averita: (mary: raydor and brenda)
posted by [personal profile] averita at 11:27am on 13/08/2012 under ,
Title: Undone
Author: [livejournal.com profile] averita
Summary: Later, Sharon will think that she really should have seen this coming. (Sharon/Brenda-ish.)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~2340
Spoilers: Minor ones through Last Rites; should be completely obliterated by canon after the finale tonight.
A/N: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] meryl_edan for the fantastic beta!
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.

This was never going to end well.

Sharon knows that from the moment she opens her door and finds Brenda looking like she doesn't know how she'd gotten there, her eyes only snapping into focus as she takes in Sharon's soft black robe and confused expression.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she immediately apologizes, sounding breathless. "I didn't realize - what time is it? Did I wake you?"

Sharon shakes her head, trying to clear it; she actually had been close to dozing off. "No, I was just reading," she says, opening the door wider and looking at her more closely. She'd seen Brenda briefly that morning; she'd seemed fine then, offering a cheery - if rushed - greeting as she made her way towards Taylor's office. Now, standing on her doorstep, she looks small and exhausted. Faint smudges of concealer do little to hide her red eyes, and her hair is damp and frizzy, like she's been walking around outside. She's still in her work clothes. Sharon can't keep the concern from her voice when she asks, "Is everything okay, Chief?"

"Oh yes, fine," Brenda says quickly. "I'm sorry, I don't even know why - I shouldn't have bothered you. I'll go."

Sharon rolls her eyes, nodding towards the living room. "Come in," she says, and steps aside to allow the other woman entry. "Can I get you some water, coffee - or I have a bottle of wine in the fridge?"

"That sounds nice," Brenda says, smiling wanly. "Thanks."

"Go ahead and sit down." Sharon gestures towards the sofa. She opens the refrigerator and pours two glasses of wine.

It had been a long day - they've all been, lately. Returning to FID full time had been more of a blow than she'd care to admit. She had never been part of the Major Crimes team, she knows that, but she'd enjoyed the work, even the people. Well, one person in particular - she doesn't kid herself. This is the most time she's spent with Brenda in nearly a week, and her heart is racing.

"Thank you," Brenda says distractedly as Sharon hands her a glass and sits next to her. She shakes her head. "I don't know why I came," she admits. "I just needed to get out for a little while, and before I knew it I looked up your address and came here."

"Are you all right?" Sharon asks, starting to feel slightly alarmed. "Did something happen?"

"No, no, everything's fine," Brenda insists, not at all convincingly. "It's just been a rough couple of days is all."

Sharon nods, and takes a sip of her wine. "I see."

They've never done this before, the friend thing. A couple of lunches here and there, casual conversations when things are slow at work, but it's always been about the job. Sharon is suddenly very aware of the fact that she's just wearing a thin robe and yoga pants.

"Is there anything I can do?" she finally ventures. "Besides supply alcohol, I mean?"

Brenda laughs briefly. "No," she says. "No, I don't think so. " She stares down into the glass like all of the answers are hidden inside it, and falls silent.

Sharon lets her sit. She's never been one for idle chit chat, and the silence would almost be comfortable if it weren't for the fluttering in her stomach. She smiles slightly to herself as she pictures herself not so long ago; no doubt she would have given a great deal for Brenda Leigh Johnson to sit in silence at times.

Then, abruptly - "I've seen how you look at me." Brenda's voice is soft, wistful yet strangely defiant. "No one looks at me like that anymore."

Next to her, Sharon becomes very still. "Like what, exactly?" Her own voice is strained; she's sure Brenda can tell.

"Like you're happy to see me," Brenda says. "Like you care."

Sharon nods slowly, trying to ignore the heavy feeling in her chest, the lump in her throat. "You've become a good friend," she finally replies, allowing a hint of a smirk before adding, "against all odds." Brenda snorts, a small smile gracing her lips. "So yes," Sharon continues, "I do care about you." She frowns. "Is that so surprising?"

Brenda shakes her head jerkily, twisting her hands in her lap and taking in a shaky breath. She seems to be steeling herself for something, and sure enough, when she looks up, her gaze is determined; Sharon has the sudden, unnerving feeling that she is on the wrong end of an interrogation.

"But that's not all, is it?" Brenda asks quietly.

Sharon's stomach clenches painfully. She doesn't move. The room suddenly seems very far away.

"I mean," Brenda continues, "you don't care about me just as a friend. It's more, isn't it?"

And there it is.

Sharon exhales slowly, finally moving to place her wine glass on the coffee table. She fingers the stem for a moment before straightening and turning to face the other woman. "Chief," she begins, dimly impressed with how steady her voice sounds. "I'm not sure -"

Brenda shakes her head quickly. "No, it's okay," she interrupts, putting her own glass next to Sharon's and moving slightly closer. "I don't mind. I don't," she repeats. "But I'm right, aren't I?"

Sharon opens her mouth to deny it - of course not, don't be ridiculous, yes, I care for you but that doesn't mean anything - then closes it. Brenda coaxes confessions from people for a living. She's been dragging this particular truth closer to the surface every day for months, maybe unconsciously, maybe not. She is stubborn and relentless and Sharon is very, very tired.

"Yes," she finally says. She clears her throat, shaking her head, and when she speaks again she chooses each word carefully. "It's true that I've come to - care about you - more than I should." She searches Brenda's face for any hint of a reaction, but the other woman's expression is frozen and unreadable. "Or at least," Sharon continues, vaguely aware of the way her heart is pounding, "in ways that I shouldn't. I should have distanced myself from Major Crimes a long time ago, but with everything going on..."

She pauses. Brenda's lips are slightly parted; she blinks when Sharon stops speaking. "With everything going on?" she repeats, voice much lower than before. Their knees brush, and Sharon swallows.

"I wanted you to have someone on your side," she admits. She pictures Brenda as she first knew her - brash, stubborn, smug, and territorial - and then the exhaustion that has seemed to mark her for the past year, the hurt etched in every line in her face. She's wanted to smooth it away since she first noticed; she's close enough to do it, now. She shrugs wearily, offers a rueful smile. "I wanted it to be me."

This confession hangs between them for a long moment. Brenda's eyes are wide and fixed, glittering with something that Sharon can't identify. Sharon pulls her robe more tightly around her and runs an unsteady hand through her hair, straightening, trying to pull herself together. "That said," she finally says, "I never intended for you to know any of this, and I'm not sure what -"

Brenda kisses her. Later, Sharon will think that she really should have seen this coming.

Brenda kisses like a clock is running down. Some distant part of Sharon's brain registers that she tastes sweet - no surprise there - but in a plastic, artificial way, like cherry lip gloss. The flavor fades as Brenda parts her lips with a helpless sort of whimper, twisting the fabric of Sharon's robe to pull her closer; this, the lips and teeth and tongue, this isn't sweet but it feels real, and Sharon can't help but be selfish, just for a moment. Just long enough to cup Brenda's cheek and return the kiss, gingerly, her free hand threading through the hair near Brenda's ear.

It would be so easy to go further. To slip the robe from her shoulders and lead Brenda down the hall, to allow both of them the chance to pretend that things were the way they wanted. It's in this moment - Brenda's hands tight on her shoulders, thigh warm against hers, and lips desperate against her own - that Sharon realizes that she is in love with Brenda Leigh Johnson.

It's in this moment that she pulls back.

"Chief..." she sighs, hand still tangled in her hair.

"Brenda," Brenda corrects her, voice husky. Their foreheads touch; her breath is hot on Sharon's face. "Please."

"Brenda," Sharon whispers. "You don't want this."

Brenda shakes her head stubbornly, moving back in. "I do!" She kisses her again, pulling her so close that she's practically clinging. There are too many sensations to keep track of, heat and Chanel and the faint sting of fingernails on her back, so Sharon doesn't try - she'll mourn the memory later.

This time, when she pulls away, she does so properly and puts distance between them. "No, you don't," she says quietly, feeling a sad smile twist her face. "I wish you did, but you don't."
Brenda opens her mouth to object, but Sharon reaches forward and takes both of her hands.

"It's okay," she says, trying to sound reassuring. "I understand. Everything's falling apart, I know it is - your mother, your husband, even your team." Brenda flinches as though she's been slapped, but Sharon continues as gently as she can, speaking around the lump in her own throat. "And I'm here, and I'm convenient. And that's okay," she insists before Brenda can interrupt, "it really is. But - let's not make it more than that."

She pauses, and tries to ignore that tiny part of her that hopes Brenda will correct her; that she really does want this. It still hurts when the blonde simply sighs, blinks back tears, and nods tightly. Sharon tries to smile.

"You want someone to be here for you?" she asks, voice cracking slightly. "Well, here I am. And right now you need a friend, so that's what I'll be." She squeezes Brenda's hands, not sure if she's offering or seeking comfort but unwilling to let go even as she says, "You don't...owe...me anything for that."

Brenda nods again, and lets out a watery laugh as she tries to wipe her cheek on her sleeve.
"I do care about you," she murmurs, and Sharon nods as well.

"I know."

"I'm sorry," Brenda says, sniffling a little. "I didn't mean to - I wish -" She lets out a shuddering breath.

You wish what? part of Sharon wants to ask, the masochistic part of her that's been so finely honed by years in Internal Affairs. You wish you could be attracted to me? You wish I wasn’t all you have left?

Sharon wants so many things. She wants to hate Brenda for showing up like this, for making her say words she can't take back just to make her feel wanted. She wants to hate her for offering things she'll never be able to truly give. She wants to hate her for being so damn selfish and thoughtless and for risking the one relationship they could ever have, but there's anguish in every line of Brenda's face, and she just can't. They wouldn't be here if she could.

"I know," Sharon repeats, and does manage a smile this time. "And it's okay. Really." She lets go of Brenda's hands and reaches out, carefully tucking a loose strand of hair behind the other woman's ear before letting go entirely. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry too. I never meant to put you in this position."

They sit for a long moment, no longer touching, the silence heavier than before. Brenda rests her head in her hands. Sharon can hear cars passing on the road below, the steady hum of the air conditioning; finally, the catch of Brenda's breath as she turns to look at her, forehead still resting on her palms.

"So what now?" she asks. She sounds resigned despite the plea in her voice.

Sharon picks up her wine glass and takes a long sip. "Do you have a place to stay tonight?" she finally asks. "That's not a hotel, I mean?"

Brenda shakes her head.

"Then stay here," Sharon says. "There's a guest room down the hall, and you can borrow some clothes." She stands, hands fluttering to the tie of her robe. "You'll feel better after some sleep."

Brenda rises as well, relief written all over her face. "Are you sure?" she asks nervously. "I didn't - I didn't mess things up too bad?"

"No," Sharon says quietly, a heavy feeling settling in her stomach. "No, everything's going to be fine." She moves to touch Brenda's shoulder, but catches herself and slips her hand in the pocket of her robe instead. Brenda doesn’t seem to notice. "We can talk more in the morning."

Brenda's smile is wan but genuine. It makes her chest ache. "Thank you, Sharon," Brenda says, taking her free hand and squeezing it tightly. "You're a good friend."

Sharon notices, dimly, the way her heart is racing again. She nods automatically. "Everything's going to be fine," she repeats.

She wishes she was better at lying to herself.
Mood:: 'tired' tired

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