For paynesgrey because she enjoys seeing things other than Olivia/Peter in this fandom, too.
It was late and this had nothing to do with work. Well, not directly. She supposed she could twist it into a work-related issue. She gripped the steering wheel, bringing her head against it. The car was quiet except for the sound of the engine and the sounds of the night around her via the window she'd left open a crack. She could just fall asleep here, like this. If another phone call came then she could go talk to him.
Suddenly, her head shot up from its resting place at her steering wheel and she gave a startled scream at the sound of tapping at her window. Her heart was going a mile a minute as she reached for her gun. Her doors were locked, but that wouldn't stop someone if they were intent on getting in. Of course, they wouldn't have knocked on the window if they'd wanted to hurt her or catch her unaware.
It was that thought that gave her focus and she slid the gun back into her holster. She didn't refasten it, though, just in case. She saw the man she'd driven here for. He was dressed differently than at the office, having never seen him away from work before now.
He gestured for her to roll her window down. She did one better, her still shaky fingers taking a minute to find the lever to open the door. He backed up, allowing her room to get out. Whether he was surprised to see her, she didn't worry about.
"Agent Dunham," he said simply once she was out of the car.
She didn't respond. She didn't know what to say. She'd rehearsed a million things once she'd decided on coming here and on her way over. The fact that she was embarking on something totally unprofessional had entered her mind more than once. Of course, that probably wouldn't surprise him considering what he knew about her relationship with John.
"Agent Dunham, you're going to worry my neighbors and draw attention to us. I assume that's not you're intention so I'll ask again. Is there something you needed?"
He didn't seem to find it odd or out of place that she was here, that a kind favor of dropping him off would mean she felt she could come by unannounced.
"I didn't know where else to go."
He perked up at this, instantly turning from a casual, albeit perhaps irritated man into an alert and savvy agent of the law.
"Now you're worrying me," he said.
She still didn't know what to say, how to explain why she was here. She fell against his chest, his arms going around her to support her as she rested her head against his shoulder. This was what she needed, she realized. Comfort. Someone to, even if it was for only a little while, watch over her.
"Why don't you come inside and tell me about it since you're here."
"If you're sure. I didn't entirely think it through."
"It's all right, Dunham," he said, sliding an arm around her almost protectively as he led her to his door. She only now realized he was barefoot. She kind of liked that.
She didn't even really take in the room he brought her to. It was a living room like any other she'd been in before. Her investigative mind was not inventorying anything tonight. She clutched to him as he made to release her once they were inside and his door was securely locked.
"What's wrong? What's happened?"
"I got a phone call earlier."
"Okay," he said, clearly waiting for her to continue with her explanation.
"It was John," she said quickly, like peeling off a Band-Aid. She knew how it sounded. It sounded crazy even to her.
"I called to have it traced."
"And?" he said, as if there might have been some way for a dead man to call her on the phone.
"They had no record of such a call to my phone."
He didn't have to say the 'see I told you so' that was on his mind. His silence was response enough.
"Have you been getting any sleep? Perhaps you were just tired."
She drew away a little, surprised by the concerned tone in his voice. She wouldn't consider him a friend or even an acquaintance really. He'd been out to cut her off at the knees for doing her job against his friend Sanford Harris just weeks ago. That type of relationship didn't bode well for sharing drinks after a job well done or confiding secrets in one another.
And yet, here she was. She could have gone to Charlie's. To anyone's place. She could have taken some personal time and gone to see her sister. She hadn't, though, she'd come here.
"I was sleeping when it happened."
He arched an eyebrow at her, as if telling her something was obvious.
"I know it sounds crazy, and you're right, I was probably dreaming about him, about him calling me and answered my phone. I swear to you, it was his voice I heard, though."
She paced to a nearby window, feeling Broyles' eyes on her back as she looked out the window. What was she thinking coming here? He was going to think she was crazy, which she wasn't altogether sure she wasn't. He would be justified in putting her on desk duty pending a psych evaluation after what she'd just told him. Phone calls from beyond.
She felt his hands at her shoulders, offering her both protection and comfort. She knew that about him despite the fact she wouldn't have been able to tell anyone about him in the logical sense. She didn't know what kind of movies he watched, music he listened to, or liquor he drank. But she knew that he was safe.
She turned to face him then, glad he didn't move his hands. She needed that right now. To be touched. Everyone, whether they knew she and John were intimate, just suspected, or simply thought she was a grieving partner, was treating her with kid gloves as if she might break. Oh, they were full of kind words, words of understanding from those who had lost a partner as well. None, though, offered her comfort, stopping to realize she was hurting. Intimate or not, he was her partner and he'd been ripped away from her.
And now, adding salt to the wound, even her memory of him was tarnished.
"I shouldn't have bothered you on your own time."
"Why did you come here, Dunham?"
"I told you, I didn't know where else to go."
"So you came here? To me?"
Didn't he get it? Despite the shitty way he'd treated her at first - and she got it, she understood the reason behind his initial dislike of her. Despite that, he'd kept her busy, allowed her to do something she'd thought would help. It didn't matter that by helping she'd revealed a traitor in their midst and felt her heart break into a million pieces to boot.
Her eyes met his. His were so expressive and intense. When he looked at her she felt as though he not only really saw her but paid attention to what she was saying. She wasn't just a pretty face in a suit, fulfilling the minority requirement to him.
Being near him was the only time she'd really felt alive lately. He challenged her to succeed, to finish what she set out to. And she'd gained his respect somehow, so much that she knew he hadn't liked being told Nina Sharpe had offered her a job.
She knew now why she'd come to him over Charlie. She slid her arms around his neck, pressing her body against his. She closed her eyes, leaned in, and just like that she was kissing him. He didn't kiss her back and she thought she'd just made the hugest mistake of her life. And possibly her career.
She didn't pull away though. Why? She couldn't be sure. She couldn't help but think that behind those looks, so focused on her when she was with him was something beyond professionalism.
A minute, maybe two but no longer, passed and she was about to give up, draw away and make a joke about it.
She didn't get the chance to, though. Just like that he was kissing her back. And there was no hesitation, no withholding the fact that he desired her in that kiss. She gasped from the intensity of it.
"Are you sure you want to do this, Dunham?" he asked, his breath warm as he trailed his mouth along her jaw.
She searched for his mouth, found it, captured his lips with her. She parted hers, her tongue darting along his lower lip before dipping into his mouth. She found his tongue, met it and savored the contact.
He drew away, hands at her face touching her gently. She realized only then, he was brushing away her tears.
"You're tired, Dunham. Perhaps not physically but mentally. Maybe that's why you came to me, but I can't have it on my conscious that you wake up tomorrow regretting it. Or worse."
"I would never," she said, knowing exactly where his thoughts were taking him. Sanford Harris.
He grazed her lips with a thumb, silencing her. "You need something; even a blind man would see that. I'm just not so sure that it's more than comfort you need."
"And I don't want to be used so that you can feel something other than pain and hurt."
Her eyes widened and he gave a slight nod. "I know how things like this work, and after my divorce I had my share of nights seeking out someone so I could feel whole again. It doesn't work. It only makes you think less of yourself later when you've had time to think on what you've done. And who you've possibly hurt. And you're no less lonely than when you began."
"I'm sorry, I don't know what I was thinking. I'll go."
"I didn't say you had to go. I can give you comfort, just not in the way you're thinking of it right now."
He lowered a hand from her face, hesitant to do so as if he didn't want to stop touching her. He offered her his hand, which she looked at for a moment before taking it without hesitation. He led her to his bedroom which made her question his intentions. She took one look at the bed and realized how tired she really was. The fact that she wouldn't be alone with her dreams made her even more tired it seemed.
He led her to it and she sat once he'd drawn back the covers, almost zombie-like. Once she was lying down, he turned off the light and went to the other side of the bed. He draped a blanket over himself so she was under the covers and he was not.
Tears welled up in her eyes again as he reached for her. She couldn't stop them and she couldn't hold them back enough to prevent him from knowing what she was doing.
"I promise, Dunham, you'll wake up feeling a whole lot better about not just yourself but me in the morning this way."
She wasn't convinced this was going to work. Her idea, she thought, would have worked much better. Of course, she realized as her eyes began to close, it would have made working with him awkward. Not that this was going to make it easier either.
If it would keep her dreams and overactive imagination at bay, though, she was willing to try. He had a window somewhere in the room open, she realized and she found the sounds of the night soothing her like a balm. Or perhaps it was a product of having him near.
It had been quite some time since he'd stayed awake most of the night, watching someone as they slept. He'd done just that for Olivia Dunham, though. As tempting as her initial invitation had been, he was not a cad. He supposed his ex might say differently, but she wasn't here. And it was his job she resented more than anything, always coming in second behind it.
He'd tried explaining that his career had a shelf-life and he had to climb the ladder before it expired to ensure their future - and those of their children - were set. She didn't see it his way.
From what Phillip could tell, Olivia had slept relatively peacefully throughout the night. Dawn had yet to break, so it was still early. He hated waking her, but knew she'd want to go home and get ready for her day.
He let her sleep, though, enjoying the feel of her in his arms even if the bedding was separating them. And if it would never happen again. He was pretty certain that last night's offer was a one-time thing. He'd live with that regret because he truly felt he'd given her what she needed even if she didn't realize it.
He knew she'd woken up before she reached for his hand.
"Did you sleep well, Dunham?"
"Yes, actually, better than I have in days."
"Good," he said as she turned in the bed to face him.
"I'm sorry if what happened last night is going to make things weird between us."
"Not at all. Obviously, I was tempted, but I also didn't want to be a part of the reason you dread coming to work every morning."
"If anything had happened you may have started."
She smiled a little, looking at him closely. She took in his face and he did the same. Her eyes were very expressive, giving credence to the idea that they were windows to one's soul. He knew she was going to kiss him this time almost before she did. He saw the glimmer of desire in her eyes and wondered if his echoed that sentiment. Desire for her wasn't his problem. The reason she had come here was. He met her halfway then, kissing her lightly but drawing away before she could think he meant anything more by it.
"Come see me when the ghost of John Scott isn't what's driven you here, Dunham, then we'll talk."
"So you don't think…"
"I don't think anything beyond you have just experienced a loss both personally and professionally, have taken on a new job with a stress level that some couldn't handle, and you haven't been sleeping well."
He stood then, stretching a little after a night of forcing himself to sleep in one position. He hadn't wanted to let her go.
"Thank you. For everything. You could have kicked me out."
He shook his head. "Not an option, Dunham."
Though it probably should have been an option if Sanford found out how close he'd let himself get to the woman responsible for squelching his career. Well, Phillip could just hear what the other man would say. It would not be pleasant. More than words might possibly be exchanged.
Dismissing those thoughts because he had first-hand knowledge of how Agent Dunham worked now and while he still didn't like his friend's career being cut short he knew she'd done that job just as thoroughly as she'd performed her tasks for him to date.
"There'll be coffee downstairs if you want some before you head on home to get ready for your day."
And with that, he headed in the direction of his kitchen to put the coffee on and wonder how he'd sleep in the bed tonight without her in it.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com