Author's Notes: If you're reading this for the first time - hello! And welcome to this dimension of Flashpoint that I've chosen to play around with. I've been sitting on this story (both in idea and in writing) for a long time, and it has since evolved into a mini-epic. So hang on for the ride and I hope you enjoy reading this, and if you don't mind, I love reviews! If you're a long-time reader/subscriber of this story, I strongly encourage you read the first two chapters again, as I've re-hauled the story and shifted the timeline (from post-Business as Usual to post-Last Dance), took out parts and added more, so much so that while the backbone of the story remains the same, the events leading to it have changed drastically, as did the Sam/Jules relationship/friendship/whatever it is they have. That all said, I hope everyone enjoys Subjectivity. Let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em.
Character/Pairing: Jules, Sam, entire cast
May 8, 2009
The subject's head was hung down low, his eyes downcast on the cold, gravel floor as he made his way towards the stairs. He could already see the specks of dust in the beam of sunshine from a distance, dancing and floating and sinking slowly. The cold draft of the air-conditioning prickled at his skin, causing the slightest of goose bumps to form. With his left hand tucked safely in his pocket and his right clutching on to the strap of his bag, he quickened his pace.
And that was when he felt it. It was the piercing sense of the footsteps behind him, the eerie hunch of knowing that someone was watching him. Years of training had attuned his senses to the most minute of changes, and for a brief moment he wondered if he was ready to face the potential assailant behind him.
When he turned around with an expectant look on his face, the person following him jumped back a little, as if not expecting him to have noticed her, but only took a moment to recover.
"Hey." Jules spoke up first, a myriad of awkward and uncomfortable, her eyes flitting to a point beyond his shoulders before focusing on him again. He nodded in response and waited. When it was clear that he wasn't going to say anything, she pursed her lips and continued.
"I know it's been a long night, Sam, but I just –" She paused for a while, as if searching for the right words to say, bopping her head a little in the way he'd memorized well. "I just need to apologize for my behavior back in the truck last night. It's none of my business and I shouldn't have said what I did. So, I'm sorry."
He felt a tiny smirk forming on his face, despite himself. "You shouldn't be."
"No, I am. What you do outside of work after I – we broke up –"
"How did you figure I have a girlfriend?" he cut her short, curiously; carefully avoiding answering all the hidden questions he knew Jules had, beneath her confident output and demeanor.
She shrugged lightly, a surprised look flitting across her face for only an instance. "You called someone last night to postpone your date."
It wasn't so much that Sam started chuckling and shaking his head than it was Jules feeling stupidly self-conscious that made her fold her arms across her chest. And she wasn't going to ask. Nope, she absolutely was not. She said what she wanted to say, and she should be going. Returning home for a long, cold shower and a good eight hours in bed even. Now that sounded absolutely divine, and she should walk away –
"What?" She blurted out.
"First of all, Jules, you really didn't have to apologize," he told her, after the chuckling ceased. His eyes burned with that same intensity as always. "Second, that was just an old buddy from the army."
With her ears burning hot, Jules could only shake her head and laugh at herself. "Well, then. I still shouldn't have been so sore about it." Stifling a yawn and hitting her mouth with the back of her hand, as she jabbed her thumb towards the exit. "Which, speaking of sore. I should go."
He watched her turned and walked away, and wondered if he should stop her to tell her something, but she'd only taken a couple of steps before turning back. She cocked her head to the side, and for the briefest of seconds, Sam could have sworn he spotted a coy expression flit on her face.
"Actually. I was thinking about grabbing a coffee before going home. You wanna come with?"
His answer surprised only one of them.
It was hard to miss the breaking news when it happened – it was all over every media outlet with repeated footage of the crime scene, the constant regurgitation of the facts and details. The rehashing of how the sniper had a personal agenda against the police strike force because they had killed his father right in front of him, and how he had turned the tables against them to seek his revenge.
It made for great entertainment. Something you find in a procedural drama, maybe. Add in some sort of internal conflict, human drama and you've got the script for something.
The man drummed his fingers against the side of the table, piled with neat sheaves of paper stacked up evenly at the corner. The corkboard in front of him was tacked with newspaper articles and photographs; scribbles of notes in felt-tipped ink almost covering the entirety of the surface on post-it notes. Then he rocked back and forth, twirling his pen between his second and third digits, and finally leaned back as he contemplated.
The incident had given him some ideas of his own. At first it was just a bubble of thought, long before anything had ever happened to those Croatians. He thought about it occasionally, but nothing concrete ever came to plan – He simply hadn't had the time to map his plans out, or to scope out the situation and do his thorough research.
But now that he suddenly had the wealth of time to do everything he'd ever wanted, he knew there would never be a better moment. It was up to him to gather his contacts and obtain his materials in the least conspicuous way, without raising any suspicions; to detail his plans right down to the tiny nitty-gritty and without flaws and in perfectus. He wouldn't end up like the dead guy who failed to think out his plan thoroughly and paid dearly with his life. No, he would be meticulous, and the people involved wouldn't even know what hit them until it was too late. It would be the strike of the century.
The corners of his mouth turned upwards, forming a self-pleased and sadistic grin, as he tapped his pen against his chin. The things he planned had given him a rush, just imagining all of it happening. The chaos it'd cause, the sheer mental torture that will happen before he went in for the final, crushing blow.
Great things took time to form, to think through carefully and finally, after months of preparation, to carry out.
And so, it was finally time.
Time for Sam Braddock to pay for all that he'd taken away.
The coffee was great. Amazing, even. It was exactly what she needed after that long shift at work. Maybe she should have a second cup of her double-double. That sounded like a fantastic idea.
As she stared at the ceiling, Jules was decidedly trying (really, really) hard to not think about what had just transpired, and she wasn't referring to the coffee either. But the big elephant in the room shifted next to her, and she had no choice but to acknowledge his presence – in her bedroom, on her bed; his sticky, warm form next to her.
"Hey," she half-sighed the word as she turned her body around to face him. He frowned at that, but knew exactly what kind of stakes they were playing with and what kind of thoughts were running through her mind. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't thinking of the same things; not for himself, but for her.
"You regretting this already?" he whispered against her lips, his finger tracing her cheekbone, taking comfort that she wasn't pulling away or flinching. She surprised him even further by just hesitating for a second before meeting his lips with hers, reminiscent of the display of passion minutes ago when they'd burst into her bedroom, their hands exploring every line, every curve on their bodies like they'd never stopped.
They pulled away, both breathing heavily.
"No. Yes. I don't know. It's the tiredness talking," she shot in quick concession, immediately wincing at how bad that must have sounded to Sam, and shook her head. "I mean – "
"No, I get it, Jules. Do you want me to leave now?" he said, and Jules had no idea at all if he was being serious or sarcastic. As if he could read minds now, he added. "I'm being serious here. We can forget this whole thing ever happened the moment I step out of your room."
"No," she replied, and then with more conviction in her voice she repeated. "No. We won't ever work on this if you walk out right now, you know that." And then, like exhaustion shutting down all her internal logical filters, she continued without a hitch; getting into a seated position.. "It's been a horrible, horrible month at work, alright? You being there and I can't do a damn thing about it."
"So you want me to leave?"
"No! Sam, are you even listening to what I'm saying?"
"I'm hearing the words you're saying but I'm not getting any deeper meaning from them," he admitted and propped himself up with his elbow. With the smallest of grins present, he repeated her words back to her: "It's the tiredness talking."
"Christ," she spat out, sighing. There were so many things she should be saying. That this was a bad idea all over again, that they're both being incredibly stupid for a second time; but all these words died in her throat. This was ridiculous, she decided – the logical side of her decided. There was another side; the irrational one which was encouraging her to take the risks again and stop fighting herself.
She took a deep, steadying breath.
"I miss you, Sam. I miss my best friend, I miss being able to talk with you, and I miss how things were with us before and when we started having sex with each other. I don't want to jeopardize either of our jobs but I can't stand that I'm watching one of the best things in my life slip away like that, and I think I'll like to fight for it." She bit down her bottom lip. "Is that clear enough for you?"
The light dawned in his eyes, before being clouded by something that Jules didn't recognize. It made her frown and she broke off their eye contact, sensing that things were going to get more awkward; opting to pick up her blouse from the floor and pulling it over her head instead.
"I'm happy to hear that. I am," he told her, standing up too. She looked up at him again and then diverted her eyes away; she couldn't look at his face without her eyes involuntarily sliding down to his torso, before going even further down, and that was the last thing she wanted to be fixated with this very moment.
"There's a 'but' somewhere."
"Yes. But you're obviously not in a position to make a decision like this. Neither am I. I suggest we sleep on this, and then if you still feel the same way, then we'll do something about it."
"I can't believe you're the logical one right now," she grumbled a little, and he chuckled, walking over where she was and picking up his boxers and pants, his fingers fiddling with the buckle. He leaned dangerously close to her, enough but not-yet for her senses to go into overdrive again.
"Looking forward to hearing from you," he said in a low voice. She traced his retreating outline until he got out of her sight, staying rooted to her spot as she did so. When she heard the sound of her front door closing a moment later, she exhaled slowly.
Her bed never looked as enticing than now.