Ed's backyard was crammed full of people. The first barbeque of the season was usually later in the year but Team One had lucked out: their three day break had landed over the Victoria Day weekend. For once, they had time off in sync with the rest of the world, and suddenly the team barbeque had turned into a friends and family get together.
Spike found himself a quiet corner where he could actually sit down and keep his beer safe from the game of toss Wordy's girls were playing. He was three bites into his burger when two looming figures blocked out the sun.
"So... you and Winnie?" Ed asked in his best interrogation voice.
Spike felt his cheeks flush and cursed his involuntary reaction.
Sam chuckled as he dropped into the chair beside Spike. "Oh, so you and Winnie, huh?" he echoed. "What's the story there?"
Spike focused on his breath and reached for his beer, standard delaying tactics he knew the guys would recognize. It was necessary, though, since he had no idea what to say.
He should have figured it out back when Winnie first asked him about carpooling to the party. They ought to have developed a cover story in the car, but they had started talking music the moment he'd got into the car and heard Stars playing. It wasn't until they pulled up at the house that he had realized they'd been talking for twenty-five minutes without a single awkward pause.
"We drove here together." Simple and honest was his only choice. No risk of getting caught in a lie. "That's all."
"Mr 'public transit or nothing' drove here?" Ed asked. "That's not very Green Party."
Spike grinned. "Well, we wouldn't have to drive if you didn't live in the 905. Suburbia has crap transit."
His attempt at distraction - Ed didn't like being reminded that he wasn't a city boy anymore - didn't work.
"It's 'we' now?" Sam grabbed onto the one incriminating word.
"It's a carpool, guys," Spike tried to not sound defensive. "Winnie's Zipcar thing. With a case of wine and Winnie's food for the potluck - not to mention the terrible transit service out here," he smirked at Ed, "it was easier to get a car for the day."
"So this isn't date?" Sam asked.
"It's not a date," Spike replied. "Winnie doesn't date cops."
"Really?" Ed looked skeptical as he turned towards the patio. "Because she sure looks like she's on a date."
Spike followed his gaze and found himself trying not to stare at Winnie. She glowed in the sun as she laughed with Jules and the boss. It was just the same as when she showed up on his front step. He hadn't been able to think of anything to say then, either, she'd looked so nice in her sunflower coloured dress. It might not be a date, Spike thought, but he was sure looking forward to the ride home.
Spike was about to hit the showers when Sam called his name.
"You're into that sci-fi stuff, right?" Sam asked when Spike looked over.
"I'm into good sci-fi stuff," Spike said, trying not to feel defensive. The guys did tend to tease him over his interest in all things Abrams, Nolan, and Whedon.
"Winnie was saying she couldn't find anyone to go to the opening of that new comic book movie with her," Sam continued, oblivious. "Y'know, the one you've been talking about for weeks, where you have to line up all day. You guys should go together. Geek solidarity."
Winnie glared up at the blond man, making Spike smile. "I'll ignore that last bit," she said sharply, "because it's a good idea." She turned to look at Spike. "What d'you say? Want to brave the line-up with me?"
"This line is crazy," Spike observed as they leaned against the wall of the movie theatre. "Thank you for picking up dinner." He toasted Winnie with his take-out box.
"When you picked Bloor/Younge, I knew we had to have Spring Rolls. It's just a bonus that it comes in easy-to-juggle containers."
Their dinner had been Winnie's idea – her contribution to the evening, since Spike had bought the tickets in advance. As they chewed their way through mango salad and pad thai, Winnie and Spike had talked movies, television series, origin stories, and spoilers. It was probably the geekiest conversation he'd had all month. Still, in this line-up of over two hundred adults, at least a third of whom were in costume, geeky was a relative term.
"I like that costume," Winnie said, gesturing subtly with her chopsticks. "Pretty accurate, and that's not easy."
"You know this from experience?" Spike teased. To his surprise, Winnie nodded.
"Yup, I tried to put together that outfit for Hallowe'en last year. I didn't pull it off anywhere near that well," she said with a rueful expression. "Though I rocked the hairdo. Want to see?"
Spike shook off his surprise as Winnie pulled out her phone. The pictures made him smile, especially the fact that she appeared completely unselfconscious in her superhero outfit. After a little teasing, he found himself launching facebook to show her his own costume from the previous October. They traded stories and photos all the way into the theatre.
The movie was great. As they walked to the subway, Winnie couldn't contain her excitement. She kept stopping in her tracks, grabbing Spike's arm to emphasize her point. It was so great to see a good movie with someone who appreciated a respectful adaptation.
"We should come back, see it again in a week or so," he found himself suggesting.
Winnie grinned and nodded. "Let that 'first viewing high' wear off."
"Exactly. Then we'll be able to catch all the easter eggs and fanservice that we missed."
"The team's going to think we're such geeks," she laughed.
Spike smiled. "You know they already do, right?"
"Good point," she said as they reached the Younge/University platform.
"Thursday's our next evening off," he suggested.
"Thursday's great," Winnie said with a smile. "It's a date." She leaned up and kissed him on the cheek.
The rush and rattle of the arriving subway pulled her attention, which was good because Spike was speechless.
The club was dark, but not as much of a dive as Spike had expected. The table was clean, the beer was microbrew, and the club sandwiches were delicious. In all, it was a pretty decent bar. Raf's band was moving up in the world.
It wasn't the first time Spike had seen Raf play. Usually it was just him and Sam, leaning against the bar, but tonight the whole team was out. The boss's idea, a chance to get everyone together before Jules went on maternity leave.
"The girls are finally here," Sam announced, putting his phone back in his pocket. "End of shift paperwork was more 'epic' than usual."
"Epic?" Ed asked, eyebrow raised. "That sounds more like Clark than Jules."
"She's been having trouble sleeping, so Nat lent her some DVDs." Sam winced. "Teen soap opera things. Sometimes with vampires."
"Vampires?" Jules asked as she and Winnie walked up to the table. "Not talking about today's call, I hope. Or has the SRU turned into Twilight since I switched to desk duty?" She carefully lowered herself to sit next to Sam.
Winnie leaned down and kissed Spike on the cheek. "Hello, you. Any room left on that bench?" she asked.
He found himself stuttering "S-sure" as she squeezed in beside him. She ended up pressed tight against his side, and Spike found that the only comfortable place for his arm was along the wall behind Winnie's shoulders. She leaned her head into his elbow and smiled up at him. Fortunately the rest of the table was laughing at Jules and Sam's banter, so no one noticed his blush.
The evening rolled on, full of music and laughter. Winnie stole half the fries off Spike's plate before Ed ratted her out. Sam and Jules told pregnancy horror stories that Ed and the boss tried to top. Raf's band performed their first set, rich bluesy music that made Winnie close her eyes and lean against Spike, a smile on her face.
When the set ended Jules and Winnie exchanged glances, and then stood up.
"We're going to go see Raf backstage," Jules announced. "Catch him before his fan club."
"I thought you were president of the club," Sam teased. "Didn't I see an 'I heart Raf' button on your pencil case the other day?" He ducked and Jules' punch only missed its target by a few inches. She grinned and ruffled his hair before following Winnie through the crowd.
"Ah romance," Greg Parker sighed. "Wasted on the young. Speaking of young," he said, turning to look Spike in the eye, "What's going on with you and Winnie?"
Spike did his best not to flinch. "Nothing, Boss," he tried to keep his voice level, but the boss had lasers for eyes.
"So you're not dating?" Ed asked. "Because there's a speech I gotta give you if you're dating."
Spike rolled his eyes, glad to look away from Greg. "We're not dating. You don't need to pull out the fraternization speech."
"Oh, not that one. I don't care about that," Ed said, grinning. "This is the 'I break your kneecaps if you hurt a hair on her head' speech. I've been practicing."
Sam nodded. "He's good at it. I know. And I have a deep sympathy for Izzy's future boyfriends."
Ed's eyes narrowed. "What makes you think Izzy's going to be allowed to date?" His face relaxed into a smile as the guys laughed. "And Sam, I wouldn't make fun if I were you. You're going to have your own speech soon."
The surprise and horror flashing across Sam's face started everyone laughing again.
"Baby showers. Not just for the ladies anymore," Greg said drily.
"Showers are for the whole family these days," Jules answered. "And Sadie's going to have the best family in Toronto - you guys."
"She's going to be the safest kid in the city, with all these cops watching out for her," Sophie gestured around the room.
"For sure," Winnie agreed, "though it's a bit like have an aunt or uncle on every block."
Everyone laughed, and then attention returned to Jules, Sam, and the stack of presents at their feet.
"You're second gen police?" Spike asked Winnie quietly. "I didn't realize. Mom or dad?"
"My dad." She didn't look at him, her eyes focused on the parents-to-be on the other side of the room. "Sadie's going to be one lucky kid."
"Yes she is." Spike watched Jules smile at Sam as their hands tangled together over her swollen belly. "So, your dad was a cop?" he asked.
"Yeah, he was on the force for more than thirty years," Winnie turned to look him in the eye, her expression solemn. "Probably would have stayed on 'til they kicked him out, except he had heart attack four years ago."
"I'm so sorry." Spike took Winnie's hands in his. "I know how awful that feels. I miss my father every day."
Winnie's eyes were sad as she squeezed his fingers. "You and your dad were really close. You're lucky. My dad... he wasn't around much. His work was his life. It consumed him and didn't leave any room for me and Mum."
"Which is why you are so committed to keeping your work and life balanced."
"Exactly. It's important to have more in my life than the job." Winnie said. "Friends, family, music, books…"
"Cosplay?" Spike teased.
Winnie laughed. "Especially that. Professional fangirl here." Her expression grew serious. "But really, having a life outside of work is important to me because I want to be sure I leave the job at work."
"And that's why you have that rule about not dating cops," Spike said, understanding.
Winnie gave him an amused look. "Um, no."
"You have some other reason for not dating cops?" he asked.
"No, idiot." She grinned, squeezing his hands again. Spike stared at her, confused, and slowly her expression changed. "What, are you serious?" she asked.
Spike found himself leaning away from her intense gaze. "I... don't know what you're talking about," he admitted.
"Michaelango Scarlatti," Winnie said, drawing out the syllables, "you're a brilliant man, a great cop, and a complete doofus." She smiled again and leaned closer to him. "I gave up on that rule a while ago. I thought you noticed."
Spike's insides did a little dance: up into his throat, down to his toes. He tried to focus on the conversation. "I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't paying attention," he said, finally. "Uh, so, uh, you're dating a cop?" He forced the words out.
"I thought I was," Winnie said. "But apparently he didn't notice."
Spike realized his mouth was hanging open moments before her fingers touched his jaw. She winked, and he felt himself blushing.
"Me?" His voice cracked like a teenager's.
Winnie grinned. "Yeah, Spike, you. Of course, if you don't feel comfortable dating a fellow cop, I totally understand. We can go back to being friends, if you'd prefer." Her smile was just a little bit snarky.
Spike found himself smiling back at her. "Oh, I don't know," he said. "I think I can probably handle it. I mean, I've liked dating a cop so far, so I bet it's even more fun when I actually know about it."
"I think you might be right about that," Winnie agreed as she leaned over and kissed him lightly on the lips.
He pulled back slightly. "Yeah, actually, I'm pretty sure of it," he said, and then he kissed her again.