>>>> jump directly to warnings/disclaimers etc. <<<<

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

1. Transfer
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 1x12 "Fatal Retraction")

"If you're really serious about this, I'll assign you to Priority Homicide effective next week, and you can start on Monday. Provided Chief Johnson agrees. I'll speak to her--"

"All due respect, Chief, but this I'll have to ask her myself." Flynn feels nauseous at the very thought. He owes Miss Atlanta a personal thank-you as well. Unlike Captain Taylor, she isn't someone for gloating; but begging her to approve his transfer? Will smart like hell. She might not actually hate him, but she has a knack for making him feel two inches tall.

June bug in July, indeed.


2. Car Trouble
(rated PG :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 2x05 "To Protect & To Serve")

Brenda knows very well that Lieutenant Flynn has been been having a lot of trouble with his car lately. She still remembers last Tuesday when she left even later than usual in the evening. She heard cursing in the parking garage and went to check it out, only to see Flynn bent underneath the open hood of his old Ford, tampering with something. He'd changed from his ubiquitous suit into off-duty clothes. She still remembers checking out his ass in those jeans.

So, yeah, Flynn's old car? That moment, one week ago, she decided it wasn't all bad at all.

3. Better Than Chocolate
(rated PG :: Brenda POV :: reference to all episodes prior to 2x09 "Heroic Measures")

One day, in the tech room, Brenda spots a red plastic container with toothpicks. She remembers the day before, when one of Buzz's switches stuck and had to be jimmied loose again. They didn't have anything with a small enough point at hand until Flynn rolled his eyes and handed over his toothpicks.

She steals one when no-one is looking. When she sticks it between her lips in place of one more Ding Dong she really shouldn't eat, she wonders whether Flynn likes the wooden taste in his mouth.

Shoot. Perhaps the Ding Dongs are better for her after all.

4. Almost, But Not Quite
(rated PG :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 2x11 "Borderline")

Flynn comes home late that night. At work, they clocked quite some overtime, and he felt like he had to go to an AA meeting afterwards. It wasn't only the case; no, there was that other thing--

His cell phone in hand, he strokes it with a careful finger. The plastic shines glossy in the light, no fingerprints visible. He pretends he feels tiny furrows in the matte of the stubby antenna and swallows.

He's helpless to resist the urge to push the antenna into his mouth and taste where her teeth, her lips were just a few hours ago.

5. Façade
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 2x12 "No Good Deed")

He calls his sponsor as soon as he's home. They'll meet in the gym in an hour. Flynn feels the fury seething inside his chest. He needs an outlet, or else he'll beat Ross and his cohorts to a pulp tomorrow. They'll talk. He knows they will.

He paces. He digs out the last package of toothpicks he can find. He deliberately drops his car key behind the fridge.

That'll be a bitch to retrieve in the morning.

Flynn doesn't care. He doesn't trust himself.

He rates his performance at work today as Oscar-worthy.

Pope. Why Pope, of all people?

6. Makes The Heart...
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 2x14 "Serving the King, Part 1")

After three months of almost daily workouts at the gym, the need for iron restraint in the face of Taylor's smug condescension, and Robbery/Homicide's preference for rushed, shoddy work that never used to bother him before, Flynn feels like he's on a tightrope.

He hasn't met up with Provenza in weeks, and he's glad for it. It's unfair to blame Provenza for everything that happened, but -- the damned gun cozy. The unlocked desk drawer...

He starts appreciating Gabriel. At least whenever the kid enters the office, he can pretend for a second that he hears a Georgia accent following him in.

7. War Council
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 2x14 "Serving the King, Part 1")

This is far worse than giving up sugar. Brenda feels like she's in withdrawal. She needs work. She--

Then the CIA approaches her. They, at least, still appreciate her expertise.

Next thing, she's taking Provenza into her confidence. Then, Gabriel and Flynn are over at her house. Flynn looks exhausted. When she asks them to copy the Fara murder book, she knows it'll be Flynn who'll swipe it from underneath Taylor's nose, and she's glad.

A year ago, she didn't trust him. Now, she's reassured by having him at her table, sharing cold pizza.

He smiles, and it looks real.

8. Green
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 3x02 "Grave Doubts")

Gabriel's been hinting that the problem of the budget cuts has been solved, and that they can relax -- especially Provenza. Gabriel knows more than he's saying, and Flynn doesn't like it at all.

He likes it far less that the Chief has been treating the sergeant even more like he's her right hand (lap dog) than usual.

Flynn knows he's jealous. It's the reason he's been needling Gabriel all the time lately.

Once Kenyon Richards has been arrested and Gabriel's left in a huff, Provenza beats Flynn into the Chief's office. Flynn rips his hand open on his desk drawer.

9. Good Old Boys
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 3x03 "Saving Face")

The Emery case is like a cold shower for Brenda. Aside from the bruise on her temple and her recent bout of YouTube 'fame', she ends up feeling disappointed in her two lieutenants. First, the leaving-a-crime-scene-for-sky-box-tickets debacle last year, and now Flynn and Provenza put their buddy's funeral above preserving evidence.

She refuses to acknowledge that her disillusionment might also be based on Maggie Hodge's account of her husband and his partner's 'adventures' while riding together, or on the video she watched of the eulogy Flynn gave.

She might have romanticized Flynn a little, in her head. Just a little.

10. Pigtails
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 3x06 "Dumb Luck")

Flynn asks the Chief whether she'd like to know the name of the medicine the valet takes for his OCD, and she doesn't disappoint: Like always when he jabs such a sarcastic little dig at her, she gives him a wide, utterly insincere smile and a sugary-sweet thank-you.

Not a bad side-effect, of course, are the titters from the rest of the squad, who just love being spectators.

But most of all, Flynn does it because he's fascinated by the way the Chief's eyes crinkle at the corners, and her voice goes up half an octave when he teases her.

11. Helpless
(rated PG :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 3x08 "Manhunt")

It's Flynn's extension the call goes to. He's never heard Provenza sound that shaken.

The Chief's okay. The creep's dead. But Flynn knows how close it was from how much Provenza's voice stutters and stumbles when he mutters disjointedly of hearing her screams and the shots over the phone. He doesn't dare imagine--

Adrenaline makes him tremble. He's too far away to be of any help.

He doesn't allow himself to leave for the harbor. She's okay, after all. He'll phone all the women from "The Verge" until the Chief countermands that order.

It's the only thing he can do.

12. On the Sidelines
(rated PG :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 3x09 "Blindsided")

The Chief's barely back on the job, and Flynn would have taken her to a crime scene if not for Gabriel being a teacher's pet. Instead, her supposed 'safe' ride with a reporter in the back leads to yet another phone call Flynn receives that almost gives him heart failure.

Provenza should really charge his cell.

Flynn is the one who steadies her when the SWAT guys lead her in. He makes Daniels help her wash the blood off her face. He tries to get her to change clothes, but she's ushered out quickly.

She appears calm, but her eyes--

13. Subconsciously
(rated G :: Brenda POV)

It's Fritzy's birthday next month, and Brenda is taking advantage of the momentary lull at work in order to find the right gift. She cannot forget the date. Or the gift. Fritz deserves better.

She's browsing the aftershave isle at a drugstore. She doesn't like Fritz's current aftershave much, and so she's test-smelling all of the ones here on the shelves.

Oh, this one's nice.

She sniffs deeply again and sighs in pleasure.

She's just about to drop it into her basket when a cold shiver runs down her back. She knows that smell.

It's the aftershave Andy Flynn wears.

14. All for Naught
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 3x10 "Culture Shock")

Flynn feels the phone handle give underneath his hand. He thinks he's only cracked the plastic, not actually broken it into pieces.

Well, he should be glad for little favors -- and for Provenza's exuberance.

Provenza's congratulations draw the attention of all the others, and Gabriel's call distracts them - and the Chief - further.

The Chief's wedding? He cannot believe his ears. She and Howard plan to marry?

He feels like something died in his chest. It's funny, really; it's not like he ever had a true shot at her. But still, he could dream.

Now, all he can taste are ashes.

15. Justice is Blind
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 4x02 "Speed Bump")

Brenda had no idea that Flynn's a vegetarian, and she only learnt of him being in AA when the thing with Fritz's DUIs came up.

She also - obviously - didn't know about the whole Mayhan/Wilkinson mess.

She hates change, and she hates, hates, hates constantly having to adapt her view of her people whenever she learns something more about them.

True, Flynn getting too emotionally involved isn't exactly new.

The Mayhans were innocent, and her relationship with her lieutenant is back on an even keel. She's relieved.

So why is she afraid she'll miss having Flynn in her face so much?

16. Compliment
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 4x05 "Dial M for Provenza")

When Brenda walks out of her office, she hears a quickly stifled sound behind her. Already incensed with the whole situation, she whips her head around, only to see Flynn's mouth pursed in an aborted attempt at whistling. His eyes are locked onto her jeans-clad rear. At her motion, they fly up to hers, and he winces in anticipation of her imminent explosion.

Instead, she deliberately turns back around, a hissed, "Mr. Serabian's waitin', gentlemen," thrown over her shoulder.

She refuses to admit it, but she rather likes his sheepish naughty-little-boy expression and the inherent compliment on her off-duty clothes.

17. A little Pick-Me-Up
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 4x13 "Power of Attorney")

It's close to midnight, but the team is still in the office and doggedly going over the case files. They can't accept Stroh getting away scot-free.

ADA Garnet left before the collective death glares could strike him down.

The Chief slips out of her office and orders them to go home. Her eyes are puffy.

Flynn surreptitiously hands her a chocolate bar. Her candy drawer's been empty for at least a week; another attempt at quitting sugar. If any situation merits a transgression, it's certainly this one.

She takes it and tries to smile.

He just nods back. He understands.

18. Defensive Measures
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 4x14 "Fate Line")

Brenda doesn't know whether to be outraged or amused. Just like Tao, she thinks she has kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy of her own on her hands here.

Last Friday, she went out with the team to O'Malley's, and she and Lieutenant Flynn stayed the longest, mainly discussing Stroh. By then she'd been a bit tipsy and had confided in Flynn... more than planned.

She saddled him with Claire because she felt exposed and wanted to push him away.

He retaliated and told Claire about--about--

Why was talking shop with Andy Flynn easier than going home to her fiancé?

19. End of an Era
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 4x15 "Double Blind")

Flynn's glad that he's always had the ability to think on his feet, smirk and, if necessary, make inappropriate comments as a cover.

He hates Buzz's idea of shooting a congratulations video for the Chief and her new husband. There's no other way through than grin and bear it, so he does. He imagines Pope feels about the same.

Sanchez might have bet against the Chief going through with the wedding, but Flynn was the one who hoped (and prayed) for-- he doesn't know. A high-profile murder? A natural disaster? For the Chief to see Howard's all wrong for her?

20. You Be Careful
(rated PG :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 5x04 "Walking Back The Cat")

Flynn asks Sanchez to go to the gym. He needs to get rid of this frustration, and what better way than sparring with the man no-one wants to fight in the place almost no-one ever visits?

Julio agrees. Flynn doesn't like the look in his eyes.

Flynn feels messed up ever since he's been introduced to Provenza's secret girlfriend (hah!) and overheard the Chief and Agent Howard.

How can Mr. FBI get anal about the proper pronoun for the Chief's cat when the damned thing just had to be put to sleep, and she's still all teary-eyed about it? Asshole.

21. Gentleman
(rated G :: Brenda POV)

It's warm outside, and Flynn has taken off his suit jacket, leaving him in shirtsleeves and a vest.

Over the course of the day, Brenda finds her eyes drawn to him repeatedly. She's always liked the sharp way he dresses for work, and that he's not afraid to wear strong colors. They suit him.

The vests add a kind of refined elegance, Brenda decides.

Of course, that only holds until he makes one of his customary cynical comments. Still.

When she catches herself admiring the line of his shoulders, she abruptly draws the blinds to her office, angry at herself.

22. The Camaraderie Of A United Force
(rated PG :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 5x06 "Tapped Out")

Flynn could well do without his fellow detectives' smirks and the way their conversations suddenly spout references to Chester Gould or multitudinous words with the common roots of "intrigu-" or "dick-" whenever he and Provenza are in earshot.

Pope has a harder time of it. Despite his attempts at playing "one of the guys", he's not really one of them, and so he feels a slight in every comment, even when it's only meant in jest.

Flynn knows the teasing will peter out, and besides, it's a small price to pay for hearing pure, unrestrained laughter come from the Chief.

23. Devotion
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 5x08 "Elysian Fields")

There's a shadow of a bruise on Lieutenant Flynn's jaw, and it's distracting Brenda.

Despite now knowing him for four years, she still never expected him to rile up Greeson's girlfriend so that she'd slap him and could be arrested for assault.

That's the lengths he'll go to in a case he's not invested in. Why? Just because she's committed to finding the murderer of a serial killer?

Or is it because-- She kills that thought immediately, but not before she feels hot, and kind of faint, and her eyes involuntarily seek out a familiar figure in the squad room.

24. Temptation
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 5x13 "The Life")

Even an hour afterwards, Flynn is still stunned at Detective Ranski's audacity in asking out the Chief despite knowing she's married. What a punk.

Back in the time Flynn got wasted regularly, he certainly didn't turn away any girl - woman - who was interested, or check their hand for a wedding ring. But he certainly never tried to hit on a woman he knew was married.

He didn't want to be the reason for a marriage breaking apart like his parents' did.

The Chief would never cheat on her husband.

Flynn knows that. He does. Still, there's this cozy little restaurant--

25. From Date to Disaster
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 6x04 "Layover")

Sometimes Flynn really wishes he didn't have such a long history of wisecracks that his mouth operates almost entirely separate from his brain.

He quips about keeping the flight attendants entertained, and while it's always fun to rile up the Chief (and to see Provenza embarrassed), secretly he'd give a hell of a fucking lot for the Chief to never, ever meet any of his dates.

Provenza's type is young, easily impressed, and - let's be honest - more than a bit air-headed. Whereas Flynn's type? Flynn's type has moved on from well-endowed, sloe-eyed brunettes to petite blondes with a Southern accent.

26. Freeze Frame
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 6x06 "Off the Hook")

Flynn hates ordering in pizza. Most places consider pizza margarita entirely sufficient as their "vegetarian" option - unless they commit the travesty of contaminating their pizzas with bell peppers -, and it's almost always too dry and bland tasting.

The sight of the Chief eating pizza takes him back to their first clandestine investigation run out of her living room, the Fara case.

Things are changing. They might lose her upstairs to old bastard Thompson's job. He feels like time is running out.

The others think he's joking, but he just wants to taste the slice she's taken a bite from.

27. Pontius Pilate
(rated PG :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 6x08 "War Zone")

Turell Baylor's found dead not even 24 hours later, victim of a gangland shooting.

Brenda feels like a monster. But try as she might, she cannot regret what she did. Perhaps she was simply tired of the Croelicks and Strohs she had to let walk. She refuses to become another Joey O. But really, does it matter who actually pulled the trigger? Her hands still feel dirty.

She spent two hours in the shower last night, and today she thinks she reads judgment in everyone's eyes.

All but one. One pair of eyes steadies her, holds her up. Andy Flynn.

28. Saved by the Bell
(rated PG :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 6x10 "Executive Order")

Flynn feels giddy and has to fight valiantly to suppress a wide smile. Kevin Mason's dead, the threat to the city has been neutralized, and even better - the new Chief of Police has been announced to be Tommy Delk.

He would have taken the lethal shot in the Chief's place, because working against her now is unimaginable.

Today she's handing out Ding Dongs to them like they're celebrating, and she's smiling. She says she's both disappointed and relieved she wasn't appointed, but Flynn thinks the relief is predominant. It helps him feel less guilty for how happy he is.

29. Here There Be Dragons
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: references to episode 6x11 "Old Money")

Brenda feels like Fritz is keeping secrets from her, and lately he has always such a snide tone to his voice when he speaks of Will.

No-one knows what changes their new Chief of Police will bring, and Brenda's anxious. She doesn't know whether she should be more afraid of being demoted or let go, or of being promoted away from Major Crimes.

She feels unmoored, helpless.

She's trying not to think of the one time today all those fears went away. It's not like she planned to, or that it meant anything. Really.

The moment she kissed Andy Flynn.

30. Stay of Execution
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: references to episode 6x11 "Old Money")

Brenda mentally prepares for battle when she thinks of work the next day.

It's time to be honest, at least to herself: She's attracted to Andy Flynn, and he-- he likes her, at the very least.

She's married. Happily married. There can never be more between Andy and her than their job. However, she-- the team can't lose him.

His sometimes abrasive character notwithstanding, he's an extraordinary detective.

She admires the strength of his personal ethics, his dedication, his loyalty, his empathy for the victims.

They have to talk.

That's the moment Provenza calls about the murder attempt on Andy.

31. Terra Nova
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: references to episode 6x11 "Old Money")

Flynn can't bring himself to regret the wounds he gained in the attempt on his life.

Not when they meant waking up to the Chief's face. She didn't shut him down, didn't call last night a mistake. No, instead she referred to him by his first name, touched him three times (his chest, left shoulder and right forearm have been throbbing in time with his pulse ever since - he hasn't been feeling any pain; also, his lips still tingle), and--

She was... approachable, he decides. Uncharacteristically soft, warm, caring.

Well worth a broken arm and a couple of stitches.

32. Dissent
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 6x12 "High Crimes")

It's late, but Brenda doesn't want to go home. She's definitely not up for another round with Fritz on the topic of her future professional life.

She stood up to her Daddy when he tried to steamroller over her the last time; now she'll have to tell her husband categorically that she won't take Will's job.

She gets up. It's her turn driving Andy home. They still haven't talked, and she doesn't know what she dreads more - the impending argument or the silences that have been creeping into their interactions lately. Is it juvenile to hope for another kiss instead?

33. Limbo
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: references to episode 6x13 "Living Proof, Part 1", and my story "Blast from the Past")

For once, Flynn has plans for Christmas. He's having dinner with his ex-wife, Gina, and her kids - Gina insisted.

After years of silence, he finds he misses her. He wants to see Tim and Eileen again. They might not be his, biologically speaking, but they used to be his family once, and he needs all the belonging he can get.

He's never wanted a drink so bad. The Chief's been ignoring him - like their kiss never happened.

He wants to rub her face in the fact that she's not the only woman in his life. Gina makes a good smokescreen.

34. Rival
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: references to episode 6x14 "Living Proof, Part 2", and my story "Blast from the Past")

They might have caught a war criminal, but everyone's Christmas plans fell through. Andy didn't get to have dinner with his ex-wife and kids. Brenda is secretly relieved. It's that realization that made her condone Fritz's malicious prank.

When a tall, well-dressed brunette steps into the squad room, only to envelop a smiling Andy in a hug that lasts far too long, Brenda's contentment evaporates.

She meets Gina Flynn (shouldn't she have changed her name?) and her vast collection of leftovers that everyone ends up praising to high heaven.

Provenza even calls that woman a lady. Brenda is thoroughly disgusted.

35. The Glamor's Gone
(rated G :: Flynn POV :: reference to episode 6x15 "An Ugly Game")

It takes harassing the people at Credence Recovery Center for almost half an hour over the phone until they finally decide to let Flynn interview Trey Gavin's "doctor".

The Chief decides to confront Gavin before Flynn can tell her what he's learned. He doesn't know whether she'd have listened anyway. She hardly ever talks to him anymore. He feels like he's invisible.

Watching her with Howard hurts. Watching her fall for Gavin's lies makes him think less of her.

Being an addict doesn't excuse everything. Flynn should know.

Drugs or no drugs, that little creep's a monster all by himself.

36. A New Start
(rated G :: Brenda POV :: reference to episode 6x15 "An Ugly Game")

Brenda's been watching Andy work at his desk for hours. Her thoughts are far, far away.

She told Fritz he's the most decent person she knows, but that was a white lie.

Fritz has a ruthless streak that's so similar to her own that she can't, in good conscience, blame him for it. But he hurts her. All the time.

He likes being right. He often twists facts so that she's the one in the wrong. She never avoided the topic of his addiction; he did.

She misses talking to Andy.

She gets up. It's time to apologize. To explain.

37. Fragile
(rated G :: Flynn POV)

Getting home that night, Flynn feels like he's walking on air.

The Chief asked him not just for coffee, but dinner. At the same restaurant Flynn secretly always wanted to take her to.

It's almost scary, how well she reads people.

She's not ready to leave Howard; no, she wants to save their marriage.

That's the Chief. He can't even blame her. She told Flynn she's attracted to him, and if the situation were different...

Well, it's not. Flynn knows that.

But she smiled at him, talked to him, touched his arm. He's made do with less. He can deal.

"The Closer" set of interlinked drabbles by allaire mikháil, seasons 1-6, 37 x 100 words, Brenda Leigh Johnson & Andy Flynn UST, Brenda resp. Flynn's POV, rated PG.

This set of interlinked drabbles - written for the advent calendar challenge on ljmissedplease @ livejournal - accompanies the events on the show from the pilot to episode 6x15. These drabbles flesh out canon by way of exploring a perceived Brenda & Andy-shippy subtext.

As for this fandom, I've always adored the pairing of Brenda Leigh Johnson & Andy Flynn (even back when I seemed to be alone in it - I loved the initial antagonism as well as Flynn's fanatical loyalty once he'd "changed sides", so to speak). When I rediscovered the show last November, I was so very happy to find that I was no longer alone in shipping Brenda and Andy, for there's now a whole community of like-minded people (writing fanfic)!

Please consider leaving feedback.

read comments | lj post comment | @ e-mail

<<<< back to allaire mikháil's fanfic back to the main index >>>>
  back to Storyteller's Campsite >>>>