PM: Yeah, Past, Midnight

He opened his eyes slowly, as he exhaled. " That was quite extraordinary, Miss Street … " His voice was labored, impossibly low and that alone could have caused her to smile this lovingly at him. But now also the way his shirt fell open and exposed his bare chest, the way he leaned back lazily to the couch, almost thirty years, well, twenty years younger, utterly spent, relaxing extensively, made her swoon. This was him at his best. She sat sidewards on the backrest of the couch, massaging her hands over his rugged chest towards his shoulders.

" It was quite extraordinary … " Her voice was as labored. " But it had been a while … "

He admired all that was hers. His eyes fondled over the years next to him, rested comfortably on her breasts and travelled up to her face with a sly smile in them.

" So, is it past midnight ? " He asked. As if he didn't know.

" Yes, it's past midnight. "

His hands held her upperarms, then slowly, slowly pulled her soft, warm body on top of him from the back of the couch, a small chuckle accompanying her when she landed in his arms. He wrapped his arms and legs around her as far as he could. Both their bodies were warm, slightly damp, this embrace causing a familiair intimacy that could not be explained, could only be felt.

" It's good to have you back, even if you were gone for just one day. " She floated in his arms. " I need you so close to me right now. "

Then he whispered to her ear. " Happy birthday, darling. "

When she turned her face to him, he was happily enabled to drown in her fascinating glooming glittering hazel eyes, and he took in her full lips, a little swollen from the earlier display of his sweltering hunger. He kissed her lazily and long.

" You thought I had forgotten about your birthday, right ? " He whispered to her lips.

" No. " She shook her head.

" Yes, you did. "

" Well, had you forgotten about it ? "

" No."

" Yes, you had. Being the way you were today. "

" I still think you should hit me if I'm like I was today, and before … "

" I did that once, and it didn't turn out very well, did it ? "

" Yes, but that's another story … "

" Mmm-mmm … " They kissed deeply, causing her to moan extensively. " So, did you forget my birthday? "

" No, no. I only forgot to bring your present. It's still at home. I'll give it to you to have it herald you into your new year. Once we're able enough to get out of here … "

" Able enough? "

" I'm too old to have your ways with me on the couch … "

She laughed at his deliberate mixing up of words. And sighed, contentedly. Her ways with him on the couch were extraordinary in deed, no matter what age or state they were in. But still.

" Next year, I'll be seventy, Perry. " She stroked the hairs on his arms, nuzzled her face to them.

" Mmm-mmm … "

" I want something special for that birthday … "

" I already have something in mind … "

" You do ? "

" Something very special … "

" You're not going to tell me, are you? "

" No. "

" I do have a request ... "

" Anything, darling … "

" Do you want to give me my present in the court room next year? "

" Yes? Why? "

" I can't really tell … It seems so much more appropriate. "

He thought about it for a while in silence, holding her very close to him, realizing he was dwelling on the couch again but this time for good reasons.

Yes, it was appropriate to give her his present in the court room next year. Especially the present he had in mind.

She was the defendant, the witness, the prosecutor, but most of all she was the judge of his equilibrium. She was the keeper of the balancing system he worked for and with, and so she did hold his hand and his heart at the end of the day, had done so for years.

And he kept the key to her filing cabinet.

It was a very fulfilling way of living their lives simultaneously.

It humbled him, it made him small. His body was old now, his hair grey, and both his skin and his ways were weathered and rusty.

But aging as well as atonement were not bad when it was done in the presence of Della Street.

She would lovingly provide him with another day tomorrow, and he would fill it with laughter … and a new case.