Hitting the Nail on the Head

by: Blue

Summary: Danny/Sara bonding, Ian/Sara flirting. Short scene that takes place right after the episode "Nailed".

Rating: G

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I only wish I did...

Spoilers: Takes place about 5 seconds after the episode "Nailed", so it has quite a few spoilers.

Hitting the Nail on the Head

"God, what a day..." Sara muttered as she walked down the stairs of the Precinct-House and towards her bike. She paused as she became aware of the shadowy figure near the bike. "Do you ever not lurk?" she asked, grinning and softening her tone from the last time she had asked the question.

"If I were truly lurking, Sara, you would never have seen me..." Ian stepped out of the shadows, his gloved hands pressed together in front of his mouth. He spread them in a gesture of praise, smiling proudly at her. "Congratulations, Sara. You," he pointed at her with two fingers as he spoke, his smile widening, "are learning." His cheeks dimpled as he widened his smile even further. His hair was still in braids and his clothes and long coat were, of course, black. His mood seemed whimsical, but also almost shy, and he seldom made eye-contact with her for more than a few seconds at a time.

"Jeez, next you'll be calling me 'grasshopper'." Sara grinned and shook her head.

"Happy tonight, are we?" he asked her lightly, his eyes twinkling under the streetlight.

Sara nodded. "Actually, yeah. I prevented a murder this evening."

"Two..." Ian corrected her softly. "I have no doubt that your partner would have pulled the trigger."

Sara stared, but did not bother to ask how he had known that Danny had nearly shot their perp. He was Ian Nottingham, he just did. "Yeah, whatever..." She shook her head. "You don't know Danny like I do."

"No, I suppose not." Ian shrugged, acceding this. After a moment of silence, he said, "Well, Sara, good evening." He bowed, spreading his hands wide and grinning up at her, and then turned to leave.

"Hey, Nottingham..." Sara called after him.

He turned to face her again, raising his eyebrow quizzically. "Hey, Sara?" he replied, brushing aside the sense of deja vu this simple exchange gave him.

Sara ignored her almost dizzying sense of deja vu and took a step towards him. "How's the, uh..." she gestured vaguely towards his chest, really not wanting to mention cross-bow bolts and Black Dragons in a parking lot that, in spite of the hour, really was rather crowded.

"The cross-bow injury?" he asked whimsically and more loudly than was strictly necessary, amused by her reluctance.

Sara nodded, grinning at his behavior. He was definitely full of surprises, not at all the type of guy she had made him for based on their first few meetings. "That one, yeah."

He smiled and lowered his voice again, taking a half-step towards her. "Better, thank you." He took her right hand and raised it to his lips, kissing it swiftly. "Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say 'better thanks to you'?" He smiled at her over the back of her hand for a moment before dropping it. "We seem to have an audience..." he observed lightly.

Sara turned and saw Danny, Mrs. Woo, and Misha staring at them. "Jeez..." she muttered, shaking her head. She smiled and waved at them before turning to face Nottingham again. "You did that on purpose..." she accused, more amused than annoyed.

Ian shrugged, smiling whimsically at her and giving her a knowing nod and a quick wink. "I merely came by to compliment you on your increasing skill with the Witchblade. Good evening, Sara." He looked over her shoulder. "I believe your partner's niece wishes to speak with you."

Sara turned, startled. Sure enough, Danny, Mrs. Woo, and Misha were still standing there. When she turned to say goodnight to Nottingham, he was nowhere to be seen. "Typical..." she muttered, suppressing her smile. She walked over to them. "Hey, how're you holding up?" she asked the girl, giving her a quick hug.

"I'll... be okay." She nodded.

"You know, your uncle did the right thing tonight..."

"I know..." She nodded again. "I... I know. I do. I understand."

Danny bowed his head, smiling and wiping away a stray tear. After Misha had told him that he should have killed Dalek, he had gently explained to her why he could not. He was happy that his message had hit home. Mrs. Woo gently touched his shoulder, smiling lovingly at him. He smiled back.

Sara smiled at Misha. "Good."

"Why don't you guys go wait in the car..." Danny suggested gently, touching Misha's forehead lightly and giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze. "I'll be there in one second."

Misha nodded. "Okay. Night, Sara."

"Thank you so much for everything, Sara..." Mrs. Woo muttered softly, hugging her.

Sara smiled and hugged the woman back. "Yeah. Good night, Mrs. Woo. Night, Misha."

Mrs. Woo gave Sara's hand a quick squeeze before sliding her arm around Misha's shoulder and walking the girl to the car, leaving her husband and partner, presumably to discuss 'business'. Danny never discussed work at home, she knew, because it was so disturbing and he did not want to bring that to their doorstep. So when Danny did need to talk to someone about something that happened at work, it was usually to Sara. Mrs. Woo was glad that Sara was there for her husband. Most women, she knew, would have been jealous, but she trusted Danny completely, Sara as well. Danny was entitled to his own friends. Besides, Sara obviously had a man of her own now.

The partners watched Danny's family walk to his car in comfortable silence.

Sara turned to Danny. "Are you okay?"

He sighed and shrugged. "Don't know, Sara. I really don't."

"Come here." Sara pulled him into a hug. "You're going to be fine, Danny."

"I know." He hugged her back, grateful. "I also know it's going to take a while."

"Tell you what, why don't we hit the gym tomorrow? You can try to hit me until you feel better."

"Try to hit you?" he laughed, shaking his head. "Get real, Pez."

Sara grinned at him. "Okay, then we can pound each other to a bloody pulp until you feel better."

"Now, that sounds like a plan." Danny patted her shoulder and turned to leave. Frowning, he paused. "How did you know?" he asked, not turning back to look at her. "How did you know he would take her to my house?"

"Uh, instinct..." Sara lied, feeling horrible for having to. "He's a cocky bastard, Danny, and he wanted to make you suffer. That was his best shot at that."

"Yeah, guess so." Not believing her for one second, Danny nodded and turned to face her. "You know that I'm here for you, partner. No matter what."

"I know, Danny, and I appreciate it." Sara smiled at him. "I do."

Danny smiled, knowing that she meant it. Whatever was going on in her life must have been very difficult for her, and it hurt him that she would not let him in, but after everything that had happened in the past few days he wanted nothing more than to go home and enjoy his family. Confronting Sara yet again could wait for another day.

"So when are you going to come clean with me about what's going on in your life?"

"How's as soon as I figure it out myself sound?" Sara asked him, smiling wryly.

"Sounds good to me." Feeling sorry for her, Danny patted her shoulder and turned to leave again. Whatever was happening in her life, it had genuinely confused her. "Hey!" he called over his shoulder. "Misha wants to know about your boyfriend." He half-turned, grinning at her. "Which makes two of us..."

"Just a friend..." Sara told him, grinning. Seeing the disbelieving look on his face, she added cheerfully, "For now."

Danny laughed and shook his head. "What is it with you and long-haired..."

"Nocturnally self-destructive bad-boys?" Sara finished, grinning. "Good night, Danny..." she said firmly.

"Night, Sara. See you tomorrow." He clapped her on the shoulder then walked to his car, joining his family.

Sara watched them go, feeling more than a little lonely. Danny had a wife and family to go home to. Sara had not had a father in over 15 years, a mother in longer. She had no real friends other than Danny, no boyfriend, not even a dog to go home to. Although it did not bother her often, it was a bitter pill tonight, especially in light of the fact that the damned Witchblade had started to drive a wedge between her and Danny, the only person she did have.

Hell, half the time the Witchblade even made her feel like a stranger to herself. Ian was the only person, herself included, who seemed to truly understand her. And why not? He knew what it was to be alone in the world as well as anyone could.

She climbed onto her bike and recalled something that Ian had said to her. Something to the effect that if she needed anything he would be nearby, would always be nearby. She looked around the mostly-dark and now completely-empty lot. Even the news crews were gone. There was not a soul in sight and Sara would have bet money that she was alone.

"Night, Ian..." she muttered, shaking her head.

"Night, Sara..." his voice replied from the shadows, startling Sara.

Sara shook her head and laughed, no longer feeling particularly lonely in spite of the fact that she could not see him and had no idea where his voice was coming from. "You want to go catch a movie?"

"Yes." Ian melted out of the shadows, very close by, steadying Sara as she recoiled in surprise. He smiled. "I told you, Sara, I'll always be near you."

The End