Hi everyone! And happy #DARVEYWEEK! Here's another ficlet I never finished until now and decided to post. I hope you like it, and maybe leave a review? x
Some things can't be put out of our minds. Not even if we try.
"We put it out of our minds and we never mention it again."
He shakes his head, pushing the thoughts away as he tries to hide his smile. He thinks how silly it is, this impossible task. How she asked him to put it out his mind and never mention it again. He agreed, because he needed her in his life. In whatever way she allowed him. But putting it out of his mind is another thing.
He thinks how silly it is that the most random object or thing can make his brain turn to mush and only think of what shall not be spoken of. The first few days it was this returning dream he couldn't seem to shake, no matter the amount of loud ties he wore.
A month in it's this case he has. They're in his tiny office at Pearson Hardman, preparing for a trial and she looks at him with those eyes he almost forgets what they're doing already. She mumbles something about doing the ritual and the pure word brings him back to that one day at the D.A.'s office and most importantly that one night.
He sees her reach for the can opener he stole from the diner that morning, his eyes resting on the way her fingers slide over the object and it's enough to make him think about how her fingers once did that to his body. She says his name, more than once and he has to shake his head to break the thoughts.
She makes him do this silly thing, throwing thumbtacks with the can opener and she calls it impossible. He gives her a smile as he plays along with her game, but the only impossible thing is forgetting about that night.
Each and every time he has to go to court after that and seeing her hold the can opener is enough to bring those memories back. He tries very hard to focus on the task at hand. Hitting those damn objects, maybe that's why he'd gotten so good at it. Because hitting a thumbtack made him focus on the present instead of the past.
The next time he thinks about that night is another random moment. He's walking down the street, the coffee car visible in the distance and he thinks about bringing one for her as well. Vanilla, he remembers to be her favourite, but when he looks at the options it reads 'Vanilla and whipped cream' and there it is again. That one night, the cold substance on his body and her lips tracing it.
With each year that passes by it becomes a bit easier. There aren't many things left that can make him think about that one night, subconsciously he's connecting words and objects to other events now. Just so he can't have another one of those surprises. He doesn't even realise that that is exactly why he focusses on settling cases. Because settling cases means not going to trial and not going to trial means no ritual.
The time after that is on a Thursday night, maybe six years after the other time and he's listening to his father's records. A cold glass of scotch in his hand he stares in the distance to the buildings outside. He wonders if he's allowed to let his mind drift off, but he doesn't. Not willingly. It only happens when he sees her in the reflection of the window. She's wearing a white dress and suddenly all he sees is the white substance on her body again.
He swallows, shaking his head as he realizes now the pure sight of a colour is enough to make him think about it. He never tells her or explains it to her, but the next time she wore a white dress he 'accidentally' tipped her coffee over the edge of her cubicle. She was pissed and he bought her every dress she wanted, on one condition. They couldn't be white.
Time after time he tells himself he can't let himself continue like this. Letting his mind drift off to that one night, and he was doing so well. He was almost proud of it. But then there was that case, where her life was on the line and he won. She invited him over for dinner and there he was again. In her apartment.
Memories rushing back he tries to suppress them with words. Explaining how he won't let anything happen to her ever. How with her it's different. It's then that she smiles, softly but that look in her eyes is back and he can't help but look at her lips.
It's making him swallow and he excuses himself. The tension between them, twelve years of desire and the history of that one night lingers in the air and it's too much. Too much to risk everything they have for one of those nights again, because he's not sure he can give her more than that and she deserves so much more.
When she asks why he wants to leave, he wonders if she's joking. If he was the only one thinking about that one thing they did years ago and when she shakes her head he uses words again to explain why that one night was a onetime thing and things are different now.
"You know I love you, Donna."
They fight and she tells him she's leaving him. He begs her to stay, but she turns around and walks away. His eyes tear up and his breath falters, he feels like he's unable to breathe. Day after day he struggles with what happened, he never imagined her to leave him and he hates himself for the thought even crossing his mind but there it is. After days of therapy there it is. "It occurred to me that you and I don't work together anymore."
He feels betrayed by his own words now, his own words bringing him back to that one night and the more recent one. The one he walked away. The one he bailed out the second she wanted more. He knows he did that and he hates himself for doing so, but she deserves so much more than what he has to offer.
Weeks later, his new secretary asks him why the entire day is blocked out and he presses his lips together in a thin smile. Donna. It was this thing they did, every year on august 5th. Celebrating the day she came to his desk. He could almost call it a ritual, but that word is off limits now.
That Wednesday evening he finds himself across the table from her. She's smiling and so is he. He can't remember a time he's felt so at peace, but then again it doesn't surprise him he can only feel this way when he's in her presence. He scans the menu, looking at the desserts and it's unintentional but the 'Vanilla cheesecake with whipped cream' catches his eye. He doesn't speak and neither does she, but he sees her grin just a little before she whispers she doesn't want anything else.
He's glad she didn't because he hasn't been able to look at whipped cream the same since that night. He tells her they should do it more often, he just can't convincingly tell himself he meant just dinner.
Things after that one dinner go so terribly wrong he doesn't even want to think about them, but in the midst of the mess, from him punching Louis, to Hardman going after the firm once more. Him resigning and Mike getting arrested, she shows up at his place. Telling him to cut the bullshit and even though her tone and behaviour is anything but amicable, he's happy she's there.
It's random and he has a million things on his mind already. And maybe it's karma, because he turns his back towards her. Reaching for a bottle of water from his fridge, because he can't face her right now and that's when it happens. A stupid thought, but the truth. He never had a bottle of whipped cream in there.
They go to trial and for the first time in forever there's no ritual. Not in any shape, way or form, because this is a case like no other. It's just him doing his best, with her by his side for support. He's not sure they'll be able to win, she is and her words are enough. "Because I think you're worthy and I don't want to lose you." Enough to make him believe they will.
A series of events turns everything upside down regardless. Mike turns himself in and he learns they would have been found innocent if they would have had faith. How Donna was right once again, and it doesn't even surprise him. She's Donna, she knows.
The wedding of their friends is called off, instead he brings the younger man to prison. "Get busy living or get busy dying," it are his associates words and he slowly nods, knowing he should do the same. If not for Mike and everything he gave up, for himself and mostly for her.
Somehow he ends up back at the firm later that night. She's there too, sitting on the couch in his office. A glass of scotch waiting for him on his coffee table. With a sigh he sits down next to her, not knowing what to say. What to think, his mind completely blank.
He freezes on the spot then, her hand covering his and she squeezes just a little. No words, just a small gesture of compassion. Of understanding and for them it's so much more. Her touch sending his mind to the gutter. It's the one and only thing that never made him think about that night, but he realises in that moment that that's exactly why they never touched anymore.
It's exactly why neither lets go, but holds on.
Soon their hands not the only parts of their bodies that are touching and that night everything that ever made him think about that one moment twelve years ago is put out of the window. New memories being made, more than once. Words exchanged they both struggled to pronounce, but had felt for a long time.
The biggest difference with twelve years ago, besides the lack of whipped cream, is how she doesn't tell him to forget about it. To never mention it again, instead they do. They talk about what happened, not just that night but everything before. The how finally explained. The future discussed, together this time.
A few months later he's standing in their bathroom, looking in the mirror his eyes lock with hers. He's shaving and she's just looking at him. This grin on her lips and he can't help but smile himself. "What?" he whispers frowning at her. She lets out a laugh, shaking her head. "Nothing," she whispers, "it's just.. if that," she points at his chin, "if that would have been whipped cream I would have kissed it off your face."
He smirks at her then. Wondering how such a simple and obvious every day thing never made him think about that one night, like all other things had done. And all of a sudden it makes perfect sense, because loving her was another everyday thing so embedded in his system he didn't even realise he did until about a year ago.
Dropping the razor to the sink, he wipes his face clean. He pulls her closer, kissing her once before he lifts her up. Throwing her over his shoulder, he walks to the fridge in their kitchen. "That can be arranged," he counters.