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It Hit Us By Surprise (The Shockwave)

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The lobby of the Los Angeles City Hall, as well as every room and hall, was in a state of nearly uncontrolled chaos. People walking fast up and down the long corridors, yelling on their phones trying to get any information about the explosion they had heard a few minutes before; people scared, some of them even crying, because they couldn't get a hold of their loved ones. Police and security blocking and guarding every door and window that led outside, not letting anyone in or out. City Hall was still in lockdown and Lieutenant Andy Flynn couldn't do a damn thing about it.

 

His heart was racing, he could feel every beat in his chest, and nothing he did helped when he tried to slow it down. His only goal, at that moment, was to get the hell out of that building so he could check on his team, make sure everybody was alright. He had spoken with Provenza and Sharon over the phone, sure, and they had told him they were all fine, okay, but he still needed to see it with his own eyes. Knowing his friend, and his fiancée, the word fine could go from not a scratch to concussion and internal bleeding. He knew they didn't want him to worry too much so he wouldn't be able to calm down until he could make sure they were as alright as they had told him.

 

He was about to lose his temper, on the edge of seriously considering punching his way out of the building. Morons, he thought, after the guys at the door told him, for the fifth time, that they couldn't let him go out. He took his phone out and unblocked it, ready to call Howard. Just when he was about to dial a voice calling his name made him stop.

 

"Lieutenant Flynn." Someone said behind him.

Turning around, Andy replied. "Yes?"

"Chief Howard has given us permission to let you out of the building. If you follow me, I'll get you to one of the emergency exits." The woman, an officer he hadn't met before, told him.

"Thank you, Officer Dawn." He said, after reading her name on her uniform tag.

 

He quickly followed the officer through a couple of corridors until they reached the exit. Free at last, he thought while the officer opened the door.

"The Chief is waiting for you at the Command Center." She told him.

"Yes, okay." He replied, absent-mindedly, already thinking about how long it would take him to cross the street. Once outside, something clicked on his mind. He turned around and threw a quick "Thank you!" to the officer before she closed the door.

 

The sight that greeted him upon leaving City Hall took him aback. Ambulances, fire trucks and police cars filled up the street while an enormous crowd of curious people stood behind the yellow police tape. News vans and cameras were already there, ready to report everything they could get a hold upon. It took Andy more than he thought to cross the street. Lucky for him, Chief Howard was waiting for him and lifted the tape when he saw Andy arrive.

 

"Chief." Andy said in greeting. "Where is my team?" He asked immediately after.

"Paramedics are checking them out." Fritz replied. "Where's the bastard?"

"In a secure room, surrounded by six LAPD officers and a couple of security guards. They'll take him to booking once City Hall is clear." He explained, not really focused on what he was saying. While he spoke, his eyes kept looking for one of the familiar faces he wanted to see.

Fritz, knowing the distress the man before him was feeling, decided not to prolong his agony. "Go check on them." He told him. Before Andy could take out running, he grabbed his arm. "We'll have to talk about the little stunt you've just pulled."

"Yeah. Whatever." Andy murmured in reply while he walked away from the Chief.

 

It didn't take long for him to find his team. He saw Provenza, sitting on the back step of an ambulance, with an oxygen mask on his face, while Nolan, Amy and Mike fussed around him. He noticed Sharon and Julio where nowhere in sight and it worried him.

 

Andy decided to check on them first. "How are you guys doing?" He asked as soon as he was in their hearing range.

"Just great." Provenza sarcastically replied. "What the hell took you so long?" The grumpy Lieutenant said.

"Yes, you're just fine." Andy said. "City Hall is in lockdown and they wouldn't let me out." He explained, involuntarily looking around for Sharon.

"Are you alright?" Mike asked Andy.

"I'm fine." He quickly replied.

"They're looking over the Captain at that ambulance." Amy told him, pointing to said vehicle. "Julio is with her."

"She's fine." Wes immediately said, even before Andy could ask anything.

"She was the last one out." Mike explained. "The Captain made sure everyone was out of the room before she left. She hit the floor pretty hard and inhaled a little bit of dust."

"Patrice is going to pick the kid up and meet us at the hospital." Provenza said after taking off his oxygen mask.

"Hospital?" Andy asked, alarmed.

"Even if he's insisting that he’s fine-" A new voice said, "We need to make sure he really is." The paramedic explained while he put Provenza's mask on again.

"Go check on her. I'm not in the mood to see you have another heart attack." Provenza grumbled, giving the paramedic a nasty look.

"They're waiting for the street to be cleared before they take them to the hospital. We'll follow you with our cars." Tao told Andy.

"Thanks Mike." He replied. "I'm glad that you're all alright." Andy sincerely told them before he turned around and began walking to the other ambulance, his fingers nervously tugging his earlobe to try calming himself down before he saw Sharon.

 


 

"Are you sure I can't get you anything, ma'am?" Julio asked her for what it felt the hundredth time and she wasn't sure if she wanted to hug him or smack the back of his head.

 

She was fine. Well, mostly fine. Her head hurt, and her chest, and she was having a bit of trouble breathing, but she was alright. Two bombs had gone off near her in less than a week; it could have been worse, a lot worse. The EMTs had checked her out and they were pretty sure nothing was broken. Nevertheless, they wanted to do an X-ray to be sure. Her SpO2 levels were a little low so they had given her an oxygen mask while they waited for the clearance to leave the scene and go to the nearest hospital.

 

Julio hadn't left her side since he had helped her get up from the floor. He and Amy had accompanied her to the ambulance while Nolan and Tao had helped Provenza do the same. Sharon had sent Amy to check on the Lieutenant, knowing that his grumpiness wouldn't affect her, and decided to let Julio stay with her until Andy arrived. She was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn't realize she hadn't answered Julio until he cleared his throat.

 

"Ma'am?" He softly asked.

"I'm fine, Julio." She replied, her voice a lot raspier than she would have liked.

"You don't sound fine to me." Andy said from the door of the ambulance, startling them a bit.

 

After a silent conversation with Julio, making sure that he was alright, Andy focused on the woman sitting semi-upright on the stretcher. If looks could kill, he would be on his way to Morales for a full post-mortem exam. Determined to ignore her glare, he put his most charming smile on his face.

 

"Lieutenant Flynn, it's nice that you've decided to join us." Sharon said in full Darth Raydor mode. Before he could say anything, she turned her head to the detective currently sitting on the small ambulance bench next to her. "Julio, could you please go check on Lieutenant Provenza for me?"

"Of course, ma'am." He replied, standing up from his seat. He jumped down from the ambulance and patted Andy's shoulder. "It's been nice knowing you, Lieutenant." He told Andy before leaving the couple alone.

 

After taking a deep breath, Andy climbed into the ambulance. Still ignoring the glare she was sending his way, he approached her and dropped a light kiss on her forehead before he carefully sat down right next to her hip, facing her.

 

"Hey, babe." He said, smiling softly at her.

 

Grimacing from the pain on her side, Sharon took of the oxygen mask before grabbing him from his tie and pulling him forward, slamming her lips against his in a forceful, almost desperate kiss. It took Andy a couple of seconds to respond, having been caught off guard by Sharon's kiss. His hands moved to frame her face, slightly deepening the kiss. When the need for air overpowered her, she leant back a bit, releasing his lips. She shook her head, needing a few seconds to clear her thoughts before speaking to him.

 

"I'm extremely pissed at you right now." Sharon told him, her voice barely loud enough for him to hear her. "But I'm also extremely glad that you're alright." She said, a little out of breath from the kiss they had shared and her current condition. "I was so worried." She finished, closing her eyes and leaning to rest her forehead against his.

"You can chew me out later, okay?" He replied, gently caressing her cheek with the back of his fingers while he clasped his other hand with one of hers and gave her a gentle squeeze. "I'm fine. Right now, I'm more worried about you."

 

She was about to reply when she suddenly turned her head to the side and began to cough. Her arms automatically moved to hold her chest while Andy helped her lean against the upraised head of the stretcher. An EMT, who had decided to give his patient a little bit of privacy but had stayed nearby to monitor her, climbed into the back of the ambulance just as the alarm of the pulse oximeter attached to her finger went off. He quickly put the oxygen mask back on her face and silenced the alarm.

 

"Captain, no more talking. Okay?" He sternly told her before looking at Andy and asking him to move out of his way so he could have access to his patient. "I know it hurts but try to take a couple of deep breaths." He instructed her, grabbing the stethoscope that had been hanging around his neck and checking her lungs.

 

Despite the pain, Sharon closed her eyes and breathed deeply. "Oh God. This hurts." She groaned. The EMT shushed her, turning up a notch the oxygen flow of her mask before he began rechecking her blood pressure. Sharon opened her eyes again and turned her head to the side to look at Andy, who was crouched against the ambulance wall trying to stay out of the way. She extended her arm towards him so he could take her hand. He immediately did, giving her a squeeze before bringing it to his lips to gently kiss the back of her hand.

 

"Still a bit lower than I'd like." The EMT said, referring to Sharon's BP.

Before he could say anything more, his partner spoke to him from the driver's seat. "We're cleared to go."

"Are you riding with us, Lieutenant?" The EMT asked Andy. Once he received a nod in reply, he closed the ambulance doors and carefully maneuvered Andy to sit on the build-up bench at the side of the vehicle. After sitting himself next to Sharon, so he could monitor her on their way to the hospital, he double-knocked on the wall separating them from the driver. "Let's go, Jimmy. Lights and sirens, please!"

 


 

 

For the second time that day, Andy was waiting to check on two of the most important people in his life (not that he would ever admit that to Provenza). The difference between the waiting room and City Hall was the presence of the rest of the team. Amy had arrived with Provenza a couple of minutes after he and Sharon did; Mike, Julio and Nolan had arrived a few minutes later, having taken their own car to the hospital. Neither his badge nor his status as Sharon's fiancé had granted him access to stay with her once they crossed the ER doors, leaving a pissed off Lieutenant in the caring hands of his colleagues and friends.

 

It felt like an eternity even if it had only taken forty-five minutes for someone to come to the waiting room looking for them.

 

"Provenza and Raydor?" The nurse asked loudly.

The team quickly got to their feet and approached her. They stood there, in silence, and let Andy talk. "I'm her fiancé." He said. "Provenza's wife is on the way with Sharon's youngest son."

"Are you Andy Flynn?" She said after looking at the clipboard on her hand.

"Yes." Andy anxiously replied.

"Ok. I have permission from both of them to explain to you their current status. If you follow me, I'll take you to them and the doctor will stop by shortly to talk to them and to you."

"Are they alright?" Mike asked.

"Yes, they are sir. Mr. Flynn?" She said, inviting him to follow her with her hand.

"We'll send Patrice and the kid your way once they get here, sir." Julio assured him, guessing what was making him hesitate.

"Thanks. I'll text you as soon as I see them." Andy replied with a smile.

 

Andy followed the nurse through the double doors into the ER. As they walked down the main hallway, the nurse used the time to put Andy up to date. "They're both gonna be perfectly fine. We've been told they were the last ones to leave the room and the shockwave knocked them down. Both their x-rays were clear and didn't show any signs of severe lung or chest injuries. Mr. Provenza has responded well to the supplemental oxygen and painkillers; Ms. Raydor has a couple of bruised ribs and still has a bit of trouble breathing due to the pain." She explained.

 

The nurse stopped in front of a closed door and turned to look at Andy. "As you can see, the ER is a bit overcrowded today. It's not standard procedure but we put them together in a cubicle so they could have some privacy." She said. "You can stay with them. The doctor will be with you shortly. If you need anything, press the call button." She told him, smiling.

"Thank you." Andy replied before opening the door and stepping into the room.

 

Before Andy could utter a word, Provenza started talking. "Please, tell me you're getting me out of here." He said, almost pouting.

Andy looked at him and pointed to the nasal cannula left forgotten on his partner's bed. "Shouldn't you be using that?" He told him, eyebrow raised.

"I'm perfectly fine, ready to get the hell out of here. It's Darth Raydor over here-" Provenza said pointing to Sharon, laying on the bed next to his. She was still wearing an oxygen mask and had her eyes closed. "-who needs to be fussed over."

 

Sharon groaned but didn't open her eyes. "If it didn't hurt so much, I'd throw something at you." She told Provenza.

"They've given her some Vicodin and she's a bit high." Provenza explained to Andy. "You've never told me she got high on painkillers so easily." He continued, smirking at them.

"Keep talking and I'll make Andy smother you with your own pillow." Sharon said.

"See what I have to put up with?" Provenza complained, pointing again at her with an exasperated look on his face. "Lightweight." He muttered.

"Shut up, old man. You won't get any sympathy from me. Patrice'll be here shortly, you can complain to her. I'm sure it'll go well." Andy told him while he took the couple of steps that separated him from Sharon's bed.

 

He took her hand and placed a kiss on her forehead before he carefully sat down on the bed, next to her hip. "Hey babe." He softly greeted her.

Sharon opened her eyes and looked at him, her sight unfocused but pleading at the same time. "Please, get me out of here?" She whispered. "He's driving me crazy."

"I can hear you!" They heard from the next bed.

 

They both ignored him, too glad to see each other to care about Provenza's complaints. "How are you feeling?" Andy asked her, trying to keep the concern off of his voice but failing miserably.

"The Vicodin helped, it doesn't hurt so much now." She replied.

"The nurse told me you bruised your ribs but everything else is fine." He softly explained to her while squeezing her hand.

"Yeah, well, that's what happens when you wait until everyone is out of the room and a bomb goes off on your ass." Provenza let out.

Sharon used her free hand to pull off the oxygen mask and nodded towards the pillow she was holding against her chest, sending Andy a pleading look. "Throw this at him for me, please."

 

Andy had to suppress a chuckle, the free comedy show they were giving him would had made him laugh out loud in any other circumstances but, right at that moment, he was still worried about them and he wouldn't be doing anyone any favors if he began laughing at them.

 

"You should put this back on." Andy told Sharon, grabbing the oxygen mask and giving it to her.

"No, thanks. I'm feeling overwhelmed with this thing on my face." She said, knocking it out of his hand and closing her eyes, wanting to put an end to the conversation.

"You can't take it off unless the doctor tells you otherwise. These are the rules." He said, grabbing it again and handing the offending item to her.

"I don't care about the rules." Sharon replied, eyes still closed.

"God, you really are high." Andy muttered while ignoring her protests as he helped her put the oxygen mask back on again.

"You drive me crazy." She told him, hugging the pillow closer to her chest.

"Tell me something I don't know." He replied, giving her his most charming smile.

 

Any further conversation was put to the side when the door opened and the doctor entered the room, closely followed by a worried Patrice and a scared Rusty who had just arrived.

 

 


 

 

The condo was quiet and Andy couldn't sleep. Once the doctor had released Sharon and Provenza, with instructions to take it easy for a few days and to return to the ER if any of their symptoms worsened, Julio had taken Andy, Sharon and Rusty home. The kid had ordered dinner while Andy had helped Sharon take a shower and change into comfortable clothes. Then, the three of them had eaten together and retired for the evening.

 

More than three hours had gone by and Andy's eyes were still wide open. He was exhausted yet still unable to fall asleep. He didn't want to disturb Sharon so he got up and went to the kitchen to fix himself a cup of chamomile tea. Steaming cup in hand, he opened the balcony door and stepped outside. Andy welcomed the coldness of the night and the gentle breeze hitting his bare arms. With the cup cradled between his hands, he rested his forearms on the railing and took a deep breath, slowly releasing the air while his sight wandered around, his eyes unable to focus on anything in particular.

 

He was worried; worried about Sharon and her injuries. The doctor had assured them that she'd be fine but every time she grimaced in pain at the slightest movement felt like a needle puncturing his heart. He worried about his job and the consequences of the stunt he had pulled early in the day, disregarding the rules even if he had done it convinced it had been the right thing to do; and he would do it again without thinking about it twice. What he was really worried about was the position he had put Sharon in. They hadn't talked about it yet and he wasn't sure if he wanted to have that particular conversation with her at all.

 

Andy was so lost in thought that he didn't hear the balcony door being opened behind him. Sharon stepped outside and caressed his arm, trying not to startle him.

 

"Hey." She said, taking his hand and squeezing it gently.

"Hey." He softly replied. "Why are you up?" He asked, abandoning his mug on the table and wrapping his arms around her.

Sharon welcomed the hug and rested her head on his chest. "I was cold. I rolled over to snuggle into you but you weren't there."

"And..." Andy prompted her.

"And I might have forgotten about my ribs in the process." Sharon easily admitted.

Looking at the watch on his wrist, Andy attempted to release her so he could grab her meds but Sharon, despite the pain on her side, tightened her hold onto him. "Let me go fetch your painkillers." He told her.

"In a minute. I'm comfy right now." She replied, smiling when he grunted while keeping her close to his body at the same time.

 

They spent the next few minutes in silence, enjoying the closeness of their bodies and the comfort they were able to give each other without using words. Once Andy noticed that Sharon was falling asleep in his arms, he carefully moved to prompt her to go back inside.

 

"Come on, let's grab your meds and go back to bed." He whispered in her ear before kissing the side of her head.

Before he could move another muscle, Sharon raised her head and looked at him directly, concern clearly showing on her face. "Andy, do you need a meeting?"

"No, babe, not right now. I'll go to one later in the day, though." He quickly answered wanting to ease her concerns.

"Then? Why are YOU up?"

"You kept punching me in your sleep." He joked as an attempt to keep the focus of the conversation away from himself.

"No, I didn't." Sharon replied, slightly offended.

"You're right. You didn't." Andy said, smiling wickedly at her. "Not tonight, anyway."

"Andrew!" She exclaimed while her fiancé softly laughed.

 

Her hands found his cheeks and she stood on her tiptoes to kiss his lips before she rested her forehead against his. "I know you are worried." Sharon began. "But I'll be fine in a couple of days."

"I know." He replied after kissing her again.

"So, what is it then?" She asked him once again.

"Babe, you're exhausted. You were falling asleep on me a couple of minutes ago. Let's go to bed." He insisted.

"I won't be able to sleep until I'm sure you're alright and you won't be alright until you tell me what's going on in that thick head of yours." Sharon told him, poking his chest with her finger.

"Can we, at least, relocate? You're starting to shiver and we'll be more comfortable in our room than standing here on the balcony."

"If you insist." She said, trying to sound annoyed but failing when a yawn followed her words.

"I do." He replied, taking the hand she had resting on his chest and gently making her follow him inside.

 

Once he had her laying on their bed again, Andy quickly went back to the kitchen to fetch Sharon's meds and a glass of water. She took them without complaining, much, and settled back in bed with Andy by her side. He was sitting with his back against the headboard so, with a mountain of pillows behind her back to support her body, she did the same and rested her head on his shoulder.

 

"Are you comfortable?" Andy asked before dropping a kiss on the top of her head.

"As much as I can be." She quickly replied. "Now, start talking."

 

Andy chuckled. "Weren't you the boss only at work?" He said, teasing her while trying to postpone the inevitable.

"Weren't you supposed to follow your doctor's orders?" She replied without any malice in her voice; she was too tired for that.

"I did what I had to do, Sharon." He told her. "I don't even want to think about what would have happened if I hadn't gone after him and delayed his plan."

 

She wanted to talk, she really wanted to tell him what was on her mind, but she knew he wasn't finished. She remained silent and waited for him to continue. It took him about a minute to gather his thoughts.

 

"I don't care about a new reprimand in my file. With my age, and at this point in my career, another one won't make a difference. I'm happy with my rank and where I am. I'm worried about the consequences this might have for you." His last admission surprised her. She raised her head to look at him but, before she could open her mouth, he continued. "We both are more than aware that the top brass, and his Holiness, aren't happy with us being in the same division. You've been fighting with them since my heart attack to keep me on the team regardless of my current status. You think I don't notice these things but I do." He explained after seeing the surprised look on her face. "They think you're keeping me on the team because of our relationship. They don't know you'd do the same for anyone on the team; they don't remember, or they don't want to, that you did the same for Julio." He stopped to take a deep breath. "I don't want to cause you any more problems."

"I told you before, and I'm going to tell you again, I've been looking after my own career for a long time, I don't need you for that." She raised her finger to stop him from talking before he even opened his mouth. "My turn." She told him. "With that said, I appreciate that you care. I don't want you to worry about that. Am I angry at you for going after the bastard behind my back? Of course I am! But not because of what you think. As you implied before, I'd be pretty much dead if you hadn't. Let me deal with the Vatican and whoever has a problem with what you did."

"But Sharon..." He began.

"You disregarded your doctor orders." She continued, ignoring his interruption. "But everything else you did it by the book. You called Chief Howard and told him what was going on, you asked for backup, you found the suspect and gave us enough time to clear the room and avoided mass casualties. I'm not sure if I should write you a reprimand or a commendation."

"They're gonna use this to knock you out of the race." Andy told her.

"Honey, I don't want to be Chief. You're happy where you are. You know what? So am I. I love my job and our team. Why would I want to leave it?"

"More money and a bigger office, perhaps?" He joked, wanting to lighten the mood.

"Then I should have accepted the NFL job." She deadpanned. At the chuckle that had followed her statement, she smiled at him. Gently caressing his cheek with her hand, she leant to kiss his lips. "Andy, we'll deal with whichever consequences we might have to face, ok? Together." Sharon told him, looking at him directly in the eyes.

"Okay."

 

 


 

A week later

 

An hour had passed since Chief Howard had left with Sharon and the team was nervously waiting for her return. They were almost finished sorting through the things that the LAFD had been able to recover from the Murder Room, the room itself still off-limits from anyone outside the Fire Department until it was declared safe. Mike was working with SID on the evidence recovered from the Murder Room while Provenza was nowhere to be seen. That had left Andy, Julio, Amy and Nolan to finish the job (not that Provenza had been any helpful before, sitting on a chair with his crossword and shouting orders, claiming that his doctor still hadn't cleared him for field work).

 

They all turned around when they heard the elevator. The doors opened and Provenza stepped out followed by a confused-looking Mike Tao.

 

"Are you done?" The Lieutenant asked his team.

"Yeah, no thanks to you." Andy grumpily replied.

"I had other things to do." He said dismissively.

"Like what?" Amy asked, amused.

"Things, Sykes, grown up things." Provenza told her while the rest of the team tried to contain their laughter. "Since I'm in charge right now..."

"Since when?" Nolan asked, interrupting him.

"Since our dear Captain isn't here right now and she hasn't been cleared for duty yet. This leaves me in charge and it's my prerogative to end our day early and-"

"It's noon." Mike said from behind him.

"As I said, early. You all are going to gather your things and follow me to the Cantina where we'll have lunch and drink margaritas - not you, Flynn - and we'll celebrate the fact that we're not dead."

"I'm in." Julio quickly said.

"Me too." Nolan followed.

 

The rest agreed quickly, except Andy, that looked at the hallway behind him and down at his phone before raising his eyes to look at the team again.

 

"For the love of God!" Provenza exclaimed. "Text your wicked half and tell her to join us there once she's done. She isn't supposed to be working, anyway."

"Wicked half?" Andy said, already texting Sharon. "She'll love to hear this."

"I've been calling her that for almost two decades, it won't come as a surprise."

"I thought you'd stopped, sir." Julio told him.

"Not in my head." He quickly replied, even if he knew it wasn't true. The rest of them didn't have to know. "Come on, I'm starving. Someone call Buzz to let him know and let's go."

 


 

 

Sharon was still in shock when she entered the Cantina, the box with her new stars feeling heavy inside her purse. It wasn't difficult for her to find the team. It looked like they were a couple of rounds ahead and they were making quite a bit of noise. Andy was the first to notice her; he'd been looking at the door every few minutes, and stood up to greet her. Once she was next to him, Andy took her hand between his ones and looked at her, eyebrow raised. She smiled and, even if she wasn't comfortable with PDAs in front of the team, she gave him a quick peck on the lips before taking off her blazer and sitting down on the empty seat between Mike and Andy. Mike handed her a margarita and Julio moved the nachos' platter and the guacamole closer to her.

 

After taking a big sip of her drink and eating a couple of nachos, she realized that her team was staring at her, in silence. She raised an eyebrow at them and said: "What?"

"So, who's-" Andy began to ask but was interrupted by Nolan.

"Are you the new Assistant Chief?" He quickly asked.

Sharon snort-laughed a little when she saw Andy's face, the scowl he was wearing very similar to the one he always had when Mike mentioned Badge of Justice. She patted his hand before answering. "No, I'm not." The look of disappointment on everyone's face almost made her laugh. "I didn't know you were so eager to get rid of me!" She joked.

"You'd been a wonderful Chief, ma'am, even if we would had been stuck with the Lieutenant as our boss." Julio told her.

"Thank you, Julio." She told him, smiling. "Before you ask, our new Chief is Leo Mason."

"Ass-kisser." Provenza muttered, louder than he thought because everybody heard him and began to laugh at his expense.

"So, you don't mind, Captain?" Amy asked her.

"Commander." Sharon immediately replied.

 

They all fell silent, trying to process what they had just heard. Meanwhile, Sharon picked the box from inside her purse and opened it before putting it in the middle of their table. "The correct sentence, Amy, is 'you don't mind, Commander?'."

"They finally promoted you?" Andy asked, squeezing her hand.

"Chief Mason did." Sharon replied.

 

It took only a couple of seconds before cheers and applauses erupted from the people on her team. They all got up to give her a hug and to congratulate her. Everybody except Provenza who, when the rest turned to look at him expectantly, he simply shrugged his shoulders and stood up too. “I don’t do hugs.” He simply announced.

 

Instead of a hug, he grabbed his drink and turned to face his commanding officer. “But I do toasts, when necessary.” He looked at her and had to suppress a smile at seeing her so at ease with them, with Andy’s arm around her waist and a big smile on her face. Raising his glass, he said: “To Commander Sharon Raydor, soon to be Flynn, I’m glad it’s you and not me!”

 

THE END