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"You should get one. Right here," she runs her finger… - Mad To Be Alive [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
switchingfoot

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[Mar. 23rd, 2013|10:28 am]
switchingfoot

switchingfoot

[baggins0716]
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"You should get one. Right here," she runs her finger along the top of his ribcage.

"We don't all spend our free time in tattoo parlors." He heaves a heavy sigh through his nose, his heavy lidded eyes barely opening to look down at her following her finger. When she looks up, because his hand's grasped hers to stop its movement, his eyes are shut again.

"Aw, come on, it would be hot," she deliberately pulls herself further up to let her breath run along his jaw. He lets his neck twist away from her for a moment. So she huffs, "And I don't, either."

"Yeah, yeah." The arm that's encircling her reaches further around to let his finger's sit across the tattoo on her ribcage, "Obviously," her shoulder, "not," she feels his leg pushing against her feet. "Which is to say nothing of - "

"Okay, okay. Stop," she laughs as she tries to pull away from him. "I don't, though," she singsongs as she makes her way into the bathroom.

"Besides, what would it be?" He calls, propping himself up as he's met with the sound of the shower turning on. His hands grip at the edges of the sheet that sits around his waist as he debates getting up himself. The sounds of someone in the kitchen stops him. "Sammy?"

"Sammy? Really? I'm offended you think I sound like Sammy," Johnny's eating when he appears in the doorway. "Did you know this is literally all you have to eat?" He holds up his granola for Stark's own inspection.

"Yeah, I did," Stark answers, finally pulling himself out of the bed while Johnny comes to the foot to pet Walt, who merely rolls from his stomach to his side. "And I'm telling Sammy you said that."

"I think you'll find her just as offended." Stark turns to look at him, but he's rather intently focused on Walt and his granola. He waves a hand for a moment. "Why aren't you in there? I wouldn't be surprised if you don't get another chance at a shower for days. That storm, she's a coming."

"I'm aware, John, thanks," Stark grumbles. He hadn't been looking forward to it. If it turned out to be anything like what the weathermen were predicting it was going to be a long week. And they'd had too many long weeks.

"Anyway, I wanted breakfast."

"And you're not having breakfast right now?"

"This?" He waves the last bite of his granola before shoving it in his mouth with a shake of his head.

"No one upstairs?" Stark asks, fingers fumbling across the buttons on his shirt.

"Pretty sure Julia's dragging Luke out to double check the studio. Sammy's asleep, because it's seven thirty in the morning. I'm surprised you and Cam haven't already had breakfast, to be perfectly honest, but I popped by the café, surprisingly they’re still open, and they responded in polite befuddlement that they hadn't seen hide nor hair of the Sandses." Johnny's fallen back on their unmade bed, with Stark muttering 'make yourself at home' as he does so. "Naturally, I then expected your door to be locked, so I went upstairs, and upon the discovery of Julia's absence - "

"You called her incessantly until she picked up, you mean." As he's pulling on his shoes the look from Johnny goes unnoticed.

" - I figure I'm just going to starve all morning. But I try your door because why the hell not. And lo and behold! It opens. You have nothing in the kitchen," he props himself up on his elbows. "Crazy thought, what if Julia and Sammy hadn't moved in above you? You would starve."

"I've been told. But I survived alright all those years with you," Stark pats the back of his leg as he makes his way out of the bedroom. Walt follows eagerly. "And anyway, why would you expect food in here? Didn't think to raid the actual kitchen while you were up there?"

"Didn't seem appropriate," Johnny replies, flopping down on their couch now, while Stark hooks Walt's leash to his collar. "Can we get preemptive pancakes before hell week starts, Sarge?"

"Someone seems to think that drowning my future sorrows in batter and syrup is just setting myself up for disappointment," Stark pauses at the door to face Johnny. "She has a point, I guess."

"Your wife's a bit of a hypocrite." His arms cross. Stark shakes his head with a smirk as he makes his way out.

"You'll have to take that up with her."

--

"It's like you didn't even try," Sammy groans, rolling back over onto her stomach. Her bed's a mess, as it usually it is. Cam can't help but give a little giggle, sitting down on the bed to poke at her partner.

"I did try, actually," she says, her finger brushing Sammy's hair from the side of her face. This is fairly quickly replaced with a pillow, but Cam's got the advantage, and easily pushes it away, too.

"What's the point of getting up if I can't even have a half decent cup of coffee?" Sammy rolls over again with a huff.

"Maybe we're trying something different." Cam's picked up the mug of what was supposed to be coffee, making a face merely from bringing it closer to her. There was a reason why no one let her in the kitchen. And it wasn't all to do with the fire she'd started in their apartment back in senior year.

Though that probably played a part.

"I don't really want to try something different,” Sammy reluctantly pulls herself up into a sitting position to watch Cam’s reaction to the coffee water. Because it really was more water than coffee. To Sammy, this was upsetting on several levels.

“That’s just not true; you want to try new things all the time.” Cam takes the tiniest of sips from the mug in her hands, deepening her grimace and resulting in her shaking her head back and forth. As if shaking one’s head could make bad things just go away. “There’s a hurricane coming, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Sammy laughs, unable to hold it in any longer.

“I assume that’s why I make such an excellent partner,” Cam grumbles. “Anyway, apparently Johnny’s already pestering Stark about the weather. And food. Actually mostly food. Because Julia doesn’t seem to be home.”

“And are those your deductive skills or Stark’s text messages?” Sammy’s finally crawled out of her bed and is shuffling through a pile of clothes at the foot of it.

“Difficult to say,” Cam picks up RayRay from his perched spot on the desk by the door. “And I suppose we’ll never know for sure. It’s a shame, I know.” She’s brought the cat up to her face, and makes a pouting face at him when he lets out a sound of displeasure.

“So,” Sammy comes up from her clothes stack with a flip of her hair, “does that mean I’m not only missing out on coffee, but also breakfast?” She doesn’t hesitate to push Cam out into the hallway, though Cam’s still locked in some sort of staring battle with her cat. She’ll spare a scratch at his head as she heads to the bathroom.

“If we get out of here within the hour, you might actually get breakfast and coffee,” Cam sets RayRay down on the couch, noticing Walt pretty snuggly under the couch. “Depending, of course, on what’s open and Starkweather’s forethought. But he’s usually pretty good about that sort of thing.” Her sentence trails off as she moves closer to her dog. His tail’s wagging, but she’s not entirely certain that he’s not stuck. “What are you doing, puppy?”

“Don’t start any fires while I’m in the shower,” Sammy gives a shout before Cam hears the water start.

“It was one time, okay!” Even the water can’t drown out her response.

--

Julia kind of likes that the city’s empty, likes that it’s just her and Luke on the street, walking the entire distance because the subways are closed. Really, it could only be better if Lee were here. And the hurricane wasn’t coming.

But speaking of Lee, she heaves a sigh as she looks down at her phone.

“He hasn’t answered yet?” Luke’s arm drapes easily around her shoulder. Julia side eyes him and sighs again. “It hasn’t been that long, he might just be caught up with his roommates or maybe work called or something.”

“How many people do you really think need a veterinary technician when the vast majority of the city’s closed and there’s a hurricane coming?” Julia looks skeptical. Luke laughs, pulls her closer.

“Maybe the shelter needs someone to look after all those animals,” he winks, and spins her about and though she rolls her eyes she can’t stop the smile from spreading across her lips.

“Point taken.”

“Well,” Luke continues his attempts at dancing her down the street. For a moment she tries to fight it, before realizing there was absolutely no one around and besides, she does love to dance. Luke wasn’t a half bad partner, either, she’d made certain of that when she was younger and they had all the world to make their stage in good old sunny California. “Since we’re now entirely certain that the studio’s not going anywhere in what will undoubtedly prove to be a wild and crazy tempest, what do you suppose we ought to do next?”

“We ought to hunker down, I suppose,” Julia assents. But she turns her head in the direction of Times Square instead. “At least, I figure that’s what they’ll tell us when we turn up at the station.”

“Really? I guess there aren’t any weirdoes in costumes to chase you around with the city being empty and all,” Luke says. He’s attempting to account for Julia going to the precinct without having any particular reason to. She hadn’t ever really enjoyed the massive tourist crowds in and around Times Square, and the strangeness it brought out of the natives. Being neither, she couldn’t really say she fit in there.

“Weirdoes don’t chase me around,” Julia starts, but alters direction with the look Luke gives her, “Okay; weirdoes don’t chase me around anymore.”

“And if they do you’re only minutes away from decently decorated NYPD officers who’d probably have the poor fellow crying in lock-up five minutes later.”

“That might be a little dramatic.”

“Oh, and there’s definitely not a chance of anything being dramatic with you,” Luke’s sarcasm is nearly tangible. Julia shakes her head, looks down at her phone again. He sees her face fall. Again. “It’s okay. You’re allowed to be dramatic.” She snorts, but glances sideways at him as they round the corner.

“Thanks, Luke.”

--

“Good God Almighty,” they can just barely hear Cam’s exclamation as the door opens slightly and Stark leans around it.

“Surely it’s not that bad,” Sammy’s voice follows, and then a “Come and look,” from Johnny. Stark offers the pair a half a smile and a curious eye.

“You ought to be at home,” he says, quickly followed by a roll of his eyes as Sammy’s “Shit,” draws Julia to ducking under his arm and into the office. Luke gives a shrug as Stark leans back to let him in, too.

“What’re you gonna do, man?”

“It may as well not even be my office,” Stark sighs heavily and slips into one of the empty chairs. Cam cracks an eye from her spot on the corner of his desk, sitting Indian style with her back against the wall, just at the edge of the cork board littered with various paperwork and maps and pictures of busts and suspects. And just at the edge of her knee there’s a picture of her and him and one more next to it of too many people to name. She adjusts her empty holster to keep it from digging into her hip and gives a smile that he can’t see when he props his chin on her other knee.

“That’s a big ass storm,” Johnny’s dragging the large scaled forecast image of the hurricane across the screen, the remnants of his real breakfast in his other hand nearly forgotten as Sammy hovers behind him and Julia behind her with Luke only half attempting to see from the back.

“I’m telling you, there’s gonna be a shitton of flooding,” Cam’s fingers are intertwining with Stark’s, absentmindedly in that always touching way they had about them.

“Your eloquence is as astounding as ever, Officer Sands,” Luke folds his arms, pressed against the wall as the space behind Stark’s desk really wasn’t big enough for the four of them to fit.

“Thank you,” Cam replies, sincerely, making Julia look up with a shake of her head in Cam’s direction. Cam laughs quietly, before pushing herself off the wall with quite the effort from her head and neck, only to turn the monitor around and eliciting outrage from Johnny and Sammy. “You should get another monitor, babe.”

“The department’s not really looking to just toss money around, Cam,” Johnny replies before Stark has to.

“Doesn’t make it not true. Besides, a monitor is trump change compared to usual expenses,” Sammy turns it back toward her, commandeering the mouse from Johnny who’s leaned back in his chair with a skeptical look on his face.

“If one person gets one, then everyone has to get one, Sammy. Come on, this is, like, elementary school.” The squeaking of his chair muffles Stark’s groan as he dips his head to push his face against Cam’s knee.

“Don’t go there with me, Gallagher,” Sammy gives him a moment longer than strictly necessary glare over her shoulder.

“I won’t be deterred by that Iceman stare, this isn’t an interrogation room!”

Julia’s phone interrupts their argument, with Luke joining in while Cam laughs and Stark continues to try to block it all out.

“Hey,” she gives an uneasy smile into it, “I was –“

“Wondering if I’d been swept away in this wind already?” Lee sounds tired. It made sense, the window in his bedroom had a tendency to rattle and with the oncoming storm, it would keep anyone awake. It still wakes her every time she’s over, but now she doesn’t mind, gives a sleepy smile and burrows closer to his side. Now, thinking about it just makes her start to blush. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Jules.”

“Is that Lee on the other end of that phone?” Cam spins on the desk, letting her legs swing as Stark leans back in his chair and crosses his arms with a heavy sigh. They share a glance, pouting at one another – him because he’s annoyed, her to cheer him up.

“You wouldn’t disappoint me,” Julia replies, ignoring them. “I was just – worried.” She swears his quiet chuckle is heavenly, so she adds, “Trees can get swept away pretty easily in a hurricane.”

“That was me, I said that last week,” Cam’s slowly slipping down into more of a leaning position against the desk.

“That is Lee!” Sammy’s easily distracted, mostly because Johnny and Luke have gone off on their own tangent – she couldn’t even say what it was about with those two – no one could. “Lee, where are you, man, you’re missing all this excitement.” Julia swats at Sammy, making her way back out of the office. Sammy still tries to get a word in, until Julia shuts the door back in her face.

“In direct reference to Lee, though?” Stark asks Cam with a lift of his brow.

“Now’s not the time to be cheeky, Sands,” Cam rolls her eyes at him, “Not when you’ve been mopey all day.” He just laughs, pulls her in his direction.

“You two best get going, you know.” He drops Cam’s cover atop her head; the bill comes to rest at the edge of her nose, which she scrunches in response. He proceeds to help her into her massive coat, what with the winter air and the gale force winds and the buckets of rain about to completely overtake the city. Standing in the precinct, though, she feels hot the moment she puts it on.

Although that could have something to do with Stark’s ever present reminder to not get shot breathed against her ear before he gives her a good and proper lingering kiss. The sort you shouldn’t be sharing with your Sergeant, regardless of your personal life.

“Really, Gallagher?” They can hear Luke’s eye roll in his voice as they break apart. They’d missed Johnny’s “Don’t I get a kiss, too?” as he’d helped Sammy into her own jacket, but they didn’t miss the tail end of that kiss.

“Johnny!” Cam pulls him away, shoving him out the door, and directly into Wilson. “Wilson?”

“Uh, hey, I was just –“ Wilson looks back, no doubt at Julia finishing her phone call in the hall, and then around at the other five in front of him, debating whether or not he should just spin around right now, head home, and pretend like it never happened. Instead, he looks at Sammy. “Can we talk?”

Sammy’s smile from Cam’s outrage over Johnny’s kiss was fading slowly, more of a shocked and confused and, had they been paying as close attention as Wilson had, a bit of anger clouding her features now. But Cam gives a resounding ‘yes!’ before Sammy has a chance to answer.

“I’m just saying, I let you kiss my best friend all the time,” Johnny goes back to his point after offering Wilson a greeting, being forced out the door by Cam’s shoving all the while. Luke follows easily along, though everything about him still gives off the ‘I don’t know why I put up with any of these people’ vibe that he frequently had. Stark sympathized, turning back to his desk and trying to organize some papers, before Cam sticks her head back around the door frame and silently argues with him until he follows them out, too.

“Meet you out front,” she offers, pulling the door behind her. This leaves Sammy attempting to avoid the pointed efforts of eye contact coming from Wilson.

--

“Sammy?” Lee asks, after a pause on Julia’s end. He thinks he hears a door shutting and decides, from the distant hum of busy that she must’ve been down at the station.

“Of course,” Julia sighs, and he can picture her leaning against the wall outside of Stark’s office, fingers of her free hand tangled in the ends of her loosened scarf. He lets his own do the same, as if creating the same action somehow makes them closer, before fishing his keys out of his pocket to push his way inside the shelter. “You’re at work, then?”

“What gave it away?” Lee can’t help but wince slightly at the varying pitches of assorted pet noises, the most prominent a short yip from a spaniel, who’s shifted quite a bit of paperwork around on the desk in the time it took him to get around it and calm her excitement with his hand.

“Oh, I don’t know, the barking, maybe,” she’s smiling, in a hesitant sort of way, like she had when she’d answered. He knew the sound of her smiles pretty well by now. “Or maybe I just have a sixth sense about these sorts of things.”

“Really, I didn’t want to disappoint you, but Annette’s apparently gotten trapped in Queens. What she was doing there, I’ve no idea, and a little more warning would’ve been nice, but such is the life,” he sighs, slipping into the chair, his hand still buried in Cosette’s fur while the rest of the bestiary settles somewhat.

“Annette’s a little quirky, if I remember correctly. Didn’t she, um,” Julia trails off, seemingly lost in thought.

“Didn’t she what?” Lee prompts, pulling himself forward in his seat when she doesn’t respond. “Julia?”

“What? Yeah, sorry,” she sounds distracted, quieter somehow. It makes him feel suddenly restless, being stuck here when she was there. They’d planned to be trapped in her apartment together, her and him and probably Luke, which would probably be necessary to keep her worry over the others in check.

“What is it?” But he was here.

“Just a – a guy they brought in just now. He seems a little creepy.” And she was there.

“They have a tendency to be, don’t they?” He relaxes back into his seat, a playful edge coming back into his voice.

“You didn’t see him okay?” He can tell she’s suppressing a smile, now, before he hears other voices coming closer.

“I’ll let you go,” he says it reluctantly, because he’s heard her name being said in the background noise and while he doesn’t want to let her off the phone, he does want her to get home before the storm comes.

“Yeah, I guess I should. I’ll call you later?”

“Yes,” he doesn’t doubt that it won’t be too long.

“Have fun, babe.”

“Oh, I intend to.” This earns him a light laugh and he bathes deeply in it. Because when he hangs up the phone, it’ll just be him and the animals.

He tells her he loves her, she says it back, and they breathe to one another for a moment before Cam’s outcry at Johnny is cut abruptly and it’s quiet again.

--

“That, uh, that was –“ Sammy’s still avoiding looking at Wilson, but for some reason she feels the need to explain why she was just kissing Johnny, because she’s pretty sure he saw. But then she gets rather angry at herself. She doesn’t have to explain things to him. Not anymore.

“That was Johnny,” Wilson says it like that explains everything. She can’t help but look at him for a moment, and grows even more infuriated by his smile. “I think everyone’s a little too intimately acquainted with the inside of Johnny’s mouth.”

They haven’t spoken in a week or two, though they might’ve seen one another, and she isn’t sure what he’s doing here now. Surely, he knew about hurricanes. Surely, he knew that the things he said he couldn’t just take back. Surely, she has no idea what she’s doing.

Even consciously realizing that she’s organizing Stark’s desk doesn’t stop her. It keeps her hands busy.

“You still haven’t told them, then?” His hands grip the back of the chair Stark had been sitting in moments before, watching her like he can’t quite figure her out, and she’s tempted to scream at him.

“They don’t need to know,” she says, instead, eyes dropping back to the files she’s moving from one corner to the other.

“Thanks for that,” he sounds sheepish, and when she looks back up at him, files paused in midair, he’s looking down, like he might actually be ashamed of himself.

“I’m not doing it for you,” he looks back up, sharply, but there’s no shock or confusion, he knows just as well as she does that she’s doing it for their sakes. “I don’t want them to think that their almost dying was just a convenient excuse for me to leave you at dinner.” She’s stopped with the impromptu organization, now she’s just trying to cut him back as much as he’d cut her.

“I didn’t – I’m – I’m sorry, Sammy, you know that. I wasn’t – I wasn’t thinking straight.” His hands are awkward, like he doesn’t have a clue what to do with them. They move halfway up to his face before dropping back, and then out towards her slightly, and then together, and apart and back to the chair.

“What’re you doing here, Wilson?” She sighs, exhausted of the argument already. It had been months since he’d said it, and she still wasn’t entirely sure what brought it on, just that at the funeral they’d been sort of okay, and then he’d said that, about Cam and Stark and her and Cillian, and she’d just stopped talking to him. Two weeks ago, he’d apologized face-to-face, and she’d known he meant it, he really was sorry, but that didn’t make things any better. Maybe part of it was her guilt over being with Cillian, even now, sometimes, but mostly, she just can’t believe he’d think that those were the reasons she’d broken things off with him.

Surely, if he really knew her, he’d know. She was a runner, after all.

“I saw Cillian today,” he says, and she can’t stop the lazy roll of her eyes. “He’s really getting set up for this storm –“

“I know, I’ve seen,” Sammy cuts him off. It was quite impressive, a technologically heavy bunker of sorts, because his father wasn’t about to let anything take away the heir to his billion dollar gaming fortune. She’d rather be there, killing animated things.

“Anyway, I just – if you want to be with him, you should,” he says, and she actually does feel shocked now, followed up quickly by a sinking in the pit of her stomach and a strong feeling of anxiety. Like the hurricane was focused directly on her chest. She couldn’t withstand a storm of that magnitude all on her lonesome. “I’m – I want to be with you, I do, but I’m tired, Sammy. I can’t keep doing this.”

Thought I was giving you songwriting material, she thinks, but doesn’t say.

Instead, she walks past him out the door.

--

Don’t interrupt them. Stark’s phone alerts him to the text from ‘Moonlight of My Life’ that she’d titled herself in his contact list, and he shakes his head, setting the paperwork on the latest collar back on the desk to reply.

I’m letting them use my office, aren’t I? Johnny’s playing with the remote next to him, trying to find a decent channel with coverage of the storm. They were synced so well that he’d done it the moment Stark’s phone had gone off, like he knew, on some level, they’d be stopping. Neither is particularly aware of this, but they’re standing side by side at the entrance desk like it was the most natural thing in the world.

The officer answering the phones has a look that says she disagrees, but she wasn’t very well going to say anything to her sergeant.

Proud of you. He doesn’t have to wait long for an answer, bites at his lip to keep the smile off his features.

As you should be.

“What’d you want to talk about?” Johnny asks, having finally settled on a channel. Stark picks his file up and they head back toward his office in the hopes that it’ll be vacated. By some stroke of luck, by the time they make it back, it is. “No, wait, I know the answer to that – Cam.”

Cocky.

“Lately, sometimes,” he sits behind his desk, flopping the folder down, and his phone with its fading screen on top of it, “right when we’re about asleep, she’ll jerk away.”

“Oh, well, you know not everyone can put up with you for as long as I can,” Johnny says.

“Nice to know you think so highly of my wife,” Stark replies. His phone lights up. Love you.

“Just because I think she could do better,” Johnny spreads his arms, Stark rolls his eyes.

“Be serious for half a minute, Johnny.” Johnny tilts his head, furrowing his brow as if just realizing that Stark was being serious. He spent so much of his time being serious at work that when he was off the clock (not that he ever really was off the clock) he had a tendency to be a little uninhibited. Sometimes, he liked to forget there were other things to be serious about.

“Okay, seriously. Stark, it’s probably nothing.” Stark looks down at his phone, wondering whether Johnny’s right or not. At first he’d thought, maybe, possibly, she was pregnant, as she’d get out of the bed and lock herself in the bathroom for several minutes. Then, for a while, he thought maybe he’d been dreaming. She never talked about it, so he didn’t either.

But now, he felt like something had to give.

“Hey, I’ll talk to her later,” Johnny says. Stark rubs his hands over his face with a slight laugh.

“Like we’re still in high school.”

“You never really leave high school, you know that.” Johnny gives him a grin, pulling out his own phone as he heads out of the office. Stark unlocks his phone, types slowly in the hope that he might come up with better words to explain the overwhelming feeling he had about her. Instead, he settles for the usual.

Love you more.

--

After dropping Julia and Luke and, inexplicably, Wilson off at their apartment, Sammy and Cam had picked up the stockpile of weapons that absolutely had to be put into evidence before the storm hit. Or so they’d been told. Without the awkward conversation of the three they’d dropped off, they fell into a strangely tense sort of quiet. Sammy because she was still in Stark’s office and, even before that, stuck in her apartment alone with Wilson, saying things she didn’t want to hear. Cam because she was on the verge of falling asleep, being that there was impending weather and she wasn’t driving for once.

Lately, that edge hadn’t been treating her well.

She’d been fine for long enough, sure. Really, she’d been fine until they went to the funeral. Now, just before she falls asleep all she can see is Stark’s hunched, weary, beaten frame on his knees across the room and all she can feel is the enormity of the strength in the hands against her skin, thinking she was theirs – not hers, not his, and the hopelessness of the situation threatening to overwhelm her.
Some part of her tries to point out that this is in the past, it’s already happened, they’re fine and everything’s okay. But a more dominant part leaves her feeling the path of the hands lifting her shirt to feel at her stomach, before the harsh voice cuts across with the sudden realization that to hypothetically create a baby you had to have had sex with someone. She sees Stark lift his eyes in her direction.

And then the knife comes out.

She jumps, shrinks away and in on herself when Sammy reaches over. She gives Cam a look, while Cam’s just trying to slow her racing heart.

“You okay?” Sammy asks, the curious look written in her brow not leaving, though she’s looking back out the windshield.

“I’m – I’m fine,” Cam replies, and they’re engulfed in silence again. Sammy pauses the van (their usual cruiser was somewhere on “higher ground”; the pair of them snorted with this information), about to push her point, but Cam interrupts with, “How’re things with you and Wilson?”

Sammy gives a heavy, angry sigh, and after a moment responds, “I don’t – don’t really want to talk about it.”

“Come on, surely –“

“Cam. Don’t want to talk about it.”

If she didn’t feel so miserable herself, maybe she would’ve prided herself on her ability to cease all foreseeable conversation for the duration of their trip to the evidence locker.

As they unload, it starts to rain.

--

At least that’s a better excuse than sleeping with my best friend.

Julia finds it hard to put the words into Wilson’s mouth, as he scratches his pen idly at the notebook in front of him. Some part of her understands, continually finding your advances blocked for one reason or another was enough to damper any romantic spark between two people, but, mostly, she just feels frustrated at how obvious they were. And terrified. At least – in Sammy’s case.

I can’t believe you just said that.

Julia couldn’t either, and she’d said as much, coming around the corner from her unintentional turned slightly intentional eavesdropping on the couple. She’d proceeded to force him out of the apartment and found every conversation since rather awkward.
Seeing the pair of them, and Cillian, too, in the way they were broke her heart. Even Lee didn’t have a remedy for that (he tries, of course, every time they start on the topic – she loves him for that, really).

Johnny had texted Luke on their way back to the apartment, telling them the storm was moving in faster than previously expected, and, effectively, stranding Wilson with her and Luke in the process. She didn’t mind, per se, but still. It was a far cry from what she’d expected.
Since, she’d been spewing her worries to Luke – Cam’s obliviousness in the van, Sammy’s whole situation (in short looks and quiet words), Johnny’s running around the city like he was invincible or something, Cillian stuck God knows where, Stark trying to run a precinct on his lonesome, and Lee at the animal shelter, even more alone than Stark, trying to take care of a hundred animals. It didn’t help that Cam had casually mentioned how that area would likely get a fair flood.

“I’m sure he’s aware of the impending flood, okay?” Luke’s saying as she finishes cleaning the ladle she’d been using to fill their bowls, plugs the sink and lets it fill, just in case. He takes two bowls and heads back to the couch, nudging Wilson to take one. He thanks him, politely, and, again, Julia can’t match the words in her head to the man in front of her.

“What if it’s worse than he expects, Luke? What then?” she cuts off the tap and grabs her own bowl to follow him back to the living room – only instead of sitting, she paces with it, using her spoon in an effort to gesticulate her words. “And what if Cam and Sammy get trapped somewhere? And –“

Julia,” Luke interrupts. “They’ll be alright. They’re trained for this sort of thing. And none of them are stupid; they’re not going to get themselves killed or anything. Though, I admit, sometimes I wonder about Gallagher.”

He’s currently locked in a staring battle with Walt, who’d followed him out of the kitchen and now sat with his ears perked up, half a second away from popping back onto all fours in eager anticipation of potentially being fed. He’d twist his head toward Wilson every few minutes, but then look back the moment he heard Luke’s spoon brushing against the bowl, occasionally giving a little whine in an effort to convince them to feed him. RayRay, on the other hand, was stalking Julia’s striped clad heel.

“Oh, stop teasing him,” she says, stopping with Luke’s words. RayRay, rather unexpectedly, doesn’t dig his claws into her foot, but instead rubs against her, his purring drawing Walt’s attention, too. But only for a moment.

“People always tease optimists, Jules, and our Walt here’s eternally optimistic. Aren’t you, Walt?” Luke raises his brow at the golden, who merely leans forward slightly with a wag of his tail. Julia curls into the other end of the couch with a sigh, pulling RayRay up to sit between them.

“I’m just worried about them,” she says, softly, looking upwards as the lights flicker again. They’d been doing so for the past hour, what with the wind and the heavy rain battering their windows (Cam had always been impressed by the magnitude of the city’s electric system, but she was sure as hell pleased she wasn’t responsible for it anymore. She usually liked to pretend those few months after graduation hadn’t happened, to be perfectly honest).

“They’ve faced worse,” Wilson’s input almost goes unnoticed, as he doesn’t look up from his paper; his own bowl of soup’s balanced precariously with the tips of his left hand’s fingers against the armrest of his chair. His foot, sitting on the opposite knee, provides slightly further structure to the delicate balance. The knee belonging to that foot supports his notebook, and his right hand pushes it slightly one direction and then the other, pen between his fore and middle fingers. There’s a flashlight propped on his shoulder, in case the power really did go out.

“That’s true,” Luke says after a moment, as Julia can’t think of a proper way to reply. It doesn’t necessarily calm the anxiety threatening to wash over her the way the hurricane apparently already had done to the shores in Jersey, but it does possess her mind fully for the moment – all the things they’d already been through playing rapidly through her mind and halting abruptly with their current situations.

Again, she thinks there’s something devastatingly heartbreaking about Wilson and Sammy and Cillian.

The room goes dark. Wilson’s flashlight switches on and they wait a moment in baited silence.

“Well,” Julia sighs, all that anxiety rushing back, as she pulls herself up from the couch, “I’m definitely calling someone now.”

“Stupid storm,” Luke mutters, setting his bowl on the floor and letting both his hands scratch at Walt as he takes a nosedive toward it. Wilson shifts, finally begins to eat his own bowl and Julia almost laughs as the glow of her phone casts minimal light across the kitchen. Almost.

--

“Honey, I’m home,” Cam calls in an exhausted way. Stark just holds up a hand, or tries to at least, what with both of them holding phones. He’s been pacing slightly, just the small amount the landline lets him, behind his desk, where, despite his and Sammy’s previous efforts, paperwork seems to have exploded.

They’ve only been gone a few hours, but both she and Sammy are soaked through. Their heavy jackets couldn’t quite keep the water at bay, and it seeped easily through their shoes leaving them with undoubtedly pruned feet, and their hair stuck at odd angles to their necks, trying to tell the story of the storm. Sammy sighs and sinks in a chair, easily creating the beginnings of what will shortly become a small puddle. Cam starts to pull off her coat before shivering and rolling it back over her shoulders.

“I don’t know anything, really, if I did I’d tell you, okay?” Stark’s saying into his cell phone, the landline’s pressed against his other ear in a slacked manner.

“It’s chilly,” she asserts, pulling at her dripping hair with one hand and letting the other trail over the things on his desk. He gives her a look, to which she responds with a, “Don’t give me that, you weren’t just outside, were you?”

“Whoa, shit,” Sammy’s pulled her phone out from the depths of her layers and is met with a slew of messages from Julia and even several from Cillian in his undoubted boredom. “Julia says Lee’s hunkered down at work. That sucks, wet dog is pretty rank.”

“Wet cats are angry,” Cam replies with a humming noise.

“I don’t think that’s strictly true,” Sammy leans forward to prop her elbow on the edge of Stark’s desk and set her chin in her hand, in a physical expression of polite befuddlement.

“Well, RayRay doesn’t mind it so much, I guess, but I think that’s only because Walt –“

“You weren’t supposed to bring the Hudson into my office,” Stark interrupts, tossing his cell phone on his desk, though the other’s still in his hand. He sinks into his own chair with a cross between a groan and a sigh.

“Mother Nature didn’t leave us with much choice, Sarge. Anyway, we’re headed to the dryers after this. Thank God for the generator,” Sammy says.

“And you couldn’t go to the dryers first?” Stark asks, in the manner of one who knows they won’t get an answer but simply has to ask the question anyway.

“Johnny been bugging you all day, then?” Cam’s taken his phone and is scrolling through the recent calls list. The conversation he’d been having with Johnny had been nearly ten minutes, and, she’s guessing that Stark hadn’t intended for it to be that way. Besides that, there were a great deal more ‘Johnny’s on the list, some answered, some missed. “And are you actually talking to someone on that phone or have you just not realized there’s no one there?”

“Someone’s there, or, uh, someone will be there,” he closes his eyes tightly for a moment. “Someone has to be there. Maybe you noticed the slightly abnormal fellow in the pen out there? We’re not exactly equipped to deal with that sort of thing, at least not at the moment, half the squad’s out getting drenched or hanging out in emergency shelters to keep the peace and I don’t know a thing about mental patients, and I don’t have time to wait on someone to answer the goddamn phone.”

“Sounds like,” Sammy pauses, “an angry sort of morning for you.”

“And, yes,” he adds, as Cam sets his phone back in front of him, giving a longing, emphatic look at him. “Johnny has been calling all day. Thinks I’m some kind of fountain of information. Mostly it’s just that no one else will talk to him because everyone’s busy. Clearly. Or I wouldn’t still be waiting.”

“Babe, come on,” she gets up to come around his desk, but knees it in the process and lets out a decidedly inelegant, “fuck shit,” before slinking the rest of the way around. Sammy laughs and Stark cracks a slight grin.

“You okay?” He asks, the touch of a laugh prickling at the edges of his question.

“Worker’s comp!” She replies. Stark shakes his head while Sammy nods. “Anyway,” she grimaces, “seriously, don’t stress about it, Starkweather. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of stressing about things once the storm’s actually over.”

“Let’s hope not,” he mumbles, letting his free hand tangle in hers for a moment before sitting upright abruptly and tightening his hand on the phone with a “Yes, sir.”

“Think I’ve made a good size puddle, give him something to remember me by,” Sammy says, standing and looking at the wet seat and the wet floor while Stark shifts through paperwork and Cam comes back around to lead the way out.

“Cillian still alive?” she asks over her shoulder, voiced raised to carry over the manic yells from the cells across the room. “Hope someone from psychiatric actually comes through. I feel bad that he has to deal with that shit.”

“It’s his job, Cam, he’s good at it and he loves it, let’s not forget,” Sammy’s slipping her coat off, and they both stop at their desks to lock their weapons away. “And, yeah, Cillian’s alive for now. He might not be able to handle his dad for much longer though; you know how he feels about Cillian’s choices and all that.”

“Oh, yeah, cops, we’re such wretched company to keep.”

“The worst,” she agrees.
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