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Circle Of Isolation by Kelly Keil
Summary: She is the best damn secretary ever. Skinner/Kim.

Title: Circle of Isolation
Author: Kelly Keil (klkeil@ameritech.net)
Rating: Um. PG. I suppose.
Pairing: Kim (Arlene)/Skinner
Spoilers: The Truth. Which I haven't seen but have
had described to me. So what I get wrong, blame
Kristen2K. Har har har.
Disclaimer: The whole lot of them can bite my ass.
There. I've now earned my PG rating.
Summary: She is the best damn secretary ever.
Author's notes: Okay. So blame KristenK2. All her
fault. Literally. And I'm posting this, sans beta,
and written in like forty-five minutes, to the Harem
because I can. Kristen, kick it around and tell me
what's wrong with it. Same goes for any of the rest
of you in Harem land. Kim ain't my girl. Tell me
where I've gotten it wrong. Pretty please with sugar
on top.


Circle of Isolation
By Kelly Keil

They giggle about her in the bathroom. She has
caught them at it. The other secretaries, magpies
clustered at the sinks, all dressed in slimming black
and dark gray. They put on lipstick and touch up
mascara, and their eyes follow her in the mirror as
she chooses the stall farthest away from them.

She has heard the whispers and understands that
somehow she is no longer part of their group.

She knows that it's because of her boss, and the
things her boss does. She isn't supposed to know,
but she does. She is his secretary, and she knows
more about him than he knows about himself. That's
her job, and she's always prided herself on being the
best at what she does.

Besides, she's broken the cardinal rule of her
profession, and the other secretaries know that, too,
smelling it on her like only one's peers can. It's
why she tolerates the whispers and refuses to give
into self- pity when she sits alone in a circle of
isolation in the commissary. She has dared to feel
something other than professional respect for her

She has, in fact, been foolish enough to fall quite
stupidly in love with him.

It wasn't something she ever expected, and it snuck
up on her with stealthy soft feet she couldn't sense
until it was far too late. By degrees she went from
admiration to devotion, and didn't even realize what
had happened until she looked at him one day and
nearly blurted out the shameful truth right there.

He'd seemed so broken down and tired and not the man
she was used to seeing. It hurt her with a power she
wasn't expecting, and she'd had to grip her desk, her
knuckles white with effort, to hold her back from
throwing herself at him right then and there.

<'I'll make it better, *let* me make it better.'>
And that last, horrible, wonderful thought:

But she said nothing and brought him his coffee and
his files and made sure he wasn't disturbed for the
whole day. It was a small enough service, but it was
her only way to honor him, and so honor him she did,
in the only way she was able.

She is the best damn secretary ever.

It's all very sad, of course. The other secretaries
are right to mock her as they freshen up their
lipstick and eat their low-fat lunches. She needs to
swallow this childish infatuation and be the
professional that she needs to be. If the rumors are
true, her boss is in deep, deep trouble, and she has
to think of herself. What will become of her if he
somehow topples?

Never mind that her brain refuses to believe that he
could fall. She is in love, but even before she
acknowledged that, she knew what sort of man he was.

<*Is*>, she reminds herself. was. Please God.>

Rumors, no matter how they twist in the pit of her
belly, are merely that. Rumors, hearsay, and talk.
Wishful thinking. Sour grapes. She knows the worth
of her boss. She has ticked off each of his virtues
while lying in bed waiting for sleep. She has
counted them off while sitting in a bathroom stall
waiting for the whispers to subside, allowing her a
somewhat graceful exit.

He is good. He is decent. He is perfect.

No, no he isn't.


She shakes off the useless inner argument. She's had
it too many times before. She is nothing to him.
Furniture. Useful furniture. Like the computer.
She is, to him, an interchangeable part in a machine
that wants to swallow him whole and spit out his
bones. She means nothing.


He told her to run. And there had been a wild look
in his eyes.

But she is a very good secretary, and she won't run
from her duty. And she is in love with him, and
can't run from her heart.

So she sits, long into the night, waiting from him to
return from A.D. Kersh's office. Lights are turned
off all around her, and she sits alone at her desk in
her own private glow.

And she waits for her boss.

Because she is a very good secretary.