A/N: So this is what happens when i get bored at work... I'm such a good employee!
Disclaimer: Rookie Blue isn't mine.
He'd never tell her, but the first time he'd seen her hadn't been in that trashy apartment. He wasn't dressed down in baggy clothes, his hair wasn't greasy, and he certainly wasn't talking to a drug dealer. No, the first time Sam saw Andy McNally, he was a rookie. It was his third month on the job, and he was stuck in the division for the day. He'd complained to Jerry about his misfortune, but looking back, it hadn't been all bad.
Sam sighed in frustration, tapping his pen against the desk. He hated working indoors; he signed up to be out on the streets, not sitting at a desk. It was shifts like these that had him questioning his career choice. He'd been out of the Academy for three months now, and he still found himself in the barn at least twice a week. Nothing ever happened here, so he couldn't figure out why there was such a demand for dozens of officers to be stationed inside.
He glanced over at Officer Shaw, who often found himself on the desk with Sam. Shaw had been two years ahead of him and Jerry for applying to the Academy, and had been working at the fifteenth ever since he graduated. Sam liked the man; he was honest, hard-working, and a damn good cop. He'd also gotten married about six months back. Sam had never seen much point in marriage; his parents were still 'happily' married after twenty-nine long years, and watching them for the twenty-five he'd been alive had only proven that marriage ruins perfectly good relationships. At least, that's what his mother told him when he asked why his father didn't even look at her. He hoped Shaw's proved to be different. He had a good time with him, and it was often because of Shaw that he didn't commit suicide while on desk duty. The least he could do was hope the guy's marriage worked out.
Sam glanced over at the clock; it was three thirty-five. Last time he'd checked it was three thirty-two. He groaned.
Oliver chuckled beside him, "You're too impatient, Sam. One thing you'll learn is that this job isn't all adrenaline and excitement."
"Think I've already figured that one out," Sam sighed noisily. Oliver just continued to smile, shaking his head in amusement.
The day dragged on in utter monotony, and Sam feared he would go brain-dead. At least last time he's been on the desk, he'd gotten something out of it. Her name was Sydney, and she was quite exquisite. He grinned at the memory, glad for the momentary distraction. Sydney wasn't the first by any means. There was Jayde, Isabella, Brianne, Taylor, Susan… The list went on. Shaw was amazed at the sheer amount of women Sam managed to pick up from behind a desk, not counting those he added on at the Black Penny.
Yes, Sam Swarek was the definition of a bachelor. Jerry often joked that he figured Sam would hit on anything with long hair and a nice set of legs (two of Sam's more important preferences), but that wasn't entirely true. He'd spent his years as a bachelor carefully honing his 'type' down to a pretty specific appearance: Long hair (preferably blonde), fit (not necessarily skinny), tall (but not too tall), with a proportional body and nice set of legs that she wasn't afraid to show off. Not to say he was picky or discriminatory; he made an exception if the woman was right.
Sam looked up from the desk to see one such possible woman coming up to him now. Swishing hips, tight jeans clinging to elongated legs… Sam's gaze travelled up to her face, noting her curved figure, already liking this prospect. It had been too long. Short, badly dyed black hair met his assessing stare, and he paused in his approval, considering. He didn't particularly like the shape of her face, nor the way she brushed a strand of hair from her eyes. The movement was too abrupt, like she was swatting away a fly, and he imagined she didn't lend herself too easily to grace. Then again, she looked sure of herself, a trait he found made up for a few shortcomings; she could be fun.
"And what can I do for you today, Ma'am?" He asked, his voice already oozing charm as she approached. He flashed her one of his award-winning smiles.
She blushed despite her confidence, "I need to know how to file a complaint."
"Now what could a gorgeous woman such as yourself have to complain about?" He asked, though it was not a rude question, and only made her blush more deeply.
"My neighbour keeps me up all hours of the night. I've asked him to be quiet several times, and he won't. I figure he'll listen once I go through more official channels, Officer… Swarek," She replied, squinting to read his name from his uniform.
"Well, that won't do," He said, still smiling, "Let me just grab you the right forms. And please, call me Sam."
As he bent to retrieve the forms from the lower drawer, he caught a glimpse of Oliver grinning in disbelief.
Ten more minutes passed, and Sam successfully guided the woman through the process of filling out the forms. It was a very straightforward procedure, but she insisted on the help, which was a very good sign.
"Now, we'll try to get this taken care of quickly for you, but if you have any problems in the meantime, here's my number. Give me a call."
He slid the slip of paper across the desk, and the woman –Sylvia Laten- took possession of it, brushing her fingers against his and smiling coyly at him. They both knew she wouldn't call because of the neighbour. Oliver was looking the other direction now, simply to contain himself.
He stood, and was just about to give some parting remark or other that would keep him in her head when a swishing noise indicated that the door had opened. Out of habit, he glanced over to see who it was, only to find that he was unable to tear his gaze away.
A young woman stood just beyond the glass doors, glancing around nervously. The first thing Sam saw was her face –unusual for him– framed by long, dark hair that cascaded down her shoulders in light curls. It reached slightly past her chest, but his judgement of that area was obscured by a rather masculine looking black t-shirt that hung loosely from her frame. Despite the lack of cling in the shirt, Sam suspected it hid curves in all the right places. The shirt was long, covering so much of her that only the very ends of denim cut-offs were visible beneath it. His gaze continued downward, taking in the sight of her long, tanned, perfectly smooth and muscled legs. They were damn near perfect. Her legs descended to worn out flip flops, yet her toenails were perfectly painted. Despite all of this, Sam found himself drawn back to her face. She was younger than he was, no doubt about that, but there was something in her eyes that suggested a maturity beyond her years. If he had to guess, he would say she was between twenty and twenty-three, going on thirty. He surveyed her face more closely, the set of her lips against her face, the way her bangs fell into her eyes every so often. She lifted a hand and tucked them back lightly, far more graceful than Sylvia.
The thought of Sylvia brought Sam back to his senses. Here he had a perfectly fine woman all lined up, and he was risking it by gawking at someone else. Sure, that someone else was pretty damn gorgeous, but it still went against his principles. No more than one on the go at a time.
"Have a good day, now," He said, realizing exactly how stupid it sounded about ten seconds too late. Sylvia looked a little confused, but offered a generic response and a wink before turning and heading out of the division, barely sparing this newcomer a second glance.
With that taken care of, Sam was free to go back to admiring this other woman. Her hair wasn't blonde, and she definitely didn't care what she wore –like so many of Sam's other girls did- but he found that it really didn't matter. In fact, he thought he liked the brunette better than any blonde he'd seen in a long while –perhaps ever. It was different with this one. Usually, Sam just concentrated on the appearance, but with her, he found himself inexplicably drawn to her face, not her body. Her face appeared weathered, as though she'd been through a few storms in her life, her chocolate eyes stared out at the world, guarded and yet open for all to see. She chewed her lip as she debated where to go, and her indecision didn't repulse him as it so often did. He watched as her eyes flicked around the room, and he thought he caught a trace of sadness in them, though he couldn't fathom why.
Of course you can't, because you don't know her, he silently berated himself. God, he was being stupid. Sam Swarek didn't act like this. He didn't feel concern for someone he didn't know. He didn't have these stirrings of emotion for random girls who found their way into the precinct.
But this one's different, the voice inside his head told him, and he had to agree. She was so far from what he'd pictured as his 'ideal woman' and yet those were the words that came to mind. And he hadn't even spoken to her for God's sake.
Well, he could always change that. He looked up again, only to find her looking right back. The nervousness was gone from her face, instead replaced by a cool confidence and self-assuredness that Sam found remarkably endearing. How she could go from uncertain one moment to sure the next was beyond him. Usually it took women longer to become confident in these surroundings.
Just as he was about to say something to her, Oliver opened his mouth instead.
"You must be Andy?" He asked, looking at the girl. Sam frowned at Oliver, confused. How the hell did he know her?
She nodded quickly.
"Right. Tommy told me you'd be dropping in. Just head up the stairs and it's the first door on your left. He should be waiting."
The girl, Andy, smiled tightly, her eyes flickering between both of them, "Thanks."
Sam watched as she followed Shaw's directions, hearing her voice echo in his head.
He came back to reality as she disappeared around the corner, turning to see Shaw studying him with a raised eyebrow.
"That one's off-limits, Sam. That's Tommy McNally's daughter."
Sam had to work very hard to control his surprised reaction. That was Tommy McNally's kid? He'd heard her mentioned a couple of times before, just in passing, but he'd never thought she'd look like that. Nor did he think she'd be the one he'd refer to as his 'ideal woman'. Of course, the idea that she was off-limits made her all that more appealing, but he valued his job (and his ass) enough to know when to back off. Not that he'd even done anything. He'd just admired from afar…
Instead of changing the subject, Sam asked the most stupid question he possibly could, "How old is she?"
Oliver's eyebrow quirked again. "Eighteen, why?"
Sam blinked, holding back a second round of surprise. "She doesn't look eighteen."
He didn't need to say anymore, because Shaw understood perfectly. "Like I said, off-limits."
Sam nodded, looking back down at Sylvia's complaint form. He suddenly couldn't remember why she'd appealed to him.
About an hour later, Sam looked up to see Andy coming back down the stairs. She looked slightly less sad than when she'd come in, yet more tormented. He found himself wondering how on earth she could have so many emotions displayed on her face all at once.
Oliver cleared his throat, forcing Sam to remember their earlier words, and he looked back down at the paper in front of him reluctantly. He wouldn't draw too much attention to the fact that he was riveted by her. She was off-limits, and that was that. Of course, that didn't stop him from watching discreetly as she pushed open the exit door, hips swaying ever so slightly as she walked away.
He knew her face almost instantly after she burst through the door. Of course, it took a moment for everything to click into place, but her face wasn't one he would easily forget. The subtle drifting of his eyes to her name only confirmed what he suspected: this was Andy McNally, all grown up, in uniform, about to arrest him. Great. He'd heard her coming a mile away, but thought he'd had a little more time before she busted in. He inwardly cursed Pedro and his shitty locks. For the kind of money he made, the guy sure was cheap.
Looking at her, he tried to convey what he wasn't sure she knew. Of course she wouldn't remember him; he wasn't burned into her memory the way she was burned in his. One day from so long ago –eight years, to be exact– wouldn't matter in the grand scheme of things. She stared back at him for a heartbeat, gun drawn, breathing heavily, her hair escaping the bun she'd tied it into. She told them to stay still, and he could hear the tremor in her voice. She had that 'deer in the headlights' look, and he inhaled deeply, regretting what he was about to do. He didn't want to make her look bad, but he couldn't let her make this mistake. Really, he was helping her in the long run.
"See ya," He told her, making sure to inject boredom into his voice. He gave her one last lingering look before climbing out the window, before having to pop back in a second later to grab Pedro. Honestly, the guy was an idiot.
They were halfway down the fire escape before he heard the tell-tale sounds of her following them. The girl was relentless. He hurried Pedro into an alley, hoping against hope that they'd lost her. He took the moment of Pedro catching his breath –aside from being an idiot, he was also very out of shape- to go back, assessing the previous situation in greater detail. She looked better than he'd last seen her. Instead of sadness and depression in her eyes, he'd seen the faintest glimmer of hope, nearly snuffed out by the adrenaline, but still there. If it was possible, she even more breathtaking now than she'd been then. Sam squeezed his eyes tightly. He really needed to get a grip. It had been eight years…
He and Pedro argued, breaking up his thoughts. Of course, Pedro wasn't the brightest bulb in the shed, and started into hysteria, his voice growing steadily louder. Sam failed to calm the man down, and the next thing he saw was Andy coming around the corner, gun drawn once more. He sighed; he just couldn't escape her.
She pushed them both against the fence, Pedro shaking in his boots. He waited for his opportunity, intent on leaving the clumsy dimwit behind to save his cover, and found it when she moved to put her gun away. He moved quickly, running around the edge of the fence and into the alley. He was home free; or so he thought.
The next thing he knew, Sam found himself on the ground, staring at the dirt.
Damn. How did that happen?
Never before had Sam Swarek been taken down. He was surprised that a rookie was the only one who'd ever been able to do it. He could smell the faint odour of strawberries, and tried to concentrate on something else, like how he could possibly get out of this. It was difficult to do, given that she was currently patting him down. The first time Andy McNally touched him, and she thought he was a criminal.
"You're making a mistake," He tried, hoping she heard the meaning behind his words. She didn't.
"I'm on the job." He tried, but she didn't pick up on that either.
The first time he talked to Andy McNally, she thought he was a drug addict.
The next thing he knew, he was being led back to a squad car handcuffed to Pedro, Andy's hand around his arm in a vice grip. He tried twice more to get her to remember seeing him, or at least to clue in to his hints of "I'm a cop!" He was unsuccessful.
So he sat in the back of the car with Pedro, watching as the familiar face of Oliver Shaw approached the car. That was a stroke of good luck; Oliver knew he was undercover. Maybe they could avoid too much trouble here. He wasn't keen on the idea of having eight months of undercover work blown by her over eagerness.
As Shaw slid into the driver's seat, Sam fixed his gaze on the rearview mirror, waiting for him to look back. When he finally did, he watched Oliver's eyes fill with exasperated disbelief. It was as though he was waiting for Andy and Sam to yell "Gotcha!" or something.
"Ah-mazing," Oliver sighed sarcastically, "That's just great."
Sam leaned back in his seat, preparing for whatever came next, and trying to avoid staring too much at the back of Andy's head.
Well, it was all over. All that working for nothing. Eight months of living in squalor, only to come two weeks from the biggest drug bust in years and have his cover blown.
He'd sacrificed his life as he'd known it just to do this, and now it was gone. All because she had to arrest him.
He'd given her countless opportunities to catch on, to let him 'escape' her custody. He would have happily given her Pedro; the guy was, as he had already established, an idiot. Sure, idiots made good mouthpieces, but they were also a huge liability.
God, why hadn't he just left Pedro there? She wouldn't have gone chasing after him, because she would have had to deal with the other man. And why the hell was she alone in the first place? Why had Oliver sent her off on her own on her first day? And why was Jerry so goddamn stupid? The cuffs, the clothes, Oliver holding him like a prisoner… It wasn't that hard to put together really…
Okay, so maybe he was overreacting just a little bit. His locker definitely didn't deserve it. But it was either that or someone's face. He got some sick, twisted pleasure out of imagining himself pounding Pedro into the dirt. He'd had to put up with the guy for eight freaking months; he deserved some kind of reward for his sacrifice.
Slam, Slam, Slam!
His frustration was interrupted by the door opening. He was about to snap at whoever it was, saw it was Andy, and reconsidered reconsidering. He wanted to snap at somebody, and though he wouldn't have taken out his frustrations on some innocent officer, she was the one who'd arrested him. If she'd just caught on and let him go, none of this would have happened. So, instead of reconsidering, he snapped at her. He took out a good portion of his anger on the poor rookie, forgetting for a moment who she was; he just needed a scapegoat.
When he saw a trace amount of defiance come into her eyes at his abuse, he was confused. Most rookies would have dissolved into tears and run from the room crying apologies by now, but Andy stood her ground. It was clear that her self-confidence had improved since they'd last seen each other. This fact, of course, did nothing to rid Sam of his attraction to her. It did nothing but piss him off even more.
Eventually, he found himself feeling a little sorry for her, seeing the regret clearly written in her eyes. She hadn't meant to screw up his life, it just sort of happened. In a small attempt to make things better, he fed her a bit of information, hoping it would pan out and she could avoid total humiliation and disapproval. He was going to hunt Oliver down after he calmed a bit, but she was here now, and she'd taken his anger with a brave face. She was definitely stronger than he thought she was.
As he stripped down to his underwear, watching in slight amusement –though he'd never let it show- at the way she gradually became more uncomfortable with every layer he rid himself of, he found himself comparing the Andy he'd seen eight years ago with the one he was looking at now. She was definitely much tougher, with a harder exterior. Though she was in uniform, he could see that she had more or less the same figure as before, but she'd lightened up on the make-up a little, going for more natural beauty; it worked. He stepped under the hot water in the locker room showers, revelling in the feel of an actual shower, despite the fact that the department showers weren't really that great to begin with. He had to stop this right now. He couldn't already start thinking about her just because she'd come barging back into his life, and he meant that quite literally. Leaning forward, he switched the tap to run cold.
Later that night, as she offered to buy him a drink by way of apology, he got to see her out of uniform. It was an entirely new side of her. Of course, he'd only seen about two sides of her, but it was good to see some variety. He'd been right about the figure. That night, her hair draped loosely down her shoulders, it took every ounce of self-control he had to say no and send her away. He was still pissed off at her, no doubt about it, but that didn't change the fact that she looked pretty damn irresistible.
Instead, he left Jerry quite early, and went to flirt with a fun looking blonde in the corner; just his type.
Her name was Monica.
The night of the Black Penny Incident –as he would forever dub it- was a close call. Despite his distaste for rookies, the Anton Hill debacle had established one good thing: Sam now had a healthy respect for Andy. She would most definitely make a good cop someday.
He'd been irritated to learn Boyko was pairing him up to train Andy. He didn't want to be a Training Officer; he wanted to be flying solo until he could go back under. He told himself this had nothing with his desire to get involved with the woman who'd been in the back of his mind for years, but he knew it was a lie. This was his chance, and now Boyko had unwittingly ruined it. With those simple words, their two last names paired together, Boyko had once again stamped Andy with the 'off-limits' sign he had been stopped by once before; although this time, it was for a completely different reason.
Sam had never been one for rules, so he really didn't pay much attention to this at first. However, after the almost-kiss, he began to see the practicality of it. If he got himself in any deeper, he wouldn't be able to do his job properly. To come that close and have her pull away was infuriating. He had been that close to getting what he'd wanted for so long, and she had to go all rookie on him and bring up the rules. He guessed it was a good sign that the rules she brought up were hers, and not Boyko's, but still. Now he couldn't deny it. He was emotionally invested, or at least hormonally.
As time passed, Sam found himself falling deeper and deeper into trouble. He couldn't stop himself. It wasn't just her exterior that was beautiful; she was one of the most amazing people he'd ever met. She was damn near perfect, in all of the possible imperfect ways. She was broken, and Sam wanted to fix her –a first for him.
Sam liked his women beautiful and with no baggage, and yet here sat Andy with a U-Haul full of it, but he couldn't step away. She was complicated, but who wasn't? Usually he went for the woman with all her emotional problems neatly giftwrapped and stuffed away, and he knew Andy had tried to do that. For the most part, she succeeded, but he still saw it there, lurking under the surface. Eight years obviously wasn't enough to right the wrongs of her life.
And as the time passed, Sam watched her adapt to the lifestyle of a cop. He watched as she struggled with the shades of gray coloring the job, and watched as the little spark of hope gradually left her eyes. It killed him, knowing that she was being disillusioned day after day, and there really wasn't anything he could do about it.
Like after Benny. He'd seen the look in her eyes back at the house, and he'd heard the news that the kid hadn't made it through the surgery. He knew she'd take it hard. Of course, as he leaned up against his truck, he told himself he wasn't really waiting for her, because that would be inappropriate. No, he was merely waiting for his keys, which she had.
He was in the middle of repeating this to himself as Oliver exited the building, heading towards him. He sighed; he definitely knew what was coming.
"You, uh, you waitin' for your rookie?" Shaw asked, following Sam's gaze, which had just flickered to the slowly approaching Andy.
"Naw, I'm waitin' for my keys," He said, not quite looking at Oliver. He caught his friend's raised eyebrow in the corner of his vision.
"You know, Sammy, training officers and rookies can't…" He trailed off, his voice suggesting exactly what he'd left out.
Sam refrained from rolling his eyes, instead going for the same disbelieving look he'd given Oliver when he'd suggested the same thing earlier.
Oliver raised his hands in surrender, starting to walk away and calling out as he went, "Remember what I said, Sammy. Off-limits."
Sam didn't say anything, just swatted his hand in dismissal.
"What's off-limits?" Andy asked, startling him. He hadn't realized she was that close.
"Nothing. Don't worry about it," He lied, abruptly changing the subject.
Oliver's words echoed in his mind as he looked at her, seeing the sadness in her eyes, but it didn't stop him from asking her if she needed anything. It didn't stop him from offering her a drink, a ride, or the world. He would have done anything to wipe the pain from her eyes, regardless of Oliver's reminder. So when she asked what he knew about plumbing, he shoved the voice back into the corner of his mind. Her being off-limits definitely didn't stop him from telling her to jump in, agreeing to whatever it was that she needed.
So maybe he was farther gone than he'd thought. If he were to be honest, he'd been gone since that day with Anton Hill. He thought he could control it, but he was finding that he was rapidly losing that control. He never would have guessed that the girl he'd first glimpsed eight years ago would so completely captivate him.
But, of course, none of that mattered because, just like the first time he'd seen her, she was off-limits.
A/N: So… like everything else I write, this was supposed to be short, and like everything else I write, I failed at making it short. I tried to stick with the original idea of him having seen her eight years ago, but it started taking off in weird directions… I hope it made sense!