Crazy Long Author's Note: Good evening, all. I couldn't resist. Okay, new fandom and new oneshot, I'm ready! Okay, so originally, Fairly Legal was going to be my tide me over show until In Plain Sight came on. Lo and behold, I fell ass over heels in love with the concept of the show and dynamics of the cast and I started looking forward to it more than IPS. And given the way TPTB treated that glorious show post season 3, I don't think anybody would blame me…
It's an unwritten CMW2 rule: every show, movie, or book that can keep my attention for more than a hot second will get a ship, sometimes multiple ones for each fandom. Once a ship has been chosen, I stick with it to the bitter end or the awesome, kickass, "about fuckin' time!" end. I tune out any other ships that TPTB try to shove down my throat and of course, fics are born.
Now, Kate and Justin are decent. They have chemistry and a past and once upon a time, I'm sure they were good together. Honest. I really need to watch season 1 so I can give them proper props. But, Kate and Ben. Ben and Kate. That's where my heart and muses lie in this fandom.
She provokes his humanity and warmth with her positive yet occasionally naive outlook on life. She also challenges him head on. He also challenges her head on (I like a pairing with strong willed people…) and he grounds her in slightly cynical reality without trying to clip her wings. And…well, Ben's hotter. At least to me. LOL! The episodes I've seen with their moments and the way they play and feed off of each other is just wonderful to me and I truly hope that they become another happy ending couple instead of the bullshitting cowardly, pseudo-couples that USA love to provide us.
I want to play, too, starting with my version of the seemingly inevitable end of Kate and Justin. I really wouldn't call this a Fix It fic (although, if this little ditty is well received, I'm certainly doing a Kate/Ben sequel and an AU hot tub scene fic with all the fixings…) but more of a what I want to see happen next week or next season if there is one to be had. I hope you guys enjoy.
Disclaimer: "Honestly, it's not mine!"
"You could stay, you know."
"I can't. I have work in the morning."
"So do I but I'm staying."
"It's your place, Justin. Why would you be going?" she joked weakly.
Kate Reed ignored the gaze on her back as she put her work clothes back on. It had become a routine, now. Work, go on "dates", sex. She wouldn't stay the night or if she did, she made sure to leave before he woke up. The few times she couldn't, she sat at his kitchen counter, eating breakfast silently before bumming a ride off of Leonardo or catching a cab home. Justin would just look at her with sad eyes but mixed with the sadness was a growing anger. She understood why. He was Justin Patrick, future District Attorney and he was used to achieving his goals, overachieving his goals, even. The fact that she kept pulling away from him, refusing to label what they were doing, and even refusing to claim that they were dating had to chafe on him, especially with elections spiraling ever closer…
"If you and Justin couldn't make it work when you were both legally and morally obligated to do so, what makes you so sure that it'll work now?"
She looked away from Leonardo and at him in the doorway. He was in his expensive suit, drinking his cup of Johan like it was nothing, like he hadn't been blatantly eavesdropping and finding her to be lacking…
"That is none of your damned business." she replied in a mock pleasant tone and through gritted teeth.
He took another drink of his coffee and the smug smartass mask dropped from his face. Even in her anger, she couldn't look away from his deep, knowing gaze, his open features. Hurt, concern, resignation…the mask went back up quickly.
"It may not be my damned business but it's also an ACME dynamite kit that's gonna explode in your face. And the fact that you didn't answer my question proves it."
Before she could even think of a retort, the office door had shut behind him with a quiet snap. She scoffed and looked at Leonardo who was pointedly looking at the computer monitor.
"An ACME dynamite kit...accurate. Blatantly stolen from The Avengers but accurate."
He was like that one neighbor kid that took pleasure in knocking over your trash cans. Every time she thought she had started to figure things out, that things would finally make sense again, Ben Grogan would come tearassing down the block, asking questions that no one dared to ask her, blatantly calling her on her shit, and then rolling away like it was nothing, leaving nothing but a mess in his wake. He was an ambulance chaser, a shit starter, a dick, an idiot…
He was also right.
"So, this is how it's gonna be? You come here and take whatever you want from me and then walk out like it's nothing?"
Justin stood up and turned the bedside lamp on, glaring at her hotly.
"Look, it's not like we're reconciling or anything official like that!" she pointed out defensively.
"Of course we aren't! Otherwise you would have to stop your little thing with Grogan. I'm not stupid, Kate. I've seen and heard the way you act around him. I've seen the way he looks at you and the way he treats you. What? Did he turn you down? You couldn't have him so you decided to settle for me?"
"Love is never easy. You don't have to be seventeen… you just have to be brave…I am not empty…I do care that much…you just have to be brave…I wanted to stay the night…you just have to be brave…too late…"
"…or did you turn him down? That's it, isn't it? You got to the poor bastard and when he put himself out there, you shot him down. He was your "business dinner" and you stood him up so you could screw me and stick with the familiar! Unbelievable!"
"That is not how it was!" she lied.
"That is exactly how it was and the bitch of it is that you're still hung up on him! It's like…I have your body here with me but your mind…it's on him! Why are you here, Kate? Why the hell did you say yes when you really meant no?" Justin asked desperately, hurt outweighing the anger more than ever.
"I…I don't know."
She honestly didn't know. Yes, there was cowardice and yes, there was a need for the familiar but…she didn't know what to make of Ben. He was the anti-her: cool and calculating and downright ruthless at times. A smug, playboy arrogant SOB. But, then…then, he'd kiss her. Or smile like he'd won the lottery when she agreed to meet him for dinner. Or show up drunk and worried about her at Lauren's and Leonardo's, only to get his heart stomped on. And…god, Tahoe. Everything in Tahoe…she just didn't understand him! Ben Grogan was like a solid brick, indefinable wall of confusion! She couldn't get a read on him for more than a hot minute before he'd peel back another Grogan layer and fuck up everything!
Justin, she understood…well, she used to understand him, know him. But, she didn't. Not really. Had she ever? Even when their marriage seemed to be working, there had been a disconnect, an instinctive distrust of him and his motives. Why? He had only admitted to cheating once. What if there were more? What if he had been cheating off and on from the beginning? Lying from the beginning?
Ben had never blatantly lied to her. He had tried to when she confronted him about going to Leonardo's but…
A heavy sigh sounded and she looked up into Justin's now resigned gaze.
"You do know. You just aren't ready to admit it. Look…this…whatever we're doing…it's done. It's not healthy for either of us and I'm already competing in my professional life. I'm not doing it in my personal life, too."
With that, Justin lay back down and turned the light out, burying himself in the tangled bedding.
"Lock up when you leave."
And don't come back. Ever.
Kate let out a sigh that was suspiciously close to a sob and nodded, clicking out of the loft with her gaze down. There was hurt. There was still a bit of anger. There was shame and the now standard amount of cowardice. When she closed the door behind her, it was like closing the door on anything personal between her and Justin for good. The idea was admittedly terrifying but the fear was tempered with relief and…and maybe a little hope?
It wouldn't be easy. Hell, it probably wouldn't happen at all. He had already put himself out there to her and others, only to be fled from like he had the plague. She had frozen when he had been mere centimeters from her, wanting something, anything from her to prove that he wasn't wasting his time, that they could have something real. He had walked away from her twice. She had pushed him away more than twice. He had wanted her to be brave. Kate hadn't been ready to be brave then and it would probably be a while before she truly was, if ever...
But, she could try, right?