A/N: Why, hello there! Please, be prepared for language. And for mean Cal. And angry Gillian who swears, apparently.
I wish I were a fluff writer- I really do. But, alas, I am not. So, here's this instead. There'll definitely be at least one more chapter, possibly two. We'll see.

As always, reviews are welcomed-and adored. Constructive Criticism is also welcomed and appreciated. If you hate it, I'll stop. If you love it, I'l continue. If you're indifferent, I'll mull. So. Let me know. P.S. I never proofread. Sorry if typos abound.

Enough rambling.
Hearts,
Natalie (Calculated Artificiality)


Soft and Pretty

"You don't even know how old
and black my blood is"

-Ralph Angel Soft and Pretty

Cal Lightman whipped around the corner in a fury. He was bloody sick and tired of other people telling him what to do. From Reynolds to Foster, hell sometimes even his own bloody daughter gave him orders.

It had gotten to the point where at night, rather than running through the possibilities of a current or upcoming case, he would sit and ruminate about all the things he was not "allowed" to do. There used to be a time when he'd let his hand creep down into his pants before nodding off to sleep—he'd fall asleep sticky and satisfied. But lately he hadn't even been able to fantasize properly, he'd felt so reigned in.

He was a man who needed control—and he had a hard time dealing with others trying to usurp his control and an even harder time with people trying to control him. Which is all anyone had been trying to do lately, it seemed.

He was consumed with the desire to escape—to shrug off everyone that came around, and he was busy fuming when Gillian Foster's voice interrupted him.

"Cal, where have you been?" She had that warning tone he'd come to despise so much over the last few months. The "mothering" tone that said 'you didn't just do what i think you did, right?' As if it were up to anyone but himself what he did.

She tried to sidle her way in front of him, but he anticipated her move and side stepped her. "Quit riding me Foster, I'm not your bloody horse." He said tersely and didn't even stop to recognize the emotions that played over her face; he'd seen them before. He knew what buttons to push and where to make Gillian's emotions run the gamut. He could make her happy—he could make her sad—and he could make her hurt, deeply and passionately.

Though he didn't see it, he knew her eyes flashed the emotion even he hated to admit that he sometimes enjoyed creating within people—but within her most of all.

She faltered slightly, stunned, "You… You went to see her, didn't you, Cal? You went to see her even though everyone—Me, Torres, Reynolds, and the entire D.C. Police Department told you not to, didn't you?" She followed him into his office, hot on his heels. "Didn't you?" She nearly yelled, desperate for an answer.

He spun quickly on his heels and closed the gap between them. "Are you really expecting an answer, then? Or have you already decided that's what I did?" When she didn't respond, "Eh? Which one is it?"

"You forget how well I know you." She said, simply, in an answer to his question.

He scoffed slightly, "Yeah, I bloody wish, Foster. You never let me forget how well you think you know me." He spat the words out; their venom finding its particular home on the word 'think.' The venom, his venom, entered deep into her veins, igniting the emotion he saw least from her: anger.

He saw it flash over her face "Ah, yeah, love. There it is. Let's have it, then."

He was goading her, and she knew it. She knew full well he was manipulating her, but she found herself barely holding onto her composure. Recognizing how close she was to the edge, he began to push a little harder.

"Whatsa' matter, Foster? Old feelings of inadequacy creeping up?"

Cal saw her make the decision, and a smug smile spread across her face.

"I'm goddamn SICK of cleaning up your messes, Cal. I am sick of watching you disobey order and decorum and display absolutely NO COMMON FUCKING DECENCY or professional courtesy for any of your staff and least of all me!"

"Common fucking decency?" he asked around a lull in her mini-tirade, a strange smile spreading across his face.

"Yes, Cal." she spat his name out this time. "Common fucking decency. You have such little regard for anyone else's feelings—"

He cut her off, "Why don't we leave 'anyone else' out of this one, yeah?"

"Fine. You have such little disregard for MY feelings that I've begun to dread coming into work on a daily basis because I'm never sure exactly WHICH Cal I'll get. Will it be bitter and angry Cal today? Or perhaps snotty and flippant Cal? Oh, I know!" she feigned excitement "What about rude and indignant Cal? I like him the best." She sneered and rolled her eyes.

Cal moved swiftly around her to close the door, the noise startling her slightly as it banged shut from his rough push. He circled in front of her again.

"That it, love?" He smiled deviously, almost contemptuously. "Months of pent up aggression for me—hostility, choking out words, and that's the best you have. Foster? Eh?"

She looked momentarily defeated. "You really are a bastard." He looked at her as if to say 'Oh, that's it? Scary, Foster.' "You asshole, son-of-a-bitch." She turned to leave, but he snaked his arm out and she felt his hand encircle her forearm. She felt a quick jolt of electricity where his hand met her skin and she let the breath escape her all at once.

"Now you're gettin' the picture, darling." He said, his words sickly sweet. "And you seem to be learning that you had no idea…" She felt his emphasis on those last two words between her legs in spite of herself.

She closed her eyes. She loved and hated this side of Cal Lightman. He was scary—but he was also incredibly arousing.

"How old are you?" He asked, his voice dripping with manufactured hostility. He'd been caged in for months and needed to push someone's buttons. He recognized the question echoed one he'd asked her playfully a year or so ago. He could tell by the look on her face that she recognized it too.

For a moment she thought he'd guessed her arousal, but she saw no signs of recognition on his face—"I beg your pardon?" She asked, genuinely confused—and genuinely worried—by his question.

"How old are you, Foster?" He asked again, letting some of the venom deflate from the question, "Aren't you a little old to be a babysitter?"

She stared at him, anger slowly returning to it's point of conception: the pit of her stomach. Her feet went hot and she clenched her jaw.

"Cause, I mean, that's what you're doing, isn't it? Babysitting me?" He let go of her wrist finally and casually leaned against his desk. "I mean, what's it all about?" He crossed his arms over his chest, "Where were you Cal? Did you see her, Cal?" He mimicked her voice nearly perfectly.

She rolled her eyes, but she felt the sting of tears behind her eyes. She tried to ignore them—little needles darting in from behind her blue eyes. She felt the pin pricks, but she strived to steel herself against them.

He fixed his gaze on her, leaning his head slightly forward, "I mean, really, Foster, what's it all about?"

She looked at him, and opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out.

"Ope, try again, love." He said, smug smile reappearing.

"It's about ME being the savior of this company, Cal. That's what it's all about. It's about you gallivanting off going against everyone's wishes and orders , doing whatever you see fit while I'm back here at the office—" she felt the anger rising up, and didn't feel like exerting the effort to control it "At the helm of the fucking ship watching it sink—No, Cal, watching you sink it with carelessness and apathy."

He looked at her and retracted his head slightly while turning it to the side.

"It's about you letting your apathy and sense of misanthropy make everyone else's lives—no, you know what, just MY LIFE asbo-fucking-lutely miserable! That's what it's about!" Her voice was at a decibel Cal hadn't heard it in years.

He chuckled. "No, it's bloody not."

"Yes, it bloody is!" she mocked him this time.

"No," he uncrossed his arms and shook his head while taking a painfully slow step towards her. "No, Foster, it isn't. In fact," he took the two steps that put them nearly face to face, "those aren't even the bloody right questions, are they love?" She raised her eyebrows in a silent question. "No, there's only one question."

He waited, knowing she'd give in eventually. She steeled her jaw, and then spoke through clenched teeth, "And what question is that, Cal?"

He smiled again, "Let's see. You're not actually concerned about Torres or Reynolds or the D.C. Police Department telling me to stay away from Brianna. No, the question isn't 'Did you see her?' because you know I did. In inquiring about the tall, blonde woman with large and enticing tits…" he trailed off and watched her wince at his language, "The question you desperately want to ask, Foster" he drew out the syllables in her name so that they sounded almost playful—but dangerously so—so that they sounded almost mean, "what you really want to know is…" he trailed off again.

"Cal…" she still had the warning tone, and she meant for it to be strong, but it came out in a gasp because of the proximity of his body to hers, his face to hers, his lips to hers, and the look on his face as his eyes bore into hers.

He laughed, "The real question you want answered is" he leaned in so his lips were pressed right up against her ear—he exhaled into her ear and felt her shiver as her own breath caught in her throat, she swallowed then he hissed "Did I fuck her?"