Title: Unconventional
Author: Meg Brown, aka Andromeda Valentine
Feedback address: andromeda.valentine@gmail.com
Date in Calendar: 21 December 2011
Fandom: Sanctuary
Pairing: Kate Freelander/Helen Magnus
Rating: NC17
Word Count: 2715
Status: New; complete (12-1-2011)
Summary: How was it possible to be so insanely attracted to someone it was so impossible to know?
Series/Sequel: None
Warnings: None. If the info in here is spoilery for you, you're probably new enough to the show that it wouldn't matter anyway.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD11
Archive: The FSAC site only until 1-1-2012. After that, feel free to ask.
Other Websites: Crimson Redd - http://www.angelfire.com/goth/crimsonredd
Feedback: Yes, please!!

Disclaimer: "Sanctuary," the characters and situations depicted are the property of Sanctuary 1 Productions, Stage 3 Media, and SciFi. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Sanctuary", SciFi, or any representative of the actors.

Author's Disclaimer: Not mine, unfortunately – I'm just borrowing 'em for a bit. :P

Author's Notes: Written for the FSAC Dead Of Winter 2011


Kate Freelander was no one's fool. She'd known full well what she was signing on for when she'd made her decision to change sides and join Sanctuary.

She was also honest enough to admit that it was the best thing she could ever have done for herself. There was no more scrambling to make ends meet, or keep Thad out of trouble, or even nights lying awake as her conscience nagged at her - even her own mother could tell that her daughter had finally found her right path, with just the little that Kate could actually tell her about what they did.

In many ways, she'd found the family she'd lost somewhere between her father's death and an equally painful adolescence several years later. Hank was the brother Thad could never quite manage to be, Will was a peculiar mix of know-it-all older brother and well-meaning uncle, and Biggie was the uncle she'd never allowed any of her real uncles to be to her - she felt loved, secure, and happy for the first time she could remember.

It had terrified her at first, mostly because she was so afraid that one wrong move would wreck it all. She didn't exactly feel guilty as such for Ashley Magnus' death, but she'd contributed to it in her own way without being fully aware of it, and only being sealed away alone in a vacuum would have made it possible to avoid seeing how much Ashley's loss had devastated everyone.

Including Doctor Helen Magnus, Ashley's mother, who had been the one Kate feared most at the beginning. *Especially* Helen Magnus, who'd made her disdain and her anger so clear - Kate had never really decided if the woman's threat to shoot her had even been a bluff to start with - then turned around and saved her life without hesitation before taking her in.

In time, though, it had become clear that no one at Sanctuary was holding any grudges, and the only strings attached were the expectation that she do something positive with the fresh start they'd given her. Blossomed had always seemed a strange word to use for these things - people weren't flowers, after all - but it was exactly the right word for what happened as Kate finally found her feet, and herself.

Hell, she'd shout it loud and proud. She loved her life now, loved everything Sanctuary had to offer her, and had no intention of ever going back to her old existence.

She even loved the fact that Helen Magnus - her boss - was about a bajillion layers of riddles and contradictions wrapped in several more layers of 'sexy cerebral chick' just for good measure. The woman bred chaos like - well, like nothing Kate had ever seen, and it was enough to keep even her adrenalin junkie tendencies sated most days.

Of course, there were people out there who seemed able to read Magnus like a book - that creepy Druitt guy, for one, and Tesla, who actually knew the score on Magnus better than anyone else if you did the math on it - but they'd had decades to figure it out.

Kate didn't have nearly so long, and it was driving her crazy. How was it possible to be so insanely attracted to someone it was so impossible to know?

She blamed the bank job for that one. It was entirely possible she'd still be completely oblivious to Helen Magnus if the damn ferropodous hadn't hatched early, forcing Kate to stage the fake bank robbery to corral all the potential hosts - up until that day, she'd largely viewed Magnus as just her boss, albeit a much cooler one than most.

It wasn't that Kate had been shocked by a sudden inexplicable attraction to someone also sporting two X chromosomes - she'd been twelve the first time her mother caught her with a neighbor girl, and she'd made a habit in high school of seducing and then outing the bitchy cheerleader types who thought they could just use her for a little forbidden fun behind their football hero boyfriends' backs.

It was more that something had hit her hard and fast, between the nostalgic adrenaline rush and Magnus' ridiculous fake mobster accent and watching her take down that moron Dave with one well-placed punch. She'd almost come on the spot from witnessing that last little gem, barely reminding herself in time that that it was hardly the place or the moment for making a sudden out-of-nowhere play to get into Magnus' pants.

If Helen Magnus had so much as touched her in that instant, though, however innocently...

Kate had still grinned like an idiot, enjoying herself even as she fought to regain her bearings, which Magnus spotted and responded to with a grin of her own - not much got by her after so many decades, after all. There'd been something in that smile, though, that had set Kate's heart to pounding in a way even the sudden influx of lust the moment before hadn't, something she decided to just write off as wishful thinking given the situation.

After that, she'd been wholly distracted by the task at hand and had forgotten all about it in the face of things like making sure people didn't explode and that neither she nor anyone else got turned into dinner.

The aforementioned adrenaline rush was still very much with her later, though, as she found herself standing alone with Helen Magnus in her office. Maybe it was that, or just wishful thinking, but she could have sworn Magnus was flirting with her even as she praised her for her quick thinking with the fake heist and in handling everything after it.

Kate definitely wasn't quite sure what Magnus was after with her quip about not being able to take any money during their venture, but it seemed to be a combination of friendly jibe and wanting to assess her response. The fact that her smile after Kate's own quip about the money thing being depressing was genuine was just Magnus being Magnus - the woman's ability to compartmentalize was truly freaky, and part of what made her so damned hard to read.

Kate had made her way to the door then, hoping that things would be less awkward after everything had returned to whatever passed for Sanctuary's status quo. She'd felt Magnus' eyes on her every step of the way, though, as if she was still being tested or observed.

Her hand hit the doorknob just about the time she made her decision. The hell with it – if Magnus liked it when she thought on her feet and took her by surprise, then she'd continue to do just that.

She'd closed the door and locked it, then turned back to look at Magnus. The doctor was standing there in front of her desk still, smirking as she still somehow projected a sort of indifference – clearly, she could somehow hear Kate's internal grumbling that the door was too far from the desk to allow for the full effect she was trying to pull off.

Still, Magnus had let her have the illusion, allowing Kate to be the aggressor and initiate the first kiss.

If Kate had ever scoffed at the whole 'immortality allowing for time to perfect sex skills' trope, she didn't after that kiss. Magnus didn't lay a hand on her, simply kissing her back with no other physical contact on her part, and her ability with that alone left Kate back at the verge of orgasm.

The moment didn't really allow for whatever it was Kate had intended to happen afterward – a quickie on the couch there in Magnus' office, maybe, if things really went her way? - but Kate didn't walk away feeling at all shortchanged.

Magnus had just unbuttoned Kate's jeans as they kissed again, sliding one of those agile surgeon's hands down inside her panties, thumb circling her clit as two fingers slid inside her. Kate had come so hard she'd seen stars, struggling despite the awkward positioning to push those fingers as deep iinside her as possible.

Some new emergency had come up just then, Will banging on Magnus' locked door even as she still had her fingers inside Kate. If he noticed anything odd in the impromptu meeting that followed once Kate was presentable again, he never said anything – but then again, he wouldn't have.

Kate's self-satisfied sense of victory at having finally gotten one up on Helen Magnus lasted just until she realized that Magnus had still won – she'd controlled the situation completely despite allowing Kate the lead, to the point that Kate hadn't even realized she'd done nothing more than kiss the other woman even as her hand had been down Kate's pants.

It was so thoroughly Helen Magnus that Kate hadn't been able to do anything other than laugh herself silly about it, even as she vowed to get payback.

The unexpected thing was that they both seemed inclined to see where this new development led, though it was still purely physical.

Kate finally did get her payback a few weeks later – or at very least, Magnus helped her maintain the illusion of doing so skillfully enough that Kate never knew the difference.

That was the night she'd realized that the proper Helen Magnus was completely and utterly turned on by Kate's gutter vocabulary. A rare moment of privacy combined with playfulness and ingenuity had ended with Kate whispering dirty nothings in Magnus' ear while she had the older woman pinned to the counter in the kitchen, skirt rucked up around Magnus' hips as Kate worked her hard and fast with the honey dipper she'd managed to steal from the table before it got used.

Kate was pretty sure the whole entire house had heard Magnus that night, and was also pretty sure neither of them cared. She'd pocketed the honey dipper in hopes of repeating her success with it again at some later date – there were only about a dozen replacements scattered through the kitchen, so no one was going to miss it – as Magnus tried to recompose herself for the teleconference she was about to be late in joining.

Things changed yet again a few weeks later as Kate was finally able to break past Magnus' guard – or, rather, as Magnus finally let her in.

It had been just the two of them off on a mission that had gone entirely south, leaving them both exhausted and more than a little raw emotionally. It seemed like every corner they'd turned had thrown some sort of painful reminder at Magnus of either Ashley or Ashley's father Druitt – so much so that Kate had been extremely worried about how Magnus was handling it.

The doctor had been pale and visibly shaken when it was all said and done, but had seemed composed enough when she stated she just wanted to go back to their hotel and sleep – a sentiment Kate could certainly agree with.

Given that they weren't exactly romantically involved, they had separate rooms inside a suite at a local hotel. It was probably just as well, as they both seemed to need some space that night.

Kate had slept only fitfully, for all her fatigue, and Magnus apparently even less so, as Kate was stunned to hear the sound of crying coming from behind the doctor's closed door when she wondered out into the common area between their two rooms.

Kate had hesitated, torn between her instinct to help comfort a friend and her understanding of Magnus' intense need for privacy in moments like these until she was able to recover her equilibrium.

Still, she'd never actually heard, much less seen, Magnus cry before – she'd been present but unconscious when Ashley Magnus had sacrificed herself - and the thought of what it probably took to evoke that response in the doctor pretty much ended the debate. She hesitated for a split second again at Magnus' door, then opened it and marched right in.

She'd expected Magnus to be livid at being intruded on so rudely – not that it would have stopped Kate anyway – but the doctor actually seemed glad to see her after the initial surprise wore off. Magnus, of course, had made herself stop crying the instant she knew someone else was there, and the sudden silence was awkward.

Kate had floundered for a long moment, unsure of what to do now that the tables were turned and she was suddenly supposed to be the strong one, and then decided the important thing was probably just to be there for Magnus.

She'd told Magnus to scoot over, making it clear refusal was not an option, and then climbed in beside her. Once forced to accept Kate's presence, the doctor had capitulated by clinging to her as the last few sobs worked their way out.

The silence was even more painfully awkward the second time around – the whole psych thing was totally Will's skill set, not Kate's – but Magnus still seemed to draw comfort from it, finally asking Kate to just talk to her.

So Kate had talked for several minutes straight about anything and everything she could think of, until Magnus apparently decided she'd had enough talk and leaned in to kiss her.

That night, Kate had learned what it meant to make love rather than just have sex – if 'make love' was the appropriate term still when you did love the other person, just not in a romantic way. Everything was totally different, apparently, when you were more interested in comforting someone than in getting off, and it was an odd thought, though not a bad one.

Magnus had asked her to stay once they were done – noteworthy more because of the situation than for anything else, as it wouldn't have been the first time they'd woken up together - and that was probably why they both slept so much better afterward than they had earlier that night.

Breakfast was nowhere near as awkward as Kate would have expected – she seemed more embarrassed to have intruded on Magnus' grief than Magnus did to have been intruded upon. If anything, there was a newer, deeper level of comfortableness with each other's presence, something Kate realized she'd been wanting without consciously understanding it as such.

It wasn't that Magnus' breakdown had suddenly made them realize some sort of unsuspected romantic side to their relationship – for all their physical attraction, there was no danger of it ever turning romantic that way – but more that they'd finally been able to move beyond some of the walls that had limited the depth of their friendship.

Things had been different from then on, in the best possible way. The friendship had finally blossomed fully – there was that word again – and they were both happier and all the closer for it, as neither had an overabundance of people they felt they could just be 100% themselves with.

When Garris enters the picture sometime later and Kate realizes she's begun to fall for him, Helen Magnus is the first person she tells – and the one who suggests that Kate be the liaison to the Hollow Earth refugees as they return home, so that she can stay near him. There's no anger or jealousy, even though it means that their rather unconventional friendship will have to move back to more conventional ground.

What there is, is an all-too-brief spate of giggling, gossip, and girl talk as they sort out the details – but only for a few moments, as the world needs them too much to let them indulge for much longer than that.

Their final night together is equally cheerful and upbeat, lacking the desperation Kate might have expected as they work to make it as memorable as possible. The honey dipper, still in service and still a favorite, makes its final appearance, and Kate leaves it on Magnus' bedside table for her to keep as a memento.

Or, rather, it makes what Kate thinks is its final appearance.

When she goes to unpack her bags at her new room in Hollow Earth, she finds the honey dipper tucked away in one of them, wrapped in a handkerchief bearing Magnus' monogram, right next to a bottle of Magnus' favorite perfume.