Spoiler Alert! This is based off the summaries TV Guide lists for the April 6th episode, "No Strings". If you don't want to know anything about it I highly recommend you hit the back button. Otherwise, enjoy!


"Lehman." Emily grabbed the phone screaming on top of her desk, as she and Matt returned from their last call.

Matt listened to her speak into the receiver as he settled beside her at this desk, a stack of paperwork in front of him, and Cheryl giving him a warning look, as she went into her office to tackle her own paperwork. He was sorely behind in his.

"Oh, yes sir. We were just-" Emily was cut off by the person on the other end.

"Yes, it went very well sir." Sir? Who was she talking to? Matt began to wonder

"No sir, nobody was injured, including the HT." Matt could see her biting her lip in concentration as she answered.

"Thank you sir."

"Uh Virginia?" Her brow furrowed, and her lips turned down in a slight frown.

"Oh, really, wow, that's quite and honor sir." Matt's ear perked up even more. Whatever it was she deserved it.

"Yes sir, I realized you wouldn't ask me if I wasn't qualified." She closed her eyes, embarrassed.

"Yes, that does make sense. Virginia, right." What the hell was she talking about Virginia?

Uh, yes I will. Absolutely sir, by Thursday evening." Emily answered shocked and frazzled.

"Yes, thank you very much sir." She placed the phone down and fell into her seat.

"What?" Matt asked, both curious and concerned.

"That, that was Deputy Director Rhymes…he offered me a position on a special task force at Quantico…" She trailed off, watching for his reponse.

All she saw was his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed, and his head nod in understanding.

"He gave me till Thursday to decide if I want to take it," she stated.

He simply nodded at her again, his expression fixed and unreadable, his eyes studying her, with something akin to apprehension.

"I'd have to move to Virginia, permanently." God what isn't he saying anything!

Suddenly, his eyes clouded over, and his expression became one of nonchalance, "It's great opportunity. You should go."

She stared at him surprised for a moment, "That's it?"

"What?" He asked giving her the same innocent look he had the day he spilled their secret to the world.

She gave reciprocated with the same look she had that day, one of disbelief. Did their relationship mean that little to him?

He just continued to look at her as if he didn't understand what the big deal was.

"Fine, maybe I will go," She stated annoyed, grabbing her training manual before heading down to the class she'd almost missed because of their hostage crisis.

Once she was gone, Matt let his uncaring visage drop, and sat staring dejectedly at the paperwork on his desk. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty-five minutes passed before he decided to risk Cheryl's wrath and leave his untouched work; he wasn't doing it anyway. He dropped his pen by the stack of folders, pushed his chair back, and made for the elevator, heading to the basement.

"Flannery, what brings you down here?" Frank asked, as he fiddled with a gun, perhaps adjusting its scope.

"Do you feel like shooting?" Matt asked, looking around, the rest of HRT was practicing drills, led by Duff.

"Do you really need to ask that?" He grinned, heading into the galley to set up targets.

"So," he asked taking his first shot, "you having problems with Lehman?"

"Yeah, she's going to Virginia." Matt stated firing three rounds, all hitting the target square in the chest.

"What? Was the fight really so bad that she needs to run to the other side of the country?" He double tapped, two rounds smacking the target in the forehead.

"She got an offer to be on a special task force at Quantico, DD Rhymes called her himself." Bang, bang, bang.

"Wow, that's no small deal." Frank said, clearly impressed.

"Yeah…I told her to go." He fired again, so that Frank almost missed his words.

"You what?"

"It's a great opportunity for her, so I told her to take it." Bang, bang, bang, bang.

"Man, easy on your ammo. I can clearly see that you can make a kill shot, trying aiming for the hands, like your trying to disarm him," Frank told him, nodding as Matt fired double tapped, one round hitting near a thumb, the other missing it completely.

"You might be regretting telling her that now?"

"Yes, mostly, but no she deserves it. I don't know."

"Matt, if I ask you something a little mushy, can we keep it between us?"

Matt nodded dubiously.

"Do you love her?"

Matt turned back to the targets, and rested his gun down, staring out a minute, before turning back to Frank, a rare intensity burning in his eyes.

"Okay then, you need to tell her. She should hear the truth from you before she moves across the country." He said, brining the targets closer.

Matt nodded, feeling slightly better, but no less confused, torn or afraid.

"You did pretty good, keep practicing with the hands and arms. We like to maim, so they end of in prison, not kill."

Matt nodded back at him, "How's Christy?"

"She wants me to meet her parents," Frank cringed.

"You want to put up new targets?" Matt asked with a slightly amused look.

"Yeah, why the hell not." He hitched them up, and sent them back, and soon the two were firing again, and discussing the finer points of meeting the parents.


By the time Matt made it back up to the CNU, Emily had taken off for the day, and Cheryl was waiting looking annoyed.

"What happened to my paperwork Matt?"

"Uh, practiced shooting. According to Frank, he almost trusts me to disarm a suspect," he told her with a cheeky grin.

"Ah, so Emily's offer is bothering you," she said, looking much less annoyed.

"Yeah, how…?"

"She came in after her class and told me about it. Didn't seem real thrilled about it though. And, when I asked if she told you, she told me you didn't seem to care one way or the other. I knew that couldn't be true."

"Of course I care," he told her, looking hurt.

"Then you need to tell her," Cheryl said, tossing on her jacket and grabbing her briefcase, before heading to the elevator, waving goodbye.

But Matt didn't tell her that night, and he didn't tell her the next morning either.


Emily was at her desk, finishing paperwork the next morning, largely ignoring Matt's presence. This wasn't real easy since they shared a tiny cubicle and were nearly touching.

She'd spent the last night tossing and turning partly over the offer, and partly over Matt's response to it. Had she really read him so long over the last six months? She thought they had something together, more than they'd intended to, but if it was so easy to tell her to go, what could they really have together.

Needless to say her concentration was severely lacking that morning, while her partners seemed to be on steroids, as he plowed through file after file, barely noticing she was there. Emily was beginning to wonder how well she knew him, or if she even really knew him. She couldn't seem to read him, and on top of driving her crazy, it hurt. They'd always read each other so well, that's what made them such a great team, professionally, and she'd thought, personally.

She shook her head, trying to clear it of the confused web that seemed to weave through it, and once again tried to do her paperwork. She'd got as far as filling in the HT's first name, before she drifted off again. Realizing this, she checked the clock, and seeing it was 12:30, decided to go to lunch, grabbing Lia before hitting the elevator.

They opted for a little luncheonette across the street from the Bureau building. It was set up like a cafe, small round tables, with somewhat ornate chairs, and of course lots of pretentious people, as one tends to find at such restaurants. One of the nice things about the little cafe was that it had more interesting fair than other restaurants might be expected to have. Lia settled on a done up spinach salad and Emily went with a tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella sandwich. Pretty soon the two were engaged in conversation.

"So," Lia said with a secretive smile, "I slept with Duff last night."

Emily nearly chocked on her tomato and mozzarella, "Really?"

"Yeah, we've been sort of dating, I told you."

"You made it sound like you were going out as friends."

"Did you really think that?"

"Honestly, no."

"See, you shouldn't be that shocked, besides you are not one to talk about surprise relationships."

"So how was it?" Emily asked, avoiding a discussion of her own floundering relationship.

"God Emily, it was some of the best sex I ever had. He knew exactly what to do…a few times." Lia grinned.

"Really? Duff is a sex god?"

"Four times. The first time we didn't even make it to my bedroom, we just kind of used the hallway."

"Classy," Emily commented with an amused smile.

"Your one to talk, I seem to remember a mention of a time in the office?"

"Yeah well…" Emily trailed off, once again trying to avoid any mention of her relationship. "So, were the other three times in your bed?"

"Two were, the third was in the shower."

"Well, that explains the grins you two have been wearing all day."

"So how about you explain the twin frowns you and Matt are wearing?"

Emily, looked away, not really looking forward to talking about it, but needing to at the same time.

"Come on Emily, don't think I didn't notice you dodging every mention of you two."

"Ugh, fine. I might be moving to Virginia."

"What?" Lia asked taken aback.

"I got an offer straight from DD Rhymes, for a position on a special task force at Quantico."

"Oh, wow. That's great…?" Lia tried to sound encouraging, but she'd be losing a friend, and it was clear her friend wasn't even that thrilled.

"I was excited at first, that's an amazing offer, but…"

"Matt?"

"Yeah, but I suppose that problem has been solved."

"What do you mean?" Lia looked at her confused.

"He told me to go."

"What?!" Lia demanded surprised.

"He said it was a great opportunity and that I should take it."

"Oh...and that isn't what you wanted to hear."

"No. Did I read him wrong this whole time?" Emily asked, visibly pained.

"I don't think so." Lia tried to assure her.

"Then why do I feel like these last six months have meant a lot more to me then to him?"

"If he asked you to stay in L.A. instead of what he did, would you?"

"Yes, no, maybe, no, yes, oh christ, I don't know. It doesn't matter because he didn't." Emily had taken to playing with the other half of her sandwich, not in the mood to eat any longer with the currrent conversation.

"You know he might just be scared," Lia suggested.

"I doubt that, he was the one that set the 'no strings' rule before we started dating. Not that I disagreed at the time, I was thrilled, but I just thought we kind of abandoned that."

"I don't really know what to tell you Emily, except that maybe you should talk to him."

Emily looked at her, less than convinced.

"Fine, then tell me that when you move out there, you won't be kicking yourself for not even trying?" She challenged.

Emily nodded, "You're right."

"I'm always right."


Later that day, Emily was gathering her things to leave, not having found the courage yet to talk to Matt. Tomorrow was Thursday, she knew she'd didn't have a lot of time. But, as she was shoving a book in her bag, she felt a hand on her shoulder, stopping her.

"Can we talk?" Matt asked quietly, his intense eyes, burning into hers.

"Yeah, let's find a room," she said, leading the way down the hall, until they hit one of the seldom used interrogation rooms, and went it, closing the door behind them.

"Do you really want me to take the offer in Virginia?" Emily abruptly asked.

"If you want it, I want you to have it."

"Even if that means I'm leaving, and we are no more?"

He swallowed with some difficulty, "I don't want to be the one to hold you back."

"Is that what this is about?" She asked finally seeming to understand.

"Partly."

"Then what's the other part."

"Mexico," he answered quietly, after a moment of silence.

"What about it?" She was confused now, they hadn't really discussed Mexico since they'd gotten back a few weeks ago.

"You said thank you, Em." He told her, hurt in his eyes.

She breathed in, so that's it, he thought she didn't feel as strongly as him. "Oh."

"Yeah...we agreed no strings when we started this, I figured you still felt that way."

"Not even close Matt. I was scared."

"Of what?"

"What it means when we say that."

"I don't follow."

"We were happy, we had fun, we'd didn't put a lot of pressure on each other, or our relationship. We say that, and that changes everything, it isn't just fun anymore, and we suddenly just put a lot of pressure each other."

"You don't think that's been building this whole time?"

Emily looked confused and upset, as she breathed out, "I don't know," and sunk to the floor.

He sank down beside her, before asking her the question that had been burning in his mind since Mexico, "How do you feel about us Em?"

Emily's head shot towards him in surprise, and she looked at him for a long while, but turning and studying her hands for a short while, contemplating what to say. Could she say it? Was she ready?

Instead of immediately speaking, she turned to a now nervous Matt, and pulled his head toward her, capturing his lips in a kiss so deep, so long, so torturously passionate, she hoped to convey how she felt.

Finally releasing him, she wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace, his arms already reciprocating, and leaned close to his ear, whispering, "I love you."

He pulled back then, looking in her eyes with that unmistakable intensity, before brushing a lock of hair out of her face, and placing it behind her ear. "I love you too."

"Can I then conclude that you don't really want me to go?" She asked, a half-grin on her face, slipping back into their easy banter.

"That's a fair assumption," he said grinning back.

"Good, I don't really want move to Virginia anyway." And she didn't, she'd barely been in L.A. a year and a half, but she had friends there now, and her parents were in Nevada, she was happy in California.

"So much for no strings," he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulders, as they sat on the floor, pulling her close to him.

"Matt, if we started with no strings, now we're tied in knots," she said taking his other hand, and intertwining their fingers.


Now provided Fox doesn't delay, cancel, move, etc, the next episode, we'll see how accurate I am in two weeks. So thank you all for reading, and I treasure your feedback.

For those reading Paint the Desert, another part will come soon, I promise!