Disclaimer: I don't own Waterloo Road, its affiliates or characters. Shame.

A/N: Those first few episodes of S3 will always be special, because it's before everything gets complicated, and Rachel gets hurt, and before Eddie re-categorises Rachel as someone under his protection. Because it's simple, and easy, and it's just them. And even then, when they're just getting to know each other, we fell in love with them. I would be tremendously grateful for every and all comments you lovely people chose to leave. Set the weekend after Episode 9, Series 3. Rachel has just got back from the pub, after calling Alison.

Summary: There are some battles that you simply can't win. Reddie, naturally.

Victory

Rachel took a grateful sip of her glass, filled with cold water, and looked out of the window in her kitchen. It was getting dark, and the glow of the street lamps on the street behind her house was beginning to make itself obvious in the night sky. Judging that she probably was sober enough to go through a little paperwork before heading off to an early night, for once, Rachel took another long draft of her water and headed out towards the living room, where she'd left her bag. She wondered whether Alison had thought at all about what she'd said, whether Eddie's ex-wife had even been listening past Rachel introducing herself. She hoped the phone call had done some good. If not, she would have to try again.

She'd learnt a lot about her Deputy today, many of the motivations and truths he nurtured so close to his chest, but were a part of him she wished to understand, after their compromise last week. And she rejoiced in it. She had found out, in the week they'd had since agreeing spending time with each other was not only inevitable, but also not an arduous task, that in actual fact her Deputy was a pleasant man, and she'd grown to see his faults as part of the whole personality. He was a good man, one she had quite happily spent her evening with today, until she had pushed too far. He was smart, confident, and an easy person to talk to – and listen to, as it turned out.

He was even quite attractive, in a bookish, broad-shoulders, tall, warm sort of way. She couldn't deny she'd felt a spark tonight – sharing a sofa which didn't exactly lend itself to personal space had made that very clear to herself, and she also was very sure, from the gaze he'd given her on the odd occasion he'd thought she wasn't looking, that he had felt it too. Every time his hand along the back of the sofa had slightly caught her shoulder, or her hair, he'd moved it away, but there had been a fizz of... something. It would interest her, when she didn't have work pressing on her mind, to ponder where that connection could lead them. That moment after he'd said, "To you, yeah." The light in his eyes, the way he'd said it, she had to pause a moment before replying.

She'd just reached her sofa and was reaching for the folders she'd brought home when there was a knock at her front door. Flicking a glance at her clock on the mantelpiece, she frowned – it wasn't really late, but it was past a time for social calls. Abandoning her previous aim for the front door, Rachel ran a hand through her hair and took up a stance at her door, wishing the glass allowed her a glimpse of who was about to greet her. Opening the door, Rachel was slightly surprised to find the somewhat smouldering form of her Deputy standing on her front step. He was hunched over, as he always seemed to be, and practically glaring at her.

"You going to let me in?" He asked, his tone sullen but his expression taught, as if holding a great many words back. And Rachel realised why he was most likely stood in front of her. Apparently, his ex-wife was far less opposed to ringing him than he was to get in contact with her. Rachel folded her lips together, considering whether she could put this inevitable reprimand off until the next day, but from the heavy set of his expression and the knowledge that they had a lot of prep to get through for the bid for College Status tomorrow, for which they had to be working together, Rachel decided it would be better to let him talk now. She stood back and opened the door up for him, allowing him entrance into her house.

He turned around to face her as she shut the door, and Rachel wasn't sure whether to be grateful he hadn't moved further in or a little hesitant at the fact he was so furious about having this conversation he hadn't thought to move it somewhere else.

"What did I say?" He demanded, the minute her front door had snapped shut. His body was strung with righteous anger, filling her senses, and she tried not to react, pulling on a small, innocent smile.

"I don't know what you mean Eddie."

"Oh, don't try that with me Rachel. I told you I didn't want you interfering in my life!" He said, fiercely, a tendon in his neck standing out from his skin and Rachel looked down slightly, to watch it before she realised what she was doing and flicked her gaze to the floor, wondering what could possibly fascinate her about his neck.

"Alison called you." She replied, quietly, redirecting her thoughts back to the focus of why he was here, strictly and professionally.

"Yes, she did. She was fuming – ranting about why I couldn't fight my own battles, and how I had no right to be making demands on her, after everything she'd gone through. Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about, until she mentioned your name. Why couldn't you just stay out of it?" He wasn't threatening, she didn't feel the need to back away, but he did seem in that moment, larger and more imposing, the masculine edges she knew were there about him suddenly more prominent.

"I am sorry that she flew off the handle, and that you bore the brunt of her temper – but I had to try Eddie. I could see in your face today how much you miss Michael -" And she had. He loved that little boy so much.

"What part of 'Stay out' did you not understand, Rachel? This is none of your business!" His shoulders flicked up and down with his words, emphasising his exasperation, and anger, and she caught herself tracing the length of them.

"Eddie, that child is getting to an age where he'll realise what the massive hole where his father should be will mean! He needs you, just as much as you need him." Rachel let the emotional end of the argument work in her favour, just this once.

"Rachel, I told you to leave this alone." He wasn't shouting now – but his voice was dark and reverberating with a tone of fury.

"You're not my Boss, Eddie." The way the man before her practically shuddered with frustration at that remark almost made Rachel smile, before she began damage control. "Listen, I am sorry that things escalated. I just wanted to let her know that you missed your son – that was all."

"Yeah, well, now you've made things a hundred times worse, thank you very much." He shot back, sarcastically, and Rachel sighed, reaching out and catching a hand around his arm. He looked up into her eyes, the sight of so much empathy and shared hurt too much to argue with, and so sighed, his body relaxing fractionally as he registered the warmth and understanding she was radiating up to him in those doe orbs. "Why did you have to interfere?" He asked, his posture still defiant, but less aggressive, less overblown.

"Irrepressible personality trait?" She offered with a quirky smile, and he almost returned it. A moment for the tension to pass flowed between them, and Rachel gladly let a little self control go, as she felt him do the same under her hand. He almost nodded in understanding, and her hand fell away, the temptation of the movement catching up with the woman who'd begun it.

"What did you mean, earlier, about knowing how important it is to feel loved by your parents?" He asked, his own gaze softening now as he mentioned the personal information she'd shared with him in return for what he'd revealed. Rachel stiffened slightly and turned away towards her living room doorway, wrapping her arms around her front, having hoped he wouldn't bring that up again.

"I'd rather not go there tonight." She said quietly, hunching her shoulders slightly before she recovered from the flash of remembered emotion and turned back to him, her irrepressible strength straightening her posture and tipping her head up. Eddie had followed her to the living room doorway, watching her with eyes that alarmed her – dark, swirling with emotions as deep as the colour that came with them – and Rachel unwittingly felt her breath hitch slightly. She thought she'd seen all the expressions her Deputy had to show her – but this was new. And deep inside her, something undeniable shifted, something palpable and powerful.

Eddie continued looking at her like that, as if waiting for something, and Rachel twitched her feet marginally, folding her arms more firmly in a movement she struggled not to call defensive as she fought the urges rising from nowhere. His stare felt heavy, inexplicably so, and she clasped her determination even closer.

"If I let this go now, will you ever tell me?" He asked, raising an eyebrow slightly, his voice husky, and Rachel swallowed, her eyes flickering away from his, biting slightly on the inside of her lip for a second. And she heard him shift closer, the darkness that flowed in from outside condensing slightly at the encroaching proximity of him.

"Maybe." She replied ever so quietly, surprised by her own honesty. Sharing personal history with colleagues was a massive impossibility for her, and yet, here and now, she'd almost promised him something no other man could boast of. Gently, he took another step forward, and she felt the space in her chest constrict a little further. She couldn't quite grasp how he had managed to affect her like this, all she knew was she couldn't fight it – and she was trying. Another step, and she looked up, into those incredible eyes, wondering what his mind was drawing from this, contemplating if he was aware – if he felt the same physicality in the air.

He was close enough to reach out to now. And she knew it – the knowledge pressed itself against her consciousness. They couldn't look away from the other, their gazes buried under the feeling in the other's retinas, trapped, drawn. In that moment, Rachel felt she finally understood her Deputy. She could look inside him. The shocking and unnerving element was she could tell he felt the same – as if he'd pulled back the curtain of her past, and her control, and seen the young woman she'd started out as, fresh and vibrant and hopeful. And the need for him suddenly became suffocating. Fighting tooth and nail for her own body's attention, she contained it, keeping her back straight, hoping he couldn't see her nails digging into her palms.

With a rustle of fabric and skin, Eddie's arm moved out, his hand gliding through the air and landing, exhaustibly tempting on her sleeve-covered arm. A gesture of what? Companionship? Friendship? Support? It didn't feel like that. Not with a zap of current that fizzed into her skin as soon as the contact was made. Eddie's eyes remained in the depths of hers, as his hand slid down the cotton of her top, which suddenly felt far too thin to provide any protection from his body heat, before it fell away, back to his side, and the woman couldn't decide if she was grateful or yearning.

"Whenever you're ready. I'll listen." He finally murmured, gravelly and catching on something in Rachel's mid-rift. Abruptly, she nodded, a little sharply but she hoped he would put that down to the awkwardness for her over the subject matter, not the fact she was sure she could hear his heartbeat over her own elevated body rhythm and it was making her pulse thump a little too heavily in her ears. Deciding she needed to take charge of the situation, Rachel nodded again and then, seeing his look of vague surety, led the way, past him, out of the living room and to her front door. She wasn't sure how much longer she could stand being this close to him – and she wasn't even sure why!

"Good night, Eddie." She said, glad to hear her voice remained steady as she spoke, and made the effort to keep her hand steady as she reached out and turned down the latch, letting the door open slightly before she turned back to him, confident she had enough self-control back to meet his eyes again. He smiled, a little anyway, and put out a hand to the door as well, pulling it open a little further, the cool night air washing luxuriously over her rather heated cheeks – she hadn't realised she was flushing.

"Night Rachel. Thank you for listening. Just don't talk to Alison again until we've sorted things between us." He added, a hint of sternness flickering in his voice, but the smile remaining. She nodded, her lips curving upwards as well, thanking him in return for not pushing her further than she was willing. In one sense, anyway. His eyes swayed across her face, grazing down the size of her face, and Rachel had to part her lips to take in enough air. Before she could stop it, before she could channel any of her control forward, he had stepped into her personal space and leant down, tilting his head to the side and brushing a kiss to her cheek.

She was lost. She felt it. The burning in the pit of her stomach erupted into a larva flow of need and want, and her breath stilled the second his lips touched her skin.

He drew back, fractionally, but there was no stopping it now. Her hands had already risen to the front of his jacket, unconsciously and unwontedly, brushing over the familiar lapels, grazing a button hole. His face hovered a few centimetres in front of hers, sharing air, his eyes barely open, and Rachel could stand it no longer. She tipped her head up, pressing her lips against his. And the damage was done. Their dancing on the brink between this world and the next was done. This, darkness and tense. The next, blazing, furious and beautiful...And into the fire, they toppled, helpless and unheeding.

He surged forwards, pushing her back against the wall, mouth commanding and bruising over hers, taking every movement she offered and returning it threefold, his hands finding a convenient hold over her hips, while his body pinned her in place. She ate up everything he had to give, one arm curling possessively around his neck, drawing him as close as possible, while the other twined desperately in his jacket, holding him where she knew she could have him. Neither felt the judder of the door being knocked back into its frame, nor the thump as her back hit the support behind it.

He bit down gently on her bottom lip, drawing a yearning moan from the very back of her throat, before sliding his tongue inside her mouth and she welcomed it, the overwhelming want for him swallowing her completely and she buried the kiss between them, while a hand of his slid up her side and back, enjoying her curves, taking pleasure from the movement as his fingertips reached the bottom of her hairline and lost themselves in her fiery tresses, drawing them even closer together.

As the need for breath made itself clear, even in her hazed mind, Rachel eased back from his kiss, slowly and luxuriously breaking them apart, lingering on his lips, finally letting her eyes lift and open, meeting his panting breath, his obsidian orbs. There was no doubt in either of their minds – that was not the end. That was merely the beginning. Her whole body burned to the touch, she could feel it, and his hands on her were the only things to ease the fire. Tipping her head to the size, she leant back in, breath caught again, pushing up as he pressed down, their individual forms melding, the temperature making it so easy to fuse themselves into the other.

She felt, and would see if she could but draw her eyelids up, his unmistakable want for her – it was evident in the grip of his fingers just below her ribs, and in the pressure of his thumb near her pulse in her neck, and it only made her need for him grow, if that were possible. This went beyond passion, this was pure and real and utterly primal. Grasping a train of thought that appeared to make sense, she shifted her weight and leant him back, away from the wall, so she had space to move. He loosened his hold, and she manoeuvred them both to the side, towards her stairs, but instead of breaking the kiss to question her motives, he let her lead, ducking his head further to graze his teeth lightly across the skin under her ear.

Another desperate, scarlet groan was released into the air.

Feeling behind her with a hand she'd loosed from his collar, she guided them both to the bottom of the banister, while he peppered her neck in soft but spicy butterfly kisses, his breath hot on each one of them, the sensitised skin so vulnerable to his plundering. In a moment when he paused and leant upwards to his natural height again, Rachel took full advantage of the fact he never did all the buttons up on his shirt and nudged the collar aside to brush her lips up the skin of his neck, under his jaw, before finding his lips again, something exquisite about the knowledge his kisses were so fulfilling.

So buried in each other, Rachel nearly tripped backwards over the first step up towards her bedroom, but Eddie's hold on her held firm, and kept her upright. Taking possession of her hands, Eddie took them from him and backed her against the banister, trapping them against the wood. Then, trailing as much of his skin against her clothing as possible, he trickled his fingers up her body, skirting any sensitive areas that might encourage her to move, and slipping under her jacket's shoulders. The material glided off her like silk, and she felt it slip from her arms to the floor, goosebumps flecking over her skin at the loss of warmth but she didn't notice as she returned the favour for him, his coat and jacket as one falling to join hers.

Curling a hand around the side of his face, she brought him down to her waiting mouth once more, deep, smouldering warmth flaring across them both as they moved up a couple of steps blindly, stumbling and scuffing but together, bound and wrapped up in this fierce, unyielding force. Parting again for air, Rachel stepped up another stair, putting her on roughly the same height as Eddie, making sure his eyes were focussed unwaveringly on her as she lowered a hand and lifted her top, drawing it slowly up, far too slowly and she knew it, and she smirked as Eddie growled in impatience. With a quick movement, she freed herself from the green top and let it land somewhere on the floor of her Hall, drawing herself completely straight and letting him take her in.

A couple of seconds passed in absolute stillness as his eyes physically raked her upper body, glided over her shoulders, before suddenly, his hand was in her hair again and his mouth was on her scapula, following the line of the bone under her skin, sucking slightly on the skin with a desperation of a man on the edge of a very dangerous precipice. Then she felt his other hand scoop around her waist, feeling for the zip, which he found quick enough to satisfy them both and drew it down, probably having learnt somewhere along the way that pulling would never do any good. Then she felt, with a deep breath of contentment, the heavy material of her skirt fall away completely, leaving only the leather of her boots and pieces of lace and silk.

A muffled smirk in the base of her neck said that wasn't the first time Eddie had envisaged doing that with her skirt. And the pressure inside of her made a welcome and sudden swell, filling her sternum. Pressing her mouth into the skin behind Eddie's ear, she finally gained access to the buttons of his shirt, dealing with them very quickly as he guided them further up this incredible path towards succumbing. Once his front was free, he ripped the shirt from his shoulders himself, throwing the garment behind him and Rachel's able fingers rapidly descended to his belt, pausing in a flash of ecstasy as he found a spot at the base of her spine that made her arch into him, her expression blissful and desperate.

In a flash of retaliation for making her body betray her so obviously, Rachel drew the belt from around him, dropping it loudly to their sides but not proceeding any further, nuzzling into the top of his chest, pressing an open-mouthed kiss to the top of his pectoral muscle, the sinew moving sharply beneath her touch, as he struggled to contain his own sound of craving her. They'd reached the top of the stairs, somehow, and Rachel danced her fingertips lightly up his sides, catching his skin lightly with her nails as she ducked towards her bedroom door. He caught her hands and took possession of them, drawing one up and exposing the inside of her wrist, brushing those hot, sharp little kisses down to her elbow, and she fought to keep control of her thirst.

They tumbled into her bedroom, both striking for the first hard surface, which happened to be the door, and they slammed the structure shut as they fell against it, clasping the other's mouth to their own, heat breathed across skin, fingers exploring and striking skin. Sliding down her body, he drew a scorching line down her neck, between her breasts, dancing across her stomach as his hands ever so slowly divested her of her boots. She focussed on the sound of each zip being drawn down, before losing the ability to concentrate – his mouth was far too close to her burning centre. Powerless, she let him lift her away from the leather, a thump signalling their end on the floor somewhere, but she didn't care.

A rush of cold air, and Eddie was back to greet her short, sharp, gasping breaths, his mouth covering her own. His hand circled Rachel's breast, covering the perfect curve still encased in the darkest green lace he'd ever seen, before starting a deadly, dangerous journey downwards. Her eyes fought to open, her breathing shortening by the second, her want too wound and too tight to be denied. He found the end of the matching underwear and, after skirting the edge for a few seconds, just to feel her bite a little harder, he slipped a finger inside.

Heat greeted him, and there was no fighting how much it burned both of them now – they knew what they needed. But Eddie drew it out, circling her entrance, stroking a finger that was far too light over the nub of nerves under his touch. Rachel's expression flickered, and her chest heaved with the effort not to do something, and he watched the sheen of fierce pleasure sweep across her entire body, taut and longing for him. Then he curved two fingers into her. Her mouth sprang open, a gasp, half formed and sticking in her throat, and he swallowed a moan as he pressed his mouth over hers. Slowly, smoothly, he began to move inside her, knowing the rhythm was nowhere near enough and she whimpered, her hands raking through his hair.

He ground his palm around her, speeding up the movement of his fingers just slightly, enough for her to wrap a leg around him, encouraging, as her head tipped back into the door. It was unbearable – seeing her so close to the edge, and he was more than tempted to give her exactly what she wanted. But part of him wanted this to be theirs, wanted them to share it, just as much as he wanted her to enjoy it. And something in the way her eyes caught his told him he was right. He was about to slow down when her hand wrapped around his arm and somehow, some force of will he didn't think he had, stopped him. She drew her head up, looked into the smouldering eyes before her, and whispered one word.

"Together." He didn't pause to nod his reply, he was already lowering her underwear as they shared another, deep, succulent, time-bending kiss. Then she had hitched her other leg around him, and he was inside her. The way both their bodies went taut and arched away said just how close they were. She was so tight, and so beautiful, and so hot around him, and as she secured her lips around his one more time, he knew something had changed for both of them tonight. He slipped his arms around her, and took their weight, knowing her legs were secure around his hips, lifting them away from the door and to the bed.

He laid her down, the sight of her flushed skin against the white sheets sending him blind with desperation and he began to move, starting slow but knowing it couldn't stay that way. But Rachel was never passive, and she needed this. She pushed up, tipping them upright, her mouth seeking that point under his jaw, the building tension easily read in the angle of her neck and curves of her back. Eddie could feel it in her, both of them fighting to hold on, as he moved deep within her, rubbing against spots inside her she'd forgotten could release so much pleasure. They rocked together, in a tangle of sheets, limbs and fingers, him holding her close, increasing his rhythm as desperation was pierced with white hot need.

Her face was in his neck, each breath in barely enough to keep her conscious, consumed by the throws of pleasure over coming her body as he thrust up into her, and they were both teetering on that knife edge. Then, with one last heavy thrust, into the chasm they fell. Energy flowed outwards of their point of connection, the flash from the supernova spreading out into a hot bathing glow, the release incredible and they finally breathed out together, falling onto the bed, in each other's arms, the kisses less frantic but no less meant. Limbs still entwined together, they gripped each other close, riding out the glow, until they could see again.

Rachel had ended up resting on his chest, her hand hovering over his heartbeat, a contented smile shared between them. He was still there, around her, inside her, and she couldn't be sure if he realised it but he'd curved an arm around her back, holding her close. Placing an arm either side of him, she lifted herself away and looked down, at him. And he looked up, the charcoal colour of his eyes now flecked in dark chocolate, and smiled at her, before lifting a hand to bury in her hair and draw her down, to his waiting lips.