No one ever asked.

Myka doesn't open up to people freely. She'll provide answers and facts, share observations relevant to the situation. But her emotions, her past, she keeps those to herself. If people want to know how she feels, they'll ask.

No one ever asked.

She thought this meant no one cared. And maybe they did, maybe they didn't. Maybe there were people that wanted to ask but didn't know how just like she didn't know how to volunteer the information. Conversation never flowed from her mouth; she wasn't charismatic. That was Tracy's job. Whatever the truth, it left her feeling isolated and stranded on the sidelines hoping to be sought out.

She felt alone most of her life.

Then she met Sam.

Her sharp eye and retention of everything she read caught his attention soon after the assignment to Denver. Sam would give her responsibilities, maybe a little bit sooner than to other new agents. He'd listen to her opinion and often incorporate it into the mission plan. He'd give her advice and tips, and she worked twice as hard to learn them, assimilate them into her already vast supply of facts. She wanted the attention, the trust.

She wanted him to ask.

He did.

And they started talking. Not just about work anymore, but books, movies, childhoods, everything. He'd let her stumble through jokes. He smiled when she'd criticize a recent film adaptation of a book and tease her when some trivia turned up that she didn't know.

When he kissed her, it was the first time a kiss felt like something more. This could be it, who she'd been waiting on. Having someone know her, love her was thrilling. She wanted to internalize the feeling, absorb it until she fully understood it was real. She was glad they weren't telling people right away. It was a secret that warmed her inside as she continued doing her job without being labeled as 'sleeping with the boss'. It was a comforting weight in her chest when he'd steal a glance at her that said she was finally not alone.

And then he was killed.

On her watch. She was his partner. She was supposed to have his back. It was months before she could do her job and trust herself with others' lives again. Months more before she stopped blaming herself. It'd be three years before she understood what happened and caught the bastards responsible.

She had always known losing a partner was a possibility, had known there was every chance she'd lose someone and have to be reassigned (or that she'd be the one lost) But knowing and experiencing are two very different things. Sam's death left her gutted. She'd never felt so empty. So alone.

The agency moved her to DC to work with a new team when her mourning period was over. It's never over. She created a new rule: don't fall in love with your partner.

She didn't fall in love with Pete.

In fact, she hated him. He was such a child and a screw-off and so not Sam. It was bad enough being whisked away from DC so soon to middle-of-nowhere South Dakota, but to be stuck at this warehouse with Pete of all people was just infuriating.

She didn't belong here.

And Pete talked so much. Too much. And he expected her to do the same (or he hoped she would do the same).

He kept asking.

So she shared, haltingly, begrudgingly. They bickered, she criticized. He snarked, she hit. She yelled at him about faults and failures, sometimes his, usually her own. He'd talk her down. Until somehow she trusted him with every fiber of her being. Until she believed him when he said he trusted her. Until she stopped feeling lost and realized how much she loved this crazy, new job at a moody warehouse with a goof for a partner.

She didn't fall in love with Pete. Falling in love implies a link was forged instead of found, implies fragile romance that could be hollowed or broken or stolen in a blink of an eye with a man and a gun.

She used to fear she would lose him too. That she'd be left alone in this crazy world and expected to survive. She wouldn't. Not again.

"Do you ever think about our future here? Like how do we not end up with our brains scrambled or blown up or whatever new way to die there could be?"

"Well look at the bright side, I'm usually within ten feet of you so whatever terrible thing happens to you will probably happen to me too."

She wouldn't have to survive again. A life without Pete would never exist. If they ended on tomorrow's assignment or years down the road, their fates were tied, entangled.

They were partners. They'd never be alone.