A/N: You can consider the basic premise of this little story to be either pure cheese or utter denial on my part. Granted… if they had tried this on the show, I'd be voting for pure cheese – of the water and oil based "processed cheese-type food" variety no less. But it's fanfic… time to play and have fun and maybe enjoy the cheddar (or Swiss or provolone or chevre or whatever you like with your wine – or whine ).

A/N (updated): I started this back in…oh, July. Possibly June. It took a long time (duh) to write. Not from lack of interest on my part but because it simply came slowly. Basically, it's now an AU timeline from "Don't Leave Me This Way." If you don't like Jordan/J.D., skip it.

DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Not thinking the coup is necessary at this point, but still ready, willing and able to stage it if it should become necessary.

The Raveled Sleeve of Care: Part One

Jordan sighed softly in her sleep, nestling closer into the arms around her. Her body languid and satiated, her mind was in no hurry to rush toward conscious thought. Only the feathery light touch of lips at the back of her neck, the gentle sweep of familiar fingers through her long curls brought her around. He whispered a good morning in her ear. The soft, morning-rough tones sent little shudders down her spine. She yawned and stretched in his embrace as her mind began to engage.

Then she sat up abruptly, the sheet pulled up to her chest, her eyes wide, horrified and confused. Her gaze darted around the room, registering its pristine state – except for the scattered piles of their clothing- with a look of helpless confusion. At last she turned back to face the very confused and concerned man next to her. "You're dead."

Pollack reached out a hand to touch her cheek and she shied.

"I killed you."

"Then I've got amazing recuperative powers, wouldn't you say, Cavanaugh?"

"I'm serious!" Hysteria crept slyly into her tone and in the dilation of her pupils.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why'd you kill me?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. I don't – I woke up… you were… shot. The gun was in my hand. Lily… Lily came to the door. I was… I don't know."

"Cavanaugh, look at me. I'm fine. Very much alive. Lacking any bullet holes. Not planning on acquiring any either. Besides," he gave her a grin he hoped was charming enough to break in to her anxiety-fueled denials. "Even if the sex last night wasn't fantastic, I hardly think you'd shoot me over it, right?"

His irreverent words did manage to pull her from the vortex of anxiety long enough to make her smirk. Even still, her reply was distant, absent. "It was fantastic."

"Nice to know. I thought so after all." He reached for her again and this time she let him pull her to him.

"I don't understand." She looked at him, her dark eyes pleading.

"Dream?"

"I – Maybe. It was so damn real."

"Didn't you tell me that you've had some pretty vivid dreams from time to time?"

She nodded. "My brother…yeah. Sometimes things about my mom. But, Pollack, God… a dream?"

He settled his arms around her once more, letting one hand trail through her hair to land lightly on a bare shoulder. She drew closer to him, her heart still beating a rapid tattoo against her ribs. "So, was there any more to this… dream? Nightmare?"

She closed her eyes, taking deep breaths, images playing across her mind. Slowly, she nodded.

"Tell me?" His voice was soft and gentle, his tone leaving room for her refusal, but pleading with her to acquiesce.

Idly, her eyes still closed, she began to trace meaningless patterns on his chest and abdomen. "I thought – I thought I did it. I couldn't remember anything. After the party." She sighed. His hand tightened lightly on her shoulder. "The evidence – God, the evidence was… it was… everything pointed to my having – having pulled the trigger."

"Why would you have done it?"

She opened her eyes and looked up into his face. His look was intent, serious, probing even. "I – uh – there was video of us, fighting, I guess. It looked like an argument."

"That was it?" He kept his voice neutral, but his eyes were dark and hooded.

She shook her head. "Blood – yours – was all over me. GSR, too. And we found out – oh!" She bolted up, his arms falling away from her. Her look grew accusatory. "You'd pocketed my key card. At the morgue. Used it to get some cold case files."

"Which I had on my flash drive."

She scooted back from him, grabbing at the sheet again to cover her sudden vulnerability, glaring fiercely. "You really did that?"

He nodded.

"You son of a bitch! Shit, J.D. I thought – God, I'm an idiot. I'm never going to learn-"

"You're not an idiot," he interrupted quietly.

"Yeah, I am!" She was in high dudgeon by now. "You were just using me! Last night? Did that mean anything or was it just a – a little perk? I swear – I know now why I've never bothered with the whole relationship thing. You're all alike."

"Cavanaugh-"

"Get out! Get the hell out!" Despite her fury and the dangerous flashing in her eyes, Jordan's voice had barely risen in pitch, though the way she punctuated her words left no doubt of her emotions.

"I'm not leaving until you listen to me," he informed her, as if were the most reasonable course of action he could choose.

"I'm not listening to another word you say – ever." To put a point on her declaration, she reached out to slap him, only to find he was quicker than she was. He had both her wrists pinned and his body held her to the bed. She struggled for a moment, having forgotten the strength he hid behind a rather soft exterior. When she realized he was implacable, she stopped, glaring up at him, every fiber of her being radiating venomous anger.

"I needed those files."

"And you couldn't have asked?" She spat back.

"Would you have let me have them?"

Her eyes narrowed. "Would you have told me what they were for?"

"A piece I'm doing."

She snorted. "Of course. On what?"

"Corruption," was his one word answer.

"So? That isn't enough."

"I knew you'd say that," he told her.

"And you wouldn't have told me more than that?"

"Not yet."

"Then you're right – I wouldn't have let you have them."

He sighed and released her arms, rolling away from her as he did so. He sat on the edge of the bed, eyes scanning the floor for his clothes. He stole a glance back at her. She was sitting up again, sheet wrapped protectively once more around her, studying him. Mutely, he stretched to pick up his slacks and shirt. Without looking at her, he said, "For what it's worth, Cavanaugh, we're not all the same. I always knew what I wanted with you. Before and after we slept together."

She winced at the not-so-subtle shot at the very absent Detective Hoyt. Her eyes welled with surprised tears. When did things get so screwed up? Things had never been perfect with Pollack, but, looking back, Jordan had rarely felt more comfortable in her own skin than when she was with him. He hadn't run at the first hint of trouble – or the first blazing sign of it either. He hadn't let her run either. In a quiet voice, she asked, "Did you just come back for the files?"

"No," he responded quickly. He turned and fixed her with an unreadable look. "And if I thought dropping this investigation would get you back, I'd do it. No question."

She bit her lip. "Why can't you tell me?"

"Because I might be wrong."

She arched a brow. "You've been wrong before."

He nodded gravely at her sardonic observation. "Yeah. But I don't want you to get hurt."

Unlike last time when I wanted to hurt Woody Hoyt because I was jealous hung between them, unspoken, unnecessary.

"Why would I get hurt?"

He scrubbed his hands over his face. "Cavanaugh, I-"

"J.D." Her eyes still shone with unshed tears and he could hear the strain in her voice.

He let his head hang and spoke to the carpet. "If I'm wrong – If I get your hopes up and – and it's another dead end… I didn't want to do that."

"What do you…?" Her mouth fell into an "o" as the meaning of his words filtered through her brain. "My mother?"

He turned, defeated. "Yeah."

END Part One