After the blow-up with DDA Rios, Rusty took his keys and went home. Sharon wished she could be there with him, but there was still a case to solve.

She sat at her desk, working. It was as though everyone sensed her mood after the conference because they gave her a wide berth. Good. She needed the time to think. Was Emma right? Was she somehow damaging Rusty? She shook her head. What did Emma know? She had no kids, and she certainly doesn't know Rusty or Sharon. If Sharon thought for a second, he'd be better off out of her custody, she'd let him go. After all, that's what mothers do-let their children fly when they're ready. Rusty wasn't ready, though, and no one could reach him like she could, except maybe for Provenza.

There was a knock on her door. Speak of the devil. She attempted an encouraging smile. After all, he had sought to protect Rusty-and Sharon from that...person. "What can I do for you, Lt?"

Provenza entered the office and sat down, clearing his throat. Obviously getting ready to offer advice. Such a big change from when she'd first taken over. "I don't want to overstep-"

She grinned. "I've gotten quite used to that. This is about Rusty, isn't it?"

"Yeah. We've got this. We'll contact you with any news. All due respect, you're sitting here fuming, and he's probably worse."

"Thank you, Lt. For that other thing too."

He gave her small smile. "Anytime, Captain. Just as long as you know, it's for the kid."

She laughed. "Of course it is."

She gathered her things and left with a quick wave and thanks. That Provenza wasn't so bad. None of them were.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

He was on the couch. Eating a burger. "Hey! You're home early."

She smiled. "Yeah. What is my rule?"

He looked at the plate in his hands. "Sorry."

He turned off the tv and moved into the kitchen and she followed him after putting her bag down. "There's another one on the counter, if you want it."

She nodded. "I'm starving."

"Thanks for showing me how to make these."

"I was happy to, you know that."

She retrieved the burger from the counter, nuked it, and prepared it to her liking.

"I'm not gonna have to talk to that Emma again, am I?" He asked, as she stood at the counter.

She brought her plate to the table and sat down. "I'm afraid you probably will, Rusty."

He groaned. "Why can't it be Hobbs?"

She smiled. "Hobbs is incredibly busy these days. She'll probably be DA herself soon. And don't worry, I'll tell her all about Rios."

"Am I gonna have to apologize to her?"

"For what?"

"Calling her an asshole."

She smirked. "While I'm not thrilled with your choice of language, especially considering how smart you are-" He snorted. He'd proven to be quite the chess opponent, beating her more than not. "In this case, however, I can't fault you for being right."

"Oh man, you really don't like her."

"You know me, Rusty. I try to give everyone a chance. And it seems like I'm going to have to learn to work with her, but no, I don't care for her."

"Did Provenza send you home?"

She rolled her eyes. "I'm the captain. No one sends me home." He put up his hands in surrender. "But yes, he assured me they had everything under control." She tilted her head slightly. "And he may have pointed out that I was too busy fuming to be productive."

"You're really mad. I can still see it."

"I'm more concerned about you."

"I'm fine, Sharon." He looked down at the table. "I'm not sure I want to testify, though."

She nodded. It wasn't the time to tell him why he should. His trust and security had been violated enough thanks to the DDA. Where she'd learned to prepare witnesses Sharon had no idea, but if she thought she'd ever speak to Rusty that way again, she had another thing coming. "Let's talk about something else." She smiled conspiratorially. "I don't think I can stand to think about that woman or Stroh for another second. I don't know about you."

He smiled. "You're always trying to protect me."

"That's right, buster. Get used to it."

"I'm still hungry. Wanna grab some ice cream?"

She nodded. "After today, there's nothing I'd like more."

"Two pints then."

One for each of them. They'd probably be having a lot of late night ice cream binges in the upcoming months.

It was a tradition they'd started when Daniel Dunn entered their lives. After she cleaned up Rusty's face, he'd gone to bed, and she'd raided the freezer for ice cream. He was unable to sleep, so he came out to the living room to see her attacking the carton. She looked up and suggested he grab a spoon. After that, whenever one (or both) of them had a bad day, they sat on the couch, eating ice cream and watching a really bad movie for the sole purpose of mocking it. And yes, ice cream was exempt from her rule about eating on the sofa.

He grabbed his keys from their spot on the counter and said, "Ready?"

She nodded.

"You're okay with me driving?"

She smiled. "I taught you, remember? Of course I am. It's nice having someone drive me."

"Alright, Miss Daisy."

She rolled her eyes. "I regret watching that with you."

"Whatever."

They walked to the door. She placed her hand on his shoulder briefly. And yes, she'd always try to protect him.