Author: aces PM
Darien, in five different life situations.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 3,812 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Published: 11-10-03 - id: 1595850
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Unrealized Realities
Summary: Five relationships Darien never had.
Warnings: Angst, humour, death. The usual. Also, screwing with reality; but again, the usual.
Notes: Title of entire piece shamelessly reinvented from a "Farscape" episode. Titles of subsections are names of Simon & Garfunkel songs, but don't be fooled; in some cases the songs have absolutely nothing to do with the section (just the title sounded good), in some cases only the theme or mood of the song fits the section. I just felt like being clever like that. Story dedicated to Salieri, who while so far she's only written for SG-1, likes Claire's crooked smile. She says I write gentle stories. Hopefully this will be an appropriate gift.
The story takes Darien down different paths he might have taken, into different relationships with people already in his life according to canon. Some of them might not even be all *that* AU, but others most decidedly are. Read & you'll see. Leave feedback if you enjoyed, or didn't. It'll guilt me into leaving my own feedback more often. Right?
Claire is sensual.
He's subconsciously recognized this fact for a while, but it takes some time to properly sink in. Then again, he hasn't always been privy to certain areas of information.
Some days, she wears black, lacy under garments. Of course you would never know this just looking at the clothes she wears over them, but sometimes Darien likes to guess and feels particularly smug when he guesses right. Other days it's the straightforward white and practical style. Darien finds these days disappointing.
She has a way of trailing her fingers that maximizes tactile response. Across her own lip, across his, down a bare shoulder or three. The things she can do to the palm of the hand and the hollow of the wrist leave Darien shivering just at the memory of fingertips. He can no longer look at her biting a thumb or finger while concentrating without having to physically restrain himself.
She digs her toes into the thick carpet at her home, and Darien's seen her do the same thing in parks, slipping lithely out of sandals or boots for the feel of soft-velvet grass. And Darien loves to watch her dance, when it's not the headbanging stuff she likes so much, because it's like she's possessed by the music and he can almost trace the line of the music in the lines her body makes as she twists, turns, reshapes the air with her body.
He's seen her completely undress in front of an uncurtained first-floor window facing the street and not give a damn. She'll stand there, grinning at him, hands splayed against pink-white hips, hair falling ticklishly to her breasts. He'll gape but she'll only shrug. "It's just bodies," she'll tell him casually and pull him closer, start undressing him, and he'll just go with the flow.
And Claire's skin is soft and slick, an entire lab area for experimental touching. He likes feather whispers, a glance here, a brush there, because he knows she appreciates subtlety. Sometimes he almost thinks he can see the skin rippling gently away from his touch, a wave in the softest breeze from his hand or lip or eyelash.
She's taught him patience this way, with her touches that gradually build into explosion, and sometimes when he feels madness building he thinks of her finger against his Adam's apple or her tongue on his ankle, and madness fades a little. For always after the explosion comes the calm, and it's surprising that Claire can calm him. They've learnt each other's body language and mannerisms, and he can remember the curve of her eyebrow more clearly than the colour of his brother's eyes.
Claire especially likes the sensation of quicksilver molding their bodies together.
"He Was My Brother"
They were running, and Kevin was yelling something about something, and Darien really didn't give a damn at the moment as they were in some pretty deep shit here, and he could ask his bro later if it was really important.
And the door opened in front of them, and they were still sprinting down the never-ending corridor, and then soldiers in black uniform burst in from the other end of the never-ending corridor, and you couldn't even see the bright light at the end of the tunnel for the damned fluorescent lighting in this thrice-damned corridor.
"Oh crap," Darien said, oddly unnerved to hear his words in stereo, and felt Kevin trying to push him out of the way, save him, save them both. Older brother has to protect younger brother, even if older brother is a nerd and a bit of a lightweight.
But Darien's not going to stand for that. He knows, he just knows Kevin's gonna die here, Kevin's gonna be shot full of holes, and Kevin's life isn't worthless, Kevin's the brains of the family, Kevin's gonna change the world and Darien's just stealing his spotlight.
But Darien doesn't really believe that, Darien's scared as hell and Darien isn't thinking straight, but he is sure of one thing, and he isn't going to see his brother die.
So he pushes back, and Kevin, being the stereotypical nerd, crumples to the ground immediately because he's a wimp. But Darien isn't falling with him, isn't getting out of the line of fire as his cunning plan had been all along (because Darien is most certainly not a hero), Darien is still standing and he doesn't even know why because suddenly he can't feel his body at all.
"Darien!" Kevin is screaming, and Darien's startled and it's just like the cartoons, because now he falls, and Kevin catches him up in his arms, and there's blood fricking everywhere, and Darien's body hurts like hell.
Oh shit, he thinks and his brain stops there, oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit—
"Darien, you idiot!" Kevin's shouting, or maybe it's sobbing, and older brothers should never look that hysterical or be that covered in blood. Doesn't do anything for their older brother image, ya know. "I was trying to save you!"
You're the important one, Darien doesn't say aloud. He has no strength to speak, no strength to be angry that he has no strength, no strength at all, and that should be terrifying but it isn't because he still doesn't have any strength, and his whole world is centred now on the fact that he has no strength. That, and on his brother.
"I'm so sorry," Kevin was definitely sobbing, yeah, and if Darien could have had his way, he would have looked away awkwardly, but he couldn't move his neck or close his eyes. "I was so stupid to get you into this, Darien…"
"You were always smarter than me," Kevin sobbed, and Darien died.
"April She Will Come"
She slapped him and turned away to stalk back down the mall.
"Casey!" he shouted after her, hand automatically going to his cheek. He winced and jogged after her. "Casey, wait!"
She flew back around, and he stumbled backwards so he wouldn't topple into her. "Sorry," he called after the passing affronted mall-walker and quickly turned his gaze back to Casey.
"Sorry to you too," he said with a sheepish smile and tried to give her his best hangdog look.
She slapped him again.
"Ow!" She glared up at him. He quickly rearranged his features into wounded puppy look. "C'mon, Case, you're making a habit out of this…"
The threatening look she gave him clearly indicated if he didn't start grovelling right now she was leaving and wouldn't even bother to slap him again. "It wasn't my fault!" he gabbled out and hoped to a god, any god, that that single phrase wouldn't make her kick him in the knee or somewhere even more unpleasant. "I couldn't get to see you again! 'Fish stopped me…"
"Who?" She was fuming. She was definitely fuming. This was not good.
"The Official," he stated more clearly. "The Fatman. The guy I work for? Remember him? Did you meet him?"
"I didn't meet any of the people you 'work for,' Darien," Casey answered icily, and Darien wished she'd just get on with it and start slapping him again. "I only have your word for it about any of this—this—this insanity."
"You were there," he said quietly. "You saw at least some of it."
She pursed her lips and gave him a long, hard look before nodding unhappily. She jerked her head toward the nearby food court. Darien nodded gratefully.
She made them avoid the hamburger joint and the Chinese place, sniffing disdainfully at all the crap they'd be putting in their systems, and finally settled on a salad-and-subs place as the least of many evils. She made Darien pay for her salad and lemonade.
They sat down. Darien contemplated his club sandwich dolefully. "Well?" Casey said, eyebrows raised. Darien sighed internally.
"Look," he said. "I wanted to get back in touch with you. I really, really did." He frowned at the memory, then shook it off. "I needed you, Case. I needed someone to watch my sanity."
The look she gave him was not promising.
"I was surrounded by crazy people!" he yelled defensively and immediately lowered his voice when he saw people staring at him. "I didn't know anyone. I was scared, Casey, and I knew I could trust you."
"Then why?" she asked, voice unnaturally calm.
"The Official," he snarled out the title, the personification, the definition. "Fat bastard. He wouldn't let me see you. Said you didn't have clearance, couldn't involve civilians…crap like that. Like I'm not a freaking civilian." He snorted, then remembered what he was supposed to be talking about. "I couldn't get to you, at least tell you what the hell was going on. I'm sorry, Casey, I really am."
She bit her lip, shook her head. Darien's heart sank. "I told myself not to trust you," she told him and bit her lip again before bursting out, "I knew I couldn't trust you, you'd let me down again. But I hoped. And I really thought…" She laughed at herself mirthlessly. "Fool me twice, shame on me."
"It wasn't a con," Darien said. "You were never a con."
Casey sighed and nodded, and he knew she didn't believe him. Darien's heart sank again. Nobody ever believed him. Well, Bobby did sometimes these days, but he still lived on a hare trigger around Darien.
Life really sucked sometimes.
"I did trust you," she said. "I wanted so badly to trust you, which just made me angrier because I knew I shouldn't."
"Do you still trust me?" His voice was quiet.
She paused, staring at him for a long time. And finally she nodded.
"I wanted to see you," he repeated. "But I couldn't get away."
She nodded again and set about eating her salad, businesslike. Darien chewed on the straw of his soda and wished he could think of something to say. "How's things?" just didn't seem to cut it.
"But you've managed?" Casey asked.
"What?" Darien looked up from his unappetizing food.
"For the past year. You've been okay," she clarified and took a quick sip of lemonade, not quite looking directly at him.
"Yeah. Well, sort of. On occasion. Everyone's still crazy, but at least now I know them a little…" He stared at Casey, taking in little differences in her appearance for the first time since the shock of seeing her in this mall, here, now. She wore her hair short now, was dressed in that odd half-casual style that some women can do, jeans with low heels and a nice top. "How are you?" he asked almost desperately.
She stopped with a bite of salad halfway to her mouth, then put the plastic fork down. "Good," she said. "I'm okay. I'm still at the hospital, want to get more into research." She half-smiled. "Life goes on…"
"Yeah," Darien nodded absently. "Life's good at that."
He couldn't think of anything else to say to her.
They finished their lunch in silence and parted ways outside the food court.
"Fawkes!" Hobbes hollered up the stairs.
"What?!" the aggravated voice drifted down to him.
"Get your ass down here! I need you to do something for me."
Bobby rolled his eyes. He recognized that sulky two-year-old tone far too well. He hated it when his partner did this to him.
"Fawkes, just get your butt down here."
"Why should I?"
"'Cos I need your freaking help, that's why!"
"Whatever it is, do it yourself!"
"I can't do it myself, that's why I need you down here, you idiot!"
"You are not."
"Yes, I am!"
"You're reading another stupid book about Kant," Hobbes's voice shot up the stairs, echoing around him. All the windows were open in the house. He was sure the neighbours could hear their entire conversation, argument, whatever you wanted to call it. They were probably used to it by now.
"So I'm busy!"
"C'mon, Fawkes, just get down here, please?"
He could hear a sigh and a rustle, a book being slammed shut. "Crap, crap, crap, crap…" Darien muttered as he hobbled down each stair, more and more of his body coming into Bobby's view. "Crap, crap, crap." He stopped when he reached the bottom, panting, and glared at Hobbes. "Happy, Hobbes?"
"Yeah," Hobbes said unrepentantly, and steered his partner into the kitchen. They moved slowly, carefully. Darien refused to use a cane because he insisted he'd look like a dork, and Bobby's knees weren't so hot these days anyway.
"What?" Darien sniped as they entered the kitchen. "You need me to open a fricking jar of pickles, Bobby? I'm so gonna kick your ass if that's what it is."
"No, my friend, that is not what it is," Hobbes retorted, "so shut up about it. I only asked you to do that once anyway."
"What, then?" Darien surveyed the kitchen suspiciously.
Bobby picked up a slender brown glass bottle from the counter. "Make this cold please," he muttered.
"What?" Darien said blankly.
"Make. This. Cold," Hobbes repeated, and now it was his turn for the sulky two-year-old routine.
"Aw, come on, Darien…"
"I refuse! I am not going to quicksilver your beer. Anyway, you're not supposed to be drinking that."
"Oh, please, like you're going to hold me to that stupid—"
"It is not stupid, it's for your own good!" Darien shook his head stubbornly. "Not doing it, Bobby. Get someone else to freeze your beer. Or just put it in the refrigerator."
"There's no room in that dinky thing. And I'm trying not to open it any more than necessary."
"Fine, then. Means you won't be drinking that beer." Darien started for the back door. Bobby rolled his eyes again and let his partner get himself situated before going outside to join him.
He took his customary place next to Darien on the beat-up old sofa they'd put on the back porch a few years ago, before Bobby's knees and Darien's hips. They sat quietly, looking forward into the distance, for a long while. The day was hot. The summer was the hottest in over a century, and appropriate measures had been taken by the government. Conserve energy, conserve water, just conserve. Fawkes and Hobbes could do that. They'd gotten better at being still over the years. Some days, they only spoke because it was nice to have a bit of noise in the house.
Bobby held out his bottle of beer silently.
"I won't do it," Darien told him calmly.
"Please," Bobby said after a moment of quiet contemplation.
"No," replied Darien.
"It's just one beer. I could go back in and get you one."
"I don't want any, thank you, and neither do you."
"Yes, I do, or I wouldn't be holding this beer under your nose trying to get you to use that handy little gland the government gave you all those years ago."
"Handy," Darien snorted. "Yeah. Right. Great for refreezing your vegetables and getting your beer cold. No thank you."
"Oh, come on, Fawkes," Hobbes answered, looking at him for the first time since they'd sat down. "You did your bit. It's only fair you get a bit of R&R afterwards. You're damned lucky you know."
"Do you think you're lucky?"
"Hell yeah," Hobbes responded immediately. "Do you really think I wanted to die for my country when I could live in it instead?"
Darien paused, and then wordlessly held out his hand for the bottle. Bobby obligingly held it up for him. A moment of silent, thoughtful concentration on Darien's part, and Hobbes felt the shiver of quicksilver on his fingertips holding the beer. He didn't bother watching the bottle disappear. The glamour had kinda worn off by now, and he'd only be left subconsciously feeling sure he wasn't actually holding the thing in his hand.
He heard the telltale whisper of falling silver flakes and looked at the bottle. Still icy. It cooled his hand. He turned back to face forward, grinning out at the tiny back yard, a miniscule plot of grass and a single tree. "Thanks, partner," he said to the blazing blue sky overhead.
"Yeah, yeah," Fawkes grumbled, staring at the splintered wood of the porch. "You could at least give me a pull."
Hobbes held out the beer. Darien drank from it deeply before handing it back.
They sat peaceably in silence, staring into the distance.
Darien Fawkes's parents got along all right enough, though of course there was the occasional fight that scared the crap out of him when he was very young and didn't know most people go through life fighting, compromising, fighting, compromising. Later, he thought he was pretty lucky, when he heard about the problems some of his friends' parents were going through. At least his own parents still liked each other, loved each other.
Darien Fawkes had an older brother, Kevin, who was a complete smartass but after a while Darien just shrugged and did his own thing. Which included getting into trouble a lot in high school and junior high, being what could euphemistically be called the "class clown." But hey, his fellow students loved his tricks. And when his brother was accepting a buttload of trophies and awards at his high school graduation—two years early, or was it three?—Darien was there to run into the auditorium wearing the exact copy of his brother's suit, butting into the middle of one of Kevin's acceptance speeches frantically shouting there's been a huge mistake, they were giving all these awards to Darien, not Kevin, he was Kevin. Even Kevin managed a tiny, appreciative smile at the accuracy of Darien's imitation of his brother's voice and mannerisms. Or maybe he was just smirking at the fact that his little bro was in a suit.
Darien did not graduate high school early, but he did graduate on time, and he went to a local college, trying to find something that interested him. He was a lit major for a while, a philosophy major a little longer, but he finally and resignedly settled on economics. He graduated respectably, and meanwhile his brother was doing Great Things in the Name of Science, which was cool.
Darien worked a couple odd jobs before settling on accounting. He found an interest in carpentry, woodwork, and did that in his garage in his spare time.
He went out a fair bit with big groups of colleagues prowling the bar scene, dated some people, but he was restless. And then a few years later he had to go to the hospital for a bad cut from one of his saws, and he met Dr Casey O'Claire.
She wasn't impressed by his carpentry, and he looked around the hospital room desperately for some kind of help. His eyes lighted on the 'help the homeless' poster behind the lovely MD and he told her he volunteered at a local homeless shelter. She was a little friendlier after that. The next day he went to the shelter for the first time ever.
They got serious pretty quickly, certainly quickly for Darien Fawkes, but it was after they'd been dating a couple years he proposed. She accepted, and a couple years later she was pregnant with their first child, a girl. A few years after that they had a boy.
Eventually Darien quit his regular job and focused on woodworking, furniture-making, volunteering, playing with his kids. Casey was a brilliant doctor, and Darien never really stopped loving her. She always took him along to conferences, and he covered his awkwardness at these things with witty conversation. She always smiled at him brilliantly, then, and unhesitatingly kissed him in public even though she usually refused to do that.
Their children grew up and went to college and moved away, and Casey never really got the chance to retire. She died at age seventy, and Darien mourned. A year later, Darien Fawkes himself died peacefully, content with the life he had led.