Disclaimer: Not mine; I own nothing.

A/N: This started as a oneshot, but quickly turned into something else. I would love to know what you think.


The elevator shuttered and stopped. Lizzie looked around, instinctively trying to find the source of the disruption. "What the hell just happened?" And then she saw Reddington; he was smiling.

She narrowed her eyes, realization dawning. "How did -"

"You think I can't do that Lizzie? You think I can't shut down a freight elevator at an FBI black site?" He took a step toward her, fedora in hand. "I can do anything I want to, Lizzie." He was close enough for his breath to stir the loose strands of hair and she could smell his aftershave.

She stepped away from him, the close proximity throwing her slightly off balance. She withdrew her cell phone. No signal. His soft laughter echoed off the metal walls of the closed-in space surrounding her. He wagged his finger like she was a petulant school girl. "That won't work either dear," he said dryly. "It's also shielded." He narrowed his eyes. "This elevator is now the most secure place on the planet."

Liz pocketed the cell phone. Her heart did a little flip with the realization of his words. She was all alone, but not alone. She flexed her fingers.

"What do you want?"

Red circled her as an animal circles its prey. His stare was even more unnerving than usual. He stepped inside the circle he was making and spoke through her hair. "I want you to stop fighting me," he whispered.

His breath in her ear had a disarming effect, and he knew it. Damn him, she thought. He was trying to play her like he had the first day they met. She steeled her fortitude by counting backwards in her head. 25...24...23...

"You see Lizzie, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you," he said steadily. "And you wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me." He was looking at her lips; she had licked them nervously and they were still moist. "You would be at a desk somewhere reading my file, wondering why Ressler had dog-eared so many pages." Red frowned. "How boring."

Irrationally, Liz imagined he could hear her heart beating. She stepped away from him, trying to regain distance. The damn elevator was so small...

"I'm not fighting you." She folded her arms across her chest. Body language 101: Leave me alone. "I've worked with you; I've done everything asked of me," she said evenly.

He cocked his head ever so slightly. "Such a good agent," he said sarcastically. "But we do make a pretty good team, don't we?"

Apparently Body Language 101 was a class Red never had to take, because he was gradually closing the distance between them. She looked him hard in the eyes. "We are not a team."

Red smiled. He had been moving his fingers around the brim of the fedora, making slow circles and then beginning again in the other direction. His hand went up to shepherd an errant lock of her hair, and he leaned in close. "Then what would you say we are," he murmured.

It was the out she was looking for. Before the last syllable, she had his hand behind his back, his thumb locked in a painful and unnatural position, his face against the steel wall of the elevator. His startled laugh set her teeth on edge. "You start this elevator right now," she spat. She wrung the compromised arm for emphasis and he grunted.

"Or what," he said with effort. "Or you'll tell your husband Tom? Or whoever he is?"

His words caught her momentarily off guard, which was his intention. In that instant of wavering, Red had her legs out from under her and both wrists pinned against the wall before she could cry out. His body was flush against hers, and his arms, deceptively pedestrian under his tailored shirts, were pylons of strength. For the first time since he'd stopped the elevator, she felt a momentary flutter of panic.

"I spent six months in Nepal studying Lama Pai," he said into her ear. "Don't try that again, Lizzie because I really don't want to hurt you." She struggled, attempting to twist away but only succeeding in arching her body further into his. "You're hurting me now," she said through gritted teeth.

He studied her face as if it hung in a museum. "No," he said simply, "I haven't hurt you yet."

Sometimes she forgot who he was, she thought. His pristine dress and impeccable mannerisms portrayed an image of gentility. But he was a monster, a beast in gentleman's fair.

She screamed. It was fruitless and it only weakened her resolve, but she screamed anyway. He let her. Waves of panic and despair threatened to crash overhead. It was so tempting to let them carry her away, she thought. She began to cry. "Shhh..." he cooed in her ear. "Everything's alright Lizzie." Her body instantly responded, his voice spreading through every nerve-ending. She hated him for that.

"Now that's out of the way," he said casually, "can we talk?" He still held her firmly, but she ignored him. "I'm not gong to hurt you Lizzie. Look at me."

She did. His eyes were soft, and there was fire there that wasn't there before. He's enjoying this, she thought. "Come with me to Cuba."

"Got to hell," she shot back.

"I had a timeshare there once and believe me, it's vastly overrated," he said glibly. "Come with me to Cuba."

"Red -"

"What, Lizzie? What? What could you possibly say that would be an adequate excuse for you not coming with me."

She closed her eyes and let out a small breath. "Let me go Red," she said quietly. Their faces were inches apart, and the warmth from his skin held her more so than his physical power.

He surprised her by doing as she asked. She rubbed her wrists, coaxing the feeling back into he hands as he looked at her. She worried the scar on her palm instinctively, and his eyes tracked it. She stopped, feeling self conscious.

"If you ever do that again I swear to you-"

"Be careful of your next words, Lizzie, or you'll never find out about that scar."

She looked at him, shocked. He he paid her no mind. "Luli, as you will," he said quietly into his watch. Liz stared at him, dumbfounded as the elevator lurched to life. "What did you say?"

"Your scar," Red said conversationally as he straightened his tailored vest. "I met your father the night before the accident." He looked at her knowingly. "If you can call it an accident."

The elevator settled and two halves of yellow steel opened into daylight. Red adjusted his fedora and slipped on a pair of designer sunglasses. He stepped out into the sun.

"Red, wait."

He stopped but did not turn around. Secretly, he smiled.