Making Amends

A/N: Set after "Standards and Practices." Making amends is a big part of a 12-Step program. Andy knows he has to make it right with Brenda. One shot. Please R&R!

Disclaimer: I do not own or operate "The Closer."

The tension between Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson and Lt. Andy Flynn had eased after he complimented her on her "great legs." No two ways about it: Andy Flynn was a good-looking man and it always felt good to be complimented by a man who looked like him. It pleased Brenda as a woman that such a man did think she had nice legs. And she had come to know Flynn well enough to realize that if he hadn't thought so, he wouldn't have said it. She was starting to have some deep feelings for Fritz Howard, but that didn't mean she couldn't appreciate a sincere compliment.

Deep down, Brenda actually sort of liked the prickly lieutenant. He spoke his mind, took no crap off anyone, was fearless in the field, had zero patience for bureaucracy and never minded letting the top brass know it. Plus, he was a top-notch detective with a sixth sense for liars and bullcrap. But when he put his mind to it, he could be the most obnoxious s-s-s- STINKER on God's green earth. "Some days, I could pinch Andy Flynn's head off and THROW it at him!" Brenda said to herself as she sat in her office. She could clearly see how he had been through two wives. "I'd have put him on the road a long time ago, if I'd been dating him," she muttered.

"Come on, Andy. You know what you've got to do." That was Jake, Andy's AA sponsor. They were watching the Dodgers play on television.

"Yeah, I know. I know. Gotta work my program and amends are part of the program."

Jake laughed. "Andy, as long as I've known you, I've never seen you balk so at making amends to someone you know you wronged. What's with this woman?"

He shrugged. "I dunno. She just irritates the hell out of me, that's all. You never know where you stand with her. She's sneaky and moody. When she says 'thank yee-eww' in that accent, it drives me bananas. When she's not really grateful for a damn thing you do. We're just her little lap dogs, especially Gabriel. She just oughta put a pink collar around his neck and put a leash on it."

Jake chuckled. Andy was nothing if not blunt. "Maybe you're just a little resentful that she doesn't depend on you like she does on David? You've got the years on the force, after all."

"She treats me like I'm friggin' Guido the Enforcer from a Mafia movie! I'm just the muscle. I guess since I don't have the college diploma like Gabriel does, I'm just there for protection. Not like my experience or opinions are worth a shit to her." Andy looked like a thundercloud as he passed the pizza box to his friend.

Jake took another slice and thought for a moment. "So be the muscle. Be the Enforcer. Make yourself her go-to guy if that's what she wants. She'll start to see she's misjudged you if you give her an opportunity to see you as someone besides a jackass. And remember, Andy. You've given her a lot of reasons to hate your guts for life. You brought up that harassment story, for Christ's sake! So over the line, and you know it. You owe her amends for that alone. And if you don't do this, you'll relapse again, sure as I'm sitting here. You've worked too hard for your sobriety to let it get away from you because you can't get past your hubris."

Andy shifted uncomfortably on his sofa and threw a paper napkin into the nearby wastebasket. His expression was still one of an impending natural disaster, but he sighed. "Yeah. You're right. So what do you suggest I do to make all nice-nice with Miss Atlanta?"

"Let go of your resentment towards Gabriel, first. Then, just sincerely apologize to Brenda. You know how to do it. That's how you get along with Sheila. And you've even managed to be civil to the Barracuda, haven't you? So what's Brenda Leigh Johnson done to you that's worse than what Chloe did? Sounds like, from what you told me, she saved your butt, is what she did."

Andy nodded resignedly. "She did. Much as I hate to admit it, she did."

"So the least you owe the woman is a thank you and an apology. The very least."

"Guess so. Miss pageant princess. How do guys down there deal with those accents? They just rub me the wrong way," Andy groused.

Jake had other suspicions, but having talked Andy into a more rational frame of mind, he wasn't going to voice them. "Can't change that, so accept it. Change what you can, which is your attitude."

"I'll do it tomorrow," Andy promised.

Jake looked keenly at his friend. "I'm holding you to it. Call me and tell me how it went."

"I will."

Andy spent a sleepless night, annoyed with Brenda Leigh Johnson, the world and most of all, himself.

He intended to make his apology first thing in the morning, but the chief came in so agitated, he decided to wait until later. That would also give him time to get something chocolate for her. He had seen the obscene amount of candy she kept in her desk, but figured a little more wouldn't hurt his case. On his lunch break, he hit the local 7-Eleven and waited until the murder room emptied out for the evening. Brenda was dealing with paperwork and looking flustered in her office, but he had promised himself and his sponsor that he would do this. So, with the box of goodies under his arm, Andy knocked on Brenda's office door.

She looked up and didn't seem pleased to see who it was. Still, she put down the forms and motioned him inside. "What can I do for you, Lieutenant?" Her tone was wary.

Andy shifted his feet nervously. "Well, Chief, you know, we didn't exactly get started on a positive note."

Brenda raised an eyebrow. "No, I'll have to say we didn't, Lieutenant. In fact, that's something of an understatement," she answered sharply.

"Yeah, I guess it is. Anyway, I wanted to help change that, if I can."

Brenda pursed her lips and looked at him with deep suspicion. She narrowed her eyes. "What did you have in mind, Lieutenant?"

Andy felt a lot like an insect skewered on a pin. "Well, I'd like to start with an apology. I shouldn't have contacted the media. Period. It was none of my business. And I've been a gigantic pain in the ass and I've treated you like crap. And I'm sorry. I should have given you a chance, and I didn't. I really am sorry."

Brenda listened to how Andy said what he did, rather than to just his words. He was sincere. And she didn't want to have friction on her squad, and she did like Flynn. She respected his abilities. "Well, Lieutenant, I appreciate you saying that. I accept your apology."

"Thanks, Chief. I'd also like to thank you for not letting me swing in the wind. You could have, but you didn't."

"You're welcome. I have to ask, though. What got into you?"

Andy indicated the chair. "Can I sit down?"

"Oh! Of course! Where are my manners?" Brenda said. "Please, sit down."

Andy did so. "Chief, I'm gonna be honest with you. I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober five years. I go to regular meetings and I have a sponsor. Part of working a good program is making amends when you need to. I needed to. I've made a lot of changes in my life, but I still go right back to old habits, sometimes. Not making excuses, though. Just being up front."

"Well, you're certainly not the first police officer to have a drinking problem, that's for sure," Brenda answered. "And I'm glad you're sober. I'm glad AA is working for you. Most of all, I appreciate you being honest with me. It makes me feel like I can trust you."

"You can trust me, Chief. God knows I'm not perfect, but I'm an honest, ethical cop. Most of the time, anyway," he grinned a little ruefully. "But you can always trust me. You had my back when I needed you. I've got yours when you need me."

Brenda was actually a little touched. She knew with a feminine intuition it hadn't been easy for this big guy to say what he just said. But because he was committed to remaining sober and doing his job well, he waded in with both feet and did it. That told her a lot about Andy Flynn's character.

"That's very comforting to know, Lieutenant," she said, and it was. In a firefight, she wanted a dozen of him covering her. As it was, she had only one, and he was holding out the olive branch. Brenda decided to take it. "I appreciate it, Andy. Doing what you just did is never easy. Please, let's do start over – on a better note this time." She stood and held out her hand. "Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson," she said.

Andy stood too, and grinning at her, took her hand. "Lieutenant Andrew Flynn. Nice to meet you."

Brenda laughed and so did Andy. He squeezed her hand and said, "Oh, I almost forgot." He handed her the box of Ding-Dongs. "Peace offering."

Brenda's face showed her delight and she looked at Andy. "Now you didn't have to do this." She giggled. "But thank you anyway. Thank you so much."

The "thank yee-eew" didn't annoy Andy quite so much this time. This time, he thought she meant it.

Andy grinned at her and winked. "Good night, Chief," he said.

"Good night, Lieutenant," she answered. Andy left her office and Brenda sat down in her chair. Well, well. Just when you thought you had someone figured out. Would wonders never cease? She was glad her officers were coming around. It made her job so much easier.

As for Andy, he felt surprisingly light-hearted, which made him realize how much anger he had been carrying around. He would be glad to call Jake and let him know how it went. Making amends was rarely fun, or comfortable, but it almost always made a day better.