Emily had reached a new low. This became uncomfortably clear to her as she lay there on a bed she'd never seen before this night, beneath a man she'd met an hour ago. His tongue lay limply in her mouth, and he his idea of foreplay was thrusting at her through their clothes. He got her bra off after a brief struggle and made contact with her breasts. But through it all Emily just lay there, moving her body with his rhythm, but little else. She was so bored her mind actually drifted off, wondering if it was normal to be this bored under the circumstances.

Suddenly she became disgusted with herself. She was not prepared to degrade herself quite this much yet. Yeah, yet. She'd been in Sacramento for just over a year, and had nothing more than one-night stands in the whole time. She and Matt had broken up a year and two months ago to the day, and it hurt worse than she could ever have imagined. So she was in this place, trying to forget his face for the thousandth time, always failing miserably.

Leaning up and pushing her companion off her, she put her bra back on, and pulled her shirt on, feeding him some lame excuse before taking off. She drove around for a short while, her disgust turning to anger at herself. How the hell had she gotten to this place? Having sex with any chauvinistic idiot that was there on those nights where she just couldn't bear to go home, alone. But really she knew exactly how she'd gotten here. She remembered every detail about it all too well.

It started with a case like any other day. A man had seven adults and ten children hostage in a small clothing store where Matt and Emily were quickly dispatched. It had been a disastrous negotiation from the get-go; everything had seemed to go wrong. So when they heard multiple shots, Cheryl immediately sent HRT to apprehend the HT. They were too late, eight people died before the ambulances got there.

Matt and Emily ended up back at the CNU, staring blankly at the wall, waiting to get pink slips. Cheryl found them and told them that there would be an investigation of the incident, and that their relationship would probably be attacked. Then she'd left them to deal with the guilt and depression on their own. They started talking about their relationship and it quickly turned into and argument.

They blamed each other for the deaths, they blamed themselves, and they blamed their relationship. The argument disintegrated into a bitching match, and screaming at that point, they moved into an abandoned conference room. They began flinging everything that they had at each other, even going so far as to blatantly lie, knowing how to inflict as much hurt as possible. They were angry, guilt-ridden, and horribly nasty to each other.

The next morning Emily dropped off a new partner request and a request for a transfer, and less than an hour later Matt dropped off his own new partner request. Cheryl was left overwhelmed and confused, as like everyone else, she hadn't heard the end of their argument. She had no choice but to accept their requests, and a week later Emily was on her way to Sacramento. And both partners were left with broken hearts, and wounds so deep they would likely never fully heal.


While Emily had tried the screw anything that moves method, Matt went the opposite direction, and tried actually dating any woman that was interested. Being that Matt was good-looking, funny, and at least used to be sweet (a certain bitterness had descended), most women were willing after the first date. This quickly proved to be worse than if none had been.

He was dating with a purpose now, hell he was dating with a vengeance, determined to prove to himself and everyone else that he didn't need her. He didn't talk about her, hadn't since she left, and had no intention of ever doing so again. Whenever her name came up, he would either extract himself from the conversation, try to steer it in another direction, or if it was work-related, wait for the subject to change without making a single comment.

Now he sat at home alone, watching some ancient, and incredibly cheesy horror, sci-fi movie on his television. He had just broken up with Valerie, a tall, thin, blonde accountant, whose only talents proved to be with numbers. She couldn't hold a conversation for more than ten minutes, and they had absolutely no chemistry in the bedroom. Of course this didn't stop Matt from dating her for two months. Tonight he'd finally gotten fed up and just ended it, and fortunately she didn't seem that upset.

She was the fourth woman he'd 'dated' since Emily moved to Sacramento. The first had been Sasha, a gorgeous model who smiled and very little else. Because of some decent sex, and how gorgeous she was, that lasted four months. The second was Suzie who could hold a conversation, but only if she was talking about stocks and speaking at 100 words a minute. Even sex with her was quick. That lasted only a month. Then there was Noelle, who wasn't particularly beautiful, but who he'd gotten along well with. They had a genuinely good time on their dates, but after three months, she'd run a hand along his cheek, looked deep into his eyes, and told him that she wasn't who he wanted to be with. She'd walked out of his life with a sad smile.

That was why Matt really did this. He was desperately trying to convince himself that he didn't love her anymore, that his heart didn't ache when he saw her half of the bed empty, or occupied by some other woman. He was trying to force himself to fall in love with someone else, hoping he could forget her after that.


Cheryl was not happy as she stormed down the hallway toward the classroom where she been teaching shortly after Emily left. She'd caught two of her students, who both wanted to be negotiators, kissing and flirting that morning in the parking lot. Obviously they'd come in together. Now she stormed into the classroom, tossed down the training manual her ex-subordinate and friend (Emily had barely spoken to any of them after she left), and stood gazing angrily at her class.

"Alright everybody, today class is going to be a little different. I'm going to tell you a story that you won't find in any training manuals, and you all better listen real close," she said, looking pointedly at the trainees that she'd caught that morning.

"Not too long ago I had two of the Bureau's best negotiators teamed up right here in L.A. They were one of the most successful teams the FBI is ever likely to see, and they were good friends of mine. They had talent, experience, and empathy, and they were who I called in when we had a real problem," she paused. Some of the crowd knew who she was talking about, but many of the newer ones didn't.

"They were partnered for a year before he accidentally announced to the world that they'd been sleeping together for months. After assuring me that it had ended and that they understood the severity of their actions, they didn't see each romantically for two weeks. Then they came into my office and told me that they wanted to give it a go, see where this relationship took them. I agreed to allow them, both because I didn't want to lose a great team like that, and because they were friends. They promised me it wouldn't interfere with their work."

"Wait, you actually let them stay together?" A young male agent asked stunned.

"Yes, I did."

"And how did that work out?" An older transfer from Vegas, who didn't know Matt and Emily asked.

"They were together for about another year and a half. At that point we were called to a crisis involving 17 hostages, ten of whom were young kids. One thing after another began going wrong, and when we heard a gun being discharged I sent HRT in, but we were too late. We lost eight hostages that day," she paused remembering how awful it had been for all of them. Her students were looking back at her with somber or stunned expressions.

"I didn't yell at them, didn't chastise them, just warned them that their actions and their relationship would come under scrutiny as that day was investigated. Truth be told, it wasn't their fault, and they were completely professional during the negotiation, as they always were."

"Then what the hell happened?" the Vegas transfer demanded.

"Everything went wrong that day. Equipment wasn't working properly, tactical couldn't get a good shot, the HT kept hanging up, the hostages were screaming and putting him on edge, and these negotiators tried everything, even when one wasn't convinced it would work. Not of that mattered though. They had a screaming match in the CNU after it was over, and the next morning I was handed two requests for new partners and a transfer request. I never really got the story on what they said to each other, but I got the feeling that whatever it was it was very ugly."

"So why are you telling us this story?" the younger agent asked

"Why? I understand that two of the agents in this room are engaged in their own happy little relationship. "Relationships with your coworkers do not end well. Granted they don't usually fall to hell quite like this one, but they never last, and somebody is always left hurt. Don't do it. Don't even consider it. If you find you're attracted to a coworker- get the hell over it. I don't want to see it in this office."

"If I ever find out that any of you are involved with your coworkers, I will split you apart so fast you won't know what hit you. One of you will be sent to Wyoming where you'll spend the next decade investigating fertilizer purchases, and the other will stay here, where you'll spend the next decade under my constant scrutiny. Does everybody follow that?"

Heads nodded, people squirmed and fidgeted in their seats, unaccustomed to Cheryl's wrath. Satisfied that she'd scared them sufficiently, Cheryl ended the lesson, and walked out, on her way now to open the festering wound of one of those agents.

Ten minutes later, she pulled a confused Matt into her office, word had already traveled of Cheryl's little talk with her class.

"So, we're a cautionary tale now?" He asked, unhappy to have that brought up.

"You made your bed, now you get to lie in it." She told him, in no mood to hear him whine or complain.

"Fine, I've dealt with it. What do you need me for?"

You've dealt with it my ass, Cheryl thought, "You need to be on a plane tonight to Sacramento." Here it comes.

"Excuse me?" he asked clearly in disbelief.

"I need you help Agent Mark Bronson, and…her with a case."

"Did I do something to piss you off, Cheryl?"

"No Matt, I don't have a choice. They got wind that Larry Baker is in the area, you remember him? He got out of the psych hospital a couple of months ago, and they are already hearing that he's planning something again in Sacramento."

"Jesus Cheryl, you can't get anybody else. Please, do not make me do this," he pled with her.

"I'm sorry Matt, but you know this guy, you talked him down before, they really need your help up there," she explained, looking at him sympathetically.

"I guess I down really have a choice?" He spit angrily.

"No." She told him sadly. She didn't want to do this to him, but she didn't have a choice.

"Fine, then I'm taking the rest of the afternoon off."

"Good, call me when you get there."

"Sure." He turned to the door, and was pulled it open, about to walk out when her voice stopped him.

"And Matt?"

"Yeah?" he turned back to her.

"If you need to, you know you can call me to just talk."

"Thanks," he answered before walking out the door.


Seven hours later he was still waiting for his flight to take off, it was delayed an hour and a half, at a quarter to nine, and he was growing angrier by the minute.

"Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, Flight 308 to Sacramento is now ready to board, we apologize for the delay and any inconveniences it caused you.," the loud speaker finally gave permission to catch his flight.

He'd called ahead to Sacramento earlier to let them know it was delayed, and the very nice receptionist informed him not worry, that she'd inform Agents Bronson and Lehman, and one of them would be there to collect him when his flight actually did land. Yes, that was exactly what he wanted, to be greeted by her at the airport; he better begin steeling himself now.


Matt had no luggage to pick up, just his carry on; he wasn't staying a minute longer than he had to, and certainly not long enough to need luggage. He looked around the airport uncomfortably, not sure what to expect, would he see Emily? Or would Agent Bronson be waiting with his badge hanging out to announce his identity? Or should he be looking for a cardboard sign that read Agent Flannery? His answer came quicker than he wanted it.

"Hi, Matt," she greeted, clearly as displeased with the circumstances as he was.

"Hi…" He said awkwardly.

"Let's go, car's at a meter," she simply stated, heading toward the exit, not bothering to turn and see if he was following.

The drive was excruciatingly quiet, as both tried uncomfortably to ignores the other's presence. It was a toss up who was more pissed at being thrust together after over a year apart, and a miserable break-up before that. Though judging by how far over the speed limit Emily was going, one might argue it was her. 85 in a 55 wasn't her usual style.

But, Emily didn't care how fast she was going, and truth be told, she got some twisted pleasure out of watching Matt grip the armrest on the door. When her new boss had informed her who was coming to help them on there case, she had to hide her feelings. She didn't get to be angry or hurt, didn't get to argue with her boss, and sure as hell didn't get any sympathy. They didn't know she'd been dating Matt, in fact no one at the office knew much about her reasons for transfer. All they knew was not to ask her about it, ever.

So, she was understandably furious that his flight had been delayed, and that meant her partner couldn't pick him up- his babysitter had to get home to do school work. Emily got stuck picking her ex up from the airport, and driving him to his hotel, so she was going to do this happy chore as fast as she could. If all she had to do was break the speed limit to make it go faster, than she was more than willing.

"Uh, being that we were forced together like this, should we maybe have a conversation about being civil to each other over the next couple days?" Matt grimaced, as Emily changed lanes, a bit too fast for him.

"I can be civil if you can," she assured him, craning her neck to see beyond the giant van in front of her.

"So we both act civil to each other, make no mention of the past, and this goes quick right?" He said encouragingly, for both their benefits.

"Sounds good to me."

"Great, so since we're being civil, you don't really want to see me wet my pants, so can we maybe start with you slowing down a little?" he said, begging a little.

Struggling not to smile, Emily eased off the gas a little. He was still the same Matt that could make her laugh no matter how angry she was. But, she couldn't go there anymore, so she bit her lip, mentally berating herself for going there again, even if it was only for a moment.

"Thanks," he said, releasing the breath he'd been holding.

Twenty minutes later, they'd gotten to the hotel, and into an argument with the concierge.

"I'm sorry sir, but you missed check, we gave your room away. But, we have people checking out tomorrow, you can have one of those rooms tomorrow."

"Yes, that's great for tomorrow, but I need a room tonight," Matt begged him.

"I'm sorry there isn't anything I can do."

"You don't seem to understand, that I need that room." Matt said, anger tingeing his voice.

"And, you don't seem to understand, that I can't give it to you." He was beginning to get annoyed.

"Damn it, man I need a room!"

"And I can't get you one. Why don't you just stay with your lady friend for the night, I'm sure she has a couch." He suggested, gesturing to Emily, who was waiting bored, until he snapped her out of her thoughts.

"She doesn't want me staying with her, trust me." Matt assured him.

"Really? I couldn't imagine why." The concierge remarked sarcastically.

Matt glared at him, before walking away, Emily following.

"He's right Matt, I have a spare bedroom, just stay at my place for the night," She told him once they got to the car, cringing inwardly as she did so. That is such a horrendously bad idea.

"No, there's got to be another hotel somewhere."

"I'm sure there is, but do you really want to spend the rest of the night looking for it?" She asked, annoyed that this had already taken so long.

"No…fine, let's go to your place," he said grudgingly, knowing neither of them really wanted to do that, but if they were going to get any sleep they didn't have a choice.

So, I decided that if I don't just start posting some of the stories wallowing on my hard drive, their never going to get finished; what can I say, nothing drives me to post like knowing people are actually reading it. And, this one was inspired by an unfortunate tyrst with a frat boy; yes, yes, I know better... Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing. Oh, and there's a pretty decent chance this one might get an M rating in the future.