Dream a Little Dream
Disclaimer: Invisible Man doesn't belong to me. Claire, Darien, Hobbes, Eberts, Monroe, Kevin, and the Official (did I get them all) don't belong to me either. I'm just borrowing them for a few hours, really. I'll give them back soon.
Note: This is one of those alternate-reality, what-if, perfect-world stories that could never happen. IRL, I'm a devote Claire/Bobby shipper who doesn't believe for one second that it could possibly ever be any other way. In fact, most of the events in the story could never be. Enjoy it in the spirit in which it was intended and have fun.
Feedback: Please, oh please!
"Help me get him in the straight-jacket!"
"I can't believe you didn't bring a backup syringe of Counteragent."
"I can't believe she carries a straight-jacket in her trunk. Easy there, Buddy."
"Darien, just try to stay calm. We're going to help you."
"I could shoot him."
"Don't you dare!"
"Shit!" A gunshot followed by darkness.
Fawkes awoke with a start, jumping into a sitting position and glancing anxiously around the room. Anxiety gave way to relief at the sight of the woman sleeping next to him.
The woman who had been sleeping next to him, anyway. "What's wrong, Darien? Bad dream?" she asked, smiling up at him.
"Yeah, Claire." He smiled back. "Hey! Happy anniversary."
Claire smiled again and sat up. "Happy anniversary to you too, Darien." She yawned and stretched. As always, Darien found himself enjoying the fact that she slept in the nude. Smiling mischievously at the look on his face, she did it again. Laughing, she glanced at the clock. "Bobby and Danny should be here soon. I should get dressed."
"Please don't." Darien wrapped his arms around her and kissed her shoulder.
"Well, if you -- ahh!" Claire gasped. Giggling, she pushed him away a few inches. "If you insist."
Darien smiled at her. "I love it when you make that noise."
"You...." Claire smiled indulgently and shook her head. "What was your dream about?"
"I dreamt I had gone quicksilver mad."
"Gone what?" Claire asked, frowning.
Darien blinked, trying to remember what the phrase meant and why it was such a horrible thing. "Um, in the dream, the quicksilver would build up in my blood-stream and cause of build-up of... epinephrine and... norepinephrine, which..." He paused, thinking. "Which lead to a breakdown in inhibition." He paused again. "I think."
Claire frowned. "Where did you read about that, Darien?"
"Read about it? It's real?"
"In early experiments with animal subjects, the quicksilver did build to toxic levels, leading to madness and eventually to death. But where did you hear about it? I'm sure I never mentioned it."
Darien considered. "I don't know. I must have found the papers in your desk or something."
"Well, it's supposed to be classified." Claire sighed. "Of course, it wasn't a problem once Kevin had perfected the QS enzyme." She shrugged. "Why would you be having nightmares about that?"
"Good question." Darien frowned, trying to remember the rest of the dream. "That bitch Monroe shot me!"
"Yeah, well, she's been aching to do that for months." Claire grinned at him.
"I lunged at her or something." Darien shook his head. "Don't remember. I was... Kevin was dead."
Claire sighed and hugged him. "Why do you always dream about that?"
"I don't know. Because it was too close that time in the lab with Arnaud, I guess." He shrugged. "A spilt-second or an inch in either direction and he would be dead."
"Well, don't mention it to him if he's at dinner tonight. You know how superstitious he is about dreams."
"I'll be good. Promise."
"Feel better now?"
Darien nodded. "Sorry I woke you up."
"It's okay. I've woken up worse places than this one."
Darien smiled at her. "Me too. Now go back to sleep."
"Not tired any longer."
"So, what do you want to do all morning? I still can't believe the Official gave us both all day off." Darien looked up at the sound of voices in the hallway. "Blanket." he said to Claire, who grinned and pulled the blanket over her chest.
"Oh, you two are awake."
"Morning Agent Danvers." Darien said, waving.
She smiled. "Mind if I come in?"
"Go ahead." Claire sat up, holding the blanket against her chest.
She smiled and walked into the bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed near Claire. "Bobby's busy making goo-goo eyes at Irene. I was starting to feel like the other woman."
Claire laughed. "That's Bobby for you."
"I think it's kind of cute." Darien said. "But if that gets back to Hobbes, I'll deny it."
"Deny what, Fawkes?" Bobby walked in holding Irene.
"This is getting cozy." Darien said with a grin. "You two care to join us?"
"I'm on the left side!" Bobby announced, handing Irene to Danny.
"You stay away from my wife, man!" Darien laughed.
"I don't know that he'd like the view on the right side quite as much, Agent Fawkes." Danny laughed, rocking Irene gently as the baby began to stir. "Now look what you two have done." She glared at the two men, but the glare quickly dissolved into her usual good-natured, crooked smile.
"Hey, you want to see a trick?" Darien asked.
"Oh, God..." Claire muttered.
"Well, I'm sorry, Claire, but out daughter loves it."
"Fine." Claire shook her head.
"Danny, come here." Darien sat up and leaned over Claire. "See that mirror there?"
"Yeah..." Danny said.
"Keep an eye on yourself." Darien reached out and placed his thumb and index finger on her nose. "Got your nose!"
Irene cried out gleefully, clapping her hands together. Danny glanced in the mirror and yelped. "Jesus!"
"God, I love that!" Darien grinned at Danny who was frantically trying to rub the quicksilver off of her nose. "Just wiggle it."
"Wiggle your nose. It shakes right off."
Danny experimentally wiggle her nose and smiled as it once more became visible. "Shit, I thought I was going to wet my pants when you did that..." She shook her head.
"Sorry, man, but it's always more fun when they don't know what to expect."
"It's really rather like having two children." Claire observed.
Laughing, Danny handed the baby back to Bobby and rose, running her hands through hair that, at twenty-five, was already graying noticeably. "We'll bring Irene back... in fifteen years."
"You'll want to give her back in less than ten, I promise." Claire laughed, shaking her head. "We'll see you two at dinner."
"Yeah." Danny grinned. "Happy five, guys."
"Happy fifth." Bobby agreed. His attention was immediately absorbed by Irene who was now wide awake and cooing in delight at the sight of her favorite uncle.
"Don't forget her abacus!" Claire called after them. "You'll never get her to settle down once she realizes it's not there."
Bobby grumbled something about Eberts and headed back towards the nursery. Danny followed, laughing.
"I knew he'd find a way to get a dis on Eberts in." Darien grinned at Claire. "Very sweet of you to provide him with the opportunity."
"Well, it is her favorite toy." Claire shrugged.
"Yup, our daughter the bean-counter." Darien shook his head. "In spite of your chemistry set and my toy gun."
Claire smiled. "She's not even two yet. Give it a few years before you give up on 'our daughter the scientist' or 'our daughter the government agent'."
"You know, if you'd told me ten years ago that I was going to actually want my child to work for the Feds, I'd have thought you were nuts." He smiled. "Of course, if you'd told me that I was going to be happily married to a beautiful doctor and working for them myself, I'd have thought you were even more nuts."
Claire smiled. "Why did you marry me? At first, I rather thought you disliked me."
"Well, that was back in the day, wasn't it? Before I realized how much of a gift my gift really was. I was a self-absorbed jerk six years ago. Besides, I was jealous."
"Jealous?" Claire laughed. "I see..."
Darien smiled at her. "Well, considering how much Kevin was always talking about you, I thought you were still dating."
Claire laughed. "You still haven't answered my question."
"I haven't? Oh, right..." Darien smiled and leaned over Claire, smiling down at her and caressing her cheek. "Let's see. I married you because you are beautiful." He smiled up at her, took her hand, and kissed it. "Witty."
"Oh, of course."
"Compassionate." Darien kissed her hand again. "Beautiful."
"You already said that one."
"I must have meant it, then. Intelligent. And... my best friend."
"Oh, Darien. That's so sweet." Claire smiled up at him. "I guess I know what we're going to be doing for the rest of the morning."
"What?" Darien asked. "A smile slowly crossed his face. "Ohh..." He nodded understanding.
Claire rolled her eyes. "Yeah."
"Yeah. They, uh, gone yet?"
"Eberts, put that baby down and get some work done!" the Official barked.
"Oh, yes, sir. Sorry, sir." Eberts handed Irene her abacus and deposited her in her playpen. "As I was saying, sir, the third-quarter numbers show a five percent improvement over the previous quarter, which means that, for the first time in several years and despite continued work on the QS 9400 project, the Agency is operating in the red."
"Really?" The Official grunted with approval. "Enough work. Hand me the baby."
"Yes, sir." Eberts turned his back to the Official to hide his smile and retrieved Irene from the playpen. She cooed happily. "Yes, who's a good, beautiful baby girl? Are you going to be the Agency's next accountant?"
"No, she is not." The Official took Irene from Eberts. "She is going to be the Agency's next Official."
Eberts smiled. "Yes, sir."
"Iwene want to pway?" the Official asked, handing her a rubber stamp.
Bobby walked into the office, supported by Danny. Hobbes laughed "Well, what do you know? Finally someone who won't give me a hard time about validating my parking."
Danny rolled her eyes. "Agent Hobbes has been shot, sir."
"Shot?" the Official handed Irene to Eberts and rose. "Where?"
"Just a flesh-wound, sir. My leg, sir."
Danny rolled her eyes. "He's being Mister Stoic today, sir. Ignore him."
"I do. All the time."
"Yeah, Danny, him too. You're in good company." Bobby's laugh turned into a pained hiss as Danny helped him into a chair.
"We just got back from the emergency-room. The bullet penetrated his thigh and came to rest three inches in. They managed to remove it successfully, but when they tried to Admit the knucklehead, he said he wanted to get back to work." Danny sighed. "You need to just give me some tranquilizer darts so I can manage the man."
"Fine, next time the two of you work together, I will have Eberts requisition some from Claire."
"Now there's a woman who knows how to keep her man in line." Danny sniggered. "Sir, the doctor recommended that he stay off of his feet for the next few days." Her smile turned wicked.
"Oh, Danny!" Bobby groaned. "How could you, baby?"
The Official smiled. "Eberts, do you think you can find something to occupy Agent Hobbes for a few days?"
Eberts smiled brightly. "I'm sure I can, sir."
Bobby groaned and buried his face in his hands.
"Are you in much pain, Robert?" Eberts asked.
"I am now." Bobby muttered, causing Danny to howl with laughter.
"So, I told her, 'not without your 1090'." Eberts concluded, shaking his head and grinning.
Bobby laughed. "There's hope for you yet, Eberts. There is hope for you yet..."
There was a tap at the door of the filing-room and the two looked up with alarm. Danny walked in. "Don't worry, guys. Just me." She smiled. "It's good to see that you're getting so much work done."
"Danny, Eberts was just telling me the 1090 story."
"You've never heard that before?" Danny shook her head. "Priceless, man. Eberts, you are cuddly evil incarnate."
Eberts smiled and nodded. "Cuddly evil."
"Cuddly evil?" Bobby asked, staring. "Share, Danny."
"No time now. It's almost dinner time."
"I've been filing all day? Without lunch?"
"Yes. And if you start whining about it, I shall..." Danny paused, considering an adequately horrible punishment. "Tell Darien about that time you got drunk and said all those truly remarkable things about Claire."
"I'll be good, I'll be good." Bobby held up his hands. "Promise. Sheesh!"
"What remarkable things?" Eberts asked.
"That's need to know, my friend." Bobby informed him.
"Can we go now?" Danny asked, folding her arms over her chest.
Darien and Claire arrived at the restaurant last. "Sorry we're late." Darien said. "Um, traffic."
"Yes," Claire agreed, nodding, "traffic."
"Traffic?" Bobby asked.
"Traffic." Danny said firmly, resting her hand on his leg.
It suddenly occurred to Bobby that this was not an entirely affectionate gesture, and he closed his mouth. "So, the gang's all here."
"Yup." Monroe smiled and nodded. "I can't believe that you actually managed to get back to the states, Kevin."
Kevin shrugged. "Small effort to make for my little brother and his beautiful wife." He grinned at the two of them and raised his wine-glass. "You're a lucky man, Darien. I envy you." He grinned at Monroe. "Almost."
Monroe laughed and gently socked Kevin on the shoulder.
"Make your announcement, guys." Claire said, nodding encouragingly.
"No, Claire." Monroe shook her head. "This is your special day."
"Go ahead, guys." Darien said, nodding. "Kev, I know you're dying to tell everyone. Alex?"
"Alright, okay." Monroe smiled and opened her mouth. Her face turned bright red. "God, I can't say it. Kevin."
He laughed and hugged her. "Alex is going to be a mother."
"Interesting the way in which you completely fail to mention yourself in that." Danny said.
"Well, I doubt she'll let me near the baby for the first five or six years." Kevin smiled and bowed his head. "But I'm looking forward to the time when she does."
"Congratulations, Miss Monroe." The Official said, raising his glass. "Doctor Fawkes."
"Thank you, sir." Monroe smiled at him. "Claire, obviously we're going to need all the help we can get on this."
"Man." Darien shook his head, grinning.
"What?" Monroe asked, frowning. "Did I say something funny?"
"Oh, it's not you. It's... us."
"Us?" Monroe asked, staring.
Darien nodded. "This Agency. Us. I had a nightmare this morning--"
"Darien." Claire said softly.
He ignored her. "And it occurred to me that the worst thing about it was that we weren't like this. No one was smiling, no one was calm or happy or looking forward to the future. It was just... not like this."
"That's very sweet, Agent Fawkes." Danny observed quietly.
"I love you guys. You're like... the greatest family a guy could hope for." He smiled. "Except for Kevin who remains the most truly obnoxious older brother in the world."
Kevin laughed and raised his glass again. "Which makes us the most truly obnoxious pair of siblings in the world. At least our in-laws are sweet and gentile creatures."
"Oh, please!" Monroe snorted.
Claire laughed. Darien shook his head and slid an arm around Claire. "So, how was work today? Did we miss anything?"
"Bobby got shot." Danny contributed.
"Oh, Bobby!" Claire said, turning to him. "Are you okay?"
"Thanks, Danny." Bobby muttered. "Fine, Claire."
"What happened?" Claire asked.
"Oh, God..." Bobby muttered.
Danny grinned and patted him on the shoulder. "So we're facing off against these Chinese Agents, right, and the woman pulls out a gun and points it--"
"Waiter!" Bobby said quickly. "I think we're ready to order now."
Darien laughed and shook his head. "Well, you aren't singing soprano, Hobbes, so I assume the story has a happy ending?"
"Yeah, except for the part where yours truly is shot and then forced to spend the afternoon filing."
"They tortured you, too?" Darien jumped out of his seat, circled the table, and embraced Bobby in a bear-hug. "Those monsters!"
Even Eberts laughed.
"Eberts, man." Bobby said. "Tell them the 1090 story."
"Eberts knows a joke?" Monroe asked, smiling. "Eberts, I'm shocked!"
They spent the rest of the evening trading jokes and war-stories and generally behaving in a manner which greatly annoyed and offended the other diners.
Darien woke up with a yawn. He tried to stretch and found that he could not move his arms. "Um... Claire?"
"Darien. How are you?"
He looked up at her. "Well, honey, I'd be better if I could move."
Claire recoiled slightly. "What did you call me?"
"I'm sorry." Darien shook his head. "I'm still half asleep."
"Obviously." Claire reached down and loosened his restraints. "Have a nice dream?" She smiled. "You seemed to be enjoying yourself."
Darien nodded. "Kevin was alive."
Claire smiled. "Don't try to sit up, yet. I don't want you tearing any stitches. We restrained you so that you wouldn't hurt yourself."
"Monroe shot me?"
"You don't remember?"
"I thought it was part of the dream."
"No." Claire shook her head.
Darien sighed. "I went quicksilver mad?"
She nodded. "And then you broke the syringe of Counteragent that I brought. Do you remember?"
"Faintly." He closed his eyes. "Did I hurt her?"
"No. You just startled her a bit by jumping at her like that." Claire smiled reassuringly down at him.
"Did I hurt you?" Darien asked uncertainly.
"Not at all, Darien. Why did you call me that?"
"Call you what?"
"'Honey'. You called me 'honey' when you woke up."
"I thought you were someone else for a minute."
"Who?" Claire asked gently.
"In my dream, I was married with a little girl. Her name was Irene."
Claire smiled. "That's my mother's name."
"Really?" Darien asked softly. "It's a pretty name."
"I've always thought so. I plan on naming my first daughter Irene." Claire shook her head. "What was your wife's name?"
Claire smiled at him and patted his shoulder. "Try to get some rest, okay, Darien?"
Darien nodded and closed his eyes.
Claire checked his I.V. and turned towards the door. "I hope you have another lovely dream, Darien."
Darien sighed. "Me too."