As promised, here is Vic's side of the Of Children and Travelers coin. Thanks to all who reviewed part I for the warm welcome and kind comments!

xxxxx

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Part II: Vic

Shit.

Shit shit shit, what the fuck was she doing? Could that have possibly sounded more like a come-on? Well, maybe if she had just winked and gone, "Hey Walt, you know what they say about motels like this…"

Vic mentally cringed. He probably would have just peered at her with that handsome, serious face of his, said "Nope," and gone back to silently contemplating his beer.

Yeah great idea, genius. Keep talking about how bad girls just want love and thinking about your boss as 'handsome' and see how awkward this can really get. There are already at least thirty-seven people, probably up to and including your own husband, who think you're sleeping with Walt. Which is approximately half the population of Absaroka County, so what have you got to lose?

Maybe it was more like thirty-eight, if one were to include her own overactive imagination. As the bartender delivered another beer— her very own beer, this time— she snuck a glance at off-duty Walt. Off-duty Walt wasn't really all that different from regular Walt (was the man ever really off-duty?) other than the absence of the telltale badge and hat.

Thinking about Walt's hat was a bad idea, because it only served to awaken the fantasy of fucking him while he was still wearing it. Or threading her fingers through that glorious mop of hair, if he wasn't. In fact she'd thought about doing those things with him so many times, it was likely there had been imaginary instances where she was wearing the hat. And boy howdy, didn't that idea have her crossing her legs and biting her lip and finding herself suddenly unable to look him in the eye without turning as red as a tomato.

Life had been moving at such a breakneck pace recently, Vic found she hardly knew what to do with herself in these quieter moments. In the past she and Walt had enjoyed comfortable silences, but something had changed between them since that night at his cabin when Lizzie Ambrose had all but outright accused them of being involved.

"Lizzie, there's nothin' going on between me and Vic. Nothin'."

Why had that plain-spoken statement caused such a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach?

"Oh, Walt. Of course there is. You're just too afraid to admit it."

Neither of them had said anything after Lizzie stormed out. Vic wondered whether his silence could be interpreted as the absence of a denial, because she was pretty sure that was the exact moment when she had finally stopped lying to herself. He might not have been afraid; she wasn't sure if she'd ever seen anything scare him. Vic on the other hand? Oh, she was afraid alright. She was a married woman who was head over heels in love with a man who wasn't her husband. Her life was a total wreck, a ticking time bomb, and trust Ed Gorski to show up and light the fuse.

If Gorski hadn't come all the way to Wyoming and started screwing with her head, maybe she could have gone on being stubbornly oblivious where her carefully buried emotions were concerned. Without Gorski she never would have been at Walt's cabin in the first place, wishing for the floor to open up and swallow her as Lizzie flew off the handle and then laying awake for hours with visions of Walt's dripping wet naked upper body dancing around the edge of her subconscious. On top of all that, Gorski managed to create even more discord in her already fragile relationship with Sean, to the point where having him constantly away on business was honestly a damn relief.

Now here she was, hundreds of miles from her adopted home, after long hours of possibly one-sided awkward sexual tension on the drive down here, checked into exactly the type of motel you would use for a quick and dirty rendezvous, alone with her boss, who also happened to be the man she wanted to— she wanted

"You wanna eat?"

She cleared her throat. "Yep."

Their fingertips brushed as he handed her the menu. She could see the muscles in his throat shift as he swallowed heavily and looked at her out of the corner of one steel-blue eye. She could hardly concentrate on the concise list of food items, ordering the simplest burger on offer and hoping to make it through the next half-hour without losing her cool and outright propositioning Walt Longmire right here in the middle of the restaurant.

It should have been better back in her room, but it wasn't. Not being in the same space as him was just making her that much more aware of his presence on the other side of that connecting door, and the mere idea taunted her relentlessly as she took off her jacket and shoes. As she slipped the wedding ring off her finger, she could only think about what he might be doing.

Was he taking a shower, like he'd done that night at the cabin? She thought about his wet hair and bare torso, for the thousandth time.

They hadn't exactly planned for this trip… would he sleep in his clothes or strip down to his underwear? Now there was an intriguing concept. Boxers or briefs, sheriff?

She wondered what it would be like just to climb into bed with him, press her body to his and fit herself into his embrace like the missing piece to a puzzle. He'd be solid, warm as a furnace, and she imagined those long arms winding around her and pulling her in until she could feel her own breath hot against the skin of his neck.

What would it be like to kiss him? She'd thought about it happening at the climax of one of their arguments, riding that heightened emotion straight into a tangle of fused lips and grasping hands. Or maybe it would be something softer, born out of the quiet support they drew from each other sometimes late at night at the station after the others had all gone home. They'd move closer of their own accord, Walt sitting on the edge of the desk to alleviate their height disparity. She imagined reaching out, stroking her fingers along his stubbled jaw as his large hands settled at the curve of her waist to bring her closer. She could almost envision what that kiss would taste like; dark coffee and fresh air and dancing flames from the fireplace in a Wyoming winter.

She sighed, slumping forward so that her arms dangled bonelessly into the gap between her knees. What was the use of waxing poetic? It was never going to happen, right? Vic was almost certain her marriage was over, but Walt would never willingly compromise his honor on a technicality. How did it go in flyover state vernacular? Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, or some cowboy bullshit like that.

Unless…

Glancing at the connecting door again, she wondered. What if she pushed it 'til it broke? She could knock on that door right now, wishing like hell that he would answer it sleep-ready, without the usual armor of hat and belt and jacket and boots. If she invaded his personal space could she disarm him even further? She wanted to whisper his name, slowly press her lips to the corner of his mouth and feel the tension in his body as he placed his hands on her bare shoulders. That would be the moment. Would he push her away or drag her in hard, slanting his mouth over hers to deepen the connection?

Lost in her wild speculations, Vic wasn't conscious of the fact that she had risen from her perch on the bed until she felt the flat of her hand against the cool painted surface of the door. Fuck, what if they just let it happen? She closed her eyes and imagined everything up to the squeaking of the bedsprings as they wrestled each other's clothes off, rolling around and breathlessly grinding their bodies together atop the hideous geometric comforter.

There was something between them— even Lizzie had seen it. Sean had seen it. Either they were the last to know or just the last to be honest about it. Maybe it was time to take action, to lay it on the line. And if it all went to hell in a hand basket after this? Well, they would always have Arizona.

She had almost convinced herself, nearly worked up the courage. her arm tingled, ready to raise up and rap unsteady knuckles against that door in a bid to change everything. She was almost, almost fast enough, and then her phone rang and shattered that moment of reckless abandon.

Brought instantly back to earth by Branch's voice on the other end of the line, Vic took three deep breaths. One to draw her back from the lascivious Walt-filled fantasy land she'd been visiting, the next to find her center and prepare to focus on the task at hand, and a final breath to calm her nerves and school her features into full deputy mode before attempting to face the man on the other side of that door.

As she pulled on her boots and slipped her arms into the familiar duty jacket Victoria Moretti shook her head one last time, refusing to accept how close she'd been to pulling the pin on that grenade without a thought for the explosive consequences. And if the look on Walt's face when he opened the door suggested, for just a fleeting moment, that he had been ready to ride out the blast? She would keep that knowledge close, and when the time was finally right for them she wouldn't hesitate.

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This is definitely complete now. I must say, I really enjoyed taking a crack at writing these characters! I'm holding out hope that the series will get a renewal for season 4 so that I can let my imagination run wild and have something else to look forward to apart from all the novels I have left to read.

Would certainly appreciate feedback on this second installment, too! *offers cocktail of choice to reviewers* ;D