Disclaimer: Not my characters, alas.
A/N: Post-Ep for PPX. Angst-alert!
Frankie sat on the steps outside Kilmer's townhouse. Hers too, once upon a time. She hadn't been back since the divorce, hadn't wanted to, yet tonight she had been drawn here.
Tim Vargas was dead. They'd listened in on his final minutes, helpless to do anything until it was far too late. It hadn't seemed real at first and Frankie had held the faint hope that he would be alive when they found him. Even seeing the body, there had been a moment where she thought it wasn't him. But it was, and he was really dead, and all Frankie had wanted to do was cry. She'd looked over at Kilmer then and seen how close he was to falling apart, so she'd made the decision to be strong. If he'd wondered at her seeming lack of emotion, he hadn't said anything.
It was over now and Frankie didn't have to be strong anymore. The men responsible for Tim's death had been found. Time to move on and get back to normal.
Except, Frankie thought, things would never be quite the same. Tim's ghost would live with everyone who'd watched the PPX feed. It would never really be over for any of them.
She pulled her coat tighter around her and waited.
She looked up at Kilmer and gave a weak smile. She'd been so lost in thought that she hadn't heard him approach. "Hi, John."
"What are you doing here?"
Frankie stood. "I – I didn't want to be alone tonight."
Kilmer shoved his hands in his coat pockets. "What if I do?"
"I'm sorry. I'll go." The tears that Frankie had been holding back all day finally escaped. She wiped them away as quickly as she could, but not before Kilmer saw.
He grabbed her arm as she began to walk away. "No, don't. I don't know why I said that. I don't want to be alone either."
She said nothing.
"Come here." He opened his arms, inviting a hug. Frankie stepped into his embrace. He pulled her close, holding her against him. She closed her eyes. When the tears came again, she let them fall.
She wasn't sure how long they stood like that. All she knew was that Kilmer was warm and he smelled good and she'd missed this so much. She'd forgotten how safe she always felt in his arms.
"Let's go inside."
Frankie reluctantly let go of him. When he kept an arm around her shoulder as they went up the stairs, she refused to think about how that made her feel.
She'd thought stepping foot into the home they'd once shared would be strange, but it wasn't. Looking around, she noticed Kilmer hadn't changed much about the place. Then again, he was hardly home, so it didn't matter.
"Something to drink?" Kilmer helped her out of her coat before taking off his.
Frankie shook her head. "No, thanks. Actually, yeah. Coffee would be great."
"That's probably not a good idea." She followed him to the kitchen and leaned against the counter to watch him make it.
"I almost didn't come home tonight. I was going to go out, get drunk and forget the past twenty-four hours." He smiled but it lacked warmth. "Only reason I didn't was 'cause I thought – I thought I'd give you a call instead. Talking to you always helps. Imagine my surprise when I saw you waiting."
Frankie slipped between him and the counter and pulled his head to hers, pressing her mouth to his. He slid his hands around her waist and deepened the kiss. There was nothing romantic about this moment; it was an act of desperation, two people wanting to forget their pain, wanting to remember that they were still alive.
The coffee forgotten, they stumbled to the bedroom, discarding their clothing on the way.
"It could have been any one of us out there," Frankie said. She lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling. Kilmer was on his side, looking down at her, playing with her hair.
"He died trying to save someone. He was a hero." Kilmer's tone grew somber. "His father told me Tim always wanted to be a hero."
"He was a lot like you then."
"You should leave. Find a job where you're not going get yourself killed." His hand moved to the scar from her gunshot wound. The skin was still pink and tender. Though it would fade with time, the memories of that day in Mexico never would, for either of them.
"Don't." Frankie was angry.
"I know the risks and I accept them. Don't get all caveman on me, John. I'm good at what I do. Don't – don't patronize me." She sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed.
"I'm not patronizing you. I just don't want anything to happen to you. If I lost you—"
"I'm not yours to lose." She pulled her hair back into a ponytail. Not seeing any of her own clothes in the room, she pulled one of Kilmer's shirts from the cupboard and put it on. "I didn't come here to fight."
"What do you want from me, Frankie?" Kilmer remained where he was.
She slowly turned to face him and crossed her arms, almost hugging herself. Instead of answering, she asked, "What kind of person doesn't know when their friend's mother dies?"
"He didn't tell us."
"How well do we know any of the people we work with? Anders has a kid, did you know that? I didn't until today. And Holly and Jelani are seeing each other—"
"You know me."
She nodded and there was something sad about her smile. "Yeah."
"Come back here."
Both of them knew he didn't mean just coming back to bed. He wanted her back in his life, in his heart. Frankie crossed the room and climbed back onto the bed. She slid across and let Kilmer wrap her in his arms.
"You didn't answer my question."
"I don't know. I don't have an answer."
Kilmer began kissing her neck. Frankie was relieved that he hadn't pushed the issue. For now, all she wanted to do was forget. They could deal with everything else in the morning.
Frankie was still asleep when Kilmer woke. He didn't move, reluctant to wake her. He let his hand linger lightly on her hip. It had been a surprise to find her waiting for him last night. Even more surprising was that she'd let him make love to her. Now, in the light of morning, he realized just how much he'd missed this – how much he'd missed her.
He pressed his lips to her shoulder and closed his eyes. Her skin was so soft, so warm, so perfect. He hoped this could be the start of something new for them.
The phone rang, disturbing the early morning peace. Kilmer cursed and reached for it. "Kilmer."
Next to him, Frankie stirred. It took a few seconds to realize where she was. While Kilmer spoke on the phone, Frankie slipped out of bed and went in search of her clothes, getting dressed as she found various items where they'd been tossed the night before.
Kilmer hung up just as Frankie returned to the bedroom. "That was Atkins. He wants us all to take a couple days off."
"Okay. I'm, uh, I'm gonna get going."
"Frankie, we have to talk."
She shook her head sadly. "There's nothing to talk about. We were both upset and in need of comfort." She turned to leave.
Kilmer jumped out of bed and went after her. "Comfort sex? That's what it was?"
He grabbed her arm, forcing her to stop. She turned to face him but didn't make eye contact. "Kilmer, just leave it. I don't want to walk this road with you again."
"You're the one who left." There was a trace of bitterness laced beneath the hurt.
Frankie pulled her arm away. "I'll see you at work in a few days."
Too proud to ask her to stay, Kilmer let her leave. Again.
For all their talk of not wanting to be alone, neither of them knew how to make their relationship work.
Kilmer sighed, and went to shower. It was probably better this way.