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Disclaimer: I make no money from this, I don't own these guys, yadda yadda yadda . . .
Rating: PG (one cussword plus the ubiquitous "crap")
Category: Very light D/C UST. Maybe.
Summary: Not much plot to speak of. Just a short little character piece that came to me while listening to
Sting's "Desert Rose." You've heard it - it's the cool song with the Arabic.

By the by, this is a slightly old story. I wrote it sometime after Catevari, sent it to a fic mailing list, but
never posted it here. Hope it likes its new home.

By The_Mad_Fangirl

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The Keeper typed with her left hand and made notes on a printout with her right. A wisp of blonde hair
drifted into her field of vision and she blew it back absently, which did little good. She frowned at the
screen and moved her right hand to the mouse. Two clicks, then . . .

"Dammit! Another bloody dead end!" She raised both arms, then slumped forward, hands moving to
support her head as she closed her eyes.

"Problem, Keep?" Fawkes slid his head around the edge of the lab doorway, the rest of his long frame

Claire waved one hand dismissively, without looking up. "Dead end. Again."

"You're working too hard."

This time she did look up, turning. "On you, you know."

"Yeah, I know." His expression was guilty. The guilt melted in an instant as he smiled. "Look, I came
down here because I've got something very important to tell you."

"What's that, Darien?"

"I'm here to inform you, Claire, that it is raining."

"Darien, this is San Diego. It never rains."

"Au contraire, mon Claire. It's raining, and you're coming out to see it."

"I'm far too . . ."

"C'mon. You need a break. Your eyes are almost as bloodshot as mine on a bad day." He crossed the lab
in a few long steps, wrapping his long fingers around her left wrist and pulling. She let herself be pulled up
as he added, "Besides, I've got something to show you."

Darien took off at a jog, still holding Claire's arm, and she was forced to keep up. The two ran up stairs and
through tunnels, snaking back and forth until they emerged through metal doors onto a deserted field. Far-
off city lights and an obscured moon cast a pale light on overgrown grass.

"Where are we?" Claire asked, panting. "I never knew this exit was here."

"Just found it. In my line of work, it never hurts to have an extra way out."

"You mean your former line of work." Claire suddenly became aware of the rain. It was light and warm,
little like the downpours of her youth.

"Nooo," he drawled, "I mean spying. As a thief I usually left where I came in."

"Oh. Was this what you wanted me to see, then? I'm sorry, but I've really got to get back."

"Not quite." Silver flowed over Darien and he vanished.

"Um, I've seen that before."

"Shh," came his voice from the night. "Just watch."

"Darien, you shouldn't be doing this. You know it's not good for you."

"Shhhh," came his voice again, soft and insistent. Curiosity overcame Claire as she looked toward the
sound, but the curiosity didn't last.

A raindrop paused, suspended in midair. Another froze inches away, leaving a short, icy contrail. Then a
third, and a fourth caught, refracting the low light. Then more all at once as a tropical wind swirled her
hair. Claire watched in wonder as the lines of ice began to define the figure of a man.

Oh, she knew the principles involved. She'd calculated Darien's quicksilvered surface temperature to the
degree. She'd even theorized on slow days on what would happen to Darien if he were caught,
unexpectedly, by various forms of precipitation. Somehow, though, she hadn't been prepared for the

And he was beautiful. A sparkling, latticework Darien Fawkes. Claire circled him slowly in the night. He
was a crystal statue, standing with his back arched, his face to the sky, eyes closed, arms out in
supplication. Claire walked slowly closer, until she was an inch from his cool second skin. She watched a
raindrop hit and slide over ice already there, trickling sideways and down until it found a patch of bare
Quicksilver, where it stopped in place.

Then Claire took two steps back and inhaled slowly, memorizing the scene. Her eyes drifted up, drawn to
the jagged crown of his hair, where diamonds clung to the tips. Then she closed her eyes, her position the
mirror of his as she fixed the moment in her mind. She opened her eyes and exhaled, breathing,

As she knew he would, as he had to do, Darien moved. White fissures ran through the crystalline beads,
then all fell away with a magnified Quicksilver chime. Darien stood revealed and grinning.

"Cool, huh?"

Claire nodded. "It'd have to be, wouldn't it?"

"Feeling better?" Darien began to walk to the doors, and as he leaaned forward, Claire brushed lingering
bits of ice from his hair. He shivered she whisked them across his neck.

"Much, actually." Claire leaned back and looked at him as he paused, hand on the latch. "Thank you. For
the rain."

"Hey, don't thank me. Thank God, or Mother Nature, or whoever. Aw, crap." He jiggled the latch. It
didn't yield.

"We're locked out, aren't we?"

"Looks that way."

"You wouldn't happen to know where we actually are, would you?"

"Not a clue."

"Can you pick the lock?"

"No tools. Got a hairpin?"

"Not today."

"Guess we're walking."

"Guess so."

The two turned and walked together into the warm night rain. Darien sneezed.

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