AN: Well, I have a confession: I got this idea from the website Love Gives Me Hope. How lame is that? Anyway, a little established L/H for your ejoyment.

Set: Post series

Spoilers: None.

Stranger Things Can Happen

"I wish you'd stop saying that." Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers grumbled. They were sitting in a restaurant – Italian (nothing too posh, she wouldn't have stood for it) – and she was fiddling with her fork rather than looking at the man sitting opposite her. She was inspecting it for food residue, needing a task to prevent her gaze straying, as he really was more appealing than the fork – which had a tomato seed on the handle. She picked it off with her fingernail.

"Why?" He asked, genuinely baffled. He was wearing a cashmere v-neck jumper and looking completely delectable, but she was trying not to notice that. She was failing.

"Because why would you? Tom, honestly, can we just leave it?" She mumbled, still avoiding him; the evasion served the dual purpose of keeping her focused, and preventing him from seeing how his words upset her.

He huffed. Right now he didn't understand her at all. He set his menu down on the table and turned his attention to the rest of the room, seeking inspiration. A woman, tall and lovely with raven hair and a perfect hourglass figure, was walking towards their table towards her own on her way back from the Ladies' room. Lynley caught her eye – in more ways than one; it didn't escape her notice that he was spectacularly good looking.

"Excuse me," he said to her, halting her movements. "I'm horribly in love with this woman, and she doesn't seem to believe me when I tell her, so I thought perhaps my announcing it to a random stranger might help convince her."

The woman grinned, but not nearly as widely as Havers.

"See, now you're starting to understand!" Lynley beamed back at her.

For the first time in Barbara Havers' life, she believed him when he said he loved her.