justdidntseeit: (she's got some work to do now)
[ previously: "'bout damn time." ]



Kate shifts her weight on the stepladder, and twists slightly, all the better to reach the junction box. This new chrome fixture is going to be a gorgeous accent, if she can -- just --

"Ow ow ow ow ow."

She drops the wrench, and presses down on the pinched skin between her thumb and forefinger. A thin line of blood blooms beneath the pressure she applies; she bites her lower lip, blinking hard, and determinedly does not look at her reflection in the bathroom mirror.

She's not going to cry.

She's not.
justdidntseeit: (mission: organization)
To say that Kate is on a mission would be an understatement.

She's a force, today, as she tackles her latest project: fitting a new DIY bookshelf in Bill's living room.

It's gorgeous — or will be, once she puts it together — all rich, warm wood, clean lines, and glass doors.

She just has to do a little re-arranging, so it'll actually fit along the wall she's chosen.



- - - - -



The Front Door swings open an inch, then two.

"Oh, come on."

Another inch, and the plaid arm of a checkered couch becomes visible.

From the other side of the door, Kate gives the piece of furniture one more shove into the hall; half the sofa slides across the bar's threshold.

"There."

None the wiser, she turns around to survey how much space she just created to work with, swiping at her sweat-damp forehead with the back of her hand.

An indignant squeak cuts her victory short.

Surprised, she turns to face the hall, and sees Milliways, instead.

"You have got to be kidding me," she all but groans. With a resigned sigh, she grabs the couch, and tugs.

And tugs.

"Now you're really just messing with me," she mutters under her breath, fighting the urge to curse the Landlord.
justdidntseeit: (time here all but means nothing)
[ "Bill, I'm Kate. It's really nice to meet you." ]

She should tell him.

She should, shouldn't she?

A thousand and one possibilities cycle through her thoughts, the same fear shadowing each of them: What if this damages his timeline, somehow? What if she ruins something by telling him she met his younger self in the bar?



- - - - -



She falls into a fitful sleep, well before Bill comes home.



- - - - -



She wakes a few hours later, still in her short khaki skirt and summery top, to the sound of Bill snoring next to her.

She scrubs her eyes and sits up, rumpled and groggy. The light blanket Bill must've covered her with before bed slips to her waist.

Squinting at the clock on the nightstand, she breathes out something between a sigh and a yawn. With a glance at her wrinkled clothes, she slides out of bed to change into actual sleepwear.

She pulls on a fresh camisole, and finds her favorite pair of yoga pants, worn soft and thin from hundreds of washings. In the bathroom, she pulls her tousled hair into a ponytail; she washes her face and brushes her teeth as quietly as possible, in hopes that she won't interrupt Bill's sleep.



- - - - -



She can't turn off her brain.

Giving up, she pads out of the bedroom, careful not to wake Bill. She pours herself a glass of white wine, and flips on a single lamp in the living room.

She settles into her favorite corner of the couch, a navy scrapbook in tow. Its contents have become as familiar as some of her own family photo albums, each newspaper clipping and photo caption holding information that feels firsthand, now, instead of second and third.

As horrifying and heart-breaking as most of the photographs are, she draws a strange kind of comfort from every page she pores and flips.
justdidntseeit: (she's got some work to do now)
[ everyone loves him. ]
She kisses the corner of Bill's crooked smile.

"Have a good day, sheriff."

"That can't be it," he says.

She's chuckling against his chin when he pulls her closer for a true goodbye.

"Anything more than that, and I won't let you leave."

"Maybe I don't really want to in the first place."

Kate gives his ass a playful swat as he makes for the door, and he reminds her she's assaulting an officer.

She's still smiling to herself as she returns to the kitchen.

As soon as the breakfast dishes are drying in the rack and the counters are spotless again, she completes what's become her morning routine: She changes into a pair of battered jeans, a faded Stanford track and field tee, and paint-splattered Timberlands.

She has a bathroom to gut.


- - - - -


She's reaching into the fridge for a fresh bottle of water when the doorbell rings.

Wiping her forehead with one sweat-slick forearm, she heads for the foyer.

She doesn't recognize the man on the other side of the door; for one stomach-clenching second, she wonders if he's a friend or relative of Eric Lawson.

Don't be silly, she tells herself, but if Los Angeles and Wheelsy, South Carolina have taught her anything, it's that the worst is possible.
justdidntseeit: (smiles in shades of gray)
[ "we can't cancel, can we?" ]
She threads her fingers with Bill's as she takes his proffered hand.

(Convincing him had been easy; a simple, "It's your last weekend as a free man -- let's go out on Saturday" had gotten an immediate smile and a nod of agreement. The hard part was assuring him they should stay in town instead of driving to Columbia for a night out.)

Gravel crunches beneath her heels as she slides from the cab of the truck.

"S'pretty crowded tonight," he says with a glance around the parking lot.

"Let's hope there's not another rodeo on," she teases, squeezing his hand. She ignores the tight feeling in the pit of her stomach and doesn't let herself double-check for June's car as they cross the gravel lot.

Bill holds the door for her and she ducks inside; the four-piece band stops warming up and the lodge buzzes with the hushed hum of nearly a hundred people.

When Bill steps in beside her, the house lights flash.

"SURPRISE!"

Resisting the urge to bite the inside of her cheek (and stifling a laugh at the hand-painted Welcome Back Sherr Sheriff!! banner), Kate turns to give him a hopeful smile.
justdidntseeit: (so careful when i'm in your arms)
[ returns and revelations ]
She's jet-lagged, but she can't sleep.

The house is almost too quiet, and Bill's been awake since they settled in bed.

(She knows he's worried about Katherine, worried about Doc -- she is, too.)

She inches closer to his side and presses a kiss to the curve of his jaw, just below his earlobe.

"Too tired to sleep?"
justdidntseeit: (all work and no play)
The wireless signal in Bill's bedroom kind of sucks. But at least it's there, unlike in some areas of the house.

Kate's sitting against the headboard with her laptop, sporting a frayed Wheelsy Cooters T-shirt (complete with faded mascot) and a pair of orange yoga pants, her hair in loose twin braids.

She's double-checking the flight information for tomorrow's trip to New Mexico, making sure the departure time hasn't changed.

Or she would be double-checking it, if the page would load.
justdidntseeit: (pretty pretty ponytail)
[ pillow talk ]
It's still dark when Kate eases out of the bedroom for her morning run, closing the door with a quiet click. Zipping up her thin fleece jacket, she heads for the kitchen; the smell of coffee fills her nose, and she's glad Bill remembered to set the timer last night -- if Doc wakes before Bill (which she's sure he will) and before she gets back, he'll only have to grab a mug from the cabinet.

She's pulling her hair into a ponytail as she enters the kitchen, her eyes adjusting to the dim light they'd left burning over the stove.
justdidntseeit: (so careful when i'm in your arms)
[ "sex ain't about controllin' someone." ]
She shivers when Bill slips beneath the sheets again, her heart rate nearly back to normal as she fits herself along his side.

"Hey."

He wraps an arm around her and pulls her closer.

"Hey."

She pillows her head on his shoulder and closes her eyes, tracing an invisible line down his sweat-damp chest with one fingertip.

Concentrating on his closeness, she still can't quite force away a worry that's been building in the pit of her stomach since her talk with Doc a few hours ago.

"Can I ask you something?"
justdidntseeit: (the family way)
[ "i believe i have met your sister, kate." ]
Marie's been in the bar.

Kate all but stumbles inside the kitchen, gripping the back of one of the wooden chairs with her free hand as soon as the door closes behind her.

(She didn't want to show any more weakness than she already had as she left Milliways and Ramon's cruel smile.)

Knuckles bloodless around the smooth curve of oak, she can't stop the shuddering breaths that burn in her lungs and catch in her throat.

don't cry don't cry don't cry, Bill doesn't need this, not now

But her stomach's on fire and the walls are underwater; sinking into the chair, she squeezes shut her eyes. The ice pack is on the table in front of her, forgotten.
justdidntseeit: (o christmas tree)
[ surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and i shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever ]
The funeral passes in a muted blur, a Monet of hushed condolences and sniffling.

Her thumb traces Bill's knuckles in a steady back-and-forth during the service, and she can't stop snapshots of eulogies of past funerals (her mom; ralph burton; agent don richards; agent george mason) from sliding between the pastor's words.

(And it could so easily be Bill in that casket, wearing the uniform he's in right now.)

She folds her hand in his when they stand.

It's a short drive to the cemetery, and she hugs her white wool dress coat closer to her body, thankful for its length and for her matching leather gloves. She doesn't flinch through the 21-gun salute, and when it's over, her ears are stinging with sound and cold.

Once the crowd begins to disperse, she hangs back and waits for Bill, not wanting to intrude while he speaks with Mrs. Hargrove. Kate stands a short distance away, trying to smile at the two-year-old with wide, curious green eyes and pink-mittened hands tugging at the hem of her coat.

(Her name is Savannah, and she'll never know her father.)

Kate crouches and they make tiny snowmen from the dusting on the grass.

Her throat is tight while she watches the little girl rejoin her mother and Bill steps closer, his cheeks red and eyes on the frozen ground. She reaches for his hand, grateful for the squeeze he gives her fingers as they walk to the truck.


- - - - -


They don't talk on the way back to Wheelsy, and that's okay.

Once they're in the house and Bill has closed the door behind them, she turns and wraps her arms around his waist.
justdidntseeit: (wheelsy)
[ "get some rest." ]
Kate doesn't remember falling asleep, but the sun is streaming through the curtains; squinting at the clock, she's surprised to see it's almost ten -- she's been out for more than three hours.

Closer to coherent after she's pulled on her robe, brushed her teeth and washed her face, she follows the sound of Bill's quiet voice coming from the kitchen.
justdidntseeit: (serious phone call is serious)
[ say what you need to say ]
A shower, a half-pot of coffee and a drive into town later, Kate's straightening the bedroom. She's trying not to imagine how Bill's morning is going at the station when the phone rings.

It's Sarah with some news -- the arrangements for Hargrove have been announced; visitation is the next day, and the funeral is the day after.

Kate hangs up, and her eyes move to the small box on the edge of the dresser.

She and Bill are supposed to leave for Arizona in two days.

She releases a slow breath, and swallows thickly.

There's always next year.
justdidntseeit: (Default)
[ these lines in the sand we cross again and again ]
Her eyes have just closed (at least, she thinks they have) when they open again. She's awake, shaky from lack of rest, and doesn't know why.

She squints at Bill in the early morning light, expecting to see him caught in a nightmare, but his breathing is deep and even, features smooth.

The knocking registers a half-second later.

She eases out of bed as fast as she can without waking Bill, pulling on her robe as she pads down the hallway and opens the door. Steeling herself for the reporter she's sure she'll see, her shoulders relax when she finds Dave and Sarah waiting on the porch.

"Mornin', Kate," Dave says, removing his Wheelsy Sheriff's Department cap.

"Hey."

"Mornin'," Sarah echoes, her smile soft and sympathetic as she balances a stack of plastic containers and a small wicker basket on one arm. "We brought breakfast."

"You didn't have to -- to do this." Kate's stammering, her voice still thick with sleep. "Come on in, guys."

Stepping back to open the door wider, she rubs at the back of her neck with her free hand and stifles a yawn.

"Bill's still sleeping, but probably not for long. You two want some coffee?"
justdidntseeit: (o christmas tree)
[ a few days after this ]
She's not sure what wakes her.

It's early (too early), that much she can tell from the gray half-light filtering through the window.

She's curled on her side, Bill's arm a warm weight around her stomach, his body against her back. His face is buried at her nape, his slow breaths deep and even in her hair and on her skin.

She squints toward the window and blinks.

Blinks again.

It's --

Snowing.

Her lips curve into a small smile and she eases onto her back; Bill stirs but doesn't wake, and she hesitates to pull him out of such a restful sleep.

(He hasn't been sleeping well for months, and the past few nights have been worse than usual, given what happened to Nathan.)

She settles for stroking his hair when he shifts to burrow deeper into the pillow at the curve of her neck and shoulder.

Merry Christmas, sheriff.

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justdidntseeit: (Default)
Kate Warner

May 2012

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