DISCLAIMER: sadly we cannot have everything-- therefore, I don't own the ladies or other characters, I merely use them as I wish and get a great deal of enjoyment out of it.
SPOILERS: This is all post-loss. Occaisionally flashbacks will involve details from various episodes (ex. Abuse, and a few others)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Return
By Sarie

Chapter Six: Final Details


You didn't tell me exactly when you'd be back. You said a couple of weeks, but Today is February 3rd and you still haven't appeared. Elliot was shocked. I'm not sure if he was more surprised about my revelations at lunch, or if it was that you were coming back. Either way he was quiet on the drive back. I didn't bother trying to fill the silence. He has his own things to think about right now. And as frustrated as I've been that he hasn't confided in me about Kathy and the kids, being on the outside of his life has taught me a few things. Besides that I'm still reeling from the Patterson case. I can't get the vic and her girlfriend out of my head. It's been three weeks and we still can't convince Sophie to testify. She's so afraid her family will find out she's gay that she's willing to let her rapists go free to protect her secret. I can't say I don't understand her reasoning, although the idea of those three morons going free makes me sick.

Every time the doors swing open I feel my head whipping up, hoping it will be you. Yesterday Novak was on the receiving end of a very nasty look that left her looking confused and offended. I almost wanted to apologize. (almost) After three weeks our conversation is fuzzy in my head. I wasn't exactly awake in the first place, and time has smudged some of the other details. But I know you're coming, I'm sure it's not a dream, and I've spent this time getting ready. I've made some decisions, made some changes. Taken care of some final details.

I painted the kitchen last weekend. Which I know will crack you up. It was the one room I refused to let you redo. Actually, if I recall, I refused to let you redo any of my rooms. Repeatedly. Until you gave me that look. That damn doe-eyed look you saved especially for me. I never could refuse that look. But I put my foot down at the kitchen.

"C'mon Liv! You let me do the rest of them!!"

"Yeah, and now my bedroom is purple!" I shot you a look, steeling myself against those baby blues. I know what's coming and I need to be prepared.

"But picture it babe, a gorgeous golden yellow. It'll go perfectly with the blue in the living room—like a sunrise!"

"A sunrise? At the end of a hard night, I don't want to come home to a sunrise."

"But now it looks like a tomb!"

"No it doesn't! I let you paint the living room blue!" But only because you picked the exact color of your eyes. Not that I'll ever tell you that. Well, maybe I will when you come back.

For once you found you couldn't persuade me and my kitchen stayed dirty-white. I decided that this was going to be my first real project. An immediate way to show you I've changed. Last week I dug through the drawers, found the paint sample sticks you'd left on your side of the bed. I ran my fingers over the bumpy samples, remembering the excitement on your face as you showed me the sticks—you'd spent hours having the hardware store mix and dip samples so I could see what they'd look like dry. You tricked me with the purple, did the living room first, then the bathroom. I trusted you after that… you managed to get my approval on the bedroom without showing me the sampler.

I can't help but smile at the way your eyes twinkled when I saw the room for the first time. I wanted to kill you. I'm just not a lilac kind of girl. But you are. And when I turned to confront you, the nervous, expectant look in your eyes melted me.

"I know it's not… you really. But I couldn't help it. I saw the comforter first, then the curtains. All the fabrics were so rich, so dark. I knew you'd love them. But I didn't want the room to be dark… that was the whole point of the redo in the first place. So I went with a lighter purple on the walls."

"You and your damn doe eyes," I said, pretending to be disgusted.

"What do I and my damn doe eyes have to do with your new bedroom?"

"You tricked me. With that… that look! That damn doe-eyed look you get. The one I can't manage to say no to!"

"What look?" The corners of your mouth turn down a little, you widen your eyelids, bat your eyelashes, ever so subtly…

"THAT LOOK!" I can only feign frustration for a minute. "Oh forget it. Well Counselor? Shall we give the room a fair trial before we throw out the verdict?" I turn to face you full on, looking up through my eyelashes, then top it all off with a wink. You know the look well. It's the one that you can't say no to.

I walked in the kitchen with the sampler sticks, holding the yellows on the wall that splits between the living room and the kitchen. I look at the stick next to the blue, and next to the white, trying to decide. I'm not good at this. I'm not good at the whole, girly-homebody-decorating thing. That's why my apartment stayed white for so many years. Why my dinner table was a folding card table. One chair, old loveseat, no TV. Until you came along. Now all of a sudden I'm trying to decide between 'golden amber', and 'gentle buttercup'—Who comes up with these names?!

I pitch golden amber, deciding it looks too much like a good frosty beer… something I don't need to be constantly reminded of and head out to the paint store to pick up a gallon of buttercup. And some white for the cabinet doors. Goodbye white and brown, hello yellow and white.

So now the kitchen is yellow, the way you wanted it. I even pitched in and bought new hardware. Silver handles and drawer pulls. I bought a new microwave, since I actually was tired of jamming a spatula in the old one to close it. And a new coffeemaker and grinder… just for you. In case you need coffee in the morning.

I shake my head. "Getting ahead of yourself Liv. Keep it together. Stay out of the clouds." But I can't help myself. After two years I still reach for you in the morning. I still wake up surprised at the cold emptiness that greets me in the place where you should be. I can't help but think, for the millionth time, that I should have made you stay with me the night Donovan died. Maybe if we'd been together the next night… we could have called in… skipped the party. We'd have been dining at home, in my apartment, or in your loft. The only walk would have been from kitchen to bedroom. There's no place for a shooter in that walk.

The fact that it wouldn't have mattered if they shot you then or later doesn't stick in my mind. Because all I want is to see you again, to try and make it right. To try and make you stay.


Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I've been pacing my living room, unable to contain my nerves, my excitement, and I know it would amuse you to know it… my hormones. It's been two years since I held you in my arms, since I felt the softness of your hand in the small of my back, pulling me in. I know you'll have assumed I found someone else, it's what you do. I'm sure you've "awful-ized" yourself into a proper fit about my relationship prospects since I left. I know the way your imagination works. You've probably worked into a proper depression imagining new girlfriends, or knowing your insecurities in a way no-one else would understand… imagining me with a boyfriend. You never could believe me when I said there'd never be anyone else.

Hammond dropped by, and nearly shot me when he saw what I'd done to my hair. I should have left it but I couldn't stand the idea of you not recognizing me. My own awful-izing I suppose, the idea that you wouldn't notice me this way. I hate the look of this boxed red hair next to my skin… don't like the green contacts the Feds thought would complete an "Irish" look. If I'd had my way, I'd have gone for brown hair with brown contacts… but no-one asked me. I bought the hair dye after trying 4 times to sneak away from my security detail and into a salon. The 4th time Hammond himself showed up to stop me.

"Its not safe, Miss Regis." His tone, as always was serious. And I have to stop myself from screaming at him.

"Valez is dead. His assassin is in custody. The entire branch of his cartel is wiped out. And I can't loosen up enough to at least get back my natural hair-color? Give me a break Hammond. It's just a goddamn haircolor!" He steered me away from the salon and I climbed reluctantly into my car, aware that he followed closer behind me than usual. At least this time I managed not to call him a "fascist."

And I didn't cut it. He probably would have shot me if he'd shown up to find the same old Cabot cut on top of the blonde-boxed dye. He should be thrilled… I kept my contacts on. I wonder what you'll think of this new do. I wonder what you'll think of the new glasses I'm hiding from Hammond. I wonder what you'll think of me.

I'm pacing the room again. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Jeez, now I sound like Macbeth. What's next, "Out out damn spot?" Or how about Hamlet? "To sleep perchance to dream…" You always hated my propensity for quoting Shakespeare. At least until I quoted that sonnet… the silly one. That's what you called it… "do the silly sonnet." You'd look up at me with that shine in your eyes, and I always broke down.

"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare."

You'd start laughing about halfway through, tickled to find something so 'real' in Shakespeare.

And on that first night, our first night. You begged me to recite it again.

"Please, Alex… I have a surprise for you. Just recite the sonnet. And be serious this time! Last time you laughed harder than I did. You have to be dignified."

I started my recitation as you treated me to a moving interpretation of the versus. Then you made me laugh, pursing your lips, mussing your hair, you'd take a deep breath in and then pinch your nose, hit a few off-key notes and then cover your ears. You pranced around the room as I tried to recite with dignity, finally kneeling in front of me at the foot of the bed, and kissing my hand most genteelly at the final lines. Somehow all the levity of the moment vanished in that instant, as I stared down at your kneeling form. There was still a twinkle in your eyes, but something else too. You rose off your knees and kissed me as I sat at the end of my bed.

The force of your mouth meeting mine pushes me back, until we're lying there together, your weight settled comfortably into the dips and curves of my body. I'm lost in you, as usual… the scent of your hair drowns my senses and I feel my body responding to your tender advances. I know you can feel my heat as I return your kiss, letting my tongue play lightly on your lips, asking permission, waiting for the invitation of your open mouth. I fumble with your overshirt, gently trying to open the first few buttons, then giving up and popping the rest. You massage my tongue in your mouth and I feel as though I might explode with each new sensation.

I fumble with your belt as you pause our kiss. Lifting yourself off me ever so slightly, without totally breaking our contact, you settle back, straddling me with your legs bent at the knee, calves behind you. With one hand you stroke my cheek, and with the other, you take my hand and help me unclasp your belt, undoing the button and zipper at the same time. You dip back to kiss me again, and I welcome you as you press your tongue into my mouth, dancing with my own. You leave a space between our upper bodies now, arching out your back to dip your head into me and keep contact in a kiss as you use your free hand to undo my slacks. You're far more adept at this than I am.

In the blink of an eye my slacks and underwear lay in a heap on the floor beside the bed, and as you pull away from me you take my shirt with you, adding it to the pile. I find myself at a disadvantage, left in only my bra while you straddle me, shirt and pants unbuttoned but still on. It's my turn to be in charge. I pull you back down to me, and take advantage of my extra few inches of leg to reverse our positions. Now I straddle you, pulling at your jeans and underwear, then pulling off your now-ruined button down shirt and slowly teasing your t-shirt off your body. They join the stack of clothes on the floor and I go a step further than you were able to. I kiss you again, and pull you up to me, working my arms around you, slyly unhooking your bra… a perfect match to your sky blue t-shirt. I wouldn't have figured you for the matching bra type. As I break my contact with your lips I pull the straps down your shoulders, leaving a trail of kisses down your arm, reveling in the goose-bumps I leave in my wake. I drop it on the floor with the rest of our clothes, noticing something I didn't see before… your underwear matches too. I can't help but giggle, at this unexpectedly girly side of you.

I don't get to enjoy the moment long before you take over again. You shift in the bed, sitting up with me in your lap you mimic my movements and remove my cotton-white bra, then I watch you lean back and take in your first unobstructed view of me. I love that look in your eyes. Lust and Love and Desire all mix in those deep deep chocolates, and I know I'll never forget the way you looked at me that first time.

Chapter Seven: Sense and Memory


I can't sleep tonight. For once that surprises me. Ever since you called my trouble sleeping has eased a bit. For three weeks I've rocked myself to sleep with the idea of you; with the thought of you coming back to me. My dreams aren't troubled anymore… not as much anyway. And suddenly they're filled with your face, your live, smiling face. With your call, you came to life in my dreams. Every once in awhile my regret finds me still and I see myself choking on your scarf, I feel Hammond behind me, Elliot beside me. Every once in awhile I still see your face in the reflection of the blue and reds on that hideous black suv. But mostly I remember the good things. The times after I quit drinking. The times after we won cases. The times we managed to wrangle off-time together. Lazy Saturdays at your loft… sultry Saturday nights at my apartment. The scent of you, heavy with sleep in my bed on a Sunday morning.

Mostly my dreams are filled with firsts. Our fist kiss, the real one—not the one from before our fight, but our real kiss. Our first real date, the one we actually called a date, and not just 'dinner.' My favorite dreams though are of that first time. That first night in your apartment you were so cute, watching me cook. We talked about work, but only at first. Then you started talking about your life, about your mom. You talked about growing up in that huge house, feeling alone surrounded by servants and butlers. You talked about the social obligations of being a Cabot. You made fun of your mother, of her propriety. You joked about your "wild streak," teenaged wantonness. I liked the sound of that, but knew your idea of wantonness was probably very different from my own.

And then, after dinner—your gift. I went through four Shakespeare books before I found that stupid poem. I memorized it so I could put the actions in the right places. I know it looked silly, but I was counting on my charm… the charm you're always telling me I possess, to sell it.

In the last two lines.. the only really serious lines of the whole stupid thing…

And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare."

I end up, kneeling at your feet as you sit at the end of your bed. I kiss your hand, and look up at you from the floor. I can see in your eyes I won you over… finally. I hold onto that gaze a moment longer and then slowly rise from my knees and kiss you. I lean my weight into your lips and push you back, until we're lying there together, the contours of your body cushioning mine, our height difference making the meeting of our respective dips and curves match perfectly. I can't believe how perfectly you fit beneath me. As if our bodies were made to be together, two halves that fit seamlessly. And then of course I almost laugh at how silly I sound, like some love struck teenager. But I'm pulled back to the moment by the soft pressure of your tongue, resting at my lips, waiting. I open my mouth to take you in, teasing your tongue with mine, feeling the heat rise from you, feeling your fingers struggle with my buttons, I barely hear them popping off my shirt as you fumble with my belt buckle. I pause our kiss, and lift myself so that I'm kneeling astride your legs. I stroke your cheek with my right hand, and use my left to guide your hand to my belt, helping you unclasp it, then undo the button and zipper in one fell swoop.

I lean in to kiss you again, and our tongues dance in your mouth as I arch my back to keep contact in a kiss while I undo your pants. I don't have the trouble you did, but then again, you had a belt to deal with too… and you are at a disadvantage—position wise.

Without further delay your pants and underwear lay in a lump on the floor, and I pull away from you, pulling off your t-shirt as I break our kiss. My positional advantage doesn't last long, and soon you use your extra few inches of leg to flip me beneath you. You straddle me, pulling my jeans and panties off in one motion, then pulling off my button down shirt, and slowly teasing my t-shirt up my torso and over my head. You pitch them on the floor with the rest of our things and you continue to assert your dominance pulling my upper body up to you with a hungry kiss, and I feel your arms wrapping around me, and suddenly I'm freed of the pressure of my bra. You pull away from my lips and draw the straps down my shoulders, trailing my arm with kisses, creating a line of goosebumps at the warmth of your breath on my skin. You drop my bra on the ground with a giggle, and I can only imagine what you think of the matching underwear that I bought just for you.

But now we're back to my game. I shift, sitting so that you're resting in my lap, your legs on either side of my hips. I copy your motions and remove your white cotton bra, and drop it on the floor, not taking my eyes from your body. You are without question more beautiful than I ever imagined, and I can't believe I'm finally close enough to touch your skin, your lips, feel the flutter of your lashes on my cheek as you kiss my neck, my shoulders. I can smell your shampoo as your hair brushes across my face, tickling my nose, and sweeping over my skin.

I reach for your chin, drawing your face back to mine, watching you lick your lips, your mouth open ever so slightly. I stare at your eyes, a new fire in their crystal blue and I can't believe how much I love you.

Suddenly I can't keep your gaze anymore, I know its because my other hand has found it's target, and I cup your pale breast in my fingers, tracing lazy circles with my thumb around your hardening nipple. Your heat is palpable and I can't stop touching you, holding you, cradling you, drawing you into me in ways I never thought would happen.

I can't believe you're mine.


I've stopped pacing, halted by the memory of you… of us. Three and a half years later I can still feel you in me… on me. I wanted to stare at you all night, but you broke the silence, the stillness. I felt the warmth of your hand as you cupped my breast, your thumb traced circles as I felt my body respond to you, my nipple hardening, goosing at your touch. The nearness of you, the feel of your dark skin on my light is intoxicating, and I break our eye contact to lean into your mouth again, my hands traveling the length of your body. With one hand I pull you into me, and your hand releases my breast and wraps around my torso, trailing up and down my back. I don't know how I ended up on the bottom again, I've stopped paying attention to our larger movements, feeling only the touch of your fingers on my body, the pressure of your tongue against mine, the flutter of your hair on my forehead. You lean down, covering me again, only this time instead of the rustling of our clothes there's only your softness next to me, pressing down on me, filling my hollows, and I'm hyper-aware, every nerve in my body tingles as your hand moves down, tracing my dips and grooves, your body shifts, and instead of a modified kneel over my body, you alternate our legs, and the sensation of your knee between mine is almost overwhelming, and I wonder if you can sense the wetness you've created in me yet.

Your lips never leave mine except to trail kisses down my chin, my neck, across my shoulders… then back to my mouth, your tongue playing games with mine as I feel your hand trace circles again, this time around my belly button… you tease me with your closeness, until I take my hand and put it on yours, guiding you down, guiding you to my slickness, guiding you to the place where I only want you to be.


The memory of you takes me over and I crawl into bed, grabbing "your" pillow to my chest, as I remember trying to tease you, trying to draw out that moment. But in your usual style, you couldn't handle the waiting… and you drew my hand from its path around your navel, and down. The good thing about that is with my hand between your legs, your hand rested between mine.

I started slowly, still wanting to draw this out, torn between wanting to make you come, and wanting to make you beg. I postpone my own joy and place your guiding hand gently at my breast, inviting you to play, to touch me, yes, even to tease me a little. I start at the top, hip level, stroking your downy hair with one finger, down, almost to the edge of you and then back I trace the triangle above your split with one hand, while I start trailing kisses from your mouth down, resting at first your left breast, drawing your nipple into my mouth, raking it lightly with my teeth, enjoying the way your whole body responds. I move to your right breast, tasting around your aureole, as my hand finally finds its target. Your body bucks under me as my thumb finds your clit, my finger tracing your slit for a minute before I slip it, alone, inside you. I work my way down your body with my mouth, trying to stretch out these moments, trying to slow myself down… and failing miserably, because I can't wait to taste you. I can't wait to dip into you and hear you moaning for more, moaning for me.

A second finger joins my first as my breast slips from your grasp. I see you grip the sheets out of the corner of my eye and I turn and lift my head to meet your gaze. My thumb rests on your clit, my fingers enveloped by your warmth. I look in your eyes and see you nod, ever so slightly, my request for permission granted. I'm glad, because I can't wait any longer.


I've given up on pacing, choosing to change into my nightgown and settle into bed. The memory of you is so strong… I can almost smell your soap. I can almost feel your fingertips on my flesh, I can see your eyes as you look up at me, waiting for my permission before you take that final step. Your touch has left me speechless, and all I can do is grip the sheets and nod, every sense heightened by the warmth of your breath as you approach me.

I try to lie still, to just enjoy the sensation of having you inside me, the sensation of your thumb on my clit, the pressure of your tongue inside me. But I buck beneath your touch. I know this first release will be fast, and I try to hold off, try to focus on the feeling of your hair in the fingers of the hand I've freed from its grip on my sheets. You replace your tongue with your fingers again, thrusting slowly, gently, focusing your mouth on my clit as you increase the speed of your fingers. I can't help pushing in an equal rhythm down against your fingers as they enter me, wanting you deeper, faster, harder. Wanting to feel you all the way inside of me. You stop teasing my clit and take it into your mouth and the stroke of your fingers inside me becomes longer, harder. I can't wait anymore and you take out your fingers, replacing them with your mouth again as you taste my orgasm. I explode against you, my breath knocked from my lungs, and I fight against fading out as I feel the pressure of your tongue, lapping at my seeping wetness. You kiss down my thighs, tracing the path of my orgasm, cleaning my legs with kisses until you finally return to me, return to my lips, my mouth. I can taste myself on you and it's almost enough to push me over the edge again. You play with my tongue and I open my eyes, finding yours open to greet me. I stare at you, getting lost not just in our kiss, but in the deep chocolate recesses of your eyes. I need time to recover. You seem content to let me… content to wait your turn. I'm glad because I want to be able to give you my full attention, unclouded by my own pleasure.

Chapter Eight: At First Sight


It's been a long day. Last night was good, not as good as having you, but a decent substitute. I lay in bed late in the night. I'm not sure when I finally fell asleep, spent from the memory of our first night together. Somewhere along the way my fingers became your fingers, and I remembered every scent, every touch, every kiss from that night… like it was happening all over again for the first time. The memory was so real, so vivid. I forgot it was my tan fingers teasing the place where yours should be. As far as my senses are concerned, they are your fingers, it's your hand between my legs not mine. At some point I fell asleep, exhausted... my dreams meshing with my imagination. wake up feeling fresh, the way it always felt to wake up next to you, one white hand resting on my breast, the other's fingers laced in mine. There are no hands to pry myself out of for my shower this morning. And I don't have to tiptoe to start your coffee. You're not here to risk waking. But it feels as though you should be… I roll naked from the sheets—I didn't stay awake long enough to actually put on my sweats last night. It's a nice change. If I close my eyes I can almost pretend you were here, that you got up early… left without waking me.

The rest of the day wasn't as kind as my wake up call. Novak is on our asses about the Patterson case still. Elliot has left the convincing to me and I tried again today to talk Sophie into pressing charges and testifying against her rapists. Her fear of being exposed is obvious. I can't help but think she'd be less frightened to be raped again. I know how you'd react to that statement. I can picture you sliding off the glasses of justice, shooting me that "get real" look you reserve for the times I'm being particularly petty. You've been at the front of my mind all day. I can't help but see myself in Sophie's fear. In her reluctance to be 'outed' by this tragedy. I can understand her reticence. From what she's told us about her life it certainly sounds like this would leave her stranded. Her family isn't as accepting as yours. They're even less accepting than my mom would have been. There's no don't ask don't tell policy for the Pattersons… because to them it's not possible for their only daughter to be a lesbian. For them, lesbianism doesn't exist. I leave with same answer I gave Novak last time. She's not going to be happy. This time I'll tell her it's her turn to railroad the victim. I'm tired of answering to her demands. And I'm tired of badgering a girl who's not all that much different from me. Tired of badgering a girl who looks so much like you.


This has been the longest flight in history. Of course it would help if Hammond and his minions hadn't split the trip into about 8 different stops, on 5 different airlines. I can't wait to be rid of that man. If he tries to keep me from having time with just you… I'll—I'll shoot him with his own damn gun.

We hit turbulence and I grip my armrests. First class is all well and good, but they don't add extra shocks when they put in the individual video monitors. At least when they shipped me off to Oregon we went in stages… and drove. I'm a horrible flyer. Not with you of course. That trip to Greece was amazing… I hardly noticed the airplane. But I don't think our particular form of relaxation would work this time. You're not here, and I certainly don't want Hammond's hand up my skirt and under a blanket. So instead I grip my armrests, and try to focus on the music piping through my headphones. We're on the 5th flight and there are three more to go. I've been in more cities today than I've been in the rest of my lifetime—combined. I look over at Hammond and am rewarded with the infuriating sight of his closed eyes. He's fast asleep, just like he was on the last 4 flights. It's the only time I've ever seen the man close his eyes. In the airports he doesn't even blink. Always on the watch… although I don't know for what anymore. He keeps trying to tell me it's safe but he never looks like he believes it.

But I do. I believe it. I believe it's safe. Safe for me. Safe for us. I keep trying to picture your face when you finally see me. I called to tell you I was coming in February, but I didn't know when. I'm glad it's now. If I play my cards right I can be here at least through Valentine's Day. I might have to fight Hammond for it, but I know I can win this one. It's easy enough to slip through the cracks in New York. Especially with your help. I imagine you'll have quite a bit of fun whisking me away from the watchful eye of the Federal Protection Bureau and our dear friend Agent Hammond.

He doesn't know it, but Agent Hammond almost got himself killed this morning. I don't know where he got the idea he could just walk in to my house, walk into my space without ringing the bell, without knocking. Without even pretending I had a right to some privacy. I was glad I closed the bedroom door last night before indulged myself in memory and imagination. At least he knocked when he got to the closed door. I wouldn't have wanted to try and explain my nudity, the covers I'd strewn across the floor. The picture of you I fell asleep with in my hand. Waking up with my other hand still dangling in the space I reserve for you. Hammond knows too much about my life as it is. He's lucky he knocked on the bedroom door. Otherwise he'd be walking around without eyes. Or a head.

I glare over at his sleeping form again, thinking of him sitting in my kitchen, watching me finish my packing, peeking at his watch. "Fascist," I whisper under my breath. I stick out my tongue in very 'Lexi' fashion, as you are wont to say when I'm being especially childish. I lick my lips, thinking about all the things I'd rather be doing with my tongue besides poking it at the resting form of my favorite federal agent. Suddenly I lose track of the turbulence… and I struggle to keep my memories tame. I can't afford to look disheveled today. And I don't want Hammond or his team to wonder exactly what I'm seeing as I close my eyes and lean back in my first-class seat. Three more flights. Just three more flights between me, and you.

Chapter Nine: Back to You


I jumped at the sound of my buzzer. We'd wrapped early today, Elliot has the kids for the weekend and I was exhausted from arguing with Casey over the Patterson case. Cragen took one look at us and said he'd get Munch and Fin to cover the rest of the shift. Elliot and I parted ways in the company lot, he offered to drive me home but I know he wanted to get to the kids… he's been looking forward to it all week. I catch the underground home, and actually find myself brightening at the sight of my yellow kitchen. Turns out you were right, as usual. It does look like a sunrise… and it's nice to come home to, even on a day like today.

I'd just settled in for the night, finished dinner and cleanup.. changed into a pair of comfy pants and a tank top. I was settling in to watch a movie when the buzzer jarred my peace. It pains me how much I'm annoyed by the interruption… before you started your redecorating spree, I swore I'd never own a television. I get enough news at work… I don't need to watch it on the screen too. When you showed up that first Christmas with the TV, dvd player, entertainment stand and dvds I decided you were crazy. But I let you in anyway, and even took over the construction of the unit. I love you, but you're useless with power tools…. well useless with most power tools anyway. Thinking of that makes me grin, and my smile plays across my lips as I move towards the door to find out who's bothering me at 11pm on a Friday night.


It was easier than I expected to lose Hammond. Even he had to admit I'd be safe with you by my side… or rather with me by yours. He insisted on having one of his minions drive me to your apartment… reluctant to let me out of his sight, even to an assistant, but he has things to attend to. I con the low-level fed into helping me fool you. With all of this coming to a close, I'm finally starting to see pieces of humanity in some of these people. I think to some of the team I'm actually more than just a ward. I might even be approaching human status with a few of them.

"This better be important" Your voice answers the buzzer. I knew you wouldn't just open the door. That's why I convinced Rosco to help me.

"Detective Benson? I'm Jason Rosco, from the Federal Protection Bureau. Agent Hammond asked me to stop by and deliver some papers pertaining to an old case. He said you'd know the one I mean."

You sound annoyed still, probably angry that it's some paperboy instead of me. I can't wait to see your face when you open the door. "Come on up."

"Thanks Rosco. And remember, not a word to Hammond. Detective Benson will bring me in on Monday to meet with the ADA."

"No problem, Miss Regis. – Sorry. Miss Cabot." Rosco's not a bad guy. One of the more human of Hammond's crew. He turns to leave before I think of one last favor…

"Rosco? If Agent Hammond feels the need to … verify my safety in the next couple of days—discourage him… allright?"

I can see a twinkle in his eyes. I know he's imagining his own problems finding a private moment with his boyfriend while working Hammond's crew. He's the one who first put the word 'fascist' in my head.

I slip in the door I've been holding open, and grab the elevator. I'll be getting enough exercise this weekend. I don't feel bad passing on the stairs.

Chapter Ten: The Glasses of Justice


I couldn't believe that weasel Hammond. Sending over some damn paperboy at 11pm on a Friday. One of the few actual weekends I've been able to beg off. The only good news is that if there's paperwork to do on your case, it must mean we're getting closer. That you're getting closer.

I unlock the door, moving into the bathroom to wash the mud mask off my face—another habit you hooked me on. I didn't want to greet even an assistant of Hammond's looking like a jungle beast. When the knock landed on the door, I was just ready to towel off my face, "Come In! It's open!"

I hear the door open and close, hear footsteps entering the living room, and I talk to whoever Hammond has sent as his errand boy, "Just leave whatever papers there are on the table, I'll be out in a minute." I turn to grab a towel off the rack. It's when I have my face buried in white terrycloth that it happens.

At first I'm convinced it's my imagination. Convinced that the idea of your return has finally driven me crazy. Because I can't possibly be smelling that scent. Because I can't possibly be sensing your presence. I drop the towel and turn around slowly, afraid that reacting to fast will make this apparition disappear. My eyes are on the floor, and I see the tips of dark brown boots. I know the shape of them well. My eyes travel upwards, drinking in every detail, waiting for it all to vanish. When I get to your face I realize you're still there. You slide the glasses off your nose and all I can do is stare.

"What's wrong detective? Are your powers of observation starting to fail you? Don't you recognize the glasses of justice when you see them?"

I can't answer. Instead I look at the glasses dangling in your fingers, they're not the same as before… but you are. No. You're different too. Your hair is longer. Your eyes are so blue. The same blue. But… god. That blue. I look you over again. Boots… and oh my god jeans. You're wearing jeans, and a leather jacket. A leather jacket? Not just any leather jacket… could be a twin to mine. The dark brown matches your boots, and my eyes are drawn back to your face. I'm still not convinced you won't disappear. Not convinced you won't just blink off… sputter out into thin air. I move towards you, drawn in by the familiar smell of you rushing through my body.


At your command I let myself into your apartment. I walk into your living room, and am surprised by the yellow that greets me out of the kitchen to the side. I can see a water bottle on the end table by the sofa I picked out for you. I'm relieved not to see liquor bottles, or shot glasses. I'm tempted to check your fridge but I realize that doing that would ruin the whole point of this night. I decide to trust that you've kept your word. I move further into the apartment and hear you shifting about in the bathroom, I see the light spilling out to the hallway through the open door.

"Just leave whatever papers there are on the table, I'll be out in a minute!"

I ignore you, and tiptoe towards the bathroom door, happy to see your face buried in a towel. The open tube of mud mask on your sink almost makes me laugh, but I don't want to blow my entry. I lean against the doorjamb and wait.

It doesn't take long. I watch you drop the towel and turn around slowly, your eyes still on the floor. I swear I can read your mind. I know you're trying to decide if you've lost it. Trying to decide if I'm just a figment of your imagination. I can only speculate at how my appearance has affected you… but I know how the sight of you has affected me. I'm trying hard to keep my cool, to play out my hand. And it's hard because you're staring at me with those eyes, and I'm starting to drown in their depths. I snap back to the plan as quickly as I can, trying to ignore the rumbling in my body. I watch you look me up and the down and then up again. By the time your eyes reach my face the second time I've slid my glasses off my nose.

"What's wrong detective? Are your powers of observation starting to fail you? Don't you recognize the glasses of justice when you see them?"

You continue to stare for a minute… two minutes… I'm starting to wonder if you'll ever recover when you finally start to move towards me. I take a quick step to close the distance between us. Somewhere in the middle our bodies find each other, and we're both speechless.


As you step towards me I realize I'm not dreaming. I finally believe that it's actually you. Our bodies collide in the middle of my bathroom, and I feel you wrap your arms around me as I bury my face in your hair, your long hair. It falls below your shoulders for the first time since I've known you. As I lose myself in the familiar scent of your shampoo and for the first time since the night they took you away I start to cry.

This is not what I wanted. This is not how I wanted to greet you after all this time. I wanted to be romantic, and yeah, even a little goofy. I wanted to show you how strong I've been while you were gone. Instead I let you lead me out of the bathroom and into the living room. All I can do is let you shuffle me to the other room, wrapped in your arms, brushing angrily at my tears. The sight of you, and your touch.. the confirmation that you're real seems to be the release I've been waiting for for two years. I can't stop them once they start, and I'm frustrated because my tears cloud my eyes and I can't look at you as you try to soothe me.

After ten minutes that feel like ten hours., I finally manage to stay my tears. I take the Kleenex you offer me, and blow my nose—how lovely. I wipe my eyes with a second Kleenex and look up at you, I'm still nestled in your lanky frame, amazed at how safe I feel with you… since I was always the one trying to protect you.

Finally you look like you might speak again. You stare in my eyes, and for a minute I think you've gotten lost there…

"Hi." Your voice sends shivers down my spine. It's soft and warm and I'm desperate not to cry again so I answer you the only way I can think of. I close my eyes and kiss you. The way I've imagined for two years. The way I've imagined my whole life. The taste of you on my lips warms me from the bottom up and I'm relieved. This is how I wanted to greet you.


I know it's not just because of me that you're crying. I know it's all of the little things pressing down on you at once. I know the sight of me, the realization of my presence, released all of the barriers you've been holding up since I left. But still I feel guilty. As I shuffle you to the couch in my arms I almost start to cry myself, but I know that right now you need me to be strong for you. It's your turn now. I let you cry for ten minutes, content to hold you all night if I have to, but you finally pull out of my embrace and take the Kleenex I've offered you. I watch you blow your nose, wipe your eyes. Then you turn to look at me and I'm drowning in those perfect chocolate orbs again.

"Hi." The word comes out soft, quiet. Almost a whisper. It's not much… but it's enough to spark you into movement as you lean up to meet my lips with yours.

We start like new lovers. I'm reminded, for the millionth time this week, of our first kiss. Tender, questioning, unsure… but full of longing. We start this way… almost innocent, but quickly the last two years of aching catch up with both of us. I take control and dart my tongue between your lips, seeking you out, wanting to be in all the familiar places I remember.

As usual my height gives me an advantage… but this time I actually use it. I plant my feet and without breaking our kiss I pull you up with me, then walk backwards, leading you to your bedroom… your lilac bedroom—not that I notice until much later.

Part 11

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