Major fluff warning for this chapter. Sorry everyone, I couldn't resist.

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The next time Stuart saw Jennifer was 14 months later at his trial. The sluggish pace of the justice system was infuriating.

He first glimpsed her at the back of the room, a brief flash of blonde hair, but it was when she took the witness stand that he had the chance to see her properly.

She looked well. Her ankle and ribs had long since healed and she stood tall and proud again. When he caught her eye, she held his gaze with not a trace of fear, rather a detached kind of distaste, as if he were something unpleasant on the bottom of her shoe.

When she took the oath, something on her left hand glittered in the sunlight that streamed through the windows of the courthouse. A diamond, he discovered. So she was engaged now, to Detective Ryan, no doubt. Maybe that was responsible for the spring in her step and the way her eyes seemed to sparkle with happiness.

It just wasn't fair. Stuart wasn't accustomed to losing and for her to have the audacity to come here and look so happy and content made his blood boil.

Jennifer noted Stuart's resentful glare from her seat on the stand. She spared no more than a second's notice on him and instead searched for the face of her boyfriend (and now fiancée.) She saw him struggling to keep his eyes open in his seat near the back of the room.

She smiled at him. When he had proposed, it had taken her totally by surprise.

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Two Weeks Ago

It was the end of another long day. Wearily, Jennifer trudged across the office to the elevator. The suspect in their latest case (a young man had been beaten to death) had lawyered up and spent a good part of the day stonewalling them. Also Stuart's trial was coming up. Even though she knew he wouldn't be getting away with it this time, she was still nervous.

'Night Jen,' Duncan called out from his desk.

She raised a hand in acknowledgement, too exhausted and fed up to feel like stopping for a chat.

She made it to the lift, and leaned against the back wall as the doors began to close.

But then a hand shot out of nowhere, and stopped them. The hand belonged to none other then Matt, who'd just managed to extricate himself from Simon's monologue about his latest conquest (she was a small-time model, it turned out.)

Matt stepped inside and the doors slid closed. They began to descend.

"Hey," he greeted Jen, shooting her the smile he reserved especially for her and reaching for her hand.

She slapped his hand away. "Matt!" she hissed. "We're at work!"

"End of the day," he said, taking a step toward her. "Doesn't count." She could smell his cologne, the one she'd given him for his birthday.

"There's video cameras in here!"

"They're down for maintenance today," he said casually. "And anyway, who cares? Half the station already knows about us."

"Great."

He pulled her into his arms, not that she fought him all that hard. "Don't stress, baby. How about we go back to my place and I'll cook us something to eat?"

She nodded, and then smiled. "If those doors weren't going to open at any moment, I'd kiss you right now."

He pulled the emergency stop button. "You were saying?"

"Matt!" she chastised him, shocked.

"So where's my kiss?"

She scowled at him, but pecked him on the cheek all the same.

"I was in this elevator the first time I ever saw you," he said, reminiscently. "When you walked in, I practically had to pick my jaw up off the floor, and then when you mentioned you were coming to Homicide, I couldn't believe my luck."

She blushed.

"So I figured this would be a good place to do something I've wanted to do for a long time."

"Oh really? What's that?"

"Hold out your hands," he instructed.

She sighed in exasperation, but obeyed, knowing he wouldn't get them moving again until she did as he asked.

He placed something on her palm.

She looked at it. An engagement ring.

"Matt…" she breathed.

He took a deep breath. "I'm not going to go on about how I much I love you, because you already know that. So I'm just going to come out and say it. Jen, will you marry me?"

She found it impossible to speak for several seconds, attention fully caught by the ring in her hand.

It was enough to make Matt very nervous. What if he hadn't done it right? What if he hadn't said it right? What if he'd misread her completely and she didn't want to marry him at all?

She remained silent, still transfixed.

He couldn't take it anymore.

"Babe?" Matt prompted. "You're kinda leaving me hanging here."

In one motion she transferred the ring to her finger and flung her arms around him, giving him the most loving, passionate kiss imaginable.

After several minutes, they broke apart.

"So that's a 'yes' then?" he asked, somewhat breathlessly.

"Of course, you idiot," she said, a little hysterically, before she kissed him again.

Neither was sure how the stop button was pressed again but when the kiss was broken off, it was to the resounding applause of their colleagues in the lobby.

"You lied about the cameras being broken,' she said as their public humiliation became apparent. It wasn't a question.

He beamed at her. "Yep."

"Security saw the whole thing."

"Mm-hmm."

"And it's on tape for the rest of the building to see."

"Correct."

"You are so lucky you just proposed to me, or I swear I'd kill you right here and now."

"Love you too. Now let's give these people what they want."

Before she could protest, he pulled her into another kiss, amid cheers from the crowd.

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It took the jury only two hours to find Stuart guilty on all counts.

Joyfully, Jen embraced Matt as Stuart was escorted from the room, flanked by two guards.

Stuart chanced a look over his shoulder to see them holding each other close, the diamond ring winking in the light.

For now, she would be the one who had literally gotten away. The one voice he hadn't been able to silence.

But as was said, nothing is final until you're dead.

One way or another, they would see each other again. Perhaps the third time would be the charm.

Even as he was lead away, he knew it wouldn't end here. He'd gotten out of prison once, he could do it again. And when he did…. then they'd see who the loser was.


So that's the end. Thanks so much to all who've read and reviewed. I may write a sequel in due course, if anyone's interested. I have an idea for one…