Disclaimer: I don't own Law & Order: Criminal Intent or its characters…

Author's note: I know this isn't very in character, but sometimes it's just fun to play with them. I think this may turn into a series of short whatnot just because I find it fun to write.

Warning: This story contains brief coarse language and content not suitable for all ages.

Just A Little…

Awkward

Consciousness returned to Carolyn Barek, and it wasn't pleasant. Her head almost immediately began its throbbing song of disdain. It told her that she had probably overdone it last night. But she had deserved to have some fun. They both had. It had been a rough case, for both of them, and after they were positive that the creep was never going to taste freedom again, they had been in a mood to celebrate. Mike Logan had wanted to get drinks when they initially caught the bastard, but Carolyn had been more hesitant. In her mind, it wasn't over until sentencing.

Sentencing had been yesterday. It had said 'Life.' And they had gone out for drinks. Judging from the headache, it had been one too many.

Something else wasn't right, besides the fact that her head felt like it was about to explode. It was the smell. It was a subtle difference, but it was a difference. And it was the feel of the sheets and the mattress beneath her. And oh god, it wasn't her bed.

Carolyn opened her eyes slowly, blinkingly, her brain fighting the pervasive morning light. She pushed herself gently off her stomach and raised her head up to look around.

"Oh, shit!" she said, spotting the figure who lay asleep to her left. She let herself flop back down onto her stomach. What had she done? Well, it was kind of obvious from the nakedness and the togetherness. She rolled onto her back and took a deep breath. There was no use in berating herself. What was done was done. The question was, What now?

Should she try to wake him, talk things out immediately? Probably not. Mike Logan was not that type of man. He'd much rather keep whatever emotions and thoughts he had to himself and get on with life. Fine. Then, that's what she'd do, too. Just get dressed and go.

That led Carolyn to her next problem. Where were her clothes? She gingerly sat up, swinging her legs carefully to the side of the bed, attempting to let her partner sleep. It was more an attempt to spare her the awkwardness and embarrassment than to let him get rest she thought he needed. She scanned the clothing-strewn floor for familiar items. Bingo! Her bra was a mere foot away from where she sat. She reached for it carefully, as if Logan were a perp and the bra was her gun lying just out of reach. Success! She began to put on the coveted undergarment. Now, where was her underwear? Skirt? Shirt? Something? Anything?

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Mike Logan came back to the world of the living. It had been a rough night, but a good one. A good night being defined as one in which you did not drink alone. He remembered celebrating putting that bastard Miller in jail, permanently. No parole. Those were good words for a cop. Then he and Barek had gone out for a few celebratory drinks. He remembered laughing with her. Had there been dancing, too? It was a little difficult to tell with his head pounding at him, scolding him for drinking so much, pleading with him to go back to sleep.

He opened his eyes and winced at the pain the light brought to his hung-over brain. Movement to his right caught his attention. He turned his head, a little too quickly so that he had to close his eyes tight as if it would help prevent his brain from sloshing around, in order to identify its source. It must have been a good night because he was looking at the beautiful bare back of woman as she was fastening the clasps of a purple lacy br-

"Oh shit!" he thought, at least having the sense to not say it aloud and disturb the figure he recognized as his partner. He had gotten plastered and gone to bed with Barek. What could he do? Play Dead! came to mind. He pretended to be asleep. It wouldn't work forever, but he could at least let her get dressed before they had to do the whole "awkward" thing.

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There. Carolyn felt better, but not great. This was still not a situation she wanted to be in. But at least she could face it fully clothed. Well, almost fully clothed. Her underwear still seemed to be MIA. She looked back over her shoulder. Was the sleepy-head awake?

Mike opened one eye to see Barek staring at him over her shoulder. She still sat on the edge of the bed facing away from him, only now fully clothed. It looked like it was his turn.

Of course, he was awake. He had been the entire time. She turned to face away from him again, as he moved to get out of bed and get dressed.

"Good morning," Logan said, sounding a little worn, but greeting her in the same voice he greeted her with every morning at the precinct. She turned to see him buttoning up his shirt. He adorned the same clothes he had worn yesterday, that he had shed hastily the night before. A flash of the previous night came to her, overwhelmed her. It was of lips, of bodies and hands, tugging at restricting clothing, clothing that had been keeping them apart. She shoved it back into her mind quickly to be examined later, when she had time to think it over.

"Good morning," she replied, hoping he didn't notice her hesitancy, the strain in her voice, the embarrassed flush of her cheeks. He noticed it. But he pretended not to, to spare her feelings. He liked her. She was a good partner. They had just been finding their groove, interrogations were easy, smooth. Solving cases was beginning to become fun, not the torturous head-thumpers they could be with the wrong partner. Then, he went and violated an unspoken law amongst detectives; never, ever, no matter how hot they are, sleep with your partner. The question was, How bad had he screwed things up?

"How 'bout some coffee?" he asked, running his hand over the back of his head. Let the awkwardness begin.

"Sounds good," Barek replied. She concentrated on taking deep cleansing breaths as she followed her partner-turned-lover (Oh God! What had she done?) into the kitchen.

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Mike stood on one side of the counter, while Carolyn sat upon a stool on the other side. They sat in an embarrassed silence waiting for the coffee to percolate. The awkward tension built up between them like clouds gathering into a thunderstorm. The humidity of the room even seemed to rise as the pressure of unspoken thoughts intensified. Each found themselves to have broken out into a cold sweat. Logan was finally the one to snap.

"This is ridiculous. We're adults," he said. He sighed exasperatedly and looked her in the eyes. "You want to talk about this?"

She leaned over the counter, holding his gaze. "Do you?"

"I suppose we should," he said, grimacing. It was apparent that he didn't want to talk about it. But he knew they had to in order to move on.

"I think so," she replied, waiting for him. She was testing him. She knew she probably shouldn't. But it was hard for her to stop. She wanted to know he was, and pushing him seemed to be the only effective means to get that answer.

"So…" he let himself trail off. She didn't respond besides staring him down with those gorgeous brown eyes of hers. Jesus! She was going to make him do the talking. And by the looks of it, it was going to have to be truthful. "It was my fault. I have no self-control when I get too many in me."

"And I knew that," she said. He had tried to hook up with her before when he had had a few. She had simply sent him on his way. She should have been mindful that that tendency was there in him when he drank. It wasn't like she was worried that he'd ever try to force himself upon her, she just should have been aware that alcohol made her attractive to him. She didn't think it would be a problem. She didn't know that she had the predisposition to find him very attractive after a few drinks of her own. Maybe if she had they wouldn't be in this conversation. "It wasn't your fault. It takes two people to make this kind of lapse in judgment."

He smiled at her before he got the cups and poured the coffee. There was something in her eyes that told him it would be alright. There was a moment that passed between them that said "Sure it's awkward. But we'll work through it. Not because we have to. Because we want to."

"We okay?" Logan asked, handing his partner a hot cup of coffee, then taking a drink of his own. She took a sip of the proffered liquid, closing her eyes and seemingly reveling in it. She opened her eyes to look him straight in the face.

"We're okay," Barek said. "Except I couldn't find my underwear."