Fic: Do You Dream, Daddy?
Waking was always an uninvited adventure for Tom; deciphering where he was, what Hyde had done, were there apologies to be made or payments due for services rendered. But waking to find he wasn't alone in his own mind was disconcerting, to put it mildly. He could feel embers of Hyde smoldering within his conscience, lying in wait to scorch the landscape of his life. So Tom kept in check, always aware of the depth of his dark side in preparation for his return. This made for a bittersweet reunion with the boys; hugs and kisses were given and received, all the while with an ongoing internal narration courtesy of Hyde. It sucked the emotion from the moments Tom should cherish. And though Claire watched with a concerned creased brow, Tom didn't want to admit Hyde's power over him. After an exchange of pleasantries and proper gratitude given to Miranda, Min and Katherine, Tom excused himself to tend to his leg. Once alone in the bathroom, he sank to the floor and wept.
"Having a pout?" Hyde's voice reverberated through Tom's mind. "Oh yeah, this is useful. Bloody pitiful, Daddy."
Tom opened his eyes to find Hyde crouching before him, his elbows resting on his knees, arms arched together forming a peak supporting his chin. The light flickered above, painting the space in shifting shadows as it smeared out of focus and back.
"You'd better grow a pair if we're going to get this mess sorted."
Tom let his head fall back against the wall and spoke in hushed tones to avoid drawing attention, "Why did you come back?"
Hyde shook his head in disappointment. "See, now that's your problem. You are all about the 'why'. 'Why now?' 'Why me?' Why ask 'why' when it's the 'what next' that matters."
"There wouldn't be need for 'what next' if you hadn't come back."
"It was need that brought me so I came." Hyde's lips curled back with juvenile glee. "Oh did I ever. And so did she, by the way."
Tom let out a long suffering sigh.
"Enough with the brooding pity party already. Buck up lil' cowboy. Time to play the hero," Hyde said with a mocking southern accent.
Tom clawed his fingers through his hair and stared down his wicked mimic. "There are consequences for each transformation, genetic degradation occurs in varying degrees with each turn. The most recent of which has intensified."
"Huh, sucks for you, then."
"For us." Tom continued to meet Hyde's gaze with a sober, unflinching stare. "The process corrupts structural integrity causing chromosomal misalignment, inversions and deletions..."
"Blah, blah, big words blah…"
"Klein and Utterson sent the file as a reminder for me and a warning for you. Poison gas and bullets are one thing, cellular collapse is quite another."
"Is there a point to this mind dump?"
Hyde paused for a moment before a hesitant smile returned. "You're lying."
"Why would I lie?"
"You're trying to scare me."
"You're right about that. It just so happens to also be true."
Silence. Hyde was finally listening.
"I felt it before and I can feel it now." Tom paused to study Hyde's expression. "And so can you."
All humor vanished from Hyde's face. His eyes narrowed with suspicion for an instant then went wide as he bolted upright. "You're a fucking scientist or something. Do something. Fix it. Stop it!"
"I don't know how."
"Then what good are you now?"
"We're going to the Institute."
Hyde's fingers coiled to fists, evidence of his impatience for action. "About time I took the fight to them. I owe them some hurt. But that still doesn't explain why I shouldn't shove your sorry arse back into that closet in my mind and toss away the key."
"I'll know if what they say is plausible, if the data and the results they present make sense."
Hyde crouched down and reached out an arm to brace himself against the wall behind Tom. He leaned in uncomfortably close, leaving little space between them. Tom could swear he felt hot breaths break along his lips with Hyde's words. "Reality check, I have a backstage pass to your brain. I know what you know."
"You may see, but you don't know. You don't understand. You need me as an interpreter."
"You mean warden."
"Be reasonable…" Tom worked through his revulsion and managed to add, "... Hyde."
More silence filled the void as Hyde stared unblinking, unmoving and plotting.
"Aw, is this the bonding moment, Daddy? Am I supposed to plant a sloppy wet one on you for…"
Another pause as Hyde considered. His face dipped low as he looked up with an almost disciplining glare, as if to say 'shame on you'.
"We need to play nice, even if it's a trap."
"Play nice? Are we on the same team now?"
"We'll need to be to get through this."
"I don't trust you."
"Then trust Claire. She'll be accompanying us." Having long grown tired of Hyde's lack of cooperation as well as his uncomfortable vicinity, Tom escaped behind his hands to rub the remaining dampness from his eyes. When his attentions returned for a continued battle of wills, he discovered Hyde was gone and the once-stammering light had steadied.
"Stings, doesn't it Daddy…"
Tom could sense the smile in Hyde's thoughts.
"… making a deal with the devil?"
"You tell me."
Katherine peeked through the doorway of the darkened study and was surprised to find a familiar silhouette standing at the window peering out at the cast over night sky. There wasn't light or profile enough to determine which man stood before her so she hesitated for a moment, contemplating whether to make her presence known.
"It's me, Katherine," Tom's mild tone reassured her. "Well, for the most part." He turned just enough for the hall light to define his features.
"Can I take that to mean Hyde is cooperating for the moment?" She stepped inside but kept her distance as to not intrude unless invited.
"As close to cooperation as I can expect from him."
"Mind if I ask what you're doing here alone in the dark?"
"Taking it in."
"Taking what in?"
"This unfiltered world of his… of Hyde's." He gazed back outside and shook his head with awe. "I can see everything clear as day; hear the far off noises of the city as if I were there. I can smell the cherry blossoms on the breeze, the scent of wet dog down the road, of rain preparing to fall." He slowly turned to face her, his piercing gaze reaching for her through the dark. "And I can smell you."
The tone was Tom's, the words weren't and by sheer defensive instinct she quickly flipped on the light switch, momentarily blinding them both. She was relieved to see it was indeed Tom before her, squinting with the struggle to focus.
"I'm sorry." Tom seemed to shrink a little with embarrassment. "I didn't mean to alarm you."
"You didn't." She responded much too hastily. "I shouldn't have bothered you. I'll just go."
"Please don't." His voice was thick with need which alarmed Katherine more than Tom channeling Hyde a moment before.
He smiled a little. "Negotiating the boys surrender to the bedtime brigade. It's a battle best left for the brave of heart."
"Couldn't she use some reinforcements? I'm surprised you're not in there arbitrating along with her."
"I had been until…" he swallowed hard before continuing, "…until they asked if Uncle Billy could tell them a bedtime story."
"I dread to think what tale he'd tell." She could see Tom didn't appreciate the jest. "You know Hyde is nothing more than a new toy for them to play with until they're bored and discard him as they would any other. He is not their father. You need to remember that, Tom."
"Since when did you add family therapist to your job description?"
"Shortly before adding kidnapping, blackmail and espionage to my skills set." She offered a small smile, coaxing one in return as she crossed the room towards him. "You're actually going, aren't you?"
"Are you sure about this?"
"Not remotely." Tom wore a nervous grin as he retrieved a slip of paper from his pocket and offered it to her. "Take this."
Katherine took the paper and skimmed it briefly. It appeared to be a bank statement, its margins filled with handwritten annotations and with highlighted sections. "What is it?" She glanced up to see him working a small key free from a ring of them.
"Care to elaborate?"
"This key goes to a safe deposit box tied to the primary account number. Peter Syme had undisclosed financial dealings with Klein and Utterson funds, dodgy investments and such. All the evidence one could hope for to prosecute the Institute is on a disc inside. The password is 'Martha'."
"How did you get this?"
Tom paused for reflection before answering. "It was delivered to me as directed in Peter's will. Seems he had his doubts about the Institute."
"And that he trusted you."
"Until the day I killed him." Tom's gaze met hers with striking indifference.
"You mean until Hyde killed him."
"Who's more at fault, the gun or the man who pulls the trigger? I knew perfectly well what Hyde was capable of… counted on it, actually."
"Syme betrayed you and your family."
"You were right Katherine, I was there." He frowned, quickly dismissing her justification. "I unleashed Hyde to murder Peter, my closest friend… apart from you." His gaze fell away, masked by the shadows of his heavy brow.
Katherine had seen Tom through bouts of depression before but she felt like he was diving head first into the darkness, giving himself over to it. She reached out and hesitated a moment before placing her hand along his arm. Even with such an innocent connection, it still sent the butterflies fluttering in her stomach and she silently cursed her childishness. His large eyes shone through from under the veil of dark, matching her stare. The nervous flutters turned fierce as he inched closer, his hand lifting to blanket hers. He drew her hand down between them, placed the key in her palm, and gently curled her fingers over it. She watched his hands sandwich hers, holding her there in an intimate embrace.
"Katherine," he whispered but fell silent, his lips holding back whatever was to follow. His demeanor shifted before her eyes as he continued with carefully chosen words. "Those files may be our last resort if things go bad."
"Then I sternly suggest you don't allow things to go bad." She pulled away, immediately missing the feel of his fingers along hers. "May I ask why *you* didn't turn this over to authorities?"
"Perhaps you didn't notice I've been a bit busy." His slight smile faded. "After the incident at the manor, things were… I suppose calm is the best way to describe it. We attended Peter's funeral and shortly thereafter the key arrived with vague instructions. I found the disc and once I realized what condemning information it contained, tucked it safely away in case the Institute reared its head again. I was hesitant to go public for fear of retribution. Unfortunately I couldn't leave things well enough alone and decided to pay a visit to Sophia. And so begins this hell all over again. Besides, I wasn't so sure Peter's confession would find a willing audience considering the affluence of the accused."
"What makes you think they'll listen to me?"
"I don't know that they will. But if not you, then Ms. Calendar and her social network of gossip hungry associates. Just get this out there, every paper, every radio station, every television network, enough to draw unwanted attention to the Institute, put them under more intensive scrutiny."
"You know you are doing exactly what they want by going there, Tom."
"I've tried running. I've tried hiding. The only thing left to do is face them head on."
"When will you be leaving?"
"In the morning."
"I've grown tired of saying goodbye, Doctor Jackman."
"Then let's not, Ms. Reimer."
Perhaps it was irony of their manufactured propriety, perhaps the mutual smiles lifting the sullen moment, perhaps the desperate wish to solidify Tom within her memory and her in his. Whatever the reason, Katherine dared to cross the line she'd drawn upon their introduction, tipped up on her toes and placed her lips to his. For a moment, in a rare and sweetly instant, Katherine felt Tom's mouth give in to curiosity and purse along hers. She couldn't bring herself to break the kiss so she sunk back down flat footed, feathering her mouth along his prickled chin as she did. He remained motionless, eyes glistening, lips parted as if half in shock and half disappointment in her abandonment. And, with a forced smile, she turned and left him to his privacy, shutting off the light as she departed.
Claire entered the kitchen to find Katherine sitting at the table, a sole light illuminating her as she read through the mysterious Institute files for what had to be the tenth time. A cup of tea was perched in her hand but motionless above the table, paused by her study of the page before her.
"Care for a refill?" Claire gestured to the kettle.
Katherine set the cup down on the table. "I'm sorry, I was miles away."
"I noticed. Good read?" Claire settled instead for a glass of wine and went about pouring one.
"Afraid not. I keep at it in hopes something will suddenly click and it will all make sense but it's beyond me."
"Well, let's hope it isn't beyond Tom." She took a seat opposite Katherine and glanced down at the mess of papers before her. She took a conservative sip of her wine and shook her head. "He's holding back, Katherine. There's something in that file that is forcing his hand."
"If I knew, I'd certainly tell you. Considering the source, I'd recommend skepticism in the file's authenticity." Katherine watched Claire swallow another sip then pushed the stack of materials away from her to give her full attention to her guest. "How's he doing?"
"He's being very Tom at the moment. A man of few words and even fewer…" She stopped herself. "He's coping as best he can. And he's not alone."
"I can't begin to understand what an ordeal this is for all of you."
Claire smiled. "I meant that Hyde is chaperoning us. But thanks just the same."
"They've done this before, Tom and Hyde sharing time? It worked out before and I have no doubt it will again."
"I wish I had your optimism." She swirled the wine in the glass, considering downing the rest in one desperate gulp.
"It's not so much optimism as faith."
"Faith in who exactly? Tom, Hyde or both?" Claire was bothered by the cynicism in her own tone. "I thought he'd died, Katherine. I saw Hyde sacrifice himself and take Tom with him. At that moment, I hated him more than I ever thought I could hate a person. Then our boys were freed and Tom came back and I couldn't hate Hyde. To be honest, I actually cared for… I was so confused."
Katherine offered an empathetic smile. "Emotions can be so very complicated."
"When I realized what Hyde had done, I… I loved him for it." Claire fixed her eyes on Katherine, as if wanting approval.
"And you still do, don't you?"
Claire forced a nod, one so subtle it practically screamed out how ashamed she was at admitting it.
"If you'd like my purely professional opinion..."
"Pins and needles."
Katherine couldn't help but smile. "Regardless of the physical and psychological differences as well as the scientific and medical evidence, I believe that there is one rather simple explanation. Be it Tom Jackman or Hyde, they are both parts of the same man. It makes perfect sense you would love them both."
"Sense or no, I don't know what Tom would do if he knew. I fear he already does."
Katherine pushed back from the table, retrieved another glass and poured some wine. "You're going with him, aren't you?" She glanced back over her shoulder, awaiting an answer.
"And your boys?" Katherine returned to her seat, leaned back and casually sipped her wine as Claire watched, hoping the agony of the decision was enough of an explanation. Mercifully, Katherine seemed to understand. "We'll watch over them."
"I'm sorry, Katherine. I'm sorry for the way I've behaved toward you."
"Please, there's no need..."
"Yes there is. There really is. You've been a good friend to Tom and to me whether I wanted it or not. I'm sorry for asking this of you… sorry for all of this."
"Don't be. I'm not." Katherine insisted. "Harry and Eddie will be safe. I promise. But do something for me."
"Be careful with Hyde. His emotions rule him, don't let yours rule you."
"Will do. We'll slip out before the boys wake. I couldn't bear it to…" Claire bit back the tears.
"What should I tell them?"
"For now, whatever you need to." She pulled an envelope from her jeans pocket and held it out to Katherine. "But if we don't make it back…"
Katherine refused to accept the envelope so Claire set it on the table and chuckled. "Regardless of what it was, I can safely say Tom didn't pay you enough."
They both smiled and sat quietly as they finished off their wines. Claire got to her feet and gestured an offer to refresh Katherine's glass. Katherine nodded.
"Yes, thank you," she said, sliding the Institute file in closer.
"No, thank you." Claire corrected and poured a much healthy serving for them both.