A/N: This is my first full-length Lyon's Den fic based loosely on a drabble I wrote a little while ago for a dear friend. I realise it's is a very old show and there probably aren't a lot of fans out there, but after watching it for the first time I completely fell in love with these characters and had to write it. It takes place directly after episode 1x06 "Ex" and will probably be around seven chapters long. I hope you enjoy reading it and I would be over the moon if you could review it too.
Chapter 1 - Separate Ways
"Tell me you're mine."
Ariel Saxon looked up at the ceiling and sighed as she absent-mindedly played with the gold necklace she had around her neck. The necklace was the only thing she was wearing under the sheets of Grant Rashton's king-sized bed while Grant himself lay fast asleep next to her.
It was rare that they spent the night together at his place, but at the moment she wasn't thinking about that and she wasn't reliving the pleasures of the night she'd spent with him, either. All she could think about was the moment when he'd whispered four words in her ear: "Tell me you're mine." After he'd said it twice and she had murmured back what he wanted to hear, he finished and rolled off the top of her, leaving her unsatisfied and now restless. She couldn't stop thinking about the conversation she'd had with George Riley, and particularly what he'd said about Willow Peterson.
"What're you doing?" Grant murmured. Ariel had tried to be quiet, but apparently she had woken him as she'd risen from her side of the bed and started to get dressed. It probably hadn't helped matters that she'd tripped over her own high heels while she'd been slipping her underwear back on.
"I'm going home," Ariel replied calmly, "I need to take care of a few things."
"At...one in the morning?" Grant queried after glancing at his clock, "What could you possibly need to take care of at one in the morning?"
"Things that I should be taking care of when I'm busy spying on Jack Turner," Ariel replied as she pulled her skirt on, "I'll see you at the office."
"That's if Jack doesn't ask for you on a case again," Grant muttered, turning over onto his stomach in bed.
"I thought you said me working with Jack was a good thing," Ariel commented, "That I should make him trust me."
"Yeah, I know. But you don't have to go getting too close to him," Grant replied, "I don't want you bailing on me."
"I've known him longer than I've known you," Ariel pointed out, by now fully dressed and making her way out of the door, "We're already close."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Grant queried, calling after Ariel when she didn't answer him, "Hey! Listen, I'm going to make dinner reservations for us tonight. We'll go someplace real nice."
"Great," Ariel replied, not sounding particularly enthusiastic.
"You know I saw a woman go up to Jack's office last night when I was leaving," Grant added, "Might be worth looking into that."
"Got it," Ariel called over her shoulder nonchalantly. Grant's last comment did, however, cause her to furrow her brow slightly as she walked through the hallway and let herself out through the front door.
Ariel arrived at work early the following morning to purposefully avoid Grant and kept herself busy by catching up on her paperwork. Focusing on work made it a little bit easier for her to forget about Grant and Willow Peterson, but she found her mind kept drifting instead to the mysterious woman who had supposedly gone up to Jack's office late in the day. She wanted to ask him about it next time she saw him, but she knew that if she did she would have to tell Grant, and it was a lot easier to avoid doing that if she remained completely ignorant on the matter. She was so lost in her own thoughts that the phone in her office had to ring three or four times before she noticed it. It turned out to be Jack's new secretary, Daphne, and apparently Grant's prediction had been right on the money: Jack had requested her to work with him on a case.
It wasn't long before Ariel was standing in front of a desk behind which sat Daphne herself, who greeted her with such a tiny smile that Ariel could have sworn she'd have missed it had she been blinking at the time. Ariel smiled back and waited patiently as Daphne informed Jack that she was there and then ushered her inside.
"It really is nice in here," Ariel remarked, glancing around what was once Daniel Barrington's office, "It's a shame that the atmosphere isn't the best after what happened."
"Hey, Ariel," Jack said with a smile infinitely warmer than Daphne's. He walked around his desk and made his way over towards Ariel, motioning for her to sit down in one of the armchairs. Ariel placed her bag on the floor and sat herself down, all the while looking at Jack slightly suspiciously.
"It's a little hard to relax in here," Jack admitted as he took a seat opposite his friend, "But you're right, it is a nice office. Hey, thanks for agreeing to work with me on this."
"Of course. I've read through the file already but there were a few things I wanted to..." Ariel started to say before she interrupted herself, "OK, Jack, who is she?"
"I'm sorry?" Jack queried, smiling again and tilting his head slightly at Ariel.
"You've got that look on your face. I couldn't place it at first, but I remember now," Ariel replied, "It's the same look you used to get at college the morning after you'd scored with a girl. So, come on, tell me. Who is she?"
"Wow. Ariel Saxon, I cannot believe you," Jack said with a gentle laugh, "I didn't score with a girl. But there may have been...well, Jennifer's back in town."
"Jennifer? Your ex-fiancée?" Ariel enquired, "Are you getting back together?"
"Maybe," Jack replied, smiling mischievously, "I don't know. It's kind of a long story, but she's back here in D.C. and we ended up on opposite sides of the same case and she helped me out with something. Then afterwards she came to see me and we ended up...let's say reliving old times."
"You slept with her?" Ariel asked, arching an eyebrow.
"No, no. I don't even know how it happened. One minute she was talking about wanting her garlic press back and the next I...I kissed her," Jack explained, "Or she kissed me, I'm not sure."
"And how did you leave things?" Ariel asked, "Come on, Jack. You can't leave me hanging here."
"She left without saying a lot. I think we were both kind of surprised, but I...I don't know, Ariel. I've got a good feeling about this," Jack commented before he laughed again, "God, this is weird. Talking to you about my love life makes me feel like I'm back in college."
"Except now you can't ask me if the girl you like has been talking about you," Ariel remarked with a smile, "We were a good team back in college."
"Oh, absolutely," Jack agreed, "You told me which girls were interested, I told you which guys were assholes."
"I dated a lot of assholes," Ariel commented, "I sure knew how to pick 'em."
"You always deserved a lot better than the guys you dated," Jack said softly, "And how about now? Come on, it's your turn to share."
"There's not a whole lot to tell. I've had short relationships, but nothing serious for a while," Ariel lied before quickly changing the subject, "Do you remember how everyone at Yale used to think we were dating?"
"Do I?" Jack replied with a grin, "I think Laura was convinced we were going to get married someday."
"I just hope I didn't cost you any dates," Ariel teased.
"Same here," Jack replied, "But it doesn't matter if you did. I wouldn't trade our friendship for a few dates."
"Me neither," Ariel added. She exchanged a warm smile with Jack just before the comfortable silence between them was interrupted by the sound of Ariel's phone. She pulled it out of her bag and flipped it open to read the message that had just come in from Grant. He had apparently booked a table for dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in Georgetown and was giving instructions for her to meet him there in case they didn't end up seeing each other during the day.
"Is everything OK?" Jack asked, having noticed Ariel press her lips together while she was reading the message.
"Yeah," Ariel replied, "Sorry. It was nothing important."
"Alright. So, now that we've got the subject of Jennifer out of the way and before we go meet with our new client," Jack said, "What was it that you wanted to ask me about the case?"
Ariel smiled, grateful that Jack hadn't pursued the subject any further, and stood up with the file in her hands to show him which parts she was referring to. A short while later, when Jeff Fineman appeared to deliver some documents for Jack, he caught a glimpse through the slightly open door of the office of Ariel sitting perched on the arm of Jack's chair before Daphne ushered him away.
"You should be thankful that we don't go to karaoke bars anymore," Ariel remarked, shaking her head at her friend and colleague as they made their way through the entrance hall of Lyon, LaCrosse and Levine. Their meeting with their new client had run late and they had both returned to pick up their things before going home.
"Oh, come on," Jack remarked, "You have a great voice. Me, on the other hand..."
Jack pulled a slight face, not deeming it necessary to elaborate further. When they had visited karaoke bars in college he had always remained in the audience, but he remembered particularly well the rendition that Ariel had given one night of Eternal Flame by The Bangles. As Ariel protested that she was certain he wasn't that bad, Jack felt his phone ring in his pocket and he pulled it out to answer it.
"Jack Turner," he said, pausing and then exchanging a look with Ariel as he added, "Hey, Jennifer. I was going to call you tonight."
Ariel smiled and fell silent to allow Jack to take his phone call. She didn't really know Jennifer well enough to make any judgements about her, but she knew that this was the happiest she had seen Jack in a while and it was a nice change to see him smiling so often.
"You wouldn't have been able to reach me," Jennifer's voice replied, "I'm at the airport waiting for a plane to Philadelphia."
"OK..." Jack said, looking momentarily puzzled, "What's in Philadelphia?"
"Hopefully, the possibility of running for a seat in Congress. I've got a meeting with someone from the DNC," Jennifer explained, "I just thought I'd give you a call since I didn't get a chance to say goodbye."
"Wow. I thought you said I was the one who had to worry about turning into my father," Jack remarked, trying his best to keep his tone light, "So I guess I'll see you when you get back? I thought we could get some coffee and talk."
Jack fell silent and it was a few seconds before Jennifer said anything, either. All Ariel had to do was look at Jack's face to feel a knot forming in her stomach.
"Jack, I hope you didn't get the wrong impression last night," Jennifer said calmly, "Seeing you again, working with you again...I don't know, I guess we got caught up in the moment. But we broke up for a reason, you know that. We live separate lives now."
"No, of course," Jack replied immediately, "I wasn't...you're right, I think we just got caught up in the moment. We know it would never work out between us."
"I'm glad we ran into each other again, though," Jennifer offered, "I spent so much time hating you and it's good to know that we can still be civilised around each other. Maybe someday we could even be friends."
"Yeah," Jack said, having found himself at a slight loss for words, "Good luck in Philadelphia, by the way."
"I'm sorry, Jack," Ariel said softly, placing her hand on Jack's arm as he snapped his phone shut and slipped it back into his pocket. Jack remained silent, stuffed his hands into the pocket of his jacket and shrugged, producing a small smile that somehow managed to be one of the saddest things Ariel had ever seen.
"Are you doing anything tonight?" Ariel asked, "Why don't we go get a drink? Well, you can get a drink, and I'll sit next to you at the bar with my soda. Play your cards right and I might even let you take me to a karaoke bar."
"Yeah, OK," Jack said, his smile a little broader this time, "I think tonight I could use a drink."
A short while later, Ariel was doing her best to get a few laughs out of Jack as they both walked away from Lyon, LaCrosse and Levine in the direction of the nearest bar they could find. Meanwhile, at an Italian restaurant in Georgetown, Grant Rashton was sitting alone at a table for two, insisting to the waiters that he was waiting for someone and getting progressively more irritated by the fact that Ariel wasn't answering her phone.