Title: In the Blink of an Eye

Summary: Kessler reflects on their near hopeless situation just as the MS-13 advance on the vulnerable stronghold; Gray's life hangs in the balance and innocent blood on his head. Based on & some spoilers for eppy 3.12 No Refuge. Ending speculation. One-shot.

Disclaimer: This is a piece of fan fiction. It is written for pleasure and not for profit. The Border belongs to Peter Raymont, Lindalee Tracey, Janet MacLean, Jeremy Hole, and White Pine Pictures. All other characters are my own. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.

A/N 1:
Okay so I am posting this with bitter sweet feelings. I found out that this amazing show is probably going to be cancelled! (so depressing!!!). So I do hope that people will still read and like. I am a HUGE Mike/Charlotte shipper but also like Gray/Liz. Damn the stupid producers for leaving us with that terrible cliffe. But if they do bring it back I have faith that our fearless leader and his sexy Mi6 spy will be together. This is my first Border piece ever so please be kind! Special thanks to 'Pedellea' and 'Stardust585'. If it sucks then I apologize in advance!

A/N 2: so if any of my readers from CSI:NY are reading this a HUGE shout of THANKS in advance if you review. Major Mike Kessler, the head of ICS is a lot like Mac Taylor in personality traits. But if you have some time and want to invest in an hour of really good television here is the link for the season 3 finale. Remember to remove the word's in brackets (3 www's), (DOT) and replace with a (www or .) to activate the link.

Link: http://(3 www's)(DOT)cbc(DOT)ca/video/#/Shows/The_Border/ID=1386489402 (If this doesn't show up, please PM me and I'll send) and yes the annoying blue commercials have to stay...dang sponsors! Lol Also the link is on my profile in case this doesn't post right.


"Here they come!"

"They're in the house!"

"Shoot anything that comes at you!"

"Shoot to kill!"

"I'm out!"

XXXXXXXX

2 Days Ago

'Mike I can't...'

'That's the guy you're seeing?'

'Locked him up and thrown away the key...'

I had spent half the night in emotional reflection; finally telling myself that Terri and I were really through and the rest of the night trying to get Charlotte to pick up the phone.

After she left, my senses told me that she did something just to get back at me; to make me think twice but when I had seen Darnell the morning after she left, my mind started to wonder if she traded intimate favors with a man she and I both know she's not attracted to but shares a past with.

"She used him," I huff as I try to push Darnell's face out of my mind. I finish my glass of golden poison and head back into the quiet kitchen. Even now I miss Zoe's mindless chatter; her teenage mind always going a million miles an hour about a million different things.

'You should have seen him dad...he had more tattoos than...' her voice dies out in my mind as her picture also fades and I'm once again greeted with the suffocating silence of my apartment.

I dial Charlotte again; not caring about the time difference in London.

'You have reached the voice mail for Charlotte Bates...'

"It's me...I just need to hear the sound of your voice. Call me."

I hang up, not really expecting a call in return and head into the bathroom, turning on the hot water and hoping the steam rising in the small enclosed space will loosen some of the tension the day has successfully built. I look at my reflection in the mirror and frown.

"I need sleep," I state with a heavy sigh as I finally push myself under the hot water, closing my eyes and willing the cursing of our last suspect's vile threats to finally fade. I stay under the hot water for what seems like an eternity and finally emerge to my phone ringing.

But as soon as I glance at the name my lips curl upward.

"Was hoping to hear from you."

"Hello handsome, am I calling at a bad time?"

"Just got out of the shower."

"Then it's a good time," the silky voice of Charlotte Bates purrs over the phone. "Towel or no towel?"

"Towel. You're not here," I state with a slight hint of bitterness in my voice.

"Mike, I thought I had..."

"What you saw was..."

"You and Terri sharing an intimate moment."

"It's over," I insist as I wander into my bedroom and ease myself down on the edge of the bed.

"And if I were to come there and invest more of my precious..."

"Did you sleep with Darnell?"

"Touche," her voice dies out.

"Damn it," I gently curse as I look away. However, my eyes rest on a small picture of her on my dresser and my heart instantly starts to beat faster.

"Mike, I'm..."

"Sorry?"

"Are you? Are you sorry for spending the night with me and then kissing your ex wife on the street? In public view?"

"Are you sorry for using Darnell as payback?"

"Truce?"

"Truce," I state with heavy frown. "Wish you were here in person for me to say that."

"I'm not that far away."

"I can't hold you," I counter and I hear her lips offer a soft groan.

"I'll see you soon Mike," her voice whispers before she offers me a soft goodnight and the line goes dead.

I stare at the name on the phone for what seems like an eternity before I finally push myself back up and start to get dressed for the night. My mind thinks back to the kiss with Terri and I have to wonder if it was just familial lingering that led to me asking for more; inside my heart I knew it was over. I think seeing her with Ramon forced those lingering feelings to surface but as I turn off the light for the night my dwells on only one person.

"Goodnight Charlotte," I offer before I finally allow darkness to consume me; not knowing that in a few days my very existence would be on the brink.

XXXXXXXX

Present Day

A few more sounds of gunshots force my mind back to reality. Even now, thinking back on the team briefing about the MS-13 I remember my stomach tightening as I relay what I know about this ultra-violent street gang, linked to the notorious Mexican Drug Cartel to the rest of the room.

"She's M-13," Maggie, my right hand comes and states with her worried trademark expression. "This is worse than we thought."

I think the conversation with Charlotte finally offered my mind some much needed comfort that even the Minister's stupid political antics couldn't dampen but even now her beautiful face quickly fades as my harsh reality engulfs me with deadly arms; my future now uncertain.

I have faced many terrifying situations when I was in special forces, even some recently; some that brought me to the brink of death. But at that time I had only to worry about myself and a few trained soldiers that knew the true meaning of fight to the death.

What do I have here? A room filled with innocent women and children; my ex-wife, the mother of my child, her lover, her second chance at true happiness and the lives of those that work with me on a daily basis.

'How did it come to this?'

"Mike, Gray's losing a lot of blood," Liz's worried voice snaps me back to my tormented reality. I look down at the body of Gray Jackson, one of my best and curse myself for being so harsh on him during the weeks following Layla's untimely death. Would I too have not gone off half cocked if something I did got Charlotte or even Terri killed for no reason?

But as I see the look of concern in Liz's eyes I know that it's more than a professional concern that is hiding behind those dark pools; she's in love with him. During working hours they have hidden it very well. But right here...in this hour...the moment of truth, I can see it in her eyes; she's afraid to lose him. Gray had told me he was almost thinking of taking the day off; a personal day, no other reason given. Now I can guess and am cursing myself I didn't insist he take it.

'I'll see you soon'... Charlotte's soft voice calls to my mind, trying to offer some sort of relief from the mental anguish I find myself in right now.

I allow my mind to think back to the moments leading up to this. What did I miss? I normally don't second guess anything I do; but surrounded by a violent bloodthirsty mob that wants nothing more than to end all our lives without remorse as is their motto, I am starting to second guess everything I hold dear.

My mind drifts back to when I had gone to see Terri earlier in the day; asking to talk to Ramon. I'm glad that she told me it's over and that I talked Charlotte and we made amends; that just cemented in my mind and heart that it is over. Hearing Terri defend him so passionately also convinced me that she has moved on and it's time to let the past remain just as it is and it's time for me to do the same.

I should have known that signing over the prisoners was a bad move, but once again I had to yield to the bureaucrats who even now don't give a flying damn about the lives of the people that I am trying to save right now.

'Declaration of war.'

Those three terrible words rolls off my lips, my brain replaying the look on Liz's face as we had come face to face with the bloody carnage a few hours earlier and I feel my spine shiver as my fingers tighten around the handle of the gun in my hands; my last chance at survival against an enemy that lives and breathes pure unadulterated evil.

Such a difference from hearing Liz's words of despair to the words of hope and encouragement between Terri and Ramon; seeing them together and then kissing, I know was the solid shot upside the head that I needed.

'Charlotte,' my mind calls as I check the room once more; the noises outside getting closer; fate sealing in on us.

Once the bullets started to fly and that innocent young man lost his life I knew time was not on our side.

"Come on Maggie," I chant over and over again; knowing my right hand hasn't let me down yet.

Terri looks up at me and offers me a worried look, one of despair; but her concern is different this time, worried for her new future with a man she's now in love with; a man at her side fighting for his life and future as I am for mine.

I see the tears; hear the cries; commit to memory the terrified faces all looking to me as leader to remedy this nightmare for them; offering them something they can wake up from, walk away from and live to talk about tomorrow.

For a brief moment I too worry that this is now the end for me as well; Gray and Liz dying before they had a chance to fully grow something that brings them joy and happiness. Will we leave Zoe an orphan?

'Charlotte...I'm sorry...' my mind offers in silent remorse. If given the opportunity I would do things differently. Will I get that second chance?

In the blink of an eye it could all be gone.

I hear the shouting getting closer; the people around me softly crying and praying, including one of my Agents fighting for his life and my heart rate soars.

"This is the end," I hear Ramon offer in anguished torment before he offers a mumbled prayer in Spanish.

"I'm out..." Liz offers the same sentiment as us all.

I hear Terri's soft cries; Gray's grunts, Liz's whispered curses and Ramon's begging pleas as the rest of the door splinters, angry shouting as the swarm descends upon us.

But just as I fear all hope is lost, I realize our prayers are finally answered and salvation arrives in the form of ERT, ICS, RCMP and DHS; all coming to our aide when most needed.

"Major Kessler!" I hear a familiar voice shout and offer a thank you god as I round the corner, slam the butt end of my gun into a tattooed number 13, thankful that another bullet wasn't fired as I look up into a face that I now view as my earthly savior.

"Mike!" Maggie's frantic and worried voice comes across loud and clear as she pushes past the man before her and rests between us.

"Get an ambulance, Gray's been shot!" I direct in a firm tone.

The next hour passes by with an intense blur. Terri and Ramon help the rest of the shocked and terrified patrons of Haven House; helping the injured and then tending to those that needed relocation for the night until their refuge was once again a place for safety and hope.

Maggie tells me she doesn't mind to do the paperwork, calling in Slade to help. Gray and Liz are on the way to the hospital to get tended to, Gray going directly into surgery; thankfully he'll be okay and they'll be able to once again work on building what they thought they'd be dying for tonight.

"Damn nearly one AM," I groan as I look at my watch, pushing the key into the lock. I let myself in and lean against the door, closing my eyes and praying for the screaming and the bullet sounds to subside. Terri is with Ramon and now I am wishing that Zoe was here to scold me for needlessly putting myself in harms way once again.

But as I open my eyes I notice a few things out of place.

"What the..." my lips offer softly as I glance at two waiting wine glasses, a single candle on the table and a very familiar purse and pair of shoes by the couch.

"Wasn't sure another gun was needed at Haven House," Charlotte's soft voice quickly snaps my attention in her direction. "So I came here instead."

A tired smile crosses my lips as I gaze at her scantily clad body, tempting me instantly.

"I...thought you had given me the key?"

"I gave you back one of them. You know I always carry a backup," she smiles as she slowly saunters toward me, picking up the glass of wine in her hand and then nearing me with a hungry look. But as she comes and stands before me, I notice her eyes are watery and her lips slightly quivering.

"What is it?"

"Silly sentimentality that I might have never seen you again," she offers casually, draping an arm around my neck, inspecting the blood smatterings that I have sustained.

"I'm okay."

"Are you?"

"I will be," I state with a frown, her body pressing in closer.

"I feared the worst," she whispers, her delicate fingers teasing my warm neck.

"So did I," I answer pull back with a frustrated look. "For all of us."

"Is Terri okay?"

"She and Ramon are both fine; and together as she wants."

"Smart girl, knows what she wants."

"Charlotte..." I start only to have her silence me with a firm kiss.

"So do I," she states firmly, as she places the wine glass on the table beside us, allowing me to finally wrap my arms around her fully, pulling her against my rapidly beating heart, hungrily devouring her lips with any energy I have left to muster.

Today started out one way; the possibility of hope, a chance to right something that I wronged. An hour ago, I could have sworn that second chance was only a dream, and one that would never come true. But in a split second; the blink of an eye that dream was saved and the future bright and hopeful once again.

And as I slowly lower Charlotte to the couch beside us, our lips still locked; bodies moving as one I know one thing is certain; today is going to end with a future that is still full of hope and undiscovered.

THE END!


A/N: Okay so we all know the season ended with that cruel cliffe but I had to add a happy twist. Here's hoping we'll get some kind of consolation right? And yes all the ending was complete speculation. Well feedback on this would be most welcome as again it's my first border fic and am kinda nervous so please be kind and if you want to flame, please leave.