Category: H/N, romance, humour, fluff
Disclaimer: Belongs all to the BBC and not to me
A/N: As usual very nervous about this, since English still isn't my native language. Hope you like it and since I have *no* idea where this came from, I also have no idea where it is going. But wherever it is, I hope it will be fun :) Huge thanks to Ann1119. For everything.
She's looking upset. And offended. Which puzzles you, because you haven't said anything that could even remotely be interpreted as either upsetting or offending. Which in fact means, you haven't spoken a single word for the past hour, mainly due to the fact that it was the written word that claimed your attention for the last sixty minutes. And by written word you mean, basically, struggling with things like intracranial haemorrhage.
Well, not you as a whole, of course - your fingers to be more precise.
You wonder how you can make an tiny incision with a scalpel on a millimetre-scale even at four in the morning without coffee or effort, yet seem to be unable to hit a button that is at least a square-*centimetre* big, not to mention clearly labelled with an unmissable black "a". Maybe it's because you'd rather do a PM at four in the morning than type the report that goes with it at nine in the evening. Hypothetically speaking. You can think of other things you'd rather do at both times of night actually, but you don't allow your mind to go there.
For various reasons.
One of which is sitting just a few feet away.
Instead you try to figure out if *not* saying a single word for an hour might be considered upsetting or offending in the nikkiverse. After a minute of looking inquiringly over the rim of your screen at her frowning face, you decide there is no way you can solve this puzzle on your own.
One word. And a full stop. You could *hear* that full stop. Which translates as: Yes, something is wrong, but if you don't know what it is, than that is even more wrong and I am even more upset now and won't tell you why, because you should have known what is wrong in the first place, so figure it out on your own and preferably soon or I will be even more upset still.
Suddenly, typing intracranial haemorrhage with a blindfold and on an unmarked keyboard sounds like a far more attractive and promising challenge in comparison. As does wielding a scalpel at four in the morning.
You scan her desk for any sharp items with potentially good flight qualities and only on deciding that there is nothing that could inflict serious bodily harm, you try again.
"Sure? You seem a bit on edge..."
Two full stops. Both of them, well... *full* actually. Of anger. She doesn't look up, but the frown deepens. You are still not sure if this has anything to do with you, but you rewind to the beginning of the day and fast-forward, just to be sure. Crime-scene this morning? That was you and Leo. Lunch? That was all three of you and you were talking shop with Leo most of the time. The PM after lunch? That was just you and Zak. The office after that? That was just you, because now it was *her* out and about going to investigate a suspicious death in Battersea. When she came back an hour ago? You were silent, so...
"How was your day, by the way?"
Problem solved. Very smoothly...
But why is she adding a glare to the frown now?
Oh, you are joking...
You are now faced with a new challenge: Does it mean "please ask again, because really I do want to talk about it, but need to be sure you really want to know and are really willing to listen to me" or simply "bugger off, Harry, and leave me alone." She is looking at you now, her eyes full of anger, but you have a hard time deciphering its meaning or source. Which is unsettling, because you usually pride yourself in being able to read her quite well. So what now? Attack? Retreat? Diversion?
"Coffee?" You smile at her and get up.
She doesn't give you a smile, but a sharp nod and growls her approval. You leave the room in search of caffeine and once you successfully obtained two mugs of coffee, you make your way back through the empty hallway. Or almost empty. You are so preoccupied, that you only notice Leo a second before actually bumping into him. You grind to a stop, careful not to spill any coffee. Leo grins at you.
"Mind somewhere else?"
"In the office actually."
Leo is sliding his left arm in slow-motion into his jacket, then repeats the procedure with his right arm. You wonder if he ever did any breakdancing in the 80ies, but decide that is highly unlikely. He might have bought the jacket in that particular decade, though...
He looks at you inquiringly.
"Where in the office is your mind precisely right now?"
"Well, one part obviously somewhere in the middle of the Slater-report..."
"... and the other?"
Leo is raising an eyebrow, but by the tone of his voice you can tell that he already knows. You hate it when he does and at the same time admire his ability to notice everything that is going on, how insignificant it might seem. You sigh.
"She is angry."
"What did you do?"
Before you can raise your arms in a defensive and angry gesture, you fortunately remember that you are holding two mugs of steaming coffee. Not a good idea to express your feelings in any kind of spontaneous physical movement. So instead of your arms you raise your voice and give Leo an indignant look.
"Not every fit of anger on her part is the result of misbehaviour on my part. Not this one anyway. I didn't even see much of her until now, so in no way can it be anything I did or said today."
Leo is opening his mouth, but you pre-empt him: "Or yesterday, if that is what you are suggesting." Leo shrugs and suggests the obvious.
"Why don't you just ask her."
"What did she say?"
"What did she *say*, Harry."
Leo sighs. "How am I supposed to offer advice, if you don't tell me what she said?"
"I just did. She said: Don't ask."
Now Leo looks as puzzled as you did just a few minutes back and it gives you grim satisfaction to see that even mighty Professor Dalton is sometimes at a loss when it comes to random female behaviour in general and Nikki-behaviour in particular.
Leo gestures at the coffee. "But whatever it might be, you think bribery will help?"
"I am ashamed to admit it, but yessss... only thing I can think of. Anyway..."
You try to shrug it off. "It's probably nothing serious."
Leo is zipping up his jacket and pats your shoulder.
"I am sure. I'm off now, Janet is waiting. She has set her mind on going for a midnight walk and watching the skies tonight."
You want to make a joke, but instead give a slow nod, as a piece of information buried somewhere in the back of your head, re-emerges slowly.
"Ah...watching the P...erseids presumably?"
Leo looks impressed. "Very good, Dr. Cunningham, I didn't know that astronomy was among your fields of expertise."
"I am a man of many talents, Professor Dalton." You grin and decide to ignore the snort-slash-laugh that follows this revelation and instead set yourself and the coffee back in motion. A little idea is starting to form in your head.
A little idea you rather start to like.
After all, the world would be a dull place without little ideas.
Now where have you heard that one before?