Disclaimer: I don't own Ugly Betty, nor am I in any way connected to ABC, Silent H Productions or any of its affiliates. No copyright infringement is intended, so please don't sue.
A brief look at Daniel's reaction to Alex/Alexis' announcement. A little Betty and Daniel interaction. One-Shot.
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The Truth Hurts
Daniel was shell-shocked. This morning he had been on top of the world. His father had confided that he would give over the reigns of MODE to him, Fashion Week was going amazingly and he hadn't thought of Sofia for almost three days. And now, his entire life was crashing down around him… all because of him! His once-thought-dead older brother, now hot-post-op sister, had taken everything that he had worked so hard for these last few months and crumpled it in his… her… fist in a matter of moments. And what was Alex/Alexis doing?!? He was blowing kisses and looking smugly down at him from the runway.
"Daniel? Daniel, are you alright?"
He looked down at the earnest and concerned eyes of his assistant, Betty.
"I… can't… breathe." He managed to gasp out, as his throat tightened and his chest constricted.
Betty immediately grabbed his arm. "We need to get you out of here. Just follow me."
He nodded mutely and allowed her to lead him out of the crowded room, away from the flashing bulbs and shouting reporters. He cast one last look over his shoulder to see the self-satisfied smirk on his brother's face before he left the MODE tent.
"Daniel, you need to take a deep breath. Try to relax. And maybe get something to drink. Something calming. No more alcohol."
Betty continued to tug on his arm, dragging him further outside towards the street. Daniel vaguely saw the flashing lights of the police car as it drove away, his father handcuffed inside of it.
"It's going to be alright. Don't worry Daniel. We can figure something out."
He tugged his arm free, the anger and despair building up inside of him. "You can't sugar-coat this, Betty! What the hell am I supposed to do? My father is going to JAIL! My brother, who I thought was dead is ALIVE and is a WOMAN… an unbelievably hot woman that I HIT ON, I might add! This is not something that I can fix with bags of fake snow or a new design layout. I just… I can't believe this is happening."
In frustration, he put his hands in his hair and started tugging. Betty tried in vain to stop him when, suddenly, voices could be heard leaving the tent. Turning frantically, they saw the reporters and other guests exiting.
"I can't be here." Daniel croaked.
"Right. Let's go. I know a place." Betty grabbed his hand and led him to the line of parked cars towards his town car. They hurriedly got in as they saw photographers snapping pictures and running in their direction.
"Floor it, Kyle. Please take us to Queens and I can guide you from there." Betty told the driver.
"Right. What's with all the reporters?" Kyle asked, looking at them through the rear-view mirror.
Betty just shook her head, lips pursed. Kyle took the hint and sped away from the curb, the tires squealing slightly at the abrupt pick-up.
"Here's some water, Daniel. Just take a few sips."
Daniel shook his head at the water in her hand and reached for the bottle of Scotch.
"Daniel, no. That's not going to help. You tried that earlier and you ended up making out with my sister."
Daniel looked sheepishly at Betty. "Sorry, about that. That didn't cause any…"
"No, everything fine. We worked it out. After what just happened I can understand the binge drinking, but I think you need to keep your head on straight right now."
"All I want to do is not think about any of this."
"Drinking is not going to solve anything."
Daniel stared broodingly at the bottle still clutched in his hand. "You're right. I know. It's just… I need time." He turned away from Betty and stared at the buildings passing by, not really seeing them.
Betty nodded her head in understanding and kept silent. The trip passed quickly, with Betty directing Kyle where to go.
Daniel continued to gaze out the window, his mind's eye replaying everything that had just happened and trying to make sense of the madness. He closed his eyes tightly as the barrage of images threatened to overwhelm him. So caught up in his own musings, he did not notice the car slowing down.
"We're here, Daniel."
Opening his eyes, he saw that they were stopped at the bridge that he had walked with her several weeks back. It seemed like a lifetime ago.
"Come on. Let's walk. You need to clear your head. The fresh air will help."
Together, they stepped out of the car, Betty asking Kyle to find a place to park and they would find him later.
Silently, they walked side-by-side for several long minutes.
Daniel broke the silence. "You know what I don't get? The thing that burns me more than anything? Why didn't he tell me? Why put us through all of this? We didn't deserve it."
His eyes filled with tears that he tried to blink away.
"Daniel, I don't know what to say to help you. I'm sure there's a good reason."
"Pollyanna lives," he said dryly.
"Sorry. Habit." Betty looked down at her hands, at a loss for words.
"No, you're right. He said that he wanted to tell me but he just didn't get the chance. I don't even know what that means. How can you NOT have the chance to tell someone that they were going to make a lifestyle change before doing it? How can you NOT tell someone that you're supposed to love that you were going to fake your own death to have a sex-change operation??? What was the point? Except to hurt us???"
"Daniel, I don't think Alex wanted to hurt you."
"It's Alexis now," he said sarcastically as he brushed his sleeve across his eyes.
"Whatever he's calling himself, I don't think he ever intended for you to get hurt. It seems that most of his anger was directed at your dad."
"My father? What do you mean?"
"Because of the fact that immediately after Alex made the announcement, the police arrested Mr. Meade. It couldn't have been a coincidence, right?"
"Yeah, that's another thing. It's just one more horrible event to add to my miserable existence. This year has just been crap all around. And it's only just beginning."
"Daniel, it's not that horrible. You've been through a lot already, but you've managed to get through it. You have a lot more courage and resilience than you think."
Daniel didn't answer her, instead choosing to keep walking.
After a few more minutes of silence, she asked, "Do you think he did it? What they're accusing him of?"
"I don't know anymore, Betty. There's so much stuff popping up that points to him. Especially those phone calls from that mysterious woman… dammit! That must have been Alex!" Daniel looked skyward in despair at this new revelation.
"Yeah, it probably was," Betty agreed. "Maybe, he was trying to warn you before he notified the police."
"Warnings from an anonymous woman… that's not very helpful. Why couldn't he just tell me? I'm his brother for God's sake!"
"Maybe he was scared."
"Scared of what?"
"Maybe he was afraid of what you would say. That maybe you wouldn't accept him."
"He just had to ask."
"And risk being rejected?"
"He was everything that I ever wanted to be, Betty. I was in his shadow my whole life. He could do no wrong."
"Maybe that was the problem. He couldn't stay perfect forever."
"That's just bull Betty." He swung his body around to face her, pain etched plainly on his face.
Betty's heart ached as she felt the waves of despair pouring off of him.
"Maybe it is. I can't tell you what he feels, or what he was thinking. Only he can tell you."
"SHE has not been particularly forthcoming."
"Alex is still the same inside, even though everything on the outside is different." Daniel snorted derisively at her comment.
"I'm serious, Daniel. Nothing about him has changed, except your perception of him." She turned and stared out over the water, looking out at the city.
"Do you remember what you said to me that night on this bridge? About your brother?"
"That he wasn't really gone? Seems I might have a career as a psychic."
"It's not just what you said, but the way you said it. I could hear it in your voice how much you missed him. You have a second chance to talk to him, to find out what happened and why he did what he did. Most people would kill to get a second chance to talk to someone that they loved who's gone now." Betty continued to stare out across the water, her voice cracking a bit on the last sentence.
Daniel stared at the tears that tracked down her cheeks, remembering the pictures of Betty with her mother that they had used in a presentation for Fabia. He remembered the wistful look on her face as she fingered the photographs.
He sighed and looked at the skyscrapers in the distance. After another long moment of silence, he blindly reached for her hand on the bridge's railing and gave it a squeeze.
"You're right. Even with everything that Alex put our family through, and how much pain that he caused my mom and I, he's back and I have a chance to face him. It might have to start with a punch in the face, but at least I'll hit something solid rather than being haunted by his ghost."
Betty laughed softly, squeezing his hand in turn.
"Are you okay to go home? You can always come over to my house. Hilda and Justin should be back by now. My dad probably has flan."
"Thanks, but I should go see my mom and tell her what's happened. Get a lawyer for my father. Find Alex and deliver that punch I mentioned."
They made their way back to the line of parked cars some distance away.
"I'm proud of you, Daniel. You're not hiding from this."
Daniel laughed quietly to himself. "If there's one thing I've learned recently, is that even if you hide, stuff like this is going to happen and it's better to face it with my head up then in a fetal position under my desk."
"I'm glad Sofia taught you something useful."
Daniel gave a small smile and stared down at her. "It wasn't Sofia, Betty. It was you."
Betty looked up quickly and flashed a quick smile in return.
"There's Kyle. I'm just going to walk home from here. It's not that far."
"Are you sure?"
"Definitely. Go to your mom. The news must be hitting the airwaves already."
With his hand on the car door handle, Daniel gave her a long, solemn look. "Thanks, Betty."
"Anytime. Although I really hope for your sake that this never, ever happens again."
Giving a soft chuckle, he nodded. "I'll see you at the office."
She nodded and added, "If you need anything, just call me."
"I have you on speed dial."
She waved at him as he got into his vehicle and drove away. She continued to watch until the car got lost in the rest of the traffic. Afterwards, she made her way towards home, hoping that they would both be prepared for whatever came their way in the upcoming days.
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A/N: I think that I may have rushed Daniel's reaction a bit, but I wasn't sure if dragging out the dramatics was the best way to go. Please let me know what you think! I always appreciate comments and suggestions.