He didn't mean to see. He was just minding his own business, really, trying to stay out of the way of drunk coworkers and the inevitable fights that broke out any time the OSC threw a party.
For awhile he'd tried talking to Susan, mostly because she was standing in a corner looking lonely. And it was strange to see her without Creegan or Rivers – sometimes both – hanging around, so Swopes…well, he sort of felt sorry for her. It was just that she looked so sad, like she was thinking about everything bad that had happened this year instead of all the good things.
Not that he could blame her, really, because a lot of bad things had happened this year. It sort of went with the territory, and they all thought he didn't understand since he spent his whole day in the lab and never went into the field, but he knew. He was still a federal agent, after all, and he knew what went on out there.
Trying to talk to her about it was probably a mistake. He knew better than to bring up all the attention Creegan had been giving to Rivers; Creegan was her partner, after all, and partners were supposed to stick together. So trying to sympathize with her about the fact that her partner was giving all his attention to another agent…well, it definitely wasn't the best approach he could have taken.
But he hadn't expected her to look so…well, he wasn't sure what, exactly, but whatever the emotion that made her eyes narrow and her hand clench hard on her glass of wine, he hadn't been expecting it. To be honest, he wasn't really sure what he'd been expecting Susan's reaction to be. The truth was, he'd always kind of thought of her as above falling for Creegan.
She was definitely above Rivers, because he was good-looking, sure, in a superficial way, but he was way too crass and at least Creegan had a quirky sort of charm going for him. But really she was too good for both of them, so he didn't understand why it bothered her that they were spending all their time together.
Until he turned a corner and saw them, away from the party and down a hall, pressed together in a doorway. At first he didn't even see them, because most of the building was dark already and he wasn't expecting to find anyone hanging around the hall that led to the A/V lab.
He was halfway down the hall when he saw something move in the doorway, then he heard a familiar voice whispering something he couldn't make out. He stopped in the middle of the hall, mouth open and he was too surprised to make a sound, but that was probably a good thing.
Creegan was leaning in the doorway, dopey smile on his face and Rivers was leaning into him. His hand was…somewhere – Swopes was pretty sure he didn't want to know where – and he was murmuring something that made Creegan laugh. Then he leaned even closer and Creegan leaned in too, and before Swopes could turn and run in the other direction, they were kissing.
Like they'd done this before, and Swopes had no idea if they were drunk enough not to care or if they just didn't care period, but it was pretty obvious they weren't worried about who might see them. And it was weird, because he knew they were friends, but he didn't know…this.
But the weirdest part of all was that it looked almost natural; Creegan's hands on Rivers' waist to tug him closer, and Rivers' laugh as he reached up to pull off the Santa hat Creegan had been wearing since the beginning of the party. They looked comfortable together, the same way they always did when they were joking around at work, only now he knew why.
He'd never been the judgmental type, so as long as they were happy together, he was happy for them. Besides, if they were all wrapped up in each other that meant they weren't interested in Susan. And really, neither of them was good enough for her anyway.