Author: A. X. Zanier
Rating: R (adult situations (you know, sex))
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or basic story ideas to "The Invisible Man." Any additional characters or story ideas are mine. Timeline: Approx. five years after "Fallen"
Spoilers: Except for other fics, no.
Comments: What can I say? Where the Plot Bunnies lead, I follow.
An Honest Man
// What is it they say? Honesty is the best policy? Well, that may be true most of the time, but on occasion a few lies and evasions can, in the end, gain you a whole lot more than you ever thought possible. //
Darien lay drowsing on Alyx's dark gray sofa listening to her hum as she worked on her computer. He'd even shut off the television to listen. He realized she'd been humming a lot lately. He laughed to himself. He was willing to bet she didn't even realize she was doing it.
Sometimes he would recognize what she was humming, but more often than not he didn't and he suspected she was making it up on the spot. Not that he minded in the least. She was quite musically talented, though she didn't show it off much. Just listening to her filled his heart with a sense of peace and comfort that few other things could.
For a change things had gone the way they should on a mission. After two days of mind numbing stakeouts the bio-weapons deal they had heard rumors about finally went down and, for a change, things went their way. When the bad guys discovered their personal weaponry wouldn't work -- courtesy of Alyx -- it had turned into and chase and brawl and they caught all of them with a minimum of fuss. After taking them in and doing the required paperwork, they had been turned loose with a three day weekend from the Official.
"Dare?" Alyx called from over at her desk.
"Mmmm. Yeah?" He'd gone a bit beyond just dozing while listening to her and mulling over the events of the last few days.
"Do you have any plans for the weekend?" For all that they had been together for several years she still did not claim to take precedence of his time and they often made plans not involving each other without taking offense. She got up from her chair and moved to look down at him; smiling at his completely relaxed countenance. Give him five minutes and half a chance to get comfortable and he became as boneless as a cat. Make that cat-burglar.
"Not really. 'Specially with Bobby dragging off Claire for a little quality time." Darien answered at a mumble without opening his eyes.
"Finally getting her up to that B&B he's been crowing about, huh?" Bobby had been talking about this place for weeks now, but the Keeper had been exceedingly busy. Almost as busy as the three of them had been. They both deserved some down time. Spending it together made it even nicer, as she well knew. "I was wondering if you might like to go to Vegas for the weekend."
His eyes flew open and he looked at her. He'd been trying to persuade her to go there just for some harmless fun for years. "Are you serious?" When she nodded he shifted to kneel on the sofa before her. "Really?"
Alyx laughed. "Yes, really."
"Hell, yes!" He bounced and gave her a quick kiss. "We need plane tickets."
"Got 'em." Alyx said.
"Hotel reservations?" He was beginning to think he'd been set up.
"Mandalay Bay. A suite." She grinned.
"You planned this." He tapped her on the nose.
"Maybe. Our flight is at six thirty." She leaned forward to nuzzle his neck for a moment. "Pack that suit you've never worn."
"Ermmm." he said slightly distracted. "You gonna bring that dress?" His hands came up to do a bit of wandering.
"Are you asking?" It was an old joke between them.
"Yes, I am." he whispered. He buried one hand in her hair and the other curled around her back and pulled her closer so that he could lay claim to her lips. The hand on her back slid lower and tugged at her shirt until it came free from her jeans and then slid underneath. With a practiced motion he had her bra undone and his hand sliding around to gently caress her. When she moaned against his lips he pulled away. "I better go. Pick you up in an hour?"
She nodded her eyes twinkling.
He gave her one last kiss and then got himself moving. He'd have the weekend to find out why she'd finally decided to go to Vegas with him.
Alyx stood in the main room of the suite making some final adjustments to her appearance. Her hair was swept up into a French twist, but she had left enough stray curls hanging loose so that the potentially severe look was softened. She had applied the barest hint of make-up -- a rare thing with her -- and she even wore a pair of tear drop earrings in silver that hung from her lobes.
Her dress was of pale gray silk and modestly cut though the back was low enough to put the dragon tattoo under her right shoulder blade on display. From the spaghetti straps made of silver chains, to the slight V-neck to the skirt that ended just above her knees, dress emphasized her slenderness. The theme continued with matching heels, purse and silk scarf that she draped across her shoulders.
"You look wonderful." Darien said as he caught sight of her when he exited the bedroom.
Alyx turned about to look at him. "Da-amn. You look good in black."
So it was a bit monochrome, but he could pull it off. Black silk dress shirt, with a black double breasted jacket, that was currently unbuttoned, black slacks that fit him perfectly and, the touch that made the outfit his, white sneakers.
He ran one of his hands through his hair and looked uncomfortable for a moment. "The things I do for you."
"Care to trade? I'd love to see you spend the night in these heels," she said with a grin.
"Hmmm. Not like that. Its missing something." He walked to stand behind her while she debated arguing with him about her appearance.
A moment later she felt something settle about her throat. She looked down to find a silver chain with a series of diamonds and intricate metalwork that created an effect remarkably similar to that of flowing quicksilver.
Alyx was suitably stunned.
He turned her around to get a good look. "Perfect."
"Darien, you never cease to amaze me." She smiled up at him. "How long have you been sitting on this one?"
"Too long." he replied quietly. "We better go or all this effort at dressing will have been wasted."
"Wasted? Never." She headed to the main door of the suite and he followed, placing a warm hand on her back as they walked. "We have dinner reservations."
"Why is it I have the feeling you have the entire night planned?" He pressed the button to call the elevator and waited for her to answer.
"Hmmm. Dinner then gambling. Not much of a plan, but I guess it qualifies," she said as they entered the car. "Detailed plans seem to blow up in our faces more often than not."
"Literally." Darien added. They exited on the main floor and made their way through the casino towards the main doors. The restaurant they were eating at was a short walk away on the main strip. "Its ironic. I finally get to you to Vegas and we don't need the money."
"I think we can manage to make a few thousand while we're here." Alyx commented as they walked past the various tables. "I am talking hundred thousand, by the way."
"Ooooh yes. I knew I liked you for a reason." Darien held open the door for her and they walked out into the warm night air.
"So its the money, not the sex." Alyx stated in a serious tone. "I always wondered."
"Alyx..." Darien growled grabbing her arm and spinning her about.
She laughed at his expression. "Relax. Have fun. Don't think about work for a while."
"Easy enough to do." He looked into those silver eyes of hers and felt himself fall again. Since the day they first met those eyes had been able to capture and hold him still for long minutes. Cupping her face with his hands he kissed her lightly.
"Dinner," she said to him. "I'm starved."
"If milady insists." He moved along side her and draped his arm over her shoulders.
"On this occasion she does, " She leaned against him once again disgustingly happy with her life.
Alyx watched the roulette wheel as it slowed to a stop on her number. Oops. She had been supposed to lose that one and the croupier looked at her sharply as he slid her winnings over to her. Some quick math and she decided to cash out and hit another table.
She felt Darien come up behind and seconds later he kissed her on the back of the neck. He smelled of expensive whiskey and aromatic cigar smoke.
"I take it your poker game went well?" She collected her winnings and leaned back against him with a sigh.
"Very well." His voice was low and husky and it sent a shiver of pleasure up her spine.
"Something on your mind?" she asked tipping her head slightly to look up at him.
His hands wandered down to encircle her waist. "You ready to head back?"
"But its not even dawn yet." Alyx mock complained. He moved her away from the table and out of the way of the people still filling the casino even at this early hour. He moved his hand, brushing it lightly across her breast before grasping her chin and turning her head to kiss her.
"I've been thinking about getting you out of this dress all night." Darien whispered in her ear causing her to shiver in response.
"Hmmm. And?" She couldn't resist the temptation to tease him.
"And I think its past time I did so." He slid one of the dress' straps down her arm followed by his mouth which trailed light, teasing kisses across her shoulder. "But not here. Although we could do it invisible and no one would notice."
"But then we'd have to steal the security video." Alyx commented replacing the strap to its proper place.
"That's right make it more tempting not less." Darien said with a grin.
Alyx laughed and led the way back to their suite.
Darien shut the door to the suite and locked it. Alyx stood a few steps away looking over her shoulder at him. Her look was mischievous and he wondered what was going on in that dangerous mind of hers. Walking to her he began kissing her shoulder, breathing in her scent and slowly making his way up the side of her neck. She tipped her head a bit to grant him better access and sighed in pleasure.
"I'm not sure I should allow you out in public in this outfit." Darien mumbled to her. That was putting it mildly. He'd noticed the men who had turned to watch her as she had walked across one casino or another. He'd even stood beside her as one tried, without success, to pick her up. She'd been polite, and the man had walked away with his pride intact and the memory of an intriguing conversation with a beautiful woman. His woman.
"Me? And you failed to notice all the female eyes glued to your handsome frame." Alyx parried.
"Oh, I noticed. I just didn't care." He slid one hand down to rest on her hip. "There was only one person's attention I was trying to get."
"The cashier's?" she joked trying not to let the results of what he was doing seep into her voice.
His hand slid across her stomach and then up to gently caress her breast. "No. Try again."
She bit her lip trying to hold back the moan that wanted to escape. "That cute blonde waitress?"
He decided he was going to get her to respond even if he had to cheat. "No. Not the blonde waitress. Though she was kinda cute." One of his hands moved lower and slid the dress up so that he was able to find his way underneath.
"Ah, D... Dare." Alyx moaned no longer able to hold back.
When his hand found that for which it had been searching he groaned and bit her gently on the neck. "Something you want?"
"Just you," she managed to get out before what he was doing completely stole her ability to speak.
He teased her for a few more minutes. Supporting her as she leaned back against him. One of her hands had made its way up around his neck, her fingers curling and gently pulling at his hair. When he stopped she groaned in disappointment, but it didn't last for long. Scooping her up in his arms he carried her to the bedroom and proceeded to remove the dress as well as little she wore beneath it.
It was dark before Darien actually woke up again. They hadn't fallen asleep until sometime after noon. And then it had been from exhaustion. Amazingly Alyx had fallen asleep first and he had spent several long minutes doing nothing more than watching her sleep, thankful once again that she was willing to share her life with him.
When he opened his eyes he found her looking down at him with a small smile on her lips. "I hope you're hungry 'cause I ordered a mountain of food."
"Hungry?" He rolled and kissed her on the throat. "Yes, I'm still hungry."
"Insatiable is what you are. Most guys would be bored with the same woman by now." Alyx commented with a laugh.
He lifted his head to look at her. "Bored? With you? Never."
One eyebrow went up. "Oh, really? What about twenty years from now?"
"I said never. I meant never." His tone was serious. As far as he was concerned there could never be anyone else. She had stolen his heart years ago and he'd never regretted losing it.
"Good. I was thinking we might get married while we're here." Alyx said and watched as several expressions raced across his features.
Confusion won. "Alyx, what the hell?" After so many years of being adamantly against marrying him this was completely out of left field.
"I thought it might be nice if I married the father of the baby before the birth." That was apparently too much for him. He flopped back on the bed staring at the ceiling. "Dare? You can say no."
It took him a couple minutes, but he eventually sorted out his thoughts. "Just to check, you asked me to marry you."
"Yes," she replied trying not to grin. This had thrown him a bit more than she had expected.
"And you're... There's a..." He had to stop. His mind refused to grasp it. After a minute he tried again. "Baby?"
She took one on his hands and lay it on her abdomen. "Your son." For a long moment his hand lay stiffly against her then he relaxed.
"My ... my... Damn. Please tell me you're not joking. That this is real." He had rolled to look her in the eye. There was such desperate hope in his voice.
"Yes, Its real." She tried not to laugh at the joy that lit up his face, his eyes. "Can I assume your answer is yes then?"
"Yes, you foolish woman, yes." He shifted, his hand still resting on her abdomen, and kissed her. "The sooner the better. I don't want you changing your mind." He made his way lower and lay his head gently on her stomach and she did laugh then, glad that she had finally been able to make him as happy as he deserved.
"Ah, Dare. I've been a fool." Alyx ran her fingers through his hair.
He lifted his head to look at her. "No. It took time, but I understood your reasons. How did this happen?"
"Well,... If you don't know how babies are made by now..." Her sentence turned into a squeal as he tickled her until she begged for him to stop.
"Now, you will answer the question or I shall be forced to continue with the torture." He was grinning at her as he threatened her, but his hands were wandering to places other than her sides as he spoke.
"My lab. They've been working on it for years." Alyx ran a hand along his face. "It took a while, but this solution will help a lot of women." He nodded not all that surprised. A lot of good things had come out of her lab over the years. "I had to wait to tell you, there was a high chance of miscarriage, but the worst of the danger is over."
"How far along are you?" Darien was beginning to wonder if he'd been missing the obvious for a while now.
"I'm just about five months along." Alyx answered.
"F... five months?" He thought back. She would have gotten pregnant within weeks of that one incident. The one that had kept him working at the Agency all these years even after they had solved the problem. That incident that he'd dreamed about. The one that he'd prevented by being here, with her and Hobbes, instead of off in his own little world. "This is real, isn't it?"
"I promise you, it is," she said quietly.
There was no way in hell Darien was going to let her get away from him again, so within a few hours they found themselves standing in one of the many wedding chapels that Las Vegas was known for. Darien was dressed nicely. Pair of black slacks, dress shirt and a sport coat. He was grinning like crazy and trying to stand still and listen to what the gentleman performing the ceremony was saying.
Alyx was wearing an off-white dress that Darien had run out and bought for her. For all that he seemed incapable of making intelligent choices where his clothing was concerned, he certainly knew what he liked to see her in and, incredibly enough, it also looked wonderful on her. She was holding onto a bouquet of white roses that smelled heavenly. She'd be the first to admit she was paying far more attention to Darien and his reactions than anything else, but it wasn't like either of them was going to get lost with this simple ceremony.
When it came time for the rings Darien slid the one he had given to her years ago on her left hand for the first time with a feeling of joy. He had tried to persuade her to allow him to get her something new, but she had refused saying that this was the one she wanted. He had been surprised at the ring she'd gotten for him. It was a simple band of platinum across the face of which was the Chinese symbol of the Five Great Blessings done in dark blue sapphires. He had to wonder exactly how long she'd been planning this.
Mere minutes later it was over and they were married.
Outside the chapel Alyx asked, "So, what now?"
"Alyx..." Darien said in mock irritation. "We are going to head back to the suite and spend the rest of the weekend doing what newlyweds should be doing."
"But we're in Vegas. Gambling, shows, all you can eat buffets." She was just managing to keep a straight face as she said this.
Darien had no problem keeping a straight face. "I don't need to gamble anymore. I did years ago and it got me you."
Alyx resisted the urge to melt into a puddle of happiness. "Ah, Dare."
"Hush. If you're good I'll take you to see a show or two. Right now I want to spend some time with my wife." His heart jumped at his words. Wife. She was his wife. This was something that he'd wanted for so long, but, because of the situation, had proven to be unnecessary. Or so he had thought. This simple ceremony did mean something, far more than he realized it would.
"You'd better cause come Monday we're going to be back at work and we have to tell the Official." Alyx was grinning while she spoke and just managed not to laugh at the look of complete dismay that came over his face.
"Do we have to?" He really did not want to deal with the Official. Did not want to think about work.
"Yes, we have to." Alyx was laughing now. "It might become a bit obvious in a couple months when junior makes himself known."
He pulled her close and sighed. "I... I.... Ah, crap."
That was the understatement of the day.
Bobby and Claire had thoroughly enjoyed their weekend away from the pressures of work so when they came in Monday to find messages to be in the Official's office at eight thirty they were prepared to be told about another mission or something similar that would keep them separated for the next several days. Instead they walked in to see Darien and Alyx standing before the Official, holding hands of all things.
"Hey you two. What's going on?" Bobby asked as he and Claire moved up to stand beside them.
"We wanted witnesses." Darien answered turning to look at his friends.
"Now that you are all here, what did you want to tell me?" The Official did not sound thrilled at the intrusion this morning.
Alyx didn't beat around the bush. "Darien and I got married this weekend."
The Official just looked at them. Drake, however, went into a long winded diatribe about the fact that it was against policy and that, although their relationship was tolerated, this most certainly would not be.
"Shut up, Drake." The Official finally barked and Drake was so surprised he actually did. "If you think this will get either of you special treatment you are seriously mistaken."
"No, we don't. You haven't given us any special consideration before, why would you start now." Darien said to him. It had taken most of the weekend for Alyx to convince him that they needed to do this right away. He held her hand a bit tighter.
Claire and Bobby were both staring, astonished, at the two of them. Bobby broke first. "Took you two long enough. Congratulations."
Claire nodded in agreement. She had wondered when they were finally going to do this.
The Official gave them a curt nod. "Fine. Now, I do have work to do. All of you go pretend you have some as well."
Taking that for the dismissal it was, the four of them turned and filed out of the office. Alyx paused holding the door and turned back to the man sitting behind the desk.
"Oh, Charlie," He raised his head to look at her. "I'm pregnant." She shut the door and turned to see the stunned looks on Bobby and Claire's faces and joined them just down the hall. When they were on the verge of saying something she put her fingers to her lips and silenced them. Holding up one hand she counted backwards from five. As soon as her last finger folded there was a whoop of joy from the Official's office and she and Darien began to laugh quietly.
"You were right," he said drawing her closer to him. From there they walked down to the Keep to explain to their friends exactly what was going on.
-- A little over four months later --
Alyx stood before the mirror running her hands over her belly. She was wearing one of Darien's T-shirts and a comfortable pair of shorts. Her hair hung damply down her back from her shower. Turning from the sight of herself, she surveyed the apartment that had been her home for so many years. Darien had moved in within a week of their getting married. Most of the stuff from his apartment had either been sold or stored for the time being. They really didn't need two beds or a pool table at the moment. The apartment had been rearranged to allow for the addition of some new items including a bassinet and changing table. They had been searching for a house to purchase, but had yet to find one that suited their unique needs.
"Urf." Alyx grunted and rubbed one side of her belly.
Darien got up from the couch and walked over to her. "You okay?" He had been coddling her like crazy for the last few weeks. She was overdue and he jumped at every odd sound she made.
"I'm fine. He's taking his turn at katas is all." She took his hand and laid it over the spot that was being beaten by the energetic little one. "Could you..."
"Sure." He came around to kneel in front of her. They had no idea why this worked, but it did. "Hey, you. You're beating up your mom again." The kicking slowed and then stopped. Darien looked up at her. "How much longer?"
Alyx relaxed and just felt for a moment. "A few more days. He likes the living arrangements. Free meals, gets to laze about all day," she laughed. "Just like you."
He leaned against her belly. Amazed once again at this pair of miracles that had come into his life. "Are you sure everything is all right?" For all that she was overdue, half the time people never even realized she was pregnant she carried so small, but he worried and all the reassurances from Alyx, Claire, and Dr. Kennison couldn't convince him otherwise.
Alyx smiled and went through the routine again. "Yes, I've always carried small. The doc says he's going to be more than big enough." She tipped his head up. "You know this. Stop worrying. You have an entire lifetime yet."
He got to his feet and drew her over to the couch and got her to sit down. Sitting next to her he wrapped an arm about her and sighed. "Good thing Dani finished up with school when she did. The Official is going nuts without the two of us for field work."
Alyx chuckled. "Its wonderful to have her around. Michael did an amazing job." She paused turning melancholy for moment. "I wish I could have been there, somehow."
"I know you do, but things have worked out haven't they?" Darien knew how she felt about the situation and could sympathize. "Would you change anything?"
"Once? Yeah, but not for a long, long time." Alyx answered leaning against him. Some days he still had trouble believing that he had made it here and she did her best to remind him that she wanted to be here, with him. "Yikes." Alyx yelped as the baby began kicking again.
Darien laughed and laid his hand over the spot his son favored for kicking. "Soon, Ben. Soon."
// "The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."
I finally had all three. //