I was re-watching Boston Legal during the hiatus and some of Alan's quotes struck me as something Red would say. So, this fic kind of spawned from that and also Red's monologue with Ressler in 109. Just a pre-warning: this isn't going to be a top priority as I have a lot of things going on in real life (grad school, work, work, internship, making sure I have a small, small social life outside the former list) that take up a lot of my time.
This is a set up for a red/liz baby fic. but obviously you know i have to set the stage before things happen. i do have some of it written and drawn out. okay. And if you want to see anything in particular, feel free to PM or ask box me on tumblr (harrietspecter) and I'll try and fit it in. This is kind of a prompt-like fic. I have a few of my own but would welcome ideas from any and all. Especially those who don't feel up to writing themselves and want to see something ~magical~.
To be clear for this chapter: I have not visited Washington DC. I am a vegetarian. Wine is not my favorite. So, hopefully I describe these things in this piece of fiction well enough from basic reference searching. This is set some time in the future.
He's already at her house by the time she gets home from the Post Office. Its not especially late-just after six-when she finally walks in. She feels almost like a regular nine to five worker instead of a federal agent who usually works 16 hour days. Though, just because she's home just after six doesn't mean the day hasn't been tiring. Its been a long day with capturing yet another blacklister and watching Meera behind the one way mirror as she interrogates the man for more information. In the raid they caught him with plans but he had easily set fire to them as they splintered the door. The FBI really did need some quiet tactics for breeching houses these days.
She's noticed Red's been lingering less and less at the Post Office as the more dangerous criminals get apprehended. Of course he was there in the beginning, staging the briefings and hinting not so subtly of how they should approach a take down of the blacklister. They were getting closer and closer to the end of the list Red had in his mind. They had only breeched one of the top ten-Anslo Garrick was number nine-but that didn't seen to matter to anyone save Red himself. After all, he never really gave away what number each blacklister was. No, that was saved for himself. He stashed his list in one of Frederick's manuscripts. She didn't mean to stumble upon it but she did and he had carefully written each of the names and numbers of each blacklister. The paper was well worn and muted white which suggested he really had been cultivating this list for over twenty years. She couldn't help but notice some of the names on the list were the ones that got away from her when she was in mobile psych. He really had been paying attention to her career. He never really stayed for the post-capture de-briefings but he did sometimes wait around and see if she was free for dinner or to drive her home if she had taken public transport that day. Countless criminals of all varieties have been captured or killed at the hands of her and her team as well as Red and Dembe.
As she hangs her coat on the rack by the door, she notices the familiar fedora hanging on a peg. She frowns at it and turns into the living room to find Red lounging on her couch. She leans against the entryway as he looks up from petting Hudson who had his nose on one of Red's knees.
"What are you doing here?" she asks. "Where's Dembe?"
"Checking in," he says flippantly. As if she should have expected him here tonight. "He's finding a parking spot. You picked a terrible street to live on, Lizzie. Absolutely no parking anywhere."
"You call every night," she tells him as she walks into the room. "It's Washington, D.C. What do you expect."
He laughs hollowly and smooths his tie and vest as he shifts. Hudson whines and Red tells him to hush with a pat on his furry head. She thinks her dog loves her two companions more than he does her.
Instead of sitting across from him at the single chair, she joins him on the couch. She folds herself into the corner and props her elbow against the back of the couch and her head is in her hand as she looks over at him. She sees the small smile that appears on his lips as she does so. Little things always seem to get that reaction as of late. She finds it much too interesting to really profile it. Wants it to stay a mystery as to why. Though she thinks she might know the real reason.
"Why the change?" She asks.
He works his jaw. The arm that's stretched out over the back of the couch taps the thumb in a beat and he opens his mouth only to close it once again and smile at her instead.
"How about dinner?" he asks. He's avoiding the question all together. A none too subtle evasion. I know this quaint little place downtown. I think you'll absolutely love it.
"And then you'll tell me the real reason you're here?" she asks.
"We'll make a Bedouin trader out of you yet, Lizzie," he smirks. "You'll need a dress."
She huffs and frowns but heads up the stairs to change anyway. She thinks that maybe he should just set a day he wanted to dine with her and stick to it so she wouldn't have to change twice in one day. But god forbid Raymond Reddington ever became predictable. Predicability was not his nature. Sometimes he'd ask to dine with her three days in a week and sometimes he'd go a whole month without a question to her. He certainly had his quirks, she thought as she stood at her closet.
He was never anything short of a gentleman on these nights they wined and dined. Not that he wasn't a gentleman on other days. It was simply that she was reminded Red adores chivalry and he always helps her into her coat, opens the doors, and lets her proceed him inside places. He always pulled out her chair as well. She couldn't even remember the last person who had ever done that with her. Tonight he drove her car, the Polar Silver Sports Package CLA. The car she had received one day out of the blue. She had asked him why and he shrugged as he handed her the key. When she looked inside, she watched him smirk as she looked around at the red cut interior-the seat belts and top-stitching of the seats and door trim was the same red color. She also noticed the red-painted brake calipers. He brought it to her just before Anslo Garrick, she remembers. Tom wondered where she got it but she never said. She had told him she received some money from Sam. Which technically was true, but Red had taken care of that in a private account, away from Tom's reach. When Red gave her the car he had only one stipulation: Tom was not to drive it. That was never an issue, fortunately. Although jealous of her, he was glad to have his Jeep to himself.
Before tonight Dembe had always been the driver. But tonight Dembe was keeping Hudson company. When she had come down from changing her clothes, he was speaking with Red and had a bag of takeout containers in his hand. When he drove, he sometimes joined them as a table for three rather than a table for two. Tonight it was definitely not a question that it was a table for two type dinner.
She'd heard of The Capital Grille as he pulled up to the valet and she looked up at the name of the restaurant on the sign. She'd seen it in the restaurant reviews of in-town steak houses and she hears this is the place to go if you want policy to be heard. Of course she's never been. It's had been far too fancy of a place when she was with Tom and she doesn't think this place was a table for one type restaurant. It's no surprise Red chooses this place. Nor is it a surprise he is known here; it's his kind of place, after all.
He gets out and receives a ticket for the car. The valet on her side opens her door but she finds Red's hand to help her out. She takes it and wraps her arm in the crook of his elbow as they walk into the restaurant. His fedora and coat and her own coat are hung in a coat closet and he gets yet another ticket. The table is set in a private, quiet alcove of the dining room. He pulls out her chair, as usual, and unbuttons his suit jacket before he sits in his own chair across from her.
A few minutes into perusing the menu a sommelier appears out of thin air. She looks up to find Red watching her.
"Allow me?" he asks.
She nods in agreement. She's only ever been the supermarket kind of wine person. And even then it's whatever Chardonnay that's on sale. Red orders and he looks at her as he hands the wine list back.
"They don't have the variety I had hoped. I hear this one is all right for this small selection," he tells her.
She shrugs her shoulders and watches as Red reads the menu as he waits for the wine.
The sommelier comes back with the bottle, '07 Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvée, she overhears. She watches Red as he watches the man uncork the bottle with precision. As the man pours a small amount into a wide bulb glass, Red picks it up by the stem and brings the brim to his nose. She notices his brows pinch and then rise as he tips the glass and swirled the burgundy colored liquid around in the glass. He takes a sip and his lips set and brows rise she thinks in half surprise, and he sets the glass down where it began.
"This will do," he nods.
The man nods in return and pours a standard glass for both Red and Liz.
"It's a bit of a mix-Bordeaux-Syrah blend; only gets better as it finishes," he tells her. "Go on."
She's sure everyone would think she is ridiculous as she sniffs and tastes it just as Red did moments ago. She's only thankful he sent the sommelier away before he asked her to taste. She smells blackberries, she thinks. There's a peppery smell to it; like after freshly ground peppercorns were being ground in front of her and into the wine. She even gets hint of tobacco. Not overpowering like you get walking through a den of smokers outside buildings. Rather, it smelt like Red did after he had a long, rougher-than-usual day and would sit in the quiet of her home. It didn't happen too often-she's noticed it happened if she was hurt or taken from him and he had to go and find her with Ressler and Dembe-but it was always the same whenever he did. He'd be at the backdoor rather than the front, smoking a cigar on the wooden steps with Dembe until she came home. He'd stamp it out and Dembe would disappear whenever she opened the sliding glass door. And then he'd walk in, leaving an unmistakable scent trail of chilly DC nights, earthiness from sitting in the garden, and tobacco from his cigar. She let the wine sit on her tongue-not long because she was afraid the dark liquid would stain her teeth or tongue or both-but enough to try and get some kind of flavor profile. It tasted nothing like it smelled. Rather than blackberries and hints of peppery tobacco, she tasted cherries with a slate kind of aftertaste.
"I know red is not your favorite but you must branch out of your comfort zone some of the time, Lizzie," Red chuckles to himself.
"I'm not that afraid of new things," she quips.
She looks up after putting the glass back above her plates and finds him completely immersed in the menu. A tactic if she had ever seen one.
Despite the notion she had in her mind that she would never let a man order for her, Red asked her permission before doing so and she gave him her concent. It wasn't so strange anymore that he anticipated her needs and what her favorite things are. The first round he ordered a half pomegranate and goat cheese salad-it wasn't on the menu that she saw but their waiter had no objection; the appetizers he ordered were mini lobster and crab cakes that boasted they had beautiful pieces of meat with little filling; and for the main dish he ordered steak au poivre with courvoisier cream-medium rare for both, light on the peppercorn crust. He also ordered two shared side dishes: mashed potatoes-she didn't miss the little change in his tone as he recited the name of the potatoes: Sam's mashed potatoes, and the French green beans with shallots and heirloom tomatoes.
"Why'd we come here?" she asked as she cut into her steak.
The meat was beautifully cooked, the peppercorn crust wasn't overpowering. And she thinks maybe Red's order of less crust in the first place saved her from having too much pepper and not enough meat taste.
"I've always wanted to come here for dinner," he says as he forks his own cut of steak and circles the sauce.
"You've never been here?" she asked skeptically.
"Once," he said. "I brought Luli here for her birthday, for lunch. She wanted to try the lobster mac and cheese."
She looked down and smeared her mashed potatoes with her fork. She had accidentally stumbled upon a seemingly sore subject.
"It's not a difficult subject for me to talk about, Luli and I," he tells her quietly. She looks up as he continues. "Luli will always be a part of my life but I do enjoy talking about her; telling stories about her. She did enjoy you a great deal. She said she had never met another woman besides herself that could surprise me as much as you do."
Liz smiles in the corner of her mouth and a brief, quiet laugh escapes.
"I liked her, too," Liz says. "I just wish I had gotten to know her like I know Dembe."
Red nods and turns to conversation to something more lighthearted. He chuckles as he retells the story of Ressler's day with himself and Dembe while she was out with Meera chasing down leads. Apparently Ressler didn't like not having the ability to drive when Red is his "partner" for the day.
After dinner and another glass of wine, she ordered the creme brûlée for dessert while he went for a tumbler of 16-year-old Lagavulin. She was used to his staring by now but she wondered when she had gotten comfortable with him watching her as she sat across from him in this kind of setting. Typically for dessert when they went out and with Dembe, he often got another drink while she and Dembe ordered from the dessert menu. She had learned Dembe had quite the sweet tooth and he was quite powerless to any and all forms of caramel. During her musings, Red's spoon snuck it's way over to her dessert-as it usually did-and he cracks the burned sugar before coming up with the creamy vanilla custard.
She half protested but smiled with her own spoonful as he commented on her choice.
"It looks like chocolate at the bottom," she points out. She tips her dessert towards him to let him see the hard chocolate was indeed lined in the bottom, underneath the vanilla custard.
"Dark or milk?" He asked.
She scooped a small spoonful and made sure to scrape the chocolate layer to look.
"Dark," she says as she shows him the spoon's layers. As she takes her spoonful, she none too subtly pushes her creme brûlée to the midpoint between them. She nods with her head and watches as he takes his own spoonful. If there's one thing she really knows about Raymond Reddington it's that he adores a good chocolate, especially if it's dark. And this base layer of the creme brûlée is one of the best she's had in a while. Of course, nothing beats the one time Red had detoured in Switzerland and brought her back a dark chocolate caramel sea salt bar from a little shop next to one of his banks. That chocolate bar had unfortunately not lasted long and he didn't often go enough to Switzerland to get another one.
They shared the dessert until it was finished. She held the smirk in as Red scooped up the last remaining chocolate in the crevices of the ramekin after she placed her spoon on the serving plate and napkin on the table. Between bites, the bill had come but she hadn't seen it for long. He never looked at the bill, she realized. He set his card down as soon as the bill was placed next to him and it was taken moments later. She also noticed he never tipped on his card. Rather, he pulled out crisp bills and laid them inside with the signed receipt. He definitely had interesting qualities about him. When they left their table and returned to the coat check, her arm wrapped around his own after their coats were returned and she huddled closer as they waited for her car outside the restaurant.
"Thank you," she whispered as she leaned into him.
"It's not often I get to dine with a beautiful woman," he replies.
They both know its a lie. She dines with him often and he doesn't make much of a fuss about it. But he seems to be placing a lot of weight on whatever this is so she doesn't say anything else.
Dembe was waiting for them with Hudson laying down at his feet. The dog perked up at the sound of the door opening and both man and dog walked to the door to find Red and Liz walking in the door.
"If we are going to the meeting," Dembe trailed off.
"Bring the car around. It won't take long," Red nodded.
Dembe pat Hudson's head before leaving out the door they just came through.
"What meeting?" She asked. "What aren't you telling me?"
Red bit his lip and looked down at his shoes.
"We're getting closer to the end, Lizzie," he starts. "The deal I made with the government for the blacklist, the immunity deal, it is a sham."
"What?" She asked. Her brows furrowed in confusion.
"My informant in the Justice Department tells me as soon as we finish the blacklist, I will be finished. I will go into the hole they tried to place me in before and I won't be seeing the light of day again."
"Who told you this?" She asked. It seemed like it was some fictional plot line of a television show, being locked away forever. But she believed it with Red. After all, she had to travel by helicopter to an oil freighter in the middle of the ocean to talk to him before he was released with his immunity deal. Sometimes she had to remind herself she was dealing with one of the FBI's most wanted criminal and not someone who has been one of her closest confidants.
"Fitch Crowley," he told her. "He works for the number one on the blacklist as well as the Justice Department."
"Where will you go?" She asked.
"I can't tell you," he shook his head.
"Your chip...they'll find you," she trailed off as he gave her a look. "You took it out already, didn't you?"
"I didn't want them to know I visited you before I left. If they did know, you'd be put in a hole in the ground and interrogated every day until you give something up."
"You can't just leave," she tries.
"I can disappear without a trace in sixty seconds," he tells her. "I can't be captured, Elizabeth. Not until I get number one. And number one is impossible to take down without getting myself killed. And I, for one, am not ready to die just yet."
His hand cupped her face as she tried to look away. His eyes bore into hers and she but her lip. His hands skimmed down her neck, tracing her collarbone, playing with her hair and tracing his fingers over her collarbone yet again as he spoke.
"If you come with me, you will most likely be put on the most wanted list next to my own name. Your reputation will no longer be yours but mine. I do not wish to tarnish your name but if you choose to stay here, I will not and cannot contact you for some time. They must believe us to be completely disappeared from each other's lives."
Her breathing hitches. She's never been one for a contingency plan. Of course in the back of her mind she knew the closer he got to the end of the list, he'd be borrowing time. She had told him they would never give him immunity the day he told her about the freelancer. But she never expected this. She never expected to feel anything other than contempt for the man who turned her life upside down at the utterance of speaking only with Elizabeth Keen.
"I'm not going to beg you to allow me the privilege of having you at my side, Lizzie," he tells her. "I only want you to know that I wouldn't object to your decision if you did come."
His hand skips from her collar and down her coat, skimming the material at her hips and she looks up at him rather than the space between them. His thumb sneaks in between her coat and begins a rhythm as it plays back and forth, waiting for her answer.
They've been doing whatever this was for a while. Dates but not really because it was just dinner with the three of them. But sometimes dinner with just the two of them. She often dressed up-because he and Dembe were always sharply dressed daily-and he always paid. He called her daily even if they weren't currently pursuing a blacklister. She curled up on the couches of his houses and watched the sun disappear and sometimes she felt the sun rise on her face. Mostly Frederick's house but sometimes at one of his safe houses or the hotels she knew weren't bugged by the FBI. And he lounged on hers with a book in one hand and the other on Hudson's head.
"I can't," she whispers as she holds his gaze.
She's dreamt about this more often than not-what she would do as the blacklist dwindled. Logically she knew this would be a scenario-him running. But she never really thought it to be a real possibility. He doesn't outright ask her because he doesn't want to face the disappointment he knows would come with the question. She once told him she had a life but as she stands with the man who said he has her, she realizes she's only really ever had him, too. Sam's dead and Tom's long gone. Her closest friends are fellow agents who she doesn't really ever see unless they need her to get Red to do something outside his agreement. Although, Ressler is more willing to be her friend than any of them. He often suggests they pair up and he's been more of a friend to her than she has to him. But she appreciates the friendship he's given to her nonetheless. The only ones that have really, truly been there for each step of the way are Red and Dembe. But she can't leave. Not yet. She can't give up what she's built here.
She doesn't want to look up because she knows what she will see in his eyes. She doesn't want to see the disappointment after so many times of him being proud of her. He tilts her chin up anyway and her tongue snakes out, wets her lips, and she bites her lower one.
"If you need me, I will be there, eventually," he tells her. "Dembe has an email with the last of the names and locations of everyone left on the blacklist. It will be sent to Cooper when we are safely in the air, away from any US jurisdiction."
She nods. She doesn't comment on the wavering tone she hears in his voice. And she thinks maybe its harder on both of them to do it in person rather than on the phone. She doesn't miss the sad smile, the working of his jaw, the twitch in one cheek as his eyes mist.
"Goodbye, Lizzie," he nods once.
His lips touch the corner of hers and she thinks that maybe this is the hardest thing she's ever done. She forces her eyes to stay open, memorize the feel of his lips against hers, his fingers against her soft skin as he barely touches her jaw. The lump in her throat keeps her from saying anything as she feels him stepping away.
When she hears the door close she moves to the stairs and collapses onto the stairs with a shattering sob she can't help but try and mask with her hand.
She's not sure how long it's been but knows it's been too long since her butt is quite numb from sitting on the stairs. She's sure she has an indent from the banisters on her forehead. Hudson comes and places his head on her knees and she chokes out a laugh as he whines. She's not sure who the dog will miss more-Red or Dembe.
"Oh buddy," she sighs. "I think I might have made a mistake."
As she scratches his neck, a slip of paper in his collar catches her attention. She frowns and unrolls it as soon as it's in her hands.
She sees two words and a time written on a slip of paper. It's not his writing but it is familiar. She can't help but laugh because if she doesn't laugh she will start crying again and she doesn't really want to do that. She stands and goes to find a matchbook in the kitchen, Hudson tagging along begging her. Standing at the sink and lighting the piece of paper on fire, she wonders if she's making the right decision.
When Dembe pulled the car around and opened the door for his employer he took a little longer than necessary to pull away from the curb.
"She's not coming?" Dembe asked as he glanced in the rearview mirror.
Red turned from staring out the window to meet Dembe's eyes.
"Doesn't look like it," he says slowly.
He wasn't sure what he was really expecting when he asked or didn't ask. He kind of just let the situation circle around them and left after she said she couldn't come with him. He didn't want to try and persuade her. He didn't want to be responsible for potentially ruining her career. He'd write a letter, make sure Cooper knew she tried to get him to stay or something to that effect. He'd think on it.
"Your contact has all your passports and documents ready now," Dembe says as he drops the subject of Elizabeth Keen quickly.
"We'll meet him and then head to the airfield. I'd like to leave on schedule," Red tells him.
"Of course," Dembe nods.
Red stares at the darkened city only illuminated by the street lamps as Dembe maneuvers the S-Class through the suburbs of DC.
When Red meets his contact he is his usual flippant self. Dembe notices the mask he wears and he pays handsomely for the documents and passports. They're clean, the best Red's money and reputation can ever buy. Dembe chuckled because he thinks he may see Canada's passport book cover as Red slips it out to view the picture.
He refrains from speaking with Dembe the rest of the way to the airport. Instead he pulls out the passports and flips it open to the second page where the identification photo stares back at him. He's used one of her older training photos since he had the man backdate the passports a bit so as not to cause alarm. He'll forge some entry and exit stamps on his own when he's on the plane. He thinks he'll keep hers. Maybe she'd need it eventually. After all, it's a long way to the Yunnan province for some silent meditation. He's sure it's a bad idea but that's the only way he can force himself not to make contact with Lizzie. He'd be tempted elsewhere with a pay phone on every corner and Dembe's sat phone with him at all times. No, to release Elizabeth Keen from all ties with him means no people trailing her, no contact; nothing but his own thoughts to last him a lifetime. Because he's sure she can very well take care of herself. But maybe when the meditation is done, he'll do some surveillance from afar.
She thinks she's made it-the right decision-as he steps out of the Mercedes with a surprised look on his face as she stands at the stairs of his jet with nothing but a bag of her most precious things-that wouldn't be noticed if she was declared missing or a fugitive or something-and a mangy mutt tugging at his lead. On the way here she psyched herself out thinking that maybe it wasn't really an offer since he didn't outright ask her. But as soon as he stepped out of the car, with a smile trying to be masked in his surprise, she knew the offer was legitimate and she had made the right choice after all.
Dembe steps up first, takes her bag and Hudson from her as he and Red step away from the Mercedes and to the jet behind her. She hears more than sees the man and her dog climb the stairs.
He grasps her shoulder as if he doesn't believe her to be real and standing in front of him. Or maybe he's just strangely observing the third wardrobe change of the night for her. At least she has the same coat on-the burgundy one he's grown quite fond of these days.
"Why'd you come?" he asks. He's serious, she realizes. And she thinks that maybe since he's lived almost his entire life on the run he's had no one do anything for him that wasn't for wholly unselfish reasons.
"I wanted something," she says.
He nods and she smirks.
"Answers to questions, no doubt," he retorts.
She chuckles, shakes her head.
"You," she says simply. "I want you."
He looks like a kid again. Astonishment is written all over his face as she steps closer.
"I want answers, too. But I realized something after you left," she tells him. "I want a life. One with a family and friends that I can depend on and they can trust me to keep their back, too."
He pauses, looks at her and looks up to see Dembe and Hudson in the entrance of the plane, waiting.
"Lizzie, I must tell you something before you completely give up everything you know."
"This is a bad business. It is an often filthy, dehumanizing, mean-spirited life. I assure you I take no pleasure in it. It just comes easily to me. But…you… are not that way. So, I suggest you think long and hard about whether you really want to wake up every morning with all the promise that morning conveys and come with me. Which I say to you only because I care."
"You think I haven't dealt with your world before?" she asks. "Should I make a list for you: my father-birth and Sam, my ex-husband, not to mention everyone we've captured or killed on the blacklist that has kidnapped or tried to kill any of us. I may not be totally familiar with going on the run but I'm not naïve, Red. I know what's out there. And I know you'll do everything you can to keep that from me but I can handle it. I trust you."
It's his turn to chuckle and shake his head in disbelief.
"Well then," he says as he turns them both to face the stairs. "It's time to stand at the helm of your own destiny, Lizzie. Pick somewhere, anywhere."
"I just have one question though," she says as she turns her head to look at him.
"Fine," he nods.
"What's going to happen to my car?" She asks. She looks over at the two Mercedes parked next to one each other in the shadows of the hanger.
"I suppose I'll just add it to my shipment," Red tells her. "It will of course go to the house and will be taken care of until we can safely reach it without having any attention drawn to us."
"House?" She asks.
He hums a yes and she's quite curious to learn more. But she can see he's really waiting for a destination.
"I've never been to Paris," she tells him.
He smiles and takes her hand. He leads her up the stairs of the plane and tells the pilot they're final destination is to Paris.
As she walks towards the back of the plane where the better seats are, she notices Dembe's small smile he can't wipe off his face, nor can Red clear the one from his.
They're halfway between the entrance and tail of the plane when Red finally realizes he hasn't quite shared his feelings about her surprising decision.
"Oh, and Lizzie," red trails off.
She turns and is about to answer when his lips are fully on hers, hands running through her hair and cradling her head gently. It takes her a moment and she grabs his fedora off his head before it knocks against her forehead again. He tilts his head one way and she goes the other as her free hand curls into his collar and up around his neck. The fedora carrying hand reaches around and her arm rests on his shoulder as she crossed her arms behind his neck and pulls herself a step closer. The passion he displays is not muted; not hidden from her because he no longer fears that she won't return his feelings. She's come here on her own violation, willingly given up her life because she wanted him, willingly initiated this kiss. He trails off, one long kiss turns into shorter ones which turn into a simple, chaste peck of their lips. He pulls back thoroughly satisfied with himself as she unconsciously licks her bottom lip and bites the lip he was tempted to thoroughly kiss and nip at in the future. He sweeps her into his arms and she giggles against his skin. Her little breaths against his skin remind him this is real. He pulls her back again so he can see her face, mapping it as he takes her in. It's long, drawn out, and she thinks that maybe he thinks he should memorize her face, lest she have second thoughts about this now. And then he kisses her again, sweet, gentle, even loving. She felt the genuine smile and feelings as he pulled her close.
"Raymond," Dembe calls out from the front of the plane.
Red turns and his eyes open slowly, his brow raises in question, as if he's surprised to find the other man here, and tilts his head in question.
"Roderick says we're taxiing," he tells him.
"Oh," Red nods. "Right."
He pulls away from her and moves to the side of the plane where two seats sit side by side. He lets her choose her seat and then sits beside her. It's only after she tossed his fedora on the table next to her and has her seatbelt fully fashioned when she turns to him. This time it is her who takes the lead; her fingers tracing his jawline before angling her head as she moved closer. He holds her closer, glad she hadn't pulled down the arm rests that divide the seats, and Liz sighs as his tongue coaxes hers to join his, finds herself swept away. Liz enjoys the touch, but she thinks she might get to him and his subconscious better if she alleviates some of his worries. She pulls away and looks at his green eyes, overflowing with untamed feelings-feelings only for her. She can also see the question slowly rising to the surface.
"You don't scare me anymore, Raymond Reddington," she says quietly.
His twitch of a smile suggests to her that he likes it when she uses his full name or maybe he's finally glad she trusts him with her life. Perhaps both.
"Life as you know it is about to change, Lizzie."
She's glad. Maybe for once she'll be able to see everything, do everything she wishes to accomplish. She only smiles at him, genuinely, and caresses his jawline before turning to face the window. She doesn't miss him grabbing her hand and rubbing gently at her scar. As she turns and looks him in the eyes she hopes to convey everything she doesn't say aloud: there will be time for that; there will be time for everything.