by Valerie Vancollie
valeriev84 at hotmail dot com
Characters: Robin Brooks, Don
Pairings: Don/Robin, Robin/OMC
Summary: When a defense attorney who was an old Harvard Law School rival shows up, Robin fears for far more than just her case.
Spoilers: Blackout, Checkmate, Frienemies, Blowback
Note: This fic was written for the 2009 Summer Challenge at the Numb3rs Het LJ community. I choose the prompts 25. Rival, 39. Courthouse and 35. Gum.
On some level, Robin noticed the people jumping out of her way as she stormed through the courthouse halls, but she really couldn't care less about what impression she was making right now. Let the grapevine make of it what they would, chances were good that in this particular case they'd actually be right or very near the truth for once. After all, it was via the never ending gossip and rumors that she'd even learned of what had infuriated her so very much. Oh, that wasn't to say she'd been in a good mood before the news had reached her, far from it in fact, but it was what had set her off and now that she was going to explode anyway, she might as well do so in style and vent her anger on the one who deserved it.
Namely one Angelina Mason, high-powered attorney at law for the rich and not so innocent. One of the leading partners of Freeman, Mason & Edwards of Dallas, Texas and also former classmate and acquaintance of Robin's at Harvard Law School. As the only two women in the top tier of their year, they'd competed heavily with each other until Angelina had decided to shift her focus slightly and go into private practice instead of public service. By that point their rivalry had grown dirty, though, when Angelina, always gorgeous and easy, had deliberately seduced Robin's boyfriend only to dump him right after Robin broke up with him. Unfortunately they did seem to share a taste in men and Angelina had stolen another boyfriend of hers a few years later when their paths had crossed again in Chicago.
Therefore, when Robin had first learned that one of the men she was prosecuting carried enough weight to call out one of the senior partners of Freeman, Mason & Edwards, her heart had sank. Predictably enough, Angelina had been the one to come out and they'd been forced to both see and interact with each other for the past few days. It had put her in a foul mood that had kept most people away from her unless absolutely necessary.
Despite all of the years since grad school, Angelina could still get under her skin like no one else. She'd overheard Charlie and Larry muttering something about frienemies once when she'd seen them at the FBI office and thought it applied in a strange kind of way now. Once, a very long time ago, at the start of grad school, they had been friends of a sort. Two young women in a male dominated environment, both determined to not only succeed, but to excel as well. She should have known it couldn't last, not with their drive to be the best, but it hadn't occurred to her then.
Add to all of that the case of pedophilia by the head of a rich and marginally famous family and you had the perfect recipe for disaster. Robin was determined to win this case, not only because of the animosity between herself and Angelina or the sting of having lost to her in Chicago, but mostly for the innocent children whose lives had been destroyed and to ensure that he never touched another child ever again. For this, she'd worked hard to keep her professional mask firmly in place during any and all interactions with Angelina as the last thing she wanted to do was smear the case with their personal rivalry. Not to mention the fact that she just knew Angelina was waiting for her to make that very mistake to force a mistrial or to get her pulled from the case.
It was a compliment, in a way, that proved Angelina wasn't nearly as confident in her ability to win the case on its own merits or her ability to spin the evidence as she pretended to be.
In fact, Robin's mask had held right up to the point where she'd overheard two clerks talking about the fact that Don (or rather 'that hot FBI supervisor that's dating AUSA Brooks') had been in the building and that Angelina had flirted with him in the hall. And that he'd responded in kind. Normally Robin didn't put much faith in gossip, but she knew Angelina, knew that Don was exactly her type, and knew that he'd only become even more attractive to her if she'd learned he was her boyfriend. She wanted to be able to ignore the rumor, to be able to believe that Angelina would fail in her endeavor, but she'd thought that with both Ben and Stephen and simply couldn't bring herself to do it again. Besides, Don was a natural flirt with a history of womanizing and, while he'd never cheated on a girlfriend that she was aware of, he did sometimes move on quickly from one to the next.
The mere thought of loosing Don, let alone in the way she'd lost Ben and Stephen, tore a hole inside her in a way Robin wasn't quite ready to examine too closely just yet. It was a sharp, blinding pain deep inside that she'd never experienced before. Probably because she'd never felt quite as deeply about another boyfriend as she did about Don. He was special in so many ways and she'd allowed herself to become closer to him than ever lately despite her fears of getting hurt.
Robin stopped short, startled, as she caught sight of Don outside through the lobby's glass doors. She hadn't expected him to be here today, his presence had only been required yesterday for Young's trial, but there he was nonetheless. Dressed entirely in black from his sunglasses to his jeans, he leaned languidly against one of the courthouse's columns in the sun, chewing that blasted gum of his. He seemed to be calmly taking in the people around him as they hurried about their duties.
What was he doing here? Robin's pulse sped up in a mixture of fear and then the excitement he never failed to invoke in her. He looked good enough to eat dressed as he was and leaning against the column with his right shoulder and arm, his hip jutted out at an angle with his other hand resting on it. Her pulse quickened further when she realized that she wasn't the only one who was admiring him. There, standing but a few feet away from Don, was Angelina, appraising him with a clear look of hunger in her eyes.
Her anger reignited then, along with her determination. No, Don was hers! Hers, damnit, and Angelina couldn't have him. He wouldn't mean anything to her beyond being another notch on her bedpost and the satisfaction of having stolen and conquered another of her rival's lovers. To Robin, however, he was so much more, she'd become alarmingly aware of that when she'd dumped him and ran off to Miami. Her growing feelings for him had scared her and caused her to flee. It wasn't until she was on the other side of the country, however, that she'd realized the full extent of her feelings for him and that had frightened her even more even as she'd started to really regret her rash actions.
All of that, though, was the past. Robin had eventually come back to LA and Don had taken her back despite what she'd done and, in turn, she'd not mentioned Liz and how quickly he'd gotten together with her after she'd left. With everything that had happened and her ever growing feelings for Don, she simply couldn't imagine not being with him anymore. The fear was still there, of him leaving her despite the fact that, of the two of them, she had been the one to do so before. She wasn't sure if she'd have been able to do what Don had done, to take back a lover who'd hurt her as much as she had him.
Robin was walking across the lobby and stepping through one of the many glass doors before she'd even fully realized what she was going to do. When she did, she didn't slow in the slightest. Don was hers and she wasn't going to give him up without one hell of a fight. She considered her possibilities as she approached the two, seeing Angelina advancing on Don as well though she didn't think the other woman had noticed her presence just yet. Perhaps she should start with proving to Angelina who Don belonged to first and then going from there depending on the reaction she got. That ought to work.
"Agent Eppes, how wonderful to see you here again," Angelina purred as she stopped near Don and glanced alluringly at him from under her lashes.
"Miss. Mason," Don replied, shifting to look at her.
"So, you've reconsidered my offer, have you? I promise you won't regret it."
The smug, self-assured tone of Angelina's voice grated on Robin's nerves and it was all she could do to not rush forwards and hit her. She was a fully grown woman and could handle this like an adult instead of resorting to childish tactics likely to get herself arrested. She forced her temper back under control before she did something rash and unprofessional in front of everyone.
"Hardly. And I'm sure I would."
The dry tone of voice and complete lack of interest in, or response to, Angelina's blatant invitation sent a spike of satisfaction through Robin. Then, before she could say or do anything, Don turned towards her as if sensing her presence as he so often did. A wide smile spread across his face and she could just make out the crinkles at the corner of his eyes.
"Robin," he greeted warmly, pushing his sunglasses up.
"Don," Robin returned, stepping close for a kiss.
Don obliged instantly, reaching up to touch her shoulder as he did so. Even though she knew he wasn't a big fan of large public displays of affection, Robin slid her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss, clearly claiming him. She felt him start slightly, obviously caught off-guard at her aggressiveness, but he didn't resist, instead wrapping his arms around her and letting her control the kiss.
"Hey," Robin said when she finally pulled back.
"Hey to you too," Don laughed, a knowing look in his eyes.
"What are you doing here? Do you have a court date I forgot about?"
"No, we wrapped up the case we had and I came by to see if you had time for lunch."
The relief caused a wide smile to spread across her face as Robin realized that, no, he hadn't come by because he'd reconsidered Angelina's offer as the other woman suspected. Instead he'd come to spend some time with her. The sentiment made her feel warm and special as it always did when he proved he cared about her and-
It was with a start that Robin realized she'd accidentally stolen his gum during the kiss and was absently chewing it.
"Hey!" Don complained suddenly, obviously having just realized the same thing.
Gum was a habit she'd never particularly liked but had been forced to get used to when she'd started dating Don. Right now, though, being the center of both Angelina's furious glare and Don's mock outraged one, she suddenly found that she didn't mind it nearly so much. She smiled coyly at Don, daring him to take it back. The slight twitch of his lips indicated that he'd received her message loud and clear though it seemed like he wouldn't act on it, at least not out here in public. She was slightly disappointed but, to be fair, he'd already gone along with a lot, letting her mark her territory so clearly in public and for that she was very grateful.
She'd have to remember to thank him for it later and she knew just how to go about doing that. On some level, though, Robin wasn't all that surprised by his behavior even if it went against the grain for him. Don had always been incredibly perceptive when it came to her needs, even if she didn't realize them herself. It was probably a byproduct of his job, or perhaps rather why he was so good at his job, but it was something she cherished and did her best to reciprocate.
"So, you said something about lunch?" Robin prompted.
"If you have the time."
"With the evidence you guys collected for this case? Sure. It's practically a slam-dunk."
Out of the corner of her eye, Robin caught Angelina's flinch and impotent fury at being so clearly rejected, but ignored it. She'd much rather enjoy Don's company than think about her rival now that he'd shown his contempt for Angelina's advances.
"Then let's go."
Robin smiled and slid her arm around his waist as they walked away, leaving a fuming defense attorney behind them.
Phew, got this up on the second to last day of the month. The worst thing is that I knew exactly what I was gonna do with my prompts when I asked for them. So much for getting at least one of the two fics I signed on for done and posted early.
Why do I always do this to myself?
Anyway, I hope you liked the idea and fic itself. After all, who wouldn't want to steal Don away?