"Swimming is normal for me.

I'm relaxed. I'm comfortable, and I know my surroundings. It's my home."

-Michael Phelps

"-Not like we don't have people to find, we gotta dress up nice and play with the FBI. I can never get this thing to tie right, maybe Viv can do it-" Danny Taylor turned, crumpled bow tie in hand, cocking an eyebrow in confusion when he realized he was talking to air. Martin Fitzgerald had stopped in his tracks by the entryway, eyes fixed across the room. Danny frowned, taking in his friend's heartbroken expression, following his gaze to the blonde standing beside one of the guys from Narcotics, in easy discussion.


Danny sighed, running a hair through his hair, making it spike in a handful of directions, and made his way to the bar, and Elena, determined not to get involved in whatever kind of exchange was going to happen.

Martin regained composure quickly, taking in a deep breath as his eyes swept over Sam's curves, gracefully wrapped in an elegant black dress, the hem dancing confidently around her calves, falling smoothly from her waist, masking her hips gently. He knew all about the hips cleverly disguised beneath the delicate material. He glanced at her feet; captured in elegant black heels that had so often graced his bedroom floor, and he bit his lip, fighting the urge to let his tears blur his vision.

She shifted her weight, placing a hand on her waist, chuckling at whatever it was what's-his-face was telling her. The tiny string of pearls she wore that time they had dinner in that little Italian restaurant shimmered opaquely, distracting his eye from the curve of her chest. She pushed a handful of hair out of her eyes, flipping it businesslike away from her face, letting strings of blonde fall lovingly around her bare shoulders. Martin shoved his hands in his pockets, suddenly embarrassed at failing to pull his eyes from the sight of her.

It'd been a while since he'd seen that dress.

The Bureau banquet just got that much more disagreeable. He hadn't even wanted to go in the first place. He followed Danny briskly, doing his best to look anywhere but at his co-worker. That's all she was, really. His co-worker. Teammate. Partner.

No, she wasn't his partner anymore. At least outside the job. He'd rather have her trigger behind him in the field than anyone else; at one time he believed it was because of their connection, their history, if somebody could call it that. He couldn't remember if the trust they had for each other was because of the badges or the sheets, he supposed it was a bit of both. All this time without her, he had come to the point where he could smile again, telling himself it was better for both of them. They would have destroyed each other, one bad choice, one bad move, at a time.

He would have given up the search for who was missing, in favor of finding the sparkle in her eyes. She was an addiction, and he was just beginning to recover. Martin turned to his coworkers, refusing to watch her any longer, concentrating energy on whatever it was Danny was rambling on about with only partially divided attention. They could make this work. He could make it work. He had to.

She started to make her way across the room, finished with her conversation. He could hear the soft click of her heels on the tile floor faintly, and he steeled himself, not willing to let on to just how much his heart was shattered. He didn't hear her call his name the first time, or the second. It wasn't until she ran her fingers along the knot between his shoulders that he realized she had come to stand beside him.

"Martin." Her voice was soft, just above a whisper, and when he turned toward the sound of it, her features were warm, as if she was about to smile.

"Hey." He tried not to seem awkward, but she always saw right through him anyway. "You look nice." Polite. Smooth, Martin. He was rewarded, however, with the fainted trace of a friendly smirk.

"I love that tux." Her words came out gently, and he smiled, on reflex. Her smirk stretched to a smile as well, and she turned to Danny, arching an eyebrow and holding out a hand. Martin laughed as Danny handed over the bowtie, a sheepish grin playing at his lip. Samantha tied a smooth, precise knot, and turned to Martin, the timbre of her voice dropped to a whisper. "Dance with me." He nodded, letting her lead him out into the general vicinity of a couple dozen agents, a few yards from Vivian and her husband.

They fell into step, like they had been together all along. Martin meandered his arm around her waist, pulling her close to him, taking her hand in his, trying not to breath irregularly as her fingers found the hair at the back of his neck. Several minutes passed, and Martin forgot to feel awkward, occasionally twirling her, watching the hem of her skirt flair out in a sophisticated game, teasing him with what they used to have every time her skirt brushed against his leg. God, he loved this dress. Maybe he still loved the woman inside it. He tightened his grip, pulling her against him snugly, resting his temple to hers.

"This water's dangerous, Sam." He tried to be cautious, sound rationale. He failed miserably, falling back into her addictively as soon she breathed a retort.

"Once upon a time, Martin, you liked to swim."


A/N: Just testing the waters, something short to try them out. This is my first 'Without a Trace' fic, but I'm a veteran to Jerry Bruckheimer's universes. Let me know what you think. Good, bad, continue, stop, erase, whatever.