A/N: This is my own explanation of their kiss at the end of 5.07. I know, I know. Everybody and their brother have tried their hand at this. And the episode aired EONS ago. But give me a break, will ya? "Leather" left the muse exhausted and I'm getting married on Saturday...
X xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx X
Of course she knew it had meant nothing. She wasn't that naïve. And she hadn't been born yesterday, either.
She was also aware of who she was dealing with. And no matter how much he tried to deny it, there was no way in hell Donald Flack Jr. had no game. Even the blushing had to be something of a well-rehearsed act…
But, then again, that woman had thought she WAS interrupting something. And she thought they were actually a couple…
Detective Jessica Angell was, by no means, a romantic fool. You cannot be raised among four male brothers, and a cop daughter to boot, and believe in rose-colored fairy tales. In her book, there were two types of females in the world: those men jumped hoops for and those men played hoops with. She was the later kind. Your average 'one-of-the-guys' kinda gal, who owned one dress and one skirt, and whose heels were firmly attached to a pair of sturdy boots.
She was used to the flirting game. You simply cannot work in a male-dominant field and not understand the communicative value of easy, innocent flirting. That wasn't the problem.
The problem was that this wasn't easy, and it wasn't innocent and she wished to heaven her heart rate would at least pretend to remain normal whenever a certain blue-eyed detective flirted with her.
Which, as of lately, seemed to be every goddamned time they were together. And it was starting to interfere with her life, too. The memory of his phrases and his looks had already ruined a perfectly safe, yet boring, first date with an accountant that lived in the same building as her ex-sister-in-law.
And Flack had the audacity to say he had no game! Yeah, right. No game, her ass.
At least he'd tried to make it up to her. Part of the fun had been that they had had dinner compliments of the NYPD and their expense account, leaving their city salaries intact. The suspect had rolled her eyes at them, asked if they always behaved so sickenly infatuated with one another and sent a complimentary drink they both had turned down.
They hadn't wasted their breaths denying it.
Angell had been pleasantly surprised when Flack had asked her out for drinks "sometime next week" when he dropped her off at her place. She had been more than surprised when he called her Jessica while saying good-bye on the stairs. She had retaliated by kissing his cheek and calling him Don.
She had not seen his next move, however. She had run up the stairs without turning her back to see what he had done afterwards. All she knew was that his aftershave smelled good… and that her fantasy life was becoming quite active.
Next thing she knew, he was calling her "Jess" during clock time. And not just when they were alone, either. So she started calling him "Don". His eyebrows rose sky high, but he said nothing. After all, if it was good for the gander…
She remembered the first time Danny had heard her call Flack by his given name. Poor man nearly choked on his coffee. Then he went on this "how come she can call you by your name and I can't" whiny tirade that had Flack considering to actually choke him for good. Instead, he leaned forward and murmured something only Danny could hear and whatever it was it worked like magic 'cause Messer zipped it after that.
But still… Danny Messer was who he was and that could not be helped, and every time they worked together he couldn't resist jesting at least once: "How's DON these days, JESS?" or "Are you and DON going out for lunch later, JESS?". Childish innocent stuff that got him a fake icy glare but inwardly made her smile.
Then the boy had died and things had gone to hell. And as sorry as she was for Danny, she disagreed with the course of action he'd chosen to take. Worst part was, he dragged Don down with him, and things could have ended a helluva worse than they did. A woman driven crazy by grief with a loaded gun in her hands was a dangerous thing, and they were both lucky that no one had landed in the hospital or, worse, at Sid's table, keeping the boy company.
She had made sure she stated her case later that night, as they sipped Irish coffees at her place. She understood the bond the two men shared; he knew she had a point. Conversation had turned into comfortable silence, and at some point his hand had brushed hers and remained there, fingertips barely touching.
It was the best date she'd had in a long time.
Real life had gotten in the way and the next couple of weeks they had barely a chance to talk; having to work different shifts, where often one was leaving as the other one was checking in. Text messages and e-mails flew back and forth, but they would never compensate for the lack of one-on-one banter.
The only good thing about serial killers, or deranged female assassins, was that it called for all hands on deck, thus giving them a chance to work together again. The eminent sense of danger hanging over them exalted their senses, and Jess was nervously putting on her Kevlar vest, extremely aware that Don was looking at her.
"What?!" she snapped when she was unable to take it any longer.
"You look good in a vest"
A simple answer, yet it left her head spinning and her heart beating wildly.
The case drew them into a frenzy of cat and mouse chases and strategies. She had not hesitated to volunteer when it came to the undercover assignment, and had been secretly pleased when he had volunteered, wait, no, DEMANDED to be the undercover op in charge of her security.
Later in the locker room, he had approached her to commend her on a job well done, and for keeping her head on in a situation that could have proven lethal if she had panicked instead of keeping her cool. She was still wearing the hideous blond wig, and he pushed it off her, letting it drop to the floor. She had shaken her head, trying to loosen the bun she had used to keep her hair under control.
His hand had gotten caught in the flying tresses, as he'd woven his fingers in her long mane. She'd held her breath, waiting for his next move, afraid to breathe or do anything that would break the spell his blue eyes had her under.
The fingers moved from the hair to the gentle slope of her neck and then to the soft curve of her cheek. His thumb, almost absentmindedly, ran over her lower lip, sliding easily on the gloss she had applied barely an hour before. She let out the breath she couldn't hold in any longer, and his whole body shuddered when it blew warmly over his hand.
The moment was lost; he mumbled an excuse and left the room, leaving her weak at the knees, having to sit down to recover from…. from whatever that had been. He had no game, all right! She hated to think what would happen when he finally kissed her, but spontaneous self-combustion came to mind as one possible scenario.
Orgasm came (no pun intended) a close second.
The next couple of weeks went by with them both pretending nothing had happened at the locker room. They grabbed lunch together when their work load allowed it, he walked her to the car (if she had it) or the subway station (when she didn't) and they joined their friends and peers at bars to grab a drink or two on those rare late Friday nights crime decided to give them a break.
But they found out it was harder to pretend than it was to stay apart, so they stopped fighting it, whatever IT was, and decided to let things fall into place on their own sweet time.
Not that they had actually TALKED about it.
They had gravitated towards each other, like it was the most natural thing to do, and spent every free available moment together. The chemistry between them was undeniable, and it was becoming harder to keep their hands to themselves, finding excuses here and there to reach out and touch the other: his hand on her lower back as he lead her out of the station, her hand on his arm as she pointed something out to him, fingers laced together when they sat down for coffee in comfortable silence.
Then the city had gone mad over the cabbie killer. Don was the one working the case, she had been there solely as his sounding board, as he bounced theories at her and she gave him her insight on the evidence he shared.
She hadn't been involved until the very moment the cabbie killer decided to involve her.
She hadn't reacted to the attack; she'd merely acted, putting both Don and the drunk out of danger, albeit temporarily. The fact that the newest body was a cop had upped the stakes; the fact that Mac's stepson had been taken hostage changed everything for good. And yet, deep in the back of their minds, the realization that it had felt GOOD to have their bodies pressed together like that kept burning low.
Their work as a team, fueled by the now personal motivation, was top notch, as Messer could witness when he was reduced to mere aid as they asked for equipment to inspect the abandoned car, leaving him to wonder when the two had become junior CSIs… and if he and Montana worked in tandem as flawlessly as these two did, ease and trust showing in every action.
Also evident were their feelings for each other, plain to see as broad daylight.
Don Flack felt like a childish teenager, setting scenarios in his mind where he'd be called to put his arms around her, thinking he'd dare to pull her close, and then thinking he wouldn't, only to start thinking he would, indeed. The times they had sat together, side by side, while pretending to watch TV and not be aware of the other's presence, those times he'd pondered on using the true and tried, good ole "stretching" technique, just to get the chance to wrap his arm around her shoulders.
Don may not have had much game to speak of, but… dammit! When had kissing a woman for the first time become such a difficult and seemingly insurmountable thing??? Jess, on the other hand, simply relished the knowledge of her being able to throw him on his back and climb on top of him.
Cabbie killer caught and booked, peace of mind restored to eager New Yorkers, lab and precinct back to their normal peaceful chaos… Don and Jess found themselves back at her place sipping lukewarm tea and pretending the silence within them was not pregnant with unanswered questions and unfulfilled needs.
"It's getting late" he had mumbled when he had drained the last drawn drink from the cup and she had agreed that it'd be best if he headed home so they could both get some rest. They had forced themselves out of the sofa and up to her doorstep, where they had mumbled their goodbyes. In a desperate attempt to keep faking normalcy, she tried kissing his cheek goodbye. His nose got in the way, or perhaps it was her nose that lacked the necessary dexterity, but bottom line was, their lips grazed.
Don took a step back and was quick to apologize, fumbling with the words, expressing his regret over something he didn't regret at all. He moved to leave, but caught sight of her hurt expression.
"Fuck it…" he swore under his breath, as he took a step back, retracing his movements, invading her personal space, and firmly holding her chin in his hand as his lips came down to meet hers, all in one swift motion.
Jess was caught by surprise, but only for a brief moment, for it wasn't long before her arms found their way around his neck and she was kissing him back with the same passion he was infusing his kisses with. She barely registered being walked backwards, back inside her apartment, door kicked shut and her being pressed against the wall, all the while her hands had only managed to untuck his shirt from his trousers…
"We have to stop this…" he had mumbled as his mouth sucked on the pulse point of her neck.
"We really mustn't do this…" she sighed as her hands traced the patterns of his surgical scars and her teeth nibbled on his earlobe.
Who were they trying to kid, really? Nothing would have stopped them at that moment when they had crossed the line.
Nothing save, perhaps, their phones ringing.
Which happened to happen just about… then.
There is no rest for the weary, let alone for criminals or terrorist threats at the UN building. Unwillingly, they let go of each other and got ready to go back into the streets to serve and protect. Before she got into the car, he pulled her close for another kiss.
"This was not a whim. I want this, Jess, if you want it too"
"Then we'll talk about this later…"
Later, unfortunately, didn't come for a couple of days. And when it did, it was not wasted talking. Slow lingering kisses, soft tender caresses, deep, soul-searching eye gazes… but not much talking, save for saying how much they cared for each other. Talking was, after that, moot point. They both knew there was no looking back.
They both hoped there was no going back.
Detective Jessica Angell wasn't one for fairy tales or happily-ever-after endings. She was more of the tarnished armors, uncharming princes and untruthful steeds and never-ever-again was a more likely ending to the few and far between stories she had to tell of her life.
But Don Flack seemed to be different, though God knew he could be tarnished and uncharming when he felt like it, and he had a temper that lead to doors thrown shut after an argument gone sour, and he was a bed sheet hog, and he snored, and he didn't quite get the whole put-the-lid-down business, and the cap of the toothpaste was still nowhere to be found and was it really that hard to hang the wet towel on the shower curtain rod and why oh why could he never remember to replace the milk jug when he'd finished the previous one…
But still… pretty damned perfect for her.
So maybe, just maybe, there was a possibly ever after in there… if she could remember not to leave her make-up and jewelry scattered all over the bathroom and not forget to replace the plastic bag on the trash can after she'd taken the garbage out and remember to disconnect the hot plate she kept by her bedside to keep her tea warm during winter nights or forget to add fabric softener for the rinse cycle and keep her own temper in check and her tongue on leash when she was angry. But other than that… perfect.
Until Samantha Flack came by, that is.
Detective Don Flack spoke seldom of his only sister, but not because he didn't care. Quite possibly, it was because he cared too much. More often than not, he was caught in the middle in the bittersweet battle between father and daughter, often forced to choose sides and hating every single time it happened. But that did not mean he didn't care. It just meant it hurt too much. And now she was back in town, back in his radar again and Jess had felt like she was walking on eggshells more often than not since that happened.
"Why didn't you call me?"
Why, indeed. She knew she should have, but… what was the point? Things were already strained as they were. She wasn't really happy about waiting so long to mention it to him, either. She knew she should have mentioned it sooner, but… when? At two in the morning, when she had crawled bone-tiredly back into his bed only to fall asleep the minute her head touched the pillow and his arm snaked around her midsection? When she was showering as he shaved? She had considered it momentarily, but then he started to swear about cutting himself and being already way too late as it was. When he stopped by her desk shortly before noon to drop a moccachino and a bagel and a quick kiss on the tip of his nose before vanishing back into duty?
When she's gotten home that night, she found him sitting on the floor, darkness surrounding him, the stereo on, blaring the same old song over and over again. Wordlessly, she slid next to him, shoulders barely touching. She stayed there until she felt his shoulders shudder and his arms pull her closer and the foreign warmth of his tears on her face. And when the wetness was gone, she stayed on as the story was told, in heaves and sobs, as Peter Gabriel kept saying he couldn't make a single sound as they screamed under the red rain that kept pouring down.
And then, silence had descended.
"I… I'd like to be alone… if you don't mind…"
It had hurt. The fact that she understood didn't make it hurt any less. He was pushing her away and it was hard not to take it personally, although she'd probably have done the same in his place. She'd gotten up as wordlessly as she'd sat down before, trying hard not to cry and not to stumble with the furniture in the dark. She managed the latter, but not the former, and still she kept going until she'd reached the car. Once locked inside, she gave up on all pretense of well-being.
He was hurting, she'd tried to help, to be there for him, and yet he'd asked her to go. "Not personal. Not personal. Doesn't mean anything at all" she kept chanting in her mind over and over again, but the unease was there, gnawing at her insides as the unwilling playback of the past days' actions searched for clues, cues, mistakes…
When he'd called a couple of hours later and asked her to meet him at an unfamiliar address, a feeling of dread plummeted to the pit of her stomach, but she tried to cover up. When he'd mentioned that Sam was in trouble, a heavy weight was lifted from her shoulders, faint whispers of hope looming in the horizon.
Don felt battered emotionally so badly that it hurt physically. Poor Sam, thinking she was nothing but a failure! He had to do something, something grand and real fast, to make up for his lacks with the two women that meant the world to him. He had to apologize to Jess, explain everything to her, but not now… now he needed time to think, time to plan… time to walk his anger off before he hurt anyone, least of all Jess.
When she saw him, she felt her heart skip a beat. When had she fallen so hard for this man?
"I thought I needed a ride, but…"
A stabbing pain sliced through her worst fears, although she could see the apology in his eyes.
"You gonna be okay?"
He remembered he'd fallen for her because she was different from every other woman, so understanding and supportive of his life and his choices, and yet he could see the pain in her eyes.
"I'll see you around"
She turned around towards the car, hoping against hope that she wasn't reading too much, or not reading enough, in his actions; that everything was okay between them, and that he just needed some time to cool off and regroup.
All she needed was a little reassurance.
His mouth covering hers before she even had a chance to figure out what was happening. The need, the despair, the regret, the apologies… everything he was feeling and desperately wanted to tell her. He'd never cared for a woman as much as he cared for her… and he needed her to know it.
For Jess, the message became clear when he encored the kiss.
The first time Don had followed a long kiss by a short one she had asked about it. Don had shrugged it off, saying he's always done that. Jess had said it reminded her of the post-script on long letters and thus it had become a private joke between them. A couple of weeks later, Don had left a note on the fridge, asking her to pick up his clothes from the dryers, ending the message with a post script saying something he'd never told her before.
Jess kept the note in her wallet and took it out from time to time to look at it. Other notes and emails followed, all with the same ending and Jess began wondering if things were changing between them. Later that week, Don had once again followed a passionate, toe-curling kiss with a shorter, equally passionate one. She took the chance to bring up the subject of the post scripts.
Don told him all his post scripts said the same, no matter how they were expressed. To drive his point home, he finally said out loud what his kisses and his notes had been telling her for some time.
Now, as he walked away into the night, Jess felt… relieved. They had faced the first important hurdle in their communication and they'd managed to overcome it. Things were good; things will be okay for them.
Just as she was putting the car on drive, she received a text message on her cell phone:
Don't lock up, I'll be there ASAP
I love you
X xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx X
A/N: Thanks for reading and reviewing… muse wants to know which side of her you like better: the dark sadist one or the lighter mushier version. This has been one of my most personal stories ever; the post-script storyline is us, as simple as that.