Title: All work and no play

Rating: PG

Persons involved: Kalinda Sharma / Elsbeth Tascione

Spoilers: S3, up until Another Ham Sandwich & the Syrian episode.

Author's Notes: I like Kalinda. I like Tascione. I could imagine they both like – or at least respect - each other. Kalinda's thoughts during Another Ham Sandwich and after.

Not for the first time Kalinda silently cursed the plan she and Will had come up with after Dana's threat to Alicia.

Since her absence during the indictment would seem suspicious, she had resigned herself to hours and hours of hallway duty. Then Diana had very kindly let the entire firm know they were not to disturb Kalinda with other cases. Or else. Even Eli had gotten the message. Or was simply ignoring her again.

She hadn't been bored like this since her high school history lessons.

Her mind turned to the only puzzle at hand: Elsbeth Tascioni. The woman truly was a mystery wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by ditziness… For the life of her, Kalinda hadn't been able to figure out if the woman really was that scatter-brained or if it was just an elaborate act. It bugged her to no end, because – as she had once told Cary – everyone was knowable.

Tascioni was however a terrific lawyer. Her court room statistics were rather erratic, but most of her cases were won outside the court anyway. Her out-of-the-box-thinking was what Will needed.

Well, that combined with their own strategy… Their plan which was the reason Tascioni hadn't spoken more than five words to her the last few days, opting to tinker with her phone or laptop instead.

She clearly didn't trust Kalinda. Smart woman.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Definitely not musing on how pleasant Alicia had sounded over the phone, Kalinda went in search of a beer. Just the one, because later on she still needed to talk with her contact in Syria. But she had earned it, this small moment of respite. Just like Will had earned his dance with Diana.

Finding a table she could lean against, she watched her colleagues celebrate. Her smartphone was close though. Working at the district attorney's she'd learned the high value of pictures of drunken co-workers.

She suddenly wondered how Cary was faring over there. And Dana... Her cheek throbbed on cue.

'You know you did well, right?' A voice startled her.

Tascioni had appeared from nowhere, her large purse hanging over one arm, a glass of wine clutched in the other.

Kalinda wanted to scream at her. For starling her, for disturbing her introspective mood…

Because she deserved much worse than a slap.

So she shrugged.

'You did.' Tascione was determined. 'Everyone is congratulating me like crazy – I really like these offices by the way – but no one bothered to thank you.'

Dared, Kalinda silently corrected.

'So thank you.' Tascione actually bowed, causing wine to slosh on the expensive carpet. Her eyes suddenly grew wide, 'You should have a reward!'

Kalinda grinned. Knowing Diana, she'd soon see a generous pay raise. And Will's hug had been…nice. Still, one never refused a gift.

'Your card.' She started to ask, wanting to connect with a lawyer who'd fought the Treasury and won. Only then Eli appeared and with his usual tact dragged the redhead away before either of them could argue.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Early the next morning Kalinda discovered Tascioni had heard her: a business card rested on her desk with the message she was free to call her anytime.

Unfortunately several other items accompanied it.

Kalinda scowled at the –thankfully modestly sized – flower piece for five minutes before deciding she rather liked the orange tulips. It could stay. The inevitable questions about it would be pointedly ignored.

The small bear, wearing a sweater saying 'thank you beary much' however had to go. Immediately. Not wanting a fellow investigator to discover it in her trashcan she tucked it in her purse, planning to dispose of it at home.

Honestly, finding a good lawyer these days..

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

She wasn't surprised when Diana asked her to vet Tascione. It was standard procedure for the elder partner to want to add another competent lawyer in a skirt to her collection.

It didn't explain why Kalinda was in her car, with the Canon on her lap. She had already assembled an extended case file on the lawyer, having done the legwork when Peter, then Alicia and then Will had hired her.

She could simply go home, catch up on much needed sleep and exaggerate the billable hours – it wasn't like she had never done that before. But the redheaded woman intrigued her, so instead she put up with being led on a merry chase through the city.

Currently Tascione was having a cup of coffee with Winters, one of the new DA's added to Peter's financial fraud taskforce. Kalinda had heard that while still young, he was already considered a though-ass prosecutor. Tascione's newest challenger it seemed.

Not the woman looked challenged. Nervous, yes, but she'd come to expect that. Her arms flailed during the conversation and for one moment Kalinda thought she was pointing right at her.

Crap. The woman was pointing at her. Always a good looser, Kalinda gave a curt wave. Winters stormed off, to which Tascione simply smiled and sipped her coffee. Then she waved at Kalinda to join her.

Giving in to her curiosity, Kalinda got out of the car and crossed the street.

'The DA's Office, wow, they really hate you.' Tascione hadn't even waited for her to take her seat.

Kalinda wryly agreed with her, pointedly not thinking about Cary and Dana. 'Was that why you called me over? To thank me for chasing the mean prosecutor away?' She sounded harsher than she intended. Perhaps her pride got hurt after all.

'Tell Diana I like my current job."

Kalinda nodded. It would be foolish to deny her actions this late in the game.

'But if you insist on following me, this might help.' A folded paper was placed on the table with what only could be described as a wicked smile. 'I had Fantasia make a copy of my agenda today.'

Before Kalinda could give any kind of response, Tascioni had risen and patted her on the back before disappearing. Seconds later the waitress brought her their bill, most likely out of concern this new arrival would also disappear without paying.

The detective realized she had been played. Rather expertly.

Figuring out her next move – just go to bed, her inner voice insisted – she order her own coffee and, as a small consolation prize, a piece of pecan pie. She'd declare them expenses, she decided. Someone had to pay for this fiasco.

Waiting for the waitress to arrive, she couldn't help but to take a glance at Tascione's agenda. Only one appointment with a client awaited her still. Then someone had made an addition to the copy in pen: 8 p.m.: "thank you"-dinner with K. Alfredo's.

It was a challenge, Kalinda decided. Or perhaps an invitation to play some more.

Either way, she was up for it.