"DANI!"

Oh damn… She sighed, and instinctively looked down. How on Earth had he heard about it so soon? Of course she could have anticipated it, but maybe her intuition had betrayed her this once. Maybe her hopes, feelings and desires had gotten upper hand this time; like every other when Tom was involved…

Within mere instants, that door over there would open, and fizzing in rage would he smash it shut behind him, and start yelling. Everyone was aware of the fact that Tom every now and again… or maybe simply always… acted stubborn… and sometimes even unmanageable. She really didn't look forward to this. And still she had known immediately that this would follow. Kathy had actually reacted quite serene, but the same wouldn't go for Tom.

Dani, however, didn't look up when a breeze of cool wind indicated that the door of her office had been opened. When it suddenly fell shut with a rather loud smash, she, however, shuddered lightly. In less than a second, it seemed, Tom found himself right in front of her, both hands pushed against the top of her desk in intimidation. She so felt herself almost forced to look up. "Tom," she said, softly.

"Why did you fire Kathy? You don't have any single reason to give her her dismissal!"

Dani sighed again, and looked up at her former partner. In his eyes something furious was readable; something she didn't like, and that sometimes even startled her. One of the main reasons for that was very likely being aware that whenever Tom showed himself in such mood, he too often said things he never would voice otherwise… things he usually didn't mean, and really regretted afterwards, but therefore hadn't hurt any less with the other party.

Oh, what difference would it make… Dani thought. Emotionally I'm already a mess. What difference would it make now to be confronted again with the fact that nothing serious is ever going to happen between him, and me? She had realized for a while already, but maybe only for real since their entirely leading to nothing night together. Hearing it would of course hurt her so much more again than only realizing, but what more could it possibly destroy?

"Why?" Tom roared.

"Kathy's got… all these issues in her personal life lately seem to have consequences in professional area," Dani said, on a still quiescent tone. Actually she had already wanted to give her her dismissal for a while, but until the last couple of weeks hadn't she had any valid reason. Under the term 'valid', jealousy would surely not fit. Oh, why did I fucking fall in love with him again, she thought.

"Why?" Tom repeated, and no decibel softer. "Because she maybe once or twice arrived late on a CS?"

"Tom, you're very well aware that it didn't stop with only once or twice."

"And that's immediately a good enough reason to get rid of her?"

"I already warned her several times that it couldn't happen again."

"Damn, Dani! And her family!"

"Tom… I understand fairly well that it'll be tough to support her children after Lucas and she are divorced." About the undeniable fact that Tom found himself indirect involved with this, she, however, said no word.

"You so don't understand at all! That Kathy's a damn good medical examiner, is undeniable!"

"A damn good medical examiner wouldn't arrive hours late on a CS."

"Damn, Dani!" Tom raged. "Kathy's already worked with Zone Stad for several years, and she's familiar with everything here, and everyone!"

"Especially with you then, no," Dani said, and almost immediately realized: she better hadn't said this.

"And that's now exactly what irritates you, no! You have only been searching until you found a good, legal reason to give her her dismissal; otherwise you would have already done so earlier! Damn, Dani, I never had a clue that you could be so jealous."

And there he had hit the nail on the head. "Fuck, Tom! I LOVE YOU!" Dani screamed on her turn. The desk chair on which she had sat fell backwards clattering due to the fierceness with which she had gotten up. She had already kept it inside years enough. Dani's hands were, like Tom's, angrily fixed against the desk top, painfully distant with his.

Serene tranquility consequently fell between both ex-partners. Fien, Els, Mike, and Jimmy had all four followed the ranting, and now gaped pretty perplex at the duo. Dani easily decided not to care about it for the time being. As silently, and lazily, Dani picked up her desk chair, and sat herself down again. Tom briefly opened his mouth to bring something in between, the same rage still visible within his eyes. Dani, however, beat her former inseparable friend to it. "Maybe you're only right."

And then Tom got up straight again. Something milder now seemed to shine through in his darker brown, and somewhat emerald-like of his eyes; non-understanding overruled, and maybe somewhat surprise. Right?

"Everything was far better when I was still only your partner. Since I have become a superior, everything simply turns into an immense mess. Maybe I'm not fit for this after all."

And then the tears started streaming. Tom found himself dazed leaning against the see-though office door. Thoughtfully, he let his glance slide over the image of a crying Dani, before lowering his eyes.

Dani had hidden her tearful face into her hands in the meantime, and sniveled almost soundlessly. How is it even possible that simply being in love, and jealousy could ravage someone like that inside? Hesitantly, she looked up at Tom, and the four perplexed expressions behind him. "Don't you fucking have something else to do?" She yelled. And almost immediately Els, Mike, and Jimmy hurried away. Fien, however, remained waiting patiently for her partner. Tom allowed their Chief one last glance, nodded lightly to himself as a confirmation for himself that he had royally fucked up, and left her office.

Dani remained alone. Her eyes slowly trailed towards the picture of the team she had joined so many years ago. Her lower lip lightly quivered upon seeing how happy Tom and she were leaning against each other laughing. Often enough, she had hoped that something more would blossom. And now she only hoped that everything would simply turn back to how it had been before. Her hand shivered while reaching for the old picture frame. She briefly lifted it to look at the other people in the picture. Her bright blue eyes stopped upon the duo on the utter right again. That's when she tossed the frame against the floor.