the hall of presidents
by Pares

The Lieutenant was giving her the eye, she could feel it.

But she waited for him to actually call her... mostly because she wasn't finished with her article on cuticle softening, but also because no one, not even Benton, who had left Chicago for the frozen wilds of Canada where she guessed he belonged, called her Miss Vecchio. It made her feel a little like a librarian, but in a good way. Like she had some respect.

"Uh... miss? Could you tell me when Lieutenant Welsh will be back?"

Frannie peeked over the tops of her reading glasses into the bluest eyes she'd ever seen... outside of Fraser's.

A big guy, burly even, was leaning toward her. He had a goatee and a baby girl, maybe three or four, balanced on his hip.

"Oh. Hey. What was it you needed? Did you need anything? Coffee? 'Cause I can get you a coffee." Tugging off her glasses, she shoved her chair back and rested her hands on one of the stacks on her desk, setting her hands close together so her upper arms would kind of help her bustline keep it together and make a better impression.

The big guy looked confused... or maybe he was disappointed.

"Would you prefer a cappuccino?" She offered instead. "It wouldn't take--"

He joggled the baby slightly, and it blinked at Frannie with big soft eyes. The tiny hands were busily twisting strands of fine, rabbit brown hair into snarls that looked like they'd need to be snipped out with scissors later on.

"I was just looking for Lieutenant--"

"Oh, Harding? He's around here," she glanced around the office and waved vaguely. "...somewhere. I could help you look for him. Do you want a tour? I could show you around. I *am* the civilian aid, you know." She pointed to the patch on her periwinkle cropped tee. "If you're a civilian in need of aid, and it's obvious you are, a civilian I mean, because most cops don't go around carrying babies, how old is she? But anyway, if you need anything, anything at all, you've come to the right place."

"Uh, thanks. But maybe I'll just--"


"Dad. I was just asking..."

"Miss Vecchio, I'd like you meet my son, Lincoln," and Harding Welsh held a hand out to indicate his son, as if Frannie'd just won the guy on a game show.

Lincoln rolled his eyes slightly, and held out his own hand, the one that wasn't carrying his kid.

"Just Len is fine." Frannie found his grip warm and firm.

Welsh looked patiently exasperated, as only he could, and continued.

"...and my grand daughter, Mary Ann."

"Hey, Mary Ann," she murmured, and took the tot's little hand in her first two fingers. The child smiled at her for a moment before hiding her face against her father's gray sweatshirt. "Like the song, huh?"

"Yeah. Like the song."

With Lincoln and Harding shoulder to shoulder, it was easy to see the resemblance. Len had kind of sleepy eyes, like his father. Same broad shoulders, husky, barrel chested and tall. Taller than Frase, even.

And such blue eyes.

"So, you heard from Maureen?"

The Lieutenant, as he tended to do when he didn't need something from her directly, dropped Frannie from his attention and brought it to focus on his son.

"She said she wants to trade me Christmas this year, so she can have Mary Ann for an extra two weeks this summer. She and Greg are going to Maui or something."

"Harding, you never told me you had a son," she interrupted.

Those shrewd, tired eyes squinted at her.

"Ah, but it seems to me that I *did* tell you to wear something with sleeves." He paused significantly. "And a middle?"

"Oh... Lieutenant, " she said fondly. She leaned toward Len with a conspiratorial nod towards Welsh. "He's such a kidder. Always kidding me."

"Miss Vecchio, don't you have filing to do? And why, pray tell, does Huey have frothed milk on his mustache? I thought we'd discussed the cappuccino machine."

"Oh, yes, cappuccino. Right this way," and she took Len's wrist and tugged him towards the break room.


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