Fic: Do You Dream, Daddy?
Rating: PG-13, Sorry, no smut this time.
"What have you done to my husband?" Claire stormed across the room, shoving Katherine from her path when she tried to intervene.
"It would be wise to stay back, Mrs. Jackman." Katherine was hesitant to back away and working to steady her still trembling hands.
"Fuck wise." Claire dropped to her knees beside her unconscious husband and cradled his head in her hands. "What have you done?"
"It was necessary, I assure you."
Claire's anger was enflamed further upon spotting the spilled pill bottle. "You've drugged him?"
"The treatment was Tom's idea."
"I believe what Ms. Reimer meant to say was that she was aiding Doctor Jackman in some sort of medicinal treatment," Miranda suggested.
Katherine welcomed the lifeline with a nod. "Yes, that's right. He should be fine, Mrs. Jackman. It was only a mild shock."
Claire's eyes went wide in noticing the discarded stun gun.
"It was Hyde. He was…"
"I don't care."
"Please let me explain."
"What part of 'I don't care' do you not understand?" It was Hyde, the dimpled chin, the lack of grey hair and a hint of that devious grin still evident even while he slept.
"Perhaps we should leave Mrs. Jackman to tend to her husband," Miranda encouraged with a gesture aimed down the hall.
"We can't leave her alone with him. Hyde is dangerous."
"Not to me," Claire insisted.
"We'll let her be the judge of that." Miranda motioned again for Katherine to join her.
"The stun gun was quite effective. Don't hesitate to use it." Katherine rubbed at her sore neck, wincing at even the gentlest touch. "We'll be in the kitchen if you need us."
"Thank you, Miss Reimer. We appreciate your hospitality. Isn't that right, Mrs. Jackman?" Miranda left an opening for a response but Claire didn't bother, busying herself with the examination of her husband.
"Right, that went well. How about a cup of tea? Or perhaps something a bit stronger is in order." She smiled and started down the hall. Katherine remained behind, watching Claire stroke unruly curls from Hyde's uncharacteristically peaceful face.
"Please be careful."
"I told you he won't…" Claire looked up to see she was gone and concluded "…hurt me."
"Is that a request?"
She looked down to see Hyde returning her gaze with a drunken grin playing along his lips.
He purred softly, "Hello nurse."
She welcomed him with a relieved smile. "Hi there, sugar. Miss me?"
"Constantly." He was unfocused, eyes heavily hooded, nearly crossed and obviously struggling under the intoxicating effects of the medication as well as the after effects of the stun gun. He drifted off for a moment before returning his lazy gaze to her.
"Are you feeling alright?" Claire caressed his cheek, instinctively consoling him regardless of whether he needed it. It served to calm the butterflies in her stomach at the very least.
"Never better. Everyone's out to get me, kill me, cure me. Different day, same ol' shite." His slurred words flowed in and out of audible. "And what is it you want from me, Mrs. Jackman?"
"I want you to come home and be with your family."
"Daddy doesn't. He's keeping me from you." He drifted again, brought back with a gentle nudge. "… wants a cure, like I'm a bloody disease. Prick."
Claire shook her head, trying to reassure him otherwise though she knew he was speaking the truth.
"She wants him, you know?" He strained to focus in on Claire. "Tarty little Katherine fancies Daddy and will do anything for him… to have him."
"Is that why you hurt her?"
His response was a slow smile promising mischief.
Claire swallowed down her alarm. "Were you trying to kill her?"
"Just a little something special for my girl. Guy's gotta make an impression these days. Roses are overrated but a good slaughter…"
"I don't want you doing those sorts of things for me."
"Yes you do." He reached out to cup her cheek with an unsteady hand. "You want me to do all sorts of things for you… to you." His thumb glided along her lips and it took all her resolve to keep from nestling it.
"I want to help you."
"Bet you do." His fingers ventured down her neck and fumbled with the buttons of her blouse. "Lil' help with the jeans."
"No." She took hold of his roaming hand. "I want to help you and Tom."
"Not sure how we'll work that one but I'll think of something." Hyde continued to paw at her blouse and she grasped his wrists, pinning them against her bosom.
"You're going to learn to take 'no' for an answer."
"Not bloody likely." His hand shifted enough to steal a not so tender grope of her breast. With a disapproving growl, she pried his hands from her and trapped them to his chest.
"Listen to me."
"Why start now?" He grinned.
"I need Tom."
Hyde's expression soured. "No."
"To help you both, I need him."
His eyes closed and remained that way for nearly a minute before Claire considered whether he'd actually succumbed to sleep.
"Tom?" she whispered.
"Not Tom," Hyde said in a sluggish whisper. "Not anymore."
"I need Tom. Listen to me, please," she urged but it was of no use. He was out for good, his hands resting limp in her grip as his breathing deepened with his slumber. Claire released her hold of his hand and continued to stroke his head, hoping he could somehow hear and understand. "You need to trust me. One of you has to trust me."
Miranda and Katherine fell silent as Claire entered the kitchen.
"He's out," Claire reassured them and received a chorus of relieved sighs.
Katherine hesitated a moment before asking, "You're alright, then? He didn't…"
"I've told you he won't hurt me." Claire took a seat at the counter and rested her head on her folded arms before her.
"I think I speak for both of us when I say lucky you." Miranda leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms in a clear display of irritation. Unfortunately for her, Claire didn't bother to notice her efforts.
"Yes, he is. He's also confused and more than a little defensive since he was nearly poisoned. Can you honestly blame him?"
Katherine bit back her initial frustration and worked to speak calmly. "I don't need to; Doctor Jackman does, for everything."
"What do you mean by that?" Claire's eyes narrowed, challenging Katherine with arms folded tight before her.
Miranda rolled her eyes. "Ladies, let's keep this civil."
"If you treat him like an animal, he'll live up to your expectations."
"He already has. I think you're blinding yourself to certain realities, Mrs. Jackman. I underestimated Hyde's capacity for cruelty more than once and it nearly cost me my life."
She was right, of course. Claire knew she seemed to lose the capacity for rational thought around Hyde. "I'm sorry for that. I truly am." She shied away from Katherine's judgmental gaze as she continued. "But for better or worse, that man in there is my husband and I will stand by him no matter what. What else can I do?"
Katherine let out a sigh and poured a glass of wine, setting it before Claire. "Mrs. Jackman, I apologize for not contacting you. I have every reason to believe Klein and Utterson have tapped my phones. It would have been risky…"
"Don't bother. They can be quite the persuasive pair, bloody bastards." She gladly accepted the peace offering and downed the contents in a few gulps.
Katherine contemplated what more she could say that wouldn't further degrade their already tense relationship. "I want to assure you that nothing at all happened between… I mean, he never… I wouldn't…"
"Well, that clears things up nicely," Miranda said with a pained smile. "So which of the troubled twosome are we dealing with at present?"
"Hyde. And as an added bonus to the mad scientist's apprentice's experimentation, he's refusing to let Tom come out and play." Claire gave a helpless smile as she combed her fingers through her hair. "You think divorce papers would need both their signatures to be legal and binding?"
"While I wouldn't blame you in the least, I'm afraid you're not very convincing, Mrs. Jackman." With a bob of her head, Miranda directed Katherine's attention to the wine. "I think it's time we all put our heads together and strategize our next move."
"I know it's not my place to say so but your husband loves you, Mrs. Jackman." Katherine refreshed Claire's glass.
"Yes." Claire swiped it up, nearly spilling. "And it scares the shit out of me."
Miranda and Katherine exchanged empathetic glances as Claire finished off the wine in one desperate swallow and held out the glass in expectation of another.
Claire opened her eyes to discover Hyde standing at the far end of room, his unblinking stare locked on her. He rested casually against the window sill as the early light of dawn glowed behind him. As she shifted upright, she realized he'd wrapped her in the blanket she'd covered him with earlier. Falling asleep wasn't in the plans. The plan, however improbable, was to stake out a corner and keep watch over him. So much for that, she thought. The wine was certainly to blame for it. And yet again, Hyde had managed to turn the tables. Or maybe she'd let him.
"Hello Mrs. Jackman," he spoke in a lyrical tone.
Claire returned a smile, though much less enthusiastic than his. "Good morning."
"It is now."
She got to her feet and folded up the blanket. "How are you feeling?"
"Hung over. A new experience for me since I usually let Daddy suffer the consequences of my outings."
"How long have you been awake?"
"I don't know." He looked down, slowly and deliberately, as if to draw her attention to something. "You don't need that."
Claire looked at the stun gun resting at her feet, pleasantly forgotten. "I know. Katherine insisted. I only agreed to it to shut her up." Her gaze shifted from the door to the broken restraint still fastened at his ankle. "You could have left."
"Why didn't you?"
"I have what I want right here."
It was oddly romantic if not a little possessive, and sent a warm wash over Claire's body. Hyde had an unfair advantage and she knew it. She had to keep a level head with him.
"I was never the one running away from you. Timid Tom was the one with itchy feet, remember?"
"He was doing what he thought was best."
"He was doing her," he said in a coarse tone that mellowed as he continued. "As for the best, I guess Daddy has low standards."
"Trying to make things worse between us."
"I don't need to try." He tipped his head aside and smiled broadly. "Stalking me, Mrs. Jackman? I like that."
There it was again, that unfair advantage striking out. "Whatever Tom has planned will include the both of us. I won't let him run off alone again."
"Whatever Tom planned is shite. He's on permanent holiday."
Claire knelt down and took up the stun gun. Hyde watched her every move, expressionless but intensely aware until she moved toward the door.
"Going so soon?"
"You might say my feet itch."
The awkward gentleness of the demand stopped her in her tracks.
"Why should I?"
"Because I want you to."
"And I need to see Tom."
It was a standoff, a battle of wills as each waited defiantly for the other to give in. After a long moment of silence, Claire turned toward the door. She reached out to grip the knob and found Hyde's hand grasping it. She'd never heard him move, at least ten paces from her and he'd appeared beside her in the blink of an eye. Her hand wrapped around the stun gun, ready to defend herself if necessary. She held her breath and worked up her nerve to lift her gaze to meet his. Before she could utter a word of protest, he pulled open the door and stepped aside.
"As I said, you won't need that."
"Then prove it and stay here," she directed him softly. "I'll be back with something to eat."
"I'll be waiting."
She stepped past him and waited for the door to shut behind her before letting out the breath she'd held for much too long. It was a small victory but a victory nonetheless. Even so, guilt knotted her stomach as she walked down the hall. It was guilt strangely reminiscent of that when leaving a child in the hands of a babysitter for a night out, a sort of abandonment that worsened with every step. Claire was resolved, though, and continued on toward the kitchen hoping Katherine's fridge was stocked better than her house.