No Place for Second Chances

Fandom: Flashpoint
Pairing: Sam/Jules
Category: Romance
Rating: K+

Disclaimer: As much as I'd love to, I don't own Flashpoint, and all characters remain property of the show's wonderful scriptwriters. All original characters and plots are mine. No copyright infringement is intended.

Synopsis: All her life, she had been searching for something like that. Spoilers for 2x08 "Last Dance"

Author's Note: Jules has been giving me a little trouble lately, and this one took a while to write, but I think it might be one of my favorite pieces of one of my favorite episodes.

It had been a very long night, and the emotional roller coaster they had been put through made it more exhausting than it really should have been.

Canvassing the city looking for two unknown subjects had not been the difficult part; neither had the standoff. It hadn't taken more than an hour to disarm Evan and talk Laura down, but the entire team was still reeling from its effects.

He'd taken a shower, his usually gelled hair falling limply. His eyes registered fatigue, and Jules recalled his harsh question earlier: "Remind me, who dumped who again?"

His tone had stung more than she cared to admit, and she had kept quiet, afraid of pushing too far.

She was bitter about it, she supposed. Bitter that he seemed to have an easier time moving on, moving forward without her, even though he had been the first one to profess his love. So much for his undying, forever love.

Jules had never really given second thought to their break up. She had known, right from the very beginning, from the moment they first kissed, that it would not last. It wouldn't have been allowed. So from the start, she had always waited for the day when it would end. She had anticipated it, and she had prepared herself for it.

What she hadn't counted on was falling in love.

It should have been something casual, something temporary, to fill the void. She had convinced herself that they were merely two colleagues seeking comfort in each other in the only way they knew how. But somewhere along the way, the physical manifestations of their need had turned into something more.

She had dealt with the break up the way she dealt with everything else: she compartmentalized. She pushed the hurt and the pain to the back of her mind, filling her time with work and renovations and spending her energy on hacking down more walls than she should. She locked Sam Braddock into a box, and threw away the key. He was a topic she never dwelt upon.

But tonight's events had crept back up on her, had forced all her doubts and insecurities out into the open, and for the first time, she had cried while on the job. She'd allowed herself a moment of weakness, witnessing Laura and Evan's steadfast love for each other that even death could not separate.

It had torn open her defenses, and ripped through her.

All her life, she had been searching for something like that. A love so consuming, so overwhelming, and so sacrificial that even death could not put asunder. She wanted to be like Laura, so loved by her own Evan who would go to the ends of the earth to fulfill her last wish even if it killed him. And she wanted to be Laura, so open and unguarded and sacrificial with her love that the thought of him finding another would neither faze nor hurt her, as long as he was happy.

She hadn't thought that Sam would be the one – and even now she hesitated saying it at all – but tonight, as she watched Laura's goodbye video and heard the couple's conversation, her first thought had drifted back to the sandy-haired Constable.

Was this love?

She'd never second-guessed her actions before; she was Julianna Callaghan, the tough-as-nails woman who always got it right the first time because in her family, and in her work, there was no place for second chances.

But tonight, all the previous assumptions she'd ever held about herself had come crashing down, and for the first time in her life, she found herself wondering about how life could have been different if she had only taken a different path with Sam.

Yes, the team was her family. But tonight, she had come to realize: Sam was her life.

Was it ever too late for second chances?