Oh, The Places You'll Go

A Matter of Interpretation

Notes: A series of linked drabbles, based on the Forbes Seven Rules of Office Romance. Written for the 'Rewind' challenge at Live Journal sn100. This prompt: 'Love In The Time Of...' Set pre and post canon. No spoilers.


First, do a double take

Dating someone from work will not be easy, so don't act on your first fleeting desire. Stop and ask yourself, "Am I really into this person?" If the answer's "No," or even "Not Really," it may be best to continue pursuing love outside the office.

Late again, Casey thought, thumbing papers as he walked. Rounding the corner his shoulder collided with a warm mass. The resultant twist of his body caused him to lose his grip and the papers fluttered downwards.

"Shit," he muttered.

"Sorry, man," said the unknown assailant, dropping to his knees and beginning to collect random pages.

"Here." Casey looked at him for the first time; pale skin, dark overlong hair matching liquid eyes. A practical mouth.

"Thanks." The boy wandered off. Casey turned to watch him, eyes lingering on tight jeans. The boy looked back once. And smiled. Casey was lost.


Take it slow

Try to develop a genuine personal friendship first. This way you can simultaneously increase your certainty about your interest and hedge your bets against making an unwanted advance.

"So, Danny."

"Yeah?"

"We're heading to Mason's in a couple. Wanna come?"

"When you say we you mean...?"

"You and me?" Casey grinned.

"Let's get this straight. Using the first person plural you, second person singular, invited me, first person singular, out whilst including me in the original first person plural grouping."

"Uh...yeah."

"You're a strange man, McCall."

"That has been previously mentioned, yes." Dan pushed his hair off his face, blinking. Casey had gotten to know that sign. He felt scared, exhilarated.

"Coming?"

"Clearly you need me around," Dan patted Casey's arm and in his friendship Casey was glorified.


Discuss "What if..."

Most relationships don't last forever, so be prepared for this one ending, too. Talk about how you'll handle working together or moving on professionally like mature adults if a potential romance ended up on the rocks.

"We can't..." gasped Dan as Casey's teeth dragged against the tender skin of his neck.

"Can't what?" Casey's voice was guttural, laced with heat and desire, his hands curled around Dan's hips, holding him with almost obscene delicacy.

"What if..?" Dan struggled to corral his thoughts, his synapses short-circuiting, synaesthetic, each touch a colour, each sound a taste, each taste a sound.

"Tomorrow, if you decide it's a mistake," he panted. "What then?"

"Not a mistake," Casey abandoned Dan's neck and began his long descent. Dan groaned, hard beyond measure.

Too late to turn back, Dan gave himself to Fate.


Honesty is the best policy

Many people try to hide office relationships, but most are found out. Covert ops will only damage trust with other co-workers, and that's bad for business. Besides, if you feel you really have something to hide, it might be because you're doing something that's actually inappropriate.

"You're an intern, Danny, they won't care."

"People might think I'm corrupting you." Considering Casey had just taken his mouth from Dan's cock, he found this particularly funny.

"You're nineteen, they'll think no such thing."

"Well, then."

"I'm not saying anything."

"I might."

"Don't, Danny!" Casey shot upright. He looked at Dan then immediately away, the raw look in his lover's eyes too painful to contemplate.

Are you ashamed of me?"

"Of course not." Casey placed kisses across Dan's stomach, trying to convince them both of the veracity of his statement. Sometimes a white lie hurt less than the truth.


Keep the PDA PC

No doubt it's confusing when work and love are all jumbled together, but the only thing you should get caught "making" at work is more money for your company. People might overlook a brief holding of hands or polite peck in certain situations, but foolin' around on your boss' desk will bring serious consequences.

"Did you lock the door?" Why did zippers make such a satisfying sound?

"I think so." And the thud of heavy cotton on the floor. Was his erection a Pavlovian response?

"You think so." God, the creak of leather, the smell of power mixed in with musk, could it get much hotter?

"Everyone's gone home, it's okay." Yes it could, because now there was a mouth on his and a hand in his hair and another on his cock and the tilt and creak of the chair as his lap was straddled. Then a low hum. White noise. Distraction.

Cleaners!


Remember your other relationships

You may be dating one of your colleagues, but you're still working with many more. You stand to score big professionally if you continue to demonstrate generosity and care with everyone and hold your significant other accountable as a consummate professional instead of playing favorites.

"Well that was fucking convenient!" Dan was gloriously, blazingly angry, white and furious, an Avenging Angel. Casey cringed before him.

"It was only...I thought we were broken up for good. I thought..."

"A whole summer, Casey, I didn't hear her name once. And now my time is up and it's out with the new in with the old. I'm glad I could provide a distraction for you." His voice was frozen wastelands, tundra, a place where no trees grew.

"That's not how it was, Danny. You weren't...I..."

"What? Love me? Fuck you!"

Then he was gone and Casey, bereft, wept.


Take it to the next level

Congratulations if work brought you and your partner together, but it will take much more to stay together. Take care to not let the office overrun conversation when you're off the clock, and proactively seek other passions you can share. Mutual devotion to all kinds of hobbies and community causes has been known to make couples fall in love all over again!

"That's new," said Casey, reverently tracing the crescent shaped scar on Dan's thigh.

"Not so much. Five years, maybe."

"New to me."

"Yeah," Dan's voice was soft as he reached out to stroke Casey's hair. "To you."

"Danny?"

"Mmhmm," Dan was languid, accepting this refound love as his due, his reward for the pain of unswerving loyalty.

"This time we're doing it properly, right?"

"Yeah." Half-formed jokes too lazy to provide a punchline.

"Move in with me."

"What?"

"Move in with me. Stay with me."

"Why?"

"Because I love you."

"You do."

And Dan knew his heart had come home.


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