The Code 47 Revelation Aftermath
Summary: Wendy and the Middleman discuss their feelings after "Clotharian Contamination Protocol"… Friendship fic, non-shippy. Set directly between the Middleman and Wendy's discussion in HQ and Wendy going off to see Tyler… FATBOY Industries will suck out his soul faster than an un-reformed succubus!!
Spoilers: Minor for "Clotharian Contamination Protocol"
Feedback: a girl's best friend. Coveted the way a Manacoid covets shiny rocks. Feed the girl and she may just write more in this fandom…
The Code 47 Revelation Aftermath
The Middleman turned away from Wendy, putting the mini-HEYDAR down on his desk. He rested both hands on top of it, not turning.
"You're still alive," he whispered. The pain in his voice made her flinch harder than an unexpected blow would have.
"I am still alive," she answered, resting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "We both are. That's a positive outcome."
"Yes, but…" His whole body shook and he still would not face her.
"Turn around," she directed. "Come on. Look at me."
He did so slowly, not quite looking at her. Tears welled at the corners of his eyes, unspilled but threatening. "Oh, Wendy…"
"Yeah, but it's okay. I'm right here," she tried to comfort him. The idea of her soothing him was just short of insane, but having just faced the threat of death at the hands of a bunch of nanobots, she thought she was up to the challenge. "Come here."
He pulled her into the hug with a kind of rough urgency, as if confirming to himself that she was still there, still in one piece. Wendy hugged him right back, burying her face in his chest. They stood clinging to each other for what could have been seconds or hours before the Middleman gently pushed her away and took her chin in his hand, lifting her face so he could look her in the eye.
"Did you really mean those things you said? Really?"
Wendy closed her eyes rather than look at him. There was quiet desperation writ across his face.
"Of course I meant it."
"Wendy… I am so glad you made it." He managed a shaky smile.
"We're survivors. It's what we do."
"You're the best apprentice I've ever had," he told her.
"How many of us have there been?"
"Too many." He turned away again. "But, of them all, you've been something special. I'm glad you're proving so resilient."
She grasped his shoulder. "Whatever happens, from here on out, it's been one wild ride."
"I know, Dubbie."
A nod. A weak gesture, still almost defeated…
"Don't be like that," she urged. "Come on, Boss. We made it! We're okay! Look at everything we've accomplished these past few months. Nothing is ever going to change that."
"No, but neither is anything ever going to change the fact that I nearly lost you today." He shook his head.
"But you didn't, did you? I'm still right here, annoying Ida and driving you just nuts with all my stupid questions. Your Middlegirl is on-task. The apprentice thing is still being done. You don't have to say goodbye again, not permanently. Not even temporarily, because I am right here…"
He spun to face her. "And the day that changes?" he demanded.
"The day that changes won't matter. Because we will still be right with each other. You know what you need to know about me, about us. 'Nuff said."
He smiled sadly. "It hardly seems like 'enough'."
"Well, then, it's good that the future's a big, open place. We're going to make it, you and I. I promise."
"There's something I want you to see…"
"No." She shook her head. "When it's goodbye, it's goodbye. I don't want to see what you filmed for me this time."
"Wendy Watson," he recited. "If I've been like a father to you, it's only because you've been like a daughter to me. The kind of child most men could only ever pray for. Everything you've ever done: the fights you've fought, the stands you've taken… they have served as points of pride and examples of what a man can dare to expect from one of his own. If I had ever had a daughter, I could only pray she would have been like you. You know how to make a man proud. You do the right thing by instinct, fight the good fight out of passion. You're everything a Middleman should be, and you are something more."
It was Wendy's turn to hug him now, to grab him and hold him close and just feel his presence. He gave an agonized groan, holding her close until he lifted her feet from the floor.
"Well done, Wendy Watson."
She smiled weakly up at him. "Me and you, Boss. Nothing we can't take."
"Oh, I dearly hope so." He returned her feet to the floor slowly, almost reluctantly. "It's getting late. Tyler will be expecting you."
"Tyler will understand if I have to stay at work late."
He shook his head. "There's no need to put the man out."
He gathered her into another hug, pressing his lips to her cheek until she felt herself color.
"What we have is special. What you have with Tyler is special, too. Go to him, Dubbie. I can clean up here on my own. It's like you said: we're okay. We made it." He nodded and released her, pushing her away with obvious reluctance, but staring at her with nothing but pride. "We made it. I'll write the report. You go out and have your normal life. I'll see you in the morning."
"That a promise?"
"I've never been one to promise women much of anything. You're one of a rare few who have had my word. I'll see you tomorrow."
His smile was back and it was a relief to see. Wendy threw her arms around his neck in a quick embrace before turning and hurrying to the changing room. Time to go home to her normal life. When she left, the Middleman was there to watch her go, and he was smiling a genuine, unforced smile. She gave him another hug and a kiss on the cheek before heading out to return to the real world, the one that did not reward men and women like the Middleman. No wonder he preferred his time in the office. Climbing into her car, she waved in the direction of the building, not even sure if he could see her, let alone whether he was still watching.
The Middleman did see her, and he raised his own hand in farewell, pressing it across the glass.
"Excellent job, Dubbie. Way to show grace under pressure." Laughing weakly, he turned and headed back for Ops. "That's why I hired you," he added, alone in the room. He nodded. "Very well played. I almost can't wait to see what we're up against next."
Laughing to himself, he picked up the baby HEYDAR again and walked back to where it had been hanging. Time to return things to normal. The Fight was an old fight. But some things did not change. All any Middleman ever really needed was a good sidekick. And Wendy Watson was definitely one of those.