okay, how is the good wife not the best show ever? oh my god, okay, i love it so much, i can't even. hello, i am in middle of season 3 and i have my first law exams coming up and no internet and i miss you guys and i am writing fic when i should be studying and i ship cary/kalinda so much and i thought it'd be popular-fandom-ship but apparently it's...not. that sounds about right. at least fandom is consistent in being totally inexplicable to me.
Sometimes, she slips through the cracks when he isn’t looking.
Dana glances at him far too knowingly, far too often, “your girlfriend stopped by.”
Kalinda, he thinks immediately. Not Jenny Castiloni or Lori Michaels or Tara Lodge. Kalinda. Which is patently untrue and more than a little pathetic, if he’s being honest.
It’s a good thing he rarely is, these days.
“She’s not my girlfriend.” he says, doesn’t bother to look up and catch the inverse echo of his gaze reflected in hers.
He can hear the shuffling of her feet; feel her smile grow in the space between them, “if you say so.”
Sometimes though, she is the crack, splitting something inside that he’d rather have whole.
(You know she’ll let you fuck her if you want, right?” Dana’s gaze is curious on his. “Get it out of your system once and for all.”
He won't tell her this because, see, there is this dream that he doesn’t have.
There are those he has; of high heels and leather and dark eyes and dark hair and his hands and his tongue and her skin. Dreams where she ties him to the chair and interrogates, seduces all his secrets out of him, gets off on him on his knees, on the bigger plan. There’s always a bigger plan.
But there’s just this one time when she looks at him and just this one time she doesn’t need anything more than she needs him.)
“She wants me, you know,” Dana tells him casually, hand gripping the headrest far too hard.
More than she’s ever wanted you.
It fills the air, the unspoken syllables running into each other till it doesn’t mean anything anymore. It never meant anything anyway.
She does this a lot, he’s noticed. Dana. Like they’re in a middle of a never-ending conversation about her that they just pause between to breathe and file cases and prepare briefs and hope to god they win this time. Sometimes they don't stop to breathe.
(Lockhart & Gardner has a general success rate of about 80%, and since he’s personally assigned to them most of the time, that’s an average 80% loss rate, if he’s being technical. And if he feels like he isn’t winning with her, it’s because he isn’t.)
He doesn’t ask for specifics anymore, doesn’t ask Dana to quantify the she. Plausible deniability is practically the lowest common denominator in legality in the State’s Attorney’s office and he’s a fast learner.
“I want you.” Dana tells him, hard consonants and sharp eyes, and he lets himself want her because she wants her too.
Her skin is warm to the touch and there are six degrees of separation between her hand and his.
“I’m not,” Kalinda tells him, filling up every single atom of his office till he’s suffocating, “using you.”
He laughs, once. Sharp, brittle. “okay, I believe you.”
“Cary,” she walks a few feet before stopping. He has to strain to hear her soft voice over the loud sound of her heels, which is fitting, somehow; she's a study in contradictions. “I can’t convince you if you won’t allow yourself to be convinced.”
He nods, because she isn’t going to try. That would mean something. And they don’t. Mean something. “what do you want.”
It’s a statement, more than a question and to her credit she doesn’t pretend. She never does. “The Samuels crime-scene photographs.”
“No,” he says, because he can. He can’t get her out of his head or close his eyes and not think of her or stop wanting her in every minute of every hour, but this, he can.
“There’s one time-slot missing in the folder that—”
“No,” he says again.
She stands for a full second and that’s a second longer than she’d have been there if he’d given her the photographs. He isn’t keeping count or anything, but by now it’s mechanical; endless repetitions of the moments she’s doesn’t leave in.
She leaves more than she stays, there’s an exact statistic in his head.
“Okay,” she shrugs, turning towards his door, and she’s not even angry. Not really. And somehow it strikes him that he’s one of those people she doesn’t expect anything out of anymore. That’s something that changed.
He knows she’ll ask Dana for the photographs instead and Dana will give them to her. There’s poetry in there somewhere, but then he’s always been terrible at any sort of deconstruction.
(kalinda kalinda kalinda.
Her name is a discordant mess inside his head, something like white noise; it takes him a moment too long to realize Dana’s across the room picking up her clothes.
“I deserve better,” she says tiredly, “I deserve better than you.”
He doesn’t reply because it wasn’t a question. She deserves better, he knows that. They’ve both always known that.
“what changed?” he asks instead, because this is what this had always been. Right from last year. Right from the first time. From the first do you want me to tell you what she said?
Dana pulls the sheet against herself, her grip tightening on the dress in her other hand, “nothing changed, Cary. That's the problem.”)
“I’m not in love with you or anything.” he tells her unnecessarily, in the middle of a raid, over the sound of her loud heels; and honestly, with memories of gun-shots and broken glass, he should know better, but all he really remembers from that night are the crisscross of veins under her skin so there’s fine print somewhere he totally forgot to read and it’s going to screw him over. It’s always the little things; he’s a lawyer, he knows this. Thank you for saving me.
“I didn’t think you were,” she’s looking at him, eyes far too careful. Don't go there. But he knows if she said that, it would be acknowledging there is a there to go to; he can't read her, but some things he knows.
“Didn’t you?” he asks, staring straight ahead, leaning against the wall to allow her to pass first. They teach you that at Harvard.
“No,” she says, “it’s a good idea. Not being in love with me. It’s a good idea.”
“Why,” he asks, just because.
She’s walking in front of him and it’s a relief to be able to look, to not have to look away at every moment like he doesn’t want to. “I’m not…easy to love. I take much more than I give.”
“I’m in love with you.” he says, his hand resting against the chair hers had rested against a moment ago. A degree of separation.
She turns back to look at him, once. “I know,” she says.
(She kisses him later in his office, close-mouthed and apologetic; doesn't ask for anything. And it’s déjà vu all over again.
He could ask her to stay, he knows. She would. Help him try to get her out of his system. If he tries hard enough, sometimes he can convince himself. That's something they teach you at Harvard.
She still leaves more than she stays; there's an exact statistic in his head. He doesn't ask.)
[In the deep water there is no such thing as a second chance.
She wakes up again, of course.
But she dies.
Depending on how you look at things; that’s the important part.]
"Shouldn't you be out massacring villages or something?” he steps back from the floating bits of paper, leaning against the door, “because I have to tell you, Elena, as a modified version of the standard procedure of the Post Transition Oh-Fuck-I’m-A-Beautiful-Young-Immortal-C
She tears out the next page, doesn’t look up.
He picks up a piece of paper, his gaze narrowing as he looks down, and when she inadvertently catches his eyes, she looks away first.
See, it isn’t losing if she isn’t playing the game.
He holds it higher, reads in a high falsetto, because if he didn’t, then this would be something else, something more— something more.
“Dear Diary, today Stefan and I discussed dental insurance. I think we should wait to see if the world markets collapse again in 3065 before making a decision, but Stefan thinks it’d be imprudent to decide later than 2089. I feel like Stefan’s attempt at spontaneity, to keep up with what he imagines my vampiric alter-ego desires, is straining our relationship, and I am distraught at what the consequences could be.”
“Get out,” she says briefly, biting down hard on her lip to stop any more words, because her life is bound to be an endless monotony of them and she’d rather save them so they don’t lose meaning when she has to repeat them over and over through the years; stay away, I don’t want you, keep your distance, I never wanted you, don’t stand so close, I couldn’t want you if I wanted to. What is want anyway? Is the word a complete signifier for what it means? Would it feel different if it was called something else? After all she has time enough for the grand philosophical debates and existential crises.
The tip of the fang slices right through her lip, and yeah, she forgets sometimes.
“So, any particular reason why you're tearing out your wildly exciting Diary of Anne Frankenstein?”
He’s looking at the blood. Or maybe he’s just looking at her mouth. She doesn’t know.
“I kept them because,” it isn’t losing if she isn’t playing the game, “because…for someone else to read someday. Grandchildren maybe. Discovering it in the attic or something." she laughs, almost, "Get out.”
Apparently she can never stop when it’s him. It’d be something else if it wasn’t so ridiculous.
He’s still looking at her and, she almost can’t help it, “I don’t want you.” It’s childish, a complete non-sequitur, but she’s going to be eighteen forever, so.
“What is want anyway?” she adds in auto-pilot mode, because he’s still looking at her and being a vampire doesn’t make his expressions any easier to read.
(But apparently one of the drawbacks of heightened senses is that there are too many conflicting, contradictory shades and she doesn’t have a word for the color of his eyes anymore. )
He looks mildly amused because somehow he became the Mr. Totally In Control Guy and she became The Girl Dramatically Tearing Out Pages of Her Diary because she’ll never get to name her daughter that name she’d once read in a book she doesn’t remember the name of.
She turns away. I never wanted you.
He's fiddling with her drawer, she can tell, but it’s the far –too-loud sound of tape ripping that makes her look up again.
“What are you doing?”
He shrugs, “what I do best, apart from everything else that I do best. Cleaning up.”
And when she looks over his shoulder, his hands still working swiftly, the jagged break in the middle cuts her words in half and they’re misaligned, because he apparently can’t be bothered to actually, you know, be decent and align the pieces, so it won’t be a pain to read a hundred years later. Even though he totally could because he has excellent hand-eye coordination and an eye for symmetry. Because he’s a vampire. She knows these things. She’s one too, after all.
The next strip of tape doesn’t sound so loud because and she bites her lip with human teeth. She forgets sometimes.
Only sometimes. But sometimes.
[In the cold room, there is a mockery of a second chance.
She wakes up again.
She dies, of course.
But she wakes up again.
Depending on how you look at things; that’s the important part.]