ROOKIE BLUE (isn't mine)

MEMORIES

Set after "Serve or Protect". A car scene, for a change and a little unexpected trip to memory lane. Thanks again guys for all the support. This one is slightly different from my previous stories, I hope you like it.

-o-

Parade was over and she had been paired with Sam Swarek again. She tried to locate him in the bullpen but he was not in sight. She went to her desk, checked her files and sighed. Her leg was still hurting from her little too close encounter with Swan. To make matters worse, Sam had seemed in a very bad mood this morning. She was not remotely ready for a full day of bad temper and witty quips about her love life or worse, the silent treatment again. It was probably going to be another very long day.

"Hey, McNally, searching for Sammy? He's gone to the car already," said Shaw.

She swirled to him and flushed. He gave her the stern stare he usually kept for her TO. "You okay? I noticed that you still have that bad limp. What does the doctor have to say about it?"

That was odd. Shaw did not make a habit of being nice to anyone. "It's okay. He looked at it and said it was healing quite nicely."

"Don't trust the doctors, McNally, you should take a leave of absence, you look terrible," he said in a soft voice. He nodded. "Anyway. Go, save the world. And tell Swarek that if he gives you a hard time, he'll have to respond to me." He smiled and turned around. "Epstein, are you finished with polishing your nails? Can we roll now?"

She limped to the parking lot and spotted Sam in the car in the passenger seat. His head was resting on the window and his eyes were closed. She opened the back door, threw her bag on the seat and got settled behind the wheel.

He protested feebly and his hand shot to his temple. "Silence, please, would you," he snapped. "You drive." He handed out the keys and crossed his arms on his chest with a sigh.

"Good morning to you too. I see that someone is in a good mood today. Again," she finished on a whisper. She started the engine.

Sam opened one eye and looked at her. "What was that?"

"Nothing. Where're we going?" she asked, staring at the windshield, hands clasped on the wheel.

"I don't care, just drive away."

They engaged in traffic and Sam stuck to his act.

"Poker night, I take it?" she finally said after a good fifteen minutes drive without a hitch.

"McNally…" he snarled. "Not today again of all day please just shut up."

"Did you lose?"

"What's wrong with you?" he asked sitting up and shooting her a blank stare. "You simply don't understand the virtue of silence, do you?"

"Oh, so it's going to be one of those days?"

"I'm having a headache already, if you want to say something just say it."

"I thought you and me were back to normal…" she tried, glancing sheepishly in his direction.

"Back to normal," he pondered, slouching back in his seat. He sighed. "Let's not do this again, the don't you think it's awkward dense banter. I'm just hungovered. Nothing against you really. Moving on."

"I get it. But I can't spend the day without at least saying a few words," she protested.

"Make some arrests then, or give some speeding tickets or go get a coffee and a donut at the next diner, can't you be a cop for one day without my help for Christ's sake?"

"I don't eat donuts," she chuckled.

His mouth twitched. "Okay. What do you want me to say?"

"Anything, I don't know."

"So how are things with Callaghan? You're good again?" he smirked.

She winced. "You just can't help it, really? That's all you can come up with?"

"Trouble in paradise?"

"No, no trouble. Things are good," she said in a cold voice.

"Good."

Silence set again and she drove for the next five minutes her eyes on the road, biting her lip. "I don't know why."

Sam jumped. "What now?"

"I said, I don't know why things are good again."

"McNally, don't you think that it's weird. I'm not your girlfriend."

"I mean," she continued, ignoring his interruption, "he was barely talking to me and out of the blue we're good again. Simply doesn't add up."

"Yeah, yeah, I can see why you consider joining the force."

"But he was so mad at me!"

"About the I wanted to make love to Swarek on his front porch?"

"You know what? You are such a... Nothing." She stayed silent for a few more minutes. Sam eventually wiggled on his seat and sat up straight, wincing.

He placed his hand on her arm. "Andy, I'm sorry. I'm being an ass. Listen. I'm going to do the talking. Okay?"

She looked at him, puzzled. "Why the sudden change of…"

"Shush, just you listen. This is set during the last century. I was a fresh rookie back then."

She smiled. Sam had been alluding to his age a lot these last couples of weeks.

"One morning, Tom Charles, who was in charge of the Division at the time, decided to put me out of my misery. My TO had been giving me a hard time because I had kinda screwed up on his watch."

She felt that her cheeks were heating up and made a show at watching straight ahead.

"But that's a story for another time." He sighed and turned slightly on his seat, half facing her. "That day, I was lent to the D squad. And I figured it was going to be a blast. I was so eager to serve and protect and whatever back then and being with the suits, that was…" He shrugged. "I mean it was a dream come true."

He closed his eyes. "I met with this detective, a legend really. Tom McNally?" he winked. "He was in his late thirties, very smart. A hunting hound. The highest rate of success at resolving crime in the whole state. Of course, I spent the day pushing paper and running errands or getting them coffee… and more coffee. But it felt great. And it made me realized that I did not want to be a Detective, not ever!" he chuckled.

"That's a good story," she said softly.

He raised his hand without opening his eyes. "Don't, I'm not finished." He inhaled deeply. "At the end of the day, I couldn't wait to go to the Penny and be one of the guys. You know, that felt totally unreal. I got to the locker room at supersonic speed and changed. Of course, I got there first and felt like an idiot."

She chuckled. "I know the feeling, I felt like an idiot the first day."

"You weren't, I was," he stated. She averted her eyes. What was it with the sudden admission? "Don't you want to hear the rest of my story?"

"Oh, yes of course I thought that you…"

"So I was waiting near the bar with a beer in my hand when this girl came in."

"Oh," she frowned. Not what she expected. Sam's rendition of his first hook up when he was a fresh rookie?

"She was, I don't know, nine, maybe ten. The guy at the bar waved at her. She knew him because she smiled back. She had the most amazing smile I'd ever seen and her hair was long and shiny. She went straight behind the counter and they hugged like old friends. Then he lifted her on one of those high stools, you know and took her bag from her to store it under the bar. I remember clearly that her eyes fanned the room like she was expecting something and then her face changed all of a sudden and all the light was gone. Just like that," he opened his eyes. Andy was staring at him with her mouth slightly opened and her eyes wide. "I simply couldn't go to another copper and ask him about her," he continued. "That would have been weird. I stayed by the bar and watched her. Every time the door would open, her face would brighten and then she would turn off the switch again. I was fascinated. What was she doing there? Who was she waiting for? It was late already. And chilly out there. She spent more than an hour totally still except for the fleeting excitement provided by the door. I remember that my fellow rookies were quite vocal that night, and especially rude to me, because I got the chance to work with McNally that day, but she didn't seemed to register what was going on around her. Her eyes were simply set on the door and she kept on waiting."

Andy slowly turned the car into a back alley and killed the ignition.

"I had almost forgotten about her when Artie Butler came in. He was a real guy's guy and a good cop. He was killed a few years ago in that shooting on Gardiner. Anyway..."

Andy could not breathe. She wanted to say something but she could not either.

"Hey, Tony, seen Tom tonight?" said Butler, his head tilting to Andy, still perched on the stool.

"He was there. I figured I'd keep an eye on his girl until he's back."

"Christ, he probably passed out in his car again. Listen, I can't take her home. Not tonight, Molly would kill me."

"Officer," said the young man who has been staring at her for the best part of the evening. "If I can be of assistance…"

"You're Swarek right, the new rookie? Okay, listen carefully. You take her safely home and you stay put until I can locate that son of a bitch and kick him back where he belongs. Is that clear?"

"Yes sir."

The young man turned to her and Tony handed her her bag. "Here you go, sweetie. Be good."

She nodded and jumped from the stool. "I'm Andrea," she said, holding out her hand.

"Andrea, I'm Sam and I'll be your driver tonight. Is it okay?"

She nodded again and stared at him seriously. "I guess."

"Then you bought me an ice cream on the way home."

"Yes, I did. Ice creams always did the trick for me when I was sad."

"And you tucked me into bed and you asked me if it was alright not to read me a bedtime story."

"I hate bedtime stories."

She smiled. "How come I didn't remember seeing you before?"

"Like I said, it was a long time ago." He flashed her a brilliant smile. "Enough talking for today. Let's roll. You wake me up when you got to get some food into you."

"But Sam, I…"

"McNally, my car, my rules," he said, closing his eyes.