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'Til Our Compass Stands Still

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Ring…Ring

Chris fumbled for his cell phone before grasping the annoyingly loud device and bringing it to his ear.

“Hello,” he rasped out checking his bedside clock and groaning when he saw it was only five. His alarm was set for six and he hoped that this was a wrong number and he would be able to roll over and go back to sleep.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you?” said an amused voice that did not sound the least bit sorry.

He felt a wide smile spread across his face and just like that Chris was fully awake. He breathed out, “Percy,” like it was a benediction, instead of his best friend’s name.

“Well hello there, Christopher,” Percy said with a bit of lilt to her voice, “Well shucks I guess it is early there. I will never get this time difference right.”

Chris gave a breathy chuckle before saying, “I somehow just do not believe you.”

“What can I say you have always been a perceptive man,” Sonja said, with laughter in her voice.

“Did you wrap up that smuggling case you were telling me about a couple of days ago?” Chris asked stretching a bit and getting more comfortable letting Percy’s voice wash over him as she gave him a blow by blow of their take down of an interstate smuggling ring, and he realized once again how much he missed her.

He missed seeing her everyday like he used to, instead of just a phone call every few days. Although Chris had to admit that their talks had been deeper more intimate in a way they hadn’t been before. Maybe without the worry of crossing a line that coworkers shouldn’t they had been able to really let their guards down one phone call at a time over these last few months.

“And who do you think took down the number one target who was trying to sneak out the bathroom window?” Sonja said with delight evident in her voice.

“You of course,” Chris replied pride evident in every word. Sonja in a short amount of time of working for the F.B.I. had really made her mark in both the solving and completing of cases. Chris couldn’t be prouder.

“You know I did,” Sonja laughed out, before continuing, “How is the gang doing with Pride no longer in charge?”

“Well that is a mixed bag of good and bad,” Chris answered, as he got out of bed knowing he wouldn’t go back to sleep, “The good is our new boss is one Special Agent Hannah Khoury who is really good at leading us as a team, and she’s starting to fit right in and heck she has even joined us at Pride’s bar from time to time. I like her, she’s hardworking, smart, and has the background we need.”

Walking into the kitchen, Chris continued on to the rest of the team and how they have been getting along. He headed straight towards the coffee pot and started it up needing the caffeine to hit his system as quickly as possible.

“And the bad?” Sonja said when the silence had lengthened.

Chris had been trying to get his thoughts together because it was a bit of a sticky situation, “The bad is that we miss Pride and I can tell King is hating his new job. He is always finding a reason to show up and help us. I feel bad for him, they really gave him no choice but if you try to ask him about it he says it is all good.”

“Pride is the king of I’m Fine, when you totally know that he is far from that,” Sonja agreed, “But until he is ready to talk you know you won’t get a word out of him.”

“Yeah that’s true,” Chris sighed while pouring himself a cup of coffee, “Of course you know who that reminds me of don’t you?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sonja denied, amusement in her voice.

Chris’ phone buzzed and pulling it away from his ear he saw it was just his alarm and that surprised him he hadn’t realized they had been talking for over an hour. It shouldn’t of though because they frequently lost all track of time.

“Please that is exactly how FBI field agent Sonja Percy deals with all things that might worry others,” Chris teased knowing Sonja knew what he was saying was true and wouldn’t take any offence.

“Yeah about the title of field agent…” Sonja’s voice trailed off.

Chris felt the happy warm glow that always came with talking with his favorite gal ebb away, replaced with worry. “What’s going on?” his voice now serious.

It had been a couple of months since Percy had left to join the F.B.I. and she had been slowly finding her footing with the division she had been assigned to.

“You know how I said there was something big going down, but they hadn’t let us newbies in on it yet?”

“Yeah, you thought it was because they were afraid of leaks in the department,” Chris said, sitting down at the kitchen table allowing the coffee cup to warm his hands.

“I was called to the big bosses office yesterday and read in on their latest case…,” Sonja said, her voice trailing off.

Chris swallowed hard and said tentatively, “That’s good isn’t it?”

“Yes of course,” Sonja said with confidence although there was a thread of uncertainty running through her voice.

“So what did the powers that be want?”

“I can’t really tell you any of the details but they have a need for an undercover operative. They heard how good I am and asked me to join their team,” Sonja said.

Chris could hear the low key excitement in her voice and not wanting to step on her enthusiasm said in an upbeat tone, “That’s great. When do you start? And how long will you be under?”

Sonja sighed and answered, “Actually I am supposed to meet up with the team later today. I don’t know how long, a month maybe longer depending on how it goes, but honestly that is just a guess on my part.”

“Will you be able to still call me?”

There was a long pause and then Sonja said in a low voice, “That’s the only bad thing. I will have to go completely under, no contact except for my handler.”

Chris took a long drink of coffee. It was a bit too hot so it stung on the way down but it gave him a minute to push down his disappointment and worry. Sonja didn’t need either, she needed his support in the here and now, especially because she wouldn’t have him to watch her back like she used to.

“Well you gotta do what you gotta do. You are one of the best undercover agents I have ever worked with, so this will be no sweat for you. Call me when you can and stay safe…,” Chris stopped abruptly and then almost against his will continued on in a confessional half-whisper. “I know you can do this…but I just wish I could watch your back like I used to.”

He heard Sonja blow out a shaky breath and then say lowly, “I do too,” there was a beat of silence full of unspoken promises of all they could be together and then she cleared her throat and the moment was over, and she said, “I will call you the second I can,” There was the sound of a muffled knock and Sonja said, “I have to go, that’s my ride. Goodbye Country Mouse.”

Chris said, “See you soon, City Mouse.” Their nicknames for each other giving them comfort as they both hung up.

Putting down his phone, Chris got up and poured himself more coffee before picking up his cell again and pushing the calendar app. He scrolled through until he counted four weeks then made a note. Not that he was likely to forget but it made him feel better, like putting it in writing was almost like a talisman that would make sure Percy coming back safe and sound a sure thing.

Taking his coffee back into his bedroom, Chris started to get dressed mulling over Sonja’s new job. He could admit it kind of drove him nuts that he wouldn’t be there to help her if she needed it. He truly did believe what he said earlier, Percy was one of the best undercover operatives he had ever worked with and so he knew she could do the job and do it well. But it was the knowledge that even the best of agents could get hurt or killed that made it feel like a rock was sitting in his stomach.

~New Orleans~

Five Weeks Later

“And that’s when I went ass over teakettle and fell into a flooded gully,” Chris said and was pleased when the whole table roared with laughter.

Patton than raised his glass in a toast and said his voice shaking with laughter, “To high school misadventures.”

Pride, Wade, Gregorio, Khoury, Sebastian, and Chris raising their own glasses enthusiastically returned the toast, “To high school misadventures.”

“It’s hilarious now but my prom night was ruined. Missy O’Hara was not amused and refused to dance with me because I stunk like ditch water,” Chris confessed, at the time it was definitely not funny but now in the company of his family the tale took on an amusing tone.

When the laughter died down Chris saw Loretta hide a yawn behind her hand before she stood up and said, “Well I think that’s it for me. It has been a week and I need to get some sleep.”

Pride stood up as well and said, “I could give you a lift home? If that’s alright?”

“Of course, Dwayne,” Loretta reassured as she placed a hand on his arm smiling up at Pride. They said their goodbyes and then they walked out together and Chris couldn’t help wondering about the two of them, something had changed. He shared a quizzical glance with Gregorio and he knew he wasn’t the only one pondering the same thing.

The group broke up after that each heading their own way. Chris only had the one beer and knew he was safe to drive but he found himself walking past his truck and heading in the general direction of his house. It was a balmy night; the sky was clear, and all the stars were out. It was the kind of night that made you want to stroll a bit and just take it all in. He had walked a few blocks, his thoughts wondering, when his phone rang.

Pulling his cell phone out of his pocket, Chris saw it was from a blocked number and almost put it right back, but he couldn’t just in case.

He answered with a gruff, “Hello.” He expected to be inundated with an offer to help his credit score but when the silence lengthened, he stopped in his tracks and took a chance trying not to get his hopes up, “Percy?”

“Hey Country Mouse, how you doing?”

Grinning widely, Chris laughed out in relief before saying, “I am doing just fine, City Mouse.” There was now a definite spring in his step as he hurried across the street. It had been a long five weeks and even with a very grueling workload he had still worried and thought about Percy a lot. Just hearing her voice had made a wave of relief and joy sweep through him. “It is so great to hear your voice,” Chris found himself saying giving up even trying to play it cool. Bounding up the stairs to his front door, Chris put the key into the lock and then realizing Percy had hadn’t answered said worriedly into the phone, “Hello…are you still there?”

“I’m still here,” Percy said, her voice tight. Chris could hear her breath hitch and then she blew it out before continuing, “It is good to hear your voice too.”

Her words sounded off and disjointed, Chris felt the float-y joyful feeling dissipate and instead was replaced by a growing sense of concern. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. How are…how are the rest of the gang doing?”

Walking down the hall, Chris found himself in his living room barely paying attention to where he was going as his apprehension skyrocketed. Percy sounded like she was barely keeping her voice steady, something was definitely wrong.

“Percy…” Chris scolded then stopped waiting her out.

“Okay, fine. I…I ran into a little snag when I was undercover, but I’m alright,” Sonya reassured but the effect was ruined by the quiver in her voice.

Chris continued his pacing becoming more agitated, “What does a little snag entail exactly?”

“You know I can’t give details, but things went sideways today and I had to jump from a very high place and my arm got broken,” Sonja said in a rush, “It was a clean break and it is already set and in a cast so don’t worry.”

“Don’t worry, she says,” Chris muttered under his breath as the silence lengthened before an idea hit him and he said, “We’ve talked about me coming up for a visit before why don’t I take a few days off and I can spoil you rotten now that the case is over.”

“Christopher, not that I don’t appreciate the offer but I am not going to let a broken arm stop me from finishing this case. I am so close to getting enough evidence to put this suspect away,” Sonja said her voice strained yet determined.

Chris appreciated her resolve. He did. But he was also worried. What did she mean things went sideways? Where was her backup? Was a broken arm really all there was to it? Could he come and see her anyway? Instead of any of those questions he asked, “This didn’t compromise your cover?” Because that was the real risk with any undercover job, some unexpected detail that gets back to the wrong people.

“No, actually it might give me an in because I saved the suspect’s sister with my little stunt. Got us both out of a sticky situation and without a scratch on her,” Sonja said her voice rising in excitement. “My handler was a bit worried but I convinced him to let me continue.”

There was a pause and a rustling sound like she was getting more comfortable, before she continued on softly, “Although if he knew I was talking to you he would probably have my hide for it.”

Chris felt some of the tension drain out of him at her confession. She had missed him too. “How are you feeling really?”

“I am not going to lie it was scary and this case has me stressed and now on top of all that my arm hurts something awful…” Sonja said her voice drifting a bit at the end. “Hearing your voice though helps… a lot.”

“You sound all done in. I should let you go to bed,” Chris said reluctantly, because he was loath to let her go now that he had her again.

“I am soooo tired. It has been a long few days,” Sonja replied, then asking in a half whisper, “Could you talk to me ‘til I fall asleep? I’ve missed you.”

Chris gave a deep sigh, resigned to not being able to ride to the rescue on this one. This wasn’t about him though it was about what Sonja needed and right now she needed him to trust and support her. “How about I tell you about our latest case and then segue that into the office gossip about Pride and Loretta?”

“See I told you about the two of them before I left I just knew something was percolating,” her words were becoming slow and thick like honey.

Chris knew she would be asleep within minutes so he tried to memorize the sound of her voice, warmed by the thought of her trusting him to comfort her when she was in pain and wished he was there so he could take her in his arms, instead he said, “I fully concede to your ability to suss out burgeoning couples from a hundred yards away.”

Sonja gave a breathy half-laugh, “I’ll remind you of that next time you have doubts. Now tell me all about it.”

Collapsing on his couch and stretching his legs out, Chris began with his latest theories about Pride and Loretta. Sonja would comment every now and then but the time between comments grew longer and by the time he finished with how their latest case went down Sonja was out for the count. So he placed the phone next to him and closed his eyes letting her deep breathing lull him to sleep.

~New Orleans~

Two weeks later

Chris rolled into work with a minute to spare, giving Gregorio a wave which she returned half-heartedly as she took another long swig of coffee. Stowing his gear under his desk just as Khoury and Pride walked in, Chris couldn’t help the spike of worry as they continued through the main room signaling for Chris and Gregorio to follow.

“Do you know what this is about?” Chris whispered to Gregorio as they followed them up the stairs to the conference room.

“No idea,” Gregorio returned in a low voice.

Chris and Gregorio didn’t bother to sit they both leaned against the wall as Khoury shut the door, but it was Pride who spoke up first.

“I just received a call from the local F.B.I. office they wanted to read us into an operation they are conducting in our area.”

Chris perked up at the mention of F.B.I.

As though he knew what he was thinking Pride held up a hand, stopping Chris from asking. “They are not asking us for help they are only letting us know they are in the area. Apparently one of our former colleagues Agent Percy will be undercover so they want to make sure if by some chance we happen to see her we will not engage. Understood?”

Gregorio said, “Understood. I wish we could help more, though.”

“I understand, so do I. Although I offered, their operation does not fall in our jurisdiction,” Pride stated matter-of-factly. Chris could see there was a tightness around Pride’s eyes though, that told him the other man was more worried than he was letting on.

As Khoury opened the door signaling the end of the meeting she said to Pride, “If you hear anything else please keep us posted.” Then she and Gregorio walked out discussing the testimony the two of them had to give later in the week.

Chris felt fit to bursting as he waited for the door to close all the way. When it did he growled out, “Pride it’s all well and good to tell us, we are professionals and will be able to play it off if we do happen to see her. But what happens when a local barista recognizes Percy and calls her by her real name?”

Pride grimaced and said, “I know. Believe me, I pointed that out and they are more than aware. They hadn’t expected the suspect to head in this direction or invite Sonja with him but they say they are close to the end and don’t want to do anything to upset the delicate nature of their operation by trying to find an excuse for Sonja to not accept his invitation.”

Rubbing the back of his neck Chris could feel a headache coming on, “I know, it’s just hard. I am used to having her back in situations like this.”

Pride placed a commiserating arm around his shoulder and steered him out of the conference room, “I understand, we just have to have faith in Sonja’s abilities and hope the worst case scenario doesn’t happen.”

~New Orleans~

One week later

Pride and Chris strode through the mass of police, fire trucks, and various local agencies that were between them and the half-burned down warehouse.

“Did Officer Diaz say why we needed to get down here as fast as we could?” Chris asked as he tried to visually piece together what had happened to cause such a scene of chaos. Diaz was a local L.E.O who had helped them with cases on several occasions.

“No he just called and said I would want to be in on what’s going on here,” Pride said as he stopped and looked around, finally he pointed towards the coroner’s van, “There he is standing next to…,” Pride stopped so abruptly that Chris almost ran into the back of him.

Peering around Pride, Chris saw what had stopped him, next to Diaz was Loretta. Loretta at a crime scene was not unusual but what caused Chris’ heart to skip a beat was her countenance. She looked absolutely devastated. Pride was now practically running, giving only a cursory excuse me when he ran into emergency personal.

Loretta looked up just as they got there and she immediately reached for Pride; there were tears in her eyes. Pride enfolded her in his arms asking, “What’s wrong?” He gently moved her away from the coroner’s van as it started up and headed away from the crime scene.

Loretta watched it go before she shot Chris such a look of sympathy and grief that it made his knotted up stomach twist even more. Then she spoke, her voice full of sorrow, “I had just arrived when I overheard Officer Diaz giving his statement to the F.B.I….”

“The F.B.I. is here?” Chris asked trying to keep his growing panic from his voice.

Diaz jumped in saying, “Yes they arrived shortly after I called in the explosion.”

“What made you call NCIS?” Pride questioned.

“I didn’t call NCIS.” Diaz insisted, “I called you. I knew you would want to know seeing how Percy was once attached to your agency and you guys were all pretty close.”

Chris briefly glanced towards the burned out building, there was barely any structure left, every muscle tensed. All of the sudden he knew why Loretta was looking at him with such stricken eyes. “Was…was Percy in there?”

Diaz took a half step back at the anguish in his words and then nodded, “I was on patrol and saw her and two others enter through the front. I was just rounding the corner when the whole building was blown sky high.”

Chris’ breathing increased as the weight of the news settled on him. Wildly looking around trying to hold it together, Chris saw that all around him people were running back and forth talking and shouting but it felt like he was removed from it like he was watching a T.V. show. Then he remembered the coroner’s van that had left just as they arrived, that brought him back and he wrenched his eyes from the burned out building back to Loretta, “Is she in…is she…,” but he couldn’t finish the sentence, he couldn’t ask if Percy’s body was in the back of that van.

Loretta placing a hand on Chris’ arm, said in a gentle tear soaked voice, “I’m sorry Christopher. The bodies were too badly burned for positive identification. We will have to wait until I can compare dental records.”

It wasn’t fair, he had just talked to her a couple of weeks ago. “I want to see her,” Chris spit out, taking hold of the surge of anger that was sweeping through him in order to keep the sorrow at bay.

“Are you sure?” Pride asked, uncertainly. For the first time Chris looked at his boss and saw how shocked he was and how tightly he was holding on to Loretta.

Chris just nodded to afraid to speak and without another word turned, starting to make his way back to Pride’s truck.

~New Orleans~

Chris was sitting just outside of the morgue waiting for Loretta to call him inside. Both Pride and Loretta tried to discourage him and he knew it was going to be a brutal sight and that he should wait and let Loretta I.D. Sonja but this whole situation didn’t feel right. Maybe he was being foolish or maybe he was in shock but he thought he would know it in his soul if Percy was dead. Instead she felt very much alive.

Hearing the swinging door, Chris stood up and turned to see Loretta walking towards him looking grim.

“Is it her?”

“I’m sorry I haven’t received Sonja’s medical records yet,” Loretta said laying a sympathetic hand on his arm.

All of the sudden it hit Chris, and he gripped Loretta’s hand desperately “Does the…the body have a broken arm?”

Loretta looked confused and so Chris rushed forward, “Percy broke her arm a couple of weeks ago. You should still be able to tell if an arm was recently broken correct?”

Loretta’s eyes went wide and she said, “Give me a minute,” before she hurried off.

Chris paced up and down the hallway. He was pretty sure he was right that the body in there wasn’t Sonja but at the same time he wanted confirmation.

Rushing back out of the morgue, Loretta, who had a big smile on her face, announced, “It’s not her. Both arm bones are intact and unbroken.”

Chris heard the words as though from a distance and felt his knees go weak, and he swayed.

“Come sit down,” Loretta led him to the bench and sat down next to him.

“I’m okay,” Chris insisted although he was a bit lightheaded. Percy was alive. Chris felt downright giddy he was so relieved.  

“No you’re not,” Loretta insisted but she said it with a smile and a friendly pat on the back, “But I understand.”

Chris smiled back up at her and opened his mouth to speak when Pride burst through the double doors and came to an abrupt halt. “From your smiles I can only assume you have already heard the good news.”

Loretta stood and gave Pride a relieved hug which he returned. “I just got a call from the F.B.I. they wanted custody of the bodies and as an afterthought wanted to let us know that Percy was fine other than some bruises and smoke inhalation.”

Feeling some of the relieved giddiness slip away at confirmation that she had been in the explosion, Chris asked, “Where is she now? Can I go see her?”

Pride shook his head regretfully, “I asked if there was any way we could see her. They said no as they are still wrapping up the case and don’t want Sonja distracted but they said they would pass on our message. I was able to find out they were able to catch their suspect red-handed and so now they have to make sure they cross their T’s and dot the I’s to make sure their case sticks. It may be a few days until Sonja will be able to call us.”

“This sucks,” Chris said bitterly, he had zero confidence that their message would get passed on at all.

“I agree,” Loretta said with a shake of her head.

Glancing at the clock, Chris saw it was past six, “Khoury said I was free to go home so I am going to take her up on her offer.”

“If you think you are okay to drive?” Loretta asked in concerned and at his nod she continued “I have to stay to sign over custody of the bodies when the F.B.I. gets here.”

“I’ll wait here with you if you don’t mind,” Pride said with a slight smile.

“That would be appreciated,” Loretta replied with a grin or her own.

Chris looked back and forth between the two of them a few times, feeling like they had already forgotten he was there and said, “Uh…okay I’ll see you two later.”

As he walked out the door he looked back briefly just in time to see Pride lean over and gently kiss Loretta.

~New Orleans~

Midnight

Chris was lying on his couch, wide awake staring at the ceiling, the TV droning on in the background. He should be tired, he had been up since five this morning and considering the extreme lows and highs he had gone through today, he should have been asleep as soon as his head it the pillow. Instead he had tossed and turned until he finally had given up and made himself some decaf and turned on the TV but nothing had interested him. His thoughts kept circling. When he closed his eyes he kept seeing the woman he loved cold and dead on Loretta’s autopsy table waiting to be cut open.

Knock…Knock

Chris sat up so fast he fell off the couch. Picking himself back up, Chris tried to push down the hope that was rising in him at who could be at his door at midnight. In two strides he was at the door yanking it open with more force than was necessary.

Standing on his doorstep was one Sonja Percy. She had a butterfly bandage on her forehead and a dark blue cast on her arm. The clothes she was wearing must have been borrowed as they looked about one size too large and hung on her frame. Her brown eyes were glassy and exhausted; her lips tried to lift into a smile but failed.

“Hey Christopher.”

Chris didn’t return the greeting instead reached for her pulling her inside and shutting the door behind them. He made sure to be gentle as he drew her into his arms trying to remember her broken arm and the fact that she had survived an explosion today. She returned his embrace with a desperation that broke his heart and so he kissed the top of her head and murmured words of comfort.

He lost track of time and how long they stood there swaying slightly holding onto each other, eventually though she pulled back and Chris reluctantly let her go. There were tears in her eyes that she wiped at almost angrily with her shirt sleeve.

“Are you okay?” Chris asked softly reaching up and catching one tear that had managed to escape with the swipe of his thumb.

Sonja seized his hand in hers and held it against her face, closing her eyes for a brief moment before she said, “Yeah, I’m fine.” When she opened her eyes again and saw what must have been a look of disbelief on his face she amended her statement by saying, “My arm is obviously still broken but it really only aches every now and then. I am mostly just bruised and very very tired.”

Chris looked skeptically at the bandage on her forehead but let it pass. Looking down at his former partner he could tell she was exhausted and just about all done in. So even though he was dying of curiosity he knew long explanations would have to wait.

“Do you want to lie down? You could take my room,” Chris offered.

“Normally I would say something about how I couldn’t kick you out of your own bed but I have sat on that sad excuse for a couch and there is no way I could get any sort of rest,” Sonja said. Chris could tell she was trying to sound like her usual self but there was a brittleness to her words that worried Chris so with their hands still linked he walked her down the hallway to his bedroom all the while playing along and defending the honor of his couch that he got at the local thrift store.

Pulling out a pair of sweatpants and an old band t-shirt from his dresser, Chris handed them off to Sonja who went into the bathroom to change. When she got out Chris turned down the blankets and offered her a glass of water and a couple of Tylenol. She took both gratefully and then got into his bed. Chris went to leave when she said his name.

“Stay?” Sonja asked in a low voice, pushing back the covers on the other side.

The uncertainty in her voice just about killed him and he said, “Of course.”

Getting underneath the covers, Chris lay facing Sonja who was lying on her back with a small pillow under her broken arm.   He asked, “Can I hold you?”

Sonja simply nodded and Chris scooted closer and gently laid an arm around her hips and laid his head down close to hers. Sonja laid a hand on Chris’ arm and within a few minutes was asleep.

With the room bathed in moonlight, Chris watched her sleep and sent up a grateful prayer that he had Sonja in his arms and she was safe.

~New Orleans~

Chris woke up to the sun brightly lighting up the room, he usually remembered to close the blinds right before bed but had forgotten last night. Rolling over he saw the other half of the bed was empty and that it was only seven. He got up, brushed his teeth, and went to look for his wayward guest. He found Sonja staring blearily at the coffee pot as she waited for it to finish.

“Hey,” Chris said as leaned against the counter next to her.

He was pleasantly surprised when she turned to him and wrapped her arms around his waist leaning against him. Chris rubbed her back and they stood together listening to the coffee pot and taking comfort in just holding each other. When Sonja pulled away slightly, Chris felt disappointed but she surprised him again when she pushed up on her tiptoes and gently brushed her lips against his. Smiling against her mouth, Chris pulled her more firmly against him and deepened the kiss.

They lost track of time as they explored this new turn in their relationship. Finally Chris was the one to pull away, grinning down at Sonja he said, “I have been wanting to do that for years.”

Percy, whose lips were slightly swollen from their marathon make out session, said eyes twinkling, “You and me both Country mouse.”

Chris dipped his head and once again captured her mouth with his own, and then he whispered against her lips something he had known for so long and never had the courage to say. “I love you.”

Sonja wrapped her arms even tighter around him and buried her face against his neck, and said, “I love you too.”

Chris felt joy swell up inside of him at her words and he couldn’t help lifting her off her feet spinning her around once with a laugh. Sonja giggled and said, “Put me down caveman.”

When he acquiesced, she stepped away to grab the coffee pot quickly pouring two cups of coffee. Chris was unsure about what would happen next for the two of them but he knew he wanted to spend as much time with her as possible in the next few days. “So when do they expect you back in D.C.?”

Sonja handed Chris his mug and they brought their mugs out into the living room and sat down facing each other on the couch, “It’s funny you should say that. I have at least a week’s leave before I have to go back and then…” She stopped and her gaze shifted to her coffee cup before she continued, “Um after my debriefing the lead agent for the local F.B.I. office here in New Orleans took me to the side and just wanted to let me know all causal like that they had an opening that I would be perfect for if I wanted to come back to the city.” Her eyes met his again and she asked, “What do you think?”

Chris wanted to shout yes but he also wanted to make sure it was what she wanted. Because he had enough faith in them that they could make a long distance relationship work if they needed to be apart for awhile. Or hell he would even be willing to move to D.C., the NCIS there was always in need of agents. Reaching over he took her mug and placed it next to his on the coffee table and then he took her hands in his own. “Percy I would love nothing more than for you to once again reside in New Orleans but what I want to know is what do you want to do?”

Gripping his hands tightly, Percy met his eyes and answered, “I love my new job at the agency it was the right move for me but I miss my family. I miss King, Gregorio, Loretta and Sebastian. I miss this city.” Then she let go of his hands and cupped his face gently, “I miss you most of all. I miss us. I love you and want to make a life with you here. I only recently realized something so important: I am only home when I am with you.” Then she drew him into a lingering kiss that felt like a promise. Chris in turn whispered his own promises against her skin as one kiss lead to two before they drew apart and in low tones and whispers held each other and started planning their life together.

The End