Late one Friday evening—so late, in fact, that it was actually early one Saturday morning—Sebastian Stark strode towards his office, carrying an armload of manila folders and whistling a jaunty tune. It had been a very good day for the HPCU; not only had they won their case, but they'd managed to do so without a one of them being arrested, threatened with disbarment or held in contempt, and he couldn't have been prouder of his team.
He paused when he noticed that the light in his favorite coworker's office was still on, and that said coworker appeared to be sleeping soundly at her desk. He grinned mischievously and hurried into his office to dump the files onto his desk. With that done, he quietly made his way over to Jessica's office and leaned against the doorframe to admire the view. His grin slowly became softer as he admired in the way her hair fanned out gracefully across her folded arms and over her face, and the way she'd occasionally twitch and mumble, "Objection!" or, "Stark, you bastard," smiling all the while. He soon noticed, however, that despite her apparently deep state of slumber, she seemed to be slumped in a rather uncomfortable position. As a true gentleman, Sebastian decided that he would be remiss in his duties if he did not take action to ease her discomfort.
He sidled over to her desk and quietly sat down in one of the chairs in front of it, his elbows resting on the surface and his chin resting in the palms of his hands. He cleared his throat and affected his most beguiling smile. She awoke with a small gasp and blearily looked up at him, shuddering at the sight of his toothy grin.
"Good morning, sunshine," he said cheerfully.
"Piss off," she groaned as she tried to massage some life back into her neck.
"You know, you're beautiful when you're sleeping," he went on, unfazed by the scathing death-glare she sent him.
"Die in a fire," she growled.
"Awful cranky first thing in the morning, aren't you, Jess?" he teased. "Aren't you happy to see the man you've been dreaming about?"
"Are you kidding me? My dreams are the only place I can get a break from you anymore," she grumbled half-heartedly.
"Oh, really? 'Cause I could've sworn I heard you moan my name," he teased.
Jessica rolled her eyes and leaned back in her chair, refusing to take the bait. "Was there something you wanted, Sebastian?"
"I was just wondering why you were sleeping at this cold, hard desk when you could be in your nice, warm bed—or better yet, in mine," he replied smoothly.
She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I just dropped by after dinner to finish some paperwork and lost track of the time, okay?"
He snorted disbelievingly. "Oh, I hear you. I know I just have the damnedest time tearing myself away from that paperwork. Can't get enough of it."
"So what's your excuse for being here at," she paused and looked at her watch, "half-past one? Shouldn't you be out drinking or, you know, at home with your daughter?" she added defensively.
"Just came from the bar and just heading home," he replied easily. "I wanted to drop off some case files that I meant to leave here earlier."
Jessica narrowed her eyes suspiciously at the way he emphasized 'leave.'
"So I wanted to get a head start on this crap. Sue me," she snapped.
"Never a smart thing to say to a lawyer, Jess. You of all people ought to know that," he joked, hoping to elicit at least a small smile from her.
He was sadly disappointed (though mildly aroused) when she merely swept her hair over her shoulder, grabbed a pen and went back to work, completely ignoring him.
He sighed and decided to try a different tactic. "All right, I know I don't have any room to talk when it comes to being a workaholic, but come on, we just won a big case and we barely broke any laws doing it. I thought you'd at least be celebrating that."
This actually earned Sebastian a soft laugh from his companion, which ignited a small spark of hope within him.
"Not yet. The shock still hasn't worn off," she said, smiling at him for the first time since she woke up. "And you'll forgive me if I don't allow myself to get used to that feeling."
"That's probably for the best," he chuckled.
He reached over and covered her hand with his, forcing her to stop writing mid-sentence. "Seriously, Jess, this stuff can wait until Monday. Why don't you go home and get some decent sleep?"
She pulled her hand away from his, the smile evaporating from her face. "Because…I'm not ready to go back to an empty house just yet," she replied hesitantly.
There was an uncomfortable pause following this statement that was broken by an even more uncomfortable "Oh," from Sebastian.
"Yeah," she said, refusing to meet his eyes.
"Well, you could always come back to my place," he said eventually, gamely trying to lighten the mood.
"I think I'll pass, thanks," said Jessica with a wry smile.
"Well, the offer's always open," he said generously.
"You're too kind," she replied, the sarcasm dripping from her words.
"Hey, I'm a giving guy," he said happily, relieved at having successfully broken the tension. "Look, why don't we go hit an all-night diner and grab an early breakfast? It's bound to be better than sitting around in this hellhole all night."
"Sebastian, I appreciate what you're trying to do here, but I don't want you to feel obligated to keep me company. I'm all right," she sighed.
"Jessica, think about what you're saying. Why the hell would I feel obligated to spend time with you? I mean, hello," he asked incredulously, gesturing dramatically for emphasis.
She smiled and shook her head in amusement. "Okay, point taken. Still, don't you think you should go home? Julie's probably worried about you by now."
"Julie probably went to bed hours ago," he argued. "Besides, she's never been too concerned about how late I stay out. I think she worries more when I come home too early."
"Yes, but it's late and you need to get to bed yourself," she said.
"You know I could never fall asleep if I left you here all alone," he said chivalrously.
Jessica sighed and rolled her eyes, but was forced to admit defeat. "…I have no chance of winning this argument, do I?"
"Not a one," he assured her.
"Fine, but you're paying for breakfast," she said, standing up and stretching out her stiff joints, inadvertently giving Sebastian a show.
"My pleasure," he replied, only half-referring to her statement.
She walked around the side of her desk and kissed him on the cheek. "Sebastian…thank you."
"Like I said, my pleasure," he said happily as they walked out of the office together.