Special Agent Samantha Waters looked up from the pictures on her desk and smiled. "John, hi," she said. "Come on in."
Detective Jonathan Grant negotiated the crowded office and settled himself into the chair opposite Sam's desk. He stretched his long legs in front of him and leaned back with a sigh.
"No luck?" she asked sympathetically.
He shook his dark head briefly. "Nothing. I tell you, Sam, this freak has disappeared into thin air."
"He'll rematerialize," Sam said dryly. She looked back down at the pictures, and her normally husky voice dropped even lower. "He wants attention more than anything. This is...like an intermission before act two."
"And me without my Milk Duds."
Sam reacted with that familiar vague smile and flipped to another picture. She continued with her theory. One part of John's brain busily analyzed the profile she was giving him, searching for connections to the information he already had, while the rest just absorbed the sound of her voice. *She sounds like liquid sex,* he thought, not for the first time. His eyes half closed, and he let her soft descriptions of murder and mayhem wash over him.
His eyes had just closed all the way when an eraser bounced off his nose. "Hey," he said with irritation, not bothering to open his eyes. "Stop that."
Sam laughed. "Don't fall asleep in my office."
"I'm not asleep. I'm listening."
"You are not."
He smiled sleepily. "Every word."
Sam moved to lean on the corner of her desk, slipping off one shoe and nudging his calf with her nylon-clad toes. "Go home, John. Take a nap."
Without even thinking, John shifted to catch her foot between his knees. Sam stiffened, and his blue eyes flew open to meet her green ones.
"Um, yeah," he said, bolting to his feet. "I just have a couple more reports to go over, and then I think--"
He stopped halfway to the door. "What?" he mumbled, not looking back at her.
She took a step closer. "You're still upset about Trent."
"No. No, I'm fine with it." His shoulders stiffened and his voice thickened slightly with the barest of accents. "I've killed before, you know."
"But you think you should have gotten him earlier." She took two more steps forward and laid a gentle hand on his elbow. "You let him get away from you twice, and if he'd killed the Senator, you would have been responsible."
John swallowed hard against the heaviness in his throat. He had only heard that particular voice aimed at him once before, but he would never forget the effect it had on him--the effect she has on him. "Just a theory, right, Doctor?" he asked hoarsely.
She let go of his arm as he turned back to face her. "John..."
Whatever either of them might have said was pre-empted by the sound of Sam's office door opening. They both turned expectantly towards their boss.
"Am I interrupting anything?" Bailey Malone asked politely.
"An impromptu therapy session," John answered abruptly, skirting Bailey to exit the office. "What's up?"
Bailey looked back at Sam and raised an eyebrow. She tossed him a frustrated look in return and followed him out the door.
Six hours later, at nearly four in the morning, the three of them stumbled back into Sam's office. John collapsed in the chair and Sam made a beeline for the long brown couch along the near wall. She waved Bailey toward the other end of the couch, but he shook his head and remained poised by the door.
"Well, I'm glad that's over," he said in a voice so calm it completely belied the tense lines of his body.
"Yeah, right," Sam said with a laugh half-smothered by the couch cushion. "You live for this stuff, Bailey."
"True," he said with a laugh. He looked down at her fondly. "But you look beat."
"Really?" she snorted. She reached for the back of the couch and pulled herself to a sitting position. "Nah, I'm fine. I'd better get it together and drive home."
"You're not driving anywhere."
He cut her off with a wave of his hand. "Just take a quick nap. When the next shift comes on at six, I'll have someone give you a ride home."
John watched them argue for a minute. The adrenaline from a successful capture was slowly draining from his body, leaving him edgy and tired. As he listened to their familiar bantering, a feeling that might almost be resentment started to build. It climbed higher and higher as Sam finally gave in and settled back onto the couch with a yawn. Bailey ruffled her hair affectionately, then looked over at John's slouched form.
"I ought to order you to do the same," the older man said. "You're probably in worse shape than she is."
"Gee, thanks, Bailey." The others heard the sarcasm but missed the anger.
"He can stay," Sam mumbled. Both men turned to her in surprise. "'S a comfy chair."
Bailey grinned. "So it is." He flicked the window blinds closed and paused to smile down at Sam before heading out the door. "I'll see you two in a couple hours."
"Going for a nap of your own?" Sam asked.
Bailey laughed out loud. "Are you kidding? I won't sleep for hours yet. I'm gonna go file some reports until this wears off."
Bailey aimed a colorful gesture in her direction, punched the lock on the inside of the door, and pulled it shut behind him.
The room was plunged into half-darkness. John felt more than saw Sam turn to face him. She laughed softly. "He's a card."
John heard a low voice echo into the room. "He's in love with you." It took him a startled moment to realize the voice was his.
Sam went very still. "I know," she whispered.
"You know?" John fought it, but weeks of anger and frustration spilled out in spite of him. "The man looks at you like a drowning man looks at a lifeboat, and all you can do is sit there and say, 'I know'?"
"What do you want me to do?" she snapped back. "I don't control the way he feels. I can't change it. There's nothing either of us can do about it. Damn y--"
"I'm not blind, you know. I know what's going on around me."
"I don't think so." They were both on their feet by now. He took a step towards her.
"Why not?" She matched his move.
He swallowed hard and admitted as much as he could. "If you did, you'd never be able to look me in the eye again."
Her gaze widened and faltered for a second. Then she stared back at him. "Don't be so sure, John,"
He stared down at her. Her eyes were wide and luminous in the dim light, and they seemed to be--but they couldn't, it must be...
"I'm seeing things," he whispered as he took one tentative step closer.
"That's my job, Detective," she whispered back as her hand came to rest at the nape of his neck.
The next thing John knew clearly was that his mouth was on hers. She tasted exactly like she smelled--like the first sweet bite of a red apple. He groaned softly and pulled her into his arms.
She pressed herself closer. The hand at his neck threaded through the soft, deep brown of his hair; the other one pushed aside his jacket. Her fingers traced the leather of his shoulder holster and slid under his gun.
The feel of her hand next to his heart jerked John out of the kiss. He held onto her with both hands and fought for breath.
Sam looked up at him. A bemused but entirely pleased look crossed her face. "Oh..." she said softly.
"Uh, Sam, I don't--"
"I mean, we really--"
"Ah, hell." He pulled her close again and covered her mouth with his. Some paranoid corner of his brain was urging him to capture her scent, feel, taste, to memorize it, so that he'd be able to remember it when he woke up from this absolutely spectacular dream.
She kept her body pressed to his and pulled him backwards and down until both of them were on the couch--Sam lying against the arm, John half-kneeling over her. He lifted a hand and brushed her blonde hair behind her ear, remembering the dozens of times he'd seen her perform the same gesture. His hand stayed there, cradling her head gently. "Samantha..." It was less a question and more a desperate plea for sanity. "Sam, do you know what you're doing?"
A smile he'd never seen before spread across her face. She reached up and traced the outline of his lower lip. "Well, it's been a few years, but I think I remember how it goes..." He groaned. "That's not what I meant, Sam."
"I know." She raised her head until their lips were barely separated. John sucked in a quit breath as her face blurred in front of him. "And the answer is yes."
"Oh. Well. Great." When Sam started laughing at the dumbfounded look on his face, he growled in frustration and dropped his mouth to hers, cutting the sound off immediately and effectively.
Sam's hands slid back up to his shirt, this time groping for the fastenings of his shoulder holster. She unbuckled it and helped him slide it off his arms and drop it somewhere over the arm of the couch, never once breaking the kiss. Then her busy fingers went to work on his tie and shirt buttons. He tried to return the favor, but swore into her mouth when her blouse refused to slide out from under her shirt.
She laughed softly and lifted her hips to give him better leverage. "One of the disadvantages of being on top."
John was still dazed from the feeling of her hips against his, and it took him a moment to register the words. Then he grinned down at her. "You wanna know something?" he asked, nuzzling her neck as he started on her buttons.
"Oh, that feels good...what?"
He smiled into the hollow of her throat. "The first time you said that to me..."
"What? Oh." Her lips grazed his temple. "You like your women in heels, your Scotch straight, and yourself definitely on top...yeah, I remember."
He trailed a line of kisses up her throat and to her delicately stubborn chin, stopping when her laughing eyes met his. "I wanted to roll over and beg," he confessed thickly. "And the day I walked in here and saw this couch--"
"Mm. I can imagine." She pressed her cheek to his burning one (Blushing? He wasn't blushing) while she slid his suspenders and shirt from his shoulders.
John let go of her just long enough to push his shirt off and yank his undershirt over his head. When Sam ran her palms down the length of his back, he groaned and pulled her up into a hard kiss. His calloused palms brushed over the soft skin of her shoulders and the smooth silk of her blouse as he slid it off. He looked down, and his eyes nearly glazed over. "Lace. Oh, Sam," he mumbled brokenly. She just smiled and drew his head down to her chest.
He rested his forehead against her collarbone and pressed his lips to the space between her breasts. "You smell so good."
Whatever she might have replied was cut of by a gasp as he turned his head and ran his tongue across the edge of the lace he was so fond of. Sam made a low, throaty sound and arched closer. In response, John slid a hand around to the fastening between her shoulder blades. It took his shaking fingers three tries to unhook it, but the bra was finally off and gone, and he bent hungrily to her bared breasts.
Sam's arms closed tightly around him. He could hear her labored breathing, feel her racing heart. A rush of pure heat slammed into his head and his gut. His mind clouded until the only reality in his world became her skin under his mouth.
Endless moments later, John lowered her until her shoulders rested against the arm of the couch. He trailed a finger down the small of her back to the hook and eye at her waist. He released this one easily, and eased her now- rumpled skirt and nylons down.
He paused on his way back up to brush his thumb over the scrap of black lace that remained; Sam sucked in a breath that was more tense than pleased. He jerked his hand back and looked up at her. "Sam?"
"No, I'm all right," she said. A haunted look entered her eyes. "It's just...it's been a long time."
"I know." He lifted his hand to brush her hair back again and again, trying to somehow soothe her. "Do you want to stop?"
"No...no." She managed the barest of smiles. "Unless you want to stop and think about baseball for a while."
John choked back a laugh. "That's all right." He leaned in and brushed her lips softly. "But we can slow it down a little."
Her eyes drifted shut as he kissed his way up the side of her face, along her cheekbones, and across each eyelid. "Please..." she breathed.
So he took his time. Holding in the trembling that threatened to tear him apart, he kept his hands firmly on the couch and away from her and let his lips do all the work. He covered every inch of her face with butterfly kisses, then returned to her mouth and explored it with a thoroughness and a gentleness he'd never used before with anyone. He broke away and returned, again and again, until she was moaning into his mouth and holding onto him with both hands. And still he concentrated on her face. His control was crumbling, and he was starting to seriously consider the baseball solution Sam had suggested, when he finally felt her hands finally move down his chest and come to rest ever so lightly on his zipper and the hot skin under it. He sent up a mental prayer of thanks.
Sam slid his zipper down. John shifted to let her slide his pants and jockey shorts to his ankles. Keeping his mouth on hers, he slid one hand down to her breast and used the other to quickly toss off his shoes and socks. A quick kick knocked everything to the floor and he knelt before her, fighting competing waves of nervousness and passion.
She just looked at him for a long moment. Then she smiled and held out her arms. He pulled her up so they were kneeling face to face. "You are beautiful," she said.
"Sam..." He leaned in to kiss her, but she dropped her head to his chest. She traced the muscles of his chest and shoulders with her hands while her lips left a trail of fire on their way down. He sucked in a deep breath as her tongue circled one nipple. "Oh, God, Sam..."
He reached for the lace at her hip. There was a sharp sound as the cloth gave way; neither of them noticed. Sam fell back against his arm, and he laid her down gently, leaning over her and taking her mouth hungrily as his other hand settled on her stomach and moved lower.
"I should tell you how beautiful you are," he whispered in her ear as his hand stroked through her soft curls, already damp with desire. "How sexy and intelligent and gorgeous you are. How much I love your voice." One finger slipped gently inside her. Her eyes fluttered shut and her hands clutched tightly at his shoulders. "Yeah, hold on. Hold on to me. Sam, look at me." He waited until her eyes had opened and cleared enough to focus on him before moving his hand again. "I have never met anyone like you before. No woman has ever made me feel like you do. Ever."
"John..." Her voice trailed off into a moan when he slipped another finger inside her, brushing her most sensitive spot. Her hands clenched into fists and she buried her face in his neck to muffle her cry of release. John closed his eyes and held onto her as she shuddered in his arms. She was still trembling when he shifted between her legs. Both of them gasped at the first tentative contact. John quickly fumbled through the pile of clothing on the floor. Sam watched him with a bemused look on her face, then took the small foil package from his shaking fingers. "Let me," she whispered with a smile.
John closed his eyes and tried to stay on control, but the feel of her hands on his skin was driving him out of his mind. "Sam," he gasped. "Sam, please..."
Her arms came up to grasp his shoulders, her legs circled his hips, and with a breath, he was inside her. He fought desperately to stay in control, but she was with him and around him. His head spun with pleasure. He thrust once, twice, and as soon as he felt her begin to climax again, he let go and let himself explode with her.
It was quite a while before John could find the strength to move. He shifted his weight onto his elbows and looked down at Sam's flushed face. "I'm gonna squash you," he said softly.
She smiled up at him. "No. You're fine."
"Fine? That's not quite how I'd put it."
She raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?"
"Yeah. Oh, yeah." He planted a quick kiss on her lips. "You are one spectacular woman, Samantha Waters."
She reached up and cupped his face in her hands. "And you are an unforgettable man, Johnathan Grant."
They smiled together for a moment. Then Sam looked at his bare chest and sighed. "I hate to say this, but we should probably get dressed."
He groaned. "Ohh...do we have to?"
She ruffled his hair. "Don't whine, Detective."
They reluctantly separated and set about pulling on their very rumpled clothing. John's pants were turned nearly inside out, and Sam's underwear was hopelessly ripped. They were both laughing at their situation when John looked over at the "Jack of all trades" wall that was a permanent part of Sam's office. His voice trailed off.
Sam looked up from the stubborn buttons on her blouse. "What is it, John?"
He took her left hand in his and ran his thumb over the wedding ring that still graced her finger. "I'm sorry, Sam. I'm so sorry."
"It's all right. I mean...it was like an open wound for a long time. But it is getting better. Work helps. Chloe helps." She smiled fondly. Then she turned her hand and linked her fingers with his. "Tonight helps."
"I'm glad." He opened his arms to her, and she snuggled into the curve of his shoulder gratefully. He leaned back against the couch and just sat like that, holding onto her and letting her hold onto him, until Bailey came to wake them.