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No, Andy had to go about this without Boyd. She needed to take a lesson from her old TO and work the streets, angles, and rules. There was nothing wrong with a little on-the-side undercover work.

Andy folded her hands over her stomach and started to hatch her plan. First step: backup.

Life Support: Chapter Six

Sam was sleeping when Andy slipped into his room. He woke when he felt the mattress dip, and he immediately reached for his gun (tucked behind the headboard), but a soft hand stopped him. He opened his eyes and found Andy hovering over him: her knee on the bed, and her hand slowly guiding his arm back to rest on his stomach. His legs were tangled in a knot of sheets, and he lay on his back with his bruised chest exposed.

At first, a wave of panic coursed through his body. How was she here? Had she actually managed to slip into the gang house unnoticed? Then, she leaned close to him, her loose hair falling around his face like a curtain, and she whispered: "It's over. They're all safe. You're done now." With each word, Sam felt the tension that had gripped his whole body for so many weeks just…release.

Andy's face hovered over his, and he sucked in a breath. Proximity. She was so close. Then she dipped her head, and brushed her lips against his. Back and forth. She barely touched him at first, until her soft skin tentatively swept over his, paused, and gently pressed. He fell into the warmth of her mouth. Her lips were smooth, but his were dry and chapped. With a hunger that was both sticky and slippery, he deepened the kiss. He felt Andy slide her leg over his waist, straddling him, and let her weight fall onto his chest. All the pain disappeared. It was just him and Andy.

Sam's body responded, but he had the grace to raise a knee in modesty. To his surprise, Andy leaned back on his raised thigh, grinding on it. She pushed harder at his lips, and he opened his mouth, letting her tongue slip in. Andy explored his mouth, while he ran his hands up her jean-clad legs to her hips. She moved against his thigh, and he almost flipped her over right then. He'd never wanted anything more.

Sam groaned in frustration and pleasure, as he heard Andy's breathing hitch. Her hips sped up momentarily, before she broke the kiss, leaned to his ear and whispered, "More."

This was not how he'd ever imagined it. But he wasn't stupid.

Sam's body felt fully recovered from its injuries as he flipped Andy onto her back and slid his hands from her hips towards her waist. He caught her t-shirt and lifted it over her head, but it bunched around the silver metal that cuffed her wrists together.

Wait…cuffs? Sam's trance was broken, and he pulled away from Andy, looking to her wrists. A cool draft whipped through the room, and Sam realized they weren't in his room in the gang house—they were in a steel freight container. Girls and young women lined each side, curled together in fear. Each was bound with rope or cuffs, and their tear-stained faces and parched lips told of the terror of their journey from overseas.

Sam looked back down at Andy. On the splinter-ridden plywood floor, she lay half-naked and gaunt. Like all the other girls here, she'd spent six weeks in the freighter with minimal food and water. Beaten when she was too loud. Borrowed when her transporters got bored. She was only half-conscious, but he still heard her say, "Please, no more. Just send me home. Home. Please, sir."

Sam felt his stomach lurch, and he jumped up, backing up against the back wall of the container. One of the other girls surged forward to prop Andy up, but another pulled her back. "Don't. Don't let them see you." Sam's legs started to shake. The container door opened. Light spilled over the girls, and they all huddled closer, hiding their faces.

Inar walked in. Most of the guys referred to Inar as "The Busboy," because he removed the unwanted product. He tapped his baton in the palm of his hand as he strode down the length of the container. He grinned at Sam, and then gazed down at Andy. She was testing her cuffs, just waking up. "Nice choice, Alex," Inar said. Everything happened in slow motion. Inar reached down, grabbed the chain between each cuff, and started to drag Andy toward the door.

Sam tried to run after her, but he couldn't move his feet. He was knee-deep in a thick, black sludge. "No!" he screamed. "ANDY!" He grappled at the smooth walls, trying to pry himself out of the mud, but he couldn't budge. The girls that lined the walls began to laugh at his struggle. They laughed louder and louder, as Sam tried to get free, but Inar was almost at the door and then he dragged Andy around the corner and Sam screamed and screamed and the door slammed shut—and Sam sat bolt up in bed.

"Fuck!" he yelled aloud. Sam shook his head. His eyes focused on the simple room he called his own at the gang house. It was a dream. Just a stupid dream. He was sweating from head to foot, and when he ran his hands through his hair, he discovered that his fingers were actually shaking. He collapsed back onto the bed.

This op was not going well. No, that wasn't true. The op was going perfectly, but Sam was having a hard time stomaching it in the meantime. Especially since he'd met Andy at High Park. It had been two weeks since he'd seen her. Scratch that. It had been two weeks since he'd seen her for real. Ever since their meeting, it was like Andy was haunting him. Whenever he was out on the streets, he'd catch glimpses of her. She'd dart around a corner, or disappear into a café. But she wasn't really there, he was pretty sure. It was just his stressed head starting to lose it. Sam was sure he was going to break, soon enough.

And what was with the sex dream? Sam thought. Not that he hadn't had hot dreams about Andy before, but he had gotten a handle on his fantasies after she got serious with that now-vegetative detective. He figured the sex dream made sense, though. Andy was a beautiful woman. He cared for her. His unconscious brain was aching for comfort—for anything that didn't hurt his body and mind—but it was too riddled with demons right now. He couldn't deal. Awake or asleep.

"Just stay the course," he said to himself as he turned to his side and tried to get comfortable. "As long as you don't screw up, she won't ever have to see this. Just keep her distant, and it'll keep her safe."

Sam didn't sleep. He just lay awake and thought about all the women he wanted to keep safe, and all the women he'd watched disappear into the trade. Not Andy. Over his dead body.