ROOKIE BLUE (isn't mine)

Tag to "Take Down". Everyone needs a good rest.

HOT AND ANNOYED

-o-

She pushed the door to the Penny searching immediately for Sam Swarek. The general hubbub and the sudden change of temperature made her frown after her run from the barn. It had been a cold day and it was a chilly night. She had not bothered to change and she felt inquisitive looks undressing her on her way in. Sam was at the counter, nursing his usual glass of scotch. She strode through the room, high heels thumping on the hardwood floor. She stopped a foot away from him and simply stood there, unable to do anything else. Fortunately, Sam chose to ignore her trouble.

"Hey… McNally, you alone? Where is Callaghan?" He made a show of looking around. She could not even resent him for it, not tonight. "I thought you two were gone for good already," he insisted. "It's been a long day. Don't you need some rest?"

"As much as you do," she smirked, perching on the next stool. "Luke has yet to get some work done. He's behind because of our little undercover stunt," she said, her voice bitter.

"Told you that dating a detective was definitely not a walk in the park," he raised his glass and his right eyebrow rocketed to the roots of his hair. His mouth twitched when he tried to hide a smile.

She nodded, biting her lips. "Yep, I know. But…" she was hesitating, "but I thought that today it was going to be different." She shrugged. "Anyway." She waved at the bartender. "Same please." She leaned against the counter, facing Swarek who seemed lost in his thoughts again. "In the end, you were right, Sam," she finally blurted out, breaking their comfortable silence. "That was kind of fun."

"Told you," he flashed her his ten thousand watt smile. "Fear, adrenaline, dedication, that's a potent combination. It never gets old. And McNally, you were good, today. I knew you'd have my back."

"It was a close call."

"Yeah. But I'm alive, you're alive, we're alive. And we put those scumbags behind bars."

"That's a bonus," she smiled. "At least, this time I didn't totally screw up an operation."

He seemed surprised. "I thought we were past that. I was never mad at you Andy. That was your first day. You were fantastic out there. Busting me all by yourself? It takes a lot of guts."

"Can we move on please," she blushed, hiding behind a curtain of hair. She took a swig of her scotch and winced. "Sam, can I ask you something?"

He laced his fingers around his glass, titled his head and grinned. "Anything."

"What happened back there?"

"What?"

"I understand that it was all an act but why would you do that?"

Sam stared at her, managing to keep his façade on, but she could spot a sparkle in his eyes. He shook his head. "You lost me."

"I mean, we were supposed to pose as a couple but when you're undercover for less than two hours, well I mean…" she trailed. She glanced at him. He was clearly having a good time and had no intention of helping her out. "… why?"

"I told you they'll question you. You were ready for that, right? You little speech was perfect. Kudos. I believed it myself."

She felt her cheeks burning up. Yes, she sure went over the top with her explanation. "Not the speech, Sam, you know what I mean."

"Can't you just tell me and get it over with? Aren't we… friends?"

She shot him an exasperated glance. "Of course we're friends." She paused dramatically. "I guess I didn't expect you to kiss me," she said in a loud voice. Some patrons glanced in their direction.

"Part of the game McNally," he shrugged smugly. "I had to give them something to get their teeth into. This Angel guy was obviously into you…"

"Yep, noticed that."

"… so I thought that he'd lose some focus. I'm sorry, but I wasn't supposed to show up at our meet with my girlfriend unless we were tied to the hip."

She stared at her drink. "So it was not because you thought you'll end up dead?"

"Yep, that too," he smiled. "I guess that's why you kissed me back." She froze. She clasped her glass, chewing on her lower lip, eyebrows knitted. "Andy, that's okay. You don't have to feel guilty," he said softly, closing the distance between them. He cupped her chin in his hand, oblivious of the other patrons and made her look at him. "It's part of the job. Andy, it was just an act."

She felt like her heart was sinking to the bottom of her hooker boots. "I know."

Satisfied, he turned back to the counter and took a long swig.

"I… I need some air," she whispered, and took off without a look back. He threw a couple of bills on the counter and went after her. She was standing absolutely still in front of his truck. When she heard him, "Sam, could you give me a ride home?"

"Yeah, of course. You okay McNally?"

"Yeah, I'm good," she snapped, opening the door and settling in. She pulled on the strap and tried to buckle up but the strap seemed to have a life of its own. After her third attempt, she let go of it and her head dropped to her chest. Sam was doing his best to give her some space. One hand on the wheel and the other on his lap, he simply watched her crumble under stress. When she started to cry, he took her in his arms and rocked her gently. "It's okay, it's okay," he said softy. "You're gonna be okay."

She sniffed against his shirt and nuzzled into his neck. "I'm… I'm sorry, I'm making a fool of myself."

"Of course not," he smiled, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "I'm sorry that Luke is not here for you. But, I'm your partner, I'm not going anywhere."

She looked up, her eyes red with unshed tears, her nose running. "Shut up," she said, her mouth covering his. His hands shot to her face, holding her gently. He licked her lips, the tip of his tongue moving slowly. Her heart beat faster and her breathing quickened. She felt a warm glow all through her body. His eyes were dark and intent. He tilted his head and sucked softly on her mouth, before deepening the kiss. Then he closed his eyes and slowly slipped his tongue inside her mouth, exploring further. She shuddered and clasped his back, pulling him closer. He moved back and smiled. "Hey," he teased her, kissing her neck. She moaned and tucked at his jacket.

"Hey, you're okay, Nally, wake up, you're having a bad dream." She opened her eyes, disoriented, gasping for air. Luke's face was only inches away. He pushed her damped hair away from her face and smiled. She was drenched in sweat, clamping her sheets. "You're so wound up. Relax, Andy, it's okay," he said again, stroking her arm. He kissed her forehead and lied down. "You go back to sleep now, I'm not going anywhere." He wrapped his arms around her and spoon hugged her. "Sleep tight," he sighed in her neck.