Spoilers: Set after False Witness and will eventually go through the holiday weekish.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Feedback: Greatly appreciated.

Words are a simple abstract term with so much ability to manifest ideas. Words like respectfully, love, change, feelings, we, crazy, relationship, unsettling, help, and balance are words with connotations that have the power to create as well as destroy, the power to inspire as well as discourage. What words are used and how they are used are important. He knows this and she knows this.

Their conversation earlier came in the midst of some sort of psychological crisis on his part and she knew it and she had the opportunity to confront him. By the way he interacted and shared, he wanted to talk about what was troubling him as well. The lump in his throat grew as she talked. She was emphatic with a sweet undertone as she maintained eye contact.

A perfectly timed pause between the right words can hold more meaning than the entire conversation in which it occurs. She said "…class clown" and paused knowing that she would regret any silence next more than she would regret the words that were waiting on the tip of her tongue for her to release them. She knew she needed to say them as much as he needed to hear them. So she continued with "…and that is why we love you."

He was on the verge of tears when she cast her gaze slightly downwards, most likely to avoid a sob fest, and uttered those last words before they were interrupted.

SsS

He is feeling better now, the prank proves it. But it is only a day after their conversation in the observation room and he senses that even though the conversation had ended, it is certainly not over. If it was going to be like it always was, then they would use the circumstances as an unspoken excuse to leave each other hanging in an inconclusive conversational limbo. They both are hoping and expecting that this time will be different.

After all of the holiday noise making has settled down in the office, he goes to the break room knowing she will be there washing out her soup bowl from lunch. He could use the typical pretext of foraging for an afternoon chocolate bar as his reason for following her.

"Hey. Shoulda probably waited for you to put your gun in your desk, huh?" He says it with a smile.

She looks up and recognizes that particular smile and knows that he is now on the other side of this slump that has consumed him. "Probably would not have been a bad idea. But it was well played."

He forgoes his vending machine magic and actually puts his money into the contraption. She is looking for another roll of paper towels under the sink. He looks over at her briefly before obeying the digital display and selecting his purchase. "Thank you."

"You're welcome, but you had help."

"Yeah, true. I was talking about what you said yesterday. It helped me get out of my headspace. It is always good to hear that you are not crazy and your coworkers…"

"Friends." She interrupts with a rather unexpected yet pleasant remark. He senses she is just as relieved as he is they are actually continuing this conversation to end any uncertainties from yesterday.

He did not let himself let the conversation linger so he continued. "…friends…appreciate you for who you are, even when you are questioning it yourself." He doesn't know why he elaborates on the simple thank you he intends. But he did start this conversation days ago with his perceptible unusual attitude and continued it, with some assistance, by revealing what was actually bothering him.

He breaks a piece of this chocolate bar off, gives it to her before she asks or helps herself and returns to the bullpen. And at that moment he realizes that thoughts, the ones that stir in your mind and cause doubt and frustration, are not defeated by more thoughts, however pleasant they may be. These thoughts are overcome only with words. Perhaps he is growing up and learning lessons.