completely oblivious to his actions.
"Oh..." he groaned softly but his frown make it clear he didn't completely understand.
"I wasn't sure if your unhappiness was about losing a good officer or it is was about losing me specifically or if it was something even more than that. I told you those three made it very clear but you didn't, you avoided me as much as possible." She elaborated hoping to clear up any remaining confusion.
"I was being stupid, I'm sorry. I was having trouble separating my personal feelings from my professional ones. Professionally I should have been happy for you." He apologized to her looking every bit as guilty as he sounded.
"All water under the bridge now. I know everything I need to know." She assured him running her hand through his hair trying to fix the mess she had made while they were kissing.
"I guess it is a good thing we got all this sorted out" he added smiling at her.
"Yes it is, now can you all finally stop trying to get me to take promotion and give up UCOS" she demanded.
"I will pass along the message but I can't help that other departments want to steal you away."
"I guess I will keep having to tell them 'no' even though it is exhausting. Oh well maybe one day they will get the hint" she sighed.
"Forget them let's go have dinner unless you need to finish up here."
"There is nothing here that can't wait till tomorrow." She declared stepping away to grab her handbag.
"Good shall we?" he suggested offering her his arm and she gladly accepted it. "Sorry I didn't just tell you how I felt instead of acting like a bear all week." He apologized as they walked out of the office towards the lift.
"It's okay you were hardly the only one who went about acting like an angry child. You can make up for it with dinner and those three can make it up to me by buying me a drink at the pub tomorrow night. Will you come with us?" she asked as they entered the lift. She needed him to spend more time outside of work with her team if they were going to make a successful go at it.
"I would love to. Though it doesn't actually make me feel any better knowing I behaved like your three pensioners." He moaned and she couldn't help but laugh.
"Maybe I'm not the only one learning bad tricks from those three." She offered through her laughter.
"Don't even suggest it" he admonished her in horror.
"Alright forget I even said it. If it makes you feel better I wouldn't have known for sure that you had feelings for me if you hadn't acted like an injured bear." She informed him trying to make him feel better.
"Then maybe I don't regret it that much after all." He replied playfully but his smile faded as she gave him a look. "Of course I absolutely plan to make it up to you." He added quickly amending his statement.
"I am greatly looking forward to it." She replied as her smile returned and together they walked out to the car park.
a/n As i have said previously, I am not actively writing New Tricks fanfiction. But this was one of a handful of short completed fics sitting on my computer that I wanted to share. I am posting 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.