Hello there! This is a story I wrote ages ago, but after rereading it yesterday, decided it wasn't too bad. Hope you enjoy, and please make me happy by reviewing! =D

Dani had spent most of her life pretending. Pretending that it didn't hurt when her dad gave her a hard time, pretending that she didn't have a drinking problem, pretending that the undercover work she was doing was not consuming her life.

But ever since that first day she got Charlie as a partner, things got so much more complicated. He seemed to always know when she was faking, and even though he didn't say anything, he always let her know he was there. And with that support, Dani found it harder and harder to push away her emotions.

And then Roman abducted her, and she found that she had become a rock again. Not displaying the amount of fear that was radiating through her body. She found she could pretend like everything was going to be okay. She could pretend like she wasn't going to die.

When Charlie offered himself over in exchange for her, she felt like her whole world was shattering. She couldn't recall if she displayed that emotion on the outside or not, but she could remember feeling numb inside, and wanting more than anything for Charlie to walk away and be safe.

She remembered reaching out for his hand, and her heart very nearly stopping when she didn't reach him. And she remembered that was the moment when she just couldn't pretend at all. She knew nothing was going to turn out okay. Nothing at all.

But she still clung on to that little piece of hope. Because if she didn't have hope, what did she have?

And when she saw Charlie come out of that van alive, she felt happier then she ever had before. And when she hugged him close, she knew that she didn't have to pretend anymore. Because everything was okay.

But she still did pretend. She pretended, when she woke up late at night, with nightmare's still clinging to her thoughts, that the breathing she heard next to her was coming from Charlie. She pretended that she could still feel the warmth of his arms around her whenever she was alone. She pretended that his heart also missed a beat whenever they saw each other, even if it was just because they were happy to see each other alive.

And then one day, she woke up and just knew that she couldn't pretend anymore. So she packed her things and moved into an old shabby apartment that seemed like nobody had lived in it for quite some time. And when she went back to work the next day, to face her ex-boyfriend of a boss and her clueless partner, she didn't even pretend that she could handle it.

And she didn't even pretend to have a decent excuse when the elevator doors opened to display Charlie, his eyebrows raised in question of why she had been standing in the lift for almost ten minutes.

"I heard you and Tidwell are over," he commented when they were alone.

Dani didn't reply to that, she just stared straight ahead and tried to prepare herself for the world.

"If you don't mind me asking, why?"

He didn't start talking about Zen or statistics like Dani had expected him to. So she decided to answer.

"Because of you."

Nothing more was said, and Dani started to count the floors they still had to go before she could escape the awkward air.


Dani spun around to face him, with a harsh "What?" already on her lips. But his hand was cupping her face, and his lips were on hers. And it was like the whole world was finally at balance.

And then with a ping, the elevator doors opened, and the two broke apart to find Bobby standing there, his mouth hanging open and the voice of his wife coming from the phone pressed to his ear.

No one moved or said anything, and then with another ping the elevator doors closed again.

And as they started to move downwards, their lips met again. And Dani found herself smiling, because this was so much better then pretending.