Author's Notes: 1001 Thank You's to Clare for being ever-so-kind and supplying me with the final episodes. *grin* I honestly don't know where I'd be without you... *grin*
There's no help for it. I'm currently not a happy camper. Not by a long shot.
At this given point in time, I hate my job, am not overly fond of Malone, Backup I can take or leave and even Sam is currently off my Christmas card list.
While I'm at it, I also dislike this town, every redneck, pig fucking local (and let's face it, that pig had to have something special about it in order to escape becoming the 'B' in a 'BLT'...) in it and, hey, why not, this stinking motel as well.
Actually, as much as it pains me to admit this, it's not the motel that stinks. It's me. Literally. I don't think I've ever smelt so bad in my life. Sam, I can tell, agrees with this. If I wasn't the cause of it then the way he wrinkled his nose when I first got in the car with him would have been comical. However, seeing as I *was* the cause of it, I merely wanted to punch him.
Just like I'm still not adverse to the desire to punch him. Fortunately for Sam I lack the energy or one more smart-arse comment out of his mouth would see him flattened against a wall.
To say I'm currently unimpressed with my circumstances would be an understatement. Call me staid, but I didn't particularly enjoy using my kidneys as bait (*especially* when I'm still playing host to them...). Nor did I find playing a homeless person (yeah, yeah, there but for the grace of God go I and all that garbage...) overly pleasant. Getting beaten up, jabbed with a hypodermic, locked in a car boot and then crawling through woods before collapsing under a bush wasn't exactly fun either.
Then, to add insult to injury, when I finally made it back to temporary HQ (on the back of a fucking pick-up because the hillbilly driver viewed me as a life form lower than that of a pig) nobody even seemed overjoyed to see me.
Not even Sam.
I know the British are good at hiding their feelings but if that was acting then he ought to be in Hollywood.
I'm tired, hungry, smelly, sore and severely, *severely* pissed off. All I want is to feel clean again (I can but hope) and to sleep. I most definitely do not feel in the mood for dealing with Sam and really wish he hadn't just followed me into my room.
Turning, I take my filthy coat off, throw it on the floor and glower at him.
"There's no point in you being here. I'm going to have a shower."
"Good idea..." Here it comes... I just know it. "You stink." Bulls-eye.
"No shit, Sherlock. What did you expect from pretending to be homeless and spending the fucking night under some form of shrubbery, eh? Roses? Vanilla?" I'm too tetchy to even feign civility.
"There's no need to be like that." Sam sounds a little miffed.
I ignore him. "No? In case it's escaped your attention, I'm hurt..." In more ways than one but if Sam can't work that out for himself then fuck him.
Chris *what*? "You didn't even look pleased to see me!" I spit the words out and stalk towards the bathroom.
"For God's sake, Chris, get a grip." Sam suddenly sounds so commanding that I stop in my tracks and spin around to face him. "What did you want me to do? Run up and hug you? 'Cos that's what I wanted to do. Desperately in fact, but I don't think Malone would have approved, do you?"
No... but that's beside the point. "Why didn't you continue looking for me? I heard from Backup that Malone simply sent you to bed and that was it, off you went..."
"And do I *look* like I slept?" Sam now looks and sounds even tetchier then I feel. I note he doesn't look like he's slept either...
"No... I..." I don't feel up to this and, reverting back to my original plan, continue into the bathroom. "I'm going to clean up..." I mumble lamely, all fight gone. Without looking at Sam again, who is still standing near the doorway, I enter the bathroom and shut the door.
Shit, shit, shit... It's amazing how temper and lack of sleep can regress a person to complete idiocy. I feel sorry for having had a go at Sam and make a mental note to apologise, if he's still talking to me, later.
Catching my reflection in the mirror, I almost don't recognise the picture I paint. I hardly even look like me through all the filth and grime. The dirt seems to be ingrained and I decide to eschew the shower in favour of a bath. The bath, which is full size, just beckons to be soaked in.
I turn the taps on, and, deciding that I can't wait a moment longer to apologise to Sam, walk back into the room. To my shock he's not there and the last of my anger suddenly turns to self-pity. Oh... It looks like I've really done it now.
Sighing loudly, which is futile when there is no one around to appreciate it, I head back into the bathroom and strip off. I'd like nothing more than to burn my disgusting *costume* but settle on stuffing the entire thing in the bin. This done, I take a moment to do a quick inventory of all my new bruises. There's a particularly stunning one just above my left hip which explains the pain emanating from that area of my body but the rest are fairly nondescript. I've had worse.
Once the bath is full, I carefully lower myself into its enveloping warmth, deliberately empty my mind of all thoughts...
... and... promptly fall asleep...
I wake up, after an undisclosed amount of time, to the mixed scent of food and perfume and the sight of Sam crouching by the side of the bath. He's waving a Big-Mac under my nose and the fluorescent light in the room has been replaced by the soft glow of a dozen-or-so scented candles. The effect of the candles is strangely beautiful and just what I need in my life at the moment.
"What's this?" I ask, pushing myself up in the bath and eyeing the Big-Mac hopefully. I'm suddenly starving.
"A peace offering. Do you want it?" Sam smiles at me and I nod, happy to play along.
"You went into McDonald's? For me?" If I've heard his lecture about the fast-food giant once then I've heard it a hundred times.
"Yeah. Not only did I go into McDonald's but I also had to take time out to explain to the *wonderful* counter staff that no, I wasn't from around here, that I'm from England and no, that isn't a town in California... See? The lengths I'll go to for you.."
"Thank you.. Sam.. And.. I'm sorry. For my behaviour." And I am. Just because I was pissed off and hurt doesn't mean I had to take it out on my best friend.
He interrupts and hands me the burger. "Not half as sorry as I am that any of this had to happen at all... Now, here, take this before I'm forever impregnated with the stench of it."
Apologies over with, I take the burger from him, bite into it with relish and ask through a mouthful of food whether he bought fries as well. Sam laughs and tells me that I'm a pig - which is nothing new and something I have come to think of as a peculiar term of affection - and not to push my luck.
I shrug, not wanting to interrupt stuffing my face and carry on eating. My anger and self-pity of such a brief time ago nothing but a distant, unpleasant memory.
"You have no idea how relieved I was to see you. I'd been so worried that, well, if anything had happened to you then let's just say that Malone would have needed more than a kidney to save him..." Sam looks closely at me as I finish eating and I can't help but hear the emotion in his voice.
"We're a fine pair, aren't we?" I speak the words softly.
"Yeah, but the most important factor to that is that we *are* a pair and a pretty good one in my opinion."
Nodding my agreement, I glance away from Sam's intense scrutiny and find myself looking down at the murky water I'm currently sitting in. Even the gentle light of the candles can not disguise the filth of the water.
Sam follows my gaze and laughs. "I've always told you you're a pig!"
"How exceptionally unamusing," I mutter before changing tack and wailing, "I haven't even washed myself yet!" Looking at Sam, I pout and wait to see whether my plan of getting him to help wash me works.
"Poor diddums. Come on, you lean forward and I'll wash your back and hair. You can do the rest."
I do as he says and all but purr my contentment as I feel Sam gently propel a bar of soap along the length of my spine. I could quite happily let him wash my entire body but unfortunately Sam has other plans. "Here." He drops the soap over my head once he's finished my back. "Come on lazy-bones, wake up and fulfil your part of the deal." I contemplate grumbling but decide against it as I'm still managing to get out of it okay.
Concentrating on scrubbing every minute speck of dirt off your body is somewhat difficult when there's a person massaging shampoo through your hair but somehow I manage it. Actually, this is no small miracle as the sensation of Sam's hands on my scalp is incredibly relaxing and I find that I'm beginning to fall asleep again. If it wasn't for the water in the bath cooling down dramatically then I probably would.
"Oi! Wake up!" Sam's voice penetrates into my dream like state and I pull myself together sufficiently to look at him.
"I'm falling asleep." I find that in moments of extreme tiredness there is nothing quite like stating the obvious.
"No shit, Sherlock!" Sam grins at me as he echo's my earlier comment. I'd tell him to find his own come backs if only I could translate the sentiment over to my mouth.
Drawing from a reserve of energy, I ask for help out of the bath and Sam complies, immediately wrapping me in a large towel. I slump against him and he snickers softly. "You're no fun..." He begins to dry me before adding, "And to think I bought some massage oil as well..."
"You did?" I realise that if I really concentrate then I can remain reasonably upright and try to participate in the conversation at the same time.
"Well, you know, I just wanted an excuse to run my oil slicked hands all over your body." Sam continues to rub the towel over me, carefully patting over the bruising and this gentleness reminds me yet again of how lucky I am to have him.
"You don't need an excuse." I sigh before continuing, "But you're right, I'm no fun right now. All I feel capable of is crashing. Sorry..."
"And a massage will help you wake up all invigorated and ready for anything." Sam's obviously not going to give up and I smile at the truthfulness of his words.
"If you put it like that..."
He finishes drying me, carefully hangs the towel up and walks towards the door. "Come on."
Making an effort to put one foot after the other, I follow Sam into the room. He yanks the covers off the bed and gestures for me to lie down. Crawling onto the mattress, I lie down on my stomach as Sam pulls a small bottle from his pocket.
I turn my head slightly to one side and watch as he pours a generous amount of oil into the palm of his hand before sitting carefully on the edge of the bed. The rich, rose, if I'm not mistaken, scent of the oil quickly spreads throughout the room. The heady aroma seemingly adding to my desire for sleep.
The feeling of Sam's hands on my body is heavenly. I can even forget the horrors of the organ-farming case (give me drug-importing any day...) as he succeeds in removing the last of the tension from my shoulder blades. His hands glide over the entire length of my back and perhaps I'm hallucinating but it seems he pays particular attention to my lower back (where the skin of the victims had been excised...) and a little higher up, where the needle mark is.
I want to thank him, to express my appreciation, but am so close to sleep that all I can do is mumble a request for him to stay.
"Of course, do you even have to ask?" He whispers as he finishes off by sliding his hands over my butt and down my legs to my ankles.
My mind says 'no' but my traitorous mouth merely groans something unintelligible. I watch, through eyes that can hardly stay open, as Sam gets off the bed and quickly undresses. Again, my mind forms a comment - 'nice sight' - but this time my mouth refuses to emit anything.
Sam pulls the bedding over me, and, walking over to the switch, turns the light off. There is still enough illumination offered by the dying candles flickering through the open bathroom door to allow him to find his way back to bed without tripping over the assorted junk I've managed to spread over the floor in my brief time in the room.
Climbing under the covers, he gently pushes and prods me until I'm on my side and then curls up around me. The pleasure I feel at this simple gesture is immense. Knowing that he genuinely wants to be with me is incredible.
My last conscious thought before finally succumbing to sleep is that perhaps, for the moment at least, the world just might be rose scented...
Summary: The following report details the events after the official mission Choice Cuts, and contains spoilers for this mission.