Hey, peeps! I had a long and arduous seven day work week, and right around Thursday I decided I wanted to write something plotless and sexy. That's exactly what this is; a theoretically post season 3 one-shot which will be posted in two parts because it grew to 6,000 words and needs a bit of room to breathe.

Hope you all like it! Mega smut warning for part two, which will be posted tomorrow or the following day. The rating here scrapes by as T, but it will rise accordingly. ;D

Heat
Part I

"Vic? What are you still doing here? I thought Ferg was on duty tonight."

It was 9pm and Walt was tired and the sight of her feet in what looked like black motorcycle boots crossed at the ankle and casually supported by the open desk drawer brought him up short. He hoped she didn't notice his appraisal as he took in the not-her-usual jeans and form fitting definitely non-regulation black t-shirt.

"He is," she drawled, head tilted sideways and supported by an arm bent at the elbow and propped on the desk. "He went to check out an alarm call down at the hardware store. Their Detex has been on the fritz for weeks so it's probably nothing."

Her spun gold hair was loose, with that slight curl he'd noticed it sometimes had if she let it down after keeping it pulled back all day. Walt was a natural at noticing things, but when it came to Vic it had become more than just a habit. If he were honest with himself, it had crossed over that fine line into the treacherous territory of addiction.

Hat held loosely in his hand, he raised an eyebrow. "So…?"

Matching his stare, she toughed it out for several long moments before finally deflating with a sigh. "I'm gonna catch some sleep here, okay? I'm working in the morning anyway."

"Why?" He was honestly curious, but also worried. The last time he remembered her sleeping at the station, things hadn't been good.

She was fiddling with her hockey puck now, eyes fixed on the beloved hunk of rubber as she flipped it over in her hands. "Sean's at the house and I don't want to be there."

Sean. It wasn't a name Vic said often these days. After Walt had served her the divorce papers from her husband things had gone a bit crazy for a while for all of them, and by the time the dust had settled Sean had moved from his temporary lodgings in one of Durant's rent-by-the-week motels to a semi-permanent post in Billings. His transfer to Australia was imminent, predicated on a small amount of additional training from Newett and the finalization of what Walt absently understood to be an acrimonious and hard-fought divorce settlement.

Trying not to frown, Walt looked down at his boots and then back at his off-duty deputy. "What's he doing in town?"

"Getting the rest of his stuff and dropping off the papers— fucking finally. Have I mentioned lately that Sean's divorce attorney is an asshole?"

The corner of Walt's mouth turned upward just slightly. "Once or twice."

Hockey puck abandoned on the desk, Vic raised her arms above her head and stretched, almost certainly unaware of the way the motion caused the thin black cotton to hug and enhance her curves. Walt rubbed the back of his neck, trying not to imagine what those perky, un-ignorable breasts would feel like under his hands.

"Well, whatever. Compared to most jail cells this place is like the Taj Mahal. It's just one night."

Walt's jumbled thoughts crashed against each other and apparently managed to deactivate the filter that usually prevented him from blurting out ill-considered combinations of words. "Why don't you just come stay at my place instead?"

Her eye widened, dark but sparkling in the low light. "What? Oh, no, Walt. I wouldn't want to put you out."

A knot twisted in his stomach as he wondered whether that was the truth, whether she just didn't want to be under the same roof as him, or if maybe Vic was remembering the last time she had spent the night at his cabin and simply couldn't bear to contemplate that level of awkwardness. The air was heavy between them, and something told Walt that the latter option was true for her just as it was for him. He tried to lighten the mood, to take some of the uneasy weight out of the proposition.

"You sure? The new blankets Ruby ordered are extra itchy, and you'll never catch a wink once the Ferg gets back— his chair squeaks."

That earned him a smile, at least. Allowing her booted feet to drop back onto the wooden floor, she paused as though she might actually be considering it. "I'll be okay. Maybe a little grumpy from the damn springs poking into my spine all night, but I'll survive."

Walt peered over at Vic, and his expression might have been what one would call wistful. She pressed her lips together, watching him in return, and he wondered for the hundredth time whether she ever thought about him the way he almost constantly thought about her. This seemed like a perfect illustration of his total inability to do anything about it, a fact that filled him with unplumbed reserves of frustrated longing. And still, the status quo remained.

Nodding in resignation, Walt palmed his hat onto his head and moved slowly toward the exit. Before he'd made it even three full steps Ferg bundled into the station, and Walt was surprised to see that he was confidently wrangling what appeared to be a skinny twenty-something detainee.

Ferg paused momentarily, noticing that he had an audience. "So it turns out someone actually was robbing the hardware store this time! Probably wouldn't have even caught him if they'd bothered to have their alarms serviced— must have been on my way over there before he even broke in. Talk about bad luck!" He chuckled and steered the suspect around the dividing wall and into the jail cell, fishing the key out of his desk and freeing the young man of his handcuffs before locking him in.

Mildly amused by this turn of events, Walt looked at Vic out of the corner of his eye. "Looks like your hotel reservation just got cancelled. Rethinking my offer?"

Eyes darting around the room, calculating, Vic released a long breath as though she had been holding it in for several minutes. Reaching under her desk, she retrieved a small gym bag and rose to her feet. "I would say I hope you have cable, but last time I checked you didn't even have a TV. Guess you'll have to lend me a book or something."

A thought flashed briefly across the movie screen of his brain, an image of Vic snuggled up against him on the oversized sofa while he read out loud from some book or another, with neither of them paying attention to the words so much as the simple act of togetherness. Shaking his head back and forth to refocus, he gestured for her to walk ahead of him. Bidding the Ferg a good night and telling him to call if he needed anything they left the station together, and Walt wondered just exactly what kind of trouble he was getting himself into.

x

How the hell did you let him talk you into this? You didn't even bring your own vehicle, so what if this is just as bad as last time or worse, and there's no way for you to gracefully take your leave?

As if 'graceful' is even a word that exists in the Vic Moretti vocabulary primer…

It would have been rude not to accept, she told herself. Walt was just being a gentleman, making sure she had a comfortable place to sleep. There was no way he could read her mind and know that the thought of being alone with him like this got her heart racing and her toes tingling and her imagination traveling to forbidden lands where clothing was prohibited and physical contact was enforced by depraved and salacious law.

She kept her eyes fixed on the road ahead of them, focusing on the white line hugging the right shoulder in hopes that it would stop her from sneaking glances at his strong profile as he drove. The silence was increasing her nervousness, but it was a known fact that Walt didn't respond well to prattling small talk. She'd given up on the county's available selection of shitty radio stations a long time ago.

The quiet air swirled around her, stirring Vic's thoughts and making her wonder if Walt ever even thought about that other night at his cabin, where Lizzie had accused them of being involved and Vic had gotten an eyeful of Walt's dripping wet nearly naked body. The night had been a sleepless one after that, between the guilt of secretly wishing there was a basis for Lizzie's accusations and the unquenchable mental thirst caused by the memory of that towel slung low around his waist.

"Vic? We're here…"

Great. She had been so distracted, thinking about the unexplored delights hiding beneath the plain white bath towel of her mind's eye, she hadn't even noticed they'd arrived at the cabin and Walt already had one long denim-clad leg out the door and on the ground.

This was going to be a long night.

Once inside Walt had offered her food, which she'd declined, and a beer, which she had happily accepted. They sat at opposite ends of the sofa, boots discarded by the door, and the sight of Walt's sock-clad feet left Vic's turbulent emotions wedged somewhere in the no-man's land between softhearted affection and raging lust.

With a wry smile he half-jokingly offered her a browse of his book shelf which, to her mounting sense of panic, was located in his bedroom. Vic quickly perused the titles, running her fingers over the spines of a few obviously well-loved volumes. Walt appeared to have wide-ranging taste in reading material, which she supposed wasn't surprising. She settled on what looked like a reasonably readable crime thriller, figuring the chances of her actually being able to focus on the contents were pretty slim in any case.

They read in companionable silence for a little less than an hour, right up until Vic released a small yawn. Walt seemed to take that as a signal that it was time to turn in, and they bickered good-naturedly for a few minutes over the sleeping arrangements.

"Nope. You're taking the bed this time and that's that."

"Walt, don't be ridiculous. I'm perfectly comfortable right here—"

"I sleep out here often enough as it is, and this way I won't wake you if I get up early to take care of the horse."

He picked up her overnight bag and carried it into the bedroom, plopping it on the bed and placing his hands on his hips as she finally followed him. "There."

Twisting her fingers, Vic refused to think about the myriad acts she had imagined performing in this very room. Deflecting her own train of thought, she peered over at him and used one hand to gesture toward the bathroom, now fully equipped with a door. That was new…

"Don't you need to, umm…?" It seemed he had a proclivity for showering at night and, whimsically ulterior motives aside, she really didn't want to disrupt his routine.

"Hmm? Oh, nope. I can wash up in the morning. If you want to, though, there are clean towels in the linen closet next to the sink."

She did feel a bit gritty and ripe after the extra-long day at work. "Thanks, I think I will."

"Okay. Well…" Slapping his thigh with one hand, Walt waved awkwardly with the other. It made her want to tackle him down and pin both his arms above his head. "Goodnight, Vic."

That soft look was back in his eyes, the one he probably didn't realize he gave her sometimes. He'd done it all those months ago when she'd tossed him her truck keys at the Red Pony, causing butterflies to flutter in the bottom of her stomach even back then when their lives were so completely fucked up. She tried not to imagine what he might see in her answering gaze, biting her lip involuntarily as he backed out of the room.

Her voice nearly failed her, one word barely escaping in a low almost-whisper. "Goodnight."

x

He refused to think about it, the idea of Vic's unadorned body being caressed by rivulets of hot water in his shower. Would she use his soap, lathering all her curves and secret places before rinsing off and drying herself with his towels? Walt was overtaken with wild thoughts of sweat and pheromones and the natural reactivity and sensitivity of skin. He tried to relax and breathe slowly, half-reclined on the sofa and pointedly ignoring the suddenly thriving evidence of arousal inside his jeans.

Telling himself it was nothing, that he had invited Vic to stay the night because it was the polite thing to do and she had accepted because it was the logical choice in the circumstances, Walt briefly shut his eyes and adjusted his limbs into a more comfortable position. He'd already untucked and partially unsnapped his shirt, as he generally did on the rare occasions when he enjoyed downtime at home.

Moving his left leg, Walt's foot encountered a hard object wedged between the cushions at the other end of the sofa. It was the book that Vic had been reading, dust jacket carefully marking her place. Would she want to read some more before she went to sleep? He often drifted off that way himself, since it helped to calm his perpetually dancing thoughts. She was probably still in the shower— weren't women notorious for taking forever in there? So he could sneak in and leave it on the bedside table for her.

He figured better safe than sorry, knocking softly on the bedroom door and quietly calling her name. Upon receiving no response, he gently pushed the door open and stepped into the bedroom. The bathroom door was shut, and Walt carefully ignored the simple but provocatively skimpy sleepwear that was laid out on top of the quilt.

Book still in hand, Walt realized he'd made a grave miscalculation when the door to the en suite clicked open and his towel-clad deputy took several unsuspecting steps into the room.

Several things happened then. Vic gasped, jumping slightly. Walt froze, mouth dropping open in stupefied awe at the sight of all that dripping wet golden skin. The white rectangle of cloth barely covered her, hitting at the top of her thighs and nearly giving Walt an aneurysm at the sight of those glistening toned legs and elegant bare feet.

Vic's mouth worked, perhaps trying to form words. At first no sound came out, and her eyes raked over him in an unguarded and hungry way that he never, ever would have expected. Finally, she spoke. One husky, uncertain word.

"Walt?"

Overcome with a sudden weakness through all his limbs, Walt barely registered the sensation of the hardback novel slipping from his numb and uncooperative fingers and falling to the floor with a solid thud. The sound acted like a snap to break Walt out of deep hypnosis, filling him with trepidation as he tried to train his eyes anywhere other than all over her enticing and freshly showered form.

"I… Sorry. Uhm— thought you might want your book, but you didn't answer so I just— I didn't mean to—" One of Walt's hands rose up to rub over his jaw in an involuntary nervous gesture. He averted his eyes to the floor, seemingly unable to do the sensible thing and get his legs to carry him out of the room before Vic's temper caught up with the momentary shock and he ended up with her capable fist forming a pugilistic alliance with his nose.

Her toes appeared in his downcast sightline, less than a foot from the tips of his own. Walt flinched at the feeling of a hand lightly touching his arm near the elbow. She was close, too close, and his body was reacting as the scent combination of his own straightforward clean soap and whatever fruit and flower girly shampoo she'd had in her overnight kit reached his nostrils.

"Walt. Look at me?"

The apprehension in Vic's voice struck him right where it hurt, and his eyes snapped up to meet hers. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, expression full of cautious longing as her fingers grasped his arm atop the weathered denim fabric. Her hair was loose, damp strands spilling over her shoulder on one side. Without even thinking about it Walt reached out, using his right hand to brush the wet tresses back and away, revealing the soft junction of her neck and shoulder. His fingertips brushed over the skin absently, and he felt a shiver run through her.

Swallowing heavily and never breaking the electrified wire of eye contact, he finally got his voice to work. His brain was another story, as an awful lot of blood seemed to have pumped its way south. The best he could manage was, "Are you cold?"

Vic shook her head no, moving her hand further up his arm and stepping into his touch. The edge of his thumb traced over her collarbone and her hand clenched into the fabric covering his bicep. She inhaled sharply, lips slightly parted. It was then that Walt realized she was grasping his arm above the elbow in part to support her own weight, a truth further confirmed by the exhilarating sensation of her other hand landing on top of his shirt pocket when she swayed into him.

As she steadied, the fingers splayed on his chest shifted a few inches toward his sternum and slid into the open neck of his shirt. Her warm touch was a mirror image of his own, their bodies forming a closed circuit through that tentative contact. Walt raised his other hand to Vic's face, touching her cheek, brushing the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip.

Eyelashes fluttering, she tilted her head. "I'm not imagining this, am I?"

Drawing a deep breath, he leaned in until his lips were brushing against the sweet, sensitive skin just behind her earlobe. "God, I hope not."

Abruptly she stepped back from him. At first he thought this was the end, that he had totally blown it, tipped his hand and lost his shirt. He thought this must be the ultimate nail in the coffin when it came to his hopes and dreams where Vic was concerned, that she was about to let him down hard and walk out of his life forever.

Instead she reached up with trembling hands, pulled the soft white terrycloth away from her body, and dropped the towel on the floor.

x

Well, this book delivery gone awry is a bit different from how it happened with Lizzie. LOL! The rest of this is done and will be ready to post after a final edit. Expect it late Sunday or possibly Monday morning. As always, would love to hear comments of any kind!