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“Well, I don’t have daisies, either,” he replied mildly.  He didn’t talk much to his neighbors – probably for the best to not have to make up excuses for why and where he was always vanishing off to. “I actually don’t talk to ‘em much.”  Big surprise there, he was sure, chatty as he was. 
He liked that in cars, even if you weren’t the one driving, you could look ahead, look out the window.  Didn’t have to make eye contact the whole time.  As such, it took a moment for him to glance back and notice her hand.  Hopefully, the delay was made up for by the fact that he took it.  Took it and smiled, small and quick, but it was a smile. 
“I, uh, I’m not great at talking to people.”  Blissfully ignorant of where her head was, aware only of how nicely her hand rested in his, he even managed a joke.  “You probably haven’t noticed.”

“I have, but I don’t let it stop me from talking to you.” She stroked her thumb over his calloused one, noting the difference in their skin. If she brought her camera, Izzie would’ve captured their hands entwined in one another. His rough, hers softer but faintly calloused from holding her various cameras. Her eyes drew lines over the veins in his hands, looking up only when the driver announced they’d arrived at the restaurant. 

The driver got out and walked in front of the car. “Guess he wants a five star rating,” she mused, watching as the drive opened her side door. “You’ll get me talking more after I eat.” Her fingernails stroked the top of his hand before she pulled away. Izzie slid out of the car, careful for her dress again, and thanked the driver in Swedish. Even tipped him and thanked him for the quiet drive. 

Smoothing her dress, she looked over her shoulder, “You ready for the best date night?”

Greg allowed both eyebrows to raise at his confession, sitting back in his chair and crossing his arms. “Are you sure about that? Are you sure they didn’t get their intended target? You said it yourself, manslaughter, and drug trafficking. There’s a high chance he was the one the killer was looking for and I just lucked out. And you should finish what you were saying, Detekiv. Someone is what?”
He had a point, most assassinations were done in private to avoid this kind of backlash. The forensics today is much better than 20 years ago. Wait…how did this guy even die? Are they even sure the death took place in the park and not somewhere else? If it was a slow-acting poison, it could’ve easily started where he resided and finally took effect after some time. It was probably too early to tell, but he was gonna need the autopsy report if he was gonna put any pieces together.
Protection was out of the question, but he couldn’t just say no. The last thing he needed was the police breathing down his neck while he did his own investigation. “You’ll understand when I say I’ll have to talk about that with Izzie. I don’t live here and she doesn’t deserve to have her life upended because of something that might have nothing to do with me.”

The Detektiv thought of this otherwise. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but it had to involve Greg. It was too much of a coincidence for the dead man to look like him. But he wouldn’t get answers from him. No, he’d need to get it from his photographer. 

“Please, here’s a notepad and pen. Write down your contact information and where you will be staying for any follow up.” He looked to the pen in his hand. Bag it for evidence later. “Wait here and I’ll have a second escort you out.”

***

Izzie, on the other hand, had walked off to her office she shared with Nyberg. It was her territory and if Detektiv wanted to speak to her, she wouldn’t sit down and be interrogated. Not happening.

His immediate inclination was a twist of anxiety at the idea of witnesses – but he was taking her out on a date, not taking her out as in – well.  Taking her out.  Permanently.  If he were in the habit of dwelling on himself, he’d probably consider what a concerning natural instinct that was to have. 
“That’s nice of ‘em.  You close?” 
When the car arrived, that part he knew.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually been on a date, but he remembered he liked that part of it – getting a couple quick paces ahead to open the door for her, like a gentleman. 

Izzie smiled at his chivalry, sliding into the car, careful to lift her legs together or else she’d flash the driver. Izzie having flashed Tray before, wasn’t worried about his reaction. Izzie watched him make the trek to his side, informing the driver they’d prefer to speak among themselves than with the driver. Right now, she wanted to learn as much as she could about her date.

She waited for him to join her before answering his earlier question. “Close that they watch Lucky whenever I need to leave town. But, what about you? Close with your neighbors?,” she asked, reaching out once more for his hand. Izzie wanted to. She wanted him to know the sundress clad woman with a daisy in her hair wanted to hold his hand.

Would you ever be close enough to let someone water your daisies or look after an imaginary dog?,” she asked, smiling. The ride wouldn’t take long, but she’d take as much as she could of getting to know Tray. Even now, her eyes flickered over his face, remembering how red he’d got over seeing her nudes. How would he look...she stopped that thought before her own face turned red. 

Patience, Izzie.

Patience.

     “Kat’s been by?” His eyebrows jumped upwards. That was news to him. He and Kat hardly ever crossed paths. They must just miss each other on the way to or from. One might think his daughter was avoiding him.
     But that was a concern to unravel at a later time. 
     Right now, Izzie was the only thought occupying his mind. He drank in her bare skin with his eyes, appreciatively snaking cold fingers across her his before they found her waist again. Her skin was hot beneath his touch, damn near fevered.
     “Forget ‘bout that,” he murmured, “I’ll make that up to you too.” His gaze lingered on her bottom lip, where her teeth pressed enticingly into it. “Seems we got a lot to make up, yeah?”
     Why was it always like this? Like they’d been apart for years? It had only been days. Every reunion was with the same enthusiasm and excitement and passion. And honestly, he’d have it no other way.
     A grin lit across his face. “I’ll always see you.” He said it with all the certainty as a serious promise. He pulled her hand to his mouth then, mirroring her soft sensual kisses. He edged forward with her, guiding her toward the couch. “You sure you wanna hear all that? I can think o’ better things to do with our time.” 
     Obviously. 

As much as she wanted to unpack his surprise over Kat being by, she instead focused on the feeling of him against her. Or, hopefully, feeling of him inside of her. Soon. Very soon.

If there was anyone else in the room, they'd have grown uncomfortable by the sexual and sensual tension emanating in the room. Izzie couldn't help it. They were just eager to be with one another as they were the first night together. Just the memory of their first time brought her face to darken further than her hair. Could he see what he was doing to her?

See how much she wanted him, or was it the way she easily fell back onto the couch. Her legs parting for him to settle in where she'd always welcome him in---between her.

"Oooh, like what? Talk about bills?," she teased, her hands reaching to unbutton and help him out of his clothes. Her eyes were glassy, slowly losing to the hunger that he provoked in her no matter how tired she was or upset she was. The man lit her up and hoped to consume them both tonight.

"Tell you how much I missed your mouth on me? Your hands spreading me wide? My heart running like a dog around the track, and I mean my heartbeat between my legs." Izzie took one of his hands and guided it to the seam of her underwear. “Maybe talk to that part about your day. Enunciate every word.”

If You’re Cold, They’re Cold

starter for @takeabiteoutofyou
At least the random species of owl that’s been forced upon him at the worst of times — imagine suddenly transforming into a non-aquatic bird while all soaped-up in the tub — is location-appropriate. That’s the only good news. The bad news is just because snowy owls can handle cold winters, doesn’t mean that Emil wants to. Like hell he’s going to spend an entire month dipping his hairy bird feet into snow to collect measly rodents. Not when there are many humans out there who are good enough to shelter wildlife in presumed peril but not lawful enough to alert the authorities about it. All that’s left is to find one.
The window is picked for no other reason than that it’s the closest, with the lights still on at this late hour. A heavy thud against the exterior sill is followed by the owl walking back and forth, its curved black claws scraping against ice and metal. The bird’s head bobs all over the place as its flat round face appears in the gaps between the frosted patterns covering the window. Its coat is almost pure white, indicating an adult male. Its yellow eyes have a slight sickly green tint to them. They peer in, half-lidded judgmentally, as their owner’s beak clicks against the glass.
Let him in.

As close as she was to sleeping, the rap-tap-tapping at her window made Izzie rethink her slumber. Her eyes snapped open as she looked towards the window. Was it a straw branch from the tree? No, they were cut down earlier in the month to keep snow from piling and falling against the apartments. 

Was it hail? 

No, just wind and...was that a bird?

Izzie shuffled out of bed, rousing her dog, Lucky, from her sleep. The little Italian Greyhound gruffed before she settled back into a comfortable spot to continue her sleep.

“What are you doing out there?,” she asked, knowing the cold winds would batter the poor bird’s wings. If it wasn’t the beak, she wouldn’t have noticed its camouflage of white coat. “Harry Potter’s missing his bird.” Amused with her joke, she sobered at the thought of the owl being hurt. But, she couldn’t let it inside.

No, that would spell disaster. 

“Go into the hut on the tree,” she said, pointing to the perch house made for any birds. It might be big enough for the creature. Would it even understand her? 

“I’d let you in, but you might bite me.”

     So it wasn’t exactly the aura he’d been hoping for, but excitement ran a close second to surprise. It touched his skin, surrounded him, while she squealed and returned the surprise embrace.
     His fingers pressed into her waist, toying already with her waistband, pulling her even closer–if such a thing was possible. He didn’t respond right away, taking the lull in her words to plant a deep kiss on her made-up lips. He grinned when he withdrew, touching a hand to his cheek, where her lipstick smeared. “What do you think? Is it my color?”
     Dylan hardly waited for a response before he spoke again, brushing an errant strand out of her face. “You sure this makes up for it? I can do somethin’ more.” He studied her face, as if memorizing again every curve, every freckle, dimple, blemish, committing her beauty to his thoughts again. “Oh, but it’s good t’see your face–really see it.”
     He admired her a minute longer before he grinned. “Sorry, love. Bit empty-handed. Guess I’ll gotta make that up t’ya too.” 

"I thought maybe it was your kid coming by to check in on Lucky." Izzie had opted to have Lucky stay at the doggie daycare five days a week, with Dylan's kid to swing by and look after Lucky on the weekends. It'd worked well for Lucky, who Izzie swore kept coming home with more plushies and new outfits. 

"But you're better than a kid who's eaten me out of pizza and cheese doodles." Especially when she wiggled herself out of her opened work uniform and let it fall around her ankles. She wanted nothing of today's job to linger in this personal bubble that she was more than eager to wiggle herself into with Dylan.

She smiled, her lipstick slightly smeared, but wide as can be over seeing him marked up. There were other places she planned to mark up. More intimate and sweeter places, Izzie thought as she wrapped her arms around his waist. She pulled herself to him, her navel brushing against his belt loop. It was cold against her flushed skin.

Her skin grew warmer at his words and attention. If his eyes were hands, which was weird to think over, she swore she could feel them graze over her cheekbones. Glide over her lashes, stroke at her temples, slide down her nose, before stopping to rub at her lower lip. Izzie found herself biting her lower lip, knowing if it were possible, he’d have done it.

“The way you make me feel when you look at me like that, I can imagine a few ways we can make it up to each other. Come, let me hold you and you tell me what you’ve been up to lately.” She reached down for his hand, bringing it up to kiss the knuckles. “I hope you never stop seeing me, Dylan.”

@takeabiteoutofyou gets a thread with Dylan!
    From the Shadows, he lurked. 
    It felt a lot like old times, where he watched her from the darkness, figured her out, waited. Now, he was a part of her life and the Shadows… well, he didn’t need to hide in them any more to be close to her. And yet, here he was. 
     She’d been home for a bit already, following her usual routine of settling in after work. Only Lucky seemed to sense he was there, now and again looking toward the corner of the room where he waited.
      A Izzie swept into the living room from the kitchen, he stepped out behind her. Oh, she had to be expecting him. After all, he rarely spent his evenings away. If she didn’t, well, all the better. She had a beautiful aura, particularly when surprised, and he hoped to catch a glimpse of  that particular emotion tonight.
      He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her against him–gently, there was no need to bruise her. Not yet, anyway. He put his lips to her ear. “’Ello, love. Miss me?”

Izzie felt it. Her skin prickled, goosebumps raised on her arms, and her gut warned her something was amiss. Something or someone was watching her.

She’d like to say it was the first time, but after having had demons, wolves, and vampires run through her apartment, this made narrowing the someone down harder.

She kept to her nightly routine of shucking her heels off, checking her mail as she made her way to her living room to put on her Spotify playlist. Hopefully, set the atmosphere for what she hoped wouldn’t be her very own horror movie.

But, it was seeing Lucky look into the corner that had her change courses. Instead, of pulling out the sofa baton she kept hidden in her mason jar on the coffee table, she went for high pitched squeal.

“Babbbbbbyyyy!!!!”

Izzie flung herself back into Dylan’s embrace. “Missed being in your arms, but this makes up for it.” She turned in his arms, peppering his face with lipstick kisses. Izzie had been sent out on an assignment the past two weeks and hadn’t had a chance to do anything but shower and head back to the station. 

“Any new jars for me to look at?”

“Thanks. It was for the best.” He gave a firm nod, hoping that if she genuinely felt sorry for him or his family, she would understand that it really was for the best. It saved him and everyone else on base a whole lot of suffering.
“No, still stuck. I’m just here to shuffle papers that can’t be emailed.” It was just as he was starting to get more comfortable and let his shoulders droop a little that the world stopped for a moment. If it had been anyone else, he wouldn’t have a care in the world. He stared out the window a little while longer and as the statement sunk in, his entire body stiffened. His head mechanically swiveled towards her and silence stretched between them before he gulped.
“I’m- I’m sorry.” Again he had to pause and shove the wrong words aside to search for better ones. It was time to be kind and sensitive- but it would only be half of the truth. He’d email the other half; the medical records and reports detailing why it really happened. Or maybe he’d find a way to do it after his death so he wouldn’t have to suffer any retaliation.
“It’s a self-destruct mechanism. The one time they considered the ethical implications of their work and they make every last one of us sterile. We only found out recently.” He made eye contact for a few seconds before he diverted his gaze again. A thick lump had formed in his throat. Suck it up. You hate kids. At least you don’t have to pay child support or some stupid shit like that. His thoughts did nothing to the lump. “It’s- it’s better this way. They would’ve never let you be happy. The two of you would be on the run for the rest of your lives or- or they would’ve taken it away and given you a box of ashes… I’d be in the dark. They’d never risk someone getting attached.”
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Still stuck.

Huh, just like the two of them, no? Not that she hadn't moved on. Oh, Izzie moved onto several relationships, but she'd also lived. Traveled. Continued with her studies and all the while Miller was still stuck. Stuck in the military, with his family, with what he was really doing for the government. Maybe, she was lucky to have gotten out before she was too stuck to move or do a damn thing.

But it didn't mean, she wanted Miller to stay stuck or suffer while was in it. Cause, Izzie saw it all over his face. The fine lines she noticed around Miller's mouth. Signs he hadn't been sleeping well, if at all. Even seeing the shock on his face deepens the frown lines in his forehead. God, he wasn't dead yet, but if he kept at it, he would be.

Just like their child.

Izzie put down her fork and knife before she reached out to grasp at his hand. To make Miller look into her eyes. Just like old times to look away when emotions were heavy. Another tell she long remembered.

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"You and I both know we would've found a way. Even if we weren't together, I have no doubt you'd have done your best as a father and co-parent. Even.., love the baby." Izzie couldn't grieve for something that she hadn't thought was possible. A child with Miller, even a healthy baby at that. With her own fears of mental illness running in her gene pool, losing the child was part relief and then shock to never have the choice to have a child in the future.

"They took the choice of us ever deciding what to do, away from us both. But I also can admit that losing the baby, it meant it wouldn't end up as a pawn or an experiment. Wouldn't be used against you to keep you locked into what you're doing now." She sighed, looking away to wave off the waitress who had a coffee pot in her hand. They didn't need anyone to walk or listen in on their moment. 

"Miller, I'm sorry your brothers and you didn't get a choice to live how you wanted. To get attached to anyone."

starter for @takeabiteoutofyou !!
Miller had never understood the allure of cat-and-mouse games, not until he met her. Then he fully understood and embraced the idea. Just as he had set his sights on Izzie, so did the people behind Project Castor and maybe even people higher than them. He had to be careful if he wanted her to be his and only his.
He was counting on her curiosity to lure her further in and seeing her number pop up on his burner phone was another success. Leaning back in the hotel office chair, he answered the phone with an air of satisfaction.
“How’s your coffee?” He asked, figuring that at this time of the morning, she’d be finishing a cup or starting another. “I think you’ll find it wasn’t me this time- but I do have information.”
The end of his pencil brushed against his lips as he surveyed the image in front of him. If the Leda clones were anything like the Castors, they were going to be trouble. A Leda had been gunned down and killed by a sniper during the night, it was only a small consolation that one more was out of the way. Now he just had to make sure Izzie understood that this wasn’t his doing.
“You’re headed into a big, fat international minefield. I don’t know how deep it goes, but I’m willing to help you. I don’t want to see you dead.” As simple as the last statement was, it was difficult to admit. Having feelings was uncomfortable. “Should I continue or would you rather quit your job now and hide in the woods for the next few years?”

A long and deep sigh could be heard over the phone. Izzie wondered if she could sight for the rest of her life. When it came to this conversation, it either angered her or sucked the fun out of her. Considering who it was, Izzie hoped he’d stay on the line long enough to track his whereabouts. But the bastard somehow managed to get away each time. Already, she felt the frustration begin in the back of her head. 

“Black and a little burnt. Hard for the people around here to put in a new filter,” she said, raising her voice for others to hear her. She locked eyes with Detektiv Aker, knowing he was her nemesis and wouldn’t hesitate to charger her with anything. Moreso if he realized, she was speaking to him.

Clearing her throat, she turned away from Aker and focused on her caller. “I think you’d rather see me in those gifts you keep sending. You really are off about my sizes.” Too tight, but then he’d get off on that. “At least send me comfortable pajamas if you’re trying to get in my pants.” This conversation gave her the necessary seconds to figure out her decision. Whatever these deaths were, there was a bigger purpose, wider picture she could see. “Go on, but know you’re attached to this by withholding evidence and information.”

It had always taken Sherlock a long time to fall asleep. It took so long to systematically turn off all of the gears in his mind that he rarely found more than a few hours of sleep at a time. This morning was no exception. He’d spent a good hour after Izzie had fallen asleep tracing her back with his fingertips, basking in the quiet of the night. He’d managed to fall asleep around four o’clock and by five 5:20 he was recharged. 
His mind bolted to a start with the first call of obscenities from the early morning construction traffic below. Izzie was warm against him and as much as he didn’t want to, he knew he had to leave. His pursuer may have been dead but there was always going to be someone higher up ready to seek revenge. He’d need to risk a trip to the basement of the brownstone to retrieve the small mahogany box tucked into the carriage of his motorcycle. From here, he could use the contents of the box to rent a car and head for Champlain New York, where a Mister Fisk could take him up the river and across the border into Canada. A mild trek through the woods and he could rendezvous with Liana and make arrangements for passage to Reykjavík. First, however, he had to find his damn pants. 

“I’m supposed to be the one leaving,” Izzie said, her voice raspy from sleep and satisfaction. At how long they were at each other’s bodies, Izzie should’ve slept like the dead. Her body felt like dead weight, soreness and pleasurable achiness running through her as she turned onto her side. But it was the feeling of a warm weight leaving her and knowing where she was that broke her sleep spell. She promised to leave first and he wouldn’t take that from her.

Sitting up in bed, she fought to keep her gaze focused and on Sherlock. She could see the scratch marks on his chest, even some near his shoulders. Izzie smiled at her intentional marks, souvenirs for him to remember her by. “You should see Joan before you leave. At least watch her book interview.” Once he realized what kind of book she’s written, Sherlock might want an audience with his former business partner. “I need to be at her place, feed Clyde and look after...” Izzie stopped herself from spilling the beans on Arthur. 

Sherlock gripped Izzie’s hips and quickly pulled her in to him. His hands moved around her back as he leaned down into another long kiss. There was so much to say to her, but he left the words to fall to the floor as he ran his hands along her back, feeling the curves as he did so. She was warm in the cool hotel room. 
He would love her. In time, the love would soften around the edges as time wears away at all things. They would relax into each other, each becoming more whole as they did so. But that was in time. For now, the love was new. Visceral. Raw.
Sherlock kept her held close as he stepped away from the window, kissing her ever more passionately with each step towards the burgundy silk sheets. He tossed her onto the bed, grinning at the way her hair fell around her. “Tonight is ours.” 

Before she could sit up, Sherlock fell onto her, his hands reaching out for her wrists. He quickly slid them above her head, his nose nuzzling the skin of her throat. Sherlock missed this, missed Izzie. What secrets laid in the hollow of her throat? In her scent, one he could pick out in a sea of perfumes and piles of garbage. He sought her out in his heroin-induced haze.

Izzie sighed beneath him, her thighs falling apart to accept the weight of him between. He pressed against her, the contact soliciting a gasp from her. She felt the weight of him pressing through his joggers. How long had it been? More than a few years, but she couldn’t wait for him to be inside of her now.

It was rapid tearing of their clothes before their skin made contact with one another. One hand went back to her wrists, the other at her throat. He wanted her to see the look in his eyes. The feral hunger at being with her again. She gasped against his fingers, smiling at the pressure at her carotid. He wouldn’t hurt her. Not when she willingly gave herself to his hands.

Even when he spread her wide and he pressed at her lips, she did not look away from his gaze. He slid between the folds, her mouth dropping open wider.

Fuck, he was thicker than she last remembered.

Sherlock’s hands tightened, her head swimming on the high of feeling him again. The slow thrust soon turned into harder, hips slapping, his cock dragging against all nerve endings.

Her legs wrapped themselves around his thighs, her feet digging into the round globes of his ass. She let himself use her, fuck her into the mattress. Her fingers interlaced with his own, urging him to fuck her harder. To make her cry out and make her cunt full by him. 

Sweat glistened on Sherlock’s forehead, his lips on her nipple, capturing one to nibble before repeating the same to the other. He kissed and bit down on her. They had tonight, but he’d leave a reminder of this night. Of how much he wanted her. How he wanted others to see it.

For this, she slipped her hands from his own, her nails biting down into his shoulders. Izzie thrust back, her breath leaving her, only the sounds of sex and slapping indicating the two were sharing each other’s bodies. His cock spearing her over and over as her inner walls tightened on him. Sherlock groaned, his teeth bared at her little trick. 

The bed creaked and groaned as Sherlock flipped her onto her back, pushing her face into the mattress. Izzie smiled, soon repeating he was going to break her. To shatter her completely. Make her come all over his cock.

Her words only stoked him to drive deeper, his fingers dipping into her hips. Bruises would soon appear from his touch. All of it worth him driving his cock deeper and harder into her. Though he was quick to bring his fingers down and stroke the bundle of nerves, her clit crying out for sweet release.

“Yes. . .yes...es...ugh....fu...ck, yes!,” Izzie cried out.

“Not....done....yet....,” Sherlock gritted out, determined to make up for all those lost years without Izzie.

.

.

.

Fade to black

“A better future, huh?” Bitterness dripped from his voice and felt another wave of regret. It was a rare moment of self-awareness when he realized that maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t be using his impending death to guilt-trip her. “Are you trying to psychoanalyze me, Doctor Lecter?” 
He let out a sigh through his nose and glanced up again, this time without the puppy face. Every time she asked a question, it reminded him that hadn’t put as much thought or effort into the relationship as she had. Is this something normal people remember? Like, am I supposed to be stuck on that moment when shit really hit the fan? It ended when you ended it, that’s what I’m stuck on.
“Probably when I went off on that mission right before we split. There was nothing to do but sit and think.” It wasn’t something he wanted to elaborate on. He took great pride in his work but he could get neither a promotion nor an honorable discharge. His relationship status didn’t matter. There would be no magnificent promotion celebration in his future, no escaping the mountains of paperwork, and no dangerous missions. Not that he had been on many dangerous missions since his injury.
“I am sorry that Rudy,” he paused in search of an appropriate word, “harassed you like he did. I did what I could to stop him but you know how he is…” I’m just a bad package deal, aren’t I? Buy one solider, get a bunch of freaks at no extra cost. If Izzie had wished for the karma bus to hit Rudy, she got her wish when Seth died. Maybe the months after the break-up at been smooth for her, but it felt like years for Miller.
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Izzie didn’t flinch at his words. He deserved to feel whatever he wanted about them, their friendship, their former relationship. “Nope, just trying to figure out if there was anything that could’ve saved it, or at least stopped us from going further.” Because she missed the friendship, the easiness of being around him. But it wasn’t fair to either of them to want that. 

No, instead, Izzie wanted to see if it was worth the headache. Knowing they could’ve stayed friends and seen the end of his life in better spirits. “I’m sorry to hear about Seth,” she murmured, knowing while Rudy had been a pain in her ass, she heard about Rudy passing away. She didn’t ask how, but knew it from the sestras.

“Are you still enlisted, on leave, or...did you finally make it out?” That had been something she wanted for him regardless of their status with each other. For him to be free of the military life. To go wherever and be whoever he wanted. Which meant telling him the truth about something.

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“You should know...I was pregnant when we broke up.” There, the little bombshell she kept for the longest time. “I miscarried soon after. Didn’t even get a chance to take it all in.” Especially after hearing from the doctors that she wouldn’t have children from the scarring. “Wouldn’t have changed much but hurt for us worse.”

Sherlock inhaled at Izzie’s warmth. Had it really that long since he’d touched someone? It had. He bristled for just a moment before melting into her. He listened as she spoke, putting all of his focus on her words and breath, letting everything else: the pedestrians and traffic, the city, everything, fall away so that i could just be them. They existed solely in that place together. Then everything came crashing back. Love. 
Love. Of course it was love. He’d loved her for ages but now he was dead. He couldn’t just pop up in the brownstone and announce that everything was over. It’s not like he was idle, but what kind of life could they have together during his exile? No. Tonight, with her, it was just going to be them. 
He turned in her arms to face her. He had so much to say. He wanted to plan with her about how they would deal with his death, about what life they could possible have together, but for what may have been the first time in his life, he kept things short. 
“I do. I love you.” 

Izzie stepped back at his turn, her hands moving to smooth over his chest. Izzie felt for new scars, the bruise at his side. Without realizing it, she slid her arms around his neck. Moved closer to press herself against him. She looked into his face, searching for the weight of his words. 

I do. I love you.

Never a sweeter confession than his own. “Then love me tonight, before you leave,” she said, inching up on her toes to kiss his left cheek. His right cheek. With each kiss, she felt his hands grasp at her waist. His knuckles stroking over the dip in her hips. 

She wasn’t an idiot. The state of his room, the fact he hadn’t mentioned Watson. He wasn’t staying for long. It should’ve stopped her from admitting her feelings, but she’d rather he knew and now she knew how he felt about her. What he’d felt while he was away. Whatever happened tomorrow, she wouldn’t worry over it.

“When the sun comes up, let me be the one to leave.” Her fingers moved to work the zipper of her jacket down, her feet wiggling themselves from her boot. “Love me now.”

“We were happy when we snuggled and watched movies. We were happy when we did normal things.” It took a moment for him to regret his words and he inwardly cringed, it ended up sounding like he valued her as a companion rather than a partner.
“I don’t- I don’t know. It was probably one night when we fell asleep on the couch with the dogs and I woke up feeling like I was in some romantic comedy. It felt like nothing could hurt us- like all was right in the world.” The fatigue made thoughts slip out more easily. He smiled at his cheesy line and stirred his coffee before taking a sip. It was surreal sitting there talking about their feelings, almost as if he wasn’t supposed to be there.
“Things weren’t perfect, but you were happy too, weren’t you?” He gave her a puppy dog glance, the smile had faded. It wasn’t until things got rocky between them that he had realized maybe his perilous work/family crossover was not normal. It was easier to pin things on his brothers than acknowledge his faults.
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Izzie smiled into her own koffee, pouring another creamer and watching as it lightened her drink. “I was happy, for a time,” she answered, knowing it’d be a lie to say he made her unhappy. No, they were happy for a time. Before their relationship, the happiest she could be with a friend like Miller. He was an odd guy, odder with his siblings around, but it was his oddness that attracted her to be his friend. He hadn’t batted an eyelash at her own life, forensic photographer by day, and private photographer at night. 

She looked out the dark window into the near empty parking lot. Izzie asked him hear, neutral enough for everyone, and no chance of throwing plates or food at each other. Not if she wanted a report logged in the system. Still, sitting across from Miller was strange. She wasn’t angry to see him, but he...just made her feel something. Even after all this time, she had sentiments over their past together.

“I miss what we used to be, you know? Us, being friends. Talking about our dreams and hopes for each other. But, we can’t change the past, can we? Only hope for a better future.” She looked up at him, seeing she’d lost a friend when it was all said and done. “When did you know it was over? Not when I ended it, but when could see feel it was the end for us?”

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12 Steps

There were few places that made Ethan squirm. One was being the wrong side of an interrogation table. Another was the off-white side room of a community centre. Why did they always smell a little bit like food and damp? It didn’t help that the circle made him feel exposed. Introspective
Everyday he’d look towards the mesh-covered windows, the sunlight burning is eyes. ‘Why don’t you go next, Ethan? Tell us why you’re staying with us. Take your time.’ 
Ethan picked at a stray thread in his frayed jeans, reading the posters haphazardly pasted around the room. Samaritans this and AA that. 
He was pulled from his distractions when Henrik turned all eyes to him. His chest started to constrict again. This wasn’t like taking classes. This wasn’t like showing off his art. 
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Clearing his throat, he nodded. ‘Fine. Right. I’m Ethan and I’ve been clean for about…’ He checked his watch and took a moment to count the ticking hand. ‘Eight hours.’ He took a slow breath and forced a smile as he sat back down before they could greet him. 
He could feel them judging him even though logically, he knew they weren’t. They were probably as fucked up as him. Hell, some were probably even lying about how long they’d been sober. At least Ethan could say he was honest. 

Ahhh, a newbie, Izzie thought as she leaned back to listen to him. She remembered the first year of her sobriety. The withdrawals, the flashbacks, even the old friends who stopped by to tempt her. They didn't do it on purpose, but when their lives revolved around having fun with drugs, it was hard to forge a relationship beyond it. Izzie couldn't tell, but he'd have the shakes soon, if he hadn't already.

The group thanked him for coming before the facilitator continued on with talking about the lesson of the day. For Izzie, she'd worked that lesson, and let her mind wander once again to the new person. He didn't look worse for wear, but she'd often carried herself together while in a heroin binge. None of this was to judge him, no, but see if he'd need someone to sponsor him.

She blinked at hearing it was time for a small break. Izzie took this opportunity to make a beeline for Ethan and introduce yourself. 

“Hey, I’m Izzie, you have a face for the camera, you know?”

12 Steps

"Hello, I’m Izzie, I’ve been five years’ clean, and three years sober.”

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‘Hi/Hello/Hola/Ciao Izzie..,” said the group of varying accents attached to people circled around her.

Every week she came to this group, sometimes new, usually the same people who all came here for one reason. To continue their sobriety. Maybe, well, Izzie couldn’t speak for others. She could only speak to her own admission of being clean and sober from heroin, but not from alcohol. It was hard, no matter if she was long away from Day 1, there was always a risk to slip back into bad habits. 

Thanking the group, she sat back down, her gaze tapping to each person before it stopped on a new person. She didn’t recognize him from the usual group. Mop of curly hair, his face good enough for print magazine, or even a romance novel. 

"Thank you Izzie, now, our newcomer, why don’t you go next?,” asked the facilitator, Henrik.

Izzie was right to see him as a newcomer. She wondered what his story was. Even see if after the meeting he was linked up to a sponsor and working his steps.

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“Tell me, when were we happy?,” she asked, curious to know what the anniversary of their uncoupling was around the corner. Sometimes, she liked to think of the good times. Often times, Izzie focused on their friendship. They were friends once and then romance...no sex, got in the way of it all. However, it always came down to their differences. Always a difference between them in how to be in a relationship.

No matter she moved onto other relationships, the planets always brought them back around. Planets, fate, or just cruely irony to sit in this booth at 1am.

“When did you know you were happy?”