As ever, thanks of the utmost proportions to my Aussie Bestie Tricki, much care xx


His initial finding that Charlie wasn't there anymore was short lived; a fleeting observation quickly forgotten in light of the view before him.

Jesus Christ, she was beautiful.

Her suddenly impossibly long legs were propped up against the balcony ledge, one bent slightly whilst the other was fully extended, her toes pointing out to the darkened skyline. The hemline to her dress had fallen back, the smallest hint of lace stocking top visible between the slit that had seemed so demure and classy not two hours earlier, and now looked obscenely sexy.

Her tumbler of whisky was in one hand, his cigar grasped between two fingers of her other hand and smoking as it rested comfortably against her thigh.

Forget beautiful, she was fucking gorgeous.

He was barely able to swallow down the groan as she brought the cigar to her lips, the tip lighting as she breathed in, a swirling cloud of smoke leaving pursed lips. It almost glittered in the moonlight, her eyes watching the dancing plumes as she placed her hand back on her thigh.

He swallowed, fighting hard to remember that usual hollow, dull hole that had been in his chest for nearly five years. A pain that he had clung to and come to recognise as as much a part of himself as the occasional pain in his left knee when it rained. He couldn't see her like this anymore, he shouldn't think of her like this.

He stole his gaze away to the moonlight reflecting from the surrounding buildings. "Where's Charlie?" he asked, sliding into the cushioned recliner chair next to hers.

"He left. You ran out of bourbon."

"There's another bottle in the cupboard."

"That's not enough bourbon," she smiled, her head turning to him. She offered him back his cigar.

"No, keep it. It was always sexier when you smoked it." He shouldn't have said that.

She returned her hand to her thigh, but she couldn't avert her eyes. Oh, did she beg to differ. One of her favourite go-to memories of their relationship was him, well, pretty much in this exact scene. Ridiculously expensive tuxedo, untied bowtie draped around an open top button, tumbler of damn-good scotch in his hand. No words had to be said; no words could be said. Their relationship focused on words so much that she loved the moments when they were just comfortably silent.

In the previous memories, however, they shared the same lounger. She would be sat between his legs, her back to his chest and his chin resting on the top of her head. Her fingers would draw lazy shapes against his thigh, his fingers would entwine with her other hand.

God, she missed that. She missed having those silent moments with him that no one else could even fathom him capable of. She also missed those moments when they could barely make it through the door before he was kissing her, pressing her against the wall as eager hands fumbled in all the right places.

Her eye-line dropped as she swallowed, returning her gaze to the buildings before her. She had no right to remember those times, to remember him like that. She ruined that privilege and the goddamn sooner she began to realise that, the less painful every single breath was going to be.

Suddenly, there was something in the silence. An awkwardness that was rolling over the atmosphere and felt like it was choking her.

Say something. Anything. Talk. Speak. "We should do a statement on tomorrow's show," she blurted. "Something like, 'while we were saddened to lose the Emmy, we are happy it could go to a show that has the same intention for getting the truth to the voting masses as we do. But next year it's ours, Jon Stewart!'" Her hand was waving in the air, "…or something."

He barely nodded.

She deflated with her exhale. That was it? Okay, it was a rough first draft, but some kind of comment would have been nice. Could he really not even manage that? Did he hate her that much? So much that, when alone, no words could be spoken that weren't shouted? Nothing could be said that wasn't hurled with venom or dripping with poorly disguised disdain? So much so that he just wasn't going to speak to her? His favourite thing - talking - he couldn't even do that? Well, fuck you, Will McAvoy.

She gulped down the scotch in one searing swallow, her throat burning as the liquid warmed a path to her stomach. Propping the cigar in the ashtray, she collected her shoes and prayed he wouldn't see how pissed off she was; she'd had a wonderful night and really didn't want to ruin it further with an argument, even if he was being a total and utter prick. "Might be nice if you say a few words to the team, too. We'll discuss it tomorrow," she slid herself between the table and his seat. "Good night, Will."

She stopped as she felt his hand touch hers.

She wasn't sure if it was a gasp or a sigh that escaped her lips as she was suddenly being pulled down onto his lap, "Will…" she warned, her voice breathless as her heart rate increased ten-fold.

He still hadn't said anything, just brought his fingers up to graze across her cheek and thread into her hair with impossible softness. His eyes were roaming across her face, as if appraising a long-lost memory.

"Billy…" she breathed as he brought his lips to hers.

It was everything she remembered; everything she had implored herself to forget for nearly five years. The way he would start a kiss slowly, softly, before letting it build to a rhythm that damn-near left her breathless and like putty in his hands.

He slid his hand down his back and pulled her into him, pressing her against his chest so hard that she was certain he could feel her heartbeat thumping against her chest.

Part of her was asking why; why was he doing this? Why was he kissing her? But Christ, she wasn't going to be the one to ask the question in case it made him stop.

She whimpered against his lips. A sound so delicate, so soft, that he couldn't help but pull her tighter into him. It was everything he had been fighting to not recreate since he saw her stood in his bullpen almost two years ago; Standing there with her shorter hair, thinner frame and same large, dark eyes that had pulled him in headlong all that time ago.

He slowed again, his tongue retreating with a final swipe across her lips, before pulling away fully. Her eyes were still closed, her mouth red and hair somewhat messed.

Beautiful.

She breathed his name again - the name only she said. The name she used to write on messages about grocery lists or appointments; the name she most recently screamed at him whilst beating him with the copy of that infernal magazine; the name she used to whisper in the dark of their bedroom.

They were still. Her eyes had opened, staring into his with such desire but vulnerability that they would have sparkled regardless of the unshed tears. Neither wanted to move - she had one hand on his neck, the other splayed across his chest: his was still threaded through her hair, the other a welcomed warmth on the small of her back. One move might dispel the fantasy, allow reality an opening for the past to re-emerge and ruin everything again.

His hand shifted from her hair and she almost cried right there.

He placed a kiss to her forehead but, instead of letting her stand up and leave as she had been expecting, he spun her so she settled between his legs: her back to his chest, his chin in her hair, their fingers entwined.

She swiped at her cheek, where the tears had begun to fall. The silence was comfortable again.