Just a bit of scene-completer fluff, based on the last episode of Season 5. First story I've posted here … be kind!
Murdoch Mysteries and its characters do not belong to me and no copyright infringement is intended, yadda yadda yadda.
They had both been riding a wave of euphoria all evening, heightened by the fireworks, a little champagne, and the sweet strains of the orchestra at the Policeman's Ball.
William Murdoch held in his arms the one woman he had not dared hope for. The one who, the more he dared not hope, the more she had become his universe, his anchor. It felt as if he'd been existing in some sort of metaphysical fog these past months since his return from the Klondike, punctuated only by the rays of light that came with a glimpse of her. As unhealthy as it had been for him, he'd grown to crave even those glimpses – and the unwilling elation that came with her increasing appearances in his doorway.
Not his, he kept reminding himself. No longer his.
And now, suddenly, he was once again allowed to touch. To claim her for his own.
Her scarlet dress had been far too fetching to go to waste. So as much as part of him wanted to immediately flee the party for more private environs, he chose instead to swing her out onto the dance floor, where suddenly his deficiencies in that department mattered not a jot to either of them. They clung to each other, so close that William could feel her rapid heartbeat against his chest, while around them the couples swirled and reeled to the music, like some sort of Cinderella fantasy.
Peripherally, he noticed that George Crabtree and Emily Grace were also succeeding in forming a connection on the dance floor, and it pleased him to see the young constable so engaged in courtship. But he could scarce tear his attention away from Julia Ogden, so compliant in his arms, now that her nervousness had fallen away.
He didn't think he had ever seen her so nervous in his presence before. She'd come to him cap in hand, fully cognizant of how much she'd hurt him, and not daring to hope, herself, that he might be able to forgive. He found her sudden insecurity absolutely irresistible – but then, if he were to be honest, he found her irresistible as well when she was brash and stubborn. How could she not know that she was his compass? She need not have feared for a second that he would do anything but pull her to him in gratitude, in relief, in instant desire.
Truth be told, he'd barely been holding it together the past week in any event; constantly afraid that at any moment his self-control might snap and his sense of propriety abandon him. The tendrils of hair framing her face, the scent of her skin … it was all becoming a torment, albeit a sweet one which sent him home each night with his guts twisted in yearning. It had become clear to him long ago that he did not have the tools to purge her from his soul. Now, it seemed at last as if he might not have to. He couldn't help but form a little silent prayer of thanks, just as the music stopped and they pulled back to regard one another.
It was well past midnight, the new century having been well and truly rung in. The violinists were casing their instruments, and William looked around the room, surprised to discover that most of the attendees had already dispersed. Only a handful of other couples remained, shrugging on their overcoats and making their slow way to the exit. And so the spell was broken.
"Shall we get a cab?", he offered, not knowing what else to suggest.
She nodded, blinking and suddenly unsure of herself again.
He helped her into her coat and flagged down one of the number of hansom cabs still waiting outside the door of the ballroom. It was only moments before they were seated inside the carriage, where he turned to look at her.
"Julia … where would you like to go?"
She searched his face, knowing that home – and facing Darcy – was unthinkable tonight. However much their parting might be mutually agreed upon, she could not stomach his disapproval and disappointment tonight, couldn't deal with the sad shreds of their relationship or the lie that her heart had made at the altar. Tomorrow, perhaps, she could steel herself to face it all head-on, in her usual forthright fashion. But please, not tonight.
Equally, she knew that in the eyes of William Murdoch, she was still very much a married woman. She had no right to ask ….
In a small and tentative voice, her eyes downcast, she said, "Might I come home with you, Detective? I can't …."
She glanced up at him through her lashes, knowing that she was asking him to violate the moral principles that guided him, and desperately afraid that she would now face rejection. "I can … I don't mean that … I'm quite content to sleep on the floor," she stammered.
"I just know I can't go home, and I don't want this night to end."
He was silent for a moment, and she feared again that she presumed too much, that she had burned too many bridges with this man for forgiveness to be possible. And then she felt him lifting her chin with a gentle finger. His face was serious, but there was a glint in his eye that made her heart rush anew.
"Julia, I am a cautious man," he said slowly.
"And it has been to my detriment when it comes to you. For all the times I have hesitated when I should have acted … when I should have said something but remained silent … I am more sorry than you will ever know.
"Twice I've lost you because of my … reticence. I never expected another chance. Yet here you are."
"I am here, with all my heart, William," she replied, reaching for his hands. "But I'm not yet truly free, and I know that you …."
He shook his head. "I've considered that." He didn't care to admit just how often he'd done so, in the hopeless array of 'what if' scenarios that had run through his head on empty nights when sleep wouldn't come.
"And I've come to realize that the greater sin would be in letting you slip through my fingers once more.
"I will never do that again.
"So come home with me ….", and a small but wicked smile now curved his lips. "But only if you are prepared to be thoroughly ravished until dawn."
She couldn't help the breathy moan that escaped her, as his mouth claimed hers again.