ROOKIE BLUE (isn't mine)

BACK TO NORMAL

I'm stuck with my other stories so I needed a diversion. I hope you like it. A short piece, tag to "Hot and Bothered". I guess it's going to be a long wait until next summer. And here I am rehashing over and over again the same things ;)

-o-

She left the station, took a bus, walked back to her apartment in a blur. She had declined Luke's offer to take her home and Swarek had been perceptive enough to let her go home by herself. He knew she needed the time by herself to put things into perspective. But it was not working. Every time she closed her eyes, even for a split second, she was submerged by the vivid images of the dead man, lying in a pool of blood, his eyes deprived of any residual sparkle of life. She had killed him. In cold blood. Not that she had the choice, she reckoned that. But she had killed a man nonetheless. There was a first time for everything but this first time, she could not get passed it. She doubted that she could ever.

She tried to eat, but felt repulsed by the sight of food in her plate, she tried to drink, but choke on her scotch. She eventually calmed down and stopped pacing or making herself busy and dropped on her couch. She kept repeating the same things over and over in her head. Sam had told her that she could call him. Luke said that he would call her. Her breathing was shallow and every breath she took was more painful than the last. And the phone was not ringing.

Luke, why did you leave me?

She felt that her chest was going to explode. Her mind was in overdrive, she could not control anything. She reached out to the phone to call her father but decided against it at the last minute before punching the last digit. She discarded the phone which ricocheted under the coffee table. She was alone. But she could do it. She could do it, go past the shock and distress and pain. She could do it. Take a deep breath, Andy, you're gonna be fine. Everything is going to be back to normal. But despite her attempts at reasoning, her body felt unresponsive. Overwhelmed by a massive panic attack, she simply stopped breathing, on the verge of passing out before a ragged breath finally reached her throat again. It hurt. I killed a man today. That was all she could think about or repeat like a mantra and it was not helping. She wished she could have a cigarette though she never smoked before or pop a handful of pills, but apart from aspirin and band aids, there was nothing useful at her place. Maybe that was a sign. A sign that she should definitely ask for help. She could not do this alone.

She had killed a man today and it was not going to go away, no matter what. She had saved that little girl but she wished that she had found another way; she wished that Shaw had not been injured; she wished that someone, anyone could be there tonight to hold her hand and tell her it was going to be okay. Because, right this minute, she felt like she would never be back to normal again. She began to suffocate, her lungs shrinking inside her chest, unshed tears stuck in her eyes. Pull yourself together. There's nothing you can do, there's nothing else you could have done except getting killed. You saved that girl today.

It was not working, even when the tears finally broke, she still could not breathe. She was caught inside a whirlwind of contradictory emotions. She sobbed for a while, paced again, slouched back on the couch. She shook her head violently out of desperation. There was no way she could do this by herself. She had to find someone to talk to. She took a deep painful breath and checked her options. Traci was with Leo, Chris and Gail were so engulfed in each other right now that she could not ask them to rescue her from the spiralling down slope she was into. Dov? Well, Dov was Dov and as much as she was fond of him, she could not muster the energy to go to him and ask for his help. Luke had chosen to help with the case instead of helping her. That left only one person she could lean on, and that was Sam Swarek.

Monica.

Sam was probably with Monica right now. They had been cruising the streets for several months and he never told her anything about Monica. And yet she thought all this time that they were friends. I guess he doesn't trust me with his love life. After all we're partners. That's all there is to it. Angry tears replaced tears of despair. For some reason, she had to go to Sam, she had to go right now. She had never needed anyone so bad in her life. She swept her keys from the table and left, slamming the door shut behind her. The night was warm and the streets packed with people looking for air. She walked down her street, faster and faster, broke into a jog and finally run all the way to his place. It was a fair distance but she had no recollection of how she had managed to get there. Tears were gone. Sprinting had turned her breathing back to its normal pace. Her mood had shifted to another level. She was no longer lost or desperate, she was elated. She knocked briskly on his door. The faint glow of a flashlight reflected on the door glass panel and he was there, concern written over his face. Concern for her.

"You wanna talk?"

At this precise moment, she realized why she was standing there at four in the morning in front of a foreign apartment building. That was where she belonged. She let out the breath she had been holding since she had shot this man, in the Rec Center on Walnut. "No." Everything was back to normal.