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[Mar. 23rd, 2013|10:29 am]



“So glad we took the time to run our uniforms through the dryer,” Sammy grumbles, pulling her gun from her side to double check the magazine as she slips out of the driver’s seat and into the rain. Even by the time they make it to the alley’s overhang, the pair’s drenched. Again.

“Damn, that’s cold.” Cam’s violent shiver’s visible despite the excess clothing, not in the least because it sends droplets all over everything. One detective has the nerve to look irritated – she ignores him.

“Officer Haldane-Jones, when you gonna go out with me?” Another quips, the strewn water having drawn his attention toward them. Sammy rolls her eyes, hitting the butt of her weapon as she does so in an unspoken acknowledgement that she’s ready to go.

“She’s still not on the market, Wahlberg. Pretty sure you aren’t either, really. What would your wife say?” Cam teases him. They didn’t get through a case with Detective Donnie Wahlberg without him hitting on one or the other.

“How about you then, Officer Hasser?” Or both.

“Officer Sands is still married,” Sammy inputs, unable to stop the reply, as Cam lifts her left hand and wiggles her fingers. He gives them what would be considered an annoying grin to anyone else, but, between them and the number of cases they’d worked together, never really could be.

“Well, now that you’ve finally joined us,” he turns seriously just as quickly, flexing his arms straight, with both hands on the glock pointed toward the ground, ready to be brought up at a moment’s notice. “Let’s go get some bad guys.”


“Thank God,” Stark mutters to himself, unlocking the right drawer of his desk to put his gun back in his holster. He’d finally gotten a call that someone from Bellevue was on the way to get their clearly unstable collar, who’d been screaming all sorts of things about the world ending and being on fire and drowning and, honestly, Stark didn’t know of any person alive who’d died as many times as he had.

He tried to be sympathetic, he always had. It wasn’t their fault, usually. But the guy had had a broken bottle neck to a kid’s throat, and they were in the middle of a fucking hurricane, and he really couldn’t handle the sounds of the yells before the groans and the whimpers and the declarations anymore.

He’d much rather wait outside. Even if it did mean he got soaked in the process. Might wake him up, anyway.

He’s halfway through shrugging into his coat, and just outside of his door when he hears a shot. He wishes in a briefly unacknowledged thought that the sound made his heart pound a little faster than it did, that it sharpened his mind and his eyes, and gave him the hyper clarity that normal people would get. He hadn’t felt it since he was nineteen, fresh out of basic, dragging Johnny around the world and straight into combat behind him – and once more, when he was twenty five, and a twenty four year old Cam Hasser draped her coat around the seat across from him at the café, drenched, but smiling. At him.

Nothing else ever made him feel quite the same way.

He finishes pulling on the coat, already too far to try to get out of, pulling his weapon and spinning on his heel in about as much time as it takes the thought to clear his headspace.

“Sarge,” the gasp comes from a sheepish, yet terrified, rookie, who had clearly fired a shot toward the cages in an attempt to bring their crazy collar, what was his name, off the first year he was choking against the bars. Stark takes in the scene, quickly, gives a call of ‘hey,’ to calm everything while he stares down the barrel of his gun, knowing exactly how to place his bullet to save his officer and, hopefully, spare the –

“Marcus,” his name was Marcus, Stark remembers quite suddenly. It slips from his lips before he even has a chance to register the fact. “Marcus, look at me.” His command gets eyes toward him, both the ones he’d asked for, and everyone else’s, but they aren’t really seeing him. “You don’t have to do this.”

“There’ll be hell fire raining down on us all!” Marcus wails, but his grip’s loosened; Stark can tell, even from across the room.

“Let him go, kid.” When did he get so old? His hands seem steady on his gun, but he feels tired, they feel tired, he just needs Marcus to let his man go.

But that doesn’t happen.

“Sarge!” The rookie calls, trying to put in some words about how sorry he was or some shit, but Stark doesn’t have time for that – Marcus’s grip tightens, and Stark’s finger does the same.

He leaves his weapon on one of his fifth year’s desks, once he’s certain his officer’s okay, and Marcus is alive, but having a difficult time of it. He slips his coat back off and on to the rack in the corner, sinking in his chair and pulling the receiver of his phone toward his ear once more. He buries his face against his hand as he tells the other end he’ll be needing a bus.


Lee’s situated himself on the counter when he hears the banging on the door. He’d jumped, or rather slid, given his six two frame, onto the surface to ponder just what, exactly, he ought to do with regards to the little river he seemed to have acquired. Pondering didn’t mean one had to get one’s feet wet, however, and that was part of the reason why the knock on the door was such an inconvenience.

That, and the hurricane outside.

“Who in their right mind,” he mumbles, half to himself and half to Cosette, who’s lapping up the shelter river like it’s the most delightful thing in the world. He couldn’t think of anything in particular that would have someone out and about in the wind and the rain. Although, he supposed, perhaps his lights were a bit of a beacon, given that the power seemed to have given out within the last hour. If he had to be stuck at work, at least he got electricity.

“Lee!” He recognizes the voice on the other side of the door, and the person it belongs to closes the door quickly behind him with a series of heavy breaths as he leans against it. The quickness doesn’t help – the river’s doubled. “Jesus – Cam did say you’d get a flood.”

“It’s not a flood,” Lee rubs a hand at the back of his neck, before dropping it down to rub at Cosette’s ears (the spaniel had come to his side in lieu of someone new), “Er, exactly.”

“Well, seeing as I really gained no further knowledge of either mathematics or the sciences than your standard high school education, I can neither confirm nor deny your theory,” Johnny hops up on the counter, where Lee was previously, effectively soaking the surface. Lee supposes now he might as well give up at remaining completely dry, especially given the wetness seeping into his shoes. “But we’ll see where the evening takes us, my friend.”

“What are you doing here, Johnny?” Lee asks, because it’s really the only sensible thing to be asking.

“Can’t a guy drop by his pal’s office of employment?” Johnny counters, fiddling with his phone, multitasking in his usual on the clock sort of way that Lee, and others, marveled at. Sometimes, he’d be having as many as five conversations at once, between e-mails and texts and phone calls and the person he was actually with. It made everyone else’s head spin.

“Not if the ‘office of employment,’ is that what you said, is an animal shelter in the middle of some pretty severe weather,” Lee’s slid around the chair from behind the desk, sets his feet on its base, as the water’s not high enough to reach them there, yet. Cosette trails behind him like a shadow, and he remembers, briefly, that winter they’d found her, where they’d been and where they are. She’d been glued to him, then, when he and Julia were aloof, separate but together, and he’d given her a key that he wasn’t sure she’d take, but she did, and, maybe, Lee kind of thought of Cosette as a bit of a good luck charm.

Admittedly, he hadn’t expected to find someone he hadn’t given a key to in the middle of his living room a few weeks later. But, then, he didn’t know what he’d expected. They – the girls, Johnny, Luke, Stark – had a bit of a habit of just barging in. Invitations weren’t expected, and, rather, if you wanted a moment of privacy, you’d be better off investing in deadbolts, a la casa del Sands.

“Nevermind,” Lee shakes his head in remembrance of the fact, just before Johnny looks back up from his phone.

“You knew someone would be by at some point,” Johnny’s eyebrows lift in the ‘really’ kind of way.

“Suppose so,” Lee spins his chair the slightest bit one direction and then back the other and then repeats again and again and again.

“Anyway, nothing much is –“ Johnny stops to look at his phone, which has lit again on the counter next to him. “Shit.”


“Our mutual acquaintances just can’t keep a low profile, can they?”


Julia had been accused of caring too much as a child, but, really, she didn’t quite see what was the matter with that. She didn’t go out of her way to learn about people, exactly, she’d just discovered, at a young age, that when people told her things about themselves, it was a kind of pure delight. And, maybe, she had a tendency to be in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong place at the wrong time, depending on how you looked at it.

She still wasn’t sure with regards to Sammy and Wilson.

RayRay had curled himself in her lap, though her legs were pulled up beside her. She had a book and a flashlight at hand, but had long since lost herself in thought, and was attempting to will her phone into lighting, whether with information on the storm, or the precinct, or a text from Lee, or Johnny. Her fingers were tapping an unheard rhythm on the arm rest, a physical sign of her anxiety for the situation – the rain spattering against the boarded windows certainly wasn’t helping. And neither were Wilson’s pen scratch and the persistent tap of his boot.

Luke was asleep, she thought, Walt settled between his legs on the couch. She couldn’t blame him – there’s not much to do when your power’s gone and you can’t go outside. Darkness and boredom close in pretty quickly in a hurricane.

Nearly simultaneous texts from Lee and Johnny inform her that Stark had shot a collar at the station, but, Lee’s adds, not to worry, because it was completely legitimate. She can’t help but give a little whine of frustration – and focuses that frustration on Wilson.

“Wilson, please,” she glares his direction. He finishes his word, or sentence, or lyric, or whatever, and looks her way, shifting into a proper sitting position and flicking his flashlight off to set it aside when he notices the look on her face. The darkness envelopes them and it’s quiet for a long moment, besides the light jingle of Walt’s head moving. “I didn’t mean you had to stop.”

“Sure you did,” Wilson replies – a statement of fact, nothing accusatory in his voice. She sighs, drops her legs into a proper sitting position, too, and pulls RayRay into her hands.

“What’d you say to her?” She asks in a way that lets him know he doesn’t have to have an answer. But Julia had that way about her. Perpetual curiosity about the quiet intimacies of people she knew, or wanted to know, made her an excellent listener – and she wasn’t half bad at advice, either.

“That I was sorry,” he says, softly, and her eyes have adjusted enough to see his hand pressing at his eyelids, like maybe he couldn’t keep them closed if his fingers weren’t there to hold them down. RayRay’s purr fills the silence this time. “That she ought to be with him, if she wants.”

“Should she?” Julia’s inflection suggests that she doesn’t quite believe him, and he’s not sure if he does, either.

“I just want her to be happy,” he insists, pulling his hand from his face to look directly at her. She’s looking down at the cat in her lap.

“You ought to know by now you can’t take back the things you say, Wilson,” she asserts. RayRay’s nuzzling his head against her left hand, while the right strokes down his back, along the length of his tail. She wonders if she’s covered in cat hair yet. “And you can stop straining to hear, Luke, and just sit up and listen.”

“I’ve missed something,” Luke replies, spinning himself to face them, and making Walt jump from the couch with a thump in the process. “What’d you say that you can’t take back? I mean, that should have taught you that particular lesson?”

“We were having an argument –“

You were having an argument,” Julia cuts in, and she’s not sure why, but she’s feeling irrationally angry at him again. She supposes it’s because they’re back where it happened, and hearing him repeat the words would be like dragging a knife through fresh stitches.

“She just keeps running away from me! What am I supposed to do?” Wilson’s frustration peaks as quickly as hers does, and Luke almost finds it in him to regret that Julia knows him well enough to pick up on his fake sleep breathing.

“You’re supposed to chase her!” Julia’s partway out of her seat, RayRay joining Walt on the floor. “You know you’re what’s best for her, you know you love her, you know she loves you. I know it’s hard, but it’s supposed to be, damn it. You’re supposed to have to work at it.”

I’m supposed to have to work at it?” Wilson’s incredulity is palpable. “I have been working at it; she’s the one who’s not even trying. Relationships take two people, Julia, you know that.” She supposes that’s some sort of thinly veiled comment on her fallout with Lee when he and Stark had been deployed. And he had no right.

“Whoa, okay, kids, calm the fuck down,” Luke interrupts, and it’s only with his curse that the pair realize they’ve been yelling at one another. “I really don’t have to know.”


“We’ve got to get home,” Cam’s got her phone in her hand, and she’s looking at it like she doesn’t want to believe what it says. Sammy fishes for hers, after she hands off the last of the perps to Donnie’s boys, sparing a look at the changes the storm had already brought to the neighborhood. It was waning, though, and, with any luck, it would have passed completely by midnight.

Her tired body felt like it was midnight already, not early evening. They’d just finished a raid on a drug ring, which had only gone down at that exact moment because some idiot had thought stealing a kid would give them some leverage. Yeah, led the cops right to them. Sometimes, the ideas the criminals of the city had just made her want to snort.

“Yeah,” she says, quietly, when she’s scanned her own phone. “Yeah, I’ll go tell Donnie.” She pauses, burying her hands into her pockets. “He’s fine, Cammie. You know he is.”

“Yeah,” Cam doesn’t sound wholly convinced.


“Really, though, Lee? I mean, Cosette? Really?” Johnny asks, looking away from his phone long enough to open a bird cage and reach his hand in. Lee shakes his head, stooping toward the cat he’d be looking at next to hide his small smile. Cosette whimpers at the sound of her name. The pair, the dog and Johnny, had been following him around while he did his rounds to check on the animals – setting out food, redressing bandages, letting them stretch their legs a bit, that sort of thing.

“She’s the shelter’s dog at large, not mine, specifically,” he says, letting his fingers trail along the cat’s leg, double checking the bones were healing properly. When he finally looks back at Johnny, it’s to find him typing away at his phone with the bird sitting on his shoulder. “Like you’re any better.”

“Sorry? Didn’t catch that, I’m working.” Johnny does seem to be a bit oblivious to the bird perched on him, though Lee imagines he’s anything but. Johnny was a strange contradiction in and of himself, sometimes he was more acutely aware of everything than you could imagine, and other times, well, there could be a hurricane raging outside and he wouldn’t really know.

“How’s your service so good, mine’s been shoddy since the storm started,” Lee grunts, setting the cat back in its cage and moving on to the next.

“Benefits of working for the police department of the big city, Lee,” Johnny’s voice is distracted this time, so Lee turns to him again to find him struggling to get the bird back into the cage he got it from. He pauses to give himself a moment to laugh at him, earning a glare in return. Though, even as the bird continues to sit on his outstretched fingers, refusing to leave them, he turns his eyes back to his phone. “I think I need to ease up on the adjectives to describe our favorite sergeant.”

“I don’t know,” Lee comes back around before he picks up the next cat, slipping the bird off Johnny’s hand. It takes a nudge in his back before Johnny notices and removes his hand from the cage. “As long as you didn’t add ‘handsome’ again you’re probably fine.”

“That was a draft, if you’ll remember correctly,” Johnny kicks his feet through the little river on the floor, earning some hisses and squawks from the animals surrounding them. Cosette, however, seems more than happy to play. “According to the maps, it’s easing up. I think I’ll head back toward the station in a bit, get the whole story.”

“See if everyone’s alright, you mean,” Lee doesn’t bother looking at him, and finishes with the next cage before realizing that there’s not any sound coming from behind him. Johnny’s absently petting Cosette, who’s acting like more of a puppy than she normally did. She was sort of the same way around Julia – he suspected it was something about them – maybe she smelt Julia on Johnny, for that matter.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever told you, man, but I’m glad she’s got you,” Johnny says, bringing his face in close to Cosette’s and virtually ignoring Lee.

“Cosette?” Lee asks, just to clarify that he’d actually heard correctly what Johnny was saying, taken aback by the sudden change in subject (truthfully he just hadn’t noticed that Johnny was also texting his girlfriend, and, given his much more efficient data package was having a lot more success at it, in general).

“Yes, obviously,” Johnny mutters, sarcastically. Lee hides his smirk by moving on to the next animal. “Still can’t believe they named you Cosette. Sorry, I wasn’t actually talking about you, girl. I think you know her, though. If only she were here. Could help me Roe, Roe, Roe my boat back to Times Square.”


“Hey, you okay?” Wilson hears Luke asking through the wall. He’s sitting in Sammy’s room, surrounded by all her things. He’s intimately familiar with it all, and he almost wishes he weren’t.

But then, who’s he kidding? He’d never truly wish he were without Sammy Haldane-Jones.

He just wasn’t sure where it all went wrong. Which, apparently, made all his songs quite a drag these days – Cillian had told him as much. Every relationship in his life had him frustrated – Sammy because she was Sammy, Cillian because of the thing with Sammy, Julia because of the thing with Sammy, Cam and Stark because of the things he’d said that they hopefully wouldn’t ever hear, his dad because he was spending all his time writing depressing music instead of going in for a couple hours at the firm.

At least his mom still sympathized with him. Although that had a tendency to make him feel a bit ridiculous – he shouldn’t need his mother, of all people. He wasn’t all that far away from thirty, for Christ’s sake.

And that made him feel old.

The feeling’s complicated when he looks around the room, sees her everywhere, with touches of him in the vinyl records that she’d borrowed or he’d lent (it didn’t seem important which), and a shirt that belonged to him hanging from the closet door, and a notebook with words he’d written for her (though, to be quite honest, most of the words he wrote were for her). Cillian was there, too – action figures and sketches of hers for ideas for his latest games, and the games themselves scattered here and there, extra controllers, pieces of jewelry that were much too expensive for a friend to buy another. But he was a Murphy.

“I just,” Julia answers Luke after a long moment, “feel confused.”

Wilson sighs, in time with Julia through the wall, laying himself out in the hope that sleep might come. Sammy had him twisted up like the hurricane outside, and he had no idea if the storm would ever stop. Part of him wanted it to, more than anything.

Part of him never did much mind the rain.


“Impersonating your sergeant, Officer Sands?” Johnny quips when he finally finds Cam sitting behind Stark’s desk in the early hours of the next morning. The rain was nothing more than a drizzle now – consequently, when Johnny shook his head, there wasn’t nearly as much wetness landing on everything. It was enough, however, for Cam to offer a slight glare.

“Only when he doesn’t get any sleep – his eyes were so bloodshot I’m surprised he wasn’t seeing half a dozen of me, and yet, still, he doesn’t want to leave his post,” she spares a glance between clicks on the computer. “And no, you can’t go wake him up. I put Sammy outside the door.”

“No one goes in, no one goes out?” Cam doesn’t answer, and Johnny smiles to himself as he sits across from her, propping his chin in his hand atop the edge of the desk. “I could check that pretty easily, you know.”

“Oh, leave him alone, Johnny,” she all but whines at him, leaning back in the chair with a sigh. He’d like to point out that she looks rather exhausted, too. But, then, he knew she had to look better than Stark did – he knew the bloodshot eyed Sands pretty well.

“I wasn’t going to bother him,” he spreads his hands in a gesture of sincerity when she lifts a brow at him. “Promise, okay, I’m fairly certain the big stories are going to be the little drizzles we’ve been having recently – not a New York police sergeant doing his job.” She leans forward with both fists supporting her face, giving him that signature Hasser puppy look that he couldn’t even be sure she was doing on purpose. “I came to talk to you, actually.”

“No, you didn’t,” she replies, one hand slipping from under her chin to tap at her phone. When she looks back at him she notices that his isn’t in front of him – odd. “What, John?”

“Having trouble sleeping?” He asks, causing her to pull back in her seat.

“No,” she answers, perplexed by the question. Surely – she’d had four or five hours in the night – hadn’t even jerked away when – oh. “No, I just have trouble getting there, sometimes. But so does everyone at some point, right?”

“Most people don’t lock themselves in the bathroom, I think. Or act like someone’s got a knife on them – hey,” Johnny’s half out of his seat as she flinches at the mention of a knife before he realizes and sits again, slowly. “Cam,” she expects him to tell her she’s tougher than this, she’s being stupid, this is ridiculous, “Babe, I’m sorry.”

“What?” She gives a choked laugh, the word getting caught up somewhere in it.

“I’m sorry – sorry it happened to you, sorry it’s still happening to you, sorry I couldn’t do something, sorry no one’s doing something for you now,” his hands are grasping at something unseen, like if he does everything will get better and right itself again – maybe the hurricane wouldn’t have even passed through.

“Johnny, you’re being ridiculous,” she says, following it with a whisper to herself – “And I am, too.”

“Hey, you’re not, but you are worrying your husband.”

“That’s exactly what I was trying not to do,” she hides her face from view as she plunges both hands into her hair.

“Well, you did a shit job. I’m just saying,” he says as he comes around the desk to pull her from the chair and into his chest. “Just talk to him about it, okay?”

“You gonna tell him first?” She sounds distant, with her cheek pressed into his shoulder.

“Well, I do have excellent cell phone coverage,” he murmurs. They stand as a tangle of arms and torsos for a silent moment. “Anyway, while I love you both, and do enjoy being privy to the details of your private lives, I do think you and Starkweather ought to just talk it out every now and then. I won’t be around forever, you know.”

“Bullshit,” she says, pulling back at him to look him in the eyes.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”


He’d checked his watch through blurry eyes – two hours. It reminded him of dusty roadside ranger graves in the Iraqi countryside, just an hour more and he might be satisfied, but that was always how it was – just an hour more never came. More, he almost thinks he’s breathing in that dust, his dreams engulfing him before his eyes clear, sharpen, focus on the speckled ceiling tiles above him – he’d shot that kid from the pen again, only this time to kill, because this time he was at war and she was gasping for breath that would never be able to come through the slit in her throat.

He’d shot the body again for that.

He breathes heavy, squeezing his eyes shut to get rid of the images and wonders, for the hundredth time, if he should just tell her. She’d gotten him through it before – nightmares from his first two tours were few and far between, mostly, he suspected, because he knew she’d be there when he woke, knew she’d silently slide closer to him to let him know that he was there and she was damn well glad for it.

“Sarge?” He lifts his head slightly to the whisper at the doorway, hears the sigh the action creates followed by the door closing quietly. Sammy’s sitting in the chair beside him before he manages to completely right himself. “Cam would kill you if she knew you were awake already.”

“I hadn’t planned on it, trust me,” he asserts in response, fingers already shoving buttons through their matching holes. “What’s up, Iceman?”

“Oh, nothing, I’m just – I don’t know – restless.” Her bouncing leg confirms her statement, and he gives that half a smile he wore so well.

“Had a couple cups?”

“What’s it to you?” She smiles back, a contradiction to her words, but both can see the other well enough in the dark.

“So, what’d he say, then?” Stark asks the moment he starts thinking he sees something that’s not there, again.

“I don’t –“

“Sammy,” he interrupts, giving her that sergeant look that she found more than a little unfair. He knew she wanted, needed, to tell someone, though. Sometimes he wondered if he hadn’t bonded a little too well with Cam’s best friends, but then he remembers that, should anything happen between them, Sammy and Julia would undoubtedly be on her side, not his. There probably wasn’t a thing on God’s green earth that could get between the trio.

“He told me I ought to be with Cillian. If that’s what I want. That he’s done trying. He still wants to be with me, but he’s done trying.” She’s glaring down at the foot doing the bouncing, like she was angry at it for presuming to betray any sort of feeling she had. “I know you, Sarge, you’re just going to tell me maybe this is what I’ve been waiting for – everything working itself out.”

“Hey, don’t go putting words in my mouth,” he says, quickly. He understood Wilson, they all understood Wilson, even Sammy, but there were certain things that none of them could quite see past – things that included making her feel hurt in any way. Besides, he reasons, Wilson knew he was diving into an ocean, he shouldn’t have jumped if he didn’t think he could handle the currents. “And – don’t bite my head off – but he’s right about the first bit, you ought to be with who you want.”

“You’re obnoxious, you know that?” Sammy says after glaring up at him, sighing heavily as she realizes she can’t argue with him. She was good at doing what she wanted – she’d quit her job at the design firm just out of college to be a cop, just because she wanted to. She’d started a relationship with a southern gentleman, just because she wanted to. She’d had sex with an heir to a billion dollar gaming company, just because she wanted to. And therein, she supposed, lay the problem. “That hasn’t done so well for me in the past.”

“Ah, hindsight’s always twenty-twenty, Sammy, you’ve just gotta do what you gotta do, however crazy it is at the time,” his fingers are light across her knee, but it stops the bounce as effectively as if he’d slammed his palm down on it.

“We don’t all get to propose to the love of our life six weeks in without having any idea it’s going to be the greatest decision we’ve ever made,” Sammy mutters, giving him a look that begs him to challenge the latter half of her words, but sounding more okay with things already.

Seven weeks, thank you,” he replies with a wide grin, standing to tuck his shirt back in and straighten his tie. “Actually, thanks to you, if we’re being honest.” He puts a kiss on the crown of her head, dragging her out of the darkened room even as she gives a good hearted scowl.

“Oh, I was coming to tell you,” she says, “IAB’s giving your gun back.” He nods, altering his direction to follow her to the bullpen instead of toward his office.

It quite naturally takes her by surprise, though, when he mutters as they pass in front of the cells, “Maybe I ought to have just gone for the kill shot. Why let him suffer?”


“Hey, Jules,” he smiles, albeit a little tiredly, as he sets his ‘storm bag’ in the empty chair next to the one that typically housed her dance bag. She’s in the kitchen, doesn’t pause to think about getting another mug to fill, and brings round a cup of fresh tea, one for him and one for her, standing on her toes to offer him a kiss that’s a little more dramatic than she’d been expecting – but, hey, he had been stuck at the office for more than twenty four hours.

“Do tell, how was work?” She seems almost bubbly, and he imagines it’s because she’s been stuck inside for so long and, really, out of contact, too. He settles on the couch, and pulls her legs across his when she starts to tuck them under her, his free hand against her thigh sending a warmth through her bones that she hadn’t realized had been so cold. “Johnny must’ve livened things up a bit.”

“Oh, please,” he gives a good natured groan, letting his head fall back across the top of the couch. She giggles slightly, and it doesn’t take too much before one of his eyes opens ever so slightly to study her. “He did say some interesting things, I guess.”

“He does that,” Julia smiles, never looking away from him, even as she brings her mug to her lips. Her fingers follow quickly after, catching the drops that hadn’t made it past her lips before they could dribble down her chin – like she needed something that embarrassing to happen. She was just glad that finally Wilson was gone and Lee was here and she could talk about something other than all the awful things that had happened. “What?” She asks, noting that he’s still looking at her with a certain look in his eyes.

“Nothing. I – that creepy guy at the station this, yesterday, morning?”

“Was the guy that Stark shot, yeah,” she grimaces, curious as to whether that was truly what he’d been thinking about or not – she wasn’t really in the mood to discuss it, not until she’d seen and talked to their favorite cops herself.

“Read Johnny’s article, then?” He’s rests the bottom of the mug on her knee, rolling it slightly as he waits for her answer.

“You know how I like to keep up with current events.”

“You like to scan the news reports for word on people you know, you mean.”

“Well, when the people I know are the people I know,” she starts, letting her sentence hang in the air because he knows exactly what she means. “Anyway, have you even been home yet, babe?”

“Now why would I want to do that? The guys certainly aren’t going to offer me a cup of tea and a pretty damn good kiss, if I can say so,” he says, starting to lean her direction, causing them to shift in a not unwelcome sort of way.

“No, I should hope not,” she grins back at him as his face comes closer. They’re enjoying the feel of each other’s lips on their own, and their fingers touching every place they could find in their awkward position, and Lee’s thinking about how Johnny was glad he was with Julia, and how he’s ecstatic he’s with Julia, and how he really hopes there aren’t any more hurricanes coming through any time soon because it was much too long spent at the office and not enough time spent here, on the couch, with her lips writing sonnets on his.

“Okay, do us a favor, please, if you’re going to go any further, take it to the bedroom,” Luke interrupts, back with groceries for the night – everyone ought to be home after their first eight hours on clean up duty. The city had been hit pretty hard, and they had no doubt from the news reports that their friends would be quite busy for quite some time – but they had to have a few hours off every now and then, and they’d make the most of it.

Julia and Lee break apart and sip their tea while sharing wholly indiscrete looks like school children. But both felt the static electricity in their veins, like the storm hadn’t stopped, it’d just moved inside of them.

“I wasn’t joking, you know,” Luke’s comment’s met with a laugh from both.