A/N: Okay, here it is. Might be continued...I'd like to see it go further. Anyways, let me know what you think. Thank you so much for reading this story!
He found her in the park, sitting on the bench they had always come to during work, or on the weekends whenever they had just wanted to be together. Two days had passed since their argument at the apartment. She hadn't come to work and he didn't know where she was staying. But somehow, in a city as large as New York, he knew where to find her. A year apart hadn't changed that.
The bench dipped as he sat down, but she didn't seem to acknowledge him. She sat with her arms on her knees, her hands clasped together and eyes focused on the ground. "Why do we keep doing this to each other," he finally asked softly.
"Because it's easier than admitting what we feel," she said just as softly.
"Did it mean anything," he asked. He was half afraid of her answer, but knew he could never rest until he had it.
"No," she said, "It was just something to fill the emptiness that I kept feeling." She finally sat up and leaned against the back of the bench, her gaze moving to the playground where children now played. It was a sunny autumn day, a golden glow filling the air. The leaves were changing colors and he knew this was her favorite kind of day.
"What did you miss the most about us," he asked.
"Days like this," she said truthfully. "Where we could sit and talk and just be normal. Not be chasing down some perp or worrying about the next victim or thinking about the horrors the day or night would bring. Where for once, we could just focus on what we wanted and work towards that. It's what kept me going."
"Cragen said you talked to Huang," he said. He didn't know why he changed the subject. He knew why she had talked to Huang. God knows he hadn't been the most approachable person since this had all started.
"I did. He told me that you needed time."
"We've never really had that."
"I thought the same thing," she said, "But the truth is that we had eight years and we did nothing more than become friends, then lovers, then try with everything in us to not let that love become anything more, because it scared us."
"Do you think it would have become more?" A red leaf fell from the tree above them onto his lap and he picked it up, twirling it between his fingers.
"I like to think it would have." A soft wind blew, rustling the leaves and stirring her hair. "I meant what I said. I still love you."
"Where have you been staying," he asked.
"Casey's. I didn't think I'd be too welcome at the apartment." The truth was it was his apartment. She had unofficially moved in before her death and at one point, it had been their apartment. But now, it didn't feel like theirs. It had gone back to being his and she couldn't bring herself to admit.
"You were and are always welcome," he said. He saw her look up and for the first time, saw the shadows disappear from her face.
He stood up and held his out hand for her. Slowly, tentatively, she reached out and took it, allowing him to pull her up off the bench. With slow movements, he pulled her into his arms, burying his nose in her hair. Tears sprung to his eyes as he smelled her familiar scent and felt her burying her face against his neck, knowing that was where she felt safest. "I still love you." He whispered it softly against her hair and felt her smile against his neck as he kissed her hair gently.
She pulled away and brushed a hand against his cheek, seeing the shadows leave his face. "What did you miss the most," she asked, content with his arms around her waist and hers around his, holding him close to her.
"Days like this," he said, pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead. She smiled and gently pulled away, her hand sliding down to automatically intertwine with his. He smiled and they walked away from the park, leaving the ghost of the past behind them.
Alive from the first, Now I'm denied by the ghost of you- Howie Day