A/N: I have not written any fanfiction in *ages* but my friend introduced me to Life on Mars, I am obsessed and voila! fanfiction. I'm not terribly original, so this is just a pair of "missing moments" bookending the scene in season 2, ep 4 where Sam and Annie create their backstory. Enjoy.

Modest Proposal

So far their survelliance mission had been reasonably successful. Annie had copied down everything their suspect had said, but now everyone seemed at a loss as to what came next.

"But I have another idea," Sam said. Annie caught him glancing at her. "If we want to get more information, we need to actually talk to him."

Gene caught on almost right away. "Go undercover you mean?"

Sam nodded.

"Does that mean you're going to one of those parties?" Chris asked.

"In that case, I volunteer," Ray said with a smirk.

Sam lightly smacked the radio. "What is wrong with you people? I don't know if we can even get that far. Hopefully we won't need to."

Annie spoke up. "She mentioned Hannington's." She flicked her pen against her notepad. "Go there, run into him, make introductions. If you were new to the area you'd be interested in meeting people."

"But not just one person," Sam said significantly. "It'd have to be a couple, keep things from being suspicious."

There was an awkward silence in the van. Annie's heart was hammering in her chest. If they were really going to do this, it had to be her-it had to!-and could they really choose anyone else but Sam?

"Well," Gene said finally. "Tyler, you're the boy wonder and Cartwright seems to know what's what. When do we start this operation?"

Sam looked at her expectantly. Annie clasped her hands together and said, "This afternoon, sir? We know they'll be at the tennis club. Why wait?"

Annie didn't hear Gene's response because Sam was still looking at her, smiling slightly, almost proudly, and it was a wonderful thing to know that she had caused that smile.

The moment was broken when Chris asked a question about radios and then they were driving back to the station, Ray teasing Chris about his farts and Sam dictating a list of things they would need (tennis clothes, a microphone for Annie), with constant commentary and interruptions by Gene.

As they bustled back into the station Annie knew that her head would have floated away if it wasn't attached-she was so lightheaded with giddy happiness. She was going undercover. Now she would have a chance to really show what she was made of, what she could do, and it would just be her and Sam, no Chris or Ray or even Gene bumbling around to make things difficult. This was like a dream come true.

Still in a daze, she followed Sam to the tea corner, where he motioned her into a seat and handed her a mug of something hot. She couldn't help staring as he sat down. Sam. And her. As a couple. This really was a dream come true.

She heard, "...canal footpath, spring 1970," and finally snapped out of it. She needed to pay attention while they made up their backstory.

"I was lonely," Sam had gone on. "I was, you know, wondering if I'd ever find *her*."

What was with that intonation? "Her?"

Sam replied seriously, "Yeah, the one, the one we're all searching for." Struck by that, he went back to scribbling on the notepad.

Annie couldn't help smiling. Sam was always so earnest, so intent. This had to be a bit more fun than all that. "Me dog was struggling," she suggested. "I thought it was going to drown."

Sam looked up from his notepad with a bit of a smile. "Terrier."

"Airedale terrier," she corrected, secretly delighted at the way he laughed. "You jumped in and saved him. You were my hero."

No sooner had Annie said that when she saw that cautious look come back on Sam's face. He was going to try to talk her out of this. Sure enough, he tapped the notebook against his knee and said, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

She ignored his question and continued telling their backstory. "We were married a year later."

"Might get a bit dangerous."

She returned to his original reason for their 'marriage.' "You were never lonely again."

Sam stopped giving reasons and just gave her a look. "Annie."

She stubbornly carried on. "We had a lovely honeymoon in Blackpool."

Annie paused a moment. There it was!-Sam's face had cracked into a smile and she knew she was going to get her way. "I was so surprised you were still a virgin!" she finished, feeling cheeky. And it was pure joy to see a real smile on Sam's face, watch him throw back his head and laugh. She happily buried her face in her mug as Sam returned to his notes, still chuckling.

"We need names," he mused. For a moment there was a faraway look in his eyes, and then a michevious glint as he scribbled on the pad. "Do you mind being called Cherie?"

Puzzled, Annie shook her head. "Who are you then?"

"I'll be Tony and our last name is Blair. Can you remember that?"

She nodded. "Of course." She paused for a moment to think. "What do you do for a living? And where did we move from?"

Sam nodded to show those were good questions. "We could be from Hyde, that's probably easiest. And I'll be a civil servant, just transferred here. Is there anything else?"

After a few seconds pause, he suddenly looked up at her, a michevious grin breaking out on his face. "There is one more thing. Come with me just a second."

"Sir?" Annie was a bit wary of that grin.

"Just...come on," Sam said, waving her after him as he walked towards the lobby. He walked up to Phyllis at the desk. "Phyllis, is the lost property room open? WDC Cartwright and I need a few things."

Phyllis gave them a skeptical stare and then took a ring of keys out of a desk drawer and handed it over. "I'll need those back, Tyler."

"Don't worry Phyllis, won't take long." And then turning to Annie he mouthed, "Come on!" and led her into the hallway that led to the lost property room.

"I feel like we're doing something against the rules," Annie whispered as Sam wrestled with the lock. "What are we doing? What does this have to do with going undercover?"

"Something very important," Sam said enigmatically. The key finally turned. "Oops, here we go."

They crept into the room and Sam pulled Annie over to a shelf and positioned her in front of it. "Okay Annie, close your eyes."

"Sir?"

"Just trust me," he said, smiling at her.

"Okay," she said, crossing her arms and closing her eyes. "But I'm counting a minute and if you're not done, then I'm leaving. We've still got a lot of work to do."

His voice already came from farther away. "Don't worry. I've already found it. Hang on."

She heard a box shift on a shelf, a slight rattling noise and then the sound of footsteps coming back towards her.

"Okay, open your eyes."

Annie opened her eyes to a very serious Sam, holding up a huge, gaudy, clearly-fake diamond ring in one hand.

"Annie Cartwright, will you marry me?"

Annie could only stare in shock for a moment, her heart pounding like mad at Sam's serious-yet-impish expression. Belatedly she laughed and accepted the ring. She put it on her hand and pretended to consider it seriously, finally shaking her head in mock-annoyance.

"What's wrong with it?" Sam teased. "I thought all women liked big diamonds."

"It's too flashy for undercover, you know it is," she said, dropping her persona.

"All right, have a look then," Sam said holding up a box in front of her. It appeared to contain all the jewelry ever brought to the lost property room. "Although I'm not sure what you'll find. This is lost property, after all."

Annie slowly picked through the box until..."Ah, this one!" She pulled out a reasonable looking ring. "Not too showy."

"Let's hope it's the right size," Sam said, taking it out of her hand before she could protest. "Here we go," and in a moment, the ring had slipped on her left ring finger. "A perfect fit."

"We need one for you too," Annie said, bending over the box to hide the sudden flame in her cheeks, the result of realizing just how close Sam was standing, and just how gentle his hands had been on hers. A moment later she held up a plain gold band. "Is this one all right?"

"Looks good," Sam said.

"Put it on then," Annie said, holding the ring between her thumb and index finger, and carefully threading it onto Sam's proffered hand. He watched the gold band encircle his ring finger and then looked up at Annie, his own face a study of intensity and worry. His left hand reached for her own.

"Annie...are you sure..."

"Congratulations on your wedding Mr. Blair," she cut in, trying to keep her voice steady. "I hear your wife is a very attractive woman."

He just shook his head and looked down at his feet. A moment and then his gaze flickered upward, he pressed her hand and with a rueful smile on his face, he said, "She is. Congratulations to you, Cherie."

They both jumped as Phyllis's voice cut through the gloom. "Are you two done in there? I'll be wanting my keys back, thank you very much."

Their hands dropped and Annie scampered out of the room ahead of him, not waiting to hear Sam's explanation about needing something for the current murder investigation. Instead she headed straight for the ladies' room. Once inside, she leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes. She felt the tight circle of the ring on her finger and tried to remember the look in Sam's eyes when he "proposed" to her.

No. She shouldn't do this. It was playing with fire. This was a job, this was her job, and she was not going to let her feelings sidetrack her, and she wouldn't let that happen to Sam either.

She splashed some water on her face, slapped her cheeks and then stepped resolutely out the door, back to the office. They were just getting started.