The post operation celebration had been a good one. Sam and Chris had been given a blessed twenty-four hours off for good behaviour, failing to wind up the Met and getting their report in quickly. At least Sam got the report in quickly, while Chris made "helpful" suggestions. Then they had gone down the pub with Backup and Spencer and got righteously drunk. Sam couldn't remember much more than that. He didn't normally let himself get that drunk, but it wasn't every day that you snatched a major international terrorist out of his supposedly secret safe house. It also wasn't every day that you got to relax in the middle of a bunch of people you trusted implicitly to watch your back, and Sam had been tired of controlling himself. He must be letting Chris get to him, he thought. The American seemed able to let go at the drop of a hat whenever he was with his colleagues, and Sam envied him that level of trust.
Sam's bladder made known its opinion that just lying there was not a tenable option in the long term. It wasn't that surprising since he'd got through several pints -- he couldn't actually recall how many --of an extremely drinkable beer. He planned out the extended campaign that would get him to the bathroom, and came to the conclusion that there were two major obstacles. First, unwrapping himself from the warm body that he was so comfortably spooned around without waking her up was going to be tricky, and second, he didn't want to. Besides, he had absolutely no idea who she was. Oh, there had been plenty of good-looking women around, and Spence and Backup had had entirely too much fun egging him and Chris on when they were nearly incapable. He could remember that much, though hardly clearly, but he hadn't a clue who he had actually pulled. He was surprised enough that he had pulled at all; she must have been as drunk as he was.
Slowly he moved his upper hand down to hold her hips so that he could slide his trapped arm out from under, keeping his eyes firmly closed against the morning light that threatened him with the headache to end all headaches. He still didn't really want to do this; it was nice just lying there, one arm across her chest pressing her warmth into him. Sod it, his bladder could wait five minutes more, he thought, and slid his hand back up to cradle her breasts. Her amazingly... flat... breasts.
Sam came fully awake in a hurry. There was a man in his bed. A naked man. A naked man who was shifting gently in his arms, as if coming to wakefulness. Sam cracked his eyes open carefully and suppressed a groan. The tousled hair before him was all too familiar. He was sleeping with his partner, and both of them were naked. Sam was horrified, then mortified when he realised he was getting a hard-on. Chris was going to kill him for this. Think calming thoughts, he ordered himself sternly. Buckets of cold water. Malone on a bad day. Getting shot, which would frankly be a blessing right now.
He tried to slide away from Chris, moved his head a little too sharply and the hangover did nicely for his arousal. Unfortunately it left him a little too dazed to do anything as Chris turned over and buried his face in Sam's shoulder with a little sigh of contentment. Oh God, this was going to be bad, Curtis thought. "'S nice dream," Chris muttered in a little voice more asleep than awake. "Can't touch when I'm awake." And if that didn't guarantee a rude awakening, Sam thought bitterly, nothing would.
Shuffling a bit further away from Chris, Sam took his partner by both shoulders and shook him gently. "Chris, Chris mate, wake up. It's me, Sam," he said, slightly louder than he intended, and winced as his hangover-induced headache flared again. The effect on Keel was electric. His eyes flew open and he all but leapt away from his partner, balancing precariously as far away from him as he could get.
At this point Sam discovered that he had miscalculated his own position, and without Chris to grab onto he fell off the bed. "Ow," he said intelligently, and lay on the floor for a moment. It seemed to make him feel better, so he tried it again. "Ow, ow, ow."
Keel's head appeared cautiously over the edge of the bed, bloodshot eyes wide. "Sammy? You OK?"
"Aside from my wounded pride and the disco going on in my stomach, yeah, I'm fine. Which is more than you'll be if you call me 'Sammy' again." There was no particular force to Curtis' words, and Keel kept on staring at him. Belatedly Sam realised that he was lying naked in full view of his partner. Careful not to set his head spinning again, he sat up and arranged himself in a less... exposed manner, incidentally putting his head on a level with his partner.
Chris was still looking worried, almost afraid as well as embarrassed. "Uh, Sam, are you pissed?" he asked.
Sam looked away, considering the question carefully. "Probably," he said. "I feel like I'm still over the limit."
"No, I mean..." it was Chris' turn to frown in hungover concentration. "I mean pissed off. That's what you English say, isn't it?"
"Mm." Sam thought hard, and began to piece together the night's events. "Yes," he said eventually, "I'd have to say I'm pretty pissed off, all things considered." The sounds of motion on the bed alerted him to the fact that Chris had moved out of his immediate reach. "Oh, not with you, idiot. But fear not, I have a plan. First, I'm going to have a shower to try and get my brain going. Then I'm going to make a gallon -- no, two gallons of coffee while you have a shower. And then, we're going to plot revenge."
"Revenge?" Chris sounded confused, and looked it too when Sam looked back. Good; Sam's plan to take control of the situation was clearly working. Chris was less embarrassed already, and after coffee he'd probably even be able to laugh about it. Partnership saved, tick v.g.
"Yes, revenge. I was in no condition to undress myself last night," never mind seduce anyone he added silently, "and you were no better. We had to have had help here."
"Spence and Backup?" Chris flopped back onto the bed and chuckled, then winced as his own hangover caught up with him. "They die," he said.
"Painfully," Sam agreed. There was a pause, then he added, "You know, there's just one flaw with this masterplan."
"I don't think I can get up until the room stops spinning."
The alarm rang loudly through the alcoholic haze. Tina leaned over and did her usual violence to it, then collapsed back. "Oof," said her pillow, conversationally. She looked up at him fondly; last night really had been full of surprises. Including her own sense of humour.
"Do you think they'll forgive us?" she asked.
"What's all this 'us', kimo sabe?" Spencer shot back. "It was your idea."
"And you really think that's going to save you? I doubt either of them will be able to remember whose idea was which."
"Well, when you put it that way... probably not. Chris will forget inside a week, and you know it, but Sam won't. I'd say we've got some major humiliation coming our way." He sighed heavily. "Which makes last night doubly stupid."
"None." He caught her hand and stared earnestly into her eyes. "But Malone will have a fit when he finds out, and with Sam on our case he will find out."
They lay there for a few moments, then Tina sat up. "Well, we'll have to figure that out after work. Come on, time to get up, sleepyhead."
"Do I have to?" Spencer tried his best look of hurt innocence, to no avail. "It's early yet, we've got plenty of time."
"Not if we want to swing by your place we haven't. Your clothes stink of stale beer and cigarettes, and I don't somehow think you want to borrow one of my dresses. C'mon, shift."
"Slave driver. Are you going to do this often?"
"Only every chance I get."
"Oh, that's all right then."
The restorative powers of coffee were severely overestimated, Sam thought to himself glumly. He and Chris, both freshly showered and dressed in jogging pants and T-shirts that looked suspiciously baggy on the American, had made it as far as the lounge. Despite several mugs of strong black coffee, both still had the morose air of the hung over. They'd barely exchanged three words since getting up, and even thinking was a distinct effort. It was infinitely preferable just to stare out of the window, where the rain seemed to echo their inner gloom.
Sam had in fact considered cooking breakfast in an effort to revive them. He had only been able to contemplate the idea briefly, though, and had to spend the next ten minutes sending very firm messages to stomach. He had already embarrassed himself quite enough in front of his partner without running to the bathroom and throwing up noisily. He'd make time for the great white telephone later if he absolutely had to, but not while Chris was about.
"This," he said mostly to himself, "is why I don't get drunk."
"Hangovers are hell," Chris agreed.
"My entire body, up to and including my brain, is refusing to do what I tell it to."
"What, all of it?"
For some reason the memory of his earlier unwanted erection sprang to Sam's mind. "All of it," he said in depressed tones. If Chris had been awake at that moment, Sam was in no doubt that their partnership would be over.
"So what are you telling it to do now?"
"Oh, lots of things. I'm trying to think, for starters, but my head's still fuzzy." Sam glared balefully at the magazines on the table. "I really ought to tidy those up, too. And the mess we left in the bedroom. And I refuse to even contemplate what you've done to my bathroom."
"Hey," Chris protested, "I was a good boy. It's not like I threw up or anything."
"Don't say things like that," Sam said queasily. "Not for another hour at least."
"OK." There was a long pause that Chris finally broke. "You know what I could really do with right now?" he asked with a glint of pure mischief in his eye.
"Please don't say 'another drink'."
"No, I was thinking more like some toast."
"Ugh. How can you even think of food at a time like this?"
"Hot toast, with loads of butter melting onto it."
"Chris, if you make me heave I swear your life won't be worth living." Keel sighed theatrically and shook his head -- carefully, Sam was pleased to note -- grinning hugely the whole while. "So apart from your cravings for the inedible, what are you trying to find the coordination for just now?"
The smile vanished. "I was trying to figure out how to apologise."
Uh-huh. Sam had figured that something like this would be coming. Chris was good at feeling guilty about things he had nothing to do with. Time to take control again. Sam put on a tolerantly amused smile and drawled "Nothing to apologise for, mate, except maybe making me fall out of bed. We were set up, it's hardly your fault."
"Yeah, but... it must have been a shock, me cuddling up to you like that."
"Not half as much as waking up to find you there in the first place!" Chris still looked miserable, apparently finding the fabric of his T-shirt fascinating, and Sam struggled to replay the incident in his head. What had the American said? Oh yes. "Look Chris, I was a warm body and you were still dreaming. It was perfectly natural for you to mistake me for your wife. Just be grateful I woke you up before you went any further."
Keel's ears reddened dramatically, and Curtis berated himself. That last sentence had been a big mistake, but before he could open his mouth to repair the damage, Chris was speaking.
"She's dead, you know."
"I'd guessed it must be something like that," Sam replied softly. He wanted to go over and hug his friend, reassure him, but that would be catastrophically stupid right now. He only had words to work with, and at this point he was hardly at his best with them. "Want to talk about it?" he asked.
"Not really." The T-shirt was apparently still fascinating. Sam had to pull his partner out of this funk somehow. He opted for an indirect attack.
"Do you believe in karma?" Chris looked up in surprise; at least Sam had got his attention. "You know, good people getting rewards, bad people getting punished."
"I must be a very bad person then," Chris said with a bitter laugh.
"No, you're one of the best. That's why you are going to find someone else special. You deserve it." Chris mumbled something inaudible, his ears positively scarlet. "Say again?"
"I said I have found someone, but they aren't interested."
"You sure of that?" Sam asked lightly. Chris shot him a penetrating look. "'Cos knowing you, you haven't asked her."
Chris looked down again. "I'm sure," he said quietly.
Sam shook his head. "You're hopeless. And I need more coffee. Want some?" Chris nodded, and Sam hauled himself up. He paused at the kitchen door and looked back at his partner. "You know, I might just make some toast after all."
Chris waited until he had left the room before releasing a soul-deep sigh.