Emily was maybe a little too happy to see the coffeemaker in the CNU this morning. It had been a long night last night without Matt, and an upleasant morning so far. But watching the hot black liquid pour into her FBI-issue mug like silk, made her feel just a little bit better.

She had to clean her apartment, and get laundry done last night, it wasn't an option. She just couldn't put it off anymore. When she expressed as much to Matt, he'd kissed her neck, and offered to go home with her, but she used every ounce of self-control she had to push him away. If he went home with her, she'd never get anything done. She was right, and without him, she was able to get everything she needed to done. However, she didn't count on not being able to sleep without him next to her.

How long had it been since they hadn't spent the night together? She couldn't even fake a guess, it was so long ago. They been together over a year now, with only a few fights here and there. It was a record for her, and probably a record for Matt too. But last night, she'd barely slept, tossing and turning, unable to get confortable. She gave up at six, and used the extra time to pack a large bag, which she would be taking to Matt's tonight.

"Hey Emily," Cassie Morris greeted, filling her own coffee mug. She smiled, falsely pleasant, like a lion from a zoo: tame enough, but she'd rip her coworker's throat if given the chance.

"Morning Cassie." Emily tone wasn't quite so pleasant. Cassie hated her, and Emily held no delusions to the contrary, so she was always weary around the newer negotiator.

"You look tired. Matt a little too much for you to handle?" Sweet smile plastered on her face.

Emily ignored her comment, not in the mood to fight with anyone. Matt was the reason Cassie hated her so much, because Emily was the reason Cassie couldn't get into his pants. Instead of accepting it and moving on, or being mad at Matt for turning her down, she'd decided to take it out on Emily. Over the last few weeks, she'd brought new meaning to the term passive-aggressive.

"What's the matter, you two aren't fighting are you?" Cassie didn't bother to hide how much she enjoyed that thought.

"Morris stop antagonizing Lehman," Cheryl growled entering the small room. She needed coffee and was unhappy to see the two women anywhere near each other.

Everyone knew what was going on between them, and tried to help keep them from crossing paths. Emily was behaving better than anyone had right to expect, and hadn't risen to Cassie's bait yet. She insisted that it was a skill learned through high school--ignore them and they get bored and go away. Only Cassie wasn't going anywhere.

"I'm not antagonizing her," Cassie insisted, offended.

"Sure you aren't. Just know that when she hits you, I won't punnish her for it." Cheryl dropped her warning, and headed back to her office.

Emily walked out with her eyebrows raised in amusement. Everyone kept expecting her to deck Cassie, but as obnoxious as the other woman was, Emily didn't want to hurt her. Though there were those moments where she held her fists clenched at her sides.

"Hey Morning, I missed you last night," Matt greeted his girlfriend with a very chaste kiss, as she entered their cubicle. Cheryl said no PDA in the office, but she could cut them slack once.

"Mmm, me too, but I've got a bag of clothing, won't have to go back to my apartment for a while," she promised him, a sleepy smile already blossoming on her face.

"Excellent...you okay, you look a little tired?"

"Yeah, I just couldn't seem to get to sleep last night." She felt better though now than she had. A little coffee, a little Matt, and suddenly the day looked less gloomy. And, like any other day, they got down to work, namely, paperwork.

--

An hour later, Emily was in the file room, struggling to find a file for a two-year-old case that was finally making it to trial. The attorneys on the case had spent those two years arguing if the HT could plead extreme emotional distress, aka temporary insanity. If he got off on that charge, he'd get some face time with a shrink, and maybe a stint in a psychiatric hospital. From what Emily remembered, which at this point, was very little, the diagnosis didn't fit him.

The problem was, the damn file wasn't anywhere.

"Oh hey Emily," Cassie greeted, flowing smoothly into the room. She had her shit together, and liked everyone to know it.

"Cassie," Emily responded out of pure politeness. The last thing she needed was more alone time with Cassie, but apparently it was her day for it.

"You lose something?"

"No, just trying to find a file from a couple years ago." Emily continued plowing through drawers. It wasn't under M for Murphy, so she was just looking through all of them.

"What case?"

"Sebastian Murphy, before you were here." Emily didn't even look up this time, she'd didn't have time to get into whatever conversation-cat fight Cassie was undoubtedly trying to gode her into.

"Oh, I've got that one on my desk." Bright, chipper smile.

"What? Why?" Emily stood straight, looking at her, annoyed now.

"Well everyone is always saying how good you and Matt are together. I was curious, so I grabbed a few of your case files, interesting stuff."

"Right. Can I get it from you then?" At least she could stop searching for it now.

"I'm not quite done with it yet." Still with the smile, as if nothing in the world could go wrong for her.

"You don't actually need it for anything, so can I get it from you?" Emily asked again, swallowing any annoyance, and striving for patience and politese.

"What's the sudden rush for it, the case is two years old?"

Emily breathed in deeply, stealing her jaw, before answering. "Cassie, it's my case, I'm going to have to testify soon, please give me the file."

"Well sure, why didn't you just say that?" Cassie turned and walked out of the file room, while Emily counted silently to ten before following her.

"Here you go, interesting case, a city bus and all." She handed the thick file to Emily.

"No Bronson was on the bus, Murphy was the theatre." Emily was pretty sure she remembered her own cases.

"No, I was just reading this one. Murphy is the bus driver on the city bus, you lost a hostage, don't you remember?"

Emily frowned. She remembered the bus case and the kid that died, but she would have sworn that was Bronson. She opened the folder, and read the first few lines of her own hand-writing. Cassie was right, Murphy was the bus.

"You getting a little scattered Emily?"

"It was two years ago, I've had a lot of cases since then."

"Yeah, but you lost a hostage in this one, you should remember that. Maybe you need some time off." Fake concern was plastered all over her face.

"I'm fine, Cassie. Thanks for the file."

"You sure? You know, by the looks of that case, you aren't as good together as everyone thinks. You screw up in the field, Matt could get hurt."

Emily didn't even respond, she just walked back to her cubicle and fell into the red chair, her chair according to Matt. She was about to study the file when it dawned on her that she had a class that started five minutes ago.

"Shit, shit," she cursed to herself, dropping the file, grabbing her bag, and hurrying to the elevator.

Truth be told, Emily was exhausted from more than just a sleepless night. Washington had her re-editing her manual, updating it, and adding more ancedotes from her own cases. That ontop of classes, negotiations, and paperwork were getting to be a little much for her to manage. She just wasn't prepared to admit it yet, especially not to Cassie Morris.

--

An hour and a half later, Emily was in the ladies room down in HRT, regrouping and mulling her conversation with Cassie over in her head. She leaned with her hands on the edges of the sink, staring into the mirror. How could she have mixed those cases up? A fifteen year-old boy died in one, how could she forget that? You shouldn't forget it when you screw up and someone dies. No one should be that cold. She hadn't really forgotten though, just mixed them up...oh hell, who was she kidding? It was just as bad.

Then there was her comment about Matt, who she knew hadn't been getting enough of her attention lately. Two months ago, a profiler had suddenly burnt out. He begged for a transfer, he just couldn't do it anymore. That was one area the Bureau won't fight their employees on, they wouldn't force anyone to stay in Profiling.

So, Emily picked up the class he was supposed to teach. Sure, she had more experience in negotiating, and certainly prefered it, but she'd been a good profiler. So she agreed to handle his class. Then Washington called about the book, handed over a ten page description of what they needed, and told her to get it done. Yes sir, she told them, and jumped into that as well.

Things didn't slow down in the CNU just because she was overloaded with work. There was the usual fieldwork, the usual paperwork, the usual testimony to give now and again. She spent her days working, her evenings catching up on work, and her nights sleeping. That didn't leave much time for Matt, especially since they fit friends in on the weekend, and god knows, she played catch-up then too.

He hadn't complained yet, miraculously. She'd been falling asleep right after sex, had no energy for spontanety. Hell, she barely had the time or energy to straighten her hair, and no matter how much Matt insisted he liked her curls, it didn't change that her hair had become a puffy, frizzy mess. As for make-up, she covered the dark marks under her eyes, and that was it, unless they were going out.

Even that had become rare. Last time they went to Sloan's with everyone, she'd fallen asleep with her head on his shoulder. HRT got a kick out of it, and Matt insisted he hadn't minded, but to be honest, she was a little embarassed.

Then she thought about Cassie Morris, and how polished and together she was. While Emily felt, and looked, like she left peices of herself in a hundred different places, Cassie was as together as they come. She did her hair and makeup so that she was supposed to be noticed, her clothing and accessories were carefully selected, and she never forgot when she was supposed to be anywhere. She was also twenty-nine.

Emily felt old and worn out.

"Hey Em, what are you doing down here?" Lia suddenly popped in the bathroom.

There weren't any women in HRT now, so the bathroom was always empty, but of course, Lia would be down here, visiting and flirting with Duff.

"Hiding."

"Oh? From what...or is that who?"

"Life, Matt, Cheryl, Cassie, everyone...I don't know." Emily shook her head in exasperation at herself.

"Okay, life I get. Cassie is a bitch, so her I get. But why Matt, and why Cheryl?" Lia stood beside her, puzzled expression on her face.

"Cheryl, because I can't handle anymore work right now. I just got word they're sending someone to audit my classes for the rest of the week, even the damn profiling class."

"And Matt?" Lia watched the last bit of persistant energy drain from her friend.

"We haven't had sex in a week."

"So?"

"That's a long time for us, Lia. I don't have the time or energy to be his girlfriend anymore." Admiting that outloud send a ball of fear burning in her stomach, and if she'd still been looking in the mirror rather than letting her head fall toward the sink, she would have seen sadness sweep across her features.

Lia was torn between laughing and feeling sorry for her. A week, one measly week had her worried? But, then seeing her friend, it looked like the negotiator just wanted to cry.

"Alright, first, a week isn't bad. You'll survive a week, and so will Matt. Second, please tell me you aren't thinking of breaking up with him?" It sounded so wrong, Lia had trouble even saying it.

"I don't know, I don't want to, but...I forgot a negotiation, Lia."

"You've been doing this a long time, I think we all forget a few here and there." The sudden topic change startled her, but Lia kept up.

"Yeah, well a kid died during this one. I misjudged the HT and a kid died. Now, I can't even remember the name of the HT."

"And who exactly is lining up to crucify you for that, you know besides you?" Lia asked her, one eyebrow raised. It was like Emily to beat herself up for something, but it wasn't like her to hide in the bathroom and feel sorry for herself.

"Lia seriously, what kind of person forgets that? I'd either have to be an egomanical self-involved bitch, or I'm actually loosing it." She was back to staring in the mirror, finding that easier than looking into her friend's eyes.

"Egomanical self-involved bitch, well I know someone who fits that--whoa, on god, that's it! You're actually listening to that wench, aren't you?" Lia thrust her hands on her hips, angry now.

"I assume you're talking about Cassie?" Wench wasn't exactly common terminology for Lia.

"Who else? You are listening to her, aren't you?"

Emily didn't comment, just looked back toward the sink.

"Damn it Emily, she's been trying to break you for a month now, and you're actually letting her!"

"You're being melodramatic, Lia. She's trying to make me miserable. "Break me" sounds a little too machiavellian."

"Emily, stop being so nice. She wants you in peices, and Matt in her bed." Lia was usually very patient, but right now, she wasn't feeling it.

"What do you expect me to do, Lia? Scratch her eyes out?"

"Cute. Though everybody has been waiting for you to deck her, nobody would blame you."

"I'm not going to assault one of my coworkers. This whole thing is ridiculous." Emily threw her hands up.

"Well, it's going to go on until you get in her face a little," Lia insisted. Some woman playing at Duff like that, Lia would have a very harsh talk with her.

"Jesus Lia, we aren't a bunch of high school girls fighting over some guy. There is no fight, she has no claim over Matt!" Emily was getting frustrated.

This whole thing was asinine. They were professionals, colleagues, not a couple immature kids. And, Matt wasn't some high school fling; they were in an adult relationship. Hell, if Emily wasn't such a chickenshit with relationships, she'd admit that they were in love.

You don't mess with that.

"Then you need to make her see that," Lia said quietly. Emily had a point, but Cassie was playing by high school rules.

Emily didn't respond, just continued looking at Lia, jaw set and tense, hand on her hip. She was not a happy woman.

An hour later she realized, though she was unhappy then, she could be a whole lot unhappier. She ran into Duff outside interrogation two, he was peaking in through the glass window in the door, looking puzzled. He turned and said hello to her, and when he turned back to the window, his eyes widened, and he cursed. Emily tried to peak in the window with him, he tried to hold her back, but she got a look, and her blood began to boil.

Cassie Morris had her lips suctioned to Matt's mouth, and it looked like she was trying to suck his soul out. Knowing Cassie, she may well have been.


A/N: Still writing 'In a Night', just not feeling like writing anything involving hospitals, doctors, or mysterious maladies...too close to home right now. Had most of this written, added some and turned it into a two parter. Oh, and I yanked the storyline from 'Witness', to clarify for anyone that recognizes it.