A/N: I'm back. So, being from SA, unfortunately I need to live season two vicariously through the good people who write recaps, and reviews, and post videos on You Tube. This is based on my limited exposure (and of course the season previews). This will be a multi-chapter fic. I hope you like….
Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even Rookie Blue season one (which, I am still waiting for).
Chapter one: The decision
Sam cannot recall the exact moment he came to The Realization. Made The Decision. Took The Step.
Perhaps it was sitting in Best's office, hearing that the job he wanted, worked for, had opened up, and yet… His decision, his drive to join Gangs and Guns suddenly wasn't a given, wasn't so clear cut. His priorities had changed.
Perhaps it was when he leapfrogged over the body of a young woman who lay in a pool of her own blood, dying. Desperate to know that she, Andy, his rookie was still alive.
Perhaps it was as he stood, waiting, impatiently, outside the mobile unit, not caring or thinking of the case at hand.
Perhaps it was as he clutched her face, searching her eyes, trying to convince himself that she was still there, tangible, whole. And she stared back at him, accepting, not questioning, as if she wouldn't, couldn't, didn't expect anything less.
Perhaps it was the curiosity in her eyes and the laughter on his lips as he told her they make a good team. The tilt of her head, daring him to quantify his words, so say what neither dared. Muttering under her breath, when he didn't. Marching in her heels back to her undercover op in that unbelievably short black number. Glancing back at him, just once, briefly.
Perhaps it was the glint of her ring and the satisfaction in her eyes that she was loved by someone, and she thought it would be forever.
Perhaps it was the terror in her face as the man she loved, bled out on their floor, of their house.
Perhaps it was his lashing out at his fellow officer, his mate, berating him for not stopping her from going into that damn burnt out Laundromat.
As if Shaw could have stopped her, once she set her mind to something. He, Sam, knew he sure as hell wouldn't have been able. Short of tackling her to the ground and sitting on her. Which, he realizes, he probably would have done, if it meant protecting her. Damn, impudent rookie. Has trouble tattooed onto her forehead.
Or perhaps, it was his realisation, his lightning moment: To Serve and Protect, right? Problem was, who was he serving and protecting? Wasn't the community at large, was it?
She wasn't his responsibility. She wasn't his rookie. She wasn't his. Full stop. And if there is one thing the past few weeks has made very clear, is that he isn't doing the squad, her, or himself for that matter, any favors.
As the saying goes: If you love something, let it go…
So, he was. Letting go. Walking away. From her.
Which is how he finds himself once again sitting in Best's office, with good old Detective Boyd, being briefed on his next assignment.
It's a humdinger. Dangerous. Deadly. But at least this time, he is higher up the food chain. Designer gear and an uptown apartment. Penthouse. Makes it sort of worth it, doesn't it? Tries to convince himself.
He needs to be fully briefed, but this is it for the 15th Division, at least for now. He has said his goodbyes. To everyone. Except one.
He finds her in women's locker room. Fitting, he thinks.
Sits down next to her, thigh against thigh. Comfortable in each other's space. And that's the whole problem. Isn't it?
She stares forward, her arms resting on her jean-clad thighs. The evidence of her run-in with a collapsed building evident in the cuts and scrapes on her arms. Superficial, but there, just the same.
He cannot help himself, reaches a hand up and gentle pushes a loose strand of wet hair behind her ear. He notices a fresh graze, bloody and oozing above her eye.
Sighs, stands, walks over and picks up the first aid kit lying there. He really should talk to Best about her getting issued her own. She sure as hell needs it. Either that or full body protective gear.
He dampens a cotton swab, moves in front of her, crouches down, his one hand on her thigh, balancing himself.
She sucks her lips into a fine, bloodless line, grimacing as he lightly swipes the top of her eye. He sees a glint of a tear, and chooses to ignore it. Not sure whether her reaction is to the stinging pain, or to him. Too scared to ask.
He works in silence for a while, cleaning the wound. Trouble. Tattooed. On. Her. Forehead.
Pulls out a plaster, opens it, presses it gently to the wound. Finally speaks: "You heard?
She nods, too afraid to say anything, in case the words that choke her, sneak, crawl, spill out of her mouth. He sees she wants to say something. Unusual for her to be this quiet. Waits, still crouching in front of her.
"Why," she finally gets out. "Why now? Why this case?"
He smiles at her sadly, places his hand on her cheek. Tilts his head slightly, looks into her eyes, searching to see what is hiding there in the depths. She stares at him, lifts her hand to his, their fingers intertwine, automatically, without thought, without premeditation.
He feels her ring press into his flesh. His reminder. His reality.
Dropping his hand to her knee, he pushes himself up. Takes her hands, pulls her up.
"Come on McNally," he says quietly, rolling her name over his tongue. "You know that this is what I've wanted from the start. From the moment we partnered, you knew this was on the cards. Now is my chance. It's not like I have anything to lose."
She ducks her head, he lifts her chin. "It's my time now. I supported you and Callaghan. Now, it's time for you to support me. Partners right? Always got each other's backs?"
She nods, a tear slides out of the corner of her eye. Unbidden. She swipes it away angrily.
He continues: "I need you to want this for me. I need you to want me to be happy. Just like I want you to be happy. Don't you see? This is the way it should be, it has to be."
She chokes back the tears, threatening, hovering, clutching to her lashes. Reaches her arms up, encircles his neck, hugs him tight. "Be safe Sam," she whispers, her soft breath tickling his ear.
He hesitates, breathes in the fragrance of her freshly-washed hair, commits her touch, her scent to memory, before sighing raggedly.
Lifts his hands, gently disentangles her arms. Smiles his disarming Swarek smile: "Don't forget to send me an invite to the wedding, McNally."
Kisses her softly on the forehead.
She watches him. Leaving her. Walking away.
Stands for a second or two, staring at the now empty space, before pushing though the door. Ready to go after him. To stop him. To ask him not to leave. To ask him to stay.
It's Shaw who catches hold of her wrist as she goes determinedly by. Pulls her back tight against his chest. Holds her as she tries to wrench away. Allows Sam to walk out of the barn.
As soon as the doors close behind him, Shaw releases her. She turns her tear-stained cheeks towards him, looks at him uncomprehendingly, angrily: "Why? Why did you let him go? He's going to get killed out there. These men, these people he is going to be dealing with, they don't just leave you with a warning…"
She looks at him accusingly, spits out: "You are his friend. Why didn't you talk him out of this? Why didn't you stop him?"
Shaw shakes his head at her, sadly. Ignores her venom. "You don't get it, do you McNally?" he says softly, without malice. "He's chosen this. He needs this. He is doing this so that he can live again. It's being here, with you, that's been killing him."
She stares at him open-mouthed.
He adds: "Go home to your fiancé, you made your choice. Let him have his."
Leaves her in the hallway. Alone.