"Happy Birthday!" Kelly knocked softly on the door, looking into the office she shared with Tracey, smiling widely. The woman in question glanced up from the desk, with a strangely faraway look about her. She smiled a little before her eyes dropped back down to the desk top. Kelly's face filled with concern and she entered the office warily, closing the door behind her. Tinsel left over from Christmas brushed her wrist and slid across the surface of the shopping bag she was holding.

"Hey, are you alright, Trace?" Kelly crossed the office and pulled up a chair in front of Tracey's desk. Her partner didn't seem to hear her and Kelly was about to repeat the question when she looked up and brown eyes met blue. Oh dear god. Her mind isn't even in this room and she's doing it again, Kelly thought. That thing that made her forget everything but the chocolate tone of Tracey's eyes and made her wonder if that pale skin tasted like vanilla to complement them.

"Yeah. I'm ok." Tracey's voice was more gravely than usual and her brows were knitted in concentration. Or consternation. Either way, Kelly wasn't sure how to handle her boss. It was her birthday, after all. She should be happy. Conventionally. But maybe she didn't welcome birthdays, reminders of another year gone by in a life they spent defending the dead. Kelly decided to throw caution to the wind and go out on a limb. Hopefully the two wouldn't clash.

"You don't seem ok," she ventured, dipping her head slightly to get her partner's attention. "Trace?" The brunette looked up again, seeming a little surprised by the sound of Kelly's voice, like she still thought she was alone.

"Hmm? Oh no, I am." she replied, shaking her head so her curls brushed her collarbone. Kelly smiled a little, encouraging elaboration. Tracey looked at her for a few moments before exhaling heavily and giving a wry smile. "Thanks, Kel. I guess I should be a bit more upbeat." Kelly returned the smile, happy to see a little of the regular Tracey.

"Not if you don't want to be. It's your party." Tracey raised an eyebrow at her blonde partner.

"And I'll cry if I want to?" She quoted the old Lesley Gore song. Kelly lowered her eyes, a self mocking smile at the ready.

"Something like that." Tracey chuckled lightly but the sound trailed off into the same heavy silence as before. After a moment, Tracey seemed to drag herself up from the depths of thought to speak again.

"I don't like looking at folders normally but I have a feeling that this one is going to be really unsettling." She picked up a manila folder from her desk that Kelly hadn't noticed before and cut it through the air slowly before dropping it down again. Kelly looked at it curiously.
"What's in there?" Tracey paused, as if considering how best to continue, before leaning back in her chair and putting some distance between herself and the desk.

"That is my employee file. It's got all the personal information that Branch could scam off me and then the other 16 pages is what came up on the police computers." She grinned at Kelly with a little less enthusiasm than she could usually muster. Her partner looked horrified, eyeing the file as if it were a severed hand.

"Jesus, Tracey. What are you doing with that?" Her face turned pragmatic with more than a hint of irritation. "Is this Branch's sick idea of a birthday gift?" Tracey actually laughed at that, a proper deep throated, Tracey Kibre laugh. If a little truncated.

"No, no. I requested it. I actually needed to look up something." She sighed. "About myself." Kelly looked up at Tracey, puzzled. The older ADA was hit suddenly by the idea that Kelly would make a very respectable kitten. With some face paint, of course. She stifled a laugh at the thought and waited, almost her regular stoic, for Kelly's inevitable question.

"What do you need to look up?" she asked, more than a little confused. "What could Branch possibly know that you don't?" Tracey did smile then.

"A hell of a lot, actually. Considering the resources at his disposal. But it's just something I've forgotten…" Kelly waited, giving Tracey her full attention, for something more to work with. When nothing came, she relented and asked.

"What have you forgotten, Tracey?" Her partner looked at her cautiously, folding her arms and rubbing at her suit jacket with her fingers. Kelly kept her eyes on Tracey's face, not trusting herself to be able to watch the movements of her slender fingers without shivering.

"Promise you won't laugh?" Kelly crossed her heart and raised her hand.

"Scout's honour." Tracey shoved away images of Kelly in a Girl Scout's uniform. If anyone could get her to buy cookies… Dear God, what are you thinking? Kibre, you're twisted. Tracey sighed again.

"Ok. Well, I need to look something up… I need to know the year I was born." Kelly sat there in stunned silence, not completely sure she heard Tracey right. From the somewhat sheepish look on her colleagues face, she guessed she had. What the hell did she mean? Everyone knows when they were born.

"Um, Trace… You know when you were born. You can't have actually forgotten…?" Tracey ran her fingers through her hair and looked at the folder. Kelly was shocked but not so badly that she didn't for a moment wish she could run her own fingers through Tracey's beautiful ringlets.

"I'm pretty sure, Kelly. I can give an answer to people if they ask my age. Not that I want to. But it's been a long time… I just want to confirm it in my mind." Kelly shook her head and gave a little bewildered smile.

"You're serious, aren't you?" Tracey nodded, looking worried. Once she'd grasped the situation as fully as she could, Kelly felt the urge to hold Tracey creep up on her. It was often there, right after they lost a case or standing over a body at a crime scene, but right now, Kelly felt Tracey's vulnerability. She didn't completely understand it but she wanted to help.

"So, all I have to do is open this file and I'll know…" But Tracey made no move to reach for the folder or flip it open. Kelly sat for a moment, unsure of what to do before an idea hatched in her mind. Slowly, as if giving Tracey time to stop her, Kelly stood and leant forward over the desk, picking up the folder. When Tracey did nothing, letting her eyes follow Kelly's movements, the younger ADA sat down again.

"Do you want to know?" Kelly asked, giving Tracey the power to say no and dismiss this all as stupidity. She could see that the option appealed to her partner but Tracey stopped, the indecision on her face disappearing, and lifted her chin.

"Go on." Kelly inclined her head with a smile, as you wish, and opened the folder to the first page. Tracey watched her eyes flick over the lines, checking the information, knowledge gathering on the walls of her mind. Tracey got lost in the blue for a moment until Kelly looked up and smiled.

"You got 10 years on me, Kibre." Tracey sat completely still, doing a couple of mental calculations and Kelly could almost see the thoughts flying behind her eyes. Then she relaxed, sat back and smiled.

"And since you turned 37 in July, then I must be 47." She marvelled for a moment. "I could have sworn I was 48 already." Kelly laughed openly and her eyes dropped back to the file.

"Hey, you played lacrosse!" Tracey growled and held out her hand.

"Give me that." Kelly grinned sunnily and handed the file over. Tracey took it, opened the top draw of her desk and dropped it inside, closing it with a loud thud.

"Well, I feel better." Tracey smiled, looking refreshed. Kelly looked over at her, doing nothing to fight the butterflies in her stomach at the sight of her partner happy. But no amount of winged creatures stirring her up inside could crush the annoyingly little voice at the back of her mind.

"Tracey…?" Kelly said carefully, not wanting to burst the happy bubble they seemed to be floating in.

"Mmm…" Tracey murmured, watching Kelly. As happy and content as she felt, she still had the yearning to stroke Kelly's cheek and thank her for being such a good friend… Ha, friend. Give it a rest, Kibre.

"Could I ask you… I mean, if it's not too personal… but why would you forget how old you are?" She held her breath, trying to beat the loaded pause that followed. Tracey thought for a moment, before leaning forward, resting her forearms on the desk.

"It's simple, Kelly. I've been around for 47 years. I forget things. And when you live in an apartment by yourself, are not in a relationship, work almost every day and are, in fact, at work on New Years Eve… it's lucky I even remembered my birthday. In fact, I probably would have forgotten if you hadn't sent me that text this morning." She smiled, trying to make some light of her words. "Which I enjoyed very much, by the way." Kelly took the hint and lost her concerned look, smiling ruefully.

"Well, I knew you didn't have anyone to wake up to…" Quickly realising her error, Kelly back-pedalled furiously. Panic gripped her. What the fuck? "I mean, I just thought… I'm sorry." Tracey grinned and gave her colleague a wink.

"Come on, Kelly. After three years, I'd almost expect you to know if I had someone to wake up to." Kelly smiled uneasily and tried to cover her blush, annoyed with herself for making such a dumb mistake. Out loud. Tracey was just admiring the way Kelly's pale cheeks flushed pink and the colour travelled down her neck to her chest…

"Well, anyway, I've got something for you." Kelly reached down beside her and pulled up a large white gift bag, placing on the desk in front of Tracey. She watched as her partner's eyes lit up with pleasure and a sweet smile crossed her lips. Oh fuck. Kelly decided not to linger on Tracey's lips but instead look at the bag. It didn't work.

"Kelly, you shouldn't have! Oh my god…" Tracey pulled out a black box from its white casing. "You got me shoes." Kelly grinned and nodded encouragingly.

"Open the box, Trace." She watched as her partner pushed the lid away and gasped in disbelief.

"Jesus, Kelly. They're gorgeous." She lifted out one red shoe with a good two inches on the heel, open toed with a wide length of leather just below the Metatarsals across the foot. Tracey pulled out its match and twisted sideways her chair sideways so she could put them on. She looked up momentarily, excitement in her eyes. "Come over here and see!" Kelly smiled as she heard Tracey kick off her shoes and made her way around the desk to watch her partner slip on the second heel and do up the thin red strap that ran around her ankle. She put her feet together and admired her present.

"Kel, they're amazing!" Tracey looked up at Kelly smiling brightly before looking back down again at the shoes. Her eyes slipped to the box they came from and immediately her expression changed.

"Oh no, Kelly, you really shouldn't have. Diana Ferrari? They would've cost a fortune. I know what you earn…" Tracey's look was exceptionally anxious and Kelly thought her heart would break seeing her partner so upset. She reached out her hands and grabbed Tracey's. The older ADA fell quiet but still had that unsettled, worried look on her face.

"Tracey, whatever the price, you're worth it. I promise you. I would pay any amount of money to see you happy like you were twenty seconds ago." Very conscious of how the words sounded once they'd escaped her lips, Kelly fought the colour rising to her cheeks and pulled Tracey up so she was standing in front of her. The heels made her nearly as tall as Kelly and so their faces were level. Tracey could feel the heat emanating from Kelly's body and she prayed that her knees held. Kelly leaned forward and lowered her voice, her words nearly catching in her throat as she noticed Tracey's eyes flutter. "Besides, it's amazing the discounts you can get with a friend working the register." She paused, begging just a little. "Please smile again?" Tracey looked into Kelly's eyes and felt the tug in her stomach that reminded her to turn away. Otherwise she'd be lost forever and nobody would think to look for her drowned in the blonde's beautiful blue ocean eyes.

"Thank you, Kelly." Tracey considered the shoes on her feet. They did look beautiful on her. "You're wonderful." Tracey looked up again and let go of Kelly's hands, lifting her arms to give her partner a hug. As she pulled her close, Tracey felt Kelly's hands come to rest on her shoulder blade and the small of her back where she felt soft circles being rubbed into her skin through her suit jacket. It felt like the patterns were being burnt into her flesh but in the most pleasurable way known to man. The feel of Tracey's breasts against her own made Kelly shudder before pulling away, hoping that her partner hadn't noticed. From the look in her eyes, she had.

"Oh dear." Tracey's hands had found their way to Kelly's waist and Kelly's were still drifting lazily down from Tracey's shoulders, shaking slightly. Her fingers ran across Tracey's collarbones eliciting a shiver from the older woman. Their faces were only inches apart and both women could feel the heat radiating between their lower bodies.

"What?" Kelly couldn't manage much more. She could barely utter that one syllable, let alone pull away from the beautiful woman in front of her. And as vociferous as the little voice inside her head that warned her against doing anything stupid was, a louder echoing silence covered it up, suggesting that what seemed stupid all those times before, staring at Tracey in court or across the office, didn't feel stupid now. In fact, it felt pretty damn good.

"This is a very bad place for us to be standing." Tracey almost purred, with a slightly exaggerated demure emphasis on each word, rubbing her thumbs alternately up and down Kelly's sides. The blonde's eyes flickered shut and a moan no louder than a whisper escaped her lips. Jesus Christ. Tracey was completely unprepared for that.

"I think this is a perfectly good place to be standing, Tracey. Very… comfortable." Kelly breathed. Tracey chuckled low in her throat, the sound reverberating through her body so Kelly felt it in the palms of her hands on Tracey's chest, in her hips where Tracey's palms touched her and certain other, more sensitive places. The sensation of thumbs marking trails along her sides ceased and Kelly grudgingly opened her eyes. Tracey had a look of dry amusement on her face accompanied by the lust brewing in her dark eyes. She looked up above them and Kelly dragged her eyes upward. There, stuck above Tracey's desk at the junction of two strings of tinsel, was a spring of mistletoe. Kelly looked at Tracey, unable to move or speak.

"You know, that's been there since before Christmas and Ravell only just let me in on the secret. I think he and Hector were trying to trick us into something." Tracey tried to ignore Kelly's heavy breathing, tried to hold on to that last thread of sanity. Bad idea, Kibre. Very, very bad fucking idea. You are holding your very junior, very female partner underneath the mistletoe and you are just about too far gone to stop whatever it is your doing. Very bad idea…

"Good thing they're not around to see this then." Kelly just managed to get the words out before bringing her mouth down onto Tracey's. At the first touch of those soft pink lips, Tracey fell. All the way down, as far as the world goes and then further. She was pulling Kelly in to her, slipping her hands around her shapely waist and sliding them down the curve of her ass. She moaned into the Kelly's mouth, slipping her tongue beyond the caress of her tender lips. Kelly pushed against Tracey, her fingers gliding just inside the suit jacket Tracey wore, nails scratching at the smooth skin hidden beneath. Tracey slipped one hand up to stroke Kelly's cheek as she plundered the warmth of her partner's mouth. Kelly freed one of her own hands from the heated skin beneath her fingers to tangle in Tracey's rampant dark hair. She was completely lost in this incredible woman and it was only the primal, pathological need for oxygen that drove her to break contact.

"Well…" Tracey murmured, her voice low and intoxicating. Kelly nearly attacked her again, hearing that voice that had haunted her dreams accompanying a phantom body and satin curls, but restrained herself. She needed to breathe. Damn it.

"I've got to say… I love my present." She leaned in closer, nipping at Kelly's lips, tasting Kelly's ragged breath on her own. "The shoes are great too." She kissed Kelly softly, teasingly, and brought her head back to look into her favourite blue eyes, the only eyes she ever wanted to look into that way. Before pulling Tracey back to her with a vengeance, Kelly flashed a smile.

"Anything for you, Birthday Girl."