Another Richard/Maggie from days gone by.

Spoilers: Cold Hands, Body & Soul

Disclaimer: I own nothing. I make nothing. Just having fun.

Warm Heart

"Then there's still hope." Richard said.

"Yes." Maggie answered moving her left hand to pull Richard's face to hers.

She kissed his lips slowly at first while looking him in the eyes. Richard pulled back a little, she could see the uncertainty on his face. Pulling him to her she placed her lips on his again. This time the kiss was longer, more harried. Maggie remembered the other kiss they had shared the night of the explosion. Chase had let her down that time also.

She went to Richard because she knew then that he had feelings for her. He was in love with her. She hadn't realised the depths of those feelings until recently. The day after she had brought Kevin home she was in town shopping when she had run into Tony. They had made some small talk about the trial . She could tell Tony had something on his mind other than that.

"Tony is something bothering you?" she had asked.

"Maggie," he said cautiously, "I've been trying to not get involved."

"Involved in what?"

"I'm your friend and Chase's."

"I know that Tony. I would never ask you to play favorites. Please don't tell me Chase has."

Tony didn't answer. He took her arm and led her to one of the benches that lined the street.

"I don't understand what Chase is doing. He must be mad. Maggie I think you are a wonderful person. I'm not the only one who thinks that."

"Tony what are you getting at?"

"I can't believe I'm going to say this." Shaking his head he continued. "Yesterday Richard came by. He barged into Chase's office . They had quite a shouting match."

"They did? About what?" she asked curious.

"About you."

"Did you hear what was said?"

"No but afterwards Chase was upset, in a real mood. We went to lunch and he told me what had happened."

"And?" she said getting a little annoyed that Tony was taking so long to get to the point.

"Richard came by to… And I'm quoting Chase 'Tell him how to be moral and upstanding'. He told Chase that he needed to quit parading around town with Gabrielle. Richard made it quite clear to Chase how he feels about you. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks you are terrific."

After that she had begun to look at her relationship with Richard in a different light. He had tried to get her estranged husband to go back to her. It was something out of a romance novel. How could she not see how in love with her he had become?

When he had come in while she sat with Michael she hadn't expected to be so overpowered by her own feelings. While he spoke of other possibilities it felt like the most natural thing to lean over and kiss him.

They both pulled back. Richard was smiling that charming boyish grin that she had seen mirrored on Michael's face many times. Richard reached out, grabbing her hand. He brought it up to his lips. Maggie was overcome with a feeling that had been absent for sometime. A longing to be held and caressed. A longing to be loved.

"Will you stay for dinner Maggie Gioberti?" Richard asked. "I know Michael would like it. Wouldn't you Mike?"
Not letting go of her hand he pulled Michael into his lap.

"See how happy he is at the thought of it?" he said smiling.

"I think Daddy is just as happy about that as he is." Maggie said laughing.

Richard squeezed her hand as she leaned over again and kissed him again. Maggie put her arms around both the Channing men. She felt so safe and secure, so loved.

The phone on Richard's desk started ringing. Richard pulled back slowly placing light kisses along Maggie's cheek. Moaning he handed Michael to her and stood to answer the phone.

"Yes." He said, clearly irritated at the irruption. "All right. We'll be down in a few minutes."

Richard bent down and took Michael from Maggie. With his free hand he helped her to stand.

"That was Garth. Dinner's ready. Are you staying?" he said flashing her that smile that she had grown to love.

"I guess I could. For Michael." She said laughing.

"I like that."

"I thought you might."

"I was talking about your laugh."

This caused Maggie to slightly blush. She hadn't acted like this around Richard before. Things were different now. She couldn't explain how.

Richard started for the door with Michael when he started to fuss. Richard patted Michael's behind, checking his diaper. Maggie had to smile at the scene before her. Seeing Richard this way made her feelings for him even stronger.

"What's wrong Michael? You shouldn't be this cranky. I'll have to talk to Sabrina about your naptime." He said to his son.

Michael started to cry. Maggie couldn't understand what had caused this sudden change in his behavior.

"Richard what's wrong?" she asked walking over to the two.

"I don't know. His doesn't need to be changed."

"Michael what's the matter, honey?"

Michael cried again and reached for Maggie. Richard looked at her confused. She took him and rubbed his back.

"It's okay sweetie." She said.

"Mama." Michael said.

Richard and Maggie looked at one another speechless.

"Did you hear that?" Richard finally asked.

"I think so." She said.

Smiling Maggie hugged Michael to her, planting a kiss on the top of his head. When he said "Mama" that moment was so bittersweet for her. She loved this little boy. Maggie was happy she could be here with Richard for Michael's first moments. At the same time she was saddened that she would miss all of Kevin's firsts. Suddenly she felt sick. She'd been feeling that way a lot lately.

"Richard can you excuse me for a minute?" She asked handing Michael back to him.

"Maggie?" he questioned her, the concern evident in his voice.

"It's all right. I just need to powder my nose." She said trying to smile.

"Are you sure?"

"Take Michael downstairs. I'm fine. Really I'm fine"

Richard walked back over to Maggie. He kissed her on the cheek. Then he let Michael lean over and kiss her also. She watched as they went down the hallway then she headed to the bathroom. Closing the door she leaned up against the sink. Taking a deep breath she tried to hold back her tears for her missing son. Would Kevin forgive her when he was older? Why hadn't she listened to Richard? She could have taken Kevin and went away with he and Michael. His sweet little boy would never get to know her sweet little boy. She lost her battle against the tears and they began to fall. Leaning her head on the mirror she prayed for the strength to go on.

"Maggie." She heard from the other side of the door.

She didn't answer but opened the door to Richard. He was standing there clearly concerned about her well-being.

"You're crying."

He pulled her into his arms. She continued sobbing while Richard held her tighter. She was so tired. Maggie felt like she had been living this nightmare for years. She was grateful Richard was there. She had to admit and not for the first time, that when Cole left she didn't think she was going to survive this ordeal. Letting go of her Richard walked to the sink and wetted a towel. He motioned for Maggie to come to him.

"I'm sorry." He said while wiping her face.

"For what?"

"Michael and that 'Mama' business. I know that must have hurt." He said setting the towel on the sink counter.

"Oh no Richard, it's all right. I didn't mind that at all. I love Michael."

"I know you do. You'll never know how much that means to me." Richard said pulling her back into his embrace. "We'll get Kevin back. I promise you. I don't know how but we will."

"I almost believe you when you say things like that." She said laughing slightly. "When you act like this it always makes me wonder why…"

"Why Chase doesn't care?" he said finishing her sentence, trying to mask his hurt.

"Oh Richard I'm sorry." She said cupping his cheeks. "I hate that I feel this way even after everything that has happened. You've been my anchor throughout this whole thing."

Reaching up he took her hands in his.

"Maggie I understand you've been through hell. I know that you have a lot of unresolved feelings. I don't care though. I'm your friend and like I've told you before I'll be here for you no matter what."

He looked down at her, eyes filled with so much tenderness and love. He was never this open with anyone. Maggie was overcome with conflicting emotions. Part of her was finally ready to stop denying her feelings for this man. While the other was still holding out hope for Chase's return. She wasn't sure what to do.

"I wish I could take away all your pain." Richard said, his voice barely above a whisper.

She made her decision and threw caution to the wind. Pushing him against the door she kissed him again. It was an explosive kiss, filled with lust, passion, anger and most of all love. In between her frenzied kisses she undid his tie, throwing it to the floor. Untucking his shirt she unbuttoned it. Everything was happening so fast Richard had no time to react. Maggie found she was enjoying being in control for once. Attacking his lips once again she put her hands underneath his shirt. Living out a hidden fantasy she ran her hands over his chest. His body was hot. She found comfort in that heat. He shivered at the contact. Smiling she pushed herself closer to him. As she rubbed her thigh against him she could tell he was enjoying this as much as she was. Moving her lips to his neck she took a little bite. Richards eyes snapped open at that. Grabbing her upper arms he pushed her back.

"Maggie as much as I am enjoying this, I don't think that later on you'll be happy with where this could lead. I don't want anything to come between us and our friendship. I want nothing more than to make love to you but right now it won't solve anything. Right now you need me as your friend not your lover."

With that Maggie collapsed in his arms. She was exhausted and he was right. Making love with him was not the answer at this time. Richard picked her up, carrying her to his bed. He laid her on top of the covers.

"I'll bring you something to eat." He said removing her shoes. "Sit here and relax. I'll be right back."

"Please bring Michael with you." She said taking her scarf off.

"All right. Now you just relax." He said pointing and smiling at her.

As Richard left to get the food Maggie decided to get under the covers. Maggie couldn't remember the last time she had a good night's sleep. Every time she would close her eyes all could she think of was her little boy. Why had she given him up? To make others happy? She should have done what Richard had said and listened to her heart. The first time she saw Kevin she had such an overwhelming love for him. What was she thinking? She had known in her heart that Chase was Kevin's father.

Closing her eyes Maggie laid back against the pillow. The temptation to sleep was overpowering. She was a little surprised at how aggressive she had been with Richard. Though he had been right about the timing, she found she wanted to be with him. When she was around Richard she felt so different than she did with Chase. Richard brought a passion out in her she didn't understand. She wondered about him sometimes at night when her mind wasn't consumed with thoughts of Kevin. Richard was not a patient man. He always got what he wanted. He would use what ever he could to get the results he wanted. For years now she had never felt he had an ulterior motive in their friendship. When they worked at the radio station, they rarely saw eye to eye. He had always been sincere in his feelings towards her. The more she thought about it the more she could see the unconditional love he had for her.

If she was honest with herself the first time she had met Richard she felt something for him. It was one of the reasons she had went to work for him. Richard did treat her differently. He was himself with her. Maggie could never understand why Chase was so reluctant to welcome his brother into the family. Richard was loyal to those who trusted him and treated him with respect. He had proven that with her many times. This past year especially. As she had researched Jacqueline's life Maggie had begun to understand why Richard did a lot of what he did. She felt terrible for him but it wasn't pity that had caused her to fall in love with him.

"Did I just admit that?" Maggie said to the empty room.

She was in love with him. Why can't I just let things happen? Falling asleep Maggie kept thinking of the feel of Richard's lips upon hers.

"Shhh Michael we don't want to wake up Mommy." Maggie heard coming from the other side of the room.

Sitting up she saw Richard and Michael sitting in the same spot the three of them had occupied earlier. Richard was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a Giants t-shirt. Michael had on a pair of Giants pajamas. Maggie smiled at the sight before her. She loved seeing Richard so relaxed. The father and son were playing with the trucks. Richard was telling Michael the colors of each truck. His son was laughing and grabbing each one.

Richard turned and looked towards the bed. "Hi sleepy head. We didn't wake you did we?"

"No you are both fine." She said getting up and walking towards him.

"I had brought up some soup for you and well, you had fallen asleep. You looked so peaceful I didn't want to bother you."

"How long ago was that?" she asked sitting beside him.

"I'm not sure, around two hours."

"Really?" she said surprised.

"I ended up going back downstairs to have dinner with Michael alone." He said smiling "You still owe me a dinner. Besides Michael missed you. I had to feed him all by myself. It didn't go as well as usual. He's been fussier than normal. I found out he didn't have his nap today. Michael didn't want to eat his food tonight he wanted to throw it. At me! Hence my new outfit."

"I have to admit I was curious about the jeans Richard. I don't recall ever seeing you in them and a t-shirt too. Like us common people." Maggie said laughing. "I'm sorry I missed you attempting to feed Michael. I would like to have seen that."

"You should have seen my attempt at giving him a bath."

A comfortable silence settled in. Michael sat babbling while the two played with him. Richard asked Maggie if she were hungry now. She admitted she was and he headed downstairs to get her some food for the second time. As she sat with Michael again she thought of Kevin. It was hard for her not to think of him. She really did enjoy the time she had been spending with Michael. When she had awaken and heard Richard call her Mommy she wasn't upset. She didn't mind that Michael would think that she was his mother. Every time Richard mentioned the four of them as a family it sounded right.

"I hope you like mushroom soup. I know we had mushrooms that one night. So I just figured…" Richard said coming back in to the room.

"It's fine." She said as he set the tray on the table.

Maggie went over to the couch. Richard set the food out for her. She thanked him and ate while watching him play with Michael again. I think I could get to used to this. Picking Michael up Richard joined her on the couch as she finished eating.

"How was that?" he asked.

"Just what the doctor ordered."

"I'll let Garth know. It's one of his specialties."

Laughing she took Michael from Richard. The little boy laughed. He was such a happy baby.

"He should sleep good tonight. It's been an a busy day for him."

"For me too."

Laughing Richard cleaned up after her. He picked up the tray and left again.

"How are you tonight Mike?" she asked.

Michael answered her by grabbing Maggie's nose. She laughed and took his hand, planting a kiss on it. Maggie laid the baby on the couch. She bent over and started blowing strawberries on his stomach. Cole had loved that when he was a baby. Michael was enjoying it now also. Richard had come back and was standing in the doorway. His arms were crossed and he was smiling. Maggie had sensed he was there for sometime but didn't say anything. She just continued playing with Michael.

Finally Richard spoke, "I really like this Maggie Gioberti."

"What?" Maggie asked him as he sat back down. Michael had fallen asleep in her lap.

"Seeing you playing with Michael."

"I used to do this with Cole all the time. When he was a baby we had a small apartment in lower Manhattan. A lot of the time when Chase wasn't flying all we could afford to do was spend time together. The three of us would have so much fun. The first time Chase tried to give Cole a bath it was a disaster too." She said, the memories bittersweet.

"Maggie I'm so sorry. What can I do?" he asked her as she began to cry again.

She didn't answer him. She didn't know what to tell him. So much was running through her mind. Richard took Michael and placed him on the bed. He sat back down and took her in his arms. She put her arms around him and held on to him for dear life.

"I'll make it better somehow." He said into her hair, rocking her gently.

As she continued crying she was overcome by fatigue. Looking up at Richard she smiled. I could stay in his arms all night. He kissed her on the forehead. As she moved to place her head on his shoulder she noticed a small purple mark on the left side of his neck. She couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of this whole situation.

"What's funny." Richard asked.

"Well I don't think you should go anywhere important tomorrow in a shirt without a collar. I'm afraid that I've left my mark."

Richard laughed along with her, placing his hand on his neck.

They sat there, her in his lap, for what seemed like hours. Maggie was so tired. She could feel her eyelids closing. They would shut and she would hear Richard say something. Each time she couldn't make out what he was saying. He was speaking so low and she was so drowsy.

"Maggie," he finally said loud enough for her to hear, "why don't you let me put you back to bed? You can just stay the night here. You are exhausted, physically and emotionally. I don't want you driving tonight."

"Richard…" she started protesting.

"I won't take no for an answer." He said picking her up again. "Now I'm going to put you in bed with Michael. I can get you something to change into. I still have Terry's clothes."

"Terry's?"

"It's all right. Not all of her night gowns were risqué." Richard said depositing her on the bed. "Just most of them."

Maggie watched him leave again. It felt so good to have someone taking care of her for a change. Richard knew her so well. He knew when she was in need and how to help her. She looked down at Michael, sleeping peacefully with his thumb is his mouth beside her. Is this what it would be like to be with Richard and his son every night? Would Kevin be welcome here also? Why did I ask that? She knew Kevin would be welcome here. Richard had offered to sign Kevin's birth certificate. That offer should have opened her eyes to the extent of Richard's feelings for her.

"Here you go." He said walking back in with a pair of blue pajamas.

Maggie took them from him. "I can't believe it."

"What."

"I gave these to her. She said she loved them. They look they've never been worn."

They both laughed as Maggie stood and went in to the bathroom.

When she had finished Richard was sitting on the bed with Michael. There was a teddy bear lying next to him now. The toy looked as if it had seen better days. Getting back under the covers beside the sleeping baby Maggie picked the bear up.

"Where did this come from? I don't recall ever seeing it before."

"Actually it was mine."

"Really?"

Laughing he said, "I was a child once Maggie Gioberti."

"It's just hard to picture. I can't believe you would keep a teddy bear from childhood."

"You've seen my toy soldiers. Those were from my childhood. My mother gave them to me and that teddy bear."

"Jacqueline?"

"No Rosabel." He said watching the confusion on her face. "Rosabel Denault, Henri's wife."

Setting the bear back down next to Michael she took Richard's hand. "You've never spoken of her before."

"She was a great woman. She was strong and intelligent. Henri was a beast to her. I never understood the hold he had on her."

"Is she still alive?"

"Sadly no. When I was nine Rosabel got pneumonia. She was so ill. For days she kept going in and out. In one of her lucid moments she told me that she always felt I was her son. She said she loved me like I was her own flesh and blood. She apologized to me for getting sick and for Henri's deception. I never knew what any of that meant until much later. She passed away that night. That's when my hatred for Henri started. Mamma was so dear to me. She just couldn't live with Henri and his lies any longer. So she took the only way she could to get away from him. Death."

"I'm so sorry Richard." She said wiping away a lone tear that slid down the side of his face.

"It's all right Maggie. I'd come to terms with it a long time ago." He said. "Now I want you to lie back and get some sleep. I have some business matters to take care of downstairs. I'll come back and check on my two favorite people after awhile."

He got off the bed and walked around to Maggie's side. He bent down and kissed her one more time, then went and shut the light off. Saying goodnight he left her to sleep. She pulled the covers up, checking to make sure Michael was all right. I really like this. She kept thinking of Richard's last kiss. It had tasted like milk and cookies. I love that little boy she was thinking as her eyes closed for the night.

The morning sunlight was warming Maggie's face as she opened her eyes. Sighing she sat up carefully not wanting to wake Michael. During the night he had managed to get on top of the covers.

"I hope you weren't cold sweetie." She whispered kissing the top of his head.

Reaching behind her she grabbed her watch. It was ten till seven. Chase was supposed to call her with the results of what he found out in LA. Maggie needed to get home for that call. Quietly she got out of the bed and went in to the bathroom to change. She left the door open slightly to be able to keep an eye on Michael. After she finished she decided to change Michael and put him in his crib. Picking him up she went to the nursery. Sabrina was in there changing the sheets in the crib.

"Good morning Mrs. Gioberti." She said taking Michael from Maggie.

"I hope you weren't worried where Michael was."

"On no Mr. Channing regularly has Michael sleep with him."

"He does?" Maggie asked as Sabrina put Michael in the crib. "Feeding him and a bath?"

"Yes. Mr. Channing feels it's important to do things with Michael."

"I'm learning all sorts of interesting things about Mr. Channing."

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing. Oh I forgot Michael's teddy bear. I'll be right back."

Maggie went back into Richard's bedroom. Walking back to the bed she put her watch and earrings on. She picked up the toy and started for the nursery. Maggie felt refreshed. All the problems weren't fixed but she did feel better. Last night's sleep had done her a world of good.

"Maggie."

She turned towards the couch. Richard was lying there. Like Michael he was laying mostly on top of the covers. He still was wearing the Giants t-shirt but had exchanged the jeans for a pair of black boxers. That answers that question. She motioned for him to not get up and went over to him. She knew he must have been tired. This whole ordeal had been taxing for her but it had to be taking a toll on him also. She knew he loved her but he was also concerned about Kevin. Richard loved him just as much as he did Michael. He laid back down as she sat next to him. His hair was a mess. He must have tossed and turned throughout the night. Reaching over she brushed some stray hair out of his eyes.

"I took Michael to the nursery. I was just wanting to get his teddy bear for him."

"He'll like that." He said wiping his hand over his face.

"Sabrina was in there already."

"She's very efficient."

"I thought you let her go."

"A minor misunderstanding. I hired her back."

"Well what about Meredith? She still works for you."

"Maggie." He said clearly not wanting to get into anything this early.

Putting her hands up she surrendered. "Sorry."

"Are you leaving? Can't you stay for breakfast?" Richard said sitting up.

"Chase is supposed to call about Kevin. I really need to be home."

Richard put his lower lip out, batting his eyes.

Cocking her head to left she said, "Oh Richard."

He took her hands, smiling at her.

"Thank you so much for last night. It was just what I needed. I feel better than I have in weeks. I don't know how I would have made it this far without you."

"I keep telling you that." He said pulling her to him.

Hugging him back she kissed the hickey she had left last night.

"Not another one Maggie Gioberti."

"Richard," she said punching his shoulder, "be serious."

"All right just for you." He said smiling as she put her hand on his cheek.

"I really have to go." Maggie said deciding to kiss him again.

"I could use a wake up call like this every morning." He told her as she pulled back. "Let me know what Chase has to say."

Nodding Maggie stood with the teddy bear. Stopping at the door she turned. Smiling she said, "Thank you for showing me there are still other possibilities."

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