Rating: PG-13(I used a curse word once)
Spoilers: none(pretty much AU)
Pairing: D/C and B/A
Claire felt the happiest she had felt in a very long time. Too bad getting there had involved something that would probably turn out to be a mistake of monumental proportions.
Earlier that day….
The day had begun innocently enough. She had arrived at the lab early, as usual, to prepare for the day and wait for Darien to check in. He'd been late, as usual, and she had given him the expected lecture on punctuality in the workplace.
He hadn't immediately left like he typically did. He sat silently in his chair for several minutes while Claire went about her work before saying, "Do you have plans tonight?"
Claire stopped, looked at him. "Why?" Her voice held a note of suspicion.
"Well…It's just that I wanted to go out tonight and it's not much fun going out alone." He waited for her response.
Claire gave a slight smile and said, "What about Bobby? Have you asked him?"
Darien studied her for a moment trying to decide how to take that. "He's busy tonight. Besides, I was hoping to go dancing and honestly, Hobbes isn't much fun to dance with. He steps on my toes."
Claire's smile widened as she realized that he had been uncertain of how to take her previous comment. "Don't worry, Darien. I'm not questioning your masculinity. I just thought that you and Bobby hung out together a lot."
"Well, you should pay better attention to your wording. A guy could get the wrong idea." He was playing with her now and she knew it.
"Wouldn't want that now. No, I don't have plans tonight." She paused for a moment, thinking, then said, "I'd love to go dancing."
"Cool. When should I pick you up?" Darien had started for the door now, a big grin on his face now that the hard part was over.
"How about 8?" Claire sat down at her computer.
"Cool. See you then." Darien exited the Keep, whistling.
After an evening of dancing….
"Would you like to come in for a cup of coffee?" Claire waited, wondering if this was really a good idea. She had had a wonderful time and she wasn't quite ready for the evening to end. 'Coffee is innocent enough.'
Darien shrugged. "Sure, sounds good."
They walked up the front steps to Claire's townhouse and entered. Pavlov greeted them at the door, but after receiving his ritual doggie treat, retired to a rug in the corner of the living room.
Darien followed Claire into the kitchen and began helping her by pulling out two coffee mugs while she made the coffee. As they waited they chatted about all sorts of trivial little things that they'd never had cause to discuss before. They talked about music and movies, politics, and the strange habits of household pets.
When it was ready, Claire poured coffee into the two mugs and she and Darien seated themselves in the living room. "I had fun tonight. Thank you for asking me." Claire smiled as she spoke.
"Sure. I'm glad I did. You're an awesome dancer." He grinned back at her.
The two of them sat in silence for a moment, not even moving. Then, before either of them really knew what was happening, they were in the midst of a passionate kiss.
The next few hours were a whirlwind of kissing and love-making.
Claire sighed as she thought back on the previous evening. 'I wish I could just live in this moment forever,' she thought as she gazed lovingly at the peacefully sleeping man curled-up next to her in bed. As if Darien had heard her thoughts, he shifted and reached over pulling her more securely into his arms. Claire sighed again. 'If only…'
A month later….
"What do you mean she resigned?!" Darien was standing in front of the Official's desk, shouting. His eyes flashed with anger and he slapped his hands, palm down, on the desk before him.
"I mean, Claire came in yesterday afternoon, apologized for not giving me more notice, and handed me her resignation. She didn't explain and when I called her an hour later, her home phone and her cell were disconnected." The Official was trying to be patient. He could hear the fear in his agent's voice.
"Why would she do that?" Darien sunk into a chair, the anger of only a moment before replace by confusion and sadness.
"I don't know, kid. I was actually going to ask you. I've already talked to Hobbes, Monroe, Eberts, and every lab tech in the building. No one knows and no one has a clue where to start looking. Claire doesn't want to be found and we don't have the resources to find her."
The Official allowed his agents to take some time to look for her. Neither Alex, nor Hobbesnet could find her. After two weeks, Fawkes, Hobbes, and Monroe were assigned new cases and life at the Agency began to return to normal.
Twenty years later….
Robin ran with everything she had. The Chrysalis agents were close behind her. They had taken her by surprise as she left her job as a waitress at a local bar.
Gunshots sounded behind her and agonizing pain shot through her left thigh. "Shit!" She cursed as she vainly attempted to stay on her feet.
"Hey! Are you all right?" A tall dark haired man in his late forties/early fifties was standing near a car about fifteen feet from her. Robin couldn't help but think he looked familiar but she couldn't place him.
Robin didn't answer. She pulled herself to her feet and started to limp forward.
"I can help you. I'm a federal agent." The man began to dig in his pocket for identification.
"Forget it. I believe you. Get me out of here." She was panting and could hardly walk.
The man leaped forward and helped her into his car. "Who are they?"
"I don't know." She looked out the back window as she lied.
"You don't know who just shot you?" He glanced at her suspiciously.
"Nope." Robin pulled a red bandana from her hair, causing a cascade of long, shiny, brown hair to pool around her shoulders and tied it tightly around the wound in her leg.
"Somehow, I don't believe you." He pulled out of the parking lot, tires squealing. "I'm going to ask you one more time and then I'm going to pull over and ask your friends back there. Who are they?"
Robin hesitated, trying to gage whether or not he was serious. Finally, she said, "They're with a terrorist organization called Chrysalis. They want me because my mom was a top secret US government scientist when she was younger."
The man's mouth dropped open for a moment, then, "You know Chrysalis?"
She nodded, surprised.
Gunfire behind them ended their conversation. The man spun the wheel and the car shot through a red light, narrowly missing a red convertible. "My name's Darien Fawkes. What's yours?" He didn't look at her as he spoke.
"Robin. You're Darien Fawkes?" Robin had a strange look on her face that Darien couldn't quite identify.
"Yeah. Why?" He glanced at her for a moment before turning his attention back to the road.
"My mom knew you. Speaking of, after we lose them I need you to take me to her." Robin adjusted the bandana with a grimace.
"I think a hospital would be a better idea." The car screeched around another corner.
"No, no hospital. They'll find me there." Robin looked concerned.
"My people can protect you." Darien doubted it even as he said it.
She gave him a look that said exactly how well she thought that would work. "If you know Chrysalis than you know they can't."
He glanced at her again. "Fine. But you explain everything once we get your leg taken care of."
"Deal." Robin leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes, trying to focus through the growing pain and dizziness.
The car pulled up in front of a two-story brick apartment building. Darien got out and ran around to the passenger door. He pulled open the door and leaned in to pick up the young woman. She'd lost consciousness a few minutes earlier, just after telling Darien where to go. He carried her up the stairs to the door she had indicated earlier. He knocked and looked down to check on Robin.
When he looked back up, he gasped. "Claire?"
Robin woke to the sound of her mother's voice. Claire was deep in conversation with Darien. "I wanted to tell you, but I knew that if they found out about the effect that the gland had on her, they would try to keep her as well." She paused, studying her hands. "She was born with a quicksilver gland. It's different from yours though. She'll never have the madness." She looked up at Darien. His face was pale and for a moment she was concerned he might pass out. "Darien?"
He blinked. "Wow." His voice was soft.
Claire smiled a little. "Yeah."
"What's going on?" Robin was confused. She obviously didn't have all the information.
Claire looked over at her, startled. She smiled at her daughter. "Do you remember when you were a little girl and I would tell you stories about secret government agents?" Robin just nodded. "They were real."
"I always wondered about that." Robin sat up on the couch.
"Darien is one of them. He's also your father." Claire brace herself. She was certain that her daughter was about to give one of her patented temper tantrums.
"I know. I figured that out from the way you told the stories when I was about fifteen." Robin smiled. "Is he ok?" She gestured at Darien.
"I'm alright. I'm just a little shocked. I never knew about you." Darien looked sadly at his daughter.
"I'm so sorry. I wish I could have told you. If it helps at all, I was going to tell Robin about you on her twenty-first birthday and tell her where to find you. I'm sorry you've lost so much time with her. I just had to keep her safe. I wanted her to at least have a normal childhood." Claire abruptly stopped babbling and focused her eyes on the floor.
Darien moved slowly, pulling Claire into his arms. Almost immediately, she broke into uncontrolled sobs. He held her as his own tears ran silently down his cheeks.
None of them moved until a sound from the street below caught Robin's ear. She carefully pulled herself to her feet and hopped on her good leg over to the window. "Uh….Mom, Darien, we have a problem."
Claire and Darien looked up from where they were huddled together on the floor. "What?" Darien got to his feet and offered Claire his hand.
"Chrysalis." Robin said calmly.
Claire grabbed a bag from the table and ran around the room throwing things into it. Darien moved to stand next to his daughter at the window. "Let's go, Claire." As he spoke, he scooped Robin into his arms.
They headed for the door. Claire led the way, holding the door for Darien and Robin. "My car is out front with the Chrysali. Any ideas?" Darien asked as he followed Claire down the hallway.
"Yeah. We can climb down the fire escape on this side of the building and Robin can quicksilver us until we get across the street to my car." She opened the window and climbed out, turning to help her daughter climb through behind her.
The three climbed down the fire escape without incident and caught their collective breath in the alley below. "Hold my arm." Darien waited until he felt Claire take his arm, then he said to Robin, "How do you want to do this? Claire says you can quicksilver without the madness and honestly, I'm getting pretty close."
"If you can quicksilver Mom, I can get you and I." Robin took a deep breath to focus and matched actions to words.
They jogged from the alley, Claire holding Darien's arm, Darien carrying Robin. When they reached Claire's car, she opened the back door for Darien and Robin and then climbed into the driver's seat. Both doors slammed shut as Claire started the engine and hit the gas.
Alex Monroe was waiting outside. Her partner was two hours late for work. He was late regularly but not usually by hours and usually he answered his cell or his home phone. Bobby Hobbes joined her on the front sidewalk. "Fawkes still isn't here?" She shook her head. "Did you call him?" She nodded. "Not very talkative today are we?" She smiled slightly. "You're worried." Alex finally looked up at Bobby. She admired him so much. He was a good man. When she thought about it, it was easy to see why she had fallen in love with him and eventually married him. When she and Bobby had first started dating, Alex had noticed almost immediately that loving Bobby meant loving Darien. They were inseparable best friends, brothers. Now Darien was her best friend, outside of Bobby, of course. So, yes, she was definitely worried. Darien had a penchant for getting himself into bad situations.
"Yeah. It's not like him to not answer his phone." Alex took Bobby's arm as they stood there, side by side.
Bobby nodded. "I'm sure he'll turn up soon." As Bobby spoke, a car sped into the parking lot and screamed to a halt, three black, official-looking cars close behind. Darien jumped out of the backseat of the first car and leaned back in to pull someone else out. Claire got out of the driver's seat and pulled a gun out. She began firing at the men that had followed them. "Hobbes, Monroe, we need back-up!" Darien yelled as he quicksilvered and ran for the building. Claire saw them go and started toward the building, staying low for cover.
Alex and Bobby had pulled their guns out when Claire pulled out hers and now they fired, providing cover for Claire to make it to the building. When they got inside, they saw every agent in the building, there and ready for action, including Eberts, the acting Official. "Are you guys all right?" Darien looked concerned.
Bobby ignored the question. "Claire, where did you come from? And where have you been?" He leaned forward and pulled her into a rough hug. "We were worried when you disappeared."
She smiled. "I'm sorry. I'll fill you all in later. Are those men still out there?"
"Nope. They took off as soon as we got in the building," Alex answered.
"What did they want anyway?" Bobby had released Claire but was still standing close to her.
"Me." All eyes focused on Robin. "Hi. I'm Robin."
"My daughter." Claire added.
"She's about the right age to be….Oh." Bobby trailed off as he realized why Darien was standing beside the young woman, arm protectively around her shoulders.
Darien smiled. "Yes, Bobby. That time I mentioned."
"Not again." Alex sighed.
"So they still speak in code." Claire said.
"Yeah. It still gets a little annoying for the rest of us." Alex replied. The two women smiled at each other, understandingly.
Bobby threw an arm around Claire's shoulders again. "We've got a lot to fill you in on. You were gone way too long. Monroe and I got married."
Claire's jaw dropped. Then she grinned. "Congratulations. What else did I miss?"
"Lets go down to the lab and talk. I need a shot." Darien picked up Robin again and started walking down the hall.
"Some things never change." Claire smiled as she and the others followed Darien and Robin out of the lobby.
Two months later…..
Claire smiled. She'd felt like this once before but this time there was something a little different about it. She no longer had a sense of impending doom. She was merely content. It was one of those moments that a person could be very happy living in forever, a taste of heaven.
She thought back on the last two months. Remarkably, no one had stayed angry with her for very long. They were just happy she was back.
So much had changed. Eberts was the Official now. He'd taken over several years earlier when Charlie Borden had retired. Alex and Bobby were married with two delightful young boys. She couldn't wait to see how her two friends would deal with the rapidly closing onset of "being a teenage boy." Bobby had a desk job now. He'd been injured during a case about a year ago and wasn't allowed to do field work any more. That led to another interesting change. Darien and Alex working together on a daily basis without a mediator or referee. They were partners now. She was amazed they hadn't killed each other.
Robin had decided to work for the Agency. She had been at a training camp out of state for the last two weeks and Claire was anxiously awaiting her return.
Eberts had offered her her old job back and she had gratefully accepted. Over the last few weeks, she and Darien had grown close again and had started dating.
'It must have been fate.' Claire thought to herself as she contemplated the likelihood of two people who had never met running into each other in a crises and then discovering that they were family. 'Wow. We're so lucky.'
Tonight was the first time she and Darien had slept together since their daughter was conceived twenty years ago. Claire smiled into the dark again and wrapped her arms around the warm body softly snoring beside her. 'If only I could live in this moment forever.'