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The Elephant in the Room
annoyeed
rogoblue
Title: The Elephant in the Room


Rating: R (language)


Author: rogoblue


Summary: Adelle DeWitt makes her disapproval known to Laurence Dominic in no uncertain and on very DeWittian terms.






Laurence Dominic started at the brisk knock on his office door. The drugs always made him jumpy. “Yeah,” he growled.

Boyd Langton stepped just over the threshold, as if reluctant to intrude. “Ms. DeWitt wants to see you.”

Dominic frowned at his laptop. “I’m in the middle of something right now, Langton. I’ll head up once I’m through.”

“She said immediately.”

“She’ll understand the delay.”

“Look,” Langton said, “I’ve only been here a couple of days. This is the first thing she’s asked me to do that didn’t involve Echo. I’d appreciate it if you’d allow me to succeed.”

After taking one last look at his computer, Dominic nodded and rose. “Fine.”

“Thanks.”

Buttoning his suit coat, Dominic headed for the elevator. He halted when he realized Langton had fallen in step beside him. “I know the way,” he muttered, making no effort whatsoever to hide his mounting irritation.

“She said to accompany you.”

Rather than debate the point further, Dominic allowed his mind to return to the problem posed by Alpha’s rogue behavior—in particular to the challenge of finding the composited active. He’d pulled the files on all of Alpha’s engagements and planned to pore over every last one of them, convinced the clue to his current location could be found there.

Adelle DeWitt was on the phone when Dominic and Langton exited the elevator. The person on the other end of the connection asked a series of yes or no questions that seemed to bore her. A flicker of distaste crossed her face when she ended the call. “Mr. Langton, kindly relieve Mr. Dominic of his sidearm, cardkey and Rossum Corporation identification, please.”

What the fuck? My cover is damn solid. I’d go so far as to say impenetrable. How in the hell could even this woman, perceptive as she can be, make me as NSA? Hold on. Calm the fuck down. Maybe this power play is something completely different—some kind of bizarre object lesson or a warped form of punishment for Alpha getting blood all over the place. Hell, I’d have paid the cleaning bill out of my own pocket. I think I even offered to. Focus, Dom. Jesus, get a grip. “Ma’am?” he inquired, as his heart pounded at what had to be an unhealthy clip. A modicum of relief stemmed from Langton being stunned into immobility. “What’s this about?”

“You relinquishing the items I specified without further ado, Mr. Dominic.”

“Why?” he made himself ask.

Her smile froze the blood in his veins. “Because I said so.”

Fear welled up inside Dominic, but he beat it down and tried his best for laconic. “You aren’t my mother.”

“Mr. Langton, if you would.”

Eyes apologetic, Langton held out a hand. Anger and fear nearly caused a fumble in the hand off of Dominic’s weapon. He had difficulty managing the adrenaline rush. Consequently, his hands shook slightly as he relinquished the other items.

“The pills as well.”

Ok, maybe I haven’t been made. Why am I not relieved, though? Dominic’s eyes darted to Adelle. “Ma’am, I can explain—.”

“I am not interested in any such explanation at this time.”

He withdrew the bottle of amphetamines from his pocket but made no move to give it up. “Ma’am, I—.”

“Do get on with it, Mr. Dominic. I do not have all evening to address the myriad issues arising from your behavior over the last week.”

Langton’s undisguised curiosity decided him. “Here.” Dominic tossed the pills to the new handler. Facing Adelle, he asked, “Anything else?”

“That will be all, Mr. Langton. Thank you for your assistance. Please exit through the main building and see that the contingent assigned to this floor is on plan.”

With a slight inclination of his head, their newest employee left. Not sure what to expect, Dominic set his feet shoulder width apart, clasped his hands behind his back and waited. Adelle circled him silently. No, he corrected himself—her course was more of an inward spiral. She stopped before him, approximately six inches away and put her hands on her hips. “When did you last sleep through the night?” she asked.

Two years, eleven months and four days ago. “Before Alpha went off the reservation.”

“Had a proper meal?”

“I … I’m not sure.”

“A man cannot subsist on coffee, protein bars and single barrel bourbon.”

He risked a slight smirk. “I’m sure I ate a couple of apples along the way.”

“I’m not. Nor am I amused by my Chief of Security using illegal narcotics to burn the candle at both ends as well as in the middle.”

“Alpha has to be found.”

“By you and you alone, evidently.”

Dominic bit back his kneejerk response in order to deliver a more professional version. “This facility won’t be secure until he’s neutralized. It’s my job to—.”

She stepped even closer. “Your job is to see that it’s done, not to do it yourself. There is a distinction.”

“I won’t send anyone to do what I’m not willing to do myself,” he snarled.

“Nor should you.” Her ready agreement threw him. Adelle pressed her advantage. “You are well compensated for ensuring my personal security as well as that of this House and all that we do here—a task you’ve ably completed up until now, a task that isn’t best served by running yourself into the ground mentally and physically.”

“I’m pursuing a line of inquiry that I’m confident will pan out.”

“I’m ordering you to table it and focus on more immediate matters.”

He frowned at the floor. “You’ve never pulled rank on a security related issue.”

“You’ve never before ingested amphetamines as if they were candy.”

Taking a calculated risk, he said, “I don’t eat candy.”

“Is that supposed to be amusing, Mr. Dominic?”

“I’m not irresponsible, ma’am. I just needed the time to evaluate—.”

“Alpha’s engagements for clues as to his present whereabouts.” Dominic took a moment to consider how closely she’d been monitoring him. “Your methodology is sound; the execution I find sadly lacking.”

When in doubt, switch tactics. “Why am I here? Why are we having this conversation? Why did you demand that I give Langton those things? Why do you care what I do in my spare time or … ingest for whatever reason?” Realizing he was perilously close to the babbling line if he hadn’t already stormed over it and salted the earth where it lay, he took a few deep breaths.

“You tell me.”

The blatant and oh so nonchalant challenge both galled and motivated him. “I’m not in the mood for games, ma’am.”

“That truly is a pity, because I demand that you play this one.”

Dominic looked over his shoulder at the elevator door he couldn’t use because he lacked a key card. “If you have sufficient armed muscle outside your regular office door, I’m stuck here. Why would you want that?”

Adelle looked to the heavens. “How else can I feed you and see that you get some much needed and well deserved rest?”

Startled by the strange turn of events, he laughed. Her frown sobered him instantly. “I’ll eat and sleep, ma’am. You have my word.”

She smiled in a way he didn’t understand. “I’ll sleep better, if I see to it.”

As if on cue, Judith emerged from the elevator with a cart loaded down with covered plates. Beaming, Adelle’s uber-efficient assistant said, “I had the chef prepare a panoply of dishes, Ms. DeWitt.” Her eyes cut to him. “Including some baked crab cakes and sashimi for you, Mr. Dominic.”

Her more formal “Thank you, Judith,” outdid his, “Thanks,” to an extent, but he couldn’t bring himself to care much. The delectable aromas emanating from the cart made his mouth water.

Adelle pointed at the coffee table handcrafted in Italy and they both watched Judith transfer the plates from the cart onto it, open a bottle of Pinot Noir and pour for the both of them. “Enjoy,” Judith exhorted before withdrawing stage left.

Dominic followed Adelle to the couch and seated himself at what he considered a respectable distance. Her, “Allow me,” aborted his reach for a plate. She artfully arranged seafood, salad and some kind of healthy roll, while he endeavored to parse out the scents admixed in her perfume. “Mr. Dominic?”

He accepted the plate and chose to ignore that she’d undoubtedly noticed him staring at the base of her throat. “You didn’t have to do this, ma’am.”

“Obviously,” she murmured before kicking off her heels and serving herself. When she tucked her legs beneath her on the couch and settled in with her own dinner, she said, “Have you considered that I simply might have wished for some company?”

“No.”

“Why ever not?”

Eyeing a crab cake with clear intent to devour in the fewest bites possible, he muttered, “If a woman like you wants company, she’ll have it.”

“Indeed.”

The amusement in her tone broke his concentration on food. “I meant … ah … from the sort of guy that interests women like you in a nonprofessional sense.”

“I suspected as much.” Eyes alight with laughter, she added, “What sort of … guy would that be, I wonder, Mr. Dominic.”

“Someone you don’t address with a Mr. before his last name.”

Adelle laughed and he caught another whiff of her perfume. “I ask again in a quest for true elucidation. What sort of guy would that be, Laurence?”

The shock at the familiar mode of address once again overcame his suddenly realized hunger and he put his plate down to buy a few seconds to think. “Someone who could match you on nearly every level,” he decided.

“Men so easy to come by as that?”

Her office door burst open amid protests from the personnel Adelle had assigned to secure it. Clive Ambrose strode through, stopped short and laughed derisively. “Celebrating your birthday by having dinner with the help, Adelle? Have you no concern for your reputation? Don’t you care what will people think? What they’ll say behind your back and, more brazenly, to your face? I wonder how low of a glass ceiling you’ve just constructed above your head.”

Adelle sipped her wine. Silence reigned and a hostile tension built.

“Happy birthday,” Dominic offered in an effort to break both.

She smiled at him in what looked to be triumph. “The response of a civilized person to such an occasion. Thank you, Laurence.”

He rose. “I appreciate your concern, ma’am and am stunned that you’d even consider taking the time to see to my welfare on your birthday, so I’ll—.”

“Sit down and finish your meal,” she said, tone implacable, posture completely relaxed.

“I can take a plate to go and—.”

“You will do nothing of the kind.” She winked. Dominic hadn’t known she could and certainly had never seen her do it. “Clive was just leaving, because he’ll lose his dinner reservation if he tarries any longer.”

“You’ll regret this, Adelle,” Ambrose threatened.

“I doubt it, Clive.”

After absorbing a glare fit to burn a tunnel straight through his head as Ambrose stormed out, Dominic said, “He asked you to dinner tonight.”

She nodded. “What do you infer from my decision to have it with my high as a kite chief of security instead?”

“That Clive Ambrose couldn’t match you at arm wrestling, much less chess?”

Adelle laughed. “You’re amusing when abusing amphetamines.”

Staring at the tasteful carpet, he said, “I’m sorry for ruining your birthday.”

She cupped his cheek and turned his head to face her. “Why would you ever imagine you did?”

He met her eyes and decided it had to be ok to be puzzled. “Do you expect me to believe you didn’t have anything else planned? Seriously? A woman like you always has something better to do than babysit a guy like me.”

“Do expound on your intriguing theory,” she urged.

“You’re beautiful, successful, refined and … I don’t know … I could probably throw in at least a hundred other superlatives, if I put my mind to it.” He shrugged, took a breath and chuckled. “I’m just a guy who likes decent suits and knows his way around guns. As you like to say, there is a distinction. This one’s a mile wide.” Laughing, he appended, “More like a light year.”

“You’re intelligent, thorough and have impossibly fathomless blue eyes. Men with much less to offer have succeeded with women … like me.”

The tension that now hummed between them intrigued as much as it frightened. Dominic ate in self defense. Adelle seemed content to allow that. Finally, it all became too much for him. “How long has Ambrose been chasing you?”

“Years.”

Dominic shuddered and couldn’t understand Adelle’s apparent lack of squeamishness over the experience or why Ambrose persisted for so long. An answer to the latter question suggested itself. Intrigued, he asked, “When do you think he’ll figure out he can’t ride you to the top?” She merely raised an eyebrow. He laughed again, recognizing the recklessness that often came with the drug induced rush. “He won’t ever realize that no one’s riding you anywhere, unless you decide that’s the way things will go.” Oh Christ, did I just say that? Adelle’s arch expression suggested he had. I can’t believe I just said that. Fuck, I’m flying too high to talk to her but what choice do I have? Unable to take back his ill-chosen words or the distasteful visual image attendant thereto, he chose another tack. “Clive Ambrose is pushing the envelope of dense, ma’am.”

“And you mean that in the most respectful way possible, I imagine.”

“Not really,” he admitted. Dominic’s gaze fell on the wine he hadn’t touched—a choice that struck him as impolite. He held it up to the light and tried to find the precise words to describe its color. Nothing completely satisfactory came to mind.

“What are you thinking, Mr. Dominic?”

Jolted out of his frustrating reverie, he mumbled, “Nothing much.”

“You’ve been staring at your wine for several minutes time.”

Determinedly not showing the surprise that revelation occasioned, Dominic shrugged and took a sip. The complex, multi-layered taste pleased his palate. “This is good, ma’am. Thanks.”

“The kudos are all Judith’s,” she said.

He raised his glass. Adelle followed suit, probably assuming he was about to toast her assistant. “To you on your birthday.”

“To you for giving me an excuse to stay in.” They drank to each other.

A yawn fortunately derailed the absurd impulse to ask how old she was. Flush with avoiding that faux pas, he observed, “I wouldn’t think you’d need an excuse.”

“With respect to Clive, absolutely not.” She looked away and fiddled with the stem of her glass. “Other invitations aren’t so easily shunted aside.”

“Seeing to a disciplinary problem personally seems a little thin, as excuses go.”

“On the contrary, Mr. Dominic, it shows my fierce dedication to Rossum in general and this House in particular.”

Fatigue began to insinuate itself, but Dominic fought it back. Despite the treacherous conversational waters in which they now swam, something in her tone called to him. “Fierce dedication on your part would manifest in pain for me, wouldn’t it?”

She smiled. “Perhaps I’m merely lulling you into a false sense of security.”

He shook his head. “I’m not sure exactly what you’re doing, but it isn’t that.”

To muddy the waters further, Adelle lazily traced the shoulder seam of his suit jacket with her forefinger. The instant she finished, they raised their wine glasses to their lips in near perfect unison. “I believe I have stated my intentions clearly and unambiguously with regard to my plans for you this evening.”

“Feeding me and making sure I get some sleep is painting with kind of a broad brush.”

A magnificent smile formed exquisitely slowly. “The devil is in the details, Mr. Dominic.”

“He … or she surely is, ma’am.”


* * *

Laurence Dominic reluctantly opened his eyes. The fact and the nature of the sunshine flowing into the room dynamited him into motion. His feet were already on the floor when he forced himself to stop, take in the unfamiliar surroundings and think. A faint scent stirred his memory. Perfume. Her perfume. Adelle fucking DeWitt’s perfume.

I’m in the bedroom attached to her office in the middle of the afternoon from the look of things wearing only my underwear. It could be worse.

Spotting the rest of his clothes hanging neatly over a plush chair, he stood. The scent moved with him.

It’s worse. A sniff of his T-shirt confirmed the tentative memory of holding someone in the middle of the night. Someone warm and soft in all of the right places. Someone who smelled like her.

Ok, so I slept with Adelle DeWitt in the literal but not the biblical sense. I think. I hope. His memories offered up a sequence of events— Adelle leading the way to her bedroom, draping his suit jacket over the back of the chair, helping him with his tie and retreating back into her office while he finished undressing. She’d returned with her glass of wine and sat next to him, probably until he fell asleep. Ok, this isn’t an end of days scenario or necessarily even detrimental to my mission. I just have to be extremely careful.

He considered the matter while he dressed and decided that his best play was to accommodate whatever Adelle’s state of mind happened to be. She’d been both moderately maternal and decidedly not by turns the night before and Dominic couldn’t help but wonder which Adelle DeWitt awaited him on the other side of the door.

She might not even be in her office. He discarded that as wishful thinking. Squaring his shoulders, he approached the door and listened hard. The occasional sounds of movement weren’t accompanied by voices. DeWitt alone is infinitely preferable to DeWitt with anyone else under the circumstances. Given that, he rolled the dice and entered her office.

Adelle looked up from a report of some kind. “Good afternoon, Mr. Dominic. I trust you slept well.”

“I did. Thank you for asking.” He didn’t know how to address the elephant in the room. “If you’ve dismissed the men out there,” he gestured to her office door, “I’ll go out through the main building and in through the garage, if you happen to have my cardkey.”

“To remain enigmatic despite the afternoon after stubble?” Adelle smiled, as she tossed the requested item to him. “Which suits you by the way.”

He frowned. “There’s too much gray in it these days.”

“That, Mr. Dominic, is very much a matter of opinion.” She regarded him for a long moment, during which he couldn’t think of a single thing to say. “Warmth and a profound feeling of safety were excellent and highly appreciated birthday gifts.”

Her nonchalant dismissal of the elephant allowed his entire body to relax and put his mind at ease. “I’m glad not to have been too much of a disappointment.”

“Do try and keep it that way, Mr. Dominic.”

“Yes, ma’am.”


THE END


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(Deleted comment)
Hey, thanks. I'm just glad there's someone out there reading. Once the idea of a rewatch (that I haven't been able to participate in) emerged, my Dominic muse woke up.

I'm glad to have provided a fun blast from the past. I enjoyed making Dominic a little out of control and allowing Adelle to take care of him (all adding, of course, to the sting of what is to come).

You are most welcome. As to more, I'm not sure. There's a post-apocalyptic thing in my mind, but I'm not sure where the time will come from to put it to paper. I do have 1,600 or so words so far, though, so ... maybe.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

I got so excited when I saw this!!

I loved it! I loved Adelle taking care of Dominic (and by extension, taking care of herself), it was perfect!

Thank you so much for reading and commenting upon the reemergence of Muse!Dominic. This idea insinuated itself in my head and would NOT leave. Would NOT.

Adelle is nothing, if not an opportunist. I was a little unsure how to end this but once I determined I was making it harder than it was, all went smoothly.

Glad you enjoyed.

Oh my goodness, yes <3

Aw, it being her birthday was a great little touch.

Her forceful but decidedly pleasant methodology in taking care of him are just great.

Thanks so much!

Wanted to support my co-mod over at the Reed Diamond community who suggested the rewatch of Dollhouse here and this thing just ate away at me.

Her birthday was a surprise to me. I liked that Dom wished her a happy birthday while Ambrose was bitching at her. Fitting that.

I like the idea of her taking care of him because of the "Take care of him" when she's told Dominic was infected with the drug in Season 1. I think that's been with me all this time. Also, I liked the idea of her scaring him half to death by telling Langton to take all that stuff first.

There may be one more. It might be nearly 3,000 words already. But you didn't hear that from me.:)

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