AN: Well, hello everyone! Happy New Year! I thought I'd post a little something to commemorate the start of 2012. This is set during episode 2x03, A Suitable Vengeance, but no spoilers.

I could say more, but I'll let you get on with it. Enjoy, and have a wonderful New Year! Xx

As she descends the stairs she takes stock of the palatial hallway; the sheer magnitude of it makes her halt on the lower landing. Virtually the entire room is panelled in mahogany, as are the stairs and banister. She trails attentive fingers over a short stretch of banister. There is not one speck of dust on it. Shaking her head and smiling to herself, she looks down and straightens her clothes. It's not her, and she doesn't feel comfortable in the slightest: this is as dressy as she gets, and it's still not dressy enough. She's so busy scrutinising herself that she doesn't notice him adjusting his cufflinks by the door to the dining room.

He sees her before she sees him, and he does at least a quadruple take. His arms drop back to his sides, and he regards her carefully.

"Havers..." he manages, earning her notice for the first time in minutes. "You look – "

"I know I look ridiculous, alright, so you don't need to tell me. It's this bloody dress, I never wear – "

"Beautiful." He says, finally managing to cut off her fast paced ramblings. "I was going to say you look beautiful." His face is calm, a glimmer of amazement in his eyes, a glimmer of something there that wasn't there before. She reddens considerably and looks down, unable to meet his eyes any longer.

She fiddles with something in her hands, something he's not noticed before now. She twists a silver chain around her fingers until it cuts in, then lets it loosen again.

"Are you punishing your fingers for a specific reason?" He queries as playfully as he can.

"Oh, no, it's just my bracelet. I can't do it up."

"May I?" He offers, taking one long stride towards her before halting uncertainty. She does that endearing half nod-half shrug she's known to do, and he takes the bracelet from her, fastening it around her wrist tenderly. His fingers trace the little nub of bone in her wrist and he smiles lightly at the feel of her skin. Touching her bare flesh is not something he often has cause to do; his points of contact are usually her lower back and her elbow, always guiding, always purposeful.

"There." He announces, pulling back and examining his handiwork. His eyes travel up from her wrist to the impossibly green pools of her eyes. "Perfect." He says with a slow smile. She chooses to believe he's referring to the bracelet; she can't quite imagine it pertains to anything else about her, so she entirely misses his meaning. He's talking about all of her, as a whole. One complete person he thinks is perfect. Not because she hasn't any faults, but because her faults make her who she is, and to him, the person she is is perfect.

"Thank you." Responds his sergeant, his friend, and he recognises the vulnerability in her. She is out of her comfort zone, and this is down to him. She is here because he has asked it of her, and he appreciates her all the more for coming.

"Thank you." He replies, and she seems to understand his meaning with just that one generic, multi-purpose phrase.

She smiles at him then, part cheekily and part wearily. "Yeah, well, don't expect it all the time, Sir."