A/N MUST READ: So, pieces of this have been in my head since Lie to Me and X-Factor aired, and has been in my hard drive for almost as long. If you remember, Emily's been in LA for five years, according to Lie to Me, but X-Factor made it seemed like shorter (didn't know who Sam was?) It wasn't logical to me, but I like the idea that Matt and Emily were coworkers years before they were partnered, I built this off that idea, and struggled to make sense of what the shows writers left us with.
"Hey, did you guys see that new negotiator yet?" Matt asked, joining Frank, Temple, Binder, and Jerry and Billy, two HRT agents. He was the last to arrive for their morning target practice, coffee and donuts, a tradition they'd kept for nearly two years at that point.
"No, no sign of her yet. I heard she's Miss Rules though. Steer clear, Flannery." It was common knowledge that Matt tended to use some less than traditional methods with his HTs; it was what made him so good.
"Gladly, I don't need someone else to quote the FBI manual in my ear, that's what I have Cheryl for."
"Yeah, thank god you do, how many times has that poor woman had to defend your sorry ass and some crazy thing you said to get an HT down?" Frank asked him with a grin.
Matt nodded, "Remind me to get her something nice for Christmas this year."
"Who's this woman being partnered with anyway?" Billy asked, his ocean blue eyes darting around the room, searching for an answer.
"I heard it was Wyatt, his partner just retired."
"Isn't Wyatt due to retire soon too?" Temple asked his partner.
"He should, doesn't much do anything now, but they can't make him yet. God knows she'll be doing most of the heavy lifting in that partnership." Binder shrugged.
"That's a weak pairing, an old man and a woman?" Jerry shook his head.
"Man, do not let Cheryl hear you saying that shit," Frank warned the young man, while Matt rolled his eyes. Cheryl was the best partner he'd had to date, in the Bureau and LAPD, and the rest had been guys.
Jerry just shrugged. Maybe he was just old fashioned, but he would take a guy watching his back over a woman any day; he just didn't trust a chick to pull the trigger when it counted.
"You know, I've got a friend in the Phoenix office, where this new negotiator is from. He says she's really smart, a shrink, she knows all that psycho-babble crap." Temple commented, his position on female agents was akin to Matt's.
"Oh Jesus, that's all we need," Matt groaned, while his colleagues snickered; his distaste for the psych professions was well known.
"This will make you feel better Matt, he also said that she's hot, really hot."
"How the hell can a goody-goody, bookworm-shrink be hot? She probably looks like my middle school librarian." Matt was not convinced.
"Odds are that a few geeks have to be hot, right?" Frank pointed out.
"Yeah, well to cancel out all that she better be the entire 2002 Playboy calendar rolled into one woman." Jerry laughed.
"Nice Jerry," Cheryl rolled her eyes, and looked pointedly at the gaggle of men. She arrived only to hear that last part of the conversation, but could guess what they were discussing.
"Sorry Cheryl, guy talk." The HRT agent shrugged.
"Well the woman you're all talking about just got here, and Lea is expecting the negotiators up there to make intros. You too Frank." She was referring to their boss, the SAC of the CNU, Special Agent Carpenter Lea, a victim of parents with poor naming skills.
"So is she hot?" Billy asked, as the three negotiators and Frank got up to follow Cheryl.
"Billy, do you really expect me to answer that?"
"Oh, here they all are, Emily." Lea guided her out his office door, cutting off their conversation. She'd already met her new partner Wyatt Manner, and Cheryl Carrera, one of the negotiators in the Unit, but had several others to meet.
She watched the group approach, all white males, except for Cheryl, who was looking unimpressed at something they were saying. Two men with short, dark sandy-colored hair were speaking quickly to each other, bodies angled just slightly in the way partners tended to pick up. A tall muscular man with lighter hair, and facial hair on his chin and above his lip carried himself in a much less preppy manner; his black clothing suggested HRT. The last man she saw was the most interesting. His thick hair was jet black, his eyes dark brown, and he wore jeans and a dark t-shirt, a diversion from his fellow negotiators khaki and blouse look. He walked with a laid-back swagger, and she wondered how someone with such obvious authority issues ever came to work for the FBI.
"Hey Boss," the man she assumed to be with HRT greeted.
"Gentleman, I'd like you all to meet Special Agent Emily Lehman, our transfer from the Phoenix office. She comes highly recommended, so do me a favor and don't scare her away. And Emily, this is Frank Rogers, Commander of HRT, and our three other negotiators: Kevin Binder and Andrew Temple are partners, and this is Matt Flannery, Cheryl's partner cause she's the only one that will put up with him." He went from man to man so quickly Emily barely registered their names.
When she shook hands with the last man, the one who swaggered, she caught his dark eyes, and something in them caused her to stare a little too long. She cursed herself silently, sure that if she hadn't caught herself at that second, she would have fallen into the dark orbs.
Matt was startled when their eyes met, and he hesitated before turning away. Her hazel eyes weren't the cold, distant ones he had come to expect from the by-the-book agents, and she definitely didn't look like a librarian. Her blue jeans hugged her long legs, and her curly red hair hung over the back of the camisole that showed off her slim stomach and the curve of her breasts. They seemed in direct contrast to the child-like dimples that sat on the corners of her mouth when she smiled. He swallowed and turned away, and scolding himself, shit Flannery get a grip, she's your coworker, not some chick you can pick up from a bar and forget about the next day.
"Agent Lehman doesn't start until Monday, but she wanted to come in early an meet you clowns. Wyatt, you can give her the grand tour now," he instructed breaking up the informal meeting. The grey-haired man nodded, and led Emily away from the group, and down a hallway, talking as he went.
Frank was the first to speak once she was out of earshot, "Matt, man, tell me you're middle school librarian didn't look like that."
Lea and Cheryl looked confused, as Matt answered. "She might be hot, but she's still a shrink."
"A really, really hot shrink." Temple corrected him.
"Now that's about enough of that." Lea shook his head at them.
"Come on Lea, they didn't remove your balls when they promoted you. You think she's hot, admit it." Frank teased him.
"Rogers my opinion is irrelevant, she's my subordinate. And, she's your coworker. I've been fortunate that Cheryl's too smart to give any of you the time of day, don't make me worry about any of you trying to hook up with Lehman." God, that is the last thing he needed, two of his agents fooling around.
"Scout's honor, boss." Frank held up to fingers, and tried not to laugh.
"You're a riot, Frank. Go make yourself useful. Oh, and she has to qualify under you Monday, new location and all of that."
"Oh, I can arrange that." Frank grinned at his boss's unintentional 'under' reference.
"Frank, you're a pig," Cheryl mumbled, while the rest of the guys snickered and laughed.
Matt laughed, but his mind wasn't on the conversation, but those dimples. Emily Lehman looked nothing like he expected, nothing like a walking rulebook, or any shrink he'd ever met. He shook himself out of his thoughts, and followed Cheryl back to their cubicle, bound for paperwork.
Later that night, Emily was in her new apartment, dialing Jill, her girlfriend from Phoenix. She stood by the window, cell phone in one hand (landline hookup would take a few days), and cigarette in the other. She'd gotten hooked in high school, a way to calm her stressed mind whenever something happened with Ally, or she had a particularly miserable day at school. Aside from a few girlfriends insisting that they'd kill her, and a few guys whining about the smell, she hadn't found a reason to quit.
"Hey Em, how's LA?" Jill greeted her happily when she picked up.
"So far, interesting."
"Oh god, Emily, you didn't walk in there and start analyzing them all, did you?"
"Only in my head, I never said anything out loud." She took a drag, and held it in her lungs a few seconds before blowing it out.
"Oh no, are you smoking?" Her tone was upset now, and disappointed. Jill had almost gotten her to quit while she was in Phoenix, but it just didn't take.
"Yes, and spare me the lecture, please. I didn't call to talk about my bad habits." Emily rolled her eyes heavenward, and hoped Jill wouldn't nag her.
"Fine, fine, so then tell me what's so interesting about LA?"
"The guys don't have boundaries, everywhere I went in the building today there were eyes on my cleavage."
"Sweetie, it's LA, they're probably amazed to see real boobs, you know without silicone." Emily giggled at her.
"Nice. Oh, and they partnered me with an old man." That was a disappointment for her, because it was a safe bet she'd be riding a desk most of the time.
"Really, like fifty?"
"No, more like sixty. I mean, I thought this was supposed to be a promotion, you know, busier city, crazier people. Now, I get to sit around with Grandpa Joe?" She could hear Jill laughing on the other end of the line.
"You never know, Grandpa Joe might be really good in bed."
"What! Eww, Jill! Besides, he's my partner, I'm not going to have sex with my partner, too many problems there. And, there's better looking guys than him in the office." She listed all the reasons her new partner would not be a good bedfellow.
"Oooh! Tell me about them!" Nothing intrigued Jill Kincaid more than good-looking men, with the exception of a particularly nutty HT.
"The boss isn't bad looking, late forties, brunette, has kind of the distinguished gentleman look about him. Head of HRT here, is much better looking than Cal," Cal Donahue, head of HRT in Phoenix looked like an experiment breeding groundhogs and pigs gone horribly wrong. "Then there are two other teams of negotiators, one has two guys, sandy hair, mid-thirties, not bad-looking, but definitely of the settle down with a wife and kids variety. Then there is Cheryl, there is only one female negotiator in the office besides me, I was disappointed, I expected more…" She took another drag, finishing the cigarette, and crumpled it in the ash tray.
"Honey, I'm not impressed so far, move along, who's the fox of the office?"
"That would be the other negotiator, I think his name is Matt. Dark hair, dark eyes, doesn't like authority or rules, very attractive with that rebel thing going for him."
"You always did like the bad boys, Emily. Watch out with that, it could get you into trouble."
"He's hardly a bad boy, Jill." Emily rolled her eyes, though her friend had a point, Emily was most attracted to rule breakers, ironic considering how well she followed rules.
"By FBI standards he's a tattooed, Jack-guzzling, leather-clad biker. No wonder you like him."
"Jill, I don't like him, this isn't the fourth grade, I just think he's attractive."
"So why are you on the phone with me, why aren't you in his bed right now?"
"Jill! I work with him remember, no sleeping with coworkers." Emily shook her head, Jill had enjoyed a friends with benefits situation with at least three of her coworkers throughout the years, and couldn't understand Emily's reluctance.
Jill sighed. "Probably better anyway, you need to stop the parade of bad boys and find yourself a nice guy."
Emily rolled her eyes. "Oh yeah? Who had to pick you up the night before I left, because your date got aggressive?"
"That's different, he was a bastard." Emily rolled her eyes again.
"Whatever, but you should be more careful, I'm not around anymore to wake up at two o'clock in the morning." They were getting too old for all of that anyway.
"Yeah, right back at you Em. Remember I'm not the only one that gets into trouble."
"Noted mom, now I have to go and unpack."
"Alright, but just one last thing, how many cigarettes have you had these last two days?" She'd managed to get her best friend down to one and a half, and wanted to make sure she wasn't lapsing in her new environment.
"Uh eight." Emily cringed as she blatantly lied.
"Fine, somewhere just south of a pack." She relented.
"Emily!" Jill's voice went up at least six octaves.
"I don't need to be scolded Jill, it's a transition, I'm allowed to relapse a little." Any shrink would agree with her on that, or at least that it's common.
"Fine, but please, please only smoke five tomorrow?" She begged painfully.
"I promise to try, okay?" God, the guilt worked far better than anything else.
"Thank you, now go unpack." Emily bid her goodbye, and surveyed the mound of boxes in her new living room. She had two days to turn her small apartment into her new home, and learn the city streets.
And she'd just promised to quit smoking again.
I know, some characters might seem a little OOC (Emily, cigarettes), but this is designed to be a full look at Matt and Emily's relationship, starting when she comes to LA until after what they show us on the show. They will become the characters we know. That being said, thanks for reading and please review!