Kelly sat on the edge of Tracey's desk, swirling the champagne in her plastic cup and smiling at it's frothy surface. They'd won. Johnson had been found guilty and Officer Hernandez' widow could find some peace with her grief. Kelly hoped fervently that justice would soothe her heartbreak. Her presence in court had helped the case, she was sure, and after that she wanted the poor woman to heal. The ADA tapped her heels against the front of the desk and looked up from her drink to watch Tracey contemplate the window. She looked troubled and not giddy with the win, as she was prone to when they were on their own. Her brows were knitted in concentration and a frown played across her lips.
Still, Kelly noted, she looked amazing. Tracey always looked effortlessly beautiful but that day in court… she looked fantastic. Kelly had noticed the scent of rosemary from Tracey's shiny curls, the bright sparkle to her deep brown eyes, the flush of apple red on her lips. She knew Tracey liked to look her best as closing statements were made and the foreman of the jury read their verdict but, for some reason, today it had taken her by surprise. Crept up on her like a cat, stealthy and silent. Only then, as Tracey sighed deeply and downed the last of her champagne, did Kelly really accept her admiration of Tracey's appearance. She was perfect in her faults. Absolutely stunning.
"What's up, counselor?" Kelly asked, a smile on her face and a pleasant lilt to her voice. Probably the champagne. Though she had learnt to hold her booze since joining Tracey Kibre's team. Celebrations or bar crawls intended to help them forget came rather often and generally included Salazar and Ravell plus any other clerks and 'stop cops' that happened to help out on the case. Tonight, however, the boys had begged off to accompany Ray Hernandez' buddies for a drink in his honour at the precinct's local cop bar.
"Hmm?" Tracey turned at the sound of Kelly's voice and saw the blonde sitting on the edge of her desk wearing a contented smile. Her heart beat a little faster seeing her partner like that, happy and safe. It didn't help Tracey's current train of thought which was decidedly dark and had been since the beginning of the trial. Seeing Kelly sit there, with a white plastic cup held in both hands, regarding Tracey with gentle amusement and a sweet smile, ripped at the edges of Tracey's heart. How innocent, how vulnerable she looked.
"What're you thinking, Kibre? Plans for world domination?" Kelly teased, a grin spreading across her strawberry stained pink lips. Tracey looked quite lost, now regarding Kelly with a sad look. Kelly cocked her head to one side, inviting contribution, wondering at Tracey's thoughts. She had been so giggly and proud, like a 3rd grader being given a gold star, when Branch had plied them with cupcakes days earlier. But since, and even before if she thought about it, Tracey had been quiet and almost solemn when they were alone. She'd caught Tracey looking at her across their desks early in the preparation of the case, after going over the case notes, interviews and reports several times, watching her closely. Kelly had smiled at her partner and returned to her work, feeling safe under her gaze. If a little concerned at the intensity of Tracey's observation.
"Today New York, Tomorrow the world?" Tracey joked with a half hearted grin. This was what grabbed Kelly's attention the most. Her pleasant smile dropped and Tracey fancied she could hear it shatter with a bright tinkle as it hit the office floor and was replaced by a fiercely concerned look that made her seem younger than her years. If that was possible, Tracey inwardly groaned. She hadn't meant to spoil the win for Kelly. She just… She'd just been thinking about the case a lot. The all out grief displayed by the dead man's wife and children, the male bravado of his fellow officers, the flickering of the candles on the memorial in front of his locker. She couldn't imagine the pain that the people close to Raymond Hernandez were feeling. She didn't want to. But she'd been wondering what it would be like, to lose a colleague.
Hector or Chris, that would be bad. They were good guys essentially, Hector in a younger brother type of way that made Tracey want to watch out for him and hit him at the same time. Chris in a more friendly, adult manner. She knew that he wouldn't hesitate to put himself in the line of fire for her or Kelly and that she appreciated. But the thought, the idea of losing Kelly was too much for her. To a barrage of bullets. A car bomb. A hulking attacker with no name or face that waited in the lane beside Kelly's apartment… God, Tracey couldn't think about it without feeling sick. ADAs were often in the firing line. Alex Cabot was one extreme example, Casey Novak another. But she'd only known them from office Christmas parties and the occasional meeting with Branch. Kelly was different. Kelly was hers. Tracey hesitated, dropping her cup with a hollow tap onto the bookcase she stood next to. She turned back to Kelly, regarding her closely.
"With this case… did you ever … think? About what it feels like?" Tracey paused, scanning Kelly's face and body for any movement that would illustrate her position. Tracey was very cautious, very tense, about admitting what she'd been considering over the past weeks.
"To lose a colleague?" Kelly nodded, understanding the question whole heartedly. She'd thought long into the night after they'd received the case about every emotional angle. It was her job and she'd learned to push away all the pain and most of the empathy so she could focus on putting away the slime that caused it. She watched Tracey who stood with shoulders tight, biting the inside of her lower lip, and wondered what was wrong. What was Tracey so worked up about?
"Yeah. I've just been thinking about it a lot. Seeing Hernandez' fellow officers and his wife.." Tracey faltered a moment, her eyes dropping to the floor. She was still trying, desperately hard, to cover the feelings she had for Kelly. It was natural, instinct now, for her to keep what she felt a secret. Not just with regards to Kelly but to most things in her personal life. And this was too big to let anyone, least of all the beautiful woman in question across the room from her, know about. Tracey was frightened by the intensity of what started out as a little crush on her junior ADA to a full blown affair of the heart. She craved the sight of her partner each morning, the contact as their hands brushed when passing notes in court, the feel of Kelly's slim fingers around her wrist, holding her, as the verdict was read out. She'd become obsessed. It was a bitter sweet passion. Powerful, overwhelming but unable to be acknowledged. Completely hidden
"I was thinking about what it would be like to lose someone here." Kelly continued to regard Tracey with a small, concentrated frown and a nod of understanding. Tracey seemed deeply conflicted over something but also pained as she tried to verbalise her thoughts. Kelly didn't want to interrupt in case her partner withdrew and ended the conversation. She would never turn down the opportunity to learn something more about the powerful woman she worked with, the transfixing creature who commanded so much of her attention and took up so many of her thoughts. But, for her own comfort and maybe as a means of self preservation, Kelly veered away from the ride they were headed for.
"I couldn't imagine something like that happening to Chris or Hector." Tracey looked up abruptly, searching Kelly's face for a sign. Seeing only benign kindness and a general idea of confusion, Tracey sighed heavily. It frustrated her, this secrecy. Especially now, when all she wanted to do was take Kelly in her arms and reassure herself that the woman she felt so much for was safe. She wanted to stroke Kelly's soft blonde hair and kiss her temple. She wanted to move on to those perfect lips and claim them for herself, consequences be damned.
"What a dreadful thought…" Kelly lowered her voice, not thinking of Ravell or Salazar being shot full of holes but Tracey, lying on the granite steps of the courthouse. Draped upwards, wearing her red suit, her dark ringlets splashed across the stone, her blood spreading down the cold stairs. Kelly blinked deliberately, trying to shove the image from her mind. The thought made her shiver as though a ghost had passed through the room. Aware of Tracey's eyes, Kelly tried to cover the movement by turning to place her cup gently next to the half empty bottle.
"That's not what I meant." Tracey caught the shudder that passed through Kelly's body, recognised the look of distaste on her face as she watched the blonde sitting on the edge of her desk refocus her attention. Tired at the end of the case and eaten away by her anxiety over her own thoughts, Tracey threw caution to the wind and crossed the space between them. She stopped in front of Kelly, slightly taller from her position, and looked into her partners eyes. They seemed as deep as the ocean and so much more beautiful. Tracey's mind, along with the breath in her chest, hitched and she almost lost track of where she was going with all this close proximity…
"I was thinking about you. Losing you." Tracey pushed the words past her tongue and let her eyes wash over Kelly's face for want of some occupation. She couldn't allow herself to get lost in those eyes. Her boundaries remained, though wavering with every second gone by. She smoothed the soft blonde hair with her gaze. Stroked the perfect pink cheek with her eyes. Touched those sainted lips with her thoughts. Tracey felt her lower body aflame with Kelly's closeness, her feet almost pulled forward but remaining reluctantly in place. Her stomach and chest, however, were filled with the thoughts of loss and pain and hope and agony. Considerations of positions, reputations, of love. Her head whirled with the scent of Kelly's perfume and the awful need to communicate her fear. Fear of losing her bewitching junior to an angry ex con or fear of telling Kelly exactly what was in her heart, she did not know.
"I guess you'd have more trouble winning without me." Kelly smiled faintly, looking up into Tracey's deep dark eyes. She felt like a child, sitting on the edge of Tracey's desk; powerless to control the situation or herself in the presence of this amazing woman. She could feel the heat emanating from the older ADAs body, the intensity of her raking gaze, the tension in the air between them. She could feel Tracey undoing her, laying her bare on the desk, with only the thoughts that flowed between them, so many half deciphered codes. Kelly had the unspeakable urge to reach up and brush Tracey's pale cheek with her hooked fingers, nails sliding softly along porcelain skin, and thread her fingers through the strong coffee coloured ringlets that draped themselves so elegantly over her shoulders. Kelly wanted to slip her hand around the senior ADAs waist and pull her close, experience her beauty with her hands and her mouth as well as her eyes. She shook herself mentally. Christ, the woman's less than a foot away from you; control yourself!
"No, Kelly." Tracey's voice reverberated around them and swallowed Kelly whole in it's rich sound. The blonde trembled, not even trying to still her body's betraying signs. Her eyes remained lost in Tracey's dark, emotion filled mirrors. "That's not what I meant either." Slowly and gently, as if lifted by a light airy breeze, Tracey raised her hand to push a strand of dark blonde hair behind Kelly's ear. Her partner's eyes fluttered shut and Tracey had a flash of all the things she could do to Kelly on her desk that would elicit the same response, perhaps with a deep, unbridled moan as accompaniment. The thought burnt fire in Tracey's eyes and she fought to control herself as her fingers trailed smoothly down Kelly's cheek and her hand fell back to her side.
"Why would you worry about me?" Kelly whispered, letting her eyes open slowly to drink in the sight of her partner's face, body, a little closer than before but still not close enough. Having lost all semblance of self control, her barriers torn down and rules ripped to shreds, Kelly looked Tracey over hungrily in a lazy manner. Like a cat eyeing a piece of meat. Something which, ten minutes ago, had seemed completely out of bounds and beyond her grasp, now looked so easy to take, so perfectly presented. She had no shame and nothing to hide now, so she was enjoying herself and craving something more. Anything more. Firstly, to reassure Tracey and make her feel secure. Secondly, to pull the brunette between her knees and ravish her. Plunder that rose petal mouth with long awaited kisses.
"I couldn't lose you, Kelly. I can't lose you." Tracey continued to fight the urge to press her lips to Kelly's warm and inviting throat, to lick away the scent of vanilla and bring Kelly's fire out to play. She tried desperately not to have on display that she wanted to mess Kelly's neat blonde hair up while she screamed and begged for release. But most of all, Tracey struggled to keep inside the intense desire she felt to hold Kelly close and protect her from everything in the big bad world. The sight of men in uniform extinguishing candles that had burned outside Raymond Hernandez' locker until the end of the trial had chilled Tracey to the core. It scared her and, speaking to his widow as she left the station carrying a box of her husband's life, Tracey felt panicked. She wanted to turn and grab Kelly, take her away from men with guns, means to hurt her, take her away from Tracey. Her programming did not allow for such a thing to be released from the chains of her mind. She was aware that everything they'd said so far had been relatively harmless, easy to forget the next day and pretend the words had never been spoken. Even what she'd just verbalised could be blamed on the liberating effects of the alcohol. But something more than champagne was pushing her steadily close to the edge.
"You won't, Tracey." Kelly's breathing was uneven and her heart skipped several beats, a rhythm that could only be played by her partner. Kelly could feel her mind being overloaded with all the emotions and stimuli bombarding her senses. With resolve, she pushed everything away from her but the insistent need to comfort Tracey and end this darkness that had taken her over. Tentatively, her gazed dropped and she reached out to touch her partner's hand with her own. Quickly and with little encouragement, Tracey slipped her smaller hand into Kelly's and grasped it like a lifeline. Kelly looked back up into Tracey's eyes and smiled slightly, pushing every ounce of resolve, confidence and sincerity into her voice as she spoke.
"I'll never leave." Kelly blinked, praying for her words to remain true for ever.
For Tracey. "You will always have me."