Darien stretched in the remodeled dental chair, trying not to focus too much on the Keeper filling the syringe a few feet away, and was suddenly reminded of a conversation they'd had not long ago in the same position

What's In A Name?

Disclaimer: What? You thought they were mine? You're obviously more confused than I realised…

Notes: Audio-only story, although it didn't start out like that. These are a lot of fun to do and I hope you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it. I apologize for any mistakes I made with names or dates, and I know Darien is better-behaved than this. Hey, it's a story. Feedback!

"Hey, Claire…"

"Mmm?"

"Remember a couple of weeks ago, that whole fiasco with Chrysalis? Hey, watch the needle."

"It's a little hard to forget, Darien. And don't be such a baby."

"So…what *is* your last name?"

Silence.

"Claire?"

"And I'll tell you exactly what I told you last time– you don't need to know."

"Aw, Claire…"

"Come on, Keep!"

"No. My last name isn't really all that important."

"Well then, there's not really any reason we shouldn't know it, is there?"

"Don't twist my words, Bobby."

"What are you worried about, Claire? Giving me an advantage over you? Considering you're the one with the big needle here, I wouldn't…"

"I'm not worried about any kind of disadvantage. But I'm not telling you my name. End of discussion."

"But…"

"No."

"You…"

"No! Not another word! Now get out and go see what the Official wants before I use both of you as test subjects!"

SLAM!

"What was that, Hobbes?"

"What?"

"You call those puppy-dog eyes? I've seen fish that were more heartwarming."

"Oh? Let me see you do better, my friend." Pause. "You're breaking my heart, Fawkesy."

"See?"

"No, really, I think I'm gonna cry."

"All in the eyebrows, my friend."

***

Clickt. "What's up, Keep?"

"Darien? What are you doing here?"

"What, I can't drop by to see a friend without some kind of medical emergency?"

"You know you're always welcome. It's just that I was about to go home and…"

"Because I consider you a friend, y'know."

Pause. "Thank you, Darien. I consider you my friend too."

"You, uh, need any help?"

"I've just got a few papers to bring home, actually."

"Ah." Rustle, rustle. "I was thinking, most friends sort of gradually work up to a first-name basis and…"

"Are you *still* going on about this last-name business? I thought we ended it this morning!"

"I just think…"

"Oh, I doubt that. Look, Darien, I don't see how I can possibly make this any clearer. No means no!"

"Claire, I…" Clickt.

"Goodnight, Darien!"

Silence.

"Maybe you should just let it go, Fawkes."

"Hey, Hobbes."

"If you really want to know her last name that badly, why don't you just look up her address in the phone book?"

"Yeah, but that would defeat my entire purpose."

"And that would be…?"

"I want Claire to tell me herself. It's like an act of faith."

Pause. "Well, I'm having dinner with her tonight, so…"

"You're going on a date with the Keeper?"

"It's not a date, it's dinner between colleagues. And just why would my dating Claire be so hard to believe?"

"Never mind."

"Anyhow, d'you want me to sneak a peek at the check or something?"

"Hobbes, you're missing the point here."

***

BEEDLY-BEEDLY-BEEDLY-BEEP. BEEDLY-BEEDLY-BEEDLY-BEEP.

"YIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIP!!!"

"Whunh?"

BEEDLY-BEEDLY-BEEDLY-BEEP.

"YIP! RRRR-YAP! YIPYIPYAPYIP!!!"

"Pavlov, hush!"

BEEDLY-BEEDLY–click.

"Who *is* this?"

"It's…"

"Rrrrr-ap!"

"Quiet, Pavlov! Whoever you are, do you have any idea what time it is?"

"Claire, it's me."

"Darien? Are you all right? Has the counteragent worn off already? Stay where you are, I'll be there as soon as possible…"

"No, Claire, it's nothing like that."

Long pause.

"Darien Fawkes, I am going to warn you right now. If you ask me what I think you're about to ask me you will regret it for the rest of your life, and a good ways into the afterlife too."

"Come on, Claire, I can't sleep with this hanging over my head! I…" Click. "Hello? Claire?"

***

Clickt. "Morning, Claire."

"Hello, Fawkes."

Silence.

"Ah, you got the shot ready?"

"In a minute."

Pause.

"Look, I'm sorry for calling you in the middle of the night like that, but it was seriously bugging me."

"Fine."

Long pause.

"I…" "Claire…"

"Sorry. You first."

"No, go ahead."

Sigh. "Just don't ever do that again, Darien. You scared me, damn it!"

"Sorry, Keep. It won't happen again; Scout's Honor."

"Boy Scouts, eh? Is that where they taught you to how pick locks?"

"Yep. First in my unit to complete all the B&E challenges. You oughta see my badge collection."

"I'll bet."

"Really?"

"With you? No. You'd fix it somehow, I know it. Now hold out your arm."

Easy silence. Syringe clinking.

"Claire…just hear me out before you yell at me, okay?…"

"The answer will still be no, but all right. Go ahead."

Pause.

"Every week, I come in here and let you jab a huge needle into my arm. I let you inject something that's probably illegal in most countries into my bloodstream, I let you poke around inside my head doing God-knows-what if there's even a chance that you might have an idea about how to begin getting this thing out of my brain. I trust you with my life, Claire. Trust works both ways, remember? Give a little, get a little? It kind of scares me that you don't think you can trust me with something as common as a name. That's what this is all about, Keep." Pause. "Trust."

Silence.

"Does it really mean that much to you, Darien?"

"Yeah, it does."

Deep breath. "Fine. But you have to swear you won't tell anyone."

"Not even Hobbes?"

"Especially not Hobbes. And you can't tease me about it, either."

"I wouldn't tease you."

"I'm sure you wouldn't."

"Honest!"

"Mmm-hmm."

Silence.

"Uh, Keep?"

"Fine, fine. It's…"

Mumbling.

"Beg pardon?"

"You heard it."

"Yeah, but I don't think I heard it *right*."

"Darien…"

"'Cause it sounded to me like you just said 'Voyant'. And there is no way your last name is Voyant."

Silence.

"No way."

"It's a perfectly respectable French name, all right?"

"Your name is Claire Voyant."

"I know it sounds ridiculous. Do you want to see my driver's license?"

"Claire, there is no parent on Earth who would be that cruel to their children. No offense."

"I *knew* I shouldn't have told you…it's a long story."

"I'm dying to know, Miss Voyant."

Sighing. "When my grandmother died, my mother promised she'd name her first daughter Claire in honor of her. Of course, she met my father a few years later…"

"They didn't have any problem with this?"

"I'm regretting I ever brought up the subject."

"No, you're regretting *I* ever brought up the subject."

"Same difference, Fawkes. Can we just forget about it?"

"Only if you use your psychic abilities to read my future."

"Stop it."

"Sure, Doc Voyant."

"Just can it, Furious D."

Pause.

"HEY, HOBBES! C'MERE A MINUTE!"

"DON'T YOU DARE!"

Clickt. Silence.