A/N: You can find "Like Thieves in the Night," the short story that directly precedes this one, at the Quicksilver Library.

Please note this story is rated FRM, and is not suitable for younger readers.


Title: Deliver us...
Author: A. X. Zanier
Rating: FRT-13 (suitable for teens 14 and older), FRM for the opening sequence due to sex, language and violence.
Fandom: The Invisible Man
Series: Pater Noster Arc
Pairing: Bobby/Claire, Darien/Fallon
Sequel: post-Temptation, late-January 2003
Summary: An old enemy has returned with a new plot that the Agency has to thwart.
Spoilers: Probably, does it really matter after four years?
Disclaimer: a) The characters and basic story ideas of The Invisible Man are the property of others including, but not limited to Matt Greenberg, Studios USA, Stu Segall Productions and NBC Universal. Any additional characters or story ideas are mine. I make no money from this intellectual exercise. b) This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any opinions or views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the author and are used for story-telling purposes only.
Music: Somebody to Love by Queen; In the Shadows by the Rasmus.

Many thanks to my ever-patient Beta, Suz.

Deliver us...

-----

A duo with the names of Michael Fry and T. Lewis said, "The more things change, the more they remain...insane."

Ain't that the truth.

-----

"Fuck me," he muttered darkly.

"'Ere and now?" Fallon questioned. "It'd be a challenge, that's for sure." Then she shifted her hips, making it quite clear that she knew exactly what she was doing and causing him to groan in frustration. She chuckled softly, teasingly. "Something come up, fella?"

Darien leaned into her, using his weight and height to his advantage. "You are evil," he told her at a low growl, "but I'm dangerous."

She squirmed, trying to gain some space to get away from him, but he just pressed all the harder, forcing the air from her lungs and preventing her from taking a full breath. "Fawkes," she gasped, "you're..."

He kissed her, hard, forcing his tongue past her lips to ravage the interior of her mouth, the voices, the eerie chatter in the back of his skull egging him on. She tried to bite him, but, quick as snake, he pulled away. "Now, that wasn't very nice," he admonished, one hand coming up to curl under her chin. He shifted his weight off her, but she gained no real freedom by it as he lifted her off the ground with his hand. He leaned his face in close, "Hey, baby, how about giving me a little sugar."

She swung a closed fist into his ribs; he hardly felt it, but it pissed him off. All he wanted was to have some fun and she was getting all uppity, and after all that teasing. What did she expect? Him to suddenly be gallant and not take what he wanted? To heel and sit and beg, like the well-trained dog so many others in his life expected him to be. He was so not one of her pets and it was time she found that out up close and personal like. Her eyes were glazing over, the lack of air taking the fight right outta her. He shifted his hold and she sucked air in with a huge whoop. "We're going to be a good little girl now, aren't we?"

She nodded, coughing, tears welling up as she stared at him with lovely fear in those brilliant green eyes.

"Good." He went for her throat with his teeth, biting hard enough to taste blood and get a hoarse yelp of pain, while tugging her shirt up and fondling her breasts.

"Fawkes," she shouted; her voice little more than a raw whisper when he pinched her nipple painfully hard. Then, foolishly, she jabbed him in the side with stiffened fingers, going for his kidney and missing... barely.

Darien's head came up and he curled both hands about her face. "You little bitch," he snarled and twisted her head sharply to the left with a delightfully, satisfying snap. Her body went instantly limp. "Much better," he muttered, as her eyes became flat and lifeless. "Much, much better."

-----

Darien jerked awake, his heart pounding, sweat soaking the sheets he was twisted up in and an echo of whispered voices in the back of his head making him quake in terror. With his heart in his throat, he shakily raised his right arm and shifted the watchband. Though the light was minimal, he could see that the snake coiled on the inside of his wrist remained the same - each of the 10 segments still a glorious green. Just as it should be. That he'd had an illicit dream about Fallon was nothing unusual, that'd been going on for months now, but the sudden addition of Quicksilver Madness to the fantasy was a new and terrifying twist that freaked him out.

He released the watchband, his thumb running absently over the head and tail of the snake as he glanced about the dark and mostly unfamiliar room. Okay, so the dream itself was based on the reality of earlier, when the job they'd been on hit a bit of snafu in the form of some other thief burglarizing the place and setting off the alarm and forcing he and Fallon to hide out in close quarters for over an hour. One thing had indeed led to another and they'd wiled away the time in one hot and heavy make-out session. But that was it, no voices, no violence, no death, and most assuredly no red-eyed mambo. Though Claire had never said anything specific, Darien was certain she still ran tests to make sure he remained free of the madness. With Arnaud's involvement in the cure, anything could happen. 'Crap.' Not even getting laid could keep the nightmare that was his life at bay.

Beside him Fallon shifted, her legs maneuvering through the tangled bedclothes to find his. "I must be losing me touch, usually they sleep for more than two hours when I've gotten through with 'em," she mumbled, one hand reaching up to curve about his.

Darien blew out the breath he'd been holding. "Sorry." He pulled her hand down and ran her fingertips across his lips. "Bad dream."

"Ach, then I'm definitely losing me touch if all I can inspire is a nightmare." She kissed his shoulder drowsily.

"Had nothin' to do with you, sugar, just other shit in my life making itself known," he assured her, turning to kiss her on the forehead.

He felt her move the watchband and trace the snake with one delicate fingernail. "What's 'e for, anyway?"

"Why?" he asked, curious about her sudden interest.

"Well, 'tisn't a prison tat, that's for sure, and ye made a point to avoid marking up your pretty skin afore joining the Agency, so I figured ye had a bleedin' good reason to 'ave this wee beastie added as decoration."

Man, was there anything she didn't know about his life? Okay, so there were a few secrets he had been able to keep, and there wasn't a chance in hell he was going to reveal them to her. At least not yet. He didn't trust her that far. Yes, she knew about the Quicksilver, but she still didn't know about the gland and she most certainly had no knowledge about his former part-time occupation as a psychopath. "It's a reminder," he told her, trying to forget the dream so that he could, maybe, fall back to sleep sometime in the near future. "Go back to sleep, I'll be fine."

She sighed softly. "Oh. I'll see ye 'round then." She let go of his hand and rolled away, plainly unhappy, and apparently wanting him out of her bed soonest.

"Uh, Fallon, do you want me to leave or something?" he asked, thinking he'd done something wrong.

She twitched. "Isn't that what ye be plannin' on doing?"

Darien blinked. Where had she gotten that idea? "Ummm, no? I mean if you want me to go, that's fine, I'll crash in one of the other apartments, but I had planned on spending the rest of the night here."

She went completely still. "Ye want to stay?"

He knew he shouldn't, but he laughed out loud at the complete and total astonishment in her voice. "Yes, I want to stay. Can't give morning sex a go if I'm not here in the morning," he pointed out, his voice dropping an octave in anticipation. "I'd have to be a total idiot to leave."

She rolled over to face him. "And again with the surprising me. Most can't get away fast enough once they've 'ad their fun."

He didn't have to ask why; he knew why - those scars that couldn't be seen till her clothes came off and the need to finish what had been started already upon them. Which made those others who had abandoned ship because of them utter fools to his way of thinking. Even if he'd been a superficial bastard, he'd still have stayed till morning and said his goodbyes then, not sneak out like a thief in the middle of the night. She was too damn good to not at least pretend to be gentleman, and put in the extra effort. If she'd been no more than a casual one-night stand pick-up at a bar he still would have stayed the night and probably been willing to buy her breakfast if she was interested. And Fallon definitely would not be a one night stand, if he had any say about it.

He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close. "Then you gotta stop picking up dumb as post playmates, clearly they have no clue what they're missing."

She shook her head. "Daft. Ye be completely daft." She ran a hand through his hair, causing it to spike upwards again. "But lucky for ye I like the daft ones."

Like. Crap. He wanted to bed her, not wed her. Hell, he didn't want to put her at any more risk than he already had by working for her. Why hadn't he just walked away and jacked off like he'd done a hundred times before? Why, now, had he chosen to fall into her bed even after deciding to wait on making a move until after his debt was paid? Why had he thrown common sense out the window and taken this stupid chance? Well, aside from rampant horniness, that is.

"Fallon..." How the hell was he gonna do this without hurting her? She'd just all but told him the majority of her bed partners bailed on her before the sun came up and now, after assuring her he was different, he was gonna insist on rules if this were to continue beyond tonight's romp. "I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I've wanted this, for a while now, but just this. I'm not looking for a relationship. If that makes any sense."

"A lot of sense, actually. In your line of work, anyone close could be used against ye." Her fingers were drawing figure eights on his chest and she didn't seem the least bit put off.

"So, I was thinking that, if we keep doing this, we keep it light. No strings, no attachments, we can walk away whenever we want with no hard feelings." He let that sink in, and waited for the protest.

"No exclusivity?" she asked, her tone amused.

"Nope. If we want to get together for some fun we do," he told her; relieved it had gone so well. "Oh, and what we do off the clock doesn't affect our business deal."

She snorted in amusement, as if keeping business and pleasure separate would be easy as pie. "A'course not. I 'ave plans for ye and your trick."

"Oh really? Like what?" he asked as her hand wandered lower.

"Like seeing 'ow long ye can stay visible under certain specific conditions." Her hand had reached its goal and was quickly achieving the expected response, but her tone of voice implied that she meant far more than just sexual situations.

"Will there be tests?" He cupped her face with his hand, an echo of the dream suddenly imposing itself over reality, and it took an effort not to jerk away as if burned.

"Aye, but I think ye will enjoy most of them."

"Oh, good," Darien groaned, his hips coming up off the mattress as she worked him expertly, which was more than enough to cause the Quicksilver to flow across his skin and her to chuckle. He pulled her close for a kiss, taking her with him into invisibility.