Well, hello all! It's me, actually posting fic again. Everytime
I watch Perfect Strangers, I get this image in my head. Last
November (or so), I decided to put it down on paper. This is the result.
I want to dedicate it to both Jo (who read it and, instead of agreeing
that it was awful, said she loved it and made
suggestions) and Melissa (who helped me put on the final polish). I also
want to dedicate it to all the Ben/Meg-ers out there. You know who you
Disclaimer: I still don't own the characters...
Dancing to No Music
by Tanya Reed
She took the flowers from him numbly, watching him as he turned and walked away. Disbelief was still rolling within her as she hardly dared to dream of what he just offered her.
Damn her honesty! Why couldn't she have just kept her mouth shut? If she would have just pretended that what he was saying was actually what she had intimated, if she had gone along with his misconception, she would be in his arms right now. Dancing to no music.
After admitting the mistake, that she had been talking about adoption and not the pleasantly attractive alternative, she realized that he was offering what her heart had been pushing for since that day on the train.
She wanted Benton Fraser. She wanted to sing to his children; she wanted to hear his laughter; she wanted to wake up to his warmth in the middle of the night. All it would have taken was his asking her if she would consider his offer anyway.
Meg had tried to show it with her voice. It had softened as Inspector Thatcher had fled from the onslaught of feelings pounding through veins that were supposed to be made of ice.
It was Meg who asked, "May you what?", and it was Meg who waited in quiet expectation for his answer. Hope for 'May I have this dance?' was shattered as his Mountie mask hardened and he asked to be dismissed.
She wanted to refuse him, to demand he stay and finish his offer despite the fact that she had meant adoption. As she looked into his eyes and saw the hurt and shame, she wanted him to see the love in hers. But his thoughts and gaze were turned inward. She had lost before she realized there was so much to gain.
The hopeful joy that had been born when she finally understood what he was saying immediately died, and the soft smile dropped from her face. To go from happiness to utter despair between just two comments was almost more than she could handle as she replied, "If that's what you wish."
And then he had given her the flowers, his eyes still downcast, his gaze still focused inward. She wanted to scream as she watched him walk away, watched him get closer and closer to the door.
A thought drifted through her numb mind, twisting and turning until it became as sharp and cutting as a knife. This was it. Fraser was humiliated and he would never let her see him this naked again. Everything that had been building between them, all the passion that was stirring, it would all be for nothing if she let him walk out the door. The steady path they had been trodding had come to a dead end. Her chance was slipping away. It was over. It didn't matter that she loved him. It didn't matter that she would give her life to have what he offered.
If she had been willing to lie, just this once...Meg blinked, and before she knew it, she was crossing the room. Her eyes were blurry with tears and the flowers were left behind on the desk. She had to get to him before he reached the door. If he left, everything would change and she would lose him forever. If she could just keep him here, everything would be all right.
She reached him just as he was about to step over the threshold. Knowing no other way to impede his progress, she threw her arms around him, desperately holding on as tightly as she could.
Tears were flowing freely down her face now, and she was as ashamed of them as Fraser had been of his misapprehension, but she couldn't stop them. Overwhelmed by all that would be lost, her heart squashed her reason.
"Ma'am?" he said in surprise, and she didn't think he knew she was in tears.
"You can't go," she said softly, glad that even though her voice shook it didn't sound like she was crying.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I won't let you leave." Then she gulped. "You can't leave."
His body went still and she could feel him thinking. He didn't say anything, just stood there waiting and thinking.
"Don't you understand? I couldn't lie to you. To base things on a lie would ruin everything. You were supposed to overlook the fact that I had been speaking about adoption. That wasn't supposed to matter." Her voice was breaking now, and her tears were obvious. She ignored this because she had to get the words out before she lost control completely. "Damn you! Don't you know that just because I didn't mean it doesn't mean I don't want it?"
And then she pulled away, giving up on her fight because he stood there so silently and so coldly. Her body protested, but she pushed the protests away and searched inside herself, trying to find the Inspector to drive the emotional Meg away.
He stood there for several long moments as she watched him and fought for control. Years of sentry duty seemed to have forged him into a living statue on command, and when Meg would have him act, he remained still.
She expected his next words to be, "Can I go now?" but they were, "You're crying."
Meg rubbed at her eyes with her palms but didn't bother to deny it. Slowly, Fraser turned, a strange look on his normally stoic features.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, both for the tears and for physically preventing him from leaving her office.
He came closer and she avoided his eyes. The scorn mixed with pain and shame would be more than she could bear. She should have let him go. It was just pure selfishness that had caused her actions, selfishness unbecoming a member of the RCMP.
The touch of his hand on her skin startled her as gentle fingers turned her face towards him. Still unwilling to really look at him, she stubbornly rested her eyes on his chin. She was feeling childish and foolish, and a wish grew in her that he would just leave her like he had requested.
"Margaret." The sound of her name made her forget her embarassment as her eyes flew to his. There was no scorn in his gaze and even the pain and shame had receeded.
"Meg," This time his voice was little more than a whisper.
Moved to answer, she started, "I..."
That was all that escaped her before the fingers that had been holding her jaw came forward to rest on her lips. Time stopped as Meg realized that this was an important moment. Her breath caught in her throat when a slight smile curved up the corners of Ben's mouth. His eyes were warming steadily and Meg wondered what he was going to do. She didn't have to wonder long because even as the thought was forming, he was leaning towards her.
She focused on the lips moving towards hers, feeling his warm, moist breath lightly brush her face. At their soft contact, Meg sighed in release. The kiss lasted only a moment, but that was long enough for Meg to understand that her actions had not been wrong. It wasn't the ending of everything after all; for once in her life she had done something right. And Meg understood something else as well. Instinct had propelled her forward to hold Fraser close, and emotionally she held him still. Though only their lips physically touched, Meg knew she would never really be able to let him go.
As the kiss ended Ben's voice asked, in a tone she had never heard before, "May I have this dance?"
"You want to dance with me?" she asked timidly, still not entirely sure of what he was offering.
He gave a little nod, slightly cocking his head to wait for her reply.
"Dance with no music?"
His only answer was to reach a worn, callused hand towards her. His eyes showed that the offer was genuine--that it was for more than just one dance.
A shiver went through Meg as she placed her fingers trustingly in his. His other arm surrounded her, pulling her closer, and something surged in Meg that she didn't recognize. It could have been joy, but Meg wasn't sure if even joy felt that good.
Dancing together seemed to come naturally, almost as if they heard the same song in their minds. There were no missteps, and so Meg closed her eyes to feel the movements of Ben's body.
They had been dancing for a long time before Meg felt as if she could speak. Feeling almost playful, she breathed into his ear,"You do know that if I thought you'd consider it, this is the offer I would have made in the first place."
"I do now," he answered, his low voice not even seeming to break the solemn stillness surrounding them, "and I think that maybe I misunderstood because this is what I wanted as well."
Meg felt herself smiling, a real honest-to-goodness smile. Feeling safe and warm, she lay her head back on Ben's shoulder. A vision came to her of the two of them doing this many times over the years, and this thought thrilled her.
"Thank you kindly," she mumured against him.
This time, her only answer was the brush of his lips against her temple as they continued to sway. They remained together far into the night before an offer was made and accepted. Neither of them saw the man who walked in, grinned, and walked out. All they had eyes for was each other, and in later years instead of seeing this as a dead end cliff as she feared, Meg saw this night as one of the happiest in her life.