This was meant to be published in the recent sick week that went around the towns. Oops I missed it then.
IC Date Thursday January 12th
Darcy had come home from work sick, with the same bad cold it seemed the whole town had, including her boy Vincent. She had been on double shifts covering for others who had fallen ill and then it hit her like a semi truck. She barely managed to crawl out of her uniform into her pjs and fell down on the couch, planning to watch Star Trek. She literally passed out during the opening credits of Voyager. Now she was dreaming, the same one as she always had, the one she'd been fighting. Darcy in the dream got out of the copter as the snipers kept firing and took her position with an automatic butted against her shoulder, using the chopper as a quick cover. In the waking world she was thrashing. Her conscious mind didn't want to be here again but the subconscious was winning.
Vincent came STRAIGHT home from school. He knew Darcy was sick and he wanted to help her if he could. But he was still a little weak from his own cold and that would have to mean doctored canned chicken soup. He came in and saw her asleep on the couch while episodes of Voyager played. Moving t the kitchen, he began to prepare the sup, setting it on very low so it wouldn't heat too fast in case shes just fallen asleep.
Darcy in the dream took aim for the trees, seeing where the fire was coming at the refugees from and then heard the thump of two bodies fall. she knew she only hit one of them but saw her CO, Trent, in her peripheral vision, flanking the other angle to their location. As she had been dissecting her dream in her counselling sessions, it had expanded to include the whole memory and not just what affected her alone. They defended the area until the last of the snipers ran off and all was quiet. Before they could let the refugees cross though, they had to check so she and Trent stealth walked the perimeter. Trent stopped at a body and gasped "God...oh god....they're kids.....just kids Lynch..... fuck...." She ran to the mass of a human she'd shot down in absolute terror. Her body in the real world thrashed and she was suddenly sobbing in her sleep saying "No no no no please no......"
Vincent chops up some extra celery and carrots to put into the soup when Darcy begins to move and then cry out a series of no's. He moves to the couch and can guess by her closed eyes that she must be having a bad dream. His fingers twitch. "Darcy Mom?" he says softly, not wanting to touch her. Waking people up from nightmares could be ... unpredictable.
Darcy in the dream approaches the sniper and pulls off the face scarf seeing the sweet face of the teen boy underneath, eyes open lifelessly. In the waking world she's still sobbing murmuring "Oh god... I'm sorry... I'm sorry." Her cold is making her nose run horribly too.
Vincent hears her and moves around the couch in front of her. He kneels down, but is prepared to literally fall back if he has to. Reaching a hand to her arm, he calls her name in a slightly raised voice. "Darcy Mom. Wake up."
Darcy is still in the dream but hears Vincent's voice. Suddenly the young dead sniper has Vincent's face and his eyes look right at her. She screams and wakes, now sobbing hysterically. She grabs onto Vincent, hugging him, and chokes out "I'm sorry."
Vincent is shocked to be hugged, but he recovers in a few seconds and hugs her back. "It's OK. You were just dreaming, Darcy Mom." he hopes its enough to make her feel better. "Must have been some dream ..."
Darcy takes a minute to actualize her full transition to not being in the dream because grabbing Vincent was still part of it for the waking moment itself. She calms her crying and softens her hold on him and then lets go slowly padding around with one hand for the kleenex box nearby and blowing her nose three times before it's clear. With a shaky voice she says "It's something I've been trying to work through. I'm sorry you had to see that."
Vincent watches her, his own heard calming from her previous scream. "All .... alright." he says slowly. "I mean ... can I ... can I help? Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything I can do to .... " he doesn't know 'to' what. Help? Keep it from happening again? He's alarmed, he realizes.
Darcy pats the seat on the couch beside her "I was supposed to bring you to a counselling session to talk about this but I guess it's coming up before we can call Mr. Singh. I have PTSD from my tour in Afghanistan." She takes a deep breath and tries to look more together than she feels "I don't want you to worry about me Vincent. Meeting you and you in my life oddly has healed me. I've been really trying to work on this on my own...not put it on you. I know your dad put EVERYTHING on you and that's not right."
Vincent sits beside her and listens to her carefully. "Well ...." he says slowly, considering all she is saying. "I'm glad I've been able to heal you, too. I mean, you've really healed me from the last couple years." he pauses and considers. "And you don't put anything on me. Not like my father did." he bites his lip. "And ... well ... I mean ... I should be able to help. We're a family right? Me and you. SO ... I .. I should be able to help ... if I can" and he wants to .. he just doesn't know how.
Darcy wipes at her nose with one hand and takes Vincent's hand with her other "We are a family. You're right. I didn't even know how much I needed you in my life until you were here." She gives the hand a squeeze and takes a breath "Sometimes in the military I got to do amazing things...help people, get them to safety, protect. And sometimes to protect some people you have to make horrible choices about the ones you're protecting them from. I was defending a group of refugees from snipers with my squad....we had to shoot to kill. The snipers all had their faces covered. When we went to check the perimeter we found out...they were...." She takes a rattling breath and more tears flow "They were kids. And I shot one, a boy about your age.....I had no idea...." She chokes up again "I never would have...if I had known..."
Vincent takes her hand and holds it, squeezing it to comfort her as she talks. The story is awful. He's never heard anything like it with his own ears. But he has read news stories. "That sucks." are the first two words out of his mouth and he sighs at them. "Listen. I know you'd never kill a kid ... unless you HAD to. I mean snipers ... they wouldn't have stopped, would they? And they would have killed little kids. Like ten or even toddlers, right?" he blows out a breath. "Man it sounds so cliche but ... that really was kill or be killed ... well .. have the people you were protecting killed." he holds her hand. "It really isn't all black and white, eh?"
Darcy nods "They would have opened fire on everyone. I just with that boy had been given a chance at a different life. I mean he was probably 8 or 9 when a warlord put a gun in his hand...it should have been a kite.....a pencil...anything to have given him a childhood where he got to live to a ripe old age. That's how it goes there......"
Vincent nods, slowly. He'd know one or two gang bangers in his neighborhood, but stayed away from them because his mother insisted. You know..." he begins, still speaking slowly and gathering his thoughts. "If you hadn't killed that kid ... maybe he would have killed you ... and if he had killed YOU ... who would have helped me get away from my father?"
Darcy almost laughs and then nods, starting to cry again. She leans her head on his "Thank you Vincent. I love you."
Vincent is a little confused at the crying, but puts his arm around her. "I love you too, Darcy Mom." he tells her. "Oh shit! Your soup!" he hops up and heads into the kitchen, tossing the carrots and celery into the pot. "I was making you some soup. Doctored and canned but ... I'll make better tomorrow." he promises, heading back and letting the soup continue to boil for a while. He sits back down beside her. "IS there anything I can do besides ... wake you up and ... feed you?" he wonders. He will be happy if she never has another nightmare again.
Darcy does laugh now "I gave you canned soup with no extra perks. Don't even worry about it. You're doing lots just being here for me. Most of this is on me. I have to go to my counselling appointments, work on my stress.....I actually haven't had a nightmare in a while. Maybe because I'm run down and sick." She grabs for a tissue and blows her nose again.
Vincent blushes and shrugs. "Come on, Darcy Mom." he almost pleads. "I cook. It's one of the things I can do, so putting some extras in ... no big deal." he leans back. "I guess that could be it. But ... I don't know. I guess, now that I'm not as helpless, I don't do helplessness real well." he grins sheepishly. "I think I brought you this cold, so ... some extra vitamins from carrots and celery ... beats a get well card in my head."
Darcy is about to reply and then holds up a finger sneezes three times in a row into a wad of kleenex "It's all over. I could have got it from work...everyone's sick. That's why I was working the whole time you had it. Colds are just a time thing. they do their thing and then they're gone."
Vincent shrugs. "A little overmedicating helps." he explains. "And chicken soup."
Darcy makes a face "I hate to take stuff unless I have to work. How can you know if it's improving if you mask the symptoms? But I think I should make some tea..." She starts to get up and then looks positively woozy.
Vincent chuckles. "You don't CARE ... that's the POINT." he argues. When she tries to get up, he tries to gently push her back onto the couch. "I'll get your tea." he tells her. "No arguing." and he goes to put on the kettle, still full of water from when HE was sick.
Darcy flops back into the couch "Ugh...Ok you win. Did ALL the Reinhardt's get this too? God...it's annoying...."
Vincent heads into the kitchen. "Well, I know Owen and Shay and Fiona are sick." he admits. "I think John is OK, or he was last I heard. It spread all over school."
Darcy nods as she blows her nose again. Then she immediately has a full on sneeze attack and just mutters "Well good for John......."
Vincent grins a little bit. "He's a strong guy." he reports. "I hope his mom is alright. She's staying with them. Taking turns between him and his brother."
Darcy nods and clicks back on Voyager "Oh that's right. Is she very old? Colds get scary when you're older..."
Vincent nods and finally makes the tea for her, letting it steep a little. "Yea. And she just got free, too."
Darcy hasn't been privy to all the details of who Heinrich Reinhardt was and how he affected the family and looks confusedly over her kleenex wad "Gad free?" He nose is now just plugged up no matter how much she blows it.
Vincent pours tea and soup for them both and puts them all on a tray with spoons and brings it to the table. "He's dead, and she's free." he says casually. "I think her sons feel the same. He was a lot like Dad. I guess he was faithful, at least." he shrugs. "I can relate to the feeling." he sips his soup.
Darcy winces as she blows her nose again, slightly clearing it for long enough to speak properly, and says "That's a lot longer to wait to be free of someone who wrecks your life. Thank you for this..." She says looking at the tea and soup. She takes a cup and holds it to her face for a second before sipping at it.
Vincent sips a bit more of his soup. "Yea, but better late than never. She can still have a good long life." he nods. "You're welcome." he tells her about the soup and tea. "Just taking care of my family." he pauses and is silent. "You know .... " he ventures. "I haven't heard from my dad since I moved here." he says it casually.
Darcy bites her lip and then sighs "He hasn't been apprehended yet. But there's more charges against him from when you guys lived in Toronto now. I shouldn't be telling you, but better you hear it from me. He's being charged with rape and uttering threats by a woman named Rachel Warren. The incident was in 2014, March 1st."
Vincent is sipping his tea and listening when she speaks, and spits it back into the cup. He stares at her in disbelief, his face reddening. "No .... no .... that date needs to be wrong." he stands and begins pacing. He moves to the door and then away and into the kitchen where he punches the refrigerator. "Fucking bastard!" he growls. "I'll kill you my fucking self!"
Darcy forces herself to rise up and perch on the couch despite how she's feeling "Vincent I know...I know the timing....I'm so sorry. That's why I didn't want you to hear this at the station if for some reason they need to ask you if you knew anything. I'm so sorry....but now if he's apprehended he's in the big leagues. He'll serve time for this one."
Vincent whirs on her, holding the hand he used to hit the fridge. "You know?" he asks his voice an almost even mixture of abject misery and abject rage. "You know while I was holding my mother's hand and she was dying, he was off committing a RAPE!?" he almost screams the last word and covers his face with his hands. "I want him DEAD!"
Darcy pushes herself up and walks over to Vincent and hugs him "I know. I'm sorry." She's not sure if he'll accept the hug in his anger but she's going to try.
Vincent completely tenses when he is hugged, but in a minute he hugs her back. "I ..... I don't like this ... how I can get ... I'm sorry ....."
Darcy hugs him tighter "You are not the one who's behaved badly here. I can't imagine how else any reasonable person would react to that news."
Vincent is fighting tears. "They wouldn't want to KILL him." he proclaims. "If he knocked on the door now, Id beat him with my bare hands." he hugs her tight. "And I wouldn't care." he sobs once.
Darcy holds onto him and rubs his back "Wanting to kill someone for being horrible and actually killing someone are two different things. Your reaction is valid. Your feelings are valid." She hears herself parroting some of the words her counselor Mr. Singh has been saying to her about other things and it dawns on her making an appointment for Vincent might be a good idea. this is heavy stuff. She's not going to suggest it while he's reacting, but later.
Vincent shakes his head, sobbing and then struggling to again regain control. "My mother wouldn't want that for me." he sniffs. "Neither would Uncle Vincent.' he goes quiet a minute. "I wonder if he knew? No ... he wouldn't' have known."
Darcy pats his back "This isn't public knowledge yet......because he hasn't been sighted. But he's bound to be someday......he has no job, he'll run out of cash and surface."
Vincent backs up a little bit. There's a flame in his eyes. "Maybe I should tell him." he muses. "If my father knows hes wanted on that ....." he pauses. "That's probably why he backed off that fight ....."
Darcy frowns "Tell who? You haven't heard from him...he's on the run." She confused as to what Vincent means.
Vincent moves around her towards the couch. "Oh not my father. Uncle Vincent's great uncle Giovanni just moved here." he tells her. "I saw him on my way to school this morning." he actually seems to brighten. "He's going to teach me to play bocchi."
Darcy sneezes hard into her arm and follows him back to the couch, rapidly grabbing for kleenex and then asking "Is he a Bittetto?" Her tone has a hint of concern after Vincent said he should tell him about Gino's charges.
Vincent sits and sips at his tea again, glad he hadn't followed his first instinct and thrown it across the room. "Yea. Giovanni Bittetto." he looks at her. "Why?" he picks up his soup and motions with it to hers, a silent hint she should eat it.
Darcy raises a brow "Why do you want to tell him about Gino's charges? Just to have him to talk to.....?" She now increasingly refers to Vincent's father by name, more than role. Gino may have contributed genetic material to Vincent's existence but the word father does not seem to apply now if it ever did.
Vincent closes his eyes a moment and sips his soup. Then he shrugs, almost sullenly and leans over, nudging Darcy's soup closer to her and not replying.
Darcy takes her soup but looks at him a moment longer and says "Don't sink to his level. You're worlds above it Vincent."
Vincent sighs. "I am NOT stooping to my bastard father's level, Darcy Mom." he argues. "You're right. I AM better than he is."
Darcy looks comforted by his defense and starts eating her soup. After a few bites she just looks at him and nods "There was no good day to tell you all this. I just found out before I got sent home sick."
Vincent deflates. "I know and I'm not mad at you. It's HIM." he blows out a breath. "You know I was almost jealous of John and his brother. I didn't know what to think, but my first thought was they were lucky and free."
Darcy looks pained. She had of course not expected him to take it well. Who could? She sighs "They'll still have a lot to unpack about that emotionally." She barely resists the urge to say just like you.
Vincent nods. "Addison? You know her? She's really ... open and honest ... she and her dad sent cakes and on one she actually put the word 'congratulations'." he grins a bit. Then he sighs again. "My father could live forever. Gino ...."
Darcy has to laugh "Well I guess when you know your friends you can pull that kinda stuff. I guess all I can say is he's not in your life anymore, by fate or by choice, you got another chance to be free in a different way. He'd be an idiot to try and come back to this island with all the charges from women here. Now he's got a cross Canada warrant. I don't think you'll have to see him again unless you feel compelled to visit him in prison one day."
Vincent stops with a spoon full of chicken near his lips. He looks at her a long time before he finally eats it. "I don't know what I would say. Probably nothing nice." he snorts lightly. "I never want to testify in court." he thinks quickly to Addy and Fi's anger towards Daisy's mom and shudders a little, even as he blushes.
Darcy nods "Well that's not what I said but.....you're all red? Are you still sick?"
Vincent's eyes fly to her. He puts his bowl down, then picks it up again. "I was just ... thinking ... um ... about something that happened with Daisy's mom .... I mean." he quickly tries to recover. "I didn't do her .. I mean do anything TO her .. just ...."
Darcy sniffs and then exhales "Alright, how many awkward conversations are we going to have in one day right? Let's just get it all over with. I know about the rumour issue, and about what Kenzie and Daisy Dale did. None of it's cool with me and I was worried that you didn't talk to me. Is any of that still happening? Because it's sexual harassment and exploitation and I was mad as hell to hear about it."
Vincent turns a deeper red. "Oh." he replies and reaches for s couch pillow, sitting Indian style and placing the pillow in his lap without even realizing he did it. "The ... the .. all the talk is trickling out now. There's a rumor going around about Seamus Reinhardt and this girl that just moved away now." his blush remains because he knows ... and saw ... more than he ever wanted to and that Sam moved away. Then everyone got sick. "But ... I mean .. she didn't touch me so .. it's ... I mean ... I know it wasn't OK but ... I figured it was an accident and she would keep her mouth shut." he can't turn redder so he simply ends with a very awkward. "At least I didn't wake up hard?" oh yes the joys of talking this over with his Darcy Mom.
Darcy holds up a hand, blushing awkwardly now "We don't ever need to know the details of each other's body parts in this family unless there's a sudden bizarre medical emergency. I wish I could promise you the rule applied to Aunt Marianne....." She sighs and continues "It's not OK for an adult to look at a minor as a sexual object, ever, especially with that much age difference. I'm aware you're dating someone a year older than you so if Fiona was 18 and you're still 17, that's an entirely different dynamic than someone old enough to be your parent being inappropriate the way Kenzie was. With her daughter I can at least assume a level of absolute immaturity but it's still not OK to spread rumours about anything to do with another human being's sexuality. And I know how damaging that can be...I grew up in small air force towns. When I said no to enough boys, they figured me out and it was not always nicely. But I want to make sure you're OK."
Vincent sighs. "It's one thing if Aunt Mari tells me I'm cute and sexy. She'd NEVER act on it!" he nods. "Yea, we're closer in age, so she can look at me as a sexual object." he muses, sort of to himself. Then he hears what Darcy faced. "God, men can be such ass holes. I mean until Daisy I didn't even know girls talked about .. stuff like that."
Darcy laughs "Women are JUST as bad...just usually more discreet and not as lecherous as Kenzie Dale. Horrible way for you to find out some of that. She's not in the range of normal Vincent and clearly her kid's a bit messed up from it. I'm glad you're with someone like Fiona, not someone like THAT."
Vincent nods. "It was really embarrassing. Especially cause it was Addy who told Fi. And Fi got just as mad as you did." he grins a bit, finally relaxing. "I'm glad I'm with Fiona too. I really love her, Darcy Mom. I really do." he pauses, thinking of snippets of conversations. "Hey. Really. IS there anything between you and Frank .. I mean Professor Sharp?" he is a little worried that she isn't dating because of him.
Darcy looks sweetly at Vincent as he talks about Fiona and then bursts out laughing and swats him with a pillow "Why does EVERYONE want to set me up with Frank? God this town needs more lesbians!" She says with false drama "Frank is a wonderful person and I'm very happy to have her friendship. We're not attracted to each other. It's just not there. It's like you and Addy....yeah she's a girl, but she's your friend. And Frank is dating someone. Now here's where it gets complicated....she's dating a woman that I had a sort of date with and bailed on. Frank and I were a bit awkward about THAT for a few days, which is why she suggested we hang out on New Years and resolve it. AND just to illustrate how this town is not 6 degrees of separation but ...more like 3...her...... person....Tamela, is Chief Brate's sister in law." She starts laughing more as she lays out all the connections and laughs herself right into a sneeze.
Vincent grins when he is hit by the pillow and finally laughs along with her. Well .... I didn't know." he defends himself. "I just don't want you to NOT date because of me." he shrugs deeply and again tried to separate his father in his mind. "Gino said shit about that to me and .. I just don't want it to be true for you."
Darcy shakes her head after blowing her nose "No...it's me. And having a kid really did NOT seem to stop Gino....Anyhow, I ditched on Tamela because I met her a month after I got back and had my first nightmare at her place. I wasn't up for explaining it then and I haven't gotten close to anyone romantically since. I have an ex that I'm still close to...but she got married in the summer so..yeah that's not an option anymore. We're friends so you might meet her one day. Distressingly gorgeous..... Her name's Thea. She couldn't take living with my getting called away for months of a year. It was probably for the best. But I don't really feel like I should even be trying until I know I've sorted out my head a bit more, and well yes there's you, but you're not a hindrance Vincent. But I also don't ever want you to feel like you don't take priority in my life, ever."
Vincent smiles a little and nods. "Well ... I'm getting used to being a priority in your life." he admits. "You really ARE like a mom to me, Darcy Mom." he sighs deeply. "But I'd hate to grow up and go to college and get married to Fi and leave you here an old maid." he teases her, lightly.
Darcy cracks up and then stops because it hurts her head "Old maid......send in the cats before you and Fi run off to populate the world with little musical goth chefs. As long as you send one of them to feed me now and then and change the many many litter boxes...I need some kind of painkillers I think..." She starts to get up again and stumbles for the bathroom, feeling annoyingly weak and sore in her muscles.
Vincent laughs until she gets up and he stops her. "Don't make me pick you up and tie you to the couch, Darcy Mom." he half jokes and half warns. He goes to get her painkillers for her and opens the childproof cap with ease. "You have to get healthy if you're going to compete with the Brates for the Cat Family." he teases. "But I'll keep you in mind for babysitting the kids." he grins. It all sounds wonderful. Well, maybe not the cars, but the marriage and children.
Darcy shuffles back to the couch without arguing and falls onto it "Oh my god...they have 9...sweet but smelly. I'm really more of a dog person but it wouldn't be fair in a place this size unless it was some kind of purse poodle. I do like kids, even if you came to me as a big kid. I used to babysit Trent's little girls all the time and they're hilarious. So you better have some for me to spoil." She teases.
Vincent chuckles. "Purse poodle ... um .... no ... not for MY mom." he snorts and smiles, getting a couple of pain pills and handing them over to her. "Well, I'll talk to Fiona about it ..." he half teases. "But I think kids are on the far horizon. I want to marry her first, of course. And finish at least college. Then med school. THEN we can have kids for you to spoil rotten."
Darcy smiles and takes the pills with her tea "Thanks...and good goals kid, all of them. Yeah poodles have that annoying yap....maybe a corgi or something. I do love that beagle at the fire hall. I see them taking him for walks and have gotten the odd pat in when they pass. We had a beagle when we lived in Quebec."
Vincent smiles in pride, glad he seems to have gotten the order right. "Oh yea. Henry!" he knows the fire house dog. "He never seems to want to be on those walks. Always kinda let me poop then go back to sleep on the couch. You can see him there most times you pass the window." he grins. "Maybe I'll get you a beagle for your birthday." then he tenses. "Holy fuck, Fiona's birthday is coming up!" he announces.
"That's his name!" She smiles, as Vincent reminds her. "Yours is too...but what's your plan for Fiona? When is it?"
Vincent groans. "It's in a week. The 19th ... so .... God .... I don't know." he considers. "I have been playing around with recording at the studio. You know songwriting. Maybe I can give her some MP3's and not get in trouble for being completely unprepared?" he wonders aloud.
Darcy snorts and then discovers there's an obnoxious amount of snot involved with that right now and shudders, grabbing a kleenex "Do you actually think she's going to be that high maintenance about her birthday? She seems to be pretty relaxed, and she loves you. I can see it."
Vincent does relax. "No, she isn't high maintenance." he sighs. "I'm just still all scared from three years with Gino." he admits, grudgingly.
Darcy frowns "He was fussy about his birthday? I can't imagine yours were very fun...."
Vincent arches his brows. "Gino? He was high maintenance, I mean. Very fastidious about the house being perfect, no matter what. That's why my mom had to teach me young, so I could help her and when she got sick, I just took it all over and after she died I did everything but fuck him." he blows out a breath. "The last birthday I celebrated was with my mom in the hospital before she died. Number 12."
Darcy frowns "This one will be better, special even. Let's do something cool. Whatever you like. If you want friends over for a party you can have that, or we could go to something, a concert, anything you want kid. No more non existent birthdays."
Vincent considers it. "I have no idea what I want." its mostly the truth too. "Can I think on it .. at least until I get past Fiona's? Since she's been sick, I was thinking maybe I'd send her some grave dirt and a funeral dirge, but shes better now too."
Darcy nods "Yeah of course. If you don't give me ideas we'll end up eating cake and watching Star Trek...which is what I always want for my birthday.." She laughs "I know that's just like my regular weekend plan."
Vincent laughs. "SO every weekend id your birthday minus a cake. Noted." he considers. "Man. I got an electric harp from Mister Jackson. At some point I'll get an electric lyre, even though I have NO idea where I would play it. I got a new girlfriend. Clothes. Poster that says real men play the harp. New home. New Mom. What else IS there? I don't NEED anything, really. Hell, thanks to you I may even pass French!"
Darcy blows her nose loudly again, smiling with her eyes at him over the kleenex "Pretty much. It's your time to shine kid...and about time. I'm thankful for you in my life and home every day. As for the French homework help....De rien." ((You're welcome))
Vincent chuckles. "OK ... now you watch Voyager and I will catch up on my homework and only practice classical music tonight so you can rest." he takes his bowl and tea into the kitchen. "And until you're well, I cook AND do dishes. Because you're SICK!" he insists, then takes his tea in his room and hits the books.