Pieces of My Heart: or The True Story of What Happens When Two Stubborn People Fall in Love



 
 
~1~
 
 
 
Title: Accidental Babies
Rating: PG
Warnings: mild swearing
Characters/Pairings: past Sheridan/Other, pre-Sheridan/Luis
Summary: prompt: pregnancy test. “You’re late.”
 
 

“You’re late.”

Wincing at Luis’s choice of words, Sheridan eased the door to his office shut and slowly turned to face him. Taking a deep breath, she decided to make a concession in the hopes of lessening his anger, “I know. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

If anything, Luis’s anger seemed to grow, and he stood up from his seat, tossing a file onto the desk that seemed to take up all the available space in the small room (the space that wasn’t occupied by Luis anyway).

Sheridan’s blue eyes narrowed in recognition, her own name scrawled boldly across the top in Luis’s hand. She looked up to find Luis’s dark eyes boring into her, and it spoke to the day that she had already had that she didn’t meet the challenge in those condemning eyes head-on, launch into a spirited defense of herself. His greeting words echoed again in her ears, only this time she heard them in Gwen’s sympathetic voice, and in Dr. Russell’s detached, professional tone, and feeling unsteady on her feet, she leaned back heavily against the door, uncaring as Luis railed at her, the floor seemingly tilting and spinning beneath her feet.

“You’re damn right it won’t happen again,” Luis vowed. “Nobody is above the law. Not even a Crane like you. Community service is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t report you to the judge right now and have your spoiled little behind carted off to jail.” His tirade finished, Luis swore beneath his breath. “You’re not even listening to me.”

Sheridan was disconcerted to discover he was less than a foot away from her when she opened her eyes, staring at her with an unreadable expression on his face, like she was some puzzle he couldn’t figure out. “I’m listening,” she insisted, sweat beading her brow as she tried to swallow back the rise of bile in the back of her throat. She didn’t realize she was swaying on her feet until Luis’s large hands reached out to steady her. He couldn’t possibly be concerned about her, a Crane, could he, hater as he was of all things Crane? “I had an appointment. It took a little longer than I expected. It won’t happen again, okay? I give you my word.”

Luis didn’t scoff at her as she expected. A hint of kindness, a glimmer of the decent, upstanding man she knew him to be (to everyone but her, Ethan, Cranes in general) shone through, softened his hard expression as he let go of her, stepped back slowly. “Are you…is everything…”

Sheridan felt unexpected laughter bubble up in the face of his uncharacteristic concern, and a smile tugged at her lips as she reassured (or let the wind out of his sails, truth be told) him, “Sorry to let you down, but I haven‘t been diagnosed with a terminal illness.”

Her needling irked Luis and he frowned at her. “Too bad,” he snapped. “For a minute there, I thought I had cause for celebration, getting rid of your pain in the ass self. I don‘t care if you‘re contagious. If this is the way you think you‘re getting out of your community service, you‘re dreaming, Crane. Now go home. You‘ve already made me late to the station as it is. And if you‘re late again tomorrow,” Luis trailed off in warning.

Sheridan clutched her purse to her side, a secretive smile on her lips as she replied, “Don’t worry, Supercop. I’ll be here.”

Baby on board.
 



 
 
~2~
 

 
Title: D is for Dangerous
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: off-screen use of alcohol, swearing, sexual situations
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan/Luis
Summary: prompt: alcohol. “It’s 3 a.m. Normal people are in bed right now.”



“Crane!” Luis bellowed, leaning heavily against Sheridan’s door. “Open up.” Pounding on the door some more, he yelled, “Open the damn door!”

Tugging the belt of her robe tighter around her waist, Sheridan hurried down the stairs of her otherwise quiet and dark home, turning on lights as she went and wrenching the door open when she reached it. She hissed her displeasure at Luis. “It’s 3 a.m. Normal people are in bed right now.” Her words didn’t seem to register with Luis, and more than just his unexpected presence on her doorstep, his demeanor, and the
wild look in his dark eyes as he crowded past her taking up space in her narrow foyer (and not just encroaching on, but obliterating her personal space), unnerved her.

Impossibly, Luis stepped even closer to Sheridan, an unsettling, unreadable expression overtaking his handsome face as he barked out the obvious, “You’re not in bed.”

For the first time, Sheridan smelled the alcohol on Luis’s breath, the heavy stench of cigarette smoke that clung to his rumpled clothes, and her heartbeat picked up with the realization that this wasn’t the Luis she knew, this wasn’t him at all. She swallowed hard against a throat that was suddenly dry. “I was.” She could feel the solid, powerful heat of him through the thin silk material of her robe, and feelings she’d thought she’d successfully buried (deep) started to make a traitorous resurgence. His harsh demeanor made her bristle. Yet, she couldn’t help but think his anger was nothing more than a mask of his real feelings, emotions he obviously didn‘t welcome, equal parts worry and want. She quickly shut off that train of thought and deftly sidestepped Luis, ready to throw him out, when he stopped her in her tracks.

“You should be.”

Her hand, white-knuckled, on the door knob, Sheridan refused to rise to his baiting tone and pointedly reminded him, “So should you.” Sighing when he showed no indication to leave, she went against all her reservations and pushed the door shut, lifting searching blue eyes to his familiar face, tonight wearing an expression so foreign to her beneath the
belligerent façade, she wouldn’t, couldn’t, believe it. Sure, they’d left full-out antagonism behind a while ago, but this? Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald didn’t want her, Sheridan Crane. It was unfathomable, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that something momentous had to have occurred for him to look at her the way he was looking at her now. Shaking her head at him, she walked past, intent on retrieving sheets and a pillow from the linen closet. “Make yourself comfortable on the couch then. I’m going back to bed.”

Luis snared Sheridan by the hand before she could get far. “I’m not drunk,” he insisted. His fingers gentled around her wrist at her sharp intake of breath, and he reeled her closer.

Sheridan’s blue eyes considered him, her mind revisited their brief but eventful history, from outright adversarial, forced co-existence to reluctant, earned respect, and her response was weighted. “You’re not exactly sober either.” Still, she didn’t stop him when his other hand settled low and with bruising possession on her waist, and he eliminated the space between them in two deliberate steps. There was a rough desperation in his touch that rendered her powerless to resist him. Something wasn’t right here, and she wanted to call him on it, but she settled for light condemnation, “This isn’t you, Luis.” Her breath stuttered past her lips when the hand on her wrist migrated to her waist to join its twin (taking a few interesting scenic detours along the way). His long, blunt fingers tangled in the belt of her robe, and his dark, smoldering eyes stared at her mouth as she rambled on in increasingly nonsensical words. “You don’t want me. You don’t even like me. You only put up with me because…” she trailed off as her back met the wall with a thud, momentarily knocking the breath out of her, and she could only stare at her own hands in their newfound position on his chest. “Luis, what happened tonight? Was it a case? Is that what’s bothering you?”

Luis’s hands had loosened and untied the belt of Sheridan’s robe as she’d been speaking, and they parted the silk material, stealing inside to settle low on her hips. His thumbs dipped just below the elastic edge of her underwear and stroked the warm skin there. “Who said anything’s bothering me?” he dismissed her concerns with what amounted to a low, forceful growl. “I‘m fine.”

Through sheer force of will, Sheridan kept her voice steady as she answered him, her touch light on his worry-furrowed brow as her fingertips sought his face. “You wouldn’t be here if you were fine. You can talk to me. I’ll listen,” Sheridan’s promised. For the first time, she saw hints of the real Luis in the man that stared back at her with tortured dark eyes. Her relief was short-lived though, when his hands slid around to cup her backside and pull her into him as her fingers threaded in his hair.

“I don’t want to talk, Sheridan.” Luis ground out, resting his forehead against hers. “I want…”

“What do you want, Luis?” Sheridan pressed on, growing ever more aware of her half-naked state, and the growing evidence of just what he wanted. Her hands trembled and curled around the nape of his neck when he answered her not with words but by closing the miniscule distance between them and capturing her bottom lip between both of his own in a kiss that was surprisingly gentle given the dark place from which he wouldn’t let her draw him out. Sheridan felt herself growing warm, liquid, and compliant to the demands of his insistent mouth and body as he kissed her into a sighing response.

One kiss became two, three, a kindling fire gaining force and intensity, and Luis chased Sheridan’s robe from her shoulders with his desperately seeking hands. His mouth mapped her lips, her neck, her shoulders, and the full curve of her breast where he’d pushed the thin spaghetti strap of her camisole down with urgency. It took Sheridan’s soft, hesitant touch over his pounding heart to slow his frenzied movements, calm his mouth on hers to a gentle clinging and reluctant release of lips, and he pulled back to stare into her blue eyes, filled with desire but also with questions he couldn’t answer, at least not tonight. “Sheridan.” He looked down at her hands, that had finished unbuttoning his shirt and now rest on his bare shoulders beneath his parted shirt. “Sheridan,” he repeated, his own dark eyes turbulent with emotions he didn‘t dare lay name to. “I…”

Impulsively, Sheridan hushed Luis with a kiss, unconsciously offering him the comfort of her body, and her arms wound around his neck, hanging on for dear life as the kiss sparked and blazed out of control, an inferno of years’ worth of repressed feelings. She moaned into Luis’s mouth when his big hands slipped beneath her thin night shirt, skated across her ribcage, and cupped the sensitive mounds of her breasts in his palms. Her nipples tightened under the teasing stroke of his thumbs, and they broke apart, Sheridan panting lightly against Luis’s mouth. This wasn’t the Luis she knew, but she was powerless in that moment to willingly deny him anything he wanted, and they both knew it. A question was asked, and answer received, from blue eyes to brown, and Sheridan started to lean back in to kiss Luis again, only to have reality come crashing down harshly around them with the sound of one voice, one word.

“Mama!”




 
 
~3~
 


Title: Goodbye Time
Rating: G, PG tops
Warnings: character death
Characters/Pairings: Kay, Jessica, original character
Summary: prompt: funeral. “Nemo was a good fish. He lasted a record three months.”


 
 
“This is nuts,” Kay grumbled beneath her breath as her knees pressed into the soft, damp earth. “We should have just flushed Nemo down the toilet when she wasn’t looking.”

“Kay,” Jessica chastised beside her, wearing the appropriate mournful expression when the honey-curled toddler turned her huge, wet blue eyes and irresistible pout on them, cradling the small pink box that held the late, great Nemo the Third inside.

Kay rolled her dark eyes at her sister and inspected the dirt beneath her fingernails, but she melted into a ball of soft, gooey mush when two (and an all-important half) year-old Emma Crane tucked her tiny self trustingly underneath Kay’s arm and sniffled into her shirt.

Jessica gently took the box holding Nemo from the little girl’s hands, tucked the leftover pink, sparkly princess birthday napkin around the goldfish’s lifeless body and rest the wilting dandelion Emma had picked herself on top. Closing the box with a quiet snap, she scooted forward on her knees and started scooping handfuls of dirt in her hands to cover it. When she was finished, and the dirt was packed down, Nemo the Third’s small mound stood with his predecessors. Standing up and brushing the knees of her jeans off, she held out her hands for Emma, and Kay (reluctantly) relinquished her.

Kay stood up beside them, dusting the particles of dirt and blades of grass from Emma’s clothes and retying the loose yellow ribbon clinging for dear life to one curly pigtail. She hesitated to wipe Emma’s tears from her cheeks with her own grimy hands, but Jessica solved that little problem by patting the evidence of the toddler’s grief dry with the hem of her pink and yellow tee-shirt. She shared a frown with Jessica when the action only seemed to breed more tears, and in an effort to console the emotional child, she tried to entice her with one of her favorite treats. “Why don’t we go see Mrs. Grace for some cookies and lemonade?”

Emma shook her head, further tumbling her curls in disarray, and pressed her tear-dampened cheek against Jessica’s breastbone. “Nemo need pray night-night.”

“She’s right,” Jessica pressed a kiss to the glossy crown of curls, ignoring her sister’s incredulous glare. “It’s your turn,” she reminded Kay, tamping down a smile lest Emma catch on to the silent argument that passed between both sisters with nothing more than a curling of lips here, a glare there, and a conversation that was all in the eyes (a talent bred from birth).

“You’re much better at it than I am,” Kay insisted mockingly. Silently, she tacked on Goody-Two-Shoes, but somehow, Jessica knew anyway and merely chastised her with a downward glance at the disconsolate toddler they were both way too attached to (babysitting for Sheridan Crane had seemed like a good idea at the time, easy cash, and since she’d moved in just down the street, prime locationthey were both suckers, really, she and Jessica, as the kid had wrapped them and almost every other taller human being within the Harmony city limits around her cute, chubby fingers). “Okay,” Kay finally relented with a groan. Her brain scrambling to find the appropriate words, she began, “Nemo was a good fish. He lasted a record three months.”

“Kay,” Jessica reached out to pinch her sister’s side.

Kay’s answering glare melted into shame with one look into those sad, but adoring, blue eyes, and she launched into a tried and true childhood staple. “Now I lay me down to sleep…”

Emma chimed in with a sniffly, “So to keep.”

Kay knew it wouldn’t be the last burial they’d oversee, and nearly two months later, she was proven right when they regretfully laid to rest Dorie the First.

At least Sheridan got to lead the prayer that time.




 
 
~4~


 
Title: Fairy Tales and Castles
Rating: G
Warnings: cotton-candy fluff count? Nah? None, then.
Characters/Pairings: pre-Sheridan/Luis, Pilar, one-sided Theresa/Ethan
Summary: prompt: puppy love. They were dealing with one of the most expansive cases of puppy love she’d ever seen, and Theresa, with her wide open heart and head filled with dreams, would be too easily hurt, even with the most innocent of intentions gone wrong.
 



The house needed a lot of work, but Sheridan had fallen in love with it as soon as she’d seen it, and it had been a no-brainer, really, signing that dotted line, making it hers.

Luis, of course, had another opinion, one he reminded her of every trip up the creaky steps he took, boxes in his arms that made up her life as the newly independent Sheridan Crane, exiled (through her own choosing) from the Crane way of life, and the Crane fortune. “This place should be condemned. I should haul you to the station right now for child endangerment.”

“Ignore my brother, Sheridan,” Theresa appeared behind her brother at the top of the stairs, her brown eyes lively and dancing as she teased, “he’s just being a grouch. I love it. It has possibilities.”

“You think everything has possibilities,” Luis muttered as he stomped back down the way he had come. Passing his mother on the way down, he grumbled, “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

“Mi hijo,” Pilar chastised.

When Luis reached the bottom of the stairs, he glared at the sight of Ethan’s car pulling up behind his police jeep and quickly detoured to the kitchen.

When Sheridan heard him emphatically unpacking the meager amount of groceries she’d managed to bring along with her from the cottage, she shared a smile with the other two females in the room with her and shrugged as she picked up a pillow and held it against her chest, just above her burgeoning belly. “He’s trying.”

“Really hard,” Theresa agreed with a giggle.

“Really, really hard,” Sheridan found herself joining in Theresa’s infectious laughter. She leaned into the arm Pilar briefly cast around her shoulders and accepted the motherly kiss to her temple when the older woman decided to go rescue Luis from himself.

“I’ll go make sure he doesn’t over-exert himself,” Pilar volunteered, straight-faced. Only her twinkling brown eyes belied her helpless amusement.

When she had gone, Theresa decided to do a little exploring, and her journey found her in the room that had single-handedly erased the last of Sheridan’s doubts and launched her into making the first measurable effort into putting down roots for her unborn daughter. Though she herself had fallen in love with it at first sight, Sheridan had always known unequivocally she wouldn’t rest her head here. “Wow,“
Theresa turned to her, “Is this…”

Nodding, Sheridan joined Theresa at the window that looked out on the once lovingly kept yard with its abundance of colorful, fragrant flowers and the peaceful neighborhood she’d chosen to bring her daughter up in, storybook in its comparison to the impersonal mansion she’d lived in as a child. A cozy window seat lined the impressive panes, and Sheridan could picture, in her mind’s eye, her young daughter curled against a bed of fluffy pillows, book perched on her knees, sun spilling onto her hair as she read, completely enthralled in the magic of the book’s pages. “This is her room,” Sheridan confirmed.

“It’s like Rapunzel’s tower,” Theresa remarked. Belatedly, she rushed to add, “Without the whole captivity thing.”

“Without the whole captivity thing,” Sheridan agreed with a fond smile. Placing the pillow in her hands behind her back, she lowered herself to the window seat, Theresa following her, and listened as the teen dreamt up a room that was a virtual fairy tale for the little girl she carried, safely tucked close to her heart.

“A room fit for a princess,” Ethan remarked from his position in the doorway, his dear, handsome face sporting a happy smile at seeing his aunt, more happy and carefree (even with her entire life in major upheaval) than he could remember seeing her.

“A room fit for a princess,” Theresa echoed, blushing and ducking her head under the force of Ethan’s easy charm. Combing a heavy strand of dark hair behind her ear, she looked up again when Sheridan spoke.

“You should do it. Give this little girl her own castle,” Sheridan placed Theresa’s hand low on her belly, where the child inside her was kicking enthusiastically. “I think she likes the idea,” she smiled.

“But I wouldn’t even know where to start,” Theresa protested.

“That’s easy, Silly,” Sheridan teased. “From the beginning.”

Ethan left the doorway to join them, his blue eyes sparkling down at them. “Like Aunt Sheridan says, start from the beginning,” he encouraged. “I’ll even help.”

The adoration in Theresa’s large brown eyes was plain to see, at least to Sheridan, and she finally understood Luis’s ardent reservations where Ethan was concerned. They were dealing with one of the most expansive cases of puppy love she’d ever seen, and Theresa, with her wide open heart and head filled with dreams, would be too easily hurt, even with the most innocent of intentions gone wrong. “I don’t know, Ethan. You’re not much of a painter,” Sheridan hedged. Spying Luis in the doorway, standing over his mother’s shoulder and frowning at them, she suggested with a sly smile and a wicked twinkle of her own eyes, “Maybe you should get Supercop to help you. He’s an expert at staying between the lines.”

“You’re really milking this whole saving my life thing, aren’t you, Crane?” Luis glowered, while somehow, impossibly, looking pleased.

“As she should,” Pilar was quick to put her son in his place. “Mi hija,” she addressed Theresa. “Come. Help me with dinner.”

It was Sheridan’s turn to protest. “Pilar, you don’t have to…”

“I know,” Pilar cut her off. “I want to. I owe you. Theresita and her brothers and sister owes you. But mostly,” she raised a hand to touch Luis’s face, “this stubborn one owes you. In my son’s own words, milk this for all it is worth.” Pilar’s lips twitched at her son’s incredulous expression as she, Theresa, and Ethan vacated the room in quick succession.

Sheridan’s blue eyes widened in delighted surprise, and she found she could do no more than laugh while Luis looked on, stunned.

“I’ll help,” Luis gruffly agreed. “But you,” he pointed at her, waving his hand around the room, “can sit this one out. You don’t need to be around the paint fumes.”

“Careful, Supercop,” Sheridan bit her lips to contain her smile. “You actually sound concerned.”

“Yeah, well,” Luis answered. “You wouldn’t have had to save my life if I hadn’t had to save yours first, Crane. Somebody has to look out for that future spoiled little princess you’re carrying. I wouldn’t be surprised if she came out wearing a tiara.”

Hearing him say such a thing, Sheridan finally allowed her smile to escape. “You know what they say…if the crown fits.”



~5~


 
Title: Love Comes
Rating: G
Warnings: none, that I can think of
Characters/Pairings: mentions of Sheridan/Other, Sheridan, Eve, brief mentions of Gwen, Ethan, Luis
Summary: prompt: gloves. It seemed Jean-Luc had left behind more than just the knowledge that another man had used her for his own nefarious purposes, exploited the family name.
 
 


Sheridan donned the thin hospital gown with a mixture of fear and anticipation and climbed atop the uncomfortable examining table to wait for Dr. Russell. She didn’t have to wait long.

Eve entered the compact room with nothing more than a knock and the echoing click of her heels on the floor. Along with her white lab coat, she wore an expression of reserved professionalism, but she was not unkind, smiling to put Sheridan more at ease when it became apparent that she was alone. “The blood test already confirmed pregnancy,” she spoke. “I’m going to do a quick pelvic, and then we’re going to do an ultrasound that is going to allow me to see an image of the fetus and check its heartbeat. Understand?”

Biting her lip, Sheridan nodded, trembling within as Dr. Russell powered on the machine that was going to show her the first image of the life she carried inside her (it seemed Jean-Luc had left behind more than just the knowledge that another man had used her for his own nefarious purposes, exploited the family name). She thought of Gwen, who’d first dared to broach the possibility. She thought of Ethan, who, even now, waited for her outside, lovably clueless as to the real reason he was here. She thought of Luis, the man who’d alternatively made her return to Harmony a living hell and the invigorating challenge that kept her honest, encouraged her everyday to fight on. And she thought of her mother, whose hand she ached to hold, whose calming, lovely smile she remembered only from fuzzy photographs as she briefly let herself imagine what kind of mother she would be. She was jerked from her erstwhile thoughts when she heard the snap of latex.

Eve was efficient in her examination, confirming her prior diagnosis and advising Sheridan on her choices of local OB-GYN’s in and around Harmony before washing her hands and changing gloves. Grabbing a tube of lubricating gel in her steady hands, she dimmed the lights and placed a sheet over Sheridan‘s lower half before helping her push her gown up above her abdomen.

Still blinking to adjust her moist eyes to the newly dimmed room, Sheridan barely had time to absorb Dr. Russell’s soft words of warning before sucking in a deep, startled breath at the cold gel squirted on her abdomen. “You warned me,” Sheridan apologized. “I just wasn’t expecting…I’m sorry.”

“It gets better,” Eve reassured her. She picked up the wand to the machine and explained what Sheridan could anticipate. “You’ll feel a little bit of pressure while I try to locate the fetus’s position. It might feel a little uncomfortable but it won’t hurt. Ready?”

With effort, Sheridan managed to stay still, her eyes peeled on the grainy black screen in front of her. She gasped when the grainy image took on another, faint dimension, and a rapid swooshing suddenly filled the silence of the room. In awe, she murmured, “Is that…that‘s my…”

“That‘s the heartbeat,” Eve spoke the words Sheridan struggled to form. “Clear and strong and just as it should be. That‘s your baby.” She smiled reassuringly and twisted in her seat, dropping a box in Sheridan’s lap a few seconds later. She turned off the ultrasound machine, brightened the room with a flick of a switch, and paused at the door. “I’ll give you a few minutes to compose yourself, and then I’ll help you get an appointment set up with one of our OB-GYN’s here at the hospital.”

Sheridan nodded in acknowledgment and stared down at the box of Kleenex in her lap. It was only in that moment she realized her face was wet with tears.




 
 
~6~


 
 
Title: Your Head Holds Gold, Your Heart Holds Diamonds
Rating: PG
Warnings: I do say ass (as in smart-ass, lol), and there’s some light innuendo
Characters/Pairings: pre-Sheridan/Luis, original character
Summary: prompt: evidence. What happens after D is for Dangerous. She had all the evidence she needed. Not only could the man set her body on fire with his touch, he could easily steal her heart if she wasn’t looking. Maybe he already had.



Retying the belt of her robe, Sheridan entered the nursery to find her daughter standing, little fingers of one hand wrapped tightly around one of the bars of her crib, the tiny thumb of her other hand firmly rooted in her pouting pink mouth.

The baby’s thumb fell from her mouth as soon as she spied her mother. “Mama,” she cried tearfully. Both little hands wrapped around the rail of her crib, and she tottered unsteadily on her feet in anticipation of being picked up. “Mama,“ she cried mournfully, letting go of the rail to reach for Sheridan and falling on her diapered bottom.

Scooping the tiny child up, Sheridan cradled her close and soothed, “Mama’s here, Emma-bug. She’s got you.”

“Mama?” Emma babbled.

“Mama’s here,” Sheridan continued to croon, pressing kisses to the tear-sticky little face.

Emma soaked in her mother’s comfort and affection, tucking her sleep-rumpled honey curls beneath Sheridan’s chin and cramming her fingers into her mouth. “Mama,” she sighed, her tension and fright draining from her little body and leaving her limp and pliable in Sheridan’s arms. Her thick eyelashes fluttered against Sheridan’s skin like butterfly wings, and she started to drift, until a creaking board startled her back into alertness, and she lifted one glistening, damp hand to pat her mother’s face. “Ees.”

Sheridan slowly turned around to find Luis lingering in the open doorway, his shirt still unbuttoned, and his cuffs rolled up, exposing his powerful forearms. Emma’s sticky fingers had found their way to her mouth, touching and probing with curiosity as she was prone to do, and staring into his unreadable dark eyes, Sheridan felt her skin flush with the realization that her mouth still felt bruised from his kisses. Finding her voice with difficulty, she said, “You’re still here.”

Luis left the doorway to find his way to her side.

Sheridan felt shivers run up and down her spine at his nearness, the air between them still crackling with electricity. She held her breath as he reached out his hand, winding a softy, springy honey curl around his index finger as he smiled at her daughter. In a low voice, almost so low she had to strain to hear it, he made an admission.

“Maybe I had a little more to drink than I originally thought.”

Sheridan felt both relief and disappointment flood her system. “So I was right?”

“Not about everything,” Luis told her in an intense whisper. “May I?” he held out arms for Emma. “It’s the least I can do, seeing as I’m partially to blame for her being awake.”

Sheridan lifted a brow at his remark. “Only partially?”

“Choose your battles, Crane,” Luis warned, a playful glint in his dark eyes that dared her not to press her luck. “Now, can I have the kid or not?”

“Give it your best shot,” Sheridan declared, transferring the sleepy bundle in her arms to him. “She’s half-asleep again anyway. Even you can’t mess this one up.”

“Do I have to remind you who showed you how to change a diaper?” Luis came back strong, reminding her once again that he had been there, almost from the very beginning. “Go,” he insisted. “Get back in bed like a normal person,” he said, recalling a conversation that seemed light years away now. “I got this. Right, Emma?”

Her daughter responded by tucking herself deeper into Luis’s strong arms and snuggling close, making Sheridan’s heart twist painfully in her chest. “If you’re sure,” she finally managed.


“I’m sure,” Luis declared, folding his large frame into the cozy little window seat like an accordion and tucking a pink pillow behind his head as he readjusted Emma in his arms.

The ridiculous but endearing sight brought a smile to Sheridan’s lips, and she felt the stranglehold on her heart relax enough to allow her to tease him. “Just to be sure, I’m closing this door. You have had a little too much to drink tonight.” A slow grin came over Luis’s lips, and Sheridan felt her heart start to pound beneath her rib cage once more.

“Not that much, Crane,“ Luis told her meaningfully. “Now, am I going to have to tuck you into bed myself or not?”

Sheridan smirked, and despite Luis begging her not to answer what was supposed to be a rhetorical, harmless question, she couldn’t resist one of the smart-ass retorts that had made her famous around these parts, at least in a conversation with the man currently giving her an embarrassed smile. “Don’t worry, Supercop. I’m a big girl. Maybe next time?”

“In your dreams,” Luis had one last parting shot.

Sweet dreams, Sheridan thought as she eased the door shut. She had all the evidence she needed. Not only could the man set her body on fire with his touch, he could easily steal her heart if she wasn’t looking. Maybe he already had.

The newspaper delivered to her doorstep the next morning with its heartbreaking headlines (a single mother, her baby daughter, twisted metal and glass and skid marks on Coast Road) convinced her maybe she and Emma had wormed their way into his heart too.




 

~7~
 


Title: Tidal Wave
Rating: PG
Warnings: slight language, off-screen violence, other character death
Characters/Pairings: pre Sheridan/Luis, mentions of Roger and Pierre, mentions of Sam, original character
Summary: prompt: hero. I won’t let anything else bad happen to you, he promised.
 



“Is he…” Sheridan’s blue eyes were wide with terror and her hands had a death grip on the railing as she leaned over, staring into the dark, craggy abyss that plunged below the lighthouse. Pierre’s body, limp as a rag doll, had landed at a crazy angle, and she knew the truth even before Luis confirmed it. There was no way the French thug could have survived a fall like that. She caught a glimpse of Luis’s dark eyes, bright in the flashes of light provided by the rotating lighthouse lamp, and watched him search out the man that had held her prisoner for three exhausting, trying days amidst the whitecaps, and her hand sought out his and held on.

Luis pulled Sheridan into the protective circle of his arms when she began to crumple into tears. “He’s not going to hurt you anymore. Not him or Roger.” His arms tightened around her momentarily before he gently propelled her backward in order to get a better look at her.

Blood dripped from a small cut over Sheridan’s eyebrow, and an ugly bruise was beginning to form on her cheek from the French lowlifes’ first attack on her, but she was alive and breathing, and she had Luis to thank for that. Supercop had come through for her, big time. “Luis,” she tried as Luis run his hands over her gently, experimentally, cataloguing all her potential aches and hurts. “Luis,” she finally captured his hands and his attention again as they came to rest on her taut belly, beginning to tighten with the onset of another contraction, and his dark eyes flew to her face, for the first time noticing its pallor, the dampened hair at her temples.

This time, Luis’s own eyes widened with fright, but he only allowed Sheridan the briefest of glimpses of it. “You’re in labor.”

Through teeth gritted against the pain, Sheridan gasped out a confirmation. “My water broke a couple hours ago. I think…” a guttural moan tore from her throat and she blindly gripped the hands he helplessly offered. When the worst of the intense pain had passed, and she was able to form coherent thought again, she told him, no longer in doubt, “They’re getting closer together.” Glancing around at their surroundings, a sneaking suspicion began to dawn on her and she pleaded with Luis to put her at ease, “Please tell me you brought back-up.”

Luis didn’t say anything, merely tugged at her hand and led her back inside the small interior room, where the air was still cold, but the worst of the frigid wind was blocked. He shrugged off his jacket, spreading it out on the floor, and unbuttoned his cuffs to roll his shirt sleeves up.

Shivering from the cold and the pain that seemed to have set up permanent shop in her consciousness, Sheridan looked at Luis incredulously and began shaking her head. “No. No,” she snapped, teeth beginning to chatter. “You’re crazier than I thought if you think I’m having this baby here.”

Grimly, Luis removed his battery-depleted cell phone and tossed it aside in disgust. Moving around the small area, he discovered a scratchy wool blanket of sorts and offered it to Sheridan. “I don’t see that you have much choice. I like our chances better here than the stairwell, don’t you?” Softening with one look at the scared tears welling up in Sheridan’s blue eyes, he told her, “Sam’s a good cop. It shouldn’t take him long to figure out our location.” When Sheridan still didn’t look convinced, Luis grabbed onto her hand and squeezed it tightly. “I found you, didn’t I?” He combed her messy blond curls back from her face with a tender hand. “I won’t let anything else bad happen to you,” he promised. “To you or your baby. Now take your pants off.”

Her hands shaking, Sheridan struggled to do as he asked, her bloodless fingers making it difficult. When Luis pushed her hands away to take over the job, she tried to smile, but she was shivering too hard. “You’ve been dreaming about this moment, haven’t you, Supercop?”

“Since the day we met, Crane,” Luis quipped, tugging her zipper down and kneeling to push her pants the rest of the way down her long legs. His dark eyes never left her face as he removed her dampened panties, and he stood back up, his arms going around her as he helped ease her to his jacket below. “I’m sending you my dry cleaning bill when this is all over,” he told her.

“You’ll never have to do your own laundry again if you bring my daughter into this world safely,” Sheridan vowed.

“When,” Luis corrected her, arranging the blanket over her knees to give her as much modesty as they could afford.

Properly chastised, Sheridan nodded, biting her lip against the building pressure she felt in her lower region. “When.”

Fumbling for Luis’s offered hand, she struggled to breath like she’d practiced in all those stupid classes (not a single one of them had covered giving birth during hostage situations at heights many would consider not merely frightening but terrifying, forget the extreme weather conditions). Finally, crying out, she swore, “Dammit! I think I need to push.”

“Not yet,” Luis advised.

“Excuse me, Dr. Lopez-Fitzgerald,” Sheridan panted out (with sarcasm, no less), “but I…seriously doubt…you’re in…a posi…tion to tell…me otherwise.”

She was screaming by the end of her pissed off statement and she‘d flung his hand away, but Luis was really in no position to stop her or her body’s natural response. All he could do was hold on tightly to her trembling knees and offer his strong, mostly silent, support. By the end of the contraction, he had to admit she’d been right. “Sheridan,” he ran his hands up and down her calves comfortingly as the residual tremors seemed to seize her from the inside out. “I see her head.”

Her back pressed against the wall behind her, Sheridan struggled to catch her breath for the next contraction, and her blue eyes glittered feverishly at Luis. “You can?”

“She’s got a head full of beautiful hair,” Luis smiled. “Blonde. Like yours.”

Tiredly, Sheridan teased, “I think you just gave me a compliment, Supercop.”

“If anybody asks me, I’ll deny it,” Luis joked. He felt the tension rebuilding in her body, and he offered his hands to her again. He helped her through the contraction with tried and true distraction, and when it was over, Sheridan dropped back against the wall again in near-exhaustion, sweat beading her brow.

“I can’t believe this is happening. Why can’t I ever do things the normal way?” she lamented.

“It isn’t in your DNA,” Luis grinned at her, the knowledge real and deep and true, despite the relatively short time he’d known her. “Not in hers either. Look on the bright side,” he rubbed his thumbs idly across her kneecaps. “She’ll have a really cool story to tell all the other kids at school whenever it’s her birthday.”

“A cool story, huh? And what part will you play?” Sheridan began to bend forward, stifling a scream in her throat as the next fierce contraction ravaged her body.

Luis’s hands cradled the fragile head that had emerged, tufts of wispy light curls tickling his fingertips, and he chanced a glance up at Sheridan as soon as she was sufficiently, though temporarily, recovered. “The part of the hero, of course.”

“Where does that leave me?” Sheridan searched his handsome face, alert to the myriad of emotions at play there but in the dark as to most of their meanings.

“Every good story has to have a heroine too,” Luis answered her distractedly, sliding his fingers around the tiny shoulders and readying for the next contraction. Looking back up at Sheridan, he encouraged, “Listen. On the next push, I want you to really bear down, okay? I’ve almost got her shoulders out. It shouldn’t take much more to get the rest of her.”

For once, Sheridan followed Luis’s orders without complaint, and she wrapped her hands around her knees, giving it her all.

Luis’s hands closed protectively around the slippery little body, and with one last, determined, decisive push from Sheridan, he was holding the most beautiful little thing he had ever lain eyes on, and he felt a swell of emotion toward the little being the likes of he‘d never felt before. Cloudy blue eyes blinked up at him in confusion before he heard a most welcome sound. Shrugging his outer shirt off and wrapping it around the crying infant, he shared a smile with Sheridan. “Listen to that. No doubt about it. She inherited your lungs.”

For once, Sheridan didn’t even mind Luis’s wisecracks. Her arms outreached, she gratefully took the gift Luis gave her, tears rolling down her cheeks. “Oh, Luis. She’s so beautiful. Hi, baby. Hi, Emma.”

“Emma?” Luis looked to her questioningly, remembering a silly little game Theresa had insisted on (“Let‘s name Sheridan‘s baby“), a couple months ago at the Youth Center, and the tiny scrap of paper he’d slipped into the jar when no one had been looking, at least he thought no one had been looking. Something in Sheridan’s eyes told him differently.

Sheridan laughed at his own dumbfounded expression. “Over a hundred hours of community service, and you thought I wouldn’t recognize your handwriting? Besides, what better way to honor the man that’s a hero to both her and her mama? Luisa doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.”

“Yeah, well,” Luis gruffly rediscovered his power of speech. “If you weren’t so pigheaded, I wouldn’t have had to play hero again.”

“Don’t let Luis convince you otherwise, Emma,” Sheridan murmured into her baby daughter’s ear. “He likes us. No matter what he says.”

“Is that so?” Luis asked, a traitorous smile playing at his lips. From below, he heard the shouts of Sam and the rest of his men and knew reinforcements were near. Sheridan simply nodded, giving him a radiant smile, and he found he didn’t have it in him to argue a false cause. Rising to his feet, he instead told her, “Don’t move a muscle. I’m going to go make sure they have a doctor with them. You keep an eye on your mama okay, Emma?”

“We’re not going anywhere,” Sheridan promised. “Luis,” she called before he could disappear, and Luis turned back to acknowledge her.

“Yeah?”

“Thank you,” Sheridan uttered sincerely.

Luis took her gratitude in stride. “We’re even now.”

“Uncle Luis is wrong,” Sheridan pressed a kiss into her daughter’s soft hair when he had gone. “We still owe him one.”



 
~8~
 
 


Title: Three Wishes
Rating: PG
Warnings: some language, adult topics
Characters/Pairings: Kay, Sam, original character, pre-Sheridan/Luis
Summary: prompt: magic. “I see that,” Sheridan answered, smiling down at the three sprinkles, red, blue, and yellow, that Emma had managed to rescue and held cupped in the palm of one sticky hand. “Why don’t you make a wish?” she suggested.




 
Emma burst through the doors of the Harmony PD, tears streaming down her cheeks, curly ponytail streaming behind her as she made a beeline for Luis’s office.

With one look at the four-year-old’s flushed face, Luis quickly dismissed the caller on the other end of the phone, hung up, and stepped out from behind his desk just in time to catch the little girl as she flung herself into his waiting arms. Kay skidded to a stop in the open doorway of Luis’s office, her concerned father behind her, and could only shrug her shoulders at Luis’s inquisitive look.

Still catching her breath, Kay’s explanation was spotty at best. “Her teacher said she was fine before snack time, but she’s been crying ever since. If you ask me, that Tucker kid had something to do with it. He’s nothing but a…”

“That’s enough, Kay,” Sam took his daughter by the shoulders and started to steer her in the opposite direction. “I think Luis can take it from here.”

“Sheridan’s not home yet, and she wanted you anyway,” Kay said.

Nodding, Luis offered, “I’ll take her home.” He looked to Sam to make sure it was okay for him to cut out early, and finding no objections, with Emma still tightly clinging to his neck, he shouldered the sparkly pink backpack that Kay held out to him.

“It’s a pretty light day,” Sam agreed. “Why don’t you take Miss Emma out for an ice cream?” he suggested, pulling out his own wallet and withdrawing a handful of bills. “It’s on me.” To Kay, he voiced a reminder, “Don’t you have a paper due tomorrow? Last I checked, you hadn’t started it.”

“I work best under pressure,” came Kay’s rapid-fire response.

“Kay, your mother and I agreed to let you take these online courses, provided you stay on top of the work. If you’re not…”

“Dad, dad,” Kay groaned, effectively cutting off her father mid-lecture. Tugging on Emma’s sneaker clad foot, she leaned over to whisper in the little girl’s ear.

It was Sam’s turn to groan when he heard just what she had to say.

“Next time Tucker’s mean to you, you stomp his foot like I showed you and tell your teacher it was self-defense.” Shrugging off Luis’s wide-eyed, skeptical response, she huffed, “It’s never too early for a girl to learn to take care of herself. I’m sure Sheridan would agree.”

Luis left the station behind to the tune of father and daughter arguing the merits of teaching a four-year-old how to skirt the system. He had to smile when he heard her ask Sam a tricky question just before he closed the door and stepped out onto the sidewalks of Harmony.

“Where’s my ice cream money?”

It was a beautiful day outside so Luis decided to forego the jeep in favor of taking an afternoon stroll. He felt Emma’s little fingers playing with the collar of his shirt and knew it was only a matter of time until she felt comfortable enough to talk to him about what had her so upset. It wasn’t until they were seated on a park bench, however, Emma’s colored sprinkles floating in her melting vanilla ice cream, that the tight-lipped little girl finally blurted out a question that floored him.

Her dangling feet kicking back and forth restlessly, Emma ducked her honey-gold head shamefully and refused to meet Luis’s eyes. “Was I a bastard baby, Uncle Luis?”

“Emma-bug,” Luis lapsed into Sheridan’s endearment for the tiny child, reaching over and pulling her into his lap so that he could look into her glistening blue eyes, so innocent and full of hurt for something she still couldn’t quite grasp. “Who taught you that word?”

Ducking her face from Luis’s view again, Emma pressed her nose into the crook of his neck, inhaling the comforting scent of him, and mumbled, “Tucker.” Folding and unfolding his collar between her small fingers fretfully, she turned so that her lips brushed against his neck with each word she uttered. “Tucker’s daddy says I’m something ugly, and the only reason Teacher is nice to me is because of Mama being a Crane. Only Mama ain’t a real Crane no more cause she made her daddy so shamed of her he don’t want nothing to do with her or me. And that nobody’s ever gonna marry me or Mama cause we’re nothing but trash dressed in fancy clothes.”

For several long seconds following Emma’s tearful monologue, Luis was so angry he found he couldn’t talk. He wholeheartedly shared Kay’s opinion of the preschool terror that had dared to hurt the precious little girl in his arms, but he knew he had to rise above the sentiment. Mean-spirited or not, the boy was still just a child, and someone had to be the adult here. He guessed it had to be him. So he gathered up his thoughts and attacked the boy’s (father’s) ugly message, point by point. Combing his large hand through Emma’s thick, curly hair, he pressed his lips to her forehead and told her, “You, Emma Katherine Crane, are beautiful, inside and out, and don’t you ever let anyone else tell you anything different, you hear me?”

Emma lifted her head to look at him, teardrops clinging to her lashes. “As pretty as Mama?”

“Even prettier,” Luis affirmed, earning himself a small smile. “And your teacher’s not just nice to you because of who your mama is. She’s nice to you because you’re one of the prettiest and smartest and most polite little girls there is.”

Emma’s flicker of a smile grew with each lovingly spoken word, and she sniffled, rubbing the tears from her blue eyes with her fists as he continued.

“And this business about being a real Crane…your mama was so proud to know she was having you, she wanted to be the kind of Crane she knew your grandmother would have wanted her to be. That‘s why she left and moved into your house with you, and anybody would be lucky to marry you or your mama.”

“He’s right, Emma-bug,” Sheridan voiced her agreement behind him. “Especially about you.”

“Mama!” Emma launched herself into Sheridan’s arms, toppling her forgotten ice cream and scattering stickiness and rainbow sprinkles all over the park bench, forcing Sheridan to sit a little closer to Luis than she normally would have.

Luis looked deep into Sheridan’s grateful blue eyes, felt the brush of her hand against his own, and couldn’t help but wonder. “How much of that did you hear?”

Sheridan answered him with a non-answer and a tease of a smile. “You think I’m pretty?”

Luis groaned. “Don’t let it go to your head, Crane.”

“Mama,” Emma interrupted. “Look! Colored sprinkles!”

“I see that,” Sheridan answered, smiling down at the three sprinkles, red, blue, and yellow, that Emma had managed to rescue and held cupped in the palm of one sticky hand. “Why don’t you make a wish?” she suggested.

Emma’s blue eyes widened with pleasure, her earlier tears a thing of the not-so-distant past. “Three wishes!”

“Now I’ve heard of everything,” Luis shook his head.

“You did say she was smart,” Sheridan’s eyes twinkled back at him as Emma screwed her eyes shut tight and made her wishes, in quick succession, ending with her grabbing both adults’ hands in her own (sticky) hands and giving them a secretive smile that had both of them squirming slightly in their seats. “Emma,” Sheridan asked nervously. “What did you wish for?”

Emma shook her head, her ponytail whipping back and forth behind her. “I’m not telling.”

“Maybe she’s not the most polite little girl I’ve known,” Luis was forced to concede.





 
~9~


 
Title: A Beautiful Mess
Rating: PG (tiptoes around the boundary with PG-13 with a wild imagination like I have though, due to the characters’ lustful thoughts, lol)
Warnings: fluff and naughty thoughts
Characters/Pairings: pre-Sheridan/Luis, original character
Summary: prompt: clean.
 



Luis’s eyebrows shot to his hairline as soon as Sheridan opened the door.

Arms full of wriggling, giggling little girl, Sheridan didn’t question why Luis was standing on her doorstep (in her limited experience, the man wasn’t much for social calls), she merely stepped aside to allow him entrance.

“Oo-ees,” Emma squealed, gleefully clapping her little hands together and launching her strong upper body toward Luis as he slipped inside.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Sheridan managed to haul her back just in time, averting, for the time being, likely disaster.

A thin, snaky spaghetti noodle dropped from Emma’s bare foot as she squirmed for freedom in her mother’s arms, and the glare she gave Sheridan for denying her that freedom was something fierce (tomato sauce covered cheeks and all, which was all the more impressive). “Mama,” Emma cried in frustration. “Me, down. Down,” she insisted.

“She wants down,” Luis helpfully told Sheridan, brown eyes twinkling at her predicament. Reaching a hand out hesitantly, he gestured at her own tousled blond hair, just a shade lighter than her daughter’s honey curls. “You have, uh….let me just…” No longer able to restrain his own laughter, he extracted a long string of noodle and inspected it. “I’d ask what was for dinner, but I think I have enough clues to make a likely deduction. Spaghetti?”

“Your intellect astounds me, Supercop,” Sheridan rolled her eyes, turning from him and taking a sharp left turn toward the kitchen.

Luis whistled through his teeth when he saw the state of the kitchen. “Don’t you think you’re taking free expression a little far? It looks like she painted the walls with it.” His dark eyes landed on ground zero, Emma’s Princess high chair, and his amazement grew. “I didn’t know they put that much sauce in a jar.”

Sheridan didn’t even bristle at his subtly veiled jab at her (lack of) culinary skills, merely transferred the hyper-active toddler in her arms to her hip and began emptying the kitchen sink with her available hand. Surprisingly, she didn’t protest when Luis moved forward to help her. She studied him with insomnia-bruised eyes as he worked methodically to clear the sink, and without asking, began to fill it up with lukewarm water, adding just a drop of gentle detergent for good measure. It finally occurred to her to ask him just what in the hell he was doing here, at her home, going on 8:30, on what most definitely was a work night (he hadn‘t been there since that night, at least not alone, anyway). “Did you say what you’re doing here already? Maybe I missed it.”

“Not yet,” Luis put her off, shrugging off his jacket and draping it across the back of one of her kitchen chairs. He did the same with his over-shirt, leaving him clad only in his thin white wife-beater, and he turned to her, arms outstretched to receive his prize--a happy, shrieking (almost) 18-month-old girl covered (perhaps painted was a better word?) head to toe in her favorite dinner. “Hand her over.”

Sheridan lifted a regal brow at him. “You’re going to need a shower too.”

“We can take one together,” Luis told her with a twitch of his lips. “Work with me here, Crane. I’ll hold her. You strip her down. Or do you want to wrestle with a baby all night long when you could be in bed asleep? Your call. While you’re thinking it over, just remember, that water’s not too toasty to begin with.”

“Fine,” Sheridan replied, thrusting Emma at him and smirking when he wisely kept her at arms’ length.

“Oo-ees!” Emma crowed with pleasure, kicking her little legs in the air as Sheridan made short work of her soft pants and diaper and went for her shirt. “No, no, no, no!” she cried out when her mother whipped the shirt over her curly head, only relenting in her outcry of independence when Luis’s face was again before her, and she was naked as the day she was born.

“Incoming,” Luis warned, pushing past Sheridan and quickly plunging Emma in the warm, sudsy water.

For her part, the distraught little girl looked momentarily startled before she started slapping her hands in the bubbles, sending water flying everywhere.

Working together, Sheridan and Luis soon had Emma looking presentable again (it was frightening, the places spaghetti noodles could hide), at their own expenses, and it was Sheridan‘s turn to burst into hysterical laughter when she finally took the time to really look at Luis, in his water-drenched shirt and one lone renegade noodle caught in his spiky hair.

“Like you look better,” Luis growled, before lightening up enough to enjoy the joke. His smile faded, however, as his eyes drifted downward.

The dark smolder of his eyes set Sheridan on a slow burn, and she ducked her head, her cheeks flaming, to check out what had captured his attention. It was only in that moment that she remembered she hadn’t changed from work; she’d merely been too tired and ready to spend time with her daughter over a simple (deceptively so) dinner. And now that shirt was stained and translucent with water, gaping open halfway to just above her navel to show the impractical Victoria’s secret number she’d splurged on with her last paycheck. To add to her humiliation, it seemed like they hadn’t vanquished the last spaghetti noodle yet. Dying of mortification, she extracted the pasta from her cleavage and forced herself to meet Luis’s eyes when he cleared his throat uncomfortably. Biting her lip, she murmured, “Don’t ask me how that got in there.”

Luis had no reply to her statement. He was lost in thoughts of another late night (early morning) and the too-clear memory of just how her skin felt beneath his hands. He shook his head to clear it of his not-so-innocent thoughts when he realized she was speaking again.

“You need a towel. Just let me…” Whirling around and putting her back to Luis, Sheridan yanked the first drawer she came to open, her frustration growing when she realized she’d opened the wrong one (in her own home, of all places). Finally, she got it right, and she turned around, only to find Luis already standing there, dish towel draped over his shoulders and her pink-skinned, naked daughter cuddled in his arms. Moving closer to him on lead feet, she tucked the towel in her hands around Emma’s shivering little body and found herself following him out of the kitchen and to the stairs. Reading his intent, she protested weakly, “Luis, you don’t have to…” But Luis was already mounting the stairs.

Emma’s blue eyes were heavy with hard-fought sleep by the time they reached the nursery, and she only whimpered slightly when her mother dressed her for bedtime while she was still safely ensconced in Luis’s arms.

After allowing Sheridan to flutter a kiss across her brow and sneaking in one for himself, Luis lowered Emma gently to her crib, and he didn’t let go of the tiny fist clenched around his fingers until it relaxed with sleep. He turned his head slightly to discover Sheridan regarding him with heavy-lidded eyes of her own and decided it could wait, his news, his reason for dropping by. She looked like she needed good news to brighten her morning. For now, she needed sleep, almost (probably even more) as much as the little angel that had him wrapped around her heart, and if he stayed, he might do something stupid (that’s what he specialized in when it came to this crazy Crane lady)that included a bed, but sleep? Not so much. So he sighed and gave her a gentle push toward the door. “Go take that shower before you fall asleep where you’re standing.”

Sheridan didn’t put up much protest, only reminded him with a furrowed brow as they entered the hallway, “You had something to tell me.”

“It’ll keep,” Luis answered. “Now go. Showering half asleep is a good way to drown yourself, and I can think of better ways to die.”

“Are you coming on to me again, Supercop?”

“Trust me, Crane. There’d be no doubts in your mind if I was,” Luis promised, carrying them both back to that dark night, that now felt so long ago, when he’d shown up on her doorstep with a need to feel her living, breathing, giving him hell like always. “I’ll see myself out, and we’ll talk tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” Sheridan sleepily agreed. “Luis?” she called before he could disappear down the stairs.

“Yeah?”

“Thanks.”

“Thank me tomorrow,” Luis shrugged off her gratitude, resuming his descent down the stairs without another word.

The next morning, Sheridan found her kitchen clean and a note lying beneath her car keys in Luis’s familiar handwriting. Later that day, following the hours she put in at the Harmony Herald , she and Emma started their new job(s): new co-director and mini-co-director of the Harmony Youth Center.
 



 
~10~



 
Title: Crazy for You
Rating: PG, tops
Warnings: off-screen violence, some angst
Characters/Pairings: pre-Sheridan/Luis, original character, Sam, Pilar, Theresa, Miguel, minor character
Summary: prompt: secret. “I’m still not following here,” Sheridan threw up her hands. “Could someone please just cut to the chase?”



 
 
 
Her cranky toddler daughter hanging heavily from her neck, Sheridan burst through the emergency room doors on a mission. “Where is he?”

Pilar and Theresa sprang from their seats to meet her, and someone, maybe Miguel, took Emma from her trembling arms.

“Oh, mi hija,” Pilar cried, clenching Sheridan to her in a crushing hug. “You’re here. Who told you?”

Sam had been the one to break the news, gently and with compassion, but hours too late (she wasn‘t family, wasn‘t even a professed friend) in a vigil that had already been long and on-going. When this whole ordeal was over, Sheridan knew she owed the man an apology, but she couldn’t think of that now, not when her thoughts were solely focused on a man brought down in the spray of a madman’s bullets. All while she was agonizing over how many children to invite to Emma’s third birthday party in a matter of weeks. In hindsight, debating the merits of store-bought cupcakes with sprinkles over one of Grace‘s homemade cakes was a monumental waste of her time, especially when there were more important things to worry about, like living and dying and the serious stuff in-between. Sam appeared as a wall of support behind Pilar’s back, and his blue eyes were not judging, were nothing but kind as he spoke, and for that, Sheridan was forever thankful.

“I told her, Pilar. I didn’t want Luis to be in any more trouble than he already is, playing the hero again.”

Theresa and Pilar, even Miguel, smiled at the implications of that statement. Only Sheridan didn’t see the humor in it, her blue eyes darkening with worry.

Theresa pulled Sheridan down into a hard, plastic chair beside her, and Sheridan searched Pilar’s troubled brown eyes for answers. “What happened? The Chief here,” she nodded in Sam’s direction, “wouldn’t tell me anything except that Luis had been hurt.”

Glancing at Sam, Pilar began a halting explanation. “There was a robbery. On the far side of town, just outside of Castleton, actually. Luis was already off-duty, but he was the closest one when they got the call, so he…he…” Floundering for words, she looked to Sam, and nodding, gave her permission for him to disclose the details only the authorities and Luis’s family were privy to.

Sam took over where Pilar left off, a kind of quiet pride in his voice when he spoke of Luis’s bravery. “Luis was the first responder on the scene. He was too late to save one of the victims, but he negotiated with the perpetrator to let the other injured party go so that she could receive medical treatment.”

“What happened to her?” Miguel joined the conversation, Emma in his arms, her honey curls disheveled and wild as her head lolled heavily against his strong shoulder.

“She’s being treated by doctors here at the hospital. Anything more than that, I’m not at liberty to say,” Sam told them apologetically.

“What I don’t understand is what he was doing all the way over in Castleton,” Sheridan remarked with a troubled frown. “What?” she asked when she caught a glimpse of the looks passed between Pilar and her children and Sam.

“Do one of you want to tell her or should I?” Sam finally spoke up.

“I’m not ruining the surprise,” Theresa replied, standing up and walking over to meet her brother. With a gentle, affectionate hand, she smoothed Emma’s hair back from her face, only to reveal that the irritable little girl had fallen fast asleep and was none the wiser to the underlying turmoil each of the room’s older inhabitants were trying so desperately to suppress.

“What surprise?” Sheridan glanced around at Luis’s family in bewilderment. “Pilar?” she finally questioned. Pilar acknowledged her with what Sheridan thought was a strange statement, true but hardly having any correlation to the night’s events. Or so she thought.

“Emma’s birthday is soon.”

“Less than three weeks,” Sheridan nodded. “Forgive me, Pilar, but I don’t understand where you’re going with this.”

Sam stepped in again, telling Sheridan a story that simultaneously made her heart melt and her anger build. “There’s a man over in Castleton. Luis helped him out a time or two with some trouble he’s had in the past, nothing serious, but important enough to this man that he felt like he owed Luis something.”

Sheridan found herself nodding along as Sam continued to speak.

“This man, he breeds dogs.”

Sheridan frowned again in confusion while Pilar and the rest of the waiting room’s occupants kept quiet (Theresa with admittedly more difficulty than the rest).

“Dogs that he trains, and that we use for our K-9 unit.”

“I’m still not following here,” Sheridan threw up her hands. “Could someone please just cut to the chase?”

With her mother’s implicit permission, Theresa left her brother’s side and crouched down in front of Sheridan, offering her a soft smile. “The man repaid his debt to my brother by giving him one of the puppies from his latest litter for Emma, Sheridan. For her birthday.”

Sheridan’s blue eyes filled with horrified tears. “That’s…that’s the reason why?” She blinked against the stinging moisture when she felt Pilar’s hand squeeze her own.

“Mi hija, my son, he worries,” Pilar said with a fond smile. “About all of the people that he cares about,” she stressed. “He worries about you and Emma all alone in that big old house, and he thought a dog would be good for you both, as a companion and a protector.”

“A dog?” Sheridan repeated, dumbfounded. “He got my daughter a dog, when her mother, me, can’t even keep a fish alive for longer than three months. And then proceeded to get himself shot because he just happened to be in the neighborhood, and he can’t resist playing the part of the damned hero. If he makes it through this, I’m going to kill him myself,” she ranted, raking her hands through her short blond hair. “Where is the dog now?”

Pilar remained her usual tight-lipped self, Theresa looked almost afraid to answer her, and Miguel obviously didn’t know all of the details.

Sam, apparently, was the only one with those. “I’ve got Quinlan keeping an eye on her for the time being. I know Luis wanted to surprise Emma on her birthday, and Marty didn’t mind helping out.”

“This is unbelievable,” Sheridan muttered, her anger suddenly flooding out of her body in a rush. “Just you wait until I get a hold of that man.”

Her comment brought a smirk to Theresa’s lips, and the young woman couldn’t resist adding her two cents. “Maybe we should let Sheridan go in first, Mama, talk some sense into Luis for the rest of us.”

Pilar surprised Sheridan by agreeing. “It would do your brother good.”

They traded comments like that, back and forth, into the wee hours of the morning. Sam eventually left, taking Emma with him, promising Sheridan that Grace and his girls would take good care of her. Theresa finally fell asleep, slumped against her dozing brother. And Pilar, well, she never, not once, let go of Sheridan’s hand. Not until a harried-looking young doctor in wrinkled scrubs appeared before them and told them the good news.

Luis had successfully made it through surgery and was expected to make a full recovery.

As his family left to visit him, grateful and relieved smiles on their faces, Sheridan sat there in that empty waiting room, the rising sun spilling through the windows, and contemplated the next biggest step in her life thus far, behind choosing to have and love Emma, but not that far behind: telling Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald that she was unequivocally, one-hundred percent, in love with him.
 
 
 
 
 
 






Thoughts, anyone?

Any favorites?

Feedback is much loved! I'd love to read your comments. I might even be convinced to do this again, albeit it on a smaller scale. With characters other than Sheridan and Luis even, if the prompts catch my fancy.

Provided you guys post prompts for me.

LOL!

So, give it your best shot. If you're so inclined, give me anywhere between 5-10 one-word prompts, the pairing you'd like me to write them about, and I'll see what I can cook up.

Thanks for reading!!!

Hope you guys continue to stick with me through the rest of these ficlets (there are 30 total).

And remember...mistakes are all mine.