An Unwanted Bug

Alicia rides in an elevator, recalling the past events until she finds herself standing at his door, waiting for a right moment to ring a bell.

Dedication: To all the wonderful A/W shippers, and especially to all beautiful Georgetowners at The Good Wife FanForum. Love being on the A/W ship with you.

In the elevator she pressed eighth floor button. As the door closed she rubbed her palms together nervously, noticing they were sweaty. She kept telling herself there was no need for nervousness since they were friends. However, somehow "just friends" theory never seemed to sustain with them.

After things had ended between, they had troubles leaving the stage of avoiding each other, saying as little as possible, trying not to make things awkward. But no matter how much they tried it seemed that awkwardness was the main theme of their encounters. It was rather ironic how things improved between them when the grand jury investigation against him was set in motion.

It started with him asking her for advice about hiring a lawyer, even though leaving out the reason why he needed one, and she was glad he came to her, yet still worried why he needed such an advice.

"It's not anything. I just don't want to make life more complicated." That was his explanation and she dared not to bore in him. She had no right. She had given that right when she said it was too much, hadn't she?

If things between them were what they used to be, like back then at Georgetown, she smiled inwardly at the memories, or before they had given into the extended one hour good timing, when they talked about nothing and everything, she had been sure he would have given her more proper explanation. Suddenly, there was a wall between them, stopping them to communicate openly with one another. Who exactly built that wall she did not know. Was it her doing or was it his? Or was a silent mutual agreement?

She found out from Diane about his potential indictment. At the time she had no clue how serious things were. No one told her anything. He didn't tell her anything. And sadly, to her own acknowledgement, she didn't ask many questions either.

"Our expectation is he will be indicted within the next two days. Felony bribery… three to seven years," Diane delivered and she was lost for words. She was equally lost for words when she basically ran to court to see him. When he saw her and walked towards her, his eyes spoke an untold story, a story she couldn't afford to read. Her heart was racing, she tried so hard to come up with something meaningful to say but words couldn't leave her lips.

"I'm sorry," he said first. His eyes were apologetic as he looked up into her face. He was the one apologizing although she knew way too well apology should be on her end.

His voice was as sincere as during the times when he had her pinned against the wall of the foyer, his eyes staring at her intently, or when he had gently pushed her into the soft cushions on his couch as he apologized for verbally attacking her in the office earlier in the day to make their act as convincing as possible. His "I'm sorry" was always honest, sometimes loud and clear, sometimes verbalized in a mere whisper, sometimes stuck in his throat when she bit his bottom lip to show him it was okay, that she understood it was merely an act they agreed on, but nevertheless honest.

"I want to help. With what I know about the State's Attorney," she offered. She was confident when she uttered those words but when she thought them through she realized things weren't as simple as she wanted them to be. Exposing Peter to help him was something she was willing to do. That was her initial thought. However, Peter was her husband, estranged husband, yes, but her husband nonetheless and for some reason she felt strong sense of loyalty to him. And she knew way to well what it was. The kids.

She excused herself when she got the call from Eli, one call too many from this child trapped in a man's body. "I have to go, Eli," she hung up without thinking, still hearing Eli's disapproval of her dismissal on the other side of the line, when she saw him nearing her again.

"You don't have to do this," he said as he stopped inches away from her. She arched an eyebrow, indicating she wasn't sure what he was referring to.

"I-I don't want you to put Peter under the bus for me." She was confused. Why not, was the first thing that came to her mind. He noticed her confusion.

"He's the father of your children." At first she hadn't been sure what he meant by it but it must have been his way of saying, "I will not be the one who hurts your kids". He was giving her a way out. Was the confliction about revealing things regarding Peter written all over her face or did he just know her so well? She knew it was the latter.

"But thank you for offering." He gave her a slight smile, then joined Elsbeth and Diane who were already discussing further strategy for grand jury, while she got another call from Eli.

In the end, it didn't matter that all of the testimonies on his behalf, her included, brought up Peter Florrick's name the way they agreed.

Disciplinary Board was looking into disbarring him and he decided to take six months suspension. Not once she thought he deserved to be deprived of practicing law, his passion. Every time she had a privilege sitting with him as his second chair, she marveled at his wit and cleverness as well as his confidence and devotion in representing a client. She couldn't imagine not hearing his determined words, words that owned the court room each time they were uttered, words that always formed the most cogent argumentations. Except for that one time, "We believe it's the very foundation of our judicial system as promulgated by our founding fathers that comprehensiveness be chosen over... the opposite." Even though giggles filled the court room at his argumentation, why the reading of the whole transcript was needed, Judge Morris still granted him his request. She joined the giggles but still admired his persuasive way with judges who rarely denied his motions.

"I did wrong. I should face the consequences," he concluded simply. He made peace with the given options and she couldn't help but being amazed by the way he took responsibility for his past mistakes. In that moment she realized just how much he kept surprising her. Every thought, every expectation she ever had of him, he exceeded them all.

She was the one, who waited with him for the elevator which took him away from his own firm for six months. They joked about him writing a rock opera and it would have been funny if it hadn't been for the unfortunate circumstances.

"Will, if you ever need anything…" She squeezed the cup she was holding but wanting to squeeze his hand instead. She knew he deserved more than a few fleeting words. She should have hugged him. She wanted to. However, her hands kept grasping the cup and her body remained motionless.

"I'm good. But thanks." Elevator door opened, then closed and she felt alone for herself and for him.

First week after his suspension became official she hadn't seen him at all. She was spending in Diane's office more time than her own due to fact Diane often needed her opinion on cases strategies, which she appreciated, but no matter how flattering it was to see Diane trusting her with important questions, it didn't outweigh the fact how difficult it was coming past his office and not seeing him sitting behind his desk or in his massive leather chair like any other day.

She did talk to him over the phone though. It was her turn who needed an advice. When she heard a female voice in the background while talking to him, she felt pang in her stomach. She ignored it and stepped on it like on an unwanted bug, pretending such feeling has no place in her mind, let alone her heart.

She almost forgot how good he looked in casual clothes until she saw him back in the office a week later, dressed in dark blue jeans and leather jacket. They ran into each other on the hallway. Smiley "Hi" were exchanged on both parts and hers, "It's good to have you back."

"It's good to be back. Well, it's not quite like before but still…"

She wondered if he remembered they said almost the same thing to each other over a year ago, only in reversed roles. The way his lips curved in a tiny regretful smile, she knew he remembered it, too.

"I'll see you around," she said over her shoulder as she passed him by, then slipping into the conference room where a group of junior associates was already waiting on her. Even though technically speaking he wasn't back in the saddle she was truly grateful to see him and his reassuring face.

He presented his well-known reassuring behavior a few weeks later when she was already unnerved and quite frankly annoyed by Diane's favoritism of first year associate Caitlin.

"Actually, you're going to court today, aren't you, Alicia?" He spoke up in front of everyone, making sure everybody knew that dealing with devious Mr. Sweeney was her case. She admired how authoritative his voice was without him even needing to raise it. Everybody took notice at his words and all she could do was smile in return with confirmation, "Yes, Caitlin and I."

She didn't think twice of thanking him for stepping up for her. She knew there were so many things she should have thanked him for but at the time she hoped simple "Thank you" would show him just how much she appreciated his gesture. She walked to him, eyed him as he stood composed with his hands crossed until she leaned to his ear and whispered. It was a brief moment. She was close. Too close. She could smell his cologne, the smell that suited him perfectly. The smell she loved but could never allow herself to miss.

If one would ask her why she had whispered "Thank you" instead of saying it out loud later that day, when they were in his office discussing a client perjuring himself and she experienced the luxury of sitting in his chair, only the most honest part of her would have the courage to answer she wanted to stir something in him, see if he still reacted to her closeness. It was selfish. She knew. But the way he slightly leaned his head into her whisper, the bold, needy, selfish part of her got satisfied.

She was confident, almost ruthless while questioning Isobel Swift, a woman Mr. Sweeney supposedly sexually harassed. She was defending her client but going off on a woman who might as well be Mr. Sweeney's victim, she felt a bit disgusted with herself. Still, she did not ease her verbal attack, not until she saw his face in the court room which caused her to pause. When he gave her an approving nod, making her feel better about herself, she continued questioning the witness.

After Mr. Sweeney's case she rarely saw him. And when she did, the only words they said to each other were polite "Hey" or "Bye". Something changed, no longer were they colleagues who discussed cases with lightheartedness, and she didn't know what caused the change. Or she did know but just didn't want to admit that was the reason. She convinced herself the reason was her being swamped with cases, while he had his hands full dealing with manipulative triplets in the form of David Lee, Julius Cain and Eli Gold who all felt entitled to claim his position in the firm.

After separation from Peter she really perfected herself in the art of pretending, convincing she didn't feel the things she truly felt. It came to a point she no longer knew what the truth was and what was a lie. This story repeated when she saw him giving Tammy a welcome kiss on the cheek. There was another familiar pang, the same pang she felt whenever Celeste was mentioned during their time together. She crushed the feeling. It was just another bug that was being stepped on.

"It wasn't over between Will and I when I left for London. Then you slept with him and it was over," Tammy proclaimed. She didn't know what to do with that information. One part of her was intrigued to ask him if she was the reason he ended things with second of Linnata sisters. But then again she didn't need to ask him, the other part of her already knew the answer.

His "I'm not interested in anyone else" had been more telling and more truthful than anything else. She had ignored his words then just as much she was ignoring unwelcomed feelings now. However, there was occasional but persistent intruder that invaded her mind, making her wonder what else he would have told her then if she had agreed to talk about his "Love you" slip.

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open revealing eighth floor, bringing her out of her thoughts. Moments later she was standing at his door, waiting for a right moment to ring a bell. She didn't know why she hesitated ringing. After all she was there to discuss a case with him.

Earlier today when she had tried to talk to him about his strategy on Muhney's case, a case she had been assigned after his suspension, he had been just about to leave his office.

"Will, do you have a minute?" she asked, realizing that was the longest sentence she has said to him in last few weeks.

"Actually," he looked at his watch, "I'm bit in a hurry."

"Is something wrong?" his question was colored with surprise as well as with hidden concern. He probably didn't expect her to show up at his office after weeks of them being totally disconnected from one another.

"No, everything is fine." Her response was quick, a nervous babble. "I-I just, um-" This didn't use to be so hard. "I wanted to talk to you about the defense strategy you used on Muhney's case."

"Muhney's case?" he searched his memory. "Oh, right. That is a tough one."

"You can say that again," she said with a smiley sigh and for the first time in a long time it seemed things were relaxed between them. "Something came up last minute and I could really use your help."

"How important is?"

"It's pretty important."

He glanced at his watch again. She couldn't help but wonder where he was so eager to be. Whenever she needed him for an advice, he always made room in his crowded schedule for her questions, even dismissing other people just to make sure she got what she needed. As childish and selfish as it sounded, realizing that he was not willing to put everything on hold for her like before, bothered her more than she was ready to admit.

"I see. The thing is, um, I was just about to head out. I have to be somewhere in 30 minutes."

Even though it felt as if he was apologizing for not having the time for her, she noticed he made sure he didn't give away where he was going. Usually he wouldn't have concealed from her where he had been headed, whether it was court, a lunch with a potential client or some other business. Judging by the way how he used general explanation, she concluded that his early office leave was of a personal nature. She shouldn't have cared where he was headed but for some reason she did.

"I don't intend of coming back to the office. But you can stop by my place later today and we can discuss the strategy if you like. I believe I have some other notes at home about Muhney's case you might find useful," he offered to her surprise.

"Yeah, that'd be great." She didn't mull over if that was a good idea. She really needed his help, the case was eating her alive, she was running out of ideas how to save her client, so to hell with her worrying about everything, especially, her being alone with him in his apartment again.

"Let's say about ninish?" he suggested.

"Ninish it is," she agreed.

"Good." He gave her one of his tiny smiles as she watched him rush to catch an elevator that was about to close.

She inhaled deeply, then rang the bell.

Thanks to all who will read my first attempt at writing,