Word Count: 1,350
Spoilers: Follow-up to "The Reid Technique"
Summary: Wherein O'Hara's bedroom is the most intimate place Lassiter's been...sort of...
I am standing in O’Hara bedroom.
This is the thought that has Lassiter paralyzed. He’s standing in the doorway while O’Hara carefully disrobes and places her suit in a laundry bag.
She is not wearing underwear. Those are in the kitchen.
She unhooks her bra and then pauses. She looks over her shoulder at him, and Lassiter thinks of the first pin-up he ever saw, an old WWII cheesecake magazine his dad had buried under some hammers and screwdrivers in a toolbox.
“What are you doing?” In her voice are equal parts curiosity, teasing, and suspicion.
“I...” The truth was, he wasn’t sure. He wants to ask if it’s all right if he sleeps on her couch. In her bathtub. This is her bedroom. Where she rests her head every night after putting her sidearm and badge away.
He runs a hand over his face. He’s tired. And the thought of waking up next to his partner in the morning, a partner who doesn’t seem to have any intention of donning pajamas, is confusing.
“I don’t have anything to wear.”
O’Hara turns around. Her bra is still on, though he can see the clasp and backing dangling alongside her underarms. She looks at him closely in the dim lamplight and takes a step forward. She looks a little headachy and worn out, but not drunk. Sober. Sober and aware of everything that had happened and every decision.
She smiles that cheesecake smile again. “Carlton...” The smile fades a little, then picks up traction. “You’re serious!”
“Well…” He is aware now that somewhere along the way, he made an effort to retie his tie loosely, though dismayed to see he had not buttoned his shirt correctly.
She walks towards him and, exhausted though he is, he stares. Because he can. Because there is no other option. Because she doesn’t mind.
“I’m not letting you stretch out any of my things.” She’s playful, winds her arms around his neck. He feels about 17 years old again: awkward, out of his league, shy, eager. “Do you wear those pinstripe pajamas with the full-length sleeves and long pants? This is California!”
The truth was yes. He got chilled easily, particularly when the air was running all night in the summer.
He smiles ruefully but does not look at her and instead runs his thumb along her collarbone. He wasn’t sure why he did either thing. There was nothing wrong with his pajamas. They were harder and harder to find and extremely comfortable. Men had worn them for generations.
And her collarbone...well, there wasn’t...any explanation, really. It just seemed like something to do.
“I know it’s a lot all at once, but...” and here she stood on her tiptoes and grabbed hold of his earlobe, applying gentle, sweet tugging motions that made him lean closer. “I think it’s a little late to be shy.”
And he knew she was right.
She rests against him, after he finishes. The hollow of her throat smells of her perfume cured in alcohol and pheromones. The way her arms are wrapped around him, it is almost like they are embracing.
But his pants are around his ankles and her skirt is hiked over her hips. His left wrist has begun to throb dully. His ass is numb. His upper thighs are burning. And he’s still inside her.
So, technically, much more complicated than an embrace.
She inhales deeply and pulls away from him, makes eye contact. Stands up and smiles a silly smile as she begins to straighten herself up.
She seems pleased with herself in a way that infuriates him, satisfied in a way that makes his masculine pride feel a little less tarnished and underutilized, and makes him desperately wish he was a little younger and his rebound time wasn’t so dulled by the onset of his forties.
“I suppose I should unlock those handcuffs.”
His thoughts don’t gel the way he’d like: it’s just one long growl in his brain.
He puts a coat of sarcastic primer on the words: “That would be nice.”
She kisses the end of his nose. He plots.
She’s smoothing her skirt, and he’s rebuckling his belt when he sees she’s befuddled, hands on hips, searching the floor with her eyes. It must be for the underwear she carelessly dropped behind him. He recalls them getting snagged under the leg of the chair at one point.
This is one thing O’Hara does not have over him (yet): the element of surprise and a near-perfect recall of a crime scene.
He says it so casually and she reacts so naturally that it seems unfair.
“They’re under the chair.”
“Oh!” And she begins to lean over in the first step of kneeling down to retrieve them.
He catches her by the waist, drags her backwards, smirking a little at her high-pitched “Hey!,” and boosts her up on the end of her counter. Her head rattles the cupboard door a little, and he nearly apologizes, but feels a twinge in his wrist and thinks better of it.
Both his hands are twisting the back of her suitcoat, and his mouth is so completely on hers that he thinks for a moment of Resusci-Annie and CPR training.
She doesn’t respond for a second or two, just accepts his unchoreographed, furious mouth assault with a sort of stunned good grace. But then she tries to slow him down, puts her hands in his hair.
He reacts to this, perhaps a little too aggressively: he grabs her right wrist and pins it against the cupboard door. He uses his free hand to pull her forward on the counter.
“Carlton...” Breathless and a little bewildered. He locks eyes with her.
“It’s Lassiter. Just...” And then he feels the control slipping in some indefinable way. He lets go of her wrist and slides both his hands up her bare thighs, moving the skirt back and up over her hips once again. “Don’t call me Carlton. Not right now.” His thumb is searching, gentle but determined, while he watches her.
She signals, with an involuntary flicker of tongue tip over her top lip, he’s found it. He looks at her thighs. Even in the weak light of the kitchen, they are pinked from her earlier efforts.
Her knee is moving in a hypnotic pattern along his torso, almost like she’s peddling a paddleboat. When she closes her eyes and begins to reach blindly for him, he slides fingers inside her, thinking of how it will feel to be on top of her, pinning her down (if he ever gets the chance, that is; he should stop what he’s doing right now and never think about any of this again).
Her instinct seems to be to tighten up, close down. So he uses his body and free hand to keep her open.
What are we doing? he thinks to himself and feels the blind panic of at least four or five bad decisions wash over him.
But then her face, turning up as if the sun is shining down on her.
He kisses her neck as she digs into his shoulder and clamps down onto most of his left hand. He hears the aching, heartfelt sigh he makes and knows that competing, at this point, is hopeless.
So when she calls him “Carlton” again, throaty and distant, he pulls her tight to him, both arms wrapped around her, the way she had held him moments before.
Fighting the part of him that’s itching to remind her of the one rule he’d set.
The bedroom is dark. He stands a while in his boxers and white tee, looking down at the back of his partner’s head, a spray of hair melting away into a set of white shoulders.
When he is under the covers, she immediately scooches back against him. He places a hand on her hip, and suddenly, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.
Or maybe it is just the fatigue and the ache in his wrist and legs willing him to relax.
She yawns and reaches around to run her fingers over his. “We’ll get this figured out tomorrow.”
His last thought, as he drifts off, is that he still misses his pajamas and he hopes that he wakes up to the feel of her fingertips light against his knuckles, the small of her naked back pressed into his stomach (that is still knotted in fear and guilt and panic).