A/N: This story is based on the episode 'The Soul of Genius' (Lewis, season 6, episode 1). You might not understand if you haven't seen it yet.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my thoughts, these are they.
What do I say to her? How do I tell her the truth?
Tell her with kindness. You're good at that.
Lewis got out of the car and walked up to the door of Michele's house. Hathaway watched him go inside before turning his head. He stared at the emptiness in front of him, thoughts flowing.
Got a number here if you need to talk to someone.
They give you a little card with a number on it, a helpline.
So who do you call?
Have I made it clear enough that he's not my boyfriend?
For your sake, you need a partner, James.
Hathaway rubbed his forehead and sighed. Was Lewis right? Loneliness seemed to have been one of the keywords of this case. It applied to all concerned, including Lewis and himself. Who did he call, who did he talk to, besides the obvious? Did the helpline really help her like she said? Or did she feel dismissed like Michele? He didn't want to dismiss her now, did he? He bowed to her, for Heaven's sake!
Half the time we can't even see what's right in front of us.
Could he take a chance? Should he take a chance? Being a cop meant taking chances all the time, why was this one different?
He looked at the house. No sign Lewis was coming out soon. So he took his cell phone out and texted:
Need to do something. Hope you don't mind the walk.
Swiftly he drove off, heading for the gardens.
"Hi" she said, looking a bit surprised to find him here again.
Hathaway looked at her, their eyes met. Before the mesmerizing silence could become uncomfortable, she noted:
"You ran off quickly."
He turned his gaze to the ground. "Yeah. Clue."
He looked up again, searching her eyes.
"Do you want to have a drink... with me?"
Her eyes lit up as he spoke and she smiled.
"I'd love that. Let me clean this up and I'll... "She didn't finish the sentence, meeting his eyes. He just nodded once, hands in his pockets.
Liv Nash picked out a table while James Hathaway was getting their drinks. From her seat, she glanced at him. She didn't really know what drew her to him. Maybe it was just brought on by the traumatic thing, as he'd called it, of finding Murray. Or by the bow. He seemed somewhat clumsy with her around, but then again he knew about the Doctrine of Signatures which no one did. Smart, yet humble. He intrigued her.
They sat facing each other, in silence, contemplating their first move. Hathaway started.
"So, a botanist."
"So, a detective sergeant" she replied.
He smiled clumsily again and she laughed.
"Can you tell me what lab H means? How Murray died? Why?" "Sergeant Hathaway" she added. Getting his first name was a priority.
"Liv, short for Olivia, but you already knew that."
He blinked, watching her. He'd tell her all about the case, making sure she knew it had very little to do with the gardens. For some reason that seemed important to him.
"So lab H made you run off, not me?" she teased.
He looked at her a little shocked but her smile soon cleared that out.
"Right, not you" he said, smiling himself now.
"It's just so sad everyone ended up alone. And miserable."
"Are you?" he asked concerned.
"Miserable. I mean, I gave you that number but..."
He appeared to worry about her and she interrupted him for it.
"...no, I'm not miserable." She put her hand over his, lying at the table.
"It really helped."
She looked at him, caressing the back of his hand with her thumb before removing it. He just went silent and took a pull at his pint, hoping to clear his throat with it.
"What will happen to Helena and her being director of the gardens?"
"I guess she'll be replaced. Don't you want...?" he asked, leaving her to fill in the blank.
"Oh no, I couldn't! I wouldn't! I like working the grounds too much. It was all I ever did as a kid. Leaf searching, that was me! Nowadays I get to conserve as many specimens as possible, so they can be admired by others. And myself. It's so beautiful when the garden is in bloom!"
She glanced at Hathaway who was smiling to himself now, leaning on his elbow and covering his bottom lip with his hand.
"Sorry, do I sound like a fanatic now?"
"Not at all" he said, removing his hand. "It's charming to see you're passionate about it."
"What are you passionate about, James? The Doctrine of Signatures?" she asked intriguingly.
He snorted. "That's just something I picked up doing Theology at Cambridge."
"Theology?" She looked at him in surprise. "This gets more interesting by the minute."
He smiled and told her.
They'd been talking for quite some time now. The sun had set and the evening was turning into night. Liv looked outside, Hathaway followed her gaze.
"It's getting late" he stated.
All he got was a little nod and a sigh. She must be tired.
"Walk you home?"
She turned to face him again and with a radiant smile and twinkling eyes, she replied:
"I'd like that."
So he paid, they grabbed their coats and left the pub. Outside Liv took his arm, placing her hand on his forearm. He looked at her with a softness in his eyes she hadn't seen before, and smiled. It created a lump in her throat that prevented her from speaking. They walked on in a perfectly contemplated silence. It was only when they got close to her home that she spoke again.
"So Murray was searching for the Snark?"
"Have you read The Hunting of the Snark?"
"Hmhm." After a short silence, she resumed:
"He didn't do right to the poem, you know, Murray."
Hathaway looked at her questioning. "Why not?"
"He didn't..." she turned to face him. Together they finished her sentence:
"... softly and suddenly vanish away."
Their eyes met. Liv ultimately broke the unspoken attraction carried by their gaze.
She let go of James' arm in search of her keys. Standing on her doorstep, with him in front of it, she had one last question. Facing him, she asked:
"Why did you bow to me the other day?"
"Would you do it again?"
Without unlocking his eyes from hers, he bowed and whispered "yes, Olivia" before closing them and softly pressing his lips against hers, composing a languid kiss.
Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
Gros Bisous, Suzanne