Disclaimer: As usual not mine!

Haven't written for over a year and when I went back to read this I hated the way that I had left chapters five and six, so here I am to fix that up and merge them into one. The next chapter is in the works too, hoping to get that up soonish. And I'm planning another Lawson/Shannon story, just want to get a couple of chapters under my belt before I start posting them.

And a huge thanks to Anna, my muse and being the person who keeps encouraging me to write, even when she gets emails from me at 2.30 in the morning

Chapter Five

Lawson finally stopped after running for over an hour. He had spent most of that time just listening to his shoes hit the pavement. Finding an empty bench and plonking himself down, he finally allowed himself time to think. Lawson had spent most of the week's shifts distracted. Removing a black box from his pocket, he turned it over and over in his hands several times. Glancing down, he flipped the lid and slowly removed the item.

Bring the ring closer to his face; Lawson turned it around admiring it from all angles. He had agonized over the purchase. Everything about the whole situation. From how he wanted it designed, right down to the fact that the ring had two small diamonds on each side that could only be seen if picked up, set with rose gold. Then he had to swipe a ring of Shannon's to get the right size, he was still praying that it would fit. When he got up to Sydney for a police negotiator's conference he had stopped in at her favourite jewellers and had it designed and made without fear that Shannon would find out.

Then there was that fateful day a few weeks ago when had taken the day off… planned everything and there was that phone call.

Something that he had been so sure about was now been questioned in his mind. Was this the right time? Was it even the right thing to do? At the moment it was fine, Shannon and Lawson kept their private and professional lives separate. Outsiders could come into their team and most never knew about them. Of course, there had been that Senior Sergeant who was never happy about them being an item, but they had moved past that, and he wasn't in the squad for that long anyway.

But if they did get married one of them would have to move out of TR. And chances were it would be her, Lawson was the team leader and primary negotiator. There was no way around it. Rules were meant to be broken or even bent, but that rule was firm… Once they got engaged, if they got engaged, it would be interesting to see how long they would be allowed to continue working together. Married…that meant being transferred immediately. May be if they were in a different squad, 'regular' policing, the situation might be different, may be a small country station, then they might be able to continue working together. But this was Tactical Response, a highly responsive specialized unit; there was no way it would be allowed.

The only way that Lawson could see around it, with both of them staying in TR was if they worked in opposite teams, on opposite shifts. It would probably allow them to both keep working with the unit and there would be every chance that Shannon would become the primary negotiator in that squad. But what would the down side be? They would be working opposite shifts, when one was home, the other would be working… And it would only be occasionally that they would have a day off at the same time. He never really saw the other squad, just at shift change over. Was that a life they really wanted? What was the point of getting married? Would it be worth it? Never seeing his wife, never spending time with her?

Was it worth it? Lawson kept asking himself. He couldn't find a real right answer, he loved Shannon. He wanted that idealist life, with a wife and kids, but was he ready to ask her to give it all up? As much as everyone thought he was married to the job and a hard boss, it was Shannon that made him melt. Sometimes that all he needed, for a smile to light up her face. That was when, after a tough day at the office, he would melt. Many of the TR team owed Shannon a drink, if it hadn't been for her, some days Lawson would have ripped them to shreds. She was his voice of reason, the calming influencing when he got fired up. But then again, would he even be willing to get the job up? He could never ask her to do that, give up the job she loves, if he himself couldn't.

His mind pulling him one way and his heart pulling him in the other direction confused Lawson more and more… With a heavy heart he stood up and headed back to where he had parked over two hours ago now. Knowing that he had to pick Shannon up and finally bring her home his pace quickened, all the time the ring box turning over in his hand.

Before he knew it he was standing in front of her hospital room door, looking in through the small window on the door, watching her gather up the last of her things. Turning around Shannon caught sight of him, beckoning him to come in. Lawson returned a sad half smile, his hand going up in acknowledgement. Grasping the door handle, he stole one last longing glance at the ring before snapping the box shut and shoving deep into his pockets.

'I can't ruin it,' he thought.

Shannon glanced around at her surroundings. It had been at least six weeks since she had been home, but to her it felt like an eternity. She could barely remember the day that TR1 was hit. She had been told that she was alert after the accident, not that she remembered. There were foggy memories of Lawson floating around somewhere in the depth of her mind. No recollection of conversations, just muddled images of him.

Lawson hadn't said much since leaving the hospital. It didn't bother Shannon too much, she had the mild beginnings of a small headache, it wasn't too bad. The doctor had warned her about them. Since waking up from the coma she had been experiencing them on and off, and finally they were now subsiding. Closing her eyes, Shannon leant her head against the cool surface of the car window.

A short while later she felt Lawson's hand on her knee. Slowly opening her eyes, she found Lawson's concerned face staring at her.

"You ok Shan?" Lawson asked, the concern evident in his question.

Shannon simply nodded her head. She smiled catching a glimpse of where they were.

"You don't know how much I've missed my own bed," she told him.

"I know how much I've missed sharing the bed," Lawson replied. "King beds are lonely when there's only one person," he finished, opening the door for her.

Shannon took it all in, as she walked through the house. She had always thought it was just a house, nothing special. But after being away for so long, it suddenly meant more. There was something that she just couldn't put her finger on. Even Lawson seemed different…

Settling down on the couch, Shannon looked around, hardly believing how clean the place looked. Especially the living room. Lawson poked his head around the doorway.

"Need anything?" he asked.

"Nope, just come and sit," she replied. "I've missed the small things," she finished, snuggling up to Lawson, resting her head on his shoulder.

They sat there in silence for a long while, neither of them wanting the moment to end. Shannon enjoyed the silence, having missed those moments in the quiet with Lawson. Lawson on the other hand, his mind was spinning at a million miles an hour.

His girl was finally home and no ring or question was changing that…or anything else.

"Hey," Shannon spoke, interrupting his reverie. "What you thinking about?"

"Nothing much…."

"So I spoke to Kerry this morning."

"Shannon," Lawson growled warningly.

"What? … Once again, this is my decision Lawson…" she said incredulous. "And you didn't even let me finish," she snapped.

Lawson held up his hands in defense.

"Kerry hasn't cleared me to be back on the road, that isn't going to happen for a while. Doctor Hammond is going to have to clear me too, I'll have to go through a medical. I guess, it will even be a while before I'm even back at work. The headaches, they happen every time I wake up, Doctor said that was normal. They've already started to subside. It's beginning to only happen in the mornings. But since I'm going to be on restricted duties, I'm going to be at the base all day and if I'm still experiencing headaches it's not going to work for me. The last couple of days has allowed me to thing things over."

"Hmm," was all Lawson had to say.

A short while later Shannon glanced up at Lawson, curiously he had a furrowed brow and was staring off into the distance. Shannon looked slightly concerned, she couldn't fathom what was going on. She thought that he would be happy to have her home, especially since she had also spoken about not rushing back to work. She knew that her working situation was something that was on his mind, but he hadn't seemed all that happy about what she had told him. Actually there wasn't much emotion at all. Again there was just something that that she couldn't place her finger on.

"Lawson, I'm just going to go to bed I think. Don't feel like you need to come, if you want to catch up with Josh or something go right ahead," she told him, getting up and her eye catching something in the corner. Shaking her head, she leant down to kiss Lawson. He still looked a bit distant.

'Hmm...I wonder,' she silently thought to herself as she walked down the hallway.

It wasn't long before she heard him on the phone to Josh. Soon after he quietly slipped into the bedroom, kissed her and told her that he loved her more than he might show sometimes.

After she heard the car back down the driveway, Shannon quickly slipped into the living room. Making her way over to the corner where it looked like something had been shoved out of the way, she leant down to find a few withered rose petals. She knew that the living room was cleaner than normal. Kneeling down she took a closer look under the couch, rummaging around her hand touch a box, clasping her hand around it, she withdrew it slowly.

What she found was the outside casing of a ring box from her favourite jeweller's. What was that doing in the house? A smile slowly spread across her face, was this what she thought it was? Clutching the box tightly Shannon sank onto the couch. Now it was her head that was running a million miles an hour.

Hope you enjoyed it! Reviews are always welcomed