Haha! Got you! Thought the last chapter was it, didn't you? Well, because I simply could not just end it there, I added an epilogue to tie everything together in a nice little bow. :) And seriously, like I could kill off Elena. I was tempted to, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Who am I to break poor Rufus' heart like that? Anywho, I'd like to personally thank Obsessed Jedi Master for all your wonderful reviews. And also anyone else who read the story and liked it enough to review or favorite it. Well, I suppose this it for this story. Hopefully the muses will strike soon and I can get started on something new. XD
A Few Months Later...
"I'm here, boss!" Reno shouted as he walked into the office. "Hey, Elena, how's that-," he paused and looked at Elena's empty desk. "Is she still out?" he asked Rude, who was settling into his desk as Reno stood, still staring at the empty desk. Rude shrugged, not seeming to know anything more than Reno.
"Actually, she's on her way in," Tseng said as he walked out of his office. "The President just called and she's running a bit late." Reno looked at Tseng, perplexed.
"Sorry! I accidentally overslept and my alarm didn't go off!" Elena exclaimed as she burst through the door and ran into Reno. "Oh, sorry Reno," she said as she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and walked towards her desk.
"What's this? Elena...with bed head?" Reno said as he followed Elena to her desk. Elena's face turned a bright red as she sat down and turned on her computer.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said, trying desperately to ignore his intense stare.
"And, the President calling in to say that you are going to be late," Reno continued.
"Well, it's his fault I was late in the first place. I swear the man doesn't know how to work an alarm clock," Elena said as she looked at Reno with brown eyes blazing. Reno grinned as Elena's eyes widened at the realization at what she had just said. "I, uh,...oh shit," she said collapsing onto her desk as Reno's laughter filled the room.
"You've been caught!" Reno exclaimed as he danced around the room. Even Rude had to smile at his co-workers antics. It was as if a heavy burden had been lifted off the office. The change in Elena was drastic.
"Reno!" Elena cried from where her head was buried in her arms. Reno stopped dancing around and walked over to her. He tapped her head lightly until she looked up at him.
"Hey Elena, welcome back," he said softly. Elena smiled, swallowing hard to keep her tears in check.
"Thanks," she whispered. Reno leaned in closer to her.
"And between you and me, I think sleeping with the president has had a good effect on you. If sex was what you needed to come out of your shell, you should have told me a long time ago," he whispered. Elena rolled her eyes and swatted the insane redhead.
"Shut up, Reno. It's time for the morning briefing," she said as she stood and began walking to Tseng's office.
"Ouch, that was cold, Elena. Cold. How could you break my heart like that," he whined as he followed her, rubbing his head. Elena shook her head and walked into Tseng's office. Reno and Rude followed. Tseng stood a moment, quietly observing his three Turks. Rude stood at attention, stoic as usual. Reno pouted as he continued rubbing the top of his head and glancing at Elena. Elena stood calmly, seemingly eager to hear Tseng's instructions. It seemed almost as though the accident had never happened. Though, there was a difference in her. Even though her eyes had regained their warmth, there was still a certain sadness hidden them. Tseng supposed that Elena would carry that sadness with her for the rest of her life.
"All right, here's your new assignment," he said handing an envelope to Rude. "Good job on wrapping up the last one. Read it over carefully and let me know if you have any questions." Rude and Reno nodded. The two turned to leave.
"Um, sir," Elena began. Rude and Reno stopped and turned to look at her. "If it's all right, I'd like to go out into the field with Rude and Reno today." Tseng stared at Elena a moment.
"Are you ready for that?" he asked softly. Elena swallowed, a silent strength running through her.
"Yes. I'm ready," she said without further hesitation. Tseng smiled.
"All right then. You can go with Rude and Reno today," he said with a gentle smile. He then turned to Rude and Reno. "Reno, Rude, you let anything happen to her, and the President will have your ass," he said with a straight face. Elena smiled and laughed silently as Reno saluted.
"Aye-aye, cap'n," he said. He grabbed Elena's arm and dragged her out of the office. "All right, kiddo, let's go for a ride." Laughter erupted from Elena's mouth as she reached back and grabbed Rude's arm.
"Come on!" she shouted. A warm smile graced the stoic's face as he allowed the petite blonde to drag him out like a grade-schooler. Yes, all was slowly going back to what it should be.