She ends the call with Declan and looks up, eyes widening in surpise as she takes in Will leaning against the side of her couch, laden tray in hand. It's past three now, well past the time she should have eaten, past the time he had allotted for her second meal of the day.
"Is everything alright now?" He asks, stepping forward to set the tray on the corner of her desk when she nods.
"I thought-" She starts and then tappers off. Telling him she had thought about eating, had wanted to, wouldn't change the fact that she hadn't. She should have, had promised so many times that she would, but she hadn't.
"You feel up to eating?"
She weights her options for a moment. His hand warm on the back of her neck as she takes in the closed doors she hadn't heard him shut. This is nothing new; he's predictable, but there's always a part of her that's surprised he's following through.
"No," she replies and his hand moves away gesturing vaguely at the space beside him. She pushes her seat back and stands, allowing him to take his place. He rifles through the middle drawer on the left side of her desk for a moment, listening to the way her breath catches every time she thinks he's stopped, settled on an object.
There's nothing overtly odd about the drawer, other than its disorganized state on obviously random contents: wooden rulers, binder clips, flashlight, tin of tiger balm. Nothing that should make her so acutely aware of him, but it's done it's job, his rifling, and he slides the door shut with a quiet snap, wood against wood.
She slips out of her heels with a wince as he pushes the chair farther back from the desk. She bends at the waist slipping of her underwear in one fluid motion, setting them on the seat of the chair as he takes a seat on her desk.
Her confidence wavers momentarily as he rests his hand on her lower back, guiding her forward. She's prone to hesitate here, something in the back of her mind insisting she can't comply with the rules he's laid out.
He smiles and she nods again, legs bumping the side of his before she bends and settles over his lap. He lays his arm across her lower back, leaning into the gesture as he pulls her skirt up, bunch the back of it at her waist.
She squirms involuntarily, goosebumps rising across her skin from the cool air and the exposure. He lets her settle again before resting his palm against her ass, fingers splayed then drawn together. He swats her lightly and she's back to squirming. He swats her again, harder this time and her foot comes up.
"I thought I'd taught you a lesson last night." He chuckles and she whines softly.
He proceeds slowly, but not nearly as gently as she would prefer. She squirms when he hits a particularly tender spot until he stops to slip her legs between his, holding her still. She whines then, low in the back of her throat, gasping from time to time as her ass reddens, sharpening the pain.
He stops, pinching at her abused flesh until she moans and her fingers scratch dully against a desk drawer.
He slips one of her legs free dropping it to the floor and her fingers scramble faster, pleading in some long forgotten code. His fingers slide between her legs, drawing moisture up one damp thigh and down another as a pleading "no" is cut short as his fingers stop to flick over her clit.
"Just a bit more." He murmurs, her hair rustling as she shakes her head. "It wouldn't be a punishment if you liked it." He reminds her and he feels her relent as he slides two fingers into her, her body going slack for the first time since he had taken his perch on her desk.
She comes crying from the look on her face when she straightens, hand planned firmly beside him to stop herself from wobbling as she slips her underwear back on. She won't look him in the eye but she smiles slightly and accepts the tray of food he slides over in front of her.
She eats, devouring half the sandwich as he wipes stray tears from her face and plants a kiss on top of her head. In a moment he'll leave her, stepping around her discarded shoes, to get back to work, but for now he stays, watching the content look she has no idea she's wearing, the way she shifts slightly against her seat, a smile flickering across her face.
Declan calls as she finishes eating, crisis unaverted, and Will's on a plane to London before she spares a thought for dinner. There's not much point in eating now and so she puts it off until later, munching vaguely on a meat and cheese platter as she works, combing through old records for the information Will will need when he lands in Heathrow.
Kate appears sometime around midnight when things have settled down in London and she's back to the usual toil of running the network. It's not unusual to see Kate around when Will's gone or otherwise tied up, although this close to the resolution of a crisis- at least for now- is a bit uncharacteristic.
"You look tired." Kate frowns, fingers ghosting the front of the desk.
Will had called. Magnus smiles at the implication, waiting till Kate comes to stand beside her before replying. "No more than usual." There's a certainty there that Kate doesn't question and Magnus is grateful for that, is always thankful.
It's always different with Kate. The push and pull is less visceral, less of a struggle. There's space to breathe around and Magnus appreciates that too.
"Whatcha working on?"
"Financial analysis of some of our research operations, most of these are in China in Japan."
"This should be fun." The statement sounds sincere but it's always a bit hard to tell with Kate. Magnus looks up from the screen she had been studying and finds Kate grinning: sincere and sarcastic, a challenge.
Kate's warmth leaves her side as she slips under the side of the desk and settles at Magnus' feet.
"Research on what?" Kate asks and Magnus sets about trying to explain, pausing only to protest faintly as Kate draws her first shoe off, pressing her fingers into the ball of Magnus' foot, thumbs resting lightly against the top of her arch.
"So you think these two creatures might actually be related?" Kate prompts her to continue and Magnus nods before verbalizing the action. "Yes, it's a possibility I would like to have an answer but I'm not sure the research costs are justified at this point in time."
Kate hums in acknowledgement and reaches up to wrap her fingers around the top of Magnus' stocking, rolling it down over her thigh, pasted her knee, and off her foot. The second stocking comes off as Magnus drops her bare foot to the floor. They've switched to discussing something Magnus thinks Kate's not following completely but that's less important now that she's beginning to have a harder time following her own logic.
"They're plants," Kate repeats back to her and Magnus realizes she had tapered off, caught up in the way Kate's fingers draw lazy swirls against her calves.
"Plants that produce a particular chemical hormone. With the shift in farming practices in this part of China we're beginning to see the species become more prolific. It's problematic," she sighs and then continues as Kate's hand appears from under the desk in a silent request.
There's no pen on her desk, not one suitable for what Kate's intending and Magnus opens the second drawer on her left with a visible twist of her lips. She digs around and pulls out a slender black case. Opening it, she hands Kate the slender pen, a deep black ballpoint, listening for the telltale click of Kate removing and replacing the cap before continuing. "Water's being diverted to farms via inefficient irrigation. Columns of the plant grow up alongside the-"
Magnus exhales through her nose and shifts in her seat, eyes fixed on a distant corner now instead of her screen. "alongside the ditches." Magnus finishes more quickly than before as the blunt end of the pen slides across her skin from one side of her leg over her shin to the other. "We're seeing a greater number of abnormalities appear in the lizards at an increasing frequency as they consume the plant in larger quantities."
"So if you know all that what are you studying?"
"Ark-Fong's proposed that we examine the relationship between," the other end of the pen comes into contact with her skin, leaving a faintly damp sensation as it moves along. "The occurrences of specific types of abnormalities and other factors to see if we can predict which abnormalities will occur in what circumstances." Magnus pauses to let Kate catch up as an 'h' and an 'a' appear on her skin. "He's hoping if we can identify the combination of factors that cause the more violent mutations we'll be able to prevent them or at least control in which areas they occur."
Kate's writing climbs higher toward her knee, digging more and more into the bone as pairs of letters form over it. Kate switches to the other leg, starting at the knee working in vertical rows down to Magnus' ankle instead of around in half circles.
Magnus finishes summarizing the proposal as the Kate's hand comes to rest on Kate's shin, the letters already on her skin haloed in a faint pink blush.
"Done with work for the night?" Kate enquires and Magnus almost sighs in relief. It's not painful, Kate's summation of her work across her skin; it's hardly uncomfortable, but it's more than enough to drive her to distraction.
"I believe so."
Magnus registers the sound of the pen hitting the wood floor beside her feet long before she feels Kate's hands, fingers spread, along the inside of her thighs.
"Kate." The protest is feeble, the force in her fingers curled at the edge of Kate's hairline a more convincing statement.
Kate shifts, leaning between Magnus's legs, ignoring protest and encouragement alike as Magnus slides down marginally in her chair. "You work too much."
"I'd hardly say-"
"All this protesting is sweet." Kate muses, lips brushing warm skin. "But I'm not stopping."
"Kate." It's a last attempt at denial, a request for absolution. It was easier with Will; there was no more a choice now than there had been with Will, but it feels now as if it had been. Will had given, taken she corrects mentally, exactly what she had needed. Her protest had been lodged nearly for herself, against herself for wanting- Now with Kate- she winds her fingers tighter and pulls to no avail as Kate's mouth slides against the damp fabric between her legs, sucking lightly.
Magnus moans, her grip loosening then faltering, falling away. Kate hums her approval against Magnus' aching flesh.