Gillian, Cal, Burns, post-2x18 Headlock, pg
Author's Notes: Dissemble, verb. To conceal one's true feelings. Many thanks, as always, to my beta, tempertemper77.
And I am nothing of a builder
But here I dreamt I was an architect
And I built this balustrade
To keep you home, to keep you safe
- The Decemberists, 'Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect'
It was over three weeks before he managed to get her alone. The Lightman Group had been swamped with new cases, and, add to that the fact that Gillian had absolutely been avoiding him, Cal had reached the end of his patience. He missed her.
He walked towards her office, expecting to find it dark and empty as it had been every other evening that they hadn't been working together in a room full of people. He was pleasantly surprised.
He found her rocking side to side in her desk chair, legs straight out in front of her resting on her heels as she stared, unfocused, out the window into the dark night.
He was inside her office and reclining in one the chairs before she registered that someone had even come in. "Cal, hi." She smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes.
"Alright, love," he greeted, taking in as many details as she would allow him to see.
"Don't do that," she admonished quietly, eyes resolutely on her desk and not meeting his eyes. He knew, though, that her mere presence in the office late at night where he could find her was because, really, she wanted him to find her this time. She wanted him to push her, just that little bit, so that she wouldn't have to struggle with this completely on her own any longer.
"Don't do what?" he questioned, but she looked up then and her glance was withering. "I just wanted to stop by. I haven't really seen you in a while." He shrugged his shoulders, trying to ease the tension that had become the norm between them of late.
She deflated then, her usually straight back rounding slightly like a puppet whose string had been cut. She toed off her heels underneath her desk before she moved across the office to the seat next to him, curling one leg underneath her.
"Everything alright?" he asked once she was comfortable.
"Everything's fine," she whispered, but again she refused to meet his eyes.
Cal nodded, reclining further into his chair, attempting to make the silence that fell between them as easy as possible. He watched as lights were switched off in buildings opposite theirs, mentally keeping track of how much time was passing them by.
It was probably almost five minutes before she spoke, but it felt much longer.
"I'm afraid… that he's going to lie to me again. I don't know how to trust him now; everything's different." Her words were quiet, almost as if she was still trying to figure everything out in her head as she uttered it.
"Foster, you're practically a human lie detector. If there was more to tell, you'd know about it," Cal replied, wondering not for the first time why he was defending this guy.
"He managed to keep this from me," she shook her head, angry with herself. "And if he managed to keep that from me, then goodness knows what else he's capable of keeping from me." She paused, taking a deep breath. Cal noticed the tears starting to well up in her eyes and the frustration she felt at them being there. "You know how it is, Cal," she finished. "We're blind to the people we're closest to."
He thought carefully about her words, watched as she tried to maintain her composure. "Sometimes that's true," he replied, quietly.
"I didn't even know his real name," she shook her head again, trying desperately to get it all to make sense in her mind. "His name."
"Dave, huh?" Cal wiggled his eyebrows at her.
"Yeah," she laughed, but it came out as more of a bark as she felt her throat constrict. "You probably think me naïve again. Wonder why I haven't done anything," she sighed. The self-recrimination he saw there worried him.
"Contrary to your popular belief," he replied, "I have never thought you naïve. Hopeful, idealistic… but realistic. Never naïve."
This drew a small smile, but sadness still radiated from her.
It was long moments before either of them spoke again. "What are you going to do?" he asked.
She breathed in, straightening up, and he had his answer before she'd even spoken. "Nothing."
Cal nodded, disappointed. "Gill…"
"Don't." She shook her head, then whispered it a second time. "Don't." She stood then, walking back to her desk and stepping back into her heels. She picked up her bag and as she walked past him to the door he held his arm out, brushing against her side. "Gill…"
She looked at him then, for the first time since he'd walked into her office. She pleaded with him, silently, to let it go. Just let it go.
He reached for her hand, squeezing it lightly when she gently placed it in his.
"Goodnight, Cal," she said, but she gripped his hand ever so tightly, just for a moment.
He heard rather than saw the door swing shut behind her as the click of her heels grew quieter. "Night, love," he whispered.
She let herself in as quietly as she could.
"Hey." She heard his deep voice before she saw him, but though the lights were all off he didn't startle her.
"Hey, yourself," she replied as she stepped out of the heels for the second time that evening, trying her hardest to push away the feeling that it had felt better the first time. "Sorry I'm late."
"That's ok," he replied as he stepped towards her, greeting her with a quick kiss. "Did you get everything done you needed to?"
She looked up at him then, but couldn't find it within herself to smile. "I hope so." He didn't notice.
She kissed him then, but it felt different, and he wrapped his arms around her the same way he always had done, but it felt different.
She deepened the kiss, trying desperately to banish the feeling that she was on board a sinking ship.
He didn't notice.