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Missing the Train

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Sometimes, Meg Thatcher reasoned, a kiss could only happen in a certain place under a particular set of circumstances. For instance, when she was on a train heading for thermonuclear disaster, full of sleeping Mounties and terrorists, it was an appropriate time to share a kiss with Constable Fraser. This seemed to be sound, lucid, and entirely sane reasoning until Meg hit one little snag: she could suddenly think of a lot of other places it would also be appropriate.

While throwing eggs at criminals, Fraser beside her half-undressed and throwing eggs himself. The only reason they hadn't, really, was that Detective Vecchio and his sister were also present, which made it a very inappropriate time indeed. Or just after she had helped Fraser and Vecchio successfully escape being blown up in a courthouse by the aforementioned terrorists. But Fraser had been on the roof and she had been on the ground, so the appropriate course of action involved Morse code, and then the moment had passed.

The real problem, though, was that Meg wasn't just thinking of appropriate situations that had already taken place. She was also thinking of hypothetical situations. Not all of them involved trains, horses, eggs, or Morse code, but most of them did involve criminals, explosives of some sort, and the joint heroics of herself and Fraser culminating in a day saved and at least one kiss at a crucial moment.

Meg did try thinking of less fraught scenarios, but she couldn't think of many. Adrenaline was a key factor; it made them momentary equals, leveling out the responsibility and the duty, and those liminal moments made the act permissible. Which should have made this the end of things: a series of adrenaline-fueled moments did not make any sort of successful romantic relationship. And the thought of genuinely talking it through filled Meg with dread. She and Fraser were far too much alike to get through a conversation intact.

Except ... after the incident with Cloutier, she'd visited Fraser at his apartment. They had talked then. Fraser had assured her that she wasn't a thing like Cloutier, and for once she had called him Ben, and they had been two people, understanding one another. Meg thought of that moment just as often as she did of the kiss on the train.

So one evening, when Turnbull had gone home, Meg went to relieve Fraser of guard duty and said, "Constable Fraser, if you might go pick up the Chinese takeout I ordered. There's enough for two."

Fraser looked at her, down at the takeout menu's address, back up at Meg, and nodded. "Yes, ma'am."

He was back in twenty minutes, and officially off-duty. Meg made sure that she was sitting not behind her desk but to one side, using it obviously as just a table. Fraser got the message; he helped her unpack the takeout, and they sat eating together in a silence that was more companionable than awkward. So far so good. Meg knew that when she opened her mouth she was likely to say something ill-phrased and then keep chasing it because it was better to talk than to stop, but as always she was willing to soldier ahead.

"Ben," she said, hoping to take herself back to the other moment she'd called him that, and it seemed to do the trick. "I know I said certain things could only happen again in certain circumstances. But trains are no basis for anything, and of course I don't want to take any kind of professional advantage, but if you were interested I would be too. In something that had a basis that was not trains. Or eggs, or explosions. Normal." And she looked at Fraser rather desperately.

Fraser was looking back, and after a moment he nodded, carefully. "I think I'd like that," he said, in the clear, measured way he had.

"Good!" Meg said.

They kept looking at each other for a long moment, stretching to awkward. Then at the same time they leaned forward and kissed one another, and it was a thousand times better than any specific moment on a train.