He was going to kill her. He was sure of it. It was the only way to keep his grip on sanity.

Charlie's victory (and he had seen it as a victory) in New Vegas was annoying Monroe beyond all reason. The girl was blindsiding him from every angle. Not even Miles had ever been able to run rings around him quite the way she did. She surprised him with every move she made.

They had been travelling for a day and a half with minimal breaks and had finally stopped for a proper break and decided to make camp for the night to rest the
horses - and if he were being honest - himself. The fights in New Vegas had taken their toll on him.

Of course she had looked ready to carry on for a while longer. He had considered killing her then, when she had sighed softly at his insistence that they stop now. But then his son had smiled at her as if she was the only pretty woman he had ever seen and he started thinking about killing him instead. Especially when she had returned the smile.

He stuffed down a pang of annoyance remembering the smile she had given him after being told that Duncan's five men were now hers. Although he was pissed as hell about it, he couldn't help feeling a little proud of the kid. She had single-handedly made sure that he and Connor got out of New Vegas alive when she could have, should have, turned tail and ran back to get her uncle.

Even the Warlord saw something in her. The look of respect Duncan had given her at the end had spoken volumes. It was hard to impress Duncan and Charlie had nailed it. He didn't think Charlie even realised how well she had done. Technically, by saving Monro e she had already paid her debt to Charlie, as that was what she had asked for in the first place. The men had been something extra. At first. he had assumed that Duncan had handed the men over for him. After all,
she had loved him once. But no, Charlie got the prize. And even a compliment, a rarity for his ex. A compliment that still confused the hell out of him. "You're way better than he deserves." What did that mean? Did she actually think they were sleeping together?The idea was ludicrus! Charlie was half his age and she hated him. Not only that but she was Miles' niece. He liked his legs too much to even think about sleeping with her.

And she had just slept with his son.

More than anything else that annoyed him about the youngest Matheson, this bugged him the most. And he couldn't figure out why. Yes, he wanted to protect her. Yes, he wanted his son to meet a girl who he could settle down and be happy with - and Charlie was not that girl. But he couldn't ignore the fact that when he saw his son lying there with her he had wanted nothing more than to wring the little bastards neck. And he could barely keep the disappointed look off his face as he tried to speak normally to Charlotte afterwards.

He had done so many awful things in his life, he had no business judging anyone else. But Charlie was, at heart, a good girl. And she deserved better than a quick fuck in the grass - even if it was with his son.

Without warning, an image of himself laying her down in the grass and having his way with her flashed through his mind. His balls tightened. Him sliding inside her, banishing any trace of his son, her spread out below him, flushed and beautiful, begging for more...

Horrified, he ran his hands over his face and blamed his exhaustion for the turn his thoughts had taken. He couldn't think that way about her. Sure, he'd slept with younger women before - but she was even more off limits to him than she was to Connor. He needed to put her out of his mind completely. Feeling protective was one thing... maybe even a little fond, she was a mini version of his best friend after all... but those other thoughts needed to go. He needed to avoid her until they went away.

So, naturally, she chose that moment to pop up in his face.

Yes, he was definitely going to kill her.

In his musing he had wandered away from camp, far enough that he could no longer see it. But she still found him.

His first clue that something was wrong was the click of her gun. Which happened to be pointed right in his face.

"Is it true?" There were tears in her eyes. She looked more furious than he had ever seen her.

"Is what true?" For a second he had the crazy idea that she somehow knew he'd just been thinking about pumping into her until she screamed.

"The Republic. Don't act dumb Monroe, Connor told me. Is. It. True." Her hand shook only slightly and he knew there was a very good chance that he was about to die. Where was that idiot kid of his? Of all the stupid things he could have done , telling Charlie their plans was the most moronic. Kid probably thought he was impressing her. He was definitely going to kill Connor instead. If he survived this.

Slowly, he raised his hands in the air. His eyes never left hers. "Charlie, calm down. It's not what you think. I swear it isn't."

Instead of calming down, she took a step closer looking angrier than ever. He backed up and found himself effectively trapped between a tree and a furious Matheson.

"How could you? After everything that happened, everything you did." A lone tear streaked down her face and she wiped at it distractedly. He took his chance to move and reached out quickly to grab her arm. In one quick movement he had knocked her gun to the ground and pinned her against the tree.

"Get off me! Now!" She struggled, but his body held her firmly in place, his chest pressed against her back. "You're nothing but a monster, I was right about you."

He ignored the twinge in his gut at her words and pressed his mouth against her ear.

"Listen to me, Charlotte, listen." Her proximity was affecting him more than he wanted to admit. "I told Connor I wanted to rebuild the Republic with him. To get him out of Mexico. I lied, Charlie."

She seemed to sag against him in relief and he hated himself for what that did to his heart. And his groin.

"But the patriots are a problem Charlie. And when we get rid of them someone else will take their place and unless we control who that is - we could end up with something even worse." He was whispering urgently to her, desperate to make her understand before she went crying to Miles and ruined everything.

She had stopped struggling and gone silent. The longer the quiet stretched out the more uncomfortable he became. But he didn't let her go.

Slowly, she eventually turned to face him. He loosened his grip enough to let her but stayed rooted his spot in front of her.

Monroe couldn't place the look on her face as she looked up at him. He was usually so good at reading her expressions that it pained him to see her close off from their unspoken but understood connection. She pulled her arm from his grasp and yanked her sleeve up. What he saw on her wrist would haunt him for years to come he was certain.

There on her perfect skin was the militia brand. His mark. His eyes widened in astonishment.

"Something worse, like you?" Her voice was low, charged with pain.

"Charlie, I... " His heart was racing. "How?"

"It doesn't matter how." He could only stare at her, guilt eating away at his insides like acid.

"I swear to you, I swear Charlotte, I won't ever be what I was before. Not again. I won't let it happen." His eyes begged her to believe him and maybe she did because her reply made him want to wrap her in his arms and kiss her until she forgot everything he had ever done to cause her pain.

"Promise?" Charlie didn't believe him, but he could see that despite herself there was hope burning in her eyes. After everything he put her through, she had hope that he could be a better man. He wanted to justify that hope more than anything. Even more than he wanted to keep his son with him.

He reached out and took her face in his hands. "I promise, Charlotte." Leaning up, he pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. The gesture was purely platonic yet he heard her breath hitch. Pulling back to look at her, he got the shock of his life when she leaned forward and pressed her lips softly against his. Stunned, he froze in place. Her eyes lit with curiosity as she stared right back at him. Her tongue swept her lower lip and he was gone. With a sound like a growl, he crashed his mouth to hers, kissing her wildly.

Charlie gave as good as she got. Gripping the front of his shirt, she kissed him back with force. A loud groan escaped him as she pressed herself against his rapidly inflating erection. The sound seemed to bring her back to her senses and she broke the kiss.

For a long moment they stared at each other. He could feel her heart pounding in her chest and was certain she could feel his own. Her face was flushed and her lips swollen. She had never looked more beautiful to him.

Awareness seemed to return to her and the mask of calm took over her face. He almost believed it. She raised an eyebrow at him and he understood the meaning. Lifting an arm to allow her to move away, Monroe's breathing finally returned to normal.

"What the hell was that Charlie?"

She hesitated for a moment, looking uncomfortable. Then to his surprise, a smirk that reminded him of Miles formed on her face.

"I just wanted to compare. Connor definitely won."

With that, she grinned at him and turned and walked away.

Yes, he was definitely, really going to kill her.