Hello! I am brand-spanking new to this fandom, but my hand slipped and whoops! Some fic popped out. I watched (more like binged) all three series of Longmire over the past couple weeks, and I shipped the hell out of Walt/Vic from the start.
Here is a little something which digs a bit deeper into what might've been going on in Walt's mind during 'certain' scenes from Of Children and Travelers. Un-beta'ed and minimally edited due to my impatience. More notes at the bottom for anyone who enjoys rambling… :D
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Part I: Walt
If there was one thing that Walt Longmire had truly become aware of in the past year and change, it was that being honorable wasn't the same as living a life that was above reproach.
Moral ambiguity was a reality of life, and at times an important weapon in the arsenal of true justice. In his line of work, you either learned to bend the rules around the subtleties of right and wrong or you found your spirit crushed beneath the uncompromising heel of a law that was authored without provision for human error.
In simpler terms, sometimes to be a 'good' person you had to do 'bad' things.
Move a body. Threaten a stalker. Let an innocent man take the rap for a guilty one or carefully un-notice a damning piece of evidence that could ruin a family's livelihood… there were a lot of variations on the theme. As a sheriff this was a concept Walt understood, subscribed to even, but navigating through those endless shades of grey suddenly got a whole lot harder when it came to just being a man.
And so here he found himself on one side of a connecting door in a dingy motel in Nowhere, Arizona, separated from his maddeningly sexy and unquestionably married deputy by a few inches of flimsy wood and a howling chasm of guilt and self-doubt.
How the hell was he supposed to apply those flexible rules of right and wrong to this situation?
Walt had no respect for men like Barlow Connally, who could summarily disregard the intricate workings of a couple's life together to serve their own baser needs with a few hours of meaningless pleasure at the hands of a married woman. He had always been quick to judge in cases such as this. How do people live with themselves? It was a question he had asked on many occasions, but never before had he felt such an urge to ask it of himself.
As he thought about Vic on the other side of that door, Walt realized that he had already begun to rationalize, to calculate the degree of culpability he could accept and how far he was willing to push this… thing between them before they reached the point of no return.
How easy could it be to tell himself that this wasn't the same, that they weren't like Barlow Connally and Julia Sublette, that the circumstances were different and there were feelings involved to the point where it could never be as cheap or unscrupulous as whatever tawdry arrangement Ed Gorski had lured Vic into all those years ago in Philly. Was he willing to believe that it was really that different, because it was them?
Mrs. Sublette had wanted some passion in her life while Gorski, it seemed, had desired Victoria Moretti almost to the point of obsession. Walt shifted his weight as he sat on the uncomfortable motel bed, rubbing a hand over his stubbled jaw and then frowning as he looked down at his hands. How could he be so quick to judge, when it was clear that he shared so much in common with both of them?
Desire and passion were concepts he'd not given much thought to in many years, not up until recently. His marriage to Martha had been happy and yes, they'd had those things. They'd been some of the lucky ones— they'd never fallen out of love with each other and it was only after Martha became seriously ill that the more physical aspects of their relationship fell by the wayside completely. The combination of sorrow and anger that had consumed him after his wife's death had ensured that such matters didn't cross Walt's mind for a long while after that, not until he'd met Lizzie Ambrose and let her under his guard in spite of his own better judgement.
In the end he was ashamed of his conduct toward Lizzie, who had been so earnest in her pursuit of him. Walt had given into the less than noble impulses that she'd encouraged not because he wanted the intimacy that she seemed to crave, or even the carnal pleasures she was offering. No, he'd done it just to prove that he could. To feel first hand that he was still enough of a man to please a woman, to make her body flush with heat as he drove her higher, make her shake and moan his name while he pressed her into the mattress with the force of his thrusts.
Walt had passed that particular test with flying colors, and the brand of karma created by his ill-considered actions made itself abundantly clear the following day when his daughter ended up in the hospital on life support— the result of someone else's poor choices serving as a sickening mirror through which he was forced to reflect upon his own.
Such treatment of a woman who Walt would readily admit he was not in love with was unpardonable in and of itself, but it had also opened up a regular Pandora's box of related issues ranging from an untimely resurgence of his own virility and sexual awareness to the mind-exploding realization that it wasn't only Martha's memory that he felt he had betrayed— now there was also his deep, hidden, impossible and ever-growing affection toward a certain blonde deputy to keep him up at night.
God, Vic confused him. Infuriated him, inflamed him, made him want to protect and care for her and shower her with tenderness in the exact same breath where he was willing to compromise almost everything he believed in just to get closer. The fact that she was married somehow seemed less and less important by the day, at least within the confines of his mind's lewd imaginings. Perhaps he would have been able to better control those rampaging thoughts if he wasn't so sure Vic was right there with him, sizing him up like a predatory cat, hungry and all too ready to pounce.
All that bad girl talk in the bar had sounded so much like an invitation, delivered in a low sultry voice that caused an unruly tightness in his jeans even before Vic sealed her pink lips over the opening of his beer bottle in an action that was far too much like a kiss to be ignored. Walt still wasn't sure if it had been a calculated move on her part, but it had short-circuited the bits of his brain that were capable of functions much higher than stating the obvious.
"That's my beer," he had said, a triumph of reticent cowboy speech that was practically Shakespearean in its level of oblique misdirection. It had certainly wrong-footed Vic, jarring both of them free from a hypnotic spell of what his staring partner would probably refer to as eye-fucking.
Food and fresh air had calmed things down to an extent, but that unspoken tension that always seemed to exist between them lately remained stubbornly in place as they followed the concrete pathway to their assigned lodgings. When they made to turn in for the night it was so much like the end of a date that the urge to press Vic against the doorframe and kiss the smile right off her face as she helped him with his room key was nearly overwhelming. Walt held himself in check, barely, corralled both by the tastelessly decorated confines of his room and by his own miraculously steadfast limitations.
Releasing a long sigh, he contemplated that connecting door once again. Such devices were created to make things easier for friends and families when they traveled together, not to facilitate down and dirty trysts between work colleagues— especially not colleagues with a boss/employee (or sheriff/deputy) power disparity. Nevertheless, Walt was taunted by imaginings of all the things he was almost, almost prepared to do.
He was almost ready to knock on that door, hoping that Vic would answer in her unintentionally alluring pajamas, face scrubbed clean and wedding ring discarded on the bedside table so that he could forget about it when he clasped her fingers and dragged her body against his.
What would it be like, if he were ready to throw aside his scruples and put his hands everywhere, the way he'd thought about a thousand times? He imagined how Vic's breath would hitch, wide eyes fixed on his as she gripped her hands into his shirtfront and pulled herself up to capture his lips with her own.
It was almost too easy to think about removing each other's clothing in a frenzy, whispering encouragements as their limbs tangled in an urgent dance. He was sure she would be aggressive, untamed, but he could also envision a softness— a sensual compliance which would match so well with his need to say things to her with his body that he wasn't sure he was capable of putting into words.
Walt Longmire was almost ready to surrender, and the soft knock on that connecting door could so easily have been the final nail in the coffin of his self-control. When he turned the knob and peered into the next room to find his deputy suited and booted, face hard and body language undoubtedly all business, he remembered a phrase he'd heard once or twice:
Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Swiftly gathering his things, Walt mused on the meaning of that phrase. Horseshoes themselves were meant to be good luck, while a hand grenade could blast you to kingdom come even without the accuracy of a direct hit. When it came to his increasingly complicated relationship with Vic Moretti Walt knew he was dealing with a bit of both— he just hoped his luck would hold out long enough for them to take cover before their precariously balanced world blew up in both their faces.
I'm currently making my way through the series for a second time and I've just started up with Craig Johnson's books. I may park myself over at the edge of this fandom for a while, if that's alright! *waves from hillside*
But wow, I totally wasn't expecting to write fic so suddenly. Ordinarily I lurk and absorb for a long time before taking a plunge like this! Therefore, I hope it is satisfactory in spite of the newness. I have read some lovely fics of this pairing already (it's early days yet), so I hope someone out there will enjoy this… I would sort of like to tackle Vic's perspective as a companion piece, if there is any interest. Would definitely love some feedback!