Ch. 2

John stepped up to the door and it opened automatically to reveal Elizabeth on the balcony just like he knew it would. He stepped out into the air and moved to stand next to her at the railing. She didn't say anything in greeting and they were silent for a few minutes. When Elizabeth didn't move, he actually began to have hope that she would stay. He should have known better. A moment later she broke the silence.

"I have a lot more work to do that I should get started on. I'll see you tomorrow, Major."

His heart sank. Not just because she was leaving, but also because she had called him by his rank. Again. That had been another thing she had been doing. He hadn't heard her say 'John' in ages.

"Lizabeth. Wait," he stopped her before she left, though she kept her back to him.

"Yes, Major?" she asked.

Gently he grabbed her wrist to turn her around to face him. "What's wrong?" his voice was soft.

She gave him a confused look, which he saw through easily. "What do you mean?"

He responded by giving her a look. "I mean why have you been avoiding me and why haven't you smiled?"

She looked mildly surprised but hid it quickly. "I haven't been avoiding you, Major," she denied.

"Yes. Yes you have," John insisted. "And the fact that you're calling me Major proves to me that something is up with you."

Elizabeth bit her lip and sighed. "Major, please let it go. It's nothing. Really."

John was not convinced. "If it's nothing, then why are you avoiding me?"

She didn't answer him.

"Are you mad at me?"

She looked surprised again and met his eyes for the first time. "No, John. I'm not mad at you. I'm sorry if I gave you that impression."

He wasn't sure if it was her tone of voice, the eye contact, or the fact that she had finally used his first name, but he believed her.

"Ok, if you're not mad at me, then what?"

She turned her head away and walked back to the railing.

She seemed to be debating with herself, but after a moment of hesitation, she whispered, "Because I think I love you."

John froze. He was stunned. Granted, he had developed some pretty strong feelings for her too that ran pretty deep, but he wasn't sure about love just yet. After the shocked silence passed he asked, with confusion clear in his soft voice, "Then why have you been distancing yourself from me?"

"Because I realized that we can never be together. Every time I'm with you, I – I can't help but wonder what it'd be like to be with you. And it hurt every time I laughed or smiled with you knowing that you could never be more than a good friend to me. So I figured why torture myself?" By this time, silent tears were running down her cheeks.

John placed his hands on the sides her face and gently wiped away her tears with his thumbs. "Why can't we be together?" he wanted to know.

"Lots of reasons," she sniffed. "For one it probably wouldn't be appropriate for us to be in a relationship. I'm your boss. And then there's you."

"What about me?"

"John, I'm not really your type." She shifted her eyes away from his face. "I doubt you love me back."

"You're not my usual type," he admitted, "but maybe that's why none of my previous relationships have ever worked out." He paused. "And I don't love you. Yet. But I very well could. I care for you a lot, Lizabeth."

Her tears slowed to a stop, for which he was grateful. "And as for a relationship between us being inappropriate, I say screw the IOA. As long as it doesn't interfere with our jobs. We can even keep it quiet if you want."

She returned her eyes to his. "Are you being serious, John?"

"Completely."

She smiled at him then and he was glad to finally see it. "So what even brought all this on?" he wondered out loud.

She closed her eyes. "After I heard about you and Chaya, I started thinking about it. I hated the thought of you being with her and I realized I was jealous," she admitted. "Then I got to thinking about us being together and it just seemed impossible to me."

He nodded in understanding. "We'll work it out, ok? I promise."

"Then can I ask you to do something?"

"Of course."

She grinned. "Kiss me."

And he did. His lips descended upon hers as they shared their first kiss.