Disclaimer: As if I own them. Psh.

Rating: K+

Pairing: Lilly/Scotty

Summary: Taking place a little after Lilly was shot in "Stalker". Scotty's concern turns to anger and …more. I'm crap at summaries. Read! L/S.

XX

Scotty rounded the corner to Lilly's house hurriedly. He'd thought briefly about bringing flowers but decided against it anticipating Lilly's reaction. He knew her all too well and he knew she wouldn't like the subtle implication that she had been weakened in any way. Still, he wanted to check up on her. Of course, he couldn't let Lilly know that. Scotty reached the door and tapped a couple of times. No answer. He tried again with nothing happening. Although he knew Lilly was armed and was possibly one of the toughest female cops he'd ever met, a tiny shot of fear wrenched his stomach. Scotty knocked one more time before trying the handle. To his surprise, it was unlocked.

"Lil?" He said stepping in as he took a glance around.

Just then, Lilly appeared from her bedroom. "Jesus… Scotty."

"Sorry, your door was unlocked…"

"Oh yeah…paper…" Lilly explained before making her way to the coffee table. "What's up?"

She asked as she shuffled some papers around. It wasn't until then that Scotty noticed she was fully dressed and in a suit.

"Wait, where are you goin, Lil?"

"Work." She answered plainly as she snatched her keys out from under a magazine and started for the door.

Scotty shook his head briefly. "Ah no you don't. You need rest." He touched her shoulder gently checking her before she got any further and tried to direct her to the couch.

"No… I don't, Scotty. I need to be at work." Lilly stopped stubbornly in her tracks.

"Come on… Lil… you've been shot…." Scotty hesitated before saying more not wanting to rehash hard memories for his partner. "An' your mom died…" He paused. "You need time."

Lilly looked down, annoyed with what she half-perceived as orders and let out a quick breath. "Scotty, I know you mean well but you don't know how I work. I can't just sit around. I need to be busy. I need to be doing things… I need…"

"Actually," Scotty cut her off. "I know exactly how you work. And I know that you push yourself too hard when you're not ready." Scotty matched her forceful voice at first then softened his tone. "Lil, you don't have to be strong all the time…" He looked down at her with his intense brown eyes, desperately trying to make her see. Images of her mother floated through Lilly's head. She'd had her problems with her mom and she knew it wasn't her fault that she was dead, but it truly felt like a piece of herself had gone with her when she passed. The last thing Lilly wanted to do was wallow in that feeling. "Scotty, I appreciate your concern, I do…but right now I just need you to get out of my way."

Scotty clenched his jaw. What was it about this woman that affected him so much? She was the most stubborn, irritating, head-strong woman he'd ever met but at the same time he knew she had a heart the size of Texas. Working by her side everyday, he had seen Lilly in every possible situation and she never failed to prove herself to be the strong independent lone female homicide cop in Philly. But there was something about her. A distance that she placed on her personal life; something she would go to great pains to protect. Despite the number of bad guys she had caught or the infinite number of rough patches Scotty knew she had gone through, he could see that lying deep below the surface was a fragile woman who was so afraid of losing control. It was only a matter of time before something was going to give. And quite frankly, it scared the hell out of him.

Scotty shook his head slightly, not letting her eyes go. They stood motionless for a moment. "Why is it so hard for you, Lil?"

Another moment passed.

"…please Scotty…" Lilly pleaded.

Finally, defeated in his efforts, Scotty took a frustrated step back. "Have it your way." He flashed his eyes up and motioned to the door.

XX

"Rush, what are you doing here? You should be home resting." Stillman said, seeing Lilly walk through the door.

"That's the last place I need to be. I'm okay boss. I can work." Lilly assured him as she brushed by him toward the break room for coffee.

A moment later Scotty appeared, file in hand, and made his way to his desk.

"Scotty, why is Lilly here? I told you to keep her out of the office."

"Yeah,…right." Scotty returned, barely looking up. He swiveled his chair briskly to take a seat and plopped the folder down in front. "You ever try to tell Rush to do anything?" He gave the Lieutenant a dry look before turning a page.

"So what do we got?" Lilly re-appeared promptly, caffeine in hand, and took a seat across from Scotty.

"Lilly, I really think you oughta…"

"Boss. Let me work." Lilly looked at him severely.

Stillman caught the tone in her voice. "Just don't over do it, Lil." He shot a look at Scotty then headed back to his office.

Scotty shook his head again then recited the facts of the case file. "Male. 28 years of age. Found dead on a football field in 1971. Gunshot wound to the head."

"Any witnesses?" Lilly was eager.

"Nope. Closest they got was the neighbor…Could be gang related. Apparently, the area is known for it's high gun crime."

"We better get out there." Lilly swiped her keys from the desk and started for the door.

Stopping at the gate, she looked back. "You comin?"

Scotty sighed and rose from his seat.

XX

The car ride was silent most of the way until they reached the area of where the body was found.

"Looks rough." Lilly said peering out the driver's side window.

"Not exactly a place for a picnic…" Scotty mused. He glanced at Lilly's arm. He could tell she was holding it a little more tensely than normal. "…hey… you sure you…"

"I'm sure." Lilly answered quickly. Before Scotty could protest any further, she was jumping out of the car and heading for the apartment building to the right. Scotty let out another deep sigh, grabbing the case file and following behind.

XX

"Neighbor's name is Arnold Thornly. Apartment 3H." Scotty read aloud as they walked toward the building.

"He ever I.D. anyone?"

"Nah, according to this, he suddenly developed a case of amnesia in '72 – right before the trial."

"Well let's just see if he's remembered anything since then."

XX

Entering the rundown building, Lilly led the way stepping past an over-turned garbage can in the lobby. The wallpaper was distinctly 80's and the floor tiles definitely looked as if they could use a wash. Scotty followed close behind as they approached the apartment door.

"3H." Lilly double checked her notes and knocked on the door firmly.

They waited a moment before Scotty shifted the file to one hand and knocked on the door again. "Mr. Thornly? Police. We need to talk to you."

He paused, waiting for a response before trying one last time. "Mr. Thornly?"

"Great." Scotty muttered taking a look down the hall.

All of a sudden, 2 loud popping sounds shook their concentration. "Gunshot." Scotty spoke low to Lilly as he reached for his weapon. She did the same as they both made their way to the source of the noise. The shots repeated as Scotty and Lilly reached the second floor. Just then a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and pants ran out of an apartment below.

"Hold it!" Scotty yelled from the stairs to no avail as the suspect took off out the fire escape. Lilly glanced quickly inside the apartment he had just exited to see a middle-aged man lying wounded on the floor. Kneeling down hastily, Scotty checked for vitals but turned up with nothing. "Call for backup." Lilly shouted to Scotty before running for the alley where the gunman was headed.

"Lil, no, wait…" Scotty called after her as he tried to get up fast enough to follow her.

XX

Lilly rounded the corner to the alley and held her gun cautiously realizing it was a dead-end. He was here somewhere. "You might as well come out…" Lilly called out nervously. She tiptoed forward just enough to see a nook just beyond the door to her left. "I know you're there, come out with your hands above your head." Suddenly, within a matter of seconds the gunman jumped down from a stacked wooden box on the right, knocking Lilly backward into a dumpster unexpectedly. "Lil!" Scotty had reached the alley a millisecond too late as he saw her fall and the gunman already fleeing the scene.

Scotty holstered his gun and ran over to check her out.

"I'm fine Scotty." Lilly snapped as she tried to get to her feet.

"You're not fine Lil!" Scotty raised his voice as he held her arms, not letting her stand. "You can't keep doin this, alright? You're gonna get yourself killed ..and I can't live with that!" Scotty's emotions got the better of him and his voice broke. Releasing his grasp on Lilly's shoulder he stood up and backed away pinching his forefinger and thumb into his eyes hard.

Lilly hadn't noticed but a tear had escaped her eyes as she sat still against the dumpster. She couldn't bring herself to look in Scotty's direction but his presence was very eminent. Suddenly, sirens sounded and police officers ran to her side. "Are you alright?"

"oh yeah…she's fine." Scotty answered sternly as he brushed past and made his way out of the alley.

XX

Three hours later Scotty sat at home in a white t-shirt and sweatpants as he nursed a beer on the couch. The television provided a distraction in the background but he couldn't keep focused on anything they were saying. Why did she have to be so damn stubborn all the time? Why was it so hard for her to ask for help? He had always stood by Lilly and deep down he knew that as hard as she would try to keep him away, he always would but tonight he realized there was something more to this tug of war between them. Something he didn't want to call attention to until now. His thoughts trailed off as he sighed, taking another swig of his beer. A few minutes passed before he heard 2 small knocks at the door. Following the sound, he got to his feet and swung the door open.

"hey" Lilly spoke almost in a whisper.

Scotty remained silent, staring forward.

"Can I come in?"

He stood expressionless at first before moving to the side, allowing her to enter.

"What are you doin' here? Figured you'd be out wandering around a dangerous neighbourhood…" Scotty closed the door and followed in behind her.

"Look, Scotty…" Lilly said turning back.

"What do you want, Lil?" His voice was sharp.

"I know you're mad. What I did today…was…"

"Stupid." Scotty finished for her.

"Ok it was stupid. But Scotty you don't know…" She began but changed her trained of thought. "I know how I appear…"

"Oh you do, do you?" Scotty returned promptly.

"Yeah, I do." Lilly kept her voice low. She knew he was angry. In fact, she'd never seen him the way he had been in the alley. They had fought before, that was no secret but this was different. There was something else this evening that shook her. Tonight she actually felt afraid. Afraid that she had pushed so hard this time that she would actually lose him for good. Finally, a childhood trauma had caught up with her and had almost driven away something that she didn't want to go. Something important. Something real.

Lilly dropped her eyes as a tear began to form. "All my life I've always had to be the strong one, ya know? My mom… " She began before letting out an exasperated laugh as another moment passed. Scotty stood quietly listening, watching her intently as she spoke. "I just… can't handle not… having you in my life right now, Scotty." Lilly looked helplessly at him. She was tired of holding all these balls in the air. It wasn't easy for her to do but she needed him to know that she was human and not perfect.

After a small pause, Scotty finally spoke. "I'm still here."

Frustration had turned into compassion as he forgave Lilly another time. It was a big step for her to even admit she was wrong and Scotty acknowledged that. However hard she pushed people away, he could see what she was dealing with and how hard it was for her. Cutting Lilly off was not the answer, she needed support, someone she could depend on. He understood that. He understood her.

Lilly gave a short nod trying to smile. "Come 'ere," Scotty murmured as he drew her into his arms. For the first time Lilly didn't pull back but welcomed the embrace. A new sense of calm washed over her as they hugged. A slight smile played on Scotty's lips as he felt the walls fall down all around her. After all these years, after all this anguish, she had let her defenses down. For the first time, Scotty saw Lilly… and she was letting him.

Minutes went by before they began to break. Scotty ran his hand down Lilly's arm as she took a baby step backward. Her eyes fluttered downward but she felt Scotty's finger touch her chin forcing her head up. "Don't do that." He whispered piercing his eyes into hers. Scotty's eyes moved to Lilly's lips then back up to her eyes again. He'd always thought of Lilly as attractive - how could he not - but something was happening in that moment that was sending chills up his spine. He definitely did not intend for this to happen but he couldn't say he hadn't thought about it either.

Scotty swallowed, terrified of Lilly's reaction. Finally, moving his head slightly, he slowly lowered his mouth to hers. Lilly's eyes closed as she felt his lips make contact and her entire body weakened. Scotty's hand moved to the side of Lilly's face as the kiss intensified. He couldn't believe this moment was finally happening. Of the countless fantasies he'd had about her, none could top the real thing.

And he wouldn't trade it for the world.

Breaking apart finally, their lips hovered centimeters from each other. Lilly kept her eyes closed for a brief moment just now letting reality sink in. Suddenly, a whole new fear struck her as she stepped back. Scotty looked at her blankly trying to ascertain her thoughts.

"I gotta go." She managed to get out as she briskly made her way to the exit.

"Lil" Scotty spoke in an apologetic tone but turned to find the door closing in his face. He didn't go after her. He couldn't. He mused that she must have thought of it as a mistake never mind that for him; it was a moment he would never forget.

TBC...