saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 13 (A Man Apart)

author: Rae/Celtia/Celtiareborn

rating/genre: (NC-17) - Romance/Crime Drama

warnings: het, language, violence, and graphic sexual content

summary: Officer Sean Vetter, formerly of the DEA, tries to rebuild his life in Chicago after losing his wife in a botched assassination attempt on his own life. Joining the Chicago Special Tactics Unit, Vetterís bitterness toward life and sullen determination not to care for anyone makes him a nightmare of potential partners, until a stubborn Irish woman named Kate Shea decides she isnít going to let Vetter chase her away Ė from his career or his life. (Sean/OFC)

comments/disclaimers: My summary and first chapter pretty well give away the plot of the movie, so if you haven't seen it yet you might want to wait to read this until you have. FEEDBACK: Two conditions: Please talk to me, not at me; Please do not rewrite my stuff and send it to me the way you would do it. Otherwise have at it. Thanks. ARCHIVE: A qualified yes Ė I would not like the story to appear anywhere else without the person discussing it with me first. NOTES: The story does involve a stalker. Also, there is some violence stemming from Vetter and Kateís jobs as undercover officers. NOTE II: There is some Russian used in the story but I try to explain it unless it explains itself.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Kate stared at the window to Kafelnikovís office. She could just see it from where she sat with Vetter in the surveillance van. Kafelnikov entered the building fifteen minutes previously so she knew he was in his office. Maybe he was thinking about how glorious it would be when she fulfilled his prediction and came back to him. Maybe he was thinking about how he owned her.

"You donít have to do this."

Kate turned to smile at Vetter. "Yes I do. I have to protect Katie."

"I told you Iíll take care of the two of you. Just believe in me," he pleaded.

"Weíve had this conversation, Vetter. I got my daughter into this situation and I have to get her out of it. Check my wire for me, would you?"

He placed a pair of headphones over his ears. She turned away from him and spoke softly. When she looked back at him he nodded.

"Itíll pick up everything," he said in relief.

"Youíd better get in there," Monaghan said. "Kafelnikov takes off fast when he goes."

The glare Vetter sent his way caused him to face the video monitors located on the wall of the van. Kate took a deep breath, wishing she had her gun. She could do this, she told herself. Vetter, Monaghan, and Edwards would be right outside if anything went wrong, if Kafelnikov went crazy or decided to do a sweep when she came in and discovered the wire. Certainly she could defend herself until Vetter got in to shoot the Russian bastard.

"See you in a while," she said, jumping out the back door before he could say anything.

The three flights to Kafelnikovís seemed to take an hour to scale. When she reached the etched glass door of "Kafelnikov Importers, Ltd." she took another breath. The sense of humiliation coursing through her blood caused her heart to pound. She hated the idea he would get about her by her appearance at his door when he so glibly predicted she would want to see him again despite everything heíd done to violate her privacy. She tried to console herself with the fact that she was merely playing a role in a strange little play that would lead to his imprisonment, but all the shame she bore knowing that Brie cheated on her with Chelsea made it hard for her to rationalize what she was about to do.

Kafelnikov opened the door while she was still trying to get up the courage to knock on it. His sudden presence startled her, made her take a step back. Before she could speak she saw a smile spread across his face.

"I knew you would return to me, Katya," he said, kissing her cheek.

He led her inside the office, closing the door behind her. She found it odd and vaguely disconcerting that no staff appeared to be present. The office was set up to accommodate a number of people, with a receptionistís station and several ornate desks for co-workers, but she saw no one besides Kafelnikov.

He ushered her to his inner sanctum, closed this door as well. Gently leading her to a plush red velvet chair he asked her to sit down. He gazed at her from the edge of his intricately carved desk while the sun beaming in the window cast a delicate shadow over the red and gold carpet and caught the ends of her hair, making them look like fire.

"I donít what to say to you," she told him.

"Then say nothing. Just let me be with you," he said, still smiling.

"Iím just so embarrassed about how I behavedÖmy god, you must think Iím some sort of lunatic."

"Not at all. I understand everything that happened between us, Katya. You were right to tell me how you felt about my behavior. Besides, the passion you showed me delighted me. You are very Russian." He reached out to brush a strand of hair out of her eyes. "I admire strong women."

His fingers felt cool and soft against her skin. She shifted a bit under his touch; he smiled. She knew he loved the idea that he was getting to her.

"Why donít you tell me what you want?" he asked gently.

"Iíd have to figure that out first," she answered.

"You must have an idea. Donít be embarrassed. Speak to me honestly about your feelings. I will respect them, whatever they are."

Outside in the van Monaghan pulled off his headphones, tapping on Vetterís back until he had the big manís attention. "Relax, Vetter, sheís fine," he said, annoyed. "We could be here for hours. Take a valium or something."

"You wouldnít say that if she was your partner," Vetter insisted, pulling his own headphones off

"Hey, Iím very fond of Shea, and Iíve known her for a hell of a lot longer than you have. If Iím not worried about you shouldnít be."

"Kafelnikovís a threat to her and her daughter. Jesus, nobody seems to care about that but me," Vetter said angrily. "What the fuckís wrong with this department?"

Monaghan stared at him for a moment, then asked, "You and Shea got something going on?"

Vetter instantly grabbed the other man by the collar. "What do you mean by that?" he demanded.

"Chill, man. Itís just a question, one guy to another," Monaghan said quickly.

Edwards started toward the two of them but stopped when Vetter released the officer.

"Sheís my partner," Vetter said quietly. "Thatís supposed to be enough reason for me to care what happens to her."

Monaghan pressed down his shirt. "Sure. Forget I said anything."

Edwards indicated anxiously that both men should replace their headphones. They did so, Vetter taking a bit longer to rejoin the surveillance than Monaghan.

Inside Kafelnikovís office Kate walked to the window. She stared out at the tree-lined street, somehow resisting the temptation to crane her neck so she could see the van. Her silence stretched from the time five minutes before when the Russian asked her to tell him her feelings. She could not make herself answer his question even though she told herself she had to do so. At last he crossed the room to her. She felt his hand on her shoulder, turned slowly to face him. The fear and uncertainty he saw in her eyes brought forth a gentle smile from him.

"Such a proud woman," he whispered. "How you flatter me, Katya, with this war you wage against yourself."

"I feel like a fool," she replied.

"Love makes us all fools."

"But I donít love you."

"Not yet. In time, thoughÖ" He kissed her forehead. "Will you come home with me?"

"Iím not ready for that, Grigori."

"I want you only to let me enjoy your company. As for making love with you, I am willing to wait until you feel comfortable with me. I may be overzealous at times but I am a gentleman."

"I meant what I said the other night about not wanting romance," she told him. "Itís something that scares me terribly. I donít want to be hurt again."

He cradled her face in his hands. "Katya, listen to me. I know how much your husbandís betrayal poisoned you against love. But you have come to see me despite all the pride and uncertainty that told you to forget about me. That should tell you what burns inside you for me is stronger than your fear," he said.

Kate stared into the incredible depth of his eyes. They looked like dark pools of chocolate to her. She had a sudden urge to kiss him that she barely managed to control.

"Would you just hold me?" she asked. If God asked at that moment where the words came from she could not have

answered Him. Kafelnikov nodded. He slid his arms around her, instantly drawing her body against his and its protective warmth. She sighed softly and closed her eyes.

In the van Vetter banged his fist on the video console. Monaghan kicked him and mouthed for him to be quiet. Vetter ignored him. Sensing that Vetter was about to leap out of the van and rush the building, Monaghan moved to block the doors. Vetter flew out of his seat.

"Knock it off!" Edwards whispered harshly. "Think about Shea, for Godís sake. She needs us to be ready to go in if necessary and we canít hear her if you two are beating each other senseless."

The two men glared at each other across the expanse of the vehicle, then returned to their chairs and headphones. But neither of them could easily return to their work.

Kate let herself return Kafelnikovís embrace. He smelled of something delicate and sensual, like cologne mixed with cognac. She let the scent penetrate her nostrils, let it fill her up like a cascade of water at an oasis. She might have stayed this way the rest of the day with him had she not suddenly remembered that the wire ran up her back and over her shoulder, fastened on her bra strap

She pulled away from him. He caught her wrist. Gently but firmly drawing her back toward him, he cupped her face in his hands once more and kissed her.

She told herself to stop him but even as she thought the words she knew she could not obey them. The memory of the simple erotic pleasure of kissing a man prevented her. She pressed her mouth against his with an unchained hunger, pushing her body into him and letting his tongue probe her. When she finally forced herself away from him she felt as if her heart might leap out of her chest into his eyes.

"My god, Katya, you are magnificent," he whispered.

"I shouldnít have come here," she replied, voice shaking.

"Donít be afraid of what you feel for me. Let me kiss you again."

She told him no even as she brought her mouth once more to his. This kiss was stronger, more passionate, and by the time he finished it she found it impossible to let go of him. She merely stood leaning against him, trying to catch her breath and make sense of what was happening to her.

"Come home with me," he repeated, his voice like wind chimes.

Kate stared up at him. She nodded.

"Sheís not going to go through with it."

Edwardsí words did nothing to comfort Vetter. He sat outside Kafelnikovís house, peering grimly through the tinted windows of the surveillance van as Kate followed the Russian through the ornate front door.

"Iím telling you, Vetter, sheís just leading him on to get into the house. Sheaís too good a cop to let herself lose control. Besides, sheís wired. Not only would letting Kafelnikov get that close to her blow her cover, but she isnít about to let us here her making love with somebody," Edwards insisted. "Sheíd shoot herself first."

"Heís right," Monaghan agreed. "Shea has some serious sexual hang-ups. And donít hit me or Iíll beat the shit out of you."

Vetter somehow managed to keep his temper in check. "You canít say she has hang-ups just because she wonít let you in her pants," he shot back.

"Not me. Anybody. Sheís the original Ice Queen, pal. Thatís why sheís always such a bitch in this job. Too much sexual frustration," Monaghan announced.

"I think we might want to change the topic of conversation to something a bit more professional, Dr. Freud," Edwards said pointedly.

"Hey, Iím all for Shea getting a little from the Russian. Maybe itíd mellow her out. Of course, that would leave sloppy seconds for our friend Vetter here," Monaghan said, grinning.

"In about two seconds youíre going to need a new ass," Vetter warned.

"Thatís it!" Edwards whispered harshly. "Vetter may be captain of this team but Iím the senior partner on this detail and I am telling you both to shut the fuck up or Iíll let Porter chew you a new one when we get back to the precinct!"

The two officers stood glaring at each other, breathing deeply to steady themselves as their Y-chromosomes shot off sparks. At last they eased back into their chairs. As he watched them Edwards knew this was merely a truce, not a peace treaty, but at least they were under control for now.

Kafelnikov led Kate up the grand staircase that wound its way to the upper floors of the house. He paused at a pair of gold-trimmed double doors of royal blue topped off by gold handles. Taking her hands in his he kissed her fingers and asked softly, "Will you make love with me now, Katya?"

When Kate felt Kafelnikovís arms go around her she closed her eyes. The dizzying sensation of danger and desire that came over her when she knew she could make love to an attractive man filled her veins as her blood began to heat. "I canít," she whispered. The words caused her physical pain.

"We can stop whenever you like. I want to please you so much. Let me make you happy."

She thought of the wire she wore and what Vetter and the surveillance team would hear. She could not give in to the lust she felt for Kafelnikov as long as she wore that wire.

"I need to be alone for a minute," she said.

He opened the doors. The bedroom looked like something designed for a czar, done in rich hues of blue and gold and cluttered with objets díart such as intricately enameled vases. The bed sat in the center of the room. A four-poster, the largest she ever saw, made up with satin sheets of royal blue and overhung with a sweeping canopy of cloth of gold that draped to the floor.

"The bathroom is through there," he told her, nodding toward a door at the left of the bed. She quickly slipped into the bathroom and closed the door hard behind her.

Standing before the large baroque mirror she slowly unbuttoned her shirt. She saw the wire, its small transmitter just over her left breast. She stared at the mike as she ran her fingers over the wire cascading down her back. She reached for it.

Kate opened the door and stepped back into the bedroom. Tears streamed down her face as she said, "I have to go, Grigori."

She went toward the doors. He stepped in front of her, taking her hands once more.

"Tell me why," he pleaded.

"Because I canít handle everything Iím feeling right now. Itsí all happening too fast. I feel like I canít breathe."

"I will take care of your fears, Katya -"

"No. I canít do this Ė I have to go."

She bolted past him and ran for the stairs. She realized as she raced back to the first floor that she had no way to get back to the precinct. The knowledge caught her off guard and as she paused at the front door trying to think about what to do she heard Kafelnikovís voice from the top of the stairs.

"I want to see you later," he called.

She caught her breath, nodded. "Come to my house for dinner," she told him. "Seven oíclock."


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