DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything, I'm just a fan borrowing the characters.
CHALLENGE: Written for the Dead of Winter ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By lysachan


You like to watch her.

You like to watch how she concentrates on the papers in front of her, twirling a pencil around the fingers of one hand, her brow in a slight frown. Every once in a while she jots down a note or two, a strand of dark hair falling in her face behind her ear and such a look of victory in her face that I can feel my entire body tingling. A faint smile lingers on her lips for a little while more before the documents on the table take precedence over everything again.

She is an exceptional sight. She has a certain quality of authority and professionalism to her that she carries almost proudly, and you can't seem to shake off the feeling of attraction it arouses in you. Helplessly you can only follow as your life seems to spin out of control whenever the brunette in front of you only glances your way.

You wonder when you realized that your main reason for coming to work every morning wasn't only the thrill of putting bad people behind bars. You wonder how it all just suddenly changed, how two people suddenly saw each other in a completely different light.

It hadn't been anything earth shattering. Just two colleagues, going through a case one evening and connecting on an entirely new level. Nothing had happened, only a long, shared glance that all of a sudden opened a whole new world for you. And you knew you had just witnessed something life changing.

You sit in silence now, contemplating your life that suddenly has become so complicated. A job at the New York District Attorney's office is not an every day job. And the New York District Attorney's office definitely is a place that keeps very good care of its public image, to the extent that any sort of negative publicity is quickly taken care of.

You and she both know it. Causing a scandal would get you fired in a heartbeat.

You glance at her again and this time she is looking back at you. Suddenly your breath is caught in your throat as eyes meet, and for a second you can see everything that is on your mind reflected back in her eyes. But as quickly as she realizes what is happening, her face becomes unreadable again. You want to groan out in frustration.

"Do you have the Mitchell file?" she then asks you and you know it's a cue to not talk about it. Whatever 'it' is.

"What is this?!" Her voice is full of the same anger and determination you have heard in the courtroom on several occasions during the past few years. Her eyes flash dangerously and usually you would be a little taken aback, or scared even, but right now the ordinary rules don't apply. You watch her throw the paper you have just handed her on the desk and cross her arms in a disapproving manner.

"It's my resignation." Simple and to the point. It kept you awake all night, thinking about this, and even after several hours of twisting and turning this was the only way you could come up with.

"I can see that." A snort. "You know what I meant." She leans forward in her chair, obviously thinking that your explanation had better be a damn good one. Resting her chin against her joined hands she gives you a piercing look that makes havoc of your self-confidence.

"I'm resigning. I can't do this anymore." The agony and near desperation you feel must be written all over your face because she blinks and her self-assured attitude visibly falters. She leans back in her chair again, her hands gripping the arms as if the realization that you are dead serious is finally sinking in.

"I...I don't understand." She's frowning now. "I thought...I thought we worked well together." She clears her throat and twists uncomfortably in her seat.

"We do. I just...I can't do this anymore." You gesture furiously with your hands, which seems to confuse her even more. "I just can't." Your voice is barely a whisper.

"This is not the way." The seriousness of her voice surprises you, and for the first time she doesn't try and withdraw her emotions when you look at her. She looks lost and scared, and nothing like the Tracey Kibre you know.

"What other choice do we have?" Suddenly your roles are reversed, you acting like the strong and practical one while she seems to rely only on her emotions. She opens her mouth to say something, but nothing comes out and she turns her head away. You sigh and try to fight the tears of frustration you feel burning in your eyes. The room feels almost suffocating all of a sudden and you have to get out, somewhere else where you can breathe. You mutter something incomprehensible and flee the office, feeling worse than you can ever remember feeling before.

It's your second glass of wine and you can already feel its intoxicating effect, taking over your body little by little. You're not a heavy drinker and you most definitely don't like to drink alone, but right now you simply don't care. You welcome the warm and relaxing feeling the alcohol causes in your limbs.

At first you aren't sure if you actually heard right, but when there is a second, more urgent knock at your front door, you mentally shake yourself awake and stumble towards the entrance. You already know who it is, and as you open the door you aren't startled when your eyes meet hers.

She looks unusually untidy; her coat has wrinkles all over it, the scarf around her neck looks hastily tied and her hair is in mild disarray because of the wind. She looks at you, a faint smile playing on her lips, and you release a breath you've been holding. Her eyes are intensely studying you now and you involuntarily tremble a little.

"I tore up your resignation." It's that familiar Kibre smile she gives you and the noise that comes out of your mouth is something between a sob and a chuckle. You lean against the door frame, smiling shyly back at the brunette.

"Doesn't really surprise me." That earned a grin from her and you feel slightly dizzy.

"It's not going to be easy." Her voice is serious again. You nod. "Besides, I'm eons older than you." You can't help chuckling at that when you see her eyes sparkling mischievously.

You smile tenderly and reach for her hand, her fingers entwining with yours. You push the door open wider and pull her into your apartment, your eyes never leaving hers and your hand never letting go of hers. Never.

The End

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