rillalicious: (Colby and David phone)
[personal profile] rillalicious
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3


"Granger."

"Colby, you're an ass."

"Well, hello to you, too, Agent Sinclair. How are you on this lovely Friday morning?"

"You know who brought me lunch yesterday? Of course you do. You told her to bring me lunch yesterday."

"Let me think... It couldn't have been... No... Hmm... Can I phone a friend on this one?"

"Megan Reeves."

"Megan! Come on, David, you can't honestly tell me you weren't happy to see Megan. She told me the two of you never get together. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed."

"Do you know what she brought with her, Colby?"

"Kung Pao chicken? It wasn't Szechuan shrimp, was it? I know what that does to your stomach--"

"A print out of my profile from match.com, okcupid, and something called hotfeds express. I'm pretty sure that last one isn't legal in three states, Colby."

"Luckily, it's perfectly legal in both California and the District of Columbia. Now we're even."

"Even for what?"

"Don."

"You call that even? All I told Don was that you finally replaced me."

"Yeah, well, I didn't know that."

"Ha! You indicted yourself. You didn't even need me to do it."

"You lit the match, I just tossed it into the dry grass."

"So you sign me up for internet dating sites? Where did you even get that picture?"

"New Year's Eve stake out, two years ago. It's a good picture."

"Colby."

"What? It's my favorite picture of you, I swear."

"I'm not even going to start on how wrong it is that you have a favorite picture of me."

"Aren't you even a little curious to find out if you have any matches?"

"After you set up my profile? Uh, no."

"All right, but it's your loss. Just in case you wanna check it out, though, you've got a new email address. T-O-U-C-H-M-Y-G-U-N at gmail dot com. Password is Mexico69."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"Do I sound like I'm kidding you?"

"Your ass is done, Granger."

"Promises, promises. But I can hear you smiling on your end."

"Shut up."

"Come on, you've missed my antics, David."

"Yeah, well."

"Admit it."

"You can be a real piece of work, Colby, but you're not wrong. I miss you, man."

"Yeah. I miss you too... Are we done bein' girls now?"

"That's an insult to ladies everywhere, Granger."

"True, true. All right, I've got to get back to work."

"You've still got a job? Impressive."

"I know, right? Bye, David."

"See ya, Colby."


~*~*~*



Colby held the cup of coffee up just beneath his nose, frowning as hot curls of steam stung his upper lip.

"What do they heat this stuff with, lava?"

Nikki snorted. "Relax," she said. "We've got all night for it to cool down. This guy's not moving."

Colby sighed and dropped the styrofoam cup into the cup holder.

"Got someplace better to be tonight?" said Nikki, raising the binoculars as she peered up at the building.

"Just a little anxious is all."

"Girlfriend still living at your place?" said Nikki, setting the binoculars aside.

"She's not my girlfriend."

"Uh huh."

"Have you been talking to Don?"

Nikki smiled without looking at him. "Matt Li."

"Seriously? The techs having nothing better to talk about? What's happening to the FBI?" He took the cup in hand again and sipped it, hissing a curse when it burned the tip of his tongue.

Nikki laughed. The streetlights were out all the way to the corner, and cloud-cover blotted out all the stars, giving the impression that it was much later in the evening than it actually was. Colby sighed and shifted in his seat. He never understood how the FBI expected a grown ass man to spend hours on end crammed into the passenger's seat of a compact car.

"She's not my girlfriend," he said again, petulantly.

"What's that mean? She shoot you down?"

"No. It hasn't come up. I mean, it's not like I've got all this time to date."

"The spy excuse is running out of steam, Idaho," said Nikki. "That was how many years ago, now?"

"I've told you before, Nikki. Married to the job, remember?"

"You know that one doesn't fly since Don tied the knot, right?"

"You, uh, heard from Ian lately?"

Nikki's smirk was wicked. "Why? Would it make you jealous? How does your girlfriend feel about that?"

"You know, I could've asked Liz on this stakeout tonight," he said, taking a turn with the binoculars.

"But I'm so much more fun," she said. "Besides, you brought that one on yourself. It's not like you've never been on a date with another man before."

"My relationship with David transcends gender roles," Colby said, zeroing in on the shadow of a movement behind a curtain on the fourth floor.

Nikki laughed. "You know, Granger--" But she didn't finish, because Colby was tossing the binoculars down and opening his door.

"This guy's movin'," he said, tucking his gun in the back of his pants. "Come on."


~*~*~



The way Caroline had sprawled herself on the couch beside him gave Colby an odd sense of comfort. Like she belonged here. She was filling the void that David's absence had left, but it was more than that, too. She wasn't a component of the FBI, the thing that had been his whole world for more than six years. Before that, Colby's whole world had been Afghanistan. A single focus at a time. He hadn't, not since his father died if he were honest with himself, been able to weave together the threads of a personal life and a professional life and divide his attention between them. Even David had been FBI, giving Colby the illusion of normalcy that he'd wanted so badly, without having to step outside that protective shell.

Caroline, though, was different. Sure, he'd met her through a case, her husband's murder case, but she wasn't FBI. Her work as a ranger was only related to his in the most superficial of ways. When Colby had gone up to the mountain every year on the anniversary of the day they'd scattered Phil's ashes, he'd found a steady footing in the world outside the FBI. They would hike and camp, only talking when they had to, or by the fireside late at night, and it was a secret Colby could take with him, this one real life relationship that he didn't have to talk about at work. Even David hadn't found out about these yearly excursions until the third one rolled around.

The rest of the year there were texts, occasional phone calls, lunch out once in a while if Caroline had a reason to be in L.A., but those days on the mountain, those were the times he felt in sync with Caroline, as if they could both drift off, face up to the grief churning around them, and still stand there side by side.

Christ, he could only imagine the hell he'd get from David or Nikki if he said any of this stuff out loud. He forced his attention back to the television. Just in time for the commercials.

"I really like this show," said Caroline.

"I do too," he said. "Hope it doesn't get cancelled."

"That's sort of a morbid thought while you're sitting here enjoying it, isn't it?"

"Yeah, well, all the good crime dramas get cancelled," said Colby.

"You sound like you take that personally." She was smiling.

"Just a little bit," he said, tipping his head sideways to smile back.

"Do you write letters to the network, Colby?"

"Nah, I stand outside their offices with a picket sign. You know, in all my free time."

She sighed dramatically. "The life of a triple agent is so glamorous."

"You don't know the half of it."

The commercials came to an end and the conversation faded for a moment as they watched the characters take center stage again.

"That's a real cowboy," Caroline murmured, the appreciation clear in her voice even as she spoke so quietly. In fact, he was pretty sure she didn't intend for him to hear at all.

"You like the hat?" said Colby.

"I like the hat on Raylan Givens," she said.

"You don't think I could pull that off?"

She glanced up at him, appraisingly, and Colby could feel her mentally measuring the size of his head. He reached up to scrub at his scalp uncomfortably.

"I think I'd like to see you give it a try," she said, after a moment.

He looked down at her, catching her green eyes and holding her gaze. He moistened his lips.

"Maybe I'll have to do that, then." There was something else to say, something important, but before he could put the words into any sensible order, someone fired a shot on the television, and they both looked up.

"Shit," said Colby. "And I thought I had some unresolved issues with my old man. At least I never shot him."

"Well, I'd hope he never helped anyone set up a hit on you."

"No," Colby laughed. "That he did not. Idaho's obviously not nearly as exciting as Kentucky."

"And what about L.A.?" she said, twisting on the couch as she looked at him. He watched the arch of her neck as she swallowed. "Is your life as exciting," the word caught in the back of her throat, as if it wasn't what she really wanted to say at all, "as a tv marshal?"

He balled his hand into a fist to keep from brushing the wispy little hairs away from her forehead. "It has its moments," Colby said.

A dense silence pushed itself between them after he spoke. She pressed her lips together, shifted her hips just slightly, moving her body away from him, and swallowed again, this time harder, like she was forcing something down.

"I'm really tired," she said, pushing herself upright. "I should get some sleep. Goodnight, Colby."

"Uh," Colby rose quickly; she was already on her feet, "all right. Night then, Care."

She started to walk away, then stopped awkwardly, thinking about it for a second before reaching out and squeezing his upper arm. "Thanks for everything. I really appreciate it."

And then she was in the in the bathroom, leaving Colby so stunned by the switch from easy conversation to abrupt goodnight that he didn't remember watching her walk away.








Chapter 5

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Rilla

January 2012

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