Fandom: Charlie's Angels
Content: Dylan/Thin Man
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
Summary: The months dwindle by and Dylan is no closer to shaking herself of a stolen kiss that came too late.
Author's Note: More strange Charlie's Angels fic from me! What did you expect? It's a different format that I saw somewhere, liked, and decided to mimic a bit. I set Full Throttle at the end of June, since that's when it premiered in the States. Just so you know.
Dedication: For Fauxophy, who rocks my socks. And who told me to go wild.
Feedback: I would very much appreciate it.
The bruising had faded. Madison Lee was dead.
So was he. And she, she felt lost in a stormy sea. Where was he? She'd...she'd gone back but no. No bodies.
The police must have been there already, carted them away like common criminals.
But he was anything but common. He was amazing. She'd admired him even when they fought, had admired his grace, his petulant screaming, the harsh blue of his eyes and the bits and pieces of his past they'd dug up.
The Fourth. She could see fireworks going off in the distance from her bungalow. She'd declined a girl's night out.
She was too raw to let them in right now. They knew she needed them though. Had to know. They were her world, though she had her secrets.
HAD kept secrets before. Who she was, what she'd done.
But this was different. HE was different. Or at least that's what it had felt like, for half a minute on that rooftop. Just her. Just him and something, something different she didn't know she could feel.
Not love. Couldn't be.
She denied it and stared at the reds and blues and greens. The champagne starbursts and spidery trails of festive explosions made her smile and fight the cruelness of her situation.
He was dead. She was alive.
She resolutely told herself she would not think about him.
Some promises are hard to keep, especially to oneself.
Summer scorched the earth, bringing droughts and brushfires and flared tempers. Sitting in the Townsend Agency, nestled between two of the most important people in her life, she listened intently as Bosley and Charlie laid out their new assignment.
She spaced somewhere around "terrorists" and "plotting to destroy the Chrysler Building". Her thoughts turned where they always did.
She cursed herself and hated him for what he was doing. He wasn't even here. Wasn't ALIVE and he was invading her work, her life.
Natalie squeezed her hand. Her attention snapped back to the present and she quickly agreed on whatever they others were agreeing on. They would take the case.
Later, they went for ice cream, the soft, sticky mixture melting over her fingers in the blistering heat. It tasted too sweet to her. Alex and Natalie planned and plotted. She threw aside her longing, her bitterness, and joined in.
She refused to let him distract her again.
Later still, night fell on Los Angeles, thick, heavy and muggy. Her bungalow called, the air conditioner a godsend against the heat.
Of course, it didn't work when she needed it to. And she wasn't Alex. She had no clue how to fix the damned thing. So she suffered in the heat, sweat pooling on her skin, as she lay on her bed, half-naked.
She stared at the ceiling.
She said his name out of nowhere and half-hoped he'd show. He didn't.
She rolled over and pretended to sleep.
Summer turned to fall, though California paid no mind to the change of the seasons.
New York did, however. Beautiful riots of color announcing September's arrival. Yellow, gold, red, brown. Blazing whirlwinds that swept around her hair, red wild in the wind of a chopper as it passed.
Natalie yelled, screamed, right arm bleeding and one of her heels broken. She leapt, world below her, blue eyes dancing against the sharper azure of the sky. The wind was a cold shock of reality.
She leapt, fingers catching on the metal rungs.
Alex was nowhere to be seen. She glanced to the building they had just left, seeing it swallowed away in New York's cityscape, the wild riot of Central Park like a dot of color beneath her flailing feet.
She climbed onboard. Defused a bomb.
Alex came from the nowhere she had disappeared to.
She hadn't even known Alex knew how to pilot an F-16. The terrorists were shocked. Dylan smiled, pulled her fist back, bloody and raw and gave a cry, screaming in anger.
She reminded herself of him. Her chest hurt.
A dark head reeled back. Far below, Westchester County was a beautiful display of autumn, a jagged death should they slip and fall, fall, fall...
Natalie tumbled down, retreating, diving onto the jet's wing, and barely keeping her grip. With a scream and a trusting leap, she followed and she fell.
Alex turned away and the cold wind ripped at them once more. Alex shouted something. There was a blast and a blaze of fire to her right.
Her eyes were closed, squeezed against the cold, autumn wind. An explosion rocked her.
The job was done.
IV. Trick or Treat
She ate half the candy herself, curled on her bed, ignoring the sound of her doorbell and not willing to get up and turn her lights off.
She liked the chocolate the best.
It filled her, sinful on her tongue, heavy, comforting. Her head spun, filled with tears. Four months now. Four months and the passing was no less easy.
Time slipped by her outstretched fingers. He would not reappear. She told herself not to care.
She counted down the hours, waiting for midnight, the treaters long since given up the trick, now full of aching tummies and ghost stories beneath the covers.
He was supposed to appear. Not quite solid, not quite there. Rattle his chains, rattle his bones and scare her with fists in her hair and a pale, too pale face against hers.
Midnight came. Midnight went.
And October slipped away.
None of Alex's turkey this year. Too busy.
Charlie sent them to Tokyo. She didn't like it. Too bright, too cold.
Jade is gorgeous, she decided, fondling the artifact they'd stolen back. Natalie rattled off facts about it--though heaven knew where she'd learned it. It was ancient. From some Dynasty or whatever. Supposedly cursed.
A cell phone trilled to life. Bosley's voice was tiny on the other end. Alex spoke in clipped tones, slapping her fingers away from the delicately carved figure. She tuned everything else out and studied it.
It certainly would be cursed, she thought. It sprang memories to her mind. Memories she wanted most to forget.
A samurai, elegant sword raised, poised for the attack, eyes slitted, face a mask of controlled anger. She traced the face, imagining another like it. His sword sharp, scream sharper.
She bit her lip clean through and gently placed it back in the padded transport case. She gazed out the window at the glittering jewel of Tokyo.
She missed home. She missed him.
Another mission. This time in Germany, where the snow was thick, sticking to her boots, turning her feet into blocks of ice beneath the steel toes. Snow flecked gently down, dusting her hair.
A flake landed on her golden eyelashes, melting away like it had touched fire. She blinked, caught up in the wonder, not paying attention to her target.
Her wig itched, the garishly blonde strands tangled from her run. Her sides hurt. Her target had stopped, standing near a fountain; shoulders hunched in a way that made her look conspicuously inconspicuous. Her attention snapped back to her.
Job to do. Job to do.
She bought coffee; rattling off fluent German and hovering near a magazine stand. She watched, trying to appear engrossed in a newspaper as the contact was made, money exchanged in dirty hands and a paper-wrapped parcel tucked inside a dark trench coat.
She wanted to laugh; only she knew what was inside the paper package.
The figures moved off. She didn't bother with the woman now. Natalie would pick up the pieces of that straggler; she was currently selling roses half a block over and talking in her ear, asking questions she couldn't answer just yet.
Coming your way. New target.
Confirmation from her molar crackled through her ear. A nod.
She sloshed through the streets, appearing to be strolling, taking in the sights with a bored eye. Alex crackled to life, following in a van, waiting.
It happened quickly. He wasn't stupid. Knew she was following and had an ambush waiting.
Kick, flip, snowball in the face. A sarcastic laugh. The pull of a gun. She flung herself to the side, fingers latching to a lamppost, swinging around it, tearing the fake holly wrapped around it away and lassoing the gun away.
Even she couldn't believe it had worked.
He went down, the gun his only weapon. An eerie smile warped his features.
He threw the paper-wrapped parcel in her directions. Her eyes widened and she dived.
Alex was there, out of nowhere, just there and she dived, flipping up and reaching, like a tiny football player leaping through the air.
She caught the parcel before it could hit the ground and then landed with a flumph in the snow.
She smiled. Good timing.
Later that night, weary, the criminals turned in to the proper authorities, the nitro glycerin vials safely returned from where they came from, she lay in a posh hotel room.
Alex and Nat were stretched out, snoozing, glasses of champagne still in their fingers. Wrapping paper was strewn in gaudy tatters over the rich carpet. She smiled and snuggled down in her new sweater, her mind wandering where she least wanted it to go.
There wasn't a present. She didn't have to, after all, but she somehow felt she should have gotten him something. Something to remember him by, a gift she could wrap and leave under the tree and forget about.
Christmas Eve dwindled into Christmas day. Before their private jet arrived to take them home, back to the warm Christmases of California, she managed to go to Mass. And she lit a candle. Just for him.
VII. Auld Lang Syne
Bosley laughed, joked. Told them how his new adopted brother was coming along. Charlie was grave and mysterious, his voice distant as always. Natalie was bubbly, talking about Spike. Pete was at her side. Alex was her usual stoic self, letting things drop about Jason, who was at the tiny bar mixing drinks. She made out like she was tired of him, but she knew the truth.
She alone had nothing to say. She was the job and barely anything else.
She would have given anything to be elsewhere though, away for a fleeting moment. But no, they always spent New Year's like this. Together. A family.
The countdown began, glasses were lifted high. The ball dropped and she sang, softly, mournfully.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?
Bosley was slightly drunk. He kissed Charlie's speaker box as Pete and Natalie got lost in each other, all sweethearts and turtledoves. Jason managed to wrangle Alex into his grasp. She kissed him hard, forgetting for once that she was supposed to keep him at arm's length.
She sighed and laid her head down. Her mouth ached for a kiss that had been stolen so long ago, when the world was lush and warm. She ached for summer, when the shiny would rub off the New Year.
Time went no faster for her longing.
VIII. Heart's Blood
She hated February. Hated shopping when everything was bleeding red and pink and heart-shaped. When boxes of chocolate were mandatory and when everyone was so fucking in love. She hated roses, most of all. Too tacky.
She was bitter and she knew it.
Not even fighting could make her forget the approaching date. She sparred with some random thug. Kicking, swooping. She leapt and landed hard on her ankle.
Ignored it in favor of jabbing her fingers into his eyes.
Upstairs, Alex was trying to keep their newly rescued member of some European Royal family safe. He was bleeding from a torn lip, heaving in huge lungfuls of air. His face was covered in bruises.
Natalie was holding off most of the kidnappers down the catwalk. She had to get up there and give her some help or they would overrun her blond friend.
This guy was just an annoyance.
She kicked him full in the face. He fell backward, knocking into a box, little stuffed animals tumbling out onto the ground. It was disturbing really, seeing the bright button eyes shining in animal faces made of velvety reds and pinks. How the hell had they ended up in a stuffed animal factory? It irritated her to hell.
Her lip curled and she was given fuel. He started to get up.
She scissor-kicked him backward again and he stumbled...stumbled...fell over the railing and fell...fell...
She raced forward, swallowing hard. And he landed far below, splayed on the ground.
There was something in his chest. He'd landed on a machine, a glinting, gore-covered bit of metal sticking from his chest.
And the red. Heart's blood spread thickly. Her eyes were dazzled and for a moment, just one moment, she saw him.
Then, Natalie caught her attention by tossing another kidnapper down from the catwalk and she knew she couldn't linger on old ghosts and might-have-beens.
She turned away and did her job.
Spring came in like a lion. It soaked her, running down into the dips and hollows of her body. She felt each tiny trickle as they slid down her skin. Her red mouth was pointed to the sky, throat arched, face taking the full brunt of Mother Nature's ecstasy.
It would be so easy to drown.
She'd done it once, just thrown her head back and drowned in someone she could never have trusted.
His hands were ghosts; haunting her like he did at all times. Her chest ached, her body a dripping temple to anguish.
Today was her birthday. The sky celebrated, throwing cool, tickling drops at her, hiding the tears on her face from the world.
Her makeup ran. Her clothing was ruined. Her bruises grew stiff and still she worshipped the sky, danced like a savage round a fire, spinning in dizzy, never-ending circles.
Her palms held up the clouds. The world held its breath and she sang Happy Birthday to a sunless sky.
Still, he did not come.
She didn't know him. Not really.
She didn't like the way his head was nestled on her shoulder. Didn't like the stubble. Didn't like the way his chest rose and fell. Didn't like much of anything but his eyes.
They were blue. Deep, frighteningly clear blue. She'd looked no further. Barely heard anything he said, barely explored his mouth.
She just wanted feeling. Pure feeling to shake away a ghost who had no right to haunt her.
And now, she was a fool.
She felt like a betrayer and couldn't explain why. She shifted, sticky with sweat, wanting nothing more than to disappear, to sink into the bed where this stranger couldn't find her.
He'd been so gentle where she wanted more. More. Of what?
She swallowed hard, stubble on his chin rasping across her bare breasts. This wasn't supposed to happen. It was supposed to draw him out and now...now he was there, closer than ever, pressing hotly on her mind.
She extricated herself from the bed, her head aching from the tequila she'd endured at the bar. Her stomach hurt. She didn't know where her keys were.
He didn't move. Didn't spring up like the cold assassin she'd secretly imagined he was. He was nothing more than a means to an end that HAD no end. She almost felt sorry from him. More so for herself.
She dressed quietly and left.
Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. Natalie loved that song. She sang it as they rode in a high wind that buffered her car.
Alex hummed along, not looking up from the maps displayed on her lap top. She sat silently in the backseat, more sullen than they were used to seeing her.
I've got the building plans. Oh good. Exit 20, turn right.
And they sped along, California rushing by. Vineyards flanked them, lush and gorgeous. She longed to sit under a shady tree and drink old wine. Too windy today. A kite flying wind, she noted with amusement.
They got to the Torvold Vineyard a half hour later. Their murderer was hiding there, America's Most Wanted. Number two on the list to be precise.
And he liked guns. Liked his ax. Liked Natalie most of all.
He swung the ax up and away, screaming.
She kicked him clean in the jaw, twisting the ax up and slicing his shoulder with it. Blood spurted. He flailed, caught her with the blade again and ripped open her leg.
She collapsed, screaming in pain.
Clearly insane, he went for her again. Alex intercepted. A tussle. He threw her off and continued past her, her leg bleeding everywhere.
Natalie. His target. His object. Her blue eyes widened with fear, but she took him down with little effort. A sweeping kick, a punch, and the broken stab of bone through skin as she twisted his pudgy arm around, breaking the appendage neatly in two.
Alex helped her up, staunched the blood flow as best she could as Natalie held her murderer, semi-stalker and personal asshole by his broken arm, daring him to move. He was barely conscious.
She got ten stitches in her leg and it scarred. No limp, miracles never ceased. She didn't mind. She liked scars.
If he were alive, would he have one too?
Summer was thrown harshly at her. Summer sun was high, ocean warm, leg un-bandaged. She displayed the scar proudly.
How'd you get it?
An ax-wielding serial killer.
It was a point of pride, really.
June came and thundered down. She'd been out of action for a while. There were no cases though, just relaxation and comfort. Natalie and Pete had a party. She went, propped up like Cleopatra on her cushions.
She petted Spike, listened, and had a good time. For once, her thoughts didn't turn dark.
She watched the ocean later, recalling what day it was. She immediately ached.
It had been a year since. Since he'd crawled in her skin and made himself a home there. She lifted her drink to the sky, where a summer thunderstorm was growing, turning the ocean to a steely gray that spat white horses of foam at the shore.
She missed him. Didn't understand why, couldn't get him out of her head and didn't trust her own heart to tell her to let go of something she'd never had.
A year. Didn't seem fair.
She saw Jason and Alex walking on the beach, hand in hand. They kissed. She smiled and toasted the coming storm once again.
To love. May it never leave you when you find it.
She took a drink and wandered down the beach, leg slightly aching. She ignored it, paid no mind. Alex and Jason were far away, the lights of Natalie's little beach house distant glimmers in the sand.
She saw him then. He was just...there.
Smoking, blue smoke always rising from his mouth, the cigarette like a calling card in his fingers. Alive. Not a ghost come to haunt her on Halloween. Not a memory. None of those things.
Couldn't be, couldn't...
But it was. Thunder boomed. June. A year.
He came, touched her, and said nothing. She couldn't feel and yet...could feel everything. Everything, every move. He kissed her, making sure she knew it wasn't a dream. Dreams don't smell like tobacco and earth and sky.
He touched her hair but didn't pull. His breath made a raspy sound as it whistled through his chest.
So she touched his chest, felt the bumps under her fingers beneath the expensive silk shirt.
But he was suddenly gone and she, she was left in the thunder, head spinning, her terrible year melting away like the snow on her eyelashes in Berlin.
Alive. He was alive.
She sat in the sand, leg aching and her world once again upended.
A year. And no closer to his mystery. No closer to the why's the how's the...anything.
Dylan Sanders smiled through the numbed confusion and let it all go.