Woody is blushing. Jordan leans against the bar a few feet away and watches with fascination, her beer bottle dangling from her hand, forgotten. She has no idea what Lily is saying, but whatever it is, it's making Woody's face turn red, all the way up to his ears. Nigel and Bug are enjoying themselves and Garrett is staying out of it, whatever it is.

Not three hours ago, Detective Hoyt arrested a double murderer. He chased him down a crowded street, jaw set and eyes grim as he dodged pedestrians and cars. They ran for six blocks, Jordan barely keeping up as he pursued the perp like a man possessed. Detective Hoyt finally tackled him, shoved him over roughly, handcuffed him and read him his rights in a voice so hard it nearly made Jordan shudder through her heaving breaths.

Lily is the last of the innocents, sweeter than anyone Jordan has ever known. She can be flustered with a sideways glance, if you do it right (and doing it right is pretty easy). But at the moment, *Lily* is grinning slyly at Woody and making him turn ever-darker shades of red. He protests whatever it is, his hands waving widely and ineffectually in front of his face as he laughs.

Jordan has seen Detective Hoyt kill. Three times. The first time, she had to talk Woody down, then hold his head while he threw up a few minutes later. The second time was to save Jordan's life from a situation neither of them should have been in; he got drunk on the plane ride home and wouldn't look at her for weeks. The third time, Detective Hoyt barely blinked, just came the rest of the way into the room to help Jordan up, and call for backup. He got drunk that night and Nigel drove him home, but he was okay after that. If he has to kill again, Jordan thinks he'll get drunk again. But she's not sure.

Lily finally lets Woody off the hook, collapsing into laughter that Woody takes reasonably gracefully, rolling his eyes. She signals for another drink, but Woody beats her to the bartender to pay for the beer, waving off her protests with a smile and a teasing, courtly bow.

There was a woman in interrogation last week, when Jordan came to deliver the preliminary results of her son's autopsy to Detective Hoyt. His eyes went cold and flat when he read the results, the bruises and the old break patterns on the eight-year-old's bones. He thanked Jordan, then went back into interrogation and ruthlessly cut the woman's excuses and alibis to shreds. She confessed in less than 20 minutes; Detective Hoyt watched impassively as she wept into her hands, then turned and walked away.

Woody leaves the laughing group at the bar to stroll over to Jordan, grinning broadly and still pink around the edges. One of "their" songs has started on the jukebox, and he holds out his hand in invitation. She hesitates for just a second, then puts down her beer and lets him lead her onto the small dance floor. He puts his arms around her waist and pulls her in close; after another hesitation, she puts her arms around his neck and leans in.

Detective Hoyt was so pissed off, the night after Woody returned her locket, the night Jordan told him the whole story of the break-in. He yelled at her, almost screaming, cursing because she hadn't told him, she hadn't trusted him. He stalked the floor of her apartment, throwing off Jordan's hands when she tried to stop him, to make him look at her. When she finally screamed back, he stopped dead in his tracks, fists and shoulders clenched in helpless anger. Then Woody wrapped himself around her, holding her so close she could feel him shaking while he stammered an incoherent apology into her hair.

Jordan has only ever felt completely safe in two places in her entire life -- wrapped in Max's arms, and leaning against Garrett's shoulder. She's just now admitting that Woody's warm embrace makes number three. The music plays slowly and she rests her head on his shirt, burying her face in his neck and breathing in the smells of soap, aftershave, starch and gun oil. She feels Woody look down at her and she smiles.

"What?" he asks, chuckling.

She shakes her head, moves it just enough to look up into his blue, blue eyes. He always watches her with that same mix of amusement and tenderness, even when she's driving him insane, and that's what she loves most about him. "Nothing. Just... thinking."

"About...?" Woody's voice trails off invitingly, his grin curious, sweet and sexy. Detective Hoyt is off duty right now, nowhere in sight. But he'll be there when she needs him -- when anyone needs him -- and that's what she loves most about him.

"About...." Jordan has never actually said the words to anyone, as far as she can remember, and she doesn't know how to say them now. It will take practice -- in front of a mirror maybe (no matter how stupid she feels) or in front of Howard (who won't laugh). For now, she tells him most of the truth. "About how you will never, ever be boring."

Woody takes that in, looking at her just slightly sideways as he sways her gently to the music. "That's good, right?"

Jordan stretches against him, locking her arms more firmly around his neck, and meets his eyes straight on. "That's pretty much the best."

They're both smiling when she kisses him, and when they finally break apart. Nigel yells something from the bar that's probably along the lines of "Get a room!", and Woody laughs even as the red creeps back up over his neck.

Which is obviously more than enough reason for Jordan to keep kissing him.



Written in response to Beth's "Jordan Finally Falls" challenge on cj-complicated: How is the moment when Jordan finally succumbs to the inevitable and allows something to develop with Woody going to happen? Normally, I am strong when pesented with challenges, but this one got in league with some Woody observations I'd been suppressing and jumped me in an alley. I blame Beth entirely (she also beta'd and pointed out a death I'd missed, thus forcing me to rewrite a not inconsiderable chunk). I've done my part; now someone else give me some fic until Kring and Co. stop screwing it up!!!!