Chapter Four: Before the Darkness Turns to Light
"Hi, Deveraux," Vince greeted as he entered the shape shifter's apartment. "Can we talk?"
"I guess," Deveraux shrugged. "Did you kill him? 'Cause I told you to wait until—"
"No one is going to kill Peter," Vince interrupted Rebecca.
"Not even after what he pulled?"
"What he did in going behind my back was wrong, as was his leading you to believe that I knew about all of this. But he was right about me wanting another child." Vince took Deveraux's hand. "Peter may have sprung this on me, but you should know that this is a wanted pregnancy."
Deveraux smiled, feeling relieved.
"Now that that's settled, can we talk about the terms of the contract your husband made me sign?"
"He told me about the confidentiality provision, that's non-negotiable."
"I was thinking more about—"
"You not having parental rights to the child is also non-negotiable."
"Let's get this clear: You're a surrogate. Peter hired you to do us a service for the next nine months. That's all."
"No fair. I am so not getting paid enough for this," Deveraux pouted.
"Hey there, Trip," Jack Kirchner greeted his stepson as he entered the car. Jack was picking the teen up outside ARK Tower, getting ready to drive him to the home they shared with Dana. (In the beginning, Trip's mom would pick him up, but now that she was in her final trimester, Dana was staying closer to home.)
"Jack," Trip acknowledged him. He'd come to like this stepfather. He might not be able to support his mom in the same manner as the one Peter provided his father, but Trip sensed that the attorney was more trustworthy… (That thought probably would have struck him as noteworthy, if not for the fact that his mom was a lawyer, too.)
"Who's with mom?" Trip asked. He was certain that Jack hadn't left his very-pregnant wife alone when someone at ARK Tower could've given him a lift if necessary.
"Kia," Jack replied, naming Dana's best friend from work.
"And how is mom?"
"She's fine. She had a check-up the other day. Everything's going along as it should. Just think Trip: After the baby is born, your days of living with a hormonal pregnant woman will be over."
"Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about that," Trip responded. How did this happen to him? For most of his life he'd been an only child. Within another year he'd have a total of three siblings. Although, he supposed his stepsister wasn't that bad…even if she did worship coffee. After all, she did promise to teach him how to hotwire a car when he got older.
"What do you mean?" Jack asked, puzzled.
"Dad and Peter said they've found a surrogate and they're having a baby."
The car came very close to swerving off the road.
"What the..? Watch the road!" Trip yelled.
The two exited Jack's car, ready to enter the house.
"Trip," Jack began. "I don't think you should mention your dad's news to your mother just yet."
"Why shouldn't I?" Trip asked.
"Well, the shock might—"
"What shock?" Dana interrupted, as she opened the door for them.
"Dana, you didn't have to get the door for us. I had my key," her husband deflected as they went inside.
"I heard you pull up. It's not like you to linger outside chatting," she said, as she lowered herself into an armchair.
"In the bathroom, I think. So, give. What shock?"
"It's nothing," Jack replied.
"Okay," Dana replied skeptically. "So, Trip: Anything interesting happen at your father's?"
Trip looked between the two adults for a moment, before replying. Why did Jack seem to think it should be kept a secret? In his experience, secrets had only served to tear his family apart.
"Yeah, actually. Dad and Peter are going to have a baby."
"What?" Her ex-husband was… No. Trip must be confused. Vince was now married to another man.
"They said 'Aunt' Deveraux was going to be the surrogate and… Mom, are you okay?"
"Terrific," Dana replied. "Jack, I think my water just broke."
"But I thought the baby wasn't due for another week or so," Trip furrowed his brow as his stepfather sprung into action.
"How is she?" Trip asked Jack later that evening. They'd been in Chandler Hospital for several hours. If Trip didn't get some sleep soon, he might become desperate enough to find out what coffee tastes like.
"They're both perfectly healthy," Jack smiled. "Congratulations, Trip. You have a baby sister: Elaine Kirchner, weighing in at seven and a half pounds. You can go meet her now if you like."
Trip nodded and pushed himself out of the waiting room chair. Jack reached out a hand to pause him.
"Now do you see why I didn't want you to tell her?"
"…It's not like Elaine was born that premature… They didn't have to put her in an incubator or anything."
"Jamie, we've been together for three years," Rollo started. The two were in Orwell's bedroom.
"What's your point?"
"When are you going to introduce me to your father?"
"You don't want to meet my father, trust me," Orwell assured him. "Besides, you've met Vince."
Rollo rolled his eyes.
"That doesn't count. I met Vince before you met him."
"If I hadn't sent him that tip that sent him to the train yards and led to him being framed, you wouldn't have met him. Yes, I just heard how that sounded. Don't say anything about it."
"My point is, I'm starting to get the feeling you're ashamed of me," the thief told her.
"Don't be absurd."
"I don't embarrass you?"
"If anyone embarrasses me, it's my father. Or did you forget that he's Chess?"
"I can't really forget it what with you and Vince ranting about it every day. Well, not so much Vince, these past few years. I never thought I'd see a headline as bizarre as: 'ARK CEO ELOPES WITH FUGITIVE.'"
"Well brace yourself, because they'll get weirder."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't." Orwell bit her lip. "I promised Vince and my dad that I wouldn't say anything yet."
"You also promised to introduce me to your dad; that was more than a year ago. Go on, spill. What are the city's vigilante and psychopath up to now?"
"Alright, but if I tell you, you can't tell anyone: Not Max, not Raia, and especially not Ruvi."
As if afraid the room was bugged with her favorite gadgets, the blogger leaned over and whispered in his ear.
"Are you kidding me?"
"Nope; hang on, I'm getting a text." She checked her phone. "It's from Trip."
"What's he doing up at this hour?"
"He's in the Maternity Ward of Chandler Hospital. My stepbrother now has a little sister."
"Who's going to tell Vince?"
"Want to try rock, paper, scissors?" the brunette suggested.
"Hello," Vince answered the phone. He frowned. Instead of saying hello, the person on the other end of the line was laughing, uncontrollably. He knew that laugh. It was the same one he'd heard after he'd discovered he'd married Fleming.
"Ruvi," Vince gritted his teeth. "Anything you'd like to say?" Ruvi took a minute to get control of himself.
"I just wanted to congratulate Chess' queen. When's the baby shower?"
"You piece of," Vince growled as he heard a click. The hypnotist had hung up on him.
He should calm down.
"If there's a problem, I can kill him for you."
Vince shook his head as he turned to the man lying next to him.
"Go back to sleep, Chess."
"You're assuming that I'm Chess."
"I can tell you apart by now," Vince replied.
"Showoff. You didn't notice any difference before I told you our secret. So, what happened?"
"Someone told Ruvi that we're expecting."
"Well, it wasn't me and it wasn't Peter."
"I know and it wasn't me, so who else knew?"
"That would leave Deveraux, your son, and—"
"Orwell," Vince clenched his hands into fists.
"I'm afraid I can't let you hurt her, Vince."
"Can I hurt her computer?"
"By all means, do," Chess answered, amused. "There's something else you want to ask me, isn't there?"
"Peter said that, when Jamie was growing up—"
"That I didn't interfere in her upbringing? Oh, if only he'd let me. Although, you would think her becoming Orwell would be down to my influence and I am rather proud of her…
"Relax, Faraday. I'm not going to screw up our offspring. Lord knows what Peter would do to me if I tried."
"Okay." Strangely enough, the psycho had reassured him. "Goodnight."
"Wait a minute. We're both awake. We don't have to go back to sleep right away."
"What? Peter can't complain about you being unfaithful when we're the same person."
"Oh come on. Admit it: I'm better than he is."
"We are not having this discussion."
"Why not? Couples need to communicate."
"Yeah, well, couples usually don't have three participants." Vince got out of bed.
"Where are you going?"
"On patrol," he answered, as if it were obvious.
"You're not going to find anyone more dangerous than me out there."
"Good. Then you won't be worried about my safety," the Cape smirked, as he finished pulling on his costume.
"Do I at least get a kiss goodbye?"
The hero relented and brushed his lips against the other man's.
"Don't wait up."
Author's Note: Chapter title from Scott Bakula's "Somewhere in the Night."
The scene where Jack is driving and Trip inadvertently makes him lose control for a moment was inspired by one from "Two and a Half Men," where Judith is driving Jake home and he springs something on her.
*sighs* That'll teach me to say that the fic with more reviews gets updated first. Who'd have thought TBC would've done better than the latest chapter of "The Dresden Leap"? Oh well. At least writing for The Cape gives me some satisfaction in the face of the drek NBC is trying to push these days.
Thanks to IronAmerica and Orwell for reviewing!
Bonus points to anyone who knows where Elaine's name came from.