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The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

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“I’m coming!” She yells as someone continues to bang on her door. She would have continued to ignore it, if it wasn’t for the man on the other side yelling that he wasn’t going away until he’d talked to her. That wasn’t the part that had caught her attention, because she’s a big fan of staying sexy and not getting murdered and opening the door for a creeper is a good way to not follow that rule of thumb, but she’s armed and he sounds just like Weitz. She’s almost certain it’s Weitz, but can’t imagine why Weitz would be banging on her door. It can’t be good.

 

She looks through the peephole on the door, and it is Weitz. She unbolts it and flings it open, glaring at him. “What. Do you. Want.”

 

He looks slightly sheepish, mid-knock with his hand up in the air. “So, um, hi?”

 

She repeats herself, changing which word she emphasizes. “What do you want, Weitz. Make it quick. Just for future reference, I don’t ever want my boss showing up at my apartment – uninvited and unexpected – at midnight again. Or anytime. It’s weird and it’s creepy.”

 

“Oh, huh, I hadn’t thought about how this looks.” He has the grace to blush slightly. “Actually, can we pretend I’m not your boss for a minute?”

 

“I’m calling HR first thing tomorrow morning.” She crosses her arms over her chest. “And I will shoot you – just a little bit, like in the knee cap or through the testicles – if you try touching me.”

 

He rolls his eyes. “Allow me to rephrase. I’m not here as your boss, I’m here as Lincoln’s uncle. And really, I don’t think you’re going to want to talk to HR about him and how well we all know each other.”

 

Her heart sinks. “Oh.” She knows exactly why he’s here. “Is Lincoln okay?” She might as well ask. He clearly knows, and she’s somewhat worried that Lincoln’s been hurt.

 

“Yeah, oh. And Lincoln’s fine, to the best my knowledge. It’s not one of those types of visits.” He gestures at her apartment. “May I come in?”

 

She steps out of the way, but doesn’t verbally invite him in.

 

He grins, and it’s really surprising how much his grin is like Lincoln’s when he does that. “I’m not a vampire, Patterson. It’s safe to say the words.”

 

She doesn’t say anything, just closes the door behind him. She takes a deep breath and steadies her nerves. She has savings and a fallback position with Wizardville, if she needs it. “Let’s get to it. Are you firing me? Or filing sexual harassment claims?”

 

He shakes his head. “No! Please, don’t get defensive. Like I said, I’m not here as your boss. I don’t want you to feel like you’re in official trouble. Lincoln told me, let me yell a bit, then explained things. While I’m not happy about the idea of a senior level department manager fooling around with a probie in general, I understand that it wasn’t intentional in this one particular incident. You didn’t know.”

 

She wisely keeps her mouth shut, realizing Lincoln hadn’t told Weitz the entire story. That account is only true for the first night; she’d definitely known the second night.

 

He must see something on her face that causes him to keep talking. “Not that he told me details! I don’t want to know details! Please don’t tell me details either! In my mind, he’s still four and I’m chasing him around my sister’s apartment trying to convince him he has to wear shoes and go to kindergarten. You’re clearly a grown woman, and while I know he’s an adult now, I still don’t want to think about it.”

 

She laughs slightly, but she’s still unsettled by this visit. Any by the fact that he’s sitting on the sofa where she and Lincoln had fooled around the first time. “Can I offer you some tea? Why don’t we talk in the kitchen? And you can tell me what you want and why you’re here?”

 

He follows her into the kitchen, where she starts brewing two cups of chamomile tea. She needs something to settle her nerves.

 

“Look, I know this is weird.” He finally says, wrapping his hands around the mug. “And honestly I don’t know why I’m here. I really don’t want to think about you with my baby nephew, because ewwwww.” He has a full body shiver of disgust. “And I’m not asking your intentions or insisting that you date him. I would prefer that you didn’t. I think it would be better for both of you if you found a man your age and let him find a woman closer to his own age and level of experience, but it’s really not my business. I guess it’s because Lincoln asks about you still and is worried about you. He said he thought you were lonely and could use a friend.”

 

“And you thought he meant you?” Patterson doesn’t understand the leap of logic there. “No offense, but I don’t want to be your friend. You’re my boss. And to be quite honest, since you’re not here as my boss and we’re both pretending this conversation didn’t happen after you leave, you’re a douchebag. I’m still not ready to forgive you for how you questioned the team and me when you were in the DA’s office.”

 

“I’m a lawyer, it was my job.” He tightens his grasp on the mug and she knows it must be a sore point. He takes a deep breath. “I apologize. I know I crossed a line. Several lines. Especially when I questioned you about David and Borden. That was too personal, and I knew it when I did it. I wanted to get you all ruffled and angry.”

 

It’s her turn to take a deep breath and look away from a second. She still sees red when she hears that name.

 

“Look, I didn’t mean to upset you.” He puts down the mug. “I guess I should go. I’m sorry.”

 

She’ll never admit that Lincoln was right, she is lonely. And as much as she dislikes the man professionally, it’s the middle of another sleepless night and there’s something to be said for not being alone with her thoughts of Borden right now. Weitz is definitely better than Borden, but she’s hard-pressed to name someone who is worse. She’ll never ask him to stay, but she can try to talk to him a bit more. “What made you come over?”

 

“Talked to Lincoln again at supper, and it left me unsettled.” He gives her a look. “It hit a little bit too close to home. The way he described you, he could have been describing me. Entirely too fixated on the job and alone, and not really knowing how to reach out to have a real moment with another human being outside of one-night stands. Granted, I think you probably have connections with your team, but Lincoln doesn’t know that. And I’m not even sure about that right now, since they all seem to be having their own problems.”

 

It’s her turn to give him a disgusted look. “One, I don’t want to think about you and one-night stands in the same thought ever again. Two, why would you be discussing my friends and my sex life with your nephew? Especially after I called it off with him? That’s weird, dude! Stop it! Three, so you thought, what, we would bond over being socially awkward workaholics?”

 

“Okay, well, yeah, it sounds bad when you phrase it that way.” He shrugs again. “I really don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sorry I bothered you.” He turns to leave.

 

“Wait.” She thinks there’s a high probability she’s lost her mind. “I’m not saying we’re going to be BFFs, and quite frankly, Rich will murder you in your sleep if he thinks that I have a male BFF that isn’t him, but maybe we can talk.”

 

“Over dinner tomorrow night? There’s this great place nearby that I’ve been wanting to try.”

 

She raises an eyebrow. “Director,” she points at him, “of the FBI.” She points at herself. “Directly reporting FBI employee. And you want to be seen having dinner with me? In public? When you don’t take any other FBI employee out to dinner ever?”

 

He winces. “Again, didn’t think that one through. I’m sorry, I’m tired. It’s been a long week and I’m not thinking clearly.”

 

“Are you okay, Weitz? I mean, after the whole Davenport trying to kill you thing?” She’s starting to suspect that he’s far more rattled by the experience than he’s let on. She’s more rattled than she’s letting on, seeing him like this.

 

“Sure, yeah, I’m good!” He waves off her concerns. “Never been better!”

 

She rolls her eyes. She definitely understands why Lincoln thought they were similar. She knows what denial looks like, although it's odd seeing it in his eyes instead of a mirror. “You are so full of shit. How bad are the nightmares?”

 

“I’m sure you’ve had worse.” He defers, which tells her everything she needs to know and she decides to take pity on him. She’s built friendships on worse things than pity before.

 

“While I’m sure plenty of people have wanted to kill you in the past, or at least punch you because you have the most incredibly punchable face, how many have actively tried to?” She takes the mug from him and gently directs him back into the living room.

 

“Eh… a few.” He watches her grab an assortment of pillows and blankets and pile them up on the couch. “What are you doing?”

 

“Get comfortable. You’re not at all wrong about how bad you are with people.” She grins at him at the little joke. “And you weren’t wrong about how I am somewhat lonely. You had a friend try to kill you two days ago. I’ve been there. So since it’s a weekend night and we don’t have to be at work tomorrow and I know neither of us are going to sleep tonight anyhow, we might as well watch a movie. Now, this is the most telling, probing question that I can possibly ask and it will tell me absolutely everything I need to know about you as a man – Star Wars or Star Trek?”

 

He smiles at her and kicks off his shoes, then plops down on the couch next to her. "I like the way you think, friend." He drapes an arm around her shoulders.

 

"Don't push it," she warns.

 

He casually stretches and releases her, hugging a pillow instead. "Too soon?"

 

"Years too soon." She nods. "Now seriously, what type of sci-fi nerd are you secretly?"