Nothing About Ecstasy

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Nothing About Ecstasy
by templemarker

Notes: For [info - personal]idella in [community profile] femslash11. Takes place after the season 2 finale. Thanks to [info - personal]samjohnssonfor exceptional beta services, and [ profile] mosca and [ profile] callmesandy for modding one of my favorite challenges! Originally posted here and here.


The tequila felt good going down.

Maybe Grace had a point: thinking back, Alicia had drank more in the last year than she had in any recent year, even during the height of the scandal. She contemplated this as she stared at her shot glass, waving her hand at the bartender when she came around to fill it up again. Alicia wanted to sigh, or scream, or pick up a one-night stand–something, anything she didn’t normally do. Clearly normal didn’t do anything for her.

She closed her eyes and breathed in the bar-smell of perfume and beer taps; at nine p.m. on a Friday she would usually be reading testimony or briefs in bed with a glass of wine, not out in North Loop knocking back shots. She let herself slump onto the bar, resting her cheek on her arms, just this once. No one was there to see; this bar was just a little too far from the office for most of the associates and partners.

“Already into your cups?”

Alicia closed her eyes. The associates and partners might not come here, but their investigator did. Which was how she knew of it in the first place, of course.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” Alicia said, trying for stern but she knew it came out more pleading.

The bar chair next to her squeaked as it was pulled back, and Alicia stifled a sigh as Kalinda slid into place. “What part of what I just said did you not comprehend?” she asked, knowing her words were muffled by her arms and the noise of the bar.

“The part where you tried to send me away,” Kalinda said. God, fuck her. Alicia never used language like that, not for the last two decades of being under public scrutiny, but it was the only fitting thing for everything Kalinda had done.

“You think I betrayed you,” she continued, stating the obvious in that way she used truth as a bludgeon. She used mistruths like a scalpel. Kalinda was a cache of weapons in a miniskirt and a misleading ponytail. “I didn’t.”

Alicia turned her head so that she faced Kalinda, letting her head rest again on her arms. She wasn’t sure what look she wore, but it must have been something awful, because Kalinda’s mouth deepened into a frown.

“I really don’t want to hear why you think that’s so,” Alicia said truthfully; her reserve had departed shortly after her first shot, following her posture and her no-cursing filter. “I, actually, I really don’t want you here at all. Can you please leave?”

Maybe she still had a little of her politeness left. Time for another shot.

Alicia signaled for another, and while she couldn’t see the look Kalinda and the bartender traded it probably involved assurances about getting Alicia home safely. Alicia sighed. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had taken care of her, truly taken care of her out of compassion and love. Probably her brother. But sometimes he was such a self-centered dick she was probably thinking all the way back to college.

“I don’t think Owen would appreciate that,” Kalinda said dryly, and Alicia realized she must have said those things out loud.

“For what it’s worth,” she continued, “I think you’re more interesting without your reserve.”

“I don’t care,” Alicia said, but it was unconvincing to her own ears. She pushed herself up, and there was magically another shot in front of her. She was just about to tip it back into her mouth when Kalinda’s hand appeared in her vision, salt dusting a wet strip of skin like glitter. Alicia looked down at Kalinda’s hand, and then up at Kalinda, who was as cool as she ever was when she met Alicia head-on.

Feeling something in her break, Alicia dipped her head and ran the flat of her tongue along the salt, dragging it slowly just because she could, She dipped back into her chair, swaying slightly, and threw back the shot with the salt still on her tongue. As she put the lime from the bar napkin into her mouth, she watched Kalinda shake salt onto the line Alicia’s mouth had left behind and go through the same motion.

Kalinda didn’t take her lime wedge. “I think we’re going to get a cab now,” she said, and pushed the bill towards Alicia, handing her a pen. The tip was already filled out. Alicia would have laughed if she hadn’t still been so angry, angry and sad.

Chicago was still cool, even with the promise of summer forthcoming. Alicia tugged her jacket around her, eyeing Kalinda as she held Alicia’s bag and hailed a cab. They got in, and the driver asked for an address; Kalinda started to tell him Alicia’s apartment, but Alicia broke in. “No,” she said. “I don’t want to go there. The kids are with their father, I don’t–I don’t want to go there. Somewhere else please.”

Kalinda was silent long enough that the driver, irritated, asked again for an address. Alicia didn’t recognize the one Kalinda gave; she leaned her spinning head back against the seat and closed her eyes.

She opened them again, roused by a soft tap on her shoulder. They were at an apartment building Alicia didn’t recognize in what looked like Bucktown. Kalinda tapped at the keypad and got them into the building, calling the elevator down. She hit the button for the tenth floor, and Alicia said, “Are we going to your apartment?”

Kalinda just nodded, staring straight forward.

“I am not a one-night stand, no matter how drunk I am,” Alicia said, trying to make her words as clear as possible through the slur of tequila.

“You’re not a one-night anything,” Kalinda said in response, existing the elevator onto the tenth floor. Alicia trailed after, watching the bob of her purse on Kalinda’s arm. It looked so out of place–Kalinda rarely carried a bag, as if she expected to get into a street fight at any moment and need the full range of motion. Knowing Kalinda was like watching a movie happen to someone else–if Alicia was a classic black and white, Kalinda was one of those indie action films with no dialogue and lots of capoeira fighting.

God, she really was significantly drunk.

Once they were inside, Alicia pulled off her coat; the apartment was warm, and she felt the prickle of sweat on the back of her neck. She stood in the foyer, taking in the living room with its dark blue walls and large brown sofa, until Kalinda handed her a large glass of water and looked at her until she drank it all down. It tasted amazing; Alicia was no longer an accomplished drinker, if she ever was.

She carefully stepped her way over to the couch and pulled off her shoes. “I hate heels,” she said with feeling. “My feet are so fucked up from wearing them for so many years. But I don’t know how to wear flats. My mother always said a lady wore heels, and she wanted me to be a lady,” Alicia said, hearing herself ramble.

When Alicia looked up, Kalinda’s hand was over her mouth and it looked like she was hiding her smile. Alicia wanted to smile back, but then she remembered the well of anger and hurt so close to the surface and leaned back instead.

She almost drifted off then, but she felt a thin blanket being placed over her and heard the thump of a glass on the coffee table. A shadow crossed her face, and she felt soft lips press against her forehead. “Kalinda,” she said, her voice soft and a little broken.

“If I had known then what I know now, I never would have done it,” Kalinda said quietly, fiercely. “I could never have.”

Alicia wanted to ask what Kalinda knew, but sleep came between one breath and the next.

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