A look in her eye that said she finally understood after all this time why he had to do what he did?
Every agent had something that drove them, kept them fighting for the greater good they'd signed up to protect. His was their children. He had to ensure they were safe. Not just today and tomorrow, but ten years from now, and when he and Diane were gone and his grandchildren were having grandchildren. Those things were important to Phillip, still were even if he didn't see them every day.
She'd moved on, understandably so. He'd had to let her know, though. To let her know the choices, decisions, he'd made years ago hadn't been for nothing after all.
There were things he missed about that life. Seeing his kids everyday was the biggest, but he'd known for a while before that case that it wasn't going to work. They'd tried, but as someone who had ambitions he'd had to put his career first. FBI agents didn't remain agents into their fifties or sixties so one had to make what they could of their career when the opportunity was there.
He pulled onto his driveway, giving a sigh when he saw someone waiting for him on his front step. He was in no mood for company tonight. He'd killed someone today and comatose or not, Phillip didn't take that lightly. He'd done it to save a life, the life of a young girl. He did what he had to do and would do it again. It didn't mean he enjoyed it. Any officer of the law who said otherwise was a liar. Or there was something wrong with them.
He couldn't have been more surprised to see Agent Dunham sitting on his front step. Not only that, but she was dressed differently. Gone were the black trousers and white blouse she wore to work. In its place was a dress. Something he wasn't sure he could remember seeing her wear before this moment.
She stood as he approached and he took a moment to appreciate the view of her legs the dress offered. He also took a moment to wonder where she'd put her gun. One thing he knew about Olivia Dunham, she didn't leave home without her gun.
"You look nice, Dunham, what's the occasion?"
"Nothing. There isn't one."
"You do realize this is my home, I'm on my personal time."
"I do, of course. I just thought," she said, bending over to pick up two paper bags, which from the shape and size of them both contained bottles of something alcoholic to drink. "Well, I thought you might like some company."
"I'm not really in the mood for company, Dunham."
"Well, you don't have to talk. You can pretend I'm not here, but a glass of wine or two won't hurt after the day you've had and you shouldn't drink alone. Right?"
He wasn't sure this was a wise course of action. Inviting her into his home. Sharing a drink with her. Then he noticed there was more on the step near her feet.
"What else do you have there?"
"Italian takeout. I wasn't sure what you liked, but figured I couldn't go wrong with Italian. It's cold by now, but it'll reheat."
She'd brought him food and wine. And she'd gone home to change her clothes. She'd driven all this way. For him. And, truthfully, he wasn't so sure he wanted to be alone right now. That'd give him too much time to think, and nights like this that wasn't a good thing.
"All right, Dunham," he said, walking the rest of the way to his door. He unlocked it and pushed it open, allowing her to enter first.
"The kitchen is through there. If you give me a minute to change myself I'll be right there."
"Yeah, sure," she said.
He knew she'd analyze his living room, notice everything down to the fact that he was very much a bachelor. Not that his place was a mess or anything, but he just hadn't taken the time to decorate. And the decorations contained in his living room were very limited and generic.
He was surprised to find her in the kitchen when he finished changing. She'd found wineglasses and a corkscrew.
"Drinking before the meal. Are you trying to get me drunk?"
She smiled a little, pouring them each a glass of wine. "If one glass of wine gets you drunk I think I'm going to be disappointed."
He chuckled a little, unable to hide the smile that accompanied it. He took the glass she offered, noticing she already had the food reheating in the oven. Had he taken that long? Or did she just not want to appear as though she was snooping in his home?
"You really donít have to do this, Dunham. I'll be fine. I have discharged my weapon before today."
"I know that."
"Then why are you here?"
"Because I know what I'd be doing if I were you right now."
"And what's that?"
"Second guessing everything I'd done four years ago. Your marriage was a hefty price to pay for something that could have been stopped rather easily."
"His brother could have ended it, he chose not to. That's not on you."
"And the lives he took during that time because I got sidetracked, pushed the case to the backburner because it got cold?"
"And how many men and boys did Gacy kill when the police were watching him? How about the cops who gave a victim back to Dahmer?"
"And that's supposed to make me feel better?"
"What this man was doing," she shrugged, taking a sip of the wine before setting the glass down on the table. He noticed she'd found flatware and set it out. Was he that predictable that things were so easy to find in his home? He watched as she opened the oven, taking the food out.
"What he was doing was wrong, but he was trying to cure his brother. I'm not excusing what he did, the lives he took, but you can't beat yourself over it. Things happen. Cases get cold, some never get solved. We were lucky we got the chance to solve this one."
"Lucky," he said with almost a snarl. "I'm not so sure I consider myself lucky, Dunham."
She shrugged, looking through his cabinets for he presumed plates. He opened the cabinet they were in and got two out for her.
"That case cost me my marriage."
She was silent as she dished out portions for each of them. She'd even brought salad. Or perhaps it'd come with the food. Either way pasta and salad were on the plates, ready to be eaten. She brought both of the plates to the table, taking a seat. She wasn't ignoring him, he knew better than to think that.
"All right, it wasn't just that case," he admitted as he took the seat across the table from hers. "If it hadn't been that case it probably would have been another one. I put my career first and it cost me."
"Would you change it?" she asked.
He suspected she wasn't asking the question just to be polite or general curiosity.
"No," he said simply, taking a bite of the food. Wherever she'd picked the food up from it was good. And, he had to admit, he had nothing to eat in the house of any substance so this really hit the spot. "I'm serving my country in the best way I know how."
"Some people don't get that. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but some people don't understand what compels us to do what we do everyday. They don't think about the fact that we could die at any moment. Or they don't like to think about it anyway. And some people aren't made the way we are, wired to want to do our jobs."
"I thought she did."
"Oh, I don't know. I think she thought I'd be content being a field agent all of my career. And I wasn't. I was meant for bigger things than that."
She quirked an eyebrow at him as she took a sip of his wine, but said nothing.
"Don't give me that look, Dunham, if you played by the rules you'd be meant for bigger things, too."
"I play by the rules."
"Your own set of them."
"You haven't complained."
"Not recently anyway."
"Why is that?" she asked.
"Because though you push the rules, you get the job done. That's what matters at the end of the day."
"Thank you, Sir," she said, sounding genuinely pleased at his words. He hesitated to think of them as a compliment, but he supposed they were in his own way.
They finished their dinner in silence. He didn't want to talk about his failed marriage anymore and there really wasn't much more to say. That was what today was about after all. Closure of the case meant that chapter of his life was finally at an end as well.
They found a Celtics game on when they returned to the living room. He wasn't of the mind to tell her to leave and she didn't seem to be in any hurry to do that. The first bottle of wine had been depleted upon refilling their glasses to come out here. The second bottle accompanied them. Neither drank as if it was going out of style, but it was there if they wanted more.
The game over, the wine gone. He wasn't at all certain who had more to drink. He hoped it had been him since she had to drive home, but he doubted a few glasses of wine over the course of an evening was going to impair her driving.
She was tired same as he was when he walked her to the door.
"I hope this won't be weird tomorrow," she said. "That you won't think I will look at you any differently than I did this morning."
"Not at all. What you did was very kind. I appreciate it. I doubt I would have thought to eat."
She rolled her eyes at that.
"I wasn't trying to take care of you."
"I know that, and as I said it was very kind."
He reached then, tucking some hair behind her ears. Her hair had a habit of getting in her face, preventing him from seeing her and that bothered him. Until tonight, he'd never had the ability, the right, to do anything to correct that. She was here, though, in his home and it wasn't about business.
"Thank you, Dunham," he whispered. "It was better than sitting here alone."
"I'm glad," she said with a smile.
"You're all right to drive?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"All right. I'll walk you to your car then."
He walked her to her car because it was the gentlemanly thing to do. He even went so far as opening her door for her. He didn't close it as soon as she was in, though.
"Why the dress?"
She shrugged. "I'm a woman. I felt like looking the part for a change."
He chuckled then. "There's no question you look the part all of the time, but the dress is nice," he said. "Good night, Dunham."
"Good night," she said.
He shut the door then, not wanting to say anymore. Not that he was drunk or impaired, but asking her to stay had crossed his mind once he'd gotten over the feeling that she was somehow trying to handle him.
He went inside once she'd pulled away, taking the wineglasses and empty bottle to the kitchen. They'd rinsed off the dishes earlier so there wasn't much for him to do other then rinse the wineglasses out. And go to bed.
He'd dreaded coming home tonight to an empty place, knowing Diane was somewhere not alone. It wasn't that he was still in love with her or that he begrudged her moving on and the happiness she'd found doing that. He just wasn't sure where he'd be right now if he'd had to pass the last few hours by himself.
Dunham had saved him from sitting here, wallowing over what could have, should have, might have been.
Closure was well and good, but sometimes getting the bad guy didn't mean everything was tied up in a neat little bow. There was always residual things left unknown, unsolved, unfound. He realized that his life didn't have to be one of those things.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com