With a near inaudible creaking sound, the door that looked out onto the calm, serene family street, opened a crack. A mix of street light and moonbeam crept inside, casting a pleasent, warm glow on the sand coloured tiles that formed a path up the hall and into the much-loved kitchen; with it's wooden cabinet doors adorned with antique handles, stainless steel appliances and a woven basket perched on the end of the counter, full to the brim with apples, oranges and bananas.

One foot stepped inside, followed immediately by the other as the door closed with a click and he looked down. By the door, there was an organised shoe-rack, it's contents sorted from high-heels on the right, to flats front and centre and then sport shoes at the far end, closest to the door. Slipping off his tattered, muddy shoes, he placed them carefully beside the rack. Beside them, haphazardly lay a pair of black stillettos, no doubt kicked off in her haste though that was not her way.

In socks that left as much of a muddy mark as his shoes would have, he padded his way up the hall. He manouvered around the small pull-pony that sat on it's four little wheels by the corner of the hall, pressed up against the moss-green Fleur de Lis wallpaper. Turning his head toward the door to her bedroom, he could see it sitting ajar, something else that was entirely too out of character, but these days they were all a little out of character. All of them a little out of sorts. Feeling the warmth of the plush, off-white carpet beneath his sodden feet, he made his way through the door, letting it fall all the way open before he even set foot in the room.

Immediately his eyes fell on the back of her head. She was bundled in blankets with her head buried in an abundance of pillows that used to be shared. All that could be seen from the doorway, was a small amount of blonde hair, splayed over a champagne pillowcase and brushing up against the large dark wooden headboard. He smiled, watching her shuffle slightly under the covers, letting out a small sound that made his mouth twitch at the edges. Rounding the bed, he watched his toes as he passed the posts at the end and brushed his leg along the chaise lounge that lay beneath the large window.

The bed dipped as he lowered himself onto it, the blankets flattening slightly where he sat and her body rolling towards him on instinct. Her unconcious mind hadn't yet lost the want to be close to another. She shuffled again, her arm coming up out of the blankets and slapping down across her body, sending a puff of breeze towards her peaceful face. She pursed her lips and he watched her. He ran his eyes across her collarbone, the strap of her black, silken nightgown against her pale, pinkish skin. Finally, his lips curved into a smile; she was beautiful.

She muttered something and he stiffened slightly before reaching across her to take the hand that had slipped free of the duvet. Instantly, her fingers were laced with his and her eyelids fluttered open, letting free the startling green that caught chocolate brown in it's ravenous hold and didn't let go.

"Eric," She breathed, gripping his hand tighter as she pulled herself up in the bed, dragging him towards her with a strength that came more from desperation than actual, physical force and he went willingly, wrapping his arms around her shoulders as tightly as hers went around his waist. "-I thought-" She didn't complete the breathless confession, couldn't or wouldn't, but he knew what she was referring to. One of three bullets had been fired through the windscreen of his silver Audi and she had fearlessly fired all three. Reaching up for him, she grasped his face with both of her hands, gripping him feircely, but not painfully as she studied his shadowed features in the darkened room. He slowly raised his hand to caress the back of his fingers, down her cheek, brushing her hair aside as he rested his palm at the nape of her neck and she smiled blindingly.

Gripping the back of his head with a powerful hand, she pulled him towards her, crushing her lips to his in a kiss that was two parts lust, two parts desperate relief. She breathed in gasps against his cheek, as he crawled his way up onto the bed with her, straddling her body through the thick blankets, running his fingers gently through her hair as he continued to probe her mouth. Persistently, she pushed at the blankets, trying to break the barrier between them as he pressed his palm against her spine, between her shoulder blades and dragged her body up to greet his. With a gust of breeze, the blankets were gone and his grey dress pants were brushing against the soft, toned muscles of her bare legs. "You're wet." She commented as his knee came up between her legs, brushing against black cotton panties, causing her to shiver at the contact. "You too." He jested and she laughed into his mouth though her breath hitched and her laughter stopped when he bit down on her kiss-swollen bottom lip. She hissed, pulling the ends of his purple button-down shirt up so that she could press her hands to his stomach, letting her deft fingers find the perfect moment to dip down below the waist of his pants.

Calleigh awoke with a start, shooting up in the bed, panting frantically as she felt the cool night air hit the warm droplets of sweat that trickled down the side of her face. Clutching the duvet tightly to her chest, her eyes roamed the room and her heart-beat quickened. The moonlight shone through the window, her bedroom door was open just a crack and the pale carpet was as pristinely white as it had been when she'd gone to bed. Looking down at her blankets, seeing how they bunched up around her body, how her extra coverlet lay folded neatly at the foot of her bed, she choked out a sob. He wasn't there. It was a dream. For the second time in as many days, Calleigh broke down. Bringing her knees up to her chest, she wept, feeling the chill in the room more noticably than she ever had before as she pressed her hands to her face, fighting to breathe through tears.

"Eric?" She choked out, instantly regretting how small and ridiculous her voice sounded. She felt weak and hopeless and most embarressingly, she felt vulnerable. She'd really believed that he was back. She'd honestly believed that he'd come back to her because the dream had been so vivid, his touch so real it sent shivers through her, just remembering it. Wiping her tears away, she looked around the room again, looking down at her kit sitting beside her chest of drawers with a gap beside it, where his should be.

She couldn't possibly sleep now.

Glancing at the clock, Calleigh groaned and shoved the blankets away, now far too hot to focus as she read the glowing five o'clock reflecting off the edge of the white chinese lion lampbase. She had hours before she needed to be at the lab, hours before she'd be allowed to begin her relentless search again.

Scrambling up from the bed, the hem of her nightgown brushed along her thigh and she stopped, looking down at her legs as she raised her feet out ahead of her. She studied her bare feet, her toned calves, button knees and her muscled thighs. Wistfully, she smiled, because Eric had loved her legs. He'd told her he loved that they were short, loved that they were just that little bit thicker than he'd thought and at her self-concious frown, had smiled, caressed her knees and gently said that she needn't feel self-concious, needn't frown because she had stocky legs. She needed to smile, because she was lucky to fit so much strength and power, into a smaller body. Like with so many other things in her life, Eric had helped her to realise a curse wasn't a curse, if you could see the blessing hidden underneath. Her little legs assured she was underestimated. Her stature, her appearance, assured that she was doubted and her resolve, assured that time and again, she proved everyone wrong.

Letting her feet fall on the soft carpet, she padded her way out into the shadowed livingroom, frowning as the moon continued to shine in with not a hint towards the sunrise. It wasn't due for at least another hour. Shivering, as her bare foot came into contact with the cool kitchen tiles, she tip-toed across the kitchen, reaching up into the highest cabinet for where she knew he had tucked the Cubano.

She flicked the switch to boil the kettle as she carefully spooned the rich coffee into Eric's favourite earthen mug. She could hear a bird rustling around atop the kitchen skylight, but she resisted the curiosity to look up at it's silhouette, dancing across the frosted glass. She was lost in her thoughts, her fears and the question of why she was making coffee that she didn't even want. A part of her knew she wasn't going to drink it. She just wanted something in her house again, that smelt like him and if she couldn't have what she wanted the most, she'd take what she had and savour it. The kettle whistled and it took her a moment to realise it, feeling the warmth from it's steam against her arm, before she noticed it had made a sound.

Filling the mug to the very top, she allowed no room for milk. Topping it off with only a single spoonful of sugar, she held the mug in two hands and breathed in it's scent, feeling it relax her almost instantly. That was until her eyes opened again and she could see and hear that she was completely and utterely, alone.

She'd lived alone for nearly thirteen years, she'd needed no roommate, needed no parent, lover or child to make the noise of a shared existance. Only her guns, her music and her books. She'd been content. But he'd slipped into her home, effortlessly assumed a side of her bed, stacked a handful of his crime novels between her fictional history and romance stories on the shelf above her chemisty, physics and ballistics text-books. He'd dropped a canister of Cubano into her shopping cart and with a smirk, she'd left it there and a pair of his running shoes shared the same pigeon hole with hers in the shoe-rack by the door. He'd taken up residence in the vacant lot that exsisted within her heart, where no other man had made the effort to break through the no-tresspassing sign. He'd built a house there, established a dream that she'd had a glimpse at but ultimately, until now, refused to look at head on.

With shaking hands, she set the mug down on the counter and walked away from it. Leaving it full and steaming in the center of her kitchen, as alone as she felt as she walked back towards her bedroom. Aggressively, she pulled her black sports tank-top from her top draw, bringing with it a pair of black running pants and tossing them onto the bed. Reaching for her dresser, she grabbed a hair-tie and hastily pulled her long blonde hair into a high pony-tail before slipping her night-gown off her shoulders and letting it fall to the floor. She pulled on her work-out clothes, grasped the long silver chain that lay on her dresser and gingerly slipped it over her head, tucking the pendant down into her tank-top. Her want to protect it being as strong as her need to find him. Pressing her palm against the cool glass crucifix beneath the fabric of her shirt, she released a sigh before grabbing a pair of socks and heading for the door.

She pulled on her running shoes, looking down at his for a moment longer than was healthy before grabbing her phone and her keys and stepping out into the brisk morning air.

TBC