ROOKIE BLUE (isn't mine)

ASK ME

I was quite happy with the way this first season ended, and I understand that my reaction doesn't seem to reflect the general vibe from the RB fandom... So I came up with that ficlet. Post "Take Down". Once again, I can't tell you how much I'm touched by all your great reviews and support!

-o-

"He's trouble but what can you do? When you meet the right one, that's it, you got that feeling, right?"

Sam Swarek stared at his glass, dangling it a little. The ice cubes clung against the glass and he took a last swig, signalling the bartender for another one. Their last stunt, that was a tad too close to comfort for his own taste. He had been the one calling the shots, being opened about the way he felt about her being a great cop. About being great, period. He chuckled. That was it. That was all he will ever get from her, a fake admission in front of two scumbags. Their partnership had been complicated enough without that undercover mission. When he had kissed her, he was three hundred percent certain he will not make it. He wanted to touch her one last time. And she returned his kiss. Was it fake? Now that he was very much alive and on the verge of being very drunk, he would never know why, unless he asked her, which will never happen in this life or the next.

Don't be so dramatic, you're an old fool. Maybe that was the age factor that was actually bothering her. He did not mind their age difference but why not? Women's minds did work in mysterious ways. This reason was as good as any. He knew for a fact that she was attracted to him as much as he was to her. She had been from the start. He could read the signs and when he pushed her away that first night at the Penny, he had hurt her. I made out with the wrong guys. He could not erase the memories of their almost kiss in the parking lot or of her body against his that night of the blackout and the way she responded under his touch.

I thought you were pretty cool. He knew that she was being honest with him. That's probably exactly what she thought when they met. Undercover cop, a bit of mystery, a dash of danger, the thrill of the bust. How did that make you feel? Did you like me right away or did it take a while? He was still waiting for her to answer that one. And she probably never will give him any answer. He pushed her too hard. It was for her own good. You don't walk inside a trap without a fair warning. Or maybe it was just lust. He was used to women watching him from a distance. The rough solid guy who understands women.

"Penny for your thoughts?" The cheering voice of Oliver Shaw stopped him from sinking to the bottom of his drink. "Aren't you the brooding type tonight…"

"Hey…"

"So," Oliver Shaw leaned heavily on the counter next to Sam, "it was a good day!"

"Yep."

"Now that you got another taste of that undercover business, are you going to grace us with your presence or go back to the drug squad?" asked Shaw. He sat his beer on the bar, trying to decipher his friend's face.

Sam's eyes shot to his glass and he nodded. "Boyd asked me to join his unit. I'm not sure. I've got to talk to Frank, see if he still needs me around for the rookies."

"They aren't technically rookies any more, you realize that, right? Or do you miss babysitting that bunch of idiots already?"

Swarek tensed.

"They're all idiots Sam. Even McNally. But she's got some balls, this one."

Sam grinned. "Yes, she sure has."

"I heard she did great today."

"She had my back," he shrugged. "Yeah, I guess you can say that, man."

"Sammy, you know me, I'm quite the sensitive guy, I wouldn't want to burst this little pink bubble of yours, but what's going on with you and this rookie?"

What exactly do I have to do? Be his girlfriend? I think I can manage that! His mouth twitched and he locked his eyes on Shaw's. "Like you said, she's not a rookie anymore." Pause. "And she's Callaghan's girl."

"Oh, and you say it like you mean it, how dignified of you!"

Sam's head dropped to his chest and he sighed. "I heard that Diaz is going to be alright?"

"Yep, just came back from the hospital. Kid's out of the woods. But that fox, Peck, she was a wreck, man. Couldn't believe she could actually feel something."

Sam chuckled. "Give her a break Ollie. She's under a lot of pressure."

"Really," Oliver smirked, "so who is it gonna be Sam? The blonde or the brunette?"

"You never let go, huh?"

"Oh, oh. Speak of the devil…"

Sam turned his head to his right and watched Andy walking to them. She was still wearing the same outfit, and her face was intense under the charcoal make up. She was beautiful.

"Hi," she said, looking a little self-conscious. "Oliver."

"Hey, Sam just told me you saved his sorry ass today."

She chuckled, her eyes going from one man to the other, pondering what she was going to say next. "I don't know, Sam was pretty great in there. I was so afraid."

Shaw shot a meaningful glance to Sam. "Enough with buttering up ladies, let's get serious. Scotch McNally?"

"Actually, I was on my way home. I just want to have a word with Sam."

"Let's hear it McNally!" Sam waved his hand.

"Alone," she said with that soft voice that sent shivers down Sam's spine.

"Oh, that actually hurts McNally, you know that," Shaw placed a hand on his chest and smiled. "Later, man." He walked away and sat with Andrews. Sam watched him settled down. Andy took a deep breath and he turned back to her, with an interrogating look.

"So, what is it McNally?"

"Sam, please don't interrupt me, because if you do, I'm sure I won't be able to…"

"Go ahead, I promise I won't. It's been a tough day, get it out your chest."

"Sam, you were right. I don't seem to know how to take off my uniform." He smiled. "Because if I do, I'm vulnerable and I don't want to be that woman. I don't want to be afraid when I'm cruising the street, or chasing the bad guys or searching an empty warehouse. And when my shift is over, it's easier to keep it on I guess. For protection, that way things merely rippled on the surface."

"It's okay, Andy. You've only been a cop for eleven months. The important thing is to realize that you don't have to do that. Or it will break you down. You'll push away everyone who wants to be close to you and it'll ruin every relationship you'll ever have. Trust me on that."

She shook her head, Sam's words echoing those of that woman who had lost her child, during a previous case.

"You don't understand. What I'm trying to say it's… Sam, I don't want to be hurt again, that's exactly why I can't let you in."

"Excuse me?" His eyes went wide and he raised his eyebrows at her.

"I think you heard me."

He flinched. "Why Callaghan then? You let him in." His voice sounded bitter even to his ears.

"You really have to ask," she shifted her weight from one foot to the other, looking down at the floor. "I thought you knew."

I'm not really ready for anything, constantly faking.

"Don't you love him?"

"We're moving in together. He's buying a house," she said.

His heart skipped a beat. "A house?" He fiddled with his glass. She remained silent. "Did he propose?" he finally said.

"No, oh no, of course not!"

"Andy, I'll ask you again and we'll never talk about this again, okay?"

She nodded obediently, chewing on her lower lip. "Do you love him?"

"I don't know. I like him a lot. We're good together. I don't know." She looked miserable.

"You've been with the guy almost a year and you still don't know? I don't understand. What is it that you want from me?"

"Nothing. I just thought you should know."

"That you don't know if you love him?"

"That we're going to live together."

"I'm not your father McNally, you don't need my permission," he snapped. He turned away from her and gulped his drink. She raised her hand but eventually changed her mind, shaking her head fiercely.

"It was a mistake," her voice faltered. "I should never have come see you." She turned around and left. He let out a deep sigh, threw a bill on the counter and followed her.