Spike & Winnie
They all end up at the hospital. Boss in surgery, Clark recovering. Everyone's still in their uniforms, all of them except Ed – even on the worst day in the history of the city, SIU still insists on doing what it's there to do.
Winnie made Dean wait for her to hand her headset off to Pete, waited for Miriam's dad to collect her (she can still remember how Miriam's father looked at Dean, reached out and squeezed his shoulder, his arm around his daughter the whole time). She just couldn't let him go alone, Sarge would have killed her. Dean was silent by the time she snagged the keys to one of the SUVs, Sid at the desk and teams in disarray, debriefing happening all over the place.
She glances over at him, thinks he reminds her so much of his father. Can't think of a better compliment than that. She flips the sirens on. Even though it's against protocol (it's against protocol for her to even be in the SUV in the first place). She can see his hands trembling, just a little before he takes a deep breath and steadies them, this conscious action.
Spike's the first one she sees and she has to restrain herself from rushing up and throwing her arms around him, bites down on her tongue until she tastes blood (it's just - ever since that night, everything's been different. The same too. But different). It's relief though, sharp, like she's been sucker punched in the stomach.
He stops, eyes on her and her step falters and she just stares back at him, right there in the middle of the fourth floor. Dean huffs next to her, rolls his eyes and looks a little more like the kid she knows, the one she didn't cut the monitor off for.
"Come on," she says and her voice sounds foreign. "Let's find out what's going on."
He swallows, feet not moving. "Do you think-"
"No," she says sharply.
She squeezes Dean's shoulder when he says, "How is he?" He reaches up blindly and squeezes her hand back so hard it hurts. Leah answers, succinct, like she's the surgeon, all to the point. Dean exhales sharply and Winnie pushes him into a seat, has this vague thought like she needs to get him some sugar before he passes out.
Spike's eyes are still on hers, still roaming her face and she doesn't know how to look away, doesn't know how not to.
She clears her throat, opens her mouth to say something and finds she can't, is still reeling from watching every single team walk out the door, from watching Boss make that speech, from losing people and thinking that Spike-
Not that he's her favourite or anything. It isn't like that, she cares about all of them, knows all of them in a way she thinks maybe the people they've chosen to share their lives with don't even know them (minus Sam and Jules and was it just this morning that they were exchanging vows? She can't believe it, can't believe how fast things change) and all she's ever wanted to do was keep people safe. Just feels like no matter what they do, they're always a step behind.
(When she heard the gunshots, she froze and then she heard Boss speaking and part of her relaxed, even though she knew it was stupid to, because it's something she relies on, his voice and the right words. She thinks there's a part of her still stuck in an endless loop, hearing Sam call out for a medic, hearing Ed-)
"I'm going to get you something to eat," she says out of nowhere. Dean looks at her like he doesn't remember who she is.
She stands in front of the vending machine, surveys her options and then can't get her cash out of her pocket. She struggles, pulls out a five and then just looks at it. It's like today took everything she had to get through, listening to all the things she had to listen to and now she doesn't have anything else left. Hands brush against hers, someone's voice right beside her and she flinches back.
"No, that was me," she says. "Sorry. I just. You startled me."
Spike smiles at her, all reassuring, like women freak out every time he talks to them or something, takes the bill right out of her hand. She has no idea what combination he presses, thinks Dean won't care either way. "Boss was hard on you earlier."
She shrugs, keeps looking at what's in the vending machine, this sad combination of salt and processed sugar.
"It wasn't you."
She knows that, not like it was her first time at the rodeo, doesn't need to have her hand held just because someone snapped at her in the heat of the moment. "Doesn't matter," she says. "I just-it doesn't matter." She's vaguely aware that she's shaking, like she can't quite-
"He's going to be okay. Think they got him here in time. They said-"
So their first kiss is up against a vending machine on the 6th floor of St Mike's, everyone they care about two floors down and there's just no finesse, her teeth knocking into his and his gear digging painfully into her ribs. It's hard and desperate, years of pent up attraction and the adrenaline of this job, of this day and Winnie realizes right away, that very first second, that one time's never going to be enough, like this is opening the floodgates of something she can't even understand.
The only reason she stops is because she hears crying around the corner, thinks the last thing someone who lived through today needs to see is her getting ready to take Spike's uniform apart.
Her lips are burning and she thinks she should take a step back, get out of his face and stop breathing his air but also, she doesn't want to, kind of wants him to kiss her again. He gives her this slow, patient smile and if it weren't for his pulse jumping in his neck she'd think she had no effect on him at all. It sets all her insides off balance.
"It's okay," he says, voice all low and soothing. "It's okay."
She doesn't know what in the hell he's talking about until they get back to the 4th floor and she's handed Dean some crackers and a Mars bar. She sits down and Dean looks at her, raises his eyebrow and she knows she flushes, even though he's a kid and he probably doesn't know what she was just doing and she doesn't have anything to be embarrassed about anyway.
And then she catches Spike looking at her and she thinks about how he talked to her the way you'd talk to a spooked horse and her mouth drops open a little because it's not like that.
It's just-in the face of Donna and Jim and Boss and Clark, some stupid rule about what someone does for a living-it's not like he just caught her at a bad time, not like it would have happened with anyone else but him.
The point is, she's going to feel this way no matter if they do this or not. She's going to have her heart in her throat on every single bomb call, whenever he has a gun pointed at his head. She's going to feel this way when he's talking someone down, all those moments that he's out on those calls and not hanging over her desk grinning at her. It's just - she already does.
She's also pretty sure she's going to feel this way when he's at home and she's alone in her apartment because her feeling this way isn't going to just magically go away, hasn't so far and it certainly won't after that kiss.
(What the hell is balance anyway, because she's pretty sure that she's in a hospital surrounded by cops when she's not even working and there's nowhere else she can think of to be in the whole entire world.)
She turns that over in her mind, coloured the way it is by knowing how he kisses. Thinks she can't just let this go. Thinks she doesn't want to. Wonders what exactly it says that the only thing she wants right now is his hands on her.
Her eyes fall on Jules, on the blood soaked bandage around her leg, on the way Sam sits right beside her and she's struck by this longing. For Spike to look at her the way Sam and Jules look at each other. For all the things they have, that weird telepathy, how he just knows when Jules needs him. She stares at their hands, barely touching, thinks about all the ways Jules could have lost him, not just today, thinks about how she wasn't afraid to just go ahead and marry him. Or maybe they were both afraid and they chose together anyway.
Winnie's taken to pacing, this horrific habit she picked up at SRU when sitting still isn't an option. Marina and Dean are sitting next to each other, Sam and Jules, Leah with Izzy. Ed and Sophie taking turns walking over to check what's happening, never leaving Clark on his own even though he's going to be okay (Ed looks haggard when he comes around the corner, checks in with the rest of them and squeezes her elbow as he walks past. Winnie gets it, is still waiting for more bad news, waiting for things to go south. Like with Donna) and she ducks her head into his room for a second, just looks at him and Clark looks at her and she smiles because if she doesn't, she's going to start to cry instead.
Spike's staring at his hands and she takes a moment to look at him, thinks that objectively, he's so fucking attractive, she doesn't know how she's ignored it all this time (except she hasn't, not really. Her heart's raced every single time he's stood too close since her first afternoon at SRU). She barely hears what the doctor says, feels everyone else sag, let out these breaths of relief, but she's only looking at Spike, thinking about all those things Boss said about sacrifice and choosing, about this not being anything like that and she forces herself to stop holding her breath.
What exactly does stable even mean? What does it mean? She wants to shake this woman in the white coat, wants to ask her for the stupid person's version. Suddenly realizes that everyone's looking at her.
Dean gives her this patient look, like they've gone and changed places, like he's the adult and is going to lead her now. "Come on."
She wants to ask where exactly but he raises his eyebrow, glances at Spike and then back at her and she glares at him, sourly thinks she's getting made fun of by someone who's not even out of high school yet. Feels so incredibly grateful for it.
Dean and Marina go in first and Winnie wonders exactly what in the hell she's doing here, third in line, ICU and family only, two visitors at a time.
Marina smiles at her when she comes out, tears in the corners of her eyes and Dean nudges at her. "Go on."
Boss looks bad. Pale and there's tubes and she almost doesn't know him until he opens his eyes. "Hi Winnie." Like they're running into each other at the front doors of SRU.
"Hi Boss." Her voice shakes, this tremble she can't stop.
"I won't take up too much of your time." He kind of sounds the same except his words are running into each other, not as careful as they usually are.
She snorts in spite of herself.
"Just wanted to say. Good work today. We couldn't have done it without you." He pauses. "Think I might not be here if it weren't for you. Sending that gear over."
A tear slides down her cheek then and her voice is barely a whisper. "Boss, I-"
"Hey now. Nothing to cry over here. I'm okay."
She clears her throat, thinks she's going to cry no matter what, doesn't know if she'll be able to stop.
"Now. You can tell me to shut up. We can blame it on the morphine if you like. But. I think you should know that I've been scared of a lot of things in my life. Fear is-" He trails off, gives her a look that could be a smile. "Never as much as when I thought that bomb was going to go off." He closes his eyes and she takes a step closer, strains to hear. "I don't know how he does it."
She swallows hard. "Me either."
He meets her gaze steadily. "How's our team, Winnie?"
She shakes her head at him, thinks of Jules begging Sam, thinks of Spike telling him to get out, thinks of Leah barely breathing, thinks about Ed's voice cracking on the phone. "They're alive." Her voice trembles on that second word.
"Good. That's good."
She clears her throat, tries to sort out everything she's still hearing, all those things that aren't in this room. "Boss, I don't know how to-"
"You'll figure it out."
She thinks she should be embarrassed, how he must know everything, finds that she isn't. Not even a little bit.
"Like I said. Couldn't have done it without you."
She inhales hard, leans down and kisses his cheek.
"Dean told me you borrowed an SUV to drive him over here." He smiles at her. "That's our girl."
She lets out a choked laugh and squeezes his hand before she lets Marina and Dean take her spot. She gets outside, leans against the wall, hands on her knees, choking against tears that she's trying to keep quiet. It's Ed who finds her, slides his arms around her and she clings to him, sobbing hard into his t-shirt, hard like she's wanted to ever since she heard him in the car begging Clark to wait, like she's wanted to since Donna's voice was in her ear and then it was gone, like she's wanted to since she heard Boss dying over the headset and she tries desperately hard to stop. He rubs her back and when she finally pulls away, she sees the tear tracks on his face.
"We're okay. We're okay." She has no idea if he even knows what he's saying, if it's something he's trying to tell himself or if it's a reassurance he's trying to offer her. Thinks maybe it could be both.
She thinks about everything that they lost, everything that they nearly lost and has to take several deep breaths to stop from starting up all over again. "Thanks."
"Anything you need. We take care of each other. Right?"
She nods, gives him a ghost of a smile. "Right."
"Okay. Okay then." He squeezes both her arms, nods firmly at her.
When she stumbles back into the waiting room, Leah takes the seat beside hers, holds her hand and she wonders if she should have made a detour to the bathroom, washed her face first. Spike's in the chair across from her, staring at his hands and she wonders what he's reliving, all the things none of them can see. She doesn't look away when he raises his eyes and looks at her and she has no idea how much time passes but neither one of them looks at anything else until he gets up to go see Boss.
"You guys should go home."
Winnie's eyes swing towards Dean, hears Sam and Jules start protesting.
"No, I'm serious," he says and he sounds so much like his father that Winnie almost- "There's nothing any of you can do here. He's out, he's stable. I'll let you know if anything changes. But you all had a-a rough day. You two just got married. Go. Go home. Get cleaned up. Get some sleep. Whatever. You should...just. Be with the people that you love."
"We are," Spike says, flashes a smile that's barely a smile. "S'family, Dean. Same as always."
Dean smiles back, this look like he's older than any of them. "So go home. Come back tomorrow. We'll still be here."
It sounds like a promise.
They all listen to him, the five of them stumbling out of the front doors of the hospital, Sam with his arm around Jules. Winnie sees him press a kiss to Jules's temple, smiles and feels like it's genuine (she's been on their side since the moment she first knew, her first ten minutes at SRU, Sam's eyes lighting up whenever he saw Jules and Jules doing her damndest not to notice it. Really, Winnie thinks the only thing that changed is that Jules stopped trying to hide the fact that her eyes were doing the exact same thing).
Spike's walking way too close, all warmth down one side of Winnie's arm, Leah on his other side. Winnie stares at the SUV she drove there in, wonders if she's going to be able to back out of this spot without hitting the tree behind her. Spike hands his keys to Leah who gives Winnie this eyebrow raise that she doesn't understand. He gets into the passenger seat while Winnie's still standing there looking at how big the SUV suddenly seems.
She glances at him as she starts the car and he smiles. "Never seen you drive before."
She rolls her eyes. "I can drive. I just choose not to."
He snorts, hint of a grin right there in his eyes. "Yeah. Okay."
It takes her three tries to park the stupid truck when they get back to HQ but he doesn't say a word, just smirks at her. She rolls her eyes, smiles shakily, wonders if it's just her feeling like this, like everything could be okay because he's right here with her.
They split off at the locker room and she takes a shower, washes her hair, gets dressed beside Leah and Jules. None of them say anything and she's ready first, thinks Sam is going to probably have to come in here and help Jules, how stubborn she's being about her leg, her movements all slow, not smooth the way they usually are. Leah keeps glancing down at her like she wants to help but doesn't know how. Winnie leans against the lockers, looks at them both and they look at her and she thinks everything that needs to be said is right there. All the I'm glad you're all rights and the I love yous, everything is there.
Sam and Spike are standing outside the locker room when she walks out and she pauses, wonders if Spike has always looked at her like he wants to take her home with him. Thinks maybe he has and if they were giving awards for really stupid people, she'd definitely be in the running for one. Almost wants to laugh at herself.
"I think Jules needs some help," she says to Sam. "Leah's decent, if you want to go in."
Sam squeezes her shoulder as he walks past and she tells him some garbled variation of, 'I'm glad you're not dead' and he laughs, short and really brief, smiles at her and then glances at Spike before he opens the door to the women's locker room.
And then it's just the two of them.
She's about to ask him if maybe they can get coffee sometime, see each other outside of work, just the two of them. (She wants to know if he'll still make her laugh when there are no uniforms, no desk, no guns, no job. Wants to know if he'll still sit too close to her, if she'll still find herself staring at his mouth.)
"Can I come home with you?" she blurts out, cringes immediately because she has no idea how he's going to take that, and even though it's not what she'd meant to say, she's got some idea of how she wants him to take it.
There's a really long pause and she holds her breath even though she knows better. "Uh. Do you mean like-"
"Like. Wherever you're going."
He has this comically confused look on his face and she doesn't really blame him, thinks it probably sounds like she's flip-flopping, all that, no I don't date cops, of course I wouldn't throw this rule away for the perfect guy, oh wait, I'm going to kiss you against a vending machine. He does it though, takes her home with him and she follows him into his house, looks around and doesn't know what exactly she was expecting but figures this is kind of what she'd imagined in all those moments when she was too weak to stop herself from imagining.
They're standing in the kitchen, neither one of them really saying anything and he actually looks kind of uncomfortable which is just-basically she was right about those floodgates because all she can think about is kissing him.
"Uh. You want anything?"
And, since he asked, she steps forward, gets right into his space and he kind of backs up a little and it's not like he has far to go but she follows him until his back hits the counter.
She sees him swallow, Adam's apple doing this thing that she can't believe she's noticing. "Winnie, what-"
She leans up and kisses him, this five seconds of time where he freezes against her mouth and then kisses her back, deep and exactly the way she wants him to, hands sliding up her back and then back down to pull her closer to him. She unbuttons his shirt frantically, pushes it off his shoulders and she's not actually sure if she can remember wanting someone this badly, hands shaking, every inch of her almost vibrating.
There's a part of her that finds it ridiculous, how she stumbles out of her jeans, how he runs his thumb across her rib and she ducks away a little, all ticklish, how he starts laughing when she nearly falls getting her other sock off (he cups her face and kisses her again though, warm and thorough).
It's all offset by the feel of his hands on her waist, how he's all strength and muscle when he pulls her against him, how his fingers touch her hair and then her face, how he kisses her and it's just a little rough but then his fingers brush her neck, gentle like he's handling something delicate. She wants to tell him that she can take it, that she's not going to break, that maybe she even needs it, needs a reminder that she's alive and so is he, that they're both here, together.
She doesn't know how to tell him all of that though, just tugs on his shoulder, says, "Spike, come on. Please," in this voice she doesn't even know.
He pulls away and looks at her, hair in every direction and clothes scattered all around them. "You going to be here in the morning?"
And like, what kind of question is that, she's not even thinking further ahead than a minute from now, just wants to feel his skin on hers, wants his weight right against her, wants to know if he's a talker, if- "What?" It's not like she's been sitting here thinking that there was any other option, knows that this isn't dating, not the way he first suggested it but that she kind of wants it this way, even though sleeping with someone without even going out with them once is just beyond insane and if he were anyone else, she'd never even have-
"I just need to know if-"
"Yes," she interrupts, feels this wild swoop in her stomach at what she's promising here, without anything at all to back it up, that it's going to be him and her without even knowing if they can stand being together. Wonders if that isn't always the risk. "Yeah. I-as long as you want me to-"
He leans down and kisses her again, cuts her off, gets his arms all around her and she thinks that outside of the anticipation, she's never felt so safe. He tugs her in the direction of the stairs and she trips twice, his arms steadying her. He laughs against her mouth and she smiles.
She has absolutely no time to look around because the second they get inside what she assumes is his bedroom, everything changes, it's about a hundred times more demanding and she's so on edge, his fingers all over her skin that she really doesn't even think about it until afterwards.
He lays her back in the middle of the bed and she drags him along with her, his mouth on her neck and she's making this gasping noise that objectively, she's aware sounds ridiculous except, every time she does it, he presses his hips against hers. So.
His arms are on either side of her head and she has this sudden flash of awareness like this is a thing they are going to do and that once they cross this bridge, they won't ever be able to go back and she's glad, this prospect of a future she's never let herself think too much about.
(So yeah. He's a talker.)
It's like-well, bottom line, this is a thing they should have done years ago.
They kind of stare awkwardly at each other afterwards and she presses her lips together against the awful urge to giggle. She's never seen him with that look on his face, all serious and sheepish and like he's also doing his best not to let his gaze wander from her face.
She sees the barest hint of guilt there, just this shadow in the background and she wants to tell him no, no guilt, that being glad that they're both alive doesn't mean that they're glad other people aren't. "Uh. Are you okay?" Her voice cracks on one of the words and she clears her throat, thinks she's turning red.
He snorts, face relaxing. "Thirteen year old boy just hitting puberty?"
"Oh shut up," she mutters, tosses her hair, is pretty sure it's a disaster. Also, she's smiling stupidly hard. "You know, most men would at least have bought me dinner before getting me into bed."
He rolls his eyes. "I offered." Smiles widely.
She really can't fault that, thinks that the two of them lying there grinning at each other should really feel a whole lot more ridiculous than it does. "Um. I should. Um. Can I-"
He points. "Bathroom. Um." He slides off the bed with her, like this is a fourteenth century dinner and she's just gotten up to powder her nose.
Also, she sneaks several looks at him, meets his eyes and feels insanely flattered because he's doing the same thing, eyes all over her and she doesn't bother pulling the sheet along with her before she heads into the bathroom, feels his eyes on her the whole time.
Like any sane woman, she pokes around in his cabinet a little before she gets herself cleaned up, sniffs at his body wash because it smells like him, it's been a really long, awful day and she wants to. Runs into him in the doorway, both of them kind of stepping back and then forward, this ridiculous dance of, "No, it's okay, you go first, after you," and she's rolling her eyes at both of them when the door shuts behind her.
She thinks about what she promised downstairs, puts on her bra and underwear and nothing else because she doesn't want it to look like she's running out the door (she's just – she's not. But also, more than half her clothing is somewhere in his kitchen and she should probably feel less pleased about that than she does). She flips the tv on, is lying on her stomach when he comes out of the bathroom (and yes, she sneaks another look because Ed's training sessions are doing something really good here and she's not afraid to admit it).
He takes in how she's lying, chin propped up on her palm, what she's wearing and she reaches up with one hand, tries to finger-comb her hair from where it's wild and tangled all down her shoulders. He doesn't come any closer.
She wonders if he's waiting for an invitation, which makes absolutely no sense because this is his bed and his room and his space. Actually, now that she thinks about it, maybe he thinks she shouldn't be touching his tv remote. Is he weird about his space? Ugh, see, this is the problem with dating, guys always-
"I uh. You want anything?"
She raises her eyebrows at him, thinks it's probably too soon to make the joke that's on the tip of her tongue, him standing in his underwear just kind of looking at anything but her. "Can I get a drink, actually? Just water or juice or something."
He nods at her and then disappears out the door and she rolls on her back, stares at the ceiling. Thinks of course they're awkward now, who gets to have awesome sex with someone – awesome, first time sex with someone they actually like – and then have everything just be normal? Like, what did she expect? That she'd just sleep with Spike and everything would just work itself right out? All those reasons she hadn't wanted to say yes, not to dinner, not to anything else – they're all still there.
She's still lying on her back, head hanging off the foot of the bed and thinking that this is just too weird to keep going and maybe she can just pretend to have a foot cramp or like, the flu and-
He sets two glasses down on the bedside table, leans down and kisses her, doesn't wait for her to sit up and like now, things really aren't making sense (plus his lips on hers are making her light-headed. Or it's the hanging upside down). She swings herself up and watches him warily as he hands her the glass with the juice in it.
"I didn't spike it."
Her lips twitch, same as they always do when she hears his nickname used in every day language. Because apparently, she's an eleven year old girl, is a step away from drawing hearts above the i's in her name.
He rolls his eyes at her, drains his glass in one long swallow and she's definitely still watching his throat, wonders if this is now a thing. You know. The way a six pack or really good forearms are for other people (or, apparently for her, when it comes to him – she just can't even-whatever, not the point).
She drinks her juice to have something to do with her hands and a place to look that isn't anywhere near him and when she wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, he grins at her.
She huffs. "Okay, seriously. Why is this weird?" She would never have asked anyone but him.
He gives her this look like part of him wants to say, 'what are you talking about, this isn't weird' and the other part of him wants to say, 'Because we just slept together and everything is weird.' "Winnie-"
"I uh. Yeah?"
She clears her throat, day on fast forward in her head, all of the time he spent sitting next to her, showing her pictures and asking her things she wasn't ready to do, Ed's side of his conversation with Clark, complete mayhem in the city and just not knowing if- "I know you're always careful. I don't care. You have to be more careful." It comes off sounding petulant, a little childish but his eyes soften and he reaches his hand out, touches her face, brushes his thumb across her lips.
"Okay, Win," he says softly, "I get it. I know."
She shoves all those tears that want to come leaking out right into the back of her skull, thinks there'll be time for those later. "You don't know. At least you're there. At least you can do something-"
"Not today." His voice is all quiet. "Not with Sam. Not with Boss either."
She sniffs. "Yeah." She looks down. "Yeah. Like that."
Oh fuck. She is like, over a hundred percent sure that she's just going to fall insanely in love with him, even though more than a hundred percent isn't possible and half of her is already there.
He leans closer, kisses her forehead gently and her breath catches, just for a second. (Okay. So maybe more than half of her is already there and yeah, if they were giving out those awards, she thinks she'd get the biggest statue – stupidest, most stupid person ever.) "Okay."
It's like they've gone and taken this huge step without moving at all.
He tugs her down to lie with him, her head on his shoulder and his fingers brushing against her hipbone, her legs pulled up into him.
"Knew you had a thing for me," he says teasingly.
She splutters, immediately insisting that of course she didn't because it's a force of habit and when she tilts her neck up and sees that he's laughing at her, she rolls her eyes. "You asked me out first." Wouldn't even be saying any of this stuff at all if it were anyone else but him because hi, she sounds like she's in elementary school.
"I did." He's still grinning at her and something in the pit of her stomach disappears, gets replaced with something else, something warm.
"What was that about anyway?" she mutters, knows there's a grin on her face too, everything between them just as easy as it always is.
He snorts. "Pointed it out. Felt pretty stupid and then. You know. You said no."
She turns onto her stomach, glares at him. "I didn't say no." Ignores the fact that she totally said no. "I mean. You caught me off guard. I didn't-"
"You didn't what?" He takes a piece of her hair in his fingers, rubs it like he's feeling the texture and possibly, something in her chest is going to explode, like there's something bright and star-shaped sitting in there ready to burst.
"Don't remember," she says. Smiles at him. Doesn't know if all those things that made her say no will ever go away but he makes her want to try, makes her want to find out. "Leah huh? Guess I owe her something. Cookie maybe."
"Or two," he says, grins at her some more.
And it kind of feels like it's the middle of something and she can't think of a better place for them to start.