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You Can't Pick Your Family (Franklin and Bash fic #2)
damien listening guitar
Title: You Can’t Pick Your Family
Rating: R
Author: rogoblue
Summary: Hanna and Damien are trying to forge a relationship but are encountering obstacles.
Spoilers: Significant for season finale (1.10) and minor throughout season 1, in particular 1.01, 1.05, 1.07, 1.08 and 1.09.
Words: 9,500 +
Disclaimers: The toys are not mine but the idea is.
Dedication: To everyone who thinks Damien is a bit more than he appears thus far, but most especially to derevko_child on her birthday.
Author's Note: This is me working through my love/hate relationship with Stanton Infeld.

“I like seeing you like this,” Hanna Linden whispered into Damien Karp’s ear as they lounged on her plush couch.

“Like what?” he asked, mustering the energy to turn his head toward her, replete with an excellent meal and a little too much red wine.

“Relaxed and maybe a little sleepy,” she said, turning her upper body to face him. “No suit coat, tie or shoes and with your shirtsleeves rolled up. Here, although I think I might prefer your place.”

“Why my house? Yours is nicer.”

“No, it’s not and that isn’t the opening salvo of an argument. I’m merely stating my opinion which happens to differ from yours.”

She leaned over to kiss him, her mouth moving over his making him glad they’d buried the hatchet—essentially Hanna forgiving him for resisting her attempt to rekindle their past romance—and started working together. A shared caseload made having dinner together convenient. During the grueling work on one particularly difficult and involved case, he’d gone against his better judgment and had agreed to continue working over dinner at Hanna’s place. It quickly had become a habit.

Then Hanna had worn the gray dress of doom to court. The modestly cut gray silk hugged her body. Nathan Flanders, a first class pompous ass but an excellent attorney, had lost his train of thought twice during his opening argument. Hanna had delivered theirs flawlessly. Sitting next to her had been a mixed blessing. When she’d leaned over to share an idea, Nathan shot Damien a look a pure hatred. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Damien had smirked at opposing counsel, but the impact was diminished by his start of surprise when Hanna placed her hand on his thigh. She’d stared into his eyes and, for those few heartbeats, Damien would’ve been hard pressed to state his name. Nathan kept looking at Hanna while questioning his witnesses, as if he thought he could impress her. Damien had cross examined them with precision, sharp wit and ruthlessness—all traits Hanna valued.

They’d been laughing when they arrived at Hanna’s place that night over Judge Warner complementing her courtroom presence. Damien had said, “Flanders is going to put out a hit on me.”

“Why?” Hanna had asked, deftly opening a bottle of Pinot Noir.

“Because I get to sit next to you all day for the next nine or ten days,” he’d replied, accepting a glass of wine. “To the gray dress of doom,” Damien had toasted. After they’d drunk to it, he said, “You should wear it for closing arguments too. I want to see if Flanders mispronounces his client’s name for the record setting fourth time.”

“Thereby giving you an excuse to say awesome again.”

“Exactly.” He’d collected plates, napkins and silverware while Hanna organized the food they’d purchased. “Juror number six is going to find a way to ask you out.” When she’d looked puzzled, he supplied, “The one with the blue flannel shirt. “

“With the beard?”


“I hate beards.” She’d sauntered over to the table, bearing two bowls of hot and sour soup. Cupping Damien’s chin in her hand after she’d set them down, she murmured, “Morning after stubble is sexy. Beards, no.”

“Duly noted, Ms. Linden.”

“You knew that about me already, Damien, but I like that you act like this is all new.” She’d sighed. “Sometimes.” She’d slid her chair closer to his and he handed her a spoon. Placing her hand on his forearm, she’d said, “We’ve covered the judge, opposing counsel and a gentleman of the jury. Give me your review of—what did you call it—the gray dress of doom.”

Leaning back in her chair, Hanna had slowly, deliberately crossed her legs. Damien’s eyes had tracked the motion and his mouth ran dry. “My review is glowing,” he’d squeezed through a throat that had felt too tight.

“Really? Tell me more.”

“You looked so awesome, every man in the courtroom—.”

“I’m not interested in every man in the courtroom.” Hanna had leaned closer, as if to emphasize the distinction with her body. “I asked about you.”

No ready lie had leapt to mind. “I wanted to forget we work at the same place and help you take it off.” Her smile had made the admission worth the pounding heart and difficulty breathing.

“I’m in.”

“Hanna, we can’t.”

“One kiss?” She’d dropped her spoon and slid on to Damien’s lap. “Or maybe two.” Damien had hesitated. Hanna hadn’t and they were both breathless when she relented.

“Earth to Damien,” Hanna said, bringing him rocketing back to the present in which they’d been slowly becoming more intimate. “Did you hear anything I just said?”

“Um … no. Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“About what?”

Knowing exactly how Hanna would interpret the way his thoughts had drifted and that he’d hear another version of her sex is inevitable speech, he said, “Nothing important. What were you saying?”

“I said, the best thing about your house, other than the fabulous master bedroom, is that you don’t get to decide when to leave. I do.”

“I could strongly suggest, broadly hint or show you to your car.”

“I could get you too worked up to do any of those things,” she said, eyes serious and watchful. “I have the last few times you’ve been over here.”

Damien looked away but Hanna already knew she was right. “I left,” he muttered.

“Um hmm,” she said, stealing another kiss, smiling against his lips when his hand entangled in her hair and he deepened it. “The last time you avoided me for days. I owe the pleasure of your company tonight to our winning the Cavanaugh case.” She smiled, likely at the memory of Stanton Infeld crowing over Higgens Darby and shooing them off to have an expensive dinner to celebrate. Hanna took his right hand, leaving it to Damien to entwine their fingers. “I wasn’t sure how best to breach the wall you’d reinstalled between us.” Smile turning somewhat sad, she raised his hand to her lips and planted an open mouthed kiss on the inside of his wrist.

Damien hissed in pleasure and she drew a figure eight on the sensitive spot with her tongue. “Don’t do that,” he said.

When she released his hand, he was torn between relief and disappointment. “Let’s head over to your place, Damien.”

“I’m comfortable right here,” he murmured, trying a smirk on for size. “Relaxed and maybe sleepy, just the way you like me.”

“I’m not.”

Knowing a warning shot across his bow when he heard one, Damien sat up straighter. “You’re not comfortable or you’re not sleepy?”

“I have needs that aren’t being met and I can’t see you abandoning me at your place to give myself another orgasm I rightly should’ve had from you.”

Fully and completely awake, Damien said, “Now isn’t a good time, Hanna.”

Her surprise at the lack of an outright refusal made him smile. “Why not?” she asked. “We’ve been sort of seeing each other for weeks and it’s been nice. You certainly have seemed happy. I know I have been with the minor exception I’ve already mentioned.” She sighed. “We’ve overdone the foreplay, don’t you think? Particularly since we’ve been lovers before.”

The pressure he’d been under returned in spades. “You’re probably right, but that doesn’t make this the best time to—.”

“Damien, my God, you’re incredibly tense all the sudden. What’s going on?”

“It’s not your problem. It’s mine.“

“Don’t say that our relationship has nothing to do with me, please.” Her snarl made his head hurt.

“I wasn’t saying that,” he said. “Look, it’s Stanton, ok. He’s been … strange since his trial. My aunts are up in arms. My cousins are threatening to descend on me en masse. Well, everyone except Lily, but that’s only because of her pot-induced, ten year exile from America. In an effort to calm everyone down, I’ve been spending time with him every morning and evening.”

“Twice a day? Every day?”

“I stop by before work or to have breakfast on the weekends and after I leave the office or here.” He pulled Hanna close. “I admit it’s been difficult the last few times I’ve been with you. Fortunately, I don’t have to interact with Stanton every time. If I can find Geoffrey first, I get the low down and he’s far too well bred to come right out and say I look like I need to get laid.”

“Geoffrey’s the one who really raised you, isn’t he?”

About a thousand memories descended upon Damien. The first horrific summer camp experience. The tour of Europe the summer before his tenth birthday and again before he turned sixteen. His inaugural swim meet and many more after that. Some very difficult questions about girls and sex. Geoffrey’s wise green eyes had presided over them all. “Yes.”

“What’s the problem with Stanton?”

“Hanna, you don’t need to get pulled into my shit.”

“I care about you. I want to help if I can and I wish you felt you could confide in me.” She kissed him feather lightly, barely a brush of lips on lips. “You shouldn’t have to deal with major family issues on top of all of the work we’ve been doing. Not alone, at any rate.”

Taking the issue he felt more comfortable with, he said, “C’mon, that’s not fair. I do confide in you.”

“You’ve been worried sick about your uncle and have said nothing. That’s not confiding.”

“I didn’t say I was worried. I said everyone else was.” He leaned away. “Besides, my family didn’t put the fun in dysfunctional.”

“Neither did mine.” Pulling him into her arms, she whispered, “Tell me, Damien.”

He kissed her hard enough to bruise the toughest lips, which hers couldn’t be because they were so damn soft. “This is between you and me, strictest confidence,” he said.

“Of course.”

“He’s been … unstable since he … well, since he got away with murder.”

Her concerned look shifted in a way he didn’t understand. “Damien, Stanton has been his old self,” she said, speaking slowly and carefully.

“At Infeld Daniels, he is for the most part, but you have no idea of the things I’ve barely managed to talk him out of behind closed doors.” He traced the line of her jaw with his forefinger. “Stanton is brilliant and insightful, but he’s not thinking clearly right now. Not even close.”

“I don’t understand. It was justifiable homicide.”

“Sure, but the not guilty verdict added another thick layer of legend to his persona, a different sort of strata, something darker.” Emotions so often suppressed bubbling to the surface, he kissed Hanna hard again. Mimicking his uncle’s voice, Damien said, “I am Stanton Infeld and I got away with murder, among my many many other worthy achievements. There is nothing I cannot do, no situation I cannot control, no one I cannot out work, out think or manipulate into submission.” He resumed in his own voice. “Under most circumstances, he’s absolutely right, but there’s an air of invincibility to him now that’s unnerving. His sisters are insane with fear that their brother is in the process of losing another anchor to reality.”

“Another anchor?” Damien wondered why he’d engaged in this conversation. “My God, Damien.”

He tried to shrug off her sympathy. “It’s not as bad as it sounds, Hanna. I’ve been playing this role for a long time. Hell, it’s why I finally agreed to join Infeld Daniels when my mother and my aunts leaned on me to do it—to keep watch over him and the firm in the family.” He felt Hanna tense and he regretted transferring his discomfort to her. In recompense, he rubbed the small of her back gently. “He’s not totally crazy or anything. Just … partly … or maybe a little more than partly at the moment and I’m fielding at least 20 phone calls a day from family about it.” He leaned into her slightly. “I don’t have it in me to give you what you deserve. Not right now. I’m sorry.”

“I have it in me to give you what you deserve,” Hanna whispered, kissing him in the most inviting manner he’d ever experienced. “Come to bed, Damien.”

“I have to check on Stanton.”

“Call Geoffrey.”

“I should go over there and …” Hanna slowly unbuttoned her blouse and Damien couldn’t look away, groaning when she revealed a bra that had probably come with a warning label—do not expose to anyone with a weak heart. She dropped her skirt and faced him in a matching thong.

“Make the call, Damien.”

His phone appeared in his hand as if he’d conjured it. He hit speed dial three.

“Infeld residence.”

“Geoffrey, it’s Damien. How is he?”

“Much as he’s been since the trial. Fuller of himself and telling stories of his past blended seamlessly with fiction much more often than before.”

“I’ll be over in—.”

Uncharacteristically, Geoffrey interrupted. “No, he’s fine, particularly if … Damien, do you have something better to do? Someone you’d rather be with?”

Stunned, he mumbled, “Yes.”

“Leave Stanton to me for tonight and take comfort, pleasure or relaxation where you find it.”

Eyes boring into Hanna’s, Damien said, “All right.” He ended the call and lost himself in her embrace. “This is a mistake, isn’t it?” he mumbled while helping Hanna undress him on the way to her bedroom. In reply, she wrapped herself around him and Damien had no prayer of resisting.

* * *

Early the Next Morning

“I never do this with anyone other than you,” Hanna murmured, snuggling closer to Damien’s side.

“You don’t like to watch the sunrise after a night of sex?” Damien asked, unable to stifle a yawn.

Hanna smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “I do, but I don’t do it with anyone else.”

“It’s our thing,” he said. “Every couple has a thing.”

“Is that what we are again?” she asked, hands moving over Damien’s body in a very compelling manner. “A couple.”

“We are or that was the most epic one night stand ever.” He laughed when she punched him lightly in the stomach, but he caught her chin in his hand and tilted her head toward his. “I’ve missed this. I’ve missed you.”

“Not as much as I’ve missed you, or we’d have been in bed together months ago.” She swallowed his comment with her mouth. “We can handle sleeping and working together, Damien. We can deal with Stanton too.” Framing his face with her hands, she stared into his eyes with a nearly frightening intensity. “I want to be with you in every way possible and I intend to get what I want.”

“Hanna, I—.”

“I’ve been patient, Damien.”

“You’ve also been pissed off.”

“Only when my patience ran out.”

Damien opened his mouth to ask if she actually spent the night with Franklin, but he closed it with the question unasked, realizing that nothing good could come of it—one way or the other. “I’m sorry. I’ve just … had bad luck with workplace romances.”

“You’re comparing me to Jillian?” Hanna gave him the look that froze opposing counsel in their tracks. “The bitch who put you through the ringer over and over again. Get out of my bed.”

He had been comparing, so … “Ok.”

“Don’t leave,” she said.

Women are unfathomable—example 10, 013. “What do you want from me, Hanna?”

She slipped her right leg between his and draped her arms around him. “Two more orgasms before I go to work.”

“You told me to get out of your bed.”

Making no move to release him, she said, “We don’t have to be in bed for you to deliver.” Biting her lip, she murmured, “We weren’t the first time.”

“Sex on the stairs isn’t how I imagined our second first time would be,” he said. Sighing, he added, “I know how stupid that sounded, but you know what I mean.”

“It wasn’t particularly comfortable, was it?” Hanna said, laughing softly.

“That’s an excuse for how fast it was,” he mumbled, thinking back to how desperate and frenetic their coupling had been. “Seriously,” he cupped her left breast in his hand, “I thought maybe a suite somewhere nice or a white sand beach. Not what amounted to a mindless fuck with the added bonus of carpet burns on my knees.”

“Damien, it wasn’t mindless, because you kept asking whether you were hurting me,” Hanna said. “Which you weren’t by the way.”

“That’s what you kept saying.”

“I said don’t stop more,” she countered, kissing him on the cheek.

“Your threats did get pretty creative.”

“If you’d have stopped, I’d have followed through on all of them.” She winked at him. “Even if the first time was mindless, what came after clearly wasn’t.”

Memories of Hanna atop him, working him slowly and relentlessly inundated Damien. There had been nothing rushed about that encounter. “Damn it, Hanna. I wanted it to be better, more romantic.”

“We have plenty of time for romance.”

Evincing a keen interest in the bed sheets, he said, “I wanted to make you happy.”

“You did. Look at me, Damien.” When he met her eyes, she said, “We aren’t on the stairs now and I’m waiting for you to deliver on my orgasm request. Feel free to be as romantic as you like.”

“You’re the most demanding woman I’ve ever met,” he said, as he shifted to pin her beneath him.

“You like it.” Hanna smiled sinfully up at him.

“You wish,” he muttered before taking no prisoners with his lips on hers.

“I don’t wish,” she panted when he shifted his attention to her throat. “I know.”

* * *

Later That Morning

Damien Karp exited the elevator into the offices of Infeld Daniels, aware of being extremely late, carrying his briefcase and a tray holding the coffee of the day for him and Hanna’s latest obsession bearing caffeine that involved so many different ingredients in specific proportions that it was embarrassing to order.

“Now there’s a fish that looks like he needs to two fist coffee,” said Jared Franklin, grinning at Peter Bash and Stanton Infeld.

“My goodness, Damien, you look exhausted,” Stanton said. “Geoffrey said you were busy. I thought you merely wanted a break from the obligation my sisters have undoubtedly imposed upon you. Now I know which of us was correct.”

“Late night working or playing?” Bash asked.

“Peter, it’s Karp,” Franklin said. “He only has working late nights. Playing is a solo activity.” Damien knew Pindar hadn’t given him up. He abided by the death threat confidentiality agreement, seemingly content to know something Franklin and Bash didn’t.

Bash regarded Damien, tapping his chin with his forefinger. “I’m thinking there’s a class of women who would pay to see him strip, so he could combine the two.”

“Some of us actually work here,” Damien said, moving past the threesome, meeting his uncle’s eyes and seeing something he sincerely didn’t like in them.

“You shouldn’t dismiss it without a second thought,” Franklin said. “The stripping thing could be a nice sideline for you.”

“One unavailable to you,” Damien countered, amazed to see Bash hiding a smile behind his hand. “Although, there might just be a subclass of women who would be curious to see someone as short as you take off some of his clothes.”

“The truly discerning are so few,” Franklin countered before giving Bash a high five.

A tiny bit nervous after last night, Damien tapped on Hanna’s office door.

“Come in.”

Relieved, he stepped inside. “I brought you your ridiculous excuse for coffee,” he said, lifting up the tray bearing the two beverages slightly.

Smirking as only a drop dead gorgeous woman can, she said, “Awesome.”

Smiling at her use of a favored word of his, Damien handed it over and watched as Hanna took her first sip. The bliss suffusing her features pleased him.

“It’s perfect,” she whispered, sauntering closer, smiling up at him. “Thank you, Damien.”

He cupped his hand behind her neck, drawing her closer. “How thankful are you, Ms. Linden?”


Their lips were millimeters apart when Stanton Infeld said, “Good, I’ve caught you both together.” They separated and faced the founder of the firm, who smiled like the cat that had eaten an entire extended family of canaries.

“Not surprising since you watched me walk in here with two coffees,” Damien said.

“There’s something I wish to discuss.”

Damien swallowed hard at the sheer coldness he’d never seen in Stanton’s eyes prior to his acquittal.

“I’ve changed the succession plan.”

“Why?” Damien asked, wondering who in the hell Stanton thought would be better than Hanna in the on deck circle.

“I’m replacing you with Hanna and Hanna with Mitchell Oxnard.”

The words were so unexpected that Damien had trouble making sense of them. “You can’t do that,” he asserted the instant he had.

“It’s already done, Damien.”

“Stanton, the main reason I joined this firm was because everybody wanted to keep it in the family.”

“The reason I offered you a position at Infeld Daniels was that your mother asked me to because you were stagnating at Cox and White.”

“That isn’t true!” The knowledge that arguing with Stanton generally gained a person nothing paled in comparison to the anger flowing through Damien. “I was about to make senior partner there when you offered it to me here.”

“Within five years, quite possibly.”

“Within five months, Stanton. Their partnership cycle is October to October and you damn well know it.”

“This argument is pointless. I’ve made my decision.” Stanton sighed and his eyes darted to Hanna. “This is why I’ve waited so long to tell him, my dear. I didn’t relish the prospect of this conversation.”

Damien turned to Hanna and his heart sank at her obvious discomfort. “You knew about this?” he asked.

“I told her right after my acquittal,” Stanton said, bowing slightly to Hanna.

He couldn’t believe it. He simply couldn’t. He and Hanna had talked about the firm staying in the family just last night. She hadn’t said a word. She’d seemed so warm and sympathetic when she’d known that Stanton had pulled the rug out from under him and seduced him on top of it. Feeling sick to his stomach and the beginnings of a migraine, Damien said, “I have work to do.”

“We need to prepare the motion to suppress Mia Gallagher’s testimony,” Hanna said, catching his upper arm before he could step away.

“You’re in court with Franklin at 11:00 am,” Damien said, wincing at the reminder of how late he was and why as he forced himself to meet her eyes. “I’ll do it and email it to you.”

“Damien, I’m sorry.”

“Me too.”

* * *

Fifteen Minutes Later

“What?” Damien Karp replied to a tap on his office door, putting his head in his hands when Peter Bash stepped inside.

“Got a minute?” Bash asked, voice oddly tentative.

Having made no progress in putting together his motion, Damien figured a distraction might be beneficial. “What’s on your mind?”

“I don’t know what’s going on between you and Stanton, but I do know what it’s like to get kicked in the teeth by a woman you care about.”

He hated that his private life threatened to become an open book, but he raised his head to face whatever Bash had come to impart. “Who says there’s anything going on between me and Stanton or that Hanna kicked me in the teeth?”

Bash grinned as he dropped into one of Damien’s client chairs. “You identified the woman you care about, not me. Were you with her last night?” He laughed when Damien sat up straighter and took refuge behind his coffee. “Given how crapped out both of you look, Hanna less so, God bless her, I’m guessing there wasn’t much sleeping involved. How long did you make that so incredibly fine woman wait because of the whole we work together thing, anyway?” When Damien declined to answer, Bash said, “I’m impressed you lasted more than a week or two, because she’s so hot she ought to be illegal. However, it’s nice to see a man of principle bend one or two once in a while.”

“Why are you here?”

“Hanna accused Stanton of being needlessly cruel,” Bash said. “He insinuated that her only concern was you knowing she’d betrayed your trust again. She looked for a minute like she was going to cry. What the fuck, Damien? Ice queens do not cry. I think it’s in the union contract.”

“I told her not to wade into this. Damn it, Peter, I warned her he wasn’t stable.”


Damien spun his chair a full 360 degrees. “Yes, look, he’s going through some things and …”

“He’s taking it out on you?” Bash guessed.

“I’m used to it,” Damien muttered. “Hanna isn’t.”

“Ok, dude, Stanton I can’t help you with. Hanna, maybe I can.” Bash stood and buttoned his suit coat, as though he was facing a jury. “You have a second chance with her. You both want it. You clearly had a night last night. Don’t let whatever this is get in the way. Don’t let Stanton become an issue. You’ll hate yourself for it.”

“Voice of experience?” Damien asked.

“When Janie told me she was engaged, I felt like she’d torn my heart out for the second time. I only realized then that I hadn’t recovered from the tearful first goodbye, when she told me that I’d never committed to her and that she couldn’t come home to a frat party every night and that’s what my life amounted to.”

“Your house is somewhat akin to a frat house.”

“My house, my lifestyle and my partner were the issues Janie and I couldn’t overcome. Don’t let your uncle come between you and Hanna.”

“He’s not, but it hurts that she knew what he’d done and didn’t tell me, even when we talked about the matter last night. How can we build a relationship if there’s no trust?”

Bash stared at him in what looked like dawning comprehension, horror or both. “You had sex for the first time the second time last night.”

Smiling slightly, he said, “The second first time sounds better, so I guess I didn’t do so badly after all.”

Bash said, “Making this wound more raw than I thought.” He came around the desk to stand to the right of Damien’s chair. “I’d have given anything for a second chance. You have one. Don’t blow it.” Saluting sharply, he added, “That is all.”

* * *

Eight Hours Later.

“Knock, knock,” Jared Franklin said as he slipped into Damien Karp’s office.

“Who’s there?” Damien asked, a little punchy after a day of forcing himself to work.

“Did you know?”

Not having any idea if or why he was playing along, he said, “Did you know what?”

“Did you know your lady is scary behind the wheel of a car and even scarier than usual in court when she’s furious at the uncle and upset that the nephew is upset with her?” He leaned against the wall and dramatically wiped imaginary sweat from his forehead. “Fix it,” he hissed and was gone before Damien could retort.

* * *

An Hour Later

“Damien,” Hanna Linden said, stepping aside. “Come in.”

He halted just inside the door, barely giving her enough room to close it. “Look, I just came to say I’m sorry for this morning. Stanton threw me for a loop and I got angry. I couldn’t understand why you didn’t tell me, particularly when I shared what I did with you last night, but now that I know what I’m going to do, I feel better.” He took her right hand in his. “Given that and a little perspective, I can see that I might not have told me either, under the circumstances. So, I’m sorry, Hanna.


“You frightened Franklin into a horrible knock knock joke by your behavior in your car and in the courtroom and Bash went all gooey eyed romantic on me about us having a second chance.” He risked a small smile. “My day was stressful.”

“Apparently,” she allowed, tugging him slightly. “Can I get you something?”

“Anything 80 proof or better will work.” He watched her sashay away before settling in on her couch and valiantly resisting the call of the remote control. She returned shortly and offered what looked to be an old fashioned. “Double bitters?” he asked.


“God, you aren’t just a pretty face.”

“I appreciate there was no interrogative at the end of that sentence.”

“Has there ever been?”

“Plenty,” she said.

“From me?”

She smiled and leaned in for a kiss. “No and that’s part of what I love about you.” The word hung between them and Hanna kissed him again, perhaps to fill the void it created. “I am sorry, Damien, but some things are difficult to disclose.”

“It’s ok.”

“Is it?

He kissed her forehead. “I think so.”

Hanna nodded slowly. “What have you decided to do?”

“Hmmmm?” Damien couldn’t determine whether he liked the affectionate expression or Hanna running her fingers through his hair better. “Oh, I’m having lunch with Higgens Darby tomorrow, Igor Kaslov on Friday and Dominic and Marta Mintz a week from today.”

“You’re leaving Infeld Daniels?” She shifted away and Damien missed her warmth.

“If someone offers me a position.”

“Mintz & Mintz will and that’s where you want to go, but you can’t Damien. You’ll damage Infeld Daniels beyond repair.”

“Hanna, senior partners have left the firm before. It isn’t the end of the world.”

“The heir apparent never has.”

“I’m not the heir apparent anymore.”

“To our clients, you are.” Hanna kissed him soundly, neatly capturing his attention. “Your clients will go with you and a lot more will follow, because they expected you to take over and, sad to say, because you’re a man. Losing that many clients so quickly could put this firm under.”

“Oh, so that’s what you’re worried about?” he challenged. “Having a firm to run when Stanton decides he has enough money.”

“Only because you’re hurting will I let that slide.” She took his hand. “If you were thinking rather than reacting, you’d know I’m worried about you living with yourself, if you destroy what your uncle has built and what you’ve worked on together these last few years.”

“It’d serve the bastard right to fall flat on his face.”

“Damien,” she breathed, “you said it yourself. He’s trying to assimilate having gotten away with murder into his world view. Give him some time.”

“So he can figure out new and exciting ways to shaft me? No thanks. This straw has broken the camel’s back and I can’t pretend otherwise.” Damien freed his hand in order to frame Hanna’s face with both. “He didn’t just break his promise to me. He broke one to all of his sisters and my cousins and nieces. Stanton shit on the entire family today or whenever he did this.”

“Isn’t that what you would do, if you left to become a judge?” she asked, tone even, devoid of challenge or judgment.

“No, that possibility was on the table from the word go.” Damien clearly recalled that series of transatlantic phone calls. “Everyone understood I might choose that route.”

“What about the Stanton-sitting your aunts asked you to do?”

“They can call Geoffrey as easily as I can.”

“They’re depending on you,” she said, stroking his cheek with the pads of her fingers. “The man I want in my bed wouldn’t let them down.”

“That isn’t fair.”

“It’s the truth.”

Damien stood, trying to decide whether to abandon or chug his drink before he headed to the door. “Then I guess I’m not the man you want in your bed.”

“Guess again.” Hanna stood before him, angry, defiant, gorgeous and impossibly sexy.

Heart racing, mind nearly totally blank, Damien said, “We are not having sex on the stairs again.”

“I’m thinking the couch,” she murmured, stepping into Damien, shoving him hard enough to sit him back down and straddling his lap.

“For starters,” he muttered, planting a kiss at the base of her throat.

“We both need to sleep,” she said.

“We will,” he said. “After.”

“That’s what you said last night, Damien.”

“I lied last night.”

“How do I know you aren’t lying now?

“You don’t.” Her laughter inspired him and Hanna seemed appreciative.

* * *

One Week Later.

“Hey,” Damien Karp said, “you have a minute?”

“For you, I have several hours, if necessary,” Hanna Linden replied.

“I don’t need hours, but I need to talk to you.”

“Have a seat.”

“I can’t; I’m too pumped.” He approached her desk at speed and she stood, likely to meet him on equal footing or as close as her heels could get her. “You don’t have to stand up, just because I feel great. Absolutely fantastic. It’s like a weight has been lifted from my chest. I feel like I can breathe for the first time in a week.”

“The third interview lunch went well?” she ventured, wearing an expression he couldn’t interpret.

“Better than well. I’m in, I think.” Since she was standing, he pulled her in for a hug. “Mintz & Mintz—can you believe it?”

“They don’t have many senior partners.”

“Just the two of them and Adrian Devern.”

“And you?”

“It’s looking that way, milady.” Laughing, he picked Hanna up and spun her around, thoroughly enjoying her squeak of surprise. “I haven’t felt this good since early this morning.” They smiled at each other, memorable oral sex charging the air between them. “I just can’t believe it’s going to work out like this. Me somewhere I kind of always wanted to be and able to see you without the whole we work together thing rearing its ugly head.”

“I’m sorry, Damien.” Hanna looked nearly bereft. “I am so sorry.”

“Why? This is great news!” She hugged him fiercely and wouldn’t let go. “Hey,” he whispered, “what’s going on?”

“I’ll best any offer you receive.”

Hanna pushed him away and turned her back on the proceedings, leaving Damien to face Stanton Infeld, Jared Franklin and Peter Bash.

“What?” Damien said, simply to stall for time while he processed the implications of what had just happened.

“You two need to talk,” Franklin said, gesturing between Damien and Stanton.

“We didn’t jump on this ship, just to get in a lifeboat and listen to whatever song they played in Titanic when the ship started to sink,” Bash offered.

“I didn’t mind seeing Leonardo sink to the bottom of wherever the hell they were,” Franklin said.

“The damn movie should’ve started with the shot of Kate Winslet’s rack,” Bash observed. “All that crap at the beginning had me looking at my watch and saying sink the damn boat already.”

“But Leonardo drowning was worth it, right?” Franklin said.

“Obviously,” Bash said.

“I will better any offer you receive from other firms, Damien,” Stanton said.

“You think this is about money?”

“Isn’t everything, when it comes right down to it?”

“No,” Damien said. “This isn’t. This is about promises made and broken. This is about respect. This is about how you treat your own flesh and blood.”

“As you’ve undoubtedly run to your aunts to complain about.”

Stung, Damien said, “I don’t cry on their shoulders; you do.”

“No matter, I will double what they propose to pay you.”

“Double?” The offer was outrageous and yet so totally Stanton.

“See, there, it is about money.”

“I came here to take over for you, if I didn’t become a judge. Everyone in the family was on board and you reneged on that. Why should I trust you to come through with your absurd salary offer?”

“You object to me making you a very wealthy man?” Stanton asked, stepping into Damien’s personal space. “That isn’t like you.”

“Stanton, you passed me over when I’m supposed to keep this firm in the family.”

“Surely, it is within your ability to keep this firm in the family with the succession plan as amended.” Damien looked to Hanna, who had the common decency to look as shocked as he did. “There,” Stanton said, “problem solved. If you’ll excuse me, I have more pressing matters to attend to.”

Damien rounded on Hanna. “You told him?” He gestured to Franklin and Bash. “You told them? Jesus Christ, Hanna, is there anyone you haven’t told?”

“Damien, it’s not what you think,” she said.

“I’ll tell you what I think. I trusted you—God knows why—probably because I needed to talk to someone and look what it got me. Stanton all superior and Thing 1 and Thing 2 with their noses in my business. I thought … Jesus, I thought I was more to you than a chess piece to manipulate to get whatever it is you want. Since I’m not, I guess I should ask. What do you want?”

Hanna glanced at Franklin and Bash and Damien crossed his arms in front of him, barely able to keep from tapping his foot with impatience. “To be with you,” she said.

“Bullshit!” he declared. “Why did you tell Stanton?”

“Because I thought he’d deal with whatever the issues are between you, rather than suggest you marry me to keep the firm in the family.” She pressed her forefinger into his chest. “That was just as humiliating for me as it was for you.”

“What? You don’t want to marry me?”

“You haven’t asked.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“Time out,” said Franklin, making the T gesture with his hands, although not daring to actually step between Damien and Hanna. “We’re dangerously close to uttering that which cannot be taken back. Maybe a cooling off period is in order.”

“You’re right, midget man,” Damien said, backing up, glaring at Hanna. “Why tell Franklin and Bash?”

“I’m not sure that’s in keeping with the cooling off period idea,” Bash said.

“Why?” Damien demanded.

“I wanted Carmen to follow you to your interview lunches to see how they went,” Hanna said.

“You had me followed?” Damien came loose from all of his moorings. “I don’t even know you anymore, Hanna, if I ever did. Regardless, I’ll miss you, but I’m gone as soon as I can wrap up my pending cases and complete the administrative crap.” The pain of betrayal lancing through him, Damien headed to his office and a long night of work.

* * *

Four Days Later.

“Take this box, won’t you, Damien.” His Aunt Katherine’s cultured British annunciation reverberated down the hallway.

“Katherine, this is a surprise. What brings you across?”

“Other than a suitcase full of gifts for you from the British women in your life?” she asked when she deposited the heavy box in his arms.

Damien looked into eyes a bit bluer than his before noting the casual yet sophisticated chic his aunt carried off so well. “All of this is for me?” She nodded. “Anything perishable?”

“All of your favorite teas and chocolates, my dear. Grace wouldn’t let you down.” Katherine took his arm and they strolled to his office. “She did instruct me to hide them beneath other things, so you might wonder if she had.”

“Sounds like her.”

“She and I have been reminiscing about the scrapes the two of you got into whenever you spent time together.” She smiled. “Made me grateful all over again that you decided against Oxford.”

“We would’ve behaved, more or less.”

“Perhaps,” she allowed as she opened his office door for him. “Don’t scowl, you have your hands full.” When he set the box on the corner of his desk, he hugged Katherine. “Now,” she said, kissing him on the cheek and wiping off the residual lipstick with her thumb, “tell me what is the matter.”


“I don’t believe you,” she said. He opted for silence. “Come now, Damien. After weeks of reassuring phone calls and patient explanations from you, Geoffrey takes over with cool British efficiency and emotional distance. “What has happened?”

“I’m just very busy right now.”

“You’re always very busy, but you made the time up until a few days ago. What changed?”

“Aunt Katherine, there’s really nothing you can do, so—.”

“I will not leave this building until someone tells me what is happening and I’d prefer to hear it from my favorite nephew.”

Damien laughed. “I’m your only nephew.”

“If I had sixteen nephews, you’d still be my favorite.”

Realizing she’d counted her nieces accurately as nephews, he decided on a different approach. “Stanton will say I came running to you with my problems.”

“I came to you and I can produce witnesses to that effect.”

“Witnesses who aren’t related to us?”

“Indeed,” she said. “I came across two extremely talkative young men when I stepped out of the elevator, the taller of whom tried to carry the box for me. He was a pleasantly charming boy who’s quite easy on the eyes.”

“Peter Bash.”

“Now I understand why Lily is pining so.” She took Damien’s arm once more. “Let’s have a chat with them, shall we?”

“All right,” Damien said, his wariness level rising. He placed it at about DEFCON 3 and it didn’t diminish in the face of the amusing family gossip Katherine shared with him along the way. She tapped on the door and stepped inside, deftly maneuvering Damien along with her. Jared Franklin and Peter Bash rose immediately, Hanna Linden a few heartbeats later. The gray dress of doom raised the alert level to DEFCON 4.

“Mr. Franklin, Mr. Bash, hello again,” Katherine said. “Hanna, always a pleasure.”

“Not always,” Hanna said, even as she offered her hand, undoubtedly thinking of encounters closely following their break up.

“More often than not, then,” Katherine amended. “Now, gentlemen, we met in the lobby, did we not?” They nodded in unison.

“We asked if we could help you,” Franklin said. “Peter offered to carry your box.”

“I promised to deliver Damien’s presents myself or I would’ve gladly handed it over.” Eyeing Bash, she said, “Did I mention why I was here?”

“To see your nephew whom you identified as the handsome devil to your right,” Bash said, smirking at Damien’s rolled eyes.

“Did I mention if he was expecting me?”

“You told us to keep quiet if we ran into him first, because he didn’t know you were in the States, much less coming by to see him,” Franklin said.

“There you are, dear,” Katherine said. “I came to you as verified by non-related witnesses.”

“What you haven’t accepted about Stanton is that you generally can’t win,” Damien said, punctuating his observation with a small sigh. “He’ll say that I came running to you and you arrived with your story of a surprise to obfuscate that fact.”

“Fine,” she said, tone sharp and no nonsense. “What’s he done?”

“It doesn’t matter, Katherine, because I’m leaving the firm.”

Katherine slowly turned toward him and he instinctively mirrored her movement. “To become a judge?” she asked.


“Why then?”

“Because Stanton removed me from the succession plan and had the gall to suggest that it shouldn’t stop me from keeping the firm in the family.”

“He appointed a woman.” Katherine’s eyes cut to Hanna. “You?” Hanna nodded. “I see.”

Unable to keep silent, Damien muttered, “She knew about it and didn’t tell me.”

“Of course she didn’t tell you,” Katherine said, waving away his anger regally. “I wouldn’t have.”

“Why the hell not?”

“First, who knows if Stanton will actually change the succession plan? Second, who knows how many more times he’ll change his mind about it before he steps down? Third, you might become a judge and the decision would be moot. Shall I go on?” He shook his head but something deep within him relaxed slightly. “Telling you would only serve to hurt you, which it undoubtedly did.” Voice gentle, she asked, “Damien, when did Stanton tell you?”

“Not quite two weeks ago.”

“Why then?”

“I have no idea. He probably just wanted to ruin my morning coffee.”

“No,” Bash said, shocking everyone in the room other than Katherine. “You and Hanna had just … um … were getting closer at that time and Stanton might have guessed she hadn’t told you about the change to the succession plan.”

“Stanton likes a good controversy,” Franklin said. “He’s not above creating one.”

Damien thought back to Stanton practically daring him to bet his guitar against these two clowns. “No, he’s not, but this …” The thought died in his throat, as he finally perceived the trap he’d stepped into. “Jesus Christ, I have to get out of this place.”

“If it’s the last thing you ever do?” Bash asked. “I love The Animals.”

“I’m thinking more along the lines of It’s My Life,” Damien said.

“That works,” Franklin offered. “Tell me I’m wrong. Hurt me sometimes.” He gestured to Bash and himself. “We’ve got that part covered.” He frowned. “Or is it show me I’m wrong? Well, either way.”

Hanna stepped close and Katherine deftly pivoted Damien toward her. “I’m sorry,” Hanna said. “I told you that days ago, but you weren’t ready to hear it. I thought Stanton would react more maturely and I was worried that you weren’t thinking things through, that you were making a very important decision without enough information or forethought.”

“Believe me, Hanna, I understand my predicament.” She took his hand and he entwined their fingers as was their habit, ignoring Katherine’s look of approval, because he wanted it not to matter. “If I leave, I’m a coward because I couldn’t meet the great Stanton Infeld on his own terms. If I stay, I’m a money grubbing weasel and a doormat on top of it. I don’t need this shit in my life.”

“What do you need in your life, Damien?” Katherine asked.

His eyes went to the woman he’d been thinking about for four days. “Me leaving this firm is the best for us,” he said, imploring Hanna to understand.

“Nonsense,” Katherine said. “What’s best for the two of you as a couple is for you to swallow your pride, take the money to spend on extravagant vacations or what have you and work together to make this firm better than it’s ever been.”

“I disagree,” Damien said.

Katherine gestured to Hanna and said, “Please tell him what you’re really concerned about should Damien choose to leave Infeld Daniels.”

After only a brief hesitation, Hanna said, “We all know that your reputation at a new job is made in the first year or two. If you make a good one, you have to truly screw up time and time again to erode it. If you make a bad one, you’re screwed no matter what you do.” She stared into Damien’s eyes. “You’ll put in the massive amount of time and effort it’ll take to make a good one, so I’ll never see you. God, Damien, it’s been nice getting to know you again. I don’t want to put that on hold any longer.”

“The most important thing in any sustainable relationship is time,” Katherine said. “Time you will not have together if you depart.”

“Dude, if you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, might as well do,” Bash commented.

“I’m not going to let Stanton manipulate me,” Damien said, feeling panic descending again.

Hanna placed her hands on Damien’s shoulders, thumbs just touching his throat. “You aren’t, if you’re doing what you want.” She sighed deeply, brushing her breasts against his chest.

“I don’t know what I want,” he admitted.

“That’s exactly what I’ve been concerned about,” she said, sliding her hands along his shoulders and down his arms to settle on his waist. “You’re forging ahead without a plan. That’s so not you.”

“Definitely strikes me as a list maker,” Franklin observed.

“Nah, he’s more of a stick everything on the wall with push pins and connect them with string sort of a guy,” Bash said.

“Like someone trying to catch a serial killer, you mean?” Franklin asked.

“A really obsessed, anal retentive someone,” Bash replied.

Tapping Damien on the nose, Hanna murmured, “I’ve missed you these last few days. Email doesn’t really cut it, when I’m used to getting the personal touch at work and at my place.”

“I was angry,” Damien mumbled, finally giving in and putting an arm around Hanna.


“Yeah.” Her smile drew one to his lips. “But I’ll feel like an idiot, if I stay, given everything that’s happened.”

“I don’t know,” Bash said, draping one arm across Damien’s shoulders and the other across Hanna’s. “I think you’ll be feeling like a man who’s making a doubly obscene amount of money and has a beautiful woman in his life. If that’s being an idiot, I’ll take it.”

“Me too,” Franklin added, smiling at Hanna, “but I’m wondering what’s behind this. It reeks of competition, but Stanton seems above all that.” Franklin zeroed in on Hanna again. “He hasn’t come on to you, has he? Stanton, I mean. We all know Damien has.”

“No,” Hanna said, turning further into Damien’s embrace.

“Stanton has never forgiven Damien for not being a girl,” Katherine announced. Smiling, likely at having neatly captured everyone’s attention, she said, “Stanton has only sisters. His sisters have had only daughters with the exception of Evelyn who had Damien. Damien has only nieces. Oh, I should mention, the twins inundated you with vintage Star Wars action figures.”

Damien laughed. “I know someone who might appreciate them, unless you think it would upset Danielle and Darcy if I gave them away.”

“I think knowing you passed them on to a friend would be splendid.”

“That’s using the term loosely,” Damien said.

“Pindar would love them,” Franklin said, “and he’d tell Danielle, Darcy and whoever else would listen that he did.”

“True facts,” Bash said. “He’d put them in conference with all of the others to plan the next offensive against the Empire.

“I believe the girls have supplied Damien with minions of the dark side of the Force,” Katherine said.

“Oh,” Franklin and Bash said together.

“Fitting,“ Bash said. “Who better to carry Emperor Palpatine’s torch than the Karp himself, but that might be a tougher sell.”

“I can sell it,” Damien said, smiling slightly, remembering the conversation regarding the superiority of the first trilogy over the second, despite Ewan McGregor, when Pindar had tried to help Damien with his email problem. “Pindar needs balance in the action figure aspect of his life. Anyone can see that.”

“Damien got a box of presents from all and sundry,” Franklin said, gesturing to Katherine. “What’d Stanton get?”

“Love, affection and a few crayon drawings,” Katherine said. “Really, the man has everything. What could we hope to send that he’d appreciate?”

“You don’t get crayon drawings?” Franklin asked, looking oddly disappointed.

“I … ah … generally get a notebook full of them.”

After sharing an unfathomable look with Bash, Franklin asked, “What are they pictures of?”

“Normal things. A family eating dinner. Kids riding bikes, playing ball or in school.” He smiled at the memories. “At least that’s what I think they are. It’s gotten easier to figure out since they’ve learned to write, because there’s usually a caption.”

“Are you in them?”

“Where are you going with this, counselor,” Bash asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” Franklin replied. “Are you in them, Damien?”

“Some of them, yes.”

Turning to Katherine, Franklin asked, “What are Stanton’s pictures of?”

“Castles, mostly. Danielle simply adores moats. The occasional dragon, extremely large spider, snake or shark.” Clearly anticipating Franklin, she said, “Stanton isn’t in them. There are no people in them.”

“So now you’re going to say that I’m real to them and Stanton isn’t in some way,” Damien said. “I know my nieces and it’s not that simple.”

Clearly addressing Katherine,” Franklin asked, “Have these twins visited sunny California?” When she nodded, he said, “So who took them to Disneyland?”

“I did,” Damien said. “My cousin Trish’s idea of visiting is why don’t you two entertain your uncle while mummy shops.”

“You let them use your camera,” Katherine said. “They still talk about that.”

“That was dicey,” Damien said, laughing. “They weren’t very good at framing. I don’t know how many photos there were of my forearm.”

Hanna said, “They gave me the one of your ass.”

“No, they didn’t,” Damien said, hoping he was correctly calling Hanna’s bluff.

“I can produce it, if need be,” Hanna said. Damien thought silence to be prudent.

“I have to meet these girls,” Franklin said, sitting on his desk. “They sound like they know how to have a good time. They could teach their uncle a few things.”

“They have,” Damien said, hugging Hanna tighter. He hadn’t wanted kids, he hadn’t thought about wanting kids until he’d spent time with the twins.

“It’s competition,” Franklin said, “maybe the only competition Stanton would acknowledge as such. “That explains a lot.”

“Stanton’s a very different lawyer from me,” Damien said.

“And you want to be a judge, something Stanton is not, has never been, nor will be,” Bash said. “When did you decide that?”

“I was six.”

“Before you understood you’d be competing.” Bash looked to Franklin. “An odd sort of prodigy.”

“He’d have figured it out when he was three if he was Mozart.”

“Mozart had big hair,” Bash said. “Damien doesn’t.”

“That was a wig,” Franklin countered.

“Are you sure that wasn’t his real hair?” Bash demanded.

“Do you have a point, gentlemen?” Katherine asked, “other than regarding Mozart’s hair, which is more likely derived from the movie Amadeus than anything else.”

“It’s competition on a personal level,” Franklin said. “One that Damien is winning and probably always has won.” He gestured grandly. “The only nephew, the only boy child, the one who gets a box of presents and a notebook of crayon drawings with action figures on the side.”

“Stanton hates losing so he belittles me every chance he gets,” Damien said. “Fine. Whatever. I’m going where I can maintain some self respect.”

“No,” Bash said. “That’s not it at all. You want Stanton’s respect and what Jared’s line of questioning has revealed is that you have it. You always have had it. And now it’s up to you to do the right thing, for you, for Hanna and for this firm, because, where it counts, you’ve already won.”

“Master of the closing argument,” Franklin said, patting Bash on the back.

“I’m going to go and see my brother,” Katherine said. “From what I understand about your relations, Stanton would never look for Damien here, so I suggest the two of you make yourselves scarce while Hanna and Damien … talk.”

“We can make ourselves scarce with the best of them,” Bash said and they followed Katherine out.

“Damien, are you all right?” Hanna asked, draping her arms around his neck and staring into his eyes.

“The last few months have been difficult.”

“The next few won’t,” she said. “I promise.” She backed up her vow with a smile that took his breath away. “We have to have sex in here, Damien. It’d freak Franklin and Bash the hell out.”

“They probably have cameras set up,” Damien muttered.

“I’ll give you a professionally edited version of the video for your birthday.”

“The thought of the four of them watching with popcorn and beer doesn’t bother you?”

Her expression softened and her voice lowered to something less than a whisper. “Not if you stay.”

Drained yet resolute, he said, “I’ll stay.”

Slipping out of his arms, Hanna announced, “I’m locking the door and then we can affirm your decision however you like.”

* * *

Epilogue—One Week Later

“Here’s the figure you’ve agreed to double,” Damien Karp said, handing over the offer memorandum he’d received from Mintz & Mintz, who’d been very understanding and insisted their offer would remain open should he change his mind.

“My goodness,” Stanton Infeld said. “They weren’t trying to get a bargain, were they?” Rising, Stanton gave the paper back. “Very well, then, I’ll have your contract amended to reflect the salary increase, but I’m not inclined to make the other requested change.”

Instantly tense, Damien demanded, “What other change?”

“Franklin and Bash wanted a provision precluding you from having sex in their office. However, when I pointed out the essential unfairness of precluding only you, they lost much of their enthusiasm.”

Some very fond memories of Hanna Linden and Peter Bash’s chair drew a smile. “Stanton, why did you agree to pay me an insane amount of money?”

“I want you here until you receive a judicial appointment and imagine I’ll be paying the princely sum for two or three years at most.” Stanton smiled beatifically. “You’ve heard the expression ‘A bargain at twice the price?’” Unsure of Stanton’s meaning, Damien merely nodded. “I’m very glad you decided as you did, Damien.” Stanton offered his hand.

“So am I.” Damien shook it and didn’t resist when Stanton pulled him into a hug. It had been too long.


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First of all, thank you for this wonderful fic as a birthday gift. XDDDDDDDDDd

I love how Damien is like, a confused ball of confusion when it comes to Stanton and then him realizing that Stanton's treatment of him is like his uncle's version of the kid who's getting a new brother/sister after 8 years of being an only child.

I also love that Hannah's here and being all her awesome-y self (moar Hannah, show!)

Also, also, I love your Franklin and Bash. Bash was so cute with the overtly heart-on-his-sleeve advice. I really love how you wrote them, I finally had the urge to watch the eps I haven't seen.

“Did you know your lady is scary behind the wheel of a car and even scarier than usual in court when she’s furious at the uncle and upset that the nephew is upset with her?” He leaned against the wall and dramatically wiped imaginary sweat from his forehead. “Fix it,” he hissed and was gone before Damien could retort.

Haha! I can imagine Hannah doing that and Franklin actually saying this!

And your addition of Katherine is most excellent.

I enjoyed reading your fic. Thank you. Awesome, awesome work all around

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get this done in time, but ... deadlines can be good things. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

This was my way of explaining why Stanton seemed so hot and cold with respect to Damien throughout the season. My answer to the--why does he treat his nephew that way--question.

Hanna and the gray dress of doom--yes, I'd like to see her get more air time because I don't understand her character at all.

Bash is a heart on sleeve kind of guy when he isn't just after sex, so ... that part seemed good. I was proud of his closing argument and Franklin's line of questioning that led up to it.

I liked the idea of Franklin being "scared" of Hanna a little. Sometimes the shortest scenes have a lot of power.

I want to meet more of Damien and Stanton's family in S2--it seems like there's a lot of interesting things that could be explored in that way.

Thanks for giving me a deadline and responding to my unbecoming whining for a comment.:)))))

When I read the grey dress of doom, my mind kind of went to the dress Adelle wore in 1.06 (the one she wore in the s1 promo pics. lol ♥), so I was like, 'hmmm. sexy.'

Hannah and Carmen need more screentime, seriously.

And it's okay. I'm currently putting off these things (and then forgetting about them -_-) I'm spacing out a lot. lol.

I'm kind of in love with this pairing recently and I'm SO glad to see another fic for them -- and a really good one, at that. Love it!

They look good together and the actors seem to have excellent chemistry, so why not throw them together romantically, I say!

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for the kind words about the story. Means a lot.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!! This was too cute! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Damien/Hanna shippers unite! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a happy, happy, happy ball of squee and giggles and there was Stanton-Damien reconciliation at the end and eeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

And your Franklin and Bash made me giggle and they played off each other and everyone was so loveable and eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

I'm so glad you liked this. It was fun to write and it got way longer than I anticipated.

I love Damien, believe we didn't see enough of Hanna and had to work through my love/hate relationship with Stanton. This was, in a way, kind of cathartic for me.

Once I realized I just needed to let Franklin and Bash talk, they got easier for me to write and I'm glad they came off well.

Pleased to have engendered many eees and :Ds. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

It worked super well, though! As much as I love FnB, it does have it's own, mmmm, issues and it was nifty to see how you went about an answered all the somewhat awkward questions hanging in the air.

Stanton is a special, special character...I'm never sure what the show wants us to think of him. I really liked your interpretation. I see him a little bit differently, personally, but that's what makes fandom fun. :-)

Franklin and Bash are like male Gilmore Girls. I find that if you feed them and send them running off in one direction they usually do the rest...although, they never seem to want to talk about anything deep for me... there is a whole discussion on biodegradable bikinis sitting in an unfinished fic...

*huggles* :D

Stanton seems schizophrenic at times. Not sure what's going on with him, so I explained it in my own way. Made me feel better that there was a reason he treats his nephew the way he does (kind of running hot and cold).

Biodegradable bikinis ... hmmmm. Is that better than edible ones, I wonder?:)

Okay, super sorry for the late reply on this :(

BUT BUT. This was truly and utterly amazing. I may not be that much of a fan of the show, but you captured Damien in a way that I liked. This fic read better than most episodes, lol.

I think what struck me most and what I love about this fic (and for most of your writing, but it was especially evident here) was how drawn out the conversations between Damien and the other characters were, especially with Hanna. That relationship is a bit of a hit and miss for me, but the way you wrote them is truly gorgeous and made me smile. You wrote this fic with Damien in the spotlight, and rightfully so. I especially liked the hug at the end (though I still really am not sold on Stanton).

This made me smile so much:
“Franklin and Bash wanted a provision precluding you from having sex in their office. However, when I pointed out the essential unfairness of precluding only you, they lost much of their enthusiasm.”

Gorgeous. More fic from you! :DDDD

Better late than never, as they say (whoever they are). Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, regardless of any delay.

I kind of like Damien (not just the actor who portrays him). Can you tell?

I like dialogue. It's what's easiest for me to write, so I tend to rely on it whenever I can. I'm glad the conversations flowed well for you. I do strive for things that sound realistic but are still funny.

Damien and Hanna need some more exposure together on the show (maybe away from the office). Only then, will we be able to figure them out (I don't get Hanna's character at all--I don't understand her motivations, I mean, so I tried to simplify them here).

I'm very loyal--therefore, Damien will always be in the spotlight. I'm not sold on Stanton either, but writing this made me feel a bit better about him.

Leave it to Stanton to temper Franklin & Bash's effort to modify Damien's employment contract.

I have another one that's done, but I'm not so sure about it. Been a while since I've written slash.

Thanks again and hope all is well with you!

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