Author's Notes: Spoilers for 2x11: Perfect Storm and veers AU from there. Basically, how I want their story to be written, but I doubt it'd happen on screen. Enjoy! Reviews are very much appreciated, as usual. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Flashpoint.
Pairing/Character: Jules, Sam
lines we draw
The thing about lines is, sometimes they smudge. Sometimes they leave an imprint so deep that nothing can erase that away. You can (try to) hide it, maybe with a little correction fluid, but they still leave angry marks, like battle scars. It happens before you can stop it, and when you finally realize it, it's too late for you to do anything about it.
The thing about lines is, you've drawn so many of them that they're all blurred, and you simply don't know one from the other now.
You know he's looking at you intently because that's just the way he is and you can almost feel his eyes boring a hole through the back of your head. You ignore it; pretend to continue cleaning the rifle. It's been two months since you re-joined the team, and amidst the calls and training, you think he's ignoring you. Not that you're actively pursuing his company either. You're both professionals, and it's the same intensity and respect for your work that's drawn you so deep towards him.
You can tell it's a topic of taboo, this 'You and Sam' business, within the team. It drives you crazy, to be honest, because you think that you're both responsible adults who will take action for the past, and the two of you are still friends. There's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
(So why are you avoiding him?)
He approaches you at the gym one day, and before you can respond to his sudden appearance, he's launching into a huge speech about how he's trying to move on with his life, move on past you, and even though there's a part of him that will always love you, he understands and gets why things have to be this way, and he's not blaming anyone and anything for it, and how about the both of you stop avoiding each other like the plague and get back to where you were like before things got messed up seven ways from hell?
You stare at him, shell-shocked for just a moment before you nod, and tell him, Absolutely.
One of these days, you see his new girlfriend waiting by his bike, parked at the entrance of the headquarters, when your shifts are over. Sam strides pass you, and looks at you casually, almost like he's daring you to say or do something. You don't take the bait; that's not who you are and that's not what you want to be.
She seems nice, you tell him, and as you exhale slowly you hope he doesn't notice. You're almost proud of yourself for being able to keep your voice as steady as ever as you ask, what's her name?
Julia, he says, and his eyes burn with the same intensity you remember.
The irony isn't lost on either of you.
You ignore that hollow feeling in your heart and down your throat. It's a choice you made, a line you drew. And as you watch Julia climb on the back of Sam's bike, watch as he wraps a protective arm around her as she does so, and watch as they zoom off until you can't even see them across the horizon, you know it's a choice you need to live with.
You used to think nothing can startle you anymore.
That sudden tug at your heart proves you (very, very, so very) wrong.
You go on dates. Sometimes the guy lasts for a month, but most of the time they're gone before two weeks are even up, and even though you give each of them excuses (he's boring, he's self-absorbed, he's not a really nice person, he's too clingy, he's awful in bed, and so on and forth) you know you aren't really being fair to any of them.
But you tell yourself, life's not fair, and you trudge along. (Because really, what else can you do?)
It happens without warning: One minute you're in your dressing room, trying to regain your composure after a tougher-than-usual SIU investigation; the next he's entering the room and you're dragging him, and fumbling with the lock, and then. He doesn't resist you, and even though you know it's wrong, it's so fucking wrong and you shouldn't be doing this, you can't stop yourself either and that's a thought that scares you to death.
And yet somehow you do manage to tear yourself away before you sink deeper into this hole. He's not relenting; he's even deepening the kiss and you know the way his fingers are tracing your body what's going to happen –
You jump away, too forcefully, too abrupt.
I'm not going to let you do this to yourself, you tell him, and you think you've never heard your voice so raspy or so tinged with regret and disappointment. Despite everything that has happened, you're Jules Callaghan, and you're a good person. You don't tear people apart and you don't allow people to walk away from others just like that.
He just shakes his head; breathes heavily, and says, it's over, Julia and I, it's over, and you look at him with a look of suspicion and disbelief, but what kills you is the feeling of mild joy that sweeps over you.
It bothers you a little that the feeling of guilt doesn't dissipate when you wake up the next morning, and he's sleeping soundly on your bed, next to you.
Second time around. You should be wiser, should be more mindful. But neither happens, and you can feel yourself drawing away and you know he can feel it too. It's all still the same; the team still comes first and you're still putting your life in each others' hands, and it's still like taking a gamble with everything you've worked for.
We can't keep doing this, you whisper. His touch lingers on your cheek, and as you look into his smoldering eyes you can see that he knows what you mean. It's always going to come between you as long as you're working together.
Yeah, I know, he says, and you close your eyes.
I'm sorry, you tell him.
I'm not, he replies, as he sits up and gets out of the bed, and goes, I'm never sorry about you.
This time, he's the one who gets shot. No trained sniper this time, only a scared kid with a loaded gun that accidentally goes off point blank at him and oh god you think you're going to be sick when Sam goes down right in front of your eyes and Ed has to take the shot at the kid, but all you see is the dark crimson staining the front of his uniform and you feel numb and you can't move.
Somehow you still manage to get down on your knees to try and apply pressure on his gaping wound, the sticky blood tainting your hands and he stares at you with a blank look on his face (but you know the feeling and you know the pain and just how much of it is rippling through his system, through his veins). It's seconds later before you realize that Sarge is talking to Sam; telling him that the ambulance is on the way and he's going to be fine.
Your heart is racing like a bullet train, and it feels like an eternity before the sirens invade your hearing space. When his eyes close as he's loaded up on a stretcher and into the waiting ambulance, you feel like a part of you just died as well. You don't really believe in organized religion but if there's an ever-powerful being up there, somewhere, this will be the first time you really pray.
Hey, sweetheart. How you doin'?
You laugh, despite yourself, and question (with what you hope is a jolt of jocularity amidst the tension), shouldn't I be the one asking that?
He smiles at you, mutters something about how he embraces the changes in life and you can't help but notice how weak it is and how his eyes have lost that sparkle. His voice is frail, far away and you decide that you don't like that at all.
Five minutes and he's already dosing off, but in between coherency and lucidity, you hear him murmur: Stay here with me, Jules. Don't go. And you breathe in slowly and clasp your hand over his, almost protectively, and tell to close his eyes; you'll be right here. And he laughs (and you see how much effort it takes for him to even do that and a sliver of pain shreds across your chest) and asks, Promise?
His eyes are closed before he can see you nod.
It takes the distance between the passageway from his room and the windows at the waiting area that you break down and sob, not even caring about people staring (but it's the hospital, for god's sake, people do this all the time, right? Right?). You have never, never come so close to losing someone close to you like that. That's your defense mechanism right there – don't get too close, don't get too personal.
If your life's a movie, you think this is where the sad montage of songs morph into something more upbeat, more optimistic as you have an epiphany. You love Sam. You've only said it to him once (and it wasn't even under happy circumstances) and you'd be damned if you don't get to do that to him ever again.
There's nothing scarier than that. Not even how much you care about him, or all the rules you're breaking. Right now, it's just you and him, hanging precariously in the balance and you wish there's an easy way out for the both of you.
Along the way, the lines between the team comes first and finding some semblance of happiness get smudged beyond recognition. Along the way, the mind and the heart wage an everlong war.
You ready? He asks, and you purse your lips together and nod. It's irrational of you, it really is, but he wants it too and it's the only viable option now; a foregone conclusion if any.
Sarge eyes the both of you curiously, and he ducks his head for some eye contact. He questions, Are you sure about this? And numbly you nod, and turn away to look at Sam. Afterall, he's the one who's going to be transferred to another team, the one who's leaving everything and everyone behind. It's selfish, it's unfair. You know that.
But when the heart takes over, there's nothing you can do about it. You can try to ignore it (him) and you can try to fight it (you), but in the end, it doesn't matter. Because when the heart is set on wanting something, there's no question about it.
Under the table, you grip on to his hand tightly. He squeezes it gently, once, twice, and even though you know things aren't likely going to be all smooth sailing, at least it's a start.
Hey, Callaghan. Time to stop fighting your heart.