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Roger Number Three
damien listening guitar
Number 15 in the Let's Pretend Series

Title: Roger Number Three
Rating: R (violence, language and sex)
Author: rogoblue
Summary: Dominic’s breaking and entering spree, part 1, is coming to an end, but what will result?
Fifteenth in the Let’s Pretend series (fourteenth is The Domster Projects, thirteenth is Arizona, twelfth is Thief, Saboteur, Assassin, eleventh is The Harding Factor, tenth is Powder Keg, ninth is Cutting it Close, eighth is NSA, seventh is Return, sixth is Flight, fifth is Tactical Maneuvers, fourth is Strategic Planning, third is Parisian Complications, second is Pretending to Pretend. Link to the fourteenth is below this summary. You can get to the others from there or via my live journal. Link to this one is below the disclaimers.

I see everything went according to plan

Words: 8,100
Spoilers: Season 1 a tiny bit and 2 a little bit through episode 12.
Disclaimers: The toys are Joss Whedon’s. The idea is mine.

One Hundred and Sixty Two Days Later

Adelle DeWitt shook hands with another soon to be satisfied client. “I’m sure Victor will exceed all of your expectations, Mr. Neeley.”

“I sincerely hope so, Ms. DeWitt,” Neeley said, smiling shakily, eyes darting around the room as if tracking invisible and quite spastic spies. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

“Your optimism is not unfounded,” she said, steering the whisp of a man to her door. When she closed it behind him, Adelle leaned on it, eyes closed against the tears of frustration threatening to leak out. She refused to openly acknowledge the fear for Laurence Dominic, even in the privacy of her own mind much of the time. The updates on his progress she received from Sierra, Ivy and, much less frequently, Topher, soothed her not at all.

“He’s through with his European tour,” Sierra had said. “His infiltration of the Barcelona House was conducted while everyone was distracted by the explosion destroying the small Rossum research facility in Madrid,” Sierra had said. “Detonators activated remotely via cell phone kick serious ass.”

“Rossum Sydney is telling the press they’ve been the subject of coordinated acts of terrorism,” Ivy had said. “Everything from here on out is domestic,” Ivy had added a while later.

Nodding in what suspiciously looked like approval, Topher told Adelle of technical difficulties of many stripes suffered by various Rossum facilities, ranging from temporary computer malfunctions to intermittent power grid fluctuations.

All of the reports were preceded, followed or accompanied by huge data dumps into Dominic’s intelligence program. Connections were made. The case for the dismantling of Rossum Incorporated was being built. All was proceeding well and on plan until Topher had appeared in her office with Ivy and Sierra flanking him.

* * *

Fifty Four Days Earlier

“Dom’s in the hospital in Vermont,” Topher said.

“I beg your pardon,” Adelle whispered, heart pounding with unhealthy rapidity.

Sierra stepped forward. “He was leaving the Rossum lab in the Boston burbs and took a bullet from a security guard who was just coming on duty.” She shrugged. “Bad luck.”

“How did he get from there to a Vermont hospital?” Adelle demanded.

“NSA strike team,” Sierra said. “They extracted Dominic without overplaying their hand and totally screaming ‘We’re Feds.’ It was nice to see a mission conducted with precision and control.”

“Rossum’s response?”

“Slow and careful,” Ivy said, taking a breath before meeting Adelle’s eyes. “Mr. Dominic used one of Topher’s blockers the whole time he was inside and eliminated the man who’d shot him, so Rossum has no concrete evidence that anything happened, other than the security guard’s body and Mr. Dominic’s blood on the blacktop. The video we obtained came from the NSA.”

“They turned off the blocker in the helicopter,” Sierra said, “and sent us a reenactment of the extraction itself based upon body heat signatures. “Seems they wanted us to know who to thank.”

“Have Rossum DNA matched his blood?” Adelle asked, not acknowledging the sharp spike of fear ricocheting through her.

“We,” Topher said, gesturing generally at himself and the two young women, “substituted the results from blood work of Paul Ballard’s.” Grinning at Adelle, he explained, “We’re not just getting data from the Rossum computers. Our favorite B&Er gave us a secure path to hijack them if we need to.”

“Good,” Adelle muttered. “Did Laurence call in the NSA or were they monitoring the situation and swooped in for the rescue?”

“Both,” Sierra said. “Speed dial nine.”

Adelle couldn’t decide how she felt about that answer. “Has the NSA been tracking him the entire time?”

Sierra exchanged a look with Ivy. “It’s unavoidable,” Sierra said. “They know what he’s doing and if they can find him, which they can so long as he has his phone, the list of potential Rossum targets in his vicinity is always limited.”

Unnerved, Adelle asked, “Has he called the NSA in before?”

“No,” replied Sierra and Ivy in unison. Glancing at Sierra, Ivy offered, “The NSA hasn’t acted before this either.”

“How is he?”

“Stable,” Topher said. “And very sleepy. They aren’t afraid to prescribe the painkillers up in the upper right hand corner of the country.”

* * *


Laurence Dominic had checked himself out of the Vermont hospital and continued on his campaign to open all of Rossum’s computer systems to the laptop in his office. Shortly thereafter, he’d instructed Topher to open the LA Dollhouse’s computer in the same manner. Mumbling imprecations under his breath the entire time, Topher complied. Five times daily, Adelle received verbal reports on Dominic’s progress. Five times daily, she held her breath until Sierra, Ivy or Topher had finished and left her alone. To worry. Always to worry. And wonder how he was, if he was taking care of himself, if he worried as much as she did.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

Adelle was on her feet before she consciously decided to stand. “I’d like to think they’re worth a bit more than that, Laurence.”

He grinned and her heart rate sped up still further. “Did I miss anything?” he asked.

“Quite a bit, actually,” she said, crossing the room to him, gliding in the way he seemed to enjoy, stopping well within arms length.

“Catch me up?” he said, hands on her hips moving her closer.

“After,” she said, leaning into him briefly before taking his hand and turning away. Adelle smiled when Dominic moved with her as flawlessly as always even though she headed for a different destination than he anticipated. His misstep was so slight she was sure a casual observer wouldn’t have noticed. She halted next to her desk and turned to face him, trusting him to do the same. He did. Staring into tired, mildly bloodshot blue eyes, Adelle unbuttoned his suit coat and ran her hands from his abdomen to his chest. He’s lost weight and not just one or two pounds either. “Have you recovered from your hospital stay in Vermont?” she asked, hearing the sharp note of concern in her own tone.

Flexing his left elbow,” Dominic said, “I’m fine. The joint gets a little stiff when it rains, but I can live with that.”

“Good,” Adelle murmured. Smiling, stepping closer, she exerted gentle pressure. Clearly puzzled, Dominic stepped backward and bumped into her desk chair. Her hands shifted to his shoulders. “Sit down, Laurence,” she whispered. He did. Adelle kicked off her heels and reached beneath her skirt to remove her underwear. Tossing the small bit of silk toward her desk, she smiled when he instinctively or, perhaps, intentionally caught them.

Holding them aloft, he said, “Nice. I like that shade of blue.”

“Your approval is duly noted,” Adelle said.

“Come here,” he murmured. His low vibrant tone twisted something deep within Adelle in a very nice manner.

“In good time,” she whispered. Dominic’s smile told her he’d heard the want she’d tried to keep out of her voice. “If you behave,” she decided to add.

“You told me to sit. I sat. How is that not behaving?” When Adelle just looked at him, he said, “I told you to come here. You didn’t. So don’t talk to me about behaving.” Curious, Adelle continued to watch him. His eyes narrowed. “Adelle?”

“Yes,” she said, sitting on the edge of her desk.

“What do you want?”

“You,” she said, smiling in a way she knew put him off balance. “I want to have you in that chair. I’ve fantasized about it for long enough.”

“And you’re waiting for what?” He laughed. “No, no, no, no, don’t tell me. I get it. You’re stalling in the expectation that someone will interrupt us and you’d rather they did before we get too involved.” Still laughing, he stood and crossed the room. “There’s an easier way to deal with that,” he said as he locked the door. Returning to her desk, he sat down and turned her laptop toward him, typing rapidly.

Curious, Adelle moved closer. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Putting the elevator out of service.”

Hands coming to rest on his shoulders, she said, “You can do that?”

“I used be Chief of Security here,” he said, hitting the return key with authority. “Done. We are officially alone.”

“I hope no one is in the elevator.”

“I hope there is,” Dominic said, pulling Adelle onto his lap.

“Why would you wish for someone to be trapped in the elevator until someone overrides your commands?” she asked, hiking up her skirt, shifting to straddle him, reaching for his belt buckle.

“I think it’s high time people appreciate the lengths I go to for you.” Her slowly developing smile matched the deliberate manner in which she removed his belt. “Do I dare ask what you’re thinking?” Dominic said.

“I wouldn’t if I were you.” She laughed, unbuttoning his pants. “Truly.” Watching Laurence’s internal debate, Adelle unzipped him. “Lift.” He complied and she moved his clothing out of her way.

“Was it a play on the word length?” he asked, as she positioned the both of them to her liking. “It was, wasn’t it?”

Answering his questions with a sly smile, she lowered herself onto him. Adelle intended to go slow, to tease him unmercifully as payback for all of the anxiety his prolonged absence had caused her. The lovely sensation of completion and Laurence’s low groan of desire tempted her to set aside her plans. She raised and lowered herself faster.

“God, yeah, Adelle.”

His words and the needy, almost helpless look on his face tore her intentions and restraint to shreds. Allowing herself to feel the frustration, fright, yearning, pain, every emotion his absence had brought to the fore, Adelle moved with a desperate purpose. Kissing him quickly, urgently, Adelle bit Laurence’s bottom lip when she came. The slight pain pushed him over the edge.

“Welcome back, Laurence,” she whispered, smiling as she stared into dazed blue eyes. Adelle intended to restore a level of ordinariness to the situation relatively quickly, because it was, after all, mid afternoon. Dominic allowed her to get as far as not straddling him, but he caught her in his lap and wouldn’t let go.

“I have three more client meetings today,” she said.

“Cancel them,” he said.

Adelle couldn’t seem to stop smiling. “What happened to your commitment to keeping up appearances?”

“I lost it the moment I discovered that I really really like this chair.”

“Let me up, Laurence,” Adelle said. When he didn’t comply, she laughed. “Why don’t you check on Topher’s progress with your myriad projects and on your intelligence program? By the time you’re through, I will likely be as well. We can have dinner, if you like.”

“With cheesecake for dessert?” he asked.

“No,” Adelle countered. Seeing his surprise at the sharp edge in her tone, she explained, “We’re not saying goodbye again just yet.”

* * *

Two Hours and Twelve Minutes Later

“Anything new?” Sierra asked, stepping into his office and strutting across it.

Laurence Dominic looked up from his laptop. “A lot from my perspective. From yours, I have no idea.”

“May I have a look?” she asked.

“Be my guest.” Dominic rolled his chair slightly to the right to make room for the one Sierra dragged into place with ease. Her fingers flew across the keyboard and the nearly rhythmic clicking sounds lulled him, allowing fatigue to get a foothold on his mind.

“You’re down to 16 private residences and 7 consulting firms,” Sierra said, bumping Dominic’s shoulder with hers. “That’s good news, sleepyhead.”

“What are you talking about?” he mumbled, rubbing tired eyes.

Bumping his shoulder again, Sierra said, “As we get more information from Rossum, the intelligence program reassesses its needs.”

Suddenly, Dominic felt fully and completely awake. “Are you saying I only have twenty-three more stops to make instead of nearly 400?”

“Yes, but you should wait another day or two before you head out,” she said. “It takes a while for all of the data to get assimilated properly. You might get away with under twenty targets.”

“Thank Christ.” Dominic turned when Sierra’s eyes slid past him toward the door between his office and the bedroom beyond.

Adelle DeWitt stood in the doorway and something in her body language caused alarm bells to sound inside Dominic’s head. “Adelle?” he said, standing quickly, following her wordless retreat through the bedroom and into the attached bath. Dominic whispered her name again when she stared at her reflection in the large bathroom mirror as though she didn’t recognize the pale woman she saw there. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her back against his chest. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this, Laurence.” She turned in his arms and held him the way a drowning person undoubtedly grips a life preserver arriving in the nick of time. “Smile at clients, send actives to service them, play the dutiful director of the Los Angeles Dollhouse.” Haunted eyes boring into his, she asked, “How did you do it day after day after day for years? How is such a thing even possible?”

“We’re moving faster than we thought, Adelle,” he said. “We’re making real progress.” He gestured in the general direction of his office. “We’ll be able to move on Rossum relatively quickly. I need you to hold on for me. Will you?”

“I can’t face the Chicago meeting alone, Laurence. I need you to come with me.” A little color coming back into her cheeks, she asked, “Will you?”

“Chicago meeting?” he said. “Is this the quarterly or a special?”

“Quarterly,” Adelle said. “Noon tomorrow through Thursday.”

Pleased that no special meeting had been called over certain unavoidable incidents during the course of his efforts to garner the information populating his intelligence program, Dominic considered. “I’ll go with you.”

“You will?”

Deciding not to comment on the gamut of emotions flowing across Adelle’s face, he shrugged. “You’ve gone to a couple without me. It’s time we make an appearance together. Better that than have someone start to wonder if there’s more to my absence than you tiring of me.”

“Are you placating me, Laurence?”

He smiled at the clear warning in her tone. “What do you think?” he asked.

She thrust her hands against his chest, but Dominic didn’t relinquish his hold. “I do not wish to be placated. Mr. Dominic.”

Sighing, he said, “I’m going because it makes sense for a lot of reasons, other than the one I’ve already stated. I want to see Harding’s imprint in action. I’m tired and I need a break from espionage.” He rolled his shoulders. “I was getting sloppy near the end, trying to move too fast. Clarice would want us to take the pulse of Rossum upper echelons. I could go on, but I sense I’m boring you.” Releasing her, he said, “You can fill me in on what I’ve missed while I pack.”

“I’d rather Judith pack for you,” Adelle said, taking his hand, leaving the bathroom.

“Ok, fill me in while Judith packs.” Dominic waited while Adelle give Judith instructions, dismayed by the chinks that had appeared in Adelle’s armor in his absence. He poured them both a drink and replaced Judith next to Adelle on the couch. Adelle accepted hers in a clearly shaking hand. “Maybe I should go to Chicago alone,” he ventured.

“You’ve traveled alone quite enough lately.” Her anger pleased him, because she’d take strength from it. She always did. And yet, there was a disturbing lack of force behind the expression when Adelle glared at Laurence. Possibly risking grievous bodily injury, Laurence slipped an arm around Adelle and pulled her close. Sighing deeply, she leaned into him. “Harding has performed admirably as our unwitting spy,” Adelle said. “We’ve learned much from him. Most notably that Rossum did not order Clive Ambrose’s elimination, the identities of those who have been backed up on wedges and the number and location of wedges so employed. He also provided the names of the next individuals to be so honored.” Adelle raised her head. “My name is on that list, Laurence.”

Not flinching or looking away, Dominic said, “They’ll pitch it as some sort of precaution this time.”

“Langton’s files and several long conversations with Dr. Saunders shed light on some of our other mysteries,” Adelle whispered, sipping her beverage. “Mr. Langton put the NSA technology in Topher’s chair and used it to send several messages via actives to Paul Ballard. His plans, as near as I can determine, were to implicate you as an NSA agent and string Mr. Ballard along. It is unclear to me whether he knew of your status or merely wished to frame you.”

“Does that really matter now?” Dominic muttered, watching Adelle’s reaction for anything dangerous or problematic and unable to interpret what he saw.

“It may if he told others,” she said. “He also sent me the anonymous email detailing the plot against me and the photographs of my past lovers to you. Dr. Saunders added the one of Victor. It’s unclear whether she did it to stop the Ms. Lonelyhearts repeat engagements or to provoke me to tell you about my liaison with him or to prompt me to explain the reason for it.”

“How the hell did Langton know we were heading to Zurich? Or did he mass mail the same photos throughout Europe.”

Adelle drained her drink. “He evidently monitored our choices. After I called, Evander made certain preparations, most particularly alerting his flight crew and beginning preflight preparations. Working through contacts in Europe we have yet to track down, Mr. Langton sent the package to Evander.”

Dominic handed Adelle his glass. To his surprise, she drank from it immediately. “The plane?” he asked.

“Langton ordered it. The men who did it were mercenaries. Their identities have been entered into your intelligence program.” Her flat dull inflection worried Dominic. “I saw little reason to add their lives to those wasted in this folly.”

“I’ll give the order.” Dominic pulled out his cell phone. “I owe Stephan that much.”

Adelle finished Dominic’s drink while he conferred with Lisa Grayson. When he hung up, she said, “Neither Langton nor Rossum ordered the attack on the Paris Dollhouse. Nothing either of us has uncovered has shed any light on that incident.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Dominic said. Feeling the need to say something, he asked, “What about Alpha? Did you contact him? Has he spoken with Echo?”

“I am in contact with Alpha. He has spoken with Echo about his actions and what passes for a rationale for them. Alpha offered to assist Echo in managing multiple imprints, because it seems Echo’s wipes aren’t as complete as Topher believes them to be.”

“I knew it!” Dominic snarled. “I knew she was an Alpha in the making.”

“Alpha has also provided a short list of names of people we shouldn’t hire, regardless of how highly they’re recommended or how qualified they seem. He also warned me about a man named Roger Cormorant who is employed in a rather nebulous capacity for the Chicago House.”

“And we have to go to Chicago,” Dominic muttered. “Perfect.” Adelle shrugged, staring at the two empty glasses on the coffee table. “You need some sleep, Adelle.”

“As do you.”

Tilting Adelle’s head until it rested on his shoulder, Dominic suggested, “Why don’t you just relax while Judith finishes packing?” Her reply was to settle more comfortably against him and close her eyes, sighing in what sounded like relief. By the time Judith emerged from the bedroom with Dominic’s suitcase and garment bag, Adelle was asleep.

“Has she been sleeping ok?” he asked.

“What do you think?” Judith countered. “You were gone, risking life and limb nearly every moment and she got one sentence updates a few times a day. That’s not exactly a recipe for sound untroubled sleep, is it?”

Unsure why he felt the need to defend himself, Dominic said, “I’m going to Chicago, aren’t I? That’s something.”

Judith smiled. “It certainly is.”

* * *

12:32 pm The Following Day

Adelle DeWitt and Laurence Dominic strolled into the largest banquet room in their hotel. Attendees of the Rossum Corporation quarterly meeting were being treated to a sumptuous buffet style lunch. Alcohol flowed freely as it always did at these events and the usual suspects had already had one or two too many.

“Adelle,” said Harding, approaching rapidly with a tall, well built, dark haired man at his side. “How have things been out in sunny California? I had a look at your financials last night and you’ve had a spectacular quarter. Congratulations.”

“Thank you,” she said, feeling the tension humming in the man whose arm she held.

“Dominic,” Harding said. Laurence merely nodded, eyes on the man with Harding.

“Adelle, I’d like you to meet Roger Cormorant,” said Harding, gesturing to the dark haired man. “Roger, this is Adelle DeWitt whom we’ve discussed.”

“A decided pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ms. DeWitt,” Roger said, British accent causing her fingers to tighten on Laurence’s arm.

“What is your role here, Mr. Cormorant?” Adelle asked.

“I’m somewhat of a jack of all trades, Ms. DeWitt,” he said. “I would be honored if you would call me Roger.”

“I believe the use of one’s first name is earned,” Adelle said, wondering what it was about Roger that put Laurence’s back up. It’s more than Alpha’s warning. She knew the root of her own disquiet. Roger Cormorant strongly resembled the Roger from her past—in build, coloring and deep, soft spoken intonation.

“I will take up the gauntlet you’ve so artfully thrown at my feet, Ms. DeWitt,” Roger said, smiling with both his mouth and his eyes.

Adelle actually felt Dominic holding onto his temper and reigning in his tongue. Roger did as well judging by the amused challenging expression he turned on Dominic. Offering his hand, he said, “Roger Cormorant.”

“Dominic,” he said, shaking Roger’s hand, stepping closer to Adelle. “Are you hungry at all, Adelle?” he asked, angling his body to come between her and Roger. If Harding noticed the casual dismissal of the threat he posed, he gave no indication.

“I’d love a glass of red wine, Laurence.” Pleased that she’d surprised what she strongly believed to be a real smile out of Dominic by using his first name after refusing to do the same with Cormorant, she said, “Do excuse us, Mr. Harding, Mr. Cormorant.”

Leaning in as they strolled away, lowering her voice for his ears alone, Adelle asked, “What’s your issue with Cormorant, Laurence?”

“He moves like an assassin.”

Adelle stopped. “How precisely does an assassin move?”

“It’s complicated, Adelle. Let’s just get you some wine and both of us some distance from him.”

Allowing him to propel her forward, Adelle said, “I take it you won’t be joining me in a drink.”

“As usual, you’re correct.”

“Are you armed?”

“Excuse me, Adelle,” he said, shaking his head at her. “Did you really just ask that?”

“I’m sorry, Laurence. It’s not every day I’m introduced to a man who moves like an assassin who looks very much like a man I used to bed.”

“He doesn’t look anything like those guys in the photos,” Dominic muttered as he accepted the glass of red wine from the young bartender and handed it to Adelle.

“True,” Adelle said, watching Laurence over the rim of her wine glass. “Cheers,” she muttered as she raised it to her lips, disappointed her revelation of sorts seemed to have had no impact on her companion.

“He’s watching you,” Dominic said. “Damn it. I’m really not in the mood to throw myself in the path of a bullet today.” Taking Adelle by the elbow, he steered her toward the far side of the room.

“Where have you been hiding this man, Adelle?” said a petite blonde woman with large blue eyes. “Hello, Dominic. I’m relieved you didn’t skip three consecutive meetings. I’ve heard Rossum starts lopping off limbs in punishment at that point.”

“Katarina,” Dominic muttered, scanning the room habitually.

“You judge me too harshly,” Adelle said, resting her free hand on Dominic’s hip, noting that the possessive gesture didn’t escape Katarina’s notice. “Laurence simply has, over time, become adept at devising excuses to shirk his duty vis a vis my personal security at these functions.”

“I see you met the new goon, Cormorant,” Katarina said, shuddering for dramatic effect. “He’s far better looking than the last one, but they all have those scary eyes. Dangerous eyes.”

“A lot of people have dangerous eyes,” Dominic said, his personal set straying to Adelle, making her glad she’d chosen to wear the dress with an amount cleavage he had clearly appreciated when she’d worn it to the opera in Paris.

“Yours are very focused at the moment,” Katarina said, gesturing to Adelle with her gin and tonic.

Dominic scowled at Katarina. “And stunningly blue,” Katarina added. “I don’t suppose you’d be inclined to share, Adelle.”

“Definitely not.”

Waving to Carter Kline, Katarina said, “You always were selfish.” Facing Dominic, she said, “Remember me when she through using you and tosses you aside. Oh, and don’t have the beef, it’s dry.”

“Walk with me,” Dominic said, voice clearly one of command. Adelle complied, nodding and smiling, knowing Dominic’s scowl was as accepted as any other fixture at these gatherings.

“What is it, Laurence?” she asked, the moment she sensed his tension release a tad.

“He’s fucking stalking us, Adelle.” Dominic’s eyes darted everywhere, missing nothing. “Let’s see what Roger does with this,” he muttered, leading Adelle into a small alcove. “I really wish you wouldn’t have worn that dress.”

“I was under the impression you liked it.”

He backed her up against the wall. “I do.”

Feeling oddly, wholly inappropriately reckless, Adelle said, “Exactly how much do you appreciate what I’m wearing, Laurence?”

He kissed her hard. Demanding, borderline rough aggression transformed into a soft groan when Adelle rocked her lower body against his. Dominic pinned her against the wall with his body. “Adelle,” he panted, “stop.”

“I don’t want to stop,” she murmured, relishing the tremble of lust moving through his strong, very firm body.

“I don’t either, but—.”

“I know, Laurence.”

“Don’t pat yourself on the back too much, Adelle. It’s blatantly obvious.”

“I couldn’t even if I was so inclined. My back is pressed tightly to this wall.”

“If I let you move, do you promise to behave?” He groaned, “Adelle,” when she slowly shook her head.

“Roger is doing his reconnaissance,” Adelle said, maneuvering her thigh between his. “Bury your ego and let him think you too distracted to properly protect me.” While he considered her suggestion, she whispered, “Kiss me.” This time, he framed her face with gentle hands and Adelle felt completely safe as he claimed her lips, deepening the kiss slowly but inexorably. Craving touch, she moved one of his hands to the cleavage that caused all the trouble. Her arms tightened around him as Laurence moaned against her lips. His deft fingers massaging her breast wasn’t enough. His mouth on hers just whetted her appetite further. “More,” Adelle whispered. “I need more, Laurence.”

“You should take this to your room before Harding goes into cardiac arrest at the sight of his precious Adelle, as he not so cleverly puts it, spreading her legs for the help.”

Dominic turned only his head toward Roger. “What ever gave you the idea that I give two shits whether Harding continues to breathe?”

Just then, Harding ceased to do just that, body nearly torn apart by automatic weapons fire. Drawing his weapon, Roger stepped into the cover of the alcove. His already drawn, Dominic motioned for Adelle to stay back and peeked out of the alcove. Ducking his head back in, Dominic muttered, “What the fuck?” When Roger leaned forward to look, Dominic smiled and kicked him hard, launching him out into the chaos of armed men spraying ammunition around, apparently at random. Cursing, Roger dove to the right and made for another alcove.

“What are we going to do?” Adelle asked.

“I don’t know.” Standing side by side in the shadows, Dominic and Adelle watched the action. Dominic frowned. “It’s not nearly as bad as it ought to be. Someone’s wasting a lot of ammunition in order to scare everyone who isn’t dead already.” Looking to Adelle, he said, “But why?”

Suddenly, one of the gunmen loomed in the opening of their alcove. Dominic shot him in the head. “Didn’t you just announce our presence?” Adelle said.

“Yeah, but I have an automatic now,” Dominic said, holstering his sidearm and taking the weapon from the downed man. “I’ll take the trade, particularly under these bizarre circumstances.” Dominic risked another glance out of the alcove. As if his move was a cue, the gunfire ceased. The gunmen backed away toward the main doors on the opposite side of the room. One of them saluted in their general direction, lifted the ball cap from his head and ran his fingers through short blonde hair. “Is that Alpha?” Dominic said, sighting with the rifle, shaking his head when his target flipped him off and disappeared. “Alpha could’ve orchestrated both the assault on the Paris Dollhouse in addition to this fiasco.” Pulling Adelle to his side, he said, “Hell, putting Clive Ambrose’s body on the bed in our hotel suite practically screams Alpha. Why didn’t I see it sooner?”

“Shouldn’t we get out of here?” Adelle said.

Becoming aware of the sirens, Dominic wondered if Adelle’s hearing was more acute or whether she just had her eye more firmly on the prize at this stage. “I doubt we can beat the cops, but we can try,” Dominic said. “Shoes off. Run like hell. On two. One. Two.” One hand on Adelle’s upper arm, Dominic held the automatic weapon in the other. Ignoring the milling confused mass of humanity and vaulting Harding’s corpse, Dominic pulled Adelle out of the same set of doors the attackers had used. Walking rapidly down the alley toward the street, Dominic tossed the automatic aside and said, “Put your shoes back on. We’ll cross the street and head south if we can. There are more hotels in that direction. We might be able to hail a cab before the cops establish a perimeter.” Dominic looked out into the street. “Change in plan, Adelle. We stay on this side of the street and go north.”

“Why the switch?”

“Because the cops coming from the north have to contend with a bunch of guys with automatic weapons. With any luck, we’ll be able to slip through.” Keeping Adelle between his body and the walls of the buildings they passed, Dominic gained confidence with every step. The confrontation with Alpha’s men was progressing as he’d anticipated and the police were being drawn off to the east.

“There’s a cab just ahead,” Adelle said, picking up her pace.

Dominic hit speed dial nine on his cell phone. “What do you want now?” Clarice said before he’d even heard it ring once.

Tabling his surprise that Clarice was answering the other number he’d been given by the NSA as well as the one they’d always used, Dominic said, “I need an extraction.” Sliding into the backseat of the cab with Adelle, he said, “Grant Park, near Soldier Field.”

“You bet,” said the cabbie.

“We’ll be there in about ten minutes, Clarice,” he said.

“We?” Clarice asked.

“Adelle’s with me.”

Clarice was silent for a few moments. “You’re mixed up in the shots fired, multiple casualty fuss mid-town, aren’t you?” she asked.

“We were. We’re in a cab now.”

“How did you pull that off?”

“Impeccable charm,” Dominic said. “What can you do for me, Clarice?”

“A chopper in twenty-two.”

“Excellent. Later.” He severed the connection and took a breath. “You ok?” he asked.

“What do you suppose Alpha was trying to accomplish?” she asked.

Dominic shrugged, barely curbing the urge to check his sidearm. “Ask him the next time you talk to him.” Taking Adelle’s hand, he asked, “Are you hurt?”

“I twisted my ankle slightly.”

“Hopefully, we won’t have to run any more.” The rest of the cab ride passed in silence. Dominic was keyed up but not terribly worried by anything other than his inability to read Adelle. There was something … not right and Dominic couldn’t convince himself her issue—whatever it was—stemmed from the amount of gunfire they’d just witnessed.

“Here you go, folks,” the cabbie said, pulling to the curb. Dominic paid him, being sure to tip well but not too well. He didn’t want this guy to remember him and Adelle, despite the fact that they’d be away from here in a little over ten minutes.

Dominic got out, rounded the rear of the cab, lowered to one knee and shot out three of the four tires of the vehicle as it attempted to pull away. The cab fishtailed over the double yellow line and Dominic’s heart stopped as it was hit by a pair of southbound oncoming cars and pushed back his way into the path of a car proceeding north. It came to rest half on the sidewalk about thirty feet from where he’d fired the shots. He was there in seconds. A glance revealed the cabbie to be pinned by an airbag and only semi-conscious. Holstering his gun, Dominic used both hands to force open Adelle’s door. She lay sprawled across the rear seat. He climbed into the car and felt for a pulse at her throat. “Thank Christ,” he muttered when his fingers found what they sought.

“What’s going on?” said the driver of the northbound car involved in the incident. “Hey, is she ok?”

“Help me get her out of here,” Dominic demanded.

“We shouldn’t move her, right?” said the young man—Laurence guessed college freshman or sophomore. “They always say that on all those doctor shows. Don’t move trauma victims.”

“If you don’t want her to be a kidnapping victim also, you’ll help me get her out.”

“Kidnapping?” the kid said, lending an immediate hand, steadying Adelle in a nearly seated position. “Shit, dude, you stop kidnappings a lot?”

“Occasionally,” Dominic said. “I appreciate your cooperation Mr. …”

“Emerson,” the kid said, shifting his hold on Adelle to give Laurence room to pick her up. “Jerry Emerson.”

“Stay here and tell the police officers who appear on the scene that this is a federal matter,” Dominic said, already backing away from the wreckage. “You got that, Jerry?”

“Yes, sir.”


“She might need a hospital,” Jerry said.

Dominic sincerely hoped not, but he couldn’t dwell on that. “I have a helicopter en route.” Dominic shifted Adelle in his arms slightly to get a look at his watch, wincing at her low groan. “In nine minutes.”

“Cool.” Jerry looked northward at the sound of a siren. “Good luck, man.”

Walking rapidly from the accident site, Dominic surveyed his options and made his choice. There was a clear area south of the football stadium suitable for his needs. The western edge was lined with trees, so Adelle could have some shade. A couple of minutes after he’d called in his exact position, a dark blue helicopter swooped in from the southeast, landing about 1000 yards away. Five men emerged and fanned out quickly and efficiently. The one on point looked familiar, but Laurence couldn’t identify him at this distance. Silently apologizing to his shoulder, Dominic picked Adelle up and headed toward the helicopter.


Adelle’s whisper drew his attention. “Hey,” he said. “Take it easy. We’re almost out of this mess.”

“Out?” she said.

Shifting his grip to return Adelle to more of a seated position in his arms, he jutted his chin in the direction of the helicopter. “See. The cavalry made it. A few minutes ahead of schedule.” Dominic’s step faltered. Does the cavalry ever arrive early?

“Laurence,” Adelle said, the death grip she now employed on his shoulders betraying her anxiety. “That’s Roger Cormorant in the middle.”

Fuck me. Dominic considered his options as he slowed his pace but continued walking. He liked none of them. “Can you stand?” he asked.

“I believe so.”

Setting Adelle on her feet, Dominic said, “I’m going to turn my back to you for a moment and point at the helicopter. Take my gun out of my holster and hold it where they can’t see it. Then put your hand to your head like you have a beast of a headache and can’t go on. I’ll move forward without you. Don’t use the gun unless you have to. Get over to the trees if you can. Ok?” At her nod, he said, “Look at my watch and tell me what time it is.”

“1:33 pm.”

“Two minutes, Adelle. Maybe three.” Dominic turned his back and Adelle took the gun from his holster. He moved too soon and felt her fumble with the weapon. As he spun, he realized she’d transformed the difficulty into a believable stumble. He steadied her and kissed her on the cheek. “That was brilliant,” he whispered. “Stay that sharp, Adelle.” Dominic made a show of gesturing for her to stay where she was before moving briskly toward the men from Rossum, looking back over his shoulder several times. He never saw the kick to his midsection that drove him to one knee.

“How’s that feel, you bloody bastard?” Roger Cormorant said, second kick a well placed one to the kidney that drove Dominic the rest of the way to the ground. A blow to the head made his vision swim. A second had Dominic’s ears ringing, but he could still hear Cormorant’s voice as he switched targets back to Dominic’s torso. “You killed me, you son of a bitch! I loved that body. It was taller than most everybody I encountered. I like looking down on people. It’s my fucking right to look down on my inferiors. Small minded rats trapped in the maze of their day to day existence, never once imagining anything could be better. News flash, Dominic. Perfection is attainable and so is eternal life. But not for you or the woman you were fucking.”

* * *

Adelle DeWitt couldn’t tear her eyes away from the confrontation before her, even though she was well aware the other four men moved to flank her. Why did you give me your gun, Laurence? I can’t take out an entire hit team.

Roger Cormorant looked up at the sound of another helicopter swooping in low. So did two of the four other members of the hit team. Laurence Dominic swept Roger’s feet out from under him, drawing the attention of another man. Adelle shot the only one still currently looking at her. Dominic broke Roger’s neck with a savage move as Adelle shot the man taking aim at Laurence’s back. Meeting her eyes, Dominic pointed to the ground and dove for it himself. Adelle lowered herself a bit more gracefully and gingerly in light of the injuries she’d sustained. The NSA extraction team opened fire and eliminated the other two Rossum men. A few seconds after the shooting stopped, Adelle looked up into a pair of pained blue eyes. Laurence knelt next to her and winced as he helped her up into a similar position.

“How badly are you hurt?” Adelle demanded.

“Not sure,” he panted, glancing around the area. “Nice shooting.”

Adelle smiled. “My former Chief of Security insisted I use the range regularly.”

“Dominic,” called a clear male voice. “Dom, it’s Chase. You’re clear. I’m approaching with two friends. You reading me?”

“Five by, Chase,” Dominic replied.

Standing, Adelle offered Dominic her hand, shocked that he took it. Rising slowly, Dominic swayed before Adelle stepped closer to steady him, closing his eyes in obvious discomfort. “There are less painful ways to stall for time, Laurence.”

“Roger wasn’t interested in talking to me, Adelle.”

“He spoke to you,” she insisted. “I couldn’t hear the words clearly, but he was quite obviously upset with you.”

“He told me I killed him before I killed him.” Dominic shook his head as if to clear it and grunted in pain. “And … and that he used to be taller. What the hell?”

The dominos fell into place within Adelle’s brain. “Perhaps Mr. Langton was an active imprinted with a complete personality, as Alpha suggested,” Adelle said. “And Roger was a second active imprinted with the same persona who had knowledge of what happened to his other self.”

“How many times am I going to have to kill whoever he is?” Dominic muttered, tensing, moving between Adelle and the men who approached.

“Good thing they sent me, Dominic,” said a powerfully built, red haired man. “I’ve got the most experience patching you up.”

“A good field medic is hard to find,” Dominic said. “Too bad there aren’t any here.”

“I’m Adelle DeWitt, Mr. Chase,” she said and both men laughed.

“My name is Aidan Fitzpatrick, ma’am,” the red head said. “Chase is a nickname earned during my misspent youth, the origins of which are lost to history.”

“Meaning you do not choose to explain, Mr. Fitzpatrick?” Adelle asked, willing her expression to convey her gratitude to Chase for taking over the task of keeping Laurence upright.

“Meaning certain other persons better not,” Chase said.

“I forget,” Dominic said, moving forward with Chase’s assistance.

“I wish,” Chase muttered.

“Did I mention I’ve hit my head a number of times recently?” Dominic said.

“Well, don’t hit it on the door when I hoist you into the chopper, ok?”

“Ok,” Dominic said.

* * *

The helicopter ride was uneventful, although the pilot seemed determined to test the strength of the stomachs of his passengers. Adelle noticed, but didn’t mention, how ill Laurence looked during a most impressive combination of dips and changes of direction. At a small airfield, they transferred to a jet and the medical examinations began in earnest. In an aircraft full of men, Laurence’s motion that she be treated first was unanimously carried. As she expected, Adelle had suffered numerous bumps and bruises, a few minor cuts and a slight ankle sprain.

Grumbling, Laurence submitted to having light shown into his eyes and dutifully answered the obligatory question of “How many fingers am I holding up?” numerous times. When Laurence suggested he was fine, Chase demanded, “If you’re right as rain, take off your suit coat, Dom.”

Adelle winced at the slow careful movements necessary to accomplish the task. Unable to sit idle, Adelle moved Laurence’s hands to his sides, removed his tie and unbuttoned his shirt. After untucking it, she took it off as gently as she could. “Oh my,” escaped her lips as the full compliment of bruises hove into view.

“I’m fine,” Dominic muttered through tightly clenched lips.

Everyone did him the courtesy of not arguing. Chase was efficient, meticulous and thorough and had an extremely light touch. “I don’t like the looks of this one, Dom,” he said, resting a hand on the bruise over Laurence’s right kidney. “There could be some internal bleeding. We’ll need to—.”

“I don’t have time for a full battery of tests, Chase.” The medic met the soft passionate declaration with a level gaze. “Things are moving too fast on this operation,” Dominic added. “I have to move with them.”

“Provided you can,” Chase said.

“If it’s not too bad, isn’t there something you can give me to keep me going?”

“You know full well there is.” Chase sighed. “You also know it almost takes an act of Congress to get it authorized for a field operative who isn’t in a war zone.”

“Better to apologize than ask for permission.”

“What are the risks attendant to taking such a medication?” Adelle asked, putting a hand on Laurence’s right shoulder to provide support while Chase wrapped his left.

“It’s essentially a supercharged coagulant,” Chase said. Movements deft and sure, he taped the shoulder wrap in place. “It can manage internal bleeding, but his blood might become too thick and that could lead to a whole host of problems.”

“I only need a couple of months,” Dominic said, eyes locked on Chase. “Less than six for sure.”

“Months?” Chase halted with the process of wrapping Dominic’s ribs barely begun. “When the fuck did you lose your mind?” Glancing at Adelle, Chase muttered, “Sorry, Ms. DeWitt.”

“Your language is the least of my concerns, Mr. Fitzpatrick.” Adelle sat next to Dominic on the long bench-like seat serving as an examination table. “We can imprint Victor to handle the remaining data collection,” she said.

“He won’t have all of my—.”

“He will if you allow Topher to make a wedge of you and use it for the imprint.” She smiled. “Dr. Saunders will be thrilled that Victor will be free of romantic engagements for the foreseeable future.”

Dominic closed his eyes. “I’d rather deal with thick blood than get back in the goddamn chair, Adelle.”

“Physiologically speaking, the chair might be far safer than your alternative.” Adelle turned her attention to Chase. “Would a mild neurological event be less risky for him?”

Regarding Adelle warily, Chase said, “Possibly. It depends on how fast his head recovers from the latest round of pummeling.”

Sensing Laurence’s increasing agitation, Adelle asked, “Are you merely a field medic, Mr. Fitzpatrick?”

“Please call me Chase and, no, I’m technically a physician’s assistant.” Shrugging, looking away briefly, he muttered, “Medical school didn’t work out so well for me.”

Adelle’s eyes widened. “Do you have a daughter named Alexis, Chase?”

“Yes. How in the hell—?” Confusion turned to anger, Chase said, “Did you borrow my life, Dom?”

Dominic didn’t flinch at Chase’s cold measured tone. “Parts of it, yeah.”

Anger segued seamlessly into anguish. “How could you tell her about—?”

“I didn’t!” Laurence insisted, leaning forward, grabbing Chase’s shoulder. “I swear I didn’t. Not that bit.”

Voice flat, Chase whispered, “Would you have?” Staring at Dominic, he said, “If the chips were fucking down.” Hesitating only for a moment or two, Dominic nodded. “I hate you right now, Dom.”

“I know.” Dominic winced as Chase pulled the wrap around his chest tight with more force than strictly necessary. “But I need those pills, Chase.”

Adelle had never witnessed a standoff imbued with so much hostility and pain underpinned with obvious affection and respect. Nearly identical pairs of blue eyes faced off. To her mild surprise, Laurence looked away first. Despite a fervent desire for her thoughts not to stray that way, Adelle wondered if the move was contrived.

“If you check into the hospital at UCLA, see the docs we use there and their evaluation gives you a reasonable margin of safety, I’ll go to bat for you,” Chase said.

“How long will the eval take?” Dominic asked.

“A few days.”

“But, Chase, I can’t—.”

“That’s my offer, Dominic. Take it or leave it.”

Adelle took Laurence’s hand and they watched Chase tidy up and stow away the medical supplies and equipment. Wearily, Dominic reached for his shirt. Taking it from him, Adelle helped Dominic put it on and buttoned it for him. Respecting his obvious wish for silence, she slid next to him, wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. She smiled when his arm came around her and he relaxed. “Sleep, Laurence,” she whispered.

* * *

Laurence Dominic looked the part of an only slightly disheveled member of Rossum’s senior staff when they exited the jet in Los Angeles. His jacket and tie were back in place and his right hand rested on the small of Adelle DeWitt’s back.

“So what’s it going to be, Dom?” Chase asked when they stopped next to the car the NSA had arranged to take Adelle DeWitt back to the LA Dollhouse. “I can give you a lift to UCLA.”

“I can’t afford the time, Chase,” Dominic said.

“I understand, but I can’t justify what you ask of me any other way.” Chase smiled. “It’s too dangerous and, despite how things may seem right now, I’d really rather you continue to breathe.”

“Ok,” Dominic muttered.

Chase bowed slightly to Adelle DeWitt. “Thank you, Chase,” she said, offering her hand, pleased the man took it. “I’ll take care of him.”

“Good luck with that,” Chase said. “You’ll need it.”

“Truer words,” Adelle murmured, turning toward Laurence.

Green eyes captured Laurence’s and something in her expression sent a wave of heat careening through Dominic. Her hands sliding along his arms and across his shoulders froze him. Before he could recover his balance, Adelle’s lips found and opened beneath his, tempting his tongue beyond all reason. Dominic surrendered to her will. When they parted, Dominic felt as though the beating of his heart should be audible to the naked ear.

“You’re so far over the line on this one, you can’t even see it anymore, Dom,” Chase said. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Me too,” Dominic whispered.

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(Deleted comment)
The action bits are so difficult for me that I'm always grateful when they come out well. So I say Yay to your Yay. It's gratifying to play some small part in making formation of sentences difficult.:)

I am trying to tie up any loose threads I've left dangling, so I had to look back and figure out who did what to Laurence and Adelle and why they did it. I'm glad my efforts in that regard re Langton, Alpha and Saunders worked for you.

oh god, that is so hot and tense and generally fabulous! I can't begin to tell you how much I'm loving this series. *happy sigh*

Thank you so much for the kind words of hot, tense and fabulous.:) I wasn't sure the juxtaposition of all of the elements of this chapter would allow it to flow well. I'm relieved it did. Thanks for continuing with this. We are getting to the final bits now.

when you say 'final', you mean 'the bits before the sequel', right?


I am not ready to let go of this story yet!

The bits before the sequel? The sequel? Oh dear.

Well, um, what to say? I actually put this together the other day and have discovered I have a novel length thing. This prompted me to see if I could reimagine it out of Jossverse and create something original with it. I'm doing pretty well with that conceptually right now. Because this story is really about the relationship b/w Adelle (who will likely be Juliet and Laurence who will remain Laurence). I wouldn't mind getting your thoughts on that when (read if) it comes together.

Oh, AWESOME! That actually makes me even more excited. Quite a few of my big projects have ben stuff that was initially inspired by fic, so I'm happy to chat about it! I've just finished ScriptFrenzy, where my two characters were inspired pretty heavily by Adelle & Dom, and it's really interesting seeing how characters develop when they become original. Plus, I am v pro reading anything you write :)

Ok, cool. And, yes, characters do depart somewhat when they b/c original. I'm having to do some interesting things to keep some of the elements I want to keep.

ScriptFrenzy--I like the title. May I ask what it's about?

what scriptfrenzy is about, or the script itself?

I'm typing too fast--the script, I mean.

It's about the first human civilian colony in space, which is headed up by my Adelle-esque character, Governor Beatrice Morgan, and the tensions between what they're trying to achieve and what the government on Earth want them to do, and none of it is helped by the fact that Beatrice's chief of security was basically blackmailed into coming along and may or may not be on her side.

Basically, it's the bastard love child of Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5....

I like the idea. Tension on a multitude of levels--personal and professional. Blackmail can really be interesting (depending on what the underlying issue is).

How about an epilogue? Epilogues are nice.

They are! OK, that would make me happy :D How many more installments to go?

I think that this is my favourite installment so far. Excellent chapter! (I loved Adelle and Laurence in the chair, making out at a Rossum event, Alpha gunning down the event, Langdon as Roger and the NSA rescue).

I am definitely going to miss this when it ends.

Thank you so much--seriously. I've done my best here, from rising to the challenge of this can't be all (after episode number 1).

In the chair, I think I have to thank Dollsome who postulated that Dominic was so comfortable in Adelle's chair in Spy in the House of Love b/c he'd totally had sex in that chair. That's been percolating in the back of my mind for quite some time and I thought--why not!

Making out at a Rossum event when Dom was worried about an assassin--does the woman have her priorities in order or what?

Alpha had to give Dom the clue as to Paris and Ambrose, or so my muse thought. I liked the concept of Chase. Of Dominic stealing the history of someone he knew and respected. Hopefully, that played well.

The interesting thing is--there could be a sequel. But I don't think I have the energy. Still and all--I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

You put the sexy in the sexy chair! It's about time they finally christened that piece furniture.

This was an action packed installment. I like how you handled Dom's missions by showing us their direct results. Very interesting way to write.

Just when I thought we were done with Langton, the man decides to crash a party. I wonder who he really is? And what's his deal in all this?

Poor Adelle, the Roger's just can't seem to leave her alone. Great shooting on her part, btw.

Chase is pretty cool. I'm glad we've met the man of the family story. I'm curious as to what Dom has refrained from telling her, in regards to that backstory.

Dom's been through the wringer. It's admirable how even through all the chaos, the man is still the man we know and not some superhero on roids. Great work, Roberta!

I thank again (I think Dollsome) for putting the idea of the chair in my head (like Irony Rocks did with the elevator in Going Up).

Action is harder. I have to pay closer attention. And edit many more times to make it believable. So I'm thrilled that the action worked.

Langton is who he was in Jossverse--Rossum himself. He wants Rossum to take over the world in a sense and I think it's safe to say that we're on the side of, "No."

It's funny. Titles. This story had no title b4 last night. It received its present title this morning, putting us in the better late than never category. Great shooting, yes. Fortunate her former chief of security demanded she shoot regularly.

There is a really tragic part of the Alexis story that I couldn't bring myself to tell. Dominic agreed.:)

I HATE when protagonists are a)always right or b) can combat anything b/c they're stronger. So I was very careful to make Dom vulnerable. Stay tuned for more on that.

Thanks for reading!

Fortunate her former chief of security demanded she shoot regularly.

:) wasn't that the basis of one of your fics? ♥ that it is now basically canon in the Pretendverse.

It's been thematic in a few of the things I've written. I think Dominic would rather protect Adelle but he's adamant about her being able to protect herself as well.

also, Olivia Williams + guns = hot. I think I may have scared morgan72uk once with how much I like it when Adelle is being badass and shooting stuff.

You know, when ladyvivien mentioned that she was off to read a new installment I thought she was catching up. Didn't realise she meant a new new installment.

Oh - Adelle. I like the burden of this on her, the way it's effecting her and the fact that she is hating carrying on as though nothing is happening and also hating the fact that all the action resides with Dom. The little exchange with Judith was perfect. Actually having Adelle kill a couple of people was perfect as well, it's an exchange of roles but I sense that she needed to be part of the action. Also, when I added up I realised that Adelle has interceded to help Dom in a fight twice before this. She maybe needs to recognise that she hasn't exactly stood on the sidelines and waited.

And, set against this is the impact on Dom - which is different but just as meaningful. I think it is interesting that he might not realise just how in the deep he is with this - or else he does realise it, but isn't thinking about it right now.

Two more parts and an epilogue left - I'm waiting for more.

I believe the question posed was something to the effect of "I don't have to wait another week, right?" That was gist of it, anyway. So I decided to see if I could get this long bit into some semblance of shape.

Adelle is stressed at this time. Definitely. It has to be tough to smile and discuss what are relatively trivial things with clients while knowing that he is out there risking life and limb and actually DOING something. Having said that, you have an excellent point about Adelle bailing Dom out with Alpha and Echo before this (also Saunders b/c Adelle had the syringe with the sedative or whatever in it to knock her out. So she hasn't exactly just waved her handkerchief when he went off to war.

It was important for her to have to kill a couple of people (and to have Alpha's folks kill Harding, I couldn't pass that up). I liked the exchange b/w Dominic and Judith as well. Short but showing how each feels about Adelle.

Dominic is tired and now pretty badly hurt and totally committed to the course of action they've agreed upon. And, as Chase said, so far over the line, he can't see it anymore. I think he does realize it but has pushed it aside or buried it or whatever b/c he can't deal with it right now. Realizing or not, deciding to deal or not, he managed empathy when she needed him to (and agreed to go to Chicago).

::puts nose back to grindstone::

I have a question for you about British expressions. I'll send you a separate mail.

As usual, thanks for reading and commenting.

Edited at 2010-05-01 02:27 pm (UTC)

You know, when ladyvivien mentioned that she was off to read a new installment I thought she was catching up. Didn't realise she meant a new new installment.

Pff. You have no faith in my obsessive desire to read every installment of this fic before you do the second it's posted.

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