Set between 'Secret Santa' and 'React to Contact'. Recoilandgrace is awesome x

She could see it, see it eating away at him.

Fraying already torn edges.

He was pale now. He'd always been pasty – British skin tone and a refusal to tan – but now he was pale, sallow, almost gaunt.

His eyes didn't sparkle. His smile wasn't contagious. He wasn't Cal.

What he was was exhausted, angry, confused. She'd been keeping a close eye on him, watching as he snapped at the smallest of things, jumped at the quietest of sounds and just generally scared the hell out her.

She cleared up his trail of destruction and crying interns as much as she could, until he had gone that step too far. Until he had raged at a suspect in the Cube. Until she went running in, the door slamming against the wall in her rush. Until he grabbed her arms and pinned her to the glass.

He wasn't conscious. He didn't know he'd even done it until he felt Reynolds pulling him off her. Gillian called Ben off, told him to get the suspect out, that she was fine, she was okay, just to get the suspect out.

Cal was pacing by that point, his eyes glazed, a handing raking through his hair.

She desperately wanted to rub at her arms, at where his fingers pressed tightly into her skin, but she wouldn't. She stepped towards him, reached out a hand. He slinked away.

"Cal, we need to t-"

"Are you okay?" he asked, barely above a whisper.

"I'm fine."

His eyes flicked from the floor to the red welts on her skin and he swallowed.

She stepped towards him again, but he muttered an apology and stalked out of the room. She called after him, watching as he practically ran through the door and disappeared.

She sank back on her heel, folding her arms and finally pressing at the sores.

She didn't look for him that night, knowing he'd be holed up in some dive of a pub she didn't even know existed.

She breathed a sigh of relief when he finally sauntered into the office the next day. She stood in the corridor, watching him through the study as he collapsed into his chair, his eyes closing as he leant back. She chewed on her lip, every possible reaction running through her mind for what she was about to do.

With a deep breath, she walked to him.

He opened his eyes ever so slightly, watching her approach.

She placed a small medicine vial on the desk. White pills.

He grabbed her arm as she turned to leave. He loosened his already loose grip instantly. Slowly and gently, he pushed up the long sleeve to her dress revealing five small purpling marks.

She felt his sharp exhale against her skin.

She pulled her arm away, pushing down the royal blue material. Placing the lightest of kisses against his cheek, she turned on her heel and returned to her office.

He swung his legs under the desk and slammed down a fist. He'd done that too her. He'd bruised her.

The pill box toppled over, slowly twisting in a jerky circle. He picked them up, the small tablets rattling against the brown plastic. The label bore some multi-syllabic name he would have difficulty pronouncing even if he wasn't painfully and ridiculously hung-over. 'Dr G. Foster' printed next to it.

He sighed, sliding a nail under the lid and flicking it off. Pouring them all out, he stared at the small mound of white pills in his hand, swallowing down a dry throat.


He took one and threw it into his mouth, taking the day old bottle of water and gulping it all down.

He scooped them back in to the vial, capped it and dropped it into his inside pocket. Leaning back on the chair, his eyes fell closed again.