Genre: Angst. Drama. Romance. Humor.
Word Count: 1563
Pairings/Characters: Harry Lockhart/Perry van Shrike, Harry/Harmony mentioned.
Synopsis: Perry comes home to a pile of closed cases and a surprisingly sober Harry, which is weird, since that hasn't happened any of the other seven times he and Harmony have called it quits.
Comments: Hello and Happy Holidays! I really, really hope you like this! I admittedly haven't seen the movie in forever, and my brain just didn't want to get into their voices as well as I've managed in the past, but hopefully they aren't too out of character here. (Also, characters aren't mine.)
It's not often that I get to surprise Perry. Well, that might not be entirely accurate. It's possible I surprise him a lot, actually, just not usually in a good way. Typically, it's more of an 'I'm awed by this level of stupidity' kind of surprise and less of a 'you accomplished a task more complex than brushing your teeth without assistance and did not fuck it up' sort of thing.
But today is not one of those days.
Perry is in an extra bitchy mood when he finally makes it home. It had been a long, rainy day, with a pro bono stake out for a friend of a friend of his, and I'm guessing it went poorly, given the mostly uncalled for rant I'm graced with upon his return.
"Look, I've wasted my entire day on this stupid Alvarez case and I really can't deal with any of your idiotic theories right now, okay? So, if you're going to tell me you fucked up another assignment or scared off another paying customer, then do us both a favor and just don't do it."
"While your lack of faith in my newly honed PI abilities deeply wounds me, asshole," I snark, trying to reign in the smug expression on my face (and likely failing, given the scowl on his), "I was actually going to tell you that I cleared three cases while you were out."
Perry, who had been halfway up the stairs already, freezes. He backs down a few, "You did what?"
I might have reveled in the bewildered expression on Perry's face for a moment before I explained. "The McAllister case," I start, "I've got pictures - clear, finger-free pictures, I might add," I said, pulling the aforementioned photographs up on the computer monitor, "of our client's wife and her really unappealing boyfriend hooking up in that seedy hotel out in Van Nuys." That's one. "And the Donovan thing was a total bust, after all. The kid just ran off with his girlfriend for the weekend - broke his phone," two. "Oh, and you'll need to call that old witch who wanted the background checks. They're done, but I thought I'd let you be the one to tell her that her 'no good kids' aren't stealing from her, but that she should probably find it suspicious that her 'darling brother' has been making some rather large withdrawals lately." I had those documents, too, all printed out and ready to go. And that's the hat trick. "Oh, and we have a new client - one of those try-to-break-in kind of things, wants us to make sure their new security system is on the up and up. I scheduled it for next week."
"Huh," he says, still staring at me like I've done something astounding (and not in the usual 'how can you fuck up this badly and still be breathing?' way in which I am accustomed). "Well, good job. Keep it up," he says, and continues his journey upstairs.
It might not seem like it, but trust me, that's one of the nicest things Perry's said to me in the entire time I've known him that wasn't bracketed by sarcasm. Or insults. Or sarcastic insults. So I let myself take pride in the high praise.
"Wait a minute," Perry says, suddenly reappearing on the steps and causing me a not inconsiderable amount of surprise at his unexpected return. "Weren't you supposed to be out with Harmony? That audition thing she had for that soap opera that was supposed to take all day?"
Fuck, fuck, fuck. I was hoping he wouldn't remember that. "Yeah, well, not gonna be spending much time with Harmony at all from now on," I begrudgingly admit, though I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around that idea myself. "She dumped me."
"What'd you do this time?" Perry asks, seems to give up on his progress upstairs and backtracks to sit at his desk, across from my own bit of hard-won office space. "Last time was missing a date. Time before that was, what? The Birthday Disaster?" We both cringe at the memory of that particularly traumatizing incident of which we do not speak. "Twice for saying stupid shit. First time was... when you got trashed at that party on Valentine's Day, right?"
"You forgot the two times I broke up with her for cheating," I remind him, though I'm sure he hasn't forgotten them given that he's dealt with the fall-out every single time. It's never pretty, and it always involves a lot of drinking, a lot of smoking, a lot of really embarrassing conversations (only some of which he's used against me). "This time it's for real, though. She got that part, she's going to New York next week and she made it very clear she doesn't want me there."
"Yeah," I agree.
"Is this the part where you drink all the alcohol you can get your hands on and I get to scrape you off the floor in the morning?" Perry asks, eyeing me carefully. Can't blame him, since that has become the usual routine for Harmony break-up nights.
But, no. Not tonight. "I'm surprisingly almost sort of okay with this, I think." It's not a lie, really. Harmony and I have been pretty rocky since we started and following her back to New York wasn't exactly something I wanted to do. Things were good here in LA, and that had never really been true when I was in New York.
"So you're saying I should have thrown you into casework the seven other times we've been through this?"
I laugh, "Made for a pretty good distraction."
"You know, normal people tend to stop being productive after a serious break up. Leave it to you to start being productive."
"Hey, when have I ever claimed to be normal?"
"Fair enough," Perry concedes the point. A comfortable silence falls between us, but it's broken abruptly when he asks, "Would you have gone back?"
"Would you have to gone to New York with her if she'd asked?" It's an innocent enough question, but something about it makes me stop and think before answering. Perry looks... concerned, almost. Like he'd been worried about that possibility.
"Why? Would you have missed me?"
I get a sharp glare in return for my challenge, and then, "No, jackass. I have very little faith in your ability to survive on a day to day basis without me there to watch your back." The sarcastic reply is heavily laced with annoyance, but I know better - I'm on to something.
"So, that's a 'yes,' then?"
"Didn't know you cared," I shrug, spinning absently in my chair.
He reaches out and stops it, and for once he's not glaring, just serious."You think I let you stay here and work for me because I don't care? Do you see me opening my home to any other lost causes here? Cats? Dogs? Hell, do I even own a fish, Harry?"
"Have I ever kicked you out?" He snaps, edging on angry. "Despite the hundreds of phenomenally stupid things you've said and done in the last two years, have I ever asked you to leave?" The unspoken part here is that Harmony has, on numerous occasions, booted me (one time she threw an actual boot) out of her apartment for the smallest of slights.
But Perry's not the only one fired up now. "So, what? You're saying you care more than she does?"
"Which one of us still wants you around?"
"Nice," I snap, on my feet now and about ready to bolt for the door, "that's very nice. Did you want me to be fucking mad about this? Because I am. I wasn't. I was okay with it. Harmony and I weren't working and I knew it and I didn't want to fucking leave you and go back to my shitty life in New York, but you're pressing all of the damn 'defend Harmony' buttons and what am I supposed to do with that? Did - do you want me to go after her? Is that what this is? Because I am really, really fucking confused here."
Perry's on his feet now, too, all looming and challenging and way too close. "You are an idiot," he says, which he says a lot.
"That's not exactly help-" I start to complain, but I find myself abruptly cut off when he surges forward and kisses me. And, yeah, if you've seen that stupid movie, you know it's not technically the first time he's done that to me, but apparently he wasn't even kind of trying then. For some baffling reason, there's no shoving this time, no attempts to escape, instead I end up kissing him back and it's... fuck, it's good. Weird, but good.
We seem to fit together better than Harmony and I ever did, I think, when we finally split for air.
"Are you less confused?"
I nod, staring down at where his hands are white-knuckle fisted in my shirt, keeping me there in front of him. "I think I get the picture, yeah. Um, don't go after Harmony, got it."
"You go after her this time and I will kick you out," he warns.
I reach out, drag him in this time, another kiss, long and slow. "I'm not fucking planning on it."