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View Full Version : ***NEW***Once Upon Another Time (Sheridan/Luis)



UAgirl
8.20.12, 2:08 AM
Title: Your Star
Rating: PG
Warning: angst
Pairing/Characters: Sheridan, mentions of Luis, hints of Sheridan/Luis
Word Count: 337.
Summary (for chapter): prompt: crash. …it ends much the same way it begins.






The world burns around her as night closes in.

Blood streaks her blond hair, mats it to her feverish forehead, as her pain-hazed eyes struggle to focus, shift wildly back and forth to her immediate surroundings. Smoke, thick and black and rolling leaps and licks at her abraded skin, crawls into her throat, forces a cough past her ruby lips, and the deep moan that swells defiantly at its invasion robs her of her breath for several long, terrifying moments where Sheridan is sure this is it, this is the end, this is Death.

Fiery sparks flicker like possessed fireflies all around. Limbs snap, crackle, pop before they crash to the forest floor below, casualties of a force more malevolent than nature, sabotage and hatred unleashed. Wildlife skitter here and there, frantic, helter-skelter for safe haven, and the silver moon disappears behind the black curtain of hell on earth.

Sheridan's fingernails claw the dirt beneath her broken body, desperate for an escape that she knows doesn't exist, and tears track down her trembling cheeks, slip into her hairline, screams echoing in her ears as the flames sizzle nearer. The ground shakes beneath her as the rest of the fuselage explodes somewhere behind her, and the screams morph into a guttural growl of agony when she curls away from the ricocheting debris launched with the blast.

Heat cloaks the night, chases away the chilly sting of Fall.

But cold creeps up on Sheridan, and her breath grows short, labored with the passing seconds, minutes, hours. She thinks of Luis, and the pain dulls, recedes. She thinks of Luis, and he's there, and he's reaching for her, and she's almost home, almost there, but it's too much and not enough, and she smiles at the irony of it all, because it ends much the same way it begins, with a crash; but this one is bigger, brighter, fiery, final. Blue eyes slowly drift closed, and he's all she sees, forevermore.

The world burns around her as night closes in.







~*~


So...I sat down with the intentions of updating one or two of my Gwen-centered fics, A Map of the World and Everything, only a comment on one of my other stories kept coming back to my mind.

It reminded me just how much I love(d) Sheridan and Luis, and the prompts I had started to take the shape of a story. For Sheridan and Luis. Well, I couldn't just ignore them.

LOL!

Good thing, too, because as of this moment, I already have four chapters of this story written.

This story will be told in non-linear fashion. Think Pieces of My Heart. Also, like PoMH, the rating is subject to change but will probably be an overall PG-13.

The first and the last chapter, well...I'll explain that later, see if you guys pick up on anything unusual about them.

For now, I'll just let you digest this chapter and decide if you want to go another journey with Sheridan and Luis and me.

:)

Let me know by clicking that button.

Feedback is love!

UAgirl
8.20.12, 11:18 PM
Title: What the Water Gave Me
Rating: PG
Warning: no real warnings, unless implied lustful thoughts count
Pairing/Characters: Sheridan, Luis
Word Count: 764
Summary (for chapter): prompt: soft. His skin was soft in the wake of her tentative touch, supple, strong.







~*~



His skin was soft in the wake of her tentative touch, supple, strong.

Sheridan's teeth clamped on her lower lip, bit down as Luis returned the favor, trailing his knuckles up and down the length of her bare arm. Gooseflesh pebbled her tingling flesh, and she felt the tickle of a thousand butterfly wings as they started their flight beneath her ribcage, fighting for freedom. She dropped her head as Luis's long fingers encircled her wrist, slid back up her arm, gently cradled her elbow, and her breath came short and fast as his lips caressed her brow in the sweetest of touches, so unexpected from the man she had come to know in the last several months.

A frown suddenly furrowed the dark slash of Luis's brows, and his hand dropped away as he took a distancing step back, rocked on his heels, and leveled a frustrated stare at her. "Are you trying to get yourself killed? Because that little stunt you just pulled…"

Ah, there he was, Sheridan mused to herself as she fought back a smile, because Supercop cared for her, she was more than just a pain in his ass; it was written in the guarded recesses of his dark eyes. "You're not my keeper, Luis. I'm a big girl. The current was a little stronger than I expected. I'm perfectly fine."

"Riptides are dangerous, and if you had paid any attention to the warning flags, I wouldn't have had to jump in and rescue your ungrateful ass."

Sheridan's chin climbed in bristling indignation. "I no more needed rescuing than you needed to rescue me. I'm an experienced swimmer, Buster. I've dealt with riptides before."

Luis's jaw tightened and his eyes flashed in unsuppressed irritation at her. "Don't Buster me."

"Quit treating me like I'm one of your common criminals, and I might consider it," Sheridan shot back haughtily, squaring her slender shoulders as she stood her ground, as well as she could with gritty sand coating her legs and the phantom imprint of Luis's muscular forearm still making itself known beneath her heaving breasts. In her skimpy blue bikini, she was seriously underdressed for this confrontation. "What are you even doing here?"

Luis raked an agitated hand through his hair, flicking sea water from the black spikes as he did so.

"You agreed to let me have today off," Sheridan pressed on when it appeared the appropriate words had deserted Luis. "What happened? Did you change your mind? Could you at least look at me while I'm talking to you?" she huffed, digging her toes deeper into the cool sand.

Luis's dark eyes slowly lifted, fixated on a spot just beyond Sheridan's sun-bronzed shoulder, and he gruffly ground out. "Nothing happened. I didn't change my mind. I was driving by, and I thought I saw your car."

Sheridan's lips twitched, and she couldn't resist teasing him. "You thought you saw my car? And you just happened to be in the neighborhood too, right?" Her merry blue eyes studied him unabashedly, the alluring hint of an imminent five o'clock shadow, the fan of heavy dark lashes against his cheeks, the obstinate set of that beautiful mouth, and she smirked in delight as she watched the strained play of muscle in the powerful curve of his neck and shoulder as he attempted to avoid her gaze, dodge her attempts at dragging a reluctant confession from him.

"There was a theft reported at the Seascape," Luis finally spoke in his defense. "It's in this neighborhood," he mockingly reminded her, his obsidian eyes finally drawn to her face. A smile curved his lips when her grin faltered, and he lifted his hand to comb a wet blond curl from her eyes. "Be grateful for the lucky coincidence and leave it at that."

"So you're saying it was fate that you happened to drive by and see my car?"

"Crane," Luis barked warningly. "You know I don't believe in…" he trailed off when she beamed at him in triumph and gave the heavy wet material pulling at his able shoulders a vicious tug at the collar in his aggravation. Frowning, he informed her, "I expect to see you, bright and early, at the Youth Center tomorrow morning."

Surging onto her tiptoes, Sheridan cupped his jaw in her palm and pressed an impulsive kiss to the corner of his mouth as she agreed, "Bright and early." He tasted dark, dangerous, divine. "Bright and early," she repeated softly as she watched him stalk away with heady anticipation bubbling up and fairly brimming out of her. "Tomorrow."





~*~



So...I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter.

As long as I'm at least 3-4 chapters ahead, I'll keep posting a chapter a day, and you guys know what motivates me the best.

:D

Expect 20 chapters total with this fic, of varying lengths and ratings. And seriously...

Feedback is love!

Thanks so much for reading!

UAgirl
8.21.12, 8:00 PM
Title: Surrender
Rating: PG.
Warning: angst, allusions to character death, drive-by mention of nudity and past amorous actions.
Pairing/Characters: Sheridan/Luis, Sam, other characters.
Word Count: 414.
Summary (for chapter): prompt: odds and ends. Sheridan walked into the Harmony Police Department with the clothes on her back and a few odds and ends of a borrowed life.






~*~



"You don't have to go."

Sheridan lifted sore, reddened eyes to Luis's somber face. He meant it; she could tell. But she couldn't. Stay, that is. She'd already taken so much from him. She couldn't take this from him too: his resolve, his gesture of charity, his offer of absolution. "We both know I do."

Luis's expression was grim as he regarded her, resigned as he walked away, his heavy steps echoing in the quiet hall.

The closet looked empty with her colorful clothes already gone from it, the dresser drawers bare. The bathroom was neat, almost militarily so, without her perfume, her shampoo, the body wash he always used to smell like on those lazy early mornings where nothing was more important than him and her and just enjoying each other in the warm water sluicing over their naked skin.

Sheridan picked up her toothbrush, zipped it away in her small toiletries bag, cast her gaze around the darkened room, took a shaky breath. She stepped out into the hall, glanced at the two closed doors on either side of its end, felt grief and regret well up again.

Luis's shoulders were slumped, his head bowed, in the living room. He said nothing as she entered the room.

The overfull suitcases wobbled when Sheridan set them down. Her heels clicked a lonely rhythm out against the hardwood floor. The denim of his jeans felt rough against her palms as she slid them upward from his knees to curl around the fists clenched in his lap. Her voice was thin and hoarse and guilt-laden to her own ears as she forced out an apology. "I loved you, Luis. That part was never a lie."

Luis didn't look up as she placed the cool metal in his hand, didn't move to stop her as she walked out the door and out of his life.

Sheridan walked into the Harmony Police Department with the clothes on her back and a few odds and ends of a borrowed life. "I'm here to surrender myself," she announced, to a room full of Luis's shocked co-workers and friends.

"Sheridan," Sam softly pleaded. "You don't want to do this."

"Sam," Sheridan blinked back tears. "You know better than anyone that I have to do this." She outstretched her arms, offered Sam her wrists.

Sam sighed as he withdrew a set of cuffs, placed them on her gently. "Sheridan Crane Lopez-Fitzgerald, you are under arrest for the murder of Martin Fitzgerald."




~*~



So...even though I'm still three chapters ahead, I won't be able to post the next chapter of this story until this weekend due to RL butting in (work, as much I'm sometimes reluctant to drag myself out of my cozy, warm bed to go is a necessary evil, I'm afraid).

:(

Good news, though. I hope to have more chapters prewritten so that I can keep up the steady updates on this story, get it out of my system, and go back to some of my other WIPs.

In the meantime, feedback on the first few chapters? Would be lovely!

Thanks so much for reading!

desertgal
8.23.12, 6:05 PM
Great story please keep the chapters coming.

UAgirl
8.25.12, 10:51 AM
Title: All the Way Down
Rating: R.
Warning: sexual situations, but nothing too explicit—mostly suggestive, down to the title, lol; mild language.
Pairing/Characters: Sheridan/Luis, mention of Sam.
Word Count: 885.
Summary (for chapter): prompt: fight. I'm nobody's victim," Sheridan bit out. "Not anymore…"





~*~




"You don't own me, Supercop," Sheridan spat at Luis, wrenching her arm from his grasp. "And you sure as hell don't tell me what to do."

Luis blocked her attempts to slam the door in his face by wedging his solid body halfway in and outside the cottage and giving a mighty shove with his hand. "Don't be a fool. You don't know the first thing about police work. This undercover operation is a suicide mission, Crane. I never would have mentioned it if I'd ever thought you'd be stupid enough to volunteer yourself as bait." His eyes flashed blackly, deep and dark and demanding for her concession to reason, but Sheridan was having none of it.


"I've certainly been used by enough men to play the part. You said so yourself."


Luis softened when he realized she'd taken his words to heart, looking shame-faced and insulted. "Sheridan, I never meant…"


"I know what you meant," Sheridan snapped defensively. She crossed her arms in front of her chest, stepped just beyond his reach.


"You don't," Luis insisted. "I just…look, I…" His hand tunneled through his black hair as he searched futilely for the right words to persuade her, stand her down. "You're willfully putting yourself in danger. You realize that?"


"I'm nobody's victim," Sheridan bit out. "Not anymore. But I can play the part. I'm intimately familiar with it. And if I can help just one of those women…you're not going to deny me this, Luis. You're not."


"I can't believe Sam's on board with this," Luis growled, his anger rapidly returning in the face of her continued defiance. "This guy, our suspect, has raped at least four women so far, all of them with backgrounds similar to yours—single, wealthy, beautiful. He's been brought in a couple of times, but both times the evidence was circumstantial, and this guy…he has friends in high places. Sheridan, if you make one false move, if he gets to you…"


"Luis," Sheridan stepped forward again, shivered as her arm lightly brushed against the tender inside of his own. "I'll be careful. Nothing will happen to me." She gasped softly as his thumb touched the stubborn set of her jaw, slid across the silken skin to her mouth, and lingered there.


"You can't promise that." Luis's eyes fell to her mouth, and his thumb moved in an unconscious caress, the pressure behind the touch increasing with each languid stroke until Sheridan's lips parted in anticipation. "You don't know that," he said, swooping down and taking her mouth. His other hand came up to cradle her head as the length of his long, lean body pressed into Sheridan, and they tumbled back against the wall.


Sheridan vaguely registered the sound of shattering glass over the roar of her own heartbeat in her ears, but it soon faded to the background as one of Luis's knees boldly insinuated itself between her legs and pressed upward. She moaned into Luis's savage mouth, clawed at the buttons of his uniform, rocked against him. Hard, quivering muscle soon met her hands, warm, soft skin, and she felt the earth tilting on its axis as Luis's capable hands lifted her and her quaking legs wrapped around his trim waist. "This won't change my mind," she panted against the sensitive shell of Luis's ear when he wrenched his mouth free to nip and suck at the vulnerable tendons of her neck.


"I know," Luis breathed against her collarbone, his fingertips dipping into her cleavage then retreating, teasing the swell of her breast above the lace-edged cup of her bra only to retract themselves again. "You're one of the most stubborn women I've ever met," he revealed, shrugging first one arm then the next out of the heavy constricting uniform. His impatient fingers shoved her blouse from her shoulder, and he nuzzled the sun-golden skin he'd discovered while Sheridan fumbled with nerveless fingers to undo his belt.


"Look in a mirror, Buster," Sheridan breathlessly replied before mewing with frustration and cupping him through his pants. Her head hit the wall with a jarring thud when Luis surged forward in response and nearly devoured her lips and tongue.


Luis broke away with a frown tugging at his mouth, swore underneath his breath. "This isn't going to work."


Before Sheridan had time to contemplate what he meant by his comment, he had lowered her to the ground on shaky legs and dropped to his knees before her. His dark, calloused palms skated up her calves, disappeared beneath her skirt, and she felt herself go liquid inside as she gripped his broad shoulders with bloodless fingers. His name left her lips on a prayer as he teased the damp silk barrier that covered her with agile fingertips, and her breath caught in her throat. "Luis." She stared down at him with hooded, glittering blue eyes when those torturous hands reappeared, that thin triangle of lace and silk in their grasp.


Luis grinned wolfishly up at her as his hot hands nudged her thighs apart, as he made her stumble and sink against him, and he tossed the garment aside. "You won't need those anymore. C'mere."


It was a promise, it was a threat, it was a declaration of his less than noble intentions; Sheridan didn't have to be told twice.




~*~




So, um...hope you enjoyed the chapter.


;)


My present to you guys.


I'll see what I can do about getting more chapters up for you soon.


And Karen?


Thank you so much for the feedback on the last chapters.


:D


Feedback is love!


Thanks so much for reading!


P.S. Mistakes are all mine.

UAgirl
8.25.12, 9:04 PM
Title: Baby Bleu
Rating: G.
Warning: angst.
Pairing/Characters: Sheridan, original characters.
Word Count: 264.
Summary (for chapter): prompt: born. He had ten little fingers and ten little toes, and he was perfect, almost.




~*~

He had ten little fingers and ten little toes, and he was perfect, almost.


Sheridan watched her son wiggle and coo in the bassinet as the nurse fastened the last button on his blue onesie with a gentle smile.


"There you go, Little Man. All dry and ready to go to Mama."


Sheridan bit her lip, bit back the tidal wave of her panic, and slowly shook her head. "I don't know. He's so small."


"You won't break him," the nurse kindly reassured her.


Tears welled, unbidden, in Sheridan's blue eyes, and she confessed her greatest fear. "I'm afraid he'll break me."


"Don't be silly, Dear." The nurse swaddled the pink-skinned infant in a blanket and placed him in Sheridan's arms before she could protest again, showed her how to support his delicate head. Pleased with herself, she backed up, smiled. "See? He's just a wee thing, so sweet. Quite the handsome little devil, he is." She lingered at the doorway to Sheridan's private room, offered a bit of friendly, unsolicited advice. "Hold him tight and love him fiercely. He'll never be this innocent again."


Her heart hammering beneath her ribcage, her throat tight with conflicting emotions, Sheridan nodded as the older woman dismissed herself.


"Don't forget. Use your call button if you need anything. Anything at all."


"I will," Sheridan promised hoarsely, transfixed by the little boy nestled snugly, comfortably in her arms, and the unfocused blue eyes that blinked up at her.


Josiah Crane had ten little fingers and ten little toes, and he was perfect, almost.


He looked like his father.



~*~



Bad news, guys.

The desktop with all my stories on it, this one included, got fried earlier today by lightning.

:(


No thunder, no rain, only a few light grayish clouds, and all my hard work, two more new chapters and countless other stories (all of them-I still can't quite believe it) gone in an instant.


And I was so pleased with how the new chapters had turned out; do you know how rarely that happens for me?


UGH!


I don't know how much can be salvaged if anything, but until I find out something, updates will be coming much more slowly than previously planned. Luckily, I already had this chapter uploaded, and it only needed some slight editing to be ready.


I'll do my best to keep up the updates. It shouldn't be impossible with this story, at least. All my other stories...there were so many outlines, ideas, bits and pieces of chapters in various stages, just lost, that I just...there are really no words for it.


:'(


All that said, feedback would be lovely.


Maybe it would help me rediscover the creative surge I enjoyed earlier today before another type of surge altogether ruined everything.


Hopefully.


As always, thanks for reading!

UAgirl
8.26.12, 11:57 AM
Title: Going Under
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: adult themes, mild language, angst.
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan, Luis, mentions of Sam, original character.
Summary: prompt: breakable. "Why didn't you tell me?" Luis's voice was strained in the quiet room, at once soft and dangerous with controlled fury as he uttered the question, his dark head bowed, his back to her.








~*~



"Why didn't you tell me?" Luis's voice was strained in the quiet room, at once soft and dangerous with controlled fury as he uttered the question, his dark head bowed, his back to her.


For a long moment, Sheridan gazed at the strong line of Luis's shoulders beneath the ill-fitting suit jacket, watched the pull and strain of his frustration at its seams. Outside the small, windowless box Sam had sequestered them in, chaos swept on a cresting wave through the small Harmony courthouse. Sheridan hoped, prayed (futilely) that the headline-hungry reporters would allow her to hang onto what was left of her dignity.


"Sheridan, why?" Luis asked again, his voice rough with abraded pain as he faced her for the first time since her damning revelation in the courtroom. "Why let me find out this way?"


"Would it have helped if I'd told you differently, Luis? Would it really?" Sheridan queried. "I don't think so," she whispered. As she spoke, she twisted the rings on her finger. She flinched involuntarily when Luis abruptly covered her small hand with his larger one to soothe the nervous gesture, and felt tears grab tight to her throat when he immediately stepped back, gifted her with his careful distance.


Luis jerked an agitated hand through his black hair, paced the claustrophobic room. In desperation, he offered gruffly, "Maybe it's mine."


Tears flooded Sheridan's blue eyes, breached the protective armor shielding her emotions, holding the shattered pieces of her together. "I wish, Luis. You don't know how much I wish that were true. But we both know it isn't."


Answering tears glittered unshed in Luis's dark orbs, lingered and clung to his thick, dark lashes as they swooped down to kiss his cheeks. "I never should have let you go after that bastard!" His anguish and rage helplessly erupted. "Dammit, Sheridan! I never should have agreed to it. I should have stopped you."


He was despondent, as heartbroken as Sheridan had ever seen him, more even than the night he had saved her life, if not her bruised body, her battered soul. "You couldn't have stopped me if you'd tried, Luis," she told him truthfully. "Don't blame yourself for something that's not your fault." A knock sounded through the heavy wooden door then, swift and sure, and Sheridan knew their time was up before it'd ever really begun.


"Sam," Luis breathed.


"Sam," Sheridan nodded, as the knock was repeated, followed by the Police Chief's muffled voice calling their names. She stood slowly, reluctantly, smoothed the wrinkles out of her skirt, tugged the too-tight blouse from her thickening middle as Luis watched her with new, searching eyes.


Luis reached out, grabbed the rattling door knob.


"It's over then," Sheridan murmured as the door slowly swung open, Sam standing on the other side.


Sam was somber and staid as he echoed her words. "It's over."






~*~




I got this chapter pulled together much quicker than anticpated...

Not quite the chapter I'd written and lost, but the main intent is still there. *sigh*

I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Well, maybe enjoy isn't the right word in this case, but I'm certain you guys know what I mean.

;)

Thanks so much for reading!

Feedback is love!

UAgirl
8.26.12, 8:13 PM
Title: Nobody Ever Told You
Rating: G, I guess, but there's a heaviness here that makes it seem more like a PG to me. You decide.
Warnings: angst.
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan, mentions of Luis, Ethan, Pilar, original characters.
Summary: prompt: belong. It'd been months since she and Josiah had moved into this house with Luis…




~*~


"Sheridan! Siah did it again!"


Sheridan sighed, saving the rough draft of the email she'd been typing to Ethan before powering down her laptop and pushing back from her desk to acknowledge the little girl currently glowering at her from the doorway. "Did what, Maddie?"


The child tightened her arms about her middle in response to the undercurrent of exasperation obvious in the question and lifted her chin in indignation before deigning to answer Sheridan. "He ruined my picture for school! Just like he ruins everything!"


Tucking a flyaway blond curl behind her ear, Sheridan silently prayed for patience as she stood up to follow Maddie out of the home office and down the narrow hallway on socked feet. "I'm sure he didn't mean to, Maddie."


The irate little brunette responded to Sheridan's defense of her quasi-stepbrother by putting an extra little downward stomp in her marching step. When they reached her bedroom, she melodramatically flung the door open, jabbing an accusing finger at the little boy with his feet curled beneath him in the room, his small hands clasped together. "He ruined it," she repeated. "Just look at it," she said, hurrying across the room to snatch the picture, practically from underneath Josiah's confusion-wrinkled nose.


Sheridan took the proffered picture but didn't look at it just yet, lost in thought, instead, of how to handle this newest crisis. It'd been months since she and Josiah had moved into this house with Luis and Maddie, months since she'd put her heart and her trust issues on the line and had become Luis's wife and joined their two families together, and still, her stepdaughter was struggling to accept their apparent intrusion.


Maddie's short, straight brown hair brushed against the stubborn set of her jaw, and the pitch of her voice rose along with her irritation. "He did mean it, and I'm going to tell my abuela."


Sheridan didn't doubt for a moment that the child would make good on her threat; hopefully, Pilar's cooler head would preside though. Hoping to defuse the escalating situation somewhat, Sheridan made Maddie an offer she (hoped she) couldn't refuse. "I'll help you draw another picture later. Why don't you go watch some cartoons while I talk with Josiah about what he did?"


"But I don't want to watch cartoons!" Maddie objected.


"Madeline Elizabeth," Sheridan leveled the little girl with a stern, no further arguments accepted, stare. "Please."


"Okay," Maddie grumped.


With the child's departure, Sheridan crossed the room to her silent little son, sank down to the floor beside him. The boy slumped toward the warmth of her body, unfurling his short limbs and resting his sandy head against her arm. Sheridan hesitated only briefly before lifting her arm, allowing him to tuck himself even closer, and that wholly undeserved trust and unconditional love, paired with the picture she studied in her hands, made speech impossible for several long seconds that stretched into minutes. She turned to press a kiss to the warm crown with a shaky sigh when the volume of the television in the living room neared ear-splitting proportions (Maddie's protest of sorts, she was certain) and murmured against the soft strands, "Oh, Siah." She stroked her fingertips lightly over the crude watercolor form of her son, tacked onto the corner of the picture, apart from the rest of them, Maddie, Luis, and a woman standing just behind them. "What did you do?"


Siah's green eyes regarded her intently. "She forgot me, Mommy, so I drawed myself in." The corners of his full pink mouth lifted, and his nose crinkled proudly. "See?"


Sheridan felt a painful tug at her heartstrings that she covered by gently correcting the boy, "Drew. Drew yourself in." Siah shifted again beside her, wrapped his short arms around her waist in a hug. "You did a good job," she told him, "but you shouldn't have changed Maddie's picture without asking her first."


"But I'm her brother now," Siah's thin shoulders shrugged beneath her touch. "I didn't know she'd be mad. Why'd she make your hair so dark, Mommy, when it's yellow, like mine?"


Sheridan felt her heart grow heavier with each innocently spoken question, and the truth was a venomous thing straining behind her tightly pursed lips as she merely shook her head, hugged the boy tighter.


"Mommy?" Josiah murmured against her breast.


"Mmm?" Sheridan hummed, unable to trust her own voice.


"Love you."


A brief second later, Sheridan replied. "Me, too."










~*~



Any guesses who Maddie's mom is?

What do you think of the kids?

Maddie?

Siah?

This story has been particularly angsty so far, but there will be some lighter moments sprinkled in, so don't bail on me now.

;)


I personally adore angst; but don't let that frighten you, lol.


Feedback is love!


Thanks so much for reading!


P.S. Depending on what track Isaac takes, this might be one of the last updates on this story for a little bit until things calm down. I've already had one computer fried this week; definitely don't want two. ;) That, and work might keep me tied up more than usual. We shall see.

Shae

UAgirl
9.11.12, 12:52 AM
Title: Still Breathing
Rating: PG, because most of the heavy stuff is only alluded to.
Warnings: angst, character death, allusions to rape.
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan, Ethan, mentions of Beth, Sam, Gwen, Lopez-Fitzgeralds, Kay, original characters, Luis.
Summary: prompt: veneer. "It won't ever be okay, Sheridan."





~*~




A child's plaintive wail pierced the somber shroud cast by the gray winter afternoon, and the cold, icy fingers of the wind propelled Sheridan forward, the dirty, trodden snow crunching beneath her boots as she held on to Ethan's arm and carefully navigated the stone garden.


The ring of mourners was huddled around the freshly dug gravesite, Luis standing tall above his mother and sisters. Miguel's hand curled around Kay's, and the teens were the first to spot them, murmuring quietly to themselves as Sheridan and Ethan joined their ranks.


Sheridan rest her gloved hands over the tight swell of her belly as she listened to the clear, reverent intonation of Father Lonagin's voice laying Beth Wallace to rest, and she traced wistful blue eyes over Luis's looming figure, the width and the breadth of him, the strength, the deceptive calm. She lost herself in her thoughts as she studied him without his knowledge, and when Ethan rest a supportive hand against the small of her back, she startled.


"I didn't mean to scare you," Ethan apologized, concern in his kind blue eyes. "But the service is over. Everybody's leaving."


Sheridan looked around, recognized that what he said was true. Only a few figures remained around the gravesite, Luis and Sam most notably. "You go ahead," she encouraged her nephew. "I just want to pay my respects."


"I'll have a hot chocolate waiting for you at the Book Café," Ethan promised. Then, realizing what he'd said, he frowned. "I'll call Gwen, have her have Cook make it just like you like it."


"She has a name, Ethan, and I'm fairly certain it's not Cook," Sheridan gently teased. She smiled as she pressed a kiss to his cool cheek. "What would I do without you?"


"Starve?" Ethan teased back lightly as he kneaded the sore muscles of her back, causing Sheridan to groan in appreciation. "Don't take too long, okay? It's freezing out here."


"Luckily," Sheridan quipped as she absently rubbed her swollen abdomen. "I have some insulation." The smile on her face didn't quite reach her eyes, but Ethan rewarded her silly comment with a small laugh.


"I'll go warm up the car."


"You do that," Sheridan said. "I won't be long." She watched him as he caught up with Pilar and her daughters, exchanged pleasantries with them, and went his own way. When she turned around again, Luis was before her, and she was staring into the heartbroken eyes of Beth's orphaned young daughter as she lifted her rumpled brown head from the solid shelter of Luis's chest. Sheridan thumbed away a crystal tear from the child's soft, flushed cheek, and murmured the little girl's name. "Hi, Maddie."


The toddler scrabbled for the gaping edges of Luis's jacket and burrowed herself beneath the worn leather away from Sheridan's sympathetic blue eyes.


"She's tired," Luis rationalized, the emotion in his dark eyes veiled but fortified against prying eyes, against her eyes.


Sheridan sighed and nodded, wincing as her son lodged his tiny foot in the curl of her ribs and pushed.


"You okay?"


The concern that leaked through Luis's voice, dripped from the softly murmured syllables warmed Sheridan, gave her hope, and she grasped onto the hand hovering uncertainly in the heavy air between them, pressed it to her thickened middle, smiled. "Yeah. He's very strong. Feel."


Luis slowly withdrew his hand, adjusted Maddie in his arms when she squirmed. "He?"


Sheridan pushed back at the disappointment she felt when Luis recoiled as if burned, taking an additional step or two back for good measure. Pasting a brave smile on her face, she acted as if she hadn't noticed his efforts to distance himself. "Pilar didn't tell you? It's a boy."


"Mama tells me a lot of things," Luis's breath fogged between them. "I've been a little distracted," he murmured into the fine strands of Maddie's hair as the toddler tightened her short arms around his neck and whimpered. "With Beth getting sick, and helping take care of Maddie, the station, I just haven't had time…"


To deal with it? Sheridan wanted to ask but didn't. Her body might have been violated that night, but Luis's trust in his ability to keep her safe had also been compromised, and he had yet to come to terms with his own human infallibility, with the baby that was the unasked for reminder of his ultimate failure. She couldn't explain to him why she'd made the choices she'd made in the days since, she still didn't completely understand her reasons herself, but she had, and here they were, and the distance between them was something she wasn't sure could be breached, at least not yet, not today. So, she let him off the hook, soft and gracious in her allowances. "I know."


"Sheridan."


"It's okay, Luis. It really is." Tightening her scarf about her neck, she pulled the edges of her jacket closed against her straining flesh and turned to go. "You should get her inside," she said of the small, forlorn-looking little girl with her face buried in the crook of his neck, and her tiny fingers bloodless and fierce against the natural swarthiness of his skin. "It looks like snow."


"It won't ever be okay, Sheridan." The pain and guilt in Luis's simple statement was a living, breathing thing, and Sheridan stilled, her eyes clenched shut at the sheer rawness of the regret between the lines.


"Maybe you're right," Sheridan mused, turning tear-filled blue eyes on him as she soothed the restless child in her womb. "I have to believe you're wrong."





~*~





So...I hope you guys are still with me.

T'is angsty, I know.

But sometimes angst hurts so good (wow...I sound a
little masochistic, lol; I'm not, not really).

The opposite of darkness is light, though, and both Sheridan and Luis are still searching for it.

Will they find it?

Keep reading to find out.

Feedback is love and (almost) better than chocolate.

;)

Thanks so much for reading!

UAgirl
9.11.12, 10:30 PM
Title: Someday When I Stop Loving You
Rating: PG-13.
Warnings: angst, language, sexual situations, character death.
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan, Luis, mentions of Ethan, original characters, minor characters.
Summary: prompt: goodbye. "...When we said those vows to each other, we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other until death did us part."







~*~






The keys rattled, clinked against the metal as the lock turned, and the heavy iron door swung open with a reluctant groan.


Sheridan lifted a fist to her mouth to stifle the sob building up, crying for release, blinked away the stinging wetness from her eyes, turned to face the guard, plead for a little more time. "Please. Please," she entreated. "Not yet. I haven't had a chance to say goodbye." Her voice faded to a whisper, because he was there, right in front of her, so close she could touch him, but she didn't, she didn't because then the nightmare would be real, and if she could pretend just a little while longer, just a little while, she might survive this. "Luis."


Luis was grim, dark, disheveled, and he said nothing as he joined her inside the dreary cell. The doors shut behind him with a resounding thud, and his shoes scuffed against the cold concrete as he made the first move to close the yawning void between them.


Silently, he studied her, until Sheridan felt compelled to fill the weighted moment with nervous chatter. Tugging uncomfortably at the fitted jacket that still hugged her upper body, she whirled on her heel to face the wall, then pressed a palm against the rough grittiness of the gray block. "Do I look any different, Luis, now that it's official? Now that I'm a convicted murderess?"


The breath he drew in at her self-disparaging words was razor-sharp, stuttered. "You're still you, Sheridan. You're still…"


"Still who, Luis?" Sheridan cut him off. "Still what?" she spat, pressed her weary forehead into the curve of her arm. She lifted her head, allowed herself to be turned, when she felt the bruising grip of Luis's fingers around her upper arm. "Tell me, Luis," she softened at the pain reflected back to her in his unflinching stare. "What do you see when you look at me?"


"I see the stubborn woman I fell in love with," Luis gritted out. "I see my wife."


"About that," Sheridan fought to keep her voice steady. "Ethan has the papers. All you have to do is sign them."


Luis's hand dropped to his side, but not before making a rough, jerky detour through the black spikes of his hair. "Is that what you think I want? To divorce you? When we said those vows to each other, we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other until death did us part."


"A jury just found me guilty of murdering your father, Luis," Sheridan dropped her head into her shaking hands. "No one would look badly on you if you reneged on your promise. And anyway," she murmured, knuckling a few stray tears from the fringes of her lashes, "Ethan refuses to admit as much, but my days are numbered. The D.A. has an axe to grind with my family."


"I'm not going to let them crucify you just to get to your father, Sheridan," Luis growled, replacing her trembling fingers with his own as he gently brushed away her pooling tears. "That whole trial back there? It was a witch hunt, Sheridan, plain and simple. The state's evidence…"


"The state's evidence was not nearly as damaging as my own words," Sheridan pressed her lips to the thumb that had swooped down to trace the sad line of her mouth.


Luis shook his head, pulled her into his arms, wrapped her up tightly and securely as he pushed back against his own fears. "My father was a grown man, Sheridan, not a small man, not a weak man. You were just a child. I don't care how many times you confess, something still doesn't add up here, and I won't give up until I find out why."


Sheridan's hands slid up to cradle Luis's stubborn, stubbled jaw. "You really do love me." His dear face blurred beyond the veil of her shimmering tears, but she could still read him. "You would do it, wouldn't you? Search the ends of the earth for your answers. But what if your answers are right here, Luis, and you just refuse to see them? The blood on my hands that night, Luis? It was your father's blood." Sheridan quieted when he drew her back to his embrace, allowed him to sort through his thoughts on his own. She could tell, in the steely tension of the arms banded around her, that still, he couldn't accept her confession for what it was, a purging of her guilt. His beautiful, analytical mind was still struggling fruitlessly to fit together the puzzle pieces of that night, exonerate her of the sins of her past, of her stolen childhood, and she knew he wouldn't give up, ever. But, her time was running out. She knew it. Her husband knew it. And if this was going to be the last time she saw him on this side of those damning bars, touched him, she was going to make it count. "I want you to promise me something," Sheridan murmured, her mouth finding the juncture of his shoulder and his vulnerable neck.


Luis shuddered beneath her touch, gently pushed her back to look deeply into her sparkling eyes. His fingertips curled around the wispy edges of her hair. His gaze lingered on her face, as if memorizing every feature. He ignored her words to make a vow of his own. "I won't sign those papers, Sheridan."


"Promise me," Sheridan was close to begging. "Promise me, that when the time comes, you'll let me go."


"'Til death, Sheridan. That's the only promise I'm keeping."


"Luis, please," Sheridan cried. "It's important to me that you move on. That you live the life you were meant to live, with or without me."


"My life was meant to have you in it," Luis told her. "There's no moving on from you." His fingers caught in the buttons of her silk blouse, loosening them from their hold, and his mouth found her temple, fluttering the soft hair there.


"I mean it, Luis," Sheridan protested weakly as she felt the hard press of his powerful thighs against her own. "Luis," she sobbed as she clenched the heavy material of his uniform between her hands, let him cage her willing body between his braced forearms. Her blouse gaped open to her navel, she rest her head back against the wall, invited his seeking mouth with one downward flight of her eyes. "Luis, there's no time. What if…"


"Shh." Luis kissed her with aching tenderness while his hands pushed and pulled at the constraints of her tight clothing. His blunt nails snagged in her stocking as he lifted her leg to wrap it around his hip, and he sucked at the tender skin of her neck as he drove home. "Love you," he murmured against her breast. "God, I love you," he growled into her hair as he rocked deeply into her.


Sheridan ignored the bitter sting of the rough stone abrading her back, closed her eyes against the image of the ugly metal bars and the threadbare cot, dreamed of their warm bed back home on an early fall Saturday morning, Maddie's cartoons playing in the living room and Siah's happy exclamations of Good Morning, Mommy, Good Morning, Luis coming just seconds before he'd stampede through their bedroom door and almost catch them in the act. She remembered all the fights they did and didn't have, all the words she never got the chance to say, the promising future forever lost to them, each and every regret, and she held him close as she loved him in return.


Minutes melted into hours, and Luis's heart thundered beneath Sheridan's ear as the first gray light spilled through the small, high windows.


"Time's up, Boss," Marty called. "It's time to go."


The cop respectfully averted his eyes while they climbed from the narrow cot, straightened their clothing, and Luis's big hand dove into Sheridan's hair as he kissed her like it was the first and the last time. "This isn't goodbye."


Luis's lips brushing against the lobe of Sheridan's ear sent an uncontrollable shiver down her spine, and she held on to him tighter as Marty cleared his throat to separate them. "Luis," she said ruefully, attempted to smile through her tears. "Never forget how much I love you."


"I won't rest until I find out the truth."


"I know," Sheridan's smile fell completely as the cuffs clicked snugly in place around her wrists.


"Luis," Marty warned when his colleague started to protest.


"You know I have to. Sorry," he apologized softly to Sheridan when Luis reluctantly backed down.


"'Til death," Luis vowed as Sheridan was steered out of the cell.


"'Til death," Sheridan echoed.







~*~



First off, mistakes are all mine.


I'm sure there's plenty. ;)


Secondly, I hope you guys are still reading this. I admit, it's not my typical fare, and I wouldn't necessarily say I'm enjoying writing it as much as some of those toothache-inducing fluffy pieces of mine (blame it on the frying of my PC and all my outlines, unfinished stories, etc.), but it's nice therapy, lol.


Don't worry. Times for me are definitely not as dark as they are for Sheridan in this story.


Anyway, I guess you could say another puzzle piece of this fic fell into place. I don't know that it necessarily makes more sense for any of you, though, especially since I haven't heard a peep out of you.


:D


LOL!


Feedback, it goes without saying, is love.


Thanks so much for reading!!!

UAgirl
10.2.12, 1:50 AM
Title: Brave
Rating: PG
Warnings: angst, slight language.
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan/Luis, original characters, Pilar, mentions of Sam, Ethan, Alistair, others.
Summary: prompt: monster. "We're lying to him. Monsters are real."






~*~


"Mommy! Mommy!"


Siah's screams were sharp and shrill, and Sheridan tossed the heavy comforter aside and scrambled from the bed, her heart skittering inside her chest as she quickly navigated the shadowed bedroom. It wasn't until she reached the hallway, breached the slant of silver moonlight spilling in through the windows and walked right into Maddie's stumbling path that she remembered her forgotten robe. Feeling self-conscious in the thin camisole and bikini panties she'd fallen into a fitful sleep in, she redirected the seven year-old's attention. "Maddie? What are you doing up?"


Maddie rubbed at her bleary brown eyes with her fists. "I had to go to the bathroom." Fine strands of hair had slipped free from the stubby twin braids on either side of her head, forming a framing halo of sorts around the pout she effortlessly affected when Luis came into view. "Siah woke me up," she complained, side-stepping Sheridan and leaning her sleepy weight against Luis's steady, supportive embrace as Siah's screams again shattered the stillness of the night, spurring Sheridan into renewed action.


Siah was sitting upright, his short arms squeezing Milo in a death grip, his green eyes stark and sightless in their fear as the rumpled twin bed dipped slightly underneath his mother's additional weight. "Mommy," the little boy slumped into her embrace in relief. "Mommy," he panted against her neck as she gently stroked his back. "He was back. The monster was back."


"Oh, Siah," Sheridan pressed a reassuring kiss into the sweaty blond strands. "There isn't a monster. You just had a bad dream. That's all." Even as she spoke the words, she realized they'd bring little to no comfort to her son. The dream was a common one, a recurring one that'd afforded them all precious little sleep in the past weeks, and she knew all too well the soul-crushing power of dreams of such terror, having been visited more and more frequently in the last month with dreams of a similar vein. The monsters in her dreams, however, were all-too real. Siah's, she were sure, were nothing more than the product of a sometimes exasperatingly bright and overactive imagination. That, and perhaps one too many conversations overheard lately. Sheridan stroked a soothing hand up and down the small back, kissed the soft, feverish skin stretched taut over the strumming pulse in his neck, met her husband's glittering dark gaze as he lingered in the open doorway. "Tell him, Luis."


Luis sighed, repeated what had become their mantra of late. "Monsters aren't real, Siah. There's nothing to worry about."


Siah shifted in his mother's embrace, solemnly eyed the man he hero-worshipped despite the careful, polite distance Luis had always unwittingly maintained between them, and sniffled his reluctant agreement. "Monsters aren't real. They're just made up. Just pretend."


"Right." Luis's voice held a note of patient pride as he approached them.


Sheridan shivered as she felt the slide of his bare skin against her exposed thigh as he crouched before Siah's bed, and Luis's muscles rippled against Siah's seeking touch as the little boy stretched out an arm to trace the pale, puckered scar that had been the tipping point in long-buried feelings being unearthed.


Siah frowned as he withdrew his small hand, rest his flushed cheek against his mother's breastbone. "I'm not as brave as you."


"You don't have to be brave," Luis told him, plucking the much-loved teddy bear from the child's arms. "That's what Milo's for. He's always looking out for you."


"Do you know who gave you Milo when you were just a tiny baby?" Sheridan murmured against Josiah's temple, breathed in his warm, little boy smell, and felt the most painful sort of poignancy in that moment, just like the moment, that seemed so long ago now, when Luis had first placed the diminutive guardian of friendly fuzz and fluffy stuffing in the bassinet with the peaceful, sighing newborn whose very existence had snatched away his own last chance at perfect happiness. "Luis did."


"You did?" Siah straightened with interest. "You knew me when I was a baby?"


Luis's smile was strained but there; Sheridan doubted Siah noticed it never reached his stepfather's eyes. "He did," she confirmed.


"Did you know my mommy, too?"


This time Luis's smile was more genuine, and he couldn't help chuckling. "Yes, Siah. I knew your mommy." His eyes sparkled in the low lamplight as they met Sheridan's, and one large hand strayed to the boy's messy blond strands, tousled them further.


His earlier fright all-but-forgotten, Siah grinned at the gesture, his green eyes alight as he tipped his head back to stare up at Sheridan in adoration. "Was she always the most pretty mommy in the world?"


"Always," Luis answered softly. "She always was."


Siah's natural curiosity led him to question further. "Did you know my daddy, too?"


Sheridan stiffened, tightened then relaxed her arms around her son, before pressing a hurried kiss to the crown of his head, urging him to scoot back underneath his covers as she climbed out of the bed. "That's enough, Siah. Time to go back to sleep. You and Maddie have school in the morning. And Luis and I both have to work."


"But Mommy," Siah whined. He cuddled around the bear Luis placed back into his arms. "What if…"


"Remember what I said," Luis reminded him.


"About monsters?" Siah innocently asked.


"And Milo. He'll protect you. Give you courage, whenever you're feeling scared."


Siah leaned in to the fleeting touch of Luis's hand as it ruffled his hair, snuggled deeper into the covers Sheridan had pulled up under his arms. "Promise?"


"Promise," Luis vowed. "Sleep tight."


"Don't let the bed bugs bite," Siah yawned in reply as they pulled his bedroom door closed behind them.


Later, as Sheridan lay awake long into the night in the shielding warmth of Luis's arms, she couldn't escape her own guilt, or her own too-real fears. "We're lying to him. Monsters are real." Luis's gravelly voice rumbled beneath her ear.


"I don't want you going back there, Sheridan."


"I don't want to go back," Sheridan quietly admitted. "But I can't let him win. And we need the money. You know as well as I do…babies aren't cheap."


Luis's hand slid over her own, resting low over her abdomen, where their baby rest, still a secret to the outside world, to everyone save her and him and their doctor. "Hiring that bastard was low, even for your father. If he even so much as looks at you…"


"His conviction was thrown out on a technicality, Luis. He knows you and the rest of the Harmony Police Department are watching him like hawks." She stroked a lazy, soothing hand up and down his side as she spoke. "Plus, Ethan's appointed himself my personal bodyguard in your absence, and, with the restraining order…if he so much as blinks in my direction, he's toast."


"I still don't like it, Sheridan."


"I know you don't," Sheridan curled her fingers around the waistband of his pajamas. "But I learned a long time ago, how to deal with the cards I'm dealt, and I can't let one man infect every aspect our lives."


"He's not just any man, Sheridan."


"Luis," Sheridan sighed. "I know you and Sam and the guys are working on it. Until then, well, I'm not the same woman I was then. I meant what I told Siah. Sleep, Luis." Sheridan kissed him softly on the mouth then and tucked her head into the curve of his warm, muscular shoulder.


Morning dawned bright, and the kids were already dressed and ready for school, and Pilar was lingering in the doorway with a cup of decaffeinated coffee nestled between her palms. "Mi hijo, he said you would need this."


Pilar regarded her with that ever-present suspicion that was second-nature to her but didn't say anything, and for that, Sheridan was inordinately grateful. "Thanks, Pilar," Sheridan said, as she scooted upright in the bed and sipped from the steaming cup. "Did Luis say anything else before he left?"


"Only that he loved you," Pilar answered with a smile. "And that he's your Milo, although I'm not sure what that teddy bear has to do with anything."





~*~



First off, mistakes are all mine.


Please let me know if there are any glaring ones, and I'll do my best to fix them.


Secondly, I hope you enjoyed this chapter.


As you might have noticed, I couldn't avoid the angst altogether, but I did leave you with some hope and some bittersweet moments. ;)


Feedback is love and much adored.


Thanks so very much for reading!


I hope to have the next chapter up soon so keep checking in; I'll keep writing.

UAgirl
10.2.12, 9:20 PM
Title: Think of Me
Rating: G, PG tops.
Warnings: angst, mild language, character death(s)
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan, Hank, mentions of Luis, Beth, original characters.
Summary: prompt: grave. "Absence, even if it happens suddenly, is felt in degrees…"


~*~

Sheridan found him, sitting on a stone bench with his head in his hands and his back hunched in stunned disbelief. Dry, dying autumn leaves ground to dust beneath the heels of her black boots as she cautiously approached him, and she tucked her chin deeper into the loose neck of her sweater against the chill dancing along the October breeze. Cold seeped through the denim of her jeans as she joined him, and the flickering orange light of a jovial jack-o-lantern placed against a neighboring headstone mocked their mutual misery in this heavy, haunted place.


"Five years and nobody told me. Five damn years."


His brown eyes shone in the eerie moonlight, and though she didn't have as much experience reading his emotions as she did Luis's moods and carefully guarded feelings, it was still clear to Sheridan that Hank Bennett was a wrecked man. "To be fair," she softly uttered, "no one knew where you were. No one even knew where to start looking."


"Nice try," Hank scowled. "My brother and your husband are both detectives. It's what they do. If they'd really wanted to find me, they would have." He stood then, gazed sightlessly at the heavy granite block that bore Beth's name, fitted his hands in the pockets of his worn leather jacket. "Did she suffer?"


The question was more a whisper, laced with despair, infused with guilt at his own absence. Sheridan answered it with gentle honesty. "She fought for a long time. She fought hard. I wasn't close with Beth, and Luis and I…we weren't together then, so I don't know all the details. But Beth died with dignity and peace and with the reassurance that her little girl would always be taken care of."


Hank seemed to accept Sheridan's words for what they were, a balm to his ills. His tense stance relaxed somewhat, and he lifted a hand to his face to discreetly brush away the evidence of his grief. When he faced Sheridan again, his eyes were clear and filled with the weight of a newly discovered world. "Our little girl."


"Your little girl," Sheridan echoed with a solemn smile, because as much as Maddie identified with Luis as the sole father figure in her young life, Sheridan herself couldn't dispute the irrefutable truth of biology, and the man before her wasn't some demon, some real-life monster undeserving of the chance to get to know his own child. He was as infallibly human as she was, as her husband was, and his rights, though they might threaten, in the murky future that loomed ahead, to rip apart what remained of her tattered and shaken family, mattered. She suspected, subconsciously, Luis had always known Maddie was but a temporary presence in their lives; he'd never pursued her adoption as more than an hypothetical idea broached with Ethan once many a moon ago. "I can't believe no one ever suspected it. All it took was one look at the two of you in the same room."


"You said it yourself," Hank stated. "Beth and I weren't lovers. We were friends that loved each other. We just didn't have that kind of relationship. But, one night…"


"Spare me the details, okay?" Sheridan told him with a lightly arched brow and a suppressed, though humoring, grimace. Her fingers were white against the gray slab as they curled around it for support, pale, spindly ghosts that only echoed of the woman she once was, and her blue eyes took on a faraway expression as they roamed their deserted surroundings. "That little girl, your little girl, loves Luis to distraction. He loves her, more than he even loves me."


"Not more," Hank corrected her as he reclaimed the seat by her side, warmed her with his closeness, his inherent vibrancy. "Differently, maybe, but not more."


Sheridan let his words seep into her consciousness, soaked them in. She looked at the pointy toes of her boots, scuffed them back and forth over the ground, hard and unrelenting in its preparation for another frost, and wondered if it really mattered, who loved who more, because if it did…it didn't bear thinking about. "Hank," she began. "Maddie knows Luis isn't her father. She's always known. But that doesn't mean she'll accept you, no questions asked. Your daughter doesn't deal well with change."


Hank regarded her silently, read the weariness in the faded blue of her eyes, the clinging specter of regret in the shadows bruising her skin, and nodded, more to himself than to her. "If you're warning me not to get my hopes up, they've got nowhere to go but up, Sheridan. I know my daughter adores Luis. I'm grateful for it."


"You'll have to take things slowly."


"I'm not going anywhere," Hank vowed.


Sheridan swallowed, blinked hard against the tears suddenly threatening, always there just beyond the breach of her defenses these days, it seemed. " Luis isn't going to just hand her over to you. With everything that's happened in the last year…"


Hank soothed her with a comforting hand between her shoulders. "Sheridan, I understand. I'm not going to take her and just disappear. I just want to get to know her, and if…if…"


Sheridan closed her eyes against the tears that leaked down her cheeks without her consent and pictured another stone, smaller, newer, the mounded earth stretched before it still unfettered with the growth and passage of time, just beyond the light of the magnificent midnight moon, and shook her head ruefully. "When you fall in love with her, you won't be able to imagine your life without her, as difficult and independent as she can often be."


Hank's hand dropped back to his side, and he lifted it to chafe it against the rough denim pulled taut across his thigh. "I wouldn't do that to Luis."


"For your daughter?" Sheridan smiled at him sadly. "You would and you will. It's inevitable, so be patient with Luis as he learns to accept it. He's a generous man, but even the most generous man can't be expected to keep ripping piece after piece of his own heart out and freely hand it over."


"Sheridan."


Sheridan shook her head, continued, "Absence, even if it happens suddenly, is felt in degrees. It never hurts any less; it just stops being the first thing you think about in the morning, the last thing that crosses your mind before you fall asleep, until it's just a part of you that you carry around always. We'll survive, Hank. We'll find a way."


Hank covered her hand with his own, rubbed his thumb over the chilled metal of her wedding ring. "Looks like my buddy found himself a diamond in the rough."


His voice was rough, his smile tight, his eyes liquid in the moonlight, and Sheridan allowed herself to accept not his pity but his depth of feeling for them both. "I love that man, Hank. More than I can ever say, and seeing him hurt…" The tears came faster, and she found herself pulled into Hank's embrace. He let her cry; she swore he even cried with her.


The jack-o-lantern winked at them. A cold breeze swirled ribbons of chocolate, ruby, and sunset fire around their ankles, sweeping them along like merry, teasing puppets on an invisible string.


Sheridan buried her nose deeper into the comforting softness of the butter-soft leather and gave in, for once, to the weakness that was her broken heart. Until Hank reminded her, that it wasn't the end-all, be-all of who she was, and surviving didn't just mean learning how to exist through the pain, but to live again. He accomplished such a feat by making her laugh and proving to her just how much Maddie needed them all.


"So this pirate princess the kiddo claims she wants to be…what the hell do you think one of those looks like? I'm a guy so I don't pretend to understand women-I better not hear of you repeating a word of this to Luis, by the way-but the tiara and the eye patch don't really go together."


"I'm not sure. But Theresa's got it all figured out."



~*~


Are you dead from the angst yet?

;)

I don't know what's gotten into me, but I can't help myself. I have this story in my head, this borderline tragic story (or maybe just tragic...the jury's still out on that one), and it's just writing itself, and beating Sheridan all to hell in the process.

Sher's strong, but even I can say it: jeez!

So...thoughts on this chapter?

If you haven't already noticed or figured this out, I'm giving you guys an awful lot to read between the lines. By the end of the story, it should all fall into place.

I hope you're enjoying the story so far.

Feedback is absolute love, and it's the best inspiration us fanfic writers could ask for. ;) That said, look for any new chapters to be posted this weekend at the earliest. RL strikes again in the form of gainful employment! LOL.

Thanks so very much for reading!

P.S. Karen! OMG! I just saw your sweet FB on the first page; thank you so much. I hope you're still enjoying the story. I know it's super angsty.

UAgirl
10.10.12, 8:22 PM
Title: How Far
Rating: PG
Warnings: adult themes, off-screen violence.
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan, Gwen, Theresa, Luis, original characters
Summary: prompt: I know. "I always mean what I say, Sheridan."




~*~

"I think it's admirable," Gwen mused as she seated herself across from Sheridan, "what Luis and his family have done with this place."


Sheridan repositioned her drowsy son in her lap, fingered his stubborn blond locks in an attempt to shape them into some sense of temporary order. She absently nodded her agreement, eventually giving up her fruitless efforts and casting her blue gaze around the Book Café. The searching nature of it, however, failed to escape Gwen's notice, and when Sheridan looked to her friend again, she wore a gentle, knowing smile.


"I'm sure he's around here somewhere," Gwen told her. "Why don't you just ask Theresa how he's doing?"


"Ask me what?" Theresa's smile was friendly and expectant as she fished a pen out of one of her apron pockets and flipped open the small notepad cradled in her hand. "The usual or do you want to try the cupcake of the day?"


"Cupcake of the day," Gwen and Sheridan simultaneously answered.


"Cupcake of the day it is," Theresa giggled in response. "Now," she slipped the pen and the notepad back into the deep pockets of her apron. "What was it you wanted to ask me?"


Taking the initiative for her uncharacteristically timid friend when it became apparent she couldn't unearth the courage to ask such a simple question, Gwen turned sideways in her chair and looked up into Theresa's large, dark eyes. "Tell us," she entreated, "how is Luis doing in his recovery?"


Theresa opened her mouth to reply, but movement in the back of the Book Café distracted her, distracted them all, and she and Gwen followed Sheridan's rapt gaze to the man himself. "I'll do even better," Theresa rediscovered her voice. "I'll let Luis tell you all about it himself."


Broken out of her reverie when she realized Theresa was intent on making good on her promise, Sheridan started to protest, but she was seconds too late. Pilar's young daughter was already at her brother's side, and Sheridan felt her very breath stall in her lungs when Luis's intense dark eyes met her own across the room.


"Looks like it's going to take more than a near-death experience…"


Sheridan frowned at Gwen. "What are you talking about?"


Gwen slowly shook her head, rising from her seat and carefully extricating the sleeping toddler from Sheridan's arms before she had time to react. "Josiah and I are going to take a little walk. Tell Luis he can have my cupcake."


"But…Gwen," Sheridan cried out, in equal parts frustration and panic, because suddenly, Luis was standing right there, holding a cupcake in each hand, and he wasn't quite smiling at her, but he wasn't not smiling either. Nothing had changed since that horrible, unending night when she'd waited with his family and the rest of his friends while a surgeon dug bits and pieces of a shattered bullet from his chest cavity, pumped blood into his body almost as fast as it bled out. Yet everything had. It was all there, the painful, exhilarating truth, in his penetrating dark stare. By his own admission, he'd loved her, once upon a time; maybe, she hoped, he loved her still.


"Cupcake?" Luis offered.


Sheridan bit her lip, released it and a shaky breath as she struggled to recover her wits. "Thanks," she murmured as he set the cupcake down in front of her. She studied him silently while he studied her. He looked pale but good to her wanting eyes, thinner and leaner than she'd ever seen him look but still strong; it was a welcome change from the last time she'd lain eyes on him, a shadow of the fierce, stubborn man she knew him to be. "Why don't you take a seat?" she proposed. "It seems I've been abandoned in favor of more agreeable company."


Luis glanced over his shoulder to see Theresa tugging her apron from her waist and hurrying after Gwen as she exited the Book Café for the alluring sunshine and cottony clouds of a late spring afternoon outside.


"I'm taking my break, Luis," Theresa called out.


Luis turned back to Sheridan, shaking his head as he accepted her invitation.


"What?" Sheridan asked with a curious smile playing on her lips.


"That's the third break she's taken today," Luis informed her. "I'm starting to wonder just how much work she gets done when I'm actually at the station."


"She does fine," Sheridan spoke up in Theresa's defense. "The customers love her."


"Whether the customers love her or not, my sister needs to learn to be more responsible," Luis sighed in reply. "This isn't some hobby. It's Maddie's inheritance, and Beth trusted me to take care of it until that little girl is old enough to decide what she wants to do with it."


Seizing the opportunity to change the subject, Sheridan questioned, "How is Maddie?"


"Maddie's," Luis paused to carefully consider his response, "she's Maddie. Loving and loyal with a new leeriness of letting me out of her sight."


Sheridan dipped a finger into the creamy frosting of the carrot cake cupcake in front of her as she listened, savored the burst of sugary sweetness on her tongue. "Her reaction is natural, Luis. Understandable. She almost lost you, we almost lost you. It's going to take a while before she stops feeling protective of you, if she ever does." She lifted her gaze back to Luis, her nerve endings tingling and her stomach somersaulting when she caught him in the act of staring at her mouth.


Clearing his throat uncomfortably, Luis rubbed a thumb over his own upper lip and glanced away. "You have some icing…"


Removing the icing with a napkin, Sheridan awkwardly thanked him, pushed aside her cupcake for later. "Luis, what you said, that night at the hospital, did you…"


"Mean it?" Luis finished for her.


"Yes," Sheridan answered him on nothing more than a breath of air.


"I always mean what I say, Sheridan."


Sheridan gave him one more chance to recant his words from that night, prayed that he didn't. "You'd just woken up from major surgery."


Luis shook his head again, searched her unwavering blue gaze for her full understanding. "I'd just had a major shift in my priorities. The drugs had nothing to do with it. I meant what I said, Sheridan."


Sheridan sank back into her chair, pressed her fist to her trembling mouth. "Why didn't you tell me? When I told you I loved you, why didn't you say anything?"


"I didn't know then. I didn't realize how much you meant to me. It wasn't until after that I even had the first clue that what I felt for you was more than this incredibly intense attraction. Then the trial and Josiah…I was too late, Sheridan, and I felt it was better if I didn't say anything at all."
Obviously frustrated with himself and all of the missed opportunities between them, Luis drove an agitated hand through his hair, swept it down across his face, his stormy eyes.


"It's only too late if you never say it all," Sheridan softly uttered. She caught a glimpse of Theresa and Gwen lurking outside the window, Josiah perched on Gwen's hip, his thumb firmly rooted in his sleep-slack mouth, and once again, laid her heart on the line. "I still feel the same way, Luis. I always have, always will. It's up to you what you do with that information, whether you break my heart again or decide not to let our past dictate whatever future we might have together."


"I know," Luis said simply as he watched her stand, begin to pack up her things.


"I love you enough to forgive you for something that was never your fault in the first place. You, though? I'm not sure about you."


"Sheridan," Luis protested.


"Do you love me enough to care about and accept my son?" Sheridan declined the cupcake he offered her, tossed a sizable tip upon the tabletop as she turned to go.


Luis mirrored her position on the other side of the table, reached out for her, then dropped his hand back to his side when she took a step back. "Sheridan," Luis tried again.s


"Gwen said keep the cupcake," Sheridan cut him off. Then, softening fractionally, she gave him a tiny ray of hope as she walked away, "You know where to find me."



~*~


Not my favorite chapter, but not my least favorite one either.

Hope you guys enjoyed it nevertheless.

:)

Mistakes are all mine. Please let me know if there are any glaring typos as I'm posting this in hurry.

Thanks so much for reading!

Feedback is love!

UAgirl
2.17.13, 12:42 PM
Title: The Breath You Take
Rating: PG
Warnings: off-screen violence, angst undertones beneath the bitter sweetly fluffy exterior
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan/Luis, very brief mention of Theresa, original characters
Summary: prompt: sigh. "…I am your personal Dragon Slayer, am I not?"






~*~




"I want you to go to your room," Luis's voice was stern, low and tightly controlled to keep from waking the sleeping boy slumped over his shoulder as he fumbled with the jangling set of keys in his free hand, his dark brows angry slashes in the ghostly pall of the lurking moon. "I want you to think about what you're going to say to Jordan when you apologize tomorrow," he told the brooding little brunette pointedly staring straight ahead as he stabbed at the lock in frustration with the wrong key. He swatted at the faux, gauzy cobwebs that fluttered in the night breeze in agitation and snapped his eyes down to the glowering little sprite. "Maddie, are you listening to me?"


Finally, Sheridan placed a cooler, calmer hand over his own, relieved her husband of the ring of keys, and soon, they were spilling into the darkened living room, Siah's jack-o-lantern offering them an awkwardly out of place, flickering grin in welcome. "She hears you, Luis," Sheridan answered for her stepdaughter, "and she's going to go to her room, aren't you, Maddie?"


Small arms crossed defiantly across her chest, Maddie tromped toward her room in response to Sheridan's question, her fairy wings crooked and torn and her Tinkerbell slippers worn and dirty and, thankfully, almost completely silent against the hardwood.


"And make it good, Maddie," Luis warned just seconds before Maddie's door slammed behind her, with enough force to rattle the various picture frames that littered the hallway's walls. "Madeline Elizabeth," he bit out when Siah's blond head snapped upright, his green hat with its jaunty red feather fluttering to the floor at Luis's feet.


"Don't be mad," the little boy croaked, rubbing tiredly at his gritty eyes with his small fists. "Mommy," Siah reached for Sheridan with his short arms, twined himself around her like a little monkey on a vine when Luis handed him over, glanced back at Luis over his skinny shoulder with green eyes that fairly glowed with unease. "Tell Luis not to be mad at Maddie," he pouted.


Sheridan feathered careful fingers through the sweaty gold strands of her son's hair, murmured against his sleep-warm brow and marveled at his fierce need to always protect those he loved, "Luis isn't mad, Siah."


Luis's irate expression softened considerably under his stepson's suspicious gaze, and he made a sighing admission, "I'm not mad, Siah. I'm disappointed. You understand the difference, don't you?" He waited for the small boy to nod his head before he continued, eased a calming hand through his hair, and tugged absently at the too-tight collar of his royal costume (Prince Phillip had been Theresa's choice for him, Sleeping Beauty for Sheridan…he'd been uncomfortable the whole night, but he'd indulged his sister's latest flight of fancy without too much complaint, and Sheridan loved him all the more for it). "Maddie knows better. Whatever Jordan said to her wasn't worth fighting over. A bloody nose is bad enough, but Jordan could have been even more seriously hurt, Siah. Do you have any idea what he said to upset Maddie?"


Sheridan winced as Siah's small arms tightened around her neck in a virtual vice. She adjusted the boy in her arms, met and held Luis's dark gaze in concern when Siah's nose found the night-cooled crook of her neck, and he hid his face from them in seeming shame, his small back racked with fine tremors of anxiety. "Do you know why Maddie and Jordan were fighting, Siah?" she gently prodded as she stroked her palm soothingly up and down her son's velvet covered back.
Siah's fingers twisted fretfully into the low neckline of her pink gown in response, and he whimpered when she prompted him again for an answer.


"Josiah Crane."


"It's okay, Siah," Luis urged quietly. "You can tell us."


"I don't want to," Siah whined, pushing from Sheridan's protective embrace and scrambling across the room to the relative safe haven of the sofa so that he could hide himself from their watchful eyes, their probing questions. Pillows scattered to the floor in his wake, and his beloved furry friend with them.


Luis stooped to gather Milo in hand, regarded the wise button eyes for several seconds before he joined Siah on the sofa, stretched out his long legs. He sighed, low and tired, began slowly loosening the long row of buttons on his shirt. When he was halfway done, he stopped, and reached a long arm out to snag a couple of pieces of candy from the decorative bowl resting on the coffee table between Siah's jack-o-lantern and the spoils of Maddie's latest art project. Removing the orange wrapper, Luis bit into the peanut butter cup, chewed thoughtfully before he offered one to Siah when he noticed he had recaptured the little boy's attention. "It's Reese's. Your favorite."


Hesitantly, a little hand extended, and Siah scooted closer to accept the gift of chocolate, his green eyes still wary and drowsy. He pulled his feet underneath him, made himself into as small a ball as possible, and made a whispered admission. "Maddie and Jordan were fighting because Jordan's mean. He says ugly things."


"What kinds of ugly things?" Sheridan frowned as she took a step closer, her mind whirling with questions that went unspoken, the worst being too painful to bear further thought (had Jordan somehow stumbled upon the truth about Siah and attacked him and Maddie with it in a child's uniquely careless, cruel way?).


Her son answered her in the vaguest sense possible, with an uncomfortable shrug of his small shoulders and a wary glance in the direction of Maddie's bedroom. "Just things."


Sheridan opened her mouth to question Siah further, but Luis dissuaded her with a subtle shake of his head. She suppressed a sigh of disappointment and joined her two guys on the sofa, settling against the remaining pillows in a whisper of billowing fabric. She felt her heart flutter almost painfully beneath her ribs when Siah's small hand tiptoed across the small space separating them to reverently stroke her silky skirt.


"I think you're the prettiest Sleeping Beauty there ever was," Siah told her, the truth of his heart shining back at her in his large green eyes. "My favorite princess."


"He's right," Luis agreed, meeting and holding her stare for what seemed like an infinite moment. "Way prettier than the Sleeping Beauty I remember."


Her cheeks burning, Sheridan grabbed Siah's small hand in her own and brought it up to her lips, pressed a thankful kiss to the sticky little palm before winking at the boy and offering her husband a wicked smile. "You don't look like any prince I remember. In fact, I think Luis looks more like a dark and dangerous pirate. Wouldn't you agree, Siah?"


"Like Captain Hook," Siah giggled tiredly as he cuddled close, rest his sandy head against her breast.


"If Luis is Captain Hook and Maddie is Tinkerbell, what does that make me, my dear little Peter?" Sheridan teased softly. "Wendy?"


Siah's brow furrowed in sluggish contemplation. After a moment, he had it all sorted out. "You can't be Wendy if you're already Sleeping Beauty, and Luis can't be Captain Hook because he's your prince. He has to fight the scary dragons," he insisted with a helpless yawn, the evening's excitement rapidly overtaking him again.


"Yeah," Luis joked, his black eyes dancing with humor. "Siah's absolutely right. I am your personal Dragon Slayer, am I not?"


There was more truth in his teasing question than he perhaps realized, and Sheridan answered him with tears suddenly threatening, and the light moment took on a much heavier, thoughtful weight as she held her little lost boy close. "You are. You always have been."


"I always will be," Luis vowed as he delivered Milo into Siah's sleepy possession and stood. He bent to place a lingering kiss upon her lips, tenderly cradled her face in his large, warm palm, then smiled fondly at Siah before folding the boy into his capable embrace.


"You don't have to," Sheridan protested.


"I know," Luis answered her, "but Maddie needs some more time to cool down, and this one's not exactly a lightweight anymore."


"He's growing so fast," Sheridan marveled wistfully. "Soon, he won't be so little. He won't be…"


Luis cut her off before her thoughts could lead her further astray, kissed her once more, this time on the forehead. "Soon isn't now," he reminded her. "Check in on Maddie for me? I'm not her favorite person right now."


Sheridan's good humor was restored by his somewhat ridiculous statement. "That I find hard to believe. You're her favorite person always."


Luis gifted her with a disbelieving smile. His smile grew more genuine when she captured his hand with her own smaller hand, leaned forward to brush a feather-light kiss to his knuckles. "Check in on her?"


"I will," Sheridan promised. She watched him disappear down the hall with her son in his arms, swallowed down the swell of emotion the sight inspired in her as she climbed to her feet, straightened up around the living room. She picked up Siah's green hat, smiled at the cheerful red feather before placing the hat on the coffee table with the children's loot from the party, and dimmed the lights in her wake as she followed Luis's example. With little more than a few steps, Sheridan was in front of Maddie's door, her hand poised to knock. She decided, instead, to let herself in, knowing from past experience that the element of surprise was her better bet where the little girl was concerned. "Maddie," she softly called as the door creaked open. "You still awake?"


Maddie's brown head disappeared from view in a flurry of blankets and sniffling tears as soon as the door to her bedroom was opened. "No." Her voice was muffled but unmistakably wobbly as she ordered, "Go away."


Sheridan suppressed her smile as she approached the child, gently tugged the blankets back as she eased onto the foot of the small twin bed, only to have Maddie flop dramatically onto her other side, hauling the blankets with her (her fairy wings were still on, Sheridan noticed, crooked and a little smudged, but stubborn and defiant, just like the little girl who wore them). "I'm not here to lecture you, Maddie." Sheridan kept her voice soft, her tone gentle. "I'm just here to make sure you're okay. Are you okay, Maddie?"


Maddie sniffled again, loudly, when Sheridan's hand settled on her skinny shoulder, but she didn't look at her, gazed obstinately ahead. She inhaled a shaky breath when she felt the cool, motherly touch of Sheridan's fingertips on her cheek, turned her head to stare at her stepmother with damp brown eyes. "Jordan is a big fat jerk!"


"Siah told us," Sheridan murmured, calmly collecting Maddie's tears as they continued to fall. She inwardly winced when the girl shrank from her touch with her revelation, spit out a disappointed accusation.


"He wasn't supposed to tell. He promised."


"Siah didn't break his promise to you, Maddie," Sheridan assured her. "He told us only that Jordan was mean, that he said ugly things that upset you. What kind of ugly things, Maddie?"


Maddie stared at her for a long moment, then turned her face into her pillow, mumbled her reply as her narrow shoulders shrugged. "Just things. Anyway. I set him straight. He won't say them again."


Sheridan sighed, let her hands linger as she tugged the blankets back up to Maddie's mulishly set chin. She tucked the little girl's short brown hair behind one ear and stood to leave. "Next time, Maddie, you come get Luis or me before deciding fighting is the best answer, okay? Okay?" she repeated.


"Okay," Maddie grudgingly agreed. A beat later, she asked in a tiny voice before Sheridan could go far, "Is Luis mad at me?"


"He's not mad at you, Sweetheart," Sheridan reassured her. But she didn't mince any words. "You let him down. But he's not angry. He just wanted to give you time to think about what you did and why you did it, and you two will talk it out in the morning."


"He still loves me?"


Sheridan felt her heart melt with Maddie's insecurity-laced question, and she quickly retraced her steps to kneel at the little girl's bedside as she gathered her in her arms, hugged her as tightly as she dared as salty tears dampened her skin. "Are you kidding? Luis loves you all the way to the moon and back. I love you too." And it was true. Somewhere along the line, acceptance of Maddie had turned into love, and she had managed to look past the thorns of this difficult little rose of a child to the beauty underneath.


"You do?" Maddie sniffled, lifted her stubborn chin and stared up at Sheridan in disbelief.


"I do," Sheridan smiled as she smoothed back Maddie's rumpled hair, lowered her hand to trace the tattered edges of her fairy's wings before helping her take them off.


Maddie's hopeful expression crumpled with the first sight of them. "He ruined them. They'll never be the same."


"Maybe not, but they're not beyond repair," Sheridan told her. "I'll help you put them back together." Just like Luis did me, she thought to herself as her mouth brushed against the fine brown strands.


Maddie loosened her hold, sank back against her pillows, and rubbed tiredly at her teary eyes. "Tomorrow?"


"Tomorrow when you get home from school," Sheridan pledged. "Now," she rose slowly from the bed, smoothed the wrinkles from her full pink skirt, "get some sleep." She smiled down at Maddie.


"Sheridan?" Maddie shyly smiled back. "You were very pretty tonight."


Happiness took flight like furious butterflies flitting along Sheridan's veins as she paused in the open doorway, felt her smile stretch wide. "Thank you, Maddie. You were too."





~*~



Have I really not updated this story since December?


Time, more and more lately, is just getting away from me.


;)


Feedback, as I've often said, is love, love, love!


Thanks so much for reading!


Until next time...