Return to fanfiction
This was my entry for the Kill Allianora contest. I'm honored but surprised it won - astonishing to learn others share my sense of, umm, humor, for lack of a better term. Although thanks to the events of recent episodes this entire venture is (thankfully) outdated, I figure I'd post it anyway - enjoy!
Claire knew right away that something was up. One didn't need to be a genius—she was, but she wouldn't have had to be—to see it. Darien Fawkes was very intelligent, quite charismatic, and wiser than his immature antics let on; but the man couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. Lack of talent for lying was a virtue by some standards, but not an ideal trait in a criminal, or a secret agent. Fortunately his other abilities were enough to overcome that flaw.
And his attempts were rather endearing, she had to admit. Like now. He'd strode into the Keep, gotten his counteragent shot, and then tried to strike up an innocent conversation with her. Nothing of any import, just shop talk.
Yeah, right. But since she was curious, she let him think it was working, nodded blithely when he asked, "So, what kind of stuff do you have around here? Anything lethal? You couldn't slip something deadly into me by mistake, could you?"
"It wouldn't be by mistake," she said, and smiled sweetly at his expression. "In all honesty, Darien, there are a few dangerous chemicals. This, for example," and she indicated a stoppered flask of pale orange liquid, "would kill you in a matter of minutes, if you were injected with it, or swallowed it. But then so would most household cleaners." She gave him a final chance to surrender the game. "Why do you ask?"
"Oh, no reason."
If he was that convincing in court, no wonder he'd gone to jail. But she let him think it had worked, waved cheerfully goodbye as he left the lab, then returned to one of her other experiments. She left the flask out on the counter, in plain sight, and deliberately turned her back to it.
It didn't take very long. Fifteen minutes later she felt a draft of preternaturally cold air. Without hesitating she whirled and grabbed the flask, which had seemingly begun to levitate. A sharp twist wrenched it out of the invisible grasp. Replacing the flask on the counter, the Keeper crossed her arms and stared steadily at empty space, until the nothingness fell away to reveal a chagrined Darien.
"So why did you ask, again?" she inquired.
"Claire..." As was his wont, he suddenly became serious. "Look, this is important, but I can't talk about it. Just trust me. Please." He gave her a pleading, approaching desperate look.
Now that was patently unfair. Brown puppy dog eyes should be outlawed, at least until an effective defense against them was developed. Fortunately work with Fawkes and Hobbes was building her immunity. "Darien, if I'm correctly understanding the situation, you're trying to kill someone. Are you sure there isn't something you need to talk about?"
"Claire, this is my business. My responsibility. It's personal. I don't want you involved. If anyone goes down for this, it has to be me, and me alone."
"I cannot simply stand back and allow you to commit an act of murder, either as your Keeper, or as your friend."
"If you are my friend, you'll forget we ever had this conversation." He picked up the flask.
She didn't try to stop him, but she said, "Darien, I want you to think about this long and hard. You aren't a killer. You've told me so yourself."
"I know." His voice caught. "I've thought about it. There's no other way."
"There's always another way." Claire spoke quietly, but with great force. "Don't become a murderer. Don't do that to yourself. Believe me, I know what I'm saying."
She must have been letting more show in her eyes than she thought, because he seemed stunned by what he saw in them. Slowly he shook his head. "I...have to..."
"No." She extended her hand. He put the flask into it, and she smiled her gratitude. Shaken, he walked out without another word, looking back at her once before the door slid shut.
Claire heaved a deep sigh when he was gone, her shoulders slumping with the sudden release of tension. She hadn't had to ask who. She knew.
Allianora. It had to be. No one else inspired such feelings...except Arnaud—what was it with Darien and people with the initial 'A'?—and Darien wouldn't try something so simple as poison against his Swiss Miss nemesis. And after their last mission against Chrysalis's lady assassin it was clear there wasn't much else on Fawkes's mind.
But he wouldn't kill her. Claire wouldn't allow him to destroy himself that way. She hefted the flask and brought it back to the glass-doored refrigerator. Allianora would never die by that poison.
Certainly not. The one the Keeper had been cooking over the electric heater was at least twenty times more potent...
"Hobbes, I'm not kidding here."
Hobbes eyed his partner askance and repeated, for the fourth time since they'd entered their office, "You want a gun."
Darien nodded emphatically.
"Didn't you tell me a couple months ago you weren't gonna carry one? Made a big deal about it?"
"I changed my mind."
"Oh, all right, that's okay then—gimme a break, Fawkes. What's going on upstairs?" He rapped a knuckle against his forehead suggestively. "You losing some marbles? This quicksilver psycho thing working overtime?"
"I'm totally sane here, Hobbes. I'm an agent. I should have a gun."
"I don't got a problem with that. Except I know that's not your reason. And it's not for protection, either, I'm betting. So who do you want to shoot?"
"Who said I want to—"
Hobbes snorted. "Try selling it elsewhere; I ain't buying. Allianora, right? You want to plug Little Miss Mermaid for real."
Darien's silence was as eloquent as a full confession.
Hobbes sighed. "Look, I can understand how you feel. She's played you for a fool—"
"It's not that."
"She's a real whiny bitch—"
"That's not it."
"And she tried to kill your partner, I know—"
"Not that, either."
"What?" Hobbes said, hurt. "I'm not worth that much to you? She could've asphyxiated me, but that doesn't bother you?"
"It bothers me—"
"Bobby Hobbes could be drowned on dry land and you'd just shrug, oh well—"
"And her trying to kill me isn't?"
"Look, can you get me a gun?"
"No. Absolutely not."
Darien glared. Hobbes glared back. "Fawkes, this isn't you. I don't know what's going on in that head of yours, but if you do this, if you shoot her in cold blood, you're never going to forgive yourself. So it's no. And that's my final answer."
Darien spun on his heel and strode out of the office.
"You'll thank me someday," Hobbes called after him.
He sat down at his desk, but soon found he wasn't able to concentrate on his paperwork. All his thoughts were on his partner. Darien was really pissed at him. But Hobbes knew he was right.
And Darien would thank him for it. Probably tomorrow, if his order came in as scheduled. Those online companies were fast.
After all, guns were good, but if you really want to get the job done, an M9A1 rocket launcher was the only way to go...
"Darien, come in. Sit down."
Darien obeyed, somewhat nervously. The Official sounding friendly and using his first name was always reason to be wary.
Son. Crap. He was in trouble.
"Bobby and the Keeper both talked with me today. They're worried about you. What they've mentioned—well, it sounds like you want to kill someone."
"Now, the Agency doesn't always do things by the book, and you won't ever hear me say that the ends never justify the means, but homicide falls a little outside our jurisdiction. At least if I haven't specifically ordered one. If, without authorization, you were to go out on a limb, and it broke under you, then the Agency would let you fall, and leave you lying bleeding on the ground without so much as calling an ambulance. Do I make myself clear?"
"So, don't let myself get caught, that's what you're saying?"
"That's what I would be saying, except you have a history in the area of getting caught, and it's all bad. So what I'm saying is don't do it. Particularly in this case, with this particular...target. Because you will end up in hot water, and, gland or no gland, we will let you boil. Like a lobster."
"Hey, do you know how many different metaphors you've used in the last minute?"
"Only three, two extended—"
"Shut up, Eberts. Fawkes, are we clear?"
"Yes," Darien said grimly. "Is that all?"
The Official watched Fawkes leave, then inclined his head at Eberts. "Follow him and make sure he doesn't try anything stupid."
"You see anyone else?"
"Yes, sir." Eberts departed.
The Official waited until he heard no footsteps in the hall, then picked up his phone and dialed. "Hugh? It's Charlie. Got a job for you. Yeah, it's a big one. And technically it's out of my hands, but this is a special case. No one screws with my agents."
Much as the Official enjoyed manipulating people for his own ends, he had to draw the line somewhere. He couldn't conceive of turning Darien Fawkes into an assassin. Especially not when there were perfectly good snipers for hire...
The telephone rang. She reached across the keyboard and picked it up. "'lo?"
What a coincidence; she'd just been thinking about him. "Darien? Gee, I haven't heard from you in ages. How's it going?"
"Uh...could be better. You?"
"The wedding's next month, I've been swamped. You got your invitation, right?"
"Yeah...don't know if I'll be able to make it to England, though. Kate, I'm sorry, this is important. Remember Allianora?"
Kate's voice went flat. "Yeah. It's hard to forget someone who kidnaps you. And I know what she did to you, too."
"I know. Kate, I have to...do something about her. This can't continue."
"No...no. But Darien—"
"Don't try to stop me."
"Just listen. You're a good person. Think this through carefully, okay? I mean, even if you really want to, you know it's not right. Especially because I—Darien?"
Only the dial tone answered.
Kate sighed and cradled the receiver, then turned back to her computer. There wasn't much she could do for Darien, when he was all the ways away in California.
Now, Allianora, on the other hand...
[[Defense grid accessed. Laser satellite system activated]] her monitor blinked. [[Assign target?]]
Kate grinned, and began uplinking to the spy satellite net...
"CIA LA HQ, Miller speaking."
"Agent Miller, this is Fawkes, from the Agency. I have a few questions about getting someone on the CIA's hitlist."
"Don't play dumb, I know you have one."
"I'm not authorized to divulge that information, Agent."
"I just want to know if I could put in an application or whatever. Make it legal."
"Is there a matter of national security at stake?"
"That depends...can I make something up?"
"Agent Fawkes, I don't have time for this. We'll contact you if we need your services. Good evening."
Miller spent a brief moment wondering who Fawkes wanted taken out, then shook his head. Of course. He'd seen the report of their last mission.
The CIA wasn't in the habit of doing favors for the Agency, but he didn't care if their purposes converged. Fawkes had been helpful before. He might be more willing next time they wanted his special skills, if he knew they had done this for him. And she was on their list already. It wouldn't take much to bump her up. He'd put it in motion tonight.
Of course Fawkes couldn't hear about it; they didn't contract outsiders for such missions. And the CIA's own specialists were perfectly adequate for this assignment...
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Hey, Jones, know the best way to kill someone without getting caught?"
"Well, if it were me—wait a minute, who is this?"
"Just answer the question, Jonesy."
"Is this a prank call?"
"I'm serious. What tricks do the pros use?"
"Listen, punk, I don't know how you got this number, but you can kiss my..." Jones slammed the receiver down, half-expecting it to ring again.
The Bureau got no respect any more. The FBI used to be the dream of cops, the bane of criminals. Now they were laughingstocks, lackeys to worthless government types, supplanted by the likes of those Agency clowns.
What had they fallen to? Never mind. His was not to reason why...especially if he wanted his paycheck. Jones dry-swallowed four Tylenol and got back to work. Hell, this latest case probably came from the Agency; it had their stink about it. Find a woman wanted for multiple homicides and see that she got fried for them. Tricky when California didn't have the death penalty; they'd have to set up the bust so she didn't survive it. He'd have protested, but from what he had seen of her dossier, she deserved whatever she got.
Well, at least it wasn't a boring job...
"Oh, hell with this," muttered an oddly familiar voice, and the phone clicked.
Luke Lawson eyed his receiver suspiciously, then hung up. He had work to do. Elevator accidents didn't just happen; they had to be carefully arranged. And he had to be punctual and obedient, carry out instructions to the letter, if he was going to make it anywhere in this business. He'd fallen far, but he had clawed his way up before; he could do it again.
He was a bit vague on exactly why they wanted this Allianora woman dead, but if it could get him a promotion he wasn't going to argue...
Darien woke up the next morning with his ear hurting from all the telephoning he had done the night before. And no success from any of it.
He showered, dressed, and fed his pet rat. Today was the day. Never mind that he hadn't found a method yet. There wasn't a choice.
Allianora had nearly killed him on several occasions. She'd nearly killed Hobbes and Kate, and had killed many other people.
But it went deeper than that. He couldn't afford to go up against Allianora again. It was too dangerous, with her abilities being what they were. She had proved that, the last mission. What she had nearly done he could never—
Darien blinked. What had he been thinking? Something about...
It slipped away. He frowned, trying to retrace his train of thought, to no avail. At last, shrugging, he pocketed his wallet and hightailed out the door, hoping to make it to the office before Hobbes. It was worth the effort—occasionally—just to see his partner's expression.
Allianora was no longer on his mind, as if she never had been there at all. Which, indeed, she hadn't. Now.
Somewhere in a small, well-lit room, before a cutting-edge flat-screen monitor, the ultimate assassin leaned back in his chair and permitted himself a small, triumphant smile. Anyone could kill. But it took true finesse to erase someone, especially if you wished to leave all events and people around them intact.
He had spent all his free time on the project, forgoing sleep until he had fixed every script. Now the originals remained only on his hard drive. He selected them one by one, debating. Did he have the right to do this? To unmake a life, to contradict their very creators?
"Fear my mad screen-writing skillz, Aquachick!" exclaimed Eberts, and hit delete.
Love to know what you think!
Return to fanfiction