A/N: A little one-shot. Slash, evidently!
What time was it? She didn't suppose it really mattered but she flipped on the bedside lamp anyway. Half-past four. What time had she come to bed? Well, she hadn't thought about even attempting it till after one and then it had only been because of this meeting she had with the DCI first thing- she'd thought being awake during it might be advantageous.
To be honest, she wasn't at all sure what the problem was. It seemed, a year and a half after Abi's departure for Manchester, she'd finally started to notice the silence that crept into the house after the sun went down and the television was switched off. Between that moment, when she closed whatever file she was working on for the night and when she managed to fall asleep, she found herself just thinking. Even though it didn't sound a very large or problematic procedure it was leading to epic inner-debates of an evening. The answers she came up with merely brought up more questions and then she was left pondering them. A vicious circle, perhaps. An annoyance, most definitely.
The thing she touched on most frequently in these arguments were her various relationships. Of course, she recalled her romantic entanglements, first with Stuart and then Phil, and how those had affected her ability to trust and fall in love. But something that surprised her more than anything else was the identity of the one person she saw as… Well, the only word for it was a 'possibility'.
It was with that in mind that she slipped out of bed and pulled back the curtain to look out onto the street. Nothing out of the ordinary, not even a yowling cat to apportion blame to. Across in number fifty-three the bathroom light flicked on. Out of boredom she kept watch for the full three minutes until it disappeared again and all that was visible of the house was the outside gleam thrown on it by the streetlights.
Suddenly bored she let the curtain drop back and eyed her mobile, glaring innocuously at her from the bedside table. She resented those rare occasions when jangled in the night with news of some crime or other that just couldn't wait until the morning, but right now one of those calls would be a blessing. For starters, it might stop her fingers itching to pick up the phone and use it for an outward call.
Shaking that urge as best she could she went downstairs, put the kettle on then changed her mind and flicked it off again. Liquid wouldn't help the situation, just exacerbate it. Going into the living room she contemplated reopening the report she had placed on the table a couple of hours previously but it was done and dusted. The most she could do was check her spelling, not much point in that when she knew it was accurate as anything anyway. Frustrated, she wandered back up to her bedroom and sat heavily on the bed.
Before she knew it she'd picked up the mobile and tapped speed dial number five. There were five rings before it switched to voicemail. She almost hung up at the relaxed tone offering to return any messages she got, but she didn't and there was a beep. 'Um, hi. It's… Well, it's me. I… I don't know what I'm doing actually. I couldn't sleep. And I can't stop thinking about you.' Shocked at herself, she ended the call and dropped the phone beside her.
Well, that was it, wasn't it? She couldn't take it back now. Everything was going to be different. Work would be a living nightmare. She'd be forever looking over her shoulder, hoping that no one else would find out how stupid she'd been and desperately pretending she was alright. How long could she stay at Sun Hill now without that hue of red and pink stealing up on her every other day?
Forgetting any notion of sleep she went back downstairs, this time letting the kettle boil and making herself a large cup of coffee. The second she had put it to her lips she began to feel tired, but the damage was done now. She wasn't getting any sleep. It was odd the way your body played tricks on you like that. It was odd how your mind induced you to make a phone call you promised you'd never make.
There were no glimpses of light by six o'clock; it was too far into autumn for that. Having dressed she was now counting down the minutes until she could leave without actually getting to work before anybody else awoke. There was something about her job; it gave a window of about half an hour where it was acceptable to get into work. Any earlier, there was something wrong; any later, there was something wrong.
The ringing of the doorbell shocked her from her third cup of coffee in two hours. A twinge of worry settled in her as she imagined finding uniform on the doorstep telling her… Well, telling her something she couldn't stand to hear. So when she tremulously opened the door to Jo Masters she was a mixture of astonished and relieved. 'What…'
'Can I come in?' questioned the DC after a moment. 'I mean, it's the middle of October, it's a bit chilly.'
'Oh, erm…' Stepping aside, she allowed her past then closed the door. Following Jo into the kitchen, she asked, 'Coffee?'
Jo shook her head. 'You woke me up,' she said a few seconds later, taking a seat at the kitchen table.
'Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to,' Sam answered, blushing slightly. To cover her embarrassment she began washing her own coffee cup. That took all of thirty seconds. Turning back she tried an easy smile then, failing miserably, took a seat. 'I don't know what I was thinking.'
The brunette smiled wryly. 'Thanks.'
'You know what I mean.'
'Yeah, well… You were obviously thinking something.'
'Did you come right over here?' she questioned quickly. 'You didn't have to do that.'
Jo shrugged. 'I couldn't see myself getting back to sleep after that message really. Thought I'd get an early start at work, found myself here instead.'
'Oh, right. Sorry I woke you.'
'Sam, would you stop apologising?' Jo said, a hint of exasperation and exhaustion tickling at her voice. 'Are you alright?'
'Course I am,' she said dismissively.
'Have you slept?'
'Mmm, I can tell.'
She glanced to Jo, breaking into a smile as she saw the detective's lips upturned into a cheeky grin. 'Thanks.'
'You get me out of bed you can't expect compliments.'
'Is that a tip?'
'For the future maybe,' Jo answered, holding her gaze for a moment. 'Actually, I will have that coffee.'
'Milk and sugar?'
'I really don't care.'