Title: Blood Ties: Crossing the Line

Author: icyfire

Summary: Continuation in the Blood Ties universe. We try to make each one stand alone, but you will probably want to read the others beginning with "Blood Ties." They are available in order at the beautiful Cover Me (http://smashed-peaches.net/cover/home.html) in the "Series" division.

"'No,' you whisper, knowing that you are about to experience both heaven and hell." Will and Francie cross the line between friends and lovers.

Rating: R The NC-17 version of this fic can be found at the Omega-17 list, eventually the Omega-17 site, and possibly Cover Me. Or you can contact the author.

Categories: AU, Will/Francie

A/N: Again thanks to Jenai for letting me play in her universe. I'm having a blast. It's now her turn to have the fun.

And a big thank you to Karen T. for the beta. And the idea.

Disclaimer: Of course they're not mine. If they were, they'd be having a whole lot more fun on the screen then they're currently having. Forget the restaurant. Let 'em have fun in the kitchen I say!

***

"I'm sure you understand my viewpoint, Mr. Tippin," you finish, imitating the manager of a food bank you'd just interviewed. You think you got his strange intonation down perfectly.

Francie's laughter peals through the air. "That was so funny, Will," she says as she dabs at her eyes with a napkin. She's looking especially beautiful tonight, and now that she's lost that tension from around her eyes, she's managed to look even more perfect.

Tossing her napkin on the table, she stands up and reaches for your plate. You think you should protest--your mother taught you that whoever cooks the meal doesn't do the dishes--but you know that it will only cause an argument. And you can't handle that right now.

You need some peace. Some laughter. You let her pick up your plate without a murmur, but you promise yourself that you'll soon invite her over for a meal at your place. And you'll do the dishes as she sits back on your couch and drinks a beer. "How did you like the fish?"

Your mouth is still burning. "It was great," you realize. You'd been too interested in the conversation to pay much attention to the food, but your belly is thanking her. "Even with all the spices."

She stops in mid-stride and looks over her shoulder. "Did I use too much?"

She's lost some of her smile and you feel like kicking yourself. You want to tell her that's she perfect, but you know that's being a little too forward. Instead, you answer, "No, it was fine. That seminar your job sent you on is going to pay off for you eventually."

You think about that time she told you about her dream to open her own restaurant, but that was before you were "carjacked," before she went to that seminar in Atlanta and got that new job with that company. She never talks about the future anymore. It makes you sad and glad at the same time. You never talk about the future anymore either.

You pick up your glass from the table and follow her into the kitchen. Putting it down on the bar, you put your hand on her shoulder. It feels wonderful and warm beneath your fingers. You start to rub it.

She smiles at you over her shoulder as she sits the plates into the warm water she was running. The soap bubbles quickly hide the plates as they sink with a gentle thump. "Thanks, Will," she says with a blush on her face.

You wonder if your touch is having the same effect on her as touching her is having on you. You stand beside her and stare at her for too long. Reminding yourself that she is just a friend, you quickly turn away.

"Have you talked to Sydney?" she asks, and you wonder if she is angry at her roommate for some reason. There is an edge in her voice that you're not used to hearing. Then you tell yourself to stop being silly. Sydney has barely been home lately, and she took off for another mission--this time to Rome--earlier today.

You force yourself to face her. She's looking at you, a soap bubble on the end of her nose, and you think she looks adorable. "No, I haven't," you lie, hating yourself for how easy it is. The tiny bubble pops. "I know she's been really busy with the bank lately." Between the demands the CIA and SD-6 are both putting on her, you're not sure how Sydney can keep up with it all, but she does.

"Oh," Francie says, sounding disappointed. Does she realize that you've lied to her? "Is she doing okay?" she asks, and you wish Sydney would take some time to visit with her friends, to let them see her, talk to her in person instead of through cell phones, pagers, and scribbled notes.

You lean on the counter next to her and sigh. "She's doing okay, you know. Just exhausted." Running herself ragged. You think of all the growing demands the CIA has been placing on you, and you wonder if you will end up being like Sydney. Giving, giving, giving. Never getting anything back.

"Well, if you think she's doing okay, Will." Francie sounds distracted, uncertain. But then she's hardly seen Sydney lately. They've both been running hard lately. "I'm just worried about her. She's never at home anymore. I feel like I don't have anyone to talk to lately about things. She's been gone since I've been back."

Your mouth goes dry. "Francie, we've been spending a lot of time together. You can talk to me if you want."

Her shy smile makes your heart do flip flops in your chest. Your palms start to sweat and you tell yourself that you really need to leave soon. Before you make a really stupid mistake.

"Do I have you, Will? Honestly?" Her warm, soft voice takes the blood from your brain and heads it straight to your groin.

You tell yourself to pick up your coat and leave. Instead, you take a step closer and push a stray piece of hair out of her face. "Yes, you do," you answer only seconds before you make that big, stupid mistake; you lean in and kiss her.

She pushes you away, and you can only hope that she'll let you use the wine as an excuse. "Francie, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-"

"Don't be sorry, Will," she mumbles. She sounds as confused as you feel. She sounds worried and excited, and you wish you knew what she was thinking. You watch as she rubs her lips with her fingers. You decide that you want to suck on those fingers. Each one. Slowly.

You remind yourself why that is not a smart idea. Before you can open your mouth and offer an excuse--any excuse--she steps towards you. The look in her eyes excites you. All the blood in your body travels south this time. You can't think as you watch her lick her lips. Her fingers curl through your hair, and she slowly starts to pull you towards her. "Never apologize for something like that," she murmurs right before her lips meet yours.

Your lips go numb, and then your mouth gets hot. The spices you ate earlier have nothing on Francie's tongue. Within seconds, it's managed to turn your entire body into one giant flame. Without thought, your arms go around her, dragging her next to you. You know she can feel the growing hardness next to her stomach, and you think you should pull away. Instead, she presses her lower body closer to yours.

You groan, even as you tell yourself that there are a million reasons why this is not a good idea. She's your friend, and you're not sure she's gotten over Charlie yet. And you're not really yourself either. Dr. Barnett--a woman who makes you glad that Sark used the dentist guy instead of condescending analysis, a far more brutal means of torture--has told you over and over to watch for certain signs, to make sure you never miss an appointment, that you are suffering from trauma, and that you need her help.

But with Francie's tongue stuck down your throat, with her breasts pushing into your chest, you don't think you need anyone but her. She's always been there for you. She's never let you down. You've never been kidnapped or tortured because she was your friend.

Your friend.

You can't do this. Somehow finding the strength, you pull back. Your breathing is raspy and fills the air. Francie's hair is cascading around her face, and you wonder if it was your fingers that did that, remember that it was.

"We can't do this."

A look in Francie's eyes makes you back up against the counter again. "We can't?"

You shake your head. Why can't you swallow? Does this place have any air? And will your pants ever fit again? You know you've strained the zipper tonight. "No, we can't," you finally manage to gasp. You know that she will agree.

Instead, she reaches down and yanks her shirt over her head. Bright red lace makes your mouth water. You shake your head and start to speculate that there was something wrong with the fish. "Francie--"

"The door's over there, if you want to use it," she says. She walks towards you like a cat playing with her prey. You've always heard that men are the aggressors, but right now you don't feel like you're fulfilling your role. You're standing there in the kitchen of your best friends' house and looking like a deer caught in headlights. Or maybe a fish.

Francie's hands are behind her back, unclipping her bra. You watch as her beautiful breasts fall out of the material. They are perfectly round, and her nipples are just the size you like them. They are rock hard and your lips insist that they've got to taste them. You try to remind yourself why this is a really bad idea.

"Are you going to use it?" Francie asks as she slides her hands up your chest.

You open your mouth to say yes, that you really need to leave, even as your hand cups one of her breasts. She moans and leans back her head. Your lips find themselves on her throat. "No," you whisper, knowing that you are about to experience both heaven and hell.

***

Later, you slowly become aware of everything again. You continue to hold Francie tightly until your breathing almost returns to normal. Slowly, you both pull away from each other. Your heart cracks when you notice that she won't look at you. She's finding something on her leg interesting enough to stare at. Your hand reaches up to touch her, but instead it accidentally knocks over your wine glass that's sitting precariously close to her.

It shatters at it hits the ground. "I'm sorry," you say as she jumps off the bar and rushes to get a rag to wipe up the glass and the wine. You reach down and pull up your pants with shaking hands. Thinking about how your first time with her should have been like, thinking about how you should have treated her to a nice and slow worship instead of a quick screw on the bar in her kitchen, you turn away as you zip up your jeans.

When you turn back around, the rag and glass shards and wine are all gone. And she's wearing your shirt. There are only a couple of buttons left on it--she tore most of them off earlier in her eagerness to get it off you-- but it looks fabulous on her. And you can't help wondering why she put it on instead of her own clothes.

You notice the tears reflecting in her eyes. Your hands clench into tight fist. "I--"

She shakes her head. "Don't you dare," she says, taking an unsteady step in your direction. "Don't tell me that you are sorry. You didn't do anything, Will, that you have to be sorry about."

Walking towards her, you feel the lump in your throat grow smaller, but it doesn't go away. "Francie--"

She puts her fingers on your lips. You watch the tears fall down her face. "I haven't been with anyone since Charlie," she tells you. "And I didn't think--I didn't think it would be this hard."

"He's a jackass," you say.

She flinches at your anger, even as she nods. "Yeah, he was. He was a lying, no-good, deceitful bastard. But I cared about him."

You hug her close, and she wraps her arms around you, somehow managing to snuggle even closer. "The world seems so different to me now. Sometimes I feel like everyone is a liar."

You both are silent for a moment. Then, she says, "I ran into him the other day."

You pull away and look down at her. Using one hand to stroke her face, you study her and don't see the anger or the pain you expect to see. She sighs and manages a small smile. "It was like meeting someone from another lifetime. You know, like the guy you had a crush on in sixth grade who ends up being a total jerk when you meet him as an adult?"

You laugh and kiss her forehead. "I really didn't have any crushes on any guys in sixth grade," you tease. Then you grow serious as you say, "However, I did run into Brittany McCormick a few years ago. I loved her my entire freshman year. And she was a royal--" Your voice trails off and you finish with "witch" instead of your real thoughts about the selfish brunette who loves her daddy's money more than anything else.

Francie looks at you, studies you. "Would you lie to me, Will?" she finally asks.

Your mouth grows dry, and you wish she could've asked this question before you ran into a snarky blonde guy named Sark and his drilling buddy. Then you could have answered without lying. "No, Francie, I would never lie to you," you could've said. Instead, you open your mouth to lie to her and choke.

You look away, and then look back at her. You can't lie to Francie. Not her. Not about this, anyway. You won't lose your relationship with her, won't even chance it, for Sydney or the CIA. "Only to protect you," you answer truthfully.

She shakes her head. "I don't need protection."

"Some secrets hurt, Francie. Hurt a lot, and sometimes those are better left as secrets," you try to explain, knowing that she won't understand. She won't forgive you for not answering no. By telling the truth, you've destroyed something before it even began. But you couldn't make yourself lie about it either.

Crossing her arms, she walks away and studies a wall for a few minutes. She turns to look at you, and you see what you think is relief, but that doesn't make any sense. Nor does the understanding you see in her eyes until she says, "Nicky and his dad. Their secret hurt you."

Oh, yes, good old Nicky. One of your first lies to her. To cover the story that ran during your "absence," the CIA had the FBI arrest and blame an old college buddy's dad for your abduction. The fact that he happened to be a mafia leader keeps you from feeling too badly about the arrest. But Nicky--or his dad--wasn't responsible for what happened to you. Jack was the unnamed father of a friend in that story you wrote for protection and gave to Abby.

"Yeah, finding out that my friend wasn't what I thought--" You stop and take a deep breath. Stop and start lying. "What I thought he was really hurt Francie. And it was dangerous. I never want you hurt like that. I would lie to keep you from finding out things that would hurt you like that hurt me." You'll never let Sydney's double life hurt her. Never.

A small smile touches her lips just before she walks over to you and kisses you. All the tension she was showing moments ago seems to be forgotten. She looks towards the living room and says, "TMC is supposed to be showing 'My Girl Friday' in a few minutes. I thought we could watch it."

You study her for a minute and nod. "That sounds great."

"I thought I would make us a great big bowl of popcorn. With lots of butter," she says as she plays with the hairs on your chest.

A certain tired and satisfied part of your body perks up. Her husky voice is back. And she's touching you in a way that's friendly but not just friendly. "I am hungry again for some reason," you tease.

She blushes as she looks down. Her eyes grow serious again and you tense, waiting for a bombshell to fall. Regrets always come later. You've learned to expect them. But she doesn't express regret. "You'll stay the night?" she asks so softly that you barely hear her. "I thought maybe you could call in sick tomorrow and play hooky with me."

"I'd really like that a lot," you say as you lean down and kiss her.

You'll have to miss your time at the shooting range tomorrow, but you don't care. The CIA can take a back seat to Francie. She's been a friend for years, and now you are starting to take a new path with her. She's got priority over anything the CIA has to offer you.

*** End 1/1

Thanks for reading!