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you say go fast, i say hold on tight

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“God, that’s bullshit,” the sound reverberates around the crowded, dimly lit room. 

“Jimmy,” Kim hisses, looking around making sure that nobody heard him. Bad luck as multiple eyes swing their way. 

“No, Kim. This is ridiculous!” He gestures wildly with his hands, his eyes getting that spark that Kim normally finds exhilarating but now can only find irritating. “They invite you to this conference, as a ‘learning experience’ and then they make you sit in the corner and take notes and get people coffee?” 

Kim exhales loudly, tugging on Jimmy’s sleeve to pull him to a corner of the room.

It’s the second night meet and greet at the Four Corners Law Conference and the room is filled to the brim with tightly wound lawyers. Though it’s supposed to be a casual event, people are already rubbing elbows and gathering useful information about opposing law firms. Howard had asked Kim to come as a participant, to 'further her education' but so far, the firm has her running coffee and transcribing panels. 

Kim, in turn, had asked Jimmy to come because while she’d be more than capable of handling the event, she honestly didn’t want to be alone in the den of wolves. 

They’d met up before the occasion, Kim in her three hundred dollar rented navy dress and Jimmy in his borrowed ill-fitting dress shirt and yellow tie, and Jimmy had been looking forward to eating bite-sized foods and talking shit about the other associates but as soon as they stepped foot into the cavernous room, George, a senior associate, somehow immediately found her and asked her if she could wake up early the next day to help them prep for a panel. 

Kim accepted with a tight smile and Jimmy stood to the side, thumb impatiently tracing his pinky finger. 

“Jimmy, I’m a third-year law student. I’m lucky I was invited to this in the first place. Howard’s actually doing me a huge-”

Jimmy barks out a laugh, “A huge favor, huh? A huge favor would’ve been to actually let you have a night off because Kim, you’re the first one in and the last one out and you work your ass off for these guys.”

It’s something Kim has always loved about Jimmy. He’s always been in her corner, backing her up every step of the way. When she accidentally dropped mail off at the wrong desk, he distracted them while she switched out the right briefs. The one time she forgot to get an important document to the courier on time, he drove to seven different post offices with her and (he thinks she doesn’t know this) paid off a mailman to take it. He gives so willingly to Kim and it makes her feel so good but sometimes he can be so much in a world he doesn’t seem to fully grasp and Kim’s patience wears thin. 

Jimmy inhales to continue his rant when she feels a hand on her shoulder. She turns and has to squint in the dark room because Howard and his unbearably shiny teeth are looking straight at her. 

Howard smiles his newly whitened veneers and nods at Jimmy.

“Charlie Hustle, glad to see you here," Howard’s eyes graze over Jimmy. "You're looking good."

Kim fights the instinct to punch him as Jimmy gives Howard a grimaced smile, shuffling his feet. She spent twenty minutes convincing him that no, he doesn’t look like he’s wearing secondhand clothing and no, the shirt doesn’t look too big on him even though it does because Chuck refused to let him wear his own clothing out of fear that it’d be too outrageous for the conference.

“Kim, I want to introduce you to some associates from Reeves and Green. They’re interested in meeting this up-and-coming, brilliant lawyer,” He places a hovering hand on her lower back and guides her away from Jimmy. “Sorry, Jimmy. I’ll return her to you in one piece.” 

She looks back, shooting him an apologetic smile but he doesn’t meet her eyes. He’s staring at the hand that’s leading her away.

After ten minutes of small talk where it becomes apparent to Kim that Howard and Chuck are parading her around as their charity case (“Yes, we do see a lot of potential in Ms. Wexler here. She is one of the recipients of our law scholarships, a bit older than our usual applicant but we’re sure it’ll pay off in dividends”), she gives her excuses and walks off to find Jimmy.

He’s gesturing vigorously with a group of law students, a napkin piled with cocktail shrimp in one hand and a beer in the other, and as Kim gets closer, she can hear the timbre of his voice more clearly. 

“You guys deserve better than this! Hey,” He claps his hands together, a smile growing on his face. “What does a lawyer get when you give him Viagra?” 

He pauses and waits. Kim knows he loves this, the attention and the anticipation. 

“Taller.” 

He bursts into laughter and so does, predictably, everyone around him. It’s hard not to like Jimmy McGill.

When she’s in arms distance, Jimmy turns almost as if by instinct.

He grins at her, “The zombies let you go back to the land of the living?” 

And suddenly Kim doesn’t have the energy to berate him. She’s tired from staying up and doing doc review all night for an ‘urgent’ case, she’s tired from having to rearrange Howard and Chuck’s schedule so the partners could go skiing and she’s tired from traveling all the way to Denver to do nothing but kiss ass and have to constantly shoot Jimmy down. So she turns to him, quirks her lips, and says, “Wanna get out of here?”

Jimmy's eyes light up, “Really?” 

“Yeah, I’ve done my time. Now, how do we get out of here without anyone noticing?”

Before Kim has even finished her sentence, Jimmy has turned back to the gaggle of law students, speaking low under his voice before pointing in different directions.

Kim is about to ask, knows she shouldn’t but her curiosity gets the better of her, when Jimmy pops a cocktail shrimp into his mouth and immediately starts loudly gagging. 

They lock eyes before a crowd of people rush in, Howard leading the group and his arms already around Jimmy’s waist. Kim can see Chuck, growing red in the face, hovering in the book and muttering to himself.

Asshole , Kim thinks. He’s probably more worried about Jimmy embarrassing him in front of these people than the fact that Jimmy is seemingly choking right now. 

Out of the corner of her eye, she sees the bartender move forward with some water and the flash of the same law students creeping behind the bar, grabbing a few bottles, and bolting out of the room. 

Almost immediately after the foot of the last law student leaves the dark room, Jimmy chokes up the now unidentifiable shrimp and spits it onto Howard’s shoe. 

He grins at Howard, patting him on the back. “You’ve always known how to take my breath away, Howard.”

Howard grimaces at the carcass on his foot, slightly wiggling it to get it off but he keeps a smile plastered on his face, accepting praise from the people around him. 

“Are you okay, Jimmy? You had us all worried there.”

Jimmy puts on his best pout and rubs his neck with his hand. 

“Yeah, a near-death experience is always harrowing,” Kim can hear a light scoff coming from Chuck’s direction.  “If you don’t mind, I’m gonna call it a night and I’m feeling a little weak if you can spare Ms. Wexler... “ he trails off, holding Howard in the impossible position of being unable to say no in front of a crowd of people. Kim is continuously impressed by how well Jimmy can read people, can tell what makes them tick. It’s stupidly attractive. 

“Of course,” Howard’s smile grows to the point where it’s slightly menacing. “Ms. Wexler, please make sure our friend here is well tended to,” he turns to the crowd, now mostly starry-eyed women, “At HHM, we’re all family. Even the mailroom hustlers.”

And with his back turned and the attention diverted, the conversation is over. The only person watching them is Chuck from across the room who strides over seconds after.

He places a hand on Jimmy’s shoulder, squeezing out of what may seem like care but Kim can see how white his knuckles are turning. He chuckles but it’s low, coming from nothing.

“You okay, Jimmy? You always know how to make a scene.”

“Yeah,” Jimmy brushes the hand off, squeezing it before letting it fall. “Sorry if I embarrassed you, you know how much I love bite-sized seafood,” his voice lilting up, both remorseful and brazen at the same time. 

Kim is about to step in, apologize for what she’s not sure but she’s never liked how Chuck has made Jimmy feel. She’s always amazed at how larger than life Jimmy is, how his voice can reach the depths of a room but when Chuck shows up, he immediately shrinks himself down as if he’s a child getting reprimanded. She reaches to try to lighten the load so obviously ladened in their conversation but Jimmy meets her eyes and slightly shakes his head. 

“Sorry again, Chuck. I know this is your night and I really am proud of you. I can’t believe I’m the brother of Mr. Lawyer of the Year here,” Chuck raises his finger to correct Jimmy but he plows on, “but Kim-”

Kim pointedly ignores Jimmy’s request this time, the man doesn’t know when to ask for help (or rather he does but never wants to burden people with it). 

“Chuck, really, congratulations on tonight. New Mexico Law Firm of the Year, you must be so proud.” 

Chuck turns to Kim, his anger shedding and his walls closing back up. “Thank you, Kim. Don’t think we don’t notice the hard work you’ve been doing, keep it up and you’re looking at a partner track position in ten to fifteen years.” 

Kim delights to hear this, marvels at the idea of finally being more. She thinks about the managerial job application to the local Hinky Dinky she had on her desk before she left, the most she could’ve possibly hoped for and she opens her mouth to thank Chuck but Jimmy tugs on her elbow and shoots Chuck a latent smile, “Sorry. I’m really not feeling well so I’m just gonna grab Kim and…” 

He lets Chuck fill in the blanks. Chuck nods, patting his hand on Jimmy’s back once again, “Go rest. We don’t need any more unnecessary attention at HHM.” He says the last part as a joke but it falls flat. Humor does not suit Chuck McGill, Kim thinks. 

Jimmy nods and grabs Kim’s hand, without thought, and pulls her away. 

He doesn’t let go of her hand until they get to the lobby and as he pulls away, Kim finds her fingers reaching back before fully dropping her hand. They’re not a thing as many people in the office like to ask (Ernie consistently tries to leave them alone together in the mailroom) but they’re a something and Kim finds herself sometimes wondering what it’d be like to not let Jimmy drop her hand. 

“God, Chuck can really be an asshole sometimes.” 

Kim sighs out of her thoughts, already exasperated at Jimmy’s mind which she knows is running a thousand thoughts a minute.

“What?” 

“Ten to fifteen years for partner track? They’re just dangling bait in front of you to keep you at the firm when any firm would be lucky to have you.” Jimmy shakes his head, “No, you know what, they need to feel the pressure. If they see you talking to other firms, maybe they’ll understand just how valuable you are-”

Kim places a hand over Jimmy’s lips and he shuts up, just openly blinking at her. 

“Jimmy, I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can but-”

“Jimmy,” She presses her hand down more firmly, feeling his breath across her palms. His eyes flash and she pointedly ignores it. “I feel good. I feel valued. Let’s just enjoy the night okay?” 

He nods and before she can pull her hand back, she feels his tongue press up against her palm and she yelps. 

“Gross,” she reaches out to shove his mouth away and he backs away, hands up.

“Woah, woah Kim. This is the mailman’s moneymaker, don’t damage the tongue.”

He smiles at her when she laughs, a warm, pleased smile that she can feel in her body and all she can do is smile back.

 

 

--

 

 

They end up in a room on the thirtieth floor, the law students already tossing back shots and shedding clothing when they enter.

“Alright guys, what do we have here?” Jimmy slips into the room, jacket half off and the students turn and cheer when they see him walk in.

Kim’s a little nervous at this point, expecting it to be a quieter affair but judging by the angry stares from the people she’d passed in the hallway and the already beating headache that is developing in her head, it’s going to be a blow-out party. Kim has fun, Kim knows how to have fun (granted she hasn’t had this kind of fun in a while) but she’s here for work and she shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that, especially given how much she’s had to sacrifice, right? 

As if summoned by thought, Jimmy appears with two shots in his hands. His tie is wrapped around his forehead and he’s shimmying over to her as ‘I Fought The Law’ blares in the background.

“M’lady,” he bows to her and she rolls her eyes because Jimmy can be so inane sometimes but she takes the shot anyways, licking her lips afterwards and she’s plenty aware of Jimmy’s eyes following the path of her tongue.

He raises an eyebrow, “One more?”

Okay, two shots won’t kill her.

Nor would three or four shots.

At the fifth, her blazer thrown to the side and his dress shirt askew, she pauses. “I shouldn’t, you know I have to wake up early tomorrow.” 

Jimmy opens his mouth to protest but looks at her a little more intently before nodding, “You’re right, I don’t want to get you in trouble.” He throws the shot back and when he reaches for the other one, Kim’s hand shoots out to stop him.

Kim bites her lip at the comment. She knows Jimmy means well, she knows more than anybody but the idea that Jimmy is somehow responsible for her digs the irritation deep. It’s her own choices and consequences she’ll have to deal with, nobody else’s. So she reaches back, pulls the hair tie out of her ponytail, and makes the choice to take the next shot.

And when they’re lounging on the hotel futon, her feet in his lap, she makes the choice to take the joint being passed around.

(She makes sure Jimmy expertly ties a plastic bag around the fire alarm, directing him as he twists the rubber band and turns on the bathroom fan. Jimmy murmurs, “If I didn’t know better Kim, I’d say you’ve done this a lot” and Kim only shrugs, not wanting to explain that she’d only done this for other people, before turning back around.)

Jimmy is mid-pull when Kim grabs it from between his lips and takes a long drag, letting the smoke fill her lungs and breaths it out just as expertly. All eyes are on her as the most tenured student in the room and they whoop as she lets out a long line of smoke. 

She can feel Jimmy’s eyes on her as she passes the joint and she turns, returning his gaze. They stay there for a moment, his hand resting on her calf and her fingers gently tapping on the top of the futon beside them. He sits there, expectantly and patient like he always has been.

Luckily (and unluckily), the moment is broken when a law student shoots straight up from the floor and drunkenly whispers that a clerk is bringing up some important files and that they all need to get out of the room or his ass is going to be fired and like mice, they all start scurrying around grabbing their miscellaneous things and occasionally bumping into each other.

She throws her blazer over her shoulders and grabs her heels with one hand and she turns to see Jimmy still fumbling around for his tie. She quickly finds it, throwing it around her neck, and grabs his hand, tugging him out of the room as the law student wails out, “Hurry guys, she’s like three minutes away. Oh god, they’re gonna fire me.” 

She can’t help but laugh as they stumble out into the hallway, hands still clutched together. 

“Where to now?” 

Jimmy looks at her sheepishly, rubbing his neck with his free hand, and shrugs.

“I’m supposed to be sleeping in Chuck’s room but he texted me around midnight and said ‘Don’t wake me up, big day tomorrow’ so…” he trails off.

Kim raises her eyebrow at the suggestion and he lifts his hand, “Hey, no funny business so don’t try anything with me.” 

“You snored last time in Las Cruces so you better keep it down this time,” she notes playfully and Jimmy gives her that boyish smile that has only ever seemed to make her a little weak in the knees. 

Still holding his hand and barefoot, she walks down the corridor leading him to her room. On the way there, they pass Howard’s room and she notices a bottle of Dom Perignon still in its ice bucket, left outside his room.

Without even a moment’s hesitation, emboldened by the night, the silence of the hallway, and maybe by the hand clutched in hers, she wraps two fingers around the lip and keeps walking. 

Jimmy can only watch, mouth slightly open and in reverence of this woman in front of him. 

When they get to her room, she lets go of his hand and passes him her shoes to hold onto as she digs for her keycard and when she steps in, she immediately pads over to the bed and lays down.

She closes her eyes, letting the tired settle into her bones. 

It’s been a long day. Kim Wexler is used to long days but sometimes it catches up to her and breaks her down into that small girl waiting for her mom to come home and tell her thank you for all that you’ve done

In the background, she can hear Jimmy tidying up, wanting to leave the room organized for the morning and at this, she grants a small smile. Without opening her eyes, she murmurs, “You can grab a sweatshirt from my suitcase if you want.” 

She hears the rustle of clothing and then a weight drop onto the bed next to her. She can feel his eyes on her, feel his hand hovering over her shoulder, and knows Jimmy wants to ask but doesn’t want to bother. She clears her throat and, with the last amount of strength in her body, pushes up into a sitting position.

“I’m fine, Jimmy. It’s just been a stressful forty-eight hours.” She takes a deep breath and grabs the bottle from Jimmy’s hand.

“So Dom Perignon huh? How much do you think this goes for?”

Jimmy purses his lips, thinking for a second. “Howard brand? Probably like two, three grand.” 

Kim stares at the bottle for a second. The fact that she’s holding an item, especially just a bottle of champagne, worth two grand in her hands is beyond her imagination. She thinks about the long hours she’d worked in her town’s Runza, the extra hours she’d picked up at the library just so she could afford the plane ticket out of there. To this day, she drives the first car she’d bought in Albuquerque when she scrimped up enough money and even that was only a grand and a half. 

It doesn’t happen often, Kim doesn’t allow it, but rage quietly fills her that she’s working for men like this. A man who would be willing to spend over two grand on a bottle of champagne and let it rest outside his hotel room. A man who would die for the law, for his firm but not his brother who would do anything for him. She’s known for a while that life isn’t fair but she had hoped by joining the people above, she’d get some semblance of closure. It had only succeeded in further isolating her, in making her understand she’d never be like these people that she still so desperately wants to join. 

With all this swirling in her mind, she tears the wrapper off and without thought, pops the bottle lifting the top to her mouth to catch the foam.

Jimmy grabs it after a while, “Woah, woah. Slow your roll, cowboy. You’ve got a lot of meetings to attend to tomorrow.” Kim lets him because she knows he’s right. Kim is mad but she’s not self-destructive. She’s worked too hard for that kind of behavior.

He takes a swig before gingerly placing the bottle on the floor and flopping backwards onto the bed. She joins him. 

They lay in silence for a while. It’s moments like these that Kim realizes how specific Jimmy is to her. How he loves to fill silence, often pulling words from thin air to mold a room but with her, he understands the quiet that she often finds she needs. 

“Do you think any of it,” she makes a small gesture with her hands, “means anything?” 

Jimmy thinks for so long that Kim wonders if maybe he didn’t understand the question but he answers softly, “It matters to you, Kim.” He pauses and shrugs as if he’s not going to shatter the unspoken truth between them, “And well, you matter to me so I think that means something.” 

Maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s the weed, maybe it’s the fact that Jimmy can often say the thing that unravels Kim but she turns on her side so she can face him. 

She sees him quietly inhale before turning on his side and suddenly they’re face to face.

It’s not like they haven’t been in intimate situations before. Celebrations where she’d kissed a little too closely to his lips, nights out when he’d fall asleep in her lap and everyone would tease him but she’d let him rest because sometimes he just seemed so tired; Even a kiss once, barefoot in the mailroom at three am celebrating Kim’s acceptance letter and while they’d been a little drunk, Kim’s head hadn’t felt that clear since she stepped foot into Albuquerque and stared at the crystal blue sky. 

But none of them felt as tangible as this.

Jimmy stares at her, slowly blinking and they stay there for a while. Kim counts their breaths, comforted by the slight warmth that emanates from his body and her eyes slowly start to droop.

She’s tired and she’s warm and she’s falling asleep but she can still sense how his body faintly tenses and she knows he’s about to talk.

“Kim,” he pauses. She thinks he’s gathering up the courage.

“I... I’ve been thinking a lot-”

She cuts him off with her eyes still closed, “I know, Jimmy.” 

Because of course, she knows. How could she not know? 

Sometimes she wonders why he’s never made a move before this but Kim knows Jimmy. She knows he’s terrified of making the wrong move, of putting their relationship on a tightrope that nobody has ever been able to successfully walk, not even Chuck. She knows because she feels the same way. She’d spent so long shutting herself down, learning to fold her feelings into neat little squares that when he was able to crack her open, even just a little, it scared her and she doesn’t know if she’s ready for that; To know and be a Kim that doesn’t face her ugly truths and she can’t bear the thought of walking away from Jimmy, not right now. But she’s tired and doesn’t have the energy to fight this thing right in front of her face so she says,

“Me too.”

She feels his small exhale on her face and she scoots closer into his body, his arm reacting and draping over her waist. She almost reaches out, tracing the lines on his face that she’s gazed at so many times, in so many spaces. She can feel his heart beating fast as he clings onto her, as they cling on to each other but then it slowly drops down until his breathing matches the beat and he begins to let out tiny snores.

She can’t bear to, doesn’t want to move away so she closes her eyes.

She could get used to the snoring, she thinks before she falls asleep.