Genre: New Professionals - previously posted to NewProfessionalslash
Title: Conversations
Series: Yes - the first in the Conversations series
Author: Alyse 
Archive: Jon's New Professionals archive, my own webpage
http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~alys4/bunnies, Britslash and Rareslash
Category: Curtis/Keel. Implied feelings, nothing specific
Rating: Probably 15 for bad language

Spoilers/Warnings: No spoilers, and no warnings apart from angst ahead (like you didn't expect that from me :))

Summary: A companionable evening leads to a drunken confession

Feedback: Yes please, to alys4@easynet.co.uk. Constructive criticism welcome, flames will be used to melt chocolate, and we all know what I'll do with that :)

Disclaimers: They belong to Brain Clements and David Wickes Productions.  They don't belong to me - if they did we all know what they'd be doing. I don't make any money from this. I have nothing but my own warped imagination and therefore I'm not worth suing. :)

Kudos: Many thanks to my excellent beta Clare. 


Conversations

by Alyse



It had been a hell of a week, but then most weeks were. But finally it was
Saturday night, and baring an international emergency, tomorrow would be a
day of rest. No getting shot at, blown up, beaten up or any of the other
hazards that seemed to go with the job these days. No having to rely on
their wits to save their own lives or the lives of others. A nice, quiet,
peaceful day. Chris thought he might actually have a lie in.

Of course, by tomorrow he'd probably need it because right now he and Sam
were getting quietly sloshed, as Sam would, and had, put it. Chris had
absolutely no objections to getting sloshed, quietly or otherwise,
especially with his partner. What had started off as a purely professional
relationship had quickly grown into friendship, despite, or perhaps because
of the differences in temperament between the two men. Actually, it had
occurred to Chris recently that Sam was perhaps his closest friend. He
certainly felt more at ease with him than he had with anyone else since his
wife's death.

Right now, Sam was laughing helplessly at the story Chris was reciting.

"And you swear you had no idea that she was the Admiral's daughter?"

"Scout's honour."

"I'm not sure you can claim to have any honour left after propositioning
her like that."

"Hey, she didn't seem to have any objections."

"I'll bet her father did."

"Luckily he never found out, or I'd be a resident of Davy Jones' locker."

"That would be a nautical phrase then?"

Chris laughed, too merry to explain. "It would."

"So what on earth got into you?"

"I think you should ask what got into her..." Chris leered suggestively.
"I told you, I was wasted."

"Do you normally go around propositioning strangers when you're drunk?"

"I've been known to embarrass myself on occasion."

"I'll bet," Sam smirked, finishing off his whiskey. "Another?"

Chris swirled the amber liquid around his own glass, staring into it
reflectively, before also downing it. "Why not."

"I'm not sure I should give you one," grinned Sam, heading off into the
small kitchen. "You might get yourself in trouble."

Chris made a show of peering under the couch. "You got some hot women
hidden away I don't know about?"

Sam laughed, sloshing some more whiskey into Chris' glass. "I wish. I
thought you were dating?"

"Was. Note the past tense."

"Oops. Sorry. Same old story, I suppose. Too much work and not enough
play?"

"Not exactly."

"Oh?" Sam wasn't prying exactly, although he was obviously curious. In
fact, he was showing an unusual amount of tact, for Sam.

Chris hesitated for a moment before answering the question Sam was trying
hard not to ask. "She appeared to be under the impression that I'm in love
with someone else."

The look on Sam's face would have been funny under other circumstances. In
fact, in his current state of inebriation, Chris had to fight not to laugh.
He could almost see the questions flying across his partner's mind, each
one dismissed before it could be voiced. Finally Sam settled on a
relatively innocuous, "Oh? Why would she think that?"

"Probably because I am." He must be drunk if he was volunteering this
information to Sam. Another long pause while Sam tried to come up with
something to say.

"Oh." This was becoming a bit repetitive. Another long pause. "Don't
take this the wrong way, Chris, but I'm pretty sure that, well that
although Backup is fond of you, I don't think she thinks of you quite that
way."

Chris blinked at him, confused by the turn the conversation had taken. "I
know."

"And you're okay with that?"

Now he was really lost. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"You're taking this more calmly than I would in similar circumstances."

Calmly? If only Sam knew. Finally the penny dropped. "Sam, I am not in
love with Backup. Why would you think I'm in love with Backup?"

Now it was Sam's turn to look confused. "Well... she is the only woman you
ever seem to spend any time with... I just assumed..."

"You assumed wrong." Another awkward silence.

"Sorry."

"S'okay."

"So..."

"No, I'm not telling you."

"Oh."

"It's not mutual."

"Oh. Sure of that are you?"

"Yes."

"Is she blind?" That got a laugh and a headshake. "Stupid then?" Another
laugh.

"No. Am I that much of a catch?" There was a slightly wistful note in
Chris' voice.

"Well," laughed Sam back, "Maybe not such a catch as say... uhm... me, but
not bad." He ducked, laughing again, to avoid the cushion flying in his
direction.

"I see your legendary modesty is raising its head again." Sam looked a
little offended.

"What do you mean by legendary?"

Chris chuckled. "Well, let's just say that it's not noted for being one of
your strong points." Sam continued to mock-glare at him, before relenting
and grinning back at him.

"If you've got it, flaunt it," he smirked, lounging back in his chair.

"And you have it?" asked Chris, making his tone sceptical.

"Half the typing pool seem to think so." Chris had to admit that half the
typing pool were right, as he watched Sam stretch with unconscious grace.
And if the other half saw his partner now, he had no doubt they'd join
their colleagues in that opinion. Sam's hair was tousled, his eyes bright
from a little too much drink and his top shirt button undone. It was an
unusual look for his normally immaculate partner, but it suited him.

Sam was looking at him with one eyebrow cocked curiously at his silence,
and Chris forced himself to respond. "Only half?" he teased.

"The other half have the hots for you," retorted Sam. Chris couldn't help
blushing slightly, amusing his partner even more. "Let's face it, mate,
there's hope for you yet." 

Chris gave him a weak smile, concentrating on his drink. This was getting
a bit too close to the bone. When he finally looked up, he found his
partner's eyes on him, dark with concern, a small frown between his
eyebrows. The obvious worry about him both moved and terrified him. 

"Maybe you should just corner her one day and tell her," Sam continued.
Chris snorted dismissively. "Give her one of those kisses Amanda seemed so
fond of. Tell her how you feel."

"Before or after the sexual harassment suit?" Sam was watching him with
the kind of attention he normally reserved for suspects during an
interrogation, and at that slip he pounced.

"So it is someone we work with," he announced a little smugly. Chris gave
him an exasperated look.

"That was a stunningly wrong conclusion, even for you. You've no evidence
and yet you come up with an answer. Malone would have your guts for that."
Sam just grinned, while Chris turned his attention to the ceiling.

"You ever been in love?" he asked, more to shift that attention from him to
Sam than to learn the answer.

"No."

That surprised him and the shock must have shown on his face because Sam
shrugged nonchalantly, his face schooled into impassivity. "Never?" Chris
asked.

Another shrug before Sam replied. "A crush or two when I was younger, an
infatuation when I was at University. Nothing serious. Nothing
permanently damaging."

And that was probably the difference between the two of them, Chris
reflected. He saw love as an opportunity whereas Sam obviously viewed it
as a threat. 'Nothing permanently damaging.' That phrase seemed to sum up
his partner's attitude. He felt a brief flutter of sympathy for Sam.
Although loving Annie had been painful, there had been a lot of joy before
her death and after much consideration and self-examination he'd had to
admit he was a better person for knowing and loving her, no matter how it
had ended. The fierce look on Sam's face prevented him from putting his
sympathy into words, but he had to say something.

"You're missing out," he said mildly.

"Am I?" His partner's voice was deliberately challenging. "It doesn't
seem to be doing you much good. Are you really trying to tell me that
unrequited love is that much fun?"

"No," Chris admitted. "It's fuckin' painful." Sam said nothing, his face
sombre as he stared into his empty glass. Chris wasn't surprised when Sam
rose to his feet and moved back into the kitchen, although this time Sam
brought the bottle back with him. He held his own almost empty glass out
and accepted the refill, although he was sure he'd regret it in the
morning. To his surprise, Sam settled down on the floor next to him,
leaning back against the sofa he was lying on and placing the bottle where
it could be easily reached by both of them. Strangely it gave him the
strength to continue. "It's lonely," he explained, a little drunkenly,
staring at the ceiling rather than his partner. "But I think not caring
about anyone would be lonelier."

"I didn't say I didn't care about anyone," objected Sam. "I said I'd never
been in love. There's a difference." Chris decided to call him on it.

"Who do you care about?" he demanded.

"I care about my family."

"You never talk about them," Chris protested. Sam turned his head slightly
and gave the American a hard look.

"Look who's talking. We've been working together what? Almost two years?
And you finally get around to telling me you were married two months ago?"

Chris shifted a little uncomfortably in his seat. His partner was right.
He hadn't exactly been forthcoming with personal information. There was a
faint undercurrent of hurt in Sam's voice he wasn't sure how to go about
addressing. While he was still deciding what to say, Sam spoke up again.

"I care about you," he admitted. "I probably care more about you than
anyone else. Seem to be closer to you than anyone else anyway." Chris
just stared at him until Sam turned his head slightly, giving him a
slightly self-mocking look. "All that American emotional gushing must be
rubbing off on me."

Chris' brain finally figured out that that was a dig at him. "I do not
gush," he scowled. Sam grinned back at him.

"Nah, that much is probably true," he admitted. "Just teasing you, mate." 

Chris was battling the warm sensation that had filled him with Sam's words
and losing. He realised that he probably had a very silly smile on his
face, judging by Sam's amused and tolerant expression. He was also by now
very drunk. "Must be blind or stupid," Sam was saying softly, his
expression unreadable. It took him a second to catch on, and then he had
to fight not to blush again, staring into his glass to avoid looking at
Sam. When had he emptied it again, he wondered, before glancing up at his
partner again. Sam's eyes were very blue in the soft lamplight, and he was
watching Chris, one elbow resting on the sofa and his face cupped in his
palm, his expression still unreadable. Chris could feel his heart start to
beat faster.

"Just grab 'em and kiss 'em?" he asked, his voice sounding very distant.
The corner of Sam's mouth curled up slightly in a smile.

"What could it hurt?" he asked lightly.

"Could shoot me," replied Chris.

"Thought that's why you had all that training," smiled Sam. "To learn how
to duck."

Chris didn't permit himself time to think. He reached out and cupped the
other side of Sam's face in his hand and pulled his partner towards him,
pressing his lips to the Englishman's. For a second it seemed that Sam
would go along with it, and then he pulled away, breathing heavily. Chris
could barely stand to see the shocked, confused look on his friend's face.
It seemed to rip his heart out of his chest. Before he could say
something, anything to try and make amends, the phone rang.

Sam said nothing to him, just rose to his feet and answered it, his back to
Chris and his voice clipped. Chris didn't hear the conversation, wrapped
as he was in his own misery. In a matter of minutes, Sam was placing the
receiver back in its cradle. It was a long time before he turned to face
Chris, and when he did so, his face was impassive.

"Backup," he said. "We have an assignment. West Germany. We leave in two
hours. She's coming to pick us up. I told her neither of us was in any
condition to drive."

"Sam..." pleaded Chris.

"Don't." Sam's voice was harsh, and a brief flash of something close to
fury crossed his face before it returned to that impassive expression Chris
was coming to hate. "I'm going to pack," he continued dully. "We'll swing
by your place when Backup gets here and pick up your stuff."

Chris just watched him miserably as Sam stalked into his bedroom. He'd
made a terrible mistake. Sam may never forgive him, and even if he did,
even if they managed to survive this fiasco, their partnership would never
be the same. All because he'd had too much to drink, and been tired of
being alone.

God only knew what would happen now.

The End


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