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Battle of Britain--Epilogue
matching clothing
rogoblue
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)


Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue


Summary: We take a peek in at Laurence and Adelle a few years later.






“It’s funny.” Laurence Dominic waited for Sergeant Williams to elucidate. “That brownnoser Captain called you Relentless today. If he only knew what a marshmallow you’ve become. Sitting there, pretending to read that report and pining away for the womenfolk.”


“They were supposed to get back yesterday.”


“Adelle told you there’d been a change in plan, Dom.” Williams spoke surprisingly gently.


“I know, I know. I just …”


“You miss them. It’s adorable.” Williams laughed at Dominic’s abject horror. “Everyone knows how crazy you are about them.”


“I love my family, Bill. What’s so fucking adorable about that?”


“The fact that you can say ‘fucking adorable’ with conviction is fucking adorable.”


He cursed the day Adelle had encouraged him to befriend this good old boy from Georgia. Williams was good people and an excellent spy, but familiarity had drawbacks. “Your ass is going to be most sincerely kicked, Bill.”


“By you?”


“I wouldn’t deprive Adams of the pleasure.”


Williams smirked. “It’d be pretty even.”


Emotions seethed within Dominic. “Don’t tempt me to school you myself. I’m still Relentless.”


Tapping Dominic on the shoulder with his fist, he said, “You aren’t a killer or just going through the motions anymore. The boss man wants to live, pleasure his wife and deliver teddy bears on a very aggressive schedule.” Williams’ managed the ultimate word in a passable British accent, making Dominic smile, despite his ill mood. “It’ll be dollies soon and I, for one, plan to drink an entire bottle of single barrel bourbon when I catch a glimpse of you playing with a doll.”


“I have to draw the line somewhere.”


“Not there, Dom. C’mon, throw us guys who’ve been with you for a spell a nice juicy bone.”


“I hope I’m there to laugh when you fall in love.”


Williams snickered. “You’re beyond ‘in love.’” He grinned and refilled his coffee cup. “Vandermeer says you adore Adelle and worship the ground she walks on.”


“I do not and will never worship dirt.”


“You worship her.”


He took a deep breath. “Adelle doesn’t want or need that. Equality is what she’s after.”


Evidently in a mood to poke and prod, Williams said, “And sex.”


“I trust my bodyguards, so I know you’re fishing for information. Here it is.” In a deep recess of his mind, he realized this intelligence would’ve been reserved for John Devon, his very best friend on this planet who died in a bloody mess in Italy. “My wife is the best I’ve ever had. She’s opened my eyes to a lot, driven me to my knees and made me beg for release.” He smiled and met Williams’ eyes. “I crave her, Bill. I don’t know a better word for it.”


“Neither do I, Dom, and I’m happy for you. All I want is for you to be happy for you.”


“They aren’t home,” Dominic snarled. Both men turned to the office door, as Vandermeer rapped sharply and entered.


“The British Ambassador is here again.”


“Have you given him tea?” Dominic asked. Vandermeer looked appropriately offended. “Good. What does he want?”


“Your wife.”


“I beg your pardon.”


“Jesus, Dom, he wants to talk to Adelle about some obscure bit of the NATO accords.”


“Send him in,” Dominic said.


Vandermeer looked anywhere but at Dominic. “I’m not sure he’s interested, if Herself isn’t in residence.”


“Send. Him. In.”


“Yes, sir.”


Williams and Dominic shared a look, while both rose to receive the visitor. “You want me to skedaddle, Dom?”


“Sit tight and listen.”


“For sure, for sure.”


“Sir Capshall, please watch your step,” Vandermeer said. “I routinely trip on the top step.”


“Where’s Adelle?” asked the older man, extending his hand.


“Italy.”


“Now?” Capshall asked, “Tell her to come home at once.”


Despite the humor in the concept of making Adelle do something, Dominic maintained his self control. “She’s en route. Sometime within the next 24 hours, Adelle will turn up.”


“I see.”


Something in the Ambassador’s tone got Dominic’s back and heart rate up. “If you have information impinging on her safety, disclose it now.”


Capshall clapped his hands on Dominic’s shoulders, obviously undeterred by the unspoken ‘or else.’ “I’m glad to know you have your priorities in order, Colonel.”


* * *


“Mummy!” Adelle turned away from the car window to meet a serious but inquisitive gaze. “Are we nearly home?”

Just having recognised the road they had turned on to, she nodded. “Yes, sweetheart, it won’t be long now.”

Kate smiled, when a second voice piped up. “Want daddy.” Jacqueline's green eyes brightened with expectation. “Kate and Mr. Buttons want daddy, too.”

“I know.” Adelle lifted Jacquie, plus a more threadbare than ever Mr. Buttons, onto her lap. “We’re nearly home. You need to be patient for a few minutes longer.”

Jacqueline considered before nodding. “Patient,” she told the bear, before holding the beloved toy out to her sister. “Kate hold Mr. Buttons?”

“You can look after him,” Kate said, though she did appear regretful.

“Say thank you,” Adelle prompted, smiling at Kate.

“Thank you.” Jacquie went one step further, leaning forward to kiss her sister’s cheek. She idolised Kate, imitating her and following wherever she went. Fortunately, Kate had embraced her role as older sister with great seriousness, though at times she found her younger sibling trying.

“You’ll be glad to be home, ma’am,” Mason observed from behind the wheel. Still at heart a traveller, the entourage involved these days diminished the appeal and, if away for too long, she and the girls missed Laurence.

“Why wouldn’t she be?” The unequivocal view arose from the passenger seat. “Who knows what those men get up to without her there.”

“The Colonel doesn’t need supervision,” Mason said.

“You all need it!” Voluble, fiercely Scottish and a force of nature, Aunt Juliet had sent an unlikely nurse in the guise of Flora Angus. In retrospect, Adelle should have expected someone with naval connections. Flora’s brother, an engineer, served with both Uncle Edgar and her cousin James. Flora adored the girls, treated Adelle like an aristocrat, and though she tolerated Laurence, she viewed all other men as unreliable irritants. Despite being not much over five foot tall, she made her presence felt and Mason wasn’t the only one careful not to get on her bad side. It made for a very interesting household.

A few minutes later, the house came into sight—far more practical than their last residence and much easier to keep warm. Their relocation to Frankfurt had removed them from Berlin before the blockade. However, the airlift and the division of both Berlin and Germany were salutary reminders that their daughters were growing up at the fault line of a new and very different conflict.

The girls bounced up and down with excitement as they turned onto the drive. They tumbled from the car, as soon as Mason drew to a halt. “Remember, your father might be working,” Adelle reminded, smiling as Kate took Jacqueline’s hand to help her along. “Don’t just burst in on him!”

She followed at a more sedate pace, greeting Vandermeer who seemed relieved by her return. The open door to Laurence’s study indicated the path the children had taken. She hoped he hadn’t had a visitor when the two tiny hurricanes descended.

Pausing in the doorway, she savoured one of her favourite sights, her husband with both of his girls. Kate sat on his knee, talking earnestly, while Jacqueline curled up on his lap, her arms wrapped around his neck and her cheek resting on his chest. Adelle watched her nestle closer, content to be back with daddy.

“Kate says you had tea with a Princess,” Laurence said, looking up. “Is that what kept you, Adelle?”

“In part.” She crossed to his side, kissed his cheek and rubbed her palm over Jacqueline’s back. “It will make a good article and the girls enjoyed it.”

“The Princess was nice,” Kate informed him, “but not as pretty as mummy. She had a dog. We fed him scraps of cake. Daddy, can we have a puppy?”

* * *


“I’m not sure it’s a good idea to feed a dog cake,” Dominic said.


“We wouldn’t feed our puppy cake,” Kate replied. “Would we, Jackie?” Dominic felt the head shake against his chest.


“Having a dog is a big responsibility,” he said. “Are you sure you aren’t too little—?”


“We’ll help look after it, daddy,” Kate said. “We’ll feed it and play with it.”


“What about walking it, cleaning up after it, washing it and all that?”


“The others will help.”


Dominic smiled. “I think it would be an abuse of my rank to order one of my men to bathe my dog. Do you agree, Adelle?”


“Not as glaring of one as bathing the children,” she said.


“Mummy!” Kate said, expression comically horrified.


“Bill gimme bath?” Jackie asked; her thoughtful tone startled Dominic.


“I’ll be sure to mention it to him,” he said, thinking the suggestion might appropriately counter Williams’ adorable appellation.


“Has William been a trial to you in my absence?” Adelle asked, astute as always.


He shrugged, eyes drawn to the doorway by a sharp rap. “Speak of the devil,” he said, waving Sergeant Williams into his study.


“I’m honored to be the topic of discussion among three such lovely ladies,” Williams said. Frowning exaggeratedly, he added, “I’ll have to tolerate the token male, I guess.” The girls exchanged a glance Dominic didn’t understand, but it prompted Williams to change the subject. “How was your trip, ma’am? Were the little bit and the littlest bit as angelic as they look?”


“Productive,” Adelle said.


The conversation flowed around him, while Dominic tried to see his girls through Williams’ eyes. They wore simple wool dresses with a white sash at their waists. Their blonde hair pulled back by matching pink bows. With cheeks flushed with the cold and eyes bright at the prospect of a puppy, angelic didn’t seem like a stretch.


“I’m happy to be home, though.” Adelle squeezed Dominic’s shoulders.


“Daddy always home,” Jackie said, pulling herself up into a kneeling position in order to look him in the eye. “I like home.”


“The puppy would like home too,” Kate suggested, clearly aiming to draw Jackie into her corner on the pet issue.


“Hold on a minute!” Dominic said. He waggled a finger at Kate. “I’m beginning to understand your nefarious plan.”


“What neff-air-us?” Jackie demanded.


“Sneaky,” Dominic said. “You want to get a puppy and leave it with me when you ladies go gallivanting all over Europe.”


Kate looked worried but only for a moment. “To keep you company.”


“Outmaneuvered,” Williams observed, grinning unabashedly.


“Daddy not sad we go?” Jackie radiated skepticism as to the soundness of the puppy plan.


“Or maybe not,” Williams interjected.


“I’ll always be sad when any of you leave,” Dominic said and kissed Jackie on the forehead. He regarded Kate for a moment. “I don’t think a dog would make much of a difference.”


“She’ll be a companion to you.” Kate took her father’s hand. “The Princess said so.”


“This may come as a surprise to you, but Princesses don’t know everything.” To avoid an argument over the relative wisdom of Princesses and Colonels, he said, “What do you mean she with respect to the dog?” He made an encompassing gesture. “Aren’t I outnumbered enough?”


Kate nodded to her younger sister. “Little brother?” Jackie said.


Williams laughed, confirming that Dominic had heard right.


“The Princess has a younger brother, too,” Kate said.


“Really?” Dominic ventured, leaning his head back to gaze up at Adelle who seemed amused by the conversational turns.


“He mostly naughty,” Jackie offered, tugging Dominic’s hair to draw his attention. “She love him anyways.”


“A baby brother and a male puppy would even things up, Dom,” said Williams, earning adoring glances from both little girls.


“Why are you here, Sergeant?” Scowling, Dominic added, “I know it isn’t to weigh in on possible additions to my family.”


“Vandermeer asked me to deliver his updated list of requirements for our move to Brussels.”


“No!” Jackie shrieked, tears forming in her eyes. Dominic glanced at Adelle. She shook her head, expression just as helpless and confused as he felt. “They yucky!”


“What’s so bad about Belgians?” Williams asked, clearly amazed at her vehemence. “They make excellent chocolate and beer.”


“Chocolate?” Jackie seemed utterly mystified. “Bell-gins?”


Dominic laughed when he realized he and Jackie agreed completely. “Brussels is a city in the country of Belgium. Bill wasn’t talking about Brussels sprouts.” Jackie’s relief flowed through her entire body.


“NATO?” Adelle ventured.


“Yes, the new orders we anticipated came through while you were gone and Sir Capshall has darkened our doorstep daily in order to ask you something about the accords.” He sighed. “I might’ve … um … overreacted to something he said when we spoke yesterday.”


“I’ll be smoothing ruffled feathers, then?” she asked.


“You should be prepared to, just in case.” Dominic lifted Kate off of his knee and settled Jackie into the chair as he rose. “Well, look at you behind the big desk.” Jackie beamed and Kate retrieved Mr. Buttons from where he’d been discarded in favor of Daddy.


“Now that you’ve had your reunion, it’s time for tea, girls.” Ignoring vigorous protests and Sergeant Williams’ hasty retreat, Flora Angus said, “You both spoke of being hungry in the car and mummy should have a turn with him, don’t you think?” Flora didn’t entertain the girls’ suggestions that Adelle wait a little while longer, neatly marching them off.


Jackie waved as she straddled the threshold. Dominic and Adelle returned the gesture, but their eyes sought each other when Flora closed the door firmly. “I missed you,” he said, figuring it best to admit it and be done.


“And I, you,” Adelle countered, smiling when he pulled her into his arms.


He kissed her. Then he kissed her again, harder. Adelle gave as good as she got. Dominic ran his hands possessively over her body, lingering on her hips and behind. “You might warn a man,” he panted before taking her lips a third time.


“About what?” she asked, fondling his body with similar abandon.


“Baby brothers and puppies.”


* * *

Adelle gave in to the temptation to kiss him once more. “Perhaps I was interested in your reaction.”

“To the idea of a dog or a brother?” When she merely raised an eyebrow, he looked startled. “Both?” Narrowing his eyes, he observed, “Clearly you’re the one with the nefarious plan.”

“Sneaky, I believe, was your preferred description.”

“Having our children mention both to me definitely qualifies.” He shook his head, “Did you select this particular Princess in furtherance of your sneaky plan?”

“Of course not.” She smiled. “I arranged to meet the Princess, because I know my editor would love a piece about her. Since she had both a puppy and a younger brother and the girls seemed entranced by canine and human, I availed myself of the opportunity their enthusiasm presented.”

“Judith’s visit get you to thinking?”

“I suppose,” she acknowledged. Judith was pregnant and having something of a rough go and spending time with her had put certain thoughts into Adelle’s head.

“Do you want another child, Adelle? It’s your decision – not the girls’ and not mine.”

“I think you probably have some say in the matter. Suppose I do?”

“I’m game.” He put a fingertip to her lips and took a sharp breath. “Even for another round with the adoption agencies, if that’s what you want.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, leaning against him. “I’ll give the matter serious thought and we can discuss it again. Now,” she said, slightly mischievous, “what about a puppy?”

He sighed heavily. “You know we’ll end up doing all the work, even if Kate swears on a stack of bibles to help.”

“A puppy will make your daughters happy.”

“What happened to not spoiling them?”

“They aren’t spoiled, Laurence and since we’re moving, a puppy could be reward good behaviour. As well as keeping you company while we are away.”

“That’s just a fancy way of saying I’ll be the one taking care of it.”

“Perhaps.” Regarding her husband thoughtfully, she said, “I didn’t have pets when I was a child – did you?”

“We couldn’t afford pets. I would have liked a dog but...”

“Then you should have one. I can see you at the end of the day, reading a weighty tome, a glass of scotch in your hand with a large, loyal dog at your feet.”

He frowned. “I’m married to the most persuasive person I’ve ever met. Should I give in now or let you practice your dark arts some more?”

“Give in,” she advised. “Then I can use my skills in furtherance of other goals.” Adelle trailed her fingertips down his chest and added, “We deserve an early night.”

“Under the circumstances, I surrender. I wouldn’t want to delay your agenda.”

“That’s a very wise decision, Colonel.” She stepped out of his embrace but hesitated. “If you are dead set against a dog, Laurence, do say so.”

“I’m not, but I’ll remind you who talked me into getting one when we’re scooping its shit.”

“I’d expect nothing less.” They shared a smile and after another long look imbued with the promise of ‘later,’ she asked, “Other than Sir Capsall, did anyone else call for me?”

“No, but there’s a note from mom that’s upstairs and I think Vandermeer said there was another letter.” Crossing the room he opened the door and asked Vandermeer, “Do you have Adelle’s mail?”

Vandermeer produced the item with his customary alacrity. She noted the international postage before opening the envelope. When she unfolded the single sheet of paper inside, two photographs fell into her hand.

“What is it?” Laurence asked.

“A letter from Caroline.” Like all of Caroline’s communications, the brief note came quickly to the point. She turned her attention to the photographs, “I asked her to send me Alpha’s head on a plate. This is her response.”

“Is she all right,” he asked, glancing at the note and photographs.

“She’s just exacted her revenge after years of waiting. I imagine she won’t know what to do with herself now.”

“You’re sure it’s him?”

“Quite.” Alpha’s dead eyes stared out from one of the images, his expression somehow mocking, as though he believed he had eluded them, even in death. The second photograph showed scarring on his back – an indisputable identifying feature.

“Then it’s over and we can dial down our security and breathe a little easier.” She tuned out for a moment and of course he had seen it. “Adelle?”

“My order to kill a man has been, executed.” She chose the word quite deliberately. “Do you think the girls will ever understand what their mother did during the war?”

“I don’t see why not. I’m a soldier and you fought the war in your own way.”

“What you did was more ... honest for lack of a better word.” She shuddered. “Could you entertain the girls for a while to give Flora a break? I want to write to Caroline and then, I think I need a few hours to myself.”

“Not too long,” he said, catching her hand in his as she stepped away.

Adelle only trusted herself to nod.

* * *


Laurence Dominic stopped short, as he came upon Adelle DeWitt in a hushed conference with Flora Angus. Feeling his usual discomfort at interrupting these particular women, he contemplated retreat, but Flora spotted him.


“Well, now, who’s minding the girls, then?” Flora asked, eyes darting upward as if she could see through floors and walls to answer her question.


Dominic had lost count of the number of horseyback rides he’d given his youngest and he wasn’t sure how long he’d read to the eldest. “Jackie’s asleep and Kate’s settled in bed with her new book and Mr. Buttons,” he replied. “I just thought …” He knew full well how little credit for intelligence Flora gave the male of the species. She probably bit her tongue to avoid completing his sentence for him, so he turned his full attention on Adelle. “You wanted an early night,” he murmured, reverence creeping into his tone. The way his wife posed and the speculative look in her eyes lured him closer.


Flora said something or another, as she ducked out of the small elegant room Adelle had commandeered for her study. “I can’t believe I couldn’t decide if you were beautiful when we met.” He laughed. “I guess I’m more sophisticated now.”


“Perhaps a bit,” Adelle allowed, her smile amused. “Did Flora’s plan meet with your approval, Laurence?”


Inattention or extreme focus—however you wanted to phrase it—had its problems. He shrugged at Adelle’s raised eyebrow. “I get tunnel vision for a while after you come back from a trip.”


“Tunnel hearing as well, it seems.”


“I try for that all the time, when it comes to that battleaxe.”


Adelle said, “Laurence!” in a stern tone but immediately dissolved into laughter.


“What’s she got against men, anyway?”


“She’s been ill used by one or two, I suspect.”


That set him back a step, as Adelle had likely intended. “I shouldn’t have called her that.”


“Agreed. Now, then, Flora suggested we have a light repast in here before retiring.” She gestured at the small table at which they’d shared any number of private meals.


“Fine with me, even though I’m not hungry.”


“Really?” Adelle murmured directly into his right ear, her lips lingering on the lobe. “What a pity.”


“I meant for actual food.”


She sighed with exaggerated relief as one of the staff—a girl whose name routinely escaped Dominic—knocked and entered bearing a tray that looked too heavy for her. However, his past offers of help had garnered only shocked expressions and curt refusals.


“What shall we talk about?” Adelle asked, as soon as they’d been served.


“Tell me about this Princess who’s caused so much commotion.” Her face fell immediately. “Adelle?”


She sipped her wine and stared at her plate. “I’m a little saddened that Caroline succeeded.”


“What? Why?”


Adelle took his hand, lifted it to her lips and kissed each fingertip. “If Alpha hadn’t gone rogue, Clive Ambrose might have successfully resisted the insertion of an American officer into the SOE.”


“We’d never have met.” They stared into each other’s eyes, food forgotten. “You’ll think this is strange,” he ventured.


“Go on.”


“I’d rather be indebted to Alpha than Harding for the life we’ve made together.” She smiled but her eyes didn’t. “Why not call it fate and leave it at that, Adelle?”


She agreed and regaled him with tales of the Princess influencing his princesses, but he knew she remained troubled. Before things became stilted, they finished, the maid retrieved the tray and they made their way upstairs.


“Has Kate emerged from seclusion?” Dominic asked Driscoll who lounged outside their bedroom door.


“Briefly to say good night and ask me to check on Jackie from time to time,” Driscolll said. “Kate’s a very sensible little person.”


“She takes after her mother in that regard,” Dominic said.


“Yes, sir. Good night, sir.” The men exchanged salutes and Driscoll nodded to Adelle.


The instant Dominic shut the door Adelle turned around and lifted her hair, exposing the zipper of her dress. Taking the hint, he unzipped her and sighed at the view as she stepped out of the garment. Holding her position, Adelle asked, “Are you tired of giving orders, Colonel Dominic?”


His heart raced. “I wouldn’t say tired, exactly,” he ventured, proud of his even tone.


Adelle sauntered to her side of the bed and opened the middle drawer of the bedside table. Wordlessly, she withdrew a silk scarf and secured it to the ornate headboard with an advanced naval knot. She repeated the process on his side. Only then did she face him. “Do you want to surrender tonight or shall I?”


“Adelle, I—.”


“Answer the question, Laurence,” she said, her tone light yet firm.


He didn’t understand why he wanted this, but he did. “Me.” Dominic divested himself of his boots, socks and belt as instructed and allowed Adelle to secure his wrists in the same confounding knots.


“If you want me to stop, say so,” Adelle said, smiling as she retrieved a third scarf from the drawer. Dominic frowned at the new developments—he’d been trussed up more or less fully clothed and she wanted a third scarf for some purpose he couldn’t fathom. She didn’t keep him in suspense. Adelle undressed him slowly and seductively while ruthlessly stimulating his flesh with the silk. When she wrapped it around his erection and stroked him unmercifully, he let out a torrent of swearing in English, French and German. Suddenly, she stopped.


Eyes wide, Adelle called out, “Yes.”


Driscoll said, “Ah … Kate is concerned about her father.”


“What in the hell have I been saying?” Dominic hissed, as Adelle said, “I’ll be just a moment.”


“Untie these, damn it,” he demanded.


As she complied, Adelle said, “You were expressing your disapproval at being made to wait. Vociferously, but mostly in French, so it’s unlikely Kate understood much.” Adelle gracefully rose and donned the robe she kept at the bedside. “Do join us as soon as possible to reassure her that I’ve not done away with you in some horrific manner.”


Wondering what on earth to tell the child, Dominic pulled on his pants and fastened them, not bothering to button his shirt with the exception of two at mid chest.


“Whatever is the matter, Kate?” he heard Adelle ask.


“Daddy said a lot of bad words.”


“How did you come to know these alleged bad words?” Adelle countered. Kate’s mumbled reply was unintelligible.


“Mummy and I were playing a game, Kate.” He felt Adelle’s approval at his English pronunciation. “I was losing. I don’t like to lose.”


“Oh.” Kate looked thoughtful and Driscoll coughed, no doubt noting the scarves secured to the bedposts. “Jackie hates to lose, too.”


“She comes by it honestly,” Dominic said and ostentatiously looked at his watch. “By my reckoning, it’s past someone’s bedtime.”


“I wanted to ask mummy a question,” Kate said, holding up her new book about British history.


“In the morning, sweetheart,” Adelle said. “Come and I’ll tuck you in.” The look Adelle aimed over her shoulder sent a shudder of desire through Dominic. “And then your father and I will finish our game.”


“Won’t you call it a draw, mummy?” Kate asked.


“I don’t think that would be wise,” Adelle said. “It’s important to be able to both win and lose with grace. Don’t you think?”


“Yes,” Kate agreed. “Do try, daddy.”


“I will, little bit,” he said, “but I won’t promise not to demand a rematch.”


“Nor should you,” Adelle said.


* * *

As she guided Kate back into her room, Adelle wondered whether they had heard the end of this. A curious child, Kate asked countless questions but, on other occasions, she exhibited wisdom beyond her years and held her own counsel.

Setting Kate’s book on the shelf, Adelle straightened the blankets and tucked her in, smoothing down some of her curls. Unlike Jacquie, who slept deeply and heavily, Kate often needed encouragement to go to sleep. Adelle perched on the edge of the bed, watching Kate watch her – and waiting.

“Did you and daddy talk about us having a little brother?”

“We did.” Adelle didn’t say that when Kate had interrupted them they had been a fair way towards practising to make one. “We’ve agreed that I am going to think about it for a little while and then decide.” Kate’s impressive frown demanded more. “Having a child means a lot of change. You remember what it was like when Jacquie arrived?”

“She cried a lot,” Kate recalled thoughtfully. “We should get a little brother that doesn’t.”

“It doesn’t work like that.”

“I didn’t cry,” Kate said, “but I wasn’t a baby.”

“You were very brave,” Adelle agreed. “Daddy and I aren’t saying no, but it’s something we have to agree on.”

“What about a puppy?”

“I think if there is very good behaviour between now and our move to Belgium, daddy will let you have a puppy.”

“I’ll be good,” Kate said reverently, adding after an enormous yawn, “Jacquie will too.”

“I’m delighted to hear it.”

“Did you finish your letter?” Kate struggled to stay awake and Adelle was torn between indulging her and encouraging her to go to sleep. “Daddy said you couldn’t say goodnight to us, because you had to write an important letter.”

“I did indeed.” Since she seldom missed bedtime, Adelle felt an explanation necessary. “A man I knew during the war has died.”

“Oh.” Kate pursed her lips. “Are you sad, mummy?”

“A little. He wasn’t very well and did some bad things.”

“Did he have children?”

For Kate, death was a sensitive subject and they tried to respect that. “No, he didn’t have any children.”

“Did daddy know him, too?”

“Daddy met him once.” Before Kate could ask another question, Adelle said, “It’s time to go to sleep, please. In the morning, we can look at your book and practice French.”

“And be good so we can have a puppy.”

“That too.” Rising, Adelle kissed her daughter’s cheek. “Good night, Kate.”

“Night, mummy.”

Nodding to Driscoll, she turned not in the direction of the bedroom she shared with Laurence, but towards the stairs. Her study sometimes seemed a link to her old life, to having her own office and flat. She had missed a space where she could work, where two little girls were only sometimes allowed. While sorry to leave this house, she relished a posting to Brussels. A new part of the continent meant new opportunities for stories. The girls would benefit from living in a different country and the politics would certainly be interesting. Her husband excelled at politics, though he didn’t always like to admit as much.

She sipped a glass of scotch, as she paused at the shelf bearing photographs of her family – good looking husband, two girls who, when clean and momentarily still, looked charming. If she was honest, she would quite like a boy as well – either the natural way, or through adoption. Perhaps they should try both and see what happened.

Adelle recognized this was a radical turnaround from a woman who had never expected to be married, let alone become a parent. Perhaps, her changed circumstances explained why she found the spectre of Alpha so troubling. The woman she had been in 1941 and bore little resemblance to herself today. She hadn’t given up trying to discover what had happened to her agents, but those remaining mysteries seemed more distant. She collected information, provided advice when asked and wrote chatty vignettes for American magazines. Was it enough?

“I guess I should thank Christ you didn’t leave me tied to the bed when you came downstairs for a drink.”

* * *


“A man of your ingenuity and resourcefulness would’ve been able to free himself, if I had,” she said, her tone even, her eyes shuttered and distant.


“Driscoll is uneasy.”


She sipped her drink. “Why are your feet bare?”


He scowled. “Why ask that question, Adelle?”


Shrugging, she murmured, “It struck me as odd, I suppose. Would you care for a drink?”


Crossing his arms, he countered, “Why are you down here by yourself and not upstairs with Kate, Jackie or me.” He didn’t like the complicated expression that flickered across her face. He pegged it part annoyance, part longing and part something that might have been fatalism.


“I needed to think,” she said.


“Really?” She nodded and drained her drink. “What exactly did you need to think about?” he asked.


“Are you angry?”


“We aren’t talking about me. We’re talking about you.” She raised the glass to her lips again. “I’m trying to, anyway, but you aren’t cooperating very much.”


“It’s not my intention to upset you, Laurence.”


“You haven’t upset me!” He stalked over to pour himself a drink. “I’m frustrated, Adelle,” he said. After a bracing slug of Scotch, he added, “In more ways than one.” He held up a hand to forestall interruption. “I’m trying to figure out what’s changed and I really wish you’d just tell me.”


“I’m not certain what you mean.”


He took a deep breath. “Are you bored, Adelle? With our life? With … with me?” The lack of an instantaneous denial hit him like a sucker punch in the gut. “So that’s what this is all about, then.” Dominic forced out the words. “The little brother. The dog. Something … hell, anything to shake things up.” When she said nothing, he set his glass down on her desk. “I’ll go,” he muttered and turned on his heel.


“Laurence? What on earth are you thinking?”


“We’ve been apart for over two weeks—the longest we’ve been separated since we’ve been married. We were being extremely intimate, took a child-inspired break and you came down here to think about something you won’t disclose rather than pick up where we left off.” He retrieved his drink and drained it. “None of the conclusions I’m drawing are very flattering. To me, at any rate.”


“I haven’t seen you this vulnerable in years,” she said, “not since I initially encountered you in Nuremberg.”


“We. Are. Not. Talking. About. Me.”


“I’m trying to, but you aren’t being very cooperative.”


He laughed at the near repetition and so did Adelle. “All right, you win,” Dominic said. “That surprises no one; you generally do. Let’s talk about me.” She stepped closer, but he refused to let her proximity or the scent of her perfume distract him. “I’ve spent the last sixteen days waiting for the three of you—sometimes patiently, other times not. During the day, there’s work to pass the time. A few of the evenings were taken up with duties, too. Otherwise, I rattled around this house and missed you. All three of you, of course, but missing you, in particular. I think I know what losing a limb feels like now. Upon your triumphant return, there’s talk of little brothers and puppies. Then you decide to entertain us both. We stop, because Kate wants to pose her seven hundred and seventeenth question of the day and you disappear instead of coming back to me. When I poke my head out of the bedroom, Driscoll mumbles that you went downstairs after putting Kate to bed. I find you miles away, despite us being in the same room. Seems to me that during your interview with Princess Whateverhernameis, you accepted you’d married beneath you and decided you’d indulged the poor guy’s infatuation long enough.” He bit his lip. “I adore you, Adelle. I’ll do anything for you, except bore you to tears.”


“I thought we buried that concern long ago.”


“Throw some more dirt on it,” he said, pulling her closer. “Kiss me.” She did quite expertly and he groaned against her mouth.


“Better?” she asked, pressing against him invitingly.


Trusting his instincts, he ignored his desire to lose himself in her. “If it isn’t me or family life, then what is the problem?”


“Alpha,” she sighed.


“He’s dead, Adelle. You should be celebrating, not drinking alone.” She stared into his eyes, reminding him of the intellectual challenges she’d routinely set before him at the SOE. “That’s it, isn’t it?” he said. “The SOE phase of your life is finally over and writing scintillating articles and bits of consulting don’t always fill the void.” Voice dropping to a whisper, he said, “We don’t either, the girls and me.”


“There’s nothing to be done, really,” she said, as close as she would come to admitting he was right.


“Moving to Brussels might help.” He smiled. “Attractive women who speak an impossible number of languages ought to be employable by any number of international organizations.”


“What of the girls?” she asked, reminding him of her determination not to allow anyone else to bring up their children.


He sighed and thought frantically, because he sensed that Adelle needed him to rise to the occasion. “I’m hoping they’re at least half as intimidating as their mother. That’ll save me a lot of trouble with boys.”


“I’m planning on it,” she said.


Risking a smirk, he said, “I’ll strive to alleviate any boredom arising from your limited career options and blush every now and then while performing that function.”


A deep heartfelt kiss later, she said, “That will suit, Laurence.”



THE END

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Ah, this was so good! I love that even in the epilogue they are both still changing, especially Adelle. I love that! I think it's very true to the character. I'm just..in awe of this fic. I loved it!

Thank you so much for sticking with us all the way and for all the kind words.

Adelle has definitely come a long way from the woman of Chapter 1. She's certainly happier and that's good to see.

Epilogue=finished! Congrats! I have this bookmarked to read now that life is marginally less nuts.

Yay for having it done coinciding with a greater RL calm for you. Looking forward to hearing/reading what you think.

Read the FitzOsbornes books. Enjoyed them. Think my fav character is the guy who is the spy. Hmmmmm. Sensing a pattern.

This was an excellent epilogue! I love that Kate got a sister (and are now asking for a job), that Laurence gets teased by his men for being adorable and that Adelle and Laurence are still changing and adapting to their new life. Plus, Caroline finishing her mission was great as well.

I loved all of this (it was epic and amazing) and I am definitely going to miss it.

Once a puppy got tossed into the ring, I thought why not a little brother.

"That you can say fucking adorable with conviction is fucking adorable," is one of my favorite lines of the whole thing. Dom gets teased by his men and puts up with it (something he wouldn't have done at first, I don't think, other than by his close friends.

We felt like giving Caroline closure gave Adelle closure too, but also sent her a little bit adrift. I liked that Dom is vulnerable to Adelle and only to Adelle, even now. Him worrying that she was bored with him made me just a tiny bit sad.

Thanks for reading!

What a crazy ride! Huzzah to you both for finishing such a project!

Love what you did with Adelle as parent. She's happy with her life, but she's not a person to be satisfied with that kind of living. I think that with a lot of people, when they give characters children, they forget that these people are Heroes (or an equivalent of) and aren't the type to be able to just sit around playing house.

Indeed, Adelle needs more in her life and it's important that Dominic gets that too and knows that he and the girls (and perhaps puppy and boy) con't a full life make.

Thanks for much for all of the support and kind words. This was kind of a labor of love. morgan72uk had started it but had stalled a little bit. I tried to help and look what we did!!!! I'm proud of this and I'm glad others enjoyed.

Wow! It's all posted and finished.
Thanks to everyone who commented and my partner in crime Rogoblue for editing and posting. When I asked if she wanted to take a look at a piece I I'd started but got stuck with, I had no idea what would result.

I still both love & hate the place Adelle ends up - but that was kind of the point.

Edited at 2012-06-08 09:54 am (UTC)

I think that you both love and hate it gives the whole thing a ring of realism and makes it important that Dominic still feels vulnerable (at least with respect to Adelle).

We actually did it! Whew!

Thanks for letting me have a look.:)

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