A/N: I never could understand Rachel's look of surprise when Cordero makes a suggestive comment about Hood. So I wrote a story to explain it.

Disclaimer: Done for fun, not for profit.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Jacob Hood's mouth dropped open slightly and his eyes widened in shock at the suggestion made by his erstwhile assistant.

"No, your professor's computer will be fine."

Rachel Young bit back a laugh but she couldn't keep the smile off her face. She wasn't sure which was funnier; the pass the undergrad Hood had recruited as his lab assistant had made or the look on his face. With a snicker, she quickly escorted the protesting girl from the lab. She assured the girl that, while grateful for her help, Dr. Hood no longer needed her assistance.

Shaking her head in amusement she made her way over to where Hood was hunched over a computer. Sitting down she pulled her glasses out of her jacket pocket so she could read the screen over his shoulder. As he began to search the patent database her thoughts began to wander.

She couldn't believe that in a space of a few hours not one but two women had expressed a decided interest in him. 'I mean, ok, he's good-looking enough, but he's Hood, for Christ's sake. He's a grown-up science geek.' She could understand the girl's interest; she had obviously been star-struck. She snorted recalling how the kid had simpered, 'you're a genius.' It was Cordero's interest she found hard to fathom.

She had assumed Cordero was a woman much like herself. A woman who was successful in a male dominated profession. A woman who had to be as tough as the guys in order to win their respect. A woman who liked her men to be as strong and competent as herself. She figured Cordero wasn't looking past the pretty face.

'And what a pretty face it is,' whispered a little voice her head.

Rachel acknowledged the fact. Yes, Hood was good-looking, but he was so mild-mannered and unassertive; nothing at all like the men she normally dated. She didn't think she could respect a man she could walk all over.

'That's not fair,' objected the little voice. 'He's plenty assertive when it's important to him.'

Well, yes, that was true. When Hood decided something mattered he pursued it come hell or high water; he didn't care who he pissed off when he went looking for answers. That's why he needed her, to watch his back when he confronted the rich, the powerful, or the criminals who stood between him and the truth.

But still, look at the way he dressed; baggy pants and sweaters and jackets. He looked exactly like what he was; a middle-aged refugee from academia.

'He sure cleans up nice though.'

A vision of Hood, dressed for a charity concert a few months ago, came to mind. He had looked damned good in his tuxedo, very suave and sophisticated. But that didn't mean anything. A tuxedo was the ultimate power suit; any guy would look good in one, even Hood. The fact he could occasionally dress like a grown-up didn't mean he wasn't …. impractical. Look at the way he got lost in his head all the time.

'And since when have you had a problem with a guy focusing on his job? Hmm,' the little voice purred. 'Ever wonder what it would be like to be the object of that undivided attention?'

Rachel squirmed uncomfortably. She hadn't ever wondered that…until now. But none of that mattered. He was her protectee and thus firmly out of bounds. Besides, he was still grieving for his wife. No, no matter how she looked at it, he just wasn't her type.

'Of course he isn't,' the little voice murmured in agreement. 'You don't go for guys who are smart, funny, considerate, and good-looking to boot.'

Exactly. Well, not exactly, but well, sort of. She didn't go for smart, funny, considerate, good-looking guys who were Hood. He was her colleague.

'Absolutely, you two are strictly business. Besides,' the little voice added slyly, you're probably not his type. Bet he goes for the brainy, academic type.'

With a frown, Rachel squelched the little voice. She had no business in letting her thoughts go in that direction. But she couldn't help thinking Hood most likely did go for the academic type; his late wife had been a professor also. The kind of woman who had been able to share in, understand his intellectual interests. She wondered how he would react to Cordero's desire to brush up on her biology with him. If he would be interested in pursuing something with a woman who was a little more physical than cerebral. She debated passing along Cordero's comment.

Her thoughts were jerked back to attention by a grunt of satisfaction from Hood.

"Here it is. Application number 8293024, an endothermic chemical process for tissue preservation. It's the same molecule I just synthesized. The patent was filed by Adastra Pharmaceuticals, a biomedical firm in El Segundo."

"Now we know where the murder weapon comes from."

Jacob looked at her soberly. "We need to get over there. Now."

Nodding in agreement Rachel pulled out her cell, searching for information on the company and its officers. Now that they had a solid lead to follow, all errant thoughts about Hood were banished from her mind. Almost.

'You should tell him about Cordero. Who knows? A woman like her might just be his cup of tea after all.'

Gritting her teeth, Rachel willed the little voice into oblivion. The last thing she needed was to begin speculating on the type of woman who would interest Hood. No, she decided, it was much safer not to let her thoughts go there.

But then again, no harm in passing along a random comment.