DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Trial By Jury and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: of sorts to Cinco De Mayo

Nobody Puts Kelly In A Corner
By EponinesGhost

Rubbing her temple as she waited for the elevator, Kelly couldn't remember the last time she felt this hung-over. Her eyes felt gritty and dry, her head felt as if it were full of wet towels, and her blood felt vaguely poisoned. And yet she hadn't touched a drop of alcohol. Just like you, Gaffney. Suffering the consequences without experiencing the blissful pleasure of overindulgence. She wasn't the one partying last night, and still she was dragging into work this morning as if she had been tossed from an airplane. The ding of the elevator arriving virtually pierced her skull. Steeling herself for the vertigo she was sure to feel once the blasted thing was in motion, she stepped inside. Thank God no one seemed to be in a chatty mood. Or maybe her grayish complexion was enough of a deterrent. Fuck it if they couldn't give her a pass every once in a while. The sharp spike of the pinging door caused her to draw her head down even further into the collar of her coat as she exited onto her floor. This was really the part she was dreading anyway. Each step toward the office echoed last night's path. Despite the bustle and clatter that surrounded her now, she could still hear the faint strains of the mariachi music. She ducked into the ladies room so that she could delay her entry through the double doors. And she didn't care if that was childish.

Tracey sat in her office, remnants of her second cup of coffee already well on the way to being chilly in the bottom of her "Broadway" mug. Poring over the contents of the carton of documents Ravell had delivered last night, she was full-on focused. Occasionally she made notes on her yellow pad, often stopping to dig a page back out of the neatly stacked pile of paper that signified the ones she'd already processed. There was some good stuff here. Some of it tangential and in need of further investigation, but it was a solid start. She made a mental note to congratulate Kelly and Chris on scraping this together. That slight detour in thought made her eyes flicker over to Kelly's desk and then up to the clock. She was amazed by how much of the morning had already passed. Her features settled into a frown as she wondered what was keeping her partner.

Leaning her forehead against the cool tile wall, Kelly flashed back to how she had ended up in this same place the night before. The shock of stumbling into the late-night office party. Hell, INTIMATE private party. How captivating she found the vision of Tracey dancing ... totally uninhibited, radiant. The overwhelming urge she'd had to be part of that moment. Then the jarring impact of realizing that someone else was enjoying HER fantasy, taking her place. The incredible pain associated with lost opportunity and the crushing knowledge that Tracey was probably beyond her reach. Everything after that was a blur. Until she found herself nearly hyperventilating in the ladies room, her stomach rolling, tears threatening. Only then did she grasp that the scene she had just caused was much worse, the real nail in the coffin. Her irrational jealousy and visceral physical reaction, properly contained, might have been her silent cross to bear. But .. OH GOD ... she had lost it. How was she going to get past tossing a box of evidence to the floor and bolting from the room like a jilted lover? The humiliation of it all, and the probable end of one of the best working relationships she'd ever known, had kept her up most of the night. Working relationship? Who was she kidding? It was more than that and she had totally fucked it up. Sighing deeply, she pushed away from the wall, finger-combed her hair -- she hadn't bothered to wash or style it -- and went to face the music.

Tracey looked up from her notes and fixed Kelly with a critical stare. She pursed her lips with every intention of commenting on Kelly's tardiness, but blurted instead, "Christ, you look like HELL."

Avoiding any eye contact as she removed her coat and settled her things on her desk, Kelly murmured an apology for her late arrival. She slipped into her chair like a chastised schoolgirl.

"Seriously, you look AWFUL. Like death warmed over. What the hell did you DO last night? Ravell said you were going home to crash." Tracey crossed her arms and waited, coolly appraising her associate.

"I .. uh ..." Kelly's mind was spinning. Tracey was acting as if nothing had happened. Worse still, it seemed that she didn't KNOW what had happened. "It was a long day. I was dead on my feet ..." Everything she had prepared for, braced herself for ... none of it had included Tracey's ignorance of events. "I must have been too exhausted to sleep." She still wouldn't meet Tracey's eyes.

Her lips compressed into a thin line, Tracey knew there was more to this than the feeble explanation Kelly was offering, but she decided to let it go. She could always press for more information later if need be. Shaking off her concern, she patted the stack of papers in front of her. "Good work on turning this stuff up. It's going to go a long way towards shoring up our case."

Kelly just nodded and threw herself into pretending to attack her own paperwork. She had to concentrate on breathing. How was it possible that she had gotten this reprieve? Had Tracey been so wrapped up in Hector that she hadn't even noticed her tantrum? That would be rich. She'd been so worried, no ... traumatized ... and it hadn't even mattered. Not to Tracey anyway. Did that make her an even bigger fool?

When it became clear that Kelly was not going to engage in conversation, Tracey, sensing a challenge, tried again. "We missed you last night."

"I'll bet." Kelly muttered under her breath before she could catch herself.

Tilting her head quizzically, Tracey wondered if she had heard correctly. "What?"

"I said, 'Yeah?' "

"Yes. A few of us threw a rather spontaneous Cinco De Mayo celebration. A little tequila ... a little music ..."

A little grinding. She closed her eyes to try to force the image of Tracey and Hector plastered against each other from her mind. Yeah, she was bitter. "Sounds nice."

"It was ... it's nice to let off a little steam every once in awhile ..." Tracey's voice trailed off as Kelly abruptly grabbed her coffee mug and left the room. What WAS her problem today? As she considered following her and demanding an answer, the phone rang and her attention turned back to business.

Any other day, or any day prior to this one, Kelly would have been thrilled to accept Tracey's lunch invitation. Today she didn't trust her ability to maintain the shaky facade of calm she had managed to hang onto all morning. Instead she begged off, noting that since she had come in late, she needed to make up some time. She was inordinately relieved when Tracey left her alone. Unfortunately, the relief quickly led to drowsiness and her fatigue finally caught up to her.

Tracey smiled with amusement and a hint of worry as she watched Kelly sleep with her head propped on her hand. It wasn't like her normally collected partner to come in late, disheveled and grouchy. It was even less like her to fall asleep in the middle of the day. Tracey hoped she wasn't coming down with something. She dropped the bag she was holding on the desk in front of Sleeping Beauty with a loud "plop" and was impressed by Kelly's attempt to pull off the "I was just resting my eyes" maneuver. Not even close.

"What's this?"

"Super grande burrito. Just for you." She smirked at the slight wrinkling of Kelly's nose. "You have to eat."

Kelly hated to admit how wonderful the thing smelled, even through the bag. "I thought Cinco de Mayo was yesterday."

Tracey shrugged. "Better LATE than never." She intentionally emphasized the word. "Sorry I can't offer you any tequila ... on duty and all that ... " As she hung her coat on the rack, her face suddenly lit up. She spun back around to face Kelly. "Stand up."

"What? Why?"

"Just do it." Tracey made her way over to the edge of Kelly's desk, waiting expectantly, as Kelly warily rose from her chair. She gazed at Tracey with suspicion.

"Does this have anything to do with lunch?"

"No, it has everything to do with loosening you up. Like I said, I can't offer you tequila ... but since you missed the party last night ... I can bring a little of the party to you ..." Tracey moved closer. "Okay ... this is going to take a bit of imagination. Shut your eyes ... do you hear the music?"

As her eyes closed, Kelly was aware of Tracey's proximity, the warmth of her body, her voice ... so mesmerizing. She felt suspended ... her mind was frantically trying to catch up with her heartbeat. Tracey was humming. And keeping a beat by lightly slapping her hand against her thigh.

"Just listen for a moment ... feel that ... relax and really hear it ..."

Kelly found herself nodding, totally focused on Tracey's instructions. Without warning, Tracey's hand was on her hip, firm and sure, her thumb slightly gripping. With a minor amount of pressure, she was guiding Kelly to sway from side to side.

"That's it ... let go of the tension ... move with the rhythm ..."

It was a testament to Tracey's powers of persuasion that Kelly didn't notice when Tracey quit patting the beat out loud for her. Or when she stopped humming in between directives. With her other hand Tracey pulled Kelly's right arm up by the wrist, resting it on her shoulder. Kelly's left arm hung limply at her side, occasionally brushing Tracey's hand on her hip. Kelly couldn't believe how sensual even this minimal contact was. Her fingers curled into Tracey's upper back.

"You're doing great ... so natural ..."

Tracey pressed in, her foot between Kelly's now, their hips moving in unison only inches apart. Tracey's hand slid behind Kelly, flattening just above the curve of her ass, anchoring there. At that signal, Kelly moved forward, finding herself flush against Tracey's lower body. She nearly fainted, grateful for her grip on Tracey's shoulder. Breathless, she dropped her head back as Tracey slowly circled her hips into her.

"Wonderful ... I think you've got it ..."

Oh. My. God. She had it. Bad. Tracey's voice was virtually inside her ear, sending shivers racing up and down. Her shirt had ridden up slightly in the front with the motion of each step and now a small patch of bare skin above her waistband was rubbing against Tracey's blouse. The heat was almost unbearable. If this didn't stop soon there was no way she would be able to keep Tracey from knowing just how aroused she was ... especially considering the current position of Tracey's thigh. She struggled to speak.

"Like this?"

"Exactly like that ..."

Tracey was practically purring. That wasn't going to help. They maintained the slow, steady rhythm ... circle, circle, step, circle ... circle, circle, lunge ... it was maddening and exciting and so damn erotic. No wonder Tracey loved to dance.

"Kelly ..."

As Tracey breathed her name, she opened her eyes. The look that passed between them was so intense that Kelly stopped moving, losing track of her timing and much of her balance. Simultaneously both women dropped their hands, standing intoxicatingly close together for what seemed like an eternity. Neither of them wanted to be the one to take the next step or break the spell. The ringing phone did that for them.

Stepping sideways and clearing her throat, Tracey answered. "Kibre."

Kelly drifted back toward her chair in a daze. Through the window she could see Hector at his desk, phone tucked under one ear. Bastard. But even as that thought formed, she was smiling. The last dance is the only one that matters, after all. And she wasn't going anywhere.

She hoped Tracey remembered how much she hated onions.

The End

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