A/N: my first ever true one shot/drabble or whatever.

"Have you ever actually walked on eggshells, Cal?"

He considered her—were she anyone else, he'd have thought she'd gone mad. "Well, no." He said, pausing slightly, "No, I haven't."

Gillian nodded knowingly—"The thing about walking on eggshells, Cal, is not simply the impossibility of it—the way the shells crack under your feet no matter how carefully you try to step. It's not simply the sense of failure as you feel them break underneath the weight of your impossible body—it's not simply realizing that you never stood a damned chance in the first place." Her voice was quiet—and then she grew silent.

Cal tilted his head to the side, looking at her. The air between them felt heavy, wrought with years of tension—sexual and otherwise—and they both just sat there, regarding each other, breathing into it, the thing between them—building into it. They built into this tension—added to it—on a near daily basis, particularly lately. It was Cal who broke the silence first. He cleared his throat, and were the room empty, the sound would have reverberated; instead, it soaked up into the walls and furniture that surrounded them.

His voice was tentative when he finally remembered how to speak. "What else is it, then?" He was genuinely curious.

Gillian smiled at him, but it didn't reach her eyes, and Gillian's mirthless smiles always seemed to have a way of finding Cal's stomach and lodging there—her look seemed rather faraway, "Hmm?" She asked, as if startled from a reverie.

Cal blinked—"You said it isn't just—that walking on eggshells isn't just about all those things—failure, impossibility—what else is it about, then?"

Gillian pressed her back into the chair, "Oh, right." She said, with a curt nod—"The thing about walking on eggshells, Cal—is that it hurts."