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Alicia/Kalinda
Summary: Alicia finds Kalinda in a small town in Ohio. Reuniting five years after the finale.

 

Alicia clutched the piece of paper in her hand as she tried navigating the dusty back roads of Ohio. A fresh lead she was almost positive would take her to another dead end; another heart break. It was the third town in as many days. One old service station after another, flashing the last picture she had of the investigator. Two towns were unreliable, too big to notice new comers or too busy to care. The last service station, run by an elderly couple knew her immediately. Their faces lit up, going on and on, explaining their grandson delivered her groceries every week. After showing a photo pf her with the younger woman, explaining she was a close friend, even showing her license to practice; they agreed to give her the address.

She had been searching for the old farmhouse they described, the navigation system in her car made it look like she was in the middle of a field. All she could see in all directions was corn and the dust cloud building behind her. She checked her cell, but had no service. She was about to turn around, luckily, she caught sight of the almost hidden mail box on the other side of the rows of green stalks.

There was no name, but Alicia turned left down the narrow, seemingly endless driveway. Still no house in sight. She could hear a stream running nearby, could hear the buzz of insects that had made their home in the corn. She could see tire tracks leading a path in front of her, but the crops were so thick and tall, she couldn’t see where they were leading.

Alicia drove the road for a few more city blocks before the field suddenly opened up to trees on her left, and a small, white farmhouse on the right. The driveway was small, but she managed to squeeze her car behind a silver Tahoe. The walk way was decorated with beautiful orange and yellow tulips, a few rose bushes were neatly trimmed under the front window. Several hanging, flowering plants decorated the wooden porch. A swing and a single rocking chair sat waiting for visitors.

She could see a curtain move on the top floor, but could only see a dark silhouette. She was being watched, but after the tenth awkward encounter with a stranger, Alicia was used to it. She would never see them again anyway.

The attorney hadn’t had a ‘good’ feeling about any of her leads in three years. Two years of constant disappointments and ridicule from her family, forced that gut feeling to stop. It took years to realize, Kalinda wasn’t gonna go any place her gut or mind would automatically think of. She knew she probably wouldn’t stay in one place for long either. So as she closed her car door, she didn’t get excited. She didn’t automatically think, she’d found her. At best, Alicia was hoping for another reliable lead.

Her low heels clicked loudly on the cracked walk way. She saw the curtain in the living room move, but this time, missed the shadow. She was hoping it was a woman watching her. she’d had her fair share of run ins with pissed off husbands and farmers. Strange old men and teenage boys that looked at her like prey.

She was only half way up the side walk when she heard the front door creak open. She had Kalinda’s picture and last letter in hand. Her wallet ready to flash her ID. Alicia didn’t even bothering looking up until she heard the light foot steps on the porch.

As her mouth opened, as her eyes locked on the woman leaning against the porch rail, she froze. Standing in blue jeans and a pale blue tank top, hair blowing around her shoulder, was the woman she’d spent the last five years searching for.

Alicia could see the confusion. She could see the younger woman’s face light up for a split second before falling. The hope in her eyes so bright, it almost sparkled, before fizzing out. She could see Kalinda’s nails digging and scratching into the wood. She was biting her bottom lip hard.

Alicia hadn’t taken the over sized sunglasses from her face. She hadn’t bothered pushing her hair behind her shoulder, the wind only continued to blow the, longer than normal locks, across her face. She was wearing a pair of jean shorts and a baggy blouse. Nothing about her appearance screamed Alicia Florrick.

She took a few steps closer until she could stand under the shade of a small tree offered just to the right of the porch. The closer she got to the steps, the more she could see just how much Kalinda hadn't changed. Her face just as beautiful and flawless as it was the first day they met. Her eyes just as expressive as she remembered, the crows feet a little more visible.

Alicia carefully pushed her glasses to the top of her head, taking a shaky breath while watching Kalinda hold her own. The immediate, almost silent, gasp made her heart ache. The tears filling up the investigator’s eyes until a few began to spill over. The uncontrollable shaking could be seen across the field. She could see Kalinda wanted to move. She could also see the thousands of times she hoped and prayed this day would come, only for her wishes to go unanswered. The attorney could see the hundreds of times the investigator swore she saw her in public; at the post office, at the grocery store. Only to be disappointed when the woman turned around. Alicia’d have dozens of her own experiences, most before she even began the five year search. “Hey, Dorothy,” she said, tilting her head slightly, offering a watery smile.

Hearing Alicia’s voice for the first time in six years almost brought the investigator to her knees. Her face hadn’t changed much, but over the years of ‘close calls’ and silent searching; she wasn’t confident to trust just what she saw. Kalinda swore she saw Alicia six times in the last small town she was in, three in the town before that. She saw the woman so vividly in her dreams, some mornings she had to blink hard to erase the vision in her bed.

She brushed the tears away, knowing more were taking their place. She didn’t bother hiding it. she’d spent so long crying alone, comforting herself; she couldn’t bother to do it anymore. The weight and anxiety and loneliness that had been weighing on her shoulders was gone. The wonder and questions she had been asking herself for years, escaped her. As incomprehensible, as fantastical; as it was that Alicia found her; she didn’t care how. How didn’t matter. The fact that she put in the effort did.

Kalinda couldn’t help the watery laugh as she took a few steps down the porch. “Does that make you Toto?” she finally said, hoarsely, but the words were out. Alicia’s face hadn’t changed, not really. She had lost a considerable amount of weight, she was paler, the skin around her eyes was darker. The crows feet and laugh lines were slightly more pronounced from lack of makeup. But she was still more beautiful than she remembered. Her smile still reaching her eyes and lighting them up like fireworks. Her natural blush still making her look like a school girl.

Alicia couldn’t stop from biting her lip and smiling harder and longer than she had since Kalinda disappeared. The natural comfortableness in nearly ten years resurfaced. She waited at the bottom of the steps until the younger woman was only a foot away, just one wooden step apart. Her hand reached out, barely touching Kalinda’s fingers, feeling the instant electricity. “More like the Tin Man,” she whispered, carefully slipping her fingers between the investigator’s.

Kalinda let the broken sob that bubbled in her chest break free. Her fingers squeezed Alicia’s like she was terrified the woman would disappear. Fearful, any moment she’d wake from her torturous dream. But the attorney’s hand had never felt warm in her dreams. The woman’s fingers never fit between her own like they should. She had never felt Alicia’s breath across her face while her unconscious took over. The attorney’s voice didn’t even sound the same in her most intimate dreams. “How’d you find me?” she whispered, knowing the journey hadn’t been easy. She purposefully didn’t leave a trail to deter Alicia from coming for her, following her down a rabbit hole she knew nothing about. She could have made it easy. She had hundreds of opportunities over the years to make contact. She had thousands of tricks up her sleeve. She chose to not us them. She chose to let Alicia be. Seeing the attorney’s tear filled eyes, the love and friendship that shown twice as bright as it had before; Kalinda regretted not reaching out.

Alicia couldn’t help the laugh and smile that lit up her face. It had been a long, tiring almost six year battle. She stopped practicing law two seconds after Diane slapped her in that dingy hallway. She could still hear the echo it made off the walls. Could still feel the sting and guilt in her chest for what she had willingly done. “It took a long time,” she whispered, the words cracking only a little. The attorney began planning her search for the investigator a week later. Gathering every piece of information she could find. Talking to anyone and everyone she knew, no matter how inappropriate they thought she was. “You didn’t make it easy.” It took a full year before she sold her apartment, packed up what little she cared about, and started driving. She stayed at rundown motels, hung out in more bars and lounges than she cared to admit. “Five years of searching,” she said clearer than she said anything else.

Alicia held up the letter she had been clutching for five years. The words, though unhelpful, kept her going. “‘I love you; I’m sorry,’” she whispered, watching a few tears slide down the investigator’s face. That was all Kalinda had left behind; five words. “Next time you have to disappear, a little more detail would be nice.” She carefully wiped the falling tears away. Caressing the investigator’s warm cheek. Her heart swelling as she felt the woman lean into the touch.

Alicia would never forget the day she came home to find Kalinda’s letter on the counter. She fell apart. Peter thought she was a mess when Will died, when Kalinda disappeared, she lost her mind. She thought she’d experienced the worst pain with Will’s unexpected death, but it was nothing compared to the agony of not knowing. Not knowing if Kalinda was alive or dead was like living in her own personal panic driven hell. “A day didn’t go by that I didn’t think about you,” she whispered, shoving the letter in her back pocket before resting her fingers on Kalinda’s neck. Feeling the soft skin, the silky strands of hair against her wrist.

Writing the ‘letter’ had been a last minute decision. She couldn’t tell Alicia she loved her in person. The attorney would have fought too hard, begged too painfully, for her to stay. But she’d wanted her to know how she felt. The investigator wanted Alicia to know she was truly loved by someone. She cried writing the simple script. It broke what still remained of her cold heart. “It was the hardest letter I ever had to write,” she forced out through a soft sob. Her hand reach up, allowing her fingers to run along Alicia’s warm arm. “I’ve had dreams about this,” she muttered, closing her eyes and breathing in until she felt the attorney’s breath ghost across her lips.

Alicia hadn’t planned to start out their reunion with the kiss she had been holding back for ten years. She had planned to at least explain her journey. She had wanted to explain how she had felt from the moment the investigator had walked into her life. She wanted to know that every minute of every day was miserable without her. But as Kalinda’s eyes fluttered open, as the younger woman took the last step down, leaving no space between them; Alicia pushed the strands of hair from Kalinda’s face and finally let her lips barely touch the investigators. “I love you, too,” she whispered, before she gently sucked Kalinda’s lower lip between her own. The immediate sigh that was released from the younger woman made Alicia slip her other hand to the investigator’s lower back, pulling her unbelievably closer.

Kalinda couldn’t, nor did she want to, contain the moan that was released from her chest. She had longed to feel Alicia’s lips against hers. She had craved for the woman to pull her close and hold her until she was gasping for breath. Amazingly, they moved together as if they had been practicing this dance for the last twenty years. She sucked on Alicia’s bottom lip at her first opportunity, the attorney’s groan made her knees go weak. But the older woman’s hand on her lower back held her tightly in place. Kalinda slid her arms around Alicia’s neck, her short nails kneading the muscles like a cat adjusting before their nap.

Alicia let her tongue graze the woman’s lips, asking permission as her thumb continued brushing away the tears that were still silently falling. The first taste she had of Kalinda’s tongue caused a groan she hadn’t expected to leave her throat. She tasted of sweet tea and something she’d always tasted when she ‘accidentally’ picked up Kalinda’s glass at the bar by mistake. They moved with a natural rhythm. No dominance. No dueling for power.

Kalinda only pulled away when she needed to take a deep breath. Taking a moment to close her eyes and allowing Alicia to nuzzle her nose, kiss her damp cheek before opening them again. Seeing more love directed back at her, it made a few extra tears fall. “Please, tell me you don’t have to leave soon,” she whispered, before sucking the attorney’s bottom lip, using her teeth just a little.

Alicia had hoped, dreamed for the reaction she was receiving. She had feared Kalinda wouldn’t want her, that she had moved on with her life, under a different name, with a different story. She kissed the investigator with more passion, with more emotion that she had ever shared. As she pulled away, she took a deep breath, inhaling the investigator. Smiling slightly as she remembered her car full of everything she owned. This is exactly what she’d been wanting. “I actually need a place to stay,” she whispered, watching Kalinda’s face light up just as it had done that first night of drinks. For the first time, she felt like she was finally home.