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Disclaimer: This story is written for the private entertainment of fans. The author makes no claims to the series' characters by the creation of this story. Fraser, Vecchio, Francesca et.al. belong to Alliance, Paul Haggis and all the creative genius who made this show so special. No infringement of any copyrights held by CBS, Alliance, CTV, TNT or any other copyright holders of due SOUTH is intended.

due SOUTH:
Sunburns and Blushes!

By: Janice R. Sager
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Fraser glanced up from his desk as he heard a low moan from the front area of the consulate. Rising, he went to investigate and discovered that the new secretary was sitting rather strangely in her chair.

"Ms. Weber?" he asked with a concerned frown.

She glanced at him in surprise and away again. He suspected she would be blushing--if she could, but that was impossible. Her face was already bright red with sunburn. "Oh dear," he muttered and hurried forward to give her a critical inspection. "What happened?"

"I went to lunch and my car broke down," she answered, obviously embarrassed. "I couldn't get a cab because of the strike and had to walk. I didn't realize it was so far."

Obviously the poor girl hadn't used any sunscreen -- and was just as obviously in pain. This called for immediate action. "Come with me," he ordered curtly.

He lead her to the kitchen where he quickly rummaged in the cabinets. Where was it... He knew very well that Turnbull kept the kitchen well stocked. They must have some... Ah! He turned back to Marybeth with his prize in hand and a triumphant smile. "This way please."

Marybeth frowned at the man's back and followed with a shrug--immediately regretting the motion as her arms shifted against the narrow straps of her tank top style blouse. She should never have taken off the jacket even if it was hot out! She frowned harder when the man lead her up the stairs. There was nothing but guest rooms and the Queen's bed chambers up here! Not that she hadn't had some rather improper thoughts about this particular Mountie, but...

She smothered a smile and wondered what in the world he was up to. She'd certainly heard some interesting stories about the Chicago Consulate, but-- Her brows sailed upward as he lead her into the Queen's Bed Room. "Are we supposed to be up here?"

He glanced over his shoulder. "Well, it's for a good cause. I'm sure Inspector Thatcher would understand."

She was further surprised, and even more confused, when he opened the bathroom door and gestured her within. She hadn't been in here before. It was quite grandiose: About fifteen feet on a side with a huge sunken tub, an over abundance of mirrors and gilded fixtures.

"Please get undressed," Constable Fraser told her, leaning into the tub to turn on the water.

Marybeth might be tempted by the more than gorgeous man, but-- She cocked her head to the side and folded her arms--or she would have folded her arms. Instead, she offered a little gasp.

Fraser turned at the sound. "Ah, I'm sorry," he offered, seeing her predicament. "Let me help you. Can you turn around please?"

Marybeth lifted a wary brow and cocked her head again, this time in the other direction. "You're a very handsome man Constable Fraser, but I like to know a man a bit better before I allow him to undress me, thank you kindly."

"Oh! I-- No!" He turned bright scarlet. "I would never-- I mean I-- That is--ahem!" He took a step back and grabbed forcibly at his composure, lifting the bottle he'd brought in from the kitchen almost like a shield. "It's an old folk remedy my grandmother used to use," he managed to offer straight faced.

Marybeth frowned and leaned forward, reading the label. "Vinegar?" she read, aghast.

"It's actually quite efficacious," he promised her, still feeling his own cheeks sting with heat. "You see, as a boy in the Northwest Territories I would often go ice fishing with other lads of the village, but lacking the natural protective pigment of the native boys I would sunburn rather easily. Bathing in vinegar--" He cleared his throat and shoved the image that sprang unbidden to his mind as he gestured toward her-- His face heated once more and he quickly looked away. "It will remove the pain and also assure that you do not peel or blister."

"Vinegar?" Marybeth repeated.

Fraser nodded and thrust the bottle at her. "Apply liberally to all effected areas, let set a few minutes then rinse," he instructed. "I will -- um-- just-- um--" He gestured to the door and started to turn away only to stop at the door and turn on his heel. "Do you--ahem," he cleared his throat again, clearly embarrassed by the thought. "That is, can you manage-- Um, can I help you with your zipper?" he asked, knowing that she would find it very difficult to reach behind her without extreme discomfort.

Marybeth considered the bright blush that burned the poor man's cheeks and knew that she was completely safe where he was concerned. She took pity on the poor man and turned her back. "Yes please," she said simply.

She stood perfectly still as he slipped the fastener down smoothly. His hand froze about half way through the task. Marybeth glanced over her shoulder to see that he was blushing neon red now. He noticed her glance and finished the task with dispatch, reaching up to unclip her bra as well before turning on his heel and making a hasty exit for the door.

Marybeth smiled in secret amusement as the door swung shut behind his back. There was a little devil in her that suggested she call him back for further help, but she resisted it. She knew that if she asked, he would help, and be the perfect gentleman about it but-- She also knew that he'd be far too embarrassed to say ‘boo’ to her ever again!

Instead, she turned back to the tub and gave a start as she saw it start to over flow. She quickly stepped forward and reached for the facet, dropping her dress and the bottle of vinegar at the same time. The glass shattered upon the floor with a resounding CRASH! She finished reaching for the facet even as she grabbed for her dress--only to have the knob come off in her hand.

The door behind her flew open at the sound of the shattering glass and Marybeth turned with horrified eyes, meeting Fraser's shocked expression. She quickly used her arm to cover herself and offered a meek, "Um, oh dear..."

The End!
(I leave the rest to your imaginations!)
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