Betrayal, Loss and Love
Disclaimer: Due South and all its characters' belong to Alliance. This story is written for the pleasure of the fans only, and I will make no money from it (like anyone would pay me for this!).
Author's Notes: A big thank you kindly to my wonderful beta reader Jean, whose patience with my crazy British vocabulary and double-spacing helped make this story what it is.
Story Notes: This story takes place at the end of season 2 and contains a very mild spoiler for ATQH. Ray is Ray Vecchio and the Consulate is the original one from the show.
She sat huddled in the corner of her office, the tears had stopped but she couldn't seem to force herself to move from her position on the floor. She knew she should; it wouldn't reflect very well on her if one of her subordinates were to find her here like this, but her muscles were refusing to obey her muddled mind.
The scene kept replaying in her head, over and over, taunting her, reminding her of her weakness. How would anyone ever respect her again?
It had started off like any other day. Lieutenant Welsh had called from the Chicago PD, asking if she would mind putting in an appearance down at the station to show a united front for a visiting Canadian expert that they needed for a case. No name, no details, all she had to do was show up and be diplomatic. No problem.
Only there was a problem, there was a big problem.
She had walked into the station, dressed in her normal business attire. There had been no sign of Fraser or the annoying detective he hung around with, so she had made her way towards Welsh's office. Nothing out of the ordinary, no inkling of what was to come.
She had entered the office, briefly noticing that Vecchio stood by the Lieutenant's desk, but there was still no sign of Fraser. That was something at least. After giving the Detective a nod of acknowledgement, she turned her attention to Welsh.
"Inspector Thatcher." Welsh stood up, offering her his hand. She'd taken it, giving the lieutenant a pleasant smile.
"I'd like you to meet Lauren Baxter, she's visiting from..."
Meg didn't hear any of the rest of the sentence. She half-turned to face the visitor, and froze.
Oh - god - oh - god - oh - god.
Meg felt the colour drain from her face as her eyes met those of the woman across from her, who was currently giving her a look of such utter hatred that Meg found she was intensely grateful that looks could not kill.
Welsh faltered slightly, realising that his introductions were not necessary. "Ah, ladies. I take it you two know each other, then."
"You could say that," replied Baxter coolly, throwing Meg another dirty look. "Though it is probably more accurate to say that we have a mutual acquaintance, wouldn't you agree Margaret?"
Meg didn't say anything. What could she say to that?
The other woman was slightly older than she, and had long blonde hair that was currently twisted up in a French knot. There was no denying the beauty in her traditional Aryan looks and slim body. She had a kind of feminine chic that Meg knew she would never in her lifetime be able to achieve.
Ignoring the looks that she was receiving from both Baxter and Vecchio, Meg tried to concentrate on the reason she was there in the first place.
"So Leftenant, what do you need from the Consulate?"
Welsh looked at the woman who stood in front of him. Her eyes betrayed nothing about her current mindset. There was no hint of the emotions or shock that had appeared in them when she had first caught sight of their visitor. Now, they were shuttered, cool and efficient pools of darkness. Welsh wondered how she managed to do that, or whether it was just some weird Canadian thing.
"Ah well Inspector, you see Miss Baxter..."
"Mrs," came the sharp interruption from the other side of the desk. "And don't you forget it," said Baxter, casting another disgusted look at Meg.
"Um, yes, I'm terribly sorry. Mrs Baxter," he continued, emphasising the correct title, "is here to lend her expertise on a shipment of stolen art that we believe is coming in tonight. Apparently some of the pieces are of significant value to the Toronto Art Museum and Mrs Baxter believes she will be able to identify which are the real artefacts as opposed to forgeries."
Meg nodded. "So you would like me to act as liaison between our two countries to decide which pieces belong where?"
"That would be a great help. We don't want another big mask fiasco now do we?"
Meg smiled politely, though the smile never reached her eyes. "Of course not."
"You know, Fraser was right about those masks," interrupted Vecchio, giving them a look that dared them to disagree with him.
"I'm sure he was, Detective, but for now can we stay focused on the current case," said Welsh, casting a warning look at the other man.
"Uh, yes Sir."
"Good, good. Now, if you could fill us in on the details of the shipment, that would be most helpful."
"Ah, of course sir," Vecchio nodded, turning to face the other occupants of the room. "Well, the shipment's due in at 10 pm tonight. We believe the buyer is going to be there to meet it, so we are hoping to be able to grab him as well as the thieves. We have a person on the inside who managed to get us details of some of the pieces in the shipment, which we traced back to Toronto, hence the reason we called the museum. Anyway, once we have made the bust and seized all the evidence, we should be able to determine whether the pieces are forgeries or not, and if they are, we need to find out where the originals are being kept."
Baxter nodded. "When will I be able to see the collection?"
"Tomorrow most likely," replied Vecchio. "After we've made the bust and done the paperwork. You should be able to see the stuff then."
"Inspector, if you could deal with the results. Anything that technically belongs to Canada will need to be processed for removal back there. I'm not sure of the Canadian way of doing that, so it would be a great help if you could handle all that side of it."
"Of course, Leftenant," she agreed.
"Ok, well I guess that is all that is needed for today. Mrs Baxter, do you have a hotel sorted for the night? I'm sure that something can be arranged for you if necessary."
"No, that's quite alright Lieutenant, I have a room booked."
"Ah well, in that case, can I get one of our officers to give you a lift there? It would be our pleasure."
"Thank you, Lieutenant, that is most gracious of you."
Offering his hand to their guest, Welsh ordered Vecchio to sort out the transportation. A few moments after the detective had left the office, Meg made her excuses and promptly followed him out, glad to be away from there.
Fraser walked into the station, heading straight towards his friend's desk. He could see Ray talking to one of the uniformed officers, and was about to take his customary seat on the other side of the desk when his attention was suddenly caught by the presence of his superior officer. She was walking away from Welsh's office. Fraser's brow creased slightly; he hadn't realised she had a meeting with the Lieutenant today. He began to move towards her, intent on intercepting her before she reached the exit, but he was beaten to it by a blonde-haired lady he did not recognise.
Fraser became further puzzled when it became obvious from her body-language that the other woman was not there for a friendly chat. She was talking low and fast, her hands gesturing in obvious anger. But what puzzled him most was the fact that the Inspector was making no attempt to interrupt the tirade, in fact, from what he could gather, she was simply taking everything that was said. The entire time he had know her, Fraser could not recall one single occasion in which Inspector Thatcher had allowed someone to talk angrily to her for that length of time without cutting them off.
"Hey Benny," Ray's voice suddenly cut into his thoughts.
"Hello Ray, how are you today?"
"Oh, I'm great Fraser," he said. Ray followed his friend's line of sight and smiled. "I see you've discovered our guest."
"The woman talking to - or should that be yelling at - Thatcher is Lauren Baxter. She's the art museum expert from Toronto."
"Oh, I see."
"Yep, and apparently she and the Dragon Lady have some history. Somehow, I don't think they are the best of friends." Ray grinned, enjoying watching someone take a piece out of his friend's boss. It was about time someone put her in her place.
By that time, the conversation had become somewhat louder.
"Did you think I was stupid or something? That I couldn't see what was happening?"
"No," Thatcher's voice was much quieter than the other woman's. "We didn't mean..."
"We? There is no we. He is my husband and you would do well to remember that."
"Do you have any idea what you did to my family? Do you?" she snapped.
Fraser's flinched as the second question was delivered with such venom. There was now quite a crowd of people watching the exchange. It wasn't often that such an argument would arise between two such beautiful ladies in the middle of the station.
"No." Meg's voice was now so soft as to be almost inaudible, even to Fraser's sharp ears.
"No," Baxter repeated scornfully. "Did you even think about it? When you were lying in bed with my husband, did you even think about what you were doing? Or was it all just one big joke to you?"
"You what? Come on, tell me, because this I would love to hear. What reason could you possibly have to excuse what you did?"
Ray's grin was increasing in size with every comment made. "Oh, this is too good," he whispered gleefully.
Fraser cast his friend a reproachful look, before turning his attention back to his superior. He found himself wondering if he should go over there, tell her there was an emergency or something, anything to get her away from there. He knew how much she hated to discuss her personal life in public, and he was pretty sure that this was not a conversation she would want to be having in the middle of a Chicago police station.
Just as he was about to move, something happened that caused his entire body to freeze in shock. He watched in disbelief as Mrs Baxter's hand lashed out, smacking Meg hard across the face.
"You don't know the meaning of the word," she spat, before turning and storming out of the precinct.
Meg stood silently for a moment, fully aware of the complete silence of the room behind her, knowing that the silence would soon be broken with excited voices discussing what had just happened. Resisting the urge to touch her throbbing cheek, she pulled her gaze away from the floor and walked towards the exit, her every move controlled. She pushed open the door and then she was gone, out of the room, out of the station and back to the Consulate, where she had been sitting ever since.
Fraser stood in shock, his reflexes simply refusing to react. He had just watched as his superior was physically struck, and yet he had made no attempt to stop it. Why hadn't he seen what was about to happen? Why hadn't he stopped it?
"Jesus Benny." Ray had stopped smiling.
Fraser suddenly found he could move again. "I have to go, Ray," he said, moving away from his friend.
"Fraser," Ray called after him. "Fraser! Do you really think she's gonna want to see you after that?" But Fraser wasn't listening. He was out of the door and walking through the corridors towards the main exit of the building, the only thought in his mind was that of finding his boss. He had to make sure she was all right, if only to silence the voice inside telling him that she was not.
It was after five by the time he reached the Consulate. He had no idea if she would be there, but it was located between the station and her apartment, so he had decided to check there first. The main building was dark when he arrived, but he fished out his key and entered anyway.
The alarm was not on, which made him suspect that there was still someone in the building. Making his way cautiously up the stairs, he noticed that there were no lights on in any of the rooms. He looked around puzzled. Perhaps Turnbull had locked up and simply forgotten to put the alarm on. It wouldn't be the first time.
Deciding to make one last check of the offices, he knocked lightly on the Inspector's door, before gently pushing against the wood. He had taken a couple of steps into the room when he saw her. Her big dark eyes were watching him from where she sat. He hadn't expected to find her here, especially not huddled on the floor in a corner of the room.
"Inspector?" His voice was soft in the dim light.
"Come to gloat, have you?" Despite her words, there was no real bitterness in her voice, the statement delivered matter-of-factly.
"No," he shook his head, advancing further into the room. "I came to make sure you were all right."
She laughed softly at that. "Always the good officer. Don't you ever get tired of being perfect, Fraser?"
"I'm not perfect, Ma'am."
She shrugged. "Then why work so hard trying to make everyone think that you are?" she asked.
"I don't know," he answered honestly.
Running her hands up her cheeks, rubbing away the last of the tears, she stood.
"Well, as you can see, I'm fine, so you can go back to making the streets safe for the citizens of Chicago or whatever it is that you do when you're not working here. Goodnight Constable." She turned away from him, the dismissal obvious.
"Forgive me Sir, but you don't seem all right to me." He knew he was treading on dangerous ground, but finding her here like this, he felt that he had to at least make an effort to get her to talk to him, to let her know that he was there if she needed him.
"Constable, I have some important documents I need to look over, and I am sure you must have more important things to be doing too, so why don't you just go back to the station and discuss whatever it is you feel you need to discuss with that detective friend of yours." Her voice was ice, her tone telling him to leave.
But he couldn't. He made no attempt to move towards the door, or even from the spot he stood on in front of her desk.
"Damn it, Fraser!" She turned on him. "What do you want to know, huh? Yes, I had an affair with a married man. Yes, his wife found out about us, but no, it wasn't what you think. I..." Her voice faltered with the last statement and she put her hand up to her face again, willing the tears to stay back.
"You love him." Fraser finished the sentence for her, his eyes dropping to the floor.
Meg looked across at her second in command. He looked so dejected standing there. He was right, she had loved the man, more than anyone she had ever met before, but it was over and had been for a long time now. But that didn't mean that it didn't still hurt. Some wounds just took longer to heal than others. She was suddenly reminded of the mess she had walked in on when she had first taken over this command. Her deputy's involvement with a woman had left him near-death on a station platform, a bullet from his best friend's gun in his back. Perhaps he understood forbidden relationships better than most.
"I loved him," she corrected softly. "Past tense."
Fraser looked up at her then, his eyes full of compassion. "Loving someone you shouldn't -- it's hard," he commented.
Meg nodded. "Yes, it is."
"How does your cheek feel?"
Meg smiled ruefully at his question. "Sore," she said.
"It wasn't you who hit me."
"No, but I should have been able to stop it." He sounded upset, like somehow he was to blame for her bruise.
"Nobody's that fast, Fraser," she said. "And I probably deserved it."
"No one deserves that, Sir." His voice was soft, but full of feeling. "Especially not you."
She looked at him, her eyes boring into his. "You always want to see the best in people, Fraser, but have you ever considered that maybe some people just don't have that goodness in them?"
"No, listen to me, Fraser." Her tone was authoritative, commanding him to hear her words. "I don't deserve your sympathy. I knew exactly what I was doing when I slept with him. I knew he was married, I knew he had a family, and yet I did it anyway. Does that sound like something a good person would do, huh?"
Fraser watched as her eyes blazed with anger and regret and pain. He knew what she must be feeling, he knew because he felt the exact same emotions every time he thought about Victoria.
"Just because you made a mistake, it doesn't make you a bad person."
"Tell that to his wife," she muttered bitterly. "Or his children."
Fraser looked away. How could he make her see that this did not affect his opinion of her? That one action in the past did not determine who you are now.
"Do you think I'm a bad person?" he asked softly, half afraid of her answer.
Meg's head snapped up at his question. How could he ask that? She didn't think a nicer, kinder, gentler person than Benton Fraser could possibly exist.
"No, of course I don't."
"Even though I betrayed my best friend and the people I worked with, disregarded the law and the rules I am meant to enforce, and tried to run away with a convicted felon?"
"Fraser..." She tried to say something, but he stopped her.
"No, hear me out. Like you, I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew it would cost Ray his job, his house, his life as he knew it, and yet, when it came down to it, I still chose the wrong path."
"But you tried to stop her in the end." Meg's voice was so soft that Fraser wondered if he should tell her. Wondered if he should shatter her opinion of him. Taking a deep breath, he told her the truth that he had only ever before told Ray.
"I was going with her."
His quiet statement hung in the air, neither person knowing exactly how to react to the confession. Meg simply stood, silently watching the emotions play across his face. The pain and guilt were obvious in his normally peaceful features; his eyes stormy and dark. Meg was suddenly, forcefully reminded of the time on the train and the look in Fraser's eyes as Bolt had disconnected their carriages. She had been forced to stand there - a gun to her head - and watch as Fraser and Frobisher shrunk from view. Even with the rapidly increasing distance, she had seen the look; watched as Fraser's jaw clenched tightly; the same stormy expression in his eyes then as was radiating from them now.
Meg suddenly found herself wondering if he really thought of her in the same way as the Metcalfe woman; felt for her what he had felt for the other woman. She didn't know whether to be flattered or frightened by the thought. Oh god, did he really want that much from her? Or was he simply transferring his guilt and feelings from one relationship on to another? Realising she had no way of getting the answers to any of her questions, and knowing she probably would not like them if she did, Meg started to talk, simply to fill the silence that, until then, neither had been able to break.
"He worked in the legal department in Toronto," Meg began softly, sinking down into her chair. "We worked together on a case this one time and, while there was an obvious attraction between us, nothing happened. I knew he was married and I had no intention of getting involved with him." She paused, gathering her thoughts.
"A while later, we met again at an art exhibition at the museum. He was there with his wife, but she had been called away on an emergency of some sorts and he was just wandering around aimlessly. He didn't really understand art and when we bumped into each other, he asked me to explain some of the pieces to him, so that he could impress his wife when they got home. It wasn't meant to be anything more than that, but somehow we ended up at this all-night caf, talking about everything and nothing.
"It was so nice, to find someone who understood me, understood what I was thinking. He had such a wicked sense of humour, and he was so nice, that I just didn't think about the fact he was married." Meg closed her eyes, willing her voice to be strong.
"When he kissed me, I kissed him back. I shouldn't have, I knew his wife would be waiting for him and yet, it didn't seem to matter. I have never felt so completely out of control. It was as if I couldn't say no. He made me feel safe and wanted like no one else ever had."
The tears were steadily dripping down her cheeks again now, but she made no attempt to stop them, knowing it would be pointless.
"In the end, his wife found out. She told me that, unless I wanted her to start explaining this to my superiors, I should transfer out of Toronto as soon as possible. So I left my home, left everything, and ended up in Ottawa, working for Henri Cloutier which was, of course, hell but I guess I deserved that for what I had done.
"Henri would... he would, well, you saw what he's like, but eventually I couldn't take it anymore. And so I ended up here, because I said no, once and for all, and because Henri wanted to show me what he could do." Meg closed her eyes, wishing he would just leave now, let her be alone with her misery.
"I'm sorry." His tone was not what she had been expecting. It held no blame, no contempt for her actions. In fact, it was slightly rough, and he sounded upset.
Meg lifted her eyes to his, half-dreading what she would see there. She didn't want him to hate her, she didn't even want his pity. She just wanted... Hell, she didn't know what she wanted, which was half the problem. Letting her eyes drop away from his again, she sighed, wondering what he would do next.
That was not what she was expecting. He had never used her given name, especially not the shortened version of it, and especially not in that tone. She looked up, finding herself suddenly breathless as he moved to kneel in front of her chair. His fingers gently brushed away her tears, mindful of the bruise on her cheek.
"You deserved so much more than that. What Henri did was unfair and you should not have been punished for saying no. I would give anything to take that pain away."
His words only succeeded in starting her tears again. After everything she had done to him, everything she had said, he was still here, telling her she was a good person, telling her that he cared. She closed her eyes against the emotions that were threatening to overwhelm her, and then almost stopped breathing as she felt his lips gently touch her face, capturing every tear she cried.
Fraser couldn't believe he was doing this, kissing her like this. She was upset and he was taking advantage, he knew that, but he couldn't help himself. There was so much pain in her eyes that he just wanted to take some of it away, show her that she was worth so much more than what Henri had tried to make her into.
Pulling away, he looked down, though his hands remained softly touching her face. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I..."
He was cut off as her fingers came to rest on his lips, silencing his apology.
"I know. Thank you," she said.
They stayed like that, both needing the intimacy of the moment. Neither wanted to pull away, and yet Fraser knew he could not stay there like that. She was hurting and vulnerable, which meant that now was not the right time. The truth was, she was his superior, which meant that there was never going to be a good time, but Fraser tried to ignore the voice inside his head, mocking him with that fact. Eventually he managed to take his hands away from her body. Pulling back slightly, he looked her in the eyes. Her tears had stopped and there was a kind of peace in her eyes that hadn't been there earlier.
"I should take you home." Fraser's soft voice broke the silence.
Meg looked away. After everything they had been through, everything they had just confessed in the past few minutes, he was behaving as though he was still just her junior officer. Perhaps, a small voice inside reminded her, that was all he was willing to be. Driving her home, when home was the last place on earth she wanted to go at that moment. What was there to go home for anyway? Her empty apartment only served to remind her how completely alone she was. Meg couldn't bring herself to face him or the look that would be in his eyes at what she believed was her obvious weakness, a weakness female superior officers could not affored to have. Standing up, she moved away as he got to his feet.
"I'm fine, Constable. You are dismissed," Meg said, reverting back to her official persona, not knowing how else to deal with what had just happened. She just wanted to be left alone. She was upset and hurt and not thinking clearly, and all she wanted to do was curl up into a ball and shut out the world.
Fraser watched her walk to the window, feeling her move further away from him both physically and emotionally. He hadn't meant to upset her, he just knew that she was not as composed as she would have liked, and he did not want to take advantage, no matter how much he may have wished to hold her in his arms again.
"Please leave, Constable. I am quite capable of looking after myself." Her tone was sharp, brusque, and left no room for argument.
Fraser still made no attempt to leave. His mind was spinning, trying to figure out how to fix this. He didn't want to leave her like this, believing something that wasn't true, but how could he stay without upsetting her further?
"Please Ma'am, if I could just explain..."
"I think I understand perfectly well, Constable." Meg turned to face him, her eyes filled with pain and shame. She refused to meet his eyes, not wanting to see the scorn in them, telling her how stupid she had been. She already knew that, damn it! Looking at a point somewhere over his left shoulder, Meg took a steadying breath.
"I apologise for making you uncomfortable, Constable, it will not happen again. As for now, I think it would be best if we just carried on as though this did not happen." Pushing her hair back behind her ear, Meg turned to pick up her coat and bag, intent of getting out of there before she made an even bigger fool of herself than she already had.
As she moved towards the door, she thought he was going to just let her go. Offering up a silent prayer of thanks, she had her hand on the door handle when his voice stopped her.
"With all due respect Sir, I don't agree."
Meg sighed, looking at the door. She had been so close. Turning back towards the man still stood in the centre of the room, she considered how best to deal with this.
"You don't?" she questioned, her voice measured.
Meg closed her eyes briefly, willing patience into her tired body. "Alright. What do you want from me, Fraser?"
Now it was Fraser's turn to look confused. His brows knit together as he tried to make sense of her question.
"What do I want from you?" he asked.
"Yes. You obviously want something, so let's just make this easier for the both of us and get straight to it. What is it that you want? Pay rise? Promotion? What?"
Fraser was stunned. "Do you honestly think I would use this against you?"
Meg shrugged, her voice cool, emotionless. "Why not? I've been nothing but awful to you. It's only fair that you would want something in return."
Fraser didn't know how to respond to that. Did she really have that low of an opinion of him? How could she think that he would try to blackmail her over this?
"Ma'am, I would never do something like that." He sounded so completely in earnest that Meg finally managed to meet his eyes, which only succeeded in forcing her to remember who exactly it was she was talking to. Oh God. What had she done now? He looked devastated, like she had just torn out his heart and stomped on it.
Meg looked down at her feet, her cheeks burning in shame. "Of course you wouldn't." She could feel the tears burning the backs of her eyes as the realisation of what she had just done hit her. "Oh God," her voice came out choked as she sank to the floor in front of her office door, burying her heads in her hands.
Fraser watched as her small body shook with the sobs that had now taken over. He so desperately wanted to go to her, to offer what comfort he could, but a part of him wondered if that would be the last thing she would want. She was his superior officer, no matter how much she did not look like it right now, and as such, he knew he should not be thinking of her like this. She was a professional and he doubted very much that she would want to accept comfort from a subordinate.
But she had earlier. She had let him touch her, wipe away her tears, without complaint. Making up his mind, he moved slowly towards her, watching for any sign that his presence was not welcome. When she didn't even look up as he settled down next to her, he took that as a sign that she was not going to attempt to throw him out again.
Ever so gently, he laid his hand on her back, feeling her body tremble slightly at the touch, although she made no move to pull away from him. After a couple of moments, Fraser shifted his position slightly, allowing him to put his arms more fully around her body, pulling her close against him.
For a heart-stopping moment her body went rigid and he thought she would push away, but then she seemed to relax, letting one hand rest on his shoulder as she leant into his embrace, burying her head in his chest, revelling in the warmth of his body.
Fraser let his hands run in soothing patterns along her back, gently stroking her hair, feeling the soft strands slip easily through his fingers. After a while her body stilled in his arms and the sobs quietened.
Meg knew she should extract herself from this situation, that she shouldn't be sitting on her office floor in the arms of a junior officer, but the truth was, she didn't want to. She wanted to sit here forever, letting his gentle hands work away the hurt and shame that had so consumed her since she had left the station.
But she couldn't. She was an Inspector in the RCMP and, as such, she had responsibilities, duties that had to be seen to. Shifting her position slightly, she raised her head slightly to look at him. Blue eyes held brown, the feelings between them running deep and strong.
"I'm sorry," she said, her voice rough from her earlier sobs. "I had no right so say that to you."
"It doesn't matter..."
"No, please. It does matter. I shouldn't have said what I did. I was upset and taking it out on you was not fair and I apologise for that." Meg took a deep breath, swallowing what little was left of her pride. "And thank you."
Fraser looked down at the woman he still held in his arms. Even with tear stains on her face, her make-up in ruins and what was developing into a nasty bruise on her cheek, she looked beautiful to him. He didn't understand what she was thanking him for though. Surely anyone in his position would have done the same.
"For what?" he asked.
Meg forced herself to hold his eyes, telling herself that this was the least he deserved. "For staying. For understanding and not judging." She paused briefly, momentarily biting her bottom lip in a nervous gesture. "And for not hating me."
She was thanking him for not hating her? Fraser shook his head slightly. "I could never hate you, Ma'am."
She smiled slightly then. "Not even when I fired you?"
Fraser smiled back gently. "No," he answered.
"Or when I made you get my dry cleaning?"
"Or when I belittle and berate you for circumstances out of your control?"
Again, Fraser shook his head, no.
"Not even when I told you to... when I said that we couldn't..." Meg stumbled on the words, knowing that she was treading a dangerous path by bringing this up.
Fraser watched as the emotions played across her face. Pain and regret mingled with the hurt that had been there earlier. Reaching up, he ran the back of his fingers down her cheek, drawing her attention back to him.
"No," he whispered.
Meg felt herself falling. She was lost and she knew it. She had tried so hard to stop herself feeling like this, to put a stop to any relationships with co-workers before they even started. It didn't matter that he wasn't married, he worked for her, which made it just as bad. But now, with him so close, his hand on her face, his arm around her back, she couldn't stop herself.
Fraser's eyes were staring straight into hers and she could feel herself responding to the intensity of his gaze. She lifted her hand up, placing it against the material of his shirt, letting herself feel the muscles of his chest flex slightly underneath her fingers. His arm tightened its grip on her back as he began to lean towards her ever so slightly. Meg met him part way, her lips brushing against his, the kiss hesitant and gentle.
He pulled away slightly, searching her eyes for any signs of disapproval. When he found none, he leaned back down, capturing her lips once again. The kiss started off gently, but as he felt her respond to him, he became more insistent.
The hand that had been resting on his chest slid up to run through the dark curls at the back of his head, her other hand sliding around his waist, pulling her body against his. Fraser tugged her closer, his hand running up to entwine itself in her hair, holding her head to his as his kiss became more demanding.
Meg felt his tongue touch her lips and she automatically opened to him, allowing him access to the inside of her mouth. Fraser eagerly began his investigation, letting his tongue explore every line and contour that he had savoured oh so briefly on top of the train. Meg moaned quietly as his tongue slid across her teeth, causing Fraser's already hyper-awareness to go into overdrive. She was slowly driving him crazy, her taste, her scent, the feel of her in his arms, everything about her was quickly becoming engrained in his senses.
Meg sighed as his lips moved to her neck, trailing kisses up and down the column, nipping gently at her jaw line. Resting her head against his shoulder, she wondered if she would ever be able to go back to the station. They would all be talking about her, discussing the affair. Knowing Vecchio, he would probably make it his personal crusade to ensure that everyone knew exactly what she had done. Everything she had worked so hard for would be blown to pieces. There was no way she would ever be able to expect respect from any of them again, considering how she had acted in the past.
Realising that Meg was no longer responding to him, Fraser lifted his head, removing his lips from her neck. "Meg." His gentle voice broke into her thoughts, the concern evident in his tone. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing. Really." She tried to smile reassuringly at him, but knew she had failed when the already concerned look on his face intensified.
"Is it this? I mean, me... us?"
Meg shook her head quickly. "No, I want you." The confession slipped out before she realised what she had said, and she dropped her head, closing her eyes again as she felt the blush stain her cheeks. She wasn't expecting the feel of his lips as he placed gentle kisses across her temple, and the feelings he evoked caused her eyes to fly open again. He drew away from her, holding her eyes with his own, a slight smile playing on his lips.
"Then what is it, Meg?"
"I was just thinking, about the people at the station, and about what they're going to think of me now. I mean, I know they never really liked me anyway, but it's not that, it's just that I'm meant to be going back there tomorrow, for the case, and I don't know how..."
Her string of rushed words was cut off as his mouth captured her own. His lips were gone before she even had a chance to respond, but the kiss had had the desired effect as she fell into silence.
"Meg," he started carefully, "No one is going to care about something that happened in the past, and anyone that does, isn't worth bothering about."
"But they're your friends, Fraser."
He smiled down at her then. "Firstly, yes they are my friends and, as such, they will not treat you with disrespect, and secondly, do you think you might, maybe call me Ben?"
Meg stared at him for a moment, before a smile broke out on her beautiful face and she nodded. Leaning in to him, she whispered in his ear. "I think I can manage that, Ben," she breathed, before letting her lips capture the smooth flesh on his neck. Fraser let the happiness he was feeling wash over him as she nibbled on his ear, her tongue swirling around the lobe. Pulling her against him, he held onto her tightly, letting his actions communicate his every feeling.
Fraser awoke the following morning, allowing the sunlight streaming in through the window to bring his senses to awareness naturally. The events of the past evening came back to him in a rush. Stretching lazily in his bed, he recalled how he and Meg had spent half of the night talking whilst eating take-out Chinese on the floor of her office, stopping only to place the gentlest of kisses on each other.
They had both decided that it would be a mistake to rush into anything, considering the time it had taken to get to this place, but even that had not made it any easier to separate at the end of the night. After many lingering kisses in her car, Meg had finally dropped him off at his home in the early hours of the morning. He had offered to go to the station himself in the morning, once Ray called to say that they were ready for them, but Meg had insisted, explaining that unless she went back straight away, she would probably try to avoid it for the rest of her life. Fraser found himself admiring the courage in her and her determination to not let herself be intimidated by this. He had promised her that they would go together, and she had smiled gratefully at him, demonstrating her thanks in a deep, soulful kiss.
Having finally made it up to his apartment, he had fed a very put-out Diefenbaker and undressed for bed, when a knock on his door startled him. He opened the door cautiously, wondering who could be calling on him at such a late hour. He was not expecting to see her, and he was definitely not expecting the assault as her small, lithe body threw itself against his solid one, her lips pressing hard against his, but he managed to react just enough to push the door closed behind them without releasing his grip on her.
"I think," she managed to say, when his lips moved from hers to nip at her jaw, "that we have waited long enough."
Pulling away from her slightly so that he could look her in the eyes, he spoke softly. "Are you sure?"
That one word was all he needed. Pulling her back into the kiss, Ben slid her coat from her body before moving them both gently towards the bed, somehow managing to not break the kiss, even for a second.
Turning them around, Ben felt the back of his knees meet the edge of his bed before they were both suddenly sprawled on the firm mattress.
Ben groaned slightly at the weight of her pressed seductively against his groin as she wriggled slightly, getting more comfortable.
"Sorry," she mumbled, misinterpreting his groan.
"No, please," he replied somewhat breathlessly, as her movements ceased. "Don't stop."
Meg grinned, before reaching down to kiss his lips roughly, pressing the length of her body against his as she did.
Their kisses had become harder, more passionate, as both gave in to the sensations the other was creating, until finally Meg could stand it no longer. She cried out for him and Ben, knowing that he could never deny her, gave in to her, completing their union in a haze of overpowering emotion.
She had fallen asleep wrapped in his gentle embrace, looking truly peaceful for the first time since he found her at the Consulate earlier that evening, and had remained there all night.
Moving slightly to enable him to see her face more clearly, Ben looked down at the woman curled up against him, one arm resting lightly on his chest, her fingers flexing instinctively as she woke.
Meg moaned softly as he shifted beneath her again, pulling her from a peaceful slumber. It took her a moment to remember where she was, and with whom, but the moment she did, her eyes opened and she found herself staring into the beautiful face of Benton Fraser.
"Good morning," he smiled.
"Morning," she replied, returning his soft smile with a brilliant one of her own, causing his arms to tighten around her as he pulled her up for a kiss, holding the bed sheet around her to keep the morning chill away from her warm body.
Turning them over, so that he was now on top, Ben let his hands trail down her sides and over her ribs, causing her to squirm beneath him, her laughter breaking their kiss. Fraser smiled at the sound, realising that he had never heard her laugh before.
She blushed slightly, before nodding.
"Hmm," Ben thought out loud, "that could be interesting." He grinned wickedly, as she reached down to try to catch the hands that were now attempting to reduce her to uncontrollable fits of laughter. His fingers entwined with hers as they met and he pulled their hands up, laying them on the pillow beside her head as he leant down, smothering her mouth with kisses.
Meg managed to disengage her hands from his, reaching up to cup his face as his tongue eagerly explored her mouth. Fraser's hands were now stroking her shoulders, gently tracing patterns along her arms.
Meg moaned into his mouth as his hand slid beneath the sheet, sliding between their bodies to cup her breast, his thumb running gently across her nipple.
At that precise moment, the door to Fraser's apartment burst open and Ray Vecchio entered.
"Hey Benny, Welsh wants you down at..."
He stopped, frozen in place. His eyes had scanned the room automatically, attempting to locate his best friend but, knowing that Benny was always up by that time, he was not prepared to find him in the bed. And especially not prepared for the person who was, at that moment, sharing said bed with him.
"Oh God," he said as his eyes took in the scene before him, the slightly flushed faces of the occupants of the bed as they looked back at him. "Oh God, I'm sorry," he repeated, covering his eyes as he suddenly realised he was still staring. "I'll get out of here."
Ray turned quickly, heading back out of the door he had just entered by.
Fraser found he was able to move again, after the unexpected intrusion. Leaping out of the bed, he stopped long enough to pull the sheets back up around Meg, before tugging on an acceptable amount of clothes in record time.
He leaned down to place a tender kiss on Meg's lips.
"I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere."
And then he was out of the apartment, taking the stairs in leaps as he ran to catch up with his friend. He didn't understand why it was so important to him that he talk to Ray now, but somehow he just knew he had to.
Reaching the Riv as it was about to pull away from the curb, Fraser pulled open the door, forcing Ray to abort the manoeuvre.
"Fraser, what are you doing?" he asked, as the Mountie slid into the passenger seat of the car.
"Ray please. I realise you are probably upset by what you saw up there..."
"I'm not upset," the detective interrupted. "Just embarrassed. You know, if you're going to have sex with someone, you really should lock the door. It prevents a whole lot of awkwardness when people come to visit."
"I'm sorry, Ray. It wasn't planned and I just didn't think..."
Ray sighed, leaning back against the supple leather of Riv's interior.
"Nah, man. I'm sorry, I should have knocked. I guess I kind of killed the mood in there, huh?"
Fraser shook his head. "It's Ok." There was a moment's pause, before Ben looked across at the American. "So, you're not upset?"
Ray shook his head. "Hey, who you choose to sleep with is your business," he said, before adding, "Well, as long as it isn't my sister."
Ben smiled slightly, accepting his friend's answer. "You're really Ok with this?"
"Are you in love with her?" Ray asked, though he thought he probably already knew the answer to that.
The Mountie nodded. "Yes."
"And she's not going to hurt you?"
The detective nodded. "Then don't you think you ought to be up there making her breakfast or something, rather than sitting here wasting time with me?"
Ben smiled, thankful once again that he has such a good friend.
"No problem. Now get out."
As Fraser slipped easily from the car, he suddenly remembered that Ray must have been there for a reason and turned back to lean on the top of the door.
"What did you need to tell me, Ray?"
"What? Oh, just that Welsh wanted you to come down to the station to do the processing for the arts bust we did last night, but don't worry," Ray grinned at his friend. "I'll tell him the Dragon Lady has you otherwise engaged this morning and neither of you will be available until at least later this afternoon."
"No problem. I'll see you later."
Fraser was about to close the door when Ray stopped him.
"Oh, and Benny?"
"I'm happy for you."
"Thank you, Ray."
Closing the door, Fraser watched as his best friend drove off, before turning back to his apartment block, a happy smile playing softly on his lips.
Re-entering his apartment, he found Meg in the kitchen, making coffee. She was dressed in one of his shirts, which reached mid-thigh level on her and showed off her long, shapely legs. Smiling at the sight, he came up behind her, his arms slipping around her waist as he pulled her close to him.
"Is everything alright?" she asked, leaning back against his chest to look up at his face.
"Everything's perfect," he said, capturing her lips in a gentle kiss.
Twisting round in his arms, Meg stood on her tiptoes, wrapping her arms around his neck as his kiss became more insistent.
"Ray's a good friend," Ben murmured, as her tongue flicked out to lick a path down jaw, "but he has bad timing." Meg smiled, nibbling gently at his ear lobe. "You see, we were in the middle of something important and something that important should not have been left incomplete."
"Ah, well Constable," she whispered, "Once started, a job should always be completed to the complete satisfaction of your superior officer."
"Absolutely," he agreed and without further ado, Ben scooped Meg up into his arms, carrying her back to his bed, where they proceeded to finish what they had started, until both were more than satisfied.
End Betrayal, Loss and Love by BritDuck21
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