slybrunette: (tgw. kalinda. metal heart)
[personal profile] slybrunette
Title: An Honest Living
Fandom: The Good Wife
Characters/Pairings: Cary/Kalinda
Rating: R
Word Count: 1,130
Author's Note: For [livejournal.com profile] waltzmatildah who wanted 5 defeats. I may have taken that metaphorically as well as literally. And yes, I'm just as stunned that I wrote this as you probably are. It's worth noting here that I'm a casual viewer and as such my canon might be a little screwy. Don't hit me. I tried. Finally, thank you [Bad username or site: @ livejournal.com] for the encouragement.
Summary: They are the kind of people who revel in each other's losses. Professionally speaking.




that girl you found
keeps that kind of window closed

(yeah yeah yeahs)










They are the kind of people who revel in each other’s losses.

Professionally speaking.

“That’s the cost of playing for the other team,” he says, arched eyebrow and his thumb running the length of the witness statement he holds, risking all manner of paper cuts with a smile on his face.

She’s never found him less charming than in that moment.











“I hear they’re always looking for used car salesmen,” she tells him, and her voice reminds him of honey, warm caramel, something viscous that sticks to his hands and the roof of his mouth.

“Come on, Kalinda,” his smile, she would say, is proving her point, but she isn’t there and her powers of observation are only so strong over the phone. “I’m far too pretty for that.”

Florrick won the election. He has money on that – has had money on that – for weeks now but CNN only called it mere minutes ago, national news organizations carrying the story not because Chicago’s influence is far reaching but because Peter Florrick is now the comeback kid and this country’s always had a perverse interest in their disgraced politicians.

They’re talking about a run for mayor; the public is waiting for a speech.

Cary stays in his office and Kalinda goes quiet on the line.

“Why aren’t you at the party?”

It’s an honest question that has no place among cynics in this business, so of course she doesn’t take it at all the way he means it, of course her tone takes a turn for the emotionless and she says, “Goodnight, Cary.”

He pours himself a fifth of the scotch he has stashed in his desk drawer and doesn’t stop feeling like he’s playing at someone else’s life even after the glass is empty.

Tomorrow, her world collapses in on itself.












There is no part of him that she finds mysterious.

He is the prototype of a young, white male who hails from privilege and wealth. He wears Armani and learned how to tie a Windsor knot at age seven, and there’s nothing there for her to dig into, no layers to peel back.

His tendency towards resting a hand on the small of her back might be the least surprising thing about him.

Her tendency to let him, on the other hand –

(She had hoped for better.

She had hoped for a reason to hate him.)













He gets a much needed win just after noon on a Friday.

(And the man he helped put behind bars? He might have been innocent. Then again, he might not have been. Cary isn’t the kind of person who cares so much about the gray area, not when it’s five years and his job perpetually on the line – he understands now that you always have to be on your game and the days of silver spoons and words like trust holding any meaning are long gone -- and maybe that’s why they chose someone like Alicia over him, for the sake of balance.)

She’s in his office within the hour, beats him back, and it’s the chair instead of the desk, knee high boots instead of pumps, her legs crossed regardless.

“You know people here are starting to wonder why I’m so popular with Lockhart & Gardner’s in-house.”

His jacket rests comfortably on the coat hook.

It’s the only thing that does.

“Is that a problem?”

“I’m just trying to figure out how I’m supposed to answer them.”

Somewhere between the doorway and his chair, hard wood under his fingertips and that smile of hers that seems far more brittle than it used to, he forgets to ask her why she came here.













She jacks him off in his office.

It’s hardly the first time she’s done this – and by that she means in an office with the door unlocked, not this office, and not him, and there’s always been this inescapable thing with her and men and women in power – it’s just usually she’s expecting to get something out of it. Usually there’s a trade, this for that, but the case is over and Cary might be in charge of someone, somewhere, but it isn’t on any sort of grand scale and it isn’t her.

He won’t stop looking at her.

At first, she thought he’d developed a stutter before he’d decided on open-mouthed and painfully silent, and she likes that she can reduce him to that, this man who stumbles over himself in his five hundred dollar suit and won’t stop looking at her like he can’t understand and won’t stop trying to, who lets out a low groan when he comes and forgets to be sorry about it afterwards.

(The walls here are walls, designed to obscure; at Lockhart Gardner, it’s nothing but glass and the illusion of privacy, and half the time that’s to her benefit and the other half she just feels raw.

She jacks him off in his office, solid walls and the unlocked door, and he isn’t married – he isn’t even seeing anyone – and at some point it’s become enough that one follows the other.)













The rain and the wind always seem to work together to try and overtake her, umbrella in hand and the ends of her coat fluttering; it’s an uphill battle. She’s made of the strong stuff, all eyeliner and leather and defiance.

“So do you have what I asked for?”

His lips stretch too thin, the vague outline of a smirk. “Is that how it’s going to be?”

“I’m running a little short on time,” and patience, apparently, because she steps into his personal space, her umbrella knocking against his as she does. He’s the one to tilt back. He’s the one to give.

(They don’t talk about how he kissed her in the lobby of her apartment building or how she backed him up against his desk and didn’t fumble at all with his zipper, precise and calm.

They don’t talk about that. Instead, it’s DNA matches and deciphering double talk, trading folders in hallways and information outside of courtrooms and now, here, a Tuesday afternoon walk that manages to be just as tense as it is amicable.)

“Look into the girlfriend,” he says, and hates himself for it.

“Lori Mayers?”

“You’ve got more work ahead of you then I thought.” Which is to say there is more than one. She gets it, nods after a beat, and he adds, “Credit card receipts from the weekend of the 15th.”

“Any particular reason you’re electing to be cryptic?”

“It’s more fun when you have to work for it.”

She leaves him in the rain and not three hours later she’s whispering across the aisle from him in court.













fin.



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