Author's Note: I decided my original get-them-together fic, "This Sweet Surrender", was entirely too romance-novel-ish. So I rewrote it. This is the result. (If you, for some reason, actually *liked* TSS, drop me a line, and I'll email the original doc over.)
Essentially, I realised, Lynley and Havers never had to hit us over the head with the way they feel about each other. It *felt* like they were doing just that at times - okay, all the time - but really, for them, a look speaks louder than a shout. I have learned my lesson, and applied it.
"I'm sorry?" she wheezed, staring at him like he'd lost his head.
Well, he rather had, so he couldn't particularly blame her.
"I love you, Barbara," he repeated, and watched her shake her head in denial.
"No. No, you can't possibly. Have you lost your mind? Me! Hah! Never in my life, Lynley - you really have gone off your rocker this time! Go to sleep, you'll be over this nonsense in the morning."
"I will not," he told her, in a tone that brooked no argument. "I don't know if you heard me the first two times I said it, Barbara, so I will tell you again - I am in love with you. Head over heels. How I missed it all these years I will never know, but I am in love with you."
"Barking," she repeated, almost amused. "Lynley, you're lonely, it's late, and we just caught a break on this case after nearly a week. You honestly think I'm going to believe you? Don't be ridiculous."
"Oh?" he said, a dangerous light in his eyes. She knew it was coming, started to back away, but she was too late - he grabbed her by the shoulders, hooked an arm around her waist, and kissed her, a searing touch that left her limp and gasping in his arms as he poured out ten years of love and laughter, fury and torment, in that simple contact.
She looked up at him, dazed, breathing fast and hard.
"You..." she stuttered, still only partly capable of speech, "you haven't been with anyone since Helen, and it's been two and a half years. You're lonely, and - and frustrated, and I was here, I'm probably the only woman you've talked to on a personal level since God knows when, of course you'd think - but it doesn't mean you actually -"
He took a moment to, of all things, marvel at the fact that he actually understood what she was saying, and then he smiled.
"Barbara," he said gently, "if that was all I wanted, I could have a quick tumble and be done with it. Do you honestly think I'd risk this, risk us, if I didn't mean every word? I love you. And correct me if I'm wrong, but the way we've been these past two years - well, it hasn't been entirely platonic, has it?"
"A man and a woman can be just friends, you know," she said insistently, and he shook his head.
"Yes, they can - I've no doubt of it. But I'm not talking about a man and a woman, Barbara. I'm talking about you and me. I'm talking about the way you curl up next to me on the bed, propped against the headboard as though you're afraid to assume too much but can't stay away. I'm talking about the way it's always you I want when the bad days come, and nobody else. I'm talking about the way we can all but read each other's minds, and how you've done the next thing to move in with me just so I wouldn't be alone. I'm talking about the way you look at me when you think I'm not looking and the way I've softened you and the way you've anchored me. I'm talking about devotion I've been too blind to really see, and commitment I didn't know I was capable of. I'm talking about you being not just the woman I want beside me in the field, not just the best friend I've ever had, but the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, because God help me but I can't live without you." He stopped, stunned. Where had all that come from?
And yet, he knew, without a doubt, that it was only the truth. It had snuck up on him, pounced without warning, hit him in a blinding flash, a thousand other cliches he couldn't deny, and yet, there it was - he loved Barbara Havers, completely and beyond sense, and he had for years.
"No," she whispered. "This doesn't happen. Dreams don't come true, not like this. Not for me."
"Have you been dreaming of me, Barbara?" he murmured, a slow seduction, overawed as he saw the full truth of her feelings for him blazing in her eyes, everything he never knew he wanted, just her here beside him for always. He couldn't breathe with it, it's too much, he wanted but never thought he'd have, not this kind of understanding, not this kind of love. It's years and years of frustration and fights and absolute trust and unbreakable loyalty and, yes, love, unconditional and absolute, shimmering in eyes he knows so well. "Have you seen in me for so long what I've finally seen in you?"
She nodded, wide-eyed, shaking, and he couldn't help it; he pulled her to him and kissed her, and this time, under the flash and fire came a slow melting that stole his breath even as hers came ever faster.
Something in her broke; she reached for him, shuddered and went weak in his arms, following his lead as always. She didn't know what to think - part of her couldn't believe this was really happening, thought for sure she'd wake up any minute now, but another part of her... another part sighed in relief, as though this was where they had been headed from the first, as though this was right and meant to happen.
It should have been a revelation, angels trumpeting on high, but instead, all she could do was sigh with the profound relief of the last piece of the puzzle of her life slipping into place. No earthquakes or clouds of glory - they weren't needed. All she needed, all she had ever needed, was here in her arms, and he was everything.
To hell with it, she thought with a sudden fierceness, I'll take what I can get. If this is a mistake, if this is all I'll ever have - well, at least I'll have had him at all.
And so she gave herself over to her partner, and to her destiny.
Out of nowhere, a fragment of song drifted through her mind.
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender, I could stay lost in this moment forever, cause every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure...
And then he was kissing her harder, their hands stripping away her shirt and his jacket, her trousers and his tie, and everything went up in a blaze of sensation. His hand found the space between her thighs, pressed, stroked - she moaned as fireworks went off behind her eyes, and pulled him down to the sofa on top of her, the only thought in her head more, more, now!
His hand stroked her cheek, a tender caress that left her shaking, and then she cried out in relief as he slipped inside her at last.
Pleasure, love, partnership, commitment - it blazed around them, through them, in them, as they found each other at last, as they were always meant to be.
In the end, all it took was his hand in her hair and his mouth on hers; she shuddered and came apart, held on and followed him over the edge, and she finally, finally believed.
He watched her wake up. Looked at her, this petite, so often infuriating firecracker he couldn't live without, and had to laugh. What was that line he couldn't quite place? 'I'd rather fight with you than make love with anyone else?' Whoever wrote it, he thought, had obviously been spying on the both of them.
Her eyes fluttered open slowly, and then she smiled – a soft, sleepy smile that spoke of a girl who had finally learned a woman's secrets.
She put him very much in mind of a cat who had got not only the proverbial canary, but had washed that canary down with the equally proverbial pint of cream and was currently licking her whiskers with an air of thoroughly smug satisfaction.
"Good morning, love."
She smiled that satisfied smile again. "And a good morning to you, too."
Gently, he reached out and tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear.
And then his mobile rang.
He groaned and hit the talk button. "This had better be important, Winston."
"What is it?" she asked him, as he ended the call and rolled onto his back.
"Body on one of the tracks at Paddington. It's thrown the rail schedules into absolute bloody chaos."
"We had better go then, hadn't we?" And gracefully she rolled out of bed – how had they gotten there? – and extended a hand to help him up.
As they dressed quickly and bathed their faces – no time for a shower – he asked her, "Is this – us – is this going to be too difficult, Barbara?"
He felt, actually felt, his heart settle at her response.
Hair pinned up and fully dressed, she jogged backwards out the door. "Come on, sir," she grinned, face lighting up with a sunny smile and unbridled joy ringing in her voice. "We've got a murder to solve!"
More information about my Lynley/Havers fic can be found in my profile. Thanks for reading!