Title: Think for Yourself
Author: Erin (erinm_)
Characters, Pairing: Eva, Stephen and Kate (mantion of Judge Markham and some random OCs)
Rating: PG
Summary: Eva's always been kinda awesome, she just needed someone to point it out.
Warning: pre-series. *Written for Round 10 of prompt_in_a_box on LiveJournal. Prompt: "I keep waiting to meet a man who has more balls than I do." (Salma Hayek). Eva's not my strong suit, so keep that in mind. But the quote is SO her, it's scary.
Disclaimer: The original characters belongs to NBC and their respective actors.

Eva Rossi had a reputation in Washington. There were different ways to pronounce it, but the translations were all the same: Bitch.

She was used to it and, honestly, kind of liked it. Showed the world she was tough and not going to take any crap from anyone. Ever.

She once told an ass of a reporter that she was more of a man than he'd ever be and she believed it. In her line of work, there was no place for a sweet and innocent little girl. Life wasn't lollipops and rainbows and she knew that all too well.

She'd learned real quick in life that to get what she wanted, she had to bend the rules and knock some heads together. She wore the pants in every relationship she'd ever been in, business or personal. That was something she'd picked up in her youth.

None of the men she'd ever been around were much of what she expected a man to be. In the movies and storybooks, the man was the one who rode up on the white horse to save the day, or the one who broke down the door of the burning building and rescued the puppy.

Someone with guts, who wasn't afraid to punch life in the teeth.

The first man to fail her was her father - whoever he was. For whatever reason, he didn't have a presence in her life and that, Eva assumed, was why her mother gave her up for adoption in the first place.

Of the eight foster homes she'd grown up in, only three had a male presence besides a fellow charge and only one of those men even came remotely close to being a man. But not enough of one for Eva to respect.

She respected Judge Markham, because he had been nothing but kind to her. But their relationship went only as far as the daily docket on hearing days. But Eva knew that he would never let her down.

In school, all her professors had a holier-than-thou attitude because they'd written this paper or been interviewed for that magazine. One of them even had the nerve to tell her that unless she was willing to "go the extra mile," she was better suited for marriage and babies than a career in public relations. That got him a knee to the groin and she passed the class without ever having to attend another lecture.

She went every day, of course, simply to jerk with the man's head.

Of the boys she dated in high school and college, most of them couldn't find their feet with a flashlight in the middle of the day, and her standards were once again tested.

She was so sick of guys telling her that she was right that she would purposefully be wrong, just to see if someone would call her on it. And, not once did they. Was it really so hard for a male to tell a female she was wrong, even when they both knew it to be true?

After college, she focused on work and only used dating as a last resort when she needed to take her mind off of whatever project she was working on. Inevitably, though, she'd get bored before dessert even arrived and end up going home alone.

Granted, she didn't live like a nun, but the guys she slept with were only there for the sex and she was fine with that. Everyone got what they needed from the experience and moved on.

She was the girl that all the guys liked because she was "like a guy" more than she was like a girl. They would come to her with their girl problems and expect her to know the right answer. In the grand scheme of things, however, she didn't care. She was still waiting for the one guy to call her out.

Two weeks after she started working at the NIH, Eva Rossi got her wish.

She'd been following Kate Ewing around, learning the ropes and realizing that there wasn't much love for the woman. It wasn't that Kate was a bad person, she just had no endearing qualities.

She'd stood in the hallway, listening to the argument on the other side of the door as Kate's voice grew louder and the other stayed the same volume. Eva was pretty sure she'd even learned a new phrase by the end of the audible attack and simply stepped back against the wall when Kate swooped out of the office, mumbling under her breath.

Eva watched as Kate disappeared down the hallway and feared for the life of the man she'd just ripped to shreds. "Miss Rossi," she heard from inside the room. Eva frowned and turned, ducking her head into the doorway and blinking at the sight of the blonde man sitting behind the desk.

The man looked calm and collected, as if he'd been the one who was yelling, and cutting Doctor Ewing down to size. "Yes, sir?" she asked, not sure of the man's name or salutation. He didn't look up from the file folder right away and, when he did, Eva was met with the most brilliant pair of blue eyes she'd ever seen.

"Connor," he said with a nod, waving her into the room. "Do me a favor, Miss Rossi," he asked with a smile. "Whatever it takes, don't let yourself turn into her." Eva blinked, not sure what the man was talking about.

"Think for yourself," he continued, glancing back to the report on his desk. "Your skills are far too valuable and I'd rather like you than hate you." Eva stared at him in complete confusion and when he looked up a moment later, he laughed.

"Welcome to the team."