A/N: My first ever LAOUK fic...Granted these people are no longer on the show but...this is fan fic, and I love them so here they are in a fic :) I am not sure if there's many people in this fandom anymore but if anyone does read this, then I hope its not too shabby.

Dedicated to Sharmini. Who got me hooked on this.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own any shape, form, or part of LAOUK or the original one or the 30 other LAOs out there either. Pity...I would've kept all the originals and made Matt and Alesha get married. But that's another story! ;)


"Friendship often ends in love; but love in friendship – never"

- Charles Caleb Cohen

FRIENDSHIP OR BUST

"See ya tomorrow then love!" Senior Detective Sergeant Ronnie Brooks gives a friendly wave to Junior Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips as they part ways outside the entrance.

Alesha returns the wave and then glances back as Junior Detective Sergeant Matt Devlin joins them.

"DS Devlin? Since you're already here, do you have a minute? I just wanted to ask you about the Lewis case? If you've had any luck with those phone records James asked for..? She smiles up at Matt who immediately (and unconsciously), Ronnie notices, stands up straighter.

Preening like one of them male peacocks, Ronnie thinks to himself as he grins and walks away to the car park.

"Sure…but it might cost you Ms. Phillips. You know, I happen to like eating French er…tarts myself…Something I know you like doing too…" Matt replies, mentally kicking himself for not remembering the name of the ruddy tar-pastry! That's it! Though he can't remember what that particular one is called. Nor will he attempt to pronounce it. Word might get back to Ronnie, then he'd never hear the end of it.

He recovers by giving her a broad smile and a signature wink.

Alesha merely shakes her head and smiles, in spite of herself. DS Devlin always has the power to do that to her for some reason when usually, she's immune to comments like that from men.

"Sorry…I am merely the messenger here. Honestly though, I don't see James Steele as the 'buy me a croissant and I do you a favour' type", she jokes back.

Matt Devlin shrugs and moves to stand closer to her, trying not to look like he's staring at her. He always feels like he does it a bit too long whenever she's around. Which is odd.

"S'oright. Just thought I'd try me luck once in a while. Seems to work for that one over there", he nods his head in the general direction of where Ronnie is waiting and rolls his eyes dramatically as Alesha lets out a laugh.

"No idea why though", he finishes with a wry grin, his blue eyes dancing as he smiles at her.

Alesha pauses and looks like she's about to say something, then, shaking her head slightly, she talks about the case instead.


A few minutes later, Matt hums to himself as he strides back to the car. Ronnie is leaning patiently against the passenger's side of the car.

"Did you see the look on Alesha's face when Teddy came back with the soil results? She's happy we finally have something positive to tell James. He'd had a pretty hard go with this case hasn't he?" Matt makes conversation while opening his door, still with a broad smile on his face.

"Mhmm…" the older man replies cryptically, sitting in his seat and studying his younger partner with an amused grin.

Matt has worked with Ronnie long enough to know when he's having a go. Problem is, most of the time he's at the expense of said 'go'.

"What?" he asks, throwing Ronnie a look.

Ronnie shrugs, and adjusts his seat belt as Matt pulls out onto the street.

"You just look…rather…happy. That's all", he offers. Then shuts his mouth.

Matt waits.

Silence.

So he takes the bait.

"Okaaay…Right…I didn't realize that I'm not usually a happy person…"

"No…it's just an observation mate", Ronnie chuckles.

Matt sighs, "Come on, share the joke then!"

Ronnie looks at him again. With that irritating as hell twinkle in his eye.

"I suppose it all started with this break we just caught with the case. Then you insisted on ringin' 'er up yourself even though I was on my way over to CPS anyway so I could've told her. Then that cringe worthy excuse for a line you gave her back at the lab…it was shocking! Ending it off with her stopping you to-"

"What line?!" Matt protests, trying not to flush in embarrassment. He remembers the look Ronnie gave him after he'd made that comment to Alesha earlier.

Ronnie laughs out loud and waits for a minute as he can see Matt is concentrating on negotiating busy lunchtime traffic.

"I don't have any bugs in my mattress..." Ronnie attempts to mimic Matt's voice as he recalls what he'd said earlier, then bursts out laughing again.

Matt shakes his head and when they stop at the traffic lights, he grins at his partner.

"Whatever. Its called banter Ronnie, you should try it sometime. And for your information, you got the line wrong. It was in reference to something Teddy said about bed bugs. I was just having a laugh – with all of you".

"You're not that funny sunshine".

Matt snorts with laughter, "Right, and I suppose you'll be co-hosting with Jeremy, James, and Richard soon eh?"

"Now now…No need to get all put out. I have it on good authority that I'm a right laugh. All I'm saying is…you always seem to be more…human when you're around a certain Junior Crown Prosecutor that's all", Ronnie finishes.

They pull into the station lot and Matt turns off the engine.

He gives Ronnie a pointed look.

"Ronnie…mate…I'm like that with all of you. You know that. I wish you'd stop doing that…"

"Doing what?" Ronnie's voice (and expression) display a picture of innocence as they exit the vehicle.

"Assuming…things. Look, maybe…okay, sometimes – very rarely, I say stuff like that to Alesha but it doesn't mean I am going to be going after her…in that way. She's a professional, like me. I respect her and…Well we're friends. End of story. Alright?"

Ronnie shrugs and looks at the younger man before he pushes the doors open.

"Sure okay. Whatever you want to tell yourself laddie".

He is almost through the doors when he sticks his head back out.

"If I were you, I'd try and come up with some better lines though. You know I've got a rep to protect round 'ere, and I wouldn't want Alesha, or Heaven forbid, the Guv' thinkin' you were getting these terrible gems from the likes of me!"

Laughing, he leaves Matt standing outside, shaking his head in wonder at Ronnie's sarky sense of humour.


Matt pauses as he thinks back to what he said to Alesha earlier when they'd all been standing in the lab.

Had he meant it in that way? Why did he always say things like that to her? Was Ronnie annoyingly right? Did seeing her, talking to her – almost everyday make him happier than normal? Ronnie was always teasing him about his great appreciation for the female form. What makes her so different? Why is he even telling himself she's different?

You know she's a colleague. She's a mate too – what would happen if things went south? You've been down that road; you don't want to go to that town again! You two make a good team – together you help make sure that the bad people answer for the horrible things they've done properly and within the parameters of the law. Just because you think she looks lovely in just about every colour you've ever seen her wear. Because you like that she's tough, yet caring and generous. And you like to watch her when she's all fired up about a break in a case and then she starts talking super fast, gesticulating with her hands, and her dark eyes light up with renewed energy.

Then there's the fact you try to think of clever things to say whenever she's around. But it kind of seems like a bit of a 'Fail' each time because its always interwoven into work related conversations and the best lines you can come up with are rubbish ones like "Not in my mattress though" and she looks at you like she's trying not to laugh and you keep sneaking looks at her on the sly, secretly hoping that she's not thinking "What a wanker!" Then you tell yourself you're just being funny. That you're just being your usual cheeky, flirty, friendly copper self. Nothing more, nothing less. Not to mention the fact that she never gets angry about it, or acts in any way other than professional, calm…Normal. It's not like she thinks of you any other way or wants to jeopardize her job or the cases anyway. Not that you care or anything…

All these thoughts are running through his head. Threatening to spill over and out.

Which would suck. Because that might make him question himself and his actions more closely. Can't have that now can we? Too risky. Best put a stop to whatever it is or it could be now.

He sighs, and runs a hand thought his short, sandy coloured hair.

He knows what some of his female colleagues, as well as past girlfriends and female acquaintances have said about him, and truth be told, its not like he has done much to change public opinion in the past. That he's a bit of a ladies' man. A guy who likes to the play the field and all the usual over-exaggerated stories that are obviously true.

The thing is, he hasn't been that guy for a while now. Not that he's advertising it or anything. His private life is just that; private. When he is at work, he is 100% tuned in, and he is not about to let that change.

"Oi!" Ronnie's voice startles him from his thoughts and he looks over to where his partner is standing in the open doorway waving a file in the air.

"Are you moonlighting as a club bouncer now or something?" Ronnie quips.

Matt rolls his eyes and moves towards him.

"No such luck. You'd be the first person I'd chuck out", he retorts as Ronnie laughs.

Hence he shouldn't. Wouldn't. Cannot entertain any other thoughts about Ms. Alesha Phillips.

That despite what Ronnie and other would like to think about him and her, that it's all above board. Its about the work.

So its friendship…or bust.


A/N: And there we have it...If anyone feels like leaving me a review that would be grand, but its all good :) Cheers for reading. There's more to come :)