I wrote this MONTHS ago. Pretty much right after Covert Operations. I had two very different versions in my head, but this is what came out. Neverending Thanks to the brilliant NoCleverSig for Beta'ing out my schizophrenic verb tenses. I don't know what planet my brain was on while writing this...

The rest of the evening had gone wonderfully. It seemed everyone had bought their story completely, evidenced by the fact that Will had to endure at least half a dozen sly nudges, winks, arched eyebrows and all manner of glasses being raised in his honour. Helen, of course, took it all in stride with that perfectly composed, slightly smug, dazzling smile of hers. Will had to admit that a few times he'd wished he could live as long as she, just so he could be so completely in control, so confident. Then he remembered the hardship and loss she'd endured throughout that life and decided he was alright with his own.

All in all, the party had gone swimmingly; so swimmingly, in fact, that they hadn't gotten home until well into the next day, after several more glasses of wine. Will wouldn't call himself a cheap drunk by any stretch of the imagination, but the wine, combined with the perfume Helen was wearing and the effort of trying to NOT think about the incredibly hot… mission, had left him rather loopy. When he dragged himself out of bed at the normal 7am the next day, holding his head and searching not only for his glasses but some Tylenol, he also couldn't help but be embarassed. How could he walk into Helen's office knowing she would be prim and perfect as always, while he, like a teenager, just wanted to lie on a couch and watch TV all day?

Will grudgingly went about his morning routine, and, 45 minutes later, took a deep breath before entering Magnus' office.

And there she was, sipping a cup of tea, with her flawlessly coifed hair resting gently on one shoulder. He mentally sighed, and took a few steps into the room when he suddenly stopped.

Her hair, while resting gloriously on one shoulder, just happened to reveal the neck on the other side.

She's forgotten to do something this morning. Maybe she didn't get that much rest last night either, or had kept working through the night and became so preoccupied that she'd forgotten this one, very important detail. Heh.

It was Will's turn to deliver a smug grin. A very smug grin, which he smothered the instant Helen looked up at him.

"Good morning," she said cheerfully yet professionally. She didn't inquire as to how he was doing or what they should say about last night's mission in the meeting that morning. Ok, she wanted to pretend it hadn't happened, or at least not let the others in on it. He was down with that.

"Morning!" he replied, advancing on his chair and plopping down. None of them actually had officially assigned seating of any sort, but as the months went by, and they had grown accustomed to the morning briefings, everyone just ended up gravitating towards specific chairs, and staying there. It was nice.

Within moments, the rest of the team arrived. Kate and Henry walked in at the same time. In fact, they were so engaged in their conversation over whether Superman would like "experimental garage acid" music that they both tried to enter the door simultaneously, and got a little squished. Kate gave a loud sound of exasperation and shoved Henry out of the way, before plopping down in her chair. Henry rubbed his arm dramatically and yelled, "Hey!" but didn't pursue the matter further. The Big Guy followed them, shaking his head, and opting to stay standing behind Kate's seat.

"Good Morning everyone," Magnus began. A chorus of "Hey Doc's" and the like ensued.

"I'm happy to report that Will and my mission yesterday was a great success. Henry, you'll find the weapons' schematics already loaded onto your computer in the small weapons lab."

Henry's face lit up as if he'd just been told he could open a present the day before Christmas.

"Awesome! Thanks Doc. I'm really excited to see if they have a triconian alloy base on the…"

"Yeah, yeah," interrupted Kate. "When and where do we get to bust in and take the weapon back?"

Magnus smiled slightly and shook her head at the youthful enthusiasm being shown for her team's favourite things.

"I won't know that until Henry analyzes the weapon and determines what course of action will be needed to secure it."

Kate slumped a little in her chair.

Will resisted the urge to start tapping his finger on his leg, upset that this team of highly trained abnormal hunters hadn't noticed a certain new 'abnormality' on Helen's neck. It was rather obvious, after all. Come on people!

A few more minutes of normal shop talk flew by before Will, in his slightly hungover, sleep deprived impatient state decided it was time to force their hands.

"Hey Magnus, I've got a question about last night," he said, keeping the tone of his voice completely neutral, despite the excitement and apprehension growing inside.

He saw Kate go for a sip of water from the bottle she'd magically produced, and couldn't help a small grin escape.

Magnus turned her head to look at Will, exposing her neck even further, and suddenly water flew across the room and Kate was coughing and thumping her chest. Henry leaped out of his chair in shock, wondering what prompted such a sudden move. He looked over at Magnus, at first to see if she knew what was happening, but then he saw it.

Her neck.

Not one, not two, but THREE hickeys were all lined up in a pretty little row.

Ho-ly $%&!

The techie completely forgot about the ex-mercenary who was flailing under his hands and just stared at his boss, friend, mentor, one could even say mother- figure.

Then he realized Magnus had also forgotten about Kate and was giving him an odd look.

He shook his head, snapped his jaw shut, and went back to helping Kate settle. It took a few minutes, especially seeing as the Big Guy tried to assist at one point, but soon everyone was back in their chairs, and the water Kate had involuntarily spewed across Magnus' shiny office was wiped clean, thanks to the sweater the ex-mercenary had grudgingly given up to clean with.

Silence reigned for a moment while Magnus made sure everyone was indeed paying attention.

"Well then… Kate., are you alright?"

"Yeah… yeah I'm fine, sorry about that!"

"May I ask what happened?"

Kate knew Magnus was speaking from a doctor's perspective and meant well, and had to think fast to come up with an answer.

"Just went down the wrong pipe!" she said, shrugging and offering a self-deprecating smile. Henry snorted softly, and she kicked him. Magnus gave a half smile – one of those ones with the drawn eyebrows that said "Ok, I still don't get what's going on but I guess I'll let this slide."

Will, who had tried to stay out of the drama and simply watch the scene unfold, was really hoping that it wasn't going to end like that. Henry and Kate weren't ones to let something like this slide, and, he admitted to himself, if he didn't know what had happened to Magnus, he'd have been right there with them. Perhaps he'd be more concerned, initially, given all the vampiric type abnormals out there, but really, in the end, a hickey just looks like a hickey. On Magnus. Heh. Maybe a few years, or even months ago, he'd have been afraid of giving Magnus a good ribbing, but he was comfortable enough in his position within the "family" now that he was willing. The Big Guy? Will really didn't know. He certainly liked cuffing people upside the head, but would he actually play pranks? It was the quiet ones you usually had to watch out for…The young man decided he didn't ever want to find out.

"May I ask what happened to you?" Kate continued, eyes all wide and innocent.

Will was impressed – she'd got right down to it, didn't she! He observed Henry shoot Kate a very quick, appreciative glance which he tried to cover up by looking past Will at something on the wall, pretending to be enthralled by it. Will chuckled, silently.

"I'm sorry?" Magnus folded her hands on her desk.

"Last night. I mean, I know the mission was a success, and all, but it seemed like a pretty high class affair… Were there any, like… celebrities or anything?"

Wow, ok, maybe she did have some subtlety. This was interesting.

Magnus shook her head, smiling once again, "No, sorry to dissapoint. While there were many people of high stature and position, you wouldn't know any of them. Just politicians and the like."

"Are you sure?" pressed Kate, crossing her legs. "No George Clooney? No Richard Dean Anderson, or other such dashing gentlemen?"

Magnus was fully frowning by now, and not just because of the new members uncharacteristic language "No, sorry Kate, no such 'dashing gentlemen'"

"Oh," Kate was frowning now too, "Because it looks like you had a really good time is all."

Magnus started slightly at this, hands unfolding and back straightening in her chair. Will could sense a tiny light flicker in her eyes, and for a second he thought she might look towards him.

"What makes you say that?" she replied coolly.

By this time both Henry and Kate were covering their mouths to keep from laughing. Magnus' frown is deepened, and she chanced a glance at Will, who shrugged, and waved his hands around in confusion. She turned to her trusted friend, still standing behind Kate's chair. Will was amazed at what happened next.

Bigfoot regarded her for a moment before slowly bringing his hand up to scratch at his neck. Magnus was puzzled for a only a second before the flicker of light in her eyes amped up like a firework, and her own hand jumped before she got it under control, forcing it to not fly up to her exposed neck. She managed to keep her mouth closed only by clenching her jaw so hard Will swore teeth should have been cracking.

By now, Henry and Kate had completely given up all pretense of ignorance and were half falling out of their chairs in laughter. Will wasn't that much, if any, years older than them, but couldn't help thinking "Oh children" as tears started to roll down their faces. The real kicker, however, was that Bigfoot had joined in. He was guffawing like Will had never heard before. Will almost lost it too. Instead, he took a deep breath, and tried to recite psychiatry textbooks to stay composed. He leaned back in his chair, crossed one leg over his knee, and clasped his hands in front of him in an almost Dr. Evil style satisfied way. This is what she got for all the striding about in triumph last night, talking about "young friends" and "billiards rooms" and the like.

By now, Magnus had every so properly adjusted her hair to fall upon both shoulders, as usual. She calmly folded her hands back together to rest on her desk, and then she looked at him. That intense, all-knowing gaze that managed to say so much without any words. That damn silent communication thing again.

You knew, didn't you.


You wanted this to happen.


Cheeky bloody monkey.

He grinned, very, very smugly.

Turnabout is fair play.


So, was it how you thought things would go? If so, cool, if not, well, my way's better! HAHA, just kidding, I'd LOVE to hear how you thought everyone could have found out! Pweeze Review :)