Author: Regann PM
John McBain just wants to forget he ever heard of "Todd Manning," but Blair is making that very difficult for him as long as Todd is still behind bars. Valentine's Day 2012 what if, set post finale.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Blair C. & Todd M. - Words: 1,441 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 5 - Published: 02-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7838413
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
John McBain had been awake for most of the last thirty-six hours, was running entirely on the horrible coffee Fish made in the break room every morning and roundly cursed the day he'd first heard the name Todd Manning, but he was still certain he was a better sight than Blair Cramer was, where she stood like a guard outside of his office door.
His favorite ex-wife looked like she'd been awake just as long as he had, green eyes red-rimmed and usually immaculate make-up smudged dark around them. Her clothes were rumpled and her hair was in disarray and her expression was almost too grim to try take in - hard with demand and determination, but fragile with the some soft emotion he knew was a desperate hope.
"So?" she demanded, still standing in his way so he couldn't enter his own office. "What's happening? When?"
John sighed. "Blair..."
"Do you know how long I've been waiting here?" she told him. "Hours! That's how long. Hours and hours. Starr called me when Téa called her. What's going on, John?"
John ran a hand through his hair, letting his eyes wander down to where Blair's hand was knotted in the hem of her blouse. "Can I not get five minutes to catch my breath here?" he asked. "It's been a rough few days."
"Oh, really? I'm so sorry," she said with absolutely no sympathy as she crossed her arms and glared at him. "I mean, it's not like I haven't had a rough month. You know, you might remember when it started, right after you busted into my bedroom and yanked my husband out of bed to arrest him?"
John raised his eyes at the error - husband - and wondered if Blair had even noticed the slip. "If I could get to my office...?"
She managed to make her glare suspicious, staring at him for a long moment before she gave up with a growl of frustration. "Fine," she said, moving out of the way. "Fine. But I still want answers, John. I mean it."
Not that he'd expected differently but Blair was hot on his heels as she followed him into his office. John gratefully collapsed into his chair while Blair paced in front of his desk, like a caged tigress ready to rip him to shreds. It was a good thing he was mostly immune to the Cramer venom. " Téa told me Victor is alive," she began when it was obvious John wasn't ready to say anything. "She told Starr you found him, brought him back to Llanview."
"So where's Todd, John?" she asked, leaning over his desk. "Why is he still in jail? Why haven't you let anyone see him in weeks?"
John knew they were all valid questions but he really wasn't in the mood for twenty questions, not even for Blair's sake. He just wanted to be done with Todd Manning - either of them - forever and go home to see Natalie and Liam. "It's complicated," he said. "But that's not what you're really here for."
"No, it's not," she agreed. "Todd didn't kill anybody, John. He shouldn't be jail."
"Did you forget the part about kidnapping Tomas Delgado and holding him hostage?" John asked, glancing over her shoulder toward the door. Hopefully it would only be a few more minutes...
Blair's jaw clenched and she folded her arms over her chest. "No, I haven't but that was a mistake," she said. At John's dubious expression, she continued. "Come on, he would've never done that if Irene hadn't fried his brain. You can't keep him on that."
John snorted. "You don't think Manning would've done that to Delgado just to get him away from you? Because I do."
Blair looked away. "He wouldn't have had to," she said quietly. "Not really."
"Too deep," he said, mostly to himself, thinking of a conversation he'd had with Téa a few months before. At Blair's quizzical look, he waved his hand. "Never mind."
It was like that moment had broken something in her and all John could see in her face was the devastation of it all. "You at least have to let me see him," she said. If it had been any woman other than Blair Cramer in front of him, he might've thought there were tears gathering in her eyes. "I don't care how dangerous you say it is because of the programming or whatever. Do you understand me?"
John was about to open his mouth to finally tell her something when there was a soft knock on his office door. "Come in," he called out, eyes darting to Blair's face as the door began to creep open.
When Todd Manning - the original one, the one who had spent months thinking he'd murdered his not-really-dead twin brother - appeared from behind it, looking almost as haggard as John felt, the broken lines of Blair's expression transformed before his very eyes, so much of the anger and grief melting away as soon as she saw him.
"Todd," she whispered.
Like Blair with him, Manning couldn't pull his eyes away from her, like she was only thing in the universe he could imagine wanting to see. John was fairly certain that was the truth of it. "Blair," Todd said in greeting, corners of his mouth softening.
He'd barely gotten inside the office and Fish, who had escorted him up, had barely had a chance to close the door behind them both before Blair threw her arms around Manning's neck, hitting him with so much force that he rocked on his feet where he stood - not that he seemed to mind, because his arms went around her just as tightly and he buried his face against her hair, eyes closing as he seemed to lose himself in the moment.
Finally, after Fish shot John what had to be at least half a dozen pleading looks on how to deal with the situation, Manning pulled away a little, just enough to bring his hands up to frame Blair's face. "Hey," he said quietly.
"Hey," she whispered back, her voice breaking on the word. "How are you?"
He leaned in again, resting his forehead against hers. "Never better."
"Are you going to tell her the good news, Manning?" John asked from his desk. "Or should I?"
Blair actually seemed to remember he was in the room at that, turning back toward him with a confused look on her face. "What news?" she asked as John politely pretended he didn't see the tears on her face.
John almost smiled. "He's free to go."
"He's...?" Blair began before she turned back to look at Manning. "You're free to go?"
"McBain's still trying to figure out the Delgado stuff," he explained. He touched his hand to her cheek, maybe to wipe away the moisture there. "But yeah, I'm free to go."
Manning might've been planning to say something else - he was pretty long-winded, in John's estimation - but he didn't get a chance before Blair grabbed a hold of him again, kissing him like she was scared she'd never get another chance. Manning definitely didn't seem to mind because he clung to her as much as she clung to him, and somehow it was even more emotional than the last time John had seen them like this, back at the premiere the summer before when Manning had first revealed himself.
John pulled his eyes away from the pair to see that Fish was grinning at him sappily, one hand twisting the plain band he wore on his finger from the commitment ceremony he and Kyle had had not too long before. John rolled his eyes, both at his colleague and at the scene that Manning and Blair were making of themselves right there in his office. As he did so, his eyes caught sight of a calendar for the first time in three days.
Even John couldn't help but smile when he saw the date: February 14th.
Happy Valentine's Day, Blair, he thought to himself as both Manning and Blair began to laugh, still joyously tangled in each other's arms.
John was pretty sure Fish wasn't going to be the only one with a new wedding band in the near future.