ONLY WHEN IT RAINS
Summary: Daniel and Betty share a secret romance, but only when it rains. How long can the secret be kept?
Setting: This is an epilogue (or short sequel, if you like) to my first fic, "Rain Will Make the Flowers Grow".
Pairing: D/B all the way.
Rating: PG (K-plus).
Author's Notes: Okay, so, the ending of "Rain" seemed a little… bleak and ambiguous, so I had to make it fluffy and happy again. I tried to make this so that reading "Rain..." wouldn't be obligatory, but failed: therefore, I recommend reading that one first so you know what's happened before...
This story is a one-shot split into two parts, so don't ask for more. :P There might be more to make it a series but I haven't decided yet. ;)
Only When It Rains
As plans went, it hadn't exactly been the best. It had seemed more than plausible at the time, but one factor had been overlooked, and it was now rearing its ugly head mockingly over the city of New York. The summer had come, and it was relentless.
They were both becoming rather unhealthily obsessed with the weather. Daniel liked to look out of the window of his office and predict what would happen; Betty preferred the weather forecast. Neither method was particularly reliable, and they were ultimately disappointed more often than not.
What neither of them could explain, or reveal to any curious bystanders, was why such a beautiful day as this one made them both feel so depressed; or why, when the rain came down in vast sheets, they were practically dancing for joy.
For the best part of a year, Mode's Editor-in-Chief and his assistant had been harbouring a secret. Nobody knew about it: not Christina, not Hilda, not even Claire, who managed to get her nose into everything concerning her son. They feared a certain level of mockery, but both were also more than content to keep the secret between themselves. It added a level of excitement to the happiness already afforded them by downright awful weather.
It was a glorious day, the latest in a long period of swelteringly hot, sunny days in the endless summer, and the heatwave was showing no signs of stopping. Daniel sat in his office, staring glumly at the city, its myriad buildings eagerly reflecting the blinding sunlight. It was certainly an unquestionably breath-taking view, but Daniel could only sulk at the continual, perpetual sunshine. The heat was becoming unbearable, aside from his own personal grievances with the weather, and it simply had to cool down eventually. Winter seemed a lifetime away. The city was humid and felt as though it would explode at any given moment, hot lava bubbling up through the sewers from the Earth's very core…
Betty distracted him from his thoughts by wandering into his office, looking flushed and aggravated – she was not enjoying the heat. She carried a newspaper before her, which she was hastily skimming, her head bowed.
"I finally got a hold of it," she told him, not looking up. "I found it under Amanda's secret jelly bean horde. I'd swear she was keeping it from me on purpose… Ah!" She stopped suddenly, having found the page she was looking for, and read it quickly.
Daniel got up from his desk and approached her. "Well?"
Betty's face told him all he needed know, but she clarified the news for him anyway. "Nope. Even hotter tomorrow, if that's possible, and absolutely no storms forecast either." She sighed. "This has to break soon. I'm going crazy."
Daniel took the daily paper and read the offending page for himself – the weather forecast was exactly as she'd described.
"I know. Me, too."
She looked thoughtful. "Isn't there anywhere in the world where it rains all the time? Because I would seriously consider moving there."
"And I would be the first to join you," he offered, "but you know we can't just… disappear."
As he folded the newspaper closed again, Betty looked at him, then at the golden, shining city beyond.
"I wish we could just enjoy the weather…" she muttered. "You know, a walk in Central Park, something like that."
She stared longingly out of the window, and Daniel wanted nothing more than to hold her, comfort her… but they both knew it was impossible. Instead, he could only sigh sympathetically.
"Only when it rains…"
They awoke to blue, cloudless skies and a feeling of curious awkwardness and puzzlement. As Betty had feared, the sunlight had broken the previous night's spell; the magic had fled. The evening before felt like a dream, as detached from reality as the movie had been, as if they'd only watched themselves.
Betty felt vaguely embarrassed, and Daniel did not fare any better. They exchanged an uneasy greeting and then extricated themselves from the blanket which had covered them. Betty wanted nothing more than to leave, and tried to do so immediately, but Daniel managed to convince her to join him for a late breakfast. If nothing else, they had a lot to discuss.
At a nearby cafe, a low-key, uncomplicated place, they agreed the events to be nothing more than delirium – the after-effects of a stressful day and emotional fragility after the film. Betty had been tired, Daniel overwhelmed. Their friendship could easily remain intact, and neither particularly wanted to move on. It was as though the late night confessions and actions of insanity had merely never happened.
That is, until it rained again.
They left the Meade Enterprises building one early evening a few days later, at the same time, travelling down in the elevator together before going their separate ways. The weather had been miserable all day, the heavens threatening to open without ever really acting on it, so the light drizzle that met them was no surprise.
Daniel opened a smart, black umbrella, sheltering them both from the elements for a moment while he made his way to the awaiting car at the front of the building. They bid each other a good night and Daniel climbed into the back of the car, leaving Betty to head towards the subway.
She only managed to walk a few more feet before the drizzle grew heavier again. It wasn't quite enough to soak her, but nonetheless it would be an inconvenience by the time she'd reached the station. She was suddenly struck with a feeling of bizarre nostalgia – a fleeting remembrance of feeling safe and content. She shook it off, and carried on. She had thought about that night a few times, but never with any intensity, and it certainly wouldn't do to start thinking about it at a time like this.
Daniel's driver was hesitating, ensuring his passenger was ready before heading off, when the rain started battering on the roof of the car. Daniel, as Betty had been, was struck with a sense of familiarity. The car started to pull away and he spotted his assistant, still marching onwards through the rain.
He ordered the driver to stop again, then opened the passenger door and called out.
"Betty! Get in!"
Slightly sogged and bewildered, she hesitated. Daniel had effectively just kerb-crawled her, and she wasn't sure what to think about that. The longer she stood there, though, the wetter she became, so she started to clamber into the back of the car, aided by Daniel pulling her in.
"Drive," he instructed the chauffeur. "Betty's place." The car sped off, and Daniel pressed a button to bring the partition up, cutting them off from the driver's view.
"You felt it too, didn't you?" he surmised.
Betty nodded uneasily. "I felt… something."
"Like the other night, at the apartment," he clarified.
"Yes…" She seemed nervous; things weren't supposed to happen this way. "What does this mean? I thought we were just… temporarily crazy, and things were going to carry on as normal. But… now it's back."
"I don't know," he sighed, then looked across the passenger seat at her. "All I do know for sure is how much I want to kiss you."
Betty's cheeks tinged pink. "We can't, Daniel. We agreed."
He was looking at her oddly, as though seeing her through new eyes. "Maybe it doesn't have to be that way," he said, quietly. "Think about it for a moment. What if… whenever it rains…"
She looked at him incredulously; the idea was nonsense. "You're crazy," she told him. "The weather can't be responsible for the way people feel, it's impossible." Yet, somewhere within her, she wanted to believe that it could. Feeling trapped, she began fumbling with her seatbelt and knocked on the partition. "Hey! Mr Driver? I'd like to get out here, please?"
The car came to a stop at the side of the road and Betty was already half out of the door, with Daniel in pursuit. She ran around a corner, hoping to find something familiar from which to get her bearings, and instead found herself heading down an unwelcoming alleyway, a dead end. Despite her intention to escape from Daniel's apparent insanity, she found herself very glad that he'd followed her. It wasn't the most salubrious place to get lost in.
Unfortunately, it meant that he had her completely cornered.
The rain was now coming down full pelt. Betty sought out the only shelter she could find, an overhanging fire escape, and stood beneath it, leaning against the wall defeatedly. Daniel approached her, wearing an expectant expression, and she rolled her eyes.
"All right," she conceded. "I guess that was a little stupid. But it's no more stupid than your idea."
"It's not stupid," he said, sounding like a petulant child. "Don't you remember, Betty? Don't you remember standing out in the street in the pouring rain, what I said to you?"
She nodded. "Of course I do, Daniel. You don't forget something like that…" She sighed. "But I thought it was just… crazy talk. We were both exhausted."
She was right; in the plain light of morning, after some well-deserved sleep, things had seemed a lot more lucid. "Maybe so," he said, "and maybe I am crazy, but this feels real right now – as real as it did then." It was true; there was no way he was imagining the excitable percussion of his heartbeat as he stared at her, as he remembered that mind-numbing kiss from only a few nights ago.
"I… I know it does…" As much as she was loath to admit it, Daniel had a point. She could remember clearly their reunion in the street, his sudden confession, and the realisation that she'd fallen for him; the memory was easy when her heart was aching with need as much as it had then. She took a deep, cleansing breath, and felt slightly saner.
"Okay," she said calmly. "Let's take a time-out and think about this." Daniel looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to continue. "It was raining then, and it's raining now, but that doesn't necessarily mean the two are connected."
"How else can you explain it?" he asked.
She was starting to feel like she'd fallen into an episode of The X-Files. "I don't know. I can't."
Daniel was ready to try again. "Will you hear me out?" Betty nodded, too confused to argue. "I don't know what's going on, but all I know is when it started raining, I wanted you beside me. And right now, that's the only thing which matters. If this is a coincidence, I will never speak of it again… all I ask is you give me tonight." Noting that she didn't seem convinced, he added, "It'll be our secret."
That seemed to rile her. "Why keep it a secret? You're not usually so careful." And yet, she knew precisely why it would need to be kept under wraps. Daniel had a reputation to uphold these days, and so did she. It wasn't worth risking their jobs over something that might not even be real.
"Because," he explained, "if it's nothing, then there's nothing to tell."
When he put it like that, it sounded plausible. Betty blinked, a caught raindrop falling from her lashes to her cheekbone and then trailing down her face. "Okay. Let me get this perfectly clear." She readied the facts in her brain. "You're saying that when it rains, we're together, and when it doesn't, we're not?"
Daniel nodded. "That's it exactly."
"You're crazy!" she repeated.
"No, this is crazy," he said, exasperated. Grasping her face gently in his hands, he gazed at her imploringly. "Just try? Just tonight, and if it rains again after that and we feel nothing, we can go back to normal. I promise."
"Just tonight?" she asked.
He dropped his hands to rest lightly on her shoulders. "Just tonight. Just this night, and that's it."
Betty considered it for a moment. They had been here before and carried on as normal without suffering broken hearts, and his idea was beginning to sound more logical. Betty had been here before, with her senses so completely full of Daniel that she wasn't in control of her actions. Now, he had moved in closer to try and read her expression, radiating warmth and the scent of his cologne. She wanted to burrow inside his expensive, woollen overcoat and drown in him completely.
She gave a weak nod, licking lips which had become dry from anticipation, and Daniel bridged what little remaining space there was between them to capture her mouth with his. As her eyes drifted closed, she remembered her words from that night: "I don't want to go back…"
Could they really maintain a state of friendship, after this? Or even, as Daniel had suggested, a secret liaison reserved only for the rain? Surely that would drive them mad. And what if he was right about the rain being the cause of it all? She didn't understand; it made no sense. It was the stuff of fairytales.
Of course, Betty had always believed in fairytales… She had always believed there was a Prince Charming, an Evil Queen, and Love's First Kiss…
They broke apart, slightly breathless, and Daniel rested his forehead against hers. Betty slipped her arms inside his coat, hugging his warmth to her.
"Just tonight," he repeated. "I promise."
"No." He pulled back to look at her, disappointment in his face. Quickly, she clarified: "I mean… not just tonight. Maybe you're right. Maybe it is the weather."
"I know it sounds crazy," he said, "but these feelings must have come from somewhere, Betty. I want… I want to give this a try."
"So do I," she said, nodding ponderously.
"Only when it rains."
End of Part One...
A/N: I decided to post this in two parts because it ended up longer than I meant to be. I intend to post the second, longer part on Valentine's Day, so keep your eyes open. :)
In the meantime, let me know what you thought of this first part. I personally think it's a little too 'out there', but I wanted to play on that sort of magical, unreal atmosphere of the end of "Rain..." and I hope that came across...