Carter's Fortress

Well here we go, Book Five.

Holy demanding fans batman. Don't lynch me its here its here.

You have to excuse me I am totally exhausted lately, you're lucky this stuff is prewritten right up to the next one.

For anyone that doesn't know I do community theatre and have been saddled with the props department for our christmas production. Lots of red banners and sewing...god I hate sewing...give me a beer and hockey night in Canada...

Matt's laughing at me, he thinks my impersonation of Martha Stewart is cute.... Wonder how he'd look modelling Prince Charming's tights?

Anyway enought of my domestic woes... you gues want story... and judging from the mass of emails baying for you go... :P

Submitted for your approval.

As usual Comments or questions direct to Feed back is



Of all the properties which belong to honorable men,

not one is so highly prized as that of character.

Henry Clay


Chapter Seven

The Bay Street office tower was silent at that time of the night; most of the employees had long since gone home for the night. And as the thunder of the autumn storm continued to rumble, powerful men sheltered away from its fury stood discussing the new Minister of Heritage.

"Robert Avery is a shrewd man," Gravano said, seated behind his desk, his arms resting on the arms like he was seated in a throne. The young Italian Canadian stared up at John Hackett who was pacing the office before the desk, "Is he going to be a problem?"

Hackett shook his head, "He shouldn't be; Avery's a politician and like all other politicians he is concerned with one thing, re-election. No, the real problem will be his chief of staff."

"How so?" Gravano asked, looking up at his secretary and motioning impatiently for her to refill his cup of coffee. He had a dark scowl on his face, "I will not be pleased if I lose this contract, Mister Hackett; I've ... invested a lot of money in you for this."

"I know, Mister Gravano," Hackett said, glaring at the man. "Just remember you are not the only one who has something riding on this project. I assure you it's too late for Avery or his chief to do anything about it. They can't cancel this project without great embarrassment, it'll be political suicide."

"If I may," a smooth voice said from the back of the room, and the men turned to the lawyer who had stood quietly in the corner of the office listening to the conversation.

Andrew Hamilton, wearing a black suit with a rich red silk tie as the only colour, stepped forward. The associate lawyer for Georgeson and Drake had a cold expression on his face, as he set his briefcase down on the edge of Gravano's desk and flipped it open, pulling out a set of contracts.

"When Mister Gravano signed the original proposal, there was a clause built in guaranteeing him the original sum should the government decide to cancel the project." Hamilton flipped through the papers till he came to the appropriate section. "Even if the Heritage department were to cancel this project, Gravano construction will still recoup its losses." He turned to Hackett, "The government, however, will be out a sizable amount of money."

Gravano stared at the document and smiled up at his lawyer, "I knew there was a good reason I hired your company, Mister Hamilton."

Hamilton smiled tightly, "It was an extra clause I decided to add to the original contract of my own accord, Mister Gravano." Hamilton closed the contracts and put them away in his briefcase, "I was taught a long time ago to cover any eventuality."

"You hear that, John?" Gravano said, staring at Hackett. "I actually have someone working for me that is prepared. I'd recommend that you be prepared, too; deal with this heritage aide and let's get back to our original plans."

Hackett's eyes narrowed; he didn't like being ordered about like a lackey, and his fists balled. "I'll deal with William Carter."

Unseen by the two other men, Hamilton's eyes widened in surprise.


Will was standing in the shelter of the door way of Avery's constituency office staring out at the rain-swept streets of Toronto, the street lights blurring with the white lights of the store fronts as people hurried about trying to find some shelter from the storm.

He didn't flinch as a flicker of lightning and a loud boom reverberated around him. He loved the rain; for a few weeks a year it was like he was back home again. Sussex rain, with its warm edge that reminded him so much of his childhood.

Lisa came out to join him, "Robert wanted me to remind you that we are catching the ten o'clock plane back to Ottawa."

Will nodded, "Thanks, how's he doing?"

"What do you mean?" she asked, leaning on the doorframe beside him.

"In general, how do you think he's doing?" Will said, gesturing to the election poster on the door behind him, Robert's fatherly face smiling down at them in high gloss.

"He's got a firm handle on things." Lisa mused, taking a deep breath as a bus roared past them, "He already knows how to handle press conferences and his confidence really shows." She shrugged, "The real test is when he goes to Parliament for the first time and takes questions. The Heritage critic is supposedly a real bastard."

Will blinked at the use of the word and he chuckled; he sometimes forgot how young they really were. They'd both had to grow up so fast, through life, love, kids, and now careers. He smiled at her, "Well we just need to stay one step ahead of him, and insure Robert's prepared."

She shook her head at him; "You've come a long way from the timid little guy that used to write English papers and hide in a library."

Will looked at her a moment, and stepped out into the rain, grinning under the downpour, "I don't know, hiding comes in handy when I have to write speeches, not to mention all those Shakespeare plays Mister Lushington had us reading back in English class." He pointed to the MacDonald's across the street, "Come on, you know you want to pollute your system with junk food."

She shook her head emphatically, "I have a two year old...I eat entirely too much MacDonald's. But if you're offering I could really go for pizza."

Will nodded and smiled, "One Hawaiian pizza slice coming right up..." He turned as a brand new black car rolled up to the curb.

He paused as the window slid down and a man leaned down to look at him, "What is it with you and being out in storms without a jacket?"

Will stuck his hands in his pockets as he offered a half smile. "I find it's a great way to pick up guys," he replied. "Problem is they always drive Mustangs..." He glanced at the brand new 2005 Mustang GT, so typically Andrew Hamilton.

"It's the modern equivalent of a white horse," Andrew fired back. "Look, do you want to go for coffee?"

Will turned back to Lisa, "I was just going to get us a bite to eat..."

"Go," she said with a wave of her hand, "I'll catch something later."

Will nodded, "Tell Robert I'll meet you both at the airport at ten sharp."

Lisa smiled as she watched Will climb into the Mustang, a surprised, but happy smile on her face as they drove off.

Will felt damp, but didn't say anything as he looked over at the man who had been his first boyfriend.

Time had only accented his handsome features. A few lines around the eyes, a squaring of the jaw that made him more masculinily handsome than boyishly good-looking. It had been about two years since they had last seen each other face to face, and Will felt a pang of regret over that.

Andrew's striking blue eyes flicked off the road and over to Will, tightening a little. "You look good," he said sounding awkward, as if he wasn't quite sure of what to say.

"I look wet," Will replied. "Which, all things considered, is typically how I look when you offer to give me a ride."

Andrew laughed, "Well, you said you haven't eaten. Would you like to go somewhere and eat something?"

Will ran a hand through his wet hair and nodded, "That would be nice."

Andrew swung the Mustang down towards Church Street, and finding a parking lot, got out of the car. He brushed down the heavy cashmere great coat he was wearing and smiled at Will, "I know this nice restaurant just up the road."

Will cocked his head to one side, "Anything you say, Mister Big."

Andrew paused and looked down at himself: the expensive suit, the silk tie and the swept back hair. Everything matched and he looked like... "Thank you," he said with a frown, "I think."

Will smiled as he wrung out his own tie; bedraggled and self-consciously aware of it, he gestured up the road, "Are we going?"

Andrew turned up his collar against the wind and led the way up the busy street. Even a storm couldn't stop the life that was the heart of the gay village in Toronto. The two men walked along the street past the drag queens and the couples holding hands.

Will thought back to the first time he had come to Church Street, being dragged by Marc to experience life instead of letting it pass him by. Strange, he was walking up the street with Andrew, his first love, and all he could think about was a short guy with a lopsided smile and sparkling eyes.

Will looked at Andrew again, or rather the man that his Andrew had become. Self-confident and successful, he had a regal bearing about him. He took calm and purposeful strides, like he owned the street he was walking on. Nodding occasionally to people he passed, as much as he had changed, Andrew's self-confidence remained.

Andrew gave him another tight smile as he held open the door to the restaurant, walking up to the maitre de.

"Ahh, Mister Hamilton, table for two?" the host stated, already lifting a pair of menus and ushering them past the long line of people glaring at them for being seated immediately.

Once they were seated Will glanced at Andrew, "Come here often?"

Andrew nodded, "Whenever I am in Toronto. Usually about once a month--my firm represents the owners."

"Sounds like a nice arrangement," Will replied, shaking his head at the waiter who offered him wine.

Andrew smiled, "So, you're a political aide now? Last I heard from you, you were in some trouble over at Avery-Woods."

Will smiled; Andrew had come through for him last year when Avery-Woods had fought off a hostile takeover. "I never got a chance to thank you for that," he replied with sincerity.

"Don't mention it," Andrew replied. "Contract Law is my specialty. So you're working up on the hill?"

Will nodded, "I'm Avery's chief of staff; it's a busy position, we're all over the place, but I'm enjoying it."

"I'm glad you found a career you enjoyed," Andrew said, pointing to something on the menu when the waiter returned.

Will glanced down and selected something simple, "We can't all be high-priced lawyers."

"Barrister," Andrew corrected. "Lawyers are American."

"My mistake," Will said with a smile. "High-priced barristers. How is it going?"

"I'm close to making partner," Andrew said, setting his hands on the table and absently playing with a bread roll. "It's been a lot of hard work, but it's beginning to pay off. Georgeson and Drake is one of the top firms in the country. I'm set to be their youngest partner."

"Good for you." Will met Andrew's eyes, puzzled by the sudden shift in Andrew's body language, "Is everything okay?"

Andrew blinked and looked up. "Everything's fine," he said with a smile. "It's good to see you again. I missed you."

Will felt his chest tighten, remembering the pain of losing Andrew, remembering how much they had been through together. The dreams they had shared the first night they had met, huddled in the backseat of the car, listening to the roar of the snowstorm outside.

"I miss you, too," Will said, his voice cracking with emotion. He paused, getting it back under control and looking at the rather overpriced meal that had been set down in front of him.

Andrew studied him a while, "I'm going to be back in Ottawa in a day or two... if you wanted to go out..."

Will opened his mouth, and closed it again, reminded of who was waiting for him back home. "I'm seeing someone," Will said after a long pause.

Andrew nodded, "I thought as much; good guy?"

Will smiled, "A great guy, his name's Marc, a photography student. We've been dating about a year now."

"Good for you," Andrew said, even though his eyes told a different story. There was a look of loss in them that Will recognized and knew all too well.

"But," Will said after a pause, "you're welcome by the house. In fact I think people would be glad to see you."

"Like you?" Andrew said with a raised eyebrow.

Will glanced up from his food. "Yes," he admitted quietly; funny how a single admission could weigh so heavily on the conscience.

Andrew rubbed his chin, "Brody still about?"

"And Lisa," Will said. "Not to mention a short blond kid of our mutual acquaintance who misses you terribly."

"How is Peter?" Andrew asked warmly.

"Trouble as usual," Will replied. "But when isn't he?"

"And your...boyfriend, won't mind?" Andrew asked.

"Marc..." Will sought the words to describe Marc to Andrew. "Let's just say Marc doesn't work by the same rules the rest of us do. I don't think he will have a problem with you stopping by."

Chapter Eight

It was late when Will got home; the house was dark as he fished his keys out of his pockets and wrestled with the lock, finally letting himself inside and setting his briefcase down in the hall and taking off his jacket.

It was good to be home. The regular trips back and forth from Toronto were going to wear him out, but at least he wasn't working for the representative for Nunavut. Now that would be one hell of a commute.

He sighed tiredly as he moved through the quiet house; it looked like Brody was out, not much of a surprise: if the man didn't have a date, he was probably off looking for one. Will stopped when he noticed the heavy video camera sitting on the kitchen table, the professional kind used by news reporters. He frowned. He recognized it because Avery-Wood's had made a similar model which ran about ten thousand dollars.

Will rubbed his temples as he started up the stairs, was Brody really serious about getting into film? No, it had to be one of his stunts; Brody was usually up to something, and if it wasn't illegal, it should be.

The light was on in his room, and the sounds of the TV playing told Will that Marc was home. He smiled warmly, he liked having to come home to someone. It was a great feeling, that anticipation of a warm smile.

Marc was stretched out on the bed, one arm behind his head and the other loosely holding the remote on his chest. The way he had sprawled had pulled the bottom of his sweatshirt up so that his belly button was showing above his blue jeans. It was such a relaxed image that Will paused and smiled.

"Hey," Marc said, looking up. "How was your trip?"

Will smiled as he loosened his tie and crossed to the bed. "Long," he admitted. "Pearson Airport is ridiculous to get through on a week night."

Marc nodded, still watching the TV as Will kicked off his shoes and climbed up into bed beside him. Marc adjusted to wrap an arm around Will and pull him close while he channel surfed with the other hand; finding a rerun of some cheesy sitcom he settled to watch it.

"I had a good day," Marc said after a moment or two, his fingers idly playing with the collar of Will's shirt. "I got my first assignment."

"Oh?" Will asked, enjoying Marc's closeness, that slightly musky smell of his skin and the coarseness of his five o'clock shadow.

"Yeah, I was told to take some scenic shots of Ottawa and everyone went up to Parliament Hill to take shots of the river."

"Nice," Will murmured. "You can see my office from up there."

"I went the other way, though," Marc said, shifting to be a little more comfortable while drawing Will closer. "I figured since everyone was doing the river, I'd take some of the canal. I got a great picture of the Chateau Laurier."

Will smiled, "You were up on the Mackenzie King Bridge."

"Yeah," Marc said with a smile, "by the Arts Center. It looks nice in there, by the way..."

"Subtle," Will laughed.

Marc grinned again, "Sorry."

"Don't be," Will said with a yawn, he was falling asleep. Thoughts of the day crowded his mind. The Exhibition site, supper with Andrew, and Brody's latest bid to be the porn king of Ottawa, "We'll go for Christmas."

"Cool," Marc said, flipping the channels. It was an annoying habit of his; he hated commercials and used them as a chance to surf around to see what he was missing on the other channels. Typical guy, and Will chuckled.

"You know, sex is usually easier if you take your clothes off," Brody said from the open doorway.

Will strained his head up, and grinned at his friend. "I didn't hear you come in," Will said, adjusting to sit upright.

"Yeah," Brody said with a shrug, "it's my ninja stealth." He leaned on the doorframe, "I was wondering if you were serious about wanting to go hunting."

"I'd like to," Will said cautiously. "Why, what are you planning?"

"Well," Brody said with a grin, "I've rented a cottage out in Arnprior."

"For hunting?" Will asked in confusion.

"Not exactly," Brody said in a mysterious fashion, "but I figured get some use out of the place. Next month good?"

Will thought a moment, "I'm not sure, I can probably get the last week off in November."

Brody nodded, "I'll book us for then, you bringing the boy?" He nodded over to Marc who was sitting quietly still watching TV.

Will glanced up at Marc who shrugged. "I'd like to," he admitted.

Will looked back at Brody, "I think that would be a yes."

Brody nodded, "Full house so far; Lisa and Jeff are coming, and I spoke to Jared earlier..."

"Jared?" Will asked perking up. "He's coming in from Toronto?"

"Yep," Brody replied, folding his arms. "Grabbing all the boys so you can show us your impression of the great white hunter." He held his hands as if he were holding a rifle, sighted in on Marc and jerked like he had fired.

Marc for his part jerked as if he had been shot, and died dramatically, sliding off the bed with a chuckle.

Will folded his arms, "Fine, we'll go. Happy now?"

Brody shrugged and nodded, "Cool, well I'm off to bed."

"Night," Will replied, echoed by Marc who had miraculously recovered from his death scene.

"That's going to be fun," Marc said crossing to close the bedroom door and smiling at Will, who was splayed out across the bed in a state of utter exhaustion. "You look beat."

Will returned the smile sleepily, "Yeah."

Marc offered a smirk and pulled his sweatshirt up and off his head, "How about now?"

Will considered Marc a moment, the definition to his muscles, the worn yellow baseball cap that was tucked up and back on his head so his bangs showed. The gray plaid boxer shorts he was wearing as he slipped off his Levis one leg at a time, hopping with the grimy white athletic socks.

"Help!" Will murmured. "There's a half naked man in my room..."

"No one to hear you scream." Marc suddenly grinned and blushed a little, as he hopped up onto the bed, and on all fours he crawled up and over Will, his smile only inches from Will's.

"No," Will said feigning objecting, "Please don't..."

Marc sat down on Will's stomach and sighed contentedly, "Well, if you're tired..."

Will didn't move, just continued to lie there pinned under Marc, "You know, my boyfriend will be back at any moment, and if he catches you in here..."

"Strange," Marc shot back, "I always heard he was the kind who liked to watch."

Will leaned up and kissed Marc gently, "I love you."

"I love you too." Marc flushed red, a shy smile in those eyes as they looked at Will for approval. He rolled off of Will and stretched out beside him.

"Did I say stop?" Will asked, reaching a hand down to lightly caress Marc's rib cage, the silky smooth skin and the slight bumps where his abs stood out. The natural definition Marc was blessed with made him appear only more masculine.

Will propped his head up on his other arm as he turned to face Marc who was smiling back at him. Marc may have been quiet at times, but he was hardly effeminate.

He had a thin face with large eyes that were offset by his features. Handsome, he wasn't cute. You called kids and kittens cute, maybe the odd teenager. Marc had the look of a Frat boy complete with the I AM CANADIAN hat. Will would have just assumed he was another one of the local boys working on cars and going to hockey games. Except there Marc was lying beside him, letting him run his hand up and down his stomach.

"What?" Marc asked again, "Did I forget deodorant?" He sniffed his armpit and shrugged.

Will chuckled. "You smell fine," he reassured.

"Great," Marc replied fumbling with the buttons of Will's shirt, finally succeeding in tugging it open and allowing him to run his fingers over Will's chest.

"You don't give up do you?" Will said with a shake of his head. "Tiiiiired," he whined, stressing the i.

Marc gave him a cheesy grin as his hands found Will's belt and unbuckled it smoothly, "So you just lay back and relax and..." he grinned, "I'll be thinking of England."

Will blinked, trying to think of something, anything he could say to that statement. His jaw worked a few minutes as he felt Marc succeed in getting his trousers off, and he collapsed back down on the bed too worn out to put up much of a struggle, not that he would even if he could.

Marc grinned as he went down.


Marc couldn't sleep; he was still adjusting to the move even though they'd been living in Ottawa for nearly a week. He just wasn't used to the quiet and found it a little unsettling. He'd gotten too used to inner city living, to find himself in suburbia was a major adjustment.

He slipped on a pair of sweatpants and a tee, grabbing Will's leather jacket he went outside onto the porch for a smoke. The cul-de-sac that Brody's house was on was rather remote from the rest of the town. There was a pub with a large parking lot backing onto the house, but the front was quiet, especially at one in the morning.

Marc found a comfortable spot on the steps and sparked up the cigarette, taking a long drag and exhaling the smoke. They always helped him relax, and despite Will's occasional jibes that he should quit, they really didn't bother him. Marc shrugged; it was better than some other vices.

Marc flicked his ash as he leaned his head a little to look at Will's Jeep, Brody's car behind it. Marc stared at the familiar looking sports car, and he stood up and walked around the car staring at the classic Impala Brody drove. It was a beautiful car, powerful, and even at rest it looked like it was in motion.

He sighed wondering if he'd ever own a car like that. That was a sobering thought; before he met Will the thought of owning any car was a pipe dream at best. So much had changed by one stuffy Brit and his capacity to believe in a person just because they were a human being.

After breaking up with his ex-girlfriend and Will's offer of a place to stay, the relationship had been something they had both just fallen into. It felt natural, Will wasn't demanding or needy and he went out of his way to do the little things that made Marc feel appreciated. Not bad considering Marc had done all the work to pick up Will in the first place.

There you go, Marc thought with a grin, I can do something right.

And Will was definitely something right; the thought made Marc grin. Sure Will was a little over-protective and Marc tolerated it with a smile and a nod, knowing full well he was going to do his own thing his own way anyway. Will could use a few extra gray hairs in Marc's opinion.

That, though, was the nature of their relationship. Marc flicked the ash from his cigarette as he wandered back to the steps. It always amazed him how much he loved Will. Of all the things he never, ever saw coming, falling in love with a guy had to top that list. Guys were all about sex, and a source for cash when he needed to eat. He did what he had to do for money, but Will had set everything on its head with a raised eyebrow and a few confident words.

Marc didn't describe himself as gay; he'd coined the term `Will-sexual' and liked it. There was something magnetic about his boyfriend in a way no one else, guy or girl, had ever been before. It had been that magnetism that had made Marc stop and talk to Will on that Toronto night that had started everything.

Yep, Marc had to admit, Will was the best thing to ever happen to him.

He butted out the cigarette and stood up, feeling warm wrapped up in Will's Avery-Woods jacket. He grinned to himself as he went back inside leaving the night to itself.


He set the camera down and adjusted in his seat and waited till the lights went out before starting the car. He hesitated just long enough to stare at the house one more time before he drove off, his job done for the night.