A/N: I've had this idea floating around for ages – just never bothered to write it down. It's another Devan/Woody of course and another follow-up to an episode, this time After Dark. And I don't own Crossing Jordan.

Summary: Ever wondered what happened following After Dark? Devan and Woody explore the drinking scene together as Devan ponders on the possibility of a relationship. Prequel to my up-coming multi-chapter fanfic.

Enjoy…or not if you're not a fan of this coupling. ;)

Gloating

His laughter filled the chilled night air, relieving an edge of mild awkwardness. Though it was not far from sarcastic, his laughter soothed me. It gave me a strange confidence to retort back, even more sarcastically. I looked sideways at him, slyly though, as if trying to sneak it so he wouldn't see it. But he did; he caught the oddly simmering glimmer in my eyes, and laughter once again filled his. It was going to be a night that neither of us would forget in a hurry. Even if we wanted to.

We were walking, quite slowly, down one of the many empty streets in Boston, towards an equally empty bar where we could talk more seriously. If we wanted to. The night so far, it seemed, was full of parody, and was constantly mocking us with its mysterious atmosphere. Somewhere inside me was the part that wanted to know every possible answer the night could give, while the other part of me just wanted to enjoy fate for once, not even wanting to bother to question why this was happening.

His voice cut into the air, distracting me from my thoughts. "So…remind me again why we're walking."

I sighed dramatically, giving him another sideways look. "To conserve the amount of un-polluted oxygen in the world."

He smirked. "Oh."

I liked the way his mouth lingered in the shape of his sarcastic remark before it slowly faded. "Besides, I need the air. Being stuck in an elevator with you of all people makes me thankful for nature," I paused, thinking of something else. "For once."

"Well," he began sarcastically, "if I recall correctly, it was you who offered to buy the drinks, so I'd think very carefully before you spoke to me if I were you."

I continued to look forward. "Hmm, but you're not me, are you?"

His answer came abruptly. "No, thank God."

I threw him a sarcastic look before stopping in front of a closed door. Inside was a partially empty bar, with only a few occupants sitting at random stools and throwing liquid fire down their throats. Woody stood behind me and I could see his reflection in the glass door of the bar. His breath fanned my hair and his hand came to rest on my waist.

"Are we going in?" His voice sent a chill down my spine. A chill that I couldn't explain.

I stared into his eyes from the reflection before grasping the handle and turning it slowly, my eyes carefully trailing the movement of Woody's until I couldn't see them anymore. All at once we were hit with that drowning smell of smoke mingled with alcohol and a desperate longing for the latter kicked in when we walked through the door and up to the counter. The bartender looked expectantly at us while Woody insisted on taking the lead. He ordered a beer for himself and a rum and coke for me. I guess he really did read people well.

The bartender took two glasses from the shelf overhanging the counter and began filling them, and I caught a glance at the man sitting next to me on a stool. He was middle-aged and a regular here, it seemed. His eyes were glazed over while they roamed around until they met Woody's, and the next second one of them was closed over in a wink. I rolled my eyes and met with the bartender's as he placed the two glasses on top of the counter. Without wasting any time, I took mine and skulled it hungrily, catching Woody's eye as the alcohol slid down my throat. It burned, but I didn't care. I stabbed the glass back down on the counter and with it placed a note of generous money, which I had plucked from my coat pocket.

The drunken man sitting on the stool gaped at me, and I smiled innocently in reply. When the bartender had refilled my glass, I took it and began walking towards the back of the bar, where there were stairs leading up to a small balcony. Woody followed with his full glass of frothing beer. I took a seat around a small, marble table, while Woody took the one opposite. He was smirking at me and I just had to ask.

"What?"

His smirk widened into a grin. "Where did that come from?"

I shook my head and accentuated once again my flawless sarcasm. "Cleary, Woody, you don't know me at all."

He studied me for a second before taking a sip of his beer, and even then his eyes never left mine. "Maybe not," he muttered under his breath. I didn't know if it was supposed to be audible or not, but I heard it…and ignored it.

"So," I began, trying to make conversation. "Tell me about yourself, Woodrow Hoyt."

He cringed at his full name. "That's Detective Woodrow Hoyt to you. Well, where to begin? I grew up in Wisconsin, Catholic of course."

"Of course," I countered.

He took another sip of his beer. "My father was a cop. I have a brother, Cal. Moved to Boston three years ago after I got sick of living the farm life. Ever since then my life's been a blur – until I met you, of course."

He tacked that last part on as a joke, but it seemed to only heighten the tension between us. I knew that he and Jordan had been an item or something similar in the past and I felt like I was intruding in on them. I didn't voice my concerns because I didn't want to ruin the night, but still it was gnawing at me…

"Anyway," he continued, bringing me back to reality, "tell me about yourself. How did you come to live in Boston?"

I resisted the ridiculous urge to talk about Jordan and resigned to his questions. "I moved here eight months ago after I completed my degree. I had been living in Washington for the past seven years."

He placed his beer down on the round table after taking another sip. "What's in Washington?"

Hardly a personal question, but the answer was extremely personal. "Nothing important."

He didn't catch on to my lie and I was grateful for that. "So…before Washington, where were you?"

I sighed and took the first sip of my drink. "Los Angeles. And before that it was boarding school in Switzerland. I was born and grew up in Montreal until we moved when I was six. We spent a year in the States and then it was Switzerland."

He smiled. "Wow, you do get around. What about family?"

A sensitive subject for me, but what harm could it do? "I'm an only child. A mother in Paris and a father someone on the globe…presumably. He left when I was five and I never heard from him since."

I took a bigger sip of my drink and sighed inwardly as the burning alcohol slid down my throat once again. A little too much of the rum and not enough of the coke. Woody sensed my discomfort and directed the conversation into a subject less personal: pastimes.

An hour passed and we were still talking, some of it I didn't even know what about. The point is that we could talk to each other so easily. There was something about the thoughts that escaped my mind that resounded in his and we…clicked, for the lack of a better word. We ordered two more drinks as the clock hit midnight and the live jazz musician began playing soft blues. Another drink later we decided to leave. He was being the brave cop I knew him as when he began walking me home.

My apartment wasn't very far away from the bar and as we left the street, I could see it in the opaque lighting of the full moon. It was a good thing we weren't driving because I was pretty sure we were way over the limit. Woody must have been thinking the same thing, which prompted his next question.

"So what's the real reason why you're not driving?"

I laughed and slowed my walk slightly. "My license was revoked."

Woody nodded vastly and gave me a sideways look. "Oh. That would explain why I didn't see your car in the car park."

I laughed again and returned Woody's exaggerated look. Then it kicked in; the drinks. I felt suddenly aware of just how much alcohol I had consumed, and what it was going to do to me in the morning…well, when I woke up, anyway. I felt the swirling in my head and I began to stumble slightly, however Woody didn't notice. Then it just stopped…as quickly as it had come. The dizziness faded and I was able to see clearly again.

My apartment was looming closer and closer…and I was dreading reaching it the more we walked. It wasn't a cold night, just a strange one. Even so I found myself pulling my coat tighter around my waist. Thoughts of the night began flashing across my mind, though wistfully…almost like smoke drifting from a burning candle. First, the power goes out…while we're in an elevator together, no less. Then the next minute we're exchanging sarcastic, somewhat…flirtatious remarks. Then it was just the flirting. And the drinks. And the river I had yet to cry.

I broke the silence suddenly. "Were you aware that the largest river is in fact in Egypt. I'm going to have to cry a lot of tears if I'm to top that one."

Woody laughed and turned to the side to face me. "You know Devan, I can make you cry that many tears. In fact, I can make you do so many things-"

He stopped when I stopped. Then he looked up and saw what I was so dreading to reach. "Your apartment."

"My apartment," I repeated, sounding suddenly drained. I dug my hands deep into my coat pockets and looked towards Woody. I didn't want to move. He didn't want to move. But he did.

Before I knew it, he was leaning over and placing his lips over mine in a soft kiss…a kiss that didn't last. It was quickly broken as frustration and confusion flickered over his face. He wasn't ready. He wasn't over her. Our eyes connected quickly before his fell fast to the ground. His eyebrows were lined in a deep frown and his lips were tightly closed.

"I'm sorry," he almost whispered. "I should go."

"Woody, wait!"

But he didn't...

-fin. Hope that wasn't too painful, Ellen ;)