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"Not For Public Circulation"

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‘Never have I ever fallen asleep during a press conference,’ says Liz.

They eye each other warily. Then Finn downs a shot. She gapes at him.

‘You’re kidding. When?’

‘Not at Scotland Yard,’ he clarifies, but also without further elaboration. A not-so-subtle reference to his journo days, probably. ‘In my defence, I had been awake for forty-eight hours beforehand and –’

She waves him off impatiently. ‘I wasn’t asking about why you were sleeping, but how.’ At his blank stare, she adds, ‘Because I thought you were always sustained by pure rage and pettiness alone.’

‘Fuck off.’ He’s about to absentmindedly take a sip of his beer when he realises that isn’t in the rules. ‘And why are you so surprised? You’ve seen me asleep often enough since we – you know…’ Finn’s voice drops annoyingly, like it’s some dirty secret. She supposes she should be vaguely upset about that, but it’s six shots too late now.

‘Yes, I know,’ she snaps. ‘Your turn.’

‘Never have I ever…spent a whole day saying “transparency” on a frequent basis,’ he offers with a smirk.

‘You’re doing this on purpose,’ she mumbles through her drink.

‘That’s the whole point. And why I agreed to play this frankly stupid game in the first place.’

‘What, to see me drunk? Nice, Finn, nice.’ She sets her glass on the counter with more force than intended. ‘But remember if I pass out, you’re the one who has to take me home.’

He mulls over this.

‘Or I could call an ambulance.’

‘You would not.’

‘I would,’ he insists.

‘Oh please, you hate wasting public resources. Your entire being rails against it.’

‘Well, I’m flattered you’ve finally acknowledged I have a “being”. And for the record, I would.’

‘Fine, let’s settle this for good. Never have I ever stayed with my girlfriend while she was drunk. Or generally making a fool of herself.’

His brows knit furiously.

‘“Girlfriend”?’ he repeats. ‘Did you just call yourself my –’

‘I was thinking of “boss” but figured that you’ve had a lot of them,’ she cuts in quickly, before regret or reason can sink in. (Shit, she’s wasted.) ‘Girlfriend count, on the other hand: I’m assuming not so many and that narrows the field significantly.’

If there was ever a personification of the “sweats profusely” meme, Finn’s face would currently be it.

‘You – you don’t know that.’

She revels in the grand sight of him mentally flailing a beat longer before:

‘C’mon. Drink or drink not, there is no…’ Her mind draws a blank. ‘Whatever.’

The sound he makes is actually one of deep anguish. ‘Fucking hell, Liz.’

She attempts to lean her elbow on the counter, only to miss it entirely. She's pretty sure she’s on a collision course with the edge of it…until Finn pulls her up. His grasp is pleasantly warm, solid and firm. Not that she’ll admit it, though.

‘Ow,’ she gripes. ‘That hurts.’

He sighs. ‘It would have hurt more had I let you smack your head against it.’

‘Then why didn’t you?’ In the face of his silence – and the fact that his hand is still about her forearm – she nods sagely.

‘I rest my case. Drink up.’