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Talking is Overrated

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Nick Cutter was probably the most disorganised person Jenny had ever met. His office at the ARC was hard to distinguish from a tip and his house was even worse. She was really regretting being the team's designated driver as she helped Stephen lug a very drunk Cutter onto the sofa (after first moving a half empty bottle of Scotch and several empty pizza boxes out of the way).

"It's his wedding anniversary," Stephen said as he covered Cutter with a blanket that had seen better days.

Jenny sighed. "I don't know what either of you saw in that woman."

Stephen gave a very sheepish shrug.

"Do you think he needs a bucket or something?" she asked.

Stephen looked down at Cutter and without seeming to think about it brushed a lock of stray hair away from Cutter's face. "I'll get him some water and some Aspirin, that should be fine."

Jenny sat herself down gingerly on the arm of the sofa and stared at Cutter. She supposed in certain lights he could be considered attractive, and his voice did, on occasion, make her heart speed up. And his inept flirting certainly brightened her days. But his obliviousness to Stephen's feelings was a problem that was going to blow up in all their faces if they weren't careful.

Stephen came back into the room, put the water and pills on the coffee table within Cutter's reach and then began tidying up. Jenny started to help, and waved off Stephen's quiet objections.

They ended up in the kitchen, Stephen washing and Jenny drying, with Stephen's quiet instructions telling her which items belonged in which cupboard.

"How long do you think you can keep this up?" Jenny asked.

"What?" Stephen asked.

"This penance."

Stephen's whole body stiffened. "It isn't penance."

"It looks a lot like it," Jenny replied. She set the last of the plates down on the kitchen table and put her hand on Stephen's arm. "You're not doing yourself, or him, any favours."

Stephen gently shook Jenny's hand off. "It's not really any of your business."

"You certainly don't need to talk to me about it..."

"...but why don't you talk to me?" Cutter finished Jenny's sentence.

Jenny and Stephen turned to find Cutter standing in the doorway. He looked even more dishevelled than before, hair sticking up in all directions and shirt half unbuttoned with some unidentifiable stains down one side.

"What's there to talk about?" Stephen asked. "You got drunk at the team meal because you miss Helen..."

"I got drunk at the team meal because I miss us," Cutter interrupted. Then he moved his hands towards his mouth as if he wanted to take the words back.

"Us?" Stephen asked.

"Our friendship," Cutter said, a little too strongly. "That's what I miss."

"Nick," Jenny said. "No one here is blind."

Stephen looked a little confused. "I don't..."

"I'm going to leave you two to talk," Jenny said. "Don't mess it up."

She gave Stephen a peck on the cheek as she left, and did the same to Cutter as she walked towards the front door. She opened it, but didn't step outside, instead waiting for a second to see what would happen next.

"Stephen..."

"Nick..."

There was a long silence and Jenny almost went back towards the kitchen to see what was happening but then came the unmistakable sounds of kissing.

"Shouldn't we...shouldn't we talk...?" Stephen asked.

"Why?"

"Well, because..."

"Will it change how you feel?"

"Of course not. But..."

"Then shut up."

Jenny didn't stick around after that.

Though she was sorely tempted.