What can I say? I'm totally depressed that NBC cancelled the brilliance that was "Boomtown" and in a songfic kind of mood. Of course, I don't own Garth, Trisha, the song, the characters on "Boomtown" - or much of anything at all, come to think of it...

"Ow!" Detective Joel Stevens winced and jerked his head backwards.

"Hold still," paramedic Teresa Ortiz admonished him, slipping her left hand behind his head to pull it towards her and using the alcohol-soaked gauze in her right to finish cleaning the gash on his temple.

"It's not that bad," he told her somewhat defensively, his voice never failing to surprise her in its softness. Policemen usually spoke in forceful, sharp tones that demanded attention and respect and compared to them, Joel always seemed to whisper. To the young paramedic, that was only one of the many qualities that made the detective special, the way he managed an unobtrusive presence behind his badge.

"You'll probably need stitches and you're lucky you didn't get your head blown off in the first place," she frowned. "You call that 'not that bad?'"

Joel sighed. "That doesn't mean the cut is bad, Teresa."

She gave a small smile. "Nice try – now hold still."

He scowled but stopped pulling away and let her apply four butterfly strips to close the edges of skin together. To do so, she had to lean in very close to Joel and the detective focused his gaze on the wall of ambulance directly in front of him. Sitting in the back of the vehicle afforded the pair very little space and they were sitting so close their knees were touching. Joel could handle that – the contact was innocent enough – and he was okay with the sweet, floral scent of her perfume filling his nostrils, but he felt his pulse quicken when her warm breath touched his scalp as she exhaled. In a feeble attempt to control his own breathing, he concentrated hard on the white expanse of metal and medical supplies in front of him.

She finished dressing the wound and leaned back, her dark eyes meeting his. "All done."

Her left hand was still cupping his head, the fingers warm and gentle in their rubber glove casing and he stared at her, willing her not to move it just yet. Her presence always soothed him, always seemed to make the chaos swirling around him seem farther away and less threatening. Her being on the scene today to help treat the wound he'd received while arresting some murder suspects was merely a minor example of this. If he thought hard, he could come up with at least a dozen other times she'd come to him during a crisis and shut the background noise off with her presence. The most vivid in his mind was the night of his wife Kelly's suicide attempt – when Teresa and Randy had come through the door, he'd suddenly felt a wave of calm fall over him despite his fear and anguish over Kelly's condition. That was Teresa's gift to him, it seemed - when she was nearby, nothing seemed so broken that it couldn't be fixed.

They still had not broken eye contact and their faces were so close that their breath mingled between them. It would have been so easy for him to move forward a fraction of an inch and lay a gentle kiss on her lips. It would have been easy – and it would have been going against everything he knew and stood for. Joel Stevens would never cheat on his wife, no matter how deep into depression she fell and how far away she drifted from him, from their son, and from life itself. Joel Stevens was held to a higher standard than that – and a higher standard than everyone else, it often seemed – partly because of those around him, but mostly because of his own drive to be that way. He only knew one way to be and that was it; it had never occurred to him to be different – until Teresa. If anyone were to knock him from his pedestal, it would be her, but to fall would be to lose everything he had worked so hard for. There were others to think of – his wife and son – and Joel couldn't afford to be selfish.

Still, in that moment, he wanted nothing more than to kiss the beautiful woman whose knees were resting against his own and who had a tendril of dark hair trailing down her cheek where it had escaped its ponytail. He wanted to kiss her and not worry about what anyone else thought – least of all himself – but he held back.

In another's eyes

I'm someone who

Loves her enough

To walk away from you

I'd never cheat

And I would never lie

In another's eyes.

Teresa could not pinpoint the exact moment she had begun to feel something more for Joel than the friendship that usually accompanied close working relationships, but she imagined that much of her affection stemmed from the night she had been called to his house and found his wife Kelly in the bathroom, nearly dead from loss of blood. Joel had told them she'd fallen through the shower door – clearly a lie, but one meant to protect his wife from the stigma that attempted suicide carried with it. And behind the lie Teresa had seen the love he had for his wife – and she'd wished that someone could feel that way for her. Especially if that someone was Joel.

Her father always cautioned his daughter about who she became involved with. He wanted the best for her – he always had, and his desire for her happiness had intensified after her mother's death. When she'd mentioned Joel to him in passing, and then when she'd described how Joel had saved her when she had been held hostage on Halloween, how his strength had pulled her through, he'd raised an eyebrow in suspicion but had remained silent. The eyebrow, however, had been enough. Teresa knew that her father disapproved of her interest in the detective; he hadn't needed to say that he wanted her to be happy but that it wasn't possible with a man who was married and the father of a little boy – no matter how far his wife's condition had driven them apart. Joel was off limits and even without her father telling her, Teresa knew it.

In another's eyes

I can do no wrong

And he believes in me

And his faith is strong

I'd never fall

Or even compromise

In another's eyes.

The seconds ticked by and both Joel and Teresa remained motionless, their eyes still focused on each other and their thoughts drifting away from the moment itself and into territory filled with "What if?" and "If only…"

Yet both already knew the answers to their unasked questions and so they sat.

In another's eyes

I'm afraid that I can't see

This picture perfect portrait

That they paint of me

They don't realize

And I pray they never do

'Cause every time I look

I'm seein' you

In another's eyes

In another's eyes

Starin' back at me

I see a sinkin' soul

Tryin' desperately

To turn the tide

Before it dies

In another's eyes.

Joel had gone in to see Kelly when he'd gotten home the previous night and found her in the sort of drug-induced sleep he'd become accustomed to since that fateful night. Silently and in the dark, he'd undressed and climbed into bed beside her, letting her pull away when he tried to bring her close, his arms falling empty. And when he rolled away from her and closed his eyes to sleep, for a brief yet crystalline moment he saw a picture in his head of Teresa beside him, curling into his arms, her body warm against his. But that was all it would ever be – a flash of a thought somewhere between awake and asleep – and no one would ever know. Joel Stevens was dedicated to his wife and her recovery and everyone knew it – especially Joel himself.

And what they don't see

Is killing me

It's a blessing and a curse

That love is blind

'Cause in another's eyes

I'm afraid that I can't see

This picture perfect portrait

That they paint of me

And they don't realize

And I pray to God they never do

'Cause every time I look

I'm seein' you

If he stayed in the ambulance another moment, Joel knew he would do something he regretted. Taking a deep breath, he smiled gently at the woman before him and broke the invisible thread between them, turning to exit the ambulance. His fingers trailed gently over her knee as he did so and felt hers link with his for a brief moment and squeeze. He turned back to look at her once more and saw a smile of quiet understanding on her face. It was as though she'd read his mind and, as he looked at her, he could read her thoughts in her eyes – desire, affection, and sorrow lingered in their depths. "If only…" hung between them but so did reality: "This will never be."

"Thanks," Joel smiled at her again, feeling a bit hollow.

"Anytime," she flashed him one of the grins he'd come to seek out whenever his day needed brightening.

Outside in the sunlight, Joel's partner "Fearless" Bobby Smith ambled over, having secured the scene and ready to return to the precinct and start on their paperwork.

"What took you so long?" Fearless wanted to know.

Joel pointed wordlessly to the now bandaged gash on the side of his head.

"Uh-huh," Fearless said in a disbelieving tone. "A little tape shouldn't have taken that long."

Joel glanced over at the ambulance and at Teresa, who was packing everything away in preparation to leave.

Fearless raised his eyebrows, then took on a teasing tone and said, "Oh I get it – you were flirting with Teresa."

Joel forced a smile and a short laugh and played along. "Yeah. Couldn't help myself."

"Come on," Fearless clapped Joel on the shoulder and they headed towards their police-issue sedan. Joel took the opportunity to look back one last time, seeing Teresa climb into the passenger side of the ambulance before it pulled away. She seemed to feel his eyes on her and looked back as well, their shared glance saying what words never could.

In another's eyes.

FIN