Sam sighed as he ran his fingers through his short, spikey blond hair. It has been an incredibly long shift, ending with the Boss having to take the kill shot, ending a scared and hurt 18 year old boy’s life. After that, it was been being screamed at by the victim’s family and finally; holding the young boy’s sister, probably, as Sam suspected, the only sober one in the house as she collapsed into his Sam’s arms with bitter screams lacing the air. The kids that ended up dead were always the hard calls. He absentmindedly picked at his nails, noticing specks of blood still caught in the edges, as he tossed his gym bag onto the floor with a thud, hearing it echo in the strangely silent change room. It was always like this after a subject didn’t survive. The silence consumed everyone while they changed as they sorted through all the crap they had experienced during the day. Sam glanced over at Spike to see him sitting on the bench, unmoving, staring at the plaque that hung in the guys’ change room pensively. He knew this was a ritual for Spike, to talk through the day with Lou at the end of a hard shift.
“He always knew what to say…” Spike said quietly, catching Sam’s eye. Sam nodded slowly. He had always known Lou to be such a calm, serene person in the time that he’d known him and his gentle presence left a gaping hole.
Ed slammed his locker door shut, making Wordy jump. He had been staring at a picture of Shelly and his girls, probably lost in a memory. The team leader walked to the center of the room as he rubbed his face tiredly. “Look guys, we did everything right today. There’s nothing else we could’ve done for him. The kid was holding a hostage and negotiations were failing, lethal force was the only other option. We saved the hostage. Period.” He looked them each in the eye, making sure he had been heard before reminding them that they each better use their upcoming 3 days off for rest only. “C’mon, drinks are on me tonight.”
“You know,” said Spike thoughtfully, “next time just start off with that last part. It would’ve just made your nice speech that much sweeter because I know that afterwards we can all go get drunk and have you pay for it!” They all chuckled as Ed cuffed Spike good naturedly on the back of the head as him, Wordy and Spike went off to find the Boss.
Sam grabbed his bag and followed them to the foyer where he heard them already at the head desk laughing over some joke with Winnie. He stopped realizing the guys were one short. He turned back to the locker room frowning, only to find Ed sitting on the bench in front of his locker scrubbing his hand over his face. He sighed and got up slowly and the younger man watched as he tapped the plaque of his fallen teammate twice before muttering “See ya in a couple days buddy”. He looked up to see Sam standing there and stopped abruptly.
“Samtastic. You alright?”
“Actually I was about to ask you the same thing.” He paused, considering adding something else and then, never the one to play it safe, decided to risk it. “You know you couldn’t have done anything else to help him either. The odds of talking down a kid with as little info as we had, and not having any diagnoses on him at all, and with a speech impediment?” Sam let out a breath, raising his eyebrows and looking up at him, waiting for his words to sink in.
“I know buddy, thanks. And I’m good, just really looking forward to a few days with Izzie, Soph and Clark, that’s all. Thanks though.” He slapped him on the back, leading him towards the foyer. “You know it’s kinda nice having a mini-me round here now. You made a good second today Braddock.”
They chuckled and walked up beside Wordy together at the main desk before Sam heard someone call his name. He turned to see Jules coming out of the Woman’s Change room (which had been switched back to having the affectionately custom made ‘Jules’ sign hanging out front replacing the ‘Woman’ one). She looked beautiful as she always did, wearing a sapphire green layered tank with skinny jeans and black heels. Evidently, someone had already informed her they were going out for drinks as she rarely wore anything other than one of his hockey jerseys and tight jeans after calls like this one.
She walked up to the desk with a smile, staring only at Sam. He turned and met her halfway, staring into her chocolate eyes before tucking a stray hair behind her ear that had come out of the up-do she had made. He ever so gently stroked her cheek with the back of his hand and whispered, “Hey”.
“Hey.” She responded before leaning in for a kiss, never breaking from his eyes. They tried so hard never to let it get too far when they were at work, but as she kissed him softly, he just couldn’t help but place a winding arm around her waist to pull her closer to him. It was dangerous, getting into it like this at work. All his years of sniper training to control himself always seemed to vanish as soon as they touched.
A wolf whistle broke through the silence, most likely courtesy of Spike, as Wordy yelled “Get room, you two!!” playfully over his shoulder. They broke apart with a gasp, realizing they had probably taken it a little too far this time. Sam, simply glad that something had snapped him out of his trance, chuckled softly and kissed Jules’ nose softly before grabbing her hand and walking with her towards the main desk where they were greeted by Ed, sighing and shaking his head. “You two have absolutely no self-control, do you?” he asked with a snort. Sam felt blood rush up to his face, but Jules just bit her lip, trying to stifle her laughter.
It had been a huge shift in perspective after they had been allowed to stay together, and they were taking advantage of the opportunity wholeheartedly. Now, after nearly every shift Sam could be found in Jules’ change room, and seeing the two of them kiss had become not so shocking anymore. Although, kisses like the one they has just displayed were usually only seen by a very embarrassed, and growingly frustrated Spike, who often came in to Jules’ room to chat after shift, only to find the two of them already locked in embrace. Sam smugly pointed out that that’s why knocking had become popular before Jules smacked him on the chest with rosy cheeks, and invited Spike in. It has changed the group dynamic slightly, but not for the worse. It was just different.
But one thing that never changed was how they acted when they got on shift. As soon as the two of them entered the SRU headquarters in the morning, they were simply colleagues. They occasionally exchanged brief banter, but it never became sexual, and no one really expected that to stop anyways. Sam was still just as protective, and Jules was still just as defiantly strong. Now they could just be completely honest with their SRU family.
“Honestly you two, save it for the change rooms!” Spike quipped at Jules, who rolled her eyes. “On second thought, just save it for not here because believe me, I got a good enough view last time I walked in to talk. Not planning on doing that again anytime soon...” Sam chuckled under his breath and Jules stuck tongue out at him. She and Spike were best friends; they hung out at each other’s houses, played video games and went out for burger runs weekly. If she had been worried that her relationship with Sam would affect hers and Spike’s, she was pleasantly surprised. All it had done was given him a bigger arsenal to use against her when they got into their banter-wars. Sam completely understood and they still had their burger runs and Mario Kart races, Spike just had to get used to seeing her with someone else. He described it as: ‘Watching my little sister make out in front of me with my best friend’ which Jules found incredibly funny.
“Are the love birds back at it?” Sarge asked walking to the desk out of the briefing room, still dressed in his SRU uniform.
“Hey Sarge, how did it go with SIU?” asked Jules completely ignoring the question.
“Oh, you know,” Boss sighed, eyes to the sky, “Worse than vultures. It’s fine though, typical interview, I should be cleared by the time we get back on shift. How are you guys doing? You know you guys all did your very best day. I’m proud of you all.”
“We’re okay Boss, Ed gave us this lecture already.” Wordy said punching the team leader lightly on the arm. “And he also said he’s buying tonight… You in?”
“Nah, I’m having dinner with Dean tonight,” he said “I gotta get going. Anybody call me if they need me.” They all nodded knowing fully well that none of them would interrupt the Boss’s night with his newly found son.
“And don’t think I didn’t notice you two avoiding my question!” He called over his shoulder to the couple who were once again comfortable casually draped in each other’s arms. “Have fun tonight guys!”
They all laughed except for Jules, who tuned bright red in surprise and embarrassment. Sam quietly slipped his hand into hers as they strolled out towards their favourite bar for the night. Team One was still Team One. Only now, they truly had no secrets to hide. Everything was back to normal.