A/N: A birthday present for Claire.


Sometimes she lurks by the door in my dreams, almost as if she's hiding away from me. It's crazy that even ensconced in my subconscious I'm neither safe from her nor able to act on my feelings. So she just stays in the shadows; watching me but never letting me see her eyes. It's probably for the best. Her eyes are her best feature. If I saw them things might become too clear, and that's something I don't want. Never been one for making things easy for myself.

I know exactly how Samantha Nixon would react to her presence in my twilight thoughts. She always thinks she's so fantastic, hearing something like that would push her further up her own… It's great that I can't even finish a criticism of her anymore. I confess: it used to be a hobby of mine. As I drove home some nights I'd go over the day, pick at what she'd done and, yes, gloat a little when she'd made mistakes. My distaste for her reached its peak, I suppose, then dropped into the background. What I always loved about my inner criticisms of Samantha, though, was that they never came past the door. They were idle work thoughts: things were different at home.

Well, they used to be anyway. Nottingham changed things. I didn't have a home life when I got back, no one to come back to. Sam Nixon began creeping over the threshold with me at night in a completely different way. Not that I'd ever admit that aloud. Took me six months to admit it to myself and, in the meantime, Sam's carried on doing things that ought to nark me. The fact that they haven't probably means something.

Rationality suggests I should never stay late at work. That unnerving case of the jitters I sometimes get only happens when the office is thrown into darkness and the only bright spot is behind her door. If I had any sort of sense about me I wouldn't sit at my desk, tapping my pen idly on the desk, and watch her. What can I say? I think I enjoy it more than I should. Some people think the chase is the best bit. I never subscribed to that. Don't even think I can legitimately call what I'm doing a chase. A chase always has a desired ending, something to attain.

And if I know one thing it's that I don't want to want Samantha Nixon.

I want to steer clear. I want to go to work and get on with the job I'm paid to do. I want to go home after work and… And that's where the illusion that I have a life breaks down. If I did have a life maybe this fixation on my boss wouldn't be an issue. It wouldn't be happening. I mean, of course Sam Nixon's gorgeous. Everyone knows that, including her. But if I ever had anything else to concentrate on outside of the job then that little sweep of the office her eyes periodically do wouldn't matter as much.

Still, rationality keeps going out of the window with me these days. That's why I'll keep finding myself in interesting and awkward situations.

'Is there something going on here I should know about?'

I blushed as I glanced up. I'd been day-dreaming, I suppose you'd call it. As ever, I hadn't really got any detail in my thoughts, nor had the object of my thoughts actually appeared to me as more than a fuzzy haze under a dim light, but the very fact the object was now questioning me was strange to say the least. The last I'd checked she was comfortably settled in her office, evidently with no view to moving for quite a while. And that had suited me fine.

Finally, I realised she was actually expecting an answer. 'Don't know what you mean.'

She perched on the end of my desk, holding her hands in her lap. 'I'm beginning to think you're sleeping here.'

Slightly relieved, I tried to shrug amiably. 'Just getting on with my work.'

'What, when you're staring into space for minutes at a time?'

Damn. Always knew there was a reason she made DI. 'Thinking, that's all.'

'About?'

'About work,' I replied with a half-psychotic smile that I hoped would shut her up.

No such luck. 'About work,' she repeated. 'Okay. What case you working on?'

'Um… Just sorting out my reports for the last couple of weeks. They're in a bit of a state to be honest.'

Sam nodded. 'Your reports?'

'Yep. My reports.'

Suddenly standing, she said, 'Well, I'll let you get back to it. I'll be in my office. Any idea how long you'll be cluttering up the office for?'

I shrugged. 'Could be a while.'

When she walked away, she threw a glance over her shoulder. 'Yeah, I'll bet.'

Clearing my throat I did try in vain to concentrate on my work. My resolve lasted all of two minutes before my eyes were lingering on her office again. The trouble was, she'd gone and put the blinds down.

I had the distinct feeling I'd been rumbled.

But would I stop staying, stop watching her for a hobby?

No! And who knew? Maybe one day we'd both make it over our respective thresholds…