"Andy...wha..." Luke faltered as he walked through the door to the Detective's Office and found her curled up in Traci's chair, scrutinising the surveillance photo's and headshots belonging to Mason, Nogales, Krzmenski and Boyd lined up on the wall opposite her. He sucked in a harsh breath, and took a couple of steps into the room – forcing himself to try again. "What are you doing here? Andy?"
"What has Boyd got to do with any of this?" She glanced over to him warily, raising a questioning eyebrow after a couple of silent moments when Luke didn't answer her question.
"We don't know for definite that he has anything to do with any of it yet...it's just a theory we're working on...we can't get enough evidence together to say either way at the moment." He dropped the file in his hands onto the table, and perched himself on the edge of the desk waiting for her reaction – she didn't really show one, and he cursed himself internally again – he hated the atmosphere between them; the stiff, stilted awkward conversation – but he didn't know how to fix it – he had apologised – sincerely apologised, would get down on his hands and knees and apologise again if he thought it would make a difference, but he knew it wouldn't – knew how stubborn she could be. "Andy, what are you doing here? You're on medical leave – you're not supposed to be here."
Her eyes dropped to the floor, and she wrapped her arms around her legs a little tighter. "I needed to talk to Traci."
Luke had to force himself to remain planted in his current position after picking up on the edge in her tone; he knew there was no comfort he could offer that she would willingly accept. "She's not going to be back for a couple of hours – she's had to go and pick up the post mortem reports for the rest of the girls in the warehouse..."
"What about Jerry...?"
"He's gone to check in with some CI of his that knows Mason...I think he's going to try and come at this whole mess from a different angle."
"You arrested him though right?" Andy's eyes darted up from the floor, wide and anxious and waited for his response.
"Yep...he's under lock and key – but we need to try and link him to...I shouldn't be telling you any of this. He's been arrested and charged for what he did to you – he's been refused bail, he's not getting out of his cell for a long time. You don't have to worry. Did you go to your appointment this morning?"
Andy forced herself to suck in a deep breath in preparation of the next words she knew she had to force out of her mouth, she didn't want to talk to Luke about it – would have willingly chosen to speak to anyone else instead, but she knew if she left under the proviso that she would come back and talk to Traci later that she would lose her nerve, never be able to make herself do it. She closed her eyes and dropped her head again, tightening her grip on her legs and holding them to her as if it would be some kind of shield from the feelings she knew this was going to dredge up – that she had wanted to keep buried. She had promised herself and Sam that she would do this, and she couldn't not now that she was here – wouldn't let herself back out of it. She needed to do it for all the women that she had spent those horrific weeks with – owed it to them as well, not that they would know about it now. "I need to change my statement."
"I wasn't completely honest about...I left out some details about what happened – the assault – not Mason, before then...do you remember the last meet we had? Before everything went completely to hell – do you remember you asked me about the bruises and I said I had got them stopping them from raping a young girl?"
Luke eyed her cautiously for a minute, nodding his head in confirmation before realising that she wasn't looking at him and wouldn't register the gesture. "Yeah, I remember...we're still working on ID's for the guys you picked out."
"I did...I did get them because of that, but it wasn't the whole story...I..." She squeezed her eyes closed even tighter, trying desperately to shut off the tears that were trying to break free – closing her eyes meant the flashes of memories in her brain were fiercer, brighter, more real – but it was only defence against completely breaking down, and she was clinging to it for all it was worth. She swiped away one lone escaped tear from the corner of her eye before it made a mark on her face, and sucked in a shaky breath. "I stopped them raping her...I couldn't stop them from doing it to me." She forced her eyes open but couldn't make herself look at Luke, instead reaching for the sheets of paper on the desk in front of her and waving them at him, averting her eyes and fixing them on a spot on the far wall. "I know I should have said something...I just...I don't know why I didn't...couldn't...I wrote it down so you can add it to my statement – every gory little detail, and I know we won't have any physical evidence of anything, not anymore – but I will testify if you need me to. I just want it down on record...what they did. I don't want them to think that they can do something like that, and it's not going to have any repercussions."
"Don't – I don't need you to say anything else. I just want this whole thing to get tied up and go away so that I never have to think about it again..."
"Don't say I never give you anything...I called by the Penny on my way back and..."
Oliver peered up from over the edge of his newspaper and flashed a smile, "Awww McNally...you shouldn't have," before following her line of sight across to Sam and back again. "He's practically comatose...has been for the past couple of hours...I don't know what they did to him in physio, but it's knocked him out. If you don't want it to go to waste..." He eyed the paper bag clutched between her fingers pointedly, while raising an eyebrow.
A small smile pulled at the corner of her lips as she met Oliver's gaze. "It can keep..." and his smile morphed into a pout. He didn't manage to keep her attention for long, her eyes seeking out Sam again and her feet carrying her to the edge of his bed, placing the sandwich on the cabinet out of reach from Oliver's nimble fingers before placing a gentle kiss on Sam's cheek and perching on the edge of his bed. "Is he ok?"
Oliver eyed her curiously, her eyes not once leaving Sam's face and saw her wrap her fingers gently around his wrist and squeezing slightly. "Are you?"
Andy's widened eyes darted back to Oliver in his seat on the opposite side of Sam's bed as she stuttered out a response. "Fine...I'm fine...why?"
Oliver's pointed look at her response forced her eyes to drop back to Sam again, and he studied her for a couple more seconds before deciding against pushing her on it. "He's fine...he just got tired, cranky and frustrated – believe me...sleep is the best for all concerned right now."
Andy issued a small smile in Oliver's direction at his words, and he pulled himself to his feet discarding the paper on the chair behind him and walking over to Andy's side of the bed – dropping a hand on her shoulder and squeezing gently until she looked back at him. "You need to look after yourself...I know you were worried about him, but he's going to be fine. If you keep running around like a crazed person on speed you're going to burn yourself out – when was the last time you ate properly?"
"This morning...I had breakfast this morning, I'm fine."
"McNally...Come and have dinner with us...Zoe can do a mean pot roast." The concern in his tone almost made her want to cry, and she issued a wide shaky smile at him – remembering not for the first time that she was extremely lucky to have the people she did in her life.
"You moved back?"
"I'm on probation...trial run, but yeah...I've moved back." The genuine smile that crept onto his face as he confirmed her question pulled her onto her feet and she wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug – mumbling a response into his shoulder.
"That's fantastic...I'm really happy for you." Oliver hugged her back awkwardly for a couple of seconds before pulling away and shrugging off the gesture...his smile still loitering.
"So what do you say...dinner with the Shaw's eh?"
"I'm fine...you don't have to..."
"I know you are. You can still come to dinner. Friday?"
Oliver's smile was infectious and Andy didn't feel able to refuse, offering a nod of her head in acceptance. "Ok...just let me know what time."
"Ok...good. On that note – now that you're here I'm going to leave you in charge of sleeping beauty over there...I have a very important date with my girls and some kind of movie."
Andy issued a parting "Have fun!" wish to his retreating form, before parking herself back down on Sam's bed and affectionately poking him on the shoulder to try and raise a response. He was totally and completely out cold, and she had started to feel well and truly panicked by the time she actually nudged him hard enough for him to pry one of his eyes open and peer suspiciously at her. "Hey..." she smiled innocently at him and he mumbled something incoherently at her and closed his eyes again.
"Sam...wake up. I brought gifts...here...nice juicy sandwich direct from the Penny...It'll make you feel better." She reached up for the bag and waved it under his nose, but when she received no response she dropped the sandwich bag on his lap and took hold of his hand, interlacing their fingers and tugging on it persistently until he grumbled at her again and prized his eyes open, a frown well and truly in place.
"What?" He sounded tired, and there was definitely a grouchy twang in his tone which came across as more adorable to her ears than anything else – she was just thankful that he had woken up.
"Dinner...I brought dinner." She reached for the bag and waved it under his nose again, "...from the Penny...Your favorite..."
"You went to the Penny?"
"Yep – it's been a busy day, Dr's – Station – Penny – here." She planted another kiss on his cheek before shifting around so she could lay out on the bed next to him, snuggling against his shoulder – she knew he would ask her about it, and the conversation would be easier if she didn't have to look at him. She passed the sandwich back to him, kissed his shoulder and buried her face against him as he wrapped an arm around her and held her close.
"You went to your appointment?"
The only response was a muffled 'mmmhhmmm' of agreement from her into his shoulder and slight nod of her head, and she felt him tighten his grip on her waist and pull her closer – planting a kiss on the top of her head as she snuggled closer to him and buried her face against his neck, the next question was whispered into her hair.
"How did it go?"
It wasn't that she didn't want to tell him, or talk about it – she just really had no idea where to start, the only response she managed was a slight shrug of her shoulders.
"Fine – it went fine, I guess. It was awkward...I just felt really awkward – like I don't know what I'm supposed to say."
"There's nothing that you're supposed to say – that's the point. It's just want you want to say." Sam succumbed to the urge of burying his face in her hair and taking a deep breath filled with her coconut scented shampoo before abandoning his sandwich bag on the side of the bed and using his fingers to wrap up in her hair – shifting slightly so he could place a gentle kiss on her forehead.
"I don't want to say anything – it was just awkward...there were loads of long awkward silences, and I didn't know what to say...I have to go back on Thursday."
"It'll get easier."
Andy pulled away from him just enough so that she could peer up at him and he could see the disbelieving raised eyebrow aimed in his direction. "Really?"
"Ok – maybe not easier, but you'll get better at it." He attempted a reassuring smile that garnered a slight smile from her in return before she returned to her previous spot.
"Have they ever made you go?" Her words were muffled against his skin, but she knew he had heard her – felt him tense slightly in response, and she waited for him to answer.
"You never told me that..." Andy pulled away so that she could look at him again, meet his eyes – propped herself up with her elbow and rested her chin on her hand. Her statement was met with a small smile and a shrug of his shoulders, but she kept her eyes on him – waiting for him to elaborate.
"It was for two months of the suspension, it was over before you came back – there didn't really seem like much point."
"I'm sorry...I should've..."
Sam reached for her again, and pulled her to him – wrapping his arms around her. "It's over – done, don't worry about it."
"Did it help?"
"It's not a magic fix – but it will help."
Andy curled into him, trying to find reassurance in his closeness and wrapped an arm around him to hold on – she was gentle, not wanting to hurt him but her grip on him was still firm. "I changed my statement...I went to the station and changed my statement. I had to give it to Luke – Traci & Jerry weren't there."
She felt his grip on her tighten, and a stuttering sigh escape into her hair before she felt him kiss the top of her head again. "I'm proud of you...you're just...I'm so proud of you..."
The edge in his voice made the lump in her throat swell to twice the size, and her eyes burned with fresh tears – she squeezed her eyes closed, refusing the let them fall, placing a couple of kisses against his neck before attempting to bury her face even closer to him and increasing her hold on him to a fierce level – if it had hurt he didn't show it, just returned the gesture and ran his hands up and down her back in time with her now gasp filled breathing pattern.
"Thank you..." Her voice was so quiet Sam wasn't sure that he was supposed to have heard her, but he did.
"I couldn't do this without you..."
He wrapped his hand around her shoulder, and pushed her away slightly – just enough for her wide, questioning, tear filled eyes to meet his so he could make sure she heard him, and offered her a small smile. "I'm not going anywhere..."
A/N...I really should be assignment writing, and I mean it when I say the next chapter of this may not make it up until next weekend...I couldn't help it...the addiction to posting this just keeps winning out!
I hope you enjoy – and as always...please feed my other addiction...utilise the little box and drop a comment to let me know what you think...