Meg was fighting off a stress headache when Ray came into her office late one afternoon. She had her head bowed over her work so she felt him more than saw him, but she knew without looking up exactly who had crossed her threshold.
Ignoring him, she continued filling in her paperwork. She was behind, and she really didn't have time to stop. Not even for Ray.
The warmth of his gaze fell on her, and it became increasingly difficult to ignore him. Sighing, she put down her pen and glanced up. Seeing him there, leaning against her door frame nonchalantly with his long fingers in his pockets made her heart skip a beat. His hair was wild and untamed and his clothes were a little rumpled and untidy. When she looked up, he smiled.
“Hello, Detective,” she said softly.
He straightened and came the rest of the way in, closing the door behind him. “Hey, Inspector.”
Meg couldn't help the faint smile that came to the corners of her mouth. Those old formalities were almost terms of endearment now, and the way Ray said her rank was like a caress to her skin.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?” she asked calmly.
He shrugged. “I just had some time and wanted to see you. What are you up to?”
“Paperwork.” She grimaced. “It never ends.”
Ray leaned against her desk, looking intently into her face. “You look tired.”
“There's a lot of paperwork. I've been working on it so long, the words are starting to blur together.”
“Take a break.”
“I don't have time to take a break.”
“You've got a headache, don't you?”
“I'm getting one,” she admitted. “How did you...”
He waved his hand at her. “I know you. Stop working and take a break.”
“I really don't have time.”
“The world won't fall apart if you relax for two seconds.” He reached across her desk and took her chin in his fingers. “Did you even have lunch?”
She didn't answer because she didn't want to lie to him.
“Just what I thought.”
“You're welcome to stay, but please take a seat. I'll have to work and visit at the same time.”
His eyes lit up with mischief as he let go of her. “You know, I think that's a very good idea.”
Meg's heart sped up, and she felt she might be in a little bit of trouble. She watched warily as he came around the side of her desk.
“What are you doing, Ray?”
He didn't say anything as he started to gently pull her to her feet. Surprised, with a traitorous bubble of excitement in her belly, Meg let him.
“Ray?” she repeated.
“Sitting on the couch is a great idea. That's why you're going to do it with me. Me and you. The couch. Fifteen minutes.”
“I really can't,” she said reluctantly.
“I'm not askin'.”
Her eyes widened. “You can't force me to take a break.”
“We'll see,” he said, leading her towards the couch.
They were halfway there before she realized that he was winning—that she wanted him to win. Of course, she wasn't going to make it easy for him.
He stopped and looked at her expectantly, so she kissed him. It was a slow, soft kiss that made her body hum. She felt his grip loosen, change. With a triumphant cry, she danced away from him and turned towards her desk.
“Dirty pool, Inspector,” he said, grabbing her around the waist. He gave her neck several sweet, tingling kisses before backing towards the couch.
She struggled in his arms, saying breathlessly, “Not so fast. You haven't won yet, Detective.”
Her struggles ended in laughter when he stopped and began to tickle her. In her mind, it was no fair to exploit weaknesses discovered in more amorous activities. Still, warmth bubbled up with the laughter. She twisted slightly and gave him a light pinch in the side.
“That's my Meg,” he said, leaving a line of kisses across her jaw, “a fighter 'til the end.”
She liked the feeling hearing him say “my Meg” brought to her stomach, so she let him back her a little closer to the couch. Then, she pinched him again.
Grinning, he backed up the last few steps to the couch and flopped down into it. Before she could react, he reached out and pulled her off balance so that she tumbled into his lap.
She let out an undignified squeak and struggled to get to her feet. The laughter kept bubbling out of her as Ray began tickling her again. She tried to protest, but he filled her face with kisses. They were so potent that, between them and the laughter, she felt light headed.
“Let me go,” she told him, unable to keep the proof that she was having fun out of her voice.
“Fifteen minutes, Meg.” He told her before moving his kisses to her neck.
Meg continued her struggles, but they were half hearted at best. It was hard to fight when he was both tickling and kissing her and she was laughing and happy.
Somehow, in the midst of all that movement, Ray had managed to curl a firm arm around her waist, anchoring her. His other hand continued its torment, making it almost impossible to catch her breath.
“Ray,” she managed to choke out, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to offer another protest or capitulate.
“See, it doesn't hurt to relax,” he told her, kissing the end of her nose.
“Is everything all right, sir? I thought I heard...”
Meg and Ray froze for an instant before looking over at the door. A horrified Turnbull stood there with wide eyes. His mouth was open, and his face had gone a sickly shade of white. A strangled noise came from his throat and if Meg hadn't felt so embarrassed she might have felt sorry for him.
“I'm...I'm s...sorry, sir,” he stammered before backing out and slamming the door.
“Turnbull!” she called. “Turnbull!”
There was no answer.
“Oh, damn. You're always getting me into trouble, Ray.” She gave his earlobe a gentle tug to punish him but ruined it when she followed with a quick but warm kiss on his lips.
Ray was looking as stunned as she felt but didn't protest when she got up and hurried out to find Turnbull.
Her Constable wasn't at his desk so she hurried by, knowing his place of refuge was the kitchen. Meg found him there, his face now an interesting shade of crimson. When she entered, he turned his face away and pretended to be looking for a pan.
“Yes, sir?” he asked, banging away in the cupboard.
“Please look at me.”
He did, and his blush deepened as their eyes met. She refused to acknowledge the fact that a flush was creeping over her own face at the thought of what he had seen.
“I apologize,” she said firmly, forcing her voice to remain authoritative. “It was very unprofessional of me to allow Detective Vecchio to tickle me in my office during working hours.”
“He was touching you, sir,” Turnbull said quietly.
“Yes, I am aware of that.”
“You were laughing.”
“I'm ticklish.” She said it matter-of-factly, though her face heated further.
This seemed to startle him almost as much as finding her and Ray playing on her couch. “You, sir?”
Meg frowned at him. “I am human, Turnbull.”
His expression turned thoughtful. “I suppose you are, sir.”
“Right. Good. I promise you that you will not see such behaviour from me again.” Her voice was harsher than she meant it to be. Then, it softened. “Will you be making a complaint?”
Instead of answering the question, he asked, “Does Ray love you, sir?”
It was her turn to be startled. “I beg your pardon?”
“No, sir. I will not be making a complaint.”
She nodded, accepting this, even though she knew he had every right.
“I will not enter without knocking again, sir,” he added.
Meg's eyes locked on his and she saw an unexpected warmth there.
She turned to go but stopped when he said, a note of teasing she had never heard before in his voice, “If I were you, sir, I'd keep a squirt bottle on my desk in case of surprise attacks.”
Meg bit her lip for a second, taking time to make sure no hint of humour showed in her voice, before she replied, “Thank you, Constable. I'll keep that in mind.”