A/N: Written for the Thursday100 'Before They Were Stars' challenge on LJ.

Disclaimer: Not mine, no infringement intended.


Eleventh Floor


He was kind of hard to miss, standing at the security desk, a good three inches taller than the security officer, twisting his head as he filled in some form. Eames walked past him, noticed his height, build, distinguishing features (a mole on his right cheek), his tailored clothes and expensive shoes, and kept walking.

The elevator doors were almost closed before he stuck his hand between them.

"Sorry,' he said, with an affable smile. She smiled back politely, and he slid into the car.

The doors closed, and in quick succession he fiddled to get his security pass onto the lapel of his suit, dropped his leather folder and stared intently at her legs as he gathered up his papers. He hadn't pressed any other button. She hadn't looked at his security badge, but she hoped he was a visitor.

Second floor.

"I'm… such a klutz," he said, waving expressively at himself as he stood. She smiled again, a little colder, and shifted her weight where she stood.

Which put his attention right back on her legs. She should have worn pants.

Fourth floor.

He juggled his folder, trying to put a pen in his pocket, and somehow his badge managed to slide out of somewhere and he caught it in his hand. He laughed slightly, and looked up at her.

She met his gaze. And knew he was a big fat fake.

Fifth floor, and this man was putting on an act. She narrowed her gaze at him, not annoyed anymore, just curious. He seemed to realise he was busted, and tilted his head at her, smiling in a way that was much more natural, more subtle. More of a twitch of his mouth and a gleam in his eyes.

Sixth floor.

"You've got that down pretty well," she said softly. His lips twitched again.

"Not well enough, apparently."

Seventh floor.

"It worked, at first. The move with the badge was a bit much, though," she said. He'd shifted closer to her somehow, and the full intensity of his gaze was on her.

"Really? I thought… maybe a nice touch," he said earnestly. She shook her head.

"For the boys' club maybe. Never works on a woman, though."

Eighth floor.

"Good point," he said, nodding sagely, "They would want to underestimate me."

"Female cops never underestimate anybody," she agreed.

He looked down at her legs again, and she followed his gaze. He waved his hand in the direction of her ankle.

"You have… a little roll when you walk," he said carefully.

Ninth floor.

"Broken, just a few months ago."

He nodded, studying her calf. "The muscles are tight. You must have worked hard."

He brought his gaze up to hers again, and she realised he was close, very close.

"I make a point of it," she murmured, and they both knew she wasn't just talking about the ankle.

Tenth floor.

"Nobody's caught me out so soon before," he said softly. He glanced up at the lit number above them – the car was slowing, almost at the eleventh floor, and he looked back at her, his eyes twinkling. "Have dinner with me."

Eleventh floor. The doors opened.

"No," she said. She caught just a glimpse of his surprised expression before she walked out into the bullpen.

He followed, like she knew he would.

"No?" he said. She rolled her eyes, which he couldn't see.

"No," she said over her shoulder, and felt a warm buzzing in her stomach. This was going to be fun.

She stopped abruptly beside her desk, and he almost ran into her. He circled around her, and looked at her desk, cataloguing it in seconds. And then he noticed the desk opposite it.

The empty desk.

"Your must be Detective Goren. I'm Eames," she said, and stuck out her hand, "Your new partner."

He looked down at her desk, at his, and finally took her hand slowly in a shake. She smirked at him, and he grinned, a big, spontaneous grin.

"Eames," he said, and shook firmly, still smiling, "Call me Bobby."