By Misty Flores
Pairing: Jim Street/Chris Sanchez
Teaser: They had the dog. They had the kid. But when you're in SWAT – there's no time to commit to either.
Rating: PG-13 for two bad words and sexual situations.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. Nope. Not at all.
Notes: I had to do this. If I didn't do this, then in my screenplay, Richard and Leticia (both in my dream cast played by Collin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez), would have fallen into bed together in the first ten pages, and frankly, having Richard running after Jax trying to get her to remember she loved him proves a lot less convincing when Michelle Rodriguez is waiting for him in bed.
Friends, don't kill me please.
"When you're SWAT, when you're on my team – you're family."
Hondo's parting statement elicited a low, throaty moan from his partner.
Sweating profusely, Jim Street let out a heavy breath as he adjusted the rifle, letting his shoulder take a brunt of the weapon's weight while his back hit the cold concrete of the wall behind him.
"You mocking the boss, Sanchez?"
She had a deceptively small body – all compact muscle, not in the least fragile. Shoving aside Deke's outstretched hand, a friendly gesture of support, she set boots against the ground and pushed up with a grimace, shouldering her weapon before glaring good-naturedly at both teammates.
"You guys are great, all right? But trust me – last thing I need is for you two to be family. I got enough of them."
Deke's lips quirked, a small glance tossed between Street and himself forcing a hesitant, "Did you get that?"
She never turned, keeping her pace steady as she tossed over her shoulder, "I'm Puerto Rican, man – I got way more family than I need."
Street couldn't resist a chuckle, looking up at his bigger teammate. "So what? You're not going to help me out?"
"Fuck you," Deke said, shaking his head before holding out a hand, pulling up Street with an easy 'oomph'. "You don't need help."
"Neither does she, but you gave it anyway." Raising an eyebrow, Street queried, "It's cause I'm male, isn't it? You a sexist?"
Deke's affectionate answer was a forceful shove into the wall.
"I tell you, man." Deke's voice was purposely low. "Women. Won't ever understand them. And I've been married ten years."
Shoving down at his wet head with the towel, Jim's distract grunt was enough to satisfy Deke.
"They have their ways, you know? Sneaking in and using their little feminine wiles?"
"Feminine Wiles," he repeated, throwing the deodorant back into his locker with a clang and reaching for his shirt. "Use them to get you distracted by how they smell, how they look – next thing you know- BAM!! You're going to pick up her mother at the airport."
Jim laughed, shoulders shaking as he dropped the towel beside him. "Weren't you saying yesterday that your wife understood that a man-"
"I know! They GET to you – lull you into this false sense of security and then – "
"Bam?" Chris cut in, rounding the corner of lockers. Her smile was for both of them, but Jim held her gaze just a second longer, before Deke gave a huff.
"Don't play innocent. You know exactly what you types do."
"Reason why people say we're the stronger sex," she answered gamely.
Deke glanced down at his rippling muscles, and cursed under his breath, shoving his head into his shirt and blindly reaching for his duffel bag.
"Ya'll don't play fair. You're cheaters. You weasel in with your little ways-"
"Oh, yeah?" Chris asked, clearly enjoying this, a signature smirk on her face that made Jim smile in bemusement.
"In fact! I want my OWN LOCKER ROOM. That's right. I'm going to grab ME a curtain and just close this off –"
"I don't have my own locker room," she retorted easily. "I have the women's locker room."
"Girl, no one would have minded if you had wanted to change out here."
"OKAY," Jim interrupted, slapping a hand to Deke's shoulder before Chris could respond. "You better go pick up her mom, man."
He grumbled repeatedly, but obediently went on his way, muttering under his breath about the evils of women and their manipulative ways.
"You know it's his fault," she ventured in the silence that followed. "He didn't want her there, he shoulda said no. Been a man about it."
He smiled. "Would you have taken no as an answer?"
Her eyes had a certain glint in them when she answered with a completely straight face, "No." A small snort escaped Jim's mouth.
Chris waited, wet hair dripping on the tiles, staining the shoulders of her tight white tank top. "So... free day tomorrow- barring any more incidents involving internationally wanted criminals and hostage situations – we're gonna go to the beach. You feel like tagging along?"
He managed a strained smile, glancing at her impossibly warm eyes and seductive mouth. "No, you know I might be busy. Boxer's got that barbeque, so..."
"Sure," she answered, much more easily than his denial was, "See ya later, then."
It was a script – and she played along gamely enough, smirk hitting her lips before it disappeared against mock understanding for his unease.
Like she didn't care if he came or not.
A flick of wet hair, a parting smile, and she was gone, young and mature and unlike any other woman he had ever met.
With a yelp that was a mix between a growl and a yip, Dexter left his side, the German Shepherd digging pawfuls of sand into his bare legs.
"Traitor," he muttered, keeping his steady pace as he watched his dog streak across the beach, directly headed toward a familiar SWAT member and her little girl.
"DEXTER!" Eliza, eight, vivacious and the picture of her mother, nearly collided with the dog, falling back into the sand with a crystal laughter that was very nearly drowned out by the sound of waves crashing before them.
Slower, more subtle, was his own approach, near shame on his face as he tossed his partner a sheepish smile. Her own grin was much more broad, as if she had something on him, and maybe she did.
Her hair, dripping with sand and salt water, beaded droplets on her wet skin, dark eyes keeping his gaze as he approached.
There had been prettier women than Chris Sanchez in his bed.
But Sanchez wasn't a woman. She wasn't his girlfriend. She had never been in his bed.
She was SWAT. She was family.
It made a difference, he told himself it did, even when he looked down and discovered a belly button ring that he had never seen before.
Interestingly enough, the mapped out layout of her body in his head made the adjustment without trouble and even a little excitement.
"You made it," she said without preamble, taking the bucket of beers and setting them next to her cooler.
"Yeah, well – you were in the neighborhood, so..."
"Sure," she answered, so smug he could have strangled her had she not been Chris Sanchez.
"Eliza!" She couldn't hurtle into his arms, at the moment Chris' daughter was currently under his dog, engaged in what could have been an even wrestling match if it wasn't for Dexter's teeth.
"Mija, don't kiss him on his MOUTH!" Chris' bark of alarm even made Jim jump.
"Dogs' mouths are cleaner than people's, you know," he told her.
"I know," she chirped. "It's why I don't let her kiss you."
Chris didn't deal well with words.
That was just fine with Jim Street. He wasn't much for talking either. He lived by routine, like any stereotypical military man. Worked hard, played even harder.
The fact that Chris and her daughter became part of his routine hadn't caused much concern at first, not in his commitment phobic mind.
Chris, sexy as hell, despite her penchant for an easy flirt and her 'fuck it all' attitude, was a team member, and she had a kid. She wasn't looking to screw things up in her unit, wasn't looking for a one-night stand, wasn't looking for a boyfriend – not from him.
She wouldn't invite a guy over unless she knew he'd be around, and for Jim, that meant work buddies. Partners.
There was no danger of anything here, because Chris was SWAT. Chris was family.
She wasn't like any other girl.
He pounded into the surf, increasing his pace with a vigilant yell as suddenly small hands wrapped around his waist. A small truck hit him from behind, plowing him face first into the water with a sputter and a gulp.
He fought back, holding onto the football as tightly as he could, even as she wrapped legs around his waist and tried to wrench the ball from his grip.
"ELIZA!" he hollered, holding his head above the crashing waves before she smothered him with both breasts in his face. "Emphph!" He mumbled against her wet halter.
"Don't you help him, Eliza!" he heard above him.
"She's on my team," he managed, twisting and rolling until suddenly she was now on the bottom. "She has to help."
Eliza battled the waves, giggling and laughing as her mother tickled at his ribs mercilessly. "GRAB IT!"
She did, fingers around the ball just as her mother got another lock on him and drove his face into the sand.
SWAT worked hard, played even harder.
"Eliza!" In a second, she was off of him, pounding after her daughter.
Jim tried to follow, but too caught up in the show, as Eliza was saved by Dexter tackling Chris, he could do nothing but laugh.
Her mother was never surprised anymore when she showed up at the door and he was the one that answered it.
Her uncle, over-protective and scary as hell, told him he had a gun and then offered him a beer.
Dexter had a bag of dog food and his own water dish, after the last time that Chris had discovered him with his paws on the counter licking out of the Arrowhead dispenser.
He knew the baby-sitter by name, and drove her home every night they used her.
There was a voice in his head, a paranoid, Irish devil, who hinted at him that this was a set-up. SWAT was all about strategy, and Deke pounded at him about women and their feminine wiles and their manipulations-
Because whenever he had gotten laid, he made sure it was at the girl's house, made sure never to stay the night, made sure never to call after.
It made him a real asshole to other women, but then again Chris and Eliza were all that mattered. The last thing he needed was another incident like the one that had happened when Eliza and Chris showed up to a girl in a towel and nothing else.
It had taken a smirk and a scowl on Chris, before the girl had excused herself, leaving behind her keys, her wallet, and her bra.
"Nice," Chris had said, before hanging it up ceremoniously on his chandelier, allowing her daughter to ask plaintively, 'Mommy, how come yours are so much bigger?'
"Three, please," he told the hot dog vender, glancing back to Chris, Dexter, and Eliza, mother engaged in trying to build a sand castle, and Eliza engaged in trying to keep the dog from wrecking it. "Better make it five."
"Cute kid," the vendor quipped back, taking the twenty from Jim's hand and going to work immediately.
Jim gave a small, quick smile. " Yeah, she is."
"Don't look much like you, though."
Distracted on Chris as she shoved Dexter away from her and began dousing him with the water gun, Jim nodded slightly.
"Looks like her mom."
It took another minute for what the vendor had implied when he suddenly jerked his head back to him. "She's not my kid."
"The dog's mine. The kid's hers."
"Hmm..." The vendor said, eyes on his hot dogs.
"We're not together."
"She's cute." It was the tone that pissed Jim off. Apathetic, like the guy could care less what the hell he was doing to him.
"No mustard," he said automatically, making the vendor pause, yellow bottle poised over Chris' hot dog.
"Here you go," the vendor said, handing him five steaming hot dogs on a plastic tray. "And uh- word of advice – don't wanna look like a family, don't walk around with a girl, her kid, and a dog – don't mean to be stereotypical, but-"
"She is family," Jim snapped, and although the words felt strange in his mouth, because the strategist in him told him he had just made absolutely no sense, he still trudged away, slightly vindicated.
"Hey, Street." Boxer nodded easily, pounding on the lockers, running a little comb through his mustache like the things were still in style. "What are you doin' this Saturday?"
Jim looked up, slamming the locker door, resisting the urge to glance in the direction of Chris' own private room. "Don't know yet, man."
"You know about my barbeque, right? Rose bowl? USC kicking Michigan's ass?"
A small smile eased onto his face. "Yeah, heard something about it."
"Well, you're coming, right?" When Jim took a second, Boxer continued, "Whole SWAT's coming, you know? Invited all the boys-"
"The boys?" he interrupted.
Boxer paused, craning his head back to Chris' locker room. "And girl," he said, almost patronizingly.
"I'll probably be there, man," Jim answered with a smile. "Thanks."
"Bring beer," Boxer said, punching him lightly in the shoulder before turning away. Jim was already reaching for his shirt when Boxer was back, small smile gone, unease written on his face. "Hey, just um... just wondering."
Boxer glanced back, voice lowered, "Lara'll be there, man. She just broke up with that guy she was with, and um... she was asking about you."
The door slammed shut, out of eyesight, he heard the trudge of boots before she passed by, never once looking in his direction as she was stopped by Deke.
"Oh... Um... you know, man-"
"Hey- I know you guys had problems, okay? But, shit- you're the only guy she's slept with that I haven't wanted to kill. After a while," he amended.
"Only because I can kick your ass," Jim said, mouth breaking into a smile.
"LET'S GO, GENTLEMEN," Hondo barked, plowing into the room like a bulldozer. "And lady," he added, almost an afterthought, to Chris, who quirked an eyebrow. "We got a hard day of training – it's Boxer's first day back and we're going to WORK HIS ASS!"
"Oh, man," Boxer muttered, shaking his head. "So- Saturday?"
Again, an irrational look to Chris, who caught his gaze this time, eyes rolling in a 'work is hell and I love it' expression before following Deke out the doorway.
"Maybe. Probably... Yeah." He smiled. "Yeah, man. I'll be there."
"This is a really sucky hot dog," she commented beside him, glaring at her meat like it was rancid. "I mean, it's like these things are shit on a stick anyway, but – did he put mustard in here?!"
"Let me see?" Jim looked over. "Oh, shit, you got mine - here. Sorry."
"Don't worry about it," she grimaced. "Your dog likes mustard, right?"
"Yes, but to be fair, he also likes shit. He licks his ass on a regular basis."
"Dexter, come here, baby." The dog trotted over, licking her hand excitedly before taking the entire hot dog, gulping it down.
"So," she said, wiping her hand on Jim's shorts and leaning back on the sand. "How come you're not at Boxer's barbeque?"
He coughed slightly, swallowing down a painful lump of barely chewed hot dog before turning to her quizzical gaze. "What?"
"Well, I know why I'm not there - Rose Bowl or my kid, but you..."
"We can still make it," he said, glancing away. "If you wanna go-"
She laughed, a short chuckle. "Tried that once before - his sister and wife don't like me very much. Much rather spend it right here. I can catch the highlights on ESPN."
It was a nice way to spend it, really. Two options for a Saturday, more than he usually had - he could have been hooting and hollering and drinking beer with all the guys from SWAT who had treated him like shit for six months while he was working the cage, trading glances with an ex, who left him for reasons he STILL didn't understand, or he could be right here, chilling with a kid who adored him, his best friend ... and his dog.
"You got the big screen, right?" she asked, eyes unreadable in her sunglasses as she looked at the ocean.
He swallowed down again, gazing at her a beat longer than necessary before he broke into a small smile, a nod. "Yeah," he answered.
She turned, caught his gaze with a questioning smile.
He grinned. "Let's go."
He set up the Playstation in his bed room two weeks ago, during a small tantrum Eliza had when the Monday Night Football interrupted her avid playing of Auto Vice City.
The concessions nagged him now, because women were manipulating and avoiding, and any normal single mom would want a dad for her kid, need a man who would stick around and love the kid, and this kind of shit meant commitment.
Except Chris didn't need anyone, he knew that. That wasn't what scared him now.
What frightened him was how much was beginning to suspect he wanted to be that guy – to be the one Chris decided could share her kid's life – plan that quinceniera that wouldn't happen for another seven years.
They were SWAT. That changed all the rules.
"Fuck," Chris announced as he stepped out of his room, the small woman standing in front of his big screen with a scowl, remote idly in her hand.
"We won," she answered distractedly. "But now that stupid Rose Parade shit is on. Seriously – do I care about how many thousand flowers were cut and maimed so some old person could ride down Pasadena?"
"I'm guessing, no," he answered, settling back into his couch.
"You got any DVD's?"
"Picked up Fast and the Furious a couple days ago."
"That movie is Point Break. It's Point Break," she snapped, picking up the disc and flipping it to him.
"Oww. Okay, no Fast and the Furious. Though you kinda look like that girl-" The scowl on her face warned him not to go further. "Just come here, we'll find something on satellite."
It took a pout, but within a few seconds, she was curled up next to him on the couch, shoes kicked off to reveal surprisingly dainty feet, well tended and feminine as hell.
From his room, Tombraider blasted and a dog barked, sounds of a happy daughter.
She flipped idly through the channels, curling a lock of hair that escaped from her haphazard pony tale, back over her ear.
He found himself fixated on that spot, just under her ear, on her jaw. "Hey."
"I had a good time today."
She smiled, quick and easy. "Yeah, me too." Low voice, soft and throaty, almost like a purr. "I'm glad you came."
A warm gaze locked between them, before a faint blush tinted her cheeks, and she laughed, punching him on the shoulder and turned back to flipping channels.
"Funny thing happened today," he said suddenly, arching an arm on the couch, just above her shoulders.
"Hot dog guy – thought Eliza was my kid, you know? That we were like... a family."
Her distracted smile stilled, her gaze shifted and her eyes, fixated on his own now, grew slightly wider.
The anecdote, meant to be passed off as ridiculous and funny, felt a little too heavy now, for a quip and a smile. Instead he found himself glancing at her mouth, rounded and lush.
But she broke the spell, a nervous laugh coming out of her before she turned back to the TV. "Yeah, but you know me, man - no way in hell I'd consider any of you guys family."
The words stung, her intended purpose, he was sure, because Chris didn't need anybody. She was the strongest person he knew, and she could dump him on his ass the minute she deemed him a nuisance - a hindrance to her and her kid.
All of this was passed with rational, military thought, but it did nothing to assuage the coming fear that he was beginning to think he might need them.
"Yeah," he answered, hollow and small. Eyes turned toward the television, distracted but not processing the movements on the big screen.
When she curled into his chest, he was surprised. The warm weight spread across his body, her palm sliding over his own to pull around her waist, until she had her head on his shoulder, eyes shining brilliantly up at him.
"Thing is, Jim," she began slowly, flatly. "SWAT guys - they umm... they kinda tend to die. I'm not gonna do that to my kid. I'm not gonna bring in these guys, call them family, when I can't be sure they won't be there the next day. I'm not gonna let her deal with that."
Whoever the asshole was who ran out on her, he would have killed him then. With his bare hands, SWAT be damned.
"She can't or you can't."
It mattered. But Sanchez wasn't his girlfriend, she was SWAT, his partner - and according to Hondo, family.
She could hear his heart pounding in his chest, he was sure of it, and she held him tight, fingers rubbing absently over his ribs, caressing his t-shirt idly.
From the bedroom, Eliza squealed, and something tipped over, crashing to the ground. She ignored it, and he did too.
"You guys are spending the night, right?" he said finally, rubbing fingers into Chris' scalp, massaging lightly.
"Your rollaway feels like rocks," she mumbled in his shirt.
"So don't sleep on it."
"You're sleeping on it?"
"I didn't say that either."
She glanced up, catching the saucy, horny little boy grin he gave her, and she laughed, an infectious sound that made him want to kiss her senseless.
So he did. Leaning forward, his lips clung to hers, palm cupping her face reverently.
It was her soft moan that encouraged him, sliding a hand around her taut stomach to her back, bringing her closer as his mouth tilted and hers opened, allowing a wet kiss that only got hotter when she straddled his lap, grinding into his zipper.
"Oh, God," he whispered against her lips.
"Problem?" she whispered, tongue flicking out to lick his already wet lips, forehead pressed against his.
"No," he answered with the throaty laugh, arching into her with his hips, pressing his growing erection into her groin. "That's kinda the problem."
She laughed again, but Eliza squealed and reality returned with her, as awareness grew in Chris' eyes, and she smiled once more, almost sadly.
When she moved off, he grabbed her waist, bruising her with his hands, holding her in place. "We wont call it a family, okay? We'll call it whatever the hell you want, but don't take this from me."
"We're SWAT, Jim," she answered, voice aching. "What the hell happens when we both go out and one of us doesn't come back? Or we both don't come back?"
It changed the rules. SWAT changed all the rules. They had the kid. They had the dog.
They couldn't call it a family.
He didn't give a shit. Cause it was starting to sound a hell of a lot like Chris maybe needed this just a little bit.
"I don't know," he finally answered. "But we're SWAT - since when did we care about taking risks?"
She sat in his lap, legs splayed out on either side of him, breasts pressed against his chest, eyes focused completely on his.
Sweat beaded her upper lip, and her hot groin, connected against his too tight jeans, made keeping still almost impossible.
"Just don't make me call you 'bro', or some shit, allright? That'd be seriously gross."
Her lips covered his in a hungry, consuming kiss, fingers digging into the nape of his hair, hips rolling against him.
Two pagers, simultaneous, rang from their belts.
She froze, and suddenly chuckled.
"Nothing, I just - for a minute I thought IT was ringing."
He laughed, but it was cut short when she pushed off his lap and lit up her own little LCD display.
SWAT changed all the rules.
"I'll get the baby-sitter," he groaned, shifting off the couch and digging into his jeans.
"You know the number?" she asked, pausing in her surprise.
"Got it on speed dial," he answered, punching the appropriate number automatically.
It was enough to get another long, passionate kiss from her, before the baby-sitter answered, tearing him away.
"Hey, Monica, it's um... Jim. Jim Street."
Chris smiled apologetically, patting at his groin, an action that made him jump as she winked, weaving around him to go into his bedroom.
"Yeah, listen - I... umm... I'm gonna need a sitter right now. You available? For who? Eliza- Yeah, Chris's kid. Right. No, at my place - I'll give you the address. Yeah, actually - you should probably hold on to it."
Chris came from the room, fluent Spanish flowing from her lips as her daughter trailed behind her, following by a loyal big dog who seemed to think they were his pack members.
"Yeah - they're gonna be over here a lot."