Disclaimer: Not mine

Three

Carrie grumbled when the alarm began to blare, ignored it for as long as she could, and then stretched across the bed to shut it off. It took her by surprise when two strong arms wrapped around her and pulled her into his chest. She smiled sleepily and allowed herself to be pulled.

"It's too early," Al mumbled into her hair. He didn't want this day to start. He didn't want to leave this bed, where she had actually slept all night with him, curled into his chest as if she'd never let go. Things were going too well; he wanted them to stay just like this.

Carrie turned into him with the same thought in her mind: to stay with him, just like this, for as long as possible. They lay in silence, just enjoying the feeling, for what felt like forever until the alarm jerked to life again and Carrie sighed. She looked up at him with a slow and wicked smile. "I'm going to take a shower. Join me."

Al didn't need to be asked twice.

Under the spray of hot water, Carrie marveled at the intimate feeling of Al behind her, washing her shoulders and back while he nibbled on her neck, and thought that this couldn't be happening. It was like all that time had fallen away and she'd been given a second chance. They'd been given a second chance. She wasn't going to squander it this time. This man meant too much to her, and it had taken too long for her to realize just how much. Life was too short. She turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck. She kissed him softly before pulling back to look into his eyes. "I love you," she breathed. She figured he already knew, but she wanted to be sure. He smiled that smile she loved, the smile that reached his eyes and oh God he was beautiful when he smiled at her like that.

"I know," he said.

They were headed outside hand in hand when Carrie stopped at her car. "Should we take two cars?"

Al shrugged. "Whatever you want."

Carrie fought the urge to roll her eyes. "People are going to see us come in together if we take one car."

He took a step closer to her. "Let them. It doesn't matter, Carrie. Let's do what we want. I'll talk to the chief today, but I can't imagine it will make a difference." He looked at her car and smirked. "I think we should take the Charger. And I think I should drive."

Carrie snorted and shoved him. "Ha. We'll take the Charger. I'll drive." She was still smirking at him as she fired up the engine and they roared out of her neighborhood.

They were the first to arrive at the station, and they sat together at his desk, over doughnuts and coffee, talking about nothing that mattered. Carrie found herself just watching him, her elbows propped onto his desk and her chin in her hands. "What are we going to do about…" she made a wide gesture to the two of them with a sweeping hand. "You know, this whole… this whole thing."

Al smiled. Miss Rule-Bender herself seemed nervous. "Why do we need to do anything? We're both professionals. We'll be fine. It didn't make a difference in Syracuse."

She looked at him blandly. "This isn't Syracuse."

"No, but I don't see that there'll be a problem. Let's face it, everyone in this house knows there's something between us; they're just too polite to say it. It hasn't interfered with our work yet." Too much. He imagined it would be a lot easier now, if they could actually find a way to be happy together. He wouldn't have to watch her go out with losers to fill that void, and he could stop pretending to be someone he wasn't.

Carrie looked up at him hesitantly, which was unusual for her. "What?" he asked her gently.

"I was just… I was thinking that maybe we could look for another place. Someplace we both like, together." She shrugged, looking away. "You know, someplace ours."

It was impossible to keep the grin from sweeping across his face. That it had come from her made it that much sweeter. He reached for her hands and brought them to his mouth, kissing them delightedly. His eyes were still on hers, and the adoration in them was plain. "I love that idea," he said into her skin, melting her completely. And I love you was unspoken, but clearly understood.

Though she was so nervous, she tried her best to hide it. This was why Al was good for her. Al saw the good in everything, while she was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. A lot of times it did, but there were just enough times it didn't to invalidate her theory. And, truth be told, it was just so tiring. It was all too much sometimes... a lot of times. She needed this. She needed him and his light. She had no idea, just now, how she'd survived at all without them, all this time.

Mike and Nina arrived just on time, and found Roe staring intently into the boss' office. "What are we looking at?" Mike asked mildly.

Roe looked from Mike to Nina, perplexed. "When did that happen?" They followed his gaze to Al and Carrie, their faces about three inches apart over Al's desk. Roe didn't think the desk stood a chance against all that electricity, and he waited for it to burst into flames. Al was holding both of Carrie's hands in his, and Carrie… Carrie was definitely looking at him as a man, as a lover, certainly not as a friend, a co-worker, or a boss.

Nina snorted. "When has it not happened? Took them long enough."

Mike looked at her in surprise. "You don't think they're back together? You know I love Carrie, but that girl's got issues. Al is way too straight for a woman like that."

Nina cocked an eyebrow, a smug look on her face. "Which is why they're perfect for each other. They even each other out."

Mike still looked confused. "What about Elaine?"

Roe snorted. "Even I knew Elaine was history."

"Really? I thought she was good for him."

Nina laughed. "Please. Elaine had all the personality of saran wrap."

Roe looked up seriously. "Saran wrap's no fun."

"My point exactly."

Al must have noticed them standing outside his office discussing his personal life because he motioned them in. "Hey, we brought doughnuts if anyone's hungry." The three of them exchanged glances while Carrie smiled, finally able to tear herself away from those eyes and looking away, biting her lip to keep from laughing out loud. God, this man had her under his spell. How could they not all see it? She thought that everything she was feeling right now must be written plainly on her face for the world to see.

Roe took one and made himself at home, leaning a shoulder against the wall, looking from Carrie to Al and back. "So, uh, anything we should, ah, know?"

Carrie raised a brow, amused. "About?" she asked, cocking her head, waiting to see if he would say it.

He motioned with his head as the others smirked at him. "You know… 'we' brought doughnuts? It that the royal 'we' or what?"

Al just looked at him, shook his head, and looked back at Carrie. She smiled at him, still holding his eyes with her own as she rose to her feet. "I'm going to get started on that urgent matter we discussed," she told him, laughter in her eyes that he loved to see. "If I find anything, I'll send it to you." He watched her leave his office and looked at the others, daring them to say something, which they tacitly declined by backing out slowly. He shook his head. He still thought that this may very well be a dream that he would find himself waking up from way too soon. Because after two nights with Carrie Wells in his arms again, he felt like all his dreams had just come true.

TBC...

A/N: Yes, I realize it's somewhat sappy. That's the way I wanted it. This is all I've got for now, but there will be more. Any ideas, please shoot them my way. I'm all ears. Thanks for reading. :)