A/N: Y'all are awesome! Thank you so much for embracing these last few chapters & NOT wanting to kill me, lol
"You want me to drop you off at home or d'you wanna come with me to the hospital?"
Andy turned and looked at him."What d'you think?"
Sam laughed as he reached across the console for her hand. "I had to ask, baby."
"Yeah, sure you did."
There was still laughter in his voice as he said, "There's no rule that says you have to go with me ..."
Andy didn't even blink as she said, "It's unwritten."
Sam squeezed her hand. "Remember that the next time you try 'n tell me I don't have to go somewhere with you."
"We should stop and get some flowers to take to Traci."
"Speaking of flowers, you gave the ones I got you to my sister."
Andy giggled. "No, I didn't. Sarah's having them dried and arranged so I'll always have them."
"Please tell me you and my sister aren't gonna make a big deal out of every time I buy you flowers now?"
Andy laughed as she leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Maybe."
Sam groaned softly and shook his head.
"Seriously babe, it's a big deal. You didn't have to do it ..."
Sam pulled into the parking lot and killed the engine before turning to look at her. "When it comes to you, the only thing I have to do is love you," he without a hint of a smile.
Andy smacked him in the shoulder making him laugh. "Seriously, I don't do anything with us because I have to, you make me want to ..."
Sam got out and went around to help her out. Hand in hand they walked into the florist and got a bouquet to take to Traci.
Sam knocked as he held the door open for Andy.
Traci turned to see their best friends walk in.
"Well, well, look who came to visit. Looks like our best friends didn't forget about you, Barber."
Sam smirked as he gave her a hug before going over to the bed.
"Sarah says to get better, brother. We haven't exactly had the best couple of days so I took McNally away for the night."
Sam looked at Traci. "After I picked her up at Nash's place in the middle of the night I took her to Sarah's yesterday. We're just gettin' back into the city now."
For the first time, Traci looked at Andy, who held out the flowers.
Traci took the lilies, setting them on the table as she stood up to hug her best friend. "You ok?"
Andy smiled. "We are now."
Looking at Sam then Andy, Traci said, "Thank you for the lilies."
They couldn't help it, answering together was part of who they were as partners, as a couple. Traci just laughed as they echoed each other's, "You're welcome."
Traci glanced at the bed. "They're not Jerry's favorite but they are mine."
Sam laughed. "Nash, I have never nor do I ever plan to buy his ugly mug flowers."
Traci laughed. "You ever bought anybody flowers, Swarek?"
Sam looked at Andy and smiled. "Yeah, but you can thank her for those. Has the doctor said how long before we're sufferin' through his ego? And puttin' up with his whinin'?"
Traci just laughed.
"He'll be out for a few days yet, but the doctor is hopeful they can start easing back. It'll still be awhile before you can take his money at the poker table, Sam."
Sam smiled. "Don't worry, Nash, I might let him win his first hand or 2 back at the table."
He turned and looked at Jerry. "You hear that, buddy, you come back I'll let you win a hand or 2."
Sam wasn't surprised when Nash shook her head in response to Andy asking if she'd eat.
Sam flipped Andy the keys. "Go on, go get somethin' to eat, I'll babysit."
Traci laughed but kissed Jerry on the forehead. Sam wrapped an arm around Andy as she kissed him and told him they'd be back.
"Nash, I'm trusting you not to let her run off with the first guy that flirts with her."
Andy grinned. "Just as long as I don't come back to find you in bed with a hot little nurse ..."
Sam pulled her back against him and whispered, "Nurses don't do anything for me when I got a sexy cop at home."
Andy laughed and kissed him before heading for the door.
"Take your time ... and get her some take-out so she'll have something after you get back here."
Andy smiled and nodded.
Sam shook his head when they walked in an hour later carrying enough take-out for the three of them for what looked like a couple of meals.
Just because Jerry was lyin' in a hospital didn't mean the world ground to a halt. They still had a job to do. Job #1 for the entire TPS was seeing justice for Peck and Jerry. Gail had only been in overnight for observation. After that, she was with Nick who refused to let her out of his sight.
Sam and Andy were back on duty, going to the hospital after shift and spending at least some time with Jerry ... making sure to take Traci something to eat.
They were there when Jerry started coming around. He was a little panicky until he saw Traci ... then Sam.
Andy went for the doctor.
Jerry was given the green light, they were no longer hopeful or optimistic, he had a long way to go, but he would make a full recovery.
Sam called Frank to give him the news. "Hey Boss, great news, Jerry woke up."
"Man, that is great news. How is he?"
"A little out of it ... even more so than usual."
Frank laughed. "Nash outta earshot for your tongue and cheek responses?"
Sam laughed."She knows I'm glad he's back to the land of the living ... though he's outta service indefinitely."
"Yeah, I know ... don't suppose you'd consider takin' the exam and filing in, would ya?"
"Lemme talk to Andy about it."
"I can hear it in your voice, Sammy, you don't want to ..."
"What I don't want is to lose my partner, Frank."
"Talk to McNally, then we'll talk."
Sam waited until they were curled up at home to broach the idea of him leaving the streets and moving upstairs. Her body told him she didn't like the idea.
"I don't take the exam or make the move to the Ds unless we're both ok with this."
"I'd be ok if it was temporary, you were just filling in til Jerry's back on his feet, but it's not. You make the move, I lose my partner ..."
Sam turned her so she was facing him. "Never gonna happen."
Andy wrapped her arms around him. "How's that? I'm on the street, you're not ... sounds like I
lose my partner to me ..."
Sam pulled her into his lap and kissed her. "We'll talk to Frank before we decide ... ok?
After they got in bed Andy wrapped Sam's arms tighter. Sam kissed the top of her head. "Go to sleep."
They went in early the next day to talk to Frank.
Frank looked up when the knock came. He smiled until he saw the look on Andy's face. "You guys ok?"
"Can we ..."
"Of course! Come on in."
Frank smiled as they sat side by side, hand in hand. "What's up guys?"
"We talked about it .. If it was a temporary move upstairs we'd be ok with it, but we don't wanna be separated ..."
"I'm sorry, Frank, I ... I won't say I can't do this without him, I was taught by the best, I can, but I don't want to ... I don't wanna look over and see someone else riding next to me ... or only hear his voice over a radio or on the phone ... only see him at lunch or by chance ..."
Frank smiled and looked at Sam. "What about you?"
"Told ya when you asked I didn't wanna lose my partner, Frank. I still don't. You need me to take the exam fine, I'll take it," he heard Andy's gasp, squeezed her hand, "on the condition you keep us together."
Frank sighed. He'd never seen two people so connected ... or more adamant about staying together. "You're killin' me, y'know that, right?"
Sam gave him a 'take it or leave it' look.
"You ain't done talkin' this over, are ya?"
Sam smiled as he squeezed Andy's hand. "Nope."
Frank shook his head. "Alright. If that's what it takes ..."
Sam smiled as they stood up. "We'll let you know by the end of shift."
"Forget shift, even with the promise not to split you up, you guys got talkin' to do and decisions to make ..."
They nodded and got to their feet. Sam shook Frank's hand. "I'll be in touch."
They left and headed for the lockers. They grabbed their bags and headed for the truck.
Nothing was said until they were curled up on the couch.
"You wanna do this."
"Sam, we can't make a decision if you won't admit this is something you want."
"It's not even that I want it, it would be a challenge ..."
"And God knows you love a challenge ..."
"You are not a challenge, McNally," Sam said with a laugh. A laugh that was cut off by the elbow to his ribs.
Sam kissed her temple. "Yeah, it was. As long as we're together, does it matter if I'm 'Officer' Swarek or 'Detective' Swarek?"
"I guess not ..."
Sam laughed as he kissed her again. "Don't sound so convincing there, McNally."
"I just ... it won't be the same."
"You're right ... because as a detective I get to ditch the blues and wear street clothes. As much as I love the uniform, jeans are a helluva lot more comfortable."
"Wait a second, I'd get to see you in jeans and dress clothes if you have to go to court?"
Sam laughed at the excitement in her voice. "You would."
"In that case, I guess I could live with a detective ..."
"You sure about that, McNally? Because I'd hate for it to be an imposition ..."
"Considerin' what you do for a pair of jeans ..." Andy sighed dramatically, "... it's a tough life, but somebody's gotta live it, Swarek."
Sam burst out laughing as he squeezed her waist making her squeal in surprise before she too started laughing.
As much as they were teasing each other, the decision was no joke and one they both needed to be ok with.
Sam sobered as he pulled her back against him and rested his cheek against her temple before asking, "You really ok with this?"
Andy turned so she could look at him. Straddling his lap she cupped his face in her hands. "Is this what you want?"
Sam sighed. "Honestly, I didn't even give it serious thought til we were sittin' in Frank's office and he gave us his word we'd stay together if I took - and passed - the exam. Now, knowing I won't lose my partner I can let myself consider the possibility ... but yeah, if you're ok with it, I'd take the exam."
Andy kissed him gently before whispering against his lips, "If it's what you want ..."
Sam pulled back. "No dice, no deal. This isn't just gonna affect me, it affects us, so we make the decision together ..."
Andy kissed anything else he would've said away. When she slowly pulled back she smiled and said again, "If this is what you want, I will back your decision ... that was one of your rules wasn't it? To back each other up?"
Sam chuckled. "Not quite the same, McNally."
"D'you remember when we moved in together?"
"Officially or unofficially?"
"When Oliver told you the rules ..."
"Ah, when Frank made the official announcement."
Andy giggled, "Yeah. D'you remember the rule Oliver gave you?"
Sam thought for a minute, he had imparted his little piece of "wisdom" months ago, a lot had happened since then ...
"Not really. It's Oliver, he's so full of "advice" ..."
Andy smiled softly thinking back to the one rule Oliver had given Sam that day. "He said, if you're happy, I'm happy ... and if becoming a detective is what makes you happy ... and as long as we're together, I'm good."
Sam grinned at her. "Yeah, you are ..."
"Sam!" Andy buried her face in his chest as he wrapped his arms around her and laughed.
He leaned up and kissed the back of her neck that was exposed as he said, "You're adorable when you blush."
They went in early the next morning. Frank smiled when they knocked on the door.
"Does this mean ..."
Sam looked at Andy for confirmation, when she nodded he said, "We're in. What classes do I have to take?" Despite his years on the job, Sam knew he couldn't just walk upstairs, nor would he.
Andy saw a light in Sam's eye, she didn't have to wonder about it long because Sam said, "Hey Frank?"
"Can she do my paperwork?"
Andy stared at Sam, her mouth agape. "Sam! I'm not your rookie anymore ..."
Sam grinned at her. "I thought we established that rule already? You'll always be my rookie!"
"Frank! Help me out here ..."
"Sorry McNally, your relationship, you guys make the rules ... the rest of us just try and play by them."
Sam smiled, a full blown dimpled smile at her. "Thanks for the backup, Frank, appreciate it. Besides, I can make it up to you now, McNally, without everybody gettin' the wrong idea."
"Sammy, man, as your Staff Sergeant, I don't wanna know!"
Both Sam and Andy burst out laughing.
"Food, Frank, food ... He'd always take me out to eat after I did the paperwork and everybody always teased him that the paperwork was an excuse to take me on a date ..."
"You sure it wasn't, McNally?"
"Geez, Swarek, how come nobody believes it was innocent?"
"Because they're gonna believe what they wanna believe. You'll have what I need for end of shift?"
Frank smiled. "I will."
Sam dropped her hand and put his on her back leading her to the door.
Hand in hand they walked into parade. The rookies pulled a chair out for her but she shook her head and followed Sam to the back.
Sam slid in next to Oliver and pulled Andy back against his legs.
Frank began Parade with his daily update on Jerry. They were dismissed and Andy headed for the coffee machine while Sam talked to Oliver about Jerry.
The barn was a hub of activity at end of shift and when Frank called them into his office they could hear the whispers and feel the stares, everyone wondering what had happened.
Sam knocked on the door and Frank waved them in.
"How long do I have, Frank?"
"The sooner you can take the exam ..."
It was times like this Frank wished like hell they couldn't communicate without words, needing just to share a look, then he wouldn't feel like the odd man out. "Ok, you two, for those in the room who don't under McSwarek looks, what the hell are you sayin'?"
Sam chuckled as Andy offered, "Sorry, Frank. Just thinkin' he could take it faster if he had more than just a few hours each night to study."
"Think you'd be ready to take it in two weeks?"
"But Frank, Traci studied for three months!"
"Yeah, because she isn't 5 years on the force. She doesn't have the experience ..."
"Easy on the emphasis on 'experienced' Frank."
Frank laughed. "Two weeks, paid leave ... both of you, starting tomorrow."
Sam shook his hand and promised to be ready.
Two weeks later Sam took the exam.
If there was one thing Andy wasn't, was patient so waiting for Sam's exam results to come back was more than a little difficult for her. More than once Sam had to stop her from calling Frank. They were curled up on the couch when she reached for the phone.
"Who you callin'?"
"Maybe Gail ..."
"You are not askin' the Ice Queen to use her connections! You afraid I failed, McNally?"