Kevin Ryan considered himself hard to spook, and, despite a pounding heart, had faced down many a bad guy and dangerous situation. However, when he heard his named yelled down the corridor by a certain medical examiner he knew that there were limits to courage under fire. Something his partner obviously agreed with as he turned and fled to his desk with the comment, 'You're the one who got into bed with her best friend.'
Taking grip of the only defence at hand, the cardboard file containing the latest CSU details on their case, he turned to face the oncoming onslaught of Lanie Parrish as she walked purposefully towards him. Hands on hips as she reached him she demanded, "What the hell have you done to my girlfriend?"
Kevin searched his memory for any misdemeanour or act of carelessness that might have upset Kate that morning at her apartment. Nothing came to mind so he ventured for clarification. "Done?" he asked, his voice thankfully not sounding too apprehensive. He hated to think what Lanie was capable of if she heard fear as well as smelt it.
"Yes, done," Lanie replied firmly. "What the hell have you done to her? For god's sake, the woman is humming."
Kevin blinked, not certain if he had heard correct before deciding there was only one correct response. "Any particular tune?"
Lanie moved in. "Don't get smart with me."
Kevin managed to indicate that he had no plans to do so which allowed Lanie to continue, "And a silk rose in her pocket? What on earth is that about?"
Kevin perked up at the news his small surprise had been found.
"Did she like it?"
"Like it? It was all I could do to get her to stop humming, smiling goofily and start paying attention to the lovely dead body on my slab. Something that I have never had to deal with in all the time I have known her. Because you know how she loves a dead body."
Kevin considered it wise not to point out that Kate liked the evidence Lanie could give her rather than the dead body. But uncertain whether it was over protectiveness or professional pride prompting this conversation he decided to play safe and said, “Sorry.”
“What are you apologising for?” Lanie asked, her eyebrows going up at his apology.
“Um... because it seemed the best thing to do,” he replied honestly.
Lanie snorted slightly before replying, “Oh you’re good.”
Kevin wasn’t convinced there was a complete compliment in the comment but decided to embrace the positive. “Thanks.”
This time Lanie laughed out loud before sobering and getting to the real point of her visit. “Kevin, I really like you, I do. You’re definitely one of the good guys. But Kate is...” She trailed off as she sought for the right description. She shook her head when it obviously failed to form for her and instead continued, "For all that is good in this world, don't screw this up." She paused. "And don't let her either. Because I like seeing her like this, and it's been a long time coming."
"You have my word I have no plans in any shape or form to screw this up," Kevin replied firmly. "And I will do my best to make sure she doesn't either."
Lanie nodded her approval. "Good.” She raised an eyebrow. “I would hate to have to take you out if you did." Her grin reassured Kevin of her joke... just.
She started to turn away. "Just get her focused on the dead bodies again in the near future. It will make my life easier."
Kevin watched her walk back up the corridor before finding his way back to his desk and collapsing into his seat, stirring as Esposito wheeled himself over.
“What did Lanie want?”
Kevin eyed his partner before deciding that Esposito’s ongoing entertainment at his situation wasn’t about to be defused by ignoring him.
“Apparently Kate is humming.”
Esposito allowed the beat to pass before responding, “Any tune in particular?”
Kevin decided going back to ignoring him might be a good option but as it seemed he wasn’t going anywhere he might as well finish his explanation.
“And that if I didn’t want to end up somewhere the victim of a medical examiner’s knowledge then I better not screw it up.”
Esposito considered this. “Wow, you’re on Lanie’s list. You really are a brave man, bro.”
Definitely ignoring him now.
Kate’s voice from behind them made both men start, though Kevin had no idea why, and neither had Kate as she looked at them as if they had both lost it slightly.
“Did I just see Lanie leave?” Kate asked after a few moments of observing them. “Did she want something?”
Kevin and Esposito looked at each other before Javier stepped up to the question. “Think she might have come in to talk to someone,” he replied.
Kate looked between them, expecting more. When it didn’t come she rolled her eyes slightly, commenting, “Wow, guys, you really know how to keep your fingers on the pulse around here.” Shaking her head she went off to her desk. In the meantime Esposito had resorted to his annoying, knowing look so Kevin slapped the CSU folder into his chest and said, “Your turn to look at this.”
Esposito shrugged his response and moved back to his desk allowing Kevin to pull up the research he had been working on earlier. As he tried to settle to his task he felt eyes on him. Glancing up he found Kate watching him. Satisfied he was paying her attention she revealed the silk rose in her hand and put it on top of her monitor, rewarding him with the smile that made him melt every time, and made him wonder how they were going to last being discreet until her transfer to the new task force being set up.
As Kate returned to her own work, disappearing behind her monitor, Kevin made an effort to make his own grin disappear and started to focus on the task in hand. He had got a little way when he heard the gentle wash of hummed music coming from the other side of the office, happiness in musical form. His grin returned, his own happiness at finally being with the woman he had loved through their long, messy courtship, spilling over into his own musical expression.
And the fact he could hear Esposito shifting in irritation at the noise behind him. Just an added bonus.