Author's Note: Just an exploration of how Captain Raydor feels about Chief Johnson and their barely-there friendship (if you could even call it that).
Takes place after 7.10 Fresh Pursuit. Not much spoilers though, and anything spoiler-y is pretty subtle. I don't own anything except for the mistakes as this is unbeta-ed.
Anyhow, this is my first foray into the fandom so take pity and be gentle with your reviews. Thanks and enjoy!
Sharon Raydor has never been good at understanding other women. Even while in school, her group of friends were mainly boys (she is always "one of the boys" for as long as she remembers) and it is perfect the way it is. Sharon Raydor, although a woman, has always found it hard to understand how women work.
But Sharon is good at understanding situations. She understands what to do, what to say and how to act in situations, and she excels at manipulation because she understands situations so well. And since she works with Internal Affairs, she has never had to deal with women that much anyway because there are so few around, and most police officers she has to investigate are always men.
Excessive force? Rarely a female police officer.
Until she has to investigate one Brenda Leigh Johnson.
Brenda Leigh Johnson and her awful sense of style, and that grating accent.
The fact that she can see so much of herself in Brenda Leigh Johnson irritates her more than she expects it to (and that Johnson's actually her superior irritates her even more – Sharon has never had any problems with answering to a superior officer until Brenda Leigh Johnson appeared in her life).
So it really doesn't make sense why she's sitting at the table Brenda has reserved (she mentally repeats: Brenda has reserved), sipping cold water and feeling the cool sliver of liquid settle in her empty stomach while waiting for Brenda herself to manifest. All the past times Sharon has reserved tables, it was for mere convenience. Working breakfast, working lunch, working whatever. But she is sure that this isn't a working whatever. It is – leisure.
Well, if Sharon is honest with herself, it does make sense.
Brenda has realised Sharon's role in helping her get out of trouble and is trying to compensate for how rude she has been to Sharon. It is the only sensible explanation, Sharon thinks. After all, they aren't even friends, despite what Brenda has told her mother ("My Captain Raydor" still amuses Sharon whenever she thinks of it). In other circumstances, Sharon would have rejected the invite knowing that there wasn't a purpose to it, a "work" purpose, that is. But since Brenda owes her (a lot), having her pay for lunch will be a part of the compensation and Sharon believes in fully redeeming one's owed favours.
But then again, Sharon doesn't really want to have Brenda as a friend. She doesn't like female friends much; the ones she has had have usually turned out quite badly, and she hates friends who gossip behind each other's backs. Contrary to popular belief, Sharon does have friends (plenty). It's just that she prefers to keep her personal life and professional life far, far away from each other. Her male friends rarely, if ever, indulge in backstabbing and regular cattiness, and she appreciates that. Sharon appreciates the male mind, and Brenda Leigh Johnson is feminine in more ways than Sharon normally likes. While they may have dealt with their differences, and accepted many things about each other, Sharon isn't particularly looking forward to becoming bosom-buddies with Chief Johnson.
There is a big difference between an amicable working relationship and a friendship.
Perhaps helping Brenda has eased the tension between them, and Sharon can actually feel the blonde relax in her presence sometimes. Though, it doesn't mean that she wants to be Brenda's friend – she just wants to do what's right. Rules are important, and while Chief Johnson may be the most unconventional detective out there (who is used to breaking what seems to be a thousand rules every time she investigates a case), Sharon cannot let the other woman go to the wolves out of Pope's selfishness. Sharon has witnessed all the times Brenda interacts with the man, defend the man, and when Sharon has been going around interviewing people for the position of the Chief of Police, Brenda has been entirely supportive of Pope.
Taking another sip of her cold water, hand damp from the condensed water on the glass surface, Sharon takes a moment to survey her surroundings. It isn't too bad. Not really the sort of place Sharon would normally have lunch at (she likes minimalist surroundings and simplicity always has elegance) and the floral wallpaper reminds her too much of Brenda's skirts. It is slightly disconcerting, that she remembers what sort of skirts Brenda wears, but she doesn't think that anybody will forget how Brenda dresses so it is quite all right.
Then, she spots Chief Johnson navigating her way through the maze of tables (the layout of the restaurant is not very efficient, Sharon thinks) in one of the floral skirts Sharon was just thinking of. Brenda waves, almost runs into a waiter, and finally plops down across the table from Sharon. Fifteen minutes late, Sharon knows, without even looking at her watch. But she finds that she doesn't mind, which is surprising given her low tolerance for tardiness.
"I'm so sorry, Capt'n," Brenda breathes, and Sharon realises that the Chief sounds like she has been running – or at least, walking very quickly. "They lost a file for a case, and we practically upturned the office looking for it."
"It's all right, Chief. Did you find it?"
Brenda looks sheepish. "Under some files on my desk."
"There's always a benefit in being organised", Sharon says pointedly, unable to resist the urge to smile.
"Well, yeah. But where's the fun in that?" Brenda says, and Sharon can't help but think that in many aspects, the Chief is really quite child-like. Perhaps Agent Howard finds it an endearing quality.
Sharon shrugs. It doesn't seem to feel right to have Brenda know so much about Sharon yet.
"So, how was your day?" Brenda asks, lifting her hand at the same time to gesture for a waiter.
Sharon shrugs again, lifting a shoulder elegantly. "Just paperwork," she says, and realising how she sounds, amends; "That doesn't mean that I'm not glad that no LAPD officers have gotten into trouble. Yet."
"I'll have a Caesar salad," Brenda says, momentarily distracted by the waiter. "Oh, uh, and extra dressing please."
The waiter nods, and scribbles something onto his notepad. He looks to Sharon and she immediately tells him her order, having already looked through the menu three times before Brenda made her appearance. She orders salmon; can't go wrong with that. She doesn't know yet, how this restaurant will rate, but she will soon. There seems to be an influx of customers and Sharon looks at her watch, realising that most people are on lunch hour now. The waiter repeats their order, and then quickly leaves them alone.
"Capt'n, I just want to let you –" Brenda begins, looking sincere and emotional and many things which Sharon doesn't normally have to deal with when she's "one of the boys" so Sharon's already shaking her head before the blonde woman can go further.
"No, no. You already thanked me. No worries about it. It's something a bitch can do for another," Sharon says, wanting to avoid anything resembling an emotional outpouring. The day is too young for something like that to be thrown onto her plate.
Brenda's eyes widen at Sharon's words, but she doesn't seem inclined on protesting. In fact, she looks amused, and her eyes sparkle. "Bitch to bitch?"
Brenda's lips widen into a full-fledged smile and Sharon realises it is the first genuine full smile the Chief has ever given her. She returns the smile and Brenda's food arrives; the garden of a meal. Perhaps with all the chocolate and junk Brenda digests into her system, the salad will do her good.
As it turns out, lunch is nice.
Maybe Sharon has been too quick to judge. Chief Johnson makes pleasant company – well, when they aren't down each other's throats. And maybe the floral wallpaper is not quite as tacky as she first thought. It's homey, comfortable and Sharon decides that a little bit of all that will be fine. It helps that her food is better than she expected it to be.
Although, it is not lost on her that Brenda is doing most of the talking, and asking all sorts of questions. Maybe the blonde fancies that they can be friends (Sharon thinks friends is pushing it – friendly colleagues sounds better) and wants to know all sorts of things Sharon likes which Sharon thinks Brenda secretly finds boring. Somehow, Brenda doesn't seem the kind to spend time listening to Rachmaninoff or Tchaikovsky, and probably thinks Goethe spews bullshit anyway. But it's all part of her charm, come to think of it. Sharon has spent a lot of time with family members and friends who spend time discussing the latest "in" artist some New York art dealer has discovered, and often times, Sharon thinks it's a whole lot of nonsense anyway. She appreciates art and music and culture, but doesn't talk much about it. Personal appreciation works much better for her.
So it's lovely when Brenda is so inquisitive about it, and yet, unpretentious. She wants to know and talk about it, but it is most definitely not because she wants to show off her own knowledge. It leads Sharon to offer lending Brenda some books and a few CDs out of courtesy, and she expects the Chief to politely reject but she doesn't.
"I'd like that very much, Capt'n," the younger woman says, before forking green leaves into her mouth.
Sharon is surprised, but hides it before Brenda can see it. She hopes. "You may find them boring," she feels compelled to add.
"Oh, I know, but I was s'pose to read them for college anyway." The Chief wipes away some dressing which had smeared on the corner of her mouth. "Where did you go to school?"
"I expected that," Brenda says, gleefully, as though she's got answer to a quiz question.
"I don't know. You seem the kind. Good schooling, cultured… Your clothes look very expensive." Brenda blurts, and then blushes a little bit.
Sharon pretends not to notice, and schools her features to look as though people make it a habit to tell her that her clothes look expensive to her face every single day.
"Well, you probably speak a million languages anyway."
Sharon smirks but still doesn't say anything. Listening to Brenda, being amused by Brenda is turning out to be a more interesting activity.
"It's just – we're not from the same world and maybe that's why we haven't been able to get along, be friends. Probably why we dislike each other. Well, disliked. I hope so." Here, Brenda looks as though she's waiting for affirmation from Sharon.
Feeling a small semblance of pity for Brenda (she really is trying so hard), Sharon gives her a small smile. "I have never really disliked you, Chief."
The laughter of relief Brenda unexpectedly lets out makes Sharon laugh along – more out of surprise than anything else.
"Me too," Brenda says, and laughs some more. "Not now at least," she dares to add, and Sharon is tempted to be insulted but cannot find it in her heart to do so. After all, she isn't. "Capt'n, I know you said I didn't have to thank you again. But I need to let you know how grateful I am. I really am. And I never apologised for how awful I was to you at the beginning of the audit when you were just trying to help me. I guess I just got annoyed that you were still following Delk's orders when you could have just completed the audit, but as it turned out –"
Sharon's smile tightens. It isn't Delk she's answering to. It's bloody Pope with his double-playing, pretending to defend Brenda against her while ordering her to prolong the audit. Telling the truth now will definitely be against her orders (advising Brenda to be wary of Pope will be even worse since she's sure Brenda would defend the man anyway) and Sharon decides Brenda isn't really worth risking her own job. They aren't even friends.
Sharon grimaces, realising that she has not really been listening to the Chief. And then she realises Brenda looks distressed, and feels a bit of guilt settling around her gut.
"I'm sorry, I just remembered something I have to do later. What were you saying, Chief?" Sharon covers, as smoothly as she can. She's proud of how sincere she sounds.
"They're gonna put an end to me."
"What?" Sharon frowns in confusion. She wonders how Brenda's mood has nose-dived so quickly, and about the complete change in subject.
Suddenly, Brenda looks much less cheerful than before – and, of course. Sharon should have known and mentally berates herself for not noticing anything amiss. Brenda saying yes to all those books? Should have suspected something there. The woman probably hasn't the time to read them anyway.
"They're suing again. The Baylors' lawyer, he came to see me. He filed a new case and this time, it's much, much worse. Just when I thought it was over."
Sharon understands the situation immediately, and her mind is already spinning with what to do the moment she sets foot back into her office (she shoots a quick look at her watch – 15 minutes later). Is Gavin aware? No harm checking, she thinks, adding "Call Gavin" to her mental checklist. Get every file of every case Brenda has ever investigated. Filter files of every case Brenda has ever investigated. On second thought, she should gather files on Pope too. It never hurts to have something, whatever it is, on him just in case he tries to be funny.
Just how dare these idiots try and take down one of the best detectives in the LAPD? How dare they?
"I don't know what to do this time, I don't think –"
"You will meet Gavin the next free slot you have."
Brenda looks to be on the verge of a protest, but then, she's probably seeing the full force of Sharon's determination/frustration/anger(?) and nods instead.
"Capt'n," Brenda starts, voice catching in her throat.
Sharon makes a conscious effort to sound comforting. "Yes, Chief?"
"Thank you for being a friend," the blonde woman says, eyes-shining brightly.
In other circumstances, Sharon would find it annoying, and struggles with herself for a split-second to prevent the very first words which almost trips off her tongue. We're not friends. But she succeeds at keeping her actual thoughts from seeing the light of day, and says; "You're welcome," instead.
It is only on the way back to the office, walking together with Chief Johnson, that Sharon realises she really means it.
Author's Notes: That's it folks. Thanks for reading and please drop a review! :)