Authors: threeguesses and lowriseflare
Fandom/ Pairing: Rookie Blue, Andy/Sam
Word Count: 9200+
Summary: The one with the undercover.
So: they break up.
That’s not surprising, is it?
Sam thinks it’s probably not that surprising at all.
(But fuck, it was so colossally stupid, a long day and a bad fight, McNally spoiling for it like a little kid with a temper: “What are we even doing?” she demanded, standing in his kitchen bundled in her winter coat. “Seriously, what’s even the point?”
He played it wrong, though, came on way too hard: hands on the counter on either side of her, I’m not going to let you screw this up; she was out the door and back at her toilet-factory apartment before Sam could even think to turn the burners off, dinner half-finished on the stove.)
Either way, all of a sudden they're "taking a break" (her words), like every bad episode of Friends ever. Sam can't get the smell of her off the sheets, three empty drawers left over after she shovelled all her shit into a duffel bag, tubes of old lipstick drying out in the bathroom cabinet. Her hair's still clogging up his drain. The way he misses her--it’s like missing a limb.
But: time and space. Not to mention the fact that the direct approach bit him in the ass. (But also; he's just plain afraid. It's paralyzing, the realization that he has absolutely no game plan after her. He’s done. He honestly doesn't know what he'd do if he made a go of it and she said no.
So. It’s a lot like the beginning again, actually.)
It goes on like that for a while, avoiding each other as discreetly as they can, sitting next to each other in parade every couple of days to keep the talk to a minimum. Sam is very, very careful not to look at Callaghan.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that all of a sudden he can't sleep for shit--he's lived alone for months at a time in what could charitably be called shitholes but now he lies awake all night, cold space on the other side of the bed. He's just--he's been better, is the truth of it. He's not doing great.
He gets back from a call with Ollie (and that's the other thing, Shaw sniffed him out in about two seconds, if you got anything you want to talk about, brother--), is headed for the coffee when Frank pokes his head out of his office.
"Sammy," he bellows, clear across the bullpen. "Get in here."
McNally's already sitting at the desk, which gets Sam's back up right away--after the way it all started between them, they've always been pretty careful to keep it out of work. "What's up, boss?" he asks, deliberately not looking at Andy, but he must have some obvious fucking expression on his face because she's the one who blurts it out.
"An undercover," she says miserably, not quite looking at him either. "Frank wants to talk to us about an undercover."
Which--shit. Maybe they've actually been a bit too subtle about it, if this is the result. Not that Frank's too quick on the uptake; back in the beginning, it sometimes felt like he was the only person in the entire division who didn't know Sam was carrying a torch for his rookie. Right now though, he's looking at the both of them sidelong, like he's maybe figuring a couple things out. "That a problem, officers?" he asks sharply.
"No sir," they pipe up, in unison and everything. McNally flushes, slumping a bit farther into her chair. Sam rubs a hand over his face, sits himself down next to her (it's their job, is the thing; they always said they were going to keep doing their job). Frank's got a picture of his kid on the desk to Sam's left, baby curls. He and Noelle tied the knot just last month.
(She wore a blue dress to the wedding, McNally. It spun out when she twirled.)
"What kind of undercover?" Sam asks.
It's straightforward enough, Frank tells them, prostitution ring operating out of a nightclub on Liberty--young girls, sixteen, seventeen. Vice had one of them talking; three weeks ago she fell off the grid entirely, and ten days after that a body matching her description turned up in the Don. "Nice," Sam mutters, a flare of directionless anger in his belly. He really needs to get some sleep.
The plan's simple--make a date, see the money changes hands, then arrest the girl and get her to deal. "The trick'll be getting the date in the first place," Frank says, eyeing Sam over his coffee cup. "They're skittish, these girls, and the thugs that hold their dance cards are worse. It'll take time some time before they'll even talk you, I'd think."
McNally's fussing with her earring, foot tapping a bit at the leg of her chair. "Okay," she says slowly, a look on her face like she's not totally following. "So...why do you need me?"
Frank gets a look on his face like he might actually be a little embarrassed. "It’s a boutique business they’re running, it looks like," he says, vaguely sheepish. "A lot of couples."
Frank pushes through, nodding at them like yes, yes, but what can you do? "Hanging out at the club is probably your best bet," he explains, setting down his coffee to sift through a stack of papers in front of him. "At least at first. Put in the hours, get your faces known. We've got some IDs worked up--"
They're easy fakes, just the names changed. Someone dredged up McNally's rookie photo for hers; she's wide-eyed, muscles standing out in one cheek like she's trying not to grin. Sam touches the corner before sliding it over to her.
"At least one of the girls is on the floor every night," Frank continues. "Hard to pick out from the regular underagers, but they'll be advertising it more-- Vice's pickup said she and some of the others used to bind their breasts, try to look as young as possible." He pauses, feeling his way around the words. "Apparently it pays better." A snap on the p, like it leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
(Frank and Noelle's kid: a baby girl.)
"We won't bother with a wire, at least for the first phase," Frank tells them. "We just want them to get used to seeing your faces." He stands up, which means the conversation's over. "Can I count on you to come through on this?"
Sam nods slowly, looks back at the jackets. They're married, in this scenario. Someplace they're going to have to find a couple of rings. "What do you say, McNally?" he asks, careful to keep his voice dead even. "Wanna go catch some bad guys?"
(A year and change, they were basically living together. Three weeks since she took her stuff and split.)
Andy worries her bottom lip for a moment, leaves teeth marks (and it's a nervous thing, he knows it's a nervous thing, but it's also, in certain contexts, not). Her gaze flicks over to Sam, a feeling in his chest like a muscle tearing there, and for a second she looks so sorry it's almost like Frank's not waiting on an answer (almost like Frank's not here at all). Then she blinks and it's done, the macho set of her shoulders. "We start tonight?" she asks.
"As soon as you can," Frank answers after a beat, looking between them. He thrusts out an arm to shake each of their hands in turn, awkwardly; an agreement or a thank-you, Sam can't tell which (he knows he knows he knows).
Still: "On it, boss," Sam agrees, chipper and false. Frank has the decency to take him at his word.
So. There they are.
Andy heads back to her place to grab some clothes (clubwear probably, shit Sam's seen maybe once or twice; past undercovers, nights when she and Traci decide to reclaim their youth). Sam stays, though. Rides out the rest of his shift with Epstein. He just--he needs a distraction, he guesses, and the kid's certainly good for one; Sam lets him run down every boneheaded scheme that enters into his mind. By the end of patrol they've broken up two fights that would have petered out on their own, lit up the sirens and chased after a nothing drug-deal down the far end of Dundas, dime bags of weed. Sam's bone tired, sure, but it's a physical thing. It's better than what he was feeling before.
He drags himself into the locker room, starts unbuttoning his uniform. Ollie's there, ragging on one of the new rookies-- he invites Sam out to the Penny, and Sam's managed to distract himself so well he forgets for a second, why he has to say no. He's handling it. He is.
Only then everyone's clearing out, Diaz and the last of the stragglers, and Andy ducks her head around the door. Like she was waiting. She's got a duffel bag and a withdrawn expression.
Suddenly Sam isn't handling it so well anymore.
(What he was feeling before: weary. He was feeling weary.)
"You ready?" she asks, dropping the bag on the bench beside him. Sam nods once. He was expecting a halter top or something but under her coat she's wearing this short black dress he recognizes from a wedding they went to last summer, a buddy from Sam's old unit in Montreal--they made a long weekend of it, the first time they'd been away together. McNally was nervous, high heels and a bunch of people she didn't know; she talked a blue streak all night, ate his cake while he was in the bathroom, then grinned at him fit to light up the whole damn city. By the time they made it back to the hotel Sam was half-ready to get married himself.
(More than half.)
"Yeah," he says now, clearing his throat a bit and grabbing his jacket out of his locker. "Let's go."
(She needed help with the zipper, before the ceremony. Sam wonders how she did it up on her own.)
"Oh," she exclaims, once he's got the key in the ignition (she's still got a chapstick and some lotion in the well next to the passenger seat; Sam thinks about tossing them literally every time he gets in the truck). McNally holds up her hand, three rings stacked on her bony finger--cheap stone, a couple of plain gold bands. She pulls one off and holds it out to him. "Um. Noelle got 'em at the dollar store, so. Probably they'll turn your skin green."
"Fancy." Sam slides the warm metal onto his ring finger. He doesn't look at her for seven blocks.
McNally stares out the window, tucks her hands between her knees; Sam's about to turn up the heater when she speaks. "Aren't you gonna ask me how we met?"
"How we met?" Sam blinks. He glances over at her for a second, then back at the road. "What are you, worried about our believability as a couple?"
"What? I--no," she says, sounding sort of abashed (it came out douchier than he meant it; he bites the inside of his cheek). "Just, usually when we do this you ask me how we met."
Yeah, well, usually when they do this Sam's not thinking he'd rather eat his own gun, but. "Okay, McNally," he says, after a moment. "How'd we meet?"
Andy answers immediately, doesn't think about it at all. "We worked together," she tells him.
(Sam blows out a breath; thinks, sweetheart-- and stops himself.) "Worked together," he repeats eventually. Slow, like he's memorizing the cover. "Alright." Another beat. "So did you like me right away? Or did it take awhile?"
Andy flinches pretty hard at that one. Sam feels bad, for a second, picking up on her game; still, she started it. He leans over to fiddle with the radio a bit, diffuse whatever stupid nostalgia they've decided to dredge up (only that backfires on him too; most of her presets are still programmed in, another thing Sam keeps meaning to change and then just...doesn't).
"Right away," Andy announces finally, quiet. Sam whips around to look, but she's staring dead-straight ahead. "Or--well, not right away right away. Like. I mean, I thought I didn't, tried to tell myself--but yeah. Less than forty-eight hours in."
(They never did have the "when did you know?" talk, mostly because Sam figured he'd win by a landslide. And yeah, she probably isn't talking about the same kind of knowing, but--)
"Did you?" McNally continues. "Like me right away?" Plowing right on through the layers of meaning, just like old times (there's no subtle with this girl; Sam's always kind of figured that when--if, jesus, if--he proposed, he really would have to sky-write it).
He's exhausted. Absolutely and completely done.
Probably, in the end, that's what makes him spell it out for her, no room for misinterpretation: "Less than twenty-four hours. It was your smile." He steers the truck into a turn. Lets out the clutch so they don't skid. "I didn't try to tell myself anything."
No one says anything for the rest of the drive.
The club's crowded but not quite packed; Sam can feel the bass in his teeth as he rests one hand on Andy's lower back, steers her towards the bar. He can feel the notches of her spine against his palm. They're the Taylors tonight, nice couple from the Beaches, married four years with a shared passion for travel and underage hookers. Apparently, they met at work.
He settles her on a leather sofa on the far side of the bar, comes back with drinks a few minutes later. Andy frowns. "Seriously?" she complains, martini glass sloshing a bit as she takes it. The dress makes her shoulders look broader than usual, muscles moving under her skin. "This is a girl drink."
"Yeah, well." Sam shrugs and sits down beside her, slings what he hopes is a casual arm over the back of the couch. She smells familiar, sugar and shampoo. "Jamie Taylor likes girl drinks."
"Jamie Taylor's a fucking superfreak," Andy mutters, but she pulls the orange slice off the rim of the glass and sucks on it for a while, glances around. "So what now?"
"Now?" Sam exhales a bit, tips his head back, looks over at her and smiles. "We fake it."
She doesn't seem to like that answer much, nervous fingers picking at a seam in the leather (it's too nebulous, too much sit-and-wait; she's always hated stakeouts). Still, she bases up, takes a swig of her candy-coloured drink. It looks weird on her, like she doesn't quite know how to hold it.
"Relax," Sam tells her. He's already scanning the crowd, two bouncers and what he thinks might be one of the pros, a young girl in glitter makeup over by the DJ. He nods and Andy follows his gaze.
"God, I don't know." She starts to sit up then checks herself, leaning back into the curve of his arm; her shoulders brush up against him, just barely. She leaves them there. "I can never tell kids' ages."
Sam's pretty sure; underneath the glitter are apple cheeks, the contours of a face blurred with baby fat. (Andy looked like that, once--Sam's seen pictures. Over at Tommy's there are a couple littered around, her high school graduation, what looks like a prom. She had those streaky highlights all the girls were wearing.)
She disappears for a while, the girl with the glitter, then turns up near the bar chatting with a blonde couple in their thirties, cheap rhinestones in her hair catching the light. "Check it out," he mutters. McNally’s got one hand resting on his thigh, warm and sort of damp through his jeans. Sam tries not to notice.
The three of them talk a minute longer; the girl runs her palm up the blonde woman's back. Sam watches the bouncer watching. The girl looks up and nods once, infinitesimal.
So. At least they're not wasting their time.
Two nights later, a table near the bar; Sam orders the same two drinks as last time and gets a nod of vague recognition from the bartender. Andy actually scowls when he brings them back. "Okay," she says, irritated. "Are you punishing me, or what?"
If I was punishing you you'd know it, sweetheart, he thinks and doesn't say, A) because it's a dick comment and B) because he doesn't even want to punish her, actually. He wants her to come the fuck home.
"Drink your girl drink," he tells her.
They sit for a couple of hours, make inane small talk about their fake lives (nothing as interesting as insurance), watch as a dark-haired eleventh-grader with knobby doe knees follows a middle aged couple out the back door of the club. "Ready to go?" Sam asks, a little while later. Her coat's slung across the back of her chair, and he hands it to her without really thinking.
"You hungry?" she blurts once they're outside, halfway to the car and her shivering on the sidewalk inside her jacket. He wants to put an arm around her and doesn't. "I'm hungry. You wanna get Chinese?"
Sam blinks. Andy's got an appetite for Chinese unlike anybody he's ever met in his life; after sex especially she'd be ravenous for it, like every orgasm sparked some bizarre hunger that could only be sated by fortune cookies and MSG (and, usually, more sex). The delivery guys always looked sort of embarrassed to see them. Sam used to find grains of rice in his sheets.
"Sure," he tells her, unlocking the truck and watching her boost herself up, quick and graceful. "I could eat."
Sam takes her to their old standby, this hole in the wall three blocks from his place. Too-dark paint job and no windows, sure--not to mention the completely unauthentic menu options--but their portions are huge. It was a selling point, back when he was first figuring out how to feed her. (And if he doesn't love the memories this is dredging up, he bets he'd love dicking around with the GPS for another location a lot less. What's he going to say? "Just looking for somewhere with less baggage, honey, it’ll only take a sec.")
The Vietnamese couple looks surprised to see them. It's pretty much delivery-only, this establishment, two dusty tables set up near the back, ancient condiment racks. Andy sits herself down at one while Sam orders from memory--three weeks down the line and he still remembers all the numbers (number 7 for honey garlic chicken; two sides of number 13 because both of them inhale the mango salad). He doesn't particularly love that either.
"Okay," he says finally, pulling out the tiny wrought-iron chair across from her. "It'll only be a few minutes."
"Cool." She takes off her scarf and folds it, shakes it out and folds it again. It's awkward now, worse than the club; at least the pounding bass and the cover story kept them talking. Here the only history to discuss is their own.
"So, uh." She shifts around nervously, picks at her nails (electric blue; she always seems to paint them for cover assignments. Sam used to get a kick out of it). "How are you--" She makes a face at herself, tries again. "How've you been?"
Which: is she fucking kidding him?
"McNally," Sam says quietly. He can hear a radio on in the kitchen--80s ballads, mostly static. There's a dull throb at the back of his brain. "Come on."
Andy's eyes narrow. "What?" she retorts, straightening up right away. The scarf flutters into her lap. "I'm just--seriously, Sam, we have to work together, you can't even be friendly?"
Sam sighs a bit, scrubs a hand over his face. He aches all over, deep in his bones like; it is late."We have to work together, sweetheart," he tells her finally. "But I don't want to be your friend."
That stops her; she blinks twice in a row, like she's shocked. Right away Sam feels like an asshole. "Look, Andy," he starts, but McNally holds up a hand to stop him. For a second there's a look on her face like maybe he's the one who broke her heart.
"White rice or brown?" the Vietnamese lady demands, hitting a little bell on the counter to get their attention. Sam almost laughs. In the end he lets her take both mango salads, goes home to lie awake in his empty bed.
So. That's Undercover Night Two.
Three days later she comes into the locker room again, what must be one of Traci's dresses half-zipped over top of her uniform pants. Oliver beats a hasty retreat out the door, dragging Jerry with him.
"Night, Sammy," he calls over his shoulder, side-stepping Andy in the doorway, which--Sam should really tell him to stop it, brushing her off like that. McNally manages to look like someone ran over her dog every single time.
("She left me," he finally admitted, two weeks ago on patrol. Ollie turned the cruiser around, headed for Timmies.)
"Listen," she says once they've cleared out. She's twisting and untwisting her fake ring, jumpy. "Maybe we should--we can tell Frank to send someone else, okay?"
"McNally," Sam starts, exasperated, "look--" (Only then he looks, and.) She's already got most of her makeup done, dark liner and lipgloss, blotting tissue in hand. But: Sam can still see the circles under her eyes.
"I'm sorry about the Chinese place," is what he comes up with. "It was--" He breaks off, wonders if he'll ever be able to be around her without feeling like his heart lying somewhere on the side of the road. "It'll get better, all right?"
McNally nods slowly, balling the tissue up into a gray blob inside her hand. "Yeah," she says, sounding about as skeptical as he is. "I guess."
Sam guesses, too. "Go finish getting ready," he tells her, Training Officer Swarek. "I'll meet you outside in ten."
"Okay," she agrees after a moment. She's almost out the door when Sam calls her name.
"Hey McNally," he says, drawing on some secret well of fake confidence, a last ditch effort to save them both. "What do you call a dinosaur with one eye?"
Andy's eyebrows go up, a challenge; she knows exactly what he's doing, and god love her she plays along. "What's that?"
"A do-you-think-he-saurus," Sam deadpans. Her laugh echoes all the way down the hall.
The following week, McNally small talks the glitter-faced girl in line for the ladies' room; two nights after that when Sam goes to order drinks the bartender asks if he wants the usual. He heads back to the couch where Andy's futzing around on her cell phone, looking artfully bored. "Congratulations," he says, handing her her stupid pink martini. "I think we're in."
They put in a request for wires Sam doesn't really expect to be granted (budget cuts; probably they'll have to get one of the D's on the case before they see any kind of tech). Still, Frank seems pleased with their progress: "Push for a meet-up, somewhere private. Then we'll see about loaning you some mics."
That Friday they sit in their usual corner, sipping their usual drinks, and discuss which baby prostitute they should approach (just your average night for the Taylors). Eventually they decide on what they think is the youngest, a nervous-looking girl with thick blonde hair, this bump at the back she's always missing with her straightening iron. Andy approaches her on the dance floor just as she's trying to disengage from some drunk frat boy; Sam watches as Andy takes her hand in a twirl, pulls her away (it's a move he recognizes from the few times he's been dragged to a club, Andy and Traci using it by turns to dodge men). At first he thinks she's played it wrong, too sisterly, but the girl just smiles. Two songs later, she follows Andy back to their couch.
"Hi honey," Andy pants, pulling out her brightest grin (it only looks just the slightest bit hollow). "This is Amanda."
"Hi," the girl murmurs. The sequins on her halter top are fraying off, catching on her jeans. Up this close, Sam ballparks her at about fourteen. Fifteen tops.
"Hi," Sam tells them. Resists closing his eyes against the thumping base. "Let's get you ladies some drinks."
Amanda's a humanities major at UT Scarborough, she tells them, running her finger along the sugar rim of her own ridiculous cocktail (which--nice try, darlin', but if she's an undergrad then Sam's a principal dancer in the national ballet. He'd be willing to bet Amanda's not her real name, either: there's the faintest hint of an accent--the Ukraine, maybe--but she's been practicing). "You guys live around here?" she's asking, when Sam comes back with another round of drinks.
"We're actually just in town for a few weeks," Andy tells her smoothly, dropping a hand onto his knee. She's gotten a lot better at lying, McNally-- Sam thinks of that disaster of a night under the bridge a couple years ago, feels weirdly proud of her. "He's got business." She slides her palm up his thigh some, scrapes a bit with her nails. It's a thing she used to like to do while he was driving, a tease; she once got him off in the time it took to get from the 15 to her apartment. Was a miracle Sam didn't crash the truck.
Amanda smiles again, two rows of inexpertly capped teeth. "Just along for the ride, then?"
"Pretty much." Andy grins back, conspiratorial. "I miss him. Anyway, we're at the Marriott downtown, which is perfectly nice if you don't care about good towels." She chews her lip a minute, and then she does it. "You ever been to that hotel?"
Sam expects some hedging, a shrug, but Amanda just smiles wider and nods, big and eager. (They lucked out, Sam's starting to realize, picking her; all these nights, and he's only seen her leave with maybe two couples.) She doesn't even bother saying anything else before signalling the bouncer, a twist of her skinny wrist. Sam wonders how big her cut is, what she needs the money for. If the other girls tease her.
"I've been," Amanda tells them, downing the rest of her cocktail. "But I'd love to go again."
"We might need some, uh." Sam glances at Andy nervously. "Prep time."
Andy hands Amanda her own drink, half-finished (and Sam doesn't love that, giving a fourteen-year-old alcohol, but he loves leaving her on the street even less, so). "We just need to clean the hotel room a bit," she says easily. "It's not fit for company."
Amanda looks a bit anxious now, like she thinks they're maybe turning her down (which, really: Sam should not feel as bad about that as he does). "So, like. Tomorrow then?"
Andy smiles reassuringly, takes Amanda's empty glass. "Tomorrow's perfect."
"We rocked that," she tells him twenty minutes later, swerving giddily down the sidewalk in her patent leather heels. She took his hand as they were leaving the club, a Mr. and Mrs. Taylor thing, except they're almost at the truck and she's still holding on, so. Her grin's dialed up to ten. "I mean, seriously, Sam. We rocked it."
"Yeah, well. Easy there, killer." Sam's got a bit of a rush, himself; UC work, is all. "We still need to flip her."
"Oh, I'll flip her," Andy says confidently, settling herself into the passenger seat. She digs her chapstick out of the well--"This mine?" she asks, like it makes total sense that he'd have kept it-- swipes it over her mouth. "God, we're a good team."
Sam shrugs, non-committal (she left him, is the thing; she left him). "Have our moments."
Andy nods slowly, like she's thinking about it. "Yeah," she says, after a beat--and the way she's looking at him, it's--they're not talking about Amanda anymore, he's pretty sure. "Yeah, I guess we do."
So. Just like old times.
Sam holds her gaze, waiting. Eventually McNally clears her throat. "So," she says, shifting in her seat a little, fussing with the vent on her side of the dashboard. "You think Frank'll come through with those wires?"
Moment over, then. Sam honestly doesn't know if he's pissed off or tired, if he's making any progress with her at all. If he even wants to, anymore. (That's a lie, god, even as he's thinking it that's a lie; he fucking loves her, he can't--) "We'll see," is all he can think to say, and Andy must sense the shut-down because she's silent the rest of the drive.
Well. Almost silent:
"Wait," she calls. She's halfway to her door, picking her way over the ice, Sam idling for no good reason. (She's a big girl, a copper; it isn’t even a bad neighbourhood, Christ, toilet-factory past and all, and god knows he isn’t her boyfriend anymore. He isn’t her anything. So really, there's no reason he should feel--
He's a new breed of idiot, probably.)
"Wait." She's over by his window now; Sam rolls it down, automatic. He's thinking maybe it's her chapstick, which she left behind again (and he's not keeping it this time, that's a promise), but from the look on her face... yeah. It isn't the chapstick.
"I just." She shrugs, quick and nervous. Fuck, Sam thinks she may actually be about to cry. "I know don't have the right to--” She pauses, face twisting up. “Look, I know, okay, I just can't-- You keeping looking at me like you want me to die or something, and I-- I can't. If you hate me. I really can't."
Sam's out of the car before he even knows what he's doing. "Andy." His hands ball into fists at his sides, relax again; he remembers this feeling, wanting to get his arms around her and not being able to. That dull grinding ache inside his bones. "I don't want you to--I don't hate you, sweetheart."
Andy shrugs helplessly, mouth crumpling a little; she looks very, very young. "You don't like me."
Which--he doesn't like her? Jesus fucking christ, he's lost like he's never been in his life, he walks around feeling like somebody's been scraping at the inside of his skin with a serving fork, like some fucked up ghost version of himself, and she's upset because-- Sam feels himself grimace. He scrubs a hand over his face for a second, takes a breath or two until he's got himself under control. He's tired, is all. He doesn't want to lose it where she can see.
"Andy," he says again, sucks down one more mouthful of damp, icy air. "Me liking you isn't the--you're the one who--I don't even really know why youleft, sweetheart." Her eyes are threatening to spill over; Sam thinks fuck it and gets a hand on either side of her face. "Why'd you leave?"
"I don't--" She chokes herself off, this dry heave that could be a sob. Underneath his palms her cheeks are very cold and very pink. "We weren't--it wasn't working, Sam."
Which-- seriously? "We had a fight, Andy," he tries, quiet. "We didn't--" But then she's crying for real, shuddering under his hands every time she takes a breath, these deep awful gasps, and Sam just can't. She doesn't cry much, is the thing; he can count on one hand the times he's seen it. Right at the beginning of their suspension, shock or something. When her dad fell off the wagon. Again when Traci got knifed by a perp (shallow, yeah, but they didn't know that in the waiting room). A handful of occasions, and every fucking time it still kills him. "Andy, please," he murmurs. Thinks don't do this to me, sweetheart, and doesn't say it.
She's trying to talk, though, through the sobs. It takes Sam a moment to figure out what she's saying.
He doesn't have time to ask her what for, though (leaving or crying, or maybe she's just sorry in general; Sam sure is). He doesn't have time to do anything, actually, because the next second she's kissing him.
Sam's so shocked it takes him a second to react either way, like he's been hit by lightning. Her face is wet and chilly against his. He thinks of the half-feral cats he sees wandering the neighborhood on shift sometimes, eyes gleaming in the white sweep of headlights, frozen for a fraction of a beat before they recover and dart away.
Then he kisses her back.
(Easy, he thinks, be careful, only it's not easy or careful, it's like somebody flipped a switch inside him and everything he's barely managed to hold back for the last month is just-- he thinks maybe they're panicking, a little, at each other hard enough to bruise. The door of the truck is freezing through his jacket. Both of their mouths are open way too wide for any kind of technique, like maybe they're out to devour each other; Sam doesn't particularly care.)
"Sam," she says finally, pulling back a little, breathing heavy, and he keeps kissing her for a second because he knows what's coming next and god, god, he doesn’t want to hear it. She tastes like cherries and wax. "Sam Sam Sam--"
Sam sighs, bumps his nose at hers for the briefest of moments. It's cold enough that he can see his breath. "Andy--"
But Andy's shaking her head, quick and furious, like she knows what he's thinking and he's wrong. "Come inside," she tells him. "Just--come inside."
(Bad idea. Bad idea, fuck, he should talk to her, he should--)
Sam kisses her again, hands sliding up into her hair which is cool to the touch, but so so warm at the nape of her neck, behind her ear. His body's operating almost completely on auto-pilot now, shut down. And he should talk to her, yeah--he should do a whole lot of things--but he's absolutely not going to because Andy's making a noise into his mouth, biting at his lip, and jesus christ, he just wants to-- it's ridiculous, the list of things he wants to do right now. (Fuck, he wants to show her--) Andy walks him backwards a few steps, cold fingers tucked into his belt loops.
"Okay," he pants, tearing his mouth away. "Yeah."
He doesn’t even remember her place too well, hasn’t been here in nearly a year. Way back at the beginning when they first got serious, they unanimously decided he had the better bed (and appliances, and furniture, and take-out places) and never looked back. He isn't seeing much of it now, either; he backs her up against the door almost as soon as she's shut it, hard enough to rattle. They haven't stopped touching once, some kind of tunnel-vision. Single-minded, like they're going to die if he takes his mouth off her neck, even for one second.
(And god, he's left at least three marks already, he can't--)
Andy literally jumps him, ropy arms locking around his neck and dress hiking up (this off the shoulder white number he doesn't recognize, Nash's maybe; Sam spent a good part of tonight concentrating on not wondering what kind of underwear a person might put on under a dress like that). He catches her underneath her thighs. "Bedroom," she mumbles into his skin, her shoes hitting the hardwood in the hallway with two hollow thunks; she lets go of his shoulders long enough to pull the dress over her head, warm and wriggling around in his arms (and the answer to his question about underwear, then, is:
Sam lays her out on the bed in front of him, tangled blankets and enough Kleenex balled up on the nightstand to make him wonder if maybe he's not the only one who hasn't been sleeping worth a damn. He tries to force himself to think. He wants her maybe more in this second than he's ever wanted any woman in his life, but he's also pretty sure that if this is some kind of goodbye tumble then he doesn't--he can't--
"What?" she asks, blinking up at him--strapless bra and her hair all messy like a halo, dark against her shitty Ikea sheets. "What?"
"It was working," he says finally, and god, he's just so tired. He wants to get his mouth on her, turn her around with her hands on the headboard; wants her to claw up his back and leave her smell all over his clothes, make enough noise that her neighbours avoid eye-contact in the morning. He wants all those things and more, jesus, so much more, but also... he just wants to lie out beside her and sleep for a week. (If she won't come home then home can be here, is what Sam’s thinking. He can live with the shitty water pressure. He just can't live without--)
"Before," he tells her. She's got her knees at his hips, tense and cold. "It was working."
"It was--" she cuts herself off, frustrated. Her eyes are filling up again, a bit. Sam feels like an asshole and doesn't know why.
(She left him.)
"Can we not do this right now?" she's asking. "Can we just--" Her voice cracks. And fuck, how bad this last month has been, how much it's felt like Sam's heart has been walking around outside of his body, somehow this still feels worse. Sam lowers himself down a bit and her arms and legs wrap around immediately, close and desperate. Jesus christ, he wants her. He wants her like he wants to breathe, but--
"Andy." His voice isn't so hot either. "If this is just going to be another way for you to leave me, then--"
"It's not," she says right away, pulling at his shoulders, urging him down. Even through his thermal her body is unforgivably warm. "That's not what I'm--it isn't--please, Sam."
Please, Sam. God, he wants to just drop it--to do that for her, to get himself as deep as humanly possible and let the rest take care of itself. But he just--he can't. Not unless-- "Do you not want to be with me?" he makes himself ask her, mutters it right into her neck. "Because if you don't want to be with me then that's-- that's what it is, McNally, but don't say it's cause it wasn't--"
"Stop," she tells him urgently. She's crying again now, tears slipping back toward her ears. "Stop saying that, I'm sorry, of course I want to--I want to be with you so bad, I'm just--I'm messed up or something, I messed up, I don't know, I love you, I'm sorry--"
"Shh." Sam lets out a breath he's been holding for weeks now, somewhere deep at the bottom of his rib cage. It feels like his heart is bleeding out inside his skin. "I love you too, sweetheart," he manages softly, shifting up on his elbows to push her bangs back off her face. "Shh. Andy. Stop, sweetheart. It’s okay.."
"I miss you," she says, sniffling a little. Sam wipes under her eyes with one cautious thumb.
"Yeah." He nods. "Me too."
They lie there for a minute, not saying anything. Andy strokes a tentative palm across his chest. Sam doesn't know if anything is fixed or not if this is even some kind of start, but in the end he physically can't stand being without her for one more second, which is why he slips one hand between her and the mattress, feels around until he finds a clasp. "Take this off," he tells her, quiet. "Wanna feel you."
Andy arches her back immediately, like she was waiting for his go; in something like ten seconds she's eighty-sixed the bra, is tugging his shirt up so they can press together, chest-to-chest. She doesn't even bother to get it all the way off before she's muscling him down, pulling at his shoulders until he gives her his full weight. (And that's-- the thermal's cutting at a weird angle across his neck, yeah, and his arms are still in the sleeves, but god, Sam doesn't care. He meant it, he really really just wants to feel her.) He tilts her face up for a kiss, messy and open like back by the truck. Waits for both of them to calm down some.
It takes a long time.
Andy keeps her arms and legs right the fuck around him, doesn't let him move. She's so warm; Sam keeps skimming a hand up her ribs so he can feel her heart, fast and thready, like she's scared of something (Sam's pretty sure that's what happened actually, when she left; she spooked). He slicks kisses over her chin and slowly her grip loosens, legs splaying around him with a bit more purpose. Pretty soon they're grinding like teenagers, Andy whining every time Sam presses forward with his zipper.
"Okay," he says finally, tearing his mouth away. "Okay. We need to--"
"Hm?" Andy's eyes fly open like she thinks he's going to say stop or pull it together, which--yeah. Not happening. Sam smooths a reassuring palm back down her side (it's supposed to be reassuring, anyway; his hands are still shaking just the slightest bit). He gets two fingers around the skinny elastic of the little cotton thong she's wearing, but it really is insanely small and on top of that she's moving around underneath him, pulling his shirt up over his head. Sam feels the fabric give, the distinct sound of something tearing--right away McNally starts to laugh.
"S'that your new move?" she asks, tugging his jeans down over his hips and her knees coming right back up to brace him. "Panty ripping?"
"Only yours," he mutters, laughing a little bit himself. Two seconds later both of them are like kids or hyenas, half hysterical, and god in his golden heaven he really did miss her like he's never missed another human in his life. When he leans down to kiss her he can feel her giggling into his mouth.
"Hi," she says after a minute, naked and open underneath him. She shifts her hips a bit to line him up.
Sam grins. "Hi." He slides a hand down between them to warm her up a little. When it turns out she doesn't need the help (god, does she ever not; Sam plays back those whimpers from earlier, is pretty sure he almost had her there via dry-humping alone) he keeps going for a while anyways, just watching her.
"God, okay," Andy groans, tilting her hips and fucking herself onto his fingers. "I missed you. Like." She reaches up to grab the headboard, palms her free hand down the back of Sam's neck. "Emotionally, duh, but also? My vibrator is just not the same."
Sam laughs again, loud and surprised. "Oh yeah?" He drops down closer, gets himself right there and then doesn't push. Andy whines as just the head presses her open, blunt pressure. "You think of me when you--?"
"Shut up," she mutters, hips arching (she’s over-ready at this point, wet everywhere). "That's not what I said."
"Uh-huh." He pulls back a bit, uses the muscles in his legs to hold her off. The noises she's making--jesus christ, she's frustrated. Sam grins. "McNally," he orders softly, thumb scraping over a nipple. "Tell the truth."
"No, I just--" Her head falls back against the pillows, chin tipping up and the long pale expanse of her neck; Sam licks at the place where her pulse is, nudges himself against her one more time. "Okay," she says, a second later. "Okay, fuck, sometimes, I--"
Sam slides home all at once, no preamble. Andy gasps.
(And god, she's so warm, and he missed her like this so bad--it's possible Sam makes a noise of his own.)
Andy arches her back again, plants her feet on the mattress and starts riding him from underneath immediately. "Please," she pants. Her hand sneaks down between them; Sam can feel the backs of her fingers against him, circling. "Just--I need to--"
Fuck, Sam doesn't think he's ever seen her get there this fast. She's clenching already, that hitch in her breath, but she's not--it's like she's stopping herself. Sam drops his head onto her shoulder when he realizes what she's doing. (Asking. She is actually asking him for permission to--)
"Andy." Sam doesn't even recognize his own voice. He gets a hand on her lower back, supports her hips as she grinds up into him. He wants to tell her she doesn't need to ask, he should tell her she doesn't need to ask, but: "Shh, sweetheart. Yes, come on, you're perfect. Yes."
She's loud when it happens, a sound somewhere between a groan and a sob (and it's hitting her good, Sam can tell, the way she's moving; he feels the shudder in the base of his spine). He fucks her all the way through it, not hard but hard enough to draw it out a little, make it better. He wants her to keep on making those sounds.
She goes loose-limbed for a minute when it's over, catching her breath (still twitching a bit around his cock, little aftershocks; Sam can feel that too). He wants to try and give her some time but almost right away her hips start moving again, purposeful. "What do you want?" she whispers, breath hot against the place where his neck meet his shoulder. She pulls back a little, looks up at him in the dark. "Hey. Tell me what you want."
Sam doesn't--he just wants her to come home mostly, wants some sort of guarantee she won't leave again, a promise or a pact in blood (a co-signed lease, if they're getting into specifics, or maybe even... a ring. God help him, he wants a ring). But none of those things are things he can say to her right now, so: "Turn over."
Andy grins at him, quick and dirty, flips herself onto her stomach; she likes it like this, maybe even more than he does. She gets herself on her hands and knees, pulls at his thigh until he's right up behind her, all along her back and pressing. "Okay," she says, half-laughing. "This headboard sucks. We are never allowed to have sex in this bed again."
Which-- Sam pushes in again, slowly. Andy whines as soon as he bottoms out, picks the rhythm right back up. "Where are we going to have sex then?" he asks her after a minute, testing. (He's just--he's pretty sure this isn’t a goodbye, but.)
Andy's got her hands on the headboard, crappy and low as it is; her hips keep shoving back like she really really wants to see him get there. "Our bed," she says, distracted, but also with this edge of duh, Swarek. "Or, like, inappropriate public places, because god knows that's always--" She cuts off in a whimper when Sam bites the back of her neck.
"Our bed?" His voice sounds like nothing he recognizes. He doesn't--he's not entirely sure what he's asking here.
"I--" McNally glances over her shoulder, shoves back again to meet him. "Yeah, if that's--" she falters a little, suddenly unsure. "I mean. If that's what you want?"
Our bed our house our family our-- Sam stops that particular train of thought as best he can, concentrates on the long line of her backbone and the warm insistent press of her ass (he loves her though, he loves her so terminally much--). "Yeah, sweetheart," he tells her quietly, forehead falling forward against her shoulder. "That's what I want."
Andy hums a pleased noise into the pillows, pushes back onto his cock one more time. He's not going to last much longer like this--isn't even sure he'd want to, the way he needs his arms around her even as he feels it start to spark at the bottom of his spine. Sam's hands tighten over hers. "Andy," he mutters, a shredded sort of aching in his rib cage. "Andy, sweetheart, please--"
She hmms again in answer, rolling her hips until she's tucked right against the curve of his body. She's turned her head into his, close and warm, her breath on his cheek. "I think about you," she says, picking up the thread of their earlier conversation. "When I'm alone. I think about you and I--"
That's enough. Sam inhales sharply, spine snapping straight; everything lights up and freezes, like a pinball machine on TILT. Andy keeps talking to him, though, all the way through: "I did it before we were together, even, and after--" Suddenly her voice changes, goes quiet. "It mostly just made me sad, after. I did it, but then I'd remember that I'd left, and I'd just feel stupid and lonely." And then, all in a rush: "I was so dumb. Probably the second I walked out the door I knew it was dumb, seriously, the dumbest thing I've ever-- but I dunno, I freaked, okay? And I love you, like, really really badly, and I know I fucked it up, but--"
"Stop," Sam pants raggedly, not even done twitching. He pulls out and drags her around to face him, two hands on her cheeks (and she's crying again, he can't--) "Sweetheart, shhh." He should be mad, maybe, her tossing out their relationship that quickly, and over something so-- but all he's feeling is relieved. "Stop. Andy, it's okay, I love you too, nothing's fucked up."
Her eyes are wide and haunted. "You're going to take me back, right?"
And god, like it's even a question, like there was ever a snowball's chance in hell he wouldn't-- Sam actually laughs. He gets his mouth on hers to tell her, hands sliding back to fist in her hair. "Yes, sweetheart," he says. "Of course I'm going to--" (love you marry you keep you safe--) "yes."
He feels her exhale, her whole body relaxing. She snuggles close enough to climb inside his skin. "Good," she says softly, head tucked underneath his chin and face against his chest, lips pressing. He can feel her breath go even under his hands. "That's good."
They lie there for a while, warm and quiet. Sam hums into her hair, pulls up the quilt.
"Wires," Andy mutters into his chest suddenly, half-asleep. "Remember: Frank and wires. We can't start sucking at our job now."
Sam pets down the dip of her spine, downy-soft. "Noted." He's wide awake for no reason at all--how little sleep he's gotten these past three weeks, he should be passing out with her right now. (Back at the beginning, when they were still on suspension, he remembers Andy watching this National Geographic special on love, brain chemicals like cocaine and all this excess energy. "It's why new couples take stupid risks," said the soothing British narrator. "Stay up all night and watch the sunrise and then forget to eat." Andy changed it when she caught him looking, fumbling for the remote and flipping over to a Simpsons rerun. Later, she ate three slices of pizza for dinner, like she was proving something.
Still. They didn't actually settle down to sleep until clear past four a.m.)
Sam rubs her back for a good half hour, thinks about how the documentary says your brain lights up when you look at a picture of your loved one, Christmas morning on the inside of your skull.
Wonders how it compares to looking at the real thing.
They get their wires, it turns out, plus a nicely done from Frank that Sam barely hears, his thoughts are tumbling over that fast and furious. He feels like somebody finally snapped all his vertebrae back into place. Andy's grinning this small, secret grin.
They keep their distance in Best's office, space for the holy ghost (it's the first time since last night, neither of them able to keep their hands off each other; she climbed on top of him this morning before he was even totally awake and then again in the shower, her body warm and soapy-slick. They kissed at every single red light). And it's not like Frank's some secret expert on nonverbal communication, not to mention the fact that with any luck he never knew anything was going on in the first place, so--Sam's like, eighty percent sure the thump on the back he gets before he heads out the door is work-related.
"See you tonight, Mr. Taylor," Andy mutters after parade, just quiet. Sam's smiling too hard to roll his eyes.