A/N: So I wanted a break between Domino Theory and starting the sequel. Partially because I'm bouncing around like 80 ideas for the first chapter right now. I just realized that we never really got to see the team dealing with Lew's death. I touched on it in DT, but I would never have a chance to expand it. So this uses the same AU universe DT used, so I tried to bring in a lot of the same aspects. I figure it's just a Sam/Jules flashback that I'd never really get the chance to show. If that makes any sense at all let me know.Disclaimer: I own nothing
The brisk late-October wind pricks his cheeks as he pushes through The Goose's door and out into street. His shoes, spotless, black, formal, gleaming in the streetlights of downtown Toronto, discount the step down from the bar's door and he half stumbles from the doorway to the street. He regains his footing, but not his equilibrium. After a few steps he sort of freezes on spot. Afraid that if he moves; his body will want to keep going with any momentum it gathers.
He hears someone laugh. It's a familiar laugh, but it's tainted. Not tainted so much as ruined, but there's something off about it. A few feet away, leaning against the battered brick wall, she's there watching him. Her hands removed, disappearing up into the sleeves of her black dress coat. Purple crocheted hat pulled low enough to cover the tops of her ears. She wore her hair down; she always wears her hair down when they don't have to work.
The slit in her coat reveals a classy dress. Nothing overly stylized. Nothing overly revealing. Just a simple black dress, it hangs off her shoulders. When he saw her in it, he wondered when the hell she got that dress because he doesn't remember it. He felt guilty because he was having these inappropriate thoughts at a funeral. Lew's funeral. But it was Jules. And funerals do weird things to him.
The hem of the dress stops at about her knees, which leaves from her knees to her feet lying bare, reflecting the moonlight. He tips forward a little because he's forgotten how to stand up. Alcohol does that to him. Jules does that to him. She laughs at his apparently comedic maneuver and it comes out more of a snort, then a hiccup. She's drunk too. They all are.
Spike went first. Sarge told him to slow down, but no one really had the authority to stop him. Beer transformed into shots and Spike started to get talkative, started to get depressed, started to get resentful. Wordy tried doing the whole 'best memory' thing, but Spike gets loud and rowdy when he's drunk. A fact they all know now. Finally, a little after midnight, Sarge suggested calling it a night. He took Spike with him.
They stayed longer, not really sharing the same conversation aloud, but all thinking about Lew and the things he used to do that he won't be doing anymore. When the bartender shouted 'last call' everyone agreed to call it a night. He had to piss, so he ambled back to the bathroom, not really that drunk, but he certainly wasn't going to be driving anywhere.
Cut to him drunk, not really standing on the pavement in front of an equally drunk Jules.
She pushes of the wall and starts to approach him with stable footing. Better footing than he's got. He's heard about her teenage days back in Medicine Hat. Maybe she holds her liquor better than him; he doesn't know, they've never had a contest. "I hope you're not planning on driving?" Her voice is hoarse from the day's occurrences, from the evening's marathon drinking, from the night's icy air. It's sexy as hell.
"Nah." He stares at her legs, perfectly accentuated with black high heels that she's still able to walk in. The inside of his mouth starts to water and his neck starts to sweat where the collar of his dress shirt rubs against it. Quickly, he turns away. "I'll call a cab."
"Oh." She nods once. Then twice. Then a few seconds pass. Then she nods again. She might be drunker than him; she just keeps her balance better.
They face the road. A 'no parking sign' stands a few feet away, and a medium sized trash pile stands a few more feet away after that. "You?"
"I already called a cab." She nods again. A harsh wind strikes up and she shrugs her shoulders to keep warm. Jules' familiar aroma wafts over to him: strawberries, vanilla, he thinks he can even smell the mango protein smoothie she probably had for breakfast. Ingrained with her recognizable scents is the pungent smell of beer and whiskey. He tried to keep count of how much she had to drink, but then he lost track of his own consumption.
His fingers twitch at his side. He could reach out and touch her right now. He could rub the fabric of her elegant coat between his forefinger and thumb. She's probably cold. She looks cold. He could give her his suit jacket, but she might get angry. "You shouldn't be out here alone."
Her arms cross over her chest. He thinks it's out of indignation, but then she blows a raspberry with her tongue and wobbles on her feet a bit. She's really drunk. She's grinning widely and glances at him sideways. "Because I'm a girl?"
The streetlight highlights her curled hair in the most beautiful way and the wind blushes her cheeks a light pink. Actually, that might be the booze. She looks absolutely gorgeous and the tragic thing is she looked this way for a funeral. "Because you're a drunk girl."
"You're drunk too, Sam."
"Yeah, but I'm way more intimidating."
She laughs again and her eyes disappear into happy slits. She was never this happy when they were going out. But she was never this drunk when they were going out either. Her laughter stops suddenly, and she observes him through mascaraed eyelashes. "You never called your cab."
He shoves his hands in his suit pockets. He didn't think to bring a coat. Didn't think that he'd be out this late or end up this drunk. Usually as soon as the funeral is over he leaves and does the drinking by himself at an undisclosed location. But Ed suggested one drink and Jules said she was going so—"I'll call it once yours comes."
"Sam." She rolls her eyes and the gesture is overdramatized. He laughs at her until she places a hand on his bicep and that cuts the laughter out of throat. "I'll get home fine."
He opens his mouth to respond, a syllable escapes in the form of a puff of smoke that curls and disappears into the atmosphere. He wants to elaborate but a taxi turns the corner and stops before them with squeaky breaks.
"See," she gloats and turns towards the taxi. Finally, her stable footing gives out and on her third step toward the vehicle instead of landing flatfooted, the heel of her shoe falls to the side and she starts to tip. He swears he sees it in slow motion.
Both of his hands shoot out, grabbing her by the shoulders and stabilizing her before she hits the ground. She laughs and snorts and hiccups. He doesn't. He has serious qualms about letting her ride home by herself, let alone climb the three flight of stairs to her apartment.
But it's not his place to worry anymore, even though he does. His clenched fingers release from her shoulders, from the soft gray material on her coat. She doesn't say thanks. Just keeps walking to the car. He's a step behind her with a ready hand in case she goes down again.
His one arm reaches behind her back, a phantom touch. Really more invoking a memory, than allowing a new one to be created. His other hand opens the back door and she plops right into the seat. He wants to say so many things, but the small part of his logic that isn't drowning in alcohol knows that Jules can take care of herself.
"Come on." She tells him and shifts over in to the dip in the far seat. Then pats the empty, black seat cushion for emphasis.
Is she really saying what he thinks she's saying? "Jules—"
"By the time you get a cab you'll be frozen." She's waving him in now, bare knees knocking together because she hasn't noticed that her dress has hiked up a bit. "You can take this one when I'm done with it."
His face remains stoic as the car stays ideal before him. "Jules, we live on opposite sides of town."
"Sam." Her voice is sterner now, eyebrows dropping into an expression he's all too familiar with. "Read between the freaking lines."
It happens slowly at first. He's in the car with Jules and she tells the cabby her address. They drive for a few minutes in silence as he gawks at her knees, well really her legs, because they might be the most perfect thing he's seen. He's seen them before, and he doesn't remember them looking this immaculate. A small part of her thigh is exposed. He wants to fix her dress. He wants to touch that skin because he knows it's soft. He wants to taste that skin, because he's sure no one has since he last did a few months back.
The thoughts collide at high speed in his head and the car starts to feel warm. He starts to feel hot because Jules is sitting next to him; her knee touches his thigh whenever the cabby rushes over a pothole. He wants to touch her, more than just knee to thigh contact; he wants to really feel her. He wants to grab her and kiss her, but the thought of her pushing him off is too heart shattering to even attempt that. He's trying to read between the lines, but he's too drunk to see straight. Where are the damn lines?
She's watching him again, wide eyes set under fanned lashes. She brings an index finger to her mouth and coquettishly bites on the nail. Her finger presses on her bottom lip and in the flash of the passing streetlights he can see the transfer to her fingertip of her lipstick and residue from whatever she was last drinking. He thinks it was whiskey. This has to be a sign. If she's not doing this to get him to make a move, then why the hell else would she be doing this?
He thinks very quickly of that day. Of what happened. Of the funeral without a casket. Of the paisley carpets. Of quartered cucumber sandwiches. How Jules didn't say a word. Not a single word. To him, to anyone. How he may have acted like an asshole just to get her to tell him off, just to make sure she was still Jules. But she didn't say anything. Even at the bar. He thinks of the ramifications. About what could happen if anyone finds out about this. He didn't care then, he doesn't care now.
Reaching a hand forward, he cups the side of her face. The skin on her cheek is cold from her waiting outside and softer than he remembers. They stare at each other a second, lights illuminate the car and then shadows in their divide darken it. His thumb runs over her lower lip, it's sticky with drying alcohol.
He pulls her forward. One of her hands lands on his thigh and the other one snakes behind his neck. He kisses her and memories flood back into his head. Painting her apartment, starry nights spent in the back of her Jeep, waking in the middle of the night to check on her after she got shot. She tastes like whiskey and home.
The cabby drops them off and he pays. He doesn't know where her purse is, or if she even had a purse, but he's still a gentleman. The cab speeds off and the next morning she'll realize that she left her hat in the back of it. Together between opened mouth kisses that always miss their lips and throaty groans on his behalf, because he's been thinking about this moment every day for the last three months, they stumbled up three flights of stairs and make it safely into her apartment. At least that's taken care of.
The living room looks different; it might be because it's dark. But there are a few new pictures. A new end table beside the ratty old couch that she refuses to replace. Jules leans with one hand pressing flat into a Santorini blue wall and the other one clawing at her slingback shoe. She rips it off and lets it tumble to the ground. He follows suit and wiggles out of his scuffless dress shoes.
They kiss again, but she still has her coat on. He wants to feel her skin, needs to feel the curve of her body against his. He breathes against her neck and fumbles with the rows of buttons at the front of her coat. A mad man designed this coat, it's not functional, it didn't keep her warm and it's taking centuries to get off of her.
"Sam." She places ten tentative fingers on his body, five on each shoulder and gently pushes him back. He wants to grab her hand, and kiss each individual finger. "If we do this, I think we need some rules."
He's about to protest, but she starts undoing the buttons welded onto her coat. "Okay."
"This happens once." She holds up a perfect finger emphasized by the gray light pouring in from the window on the far wall. "It doesn't happen again after tonight. We don't talk about it after tonight." She slips the last button out of place and allows the coat to fall from her shoulders and onto the ground.
"Fine." He agrees and grabs her bare forearm, pulling her to him again. She laughs into his mouth and they kiss, sloppy and rushed. He wants it to be slow, he wants it to be memorable, but they're both too drunk otherwise it wouldn't be happening.
The short hallway to her bedroom is endless. It's dark and because he refuses to be separated from her, they keep ricocheting off of the walls. A picture falls to ground and her nose crinkles against his face in amusement. He lost his suit jacket and tie somewhere before the doorway to her room. The back of her dress is open allowing it to drape from her shoulders and she falls back on the bed. He kisses her, every inch of her that he can find he kisses and she sighs contentedly into his ear.
Her shoulders begin to slip out of the dress and he navigates it down to reveal her collarbone, her black bra, her ribs and the gunshot scar. He doesn't even pause. Doesn't want to pause because he's afraid that if he does, she'll change her mind. She guides him back to her mouth and together, somehow they manage to get off his shirt and undershirt while never breaking contact.
His hands explore her torso. Count individual ribs. Follow the curve of her body down until he finds her hips peeking out from where he left her dress. His thumbs move in circles over her stomach and he can feel the smooth, tight skin change in density when he reaches the scar.
"Wait." She pulls her lips away from his with a smacking sound.
He did something wrong. The scar still hurts even though it's been over six months. They only had sex a few times after she was shot and every time he steered clear of the scar in case he hurt her. The sight of it still upsets him. Should he apologize?
"Do you have one?"
Have one? Have one what? He cocks an eyebrow and shakes his head. "Do I have what?"
She rolls her eyes and slaps him hard in the chest with the back of her hand. "A condom, Sam."
Oh shit. Does he? When they were going out before, Jules was on the pill. After she got shot, she stopped taking it because her medications interfered with it. He used condoms then, it's just—it's been awhile. He doesn't know if he has one now. He tries to make himself sound certain and nods his head, "Yeah."
She nods and waits while he reaches into his pocket to retrieve his wallet. Was he honestly smart enough to put one in his wallet? Did he honestly ever think that this moment would arise again? And if it did, would he have his wallet with him?
Jules arches her smooth legs, placing one on each side of his body, and rubs them against the thin fabric on his thighs as he opens his wallet. He flips through credit cards, a debit card, his driver's license, a Tim Horton's card. He licks his lips and opens the zippered part. Sure enough, there's a condom from when they were dating. It's set to expire in a week.
Without showing any shred of the relief he's feeling, he takes the condom out of his wallet and shows it to her with a lopsided grin. She stands on her knees before him and grins back. Wrapping a cool hand behind his perspiring neck, she whiskey kisses him again. He keeps the condom but chucks his wallet to somewhere on the other side of the room.
The next morning he wakes up with his face buried in her hair. It still has the curls from last night, but they're wild and disheveled. It smells like strawberries and beer and vaguely like cigarettes and where did that comes from? He doesn't really care. It was probably the bar.
She's dead asleep in his arms. They never had a chance to go out drinking when they dated, but she told him that she slept dead after a night of drinking. He has a stinging behind his eyes. It's bad, but it's nothing that a shower and a few Tylenol won't cure. He wonders if she is prone to bad hangovers. If she has a home remedy that she uses. The General used to pull him out of bed at the crack of dawn and make him do chores all day, but that was supposed to remedy the drinking, not the hangover.
His brain keeps bouncing back to the fact that this will never happen again. That he will never wake up on a Saturday morning with Jules in his arms again. There's a twinge in his gut and he tightens his arms around her. Her serene sleeping face contorts as her eyes squeeze shut then begin to flicker open.
He doesn't know what to do, so he pretends to be asleep too. He keeps his breathing silent and still and waits to see how Jules will react. She groans, slapping a hand to her temple in pain. Her other hand falls down to rest on his arm and she holds it to her body, then tries to bury her face in the pillow and fall back to sleep.
Eventually they have to get up. He doesn't get to kiss her, or hold her, or touch her, or even smell her anymore. They're quiet without being awkward, and they just decide to generally ignore each other when they've been together all night long. He pulls on his pants and begins to collect his other pieces of clothing and his wallet that ended up behind her dresser. He leaves her place by nine in the morning.
On Monday after they've had a weekend to deal with Lew's death, after Sarge has had a weekend to find a viable replacement, they meet up at work. It's like nothing has even happened. They barely share comments that don't have to do with the case.
He treats her indifferently with just a hint of disdain, like he was before. He watches her interact with everyone else. Watches as they take her sign down from the locker room door, which he secretly fishes out of the trash because it doesn't seem right to throw out. Listens as she pours her heart out about losing someone and he knows she's lost someone before. He'll have to watch her find someone else and be fine with it, because that's what they decided. That's what she decided even though she said she loves him. Loved him. He loved her. Loves her. Always will. And that's why he has to pretend to be fine with it.