Author: Auditory Eden

Rating: T

Warnings: Speculation, mentions of sex

Notes: Just because he can joke about his daughter having a crush on the good doctor, doesn't mean Mr Moretti will be as sanguine about her dating him.

The Little Moments

There are some things in life that just suck unbelievably. I can tell you firsthand that among them, in no particular order, are telling your dad about your first boyfriend, calling your parents the first time you have a car accident, marrying a guy to prove someone else wrong, getting dead drunk for the first time, having a pregnancy scare, and telling your dad that you're sleeping with your former professor of neuroscience.

That last one was kind of an accident, though.

I've always been pretty open with my parents about my life. I told my mom pretty much everything back in high school, at least the things that I didn't think would either give her an apoplexy or get me grounded until the end of the world, and at the beginning of college I was a little more open than usual. Living on my own was new and a little scary, so I might have accidentally confessed over the dinner table that one of my professors was incredibly hot stuff.

Daniel, or Professor Pierce, as I called him back then, was probably one of the most attractive guys I knew. Really cute in a scruffy way, skinny, nerdy, with these wire-rim glasses that frankly have nothing on the ones he wears now. He was young for a professor, too, maybe only twenty-eight or twenty-nine. Jessica Glasse, my roommate sophomore year, said the University had hired him pretty much right after he got his doctorate. I don't know if that's true, I've never asked him, but he has told me that he was diagnosed three years before he started teaching. So he was this slightly older, hot guy and he was funny and intelligent, and his lectures were interesting. And I might have talked about him over Sunday dinner a lot. Enough that my parents, especially my dad, who has always payed way too much attention to any guys I might be interested in, guessed that I had a huge crush on him.

You have no idea how glad I was that he never figured out exactly how huge.

So I talked about him all the way through college, and then I went to Quantico, so I wasn't in the house anymore, but that's not really on topic because the closest I was to Daniel then was reading his books and an occasional email about one of my classes.

After I graduated from Quantico I went back to Chicago, and one day there was a murder suspect displaying acute symptoms of Pseudologia fantastica, or what you might call compulsive lying disorder. But I wasn't and still am not qualified to make diagnoses so I called Daniel and asked to him to come to the FBI to talk to the guy.

Then I emailed him, since he never called back.

Then I went and found him and escorted him to the FBI under protest.

That was how he got involved in consulting for a government agency, and believe me, was he unhappy about it at first. I thought it was weird that he was so convinced that everything about my job and my employers was out to get him, thought for a while that, nerdy guy that he is, he might have been some kind of conspiracy freak. It took me a while to find out about his schizophrenia, and the way I did find out was kind of scary for both of us.

I had manhandled Daniel into the FBI building again to observe the victim of an attempted murder who'd sustained severe head trauma, and we were sitting in the booth, watching the questioning, when this guy came in, really men-in-black and creepy.

"Doctor Pierce, can we have a word?" he said, and Daniel got really agitated, asking why he had to talk to him and why was the guy calling himself "we". The man just said it was important that Daniel speak with him, but Daniel didn't want to go with him, and as I was the person who'd drafted him into consulting and pretty much the only person in the FBI he trusted at all, he turned to me and asked if he really had to talk to this guy.

I had no idea who the man was, so I said, if they wanted to talk to Daniel, I'd prefer to be with him, so wasn't this okay right now, and the man came out and said, "Agent Moretti, I don't think you understand. Now, Doctor Pierce has a medical condition that could potentially make him a danger to yourself and to the FBI. We need to evaluate him and assess whether or not he can continue to work cases."

When I was a student, his student, I'd always had a sneaking feeling that possibly something wasn't entirely right with him. Sometimes he'd get a little distracted during a lecture, seeing something I could never catch sight of, or acting like he was trying to ignore something that wasn't there. Once or twice I'd heard him talking to himself, but I hadn't really set anything by it because loads of people talk to themselves. I do. Ever drop by my apartment unannounced and you'll probably hear me discoursing loudly to no one. But I know I'm talking to the air. Daniel doesn't.

I asked Daniel what the guy was talking about, if he was sick, and instead of telling me anything or making it easier he kind of freaked out and clammed up. In hindsight I know that his problems are embarrassing for him, and having them revealed to someone who looked up to him the way I did would have been pretty painful, but back then it only made me panic about what could possibly be so wrong with him that he wouldn't tell me. But he didn't argue about my being with him, so I went to his interview with the FBI shrink.

Not to be melodramatic, a little piece of my heart broke when the doctor said, "So, Doctor Pierce. I understand that you were diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1987?"

After his evaluation he went back to the booth for interview one, watched for a couple minutes, and declared that the victim had a concussion and should be checked out at the hospital, and took off before I could talk to him about what had happened. I kept trying to find him, but he avoided me for a week, and after that wouldn't talk to me about anything but cases for months.

We worked together for three years, and in all that time he only ever talked about his condition once, to apologize for not telling me and to say that he had it under control. Then I got promoted, and left Chicago for DC, where I met and married Donny, who was another one of those things that suck incredibly, especially after I realized that he couldn't deal with the fact that I was a cop and could shoot a gun. The moment he signed the divorce papers was one of the best in my life.

Oh, jeez, I was telling you about...Well, not that. Sorry.

I told you that I got promoted. It didn't take me very long to demoted again to be honest, and so I was back in Chicago, wallowing in the shame of my exile, when a woman confessed to the murder of her husband under very suspicious circumstances. So I went and found Daniel, he still doesn't have a phone even now, and brought him in.

And yes, since you seem so very interested, I did enjoy watching him get a pat down. For a variety of reasons.

Stuff happened, one thing lead to another, and eventually—very eventually—Daniel and I ended up falling into bed with each other. And, corny as it sounds, in love, which probably happened before we had sex but neither of us admitted it until way after. For us, or for me, at least, it was natural. Daniel maybe less so; it's a lot more awkward of a position for a teacher to be in, falling in love with a student, than it is for a student to fall in love with her teacher. On his side there would have been more judgment, more consequences. In that kind of relationship the teacher gets the blame, so while I was cheerfully fantasizing about my attractive professor Daniel would have been more worried, trying to create distance, and he'd always been good at maintaining that distance because of his condition. I never really felt that there would have been anything inappropriate about us having sex or a relationship, at least not after I graduated because I wasn't that oblivious, but I think Daniel might have had some trouble adjusting to the idea.

But not nearly as much trouble as Dad had.

I said earlier that my parents knew that I liked him in college, and when Dad met him again during the Date Night case I just about died when he recognized him. I mean, really. Your daughter follows in your footsteps, makes you proud and all that good stuff, and she's working the case from when you were on the force, would you come out an tell the slightly familiar guy that she's clearly friends with that she'd had an enormous crush on you in college? I wouldn't. I could have killed him for that.

The way Daniel and I got together was unconventional, let's say. We didn't really flirt, unless you call bickering flirting, he definitely didn't ask me out, there were no flowers or romance of any kind. I came over for pizza and a baseball game after a particularly bad case, and some time after Lewicki took off to meet some of his friends for the night we got talking about the murder and I kissed him, which somehow led pretty directly to having sex on the couch in the living room. We got up to his room after that and passed out, so in the morning I got to deal with all the fun problems that come with sleeping with your schizophrenic teacher-cum-friend-and-occasional-advisor, who hadn't really been expecting it and hadn't dealt with that kind of situation since he was getting his undergrad many, many years ago. Oh, and because we had pretty much just stumbled upstairs after we had sex on his couch, his TA and live-in helper found my underwear under the coffee table.

We had a very serious discussion and agreed that what had happened was totally unprofessional and would never happen again, but it did, two nights later, so we sort of bowed to inevitable and at least made sure that we had protection. Morning after pills are really expensive, believe me. It was almost a relief to be back on regular birth control. We'd been having sex for two months before either of us admitted to the other that we actually liked them, but by that time people at the FBI, otherwise known as Roger, had figured out that we were sleeping together and started spreading rumors. And since my dad runs a cop bar, I had to talk to him about Daniel before someone else did.

I said earlier that it was painful for Daniel when I found out about his condition. It was so, so much worse for me when I told Dad about us.

I had heard the day before from another agent, by way of an amused comment and a question about how good Daniel was, that apparently everyone knew, so I headed out bright and early to explain everything to my father before he could bring the Spanish Inquisition to Chicago. I walked into his bar, I went up to the counter, I braced myself to start the conversation, and he said, "So who is it you're seeing now, Katie?"

I hate it when my parents do that. Everyone must. But instead of keeping my head like the adult my job and my degree and the fact that I've been married and divorced again say I am, I blurt out, "What? Who told you that?" and Dad informs me sagely that he hears things, of course.

So I stared at him like a deer in the road for a minute, and finally I glanced around to see if there was anyone there to witness my humiliation, and ask, "Dad, you remember Daniel, right?"

"Yeah, of course I do," he said, and he sounded really cheerful about it, but it's not like I didn't learn anything by dating in high school, and his face was like a storm getting ready to drench you with thunder and lightening.

So of course I took the tactful approach and eased him into it. "We're sleeping together," is what I actually said. I have no idea what demon possessed me when I said those words, the last words you ever, ever want to say to your father. He probably thought Donny and I were painting each other's toenails on our wedding night, and he'd shoot every one of my high school boyfriends if he knew I'd first had sex at sixteen.

So in the way he did when I told him I was engaged, he exclaimed, with all the grace of a rampaging bull, "What!?" and instead of taking this opportunity to take back my statement and tell Dad in good, calm English that I was seeing Daniel and yes I would bring him to dinner, and just so you know he has schizophrenia, but he's fine, really, I heard my own mouth begin to babble about how he's a great guy and that I'm completely okay with his mental illness and Dad shouldn't worry and I didn't want him to find out this way but I was afraid he'd overhear something from his customers and finally I stammered myself into silence while he gave me a stare that would have meant I was grounded for eternity if I wasn't paying my own rent. Dad is the only person in the known universe who can make me as stupid as I was at that moment.

"Young lady, do you mean to tell me that," and here Dad paused, his eyebrows practically sending off sparks of rage, "your professor has been making sexual advances on you?"

I thank God every day that he gave me back my ability to speak English in time to say, "No, Dad, he hasn't." Instead of what I probably would have said otherwise; I kissed him first.

"Then what do you mean, Katie?" my dad asked, still clearly dangerously angry.

I mustered my best charming smile and said, as I should have from the beginning, "I'm seeing Daniel, Dad."

The thunder cloud didn't lessen, and Dad, in his very best fatherly anger voice, said, "You're sleeping with your professor."

"I'm not," I protested. "I haven't taken a class with him in more than a decade, Dad."

"He was your professor for four years, Katie!" Dad thundered, and while I was saying, "Just three!" I was also being stunned by just how unhappy my dad was about it. And, you know, wallowing in the incredible suckishness of the situation.

"And what did you mean, his mental illness?" Dad said suddenly, changing tack.

"Wha—?"

"You said you're okay with his mental illness. What did you mean."

Another stumper. There is really no good way to tell your overprotective Italian father that your boyfriend is schizophrenic. "He's got schizophrenia, Dad," I said.

Okay, look. This is really even more painful for me to remember than it is for you to hear it, so could we maybe gloss over the rest of it? Quickly?

Dad blustered for a while more and made some threats, and I tried to explain and finally ended up saying that if he did anything to Daniel I would shoot him between the eyes, which convinced him that I was still sane and could possibly decide for myself whether or not to date a man I had been working with in a non-instructive capacity for close to ten years. Yeah, I know how it sounds, but we're a cop family. He made me swear to bring Daniel to dinner on Sunday, which shouldn't be terribly hard because he never has any plans, though I'm sure he wouldn't want me to be telling the world that he has less of a social life than your average amoeba.

I know it sounds like this was all relatively painless, and I guess from a certain perspective it was. I mean, I didn't get disowned, and no one got shot, so that's good, but if you think Dad was over it, you are dead wrong. That Sunday when I brought Daniel along, all nicely groomed and everything, he did all the terrible dad things he could possibly do; the prying questions, the what are your intentions towards my daughters, the dark looks. I think you get the idea. It was everything a self-respective dad would do if their daughter brought home a drummer or something, except that Daniel is a good man with a good job and multiple degrees who just happens to have been paid to stand in front of a room I occupied and talk about neuroscience, and occasionally read an essay that I wrote, and who also happens to have paranoid schizophrenia.

Just how awful those moments were can still make me cringe, although that makes Daniel laugh these days. Dad's more or less stopped threatening him with bodily harm, so he's convinced everything's fine, but I know better.

And I'm going to make him tell Dad when we decide to get married.

x

Parting Comments: I'm really, really obsessed with Perception. It's like a disease, and I can't seem to stop writing for Daniel and Kate, even though most of it is either a) handwritten or b)unfit for public consumption, and will therefor never be read. I've had a lot of success writing about them from Roger or Michael Hathaway's perspective, though, so you might see those in the near future.

Hugs and Kisses,

Eden