AN: I had no plans on writing a new piece, but I've had it stuck in my head since watching the President's press conference where he thanked the men and women who took down Bin Laden. I suddenly saw a scenario for a future fic, a Trory, and it wouldn't go away. It's steamy, so if you get squeamish, don't read. I just wanted some good Trory steam. If that's your thing, enjoy.

Off the Record

Time was slipping away from her. She wasn't in her assigned location; she knew that if she was caught off the grid like this, the test of her charm and ability to use her small-town naivety act like a crutch would keep her just on this side of having her credentials stripped. It wasn't that she didn't know better—she instead had her ears perked at the right time, overhearing just enough of a conversation that was assumed private. It wasn't even that she didn't value our national security, but surely her ability to get a quote from any of the seemingly invisible men that had not only brought down the country's number one most-wanted criminal and terrorist but were being celebrated all over the country and specifically somewhere in that very building—it was too good to not risk everything for even a chance at such an exclusive.

Her press pass, not to mention her focus and talent while following Obama's soar to the White House a couple years earlier, had secured her a seat in front during what would be the President's highly publicized press conference that was scheduled to begin in an about an hour's time. It was surely something to be covered with dignity, an important, televised moment in history that would stick in the minds of the entire nation. It was a story that would be told in many voices, hers included, but there were also interviews that could never be given. The team of men that had risked life and limb, that were trained to do so on a daily basis for the country that allowed her the freedom to do her job, was so elite that the government had all but given them invisibility cloaks. These men were to remain, as far as the government was concerned, anonymous, a squad of ghosts traveling the globe to carry out the most dangerous of assignments—keeping our country safe their only reward. Rory Gilmore, aspiring foreign correspondent, currently a national news reporter with the online department with The Washington Times, knew that this was the kind of opportunity that would not only test her skills as a journalist, but that could potentially lock in her place at any news organization of her choosing.

She squared her shoulders and looked to the right and the left down an empty corridor, hoping she had parsed together the correct location from the threads of information she'd overheard. It was an area that wasn't kept under lock and keycard; it was just an out of the way area of the building, nowhere near the free coffee and assorted slightly stale pastries that were put out for the folks waiting for hours on end for the chance at a direct quote from our nation's leader or any of his handlers. At the moment it was quiet and unassuming—so much so that she was almost sure she was nowhere near her desired destination. Her phone beeped in her shoulder bag, which was stuffed with a water bottle, notebooks, her credentials, a handheld recorder, a half a dozen pens of questionable ink supply, her cell, and a tattered copy of Alice in Wonderland. The noise, though not loud, made her jump, and she hurried through the depths of her bag to silence it. She breathed easier as she pressed a button to read the incoming text message. It was only her cohort, from the New York Daily News, a handsome and mostly trustworthy opponent named Thomas Pike, with whom she had traded war stories, a few dinners, and one rather hazy, drunken interlude. She smirked as she read his words, encouraging her to stop drinking terrible coffee and get to her seat before he auctioned it off to the highest bidder, or to bring him a cup if she found something ingestible. She nimbly pressed keys until she'd assured him she would be at his right hand side soon and instructed him to block any squatters with his big, manly arms. She figured a little flattery, not to mention some flat-out flirting, could never hurt when it came to greasing certain wheels. She could be cut-throat when she needed to be, but after all, she'd always caught more flies with honey, and she knew how to pick her battles.

She'd just slipped her phone back into the abyss of her bag when a door cracked open a few hundred yards to her left. The sound of deep laughter, male camaraderie, seeped out like the cigar smoke that billowed out, barely visible in the semidarkness before it faded to nothing in the otherwise grey hallway. She kept her back pressed against the wall, but her eyes trained toward the noise. A man stepped out, dressed in a suit—not a double breasted politician's attire, but a much more official military dress uniform. He stood tall, at six feet or just over, from her guess, and his hair was close cropped, in a style that suited him, despite it being standard issue for men of his standing. His hand moved to the inner lining of his jacket, momentarily, checking for something, and then he turned sharply on his heel, his focus pinpointed on her.

"Are you lost?"

She swallowed hard. This was not the time to be skittish. She steeled her nerves and did her best to sound like she was well within her boundaries. "This isn't a restricted area."

He smiled; a slow gesture that worked against her supposed nerves of steel. "Do yourself a favor and run along to wherever you're cleared to be. This is supposed to be a celebration; I'd hate to see a beautiful woman detained."

Something about the way he dismissed her, as if she were a lost puppy, or worse—some sort of groupie—instantly annoyed her. If he wasn't going to report her to anyone that could do her career any damage, she would press on until failure was assured.

"Do you have clearance to be here?" she raised an eyebrow at him, hating that her argument was so thin and weak. Her confidence would have been greater if he didn't look quite so amused by her question.

He smiled again. "A reporter. Should have known," he said, more to himself than her.

"Will you answer some questions?" she asked, stepping closer to him.

His dark blue eyes shined, even in the darkened hallway, with only what she guessed to be emergency lights on every few banks back. Just another signal to anyone hanging around that this wasn't a place to be. He took a step closer, to match her. He took an extra moment to take a closer look at her in the dim light. "You don't want what I'd give you."

His tone was thick with what she took to be innuendo and a level of intimacy that disarmed her.

"Excuse me?"

"Look, I can't answer your questions. You shouldn't be here. The smartest thing for you to do is turn and walk away."

"Where are you going?" she asked, not yet deterred, despite his demeanor.

"Smoke break," he replied instantly.

"So, you do answer some questions," she shot back.

"Am I on the record? If so, I guess I should add that it's killing me slowly."

"It looked like you've smoked already."

"Yeah, well, the President shares the vice. He figures if men can't celebrate with cigars and whiskey, this country isn't worth protecting anyway, but since you don't have a story unless you really are out to break the news of the perils of smoking, I don't have to worry about you printing that," he smirked.

"So, you're a SEAL?" she assumed.

His expression cleared. "You must be a good journalist."

She eyed him. "Why do you say that?"

"Well, first of all, you're here¸ which means you know who you're looking for¸ despite the fact that you also know that it's off limits to everyone but invited guests. You also know that the men you're looking for are to be kept anonymous at all costs, in order for them to do their jobs, which, officially," he said putting all emphasis on the last word, "don't exist. And yet, despite knowing all that, you're standing there, looking me in the eye, knowing what I'm capable of, thinking I might crumble and give you the story of the century. It's either that or you're just really daft."

She took in his assessment, gaging her own ability to make an in with him. Anything to redirect him, to soften him; something. He looked capable of surviving torture, of inflicting it as well, but surely giving her a few minutes of his time wouldn't fall into either category. He'd been conditioned to withstand any situation, and she could see that in his hard body, his guarded eyes, even in his ease of handling her. But there was something so very familiar about him. Something she could almost put her finger on.

"Oh," she said, softly, just barely audible, but it did not go unnoticed by him. His expression hardened for a moment, his eyes locking with hers. He glanced at the door he'd emerged from, then to the left and right down the long corridor before refocusing on her.

"What?" he demanded, though keeping his voice even.

She shrugged one shoulder, dismissively. "I know who you are," she said, instantly realizing her gamble. She wanted him to talk to her, but what she hadn't quite counted on was the force with which he would guide her down the hall, using one arm and what she guessed was restraint as he steered her away from the celebratory gang of his comrades and into an open, waiting elevator. He pinned her between the wall and his ribcage as he punched the button to take them three floors above, as opposed to the lobby, where the rest of her cohorts were waiting for the President to finish thanking the front-line heroes, him included, before going live in front of the nation.

"Where are we going?"

"You wanted to talk, now you're getting your wish. Haven't you heard you should be careful about that?" he asked, his voice tight.

Her eyes widened. "Do you remember me?"

Gone was the hard look on his face. His eyes shined again, and a smile played on his lips, curving up from his strong jaw. "There is no safe answer to that question."

The elevator opened, to yet another empty hallway, but this time with more lights. He guided her once more, his arm still wrapped firmly around her waist. To an onlooker, it might appear that they were on intimate terms; a man who preferred his woman as close as possible at all times. She could smell his aftershave, permeating through the smell of cigar smoke, and the stiff material of his suit brushed her cheek. He opened a door with a card from his pocket, ushering her into the room and locking it behind them the moment they'd both passed the threshold.

"Should I bother asking where we are?"

"No," he answered in all seriousness.

"I wasn't aware there were hotel rooms up here."

"There aren't."

She looked around at the living quarters that were nicer than most of the accommodations that were made for her during her work travel, which she had begun to feel more at ease in than her own tiny, barely furnished apartment.

"Surely you don't live here," she looked around. There were a handful of personal effects left about the room, but no so many to indicate long-term use of the space.

"I don't live anywhere," he countered.

She rolled her eyes. "How very mysterious of you."

He stepped to her again, closer than not only the societal norm, but than most of her suitors dared during most of their intimate encounters. He was at ease, more so the greater her distress, it seemed. "You don't know me."

She frowned. "But I," she began, but he reached up to put his fingers lightly against her parted mouth.

"You remember someone that no longer exists, Miss Gilmore," he assured her, keying her in that her assumptions were correct even while correcting her nonetheless. "The man standing in front of you can't help out an old friend; he can't have old friends. The nature of my current position makes it unsafe for anyone to be close to me, to know me. If I can't do my job, then you wouldn't be safe to do yours. So I'm going to put you back on that elevator, set for the lobby, and go back to enjoying the one night off I've had in months in order to let a bunch of people who make the decisions to send me to do their dirty work pat me on the back for a job well done."

"Were you there?" she asked, unable to stop herself. She could feel his breath fall against her skin, his eyes still locked on hers. She couldn't look away; she couldn't move, save for the rise and fall of her chest that had become shallower the more he'd laid out the nature of the situation in which they found themselves.


His eyes warned her, but his tone was more pleading than anything else. He shook his head and sighed, internally making a decision. Finally, meeting her eyes once again, he gave a curt nod in answer to her question.


He grimaced almost imperceptibly. His gaze was still distanced, but now he looked pained about the effort it was taking to keep the separation. "You really should go."

"You really don't want to talk to me?"

He loosened his grip and took a step back, as if it might help him to retain his resolve. "I don't have the luxury to do everything I might want to do. And being interviewed isn't how I would choose to spend a couple of hours alone in a room with you, either, whether I was allowed to grant one or not," he admitted, leaving no room for question as to what activities he preferred to partake in.

Her breath caught. "But you aren't making me leave?"

His reaction to her question was clearly surprise. She'd taken him off-guard, a feat that even she was proud of. Not only had he been unshakable back when she'd known him in school, but since then he'd had training to break him down and make him damn near invincible. "As long as you're fine with not talking," he finally acquiesced.

She took a step forward. She felt the brazen swell of impulsivity rise up from her core, not completely sure if she was still chasing a story or if a story was now chasing her. Staying with him, under the pretense of what the thickness in the air between them promised to be an intense sexual encounter could only go two ways. He could cave, in a weak moment post-coital, giving her the interview of a lifetime, or she could just be prostrating herself for her career fruitlessly; the only benefit a much-needed orgasm after many months of celibacy due to her hectic schedule and dedication to her job. At any rate, her job owed her one, and best case scenario, this was killing two birds with one stone. To further grease her conscience's wheels, he wasn't a stranger. She knew him, no matter what he argued. She'd kissed him before. Even though he insisted he wasn't the same man she remembered, she would contest that those were the same lips that had pressed against hers at the tender age of sixteen, the same pair that had spoken of a desire to repeat the action as he walked out of her life, at the time she thought, forever.

"No talking at all?" she raised an eyebrow, playful in nature. She took another magnetized step toward him, her eyes flickering from his eyes to his lips. Yes, those were the same lips she'd known, if briefly. In a moment, they'd be against hers after more than a decade, and they'd cover much more territory tonight. She could practically taste him in anticipation and shivered in delight at the sensation.

He noticed her distraction, and the corner of his mouth turned up. "As a matter of national security," he whispered in her ear conspiratorially, "try to bite down on something instead of screaming out my name. You never know who's listening."

Heat swirled around her stomach and shot out like a starburst in all directions at the heady, delicious tone of his voice. Her imagination flashed on his suggestion, and she swallowed, hard.

Words, for all the eloquent ones she had memorized in her lifetime, failed her. There was no witty comeback; there was nothing she could come up with to put him in his place. After all, she wasn't disgusted with the notion, though she wasn't quite ready to voice the literal words to tell him to take her and do whatever he wanted to her. It took her longer than five minutes to get to that point in a relationship, normally. In lieu of all her usual avenues, she decided the best way to wipe the smirk of self-satisfaction off his face was to turn her chin just a fraction of an inch in order to brush her lips against his with enough pressure that he knew she wasn't ready to back down. She had no interest in tucking her tail between her legs and attempting to use coffee as a mollifier until the burning in her stomach subsided, just so she could finish her given assignment. And maybe, just maybe, she was keen on showing him that she wasn't quite the girl he remembered either.

His arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her up nearly off her feet and into his body. His mouth dipped down just below her ear, dragging it roughly over her skin as she arched her neck and pressed her cheek into his shoulder. Maybe words were overrated anyhow.

Her fingers dug into the material that covered his shoulders as his hand had already slipped into the front of her suit jacket, his fingers grazing her stomach through the silk camisole she'd opted for, given the heat outside and the close quarters she'd grown used to in the bullpen. She hadn't counted on that heat coming from inside her, threatening to flare so quickly that her clothes might melt onto her skin. She pushed away from him, just far enough to yank at the fastening of her garment, desperate to rid herself of it.

"Let me," he soothed, his fingers brushing against hers, slipping first one button through its hole, then another. In one fluid motion, his hands ran up her arms, over her flushed chest, and under the jacket at her shoulders, shifting it down so it fell from its own weight behind her onto the floor, like the first volunteered casualty of their evening.

"Thank you," she whispered, only truly able to focus on the fact that while her jacket was off, she was no cooler after his hands sliding over her body. She didn't have time to do anything about her discomfort, though, as his hand cupped her chin, angling her up toward him, as he took her lips with his, readying her without her knowing what was coming next. Before she could truly begin to kiss him back with the fervor he was showing, his intensity provoking shivers down her spine like a damn romance novel, he scooped her up and nuzzled her neck under her hairline as he moved them the few feet to the bed that had been made to regulation that morning. He leaned over her after he sat her down just shy of the pillow and gave her a soft, lingering kiss. As he pulled away, he stared intently into her eyes, as if waiting for her to say something. She wasn't sure if he was asking permission to join her or if maybe he had just gotten something out of his system and now was taking the opportunity to regroup. Her eyes half closed as her body nearly got the opportunity to find stasis—her heart slowing a few beats a minute, the tingling of her skin down to a hum. When she lifted her lids again, she witnessed him removing his own dress jacket, slinging it across the foot of the bed. He started unbuttoning the dress shirt once his tie was loosened and pulled off. At no time did his eyes leave her, as if his mission was to guard her as she sat in wait on the bed.

"This is it," he said simply, kicking his shoes under the bed and standing before her with his shirt hanging open around his torso. She licked her lip, surprised that her mouth hadn't gone completely dry while watching as his pants slid to the ground.

"What?" she blinked, tearing her eyes off his chest to focus on his face. He smirked again as he caught her in appreciation.

"If you want to leave," he explained, though she couldn't imagine she appeared anxious to escape at the moment. "Once I join you, I don't plan on letting you go until I'm done. And I don't know if you know much about our training, but it's all about full dedication to the task at hand."

Her body responded to his words in ways that she felt almost betrayed by. The knot in her stomach tightened, her heartbeat took off like a shot, her nipples tightened and the heat that had plagued her progressed to emancipating moisture. Without words, once again, she felt that she was helpless to convey her willingness for him to join her in any better way than to simply show him.

"I'm not in a hurry," she assured him as she moved to pull the zipper down on the side of her skirt. He leaned his long body over her, easing his way down onto her.

"That's a girl," he said against her lips, claiming them with his own. She wasn't buying the feeling of contentment he was giving off, simply at feeling the pressure of her mouth on his, even as his tongue danced across her lower lip, gaining entrance to further dizzy her mind. His hand was on hers, still at her hip, where her skirt was now open, but continuing to cover her much too modestly. It seemed so slow next to the frenzied pace from which they'd gone from supposed strangers in a hallway to half naked on his bed. Now that he had her where he wanted her, away from anything resembling reality, time could cease to exist, if for a while.

That's not to say that she couldn't have prompted him to move faster. She knew methods to hasten a man's path to the given eventualities of pleasure. Adjusting her rhythms, pulling him along with her; it could be easy. But as he eased up, kissing her jaw lightly, more times than she could count before sliding his hands down the sides of her breasts, she felt her eyelids flutter involuntarily, signaling her willingness to allow him to set the pace. It was slow, agonizingly so, the antithesis of torture. Her hands found little play in his short hair, and after tracing the line from his temple down to his jaw, she lifted her hands up lazily over her own head, watching with intent as his lips easily found the protrusion through her thin, silk top. The first nip of his mouth connected with her nervous system, her eyes flashing as a series of pleasurable shocks responded throughout her body. He replicated the action, the effect serving to build on the first instance, over and over until she was nearly on the brink of achieving some otherworldly state. Satisfied with driving her to the brink while bucking her hips underneath him and giving soft moans, he moved to her other side, which he found only to be even more sensitive to his touch.

His fingertips easily found the hem of her shirt, and just at the moment she was ready to cry out for him not to stop, he broke contact to slide the shirt up her torso, evoking a groan from deep in her throat as he tossed the silk shell onto the floor. He pressed his bare torso against hers, a fresh relief for them both. "Are you in a hurry?" he asked in her ear, his smile audible for a moment before he took to the outer edge lightly with his teeth.

Before she could answer, he once again claimed her lips, while one hand snaked into her hair, up from the back of her neck, guiding her along. His other hand defected, traveling south, too eager to knead the soft curves of her bare breasts. They were still sensitized from his earlier attention and he swallowed the noises she made as he rolled a hardened peak between this thumb and forefinger.

"If you keep that up," she managed once his mouth was on her collarbone, her voice breathy from dueling with a lack of control over her breath, "It won't be my choice how fast I'm going."

This stilled him. He didn't take his hands off of her, but his head came level once again with hers. He looked her dead in the eyes, not just to speak to her, but to make sure she heard him. "It's a fucking tragedy that you think as soon as you climax it's over. A woman's body," he kissed her, open-mouthed and hot, his tongue tasting her for just a moment, "yours in particular, is truly an instrument of passion. I'm going to make you come until you can't come anymore."

If his mouth against her chest had driven her to the breaking point, or primed her in any way, the words he just spoke, and the husky tone with which he delivered them—they were enough to make her shoot off into the stratosphere with the accompaniment of any feather-light touch. Her hands came to his face, his jaw strong and flexing as she kissed him harder than she would have normally kissed anyone. Her whole body arched up, into him, ready to melt into him, aching to fuse at any juncture.

He accepted the effect of his words, not willing to end his build up so soon, but granting her the first of her many peaks, her fingernails digging hard into the muscled flesh of his hips as he used his thumb to brush against her under her panties. He heard her gasp and watched as her eyes began to close. He nudged her cheek with his nose before seeking out her lips again, refocusing her eyes on him as she rode out the swell of pleasure. Something told him that this blip, this surge of desire, normally would have been classified as a completed transaction; a success in her eyes. He bided his time, waiting until he felt her aftershocks underneath him, signaling her body once again falling back together before he yanked down her skirt and panties in one motion, moving with fluidity despite his haste, attaching his mouth to her other lips. The heat of his mouth against her already red-hot skin, the velvety softness of his tongue moving with precision over her, just inside of her—it bypassed her need to build back up to a climax and her body responded as if short-circuited. It was instantaneous, seemingly effortless, as she tried to curl her body off the mattress toward his head, her fingers white from gripping the sheets on either side of her thighs. She couldn't focus on his face or the sight of him coaxing her past something that she would normally classify as satisfactory to downright bone-shattering as his tongue continued to lave her. He was relentless, not slowing or pausing, repeating the same skilled motions over and over again until he was satisfied with her progress. She grabbed the pillow from over her head and followed his earlier instruction, doing her best to muffle the sounds he evoked from her.

Sometime later, after they'd both reached the point of exhaustion, she opened her eyes, aware that her body was curled against a very solid, warm mass of trained muscles and inviting skin. She ran her hand down, gliding along his body, down the natural lines sculpted by hard work.

"After all that, you're ready for more?" he murmured, his lips brushing against her temple. Her hair had long fallen out of their accessories, unable to take the drag of her head against the sheets or his chest. Long silky strands of brown clung to his chin, now in need of a closer shave. "Because honestly, even I need some time to regroup after that."

"I wasn't," she began, then it dawned on her that she had no idea how long they'd been up there—or how fast she was going to have to run to make it to her designated seat, if that was even an option. She suddenly had a wave of nostalgia from her school years, as if she'd overslept for an exam.

"A few inches further south and you're liable to get me going again," he advised.

She pushed her spent body up to search for a clock, or a watch, or a cell phone—anything that would clue her in.

"Hey, relax," he put his hands on her arms, rubbing up and down gently from her elbow to her shoulder.

"I'm sorry, it's just, I'm supposed to be," she sighed and laid back down against the pillow, her eyes closing but not for sleep. "I can't believe I did this."

He propped up on one arm, looking at her. Truth be told, just the sight of her, next to him, naked against the stark white sheets, even in her state of limbo, it was enough to encourage him to keep her there, and worse to ask her to wait for him. At best he had a few more minutes with her like this, but it was going to have to be enough that these were a few minutes more than he ever should have gotten to share with her. Luckily, keeping his emotions stifled and his expression blank was a skill he'd mastered.

"Didn't get what you were after?" he inquired, trying to keep his tone neutral.

She instantly softened, her eyes opening to show remorse and her hand reaching to touch his chest gently. "God, no, I didn't mean… well, I just didn't," she bit her lower lip, still swollen from repeated contact with his body. So much of his body. "I never expected this," she said at last.

"Well, I was promised a celebration," he smiled, though it faded quickly as he watched her face remained troubled. She was caught in a haze of thought, taking her out of the moment, away from the enjoyment of lying naked next to him in the bed.

"You're right, I was looking for a story," she admitted softly, as if she should be ashamed of her actions.

"And at first, I was just trying to deflect you," he acknowledged. "I was almost positive you didn't recognize me, and if you did, I thought maybe you'd assume you were wrong. After all, the guy you knew wasn't really the kind of guy they recruit for my type of operations."

"You knew who I was?" her blue eyes lit up though her brow furrowed.

He let out a breathy chuckle and ran two fingers down her cheek. "A brassy brunette with chops, trying to put me in my place to get her way? Who else could it have been?"

She smiled in acceptance of his compliment. "You weren't supposed to, I mean, I shouldn't even be here, right?" she assumed, already mentally trying to remember where her clothes had been discarded—piece by piece, each in a haze of passion—knowing that the inevitable would soon occur. She would have to leave and go back to her life as it had been before she saw him in that hallway. He would go back to virtual anonymity, and this night would become little more than a dream for both of them.

"I'd like to say that my free time was my own, but honestly, it would have been considered safer if I'd gotten a hooker."

She opened her mouth to speak, but he brushed his thumb over her lips.

"It's not prudent for me to have people I care about in my life, is all I meant by that. I didn't mean to offend your delicate sensibilities. Of course, I don't care to kick you out of my bed either, but there's not much I can do about that."

She took his hand in hers and pressed it to her mouth, then her cheek. "You aren't going to give me a line about how this has to be a one-night stand for my own safety, are you? Because it is what it is; I don't need you to qualify it."

"It's not a brush-off. Believe me, after what we've done," he looked out the small, high window, noting that it would be dawn soon. They didn't have much time left at all. There was so much he wanted to tell her, but so little he knew he could. It was a balance between leaving her happy and satisfied and betraying his training and his team, least of all his country. "There are those who would take any piece of personal information in order to achieve even the smallest amount of vengeance. My job doesn't lend itself to complications. You don't have to be sorry for me; it's something I've chosen. I'm good at what I do, and my team is the best in the world. But it doesn't allow me to give you my number or promise to look you up next time I'm in town. I never know where I'll be, and I would never risk your life for any reason. I couldn't focus if I thought I'd put you in danger. I hope I didn't jeopardize your career," he smiled impishly, though clearly not sorry about his actions last night. He'd most definitely distracted her from her task at hand, as well as her assigned duties. Not that she couldn't watch the President's address on any number of social media sites later—her only loss was not having been in the room to raise her hand and hope for a direct question and answer opportunity.

"No. I mean, I do strive to be slightly more professional than losing my underwear on assignment, but," she teased, trying to lighten the moment. She was lying in bed with a national hero, after all, anonymous to everyone except her.

"At least tell me I'm the first to have that effect on you," he smiled, running his open hand down her chest, slowing to palm the side of her breast.

"It was definitely a night for the record books," she assured him, feeling her eyes want to close from the light pressure he was applying to her body. "We don't have any time left, do we?"

"That depends," he said, kissing her while holding her gaze. He pulled on her bottom lip with his teeth, letting it slide out with a slight pop. "What are your views on quickies?"

"Oh, hell, I've already missed my chance to speak with the President, so what's five more minutes?" she murmured against his skin, as he was already in the process of starting without her.

"You know, I could arrange a meeting with the President for you. After all, he did say if there was anything he could do for us, just to let him know."

She raised an eyebrow, surprised at the gesture. The time with him had been worth her setback—she wasn't expecting to get preferential treatment as well. "Well, since I can't thank you later, I guess I should make sure you're well aware of my gratitude now," she said with all seriousness, taking her hand to push against his chest so he landed easily on his back, the mattress giving a slight bounce under them. He smiled as he watched her move over his body and slid his hands behind his head in preparation for the show she was about to offer.

She gave him one last wicked glance. "Do you have a pillow ready?"

He smiled at her, pulling it from under his head, holding it out to the side in one hand. "I'm ready. Show me what you got, Gilmore."

She set about making their last moments ones he could carry around with him, without a doubt that she'd been glad that fate had joined them for even one evening. If it had to be enough to last a lifetime; she would simply have to give her all to assure the memory worthy of keeping him warm on all the nights he would spend in the name of sacrificing for his country.

A few minutes later, he sat up, her legs still around his waist, his body still connected to hers. Their breath was synchronized, hard and fast, as they faced one another and clung to the feeling of euphoria as it ebbed away. The moment she shifted he'd no longer be inside of her, and despite the fact she'd satisfied him yet again by offering him her whole body, he found that the only way he could let her go was out of duty. Most of the time his job was clear-cut, despite its rigorous and dangerous nature. Most of the time, he wasn't faced with saying goodbye to her. He kissed her again, just because he could—just because she was tangible and, for the moment anyhow, his. She returned the gesture willingly, her full compliance giving the impression that it was the most natural thing in the world for her.

"You know, it figures," she sighed softly as she rested her head flush against his chest.

"What's that?" he asked, absently stroking her hair down her back.

"The one time I actually want the guy to call after one of these things, and officially he doesn't even exist."

He laughed at her joke, but it was mostly in effort to mask the ache her words solicited. "If I could call anyone," he began, not needing to finish the sentiment.

She gave him one last kiss, chaste and quick, before standing up, easing off him slowly. She deftly plucked up the fabric that had grown wrinkled by the way it'd been hastily deposited hours earlier and began shrugging them on. Once she was mostly buttoned and zipped, she looked at him, still naked on the edge of the bed, the sheets pooled around him. "Maybe in another ten years, yeah?"

He stood up. If he had to give her the kiss off, he was going to do it properly. He stepped to her, wrapping one arm around her waist, cradling the back of her head with the other hand. She pushed up on her tiptoes, still not having pulled her high heels back on, surrendering herself one last time.

They drifted apart, slowly, easing their arms down the other's, their bodies rocking back gently until they were standing on their own ground without the other's support.

"I'll get dressed. Just walk beside me, and if we see anyone, don't make eye contact. I can handle any questions later. Okay?"

She nodded, sitting back on the edge of the bed to slide her shoes onto her feet as he dressed quickly in less formal clothes than he'd sported the night before. She sat, watching him, trying to seal the time they spent together in a separate chamber of her mind. It didn't have to have a bearing on any part of her, and yet, she knew better. What had transpired between these walls didn't change their circumstances, but it had affected her. It had changed her expectations, to be sure. She could already feel the ache forming from the void he couldn't fill.

"Will you be okay?" she asked quietly, not wanting him to give her the answer she wanted to hear.

He paused, now dressed. "You missed a button," he said, moving to her. "Here," he offered, performing the intimate task of providing the finishing touch.

"Will you?" she asked again, her courage waning.

He saw all the worry, the weight that came along with caring for someone who repeatedly put themselves in harm's way. He'd wanted to protect her from that; hell, he'd wanted to protect himself from all that. "You don't need to worry about me. I have something to look forward to. And I'm in good hands. Live your life. I might not exist in conventional ways, but eventually, if I'm able, I'll make that call."

"You better," she breathed, resting her forehead against his for a moment, sharing one last breath with him. "You'd be worth waiting for. Off the record, of course."

"That's my girl," he reiterated, as she separated herself from him, grabbing her weighted down bag. "This way out."

She followed him out of the room, one she would never forget due solely to what transpired there, but would never able to find her way back to. He led her through a maze of the building, to the elevator, making her realize that the only thing she'd been focusing on last night was him and the way he'd commanded her. Once in the elevator, he pressed the button for the lobby, where she should was supposed to stay until her job was completed, and stepped to the side opposite her. The door opened once they got to the ground floor, allowing someone to step on, a man in uniform, who didn't give either of them a glance as they stood on their sides of the lift. She took her leave just before the doors closed, not looking back to see that he watched her until the doors closed, blocking her from his view. He remained in the elevator and rode back up to get ready to leave once again with his team, thankful for his training to eschew sleep for prolonged periods when necessary. It seemed the only part of being with her that he'd been prepared for.