For old followers wondering where I've been, please visit my profile!
Everyone else - I spent the local heat wave lying in the basement watching too much Family channel. This pairing really stood out to me, and when I had this idea I just had to write it. Please forgive me if I've gotten any details wrong; I've actually only seen a few episodes.
Cheers, Mouse


Sonny smiled, relieved, as she squeezed water out of her dark hair. A tepid shower had been the perfect way to cool off after a hot day of work at the studio. Dressed in old black sweats and a loose t-shirt, she strode into her bedroom and reached for her phone on the bedstand. Frowning when she didn't find it, she picked up her purse, groping inside for a moment. Then: "Crap," she said aloud, eyes widening as she remembered herself leaving it on the table in her dressing room at the studio. She sighed. Tawni would kill her if she went all night without texting back; not to mention everyone else she talked to.

She glanced in a mirror. Her hair was damp and she wasn't wearing makeup, but it was after hours on a Thursday. There wouldn't be anyone around to see her at the studio. She grabbed her purse and went outside to hail a taxi.

xx

Earphones in, Sonny swiped her keycard through the lock at the studio door closest to her dressing room. She strolled into the hallway, eyes closed as she danced away to her music. Before she knew what was happening, she collided with a warm, solid body.

Her eyes flew open as she pulled the earphones away from her ears, reaching into her pocket to turn off her iPod. Chad was in front of her, reaching for the script he'd dropped on the floor. He was still wearing his Mackenzie Falls suit, but he'd removed the jacket and tie and undone the top two buttons of his shirt, as well as rolling up his sleeves, probably in an attempt to relieve some of the June heat.

"Short stack! Why don't you watch where you're going?" he asked with a pointed glare.

"Jeez, why don't you?" she demanded in response.

Frowning, he straightened. "What are you even doing here so late?"

"Forgot my phone," she answered shortly. "What about you?"

"Rehearsing," he said, holding up the script and lifting one eyebrow. "It's quieter here than at home."

Sonny started moving again, turning around and walking backwards to continue talking to him. "If you say so. See you around, Ch-" She was abruptly cut off as her heel caught in the grout between tiles and she tumbled backward. Her head hit the edge of a nearby plant-pot before it hit the floor with a crack, making stars burst in her vision.

"Sonny?" came a very muffled voice. Before she knew what was happening, a pair of hands was under her arms, hauling her up to stand. Her arm was pulled around Chad's shoulders, as he scooped one arm around her back. "Are you okay?" he asked, his voice a little clearer.

She opened her mouth with the vague intention of responding, but she seemed to have misplaced her vocabulary. As a result, the only sound she managed to produce came out something like: "Unnnh."

"Come on." Chad lead her gently down the hallway. She stumbled, but he caught her every time, his arm tightening around her upper back. She felt him manoeuvre her through a doorway and help her down onto a sofa. She closed her eyes.

When Sonny opened her eyes again, she saw Chad jump out of a chair and crouch in front of her as she sat up gingerly. He peered up into her face. "You okay Munroe? That was quite a fall."

She groaned quietly, one hand going to the back of her head. "I think I'll be fine…"

"Is it swelling at all?" he asked, holding up a gel cold pack. Her gaze swept quickly around the room – his dressing room, she realized – and she located the small bar fridge that it had probably come from. Her fingers probed the back of her head carefully, and she winced as she found the inevitable goose egg. Before she could say anything, Chad reached up and placed the cold pack on the back of her head, pushing her fingers out of the way. She took it into her own hand, and his drifted back down to his knee. She leaned down close to him, and for the first time, she noticed the concern in his face. His blue eyes were only inches from her own.

"God, you're beautiful," he mumbled under his breath.

"What did you just say?" she asked in confusion, leaning back.

"Nothing at all," Chad said quickly, standing up suddenly. "Didn't say a thing. If CDC had something to say, you'd hear it." He went back to his chair, which sat perpendicular to one end of the couch.

Still holding the cold pack against the back of her head, she turned to look at him, brow furrowed. "Why are you so nice to me sometimes?" she asked him, genuinely puzzled.

"I'm not," he answered, staring intently at his script again. "I'm never nice."

"So, what, you're just a big mean monster all the time?" she asked him.

"Exactly, Munroe," he agreed, his gaze flickering up to her for only a moment. He looked tense, sitting there, as if his entire body was tightly wound and about to spring apart. "That's Chad Dylan Cooper. Big mean monster right to the bitter end."

"I don't understand you sometimes, Chad," Sonny said flatly. "Every so often, you're nice to me. Amazingly nice. But just for me, and when you realize what you're doing, you go all… stiff again. What's going on?"

Suddenly, Chad stood up, letting his script slide off his lap and onto the floor. Sonny stared at him in surprise as he began to pace around the room. He threw his hands into the air.

"I don't know, Sonny! You drive me crazy because you bring something out in me that, that no one else does, and I can't figure out why! So why don't you tell me, huh? Can you tell me why I act so different with you? Because if you've got an idea, I'd sure love to hear it!" He stop and looked at her expectantly, eyes wide, panting from his outburst.

Sonny gaped at him. "Chad… Chad, relax, I just…" she trailed off, not knowing what to say to him.

He combed his fingers through his hair in frustration, spinning around as if looking for an answer on the walls of his dressing room. He stopped and stared at her again. "You make me want to be a nice guy! I've never really been like this before, you know that? I always got everything I wanted because I'm Chad Dylan freakin' Cooper, and I wanted it! But then you came, and you know what Sonny? Just about anyone in this studio would do anything for you, just 'cause you're so damn nice! I didn't get it at all! I watched you for any sign of a slip-up, any sign that you were just putting it on so people would like you, but the more I watched the more I realized that you're the genuine article! You're a legitimately great person! Not to mention how absolutely beautiful you are, all the time, even when you come into the studio like this with your hair damp and no makeup and just sweats and a t-shirt, I don't know how you do that! And then I had to ignore everything I thought about you and hold it all back because it's just so damn wrong and you make me, I don't know, something not me! So I just pretend I don't feel anything at all!"

Sonny was absolutely stunned by his outburst. It was so sudden – was the heat getting to him, or had this really been bubbling just beneath the surface for that long? She fished for words, but they escaped her. Finally she managed, "Chad, what- what are you getting at?"

He rubbed his hands down his face. Then he looked hard at her, his deep blue eyes more piercing than ever. "I guess I'm telling you. I guess I'm telling you what I never could admit to myself."

Sonny was baffled. "What…?"

"Sonny!" Chad exclaimed from the middle of the room. "I'm telling you I'm in freaking love with you!"

Sonny gaped at him for a few moments. Finally she squeaked, "You wait you what?"

Chad buried his face in his hands. "Argh! Why am I doing this?" he demanded rhetorically as he dropped into his chair again. "You said it yourself. I'm a jerk. Hence why I never let myself admit how much I liked you. It's not like you'd ever feel the same."

Sonny looked at him. His eyes were shut, he pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. His blond hair was a mess. And she thought about this odd soft side he'd shown her. The concern in his face and his voice when she'd fallen; how quickly he'd scooped her up off the floor. The strength in his arms but the gentleness with which he had helped her down the hall. And that wasn't all: he'd shown this to her many times before. Sure, he was self-obsessed, but she often wondered if it was only because he didn't know what else to do with himself. This sweet side of him – did she really bring that out in him all by herself?

"Chad?" Sonny said quietly. He didn't respond. She put the cold pack down on the couch next to her.

He got up out of his chair, not looking at her. "I should go home." He grabbed his script and walked quickly out of the room.

"Chad, wait," she said, but he was walking at full speed. She jumped up and followed him into the hallway. "Chad!"

She finally caught up to him, grabbing his arm, forcing him to stop. He turned around and looked down at her, searching her face. She had never seen him looking so – what was it? Sad? Desperate? But she'd made her decision, and she hoped he'd be able to see it.

Without warning, he wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her into him, kissing her with everything he had. She lifted her arms around his neck, kissing him back, willing him to understand. He had to. He deepened the kiss, pulling her as tight against him as he could; she responded with just as much passion. Finally they broke, gulping for air. But Chad didn't let Sonny get far. One hand on the back of her head, he rested his forehead against hers, their noses touching and their eyes closed.

"God, I love you so much, Sonny," he breathed.

"I love you too, stupid," she answered.