AN: I wrote this one shot a while back, but took it down to try and make it more T rated. I like the challenge of implying intimacy because I'm an old fashioned believer in privacy being private. I hope this explains how Margaret might have let John spend the night. Cheers.

Happy New Year's, John Thornton

The truck idled at the red light, the right turn signal clicking in the silence. John stared at the car in front of them. His sister Fanny was snoring on Margaret's shoulder. He slid a glance at Margaret.

She was looking at him, a small curious smile on her face.

He shifted in his seat, and gripped the steering wheel, the memory of the last hour spent with her making it difficult to think. His world had turned upside when Margaret Hale pulled him into a kiss as the clock struck midnight. And then he'd kept kissing her like she was the last and only woman on earth.

He'd lifted her up off the floor, and worked his way through the crowd—ignoring the crude comments and laughter— until he found the small library he knew the Latimers never used. John had kicked the door open and let go of Margaret only long enough to shrug out of his jacket.

John knew he should stop, but he couldn't—not unless she told him to. But all she did was kiss him again and again and again. His hands found their way into her hair, and he frowned when the hair pins got in the way.

Margaret giggled against his lips as he grumbled, picking them out one by one. She shook her hair down around her shoulders raised her eyebrows.


John couldn't answer; not when an aching hollow hunger uncoiled itself, like an animal long asleep, and made speaking impossible. Then she ran her hands through his hair, and snorted when it stood on end.


"You look ridiculous."

"Shut up."

"Make me," she said and had kissed him again, long and slow and luxurious. John thought he could die right there in that library with no regrets.

Except one.

A horn sounded behind him and John's eyes snapped back up. He glanced at Margaret again. There was no going back now. Not for him.

He eased the truck forward for the right turn, towards Margaret's house. And then his hands slid over the wheel and he flicked down the left signal and swung the truck the opposite direction. He knew Margaret was watching him, but she didn't say anything and neither did he.

John directed his sister towards the stairs, trying to keep her quiet. He didn't want to try and explain himself if their mother woke up.

"Shut up, Fan."

She doubled over, giggling, and John glared at her, before he bent and hoisted her over his shoulder.

"Put me down, you ass."

"Watch your head."

"I saw you and Margaret," she laughed as she flopped down, poking him in the back. "Anne will never forgive you now, you know."

"Good." John opened the door to her room and dumped her on the bed. He pulled off her shoes and tossed them into the corner.

"You should be nicer to Margaret, John-John," Fan smacked his cheek. "She's hot."

He grinned as Fanny's eyes fluttered closed. John pulled the covers over her, and kissed her cheek.

Margaret sat silently as John drove through the deserted Milton streets, her mind lingering on the madness of the night. She'd thought one kiss would be enough to convince Henry Lennox she wasn't interested in that way. She hadn't thought that she'd want to go on kissing John Thornton like she had. But they had kissed and kissed and kissed until Margaret couldn't think about anything or anyone except him.

She jumped as he touched her shoulder, glancing at him and then out the window. He'd parked the truck across the street from her house. He gave her a strange look as he let himself out, walked around the front of the car, and opened her door. She slid out, dashing across the slushy asphalt, John following slowly and steadily behind her, his hands in his pockets.

He watched in silence as she fumbled for her keys. The wind blew sharply and she shivered.

"Sorry, I know its here," she said.

John crouched down and slid his hand under the threshold, and held up a spare key. Margaret had forgotten he put it there when he changed the locks for her dad. He slid the key into the door, unlocked it, and pushed it open.

Margaret should have stepped inside, but the look on John's face held her there. She licked her lips, realizing she wanted him to kiss her again, terrified and a little curious what would happen if he did.

"Would you come in a moment?"

John raised an eyebrow.

"I have something of yours." Margaret stepped inside, John ducking in after her.

She snatched up the battered paperback from the front table and held it out. He'd lent it to her weeks ago. Margaret felt her arm tremble as John reached out and circled his hand around her wrist, pulling her close.

"Did you finish?"

"No," Margaret fingered his jacket.

John bent down, his faces inches from hers, "Why not?"

"I didn't like it," Whatever madness that made her kiss him before roared to life, demanding more. A strange ache uncurled in her chest. "I don't like novels."

"Liar," John breathed, his hands around her waist holding her close.

Margaret lifted herself on tiptoe and kissed him again. She started when he lifted her onto the small front table.

"Are you always so rude?"

"Only to you."

Margaret knew she should tell him to go, that they should stop this nonsense and behave like rational adults. John would go if she asked him to, she felt certain of that. But something about the way he looked at her made her want to find out just how rude he could be.

"You don't even like me," she said pulling back.

He gave her crooked grin, "You don't like me either."

His hands cupped her face, and John kissed her so softly she shivered as a cold wind blew through the open door.

"Maggie," John took a deep breath, leaning his forehead against hers, "Tell me to leave."

Margaret let go of her last reserve of rationality and returned his soft kiss, her hands straying into his hair.

"Shut up, John."

He stared at her a moment, his eyes lit with elated disbelief. Then John reached out with one arm, pushed the front door shut, and snapped the bolt into place. When he picked her up, Margaret stifled a giggle.

"Don't drop me," she breathed, trying to control her nervous laughter.

"Trust me," John said as he walked them up the stairs.

Margaret held her breath as they passed her father's door and the floor board groaned under their combined weight.

"Maggie, is that you?" Richard's voice called through the door.

John's eyes flicked to the door and to her face, and he set her down, a sly grin spreading over his features.

"Yes," Margaret called and stopped short, as John began kissing her face. "Stop," she whispered, but he didn't stop and she didn't make him.

Margaret slid out from under him and slipped into her bedroom. John followed behind her. He moved quickly and quietly for such a big man, closing and locking the door. Before she could say anything, he'd picked her up again, shoved the books off her bureau, and set her down on top of it.

"Hush," she scolded, laying a finger on his lips, "My father will hear."

John gave her a wolfish grin, "I don't care."

Her eyes narrowed, but she was still smiling. John was behaving so unlike his serious self, she didn't want him to stop.

John reached out and plucked her clock off the wall, setting it face down on the bureau next to Margaret. He laid his keys, wallet, pocket knife, and gun next to it.

She glanced at the gun, raising an eyebrow, "Why do you have that?"

"Just in case," John shrugged out of his jacket and tossed it on the bed, enjoying Margaret's widening eyes when his shirt, shoes, socks and belt followed.

"Impossible man," She murmured. "Won't we need that?"

John glanced at the twin sized bed, "Too small."

She scooted forward, serious and regal. John watched her slender fingers as she unfastened his father's watch, carefully setting it aside. From the moment he'd set eyes on this tiny British woman, he'd known she was full of fight and fire, and he'd wanted her. For her, he'd been willing to wait and work as long as he had to. John was still not quite able to believe that he was here now, with Margaret, and that she wanted him. All he knew was he would do whatever it took to keep her.

He would do this right—even if it killed him.

The moon bathed the floor with silver light and John saw Margaret was crying.

"Did I hurt you?" He rumbled, wiping her tears away with his thumb.

She scooted closer, pulling his arm around her, and John held on tight as she shivered.


"No," she brushed his lips with her fingers, "You were lovely."

He nodded, a small smile on his lips, unable to remember a moment when he'd been more content.


"What is it?"

"Kiss me again."

He didn't have to be told twice.

The moon was starting to set when John finally fell asleep. Margaret watched him drift off, the tired worry and hard lines softening as he slept. A tear spilled down her cheek. Tomorrow, the fatigue and the worry would be back. Tomorrow they would remember every argument and disagreement. Some part of her wanted to stay here forever with the tall, impossible man who was so much more than she'd thought before. Margaret felt John's arms tighten around her.

"I love you, Maggie."

The words were so soft she almost missed them. She scooted closer, crying until she drifted off to sleep.

Because everything would change tomorrow.