A/N: This is something I usually don't do, since I like to stick closely to canon. But it was a long train trip and my mind wandered and this is where it landed. Just light-hearted silliness.

Daddy's Work


Don hastily stowed his gun and turned just in time to catch the small figure that torpedoed into his arms, swinging him over his shoulder and tickling until he giggled helplessly. Best part of the day. Definitely. "Hey, there, sport! How was pre-school?"

He set the squirming, giggling body back on its small feet.

"It was good." The tiny hand entwined his comfortably. "We talked about what our daddys did for work today."

"Oh yeah?" Don dropped into his favorite chair with a sigh and eyed him curiously. Run themselves off their feet was probably not the official response, he thought ruefully, rubbing at an ache in his shoulder with his free hand. "How'd that go?"

"Good." The hand released his and the compact body dropped at his feet with a thud, distracted by the sight of a half-constructed tower of Tinker toys. "My daddy was the coolest. Everybody said so."

"Yeah?" Don watched the dark head curiously. It was hard to imagine what a room full of four year olds understood about being an FBI Agent, but maybe more than, say, about being a CEO. "You wowed 'em, huh?" Lucky thing they couldn't understand the salary differential, or he would no doubt lose a big part of his coolness factor. Like, instantly.

The dark curls bobbed. "Uh huh. Ronny Pillaster's daddy is a fireman, and that's pretty cool, but not as cool as my daddy. Everybody said so."

Don stopped rubbing his shoulder. "I don't know, bud. Fireman is a pretty cool job. They rescue people and save lives – they take a lot of chances."

"Yeah." The curls bobbed again. "Pretty cool. They have a neat hat. But my daddy carries a gun."

Don's hand, and his stomach, both plummeted. Uh oh. "Well, yeah, sure…" he said slowly. "But – I mean, that's not all I do, right? It's just – like – an accessory."

The small face rose to study him curiously. "What's a access – access – "

"Um…it means that the gun is just sort of like a back up piece of my job. It's not really what I do."

The little forehead wrinkled. "You wear it all the time. I seen it."

"Well, not all the time. I just wear it for wo – " He stopped and rubbed at his shoulder again, then sighed. "Come here for a minute, buddy." He slipped his hands under the diminutive arms and lifted the solid little form onto his knee. The tiny hands fisted around the Tinker toys, bringing them along, but snuggled in willingly anyway. Don looked at the content expression and felt a familiar ache around his heart. Robin was right – the face was disturbingly like a miniature version of the one that looked back from his own mirror: same dark, almond shaped eyes and full, pouty mouth. He ran a gentle finger down the unmistakable, razor-straight nose. "What I'm trying to say is that Daddy's gun is just a piece of what he does – not the most important thing. Most importantly, FBI Agents help protect people, and make them safe and keep them from harm. That's cool, don't you think?"

The dark eyes blinked doubtfully.

Don took a deep breath and tried again. "A gun is – well, it's just a tool. There are other ways to protect people. Ways that don't use guns. Like your Uncle Charlie – he helps protect people, but he does it with chalk and math and formulas. That's pretty cool, don't you think?"

The dark eyes grew even more doubtful. "Okay," he said politely at last. "Can I play now?"

"Just – just one more second, okay? I don't want you to think…Poppy. Your Poppy helps people too. He helps design cities and buildings and parks and things we use every day – that's cool, right?"

The mouth pursed thoughtfully. "Like with the Tinker toys?"

"Yeah." Now this was going better. "Like that. Only big."

"That's cool." He shifted on Don's lap so he could lean back against his chest and Don rested his chin lightly on top of the small head. The dark curls smelt of sunshine. "Does Poppy carry a gun too?"

"Poppy?" Don's chin jerked up. "No, no – Poppy – Poppy isn't a big fan of guns. He doesn't carry one."

"Oh." The tone was decidedly disdainful. "Can I go?"

"Yeah – just – " Don ran a hand over his hair. "Say, you know what Daddy's job is like? It's not like the gun – it's more like – you know the vest Daddy wears sometimes?"

The small head perked up. "The one that's all stiff?"

"That's right. That's a vest for protection. It can stop bullets."

The dark eyes grew huge. "Like Superman?" he whispered.

"Well, not quite like…" Man, he was not good at this. "But I guess. Kinda."

"Because you work for the Eff-bee-eye…?"

"That's right. Daddy's job is meant to stop bullets, not fire them. You understand?"

"Uh huh. Can I go play with Danny now?"

Don dropped a kiss on the silky crown. "Sure thing. So you know what to say next time somebody asks you about Daddy's work?"

"Uh huh." Round limbs flailed as he scrambled down. Feet pattered happily toward the back door. "My Daddy wears a cool vest and carries a gun." The patter picked up speed. "Danny! Guess what? My daddy stops bullets like Superman!"

Don jerked erect. "Hey – no – Josh – "

Slender hands slid down his shoulders and kneaded knowingly. "Talk didn't go so well?"

Don relaxed into the hands. "I think I suck at this."

There was a warm chuckle next to his ear. "Cut yourself some slack. He's only four."

"I know, but – I don't want him thinking that's what I'm all about – gunfire. Shoot 'em up. And I don't want to scare him, but I'm not sure it's good for him to think I'm invincible."

"Ah. Well. He is your son."

Don snorted. "Yeah, well, if he's not, that's a heck of a secret you've been keeping from me."

The chuckle deepened. "He's just suffering from a little hero worship. Enjoy it while you can."

"I guess." He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the chair, the ache in his shoulder disappearing under her ministrations. "Guess I've only got about ten more years before that all ends, huh?"

"Probably." Soft lips lingered near his ear. "So don't knock it." The voice grew softer. "Besides – I know just how he feels."

Don grinned slowly. "You do, huh?"

"Mm hm…" The hands slid down his chest. "What do you think, hero – Josh is with Danny and dinner's in the crock pot."

"Crockpot? You cooked?"

"Don't be silly. Your dad dropped it off. I think he thinks I let you starve."

"Naw. It's just an excuse to stop by." He picked up one of her hands and kissed it.

"So. Want to show me what you can do with your gun?"

Don reached up and ran his fingers through the silky strands brushing his cheek. "I already locked it away."

Long fingers toyed with the first button of his shirt, voice deepening. "Silly. That wasn't the gun I was talking about." The button gave way. "I'll even let you wear the vest."