Their first fight is over baseball. It's all in good fun. Mostly. He's a Mets fan, through and through; she grew up going to Yankees' games and can recite Don Mattingly's stats for every season he played. They end up agreeing to disagree, though the rivalry does come back to a head when the teams are playing.
Their second fight doesn't blow over so easily. They manage to go two full days without speaking to each other, finally relenting when they catch a case together on day three. It becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly that they need to communicate somehow, and Jess doesn't think that smoke signals are going to cut it. (On the other hand, she is willing to try. As long as that obnoxious tie he's wearing is the first thing she gets to burn.)
It's a long day of monosyllabic answers, biting her tongue as they stick with just the topic of the case, and fleeing to somewhere that he isn't when she's on the verge of cracking. That's where Maka finds her, sitting on the bench in the locker room and listing to herself all of her reasons to not date a co-worker. She makes it to number eight (It'd be too tempting to have a quickie in the storage closet.) before the other woman sits next to her.
"You okay?" Maka asks, continuing before she can answer. "You and Flack fight?"
"Us? Fight?" Jess asks, not looking at her colleague as she tries to brush it off. "What makes you think we had a fight?"
"Besides the fact that you're not talking to each other? You two have taken nonverbal communication to new levels the past few days. Though I'm betting you've already taken it the other direction before now." She gives Jess a sly look that suggests she knows all about their relationship.
"Okay, so maybe I'm a bit annoyed with him right now," she says, shrugging and trying to keep her tone casual. "How'd you- I mean, what makes you think we're seeing each other?"
"Besides the fact that you just blew it?" Maka asks, chuckling over Jess' lapse. "How about the fact that you two have more chemistry than a chemistry lab? Or that you usually arrive around the same time and leave around the same time? Or that Cooper saw the two of you examining each other's tonsils in Midtown last week? Oh, and then there's the fact that Flack has actually come to work lately not wearing any suit, shirt, and tie combinations that makes us want to gouge our eyes out. Except for the past few days. The boy can't dress himself on his own; that's a fact we've all known for years. If nothing else, put the rest of us out of our misery. Someone's been helping him get dressed in the morning lately, and considering the timing of everything--"
Jess shakes her head, snorting softly. "Yeah, that tie he's wearing is pretty awful, isn't it? I swear that one of these days I'm going to burn it."
"Uh-huh," Maka drawls. "So, you wanna tell me what crawled up your butt?"
"Hey! What makes you think it was me?"
"'Cause if it was Flack, he would have apologized by now. You don't want to admit you're wrong and he's right, so you're hiding here in the locker room. Where, by the way, everyone can find you."
"I need a better hiding place."
"You need to talk to Flack."
She buries her head in her hands and groans.
Jess ends up walking home from the precinct, trying to clear her head. Her car's still there, but she can take the subway back in the morning. Or get a ride, she thinks to herself when she looks up and realizes where she's stopped. Right in front of Don's apartment building. She glances up before she can help herself: his living room light is on. The building door opens as someone comes out, and she grabs it without thinking, letting herself in. The climb to his floor (of course his place is a fifth floor walk-up) is her time to think, trying to compose her words. It's a long climb, but it isn't enough time; her mind is completely blank when she reaches his door.
She stares at the door for five minutes before she decides to just wing it, raising her hand to knock. It opens then, Don looking as surprised as she is when he sees her. He's changed into jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, jacket in hand. Going somewhere.
"Oh," she says lamely. "I didn't know you had plans. I can-"
"Jess," Don interrupts, "no plans. I was just going to go grab something to eat. Come on in."
She follows him inside, having to make a conscious effort to not wring her hands as she tries to find the right words.
"You hungry?" he asks, watching her closely.
She starts to shake her head--she doesn't think that food is something she wants to contemplate right now, even though she hasn't eaten since breakfast--but her stomach has other ideas and growls loudly. Jess can feel her face burning as he chuckles, but it does help dispel some of the tension as he leads her to the kitchen.
It's tiny, like the rest of his apartment, but there's just enough room for the both of them. Don pulls bread from the cupboard and starts rooting around in the fridge before asking over his shoulder, "Sandwiches okay? I've got some corned beef here, but that's about it. I haven't had the time to get to the store-"
"Huh?" He looks up over the fridge door, frowning. "If you don't want sandwiches, we can go get something."
"No, it's not that." She takes a deep breath; she can do this. "I'm sorry. About the fight. God, I'm not very good at this," she groans, rubbing her forehead. She doesn't look at him, certain that won't help, but she can hear the fridge door closing. "You were right, um. And I wasn't. I- um-"
"You really aren't very good at this," he says teasingly. Or at least she thinks he's teasing. Pretty sure. He wouldn't be smirking like that if he wasn't. He continues as he wraps his arms around her, "Haven't done it much, I'm guessing."
"Try ever," she mutters as she buries her face against his shoulder.
He chuckles again and strokes her hair.
"I mean it," she says, flinching at how plaintive she sounds, but it is unfortunately true. Previous relationships, other men she'd dated, the fights hadn't mattered so much. They hadn't mattered so much. None of her other boyfriends had been this important to her. "I never had this much to lose."
Don doesn't say anything, just tightens his arms around her and kisses the top of her head. But she doesn't need words; she's pretty sure this means they'll be okay. They stand there for a long time, holding each other close until her stomach, having caught onto the idea of food earlier, growls once again.
"Come on," he says, laughter in his voice. "Let's go get something to eat."
"Okay." Jess pauses, thinking briefly, before repeating herself, this time as a question. "Okay?"
"Yeah." He presses a quick kiss to her lips. "We're gonna be fine." He kisses her again, this time longer, deeper.
She sighs a little as they pull apart, curling up against him and feeling almost exhausted now that the pent-up frustration and fear have faded away. "I really am sorry," she murmurs against the crook of his neck.
"I know," he says just before his lips descend on hers again.
There's something more to this kiss, a slow and intense need she quickly recognizes as Don nudges her lips open, his tongue sweeping through her mouth. She nibbles on his lip, savoring the taste of him - coffee and cinnamon - as his hands slide down her back. She needs this, this outlet, this release. She devours him the way he devours her, lips and tongue and teeth. She can't help but grin when he cups her ass, pulling her close and grinding against her. It's no surprise that when he pulls her out of the kitchen it's to the bedroom and not the front door, a trail of clothing left in their wake.
Dinner can wait.