Preface: This is fanfiction and you know what that means. Also, this was originally written before Light, so it's not entirely canon-compliant.

Daniel's relationship with Kate was not very physical. Sure, they shared the sofa during Cubs games, and Kate was fond of a gentle touch on the shoulder to get Daniel's attention, but there wasn't a lot of hugging or cuddling. Kate was so independent and Daniel so sensitive that, for the most part, their relationship appeared to be one of best-friendship.

Ever since Daniel's most recent hospitalization (which he commonly referred to as The Dark Days), Kate had made sure he was never left alone for more than a few hours. Daniel had been managing pretty well since he'd been released, although his work with the FBI had been cut back significantly and he wasn't teaching just yet. Kate (and the doctors) insisted that he take things slowly, stay on his meds, and get back into a healthy routine, with his FBI involvement as a small part of that routine.

He'd also spent quite a few hours in therapy, talking about The Dark Days, and what had happened. He'd hashed and rehashed every detail of the entire weekend from hell... except the one he thought about most often. He'd been so convinced it was real, and when he'd remembered it for the first time, he'd cried and dipped into a state of catatonia for the better part of an afternoon. Since then, he'd thought extensively about that kiss, and had recently started wondering how good his subconscious actually was at constructing Kate Moretti's lips.

He came home from a therapy session, and was a little surprised to find Kate sitting in his kitchen. She didn't often come over when Daniel wasn't home, and she knew his therapy schedule.

"What's going on?" Daniel asked, trying not to sound too worried.

"Max called me. His dad was admitted to the hospital a few hours ago, and his mom asked him to visit."

"Is his dad going to be okay?"

Kate shrugged. "Max didn't say, but he didn't seem all that optimistic. I told him I'd keep an eye on you while he's gone."

Daniel froze. "What do you mean, keep an eye on me?"

Kate raised her eyebrows. "Daniel, you know the conditions of your release. It's only for a couple of days."

"But—but what about your job?"

Kate gestured to her cell phone. "I just got off the phone with Reardon. She's agreed to lighten up on me so I don't have to leave you by yourself."

Daniel walked stiffly into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Kate was going to keep an eye on him. Max was out of town. That could only mean—no. He turned back to Kate, who was watching him with a slightly confused expression. "But—you're not going to—" Daniel chuckled nervously. "I mean, you're not—it's such short notice," he finished lamely.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Kate asked, sounding a little peeved.

"Well, I—I—I just—" He waved a hand. "Never mind."

"Daniel," Kate said warningly. "You've got to tell me. I can't read your mind."

Daniel shook his head. If Max was out of town, then Kate would be staying in his house. She'd never stayed over before. She didn't know he sometimes woke up shouting at his nightmares, or that he occasionally sleepwalked, or that he was frequently afflicted with bouts of insomnia. She wasn't accustomed to his rather peculiar morning routine, which involved an average of six crosswords and four cups of tea, and that was before breakfast.

She didn't know he'd kissed her.

"It's fine; I already know the answer," he said. There was a small spare bedroom next to Daniel's room which was rarely used for anything but storage, since it was too small to make a decent office space. Still, there was a bed and a short chest of drawers, and it wasn't totally chaotic. "Do you like it?" he asked. "I mean, is it going to work?"

"What are you talking about?"

"The guest room," he said quickly, getting the words out before they had a chance to get stuck. The kettle whistled and Daniel took it off the burner. He dropped a tea bag into his mug and poured hot water over it.

"Oh," Kate said, as if she'd forgotten that she was even staying overnight. "It's nice. I mean, I was going to sleep on the couch, but Max insisted."

"Good," Daniel said awkwardly, putting the kettle back on the stove and walking into the living room. He flicked on the TV and thumbed through the channels until he found the Cubs game. Kate joined him, sitting on the opposite side of the sofa.

By the time the game was over, Kate was at least a foot, maybe a foot and a half, closer to Daniel than she'd been when she sat down. He tried not to think about kissing her when she said something about dinner, or when she took his plate afterward, or when she came to check on him before she went to bed, or any of those other times her face was just a few millimeters too close to his.

He fell asleep thinking about the way Hallucinatory Kate had responded to that kiss, and wondering if Actual Kate would respond the same way.

A loud thud from the next room woke Kate abruptly. She sprang out of bed and, not bothering to search for the light switch, padded to Daniel's room, feeling along the wall for his door. She knocked gingerly and when he didn't answer, she opened the door. He was curled up on the floor next to his bed—he looked like he'd been perilously close to hitting his head on the bedside table—whimpering pitifully.

"Daniel," she said firmly, kneeling next to him and shaking his shoulder a little. "Daniel!"

He started awake, one hand clinging to Kate's arm. Even in the dim light from the window, Kate could make out the terror in his eyes. "Kate," he said hoarsely.

"It's me. I'm here." She helped him up into a sitting position, and he continued to stare at her in terror. Kate had never been motherly, even before she'd become a cop, but she would do her best to make sure Daniel was okay. She brushed his hair back from his face, and cupped his face in her hand briefly. "It's okay. It was just a nightmare."

Daniel didn't seem convinced. "I'm right here," she repeated.

"How did I get here?" he asked worriedly.

"What do you mean?" Was he having an episode, and she'd just missed the signs?

Daniel tapped the floor with a hand. "On the floor."

Kate breathed a quiet sigh. "You fell off the bed. Are you okay?"

Daniel blinked and nodded. He rubbed his face with one hand, staring into the darkness, and then his eyes snapped back to Kate. He touched her face, her hair. "You're here," he said, sounding relieved.

"Yes," she said. "I'm here." She stood up, pulling Daniel up with her, and then sat him down on the bed. She sat next to him. "What happened?"

Daniel shook his head. "Just a nightmare."

Kate wanted to reach out and pull him into her arms, save him from all the things that turned his brilliant mind into a whirlwind of chaos and terror. Instead, she settled for taking one of his hands in both of hers. "I'm right here, I'm perfectly fine, and I'm not leaving you alone, okay? I'm right on the other side of that wall."

Daniel didn't seem to have heard her, but when she stood up to go back to bed, his hand tightened around hers.


He looked up at her, and his mouth worked to try to form words.

"I'll stay here, if you want," she said.

Daniel tugged on her arm, and Kate sat back down. She leaned into him, feeling the warmth of his body through his shirt, and he relaxed a little. "I didn't tell you," he said, his voice toneless and a bit airy, like he was staring into space. "I kissed you. In the parking garage."

Kate felt her face turn bright red. "Daniel," she said, feeling awkward.

He sat up, staring into the darkness, and continued talking. "You told me to go wait for you in Millenium Park, and—I don't even know what I was thinking," he mused. "I couldn't let you do what you were going to do without—" He shook his head.

Millenium Park. He'd talked about that when she'd walked in that terrible night. Why didn't you meet me at Millenium Park? "What was I going to do?" Kate asked.

"Put a wire in the room. Probert was the leak. It was dangerous. I might not ever have seen you again," he said.

"It wasn't real," Kate said. "None of that happened."

"I know," he said. He looked at her, and she didn't need the light from the window to know his gaze was intense enough to start a small forest fire—it was in his voice, in his words.

"Daniel," she said quietly, but there was no stopping him, even if she'd wanted to. His lips were on hers, crushing and needy. She slipped her fingers into his sweat-damp hair, and she felt his hands on either side of her face. Her stomach flipped, and she returned his kiss with equal force. When they broke apart, Daniel touched her face, his eyes wide as if he couldn't quite believe it had happened. She brushed her thumb over his stubbled jaw.

"Don't go," he said. "I—I'm—the nightmares—"

"Shh," Kate whispered, smoothing his hair. "I'm not going anywhere," she said. "Go to sleep." She kissed his forehead gently, and he laid down, pulling the covers up.

She walked around to the other side of the bed and laid down as far from him as the bed would allow. He took her hand, and she smiled at him as his eyes slid shut.

It hadn't happened at all how she'd expected, but there was no denying it: Daniel Pierce had kissed her.

Author's Note: All the thanks to my beta who puts up with my pestering.