Spoilers: Through Baby Blue
Disclaimer: They're not mine, but TPTB are welcome to borrow this!
It had been just over five weeks since she'd last seen John Reese. Quiet, lonely weeks, though she wouldn't admit such a thought to anyone but herself. Still, as she let herself into her apartment one evening, she tried to tell herself it was a good thing.
It wasn't working.
So it wasn't unpleasant in the least when she switched on the light and found the man who occupied far too many of her thoughts sitting on her couch, relaxed and comfortable like he owned the place.
She shook her head and failed as usual to hide the smile his presence always drew out. "I still have that phone, you know, you could have just called." She didn't bother to lock the door behind herself; she couldn't imagine a safer place to be than in John's company.
"I didn't think you were carrying it anymore." He shrugged, giving her the distinct impression he was well aware she still carried it everywhere. Hell, he probably knew she still stared at it and hoped it would ring. It gave her hope that he'd just wanted to see her.
She waved her hand around the room, her face less than welcoming. "Make yourself at home."
Of course the man hadn't come and knocked on the door or even snuck up and jumped in her car like he always had. No, he'd picked the lock and broken into her apartment to wait for her. It would be creepy, except the fact was she trusted him and she didn't mind that he was there, not even if he'd broken in. She suspected he knew that, which was precisely why he'd done it – to flaunt the fact that she would let him do whatever he wanted.
He stared at her, his relaxed manner disappearing so fast she thought she'd imagined it. "I'm not here to bother you, Carter."
As much as she wished he had just stopped by to hang out and have a beer, the thought of which was far more intoxicating than any alcohol would ever be, she knew better. She crossed the room, standing next to the couch with her hands on her hips. "What do you want, John? I thought I made it clear that I can't help you anymore." She hated it, but it was the best for everyone. She knew he agreed too or he would have fought her on it sooner than five weeks later.
"It's a courtesy call, really." He stood, pulling something from his pocket which he handed to her. "Taylor really shouldn't hang out with this kid anymore. Marco's really not a good influence on your honor student."
It was a school photo, a snarling kid staring back defiantly, one hand raised in a gang sign. As a cop, she knew better, but the mother in her saw a kid, a boy, someone who'd be happy to sit in her son's bedroom and play video games and eat pizza. She looked back at John. "What he do?"
"A lot of things that Taylor doesn't know about." He put the picture away. "Keep your son away from him, Carter."
Easier said than done. Taylor was a good kid, good enough to be insulted if she were to imply she knew anything better than him. "You were a fifteen-year-old boy once. Did you listen when your mom told you not to be friends with someone?"
The man didn't even blink. "You convince him, Carter, or I will."
Furious, she stepped forward, ready to strangle him, a threat towards her son erasing any good feelings she had for him. "You put one finger on my son and I will kill you, you got me?"
"I have no intention of hurting your son." He waited to see if she would accept his declaration, but she didn't back down. This was her child he was talking about.
He raised his hands in surrender. "Carter, I'm telling you because I'm trying to protect him. He's a good kid. He's not mixed up in anything yet, but he's hanging around with kids who are into some bad things." His eyes narrowed. "Things that will not be continuing."
She nodded, deciding to take what he was saying at face value. He was there to warn her, to warn her son. It was a compliment coming from him. "Thank you." Catching his eyes, she let herself smile. "I'll talk to him. When is this going down?"
John only raised an eyebrow in response.
Again, she nodded, protecting Taylor was the only reason it wasn't already done. "He's got a test tomorrow, so he'll be in early. I'll talk to him tonight."
John flashed a grin. "The sooner, the better."
There was something in his eyes, something he wasn't saying, as usual, but she hadn't gotten any better at reading him during their separation.
Making the assumption that it had something to do with the current conversation, she reached toward her pocket for her phone. "Should I call him now? Tell him to come home?"
His eyes dropped away from hers, his expression shifting to a neutral one. "No, later tonight is fine. Marco will keep until morning."
"A boy his age should be in school in the morning," she said without thinking.
"I'll be sure to tell him that." Apparently satisfied with his mission, John walked away from her and reached for the doorknob. "See you around, Carter."
She knew she wouldn't. John wasn't a man who was seen unless he intended to be seen. Although it had been her own choice, it hurt. She wished she could hope to bump into him on the street. She wished there was a way for them to be friends.
Her feet moved before her brain realized it, catching up to him before he opened the door. He turned his head slightly, gauging her approach and dismissing it. Suddenly she thought of the night he'd saved her life, when she'd been lying on the ground in terrible pain, realizing the dangerous criminal with whole countries looking for him was crouching over her, fearing that he'd turn out to be as much of a threat as Elias and his goons. Instead the man had spoken to her, his voice warm and friendly and almost affectionate as he stroked her hand and assured her of the one thing she'd wanted to hear her whole life, the exact opposite of what everyone had always told her.
He'd promised her that she wasn't alone.
She'd fallen in love with him at that moment.
And just like the idiot she was, she'd pushed him away, cut him off, demanded he get out of her life. Damn it. She still had no choice but to give up what she wanted most.
She reached out, her hand catching his forearm, her fingers falling on the cuff of his crisp white shirt.
He stopped then, turning toward her, his eyes locked on the point of contact between them, a touch of her hand through two layers of clothing apparently the only thing that could throw him.
"Thank you, John, really." She looked up at him, watching as his eyes slowly dragged up from her hand to meet hers. "You didn't have to come here and I appreciate that you did. It means a lot."
She expected him to say she was welcome, he always did when she thanked him, she expected him to smile and then be on his way, ignoring her revelation.
But he just looked at her for a moment, his eyes once again saying something that she couldn't understand.
For once, he translated it for her. His hands moved up, his fingers sliding along her cheeks before tucking into her hair, his palms tilting her face towards his. His mouth was on hers instantly, his lips pressing against hers, his tongue tracing the seam of her lips. Her body responded instinctively, closing the space he'd left between them, pressing herself as closely as she could to him, her hands grabbing a hold of his blazer, keeping him close.
She'd yet to see John attempt anything he wasn't ridiculously skilled at and his kiss was no exception. She was weak in the knees, lightheaded, and convinced she could die happy at that moment. The feeling of his strong, solid body against hers, his warm palms on her cheeks, his demanding tongue caressing hers, stole every coherent thought she had. She sighed into his mouth, wanting more than she knew she could ever get, willing to take whatever he would give her.
His hands shifted down, running over her shoulders and arms, sliding in to find her waist, then tucking behind to the small of her back and pulling her harder into him.
It was only a second before his hands moved back to the front of her waist, pushing gently while he broke the kiss. His eyes lingered on her lips, slowly rising to meet hers. That look of his was still there, but it made perfect sense to her now, his eyes so full of emotion that he couldn't find words to voice.
She knew, absolutely knew, that he saw the same thing in hers. There was something between, something that wouldn't be denied, something she was happy to discover he felt too.
The corners of his mouth curved up, the self-satisfied smirk of his was back in place. She grinned back, feeling stupidly giddy over a single kiss.
He inclined his head toward the door, his hands slowly dropping from her body. "So, I'll see you around."
She nodded, still grinning. "I certainly hope so."
His eyes were dancing, a devilish gleam lighting them. "Oh, you will, Carter, you will."