Chapter 17 There For You

"Sargeant Buchanan?" Stanley Wolfe called out into the office, loudly enough to be heard over the din of Duncan and Matt discussing the weekend's footy results and Allie and Rhys squabbling over whose turn it was to do the coffee run.

It had been some weeks since Nick and Jennifer had shared dinner with Shay, and the two had since started their undercover assignment, taking it slowly at first, not yet kicking out onto the streets and meeting the people they hoped to tempt in with their drug deals. But not so slowly that Jennifer had been able to successfully juggle her host of doctors appointments and trips to the fertility specialist's with Nick very well. It had been a whirlwind few weeks and Jennifer was nearing exhaustion, s feeling she had not expected so soon.

She lifted her head somewhat reluctantly and looked over at Stanley's open office door. He beckoned her in with a wave of his hand and a look down his nose from behind his glasses.

"Sarge?" she asked as she entered his small, dark office, it's walls covered in certificates and diplomas, degrees and photographs.

"Jennifer," he replied, closing his laptop and looking up at her. "Please, take a seat."

She sat nervously on the edge of the seat opposite her boss, wondering what could warrant an invitation into his office so randomly.

But then he smiled. "Are you and Sargeant Ryan enjoying working together?" he asked.

Jennifer breathed out a little sigh of relief and sat back more comfortably in the chair. "Oh!" she replied in surprise. It was not the question she'd been expecting. She nodded earnestly at him. "Yeah, we really are. It's just like old times." She smiled at him, knowing he knew what she meant. This small team had been through a lot together, and now had roots that went down very deep. Before she knew it she was being really honest with Stanley. "It's a nice distraction…having him back," she admitted.

Stanley nodded knowingly. Her mentor for so long now, he knew without her even mentioning that things had been trying at home of late. He found it almost funny how he seemed to so easily be able to recognise it in his young charges, but had never been able to recognise it in himself back when he and Linda had first hit the rocks. He smiled and adjusted his glasses ever so slightly. "I've noticed you two getting along pretty well," he informed her before turning back to his work. "It's good to see. I knew I made the right decision bringing Matt back here."

Jennifer hesitated for a moment, only just realising that Stanley had orchestrated at least part of Matt's return to Melbourne. She had him to thank for bringing back one of her best friends into her life.

She pushed the chair back in and smiled at her senior sergeant. "Thanks Sarge."

As she packed up her belongings that afternoon, Jennifer couldn't wait to get home. She cleared her desk of the clutter that had accumulated throughout the day and walked into the kitchen to rinse her water glass in the sink.

As she placed the glass in the dish drainer she heard someone walk up behind her and turned around to see Matt.

"Hey mate," she smiled warmly, despite her weariness. She could always muster strength for Matt. Not for many other people lately, but she could for Matt.

"Hey," he smiled just as largely in return, helping himself to a clean coffee mug from the cupboard above the sink.

They fell quiet after that, Matt unsure of how to ask what he wanted to, and Jennifer noticing he had something on his mind and waiting patiently for him to reveal it.

"Have you…" Matt began quietly. "…had any good news yet?"

She knew what he was getting at, and was touched that he would ask.

But she had to shake her head. "No," she replied. "But the process isn't over yet."

Matt nodded, knowing how serious and stressful the situation must've been for his friend. He admired how strong she seemed to be being in what was surely a testing time in her life.

"Well, let me know…?" he asked, wondering if that was an appropriate thing to say. What if she had to tell him bad news? That would be awful, and he felt his face get hot at the thought of having maybe put the thought into her head. "I mean, if you want…" he was stumbling now. "It's your business…you don't have to tell me anything about it, good or bad, whatever…" Far out! Matt thought to himself. Put your foot in it why don't ya! He shuddered inwardly with the embarrassment.

Jennifer smiled, understanding. She put her hand over his on the bench, not dissimilar to how he had done her over their chicken parms that night when he'd first returned to Homicide. "Thanks Matty," she said softly. "I will, don't worry."

Matt knew he would probably always love her, whether she was married to someone else or not, and it was this thought that made him manoeuvre his hand from underneath hers so that they were actually holding hands, the action happening in a heartbeat. He squeezed it and reached his other hand up to hold her cheek. His thumb brushed her soft skin there, back and forth, back and forth and for a moment neither said a word. "I'll always be there for you Jen," he said caringly. "Always." She almost collapsed under the feeling of relief and tilted her head a bit more into his hand at her cheek. "Even in the middle of the night ok?" he instructed her. "Anytime."

"Oh Matt," she whispered, feeling more than a bit emotional at that moment. She reached her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly, holding onto him for a long time, alone in the kitchen at Homicide. As she pulled away she placed a light kiss on his cheek. "Thankyou."

I know it's not much

But it's the best I can do