Challenge Fic: Precipice
Author: eponinesghost (EppieG)
Notes/Summary: Missing scene from "The Line." Written in response to a challenge posted at the TBJ:ladies LiveJournal forum.
"I hate it when you gloat ..."
It was all Kelly could do to contain her grin as they stepped onto the elevator. And Tracey continued to grumble.
"You're obviously feeling just fine now. Or should I say sanctimonious? Holier than thou? Morally superior?"
"I could just feel the judgmental waves emanating from you ... your disapproving eyes practically boring holes in my back." She visibly shuddered.
That did it. Kelly's chuckle burst free. "Come on! I knew you'd do the right thing."
Tracey arched an eyebrow and swiveled toward her. "Oh no ... I call bullshit on that." She shook her head emphatically, stabbing her finger in the air towards her partner. "You showed up today for one reason and one reason only. Because you weren't absolutely sure that I wouldn't take that last step ... plunge headfirst into ... what did you call it? Prosecutorial misconduct." She nearly spat the last phrase.
Crossing her arms and leaning against the elevator wall, Kelly answered quietly, serious now. "Well, you were certainly flirting with the possibility. Took it right up to the edge, I'd say. She was on the stand. Already under oath."
Even though she knew she should acknowledge her overwhelming chagrin at just how close she'd come to trashing all that she'd accomplished and believed in, Tracey couldn't leave this particular point alone. "Admit it. You were worried. You didn't know if I'd go through with it." Her tone was vaguely accusatory, despite the obvious circumstances.
Before Kelly could reply, the doors slid open. Awkwardly arranging her briefcase and other items so that one hand was free, Kelly reached out to grasp Tracey's arm as they exited. She wanted her full attention, and the busy hallway was quite distracting. She waited until Tracey turned to face her before she began.
"Did I think you were so invested in winning this one ... for all the right reasons ... that you'd be tempted to get the conviction by any means necessary? Maybe. Did I think that you'd find a way to rationalize your way around it, just this once, so that you'd be able to look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow? Possibly. Did I believe that you'd take the chance of entering her testimony, regardless of its merits, into the record because you had extreme confidence in your ability to frame it, to guide her along so that it'd be highly unlikely that the perjury would ever be exposed ... or at the very least, leave open the shadow of a doubt that you were complicit? Because of the confession, because of Marisol, because you knew how damn guilty he was? Did I think you might just risk it? ... Yes."
Kelly could tell that Tracey was chafing at the bit to respond, could tell by the flare of her eyes as Kelly disclosed the last bit of information that Tracey felt both triumphant and disappointed by her admission. Still, she wasn't ready to cede the floor just yet. She squeezed Tracey's arm firmly and continued.
Tracey rolled her eyes. "Can't wait to hear this part."
"But ... I knew ... " She paused until Tracey met her gaze again. "I knew that even if you'd be willing to risk yourself, your career, you would never risk ... us. So ... yeah. I showed up so that you'd have to make that decision. To take me down with you. Implicate me. Whatever you want to call it."
"The Mother of All Guilt Trips?"
Kelly smiled in spite of herself. "I prefer to think of it as reviving your conscience." She was pleased to see Tracey's humor returning. "In the end, we'll never know, will we? I was there and you didn't cross the line." Her smile widened. "Either way, I was right."
"God. I mean it. I hate it when you gloat." She spun away and started down the hall again.
"Bullshit." Kelly followed behind her, raising her voice good-naturedly. "You hate it that I know you so well."
Without glancing back, Tracey called out. "That too."
Abruptly she stopped and allowed Kelly catch up. As they fell into step, walking side by side once more, Tracey spoke again. "Thank you." Simple and sincere. "For having my back."
"Never a question of doing otherwise. That late arrival was purely for dramatic effect."
Smirking, Tracey shook her head slowly, incredulous. "I'm never really in charge, am I?"
"Tracey ... "
"You hate it when I gloat."
thanks for reading!