This one-shot was requested/inspired by my good friend and fellow Homeland fan, Meadow aka birdydrapers. (I tried my best!)
Takes place post 2x11, in an AU where the events of 12/12 didn't happen and Carrie/Mike Faber happen to be friends/colleagues at Langley. Warning for extreme AU-ness and excessive fluff. Take as you will.
"I can't believe you dragged me to this." Jessica hissed, tightening her grip on Mike's arm before turning, flashing a smile at some general's wife who'd walked past her into the Ashford ballroom.
"Take it easy, Jess. C'mon."
"Everyone's staring," she sighed, but knew she should've expected it, especially at a Marine Corp Ball of all events. With her high profile charity work and organizing functions alongside Cynthia Walden, her and Mike's wedding was still earning them attention from the media. She'd be a liar though if she said she was used to it by now.
"Everyone's staring because you look fantastic." Mike said, approving smile on his face at her one shoulder plum colored cocktail dress.
"This one was Dana's choice. Not mine."
"Remind me to tell her it was a good one," Mike grinned, his arm coming to rest at the small of her back.
"You want me to remind you to talk about dresses with my teenage daughter?" Jessica asked, arching a brow as Mike frowned.
"That didn't come out right," he sighed as they approached the bar. Saw someone else had the same idea.
"Straight bourbon and silver tequila. Both doubles," Carrie requested, drumming her fingers impatiently as she waited for the drinks. Brody had been intercepted by a gunnery sergeant at the door and not feeling up to making small talk, she figured she'd hit the bar for them instead.
Fidgeting in her floor length, cream colored silk gown she swore under her breath, adjusted the thin shoulder straps. She wished she could just tear the damn thing off, or have Brody do it for her in the suite he'd reserved tonight for the two of them.
The five star room was one of the two reasons she'd attended this thing at all. The other had been Mike Faber.
After his repeated refusal to cease and fucking desist, Saul and Estes put his military intel background to use at Langley. Carrie had been morally opposed at first, gave Mike a hard time each chance she could. But he took it all in stride and would give it right back to her. Eventually she stopped getting tired of it.
He'd been at Langley now for over a year and they'd become friends. Nothing beyond that considering he'd married the love of his life and her's was in the process of building them both a house. Brody had quit politics, become a builder and was getting certified to teach. Tonight though he was back to being a Marine again. Him and Mike both.
"Hi," she greeted as he approached. Jessica standing close by.
When he moved in for a hug the brunette held back, smiled politely.
"Jessica." Pulling back from the hug Carrie smiled just as politely. "I like your dress."
"Thank you. I like yours too. That's a good color on you."
"Well, yeah. If you can call cream a fucking color," she shrugged awkwardly, turning to take her drinks from the bartender as Mike shook his head, snorted.
"Ten minutes into this thing and you're already two drinks ahead of me," he laughed. "Must be some kind of record. Even for you."
"Hey, last I checked one of these is not like the other," Carrie scoffed, holding up the clear and amber colored drinks.
"Doesn't mean you wouldn't down them both right here and now," Mike said as she rolled her eyes.
"You mind if I down one?" Jessica muttered. While Mike shot her a look Carrie approached, calling her bluff.
"Go ahead. Take your pick."
Smiling sweetly, she held out both the drinks as Jessica reached for the double shot of tequila, downed it.
"Shit!" Carrie scoffed as Jessica took the bourbon from her too, gulped it down.
"Jesus Christ, Jess," Mike breathed.
Jessica coughed, sputtered, but once back in check she gave Carrie a smug smile, shoved the glasses back in her hands. "Think I need something a little more drinkable though now."
"Yeah, maybe water!" Carrie snorted. Stepping out of her path, she turned to watch Jessica saunter over to the bar, rest both arms on it and lean forward, smiling then laughing at the bartender.
"Fuck Faber! Did she have anything to eat before you two-"
"She told me she was saving her appetite," Mike groaned. "Jesus, why did you have to go and hand her the-"
"Hey I didn't think she'd drink one, let alone both!" Carrie snorted as Brody cut through the crowd, approached them.
"Hey, I thought you said you were on drink duty," he frowned. Moving to stand behind Carrie he eased his arms around her waist as she smiled, leaned into his touch.
"Well I was. Until your ex wife decided to steal them from me."
"Hey, you offered!" Mike reminded.
"Wait, you're saying Jess did two double shots?! For Christ's sake…"
"What! It's not like I poured them down her throat!" Carrie scoffed, moving out of his arms as Mike walked to the bar, turned a giggly Jessica to face him.
"Well at least she seems to be enjoying herself," Brody shrugged as Carrie rolled her eyes, crossed her arms.
"That makes one of us at least."
"C'mon, Carrie. You know I wouldn't have brought you if you hadn't been okay with it. You said though you'd show up-"
"For you and Faber, I know. I just hate things like this. Snobby waiters, making chitchat, standing around awkwardly wearing a fucking ball gown I can't breathe in. Jesus. I'd rather be back at that dive bar off the highway than here."
"With or without the Nazi's?" Brody teased as Mike walked back over, his arm around Jessica's waist as he tried to hold her steady. Giggling she hid her face in his shoulder.
"How's she doing?", Brody asked.
"Well I decided I like the tequila. I like it a lot!", Jessica laughed. When she stumbled out of Mike's hold Carrie moved to help hold her up.
"You know you've got pretty good taste, Ms. Mathison," the brunette slurred.
"Okay. If you insist…"
"I do n'sist," she said, resting both her hands on Carrie's shoulders.
"I mean, even after you went and got arrested on my fucking lawn, I... I decided you got good taste in liquor… in men! I know you're best CIA buddies with the handsomenest man in the room," she said, reaching back to rub at Mike's chest.
"And then there's you and Brody! Hey, Brody." she smiled shyly.
"Hey, Jess. You know-"
"You...you still look good in that uniform, you know. I didn't mean to es'clude you and say you weren't handsome or anything."
"I know you didn't. But look maybe you and Carrie should-"
"No! No speaking of you and Carrie, you and all your weird, whatever it was you were fucking doing with each other. Or to each other. What...whatever it was you're happy now right? The two of you?"
"Yeah, we are," Carrie frowned. "I-"
"Cause I just want everyone happy. I..I was so fucking sick of not being happy, I...I was so sick of it."
When her voice cracked Mike held her close, rubbed her back.
"I know Jess, it's okay though. It's fine," he soothed before Jessica faltered, nearly fell over. Seeing how shaky she looked Mike swallowed hard, remembered he'd seen a restroom close to where they'd walked in.
"Carrie, maybe you want to go help her freshen up or something?" he asked.
"I think I saw a ladies room through there, I-"
"Wait, you're saying because I'm the woman I have to be the one to hold her fucking hair back?" Carrie scoffed, getting him glaring.
"C'mon! I can't go barging in a ladies room and I don't want her to go alone!" Mike hissed.
Met with pleading looks from both the men, looking over at a now green Jessica, Carrie sighed, came up behind her to lead her through the ballroom, down the hall.
"You know it's a single stall restroom with a door that locks." Brody said. "Theoretically you could've been the one to take-"
"Yeah I know. But c'mon, how often do you get to see something like that?" Mike said, watching as Carrie struggled to get Jessica away from the gunnery sergeant and his wife and out of the ballroom.
"You know I'm real…real happy for us though," Jessica slurred, sitting forward on the counter in the bathroom as Carrie pressed a wet paper towel to her forehead, the side of her face.
"You and Brody…me and Mike. I'm…I'm glad it's worked out the way it has with us. Why're you making my face cold?"
"Because you just fucking threw up. And now I'm cleaning you up. Trying to sober you up."
"Oh. That's nice of you."
"Don't mention it," Carrie sighed. "Really, don't."
"You know I don't get drunk that much."
"Yeah, I could kind of tell."
"I mean I haven't been drunk since Brody and I broke down and talked in the car that night."
"We talked about you and I said he must love you lots…sorry, loves you a lot," she corrected, shaking her head as she giggled. "And he didn't say anything but I…I knew. And afterwards I walked back inside the house, I made sure the kids were in bed, and I opened up a bottle of wine. All for myself."
Biting her lip guiltily, Carrie sighed, wished she had done four shots herself before this conversation.
"I'm over it now though. I am, Carrie."
"I am! I...only drank the bourbon and the teq...tequila 'cause I was nervous."
"Why were you nervous? You walked in on Mike's arm looking gorgeous. You made small talk with everyone you came into contact with. Anyone would've thought you were completely in your element."
"But I wasn't! I...I don't like stuff like this. I don't like everyone staring and pointing and us being fucking 'it' couples."
"Well I'm with you on that," Carrie scoffed.
"Look I'm completely over everything with you and Brody. I'm over it!"
"How can you say that to me?" she asked. "I'm the reason you-"
"That what? A man I barely fucking knew anymore didn't stay fucking married to me?" Laughing, Jessica shook her head.
"I didn't know him, but I knew Mike. I knew I'd be happier with him. That my kids'd be happier with him. We got what we wanted, Carrie. We...we both got what we wanted!"
"Yeah. I guess we did," Carrie smiled before Jessica's faded.
"I think I'm gonna throw up again."
Helping her off the counter she heard a knock on the door.
"Excuse me? Some of us need to-"
"Look either hold it or use the fucking men's room!" Carrie spat, pulling Jessica's shoulder length curls back before she started crying, apologizing over the toilet.
"Shh. It's okay."
"She's mad at me," Jessica whimpered.
"No she's not, I promise."
Hearing another knock, Carrie was tempted to open the door and slap the woman until she heard a man's voice on the other side.
"Carrie? How is she?" Mike asked.
"She could use her fucking husband!"
Getting up she opened the door, glared at Mike as he walked inside, knelt down next to Jessica.
"Thanks. Jesus, I didn't think she'd get so sick. I just thought she'd calm down, sober up a little in here."
"She drank four shots in less than a minute, Faber. Of course she'd get fucking sick," Carrie scoffed. Turning to wash her hands, fix her hair in the mirror, when she heard another knock she rolled her eyes.
"Just a few more minutes, okay!"
"Carrie, let me in. C'mon!"
Opening the door, seeing Brody doing that panicked, darty eyed thing Carrie looked nervously at him.
"What is it? What's wrong?"
"Is your phone dead or something?"
"No. Why?" Frowning she took it out of her purse. "Wait, five unread texts? You sent these?"
Scrolling through them she snorted, lightly laughed.
"You missed me that much?"
"No I didn't just miss you! I mean I did but that wasn't why...look, what was my missing you a code for?" Brody asked as she caught on.
"What the...shit, did something happen out there? What-"
"No, it was nothing like that. Nothing serious."
"Then what's with the fucking distress signal?!"
"I got stuck dancing with Corporal Thomas' wife for three songs in a row! And then she passed me around to all her friends so we could foxtrot and make chit chat. Trust me, you'd have been fucking distressed too!" Brody spat.
"Hey I was all set to be your buffer out there but I got a little caught up in here!" Carrie spat back as Brody bit his lip, looked across the room.
"How's Jess doing?"
"She'll be okay," Mike said, helping her over to the sink.
"Will you be?" Carrie asked Brody playfully.
"What does that mean?"
"Well those women sounded really aggressive. Small talking, making chit chat with you? Jesus. I'm really concerned!"
"Hey, cut that out!"
"Relax, I'm only teasing," she grinned.
"It's a cold day in hell when you're telling anyone to relax," Brody scoffed. "And c'mon, if it had been reversed and you were stuck out there contending with five obnoxious guys, I wouldn't be teasing you."
"No, you'd just be punching them all in the throat," Jessica piped up after rinsing her mouth out, getting Brody glaring and Mike laughing.
"Or busting your hand on their faces," he snorted.
"I didn't bust my hand! Not on your ugly mug," Brody snorted. Ignoring the look Carrie was giving him.
"So you had your knuckles on ice that night at the bar for no reason then," she smirked as he turned around, looked at her incredulously.
"You know you're not helping here, right?"
"Well guess I can't help you out there in the ballroom either," Carrie retorted. "Faber, you want to dance?"
"Let me get her sitting someplace first, okay?" Mike said, holding Jessica close as she leaned on his shoulder. "Don't worry though, I'll find a good time to cut in."
"Yeah? When?" Brody frowned.
"When one of your admirers is back on the floor looking for her favorite dance partner."
"Damn it, Mike!"
"I'll swoop in for Carrie, make sure you're available for whoever..."
"Hey, I may have busted my hand on your face once but it doesn't mean I won't ag-"
"Ha! So you did bust it!" Mike crowed.
"For Christ's sake, get out of here." Brody growled as Mike laughed and ducked out of the room, Jessica at his side. Once they left Brody snorted, turned to Carrie.
"You gonna go after them? You and Faber can probably get a few more digs in," he pouted as she rolled her eyes.
"After I got fifty fucking texts from you saying how much you missed me?" she laughed.
Moving to stand in front of him she looped her arms up around his neck.
"It was five texts. Not fifty. Besides I-"
Interrupting him with a kiss, Carrie pressed herself up against him, pressed him against the wall. Not wanting things getting too heated with a crowded ballroom not five feet away, Brody forced himself to pull back, breathless.
"They were the truth, you know."
"The texts. I did miss you. I did need you. And not just as a buffer either," he said sincerely. Not sure what to say back, leaned in Carrie kissed him before pulling back, stroking the side of his face.
"Look, what about we just say fuck it about going back in there? You got us a suite here, right?"
"We can't get in there until ten."
"Well we don't need to stay here until then, right? We can leave! Go to that bar just up the road."
"While I'm in my formal uniform and you're in a fucking evening gown?"
"So what if we're overdressed," Carrie snorted.
"C'mon, Carrie. We're dressed for a dance, not a dive."
"Don't your feet hurt?" she asked.
"Not one bit," Brody said as they walked back out into the hallway. "What if we have our own private dance out here, how's that sound?"
"Brody, Jesus we're in the middle of the fucking hallway!" Carrie sputtered.
Grabbing her hand he spun her out, twirled her before pulling her close again. His hand coming to rest at the small of her back as they swayed back and forth to the slow jazz echoing from the ballroom.
"You are such..."
"I know. I...I know."
Sitting on a sofa in the corner with Jessica curled up on his shoulder, hearing his name Mike looked up. Saw Brody hobbling towards him alongside Carrie.
"Those feet of yours finally turned on you, huh?" he teased.
"Yeah, they did. She on the other hand's just getting warmed up," Brody sighed, nodding to Carrie.
"C'mon Faber, I owe you a dance too."
"Can I take a rain check?" Mike asked.
"For when?" Carrie scoffed. "Next week at our briefing with Estes? We just break into a fucking waltz?"
"C'mon Carrie. You know I want to but I'm not gonna leave Jess."
"I can stay with her, it's fine," Brody offered.
"Look man, it's okay. Go back out there with Carrie. I'm fine, we're fine-"
"Yeah well my feet aren't," Brody sighed. "Go ahead and cut in now, Mike. Really. I gotta sit at least one out."
"Well, fine. If you insist," Mike shrugged. "If she starts asking for me though..."
"I'll go out to the center of the floor and drag you back here. Now go. And don't let her lead."
"Brody! I was not...agh, forget it. C'mon Faber."
Lightly laughing, Brody leaned back against the couch cushions as Jessica let out a half sigh, half yawn. Leaning against the arm rest.
"How you holding up?"
"Not as well as they are," Jessica muttered, nodding to Carrie and Mike who were all over the floor. All over it in an unprofessional, awkward way anyway.
"Did Carrie really clean me up in the bathroom?" she asked.
"Yeah. She did."
"I won't remember that tomorrow," Groaning she rubbed the side of her throbbing head. "I barely remember it now."
"It's okay, nobody will hold it against you," Brody said as she nodded, shut her eyes.
"Lean over. On me. C'mon, I won't hurt you."
"Because I know how you get when you get sick. You hate being by yourself. And you love a good back rub. At least you used to."
"I still do," Jessica said softly. Giving him as much of a smile as she could muster she shifted over, curled up on Brody's shoulder as he slipped an arm around, started massaging the back of her neck and her upper back with his hand.
When she let out a contented sigh, shut her eyes he smiled, pleased to see one of his old tricks still worked.
Her eyes fluttering open after a few minutes, the tension in her head and neck starting to subside, Jessica glanced onto the dance floor, smiled seeing the dorky smile on Mike's face.
"Jesus. He'd never be able to make it in ballroom," Brody laughed.
"Why? He looks fine!"
"Except for that goofy look on his face. Waltzing or foxtrot or whatever the fuck they're doing is supposed to look dignified."
"Well I think Carrie looks dignified enough for the both of them," Jessica snorted.
"What's that mean? She looks-"
"Like she's concentrating way too much. Thinking too much," she said, seeing the way the blonde was biting her lip, periodically looking down to check their footwork.
"Look, I'm never gonna be the one to tell Carrie Mathison to stop thinking too much," Brody said before his face went solemn. "Her thinking saved my fucking life."
"Well, Mike's goofy smile is what saved mine." she said softly as Brody bit his lip, nodded, held her a little closer.
"Guess we owe them both, huh?"
"Yeah. But not enough to keep watching this," he sighed as she laughed.
"They are pretty terrible, aren't they?"
"Carrie's trying to lead again, for Christ's sake!" he groaned.
"Ugh, I can't watch it anymore," Jessica laughed, hiding her face in his shoulder.
"Let's get up and get outta here, okay? Put them out of their misery, okay?"
"Please. Please, lets go."
Laughing as she sat up, Jessica smiled when he held his hand out, helped her to her feet.
"How about one dance though beforehand. For old time's sake, huh?"
Nodding, she leaned against his chest as his arm slipped around her back.
"Yeah," she said softly as she smiled. "For old time's sake."