A/N: Go easy. This is my first attempt at a multi-chapter story. Also, I'm still new at romance, particularly with such a high-profile pairing. Please, no pairing-related gripes. Actual advice and critique of the writing and the general plot are, of course, quite welcome.

Of Friendship, Love, and Mandatory Dances

Location: CLASSIFIED(Codename: The Pit)

Time: 0745

Date: 14 FEB

Scarlett was confused. She'd gotten in the habit a while back of writing reminders about reports on Post-its and leaving them on her desk until the report was done. She'd then immediately throw it away. In the time since she'd started doing this, she'd never once failed to toss the memo away immediately. There was too much chance of tossing the wrong one or of forgetting if the report actually was done. So why was the report memo on her desk this morning?

Suddenly, it hit her. She'd decided that it could wait until this morning. She quickly booted up her computer, found the file, and clicked the "print" button. Then, she tossed the memo and sat down to prepare for the meeting Hawk had called regarding some of the information in that report.

She realized that she needed to double-check a couple of details before she committed anything to paper, so she glanced back at the report on her screen…and did a double-take…and then swore.

There on the screen, just below one of the details she'd been hunting, was something that she'd never expected to see…at least, not in print.

She'd long ago developed the ability to scan information, then type a report about it while daydreaming about something totally unrelated to the report. She'd always been able to keep the daydream and the data separate. But recently, some of her daydreams had drifted in the direction of a certain top sergeant; and, worse, some had found their way onto what she was typing.

But she'd always caught the slip before finishing the report. Now, she'd just printed a copy with a slip-up on a printer in the conference room! She hurried to check the room. The printer tray was empty. Scarlett began to panic. She had to find that report and get it back before it got out in the open. If someone else read that…she shuddered at the thought. She'd seen enough on the screen to know that she'd apparently been replaying one of her more…interesting daydreams. That was definitely need-to-know info that only she needed to know. Though, the back of her mind said, it might not be so bad if Duke found it.

Oh, yes, it would!, the rest of her mind shouted back.

Then, she noticed the blinking display.


She sighed with relief and hit the cancel button on the keypad. The display continued to inform her of its lack of necessary resources anyway. She decided to leave it and return to her office to reprint the report off another printer and finish preparing for the meeting.

In her flustered state, she never noticed the shadow that left the room soon after she did, heading toward Hawk's office.