DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Ryan Murphy and the WB. No infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A huge thank you to Redlance for the encouragement. You're awesome!
CONTINUITY: This is in my Bram!verse and is next in line after 'Chemistry'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Kiss Me I'm Irish
By Quatorz


Brooke crept quietly into Sam's room-although she really didn't know why. Habit, she supposed. The brunette was downstairs at the kitchen table studying, and Brooke had been in Sam's room enough over the last few months that she felt as at home there as she did her own space.

Maybe more so, she reflected.

Perhaps it was her residual guilt. She was on a mission to, um, 'borrow' something from Sammy: that stupid pin she wore three hundred and sixty-four days ago.

Tomorrow was St. Patrick's Day. Brooke had picked out two outfits perfect for the occasion and had them dry cleaned. They were tasteful, with touches of green but without the crass slogans that would adorn her classmates (and probably her girlfriend's, she admitted ruefully) apparel.

The only problem was that she'd forgotten to pick them up at the dry cleaners. So that left her without anything to wear on St. Patty's Day-unless she could find Sam's stupid pin. 'Kiss me I'm Irish' it said.

With a smile, Brooke assuaged her guilt because she intended to do plenty of that to the brunette tomorrow anyway (and probably quite a bit more today, too). So what did Sam need with a pin?

Besides, last year the pin had gotten her girlfriend a bit more attention than she'd planned. Oh, she'd been flattered-and maybe a bit surprised-but unless she wanted the whole school to know that they were dating, she'd better not wear the pin that year.

No one was kissing Sammy but her. Just let 'em try, the blonde thought to herself. Don't make me mark my territory.

(She had no way of knowing how that remark would come back to haunt her-years later-on a stretch of sandy beach.)

Brooke searched the room but came up empty. She didn't have too much time. Sam would come looking for her soon.

She tried to get inside Sam's head. Think like Sammy, she strained herself, and fought back the sudden urge to wear the wrong top with the wrong pants. She poked her tongue in the side of her mouth-thinking that might help-and tried to see the order in the chaos that the brunette always claimed existed.

And just like that she had a moment of clarity: the desk drawer!

That was the perfect, obvious place for the pin to be. She opened the drawer, and lifted a thick white envelope to search among the objects beneath it.

Remembering when she'd groped blindly for her Team Spirit pin in her freshmen year with the Glamazons (and found it point-first), she lifted the heavy white envelope onto the desk.

What's this...?

It was from Northwestern University. Brooke remembered Sam talking about that ages ago. She was going to apply there because of its journalism program. Sam hadn't mentioned it in ages.

In fact, Brooke thought back, Sam hadn't mentioned any specific college at all. Brooke naturally assumed...

She picked up the envelope. The postmark was from Chicago, Illinois. She remembered Sam and Jane taking a weekend up there the summer of their sophomore year.

The envelope was open. Brooke reached in and pulled the packet of papers from inside. The top sheet was on thick, starched paper-the kind she'd seen on resumes-with the Northwestern logo at the top. It began with a standard salutation, 'Dear Miss McPherson,' and then congratulated her on being--

Brooke's throat went dry and she reread that first word again. 'Congratulations.' It definitely said congratulations. It was commemorating her efforts on being selected to attend one of the finest universities in the nation, and went on to laud her achievement with statistics of how difficult a task that was to accomplish.

This was an acceptance letter. Brooke's hands were shaking now, and she put the white envelope on the desk. There was a tunnel in front of her vision and everything else except the envelope seemed to be collapsing into it.

Including her future.

Sam was going to Chicago in the fall. She had been accepted to Northwestern and was going half way across the country in September.

Brooke had just assumed that Sam was going to USC with her in the fall. With the accident, Brooke was unable to travel to any of the other schools she'd applied to. And after everything that had happened she wanted to stick close to home. Apparently Sam had other ideas...

Brooke's mind immediately went to damage control mode. Okay, she regrouped. This isn't the end of the world. I can do Chicago...

She would just take this semester off-or the year at worst-and apply to Northwestern. Jane had gone on and on about how beautiful the campus was. Living in Chicago might be nice: being on their own-so far from home, long walks together in the snow--

But when was Sam planning on telling you any of this? a voice in her head chimed in. And there wasn't a good answer for that. It takes time to go through a university's admissions process. She really should have submitted her application months ago. Sam should have told her about this, unless...

Say it, the voice coaxed. It was the only answer that made sense.

"She doesn't want me to go," she whispered aloud to the empty room. Her eyes stung and she felt her lower lip trembling. She laid the envelope back into the drawer. It was heavy-like a tombstone.

"What's wrong?" a concerned voice called from the door. Brooke looked around, and there was Sam watching her. "What is it?" the brunette asked, and rushed into the room.

In a moment she knelt in front of Brooke. "Why are you crying?" she asked.

Was she? She felt the wetness on her face as Sam wiped the tears away. She didn't know what to say. The last thing she wanted to do was ask Sam just to have the brunette confirm it. She didn't know if she could take that.

She felt her shoulders slump up and down without consciously willing it.

"What do you mean you don't know?" Sam prodded gently. "Something happened. You were fine three minutes ago."

"I--" she began, and her voice was hoarse. "I found your letter from Northwestern.

"Your acceptance letter," she added-a bit more bitterly than she'd intended. What could she say? Sam's very existence always did wreak havoc with her emotions.

Sam was blank for a beat, and then realization dawned on her. "Oh," was all she had to offer as a reply.

Oh, Brooke thought to herself. Their future together smashed on the rocks and all the wordsmith could come up with was 'oh'. She felt herself getting angry, and her features harden.

That was good. If she was going to survive this at all she would need that. She would need to channel some of her feelings for Sam into anger. It was how she'd survived with these feelings for so long-it should come naturally. Just like riding a bike.

She felt an irresistible urge to smack Sam in her smarmy, smug, heartbreaking face. And she almost did, but deep down she didn't really want to hurt Sammy.

She looked at the floor as fresh tears fell. She felt stupid for ever trusting Sam in the first place, for being foolish enough to believe in forever, and also for labeling her urge 'irresistible' and then resisting it moments later.

That's just the kind of thing a rodeo clown would do. She wondered vaguely if Northwestern had an accredited rodeo clown program-then remembered that Sam didn't want her in Chicago anyway. And that just made her cry harder.

"Brooke," she heard her name called. "What is it?" The reporter glanced down at the envelope, and apparently put two and two together. "Brooke, do you--?

"I'm not going to Northwestern," she reassured her.

Brooke looked up hopefully at those big brown eyes and sniffed back her tears. "You're not?"

"No," Sam assured her. "Why would you even think that? I'm-we're-going to USC in the fall together. Aren't we?"

Brooke nodded, smiling a little. The weight pressing down on her chest was lifting.. "Why didn't you tell me you'd been accepted to Northwestern?"

It was Sam's turn to shrug. "I dunno."

"You got accepted to their journalism school-that Medill program. I remember you telling my Dad how hard that was to get in to," she said.

She acted like she couldn't care less at the time, but she remembered the dinner table that Tuesday night after they'd gotten back from Chicago-hearing about how competitive it was. As always the brunette downplayed her abilities and accomplishments-setting herself up for disappointment by disclaiming to all of them how difficult it was to get accepted.

Brooke also remembered-even then-how sad she was at the thought of Sam going so far away to school.

"Does USC have a good journalism program?"

"Oh yeah," Sam answered. "The Annenberg program is just as prestigious."

"Well that's great!" Brooke smiled. "I'm so proud of you, Sammy."

The brunette's eyes darted away-just for a moment. "You are in the Annenberg program aren't you?" Brooke prodded.

"I will be next year, I'm sure." Sam smiled.

"What do you mean?"

"I missed the cut-off to apply. I'm enrolled as a gen-ed student," Sam admitted.

Gen-ed was 'general education'. Sam was taking just the basic courses-and nothing toward her journalism major.

Brooke didn't know what was worse. She didn't want Sam giving up on her-but she didn't want the reporter giving up her dreams for her.

"But Sam," she argued, "you've always dreamed of being a journalist. And it was your dream to go to Northwestern! Your Dad went there!"


"No, Sam," she countered. "Look, I can take the year off and we can move to Chicago. I--"

"You can't," Sam reminded her: "the cold." Oh yeah. The stupid accident. Her doctor had cited the warm southern California climate as being ideal for her. Colder climates would bring on chronic aches-possibly debilitating.

"Sammy," Brooke pleaded. "I don't want you to give up your dreams for me."

"My dreams?" Sam looked at her as though she'd grown a third head. "Brooke, I've always wanted to be a journalist-and I will be," she assured her. "But being with you--"

Sam looked down at their joined hands. "Brooke, you're shaking. Are you all right?"

Brooke did her best to nod, but she was still trembling all over. "It just threw me, I guess. I thought you were leaving me," she joked.

But the tremor in her voice betrayed her. She could see it in the brunette's eyes that she had revealed too much, and suddenly couldn't look at her anymore. She felt stupid again, and preferred it if Sam didn't know that she had a basketcase for a girlfriend.

"Brooke," Sam coaxed her gently. Reluctantly she met the brown eyes across from her. An eyebrow quirked up comically, and she laughed-a real one this time.

"I'm not going to leave you, okay?" the reporter promised. "Forever-remember?"

Brooke nodded. Sam's words were a warm blanket to the cold, lonely nine-year old her mother had abandoned. "You're my everything, Sammy," she confessed. She still felt terribly exposed and vulnerable, but wanted to say this to the brunette. "I want to be your everything," she admitted with a shrug. "I know that's selfish--"

"Brooke," Sam chuckled. "If you were any more my everything--" She stammered and shook her head at herself. "Why do words always fail me when you're around?"

Brooke didn't know, but the admission delighted her. "I think my office is going to off limits to you when I'm working from the house," Sam warned, "Otherwise I'll never get anything finished." Brooke smiled again-this time at the brunette's expectations of their life together.

"You mean more to me than me," Sam confided. "Being with you is a dream I never dared hope would come true. So even if I only write fortune cookies for a living-but I get to come home to you every night-that will be a life better than I ever could have imagined."

Brooke practically leapt into Sam's arms, and felt them curl around her protectively. "Thanks, Sammy."

"What were you looking for anyway?" Sam asked after a moment.

Brooke wiped her eyes, and sniffed. "That stupid pin you wore last year for St. Patrick's Day. I don't have anything green to wear tomorrow."

"Oh," Sam replied, "it's right here." Sam plucked it from the top of her desk-where it sat upside down the whole time. Figures.

"I've got plenty to wear for tomorrow," Sam boasted. "Do you wanna borrow one of my shirts?"

No thanks, she thought to herself. She didn't quite think she would look right in one of Sam's holiday favorites like: 'Rub me for luck' or 'Classy lassie'.

"Waitaminute," Sam examined the pin. "People want to kiss you enough as it is. I don't think I want you wearing an open invitation."

Brooke smiled. "And I don't want you wearing a T-shirt telling people to 'rub you for luck'," she informed her girlfriend. "The only person rubbing you tomorrow is going to be me."

"Deal," Sam smiled.

"Deal," Brooke agreed.

Sam cocked an eyebrow. "There's no reason to wait 'til tomorrow, is there?" she smirked. The brunette leaned in close to her, and Brooke's eyes fluttered closed in anticipation. Sam's lips were so close to hers she could feel them annunciate when she quipped: "Kiss me, I'm Irish."

"Sam, are you starting with that pin again? Brooke doesn't want to kiss you," Jane's voice informed them.

Brooke's eyes snapped open with an audible crack, and Sam scrambled to remove herself from Brooke's lap. She fell gracelessly to the floor with a thud!

Brooke turned to the door of Sam's room-the open door. Jane was carrying an armful of boxes stacked one on top the other.

"Sam, can you help me with these? I washed your winter clothes and packed them away."

Brooke and Sam just stared at each other, and then it dawned on Brooke: the boxes had covered her eyes. Jane hadn't seen anything.

Sam's face broke out into a relieved smile that mirrored her own.

"Sam, can you grab these?" Jane asked again, annoyed.

"Absolutely, Mom!" the brunette leapt up and happily helped her mother.

"You and that pin of yours," Jane shook her head. "You were incorrigible last year. Are you planning to proposition everyone to kiss you tomorrow?"

"Don't worry," Brooke answered for her. "I guarantee there will be no unauthorized kissing for Sam tomorrow," she quipped. Sam shot her a 'look', which just made her grin.

"That's good-I guess," Jane replied. A curious expression crossed her face, and she considered a few moments before continuing. "I'm glad that she'll be in good hands," she finally offered.

"She will be," Brooke smiled. Her skin was still tingling from the realization that they almost got caught. It had been so close.

"All right you two. I'll let you get back to what you were doing." She smiled and left the room.

Sam shut the door and locked it. "That was close," she echoed Brooke's earlier thought.

"I'll say," Brooke grinned. "Kind of exciting," she waggled her eyebrows.

Sam laughed. "You're--"

The brunette searched for her words, and Brooke could only guess what was coming next: insane, neurotic, incorrigible, demented, irrational, maniacal...

The list went on and on. And all of them were completely true.

Instead the brunette shook her head and regarded her with a smile that lit up those beautiful brown eyes.

"Perfect," she declared.

The End

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