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Thread: ***NEW***A Map of the World (Gwen, pairings inside)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    489

    Post ***NEW***A Map of the World (Gwen, pairings inside)

    Hi guys!

    This is something I started a while back, posted elsewhere. I'm just now getting around to posting it here. I thought you guys wouldn't mind the new material to read, even if it *is* a departure from my usual.



    Give it a chance.

    Enjoy!



    ~*~




    Title: A Map of the World
    Rating: this chapter, PG. The story in general? Probably PG-R, overall.
    Warning: slight language, angst, character death.
    Pairing/Characters: past Sheridan/Luis, past Ethan/Gwen, hints of Theresa/Ethan, Gwen/Luis
    WordCount:328? At any rate, 300+.
    Summary (for chapter): He's so different from the man Gwen remembers, cold, calculating, cutting with his words.



    They don't pretend to love each other.



    ~1~


    California

    Luis will always love Sheridan.

    A part of Gwen will always pine for what could have been with Ethan, before her carefully constructed world fell apart, with his sister acting as the wrecking ball that made the first (invisible) crack appear.

    No, love isn't in the equation for them, not with each other, maybe, maybe not with anyone. So when they cross paths again in sunny California, it's not exactly a meeting of long-lost friends.

    Hell. They don't even pretend to like each other.

    But Luis is a familiar face, and Gwen's tired of drifting along in a sea of sun-tanned bodies and plastic smiles. She sees an echo of her own pain hidden deep in his soulful dark eyes, recognizes a kindred spirit, though she knows Luis would rather kiss the polished tips of Julian's shoes before admitting to such a fact.

    Sheridan's gone, her tortured soul finally at peace.

    Left behind, Luis remains, his mind and body intact, but his heart (forever?) lost.

    He's so different from the man Gwen remembers, cold, calculating, cutting with his words. She doesn't know why she bothers, doesn't know why she makes the effort to be kind when she knows it was never her happiness he sought to protect, only his sister's moral standing in the eyes of God and their faith. But she does. She holds out a hand to him, offers her understanding.

    Unsurprisingly, Luis doesn't take it.

    Gwen doesn't suffer false apologies.

    Luis offers none.

    They go their separate ways.

    A few weeks later, Gwen reads about it, the drug bust and the Mexican cartel and the unnamed officer so instrumental in making the covert operation such a success, and she knows it's silly, his name is nowhere in the article, but she says a little prayer that he's okay, that he's safe, because she knows him (that's all).

    Certainly not because she cares.

    No, definitely not that.




    Okay.



    Before all my Sheridan/Luis readers go flipping out, I just want to state that I am forever a fan of those two. They are my ultimate Passions couple no matter how the show ended, and I think the fact that the majority of my fanfics center on them attests to that.

    However, I thought it'd be fun to play with the Luis and Gwen dynamic that could have existed had things happened a little differently.

    This fic is probably going to monkey around a bit with the Passions timeline to suit my purposes, but I hope that doesn't put you off. I'm a fan, but I'm not a machine, lol. I don't have photographic memory, and I was often guilty of fastforwarding through parts of the show that I didn't particularly enjoy to get to the parts that I did, so my Harmony history might be a little fuzzy. Some of that will be intentional; some will not.

    And just to let you guys know...the Gwen I picture in this fic is Natalie's Gwen. Even as a Sheridan/Luis fan, I always thought Galen and Natalie had an interesting chemistry. That said, this Gwen can really be either Gwen, as this story will deal with some of the storylines portrayed by Liza's Gwen as well. It's up to you guys.

    Personally, I really enjoyed both Gwen's because the character and her unrealized potential captured my fancy either way.

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

    I can't wait to read what you guys think about this one.

    It's not finished yet, but I will be posting more soon to tide those interested in reading more over until I get the opportunity to write more.

    Feedback is so much love!

    Thanks so much for reading!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    489

    Post Re: ***NEW***A Map of the World (Gwen, pairings inside)

    Title: A Map of the World
    Rating: PG-13?
    Warning: unresolved sexual tension, angst, character death
    Pairing/Characters: past Sheridan/Luis, past Gwen/Ethan, mentions of Theresa/Ethan, mentions of the Cranes, Gwen/Luis
    WordCount: 3,383.
    Summary (for chapter): New England in Fall is a sight to behold.







    ~2~




    Boston



    Gwen leaves California before the year's out, packs up the few items that hold any sentimental value for her and donates the rest. She's always been an East Coast girl, and her West Coast wardrobe is hardly appropriate for Boston in the initial stirrings of Fall anyway.

    New England in Fall is a sight to behold.

    She chooses a townhouse on Commonwealth Avenue for its charm and proximity to the park nearby, and it's in that park that she spends much of her free time. It's in that same park where her path intersects with Luis's again (by design, she will realize much, much later). "I'm sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going." Her coffee cup is crushed by the impact of their collision, the lid somewhere in the fallen leaves at her feet, and a large, dark patch is spreading over her cream cashmere sweater. Gwen bites her lip to hold back a mew of frustration, fumbles to open her purse in search of a tissue. A large, dark hand soon joins hers, and finally, it registers with her. She knows that voice. "Luis?"

    "We ran into each other." The corner of Luis's mouth lifts ever-so-slightly into the barest hints of a smirk, in the closest assimilation of an apology he's willing to offer. "It wasn't your fault alone. Even if you were a little distracted…"

    The faint reproach in his voice makes Gwen bristle, and
    she snatches the napkin Luis holds out for her, does her best to repair the damage while also doing her best to ignore how close he is still standing to her. She's not very successful at either task, and she eventually takes a step back, distancing herself from the solid warmth of the man in front of her (and his cologne). "What are you doing here?"

    Luis answers her question with a question. "What are you doing here? Last I heard, you were in California."

    Gwen raises a brow at the remark but lets it slide, knowing whatever answers she seeks are not forthcoming, at least not from Luis. After their last encounter, she'd done a little investigating of her own, uncovered some of Luis's (open) secrets, like the fact that he'd resigned from the Harmony PD, vowed to (somehow) make Julian and Alistair pay for taking the person he'd loved most away from him. Much like her, he's adrift, without a permanent mooring. Harmony ceased being his home with Sheridan's death, and Boston is merely a temporary stopping point, a harbor to lay low in, sooth some of his ills. The wind picks up around them, swirls leaves of red, fiery orange, and dying brown in the air, and she shivers as she steps closer to the protection of his body, a decision made as her hair loosens from its messy knot and strands stick to her mouth. She can offer him respite from the cold if not from his pain. "My place is less than a block from here."

    Luis nods at the unspoken invitation, falls into step beside her, and the short distance to her townhouse is traveled in silence.

    He follows her into her kitchen, bright and so unlike the darkness that clings desperately to the deepest reaches of her heart, and it is only then that Gwen notices, her sweater isn't the only casualty of their collision, his, if anything, is worse. "Stay here," she tells him. "Let me get you a towel."

    Luis is in the living room when Gwen returns, a framed photograph cradled reverently in his hands, his dark eyes glittering with emotion. He looks up at her, her ruined sweater gone and replaced with a thin, threadbare camisole, a towel in her uncertain hands, and demands gruffly, "Where did you get this?"

    Gwen's answer is pained, soft, as she studies the picture in his trembling hands, one of him and Sheridan, happy and so achingly in love. "Sheridan gave it to me," she says, gently replacing the picture above the barren fireplace, rejoining it with the few mementos she keeps of her past life, in Harmony and beyond. "She gave it to me as a reminder not to give up on true love, that it truly does exist."

    Jaw clenched, eyes a dark abyss of pain, Luis shakes his head in denial, clasps Gwen's wrists hard in his iron grip when she lifts the towel to the stain, still damp on the deep gray wool of his sweater. "She was wrong."

    Gwen stares up into his midnight eyes, nods in acceptance, even as tears start to blur her vision. "It doesn't exist for people like you and me."

    Luis releases her hands, captures a tear with his thumb before it can fall from the fringe of her long lashes, and presses his open mouth against the hair at her temple before he lets her go. "It doesn't exist at all." Without another word he crosses the room and leaves her with only her heavy thoughts and battered heart to keep her company, the door to her townhouse thudding shut behind him.

    It isn't until the remnants of Winter's ice is thawing underneath Spring's insistent sun that Gwen sees him again.




    ~*~



    He's waiting for her one morning when she leaves her townhouse on her way to work, with a steaming cup of coffee in hand and that shadow of a smile on his beautiful, bitter mouth. Gwen ignores him, breezes past him as if he were merely a mirage, her heels clicking emphatically against the sidewalk as she tugs her trench coat tighter against the slight chill still lingering in the air.

    Luis is patient, though, and he falls into step beside her, knowing from his studies afar of her habits, her routines, that she cannot resist the morning shot of adrenaline, needs it, in fact, to start her long work day off without a hitch. He wants to laugh at her predictability when she breaks down and snatches the brew from him two blocks into their trek, but he knows better, and so he waits, for her to be the first to speak, giving her that power at least.

    "What do you want?" Gwen finally snaps, not completely unpleasantly. The welcomed caffeine is buzzing along her veins, and she can't deny that a part of her is relieved if not exactly glad to see him. She cuts her eyes across to his figure, tall and lean and masculine, all muscle and brooding tragedy behind the mask of business. He wants something from her, she can tell. She's not going to give him the courtesy of asking what it is. He's got her curiosity; he has to earn her undivided interest and attention. Her building looms up ahead when he grabs her by the hand, pulls her out of harm's way and out of the path of bustling pedestrians, and her burgeoning irritation with him bubbles over. "Dammit! What do you want from me?"

    If Luis is surprised by her outburst, he doesn't show it, at least outwardly. He calmly lets go of her hand, takes a step back while curious onlookers spare them nary a glance before moving on. In a low, even voice, he tells her, "I want your help."

    Gwen captures a drop of spilled coffee on her fingertip, winces, and places the digit into her mouth before acknowledging him. She misses the way his eyes darken at the action before she lobs the suggestion back to him incredulously. "My help? What can I possibly do to help you? I don't deal in drugs and Mexican thugs, thank you very much. I work in an office, in a job that's not very exciting, but one I'm good at, and one I'm about to be late for. So, if you don't mind…"

    Luis looks at her with new, considering eyes.

    Gwen stifles a groan, realizes she's already said too much, but he's trying her patience, and she's got less than ten minutes to make it to her morning meeting. "You want my help?" she looks at him earnestly. "With what?"

    "How did you get your job with Anderson Cooper Industries?"

    "I applied for it, like anyone else would," Gwen tells him with righteous indignation.

    "How did you hear about it?" Luis further presses.

    "From a friend," Gwen frowns at him, troubled by where she fears this conversation is leading.

    Luis lowers his voice still. "A mutual friend of yours and Ethan's?" Her silence is answer enough for him, and he notices she has stopped glancing at the watch on her wrist every chance she gets, rooted to where she stands, intent on what he has to say next. "Anderson Cooper Industries is a subsidiary of Crane Industries."

    "I didn't know," Gwen says.

    Luis shakes his head. "That doesn't matter."

    "It does matter," Gwen rebuts. She'd tried so hard to leave it all behind, Ethan and Theresa, Harmony, Alistair's influence tainting everything it touched. She thought she had, only to find out she'd been under her past's controlling thumb all along. "You're not the one who's been working for Alistair Crane, for months."

    "Like you said," Luis unconsciously seeks out her hand. "You didn't know. And you're not working for him, not directly at least."

    "I'm glad you can draw that distinction at least," Gwen mutters, causing Luis to stare oddly at her in confusion. Sighing, she reclaims her hand, tugging her sliding purse strap higher on her shoulder. "What do you want me to do?"

    Luis's brown eyes widen momentarily in surprise before he starts outlining the plan to her, simple and to the point, finishing with an understatement. "Nothing too drastic. I just want you to get me access to the company's files, get me in. That's all."

    "That's all," Gwen scoffs, chewing on her bottom lip in indecision. "I'm going to have to start all over again."

    For a brief moment, Luis looks apologetic. The moment quickly passes, though, and he reminds her of the greater good they'll both be doing, taking the Cranes down, even if they have to do it brick by back-breaking brick. "You and I both know the Cranes are a blight on humanity."

    Not Sheridan, Gwen wants to retort, but she doesn't. She wasn't. Still, she knows this is not all about the greater good; it's equally about Luis's thirst for revenge. Knowing that fact, she is still helpless to deny him, and she looks away from him, laments the inevitable loss of the life she's started to rebuild here. "I assume you have my phone number." She feels rather than sees Luis's hesitant nod. "Call me with the details, but not today." She turns back to face him, her eyes glittering in the New England sunshine. "I need a little time. Give me one more week?"

    "One more week," Luis acquiesces, stepping back into the throng of people milling about and melting into them, like he never stood out at all.

    Gwen lifts her chin, starts resolutely ahead. "One more week."




    ~*~



    It takes her less than a week to make up her mind.

    Luis never gets the chance to call her.

    Gwen finds him in the park four days later, strong arms folded across his chest, ankles crossed nonchalantly as his brown eyes watch her approach beneath the shielding shade of an aging Elm tree. He looks dark and dangerous, his jaw unshaven, his eyes shuttered beneath his thick black lashes as he sizes her up. Gwen knows, with Sheridan's passing, his world knows no color, not anymore, not even the pureness of white. He lives only in shades of black, dances along the fringes of gray.

    Luis waits for her to speak; she doesn't make him wait long.

    "Next Monday, the secretary a couple of us use is going to call in sick." He doesn't comment, and Gwen hurries on, fills the unnerving silence with a tumble of words. "She didn't get the vacation she wanted granted. I convinced her it wouldn't hurt to call in."

    "That's risky," Luis finally speaks. "What if she suspects you have an agenda?"

    "She doesn't," Gwen cuts him off. "She won't. She's…she's become a friend." She pretends she doesn't notice the guilt that flashes across his handsome face; he pretends it was never there to start with. Gwen supposes they're even, at least. This, what they're about to embark on, isn't going to be pleasant, and she appreciates the fact that he recognizes how many bridges she's burning here.

    "So she's going to call in? How's that going to get me access to the files I need?" Luis uncrosses his arms, moves closer to her and drops his voice as a young family passes them by, laughing and chattering amongst themselves.

    The sound fills Gwen with a longing so strong it momentarily steals her breath, and she closes her eyes, only to find him staring at her expectantly the moment she reopens them. "The temp we usually employ will also be unavailable."

    Luis's lips twitch. "Let me guess…"

    "You're going to be the temp," Gwen confirms. "It's the best I could do. If it makes you feel better, there's only one other woman working on that floor besides me, and I don't think she's particularly interested in anything you have to offer." The twitching lips threaten to smile at her revealing comment, and Gwen inwardly curses the flush she feels blooming across her chest and traveling slowly up her neck. "The rest of them are men; they'll probably never notice you're there since you don't have breasts and wear short skirts."

    Luis's eyes twinkle. It's the closest thing to a display of humor that he allows when he teases, "What about you? Do you wear short skirts?"

    She's embarrassed by how easily he gets to her, and so, she goes on the attack. "You know what? I don't have to listen to this. There's nothing funny about this. Nothing. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started over here. Then you showed up, asked me to help you like I owed you something when I don't. Your sister didn't just destroy my plans to marry Ethan, Luis. She took away one of the oldest friends I had, so don't you come to me, act like I owe you anything. You owe me." Her tirade finished, she looks at him, only to find his gaze steady, soft with the realization of truth.

    "You're right."

    "I'm…"

    "You're right," Luis refuses to let her attempt to apologize.

    Gwen combs her hair back behind her ears and shakes her head. "That doesn't make it your fault. You're not your sister's keeper."

    "I tried to be," Luis tells her wryly.

    The line of Gwen's mouth flattens as she fights back shamed tears at how good it feels to hear that. "Thanks, I think."

    Luis's honesty refuses to spare her any hurt. "I didn't do it for you."

    "I know," she answers. "Thanks, anyway."

    "You're welcome," Luis murmurs as he watches her walk away.





    ~*~




    Monday arrives, and Gwen pretends not to notice Luis's lingering gaze on her naked legs as she closes the door to her office, shuts out listening ears. "I'm just going to borrow him for a minute, Rolinda. I need some help with a memo."

    "Nice skirt," Luis quips when she stalks past him on lethal crimson high heels.

    Gwen rolls her eyes at him, crosses her arms defensively across her chest. "I got you in. What you do from this point is on you."

    "Lunch."

    "Pardon me?" Gwen leans forward, completely, innocently unaware of the view the movement is affording Luis, and shakes her head, her long hair brushing against her shoulders.

    "You executive types have to eat like the rest of us, don't you?" Luis responds, carefully keeping his eyes above her neck. "I figure I have forty five minutes, an hour, to do my little investigation, and make it back to that desk out there without anybody noticing."

    "There's just one problem with that plan, Genius," Gwen says, standing up and walking around her desk to stare outside the window at the busy Boston streets below. "Ro always brings her lunch, never leaves her office. She'll definitely notice if you're gone."

    "That's easy," Luis shrugs.

    His reaction fills Gwen with a creeping sense of dread, and inexplicably, she feels the blood in her veins start to heat at the look he gives her. "Really?" she remarks.

    "You don't think she really believes you needed help with a memo, do you?"

    Gwen's mouth drops open. "What? You can't be serious."

    "Deadly serious," Luis affirms. "She thinks…"

    Gwen waves him off, won't let him finish. "Stop. Just. Stop."

    "No," Luis won't be put off. "She thinks you and I have some extracurricular activities going on."

    "Do you hear yourself?" Gwen groans. "Extracurricular activities? You and I would never…you don't…I don't…please tell me you're not thinking what I think you're thinking."

    "Fine," Luis says. "I won't do it."

    Gwen's sigh of relief is short-lived.

    "But that doesn't mean I won't use it to my advantage."

    "Luis, no." Gwen's protests fall on deaf ears.

    "You're going to invite me to have lunch with you, and we're going to give Ro a show so convincing she'll decide it's well-past time for a little change of scenery."

    "I didn't agree to this," Gwen tells him as she watches him unfold his long frame and rise gracefully from his chair.

    "Relax," Luis winks, as he opens the door and steps outside. "I don't bite."




    ~*~



    True to his word, Luis doesn't bite.

    No, what he does to her, how he affects her is much, much worse, Gwen decides.

    Luis's smile, no matter how fake, is lethal. He turns on the charm, openly flirting with her as Rolinda and the rest of her colleagues look on.

    The guys grin knowingly as the elevator closes behind them, and Ro retreats to her office.

    Gwen has never been so embarrassed in her life, and she hisses her displeasure at Luis. "In the span of ten minutes, you have completely undermined me and robbed me of whatever respect they ever had for me."

    Luis stands up, walks around his desks, and looks down into her furious eyes, reminds her none-too-gently, "It doesn't matter so much that they respect you. All that matters is they don't suspect you when you turn in your resignation. After today, your days here are numbered." He lifts a hand to the dipping neckline of her silk shirt, following the line his eyes had so studiously stayed away from earlier, in her office.

    "It matters," Gwen retorts, gritting her teeth as his fingertips flirted with her cleavage, and her heart beat started thudding loudly and insistently in her ears. "To me, it matters a lot." She gasps out loud as his hand covers her breast, and his hot mouth drops to the curve of her neck.

    "She's watching," Luis whispers into her ear, bathes the sensitive hollow with his breath.

    Weak-kneed, Gwen doesn't have to act. She simply reacts, clutching Luis's shoulder, and moans. Her eyes flutter shut at the unexpected intensity of the sensations he's creating with his simple touch, and she barely registers the ding of the elevator as it closes behind Ro, so quick to escape. She's still breathing unsteadily when Luis drops his act, steps away, and somehow, she knows he's just as affected as she.

    He can't meet her eyes, not even when she drops a ring of keys in his palm. He struggles to form her name. "Gwen."

    She folds his fingers around the keys and reminds him, her voice nothing more than a breathy whisper, "The clock's ticking. Act fast."

    They avoid each other for the rest of the day, and the day after that, and the day after that.

    By the end of the week, Gwen's resignation has been forwarded to all her superiors, and her office and the charming little townhouse so close to the park she loves is empty.

    Anderson Cooper Industries folds like a carelessly built house of cards less than four weeks later after an extensive investigation by the local branch of the FBI, thanks, in part, to an unnamed informant.

    Gwen closes the newspaper and squints into the Charleston sun.





    ~*~





    So...what do you think?

    Love it or hate it?

    I hope, at least, that it's not boring.

    LOL!

    Anything but that.

    Feedback is love!

    Thanks so much for reading!

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