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Long Night's Journey Into Day
By wildwildwood


"You know Captain, when you're not being a completely overbearing and rude control freak, you're actually quite charming."

"Why thank you." I reply, smiling at her.

A pause.

"Aren't you going to return the complement, Captain Raydor?" I loved that clipped way she had of pronouncing my name. Ray full stop. Doooor long oh.

"No, Chief, I'm not." I push myself off the wall I'm leaning against and make my way down the hall towards the kitchen. "Staying for dinner?" I call out over my shoulder, knowing she'd follow, unable of letting the comment go.

"Why the hell not?!" She took the bait, she's taken off her jacket and is following me into the kitchen where I'd already pulled out two bowls. She's so predictable.

"Because - pass me the salt - thank you. You know you're charming. You don't need me to tell you, do you?"

"I don't... What?" She asked, flabbergasted that I would pay her an honest complement. I did actually enjoy spending time with 'Brenda Leeeeigh', there wasn't many people who could push back as hard as I did, or dish it as well as take it. As for the fact that she was a very attractive woman, that didn't go unnoticed either. I had taken to admiring at beautiful women like I admire works of art, created to make life brighter, more colorful. Just because I don't own a Cézanne doesn't mean I'm not overcome with emotion every time I see one. Chief Johnson was like that, all light and corners and shapes and planes coming together in unexpectedly beautiful ways.

"Don't act all surprised and go into your 'Honeysuckle Rose' routine. I hope you like stew." I said, carrying two bowls over to the table and seating myself down. "It seems like the appropriate thing for this chilly weather we've been having, don't you think?"

"Thank you, it looks lovely" She politely says before returning her voice to it's angry tone. "Now what the hell do you mean my 'Honeysuckle Rose' routine and...and I am not charming."

"My, such manners. Mama Johnson'd be proud." I watch her as she shoots me a dirty look and begins to dig into the stew.

"Well. This isn't awful."

"Thank you." I smile over the spoon raised to my lips.

"Some might even say it's good." She admits begrudgingly, pouting as she eagerly eats.

"But not you?" I tease, nudging her leg under the table with mine.

"No. But others. What is it?"

"Vegetable barley."

"Mmmmmm..." She gets up and pours herself another bowl. She notices an open bottle of wine in the corner and eyes it. "Help yourself, the glasses are above the bottle." I invite her, clasping my hands and resting my chin on them.

"I shouldn't -" She said, staring at it. She would. "But I will." What did I say? Predictable. She quickly reached up and grabbed two glasses and poured us some wine and set one in front of me. "Now, what's this about how you find me charming?" She asked, batting her eyelashes at me.

Dear lord, this was going to be a long night.

It was cold. It was wet. It had been a long week and I had just spent 74 minutes in L.A.'s notorious traffic. All I wanted to do was come home, slip into some dry clothes and have some dinner and a glass of red that I'd been saving for a sufficiently atrocious day. Anti-social yes, but the perfect day to a less than perfect week. Besides, it takes a lot of work to be the crazy cat lady my friends are convinced I am. Especially because I don't actually own a cat.

So that's where I was, in the kitchen, singing along loudly and horribly off-key to whatever ridiculous music was on the radio, dressed in some horrendously tattered jeans and cardigan, stirring the stew that was set to be dinner when the doorbell rang.


And again.

And again.

Whoever it was, wasn't going to go away. I opened the door fully expecting a determined little girl scout shilling cookies but instead found Brenda Leigh Johnson, cowering under something trying to stay dry. "Captain Raydor. So fortunate you heard me over those cats you were skinning." She made an effort to move in to the hall where I stood. Dry. Instead I blocked her, leaning my hip against the door and found my face shift into the smirk reserved only for the very few, and very annoying in my life. "Chief Johnson. Always a pleasure."

"Yes, may I come in?"

"How can I help you?" I ask, not moving aside. I don't know why I do this. I mean, I do. But I really need to stop - this isn't the 4th grade anymore.

"Just let me in." She grumbles, pushing me past with her shoulder. I close the door and stand there, watching as she shakes herself dry like a puppy. "I went to you office to drop off those reports, but imagine my surprise when you'd gone."

"I was expecting them by noon."

"I told you I'd get them to you by today."

"You said you'd get them to me by noon." I correct.

"Yes, well, now they're all wet." She thrusts the wet manilla she used to keep herself dry towards me.

"Thank you Chief." I take them by the corner and place them on the side table, I'll dry them later.

"Well." She says, clasping her hands behind her back, peering around. "What a lovely house."

"Thank you."

"It took ages for me to find your address, you know." I stare at her expectantly. "We're never going to get along, are we?" She asks point blank. Well, you have to admire her honesty.

"Never is a very long time. I'm sure we'd both be dead before we ever reach never."

"That's not what I mean." She sighs and mutters under her breath. "I would like for us to get along better. More. At all. We'll be working together, and I'd like for us to do so without our respective teams taking bets as to who'll beat the crap out of each other first."

"Why? We could rig the whole ring and make a killing." I suggest, deadpan. "Think of all the candy that'd buy."

"Forget it. I knew you wouldn't listen to reason." She rolls her eyes at me and sighs. "You have your report. Good night."

"Good night." I lean my shoulder against the wall and watch as she turns towards the door and stops.

"You know, I get it. I do. I really, really do." She turns around, and looks at me. "As awful as my job is, yours is probably worse-"

"I don't care for where this is going." I reply. Mainly, because I don't. "When I made the decision to accept my position with FID, I accepted all that came with it. The threats, the harassment, the freeze-outs from my fellow officers. What I did not sign up for was analysis from pretty blondes who get ove-"

"You think I'm pretty?"

"..." I just stand there, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.

"What I meant to say, Captain Raydor, was that ours are not easy jobs - and at times it feels as if we're on opposite sides, but we aren't. At least we shouldn't be. I feel as if I have the support of my brothers and sisters in blue. You, it seems, do not. So what I am attempting to say is that I would like for our relationship -" She waves her hand in the space that lies between us, a rain drop flicking from her hand onto my glasses. "To not be as contentious as it is. You may be a bitch, but so am I." She smiles sweetly at me, taking the sting out of her words, "We have that in common. I feel that if we looked, we'd find more in common. We are both smart, and we are both used to getting what we want. Those are two more things we have in common." I look at her through my glasses, trying to plot her next move. I can't. She can't want anything from me, I have less power, less pull, and less connections than she does. "I also have a sweet tooth." I begin slowly, pulling on what little knowledge I've gathered about her, "I'm partial to Snickers bars."

"Well then, there's a start. Nougat based confections is another thing we have in common."

We stand for a moment in my hall quietly. "I suppose you have plans for dinner with..."

"No." She cuts me off. "He's ah...away."

"Oh." I can't seem to raise my eyes from where they've frozen, to a spot on the floor just past my feet. Maybe the rumors were right, about her and her husband. Not that I listen. This job isn't easy on any relationship, let alone one with a woman like Brenda Leigh. "If you're free..." I can't finish the words. Free for what?

"You know Captain, when you're not being a completely overbearing and rude control freak, you're actually quite charming."

"Why thank you." I reply, smiling at her.

"Sooooooo..." She begins, stretching out her ohs to ungodly lengths, taking my hand in hers and swinging it up, then letting them fall back on the sofa together, "Sharon Raydor thinks I'm pretty and charming. If I didn't know any better, I'd read something into all of that." She smiles at me, cocking her head to one side, the red wine clearly having an effect on her. I pretend not to hear her, not to see her. We'd settled in the living room after dinner, watching the rain as it continued to fall. Brenda, in her infinite inability to be nothing if not feminine at all times had sat herself sideways on my sofa, her skirt gathered up around her thighs as she tucked her feet under her as if we were 16 again, sharing stories after dark.

We call each other Brenda now, and Sharon - it felt odd.

I took another sip of wine and let it roll around in my mouth, giving me something other than her hand on mine to think about. It was very difficult. She giggled, removing her hand from mine, giving me a chance to release my breath before the next one got stuck in my lungs as she began to play with the ends of my hair. "Well, it seems I've rendered you speechless. For the first time, Sharon Raydor, speechless." She laughs, "My blondeness and charm is so great and ..." She stops talking suddenly, turning her head to the window and watches the rain with me. She moves her hand from my hair back to my hand. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize." Her voice is quiet now, clipped. I shrug, taking another sip of wine. "It does explain why you're so mean to me though." She continues, "Just like when Billy Peters was always sticking bugs down my dress in the 4th grade. My mama would always say 'Brenda Leigh, he's only doing that to get you to notice him.'"

"Was it true?" I ask, still looking ahead.

"I don't know, I took my father's advice and kicked him in the pecker next time he came near me. Never tried to put a bug down my dress again."

"Smart boy." I smirk. "Should I be thankful you haven't kicked me in the pecker?" I tease, unable to keep laughter from my voice.

"I was sharing a moment with you, and there you go, turning it into a joke." She teases back, her hand still on mine.

"Well, if I'm honest, I was mean to you because I hate you."

"No you don't." She shoots at me.

"I do too." I argue back.

"You think I'm pretty, you think I'm charming." She begins to sing, swinging our arms above the couch, "You want to kissss meee."

"I do. And I don't like it." I tell her honestly. I don't like it. She's a superior and she everything I've always disliked - emotional, and popular, and manipulative, and popular. She doesn't see herself as popular, but compared to me, she's the prom queen of the LAPD.

"Why don't you?" She asks, placing our hands back down.

"Why don't I like it?" I ask her as if she's a particularly exasperating and stupid child. It's a tone I've used with her often.

"Why don't you kiss me?" She asks.

"Seriously?" I stare at her long and hard to make sure I understand the question. She stares back at me just as intently, looking for a clue. Perhaps she doesn't know how completely inappropriate it would be. Given the rumors about her and Pope, she might not.

Finally, she smiles tightly and lets go of my hand and places her wine glass down. "Well, it's been a delightful evening. Thank you very much for your hospitality." She gets up and looks down at me.

"Yes - I'll see you out." I rise up off the couch follow her towards the hall. "Thank you for dropping off that report. I'm sorry I made you come out of your way to deliver it."

"Not at all." I watch her move in the dark as she slips into her shoes and her jacket. She smiles at me once again. We're completely polite and professional. She opens the door and a cool wind blows in as she stands there for a moment, looking out.

She then closes the door, puts down her purse and turns around, grabbing my face in both of her hands and presses her lips against mine.

My mind goes blank for a moment.

Stops functioning.

All I can do it stand there.

And then a single thought occurs to me: Brenda Leigh Johnson is kissing me.

And my mind kickstarts again.

I push her against the door, my hands tearing at her jacket, sliding it down her arms. Her hands let go of my face long enough to take her jacket off then raising them, tangling them in my hair. She doesn't say anything, simply gasps as my mouth moves from hers down to her neck, her earlobe, her collarbone. Her eyes roll shut and her breathing goes ragged. She begins to go limp and I stop for a moment, "Are you ok?" I ask, pushing my glasses back up my nose. "Well I was!" She mutters with a gleam in her eyes, "Before you stopped."

"Oh, well. I'm pretty sure I can rectify that."

"You'd better, Captain." She begins to push me backwards, back towards the living room and the couch. "I am expecting great things from you and I do not like being disappointed."

"Well, I'd hate to disappoint a superior officer such as yourself." I respond in all the seriousness I can muster. I sit back down on the couch and tug her down. She settles herself on me, straddling as I wrap my arms around her waist. She smiles as she takes my glasses off and leans back to place them on the coffee table. "I know you would, especially because you think I'm pretty." She teases again, pecking me on the nose. "And charming." She places another peck on my lips. "And brilliant." She continues, moving her kisses down my jaw.

"I...ah...never said that."

"You will." She murmured, as she caught my ear lobe between her teeth.

Dear lord, this was going to be a long night.

I woke up with a pain in my side. My eyes blinking to adjust to the darkness. I reach for my glasses and slip them on. On the wall I saw the clock - it was 2.18, it explains the darkness. I raise my head slightly discover a blonde head asleep on my shoulder. That explains the pain in my side. It's Brenda Leigh, curled up, her knee pressed into my side.

Brenda Leigh Johnson.

Asleep on me.

I yawn and gently try to shake her awake but she grumbles at me and digs her knee further into me. "Brenda," I whisper. "Brenda Leigh." She doesn't stir. "Chief." I bark out watches as she sits up instantly, startled. Her eyes race around trying to fit the pieces together. I wait for the fall-out, expecting her to scramble up, blame the wine, or act as if nothing happened. I stay calm, preparing my story to corroborate with hers. "Jesus Raydor! You terrified me." She whacks me on the arm.

"Ouch!" I yelp, rubbing the sore spot. "I'm sorry, nothing else worked."

"I bet." She shuffles off of me and lets me sit up. "What time is it?"

"A little past 2."

"So why'd you wake me up?" She asks, yawning loudly.

"Because...uh..." How do I put this delicately.

"Yes?" She asks impatiently.

"Would you..." Like to stay the night if I promise not to accost you? I think, but realize it wouldn't come across as suave as I'd like. Finally I just stand and hold out my hand. The less words the less chance I'd mess this up sooner than I was sure I would. She places her hand in mine and blinks as if seeing me for the first time since waking up. "What?" I ask, running my free hand through my hair, hoping I hadn't drooled or some such thing.

"I was just thinking that you are incredibly attractive, Sharon. I don't think I've really noticed that." I don't respond. She's likely still drunk, there's no other reason for her to still be here. She gets up and follows me in the dark as I lead the way upstairs to my bedroom. "I'm not drunk," She murmurs into my ear as we get to the door. "You really are beautiful."

"I'm not expecting, or hinting-" I say, opening the door. "I just think it'll be more comfortable than the couch." I enter my room and watch as she looks around, running her hands over my things. My photos. My memories. My history. "I don't know, Captain Raydor, I found you perfectly comfortable. But if you insist." She shrugs, unbuttoning her shirt. I turn away, unsure of where to look. "Do you, ah, have something for me to chance into Sharon?" She asks softly.

"Pants or gown?" I ask.

"Of course you'd have a selection..." She teases, folding her shirt. "Nightgown please."

"I believe in being well prepared for every occasion." I respond, handing her a worn, oversized button down pajama shirt. She takes it from my hand and slips it on, before she takes off her skirt. I turn around and change into my own pajamas of a tank and loose pants. We climb into bed, the sheets cool against us. The inches between us feel like miles, but I feel her hand room around trying to find mine. "Come here," I murmur and she obliges, rolling onto her side to face me, tucking her head onto my shoulder and draping a near nude leg across my waist. We'd talk in the morning. We'd have to. But that was the morning. And right now I was going to fall asleep with Brenda Leigh Johnson in my arms. And I was going to remember this whenever I pass by her in the halls or on the street. How it feels. Because it feels incredibly right. "Good night." I murmur, dropping a kiss on her forehead. She just murmurs and presses herself deeper into me.

Dear lord, this was going to be a short night.

The End

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