Title: Occasionally
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Michael Cutter/Ryan O'Halloran
Fandom: Law & Order/Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Michael Cutter or Ryan O'Halloran, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


"So how was work today?" Mike asked, looking at Ryan over his shoulder as he stood by the dishwasher putting the last few dishes into it. "You look kind of tired. I hope they haven't been working you too hard just because you're their new guy."

Ryan shook his head, sighing and leaning back in his chair. "I've been doing more work there than I did at the other place," he admitted, "but that's because I want to prove that I can fit in. I think I do, though. And I'm starting to feel really at home there."

"That's good to hear," Mike said softly, closing the dishwasher and starting it up. He moved across the room to sit down in the chair opposite Ryan's, picking up his coffee mug and regarding his lover over the rim of it, wondering if he dared to ask the question that was on his mind.

"Okay, Mike, what are you thinking?" Ryan asked with a soft laugh. "I can tell from the look on your face that you want to say something, but you're not sure if you should say it or not. Go ahead. I'm not going to get mad. If I don't want to answer, then I just won't."

Michael couldn't help but laugh, shaking his head ruefully. "You already know me so well," he said softly, setting down his coffee mug and reaching across the table to rest his hand on Ryan's. "I was going to ask if you ever miss the lab you used to work in."

Ryan sat back in his chair, his brow furrowing in a frown. It took several long moments for him to answer; it was obvious that he was turning Mike's question over in his mind, and that he took it seriously. Finally, he sighed softly, nodding and fixing his gaze on his boyfriend.

"Yeah, I miss it occasionally," he said softly, sounding a little reminiscent. "There are some people there who I miss working with. I made some good friends in that lab -- and it's always a little sad to leave a part of your life behind and move on."

Mike nodded, understanding completely how his boyfriend was feeling. "I know that. I've been in offices before where I had to leave them to move up -- and sometimes it was hard to do that. You leave behind a sense of shared camaraderie that's leaving your life."

"Yeah, exactly." Ryan's finger twined through Mike's, squeezing the other man's hand in his own. "But at the same time, there are things I don't miss. I sure as hell don't miss having Stuckey around. Or having to deal with those two assclowns."

Michael's face darkened at the thought of those two so-called "detectives" who he wanted to bring up on charges of gross negligence and misconduct. "How the hell does their captain get away with letting them break so many rules?" he asked, his irritation obvious in his voice.

"Because they apparently have something on him that he doesn't want to get out," Ryan said with a shrug. "He's always treated them like they're the golden children of his squad -- everybody else gets put out to dry, but those two float to the top."

"Well, you know what they say about what floats," Mike said with a wry laugh. "It just really annoys me that they can get away with so much, when people who are better cops than they are, and who do their job within the law, are always being called out."

"You'd think that Cragen would put blame where it belongs, but no, he always lets them get away with anything they want," Ryan said, sounding bitter. "Even nearly causing my death because they ignore any other people around to focus on each other."

"I can understand partners having a bond -- but she seems determined to break up his marriage," Michael said, shaking his head. "With a partner like that, he doesn't need any enemies. And he's an obnoxious prick. I'm just glad you don't have to work with them any more."

"So am I," Ryan said, sighing. "I used to wince every time I'd see them on a crime scene. I liked working with Fin and Munch, but those two ..... they gave me the creeps. I knew whenever they worked on a case that people would either get hurt or get dragged through the dirt."

"People like that shouldn't even make it onto the police force," Mike snorted, his fists clenching. "If there was any way that I could bring them up on negligence charges for what they almost let happen to you, then I would. But at least you're away from them."

"That's true," Ryan agreed with a laugh. "At least I don't have to deal with the two most obvious screwups on the NYPD any more. I just feel sorry for the people who still have to work with them. And I'm glad to be out of there and have a better place to be."

"I'm sorry that you miss some of the people you used to work with, sweetheart," Michael said soflty, his gaze not leaving Ryan's face. "Even if you only miss them occasionally, I know what it's like to feel like there are people you've left behind."

"Well, I can go see them any time I want," Ryan said, shaking his head. "It's not like I won't ever deal with them again. I'd just rather see them in a personal capacity than in a work one. I don't want to walk into that lab again and see either one of those morons there."

"Yeah, because they'd probably try to stick their noses into your life and find out where you are, what you're doing, and pretend that they give a damn about you after that bitch claimed she 'thought' you were dead," Mike ground out, his anger apparent in his voice.

"Don't get so worked up about it, Mike," Ryan told him with a sigh. "It's over and done, water under the bridge. Let's not think about it any more, okay? There's one good thing that came out of it, y'know. One thing that makes me kind of glad it happened the way it did."

"And what's that?" Mike asked, tilting his head to the side with a curious expression. He tried to hold back the small smile that quirked the corners of his mouth, but couldn't quite do it. He had the definite feeling that he knew what Ryan was going to say.

"If none of this had happened, I might never have met you," Ryan said softly, a smile curving his lips. "I'd probably still have left that lab and come to the one I'm working at now, but I wouldn't have you in my life. So I can kind of thank the morons -- and even Stuckey -- for that."

"You might just be right about that," Mike said softly, his gaze focusing on Ryan's lips. He wanted to kiss his boyfriend so badly right now that he could almost taste those soft lips under his own, feel Ryan's arms wrapping around him and pulling him close.

Ryan rose from his chair at the same time Mike did; it was obvious that both men had the same idea. Within no more than a few seconds, they were in each other's arms; when their lips met, it was as though stars collided, exploding in the heavens.

No one else had ever made him feel like this, Michael thought, his senses reeling. Ryan was the most incredible man he'd ever met -- and this wouldn't have been a part of his life if the man in his embrace hadn't almost died a few months ago.

It amazed him that life could work the way it did; he'd so recently made up his mind that relationships weren't for him, and that he could make himself happy with his work and nothing else. But now, he knew that he'd been wrong in that assumption.

"So, what do you want to spend the rest of the evening doing?" Ryan asked him when they came up for air, his lips still so close to Mike's that they brushed against his skin. "I think I have a good idea, but I'd like to hear it from you."

"Oh, I think you know what I'd like to do," Mike told him with a grin, pulling away slightly and moving towards the kitchen door. "But I think we're both overdressed for it. What do you say we move towards the bedroom and see what happens on the way?"

Ryan's laugh rang out as he took his lover's hand; Mike's heart began to beat faster as they moved down the hallway towards the bedroom. Ryan might occasionally miss the people he used to work with, he thought with a smile -- but that change had certainly made life better for both of them.