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Incentives Part 2/2
damien listening guitar
Title: Incentives Part 2/2
Rating: NC-17 (language, sexual situations)
Author: rogoblue and morgan72uk
Summary: At Safe Haven, Adelle has made something of a life for herself, but Alpha feels she’s made too many compromises. Adding Laurence Dominic to the mix could be just what the doctor ordered … or not.
Author’s note: Parts from Adelle DeWitt’s point of view were written by morgan72uk and parts from Alpha’s and Laurence Dominic’s pov were written by rogoblue. This idea arrived during the writing of Road Trip, was forgotten and then recollected. It wouldn’t let go.
Spoilers: Minor throughout.
Words: 16,300.
Disclaimers: The toys are Joss Whedon’s. The idea is ours.
Dedication: To everyone who’s still out there reading this sort of thing.

“Damned if I know,” Laurence Dominic said, the admission creating a silence that should’ve been tense but wasn’t. Staring at the sheets, releasing Adelle, Dominic sat down on the bed. “All I know is that I want to forget. What happened to Ed Clay. What I fucking did to him. That the world’s completely fucked up. That Rossum even exists.” Lowering his face into his hands, he murmured, “Only for a couple of hours. Then the two of you can forget this ever happened and get on with your lives.”

Alpha said, “Let me,” Dominic presumed to Adelle. “How long had it been, Dom?” he asked, placing a hand on Dominic’s shoulder.

Not raising his head, Dominic asked, “What?”

“Since you’d gotten laid,” Alpha said.

“None of your damn business.”

“He’s not asking in order to taunt you, Laurence,” Adelle murmured, lips grazing the back of Dominic’s neck, arms sliding around his waist.

“Over a year,” Dominic said, voice barely audible. A harsh laugh escaped his lips. “Definitely nothing to write home about either. I never asked her name.” Bitterness crept into his tone. “She knew mine, though. One benefit of being reckless enough that people confuse it with heroism.”

“Look at me, please,” Alpha said. A plaintive quality to the former active’s words encouraged Dominic to comply. “You are a hero.” Dominic’s rolled eyes served as no deterrent. “You‘ve also become dangerously reckless, because you don’t care what happens to you, not really, not deep down, and you don’t believe anyone else does either. What happened earlier, what might happen in a few minutes, that’s our effort to show you that you’re wrong.”

“Funny, that got lost in the translation,” Dominic muttered and Adelle’s sharply shaken head seemed to indicate she recognized the defensiveness he’d thought he’d masked with sarcasm.

“I will mourn your passing, Laurence,” Adelle said, leaning in to stroke his cheek lightly, “particularly if it occurs within the next few months.”

“Or weeks,” Alpha added, gently massaging the shoulder under his hand. “Adelle will cry. I hate it when she cries. Her eyes get all puffy and red.” Grinning at Adelle, Alpha said, “It’s a good thing she doesn’t wear mascara anymore or you’d make her even more of a mess.”

Not sure he really wanted to know but unable to let the opportunity pass, Dominic took Adelle’s chin in his hand and said, “Why do you care?” Frowning, chasing down the memory, he said, “Why did you? You said you’d rather I didn’t die before you sent me back to the Attic. I kind of assumed you wanted me to suffer and I guess that logic applies to the situation now too, so—.”

“Don’t withdraw the question,” Alpha advised, looking pointedly at Adelle and nodding encouragement.

Adelle kissed Dominic, lips and tongue persuasive of the veracity of her claim that she’d mourn but unenlightening as to why. “I trusted, admired and desired a man I believed to have betrayed me,” Adelle said. “Priya painted a far different picture when she returned from the Attic.”

“Literally,” Alpha offered. “She painted you, Dom. Several times. Did she ever show you?”

“No,” Dominic said, trying to imagine inspiring an artist.

“You should ask her,” Alpha said. “They’re quite good.”

“Priya’s paintings evoke heroism, self-sacrifice, dedication and determination,” Adelle said.

Laughing, Alpha used Dominic’s shoulder for balance as he reached across to tap Adelle on the nose affectionately. “And,” Alpha said.

“Sexuality,” Adelle said, wrapping her arms around Dominic’s neck when he snorted in disbelief. “She painted the man I’d thought you were before you were exposed as an NSA spy.” Adelle’s eyes lost focus, as though she called a particular painting to mind. “Although Priya’s version had a nicer smile. A true smile. Not a smirk or a sneer.” Coming back to the present, Adelle shrugged. “As a result, my inclination was to give credence to the information you brought us when you emerged from the Attic.”

“You decided to trust me based on some paintings?” Dominic said.

“Those and what Caroline, Tony and Priya said to me about you.” She sighed. “And what they didn’t say.” Chuckling softly, Adelle rested her head on Dominic’s shoulder. “But mostly what they said when they were talking among themselves and trusting me to eavesdrop.”

“What in the hell did they say?” Dominic said, stunned at the turn the conversation had taken.

Adelle snuggled closer. Taking the hint, Dominic held her. “That you were a good man who deserved better and how amazing it was that you chose to remain in the Attic to help people who needed it.”

“Priya has rewound that tape with respect to what you’ve done since,” Alpha said.

“And that’s why you give a shit now?” Dominic asked. Adelle poked him sharply in the stomach. “Ow! What was that for?”

“Don’t belittle my feelings, because they make you uncomfortable, Laurence,” she ordered.

“I’m sorry, Adelle,” Dominic said. Alpha’s disapproval transmitted via the hand on Dominic’s shoulder. “I didn’t mean to insult you,” Dominic said. “Either of you. I just can’t figure out what the two of you want out of this. You seem to be talking about more than sex, but I’m not sure I have much more than really out of practice technique to offer.”

“Then you haven’t been listening, Laurence,” Adelle said, dragging her fingernails along his chest. She smiled, sensual and sexy. “I don’t blame you,” she said. “I’m a bit addled as well. I came as hard as you did and it hasn’t been as long a drought for me”

Clenching his hands into fists, Dominic growled, “Why the fuck do you want me, Adelle? Right here, right now, in ten words or less.”

“For the same reason Candy did,” Adelle countered, pulling him into a heated kiss. “Because you’re you. Because I know what you’ve done and under what circumstances. Because I’m impressed.” Voice lowered, hand resting on his crotch, Adelle said, “Because I’ve always been impressed.”

Dominic rounded on Alpha. “And you?”

“I love a challenge,” Alpha said, “and I love Adelle.” Leaning in, Alpha got nearly nose to nose with Dominic. “She wants you.” He grinned, sneaking a peek at Adelle. “Hell, she might even need you. As for me, I want to see if I can inspire you to want me. This is a three way made in Heaven, if you aren’t too white bread to take part, Dom.”

“Just for today?” Dominic ventured.

“No,” Adelle and Alpha said in unison.

Dominic could feel the slow smile form on his face and see that Adelle and Alpha both liked it. “Caroline will be pissed, confused and taken fucking aback,” Dominic said.

“Not an insignificant additional appeal to the idea of making you smile more often,” Alpha said, leaning in for a kiss. Dominic resisted the urge to pull away. Alpha did lean back, grinning in triumph, the moment Dominic realized he didn’t really want to resist the temptation to meet Alpha’s challenge, making him wonder what had given him away.

Tabling that issue, Dominic said, “I … I never had an experience with a guy that did anything for me … um … other than a little while ago. I don’t know how to give you what you want, Alpha. I mean, I do, in theory, and I seemed to do ok by the guy I was assigned to, but I can’t guarantee anything.” Gaze landing on Adelle, Dominic said, “I want to give you what you deserve … what you can get from a regular guy.”

“Dominic,” Alpha said, pressing forward, forcing a retreat. “Stop thinking of me as a rival. She wants you. She’s always wanted you.”

“What should I think of you as then?” Dominic asked, heart pounding, decidedly uncertain.

“An opportunity,” Alpha said.

* * *

Adelle waited, watching the two men as they watched each other – sensing that they needed to resolve this without her interference. “It’s been a while since I’ve had any kind of opportunity that didn’t involve danger and violence,” Laurence said at last. “I assume that isn’t what we’re about here?”

“Nothing more than a little light bondage,” Alpha replied, smirking over at Adelle, “when she’s feeling bossy.”

“A second person to help shut him up sometimes would be very welcome,” she responded – leaning over to kiss Alpha before repeating the gesture with Laurence. “He can be quite irritatingly cheerful.” She could feel Dominic’s hesitation, but then he moved towards Alpha and trailed his fingertips over the well developed shoulder muscles, appearing fascinated by the sight of his hand on another man’s body. Finally he seemed to make a decision, swooping in to capture Alpha’s lips.

She gasped as the kiss quickly became heated – the two men twisting together as they apparently fought for dominance. Laurence pulled away looking startled, while Alpha’s eyes were closed, his head thrown back in what she knew was pleasure. Taking advantage of his abandon she pushed him back, bending to kiss his chest as her hands followed the same tortuous path.

Dominic sat back on his heels, watching them, until she glanced up at him. “Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes I am perfectly happy to share.” He shook his head, as though such a thought was one he was not yet accustomed to, but he didn’t argue.

Alpha moaned quietly as she kissed her way across his chest while Laurence rubbed his thighs and shoulders – both of them staying away from the area that all so evidently required their attention.

“Tell Laurence what you like,” she whispered into his ear, before biting down on the lobe.

“Like you would touch yourself,” Alpha murmured, his eyes fluttering open – as though he wanted to see this. “Firm and fast,” he breathed, “please.” Laurence trailed his fingertips over Alpha’s hip – his eyes hesitant even as his meandering touch moved towards its destination. Too impatient to wait, she kissed Laurence firmly and took his hand into hers, “He likes this,” she told him – hands moving together. Proving her right, Alpha moaned softly and though she had few illusions about which touch he was finding stimulating, still she enjoyed helping to give him pleasure.

She kissed Laurence once more as their hands moved together, her own arousal building. He saw it, tilting her head back and pressing his lips to her throat, mouth travelling to her ear. “I want you,” he whispered. She had no plans to deny him, but first things first.

* * *

It worked simply to pretend he was getting himself off. And to focus on Adelle. God, to lose himself in those gorgeous green eyes. But the other set, Alpha’s, giving Dominic the rush of seeing a strong brilliant man lose control. That the loss of control resulted from what Dominic did to him made the experience more intense. Alpha’s scream of release tore through Dominic and observing what Alpha’s orgasm did to Adelle stoked him higher. “Let me touch you,” he said, holding both her wrists in one hand, primed to take her hard.

“I’ll give you what you want, Laurence,” Adelle said, her sprawled body calling to his, but the anticipatory look in her eyes suggested Dominic’s plan of hard, hot and fast might not be the best option. “However you want it,” Adelle said, as if reading his uncertainty. When Dominic hesitated, his lust addled brain trying to figure out what Adelle meant, she cupped her breasts in her hands, lifting them as if in offering. “But I do hope to inspire you,” she said, “to do marvelous things for both of us.”

Dominic entered her, groaning at the sensation, gamely resisting the urge to mover harder and faster and drive them both relentlessly to orgasm. “I don’t want this to be just a fuck,” he moaned. “God, Adelle, we both deserve better. We’ve fucking earned it.”

“Has anything we’ve done today been just a fuck?” she asked, moving with Dominic, pulling him down for a kiss.

It was difficult to think while kissing Adelle, while inside Adelle, with Adelle’s breasts pressed against his chest, certainly not in an all of the above scenario.

“No,” Alpha replied, fingertips trailing over Dominic’s hip, “and I don’t see the two of you changing that one iota. Not after what you’ve both been through, what you’ve put each other through. You’re survivors who understand what survival actually means and how valuable it is. All that remains is the physical expression of who both of you are individually and what you can be together.” Alpha’s chuckle sounded inordinately pleased, but Dominic was more interested in the whimpers of surrender emanating from Adelle. “I love making impassioned speeches to distracted audiences,” Alpha said. “No one’s a critic.”

They moved together as if choreographed. Dominic had never had a woman meet him half way physically before, match his movements so perfectly, stimulating them both, moving them to greater heights. Synchronized like fine machinery, they slowed and the sensations heightened over and over again.

“The two of you are stunning,” Alpha said, hands cupping Dominic’s ass urging him onward. “I’ve never seen a couple … ah … coupling with economy of motion and unbridled passion all rolled into one. I can actually sense the years you’ve wanted each other, the suppressed desire, the misunderstandings, the opportunities squandered and the fucking regret. The regret for not fucking, I mean. Hell, you two are emoting serious, sensuous regret and the purest lust imaginable. Needless to say, I’m a proponent of the latter. A huge proponent.”

“Does …,” Dominic panted, thrusting into Adelle. “Does he ever shut up?”

“I’ve found driving my tongue down his throat to be effective,” she said, before doing just the same to Dominic, disrupting his rhythm.

Alpha moved behind Dominic, sharing body heat, biting the base of the former Chief of Security’s throat. “She’s so close, Dom,” Alpha murmured. “So are you. Are you really going to deny yourselves anymore? Seriously? Hasn’t this been long enough in the making?” Dominic could feel Alpha’s smile on his shoulder. “The two of you are fucking epic. Now it’s time to follow through on that. If you’re up to it, Dom. I wouldn’t want to think that—.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Dominic snarled as he drove into Adelle, saw her helpless smile, drove into her again and took her over the edge. Smiling at her abandon, Dominic lowered himself to her side. His plan to be hopelessly entangled with Adelle until she was ready to resume and throughout the night met an early revision when Alpha flipped Dominic onto his back, eyeing his erection avidly.

“I’m going to take care of that for you,” Alpha said, grinning down at Dominic before making short work of the man who’d once worn stoicism as a protective shell. “I’ll send you my survey so you can rate my performance against any and all rivals.” Dominic blinked up at Alpha from a haze of satisfied lust and yawned, mildly embarrassed that the last week was catching up with him. “Let me massage your back,” Alpha said.

“Do, Laurence,” Adelle said, aiding Alpha in rolling Dominic over. “He has divine hands.”

Dominic had no defense to these two people touching him and sleep shortly overwhelmed him.

* * *

Adelle lay curled against Alpha, her hand stroking up and down Laurence’s back. He was sleeping soundly, recent exertions having taken their toll. Beside her Alpha was awake but he was both quiet and still, watching her watch Laurence.

“You can say it,” he murmured.

“I was thinking that he looks peaceful and wondering if we will be able to keep him.”

“We told him this wasn’t a one-off. I don’t know if he believed us but proving the point has, possibilities.”

“Will it be all right between us if he, stays?” He signed and buried his face in her hair for a moment.

“There aren’t any promises Addie, not between you and I at least. If you and he want to be together then it might be easier to make a clean break.” She watched her hand on the smooth skin of Laurence’s back, thinking about what might have been and what was.

“Too much has happened, too much anger and betrayal. We need you – as balance.”

“I appreciate the irony,” he said gravely, though when she looked back at him his eyes were glittering with amusement.

“You need him as well,” she pointed out, “he’s enough of a challenge to keep you interested.”

“You’re enough of a challenge to keep me interested,” she arched an eyebrow and he conceded her point, “but I’ll admit to enjoying the prospect of – inspiring him.” He pressed his lips to her shoulder. “Will it be all right between us, if he comes to enjoy being with me?”

“It will be surprising if he doesn’t,” she smiled at him, “though I might get jealous if you don’t share.”

“You’re my number one girl.” She chuckled and turned her attention back to Laurence.

“I suppose I ought to get up, see how Topher is and check on the supplies.” Caring for the fractured shell of a man that Topher had become was a significant part of her day; though he tolerated others he did better when she was close at hand. She wasn’t in a hurry to move, but as she forced herself to sit up there was the unmistakable sound of banging on the door of the cabin.

“Someone is very anxious to speak to one of us,” Alpha said, getting up. “I’ll go and see who dares darken our door; you can emerge in a moment or two – partially dressed if you like.” She watched as he pulled on a pair of trousers and then padded out into the main room to answer the door. Laurence slept on – which was a blessing of sorts, since she had no doubt who this summons was for.

* * *

“What?” Alpha said, relishing the step back Paul Ballard took at the harshness of the question. “We were sleeping, emphasis on the past tense.”

“I’m looking for Dominic,” Ballard said. “He’s not at his place and no one seems to know where he is. Caroline wants to talk to him, so—.”

“So you go door to freaking door, pounding on them as soon as the sun thinks about making an appearance.” Alpha shook his head. “You do say, “How high?” to her, “Jump,” don’t you?”

Ballard’s lips pursed but he kept himself under control. “Have you seen Dominic, Alpha?”

“I examined him when he got back from Caroline’s latest foray,” Alpha said, leaning against the doorframe, smiling lazily, “doing my bit as Dr. Kildare. He seemed a bit worse for wear but otherwise fine. Taciturn to the point of pain, as usual, although …” As Alpha had expected, Ballard’s ears perked up.

“Although?” Ballard prompted.

“Dom was wound up. More so than I can ever recall seeing him, but really quiet with it.” Alpha waited just the right number of heartbeats before he added, “Too quiet.”

“Contained violence?” Ballard ventured, frowning, undoubtedly profiling away.

“More like battened down emotion,” Alpha said, smiling inwardly as Ballard’s eyes shot over his shoulder for an instant before dropping to the floor. “Mr. Ballard is inquiring after Mr. Dominic on behalf of Ms. Farrell, Ms. DeWitt,” said Alpha in his very best English butler voice.

“If Mr. Dominic knows what’s best for him, he’ll go to ground for a time,” Adelle said, taking her time buttoning her shirt, giving no sign that she enjoyed Ballard’s discomfort. Alpha felt no such constraints and grinned as annoyingly as possible.

“Dom will do what’s asked,” Ballard said, shrugging as though the fact mattered little. “He always does.”

“Imagine what might happen if he didn’t,” Alpha said, closing his eyes by way of both demonstration and example.

“Changes for the better,” Adelle murmured, kissing Alpha’s cheek, slipping past him and Ballard to make her way to the main house.

Frowning after Adelle, Ballard said, “Dominic’s a company man. Always has been.”

“If by that you mean he’s a follower, you’re wrong,” Alpha said. “He’s a natural leader.”

“Within a system.”

Laughing, actually slapping his thigh with his hand to be extra exasperating, Alpha said, “Is that what you think you and Caroline have here? A fucking system? There hasn’t been a system to speak of since the blanket signal and Dom is more than holding his own.” Leaning toward Ballard, Alpha lowered his voice. “Between you and me, I think Adelle would prefer if Caroline didn’t get Dom killed. She’s always been kind of sweet on him.” Gratified by the shock he’d managed to give Ballard, Alpha said, “I can certainly understand why. Attractive, dependable, smart, good in a fight—what’s not to like?” Alpha made a show of considering. “Her truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth requirement was … excessive. In my opinion.”

“If you see Dom, tell him Caroline’s looking for him.”

“I’ll try to remember to mention it.” Shutting the door with more force than strictly necessary, Alpha sighed and admitted he’d never understand what Caroline saw in Ballard or vice versa. That he’d been obsessed with her proved beyond doubt that he’d been insane.

Dominic was still out when Alpha returned to the bedroom, but he stirred restlessly, giving Alpha the sense that he would awaken soon. Considering possible conversational gambits, Alpha climbed back into bed and took up where Adelle had left off—stroking Dominic’s well muscled back. A few minutes later, ice blue eyes opened. Alpha enjoyed watching groggy give way to puzzlement which, in turn, transformed into recollection.

“Where’s Adelle?” Dominic asked, voice heavy with sleep.

“Seeing to Topher,” Alpha said, endeavoring to look earnestly non-threatening, keeping his caress light. “Sleep well?” The embarrassed smile accompanying Dominic’s nod drew a smirk dangerously close to Alpha’s lips. “Good. Adelle will be pleased.”

“And you?” Dominic asked.

“I slept fine. I generally do.”

Finger combing his hair, Dominic muttered, “That isn’t what I meant.”

“What pleases Adelle pleases me,” Alpha said, fully expecting the flash of anger in Dominic’s eyes. “What pleases you pleases me also.” Grinning, Alpha slid closer to Dominic. “I don’t mind secondhand pleasure, so long as there’s a firsthand component in the mix. It’s nice actually. Pleasant, if you will.”

“What pleases you on a firsthand basis, Alpha?” Dominic could always be counted on for curiosity which was another of the things Alpha enjoyed about him.

“Watching you sleep,” Alpha said. Grinning at Dominic’s thoughtful look, he added, “Observing you process information you didn’t anticipate. Your smile—the real one, not the one that would look more at home on a feral cat. Adelle’s accent. The way her mind works. The way she looks at both of us with equal greed. Green beans.” Getting one of Dominic’s real smiles for his trouble, Alpha said, “What? I love green beans. Ask anybody. I insisted Adelle plant them in that garden of hers.”

“What are we doing here?” Dominic said, voice quiet and contemplative.

“Talking because you’re not ready to be with me without Adelle for a crutch and I’m not quite motivated to go and get some water so we can make you presentable for a dressing down from Caroline for not coming when she called.”

Dominic considered and seemingly rejected at least three responses, if Alpha was reading body language correctly and he generally did. “I’ve wanted Adelle for a long time,” Dominic said, “but it wouldn’t have been like … well, like it was … without you.”

“And how was it?” Alpha asked.

“You know how it was,” Dominic said, glaring at Alpha’s grin. “You were there.”

“You seemed to enjoy it.” Watching Dominic closely, Alpha said, “You did, right?”

“I want to do it again.” Defiant, vulnerable and gorgeous, Dominic returned Alpha’s gaze. “I think I might want to do it regularly.”

“But you’re not sure about that.”

“I wasn’t sure of my own name when the two of you ganged up on me.”

Proceeding with utmost care, Alpha said, “But you didn’t mind.”

“I did at first.” Intrigued, Alpha shifted still closer. “I thought it wasn’t fair. The two of you seemed to know what you wanted and I didn’t feel like I had the right to want anything.” Dominic smiled, looking almost shy for a moment. “Afterwards, I decided I’d be an idiot not to want to feel like that again but it’s also scary, you know, to feel so much.”

Alpha wondered what it cost Dominic to admit fear. “I know, but it’s worth it, Dom. Seriously.” Daring to wrap an arm around Dominic, Alpha said, “In a world as fucked up as this, it’s good to have people to care about.”

“So it’ll hurt even worse when something happens to them,” Dominic muttered somewhat bitterly, but Alpha counted it as a plus that he didn’t pull away.

“So they’ll take good care to see that nothing does,” Alpha said, hoping the spark of emotion in Dominic’s weary blue eyes meant his message had been received. “I’ll go get that water and after we clean up, I’ll see what I can do about your headache.”

“How in the hell do you know I have a headache?”

“I’m observant,” Alpha said, smiling as he searched for his discarded T-shirt. “I worked over your back for a while, but the muscles in your neck gave it away.”

“Your treatment regimen for my headache includes …?”

“Acupressure … or sex, whichever you prefer.”

Dominic laughed, sighed and stretched out on the bed, greatly diminishing Alpha’s interest in going out for water. “How does it feel to finally have a one track mind, Alpha?”

“Good,” Alpha said. “Really good.”

* * *

Topher was awake when Adelle went into his room – sitting in a corner, muttering to himself as he played with some old scrabble tiles. He didn’t seem distressed which indicated he’d slept without too many nightmares, or fragments of memories. But the task of coaxing him to wash, change his clothes and eat was a challenging one – worthy of the skills of persuasion that had once served her so well.

At least when she got him to the bathroom and turned the water on he could wash and dry himself – even if getting him there wasn’t easy. His attention did tend to drift – which meant she needed to stand outside the door and talk to him; reminding him that he couldn’t stay there indefinitely.

Sometimes he didn’t want to leave his room but today he reluctantly agreed to come downstairs. With his hair still wet and standing up in spikes he looked like a small, fretful child. She handed him a towel without a great deal of hope that he would dry his hair without prompting and went to find him some food.

“I don’t like it when people are angry,” he informed her when she took the unused towel off him and placed a bowl of soup down in front of him. Following his gaze she saw Caroline having a one-sided altercation with Candy, who looked more and more as though she wanted the ground to open and swallow her up with every passing second.

She disliked the way Caroline behaved, disagreed with her focus on the war against Rossum and despaired of her cavalier recklessness when it came to other people’s lives; though she doubted that Caroline would take much in the way of criticism from her in that regard. It had become easier to keep her head down, to avoid conflict and to focus on Topher and growing food. Alpha’s attempts to persuade her to intervene had been quietly rebuffed and occasionally not so quietly – but increasingly he had left the subject alone. She and Caroline had got into the habit of ignoring each other. However, since she had a very good idea what had prompted her to cross-examine Candy she doubted her low profile would survive.

“Well, she’s not angry with you,” she said turning her attention back to Topher and doing her best to reassure him. “Please try to eat some soup.” He blinked and looked surprised, gazing down at the bowl as though he hadn’t realised it was there. She watched him for a couple of moments and then, as Caroline finished lecturing Candy, she got to her feet so that their inevitable encounter took place out of Topher’s sight and hearing.

She was gazing at the vegetable patch, making a mental note to harvest some more green beans – which would please Alpha, when the sound of footsteps suggested she’d been found.

“The girl says Dominic was last seen with you.”

“The girl is called Candy,” she said carefully, “there was no need to berate her.”

“She was supposed to make sure he was OK – send him off to get some rest.”

“I wanted to see for myself that he was unharmed, I didn’t realise I was disrupting your plans.”

“We’re heading back out, I need him – but no one seems to know where he is.”

“Mr Ballard woke us up searching for him.” She glanced over at Caroline in time to see the expression of distaste that flickered across her features at the word ‘us’. Still not reconciled to their relationship then. “I’m sure he’s just catching up on his sleep somewhere,” she said, before adding, “when I last saw him he was exhausted,” which was technically the truth.

“Do you know where he is Adelle?” Caroline looked irritated and impatient which only encouraged her to smile blithely and lie through her teeth.

“I haven’t the slightest idea.”

* * *

“Roll over, Dom,” Alpha murmured into Laurence Dominic’s ear, smiling at the lazy compliance. After they’d washed up and changed the sheets, Alpha had convinced Dominic to leave off his T-shirt in order to allow massage to be interspersed with acupressure to treat his headache. Experienced fingers had imbued the hour long massage with irresistible sensuality, releasing the muscles of Dominic’s back and neck, yet maintaining the sexual tension humming just beneath the surface.

Now Alpha had been granted access to Dominic’s chest and he considered how best to play his hand. Deciding to proceed slowly, Alpha began with Dominic’s neck. The former chief of security’s low groan of relief admixed with pleasure drew a smile to the former active’s lips. “How’s your headache?” Alpha asked, voice low and vibrant.

“Gone,” Dominic whispered, eyes drifting closed as Alpha deepened the massage.

“Is this all right?” Alpha asked a few minutes later, fingers dancing lightly along Dominic’s shoulders.

“What?” Dominic asked, blue eyes blinking open.

“This,” Alpha asked, stroking one shoulder, massaging the other, stimulating and soothing. Just as Dominic seemed to process his question, Alpha shifted his approach, massaging where he’d been stroking and vice versa. Dominic sighed and settled more comfortably into the pillows. Deciding that constituted an affirmative response, Alpha feasted his eyes on Dominic’s chest, setting his strategy for getting his hands on those muscles.

“Enjoying yourself, Alpha?”

Starting at the sound of Adelle’s voice, Alpha realized how focused he’d been on Dominic. “Immensely, Adelle. How is Topher?”

“Disturbed by Caroline’s treatment of Candy,” Adelle said, obviously enjoying the spectacle of Dominic sprawled across their bed. “As Laurence would be if he weren’t half asleep.”

“Not half asleep,” Dominic muttered, shifting his weight. Recognizing he intended to sit up, Alpha pressed a hand against the center of Dominic’s chest to hold him in place. Dominic didn’t struggle. Alpha grinned at Adelle, thinking his triumph deserved more than the tiny wry smile she bestowed.

“Laurence,” Adelle said, sitting on the bed on the opposite side of Dominic from Alpha, running her fingers through her former Chief of Security’s hair. “I’m afraid your idyll has come to an end for today. Caroline is on something of a rampage.”

Taking Adelle’s other hand, Dominic asked, “What’s that got to do with me?”

“She’s looking for you, Dom,” Alpha said, frowning at the tension creeping back into Dominic’s shoulders. “Has been for hours.”

Sitting up, Dominic smiled at Adelle, almost shyly, before looking around for his T-shirt. “That woman is the single most impatient person I’ve ever met.”

“You won’t find an argument in this room,” Alpha said, reluctantly tossing Dominic his shirt.

“Caroline has plans for you,” Adelle said, aiming a worried glance over her shoulder that Dominic observed with a frown.

“I have plans for me,” Dominic announced, tone annoyed, pulling on his shirt roughly, as though the article of clothing had done him wrong somehow.

“Glad to hear it,” Alpha said, clapping Dominic on the shoulder. “You don’t mind if Adelle and I follow a respectful ten or twelve paces behind you to watch the fireworks, I hope. I love a good confrontation. I find them bracing.”

“I don’t care what you do,” Dominic muttered, mind clearly on the battle to come.

“I trust that isn’t strictly true,” Adelle said, standing with Dominic, stepping close, gazing up at him with a hint of hurt in her expression. Her hand rested lightly on Dominic’s chest.

Kissing her quickly and hard, Dominic said, “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. It’s just that I’ve never been big on audiences, but it seems like Caroline is gathering one, so …” Glancing at Alpha, he said, “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wouldn’t mind having a few people in my corner when Caroline says her piece, but I don’t want to presume you are or will be just because of what happened in bed.”

“I don’t go down on anyone I don’t respect,” Alpha said, inwardly laughing at Dominic’s inability to fully form a scowl and cheering Adelle’s choice to draw Dominic into a slow sensual kiss.

“Might as well get this over with,” Dominic muttered, stepping around Adelle, smiling an apology for not better appreciating her effort.

“If she hurts you in any way, we stand ready to kiss it and make it better,” Alpha said, gratified by the smile Dominic couldn’t quite suppress. “Don’t we, Adelle?”

“Of course.”

* * *

Adelle sighed as he strode away, “it won’t be an easy conversation. Caroline is not in the best of moods.”

“He can handle it. It’s past time he asserted his authority.” Alpha said, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “He’s not the only one that is true of.”

She regarded him levelly; trying to see things from his perspective. “Are you so certain that my challenging Caroline would be for the best – after the mistakes I’ve made?”

“Adelle, you’re like me and not like Caroline. We’ve both looked into the chasm - well, in my case it was a bit more than a look. You know how to lead, though you’ve been pretending not to know. You can carry on with that – stick to growing vegetables and nursing Topher; neither Dom nor I will think any the less of you – but I think the people here would be better off if you took a more significant part in their lives.” She shook her head at him and wondered why she had thought it was such a good idea to take such a brilliant and complicated man to bed.

“You have an excellent line in emotional blackmail.”

“Thank you. I must have picked it up from an imprint.” He smiled and as he had on so many other occasions since they’d become lovers – he let her off the hook. “You ready to go and see the fireworks Ms DeWitt?”

* * *

“What the hell is going on?” Laurence Dominic did his best to appear both annoyed and mildly interested. He figured the combination would play for Caroline Farrell; it generally did. “Can’t a man get some R and R without shit hitting the fan?”

“Where’ve you been?” Caroline asked, hands on her hips, aggressive posture in stark contrast to Paul Ballard’s more neutral stance.

Spotting Candy, recalling Adelle saying something about Caroline leaning on her, seeing that the young woman had been crying, Dominic approached and asked, “Are you all right?” Her nod was the epitome of unsure. “Seriously,” he said, not questioning the impulse to pursue the matter. “What’s wrong?” Candy’s eyes darted to Caroline and Dominic looked to the heavens. Rounding on Caroline, Dominic snarled, “What the fuck?”

“She was seen with you.” Caroline shrugged. “I asked her some questions.”

“Asking doesn’t typically lead to tears,” Dominic said.

“Whatever.” Shrugging again, Caroline said, “Candy gave up DeWitt and she said she had no idea where you were either.”

Dominic turned and met Adelle’s eyes, smirk very near the surface. Adelle lifted her eyebrow, almost daring him to tell Caroline the truth. Tempted but sensing the rightness of the alternative even while mildly surprised by how natural the gesture felt, Dominic put his arm around Candy and murmured, “I’m sorry you had to put up with that just because you didn’t want to eat alone.”

“It’s ok,” she whispered, the gratitude in her eyes struck Dominic as misplaced, because he was the root cause of her present discomfort.

“No, it’s not,” Dominic said, confused by Alpha’s smirk until the active inclined his head ever so slightly toward Candy. Determinedly not envisioning a foursome, Dominic said, “Why are you so hell bent on finding me, Caroline?”

“We’re ready to move out,” she replied, ostentatiously checking her sidearm.

“Where are we headed?” Dominic asked, releasing Candy, stepping between her and Caroline.

“Since when does it matter?” Caroline said, already turning toward Ballard, ready to give the order to get underway.

“What’s the target?” Dominic said, suddenly dreading the answer.

“The one we missed last time out,” Caroline confirmed, gesturing to her right. “They’ve all volunteered. Name your team.”

“Caroline, you know what happened out there,” Dominic said, care in every syllable.

“I know what you think happened,” she countered, smiling indulgently at him.

“I know what I saw,” he said, crossing his arms in front of him, “and I don’t want to see it again in this lifetime.” Eyes tracking to Ballard, Dominic said, “Count me out.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Caroline said, derision blatant. “You never were a coward.”

“I don’t have anything to prove on that score,” Dominic said, noting the affirmative mumbles from those gathered around. “I’m being prudent.” Gaze taking in the assembled volunteers, Dominic said, “You should be too.”

“Are you trying to undermine my authority?” Caroline muttered for Dominic’s ears only, stepping into his personal space, fingering her weapon fondly.

“Succeeding,” Dominic said. Smirking at her narrowed eyes, he gestured toward the diminishing pool of volunteers and clarified, “I’ve evidently progressed beyond trying without trying very hard at all.”

“No one’s going to go where Laurence Dominic won’t,” Alpha observed, stepping to Dominic’s side. He drew Adelle along with him and attention away from Dominic with his hand resting possessively at Adelle’s waist.

“Nor should they,” Adelle said, leaning into Alpha slightly.

After sharing a wary yet knowing glance with Ballard, Caroline shifted her stance to face Adelle, Alpha and Dominic. “I get it, Dom,” she said. “They put you up to this.”

Deliberately refraining from looking at Alpha, Dominic said, “No one puts me up to anything.”

Caroline laughed and shook off Ballard’s restraining hand. “You took on any mission posed to you, Dom. Nothing is too risky. Everything is possible. Then you go missing for a few hours and come back preaching caution. I thought brainwashing took a lot longer. I guess you’re not as mentally tough as you think you are.”

“You look well,” Ballard offered. “Rested.”

“Relaxed, I’d say,” Alpha said, grinning at all concerned. “Don’t get all bent out of shape just because someone noticed, Dom. It suits you.”

“Mental toughness and looseness of musculature aside,” Adelle said, “the issue here seems to be one of leading by example.”

“I don’t ask anyone to do what I won’t,” Caroline said, clearly stung.

“You do so routinely,” Adelle said.

“So routinely you don’t even notice you’re doing it,” Alpha added. “Like now. You want Dom along to lead the forward group again. Why not you? Or him?” he said, gesturing to Ballard.

“I’ll lead the damn forward group,” Caroline said. “Satisfied?”

“There isn’t going to be a forward group,” Dominic said. “You have no volunteers and I don’t see you taking the risk of ordering people to go with you. Not after what happened. Not knowing it might happen again.” Staring Caroline down, Dominic said, “You do that and it goes south; you won’t need me to undermine your authority. You won’t have any. You’re smarter than that, Caroline.”

“This isn’t over, Dom,” Caroline said. “The target is viable.”

“Whatever,” Dominic replied, turning away from Caroline and Alpha only to collide with Candy. “Sorry,” he said. “I thought you’d retreated like everyone else.”

“As we discussed earlier,” Candy said, smile a bit tremulous but utterly genuine. “I’m not like everyone else.”

“We did cover that,” Dominic admitted, not fighting the smile tugging at his lips, gaze caught by something in Candy’s. The combination, the circumstances or both evidently annoyed Caroline.

“Suddenly with you it’s all about getting laid?” Caroline asked, disbelief battling disgust for supremacy. “When did you revert to age 18?”

“Apologize to Candy for suggesting she’d have the poor taste to sleep with me,” Dominic said.

“I’m notorious for my poor taste,” Candy asserted, startling a laugh out of Dominic and inspiring a cat that ate the canary grin in Alpha.

“Me too,” Alpha said, earning himself an elbow to the side from Adelle.

“You got that right,” Caroline muttered, obviously intending her parting shot to be heard. Paul Ballard trailed in her wake.

“That went well,” Alpha said, smiling winningly at Candy.

“As a first salvo, perhaps,” Adelle said, “but, as Caroline said, this isn’t over.”

“It’s begun, though,” Alpha said, eyes darting to Adelle and then to Dominic. “Finally.”

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Awesome new D/D fic!

Also loved the Alpha & Dominic scene in the beginning :) Dom does clean up well...though I like the scruff!

Thank you!

It's been done forever and I've been lax about posting it. But I finally came through.

I think the Alpha/Dom scene really set a nice tone. I really wasn't sure how the kinder/gentler Alpha and the harder/edgier/yet heroic Dom would interact until I got them started.

First off, Alpha and Adelle- there needs to be more of just the two of them interacting in this fandom. Period. The two of them actually together is just.. guh (<- unintelligible incredibly pleased sound)

Loved all of the dialogue- could hear their voices very well. Oh Alpha, not shutting up even in the middle of great sex -smile-

Is there going to be more to this? You left it open ended (delightful, all of them (well.. the three of them) learning to assert themselves in their own ways) so.. just curious.

Plus... I mean.. OT3 of kick-ass..ed-ness.

That was the original idea that we couldn't recall for a couple of days--Alpha/Adelle as an established couple and both interested in Dom and what would Dom think. That was the fun question I got to answer.

The kinder gentler Alpha never resonated with me until I tried this. My Alpha tends to be the over the top nuts one. And him emoting during sex was just FUN! "No one's a critic."

There certainly could be more to this, but we've not talked about it (but I didn't put THE END in there either). We're working on an AU right now that's threatening to be looonnggg. But this idea could reach out and grab us again.

Alpha pushing Adelle to take a larger role with Dom to back her up. Alpha and Adelle giving Dom a reason to live. And, I think, Dom and Adelle giving Alpha a sense of purpose. Balance.

"It's a three way made in heaven if you aren't too whitebread to participate."

Indeed. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

Oddly, one of my favorite moments was Alpha not getting Ballard and Caroline's relationship and stating that his obsession with her was proof of his insanity.

'No one's a critic!' That definitely got a smile outta me. And the idea of Adelle being a painter.. the artistic side to certain characters would be fascinating. What medium etc... (bit of a tangent though)

Balance is an element in any relationship, but it seems to be a good focus of most threesomes in writing.

There were so many little descriptions I enjoyed so much, one line in particular made me burst out laughing in part one.. the way you described something, can't quite remember it right now (wow... short term memory is wonderful when you don't have it, no?)

Alpha can cut himself a little slack, he was interest in Echo not Caroline!

The idea of Adelle painting and Alpha showing it to Dom as a step on the road to seducing him just happened. No prior planning.

Balance, to me, is a key to any story (well, any good one). I'm so pleased that it worked here.

My short term memory sucks too. Do let me know if it comes to you though. I'm curious.

Yes, you're right--Echo not Caroline. But he's appreciating the finer things in life now.

It was an added bonus that their liaison had scandalised the denizens of Safe Haven.

I believe this was it. Not sure. I guess this was something else I found amusing.
Perhaps my brain is just latching onto the notion of the story of Alpha and Adelle's.. courtship. My brain is bouncing from serious, comedy, to the strange mental picture of him leaving dead animals outside her door.. for stew of course.

For stew, yes, absolutely. I wonder how long it would take Adelle to figure that out.


First, I loved the established (and happy!!) Adelle/Alpha. I have a soft spot for that pairing. Their dialogue and characterisations really rang true.

Second, I also loved their plan to get Dom involved in their relationship and their open dialogue about it (hurray for communication in couples).

Third, I loved the relationship dynamics between the three of them. So good!! (plus, Adelle and Alpha putting up a united front behind Dom was excellent). Threesome of awesomeness.

Seriously, this was amazing. Very well written and true to the characters.

We weren't exactly sure a threesome belonged here, but decided to post it anyway. Glad we did.

As always, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. The first two things you mention constituted the idea we started out with, then forgot, then recalled and, miracle of miracles, actually wrote. It's a relief the premise came through and worked.

The dynamics evolved as we went and seemed to flow fine with Dominic being a bit vulnerabe and flat out worn out, Alpha being cheerful and determined to see Adelle and Dom in the thick of things, Adelle ready to step either back or forward, depending. It was interesting to explore all of that.

Thanks for the kind words, because it's getting harder to recall character voices and such. Might be time to rewatch a few scenes at least.

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