No Ordinary Love
Written October 2006
Rated G to PG-13
Synopsis: A 50 sentence, non-chronological AU “story” involving the pairing of John Munch and Casey Novak. This is a response to a livejournal challenge called 1sentence; I used table Gamma.
Spoilers: Homicide 1×03 “Night of the Dead Living”
Disclaimer: The characters within are property of Wolf Films, Universal Television, Studios USA, and other corporations. No infringement is intended. The title is a nod to Sade’s “No Ordinary Love.”
He wondered how long it would take someone to notice the platinum band on his left hand and the matching one on hers.
He thanked her when no one else had, said she was a hero just as much as they were because she had brought justice to the victim too … and she kissed his cheek in response.
He remembered the sound of her voice, the inflection, the rhythm, as she introduced herself that day; it stirred something inside him, long thought dead.
He knew she was athletic but watching her beat the holy hell out of punching bag while wearing gloves and short shorts prompted him to sputter, “Where have you been all my life?”
She was surprised that he joined her for her early morning run, delighted that he kept pace; at least one of the detectives seemed to like her.
“All of my past relationships have been like a hurricane: predictable, destructive, messy,” he said, “but ours … well, the weather looks clear.”
He figured no one would remember his birthday until she dragged him off for hot wings, beer, and karaoke; he didn’t even know she knew the date.
The wind whipped around her legs and she shivered; he removed his jacket and put it around her shoulders, willing to brave the winter cold so she wouldn’t have to.
He didn’t know why she had dyed her naturally red hair to an ashen blonde; it was just one more delightful mystery he yearned to solve.
He was so serious when he asked if he could buy her a drink because he was nervous and hopeful and pessimistic and he couldn’t help it; and then she said yes, and all that changed.
Concern filled his eyes as he slid in the booth across from her; meeting at midnight at a round-the-clock diner was not ordinary, but she didn’t know who else to call.
He tried not to stare at her, stand too close, or touch her; he wanted to do all three.
She walked through his apartment unabashedly naked, collecting their clothes from various locations, puzzled by his stare: “Just admiring the view.”
Her skin was ivory, like the keys of a piano, and her sighs were a sonata only meant for him to hear.
She wore a silk cocktail dress on their first real date, dark blue like his tie, and he kept his hands in his pockets to avoid touching her.
In the early hours of morning, when the stars twinkled and most of the city slept, they shared their secrets among tangled limbs and cotton sheets.
She wanted him to make one promise, to trust her, because she respected him enough to tell him the truth; he was inclined to believe her because she wasn’t like any woman he had ever known before.
His dreams were vivid, like memories — the way she smiled, laughed, moaned; and when he awakened in her bed, he knew they hadn’t been dreams at all.
“You’re the one who’s been lighting the candle,” she said, and he smiled because she didn’t seem surprised.
He’d accused her of flattery when she suggested that he try stand up comedy; it wasn’t that he doubted her honesty, it’s just that no one had ever believed in him before.
Some of the best nights were the ones when they didn’t talk at all, content to curl up on the couch together, always touching, enjoying the silence.
Love was a journey, starting with a physical attraction, traveling straight ahead until the curve of commitment; he hoped the ultimate destination was somewhere they both wanted to be.
She recognized the fire in his eyes and the passion in his voice as he spoke because they mirrored her own; they were more alike than she thought.
“You know, men are only good for one thing,” she said as he popped the lid off the spaghetti sauce jar with ease; “Yeah, what’s that?” was his oblivious reply, and she laughed.
“John–” and she placed her hand upon his cheek “–you don’t have to hide from me”; and he felt years of defenses begin to crumble.
He felt a strange sensation every time she entered the room, like the ice around his heart had begun to melt and flood his body; it was not altogether unpleasant.
She fell in love with him on their fourth date, an evening stroll in the middle of October; it had taken so long to find him that she was afraid she might be dreaming.
“I’m like an elephant, I never forget” were the words on the anniversary card; she believed it, even more so when a dozen roses were delivered to her office.
Whenever people asked him about his relationship with Casey, he tended to dance around the issue; he wasn’t sure how to put his feelings into words, and they probably wouldn’t understand anyway.
She pressed her body into his and guided his arms through a phantom swing; he doubted it would improve his pathetic softball game or his barely-there athletic prowess, but he was enjoying it too much to point that out.
Marriage was a sacred institution, they said, but his own had been anything but sacred; as he looked at Casey, he wondered if he still had a chance to do it right.
The seminar was just a weekend thing, but it was in Miami, and he was going to miss her; sorry wasn’t the hardest word, goodbye was.
He would have given her the moon and the sun if it was possible; he was the luckiest man in the world.
Leaving a benefit before it was over, sneaking away to the batting cages, hitting a few rounds and then going for hot fudge sundaes … it was the most fun he’d ever had in a tuxedo.
Her mother had always told her “feed a cold, starve a fever” but with John as her nursemaid, there was no chance her illness would receive anything less than a gourmet meal; she was feeling better already.
If he was going to be honest, the first time he really noticed him was when she laughed at one of his corniest jokes; it was a sweet sound, and he had trouble believing that it came from someone like her.
For the first time since they’d started dating, he lied to her; if he hadn’t, his surprise engagement would have been ruined: she forgave him for his deception and said yes.
With her, he wanted forever and he would settle for nothing less.
The stacks of files on her desk were so tall, she didn’t know where to begin; his offer to help was better than aromatherapy and meditation combined: he was becoming her favorite form of stress relief.
To the jury, it looked like a simple comment regarding his trial testimony; what she really whispered was, “My place, eight o’clock — I’m making fajitas.”
The wait was long and hard and so lonely, and when the surgeon came out to tell them that he would be okay, she finally broke down and cried.
It had been years since he’d been able to talk to someone, really talk, without fear of ridicule or confusion; he had found a listener in her.
He had given up his search for love years ago and hadn’t even thought about it until he realized that this time, love had been searching for him.
She covered his hand with her own and gave him a glimmer of hope that the gesture was more than just friendly.
They tried hard to prevent their work from eclipsing their relationship; their most recent argument — over absolutely nothing — proved that it was more challenging than they expected.
Gravity, and a bullet, pulled him onto the raid-laden street, and all he could think was he didn’t get to tell her he loved her.
The house where she grew up, the woods where she’d learned to shoot a gun, the parking lot where her oldest brother taught her to drive, her father … all of it was waiting for them at the end of a long stretch of highway; he couldn’t wait.
She didn’t fear the unknown because it was beyond her control, but she was apprehensive about her relationship with John; she was nothing like his ex-wives, but old suspicions sometimes refused to die.
The gentle snick of the door, the turning of the deadbolt, and he knew he would not be going home tonight.
Sometimes, after they had made love and she had fallen asleep, he would lay beside her and listen to her breathe: so simple and yet so affirming.