Most holidays pass her by unnoticed. She's a federal agent, after all, and she's got better things to do than worry about holidays randomly assigned by greeting card companies to push up their profits. So she doesn't care that there aren't any flowers sitting on her desk, that there's no one waiting at home to take her out for an intimate dinner.
But it's impossible to ignore the date completely when the reception desk has been covered in flowers waiting to be claimed all day, dozens of red roses and heart-shaped boxes of candy nearly hiding the receptionist from view. And she doesn't wish it was her name on one of them, 'For Susan' carefully printed in some florist's feminine handwriting. Because she doesn't need flowers or candy, doesn't need a vase full of roses sitting on her desk to make Creegan ask a bunch of stupid questions.
It's her job. It's the most important thing in her life – it has to be – and the long hours they keep mean she doesn't have time for relationships. And she knows it shouldn't be, but it's sort of comforting to know that the rest of the team is in the same boat. That's the price they pay for saving the world, and in the end it's worth it.
So she's not surprised to walk past and open office door and see Rivers still hanging around, sifting through stacks of reports as though he's not really sure what to do with himself. She smiles at the sight of him shuffling papers like some bureaucrat, obviously killing time.
"I figured you'd be gone already," she says, leaning against the doorframe to watch him thumb idly through a report.
He glances up, smile bright and just a little sheepish. "Yeah, me too. I guess some people take the whole concept of 'fashionably late' a little too seriously."
"What, you've got a date?" she asks, half expecting him to laugh, because they don't have time for social lives. The last time she heard he was single, but from the way he ducks his head as he smiles she can tell that's not true anymore.
"Something like that."
She's not jealous, she's just…surprised. It wasn't that long ago that he was getting drunk and hitting on her; at least it doesn't feel all that long ago, but since then he's almost died and gone through physical therapy, so maybe it was. And it's not as though she expected him to carry a torch for her – didn't want him to, because she doesn't need that kind of complication. She just thought they were all in this together, and it's a little strange to think of him having a life outside the job.
"Anyone I know?"
And it's a joke, but as soon as she sees his reaction she knows it is. Her mind's racing before he has a chance to answer, running through the list of women in the building. But it's not just any girl, that much she's sure of. He looks way too guilty for that, and suddenly she's not so sure she wants to know.
He opens his mouth to answer, but before he gets the words out there's a hand on her back, casual and familiar and she doesn't have to turn to know it's Creegan. She looks anyway, expecting him to be giving her that undecipherable Creegan look. But he's not looking at her; he's looking right at Rivers, eyebrows raised expectantly and when she turns back to Rivers she's almost sure he's blushing.
He's not looking at her either, smile making his mouth twitch like he doesn't want to let it surface, but he just can't help himself. And she's not sure why, because it's just Creegan, not whatever mystery girl he's got stashed away in the building somewhere.
"What's the hold-up?"
Rivers shakes his head at that, still not looking at her but he's definitely blushing now. And she still doesn't want to know what's going on, doesn't even want to think it because her stomach's already fluttering and she doesn't want to know that Rivers is…with Creegan. With her partner, and there's no way she can know this and still work with them every day.
"You were supposed to meet me here," Rivers answers. This time he does glance at her, just for a second but she sees the guilt in his expression. And it's ridiculous, because he said he had a date for Valentine's Day and there's no way it's Creegan. They're friends; she knows that, knows they've been spending a lot of time together since his rehab, but that's all it is. At least that's all she thought it was, but Rivers is grinning like a kid with a crush and Creegan's smirking right back at him, and she doesn't need her investigative skills to figure out what's happening.
"Well here I am," Creegan says, voice way too close to her ear and she feels the color creeping into her own cheeks. "So let's go."
She wants to leave, wants to push past Creegan and go back to her own office, get her keys and go home and just not think about any of this. Because she doesn't want to know, doesn't want to think about the fact that they're sleeping together. And if they're not they're well on their way, which means whatever she might have thought was between her and Creegan…but it doesn't matter, because he's wearing that bemused expression while he watches Rivers stacking reports and checking for his keys, and she knows him well enough to know what that means.
And she never really thought of Creegan as the romantic type, so it's possible their date doesn't have anything to do with the holiday. But the look on Rivers' face says different, and she can't help wondering just for a second if he's in over his head with Creegan. She knows Creegan, after all, knows his quirks and knows how much his death affected him. She wonders how much of that Rivers knows, really knows about what happened and what it did to Creegan. Then again, he's had a near-death experience too, so maybe they've got more in common than she and Creegan ever will.
There's a ball of lead weighing heavy in her stomach, her throat tight and for a second she forgets that she's blocking the door. Then Rivers is standing in front of her, looking almost apologetic and when Creegan's hand leaves her back she takes a step backwards.
"Well," she says, forcing the words past the lump in her throat, "I guess I'll see you two tomorrow."
"Right," Creegan says from behind her, oblivious as usual and she's not sure whether to be angry or grateful. "Night."
River's a few steps past her when he stops, turning to face her again and she wants to tell him to go. Wants to say it doesn't matter, that she's not hurt or disappointed or any of the things he's thinking. Instead she forces a tight-lipped smile, not even daring to breathe for fear the words will escape before she can catch them.
"Hey, you could come along. Have a couple drinks with the lonely hearts club," he says, smiling like it's no big deal but she's not buying it. She reads people for a living, after all, and she knows pity when she sees it. Or maybe he's just trying to convince her that there's nothing going on between them, that he and Creegan really are just friends and tonight's just another night. But she's not stupid, and she's shaking her head before he even finishes talking.
"Thanks, but I think I'll just go home. It's been a long day."
"Suit yourself," he says, smiling one last time and she tells herself he doesn't look relieved as he turns away.
She waits until they're gone to move, heads bent together as Creegan starts in on one of his stories, and when they finally round the corner she lets out the breath she's been holding. Waits a little longer just to make sure they're gone before she heads down the hall to her own office, carefully ignoring her empty desk as she reaches for her keys and goes home.