Title: Fairly Slashy – Part 9 (of 9)
Fandom: Fairly Legal
Pairing: Kate Reed/Lauren Reed
Rating: M.. but more for the past stuff than the future..
Spoilers: I’m not sure there have been any spoilers for some time…
Disclaimer: They aren’t mine, otherwise not-actual-incest would be a definite future for Fairly Legal..
A/N: Thank you to my lovely live-in beta (i.e. wife) starbucks_pen (who took time away from her epic Swan Queen fic to beta this and then cursed me for it drawing her in…)
A/N 2: Thank you to everyone who read and commented, lovely to see that there are more ‘Late’ fans out there. Thank you all for joining me!
Lauren knelt in the puddle of blood beside Kate, her hand pressed against the wound.
Moments after Kate had fallen the prison guards burst through the door and incapacitated their captors. The ambulance and the on-site medical team had been called but every second of their absence seemed to take hours as Lauren watched Kate’s blood seep from beneath the makeshift compress.
Lauren held Kate’s hand in the ambulance, hating the fact that she was helpless to do anything but watch Kate fade in an out of consciousness, kissing her hand and babbling random words of encouragement peppered with ‘sweetie’ and ‘god Kate don’t die on me.’
When they got to the hospital they tore Kate away from her, whisking her through doors and into an awaiting operating room leaving Lauren to pace the waiting room, dried blood on her dress and hands.
One of the nurses came with a set of scrubs for Lauren to change into, encouraging her to wash her hands and change. She nodded absently and eventually assented, bugging the reception as soon as she came back to see if there had been any word. There hadn’t.
She wasn’t sure how long she waited for news. Time now seemed like some fluid concept as Lauren spent the better part of at least the last few hours replaying the day in her head and then replaying the last few weeks, wishing there had been something more she could’ve done to show Kate she cared.
When the doctor finally came out Lauren felt a lump form in her throat and her heart beat a desperate staccato, she said a momentary prayer to the God she didn’t believe in before rising to meet the surgeon.
* * *
Kate had supposedly come out of surgery okay but no one would tell Lauren anything further. She asked if she could see her but got the same response from different nurses – who are you? Neither ‘stepmother,’ nor ‘boss’ seemed a good enough answer and one nurse had even quipped that it was double the reason to keep her away. And so she stayed in the waiting area until Justin left court and checked his phone, trying not to be jealous that ‘ex-husband’ was sufficient. He was of course still her next of kin.
* * *
Kate’s brain registered a niggling consistent beep, it drifted in and out of her consciousness and when she fluttered her eyes open the ceiling was white and there was a curtain partition half way around her.
“Heeey, Kate,” she heard Justin say, she turned her head and looked at the concern written across his face. He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand, “How’re you feeling?” he asked.
“Lauren?” she asked.
“Lauren is fine, thanks to you,” he confirmed. “She just went to get a drink, she’s been here for nine hours now waiting for you to wake up,” Justin said, merely to point out that Lauren cared.
Kate smiled, her eyes fluttering closed again.
She heard Justin speak and Lauren’s voice respond as someone took her hand. She opened her eyes to see Lauren sitting in the seat Justin had vacated, holding her hand.
“How are you feeling, sweetie?” she asked, the endearment slipping from her mouth comfortably.
Kate smiled wider at Lauren’s endearment before her eyes focused on the dark red mark across Lauren’s throat. She frowned, pulling her hand from Lauren’s grasp to traced the red mark. Lauren closed her eyes at the touch, taking Kate’s hand in both of hers.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” she said smiling down at Kate, “It almost was, you had us scared for a while there,” Lauren said changing the subject, tears in the corner of her eyes. She kissed the hand between her own and smiled.
Justin watched the two women who had been such bitter enemies and realised that as far as they were concerned he was no longer in the room. He wondered when this had happened but as he saw the smile on Kate’s face he didn’t care, he was just happy she was happy. He walked out of the room and ran into Leo, holding a bouquet of flowers and looking like he hadn't slept in days.
"You look like hell," Justin said without thinking.
"I've been running the firm all day," Leo said, "Lauren can keep her job."
Justin chuckled and pat him on the back.
"You may want to wait a moment or two, they're having time together," Justin tried to say tactfully.
"You know?" Leo blurted out.
"It's hard not to see," Justin acknowledged.
Leo nodded, watching as Justin walked away before hurrying to the room. He found Lauren seated beside Kate's bed, pushing a hair from her face and for a moment he felt bad about interrupting. He got over it and cleared his throat, causing Lauren to jump nearly out of her skin.
"Leonardo, you scared me," she said, one hand over heart the other still holding on to Kate's hand.
"Leo!" Kate exclaimed dropping Lauren's hand and extending her arms.
Lauren stood up and backed away as Leo put the flowers down at her bedside and gave Kate a hug.
"You, are amazing," she said, as the hug released, poking him in the chest.
"What can I say? Leo the valiant," he exclaimed in a mocking tone, "how are you feeling?" he asked.
"Better now," she said, eyes glancing between Leo and Lauren.
Her eyes closed momentarily and she had trouble holding them open.
"We should go," Lauren said gesturing to Leo.
Kate nodded sleepily as they started to exit the room.
"Lauren?" Kate asked.
Lauren took a step toward Kate to hear her, instinctively taking her hand.
"Can you be here when I wake up?" she asked, almost childlike.
"Of course sweetie," she answered, brushing her hand across Kate's forehead before planting a kiss there.
"And give Leo the day off tomorrow?" she asked, her eyes closed.
Lauren nodded, "Of course," she said taking her hand away and following Leo out of the room.
"But tomorrow is Saturday," Leo said as Lauren shut the door.
"And you can of course have it off Leonardo," she said straight-faced except for the odd twinkle in the corner of her eye. "And Monday too if you'd like," she finished. "I'm not sure what the best reward is for saving our lives and keeping the firm afloat in our absence," she said honestly.
"I'm sure you'll think of something," he said, smiling before adding, "Sweetie," as the grin on his face widened.
Lauren broke into a rueful but sleepy smile and punched Leo in the arm.
"Ouch! You pack a lot of punch," Leo said, rubbing the spot on his arm half teasing half serious, finding it very odd that Lauren was capable of joking with him.
"Don't you forget it," she said as she took his arm, it was far more casual than she would've generally allowed but her exhaustion was overriding her good sense. And she felt closer to Leo now, knowing he knew about her and Kate. "Can you drive me home Leonardo?" she asked as they walked down the hall.
"Why of course Mrs Reed," Leo said in a posh British accent, "it would be my pleasure."
* * *
Kate was in hospital for just over a week and Lauren visited her every evening to have dinner, complain about Ben and tell Kate the newest story of her ever-growing legend.
“Leonardo has started purposely using obviously incorrect statements to get what he wants and calling it a ‘Kate Reed’,” Lauren explained in between mouthfuls. It was take out, which was hardly her favourite thing to eat but she made sure it was at least good take out. “It’s going to his head a bit, being there without you,” she added with a smile.
“I’m sure he’s enjoying not having to chase me around,” Kate said.
They ate in silence for a moment before Lauren put her plastic fork down and wiped her mouth.
“Kate,” she began seriously, “I wanted to do something nice for him for saving our lives,” Lauren said. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while, what if we give him an extra paid day off once a month to work on his artwork?” she asked.
Kate stared at Lauren for a moment, touched that she had thought of such an apt gift for her assistant.
“He would really appreciate that,” Kate said, her eyebrows and mouth turned in incredulous appreciation, “That is really sweet Lauren,” she added squeezing Lauren’s hand before releasing it to finish her food.
Lauren blushed, picking up her fork and pushing the food around the plate. “I never properly thanked you either, for saving me from… unfortunate acts,” Lauren said, unable to look up at Kate until she had spoken.
It was Kate’s turn to blush, but she forced herself to look up at Lauren, “I would do it again,” she said smiling.
* * *
Nine days after her surgery Kate was released from hospital. Lauren brought her home, playing nursemaid when she wasn't running Reed & Reed and sharing her bed at Kate's insistence.
Despite her work-mask the staff of Reed & Reed were gossiping, it seemed Lauren looked happier than she had been in a while. When she overheard someone remarking about her new persona Lauren's mouth crooked into a smile, chastising herself for feeling like such a teenager.
Kate recovered quickly, if only to get out of watching daytime television (or so she said). By the end of her recovery she was so bored she had actually completed not only all of her own paperwork, which Lauren had ‘kindly’ brought home, but also some of Lauren’s as well.
And so eight weeks after the stabbing had occurred, Kate, still a bit sore, got up for work. She carefully showered and got dressed before heading out of her room to meet Lauren for breakfast.
Lauren was standing outside her room, waffle in one hand and smoothie in the other. “We’re late,” she said evenly, it was hardly unexpected. She handed Kate her waffle and turned to the door, Kate falling into step beside her.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Lauren asked before putting the car in gear.
As they entered the elevator at Reed & Reed Lauren grabbed Kate's hand and gave it a squeeze, smiling reassuringly. "You don't have to stay if you're not up for it," she said.
Kate nodded, pushing out her breath and bouncing on her toes before remembering with a grimace that the movement jogged her midsection. She stood still for the rest of the elevator ride.
The elevator dinged and they walked out, Kate dropping Lauren's hand as they exited, careful to maintain the trust they had built up.
Behind Leo's desk hung two banners, the first said 'Leo Week,' and the other said, 'Welcome Back Kate.' In front of Leo's office was a gathering off the staff, some of whom were wearing birthday hats while others had blowouts, Leo had both and blew his blowout loudly when he saw Kate. The rest followed suit.
"Leo week?" Kate said to Lauren as they ascended the stairs.
Lauren shrugged her shoulder, "I asked him what he wanted," she responded softly, "He asked for a month initially," she added, her lips curving up at the memory of that discussion.
Kate laughed before turning back to the throng now within hearing distance.
Kate thanked everyone, hugging some of the staff gingerly before getting to Leo and giving him a big hug so energetically it pulled at her wound and she backed away carefully, holding her midsection.
Lauren followed Kate through the throng, passing her and Leo and standing before Leo's desk, banging the stapler on his desk for attention.
The staff looked up at her and she cleared her throat.
"Some of you may think you have some insight into my personal life, may even think it is actually your business," she began as the celebratory atmosphere was sucked from the room and replaced with a lot of nervous glances.
"What is she doing?" Leo whispered to Kate.
Kate's brow furrowed, trying to read Lauren's intention.
"And while it is not any of your business, I'd rather have the truth out there," she said, her voice relaxing as she looked at Kate. "Kate and I have been dating for the past four months," she said simply.
Kate held her hand over her mouth in shock.
"Now I realise this may seem odd, it was odd for us too because I loved her father, the founder of this firm, very much," she admitted, "But I believe that he, wherever he is, is happy for us," she said, wiping the tear at the corner of her eye demurely and forcing the rest of them away.
She cleared her throat again, "Now other firms might use this to insinuate that we are not strong as we might be but make no mistake, while Kate and I have had our differences and still won't agree on every occasion..."
"You've got that right," Kate remarked loudly with a smirk. A few people chuckled.
Lauren raised her eyebrows at Kate in chastisement before continuing, "…we are now stronger than before, and with the help of Ben and the hard work of each and every one of you we will make Reed & Reed a force to be reckoned with," Lauren concluded.
"And if you separate?" a voice asked from the back, it was Mitchell.
Kate moved from Leo's side and stood beside Lauren.
"Nothing can erase the understanding we have now, so I might not agree with Lauren..." Kate said glancing at Lauren in belated apology for cutting her off, Lauren gestured for her to continue, "…but I understand her and it will make us as a company stronger no matter what happens to us as a couple," Kate finished.
"Now stop being so nosy and get back to work," Lauren said shooing them away from Leo's desk.
Kate leaned sideways toward Lauren, "Mrs Reed can I see you in my office?" she asked evenly.
Lauren nodded, concern painting her face as she followed Kate. Kate pulled the blind part of the way, leaving it open wide enough to allay any suspicions.
"I'm sorry I didn't ask you first," Lauren apologized, looking up to see a smile painted across Kate’s face.
"So we're dating are we?" Kate asked, her grin widening.
Lauren blushed, repeatedly starting a sentence she couldn't formulate.
Kate, enjoying the sight, took Lauren's hands in hers.
"I figured..," Lauren finally lamely got out.
Kate smiled again, running her thumb over Lauren's knuckles. She nodded, “Thanks for lying about the timeframe,” She said.
Lauren nodded with a smile, her eyes on Kate’s lips as she reached up her hand to pull Kate into a kiss. Their lips met for moments too long to be considered chaste.
Most of the staff was outside the window nonchalantly watching them but Lauren didn't care.
As their lips parted Kate again thanked her father for bringing Lauren into her life. It had taken her long enough to appreciate but they had the rest of their lives…