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Here At the End of All Things

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It was late, just after two am. Charlie was supposed to be working, but his train of thought kept getting derailed. Instead, he was admiring Liz's long, lean frame draped appealingly across his couch.

He supposed you could say they'd been dating, if dating meant take-out in the garage and late nights babysitting the super computer at CalSci. Still, as the Violent Crimes Squad's new team lead, she could have sent someone else. Instead, she'd been sending herself.

And they'd kissed—oh had they kissed—making out like teenagers as they waited for the FBI database to produce a list of suspects late one night. He chose to take it all as a good sign, but he needed to know for sure.

"What's up there, Charlie?" she asked, breaking his reverie.

"What do you see, when you look at me?" he asked.

Her head popped up, gazing at him. Then she rose and crossed the room, cupping his cheek as she smiled into amber eyes.

"I see a genius mathematician, a loyal friend, and a tough crime-fighter wrapped up in a sexy package."

"You see that?"

Liz nodded. "I see you, Charlie. Not Don. You."

Charlie let out the breath he'd been holding, smiling softly. He leaned over, kissing her slow and deep, holding her close once they'd pulled apart. It wasn't the finale to his love life he'd been expecting, but in some ways, it was better. It was real.

"I'm glad it's you, here with me," he whispered.

"Me, too," she whispered back.

Just then, the printer fired up. Liz reached for the sheet of paper, scanning it as her face lit up.

"This is just what we need," she said. She kissed him, then winked. "See you later, Professor."

Charlie grinned as he watched her walk away.