The King and Queen of Hearts by DD Agent
I do not own The Closer or any of its characters, or its settings, they belong to the lovely folks at TNT
"You're not going to be Chief, Will."
Will Pope turned around from his position on the roof to see Riley standing there, hands in his pockets, disheartened. He looked confused for a moment, wondering why he was saying such a thing; Riley had always been supportive in his bid to be Chief. His friend revealed a piece of paper behind his back.
"I'm sorry Will. But the shortlist so far is Delk, Peterson, Weaver and Rodriguez."
He leant against the brick, a trace of hope in his voice. "They pick five people for the candidacy, Riley. You only read out four names."
"There is one more person who has to vote: Captain Raydor. But we all know who she is voting for. Unless she has a sudden change of heart."
Will turned back around to look over City Hall, the LA Times building, and the Bradbury building in the distance where he knew Captain Raydor was, tucked away in her office. Ever since Chief Thompson had announced his retirement at the beginning of the summer, Will had been putting his people in place, getting his markers ready. Unfortunately, all his people had switched sides and he was just left with Riley, the Assistant Chief in charge of support services. He was backing Will in the hope if the man became Chief, he too would rise and become Director of Operations. But it didn't look like it was happening that way.
"She won't, she'll go for Brenda. But she…she doesn't even want the job and it looks like she'll get it," Will sighed. "Or at least get on the short list. What am I going to do, Riley? If I don't get at least on the shortlist then whoever will be Chief will fire me."
Riley looked to his friend, wondering how he had not come to the conclusion he himself had come to. He was under a lot of stress of course, with the Chief Race and his failing relationship with Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. He was currently fiddling with the edge of his uniform, toying with the cuff. He was a wreck, and Riley was a little disgusted to be having to follow Will, at least this Will. The Will five years ago would have had no trouble getting on the shortlist, but Estelle leaving him and several failures all linked to Major Crimes meant he wasn't the strongest horse to back, but he was the only one who would have him as Assistant Chief.
"Sharon Raydor is a pathetic little feminist who needs a good fuck, Will." Riley reached over and grabbed his friend by the scruff of his neck, tightening his arm around his shoulder. "Seduce her, use that old Pope charm on her. You have seven days, Will, before the voting is up and the shortlist comes out. I had to call in several favours to just get the list so far."
"It could change, Riley!" Will turned around, breaking his grasp.
Riley shook his head. "There are ten people on the committee to find the new Chief. Each of them get a vote, and the five people with the most votes get put on that shortlist. It's a small and select committee full of people with morals, but everyone can be bought, Will. You only need one vote to get on this list, and there is only one more person left to vote. Raydor!"
"She'll vote for Brenda! She wants a woman as Chief!"
Riley gritted his teeth and turned to his friend, shaking his head at him. "Will, Raydor hasn't voted because of the Cran shooting. You take her to dinner, don't sleep with her, just make her believe you are the best man for this job. You'll make up some bullshit, I have faith in you. Just get it done, Will, otherwise we're both fucked."
Riley patted his friend on the back before walking down to his office. Will continued on looking out over the city. He wanted the Chief job, wanted it more than he could stand. He was thankful that Riley had given him the heads up, but he didn't know whether he could go through with what Riley wanted him to do.
Will didn't know if his conscience could stand seducing Sharon Raydor for the job, not after…not after what she had told him the one time they had gone out at Christmas. Since then, things had been frosty between them, with Sharon actively avoiding him. He didn't want to hurt Sharon, maybe he could persuade her to vote for him without leading her on. Once again he was thinking too much of himself, maybe she wouldn't even react to his attempts at seduction.
"I want this job," Will said to himself firmly. In the end that's what it came down to. He headed for the door and decided to get changed back into his suit and then head over to the Bradbury building. He'd talk to her, catch up a little, see if she wanted to get something to eat. Then, when they were talking he'd be smooth and put across why he was the best candidate.
He'd work on it on the walk over to see her. He just hoped that his feelings about Sharon didn't cloud his desire for the Chief job.
He didn't go to the Bradbury building very often; usually when he did it was to smoke a cigar with Carver on the roof, dodging production assistants who had been run out of the building by Internal Affairs. Walking up the elegant staircase, he hit the third floor and used his key card to get inside the IA base. A wall of framed photographs of officers greeted him, and he immediately picked out the smiling face of Captain Raydor. His hands balled as he thought about what he was going to do - he knew more than anyone that Sharon Raydor had a heart.
Will knocked on her officer door and entered, slightly happy to see that Sharon wasn't there. He moved into her office, flooded with light. On her desk were three photographs - Will recognised the picture of Sharon's son Ryan, and the larger picture was a Santa Monica beach shot of her two grandchildren, Maggie and Mikey. He supposed they must be six by now. The final photograph was a picture of Sharon with her larger family.
"Well, look what a tornado dropped in my lap."
His head leapt up from looking at her desk to see the attractive FID Captain framed in the doorway. Her black suit was Armani; her heels probably cost more than the sofa in his house. She looked stunning, and as she swayed over to see him, he grinned."
"Bit far away from the new HQ. I think this is the first time you've ever been in my office."
Will smiled. "Which is hardly fair, as you always seem to be in mine."
Sharon laughed at his response, and went over to join him at her desk. She looked over her photographs with pride, before turning back to Will. He had the sudden urge to touch her, to rest a hand on her arm and steady himself, for he was dangerously losing himself in those green orbs of hers. But at least she knew it, judging by the smirk on her face. He must have the goofiest look on his own.
"So what brings you here, Will?" Sharon asked, leaning against her desk.
He brushed a hand over his head and looked at her, smiling. Whatever would happen in the next few weeks, whatever he did to her for the sake of his job, he knew that he would enjoy the time they spent together, even if the sour taste in his mouth ruined his time alone.
"Well, we haven't talked since last Christmas, through one thing and another."
Sharon bowed her head, looking down at the floor. "I thought you were avoiding me."
Will's eyes reached hers, and he impulsively rested a hand against her cheek. "Never. Just with the whole Chief thing, and stuff with the kids…I never wanted you to think that I was…put off by what happened."
She nodded, happy with his answer. She moved off of the desk, taking Will's hand with her to clutch within her own. "I'm glad. I meant to call you a million times, just to make sure you weren't put off by what happened. I didn't mean to kiss you."
Will's eyes turned dark, and he had to stop himself from pulling Sharon into his arms for a repeat performance. It broke him that they weren't close enough friends so he could ask her for a favour, and yet they weren't lovers so he couldn't ask her after sex. They were in a weird, in between place where nothing was certain.
"It's okay. I'm a man; I'm not going to deny that when a beautiful woman kisses me I don't mind."
Sharon nodded, dropping his hand and wrapping her arms around herself. He recognised the defence gesture, recognised that she wanted to keep herself from getting hurt from his obvious advances. But what else could he do but break her heart?
"Do you want to go to dinner tonight?" Sharon's eyes sparkled with the prospect. He tucked his hands in his pockets. "I can make reservations; I know this great little Chinese place. I want to catch up with what's been going on with you, Ryan and the kids." He reached over and took her hand. "It's been a tough few months with the whole Chief thing, and whatever happens, I would like one friend in the LAPD. And I want it to be you."
Sharon nodded. "You're on. I've…" She stopped, not sure what to say. She bit her lip, and Will found himself bowled over by how adorable she was. "I've missed talking to you, Will."
"Me too. Well I'll pick you up around seven at your house?"
They were still incredibly awkward around each other, and Will knew that wasn't going to change any time soon. Eventually they found each other in a friendly hug. Sharon's arms went around his neck, breathing in the scent of his cologne. His own arms tucked around her waist, enveloping the skinny brunette. As his hand reached up to tuck some hair out of her collar, a too intimate gesture he realised too late, he caught sight of the scars on her neck.
"I'll be counting the minutes," Will whispered in her ear, not sure what else to say to her. He left her alone, walking as quickly as he could out of the Bradbury building. He was making a huge mistake, he wasn't this guy. He used to be - but not anymore.
The way he had acted - no other Chief would keep him on. He had one shot to get the job of his dreams, or lose all he had worked for. Was Sharon Raydor worth manipulating for that? The man who had seduced Brenda Leigh Johnson, who had made a name for himself in DC told him she was. But the man who had been dumped by Estelle, the man who had spent the entire night talking to Sharon Raydor said otherwise.
He needed a drink.
Ryan Raydor put the key in the lock of the three storey town house and entered. As usual, the place was covered in sheets of music and toys of various shapes and sizes. His son was staring transfixed at some old cartoons on the television, and Ryan kissed Mikey's head as he passed. Mikey's sister, Maggie, was drawing up at the dining room table.
"Hey Maggie. Grandma in?"
She reached up and hugged her daddy before returning to her picture, once again a drawing of the dog they wouldn't let her have. Maybe one day, but while he spent most of his time at the studio and his mother worked crazy hours tracking down cops with an itchy trigger finger, there was barely someone to take care of the twins, let alone a dog as well.
"She's upstairs trying on clothes. She's got a date tonight," Maggie revealed, reaching for the bag of M and Ms on the table. Ryan snaffled a few, kissing his daughter on the cheek.
"Grandma's got a date?"
Maggie nodded, and turned to her father. "You said we could have a dog when pigs fly. I think this is in the same category."
Ryan snorted as he left his daughter to draw and walked up the kitchen staircase to get to the third floor and his mother's rooms. The house was hers; she had bought it after her divorce from Richard. When he had needed a place to live with two twin babies, she had welcomed him into her house, and he had lived with his mother ever since. He needed her help with the twins, as a lot of people kept informing him he was just a kid himself.
He didn't think so - hadn't been a kid for a very long time.
"Hey Mom. Whatcha doing?"
Ryan poked his head around his mother's bedroom door to see clothes strewn everywhere, at least a thousand dollars worth of shoes on the floor, and his mother looking into a mirror and debating two shirts and a dress. She looked over at her son, and made her way over, jumping over half her wardrobe.
"I'm going out tonight," Sharon admitted slowly.
"Maggie says you've got a date," Ryan chuckled as he padded his way into his mother's room and laid on her bed. Her room was huge, with a wide window that overlooked the garden and the street that they lived on. "Do I know him?"
Sharon put down the shirts she was looking at and threw on her LAPD t-shirt. "It's Will Pope."
Ryan's head toppled into the pillows with laughter. "Will Pope! Isn't he the guy that you ended up with in a hotel room at Christmas?" He stopped laughing. "Isn't he your boss?"
Sharon started back to her wardrobe, trying to decide what she was going to wear. Her hands were shaking as it was, and she didn't need her son on top of the butterflies in her stomach. "Yes, and yes, although for your information we ended up in the hotel bar, not a hotel room."
"Still ended up in a hotel with him, Mom. Still, if he makes you happy…can't be the worst guy you've ever dated."
Sharon turned to look back at her son, and moved from the wardrobe to curl up on the bed beside him. She rested an arm around his shoulders, and his head leant next to hers. His hands fiddled with the cuffs of his jacket sleeves, not sure what to say.
"I think you should go on this date, you know? I mean when Richard…I was ten. I'm twenty five years old, now," Ryan teased and Sharon kissed the top of his head.
"What about you then honey? When are you going to start dating again?"
Ryan thought over her words before shaking his head. "The twins are only six."
"Means it's been six years. Some people don't even wait six months." Sharon squeezed her son close, and he felt tears prick at the corner of his eyes.
She left him to get ready for her evening out, and Ryan continued to lie on her bed. It had been the two of them for so long; it just felt insane that she would start dating. It was expected that he would, but after Meredith he never wanted to again. But he wanted his Mom to meet someone new. He wanted his kids to have a grandfather they could be proud of, to love unconditionally. Both of their biological grandfathers needed to be burning in hell.
"It's not even a date…not really. Just two friends, getting together, catching up," Sharon sighed, putting the dress to one side and reaching for a blouse. "I'm just getting over my head - but I really like him, Ryan. He's funny, and he knows about Richard, and he makes me feel special."
"You are special Mom." Ryan straightened his jacket as he slid off the bed and to his mother. He presented her with the blue dress she had put down. "If it's not a date when it starts, make it a date by the end."
Sharon took the dress and hugged her son, before going back to the mirror. He was right - if she wanted to start something new with Will then she would have to work for it. She knew he wasn't going to be Chief of Police - when she went in Monday she would put her vote in for Brenda. So they could start something, and maybe she'd finally be with someone who deserved her.
Ryan popped his head around the door, breaking her from her thoughts. "Also, Mom, I won't let you in the house if you come back at a reasonable hour. If the kids are still awake when you come home there will be hell to pay."
Sharon couldn't stop giggling as she decided on which shoes to wear.
Ryan and the twins had finished eating their dinner and were sitting down watching cartoons when the doorbell rang. He left his two kids on the floor where they were laughing at the Looney Tunes and opened the door. He assumed it was Will Pope standing at the door, looking quite dashing in his threads. Ryan appreciated a guy who could dress well in casual wear - Richard had always looked like some sort of Stepford freak.
"Hey," the guy greeted, putting his hands awkwardly in his pockets before taking them out and putting them out in front of him. "I'm Will Pope." He reached over to shake his hand. "Is your Mom home?"
Ryan grinned and welcomed Will inside. He looked over the guy, noticed the car out in front. Definitely better than Richard, and that lawyer guy that his grandmother had tried to set his mother up with last summer. It was about that time that his mother started mentioning Will a lot in conversation - maybe she had wanted to date this guy for quite some time.
"I'll go get Mom for you," Ryan said. He turned to his two kids on the floor, still engaged with the cartoons. "This is Maggie, and Mikey. This is Will, the guy that Grandma is going out with tonight."
Maggie descended into giggles, while Mikey looked on oblivious. Ryan went up to get his mother, who was still trying to apply make up to her face, which was hard as her hands were shaking so much. She was wearing the simple blue cut dress from earlier, with a black jacket thrown over the top. She joined her son in going down the staircase, trying not to wipe her clammy hands on her dress.
"Hey, Will," Sharon greeted as she came in through the kitchen into the lounge. She couldn't stop smiling at what she saw.
Mikey, who never liked anyone unless they were a blood relative, was sitting on Will's lap while they both watched cartoons. Will was laughing along with the two twins - Maggie had her arms around his neck, clinging on tight. She kept smiling at the sight, happy at how quickly her two grandchildren had taken to him - obviously a good judge of character.
Will looked up from watching cartoons to see Sharon standing in front of him. Her blue dress clung to her in a way that fabric had longed to do for centuries. A black jacket lingered over her arms and her tumble of brown hair covered her neck from view. The silver necklace he had given her for her birthday was hanging down the hollow of her throat, causing a tiny shadow over the low cut of her dress. He was staring - and he knew he was, but Sharon didn't seem to mind, seemed to blush with a flirtatious smile at his gaze.
"You ready to go?"
She grinned. "Yes sir."
He stood up from the kids and moved over to where she was. Ryan chuckled at the pair of them, noticed how neither could keep their eyes off of each other. Sharon kissed both her grandchildren goodbye, before wiping the lipstick print off of Maggie's cheek.
"Be good for your Daddy. I'll continue our story tomorrow night, sleep well my darlings."
She fluttered her fingers at her family as she left them, Will giving a wink and a salute to a smiling Mikey. Ryan couldn't stop laughing as he watched his mother leave with Will Pope - hoping she finally found what she was looking for in life. He already had, and they were watching Bugs Bunny on the carpet.
"Do Maggie and Mikey see their Mom a lot?" Will asked, reaching for a glass of water in between bits of stir fry. Sharon didn't respond, just put her chopsticks down. He realised he must have said the wrong thing, and the evening had been going so well up until then.
They had gone for a little drive before heading to dinner - he had made the reservations late so he could spend as much time with her alone as he could before they were hushed into a busy restaurant. He ignored the constant texts from Riley, persuading him and pushing him to do wrong by the beautiful woman hanging on his every word. He tried to focus on her, listen to her stories and jokes and watched as she leant on her hand and drank him in. Eventually they had gone for food when Sharon worried they had missed their reservations. They'd eaten; he'd made his chopsticks act out little scenarios, causing a smile to bloom on her face despite her shaking her head. It had all been undone with one sentence.
Sharon shook her head and turned to him, reaching for her own glass of water. She took a small sip before putting it down. "Maggie and Mikey's mother is dead."
He was an idiot. "I'm sorry." He knew he shouldn't ask, but his brain wasn't thinking clearly. "Childbirth?"
"If only." She sighed, turning to him. "Do you want to go for a walk?"
They were only halfway through their meal, but he could see that Sharon's appetite had gone. He paid for it like the gentleman he was, and made sure her jacket was on when they left the restaurant. As they walked down the street, she gripped his hand. It swung in the breeze, and Will rubbed the tips of his fingers over her cold digits. She was shaking.
"Meredith and Ryan met at College - he went to UCLA because he didn't want to leave me alone. They fell for each other, started dating. She got pregnant, despite them being careful. Her parents kicked her out - her Dad is a very strict Catholic minister, and didn't approve of his baby girl getting knocked up by my son."
Will looked down at the ground, still holding onto her hand. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay - I loved Meredith, and Ryan was so in love with her. I was happy for them. I was going to help them out, make sure they could still go to school. They got married, they stayed with me and soon I had Maggie and Mikey." She pulled away from his grip and held onto herself. "After the twins were born, Meredith was distant - she missed home. I suggested that she go see her family, at least her Mom and persuade her that she was happy, and she was married before they were born so it would all be okay."
He nodded, not liking where she was going. "Did she kill herself?"
"No. She loved Ryan, she loved the twins. Her father killed her, said she was unclean. He was off his rocker; he stabbed her like six times. One of the twins' grandfather's is on death row for killing their Mom, their other grandfather Ryan won't let near them because he tried to kill me."
Will didn't know what to do other than to take the shaken brunette into his arms, making sure she was wrapped up tight. She was crying, and he stroked her hair, trying to comfort her in any way he could. He pressed a kiss to her temple, and looked down to see her gazing at him with half shed tears in her eyes.
"All three of them love you unconditionally. I know you, and you blame yourself for telling her she should go. Like you blame yourself for what Richard did." His hand moved her hair slightly apart, looking at the ugly scar grooved into her neck. "You blame yourself for Ally, and you shouldn't. You are wonderful, and the only thing they deserve from you is your pity."
She smiled up at him, her hands resting on his chest. His gaze turned to his left, and saw a small bar tucked out of the way. "Fancy a dance?"
"I would like that very much."
"Come on then, let me put a smile back on that beautiful face."
Once they were settled with drinks and a small table on the edge of the floor, Will held out his hand for her to take. She spun into his arms and they started dancing together. His hand was a little harder on her waist than typical; he was pushing her closer so their hips bumped. He guided her around the floor, never taking his eyes off of her. She found herself losing herself in his smile, in the way the corners of his mouth turned up when she smiled at him.
"That strips my conscience bare, its witchcraft," Will sung in her ear, humming along to Sinatra. She rested her head on his shoulder, feeling engulfed by him. She had never felt this in tune with someone. Never wanted someone so much. "And I've got no defence for it; the heat is too intense for it."
He swayed with her on the dance floor, the song lyrics tumbling over his lips into her ear. He was good at the game, he knew how to seduce a woman - and Sharon Raydor was quite easily seduced by a man who would treat her well. He was a bastard - but he didn't know how to get himself out of his own mess. Riley would massacre him if he backed out, and he would kick himself if he knew he had a chance to be Chief. And, really, it was a win/win, wasn't it? He would get to be with and kiss and maybe even sleep with the woman he had had a crush on for the last year, and he would also get on the shortlist where the Mayor would see him for what he was - the perfect candidate to be Chief.
"Will." He looked down to where she was, resting in his arms. His for the taking. God he wanted her, could have her. Could have everything - hadn't he earned it? All the shit with Estelle and Brenda and everything that had gone wrong. "Will."
Her chin was tilting up to his, her mouth was parted open. They'd kissed before, but it was in a moment of high emotion, where they were both caught by her revelations. Now it was just them, on the dance floor listening to the band play their song. It was just the two of them, emotions laid bare.
He kissed her.
His mouth slanted over hers, his arm pulling her waist ever closer to his. She tasted sweet on his tongue as he massaged his mouth with hers. Her slight sigh into his mouth made him grin; the way she fit against him was perfect. She started sucking on his bottom lip, and he was lost. She couldn't do anything more to make him want her, he was already lost.
As they broke the kiss and their matching stares revealed more than they had dared admit, Will realised he couldn't do it. He couldn't do this to her. He didn't want to be that guy, didn't want to look in the mirror and realise he had taken an already broken woman and twisted her for his own selfish reasons.
Will pushed away from Sharon and left the bar, his head spinning. He came outside, taking in deep breaths of oxygen. It wasn't enough, his throat was constricting. Two hands found their way onto his shoulder blades, and he wished she had stayed inside.
"Will? Will what's going on? Are you okay?"
He turned around to see her, looked at the worry in her eyes. He didn't deserve her - she had no idea what he had tried to do. If he could just get away, lie about not wanting to get involved or going too far, then she would never have to know. But he had lied to her enough tonight, although the words in the back of his throat were real and sour in the face of what he had done they had to be said.
"Tonight wasn't about us getting back our relationship, Sharon," Will choked out between gasps. He had been spun round, leaning against a railing. Her hands were trailing down his chest, stroking his shirt. His jacket was still inside, as was hers. She looked cold.
"Will, what's wrong? Tell me!"
He looked at her, could already see the worry in her eyes. But he had to clear his conscience. Never with any woman had he had such a desire to be honest. "Tonight was about the Chief shortlist."
"I don't understand."
Will looked up from dark lids, and despite her protests of naivety she was working it out. She was just waiting for him to say it. "Tonight was about me manipulating you into putting me on the shortlist. A friend of mine found out that there is one vote left, yours. And I'm not on the list. I need your vote."
Sharon visibly deflated as she looked at him. Such disappointment in her eyes, and such hate. "You used me. You…the dancing and dinner. Every word was fake."
"No, see Sharon that's the thing. My motives were-" He didn't get a chance to finish his plea as Sharon had punched him in the face, breaking his nose as he crashed against the railings.
She stood above him as he clutched his nose, watching as the blood leaked through his fingers. She was in tears, and her hand was flexing at her side. She pointed her good hand at him. "I am going to ruin you, you hear me Pope? I am going to go to the Mayor and I am going to take your fucking rank! How dare you try and seduce me, like I'm some part of a game? And even worse, try to justify your actions."
Will struggled up the railings, still clutching his nose. He tried to mumble something, but kept grasping his face in pain. She looked at him with disgust as he tried to reach for her.
"Let me guess - you care for me, you have feelings for me? I will never believe another word you say, Will. After everything I shared, after all you said I really thought I'd finally found a decent man. Should have trusted my gut and remembered that you've never even been close to that."
She pushed away from him and crossed over the road, dodging cars. Will looked over, not ready to let her go. He couldn't, he needed to explain what he had done, what he had been trying to do and what he had not done. He pushed himself up off the pavement, removed his bloody hand from his nose.
He called her name but no response. He started to run after her. He didn't see the car until he had already cracked the windshield and was on the other side of the tarmac.