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Suddenly

Chapter Text

 






Yesterday I was alone

Today you walk beside me
Something still unclear
Something not yet here
Has begun

Ch. 1

"Miss...Matthews? Why..why do...?"
"Why do I what, Farrah?", Carrie asked, kneeling to the six year old's level on the ornate guest room rug.
"Why...do, do you-"
"Shh, don't get nervous.", she soothed. "You're doing fine."
Smoothing the girl's headscarf that matched her own, she repeated her earlier question in English.

Carrie, Miss Matthews for the time being, had been Farrah's tutor. Teaching her English for the past sixteen months. During this stint in Baghdad her cover was a bespectacled, red-haired elementary school teacher.
Like always Carrie took her assignment seriously, creating lesson plans and pop quizzes like she'd been a teacher all her life. Because of it Farrah had made major progress. She could now read, write, and speak English beautifully, only fumbling for words when she was nervous or emotional.

"Why..do, you have...to go?" Farrah pointed to the packed suitcase on the bed, sadly looking to Carrie.

Bowing her head, avoiding the girl's tears the way she would desk work at Langley, Carrie looked to the window at her right.
She was two floors up but there was a fire escape. Her best shot at getting to her backup team parked and waiting a few blocks away from here, Faruq Hadad's gated residence.

Her cover that landed her under his roof was beyond blown now, and by Carrie's guess Hadad's men had already received their orders. She could all but feel their semi-automatics shooting the lock off on the door behind her.

Putting on her bravest face she turned back to Farrah. Reaching over to thumb a tear from her cheek.
"Sweetheart, I finished my work as your teacher.", she smiled sadly.
"You can read and write in English now, as well as I can! Farrah I did my job, what I came here to do."
Farrah then threw her arms around Carrie's neck, holding onto her so tight she could barely breathe.
"Don't go!"
"Shhh, don't cry. Please don't cry."

The tender, tearful scene was interrupted by a loud pounding on the door that was soon kicked in.

"Run Farrah, hide! Now!" Carrie ordered, reaching for her holster at her ankle. While she couldn't imagine a guard physically harming Farrah, the first child of Hadad's third wife, she wouldn't risk her witnessing a gunfight.

After Farrah ducked into a nearby closet, Carrie turned, gun drawn, to face Hadad flanked by two of his guards. She knew she didn't have a chance against them, but took comfort in knowing she'd done her job.

This morning she'd turned over all her findings- incriminating documents and a tape recording-to Major Mendez who'd sent everything to Saul. All the proof needed that Hadad was responsible for the car bomb at Langley, doing his late friend Nazir's bidding and setting Brody up for his crimes.

Carrie recorded his confession on a wire last night. She'd been working up to the crucial conversation for a year, gaining trust and intel living under the roof of Hadad and his family.
After thorough research she'd learned Farrah was his Achilles heel. He had sons from previous marriages who were grown and gone, but his daughter was his entire world. In order for Carrie to gain his trust, she'd have to gain Farrah's first.
Clearly she'd succeeded, and didn't regret anything about tutoring the young girl. It had been a remarkable experience. The one bright spot of living under the roof of a known terrorist and having to pretend each day she wasn't disgusted.
Last night before her promised nightcap with Hadad, Carrie prepared for an hour. Steeling herself to earn the confession however she had to. Reminding herself that whatever she'd have to say and do with the man, would be worth it if she managed to clear Brody's name.

She knew her tape wouldn't erase Brody's leaked one, but it was definitely a start for him.
For his future Carrie wasn't sure she'd live to be part of as the guards and Hadad closed in around her.

She wasn't a gun expert, but it was clear her pistol was no match for the high powered sniper rifles staring her in the face. Slowly she lowered her weapon, setting it down at her feet.
Raising her hands, she knelt on the rug and shut her eyes. Preparing for what she assumed was her imminent death. But hearing stunned gasps and scolding instead of shots ringing out she froze.

Slowly opening her eyes she saw Farrah standing in front of, but with her back to her.
"Farrah!"
Carrie looked on in horror as the girl slowly raised her hands to signal stop.

"Leave...her...al..alone!", Farrah cried, begging in English and Arabic for her father to drop his weapon.
Slowly, nervously, Hadad did as he was asked and ordered his guards to do the same.

For a few off putting moments the room was silent. Until the bomb went off.

*************************************************************************************************************************************

When Carrie awoke she was lying face down in the smoky courtyard. Scratched up, bruised, ash darkened her torn clothing and headscarf. Coughing, as her eyes focused they filled with tears. Shit.

The same sickening dread/guilt for surviving she'd feel each time she landed in this situation returned, but Carrie tamped it down. Slowly she took deep breaths. Her training reminded her to remain calm, try and survey the area. Her gaze wandered to neon green spray paint. Graffiti tagging a fallen gate.

She realized it was a trademark of a rebel group, that the bomb tossed in her bedroom was likely homemade. It hadn't been drone strike level but was still damaging and devastating. The rest of the yard was littered with debris and fallen burnt beams.

Wincing, Carrie freed herself from some rubble then spotted a flash of fabric. Another realization hit.
Farrah.
The girl she'd tried to protect by throwing herself over her the second the bomb shattered through the window.

Shifting to a kneeling position, she realized Farrah lay curled up nearby underneath some roof shingles. Moving them aside Carrie saw her eyes were shut, her headscarf was torn. There were scratches on her face but nothing too severe. What frightened Carrie most was how peaceful she looked in the midst of all the chaos.

"Farrah, Farrah wake up.", she commanded, shaking her shoulder. When she didn't stir Carrie checked her pulse and her breathing.
"C'mon honey. Open your eyes, please.", she coaxed until finally she looked to be coming around, coughing as her eyes fluttered.
"Farrah? Farrah can you hear me?"
"Ms..Ms Matth-"
"Shhh, shh...just relax. It's okay, I'm here."
Adjusting Farrah's headscarf, looking her over she didn't seem to have any critical injuries. But fearing a concussion, Carrie raised her index finger and moved it to the left then the right, checking that Farrah could follow it with her eyes.
Taking her doing so as a good sign, she checked for broken bones, bruises, bleeding. Nothing jumped out at her as dire, aside from them still sitting in the middle of what felt like a warzone. They had to leave and they had to leave now.
"Okay sweetie, sit up for me now. Can you do that?"
Watching her wince but manage, breathing a sigh of relief Carrie hugged her close. Trying to block her view of the damage.
"Alright we're going now. Just hold onto me."

She could hear sirens in the distance but wasn't willing to stand around waiting. All she cared about was getting Farrah somewhere safe. That feeling intensified as she stood up to carry her out of the courtyard.

Moving towards the skeleton of the mansion she began to see the casualties. There was a familiar turban, its wearer crushed under a fallen pillar. She realized it was Hadad among his dead guards and told Farrah to close her eyes tightly. The maids had gone to their separate residence, but the lady of the house had taken to bed earlier that evening. Carrie saw her body in the front gardens.

It was only by luck and chance she and Farrah had lived. A miracle Carrie intended on making count for something as she held her tighter and walked faster and faster, fleeing the scene completely.

Chapter Text

After walking for what felt like hours but was actually about ten minutes, Carrie reached the getaway car.
It had moved a good distance from the planned rendezvous point once news of the bombing broke.

Agent Fuller reached from the driver's seat to open the passenger side door, reaching to pull Carrie into the vehicle when it looked like she would walk right past it.
"Jesus are you alright? What the hell happened?"

Trembling, adjusting a sleeping Farrah in her lap, Carrie opened her mouth to answer but no sound came out. She didn't even know where to begin.
"Who the hell is the kid?
Buckling her seatbelt she turned to glare at him.
"Just fucking drive.", she hissed covering Farrah's ears. Agent Fuller thought better of saying anything else.

...

"Carrie, you are aware how risky it was bringing her here, right?"
Major Joy Mendez spat. Pacing the safe house study as Carrie stood, head bowed, in the center of the room.
"I'm aware."
"I don't even know what to say. You're practically second in command with the Agency. And your first time back in the field since you pull something like this?"
"Major, I didn't pull anything. I was protecting a child!"
"The child of our most wanted terrorist."
"Hadad's dead."
"Killing one man won't kill an idea. You know that better than anyone."
"What would you have done if you were me? Abandon an innocent girl in a sea of rubble and bodies?"
Shrugging, Joy perched on the end of the desk.

"I had to do this Major. What choice did I have? I am all Farrah has left."
"Carrie..."
"And what if I had left her behind. After her home is blown to bits an American she trusts turns her back on her? You know what kind of message that would send?"

"But Carrie have you considered all the repercussions, what could happen, what will because of this? The Agency can only offer you so much protection!"
"Who's going to come after me? Fucking Child and Family Services? Farrah's parents are dead. Her two older brothers are off running around Amsterdam and probably don't even know she exists. She has no living grandparents, no aunts or uncles."
"So what, you're going to adopt her? Foster her?"
"I...I don't know! I haven't thought it that far through."
"Well you had better think quickly. We're supposed to be out the safe house tonight, fly home tomorrow."
"Yeah so I've heard.", Carrie sniffed, crossing her arms protectively in front of her.

This prompted Joy to stand and approach her, placing a hand on her shoulder in something resembling understanding.

"I do realize how difficult a position you were in. In answer to your question I don't know what I would've done. Probably the same thing."
"I didn't plan on this. I mean, I'd come to care for Farrah but I never-"
"I know. I do." Joy assured, getting a small nod.
"Listen I set up a conference with Saul for a half hour from now."
"Saul?", Carrie sputtered.
"Does he know everything?"
"He's been briefed. I think you should speak with him before you make any final decisions."

Shaking her head, now it was Carrie's turn to perch on the desk.
"Carrie he had to know."
"No I, I know. I just, I think I need some time to prepare here."
"Alright, I'll leave you alone."
"Wait, Major Mendez?"
"Yes?"
"Could you check in on Farrah for me?"
Nodding, Joy smiled.
"She is a sweet little girl. I understand why you came to care for her so much."
"Yeah, well.", Carrie smiled, awkwardly but with a hint of pride in her eyes.

Once alone, she grabbed her purse then her iPhone, untangling the earbuds before starting up a playlist.
Miles, Thelonious, even a little Coltrane. Barring booze it was her only hope of calming down before Saul's call.
Along with a few pictures stashed on the device.

Thumbing through them she smiled at images of her dad, Maggie, her nieces. Landing on the penultimate photo she bit her lip. Her thumb ghosting over his smiling face, her hyped up mind calmed enough to drift back.

They'd been in bed at her place and after she'd gotten up to refresh their drinks, Brody got a hold of her phone and took a few self portraits.
Some were innocent, most were inappropriate. Carrie eventually deleted them, too many people ran into stupid trouble because of things like that. But she'd kept a closeup of his face. Grinning, that sly gleam in his eyes.
He looked rakish and rogue, goofy and gentle all at the same time.
Sadly she thumbed to the last photo. One of the two of them. She was curled up on his shoulder wearing his shirt, laughing up at the camera not knowing as she was taking the shot, he was smiling down at her.
Gently, lovingly, sadly. She cherished it. It was her proof that they'd been there. Together. In that perfect, playful place even for a short while.
And it reminded her, reinforced for her that they'd made it there once. They'd be able to again. Someday.
That knowledge tucked in the back of her mind was about all that kept her functioning lately.

Longingly she looked at them a few minutes more. Then checking the time, realized her conference with Saul was soon.
Breathing in and out slowly, she drummed her fingers on the desk in time with the jazz until the song concluded.
More at ease, removing the headphones she sat behind the desk as Joy entered with the satellite laptop. Powering it on before placing it in front of her.

"Carrie are you there?"
"Yes, Saul."
Warily she watched him stare her down through the screen.
"So, the rumors are true?"
His tone was questioning, like he was hanging onto false hope this was all a big misunderstanding. Carrie hated correcting him.
"Yes."
"What the fuck were you thinking?"
He didn't yell, he sounded more disbelieving, disappointed. She didn't know which hurt worse.
"Saul..."
"I thought after everything with Brody, after we rebuilt the whole fucking agency, this kind of thing would be behind us. You throwing caution to the goddamn wind and nearly costing us everything."
"Saul c'mon."
"You asked to do this, Carrie. Remember? You barged into my office demanding to head up the task force. Saying over and over how you promised Brody you'd be the one to exonerate him."
"And you were probably banking on my failing miserably, right?", Carrie scoffed.
"Actually if anyone out there could pull it off, it'd be you."
Taking the compliment, small and out of context as it was, she softly smiled. Saul's frown stayed in place.

"But now, I don't know. You've gone and added a whole other level here, Carrie. For God's sake, bringing Hadad's child to a safehouse?"
"He's dead, Saul.", she bit back.
"And his child? Her name is Farrah, she's six years old, she's my student, and she has no one left but me. I wasn't about to let her fend for herself in the middle of a fucking war zone!"
From the look on Saul's face Carrie could tell her feelings weren't lost on him, but that he was in no mood to deal with emotional hangups. He'd crossed into that damage control mode she was all too familiar with.

"Listen, I'm about to get in touch with everyone of our known contacts in the area. See if they can assist, help us find some way out of this mess."
"Assist how?"
"We arrange for Farrah to go into the custody of a private citizen. Remove you from the situation involving her abduction entirely."
"Abduction?! Fuck, Saul! I don't have her bound and gagged in the basement!"
"A child disappears from her home in the company of a stranger. You got a better word for it?"
Carrie bit her lip.

"Carrie, I know you had good intentions."
"Yeah paved myself a whole new road to hell with them." she muttered. Saul chose to ignore it, waiting quietly for her to act intelligent instead of just smart with him.
"There's got to be an alternative to some stranger knocking on the door and dragging her off.", Carrie said sadly.
"Not unless you've got a different plan cooking."

The silence that followed was interrupted by a soft knock on the door that creaked open.
"Farrah?", Carrie called, forcing a smile on her face as the girl entered the study.
"Hi honey. You sleep well?"

Farrah shook her head and ran over, climbing onto Carrie's lap.
"Shhh, it's okay. It's okay."

Rubbing her back, Carrie kissed the top of her head.
"Hey, you want to meet a good friend of mine?", she asked.
"Friend?"
"Yes. See, he's right there."
Shifting Farrah on her lap so she faced the screen, Carrie watched as she shyly waved at Saul.
"His name is Saul. Saul Berenson."
"Bear?" Farrah chirped.

Stifling a laugh, Carrie looked on as Saul smiled, waved back, and complimented Farrah in Arabic and English.
Blushing she shied into Carrie's shoulder, before her stomach made a grumbling sound.

"Hey, are you hungry?"
"Yes. What..what's cooking?", Farrah asked shyly, looking to both the adults.
Carrie's laughter subsiding first, she answered.
"Well, I don't know. Why don't you go over to the kitchen. I think there may be some fruit in there, maybe even chocolate?"
"Chocolate?!"
"Yes, tell Major Mendez if she asks I said you could have two pieces."

Delighted, Farrah hugged Carrie tightly then went to leave her lap. But not before waving goodbye to Saul.
"Bye Bear!"
"Goodbye Farrah.", Saul grinned, waiting until she scampered off before shaking his head.
"You don't fucking play fair."
"Have I ever?" Carrie teased, then bit her lip nervously.
"Saul we have to do something. She feels safe here, happy even. I can't just leave her to fend for herself even in protective custody. I'd never forgive myself."
"I wish to God you hadn't let me see her just now.", Saul sighed.
"She worships you, Carrie."
"Tell me what to do.", she begged.
"Just give me an ultimatum or something."
"Why so you can do the exact opposite?", Saul scoffed.
"Carrie, I can't tell you what to do. Nobody can. I... actually...hold on."

Reaching into his desk drawer for a small address book he began flipping through it.
"Saul, what?"
"Mira knows someone. Ages ago when she was thinking about adopting or fostering, she and I had a meeting with a woman. Her name was...Amir. Something Amir."
"You considered having kids?", Carrie asked in surprise.
"No, Mira considered it. I went along with it to keep from eating fucking peanut butter for a month."
"That sounds more like it."
"Anyway,...ah, here's her name. Sabina Amir."
"Is she local?"
"She's not far from you. I'll try and negotiate some kind of arrangement for you and Farrah through her. Temporary custody, foster care, something. I'll tell her to keep a low profile with it. At the very least it'd offer you some kind of protection, going through proper channels instead of just, taking off to God knows where and hoping no one notices."
"You can really arrange that?"
"I'll do my best."
"Thank you Saul."
"Don't you dare go thanking me yet. Just take care of that girl.", Saul demanded before signing off.

Chapter Text

After signing off with Saul, Carrie walked over to the kitchen where Farrah was seated on the counter top. Helping Joy pour sugar into a mixing bowl.
"What are you two up to?"
"Well, we poked around through the cupboards and decided we'd whip up some sugar cookies.", Joy answered.
"Oooh.", Carrie grinned. "Let me get in on that."
Smiling Farrah scooched down the countertop towards Carrie, looping her arms up around her neck once close enough to her.

"Hey you..", Carrie greeted scooping her up.
"Did you tell Joy I said you could have some chocolate?"
Nodding, Farrah grinned.

"How much did she give you, two pieces?"
"No..."
"How many then?"
Smiling shyly the girl held up three fingers.
"Three!", Carrie exclaimed.
"Well, it seems somebody has a sweet tooth!"
"Sweet tooth?", Farrah frowned.
"Yes, it means that your teeth like sweets. That you like the sweets."
Nodding in understanding, the girl smiled, then repeated her.
"Yes. And I think you may have the biggest one in the world!", Carrie laughed, tickling Farrah til her laughter turned to squeaks. Meanwhile Joy stood mixing the dough, watching the scene in silent awe.

The last time they'd worked together Carrie had been frantic and fearful and barely holding on. The complete opposite of the woman joking and smiling now. She was more calm and grounded than Joy ever remembered seeing her.
And in Farrah's case, despite the hell and upheaval she'd endured the past 48 hours, whenever Carrie entered the room she would come to life, acting like a normal carefree kid.

It was clear their bond and their need for each other ran deep. And now of the three standing in the room, the Major was the most fearful. Fearing the worst if Carrie and Farrah were forced to separate.
Luckily, the timer on the oven went off and pushed the thought from her mind.

"Okay who's ready for the first round?"
"Cookies!", Farrah squealed. Squirming out of Carrie's arms she ran over to the tray just placed on the table, making a grab for it.
"Farrah no!", Carrie yelled but it was too late. Farrah had reached for and dropped the too hot to handle bit of dough, and looked ready to burst into tears.

"Hey it's okay. Come here, it's okay." Grabbing an ice-cube from the freezer Carrie placed it on the burn. Farrah winced at the sensation but stubbornly refused to cry.

"Look at that, how brave are you?", Carrie smiled.
"With cookies like these they have to cool down before we can eat them, you understand?", she asked as Farrah nodded.
Removing the ice Carrie was relieved to see the red nearly faded out.
"See, check it out. All better.", she said, then kissed the injured finger.
"All better.", Farrah nodded, pulling Carrie into another hug. Carrie then looked up at Joy who subtly wiped away a tear, then turned back to the cookies.

...

The trip back started as smoothly as it could. Saul arranged a private flight so as not to further stress his protege and her newfound foster daughter. To everyone's astonishment, his contact came through in a big way and managed to access needed documents and visas to give Carrie foster privileges. For the most part everything was on the up and up. Carrie was amazed she didn't have more hoops to jump through, but wasn't going to question how things had worked out or dwell on everything that could possibly go wrong. All that mattered was Farrah was safe with her. Going back to her house, with her.

That little detail sank in about a third of the way home. As Farrah slept half buckled in her seat, half leaning against her, Carrie's stomach began to knot. Her house, a home for a six year old? It was rare she invited even her nieces to come and spend the night.

All she had in her fridge was half a bottle of wine and stale Chinese takeout. Maybe if she was lucky there was low fat yogurt that hadn't expired yet. She didn't have children's books or board games. Or outfits for dress-up or toys, unless you counted what was in the middle drawer of her nightstand. Her pill bottles weren't childproof. Her backyard didn't have swings or a slide, or anything appealing to a kid unless they enjoyed playing with rusty gardening equipment.
And if all that wasn't enough to make her place unsuitable for Farrah, the living room pinboard was covered with photos and documents linking the girl's deceased father to war crimes.

How Carrie was going to handle anything once this plane landed was beyond her. Already she felt a panic attack coming on.
"Shit...holy..fucking...shit..", she choked out.
Overhearing her, Joy stirred and looked across the aisle, concerned.
"Carrie? Are you alright?"

She didn't answer. Shifting out of her seat, carefully so as not to wake Farrah, she raced to the back of the plane.
Breathing hard she locked herself in the small restroom and sank onto the tile floor.
Reaching in her pocket for her iPhone, she realized it was in her purse out front. Along with her pills.
"Shit!"

Putting her head in her hands she rocked back and forth. All the responsibility she'd acquired, the preparations she'd have to make, the way her whole world had fallen off its axis the past 48 hours.
The stress left her crippled and ready to cry her fucking eyes out.

"Carrie? Carrie are you alright?"
Joy asked, knocking softly.
"Carrie unlock this door. Carrie!"

When she didn't comply, Joy tried a new strategy.
"I thought you'd want your purse?"

Reluctantly, Carrie reached up and flipped the doorlatch, then took back her bag.
"Thank you.", she sniffled removing her phone and placing the earbuds. She hoped she could mellow out with just her music and avoid taking extra meds, especially since she had an audience. But she kept the volume on low to be polite to Joy.

"You want to talk?"
"Will you leave me alone if I say no?"
"Doubtful."

Carrie sighed, defeated. All she wanted was to be left alone, work through her fucked up emotions the way she'd trained herself to, on her own. She hated anyone seeing her when she got like this. It was a given she looked as fragile as she felt, and other people seeing her this way was humiliating.

But she managed to push down whatever pride she had left. Knowing if she didn't unburden in front of someone now, she'd risk detonating later on. And Farrah had been through enough explosions.

"H..How, the fuck, am I going to do this?", she choked out.
"Carrie.."
"I don't know how to handle this! How to be a mother! Christ, I can just barely take care of myself!"
"Carrie, calm down."
"What if I fuck it up?"
"You won't."
"Oh, don't be so sure of that.", Carrie sniffed.

"Just calm down. You'll manage. You'll be fine."
"How do you know? You barely know me!"
"You're not as much of a mystery to me as you think.", Joy smirked.

"Listen, I've watched you the past two days with Farrah. I've watched you talk her down after her nightmares. Sing Arabic lullabies to help her get back to sleep. I saw you console her after she burned herself, sneak her an extra cookie to make up for the one she dropped. Each time she's been afraid or upset, you talk her down. You make her feel safe. You're the only one who can. And God help anyone who so much as sneezes at her."

"Well Agent Fuller's practically had the plague all week.", Carrie snorted.
"Carrie that little girl in there loves you. Not only that she needs you. You fought to protect her and to keep her. Now you have her."
"We have eachother.", she said softly.
"Right."

Starting to come to grips, Carrie nodded and smiled, then stood when she heard whimpering. Joy followed her to the back of the plane and watched her take Farrah from Agent Fuller.

"Farrah, are you okay?"
"She started calling for you and crying."
"Hey it's okay. I'm here, everything's fine. You're with me.", Carrie repeated softly til Farrah believed it and her tears subsided.
Watching across the way, Joy smiled.
"You'll be fine.", she mouthed sitting back down as Carrie nodded and followed her lead. Still holding Farrah close. Reaching for her phone with her free hand, she slipped one earbud in her ear and the other in Farrah's.

She looked up at her puzzled.
"Just listen.", she instructed, then watched as the girl smiled. "My Funny Valentine" echoing softly in her ear.
"Now, close your eyes. You need to sleep and so do I."
Yawning, the girl nodded, snuggled close to her teacher, and slept soundly the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

Once the plane began its descent and the jazz unfortunately had to go off, Carrie nervously stared out the window trying to plan her next move.
The first thing she'd have to do was visit Maggie and her dad and make introductions. She knew they'd be in for a shock. So would most everyone that knew her. But she was banking on Farrah working her magic and convincing everyone the foster arrangement wasn't a mistake.
Carrie figured if the girl could turn Saul to mush anyone was fair game.

She was also anxious to track down Brody. Since obtaining Hadad's confession, exonerating him was her top priority aside from Farrah. She'd planned on getting away to see him at some point. Her method of contacting him was a PO box only she and he had the address for. Carrie was hoping to return to see it containing postcards, letters, anything to provide some clue as to where, maybe even how he was.

It was essential for her to touch base with him somehow. Let him know she hadn't forgotten about him or their deal, that she had kept her word and cleared his name at least in part.
Getting him back on home soil though was another challenge. Thanks to that damn tape he remained a would've been terrorist in the eyes of the country, his family. Him returning to live a normal life stateside was a pipe-dream, wishful thinking at best. Carrie had resigned herself to that, but not to never seeing him again. She loved him, God fucking help her, and somehow they'd be together again. They had to be.

A persistent tap on her shoulder though reminded her where and who she had to be right now.
"Hey sweetheart, you sleep well?"
"Yes." Farrah grinned.
"I like the ja..the jazz."
"You do?"
"Yes. A lots."
"A lot.", Carrie corrected.
"And I'm glad. I'll play some more for you on the ride to my house."
"What is your...house like? Is it, big?"
"Eh, it's not too big. But big enough for the two of us."
Satisfied with that answer, Farrah nodded. Then reached into Carrie's bag for a green pen and uncapping it, used it to doodle hearts and smiley faces on her hand.
"What are you doing?"
"I like to draw!", Farrah giggled, then grabbed Carrie's hand and started drawing a daisy on the back of it.
"I see. You like to draw on me too?"
"Your hand's..big...bigger! More room!"
"Well, yes that's true.", Carrie chuckled. After a few minutes she held out her hand to admire the sketch, trying not to smudge it.
"Very good work.", she praised.
"Yes?"
"Oh, I'm never going to wash this off!"
"Good.", Farrah beamed.

"Hey listen though, if you're up for it later this afternoon, I was going to try and visit my sister."
"Sister?"
"Yes, her name is Maggie."
"Mag. Maggie."
Farrah repeated as Carrie reached for her wallet, taking out some family photos.
"Who is..",
"That's my father."
"Oh."
Looking on as Farrah's face fell, Carrie sighed.
"It's okay if you miss yours.", she assured, but Farrah shook her head, ranting about guns and hurt and too much loud noise as she covered her ears.

Heartbroken Carrie unbuckled, ignoring the seat belt sign entirely, and reached to pull the crying girl close.
"Shhh, that's over now honey. That's all over, we're not there anymore, okay? You're not there. You're with me. We're together and we're safe, I promise."
When Farrah's crying lessened to a soft whimper, pulling back Carrie grabbed a tissue to dab the girl's eyes.

"Look I know so many things happened with your father that day. So many bad things happened. But, if you think about it so did something good."
"W...what?"
"That day he listened to you. He understood you. And he didn't let me get hurt. Because of him you got what you wanted, for me to stay with you. And I am staying, Farrah. I give you my word."
"And I..I stay, with you?"
"Yes."
"Promise?"
"I pinky swear.", Carrie smiled, holding out her pinky. Farrah didn't though.
"Hey don't leave me hanging! I showed you this, remember?"

Thinking back Farrah frowned, but then recalled their first visit to the marketplace together. She'd wanted to buy a new doll with her allowance but forgot to bring her change purse. Remembering what her big brother Khaliq would do in that situation, borrow another person's purse, Farrah made a grab for Carrie's bag.
Unfortunately she wasn't quick enough to get away with it. Her teacher grabbed her by the wrist and looked at her sternly, not letting her go. Farrah then saw a policeman walk by and got nervous. When Khaliq had "borrowed" and been caught, the owner of the purse demanded he go to jail. Farrah hadn't known her tutor very long. What if she wanted to send her to jail too?
The officer walked over and asked if everything was alright. Looking up at the adults nervously, Farrah was shocked when her tutor lied. Said everything was fine, she was here buying her student a doll because she'd done so well on her quiz.
Farrah hadn't done well on her quiz, and knew she hadn't done anything to deserve the doll.
After the policeman left she began to cry, but Carrie knelt down and dried her eyes. Telling her if she pinky swore she'd never try and steal ever ever again, she could keep the doll and nobody besides them would know what happened. Farrah agreed and learned what a pinky swear meant, a promise nobody could ever ever break.

"I won't, let you hang.", Farrah giggled, lifting her pinky.
"Good!", Carrie laughed, and kept their fingers linked until the plane touched down on the runway.

Chapter Text

After landing and driving away from the airstrip, Carrie's first stop on the ride home was the PO box. To her delight it was full of postcards.
"What are those?", Farrah asked from the backseat. Carrie turned and handed her the stack.
"These are called postcards."
"Postcards?"
"Yes. They're notes from a friend of mine who's been traveling. And on the front there are pictures so I can see where he's been."
"Can-a-da. Canada!", Farrah pronounced, looking at a card with a moose on the front.
"Yes, good job.", Carrie praised.
"Miss Matthews?"
"Yes Farrah?"
"What is a cab..cabin boy?"
Carrie had to stifle a laugh.
"Well, a cabin boy is, someone who helps out at a cabin."
"Oh. Is your friend, cabin boy?"
"No. But he wanted to be.", Carrie said wistfully as Farrah shrugged, continuing to flip through the cards.

"If you'd like though, there's a cabin I went to all the time when I was your age. I'd love to take you there sometime."
"Is it pre..pretty?"
"Yes, it's very pretty. There's trees and a lake, even a waterfall."
"Water! Swim!", Farrah exclaimed.
"Uh, not in a waterfall! But we can hike to go and see it."
"Hike?"
"Walk. We can walk there."
"Ah. Okay.", she chirped as Carrie turned onto her street. Farrah had her nose pressed up against the glass of the window, looking out at the townhouses in awe.
"Pretty!", she gushed.
"Thank you.", Carrie grinned, pulling into the driveway.

Once parked she got out and opened Farrah's door. Unbuckling the girl's seat belt for her, taking her hand she helped her out of the car.
"This is...your house?"
"Yes it is."
"And I..I stay?"
"Yes. You're staying here, with me.", Carrie assured, getting down to her level.
"That's okay, right?"
Watching Farrah look toward the house and smile, Carrie got her answer.
"It okay!", Farrah giggled before running up the walk.

"Hey! Wait up!"
Going to unlock the door, Carrie was surprised to see it was already open.
"What the.."
"Surprise!", Maggie greeted.
"Maggie? What are you-"
"Saul called. Told me everything."
"I..."
"We'll talk later. In the meantime though.", grinning Maggie knelt to Farrah's level, as did Carrie nervously.
"Hi honey, I'm Maggie."
Farrah nodded but remained half hidden behind her teacher.
"Farrah remember I showed you her picture?"
Carrie asked but didn't get a response. Just a sympathetic look from her sister.
"I'm sorry..", she mouthed as Maggie nodded and stood back up.

"Listen, how about we go upstairs. I can show you your room!", Carrie suggested, getting a nod as Farrah looped her arms around her neck.
"Agh,", she groaned, lifting her.
"Okay, let's go."

...

Walking upstairs, Carrie bit her lip til she tasted blood. Her guest room's design theme was minimalist on a good day. Far from comfortable and appropriate for a six year old girl.
So her surprise was evident when she saw a flower cutout hanging off the doorknob, and after turning it saw the room was decorated in similar fashion. The walls were newly painted in pink and lavender, and a floral print comforter covered the double bed. Along with furry and fluffy throw pillows shaped like hearts and butterflies.
There was also a dark pink mat placed properly in front of the window, and everything else Farrah would need for prayers.
Carrie was moved to tears. Farrah let out a squeal and squirmed out of Carrie's arms to jump onto the bed.
Then started jumping on it.

"Hey! What are you doing?" Carrie laughed as Maggie watched from the doorway, shaking her head.
"I jump!"
"No, you're jumping !", she corrected.
"No, you're jumping!", Farrah giggled. Grabbing Carrie by the hand she pulled her onto the bed.
"Oh I am?"
"Yes!" Farrah started bouncing higher so Carrie had no choice but to bounce too.
"Okay girls, that's enough." Maggie sighed, arms crossed. Carrie playfully rolled her eyes.
"Oh c'mon, Mom!"
"Yeah c'mon!", Farrah echoed.
Laughing and high fiving her, Carrie bounced a bit more then landed on the bed as gracefully as she could.
When Farrah kept bouncing, she arched a brow and the girl reluctantly stopped. Plopping down beside her on the bed.
"So do you like the room?"
"Yes!"
"Well thank Maggie then. She's the one who got it all ready for you."
Smiling gratefully at her sister, Carrie watched as Farrah jumped up and ran to her in the doorway.
"Thank you."
"You are very welcome, Farrah.", Maggie smiled hugging her.

The scene was interrupted by the doorbell and a loud knock.
Farrah jumped, looking frightened, prompting Carrie to stand and scoop her up.
"C'mon, let's go see who it is."
Shaking her head, Farrah clung tightly to her.

"It's okay Carrie I can take her. You answer the door.", Maggie offered.
"I'm fine Maggie.", Carrie said, a little defensively as she made her way downstairs.
Unlocking the door she grinned brightly.

"Saul! C'mon in."
"Saul?", Farrah asked shyly.
"Yes, remember? Mr. Berenson?"
"Bear!", she chirped as Carrie set her down.

Once in the foyer, Saul slowly knelt to Farrah's level to hand her a wrapped box.
"This is for you."
"For..for me?"
Getting a nod, she tore the paper to reveal a velvet box.
"Saul! What did you?"
"What, I can't give her a present?", Saul scoffed.
"Well, you can.."
Farrah opened the red box to reveal an elegant music box shaped like a carousel. Complete with tiny horse figurines. She stared at it in awe, as did Carrie.

"Holy shit Saul.", she muttered, then realized who may have heard her.
"Shit!", she hissed, slapping her hand over her mouth.

Rolling his eyes, Saul reached over and turned the small crank at the base of the music box. Making the horses delicately move up and down as the carousel spun in time with the chimes.
Watching in delight, Farrah waited until the horses and music stopped before setting the gift back in the box.
Then threw her arms around Saul's neck.
"Thank you!", she grinned kissing him on the cheek.

Pulling back, Saul gave her a watery smile. Then listened intently as Farrah gushed about her room and the bounciness of the bed and how she had the perfect spot for the music box on the shelf of her dresser. She spoke in a mix of English and Arabic and very very quickly, but it was obvious how happy she was.

Stopping to take a breath, Farrah leaned over to whisper something in Saul's ear. Then made a break for the staircase.
"What was that about?", Carrie asked with a laugh.
"It's apparently my turn for a present.", Saul chuckled as he stood, then pulled his protege into a hug she returned.

"It's good to see you. Been too quiet around the office lately."
"Well, look forward to a little more noise. Between the two of us Maggie's had it up to here, and we've been home less than an hour.", Carrie smirked, as Saul looked on disbelievingly.

"I still can't fucking believe it. You and Farrah, I just.."
"Saul I know. You think I planned for this to happen? I just..I didn't know what else to do."
Shrugging Carrie sat on the couch before he joined her.
"Well you lucked out with her. She's terrific."
"You've known her for five minutes!"
"I know all I need to.", Saul smiled.
"Well, your gift was a hit. Where did you even get that thing?"
"It was actually my mother's."
Carrie was speechless.
"She'd given it to Mira in hopes Mira would give it to our kids. I just figured a kid ought to enjoy it."
"My God, Saul!"
"Don't make a bigger deal out of it than it is. Alright, Farrah liked it, that's all that matters."
"Saul she loved it. And she loves you."
"Well why wouldn't she?", Saul joked as Farrah skipped back in the room. Jumping up on the couch to sit next to him.
"It's for you!", she giggled, handing over a folded sheet of paper. Drawn on it in crayon was a brown and gray teddy bear wearing glasses and holding a jar of peanut butter.

"Peanut butter. How did you know that was my favorite?", Saul asked. Farrah shrugged and smiled, then turned to hand Carrie a drawing. Unfolding it she teared up.
"Oh, Farrah, thank you! It's beautiful!", she exclaimed, smiling at the sketch of a little girl holding hands with a tall redheaded stick figure.
"It is you...and me!", Farrah grinned.
"Sweetheart it's perfect, thank you.", Carrie smiled hugging her tight, as Maggie yelled from the kitchen.
"Oooh, looks like dinner's ready. Why don't you go in and see what Maggie's whipped up. Kitchen's right through there.", she pointed as Farrah nodded and ran off.

"That's a good likeness.", Saul smirked, pointing to the drawing.
"You know I didn't breathe a word to her about the peanut butter. She came to that conclusion all on her own.",
Carrie chuckled as Saul studied the drawing a bit more closely. Mainly the names written underneath the figures.
"I think she's telling me to eat more carbs or something."
Laughing she pointed to the stick figure, then caught Saul's frown.

"Or at least she's telling Ms. Matthews that.", he sighed.
"Carrie, does she even know your name?"
"Saul, c'mon..", Carrie sighed, crossing her arms.
"Your real fucking hair color?"
"Hey you know I may keep the red. Change things up a bit.", she scoffed.
"I'm serious. I doubt she has the first clue about what you do for a living."
"Jesus Saul, she's only six!"
"She's still perceptive though."
"What makes you say that? Her figuring out you like peanut butter?!"
"Carrie..", Saul groaned.
"Farrah's smart. She's gonna ask questions. One of these days she's gonna wake up wanting to know your life story, and what are you going to do? Read her the dossier on Elaine Matthews at bedtime?"

Frustrated, Carrie stood up.
"How long do you expect to keep the truth from her?"
"Until the timing is better Saul! Shit. I just brought her here! I haven't even given her a tour of the house yet. She's still jet lagged, I'm still jet lagged. She's been through more the past three days than any six year old should! I can't just bombard her with the truth now!"
When Saul stood and went to touch her shoulder she jerked away. Then sighed, guilt setting in.
"I'm sorry, I just.."
"It's okay.", Saul said. It was obvious Carrie was overstressed (and underslept), and in no mood to be badgered by him.
"I'll show myself out."
"No, Saul. Stay, really. Maggie's probably got enough food in there to feed an army."
"Actually not that much..", Maggie interrupted, walking in the room with Farrah in her arms.

"Someone ate quite a bit and someone's a little sleepy now.", she said, handing her over to Carrie.
"No..I'm not..", Farrah protested before yawning.
"Yeah okay.." Rolling her eyes Carrie turned to bring her upstairs, as Saul made a move for his coat.

"Where are you going?", Maggie inquired.
"Eh I should get back."
"Not so fast. C'mon I have a plate for you in the kitchen."
"But.."
"Saul..", Maggie warned.
Not in a position to argue, or turn down a good meal, Saul smiled.
"Well, if you insist. But I'm afraid I'll be taking most of it to go."

Meanwhile upstairs, Carrie was turning down the bed as Farrah stood in the doorway pouting, arms crossed.
"I am..am not.."
"Not what?"
"Tired!", she insisted.
"Oh yeah then explain all that yawning downstairs.", Carrie smirked, patting the bed.
"C'mon get over here. I should talk to you about something."
Sitting down Farrah looked curiously at her nervous looking teacher.
"Farrah, first off, I loved tutoring you and teaching you English. I enjoyed our lessons together so much."
"Me too!", Farrah grinned.
"But the truth is, tutoring...teaching, it's not my only job."
"No?"
"No. My real job, is going after bad people who do bad things."
Confused, Farrah shook her head.
"Was...was I bad?"
"No! Oh, Farrah no. Not at all. But, you remember on the plane when we talked about your father?"
Nodding, she bit her lip.

"Was...was he..bad?"
"People he worked with, were bad.", Carrie answered.
"Honey, the reason I stayed at your house was to make sure the bad guys didn't do anything bad. My job was to watch them. To spy on them."
"Spy?"
"Yes.", Carrie sighed.
"And, in order for me to do that I had to pretend I was someone else."
Seeing Farrah's clear confusion, Carrie did something she didn't do as often now, and reexplained herself in Arabic. Farrah seemed to understand better, the fog was starting to lift, but hurt was starting to set in.

"You...are not..Miss Matthews?", she asked, eyes narrowed.
"No Farrah. My name is Carrie. Carrie Mathison."
When Farrah turned away, silent, Carrie reached to turn her face back towards her but the girl shied away.
"Farrah?"
"No!', she yelled. Fighting Carrie off before running out.
"Farrah? Farrah!"
Taking off after her, Carrie ran downstairs, watching frantically as Farrah ran out the front door just before it shut.

Hearing hurried footsteps down the walk behind him, Saul turned around right as something collided with his left leg.
"Whoa! Where are you off to in such a hurry?", he asked, getting down to Farrah's level to see her in tears.
Hugging her close he saw Carrie standing in the doorway, looking relieved but heartbroken at the same time.

"Shhh..", he soothed, rubbing Farrah's back before looking to Carrie.
Nodding, she took the hint and went back inside, shutting the door behind her as Saul carried Farrah over to the front stoop.
Wincing a bit he sat down beside her.
"I'm too damn old for this..", he muttered to himself.

Meanwhile watching from the window, fighting tears Carrie didn't even hear Maggie come up behind her.
"Sweetie I'm sure Saul can talk her down."
"She shouldn't have to be talked down.", Carrie snapped, fighting off her sister's touch. The last thing she wanted now was to be consoled, she wanted her student back inside. Knowing she was responsible for her being upset was killing her.
"I fucked up, Maggie.", she choked out guiltily.
"Her first night here I completely fuck up."
"Shhh, Carrie.", Maggie sighed, hugging her.
"You didn't do anything wrong. You just told her the truth, sweetie."
"But if I just waited..until she wasn't, jet lagged. More settled in."
"Then her finding out the truth just would've hurt more. Carrie you did the right thing, telling her now. Believe it or not you did."
Carrie sniffed but looked skeptical.
"Look, she had to find out sometime. And better now then ten years from now, when she can use the car to run off instead of just her little legs."
"What!"
Horrified, Carrie pulled back as her sister laughed, walking her over to the kitchen.
"C'mon I'll put on some tea."
"Unless it's of the Long Island variety forget it.", she snapped.
"Why did you have to mention the car thing. Really though..."

Chapter Text

"So, Miss Math...Carrie, finds bad guys?", Farrah asked after Saul reaffirmed what Carrie told her earlier.
"Yes, she does. And she's very good at it."
"She was...a good teacher too.", she said sadly. Curling up in Saul's lap.
"I'm sure she was. But she can still be your teacher Farrah. She can still be everything she ever was to you. Her name may have changed but how she feels about you hasn't. Not a bit."
Saul said knowingly.
"I've known Carrie for, awhile. I was even her teacher."
"You were?"
"Back when the earth was cooling."
"What?", Farrah frowned as Saul laughed.
"A long time ago. I taught her how to spy, how to do her job. But I didn't teach her about kids. That's one thing I had no fuc...no clue about."
"No?"
"No. She figured you out on her own. She's a fast learner."
"She says I am too!", Farrah exclaimed.
"You're a lot alike. That's why you get along so well. Probably why you tolerate me.", Saul smirked as Farrah giggled and hugged him.
"Alright, alright. I think Carrie should get some of that warm fuzziness. C'mon."

As Saul went to try and stand up, somehow Farrah climbed around him and onto his back, looping her arms around his neck in classic piggyback ride position.
"C'mon Bear!", she giggled.

Cursing and muttering Yiddish under his breath, he carried Farrah inside. Prompting Maggie to burst out laughing.
"Glad you're amused.", Saul scoffed.
"Not half as much as Carrie will be. Go on upstairs, she's in her room."
One look at the staircase got him shaking his head.
"Not on your life."

Bending down he waited til Farrah slid off his back before standing again.
"Okay, now go upstairs and give Carrie one of those hugs. That's an order."
"You have to go?" Farrah asked sadly.
"Afraid so. But I'll make sure to see you again soon."
"Promise?"
"Promise.", Saul smiled, giving Farrah a hug and kiss before stepping out.

"Okay c'mon sweetie.", Maggie said, taking her by the hand.
Once upstairs she knocked on Carrie's door. It was open a crack and she could see her curled up on her side in bed. Dave Brubeck echoing through the speakers.
"Knock knock."
"I'm not hungry, Maggie."
"You have a visitor though."

Nervously Farrah peeked through the door, then turned back to Maggie who nodded for her to go inside.
"What?", Carrie muttered before hearing footsteps.
"Car..Carrie?"
Sitting up in bed, she managed a soft smile.
"Hey you..", she sniffled as Farrah walked over and sat on the bed beside her. Then nervously pointed at the tear tracks on her face.
"Why..why are you-"
"Crying?", Wiping at her eyes, Carrie shrugged.
"I guess I was a little scared."
"Scared?"
"Yeah. After you ran out I was afraid you didn't want to stay with me anymore. Was I wrong?"
Nodding, Farrah smiled.
"I want to stay."
"You do?"
"Yes."
Blinking back new tears Carrie hugged her close.
"I wish I could've told you the truth about me before, Farrah. I just couldn't."
"It's okay..you..you just did your job.", Farrah acknowledged, pulling back as Carrie sighed.
Flashing back to a crack of dawn driveway discussion she still wished the electrodes could've erased from her mind.
Luckily Farrah couldn't so easily dismiss her for being CIA. Of anything she seemed intrigued by the idea.

"For your job...you get to dress-up to spy?"
"Sometimes.", Carrie laughed.
"Before I came to your house to spy I had to change my hair."
"Yes?"
"Yeah, I colored it. Here, see."
Grabbing the picture of her and Brody she'd framed, showing it to Farrah she gasped. Looking in awe at the photo, then at Carrie, then at the photo again.
"So, what do you think? Keep the red or go back to yellow."
"Hmm. Yellow. I like yellow."
"Okay then, I'll bleach it back tomorrow.", Carrie laughed, leaning back against the pillows while Farrah continued looking at the picture.
"Your hair now? Look like his.", she grinned, pointing to Brody as Carrie's smile went sad.
"Yeah, a little bit." Taking the frame from Farrah she set it back on the nightstand, then looked to Maggie who was frowning at her watch.

"You know I hate to say it but I think it's definitely past someone's bedtime.". she said as Farrah pouted.
"I think Maggie's right.", Carrie said, arching a brow when Farrah poked out her lower lip more for effect.
"Ha! You think that's going to work on me?"
"No?", the girl asked shyly.
"No. You think the bad guys I catch don't use that to get out of trouble?", Carrie winked. "Okay last one to your room has to make your bed tomorrow.", she challenged. Getting Farrah giggling and out the door.

"Alright c'mon. Last I checked the both of you should be in bed." Maggie said as Carrie stood up and pouted at her.
"Oh you think your nieces don't use that to get out of trouble?'
Sticking out her tongue, Carrie walked over to Farrah's room and watched the girl climb into the turned-down bed.
After covering her up with another fleece blanket, she handed her a worn grey plush cat she'd dug out of her closet earlier.
"Who is...?"
"This is Merriweather.", Carrie answered.
"I've had him since I was a girl. My father told me that he'd scratch and claw any monster that hid in my closet. And I'd never have any reason to be scared."
"He is mine?"
"If you want him."
"I do.", Farrah grinned, hugging the cat close.
"Well good, I'm glad he has a new home then."
"New home? Like me?", Farrah asked, as if needing to confirm what deep down she knew.
"Like you.", Carrie smiled.

...

It was half past midnight and Carrie had just closed her eyes when her bedroom door creaked open.
"Carrie?"
Sitting up she blinked, rubbing her eyes.
"Farrah? Honey what's wrong?", she asked as she ran over to her.
"Bad dream?"
Getting a nod, Carrie motioned for her to climb into bed.
"C'mon it's okay. It's alright."
Holding her close Carrie struggled with how to talk her down and get her to go back to bed. It had been a long day and they both needed as much sleep as they could get.
"I'm sorry.", Farrah whispered.
"What?"
"I'm sorry I keep..having the bad.."
"The bad dreams? Oh, honey..", Sighing Carrie slipped an arm around her. Smoothing the end of her pigtail between her fingertips.
"Farrah you don't need to apologize. I understand and I'm definitely not angry with you."
"No?"
"No.", she insisted.
"You know sometimes I have bad dreams too."
"You do?"
"Yeah. Sometimes after I wake up from them I'm shivering or my hands will be shaking. Does that happen to you?"
"Yes.", Farrah nodded.
"What are your..dreams, about?" she asked curiously.
Looking down and away from her, Carrie bit her lip.
Out of control mobs, bombs, being blown up, burned alive, bridges. Brody. Brody being burned, blown up, Brody hung from a bridge. Nazir. Nazir aiming a gun at her head, a gun at Brody's head. That twisted smirk of his haunting them both from beyond the grave.
The past few nights the dreams had all been the same, the worst she'd had in a long time.

Her and Farrah and Brody locked in the mill in the dark, lost, yelling for eachother. She's running through one of the tunnels when Nazir grabs her from behind, throws her into the wall. He pulls a gun on her but then sneers, turns, shoots Brody point blank instead. He calls out for her and she tries to crawl to him from her spot on the floor. But her muscles don't work. She's pinned down, helpless to help anyone else.
Her only escape is when she opens her eyes. Some nights when she does she's still screaming.

"They're...they're like yours.", Carrie finally answered.
"Pretty scary. But when I wake up I remember that I'm home, and I'm safe. And that helps me settle down. Makes me feel better."
Nodding, Farrah curled up against the bed pillows. Her eyes getting heavier by the second.
"Let me guess. You feel better in here?"
"Yes.", she nodded sleepily.
"Okay. Just for tonight though.", Carrie relented.
Pulling the covers over them both, kissing Farrah on the head as she cuddled beside her, they finally fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Rolling over to stop her alarm clock, realizing she was in an empty bed, Carrie panicked before checking the time and feeling the sun hit her face.
After getting up, taking her meds and cleaning up some, walking over to Farrah's room she saw she was nearly through with morning prayers.
Standing quietly in the doorway, she patiently waited for her to finish. Despite living with her for over a year she'd never taken part in this ritual. Her cover as a devout Christian didn't leave much room for her to visit the mosque, and though she'd researched and observed enough to know basic pronunciation and translation of the prayers, she hadn't explored the religion, or really any others, beyond that. After everything she'd seen and everything she'd endured herself, atheism was really all she could identify with.

Once finished, Farrah turned around and gave Carrie a bright smile, then came hurtling at her wanting a hug.
"Good morning!"
"Good morning.", Carrie smiled, squeezing her tight before pulling back.
"Hey, did you have any more dreams after you came to sleep in my room last night?"
"No. Ex...except you.."
"What?"

Tense, wondering if she'd spoken or worse yet screamed in her sleep, she looked at Farrah anxiously.
"What did I do, Farrah?"
"You snore!"
"What?!"
"You snore, like this..", Farrah laughed mimicking the sound. Rolling her eyes Carrie stood up.
"Well, I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't help that.", she scoffed as Farrah's stomach grumbled.
"I think I can help that though. How about we have some breakfast."
"Pancakes!", Farrah cheered.
"Pancakes, really?", Carrie groaned.
"Farrah how many times have I made you pancakes for breakfast? Shouldn't you be tired of them by now?"
"No!", she giggled, skipping out the door and downstairs.
"Okay fine. But if I make them you're helping me."

Once downstairs, walking into the kitchen Carrie grabbed a box of Bisquick from a cupboard and a bowl, setting the objects on the counter top.
"Farrah can you grab the eggs out of the fridge, and the milk too?"
"Okay."
Watching her grab the items from the fridge, Carrie breathed a sigh of relief Maggie had thought to restock it.
"Okay now come over here and crack two of the eggs into that bowl."
Nodding, Farrah reached for an egg and frowning, gently closed her hand around it to crush it.
"No, sweetheart.", Carrie laughed. 'Like this."
Taking the egg from her she properly cracked it over the bowl. Farrah watched attentively, then tried again and was mostly successful.
"Oooh hang on, just let me get that sliver of shell out of there..", Carrie frowned, plucking the white speck out of the yolk.
"Ah, there we go. Good job though for your first try, I'm impressed. Now, grab that measuring cup and fill it."
"Alls the way?"
"All the way, and yes."
It wasn't long before the batter was ready, the griddle was hot and Carrie got started on the pancakes. Mid flip though she frowned, hearing the doorbell.
"What the..."
"Who is..?", Farrah asked nervously.
"Just stay here for a second. I'll go see."

Walking to the foyer, combing a hand through her hair to try and look presentable, she opened the door surprised at who was on the other side.
"Virgil?"
"Hey Carrie. I didn't wake you did I?"
"No..I've been up for a bit." she shrugged. "What are you doing here?"
"Just wanted to make sure you'd gotten home in one piece.", he smiled getting one in return.
"Yeah?"
Nodding, Virgil handed over a grocery bag.
"Figured you'd need a new supply.", he grinned as Carrie opened the bag, finding it full of yogurt containers.
"Well, thanks a lot. But if you must know, I am making pancakes this morning.", she said proudly.
"Well! You just going all out for yourself or what?"
"Actually it's a treat for somebody else."
"Somebody else?"

Curiously Virgil followed her inside, noticing an unfamiliar face peek around the kitchen door.
"Yes. Virgil there's someone I'd like you to meet."
Motioning for Farrah to come closer, Carrie bit her lip when the girl stayed put.
"It's okay honey, you don't need to be shy.", she assured, then walked back toward her to take her hand.
"Carrie what the fu-"
"Virgil..", she cut off as he walked closer.
"This is Farrah. Farrah this is a friend of mine from work. Virgil."

"It's nice to..nice to meet-"
Fumbling for the word Farrah looked up at Carrie nervously.
"Nice to meet you...", she supplied softly.
"Nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too...", Virgil said, shocked but managing a smile.
"Farrah was my student in Iraq.", Carrie hinted. Catching on Virgil's smile went sad.
"Oh."
"Yeah. And we decided that she was going to stay with me.", Carrie said, bending to slip her arms around Farrah from behind.
"Wow. Well, I think that's an awesome thing to have happen.", Virgil enthused.
"Yes?", Farrah asked brightly.
'Oh yeah."
Getting down to her level Virgil gave her a knowing look.
"See not only is Carrie really smart, she knows how to be silly too."
"Guess that's one word for it.", Carrie snorted.
"Silly?", Farrah asked.
"Don't tell me she hasn't done that silly eye-roll thing of her's yet."
"Eye roll?"
"Yeah. See..there it goes.", Pointing at Carrie mid-roll, turning to look at her Farrah laughed.
"And, just between you and me, she's got one of the best rooms to play video games in."
"Video games?"
"Farrah, you ever hear of a game called Mario Kart?"
When she shook her head, Virgil gasped shaking his.
"Well we'll just have to change that."
"Yeah well how about after we have some pancakes.", Carrie smirked.
"C'mon, before they get cold."

"Okay this is probably the most nutritious thing I've eaten at your house. Ever."
Virgil got out through a mouthful of pancake.
"Good, swallow it then. And I'm sorry but you slathered butter all over carbs. Not exactly health food.", Carrie retorted.
"I'm sorry but to me anything that isn't stale or expired is quality food. Farrah, whatever you're doing keep it up."
"Okay.", Farrah shrugged, not really sure what he was asking of her but content to drizzle more syrup on her pancake. And some on his.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing?"
"She's showing you I don't specialize in quality food.", Carrie chuckled as Farrah drew a smiley face with the syrup.
"Okay I think you got enough on there.", Virgil frowned.
Shaking her head no, the girl added eyebrows and a tongue sticking out of the smile.
"Seriously now?"
"She likes to draw."
"And turn me a diabetic at the same time?", Virgil scoffed. With a flourish Farrah finished drizzling, then handed him back his fork.
"Shit, she really is trying to."
"Virgil!", Carrie scolded.
"Oh, crap..ugh, damn it!"

"What does he say?", Farrah asked curiously.
"He was offering to help clean the kitchen.", Carrie winked.
"In the meantime why don't you go upstairs, change your clothes, and clean that sugar off your teeth. Maggie put some new outfits in the dresser for you, and there's a toothbrush in there too."
"But..Mario Kart?", Farrah said sadly, looking at Virgil.
"I haven't got the game on me now kiddo. But I promise, next time I see you I'll teach you to play."
"Pink..swear?"
Laughing, Virgil held out a finger.
"Pink swear."
"Okay!", Farrah grinned, dropping his pinky before running upstairs.

Clearing the table, Carrie arched a brow at Virgil to assist her.
"Okay does my being a guest mean anything to you or-"
"It means you decide if you want to wash or dry."
"Dry."
Following her into the kitchen, grabbing a towel he looked on disbelievingly as Carrie started the water for the dishes.
"What, dish washing a foreign concept to you or..."
"Look just, level with me okay."
"What?", she frowned turning to him.
"What the fuck is going on?", Virgil asked, just as concerned as he was confused.
"Virgil.."
"Don't look at me like that, it's a valid question. Ever since I walked in the front door it's like I'm in the goddamn Twilight Zone! Bizarro World."
"You say Stepford and I'll kick your ass.", Carrie laughed darkly. Virgil stayed serious.
"Carrie we've known each other a long time. I've seen a lot from you. I know a lot about you. But I feel like I don't fucking know the you standing here talking to me."
"What's there not to know?"
"'Well I've never known you to want kids, or even like kids for that matter."
Getting a cold stare in return he sighed.

"I can see why Farrah may be the exception. She's got me wrapped around her little finger and I've known her less than an hour. I'm not worried about her being a problem for you."
"So it's me you're worried about then.", Carrie said bitterly.
"Honestly? Yeah. Carrie I love you. You know I do. But half the time you scare me shitless."
"I don't scare Farrah.", she said softly. "And I don't plan to."
"I know. Obviously you don't. But you can't control everything that's gonna happen. Especially with your work and.."
"My illness?", she finished.
"Christ Virgil, you think all that hasn't crossed my mind?"
"I'm just concerned. Can you blame me?"
Shrugging, Carrie sighed. Taking a seat at her small kitchen table.

"Look, I didn't mean to rain on your parade here.", Virgil said joining her.
"Well it had to happen sooner or later. I thought Saul would be the one to ream me out but Farrah turned him to mush in record time."
"Seems she has a knack for that."
"Oh yes. That girl could turn a bucking bronco into a My Little Pony."
Chuckling, Virgil nodded.
"She's a sweet kid. You won the rugrat lottery with her."
"Yeah. You want to talk about being scared shitless though.", after pointing to herself Carrie plopped her head in her hands.
"I woke up this morning and I thought for a minute it was all a dream. My bringing her here, the whole thing."
"You wish it was?"
"For her sake.", she nodded, looking back up as her eyes welled up.
"Carrie look at where she was though. Fucking Chez Hadad?"
"You never saw her there, Virgil. She was loved. She was happy."
"She had you."
"She had Elaine Matthews. A private tutor whose only responsibility was her. Educating her, entertaining her. Now she has Carrie Mathison. Who's responsible for catching terrorists and taking her fucking meds on time. Like you said, my job. My illness. They don't mesh with having a pet rock, let alone a foster child."
"Well there's a lot about you that doesn't mesh.", Virgil reminded.
"But, you and that little girl. Oddly enough, you seem to. Maybe it's because you've both been to hell and back, I don't know. But, clearly she needs you and I think to some degree, you need her. I'm not worried about the two of you together, I'm worried about all the outside forces at work that could fuck it all up."

"Yeah, I know. Don't think that I'm cracked enough to think I can make a life for her and keep mine exactly as it is. Even I'm not that delusional."
"What are you saying. You're gonna quit the Agency?"
"I'm not handing in my two weeks or anything. I just, I'm gonna have to make a few changes. C'mon I'm half in charge, if anyone could do something like that it'd be me."
"You're half in charge for a reason though Carrie. You earned it."
"I know. It's because I take work seriously. I know how important it is. In general. Just, to me. With it I have an outlet, purpose, validation my fucked up brain is good for something. But..maybe I need more. Maybe the job's not enough for me anymore." she admitted almost fearfully. Her voice cracking over the words.

"I wish the day I saw Nazir's body I'd felt something. Triumph, relief, whatever you're supposed to feel when the monster you've chased for a decade has nowhere left to run. But instead, standing at that van, I knew I was just biding time, waiting for the next threat, the new target, the next fucking attack. And I was right.", Carrie sniffed.
"It's never ending, Virgil. Chasing the bad guys. It never ends."
"You're good at what you do though, Carrie."
"I know. I've got the office and title and, picture with the President to prove it."
"But that's not reason enough to keep at it?"
"Well what if I have reason enough to do something else. Be something else.", she asked, her eyes wandering to Farrah's drawing hanging by a magnet on the fridge.
"Look if you think this is easy for me to say...it's not. And if it's this difficult talking about it, doing it will be another story entirely."
"You can manage. You'll do what you need to do."
"You know I think my therapist would see this as actual progress. God forbid."
"Well that's when you know you're fucked.", he snickered.
"If I told her what I just told you in a session? Jesus, she'd fall off her fucking chair." Carrie laughed, then kept laughing and it proved contagious.
Once his laughter subsided, Virgil stood up as did she.
"Look, no matter what you decide, about the agency, Farrah, your hair?", he teased getting a look.
"I got your back okay?"
"Thanks..", Carrie smiled before they hugged.
"Alright I'm gonna say goodbye to the munchkin before I leave.", Virgil said, then paused thinking about what he'd just said and who he'd just said it to.
"This is still fucking weird. I only talk like that to my sister about her brat son."
"I've only ever said it to my nieces. You think its freaking you out imagine how I feel."
"Fuck...Carrie. You have a kid!"
"Virgil, she's not my kid. She's a kid. Technically, she's my student and I'm fostering her."
"Carrie, own up. You have a kid.", Virgil said simply. Shaking his head stunned as he walked out the kitchen door.

Chapter Text

After Virgil left and she finished the dishes, Carrie frowned thinking how long it had been since she'd sent Farrah to get dressed.
"Farrah?", she called. Nervously she walked upstairs and turned the corner towards her room, when she heard footsteps and a loud "Boo!"
Letting out a squeal Farrah jumped out of the linen closet, giggling in hysterics. Laughing herself Carrie struggled to keep a stern face.
"Okay, I see how it is!"
"How is it?"
"Not good for students who jump out of linen closets."
"No?"
"No. Because you know what happens to them?"
"What?"
"They...get, chased by their teachers so you better run quick!"

Taking off after Farrah down the hallway, the stairs, and clear through the rest of the house, after collapsing on the living room couch Carrie had just enough time to catch her breath before Farrah was up. Ready to run again.
"Hey! Hold up you!"
Sliding off the couch to her knees Carrie reached to grab Farrah by the waist, gently tackling her to the rug as she giggled.
"Nonono..", she squealed trying to squirm away.
"Yesyesyes.", Carrie mocked, tickling her before stretching back on the rug. When Farrah followed suit, Carrie rolled over on her side, tapping the girl on the nose before play-grabbing it.
"Hey look what I got."
"No, my nose! My nose!" Farrah giggled, grabbing up at her hands.

Finally they both settled down and lay side by side on the rug, staring at the ceiling.
"So what do you think of Virgil?"
"He is silly."
"Yeah, he can be."
"You play Mario? With us?"
"Ooh, I don't think I'd be very good."
Carrie frowned, getting a pout.
"Alright, I'll make you a deal then. After you learn to play you can teach me."
"I teach?", Farrah asked.
"Yes, you teach."
"And I give you a quiz?"
"You would quiz me?"
"Yes and you have to get A. Or no shopping."
Farrah said sternly as Carrie gasped, crossing her arms.
"You are very strict, you know that?", she grumbled as Farrah giggled and stood, pulling her to her feet.
"We shop now though?!"

"Okay whoa, slow down you. First I'm still in my pajamas.", Carrie said pointing to her sweats.
"And second, what was our rule before when it came to going shopping?"
"We study first.", Farrah said glumly.
"Right. Just because we're in a different spot doesn't mean there's different rules. But..."
"There is but?!"
"But...because we're still getting adjusted. we can just read today."
"No writing?"
"Not today, no. Now I have to go upstairs and get dressed. You go find your book and bring it upstairs once you do. Okay?"
"Okay."
Going upstairs, after taking a quick shower Carrie came out of the bathroom to see Farrah sprawled out on her bed, reading aloud softly to herself. Smiling proudly, she crossed her room to her closet and opened it. Farrah immediately looked up, then jumped up to explore it.

"Are you picking out my outfit for today?"
"Yes.", she grinned reaching up to grab a black flowy sequin top.
"You wear it?"
"Well yes I do, but not today.", Carrie chuckled. Putting it back while Farrah amused herself with her silk scarves dangling from a hanger.
"These your hijab?", Farrah asked excitedly, thinking since Carrie wore a head covering every day in Iraq she did here as well.
"Oh no, Farrah.", Carrie sighed, then went on to explain how she kept her head covered in Iraq to be respectful, but where they were now, it wasn't custom unless your beliefs called for it to be. Farrah seemed to understand but looked solemn, even saddened by what she said.
"But listen, you can borrow my scarves to wear any time you like. Just ask me first.", Carrie said, hoping it would cheer her up. Luckily it seemed to.
"I borrow now?"
"If you like, sure.", Carrie grinned as Farrah grabbed her pink and black print scarf and began draping it every which way around herself.
"Alright I'm gonna get dressed. Can you read some more in the meantime? You were doing a great job earlier."
"Yes?"
"Would I make that up?", she laughed. "Now go on."
After ushering Farrah out of her closet, Carrie had just thrown on jeans and chosen a top when her phone went off.
Farrah grabbed it but nervously handed it over, looking afraid of it.

"It ring loud!"
"Thank you.", Carrie laughed taking it from her.
'And I'll try and do something about the loud. Hello?"
"Carrie hi. It's Galvez."
"Danny? What's going on. Saul told you I was taking today off, right?"
"Yeah he did. Told me why too."
"Of course he did.", Carrie sighed.
"Anyway, what do you need?"
"I was just calling to remind you your debrief is tomorrow at nine o'clock."
"Nine?!", Carrie sputtered. "It was scheduled for one!"
"Fuller and Murray asked if it could be rescheduled."
"Well fuc- fudge, them.", she spat, lowering her voice.

"Danny, the only time Maggie could come by to babysit was after twelve thirty."
"There's nobody else?"
"No. Even if I was okay asking my dad he's on a golf trip with a buddy of his."
"You could always just bring her to Langley with you.", Galvez suggested.
"Have her sit in on a debrief discussing her father's fucking war crimes?! Are you insane?", Carrie hissed under her breath.
"What if she just sits in your office? Lock the door and let her watch a movie or something. The debrief won't take more than an hour. Though with you..."
"I've kept it short. Detailed, but short."
"I think that'll be a first."
"Is there anything else, Danny?", Carrie asked, then stifled a laugh at Farrah striking poses in front of her mirror.
"What's so funny?"
"I just have a wannabe supermodel on my hands."
"Oh geez, look out.", Galvez chuckled.
"You know I was stunned when I heard about her. Farrah, right? That's her name?"
"Yeah. And you're not alone in your feelings. Trust me."
"Well, she sounds terrific from everything I've heard. Saul can't stop talking about her."
"Yeah she suckered him into giving her a present and a piggyback ride last night."
"What about you?"
"Just pancakes for breakfast. But that could change."
"How is it working out so far? Is she adjusting?"

Ducking outside into the hallway Carrie leaned back against the wall.
"Better than I expected she would. She's still having nightmares though. Most every night."
"Well after everything that's happened it makes sense. At least you know about them though."
"Yeah that's true. Last night after she crawled into bed with me she seemed to be alright. It scared me this morning when I rolled over and didn't see her."
"This morning...ah. She was saying prayers?"
"Yeah."
"Hey listen you know, you ever have questions or need advice about any of that, I'm around."
"Thanks. I don't know though Danny. Back in Iraq she had a whole house full of people who shared her faith. Now though..."
"Carrie I can stop by to say prayers with her, bring her to the mosque. Honestly it's not a problem. I'd welcome it."
"You sure?"
"Of course."
"I really appreciate that. I just don't want her to feel alienated."
"She won't. Just curious though, are you going to keep tutoring her yourself?"
"I don't know.", Carrie sighed guiltily. "I mean I'm going to have to go back to work eventually, I.."
"Well have you thought about daycare, pre-K type programs for her?"
"No. I..I haven't thought that far yet.", she said, growing more defensive. She wasn't used to feeling so unprepared for an interrogation and didn't like it.

"Hey. I'm not trying to lecture or make you feel guilty. I just, I think I know a place that may work for you. A good place."
"Really? Where?"
"Remember the mosque where we went, to meet that imam about..."
"Tom Walker? Yeah I remember."
"Well you remember even back then he was setting up all kinds of programs and projects to benefit the community?"
"Yeah the guy was basically a saint."
"Well after I found out about you and Farrah I did a little follow up on him and the mosque. The place is like a community center now. They teamed up with St. Mary's and acquired a hospital, even some residences. There's a daycare, after school programs. They're even in the process of creating a school."
"Seriously?"
"Carrie it's fifteen minutes from Langley. It'd be a perfect spot for you to bring Farrah."
"It sounds it. Shit, Danny. Thank you."
"It's no trouble, ooh crap. I gotta go. But, Carrie. It's a good thing, what you're doing. It's a good thing."
"Thanks.", Carrie smiled before hanging up. Taking a deep breath she went back in her room where Farrah was toying with the diamond ring on her dresser.
"Pretty!", she gushed, holding it up so the diamond caught the light.
"It yours?"
"Yeah, it is." Carrie said, taking it from her and returning it to the ashtray.
"Okay so listen, tomorrow, I have a meeting at Langley, where I work. And you're going to have to come with me."
"I go to where you spy?"
"Well technically, yes."
Cut off by Farrah's squeal, Carrie laughed.
"You seem excited."
"Yes."
"Farrah, it doesn't frighten you at all that I'm a spy, does it?"
"No. When you spy, you met me!"
"That's right I did. But, it doesn't upset you that I go after bad guys?"
"No. You prot..protect..me from, bad guys. At park.", Farrah reminded as Carrie's mind jumped back.

She'd been tutoring Farrah for just under a year, and realized she may have rubbed off on her a little too much. She'd asked to go to the park after dinner that night to practice her soccer and Carrie agreed.
But realized once arriving Farrah wanted to show off her dribbling skills to four older boys. About the same age as her brothers. They had always scared her off the soccer field before, but she'd been practicing a lot lately and was eager to let them know it.
Carrie tensed up seeing the boys all dressed similarly, with a green symbol on the upper arm of all their matching shirts. When Farrah approached them they began snickering and teasing her, asking her where she lived and telling her to go back like a good little girl. Carrie was set to intervene until Farrah piped up and she froze, listening to the girl brag about living behind the gates in her father's house.

Quickly the smirks of the boys turned to angry looks. They told Farrah she should run before something bad happened. If she was afraid she didn't show it right away, prompting the boys to close in around her.
One of them pulled a switchblade from his back pocket.
Carrie sprinted over and jumped between Farrah and the boys, who she soon realized were more men than boy. They were stronger and taller and had her outnumbered, but it didn't stop her training from kicking in.
When one smirked and grabbed her from behind Carrie kicked back and up, incapacitating him before taking on his friend to his left. Punching him square in the nose.

When he still fought back she kneed him between the legs, then had to fight off the third tugging at her headscarf to try and throw her off balance. He did so just long enough for the boy with the knife to pull her against him, aiming the blade at her throat.
Locking eyes with Farrah's fearful ones Carrie tapped into some reserve of adrenaline and kicked hard at his ankle. It was a risky move, but threw him off enough that he lowered the knife and lessened his chokehold.
Prompting her to turn around and disarm him as he fell backward. The other boy catching him.
Still wielding the blade Carrie backed away quickly, then grabbed Farrah by the hand and bolted. They'd lost the soccer ball in the process but luckily not their lives.

"I forgot about that.", Carrie said. Though she'd probably blocked it out for her own sanity.
"You good at job, you keep doing it!"
"Well, so long as I have your permission.", she chuckled.
"Do I have permission to-"
"To what?"
"Get new clothes before Lang..Langley?, Farrah asked eagerly, giving Carrie a grin she couldn't resist.
"Okay fine, yes. We'll go shopping. C'mon.", she sighed taking her by the hand and down the stairs.

Chapter Text

The drive to work seemed to go quicker that day. Carrie put on jazz and she and Farrah, decked out in brand new outfits, had been playing "I Spy" the entire car ride.
"I spy something, green."
"Trees? Leaf? Bunny!"
"Okay since when are bunnies green?", Carrie laughed, then looked to the road and slammed on the brakes in just enough time for the animal to hop across the road.
Once it had, she took a few deep breaths before hitting the gas again.
"Can I pet bunny?"
"No Farrah. He just ran into the woods."
"No! At home!"
"You want a pet bunny?"
"Yes!"
"Um, I'll think about it, okay?", Carrie sighed, turning into the driveway to Langley.

Rolling down the window, she flashed her ID for security.
"Miss Mathison.", the guard acknowledged then looked to the backseat. "And guest..."
"This is Farrah. She's with me for the day."
"I see."
"If you have any questions talk to Mr. Berenson. He'll vouch for her."
Rolling the window back up as Farrah waved, not getting one in return from the guard, Carrie pulled into the lot, parked, and then helped Farrah out of the car. Walking with her hand in hand to the front entrance.

Seeing how intimidated the girl was by the security, she gently squeezed her hand.
"It's okay. All you have to do is walk between these two posts. Here, watch me."
Walking through the metal detector, Carrie turned back to Farrah who jumped a mile when the detector next to them beeped.
"C'mon sweetheart. It's alright.", she coaxed.
Putting on a brave face, Farrah covered her ears and ran through the detector. Laughing when she made it through to the other side and was applauded by some bystanders.
"See, was that so tough?"

On the walk to the elevator, spotting a guard and the gun at his side, Farrah jumped to hide behind Carrie.
"Hey...shh, it's okay."
"Everything alright Miss Mathison?", the guard asked curiously.
"Yes, I'm sorry. She's just frightened of...",
Seeing her nod to his gun the guard nodded in understanding, turning to move it to a more discreet pocket.

"Look Farrah. He doesn't have it anymore."
Turning slightly Farrah looked him over and not seeing the weapon, smiled along with the guard.
"Have a good day ladies.", he waved.
"You too. Thank you.", Carrie said politely, leading Farrah to the elevator.

Entering the car curiously, the girl gasped when the doors shut behind her. Then looking up, she grinned when the numbered buttons all lit up.
"I press?!"
"Okay, go ahead. Number five." Carrie chuckled, watching her stand on her tiptoes to reach.
When the car began to move, Farrah's eyes widened and she ran to grip the railing on the back wall.
"Honey it's okay. It's almost over!"
"Good!"

Soon they reached the fifth floor and then after a short walk, Carrie's office.
Grinning when she saw the desk chair Farrah ran over, sat down and bounced a bit on the cushion before spinning in it.
"Not too fast!", Carrie warned.
Opening her briefcase on her desk she grabbed her report from a folder, then remembered Saul wanted to review it with her before the debrief.
"Okay Farrah, I have to go to Saul's office down the hall but I'll be right back. Stay put."

After Carrie stepped out and closed the door behind her, Farrah smirked and spun more quickly in the desk chair. When she got dizzy, she stopped for a moment and then spun in the other direction. She stopped all together though when she heard a knock and an unfamiliar voice.

"Hey Carrie when you have a second I need you to-"
Walking in the office Quinn stopped short.
"You're not Carrie."
"No.", Farrah frowned.
"Who are you then?"
"Who are you?"
"I asked you first."
"I ask you second.", she giggled to Quinn's annoyance.
"How old are you?"
"Ladies..don't..tell."
"You're a pushy kid you know that?", Quinn scoffed.
"You're pushy!", Farrah mocked.
"What's your name?"
"What's yours?"
"Peter Quinn."
"Pete!"
"No. Peter.", Quinn corrected.
"No... Pete!"
"Peter!"
"Pete!"
"PETER!"
"PETE!"
"I'm in a goddamn screaming match with a six year old. What the fuc-"

"Quinn?!", Carrie interrupted.
"What the hell is going on?", she asked suspiciously. Looking from him to Farrah who'd jumped up to stand near her.
"Is there a problem?", Saul asked joining them in the office.
"I came in here to speak to your protege and wound up being interrogated by her.", Quinn pointed as Farrah stuck her tongue out at him.
Rolling his eyes Saul scoffed.
"Interrogated? She's six years old!"
"I deduced that. Who the hell is she?"

Feeling safer with Carrie standing close, Farrah stepped forward to answer.
"Farrah!", she yelled.
"Farrah?", Quinn questioned before things clicked.
"Holy shit."
"Jesus, Quinn!", Carrie hissed, bending to cover Farrah's ears.
"Sorry. I just can't believe it. That's some souvenir you brought back, Carrie."
"Quinn...", she warned.
"Getting through customs must've been an adventure. Fleeing Iraq with the child of a confessed terroris-"

"Enough Quinn.", Saul growled.
Holding Farrah close, Carrie stared up at Quinn through narrowed, icy eyes.
"Farrah, go on with Saul, okay?", she instructed.
"But...?"
"I won't be long, I promise. Saul, I'd like to speak to Quinn alone."
"Fine. Make it quick.", he cautioned, taking Farrah by the hand and out of the office before shutting the door.

Once alone it took all of Carrie's strength not to break Quinn's nose. Standing back up she moved behind her desk to put a barrier between them.

"Hey I'm sorry for interrupting Romper Room but there was something I wanted to discuss with-"
"What the hell is wrong with you? Saying her father is a fucking terrorist? In front of her?!"
"Well wasn't he? Or did you screw him and happen to forget that detail?"
"You son of a-", Lunging at Quinn over the desk he leaned towards her in turn.
"That's not very motherly behavior is it?"
"How the fuck would you know? I don't see your long lost son nominating you for Father Of The Year!"
Carrie retorted, a triumphant gleam in her eye as Quinn backed up.
"Yeah. I know about that."

"You don't know a fucking thing.", Quinn scowled.
Scoffing, ready with a reply Carrie noted his less smug-semi pained expression and held her tongue. He chose not to.

"Look, think what you want. I don't give a shit. But for me, my situation, I did the right thing. I'm a goddamn sniper, Carrie. I knew even then I had no business with a kid. At least I had the sense to realize that."
At the "sense" remark Carrie bristled.
"Nice Quinn. It wasn't enough for you to insult my student?!"
"Student? That's really what you're calling her?", Quinn scoffed.

"What difference does it make what I call her? So long as I'm the one that she trusts and feels safe around. The one who's taking care of her."
"Taking care of her? God damn it Carrie. How often does someone around here have to remind you to take care of yourself? To pry yourself out of your office and go home at the end of the day, get some sleep, eat a decent meal!", he countered.

"Hey whatever happened to your declaration that you weren't worried about me?"
"Difficult not to be when you're making the biggest mistake of your life."
"Hey I've made plenty of mistakes. Enough to know the difference between them and a selfless act."
"Selfless? Selfless my ass, Carrie. All you're going to do is wind up hurting Farrah and hurting yourself more. Or have you not been through enough."
"You don't have the first clue what I've been through."

"Well you'll be in for a world of hurt because of this. The both of you will."
"Be in for one? After the bombing we were in one!", Carrie said bitterly.
"Look Quinn. Say whatever the fuck you want about all of this, call me out. Whatever. It's decided. It's finished. Farrah is legally in my care. Don't think I won't do whatever I have to to keep it that way."
"What exactly? Are you leaving the CIA?"
When Carrie didn't respond Quinn rolled his eyes.
"Whatever you need to do, huh?", he scoffed.

"I'll do what I have to in my own time, in my own way. In the meantime, Farrah and I are managing. We're keeping each other afloat."
"Keeping each other afloat? Do you hear yourself?", Quinn asked in disgust.
"How does that sound remotely healthy for either of you?"
"Oh quit pretending you give a damn about either one of us." Carrie scoffed.
"Jesus, Carrie. You are crazy, fucking delusional if you think this will work."
"Well what's another drop in the bucket?"

Angrily she turned away from him, arms crossed.
"Just get out, Quinn."
"Gladly.", he spat, halfway out the door before turning back around.
"I give you credit for one thing though. You got that fucker Brody out of the picture before you brought Farrah into it. At least he can't break her heart the way he broke his own kids."

"I said get out!"
Running to slam the door on him, she hit at it when it didn't shut all the way. Once, then twice before shoving her whole body into it and then sagging against it. Certain she looked as defeated as she felt but past the point of caring.

Fighting back tears until she couldn't anymore Carrie slowly crossed back to her desk and sat down, taking deep breaths in an attempt to relax. Her debrief was in less than an hour and she couldn't go in ready to strangle the man across the table from her. Even though she entertained the idea of doing so to silence his goddamn voice, his harsh words replaying on loop in her mind.
Settling for the alternate way to quiet them though she unlocked her desk drawer, uncapping her pill bottle before tossing two back. Then she docked her phone, switched on the speakers surrounding it and let the music permeate the room. Shutting her eyes she leaned back, hoping at the very least she'd drift back as well.

Chapter Text

Docking her phone, Carrie switched on the speakers surrounding it and let the music permeate the room. Shutting her eyes she leaned back, hoping at the very least she'd drift back as well...

They were in bed at her house, her draped comfortably over his chest as he stroked her hair. If she were any more content she'd start purring.
"So what's this I hear about you being funny?", she teased, sitting up so she could see his eyes. They were bluer when he was happy.
"I thought that had been established.", Brody smirked.
"You mean with that circus act of yours back at the cabin?"
"You don't like my juggling?", he asked, looking at her in a sad puppy dog kind of way.
"I like a lot of things about you. But the clown thing?", clicking her tongue Carrie shook her head.
"No good?"
"Nope."
"Guess the carnival won't be where I take you on our first date.", Brody scoffed as her eyes widened in surprise.
"Our first-"
"Well I figure if I'm gonna land that cabin boy job I'll have to win you over the old fashioned way."
"Yes since I'm such an old fashioned girl."
"A girl I happen to love.", Brody let slip.
Biting her lip Carrie backed up, wrapping the bed sheet around her.
"What happened to being careful?", she asked sharply.
"Carrie.."
"Brody. You said-"
"I know what I said. And you don't need to say anything back or make any decisions yet. You don't need to say a fucking word. Not after the way I talked you out of saying anything at the cabin."
"Well I want to get one fucking word in now, okay?"
"Okay."
"You know how I feel about you. I know how you feel about me. I want to just, give into that. But..."
"But it's not that easy."
"With you and me nothing is easy.", Carrie frowned, curling back up on his chest as he smoothed her hair.
"I know. You said you still needed to think.", Brody recalled.
"And I want to talk to Saul about things too. That's if I fucking hear from him anytime soon. If I wasn't so pissed at him for it I'd be worried.", she frowned. As did Brody, knowing that Saul wouldn't want to talk so much as try and talk Carrie out of having anything to do with him.

"Did talking with your sister earlier help at all?", he asked, thinking it best to change the subject.
"Maggie worries. She always, worries. And the fact I hadn't kept her updated on you and me didn't help matters."
"She only knows me as the son of a bitch who confronted you in that parking lot.", he said bitterly.
"She knows more now. I do too."
"I can't imagine rehashing all the shit we'd been through was a fun time."
"Ranked about the same as the Nuremberg trials.", Carrie smirked getting him laughing.
"But my niece actually helped shed some light on things."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah.", she smiled sitting back up.
"I was telling Maggie about everything at the cabin, and she, Josie, came over to give me a hug. She asked me why I looked so happy."
"What did you tell her?"
"I said I'd spent some time with a friend of mine."
"A friend?", Brody smirked.
"A good..friend.", Carrie grinned. "And she said I should see them again."
"Because you looked so happy?"
"I didn't just look it. I was.", she smiled before her face went solemn.
"You'd think that would be enough."
Cupping her face in his palm, Brody gave her a soft smile.
"Hey, it's a start. More than I could've hoped for from you after everything that's.."
"Hey, don't. Don't go there.", she said firmly.
"Lets just try and be here for now. Okay?"
Shrugging Brody nodded, leaning back against the bed pillows as quiet crept in.
"Well if being here involves us lying here awkwardly staring at your ceiling, I'd rather be someplace else."
"Where? Prom?", Carrie teased. Thinking back to another time things between them had taken an awkward turn.
"Actually..."
With a sly grin Brody shifted out of her arms and out of bed. Slipping into his boxers and jeans.

"Yes, Sergeant?", Carrie smirked, curiously watching him cross the room to her closet.
Grabbing her robe hanging off the back of it, he switched on her clock radio and jazz echoed through the room.
"Brody?"
Nodding for her to sit up he helped her into the robe, then taking her hand helped her to her feet.
"How about a dance?", he asked with a grin.
"A dance?"
"Hey, I can be old fashioned too."
Turning to slip on his shirt, he went to button it but Carrie stopped him.
"No..don't.", she said softly as he turned back around to face her.
Looping her arms up around his neck, his settled around her waist as they swayed back and forth to the slow song.

"So, could you see us doing this on a first date?" Carrie asked, smiling up at him.
"In more appropriate attire? Absolutely."
"Prude.", she teased leaning into his chest. Laughing, Brody's chin came to rest on top of her head.
"How about tomorrow? After that fucking memorial..", he said bitterly. Leading her to back up enough to reach up, cupping his face.
"It's a short service, Brody.", Carrie reassured. "You go, pay respects to the family, shake a few hands. Then take a seat close enough-"
"To see you but not close enough to attract attention to us. I know this."
"One look from you and we'll leave. You have my word."
"What about you though? Tomorrow if you manage to get a hold of Saul.."
"We'll talk. I'll talk to him, I'll do my best to figure this out. Figure me out. Figure..us out. But even if I don't..you're not supposed to know exactly how you feel about someone on the first date, right?", she asked getting him smiling.
"Right. So its settled, you..me, tomorrow night. The Ashford. You wearing that dress over there in your closet."
"Which one?"
"The one that'll get every guy in the place wishing they were me.", Brody grinned as Carrie nodded, snuggling closer to his chest.
"I love you, Brody."
"I love you too, Carrie...Carrie? Carrie!"

"What?", she jumped. Opening her eyes to see Galvez looking down at her.
"You have a nice dream?"
"Danny, what the fuc-"
"The debriefs in ten minutes, Carrie!"
"Oh..shit. Shit!" Flustered she stood up, turning the music off before rifling through her briefcase.
"It's okay. The boss is allowed to be a minute late."
"I fucking fell asleep!", she spat.
"Hey, happens to the best of us. Just be glad I thought to stop by here before I went to the conference room."
"Shit..", running a hand through her hair she came to another realization.
"Farrah. Where's Farrah?!"
"She's fine. She's still in Saul's office."
"But Saul's at the debrief."
"That's why Max is watching her."
"Max? As in Virgil's weird little brother, Max?
"I stayed in there for awhile. Kept an eye on them. Farrah's insistent on making him talk."
At this Carrie laughed.
"Interrogator in the making?"
"She's acting like a tourist in London would with the guards at Buckingham Palace. Telling jokes, flitting around to pester him, make him crack up."
"Has she succeeded?"
"Not yet but she's determined. Trust me, she's occupied."
"You're sure?", Carrie asked warily. "No..no I'm going to check on her. See for myself."
"Carrie we're already running behind."
"But.."
"Don't worry. If your report is as quick as you said we'll be done before you know it.", Galvez assured as Carrie nodded and followed him into the hall, locking her door behind her.

"By the way Quinn told me he won't be at the debrief. He'll just review the notes afterwards."
"And Saul okayed that?"
"He said it was probably for the best, considering.."
"Fuck.", she spat. Embarrassed that their confrontation had all but forced Quinn out of the meeting. But relieved she didn't have to deal with him at the present moment as she and Danny entered the conference room.

Meanwhile in Saul's office, Farrah was getting bored. She'd done everything she could to make Max smile and laugh and talk. But he was so occupied on his computer he was unfazed by her efforts. Noticing his wallet that had fallen on the floor with a dollar folded in it, she grinned. Tempted to grab the bill and use at the vending machine down the hall. Remembering her pinky promise to Carrie though she frowned, stamping her foot. Until she remembered she could give the dollar back later.
Grabbing a post it note she scribbled IOU on it, stuck it to the wallet and slipped out of the office without so much as a look from Max.

Feeling a little like a spy sneaking past the offices, wondering if Carrie would be proud of her, Farrah turned the corner to the vending machine and seeing no one else around, ran over to it.
Threading the dollar through the slot she eyed a Hershey bar and grinned, punching in the code for it. The candy swung, set to fall to the bottom of the machine, but then got stuck.
"No, my candy!", Farrah yelled tapping the glass.
"My candy! Let go!"
When it didn't budge she hit at and kicked the machine in frustration. Not hearing footsteps coming up behind her...

Chapter Text

Frustrated Farrah kicked the vending machine, not hearing footsteps behind her.

Watching the struggle from a distance, Quinn stood arms crossed, biting his lip, looking around for someone, anyone else to help. But another minute passed, then another, and shaking his head he approached. Clearing his throat so as not to startle her.
"Your candy stuck?"
"Yes.", Farrah answered, watching Quinn with suspicion and an arched eyebrow. Shaking his head he snorted, amazed how much Carrie had already rubbed off on her.
"Need a hand?"
"No..", she frowned. "I need, candy."
Stifling a laugh, Quinn moved closer.
"Alright I'll see what I can do."
"You get it?", Farrah asked skeptically.
"Give me a chance at least."
Taking her spot in front of the machine he hit the side of it twice, then kicked the base three times before the candy fell.
"You get it!", Farrah cheered as Quinn bent to grab the candy, then handed it to her with a bow.
"For you."
"Thank you, Pet..Peter.", she smiled shyly. Looking at her in surprise, Quinn smiled.
"Pete's just fine.", he relented.
"Just..don't tell anyone else."
"Okay.", Farrah grinned, quickly unwrapping the candy before taking a large bite.
"Looks like someone has a sweet tooth."
"Yes! My teeth, like sweets.", she grinned with a mouth full of chocolate.
"Carrie say so."
"Ah, well if Carrie said so then it must be true."
"Yes."
"You like Carrie a lot, don't you?"
The nod and happy little gleam in her eyes was the only answer Quinn needed.
"You like Carrie too?", Farrah asked curiously, getting a shrug and a look in his eyes she had trouble interpreting.

"So, how long before you got bored in Saul's office?"
"Max did not talk, at all!"
"Yeah he's been known to do that."
"I don't want to go back. I want Carrie."
"I think she's still at her meeting."

When Farrah looked on the verge of tears, Quinn felt a small lump form in the back of his throat. Goddammit.
A little kid should not have this much pull with him but nonetheless...
"Hey, Farrah, do you like magic tricks?"
"Magic?", Farrah sniffled, wiping her nose with her sleeve.
"Yeah. Like this. I think you have something in your ear, let me see.."

When he retrieved a quarter her jaw dropped as he handed it to her.
"Again!"
"Again? How much change you got in there?", Quinn laughed, pulling out a dollar this time.
"Give this back to Max later, okay?"
"Okay."
"Look, if you want to you can wait in my office for Carrie."
"Yes?"
"As long as you promise to behave.", Quinn warned getting a nod.
"Promise."
"Okay, c'mon then." Taking her by the hand Quinn led her to his office.

...

"Yes Mira, I said I'd pick up the groceries on my way home from wor- -wait, you're going to start cooking now? It's not even one o'clock and your fam- -yes, I know your family's coming but I'm sure whatever you make they're going to love...okay. Okay. Hey I'm not arguing, who's arguing? You'll have your groceries soon. Yes, I love you too. Goodbye."
Hanging up, a smile on his face that was always there when he spoke with his wife, Saul slipped his phone in his pocket and made his way to the stairwell.
He'd ducked out of the debrief a few minutes early in order to take Mira's call, and hadn't minded in the least. Watching Carrie asked question after question about Brody's supposed innocence, proving it with each answer she gave, left Saul more unsettled than he cared to admit.
Seeing how entangled she was with him, even still, tore at his heart and kept him up nights worrying.
He hoped that Farrah becoming part of her life would be enough of a distraction, but it was clear after today her feelings for Brody were as strong as they'd ever been. It was only a matter of time before she'd figure out some way to get him back on home soil. Only a matter of time before she left the agency for a would've been terrorist. Hoping a walk would help clear his mind of that possibility, he took the longer route back to his office.

...

For the first time in what felt like her entire career, Carrie was counting the seconds until the day was over. Her confrontation with Quinn was still needling at her, and she may as well have been debriefed in the interrogation room with her wrists and ankles shackled.
She'd been overly prepared like always but everyone took that to mean she had something to hide. Or someone to hide.
Despite her presenting evidence to the contrary, Brody was still considered guilty until proven innocent. She'd been too right in knowing the day of the bombing that nobody else would believe him. Even with proof she was still getting those damn looks from everyone, assuming she was at her worst. That she couldn't see straight just because she happened to see the truth. Even Saul looked uncomfortable and agitated which just put Carrie more on edge. By the time the meeting was through she was drained and ready to call it a day even though it was only half past noon.
It didn't help any her feelings for Brody, that she'd somewhat tamped down since that night in the woods, were rushing back to the surface. Between her daydream, Quinn's parting shot and rehashing her entire quest to clear his name, he was back on her mind full force. She was anxious to go through his postcards, start trying to piece together his whereabouts. It wasn't being back with him but as good as she could get. And she needed that, more than she wished she did.

Leaving the conference room she was on her way to Saul's office when her phone buzzed, indicating a text.
"Some meeting huh? Don't know about you but I'm starving. If you and Farrah are up to it, want to grab lunch? My treat?"
Not one to turn down a free meal and sure Farrah would be fine with it, smiling Carrie replied to Danny's text.
"Sure thing. We'll meet you in the lobby in ten. Thanks."

Turning the corner to Saul's office, she poked her head in the door with a grin expecting to get one in return from Farrah. But instead got a bewildered look from Max as he glanced up from his laptop.
"Hey Carrie."
"Max." Stepping into the office she tensed up, realizing he was the only one in the room.
"Where's Farrah?"
"Um..."
"Max..."
Eyes narrowed Carrie searched the room, trying not to panic even though the only spot Farrah could possibly hide was in the filing cabinet.
"I..."
"Where is she?"
"She was in here! She was sitting over in that chair drawing, I-"
"Where the fuck did she go?!"
"I don't know? Maybe she just..wanted to go for a walk? I-"
"She's six, Max! Six years old and never been in this building once before today!", she yelled, slamming his laptop shut.
"Look I can help look, I-"
"Don't fucking bother!"
Slamming the door behind her Carrie went to check the closest bathrooms and the vending machines nearby. Not seeing Farrah she turned and ran down the hall to her office. Only remembering she'd locked her door when she went to turn the handle.
"Shit!"
Leaning against it, fighting tears she ran a hand through her hair, trying to take deep breaths. She couldn't afford to panic or get worked up but calm wasn't coming easily to her. Not when Farrah was running around by herself in a building this size that was unfamiliar to her, and looked so intimidated here this morning.
Pulling out her phone she went to start texting people for help when Danny called her.

"Hey I'm in the lobby, you on your way?"
"Farrah's missing."
"What?!"
"She wasn't in Saul's office. Max wasn't paying attention to her and she must've walked out."
"Did you check the bathrooms, down by the vending machines? What about your office?"
"My office is locked. I checked the bathrooms. There was no sign of her."
"Okay Carrie don't panic. We'll find her.", Danny assured, hearing her fight back a sob over the phone.
"Look I'm at the lobby now, I'll take a quick look here and ask some of the security guys to help me search."
"No! No, Farrah saw them when we came in and got scared because of their guns."
"I'll tell anyone I ask to help to hide them. I promise. Did you try Saul yet?"
"I just was about to before you called."
"Okay call him, stay on the fifth floor, I'll start checking everyplace else."
"Okay. Thank you.", Carrie choked out, hanging up before dialing Saul.

"Carrie what's going on?"
"I can't find Farrah.", she cried, walking back down the hall to double check inside the offices.
"What the fuck are you talking about? She's in my office."
"Max wasn't paying attention and she walked out. I'm double checking the fifth floor now but I...I can't find her anywhere!"
"Okay Carrie calm down. We'll find her, I promise. She couldn't have gone far. You call Galvez?"
"Danny's checking the lobby and asked some guards to help."
"Good. Good. I'm still down by the conference room so I'll check the offices near here. You stay put, maybe she'll find her way back to you."
"Okay..okay I will."
Knowing things were bad when she didn't argue with him, Saul started walking faster down the hallway, checking each room along the way.
"Deep breaths Carrie. We'll find her, I promise."

After hanging up, fear knotted in Saul's gut and he remembered why he'd opted not to have children. He'd rather stare down terrorists or do a stint in a Malaysian prison than feel like this. This helpless, gut wrenching kind of fear he'd only known when Carrie was injured or captured, when Mira's cab drove off.
If he felt this way though he knew Carrie felt it ten times worse. That alone prompted him to kick the search into higher gear.
Nearing Quinn's office he was set to call in some more reinforcements when he collided with Danny.
"You find Farrah yet?"
"No. You?"
"Just checked the lobby and no sign of her there, I figured maybe she hopped the elevator or something so I thought I'd try here.", Danny shrugged.
"Well don't bother checking those offices. I just tried. We'll go this way.", Saul said.
Passing by Quinn's office luckily he thought to poke his head in there.
"Farrah!"
"Bear!", she cheered, getting up from the chair to hug him.
"Thank God.", Saul sighed, holding her close as Danny texted Carrie the news.

Within minutes she was at Quinn's office and once inside dropped to her knees, pulling Farrah into a tight hug.
"I missed you!" the girl chirped, pulling back. Then frowned at the angry look on Carrie's face. Directed at Quinn still seated at his desk.

Sensing where this was headed Danny led Farrah out of the room, thinking it was as good a time as any for them to get her drawings from Saul's office.

"She was with you?", Carrie asked, standing up.
"Carrie.."
"I'm fine, Saul.", she spat.
Rolling his eyes, Quinn leaned back in his chair.

"This whole time I was running around here in a complete panic looking for Farrah, she was with you?"
"I found her by the vending machines. She was lonely, bored out of her mind with Max, missing you. So I brought her here. Kept her company."
"And you didn't feel the need to tell me that? No call, no text, not even a fucking note!"
"Hey, you figured things out eventually, right? You called in the cavalry, tracked me down. And it looks like she's just fine. So rather than reprimanding me for doing you a goddamn favor, why don't you find your "student"? Tell her not to run out on you in a strange building she's never been in before. Seems like simple parenting logic to me. Of course what the fuck would I know about that.", Quinn scoffed.

When Carrie looked ready to argue back Saul intervened, thanking Quinn before escorting his protege out and down the hall.

Chapter Text

"Jesus, Saul!", Carrie snapped, jerking away from him as he frowned.
"What the hell was that about?", he asked.
"What? I'm not allowed to be angry when my foster daughter vanishes and Peter Quinn's the reason why?"
"Oh for Christ's sake. He didn't have Farrah bound and gagged in the closet. He didn't abduct her. He kept an eye on her. Same as Virgil or Galvez or Max or me or anyone else would've."
"Don't even get me started on Max."
Crossing her arms Carrie turned away, flinching when Saul went to touch her shoulder. Agitated, he stepped around in front of her, then softened seeing the look on her face.

"Carrie, I know you went through some panic back there."
"Some? I've had a gun held to my head and been less afraid.", Carrie sniffed, tears welling up in her eyes.
"I know. I was scared shitless too. But Farrah wasn't. She wasn't someplace she shouldn't be or wandering the halls alone.", Saul offered, hoping to take the edge off the frantic state she was just starting to come out of.

"I still didn't know where she was. And forgive me if I didn't do handstands after seeing where she wound up."
"Still, with this. What, is Quinn your personal punching bag today?"
"After what he said when he first found out about Farrah?! What he said to me?! Jesus! Why isn't he yours Saul?" Carrie asked as he sighed.

"If I thought Farrah was in trouble with Quinn I'd have beaten him to a bloody pulp. But I saw her with him. She was content. He was fine with her. Maybe if you gave him half a chance before you went in there with guns blazing, you could've seen that for yourself."
"I've seen all I need to from Peter Quinn."
"Well if you kept your eyes as open about him as you did about Brody.."
"What? I'd fall in his arms?", she scoffed. Clearly agitated with the conversation taking place.
"I didn't say that."
"No, you'd just prefer it. You'd prefer me with Quinn or Danny, even a fucking stranger on the street.
And even if you won't tell me flat out, the way you acted in the debrief confirmed it."
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
"I wasn't halfway through my report when I looked to see you tuning me out and cutting me out. Completely."
Swallowing hard she fought back a sob.
"You sat back and did nothing while I was interrogated in there like a fucking criminal. Asked the same questions I'd already answered over and over like my answers would eventually change."
"We were trying to be thorough."
"Trying to trip me up.", Carrie corrected. "Look I know why. The thought of Brody being innocent, my being able to prove it? It scares the shit out of you."
"No. What scares me is that you're still content to throw your life away for a man you can never hope to have a normal life with."
"Since when has anything about me been normal?" she snapped as her phone buzzed. Reading the text guilt filled her eyes.
"Farrah?"
"She's hungry. Danny's taking us for a late lunch. I'd invite you but I'm picking the place and I think I've done enough to earn your disapproval today."

Slipping her phone back in her pocket she rolled her eyes and walked off. Angrily wiping a tear or two as she turned down the hall to Saul's office, where Farrah and Danny were playing an intense looking round of Go Fish.

"Do you have...eights?"
Throwing his cards down in frustration, Danny looked up as Carrie quietly knelt down. Throwing her arms around Farrah from behind.
Startled, the girl turned around and once seeing who was there, flashed a bright smile.
"Carrie!", she squealed, hugging her back just as tight.
"I missed you."
"I missed you too honey.", Carrie sniffed before pulling back.
"But..I think you and I better have a talk. Danny?", she asked as he nodded, standing up.
"I'll head down to the lobby, wait for you there?"
"Thanks."
Once he left Carrie sat on Saul's rug with her legs crossed. Looking sternly at a shy looking Farrah.
"Am I..trouble?"
"You are not trouble, but..you're in a little bit of it.", she informed.

"Farrah what did I talk about this morning at breakfast?"
"That Virg can't buy yogurt because its wrong flavor. And that weather guy was wrong and could go and fuc-"
"Wait! Let me rephrase that. What did I talk about with you?"
"You said Langley is, big."
"Yes, and what else?"
"That I could get lost if I not, careful."
Nodding, Carrie sighed, running her hand over Farrah's headscarf.

"That's what I thought happened when I came back here after the meeting and you weren't in here."
"But I wasn't..lost. I just, wanted candy."
"But you didn't tell me that, or Max or Saul or Danny or anyone. None of us knew where you were, Farrah."
"With Pete!"
"Well Pete didn't tell us you were with him. And you didn't tell me you were with him. Sweetheart I have to know where you are at all times. Not just here but, anyplace else. Otherwise I get scared. You understand?"
Dropping her head guiltily Farrah nodded. Hugging Carrie and letting out a muffled apology against her shoulder.

"It's okay. C'mon, let's go get some lunch."
"More candy?", Farrah grinned as she stood up.
"I think you had more than enough today. Let's go."
Taking her by the hand Carrie walked her to the elevator, letting her press the button before the doors opened to reveal Quinn.

"Pete!", Farrah cheered.
"Hey kid. You two getting lunch?", Quinn asked, looking to Carrie who nodded, forcing a smile on her face.
"Yeah. With Danny. We're already running late though. Excuse us."

Stepping around him into the elevator, she wasn't paying attention as Quinn stepped past Farrah. Subtly folding something into her palm before walking back to his office.

Waiting til Carrie wasn't looking Farrah slyly unfolded the envelope he'd handed off to her. Revealing a dollar bill, a Hershey kiss, and a post-it note with Quinn's phone number. "Use for emergencies or if you're bored."

Grinning brightly Farrah stuffed the envelope in her jeans pocket right as the elevator doors opened.
"What are you smiling about?", Carrie asked taking her by the hand.
"Nothing.", she blushed as they left the lobby.

Chapter Text

"So what are you in the mood to eat, besides chocolate?", Carrie teased as Farrah pouted, flipping open the menu once they were seated at the restaurant.

"Hey if it helps any I may get the triple layer chocolate cake for dessert, and there's no way I can finish it by myself.", Danny grinned as Farrah's face lit up.
"Thanks a lot.", Carrie scoffed. Shaking her head as the waiter approached them.
After she ordered a salad and Danny asked for a cheeseburger, frowning Farrah tried to decide.
"I hear the chicken fingers are really good here.". Danny suggested. Farrah looked up at him, puzzled.
"Chickens have fingers?"
"No, honey.", Carrie smiled trying not to laugh. "One order of chicken fingers please."
"With extra fries.", Danny added, getting a glare.
"What? Just welcoming her to America."
"Yeah in all its deep fried supersized glory.", Carrie groaned, sipping her water while Farrah blew bubbles in hers with her straw.
Clearing her throat not so subtly Carrie gave her a look.
"Sorry."
"It's okay.", she chuckled. Rolling her eyes before Danny spoke up.
"So Farrah I was wondering. Tomorrow when I go to the mosque I was wondering if you'd like to come along with me?"
Curiously she looked up. "I go with you?"
"Yeah, if you like."
"Carrie come too?"
"Well, honey I was thinking you and Danny could go for prayers and then afterwards, the three of us could go and check out the community center they built there."
"What is community center?", Farrah asked.
"It's a place with a lot of different activities. People go there to read, play games, paint, draw, pray."
"Yeah, and I bet you a lot of kids go there too.", Danny assured, but Farrah still looked wary.
"I have to go?"
"Well, sweetheart. I have to go back to work soon and I figured during the day, you can go to the community center and get to know other kids, practice your reading and play games. And when I'm done with work in the afternoon I'll pick you up."
"But, I like... Langley!"
Farrah protested.
"I like you and Pete and Bear and Virg and Dan!"
"Farrah you'll still be able to see all of us. I promise.", Danny assured.
"But this way you can make some new friends your own age. Have more people to spend time with."
Carrie said as Farrah busied herself folding the napkin on her lap.

"Farrah, honey talk to me, okay? What's wrong?", she asked. Nervous at how quiet and distant she'd gotten. Her nerves then went into overdrive when Farrah looked up with tears in her eyes.
"I don't want to go! I don't want to!", she cried. Folding her arms over the table before plopping her head on them.

When the waiter came by with the food. Danny looked at him indicating it'd be to go, while Carrie rubbed Farrah's back. Standing she scooped her up.
"C'mon honey we're going home.", she soothed, looking apologetically at Danny as they got the food, then retreated to the car.

After Danny dropped her back at Langley to get her car, promising to call him later Carrie drove home while Farrah dozed in the backseat. Sadly watching her in the rear view mirror, knowing she still had some time on the road, she called Maggie's cell on the speakerphone.

"Hey, sweetie. How are you? How's Farrah?"
"We had a pretty rough day."
"What happened? Is Farrah okay?"
"She's asleep in the backseat. We're going home now."
"Well what happened?"
"I got out of my meeting and she wasn't in the office where I left her."
"Oh, Carrie..", Maggie sighed.
"She was fine. She was with this colleague of mine I didn't expect her to be with but she befriended anyway."
"Well as long as she's alright."
"Well that wasn't the rough part. Danny Galvez, that friend of mine who offered to take Farrah to the mosque, brought up bringing her there, us checking out that community center I told you about?"
"How'd Farrah react?"
"She refused to go. She looked terrified at the thought of it. She started crying, shaking her head. I don't know what to do.", she said softly. Periodically checking over her shoulder to make sure Farrah was still asleep.

"Carrie you're going to have to be firm about it."
"But Maggie she was so-"
"I know. But if you let her have her way with this she'll think some tears can get her out of anything. And she needs to socialize. Make friends. The community center sounded perfect for her."
"I haven't even seen the place yet and I told her she was going.", Carrie said guiltily.
"So bring her there tomorrow. Maybe seeing it will help you both."
"It's just the look on her face when I told her she had to go. Even when I found her in Quinn's office she clung onto me for dear life. Asking me why I was gone so long."

"Carrie have you thought about taking her for counseling? I know a lot of good child therapists she could talk to."
"Why so she won't turn out to be a nut like me!", she snapped. Then sighed.
"Carrie..."
"I know, I'm sorry. I just."
"I know, rough day."
"I'll think about what you said."
"Good. And it's a good idea to show her the community center tomorrow. Trust me, you won't feel so guilty if you see she can have fun there."
"That's good to hear."
"Yeah the only one that'll feel heartbroken and scared will be you."
"I'm hanging up now!"
"Okay. Call me later though if you need to."
"Okay, bye."

Pulling into the driveway she parked, then reached in the backseat. Gently shaking Farrah awake.
"Farrah, we're home honey."
Sleepily acknowledging that, she unbuckled her seat belt while Carrie opened the door for her.
"You have a good nap?"
Stretching, Farrah nodded as Carrie unlocked the front door and they went inside.
"You hungry?"
"Yes!"
"Alright, I still have our stuff from lunch we can munch on but here.."
Walking into the kitchen, she opened the fridge taking out some fruit to cut up.
"What are you doing?"
"Just making some fruit salad for us. I have some strawberries. You like bananas, right? And grapes?"
"Yes.", Farrah grinned, sitting at the table. Opening her takeout container she reached for a chicken finger, cautiously taking a bite.
"How is that?"
"It good. You want?"
"No thanks, I'm fine.", Carrie smiled, bringing over the fruit and her salad, along with some iced tea she'd poured.

"You're going to have to tell me some other foods you like so I know what to buy at the store when I go."
"I can go with!", Farrah asked excitedly.
"Well I usually go on my way home from work.", Carrie sighed as the girl's face fell.
"I not go with you? To work?",
"Farrah I can't bring you every day."
"Is it be..because I took?"
"Took what?"
"Dollar from Max?", Farrah asked fearfully.
"Oh no, sweetheart. No. But remind me to pay Max back."
Sighing, Carrie reached across the table to squeeze her hand.

"Farrah I know we're still getting adjusted but, things are different here than they were in Iraq. With my job here, I can't be with you all the time and be your tutor. Soon, maybe next fall, you're going to have to be taught by other people. Not just me."
"But, I like when you teach me."
"I know. I like it too. But, if I want to do my job, you know...be a spy and protect you from the bad guys? I can't keep being your only teacher." Carrie said sadly as Farrah's face went even sadder. Moving her chair closer to her she pulled her onto her lap.

"I know it's a little scary to think about."
"A lot scary.", Farrah corrected.
"Listen though, all Danny and I talked about earlier was someplace where you can go just for a few hours. Just while I'm at work. If I could bring you to Langley each day with me, I would. But I can't. This community center though, we'll take a look tomorrow after you say prayers with Danny. Just see what it's all about. And we'll both keep an open mind. Right?"
Carrie asked as Farrah sat up slightly, looking up.
"You know this scares me a little too?"
"You're scared?", she asked in surprise.
"Yeah. Not being able to spend all day with you. It makes me sad and scared. But..I'm gonna be brave about it because I know you'll be having a good time and make new friends."
"Yes?"
"Oh yes. This will work out sweetie. I promise."
"Pink swear?", Farrah asked shyly, getting a laugh and another hug.

Chapter Text

After getting the call from Danny that he and Farrah were through with prayers, Carrie drove over to the mosque to meet them, but not before checking out the neighboring community center.
The building was large and modern and the mosque had gotten an overhaul as well. There were some apartment residences, gardens, and the newly acquired hospital was just up the road.
It was a well kept area and she felt comfortable there as of now. She just hoped Farrah would feel similarly.

After parking and tying a silk scarf to cover her head, leaving her car and locking it, she turned to wave at Danny and Farrah across the way.
Waving back Farrah giggled and came running.
"Hey you.", Carrie grinned. "How'd it go in there?"
"It good.", she grinned.
"It was good for me too.", Danny smiled.
"So listen you want to check out that cool building we parked by?", he asked as Farrah eagerly nodded, stepping in front of the adults to lead the way over.

"Wow, she's excited! You must've really talked up our plan on the ride over.", Carrie smirked. Relieved but a little envious that Danny had been the one to convince Farrah to check out the center.
"She was reluctant but I walked her by the gardens and made sure we passed by a window into a game room. Her face totally lit up."
"Yeah I know that look well. Thank you though. You've been so terrific with her."
"She's a terrific kid. It's easy to be."
"So I figured after we explored a bit I'd break off from you guys, try and get a minute with the imam."
"You'll get more than a minute, I called this morning and he invited the three of us to his place."
"We're going to his house?", Carrie asked in awe.
"I explained things to him and he was anxious to speak with you personally. And to make Farrah feel welcome."
"Holy shit.", she marveled.
"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll make a good impression.", he laughed.
"Danny, seriously. I can't even.."

Stopping just short of the entrance Danny sighed, turning to face her.
"Carrie do me a favor. Stop thanking me."
"But-"
"Look when I found out what you did, turning your whole world upside down to protect Farrah and keep her safe. Watching you with her...honestly I think it's pretty fucking incredible. Admirable, whatever you want to call it."
"Okay are you trying to make me blush?", she teased though she was touched by his words.
"No but that would be an interesting thing to see.", Danny smirked.

Reaching the doorway, seeing the adults still a ways back Farrah turned, crossed her arms and stamped her foot impatiently.
"Oooh seems we're in trouble."
"C'mon, before she goes in without us.", Carrie laughed.
Walking into the community center she surveyed the space, taking in every detail like any well trained spy would. The interior was spacious and modern, definitely kid friendly, but she started frowning in spite of it all.
"Carrie? Everything alright?"
"What?"
"Is everything alright? You looked distracted." And still did to Danny's concern. Something about this place seemed to have her on edge all of a sudden.
"I'm fine. Really, just forget it.", Carrie said defensively.
"Carrie.."
"C'mon. Pretty soon Farrah will be a mile ahead of us.", she said, continuing to look around with an odd feeling that she should stay put. Like she'd miss something if she didn't.

Before Danny could attempt to, Farrah interrupted the blonde's thoughts.

"Carrie! There are games!" Grabbing her hand she half dragged her off.
"Okay you're gonna pull my arm out of the socket if you're not careful!"
Eventually dropping her hand, Farrah ran to join five other kids about her age playing Twister.
"Looks like she's adjusting pretty well.", Danny smiled as Carrie nodded.
"Yeah, looks it."
Trying not to get emotional at the sight she crossed her arms, standing a bit straighter.
"So yeah, when did you say that meeting was?", she asked.
Taking the hint she needed to focus on something else, Danny nodded then went to talk Farrah into accompanying them. Only managing to with the promise of a game of Twister later on.

Carrie meanwhile stood back, curious why she felt such a pull to this place. She was hoping it was because Farrah looked so content and kid-like here. But her gut told her there was more to it then that. Unfortunately she didn't have time to explore the thought further as Danny walked her and Farrah to the apartments.

...

"Miss Mathison, Mr. Galvez.", the imam greeted as his wife Zahira welcomed Carrie and Danny inside.
While the adults reacquainted in the foyer, Farrah stood shyly behind Carrie, peering out once in awhile from behind her leg.

"Hello Farrah.", Zahira smiled. Getting to Farrah's level she began chatting with her in Arabic and Farrah eagerly chatted back.
Meanwhile the imam nodded for Carrie and Danny to take a seat.
Obeying his request, helping herself to some tea in the process, Carrie perched on the sofa across from him. Danny seated at her right.

"I really appreciate you taking the time to see us about Farrah."
"Mr. Galvez has explained your situation. You have done a brave thing, Miss Mathison. Farrah is lucky to have you."
"I'm lucky to have her.", Carrie smiled.
"So you are still with the CIA?"
"Yes. It was really a necessity after..."
"I understand.", the imam said solemnly, not wanting to reflect on that horrible day.
"I have heard you are second in command to the director now."
"Yes."
"That is quite an honor. Quite a responsibility."
"It is. Farrah though is the responsibility on my mind at the moment, Imam."
"Understandably."
"Obviously with my work I can't be with her constantly. Not in the same capacity I could in Iraq. I have family and a few close friends I trust to watch her, but, I can't ask them to every day. And bringing her to Langley with me-"
"I can see how that would be difficult to arrange."
"It's not a setting I want her getting used to, lets just leave it at that.", Carrie shrugged.
"She needs someplace where she can socialize with kids her own age. Someplace safe she can be when I can't be with her. That's my priority right now."

"I understand Miss Mathison.", the imam said calmly. Trying to put her more at ease.
"I assure you Farrah will be well looked after . Zahira observed her earlier with other children who regularly attend the center, and she got along with them beautifully. She will be a welcome addition here."

"What about safety?", Danny chimed in. "Is there constant supervision? Professionals to keep an eye on the kids?"
"Since our renovations we are a very secure environment. The way the day is structured for the children in our daycare program involves constant adult supervision. All activities, educational, recreational, spiritual are monitored. There is video surveillance, and anyone working or volunteering with children must undergo a background check and meet my standards."

"As well as mine.", Zahira chimed in, looking up from the game of cards she was playing with Farrah.
"You can trust that Farrah will be well looked after."
"Well, I guess that's all I can ask for.", Carrie softly smiled as Danny squeezed her shoulder.
"It is easy to see you have both given the girl a loving home. You two should be very proud."
"What?", Carrie laughed. Danny quickly moving his hand away.
"No..we're not." "That's to say she and I, aren't.." "No.."
"I'm sorry. I misunderstood."
"Farrah is my responsibility, Imam. I'm her guardian. Danny is just helping us out. He's been a good friend.", Carrie explained.
"Still, it is noble. What you both are doing for her."
"Thank you."

After discussing the additions made to the mosque and the center, the structure provided for the kids attending that combined play and learning, the supervision they received from professionals and volunteers, Carrie felt more comfortable with the thought of Farrah spending her days here.

On her and Danny's tour of the center with the imam though, she couldn't shake the odd feeling she'd had since walking in, that seemed to be getting stronger. That there was more to this place she had yet to see.

"Miss Mathison, this way?", the imam said, nodding as politely as possible for her to keep up with him and Danny.
"Coming."
Hearing giggling and footsteps behind her, Carrie stepped off to the side as the group, about five kids, ran past her to an adult at the end of the hallway.
Squinting a bit to see him she froze.
Tall, male, jeans, button down shirt, brownish hair with a few stubborn streaks of red.

"Carrie?", Danny frowned. Wondering what had stopped her in her tracks just now and had her looking down, moving her ring from finger to finger.
"It's nothing, I'm fine.", she dodged. Looking back up seeing the stranger was no longer there. She may as well have imagined him.

"Yeah you've been saying that all day but I can tell, something's up."
"Nothing is up!"
"Miss Mathison, Mr. Galvez?" the imam asked approaching them.
"Is everything alright?"
"Everything's fine, Imam. I...I just remembered I have some errands I have to run with Farrah though. We should probably be going."
"I understand."
Taking out his cellphone he called Zahira asking her to bring Farrah to the children's wing, then turned back to Carrie.
"Farrah is sitting in with a group of children for a story but, Zahira will bring her back shortly."
"Okay, thank you."

Carrie mumbled, stepping around them to take cautious steps down the hallway.
"Do you have any more questions for me, Miss Mathison?"
"I'm sorry?", she asked turning around.
"He asked if you have any questions for him, Carrie.", Danny frowned.
"No, thank you. I'm fine."
"So we've heard.", Danny muttered under his breath. Shaking his head as Carrie kept looking around, flustered. Looking for something that clearly wasn't here anymore.

Approaching her he pulled her off to the side of the hall.
"Danny what the-"
"Carrie, what's the matter with you?"
"Nothing!", she snapped. Jerking away from him as Zahira walked Farrah over.

"Carrie!", the girl whined.
"We have to go?"
"Yeah, honey. We do.", Carrie said, stealing another glance down the now deserted hallway. But instead of curious, now she just felt foolish and frustrated and anxious to leave.

"But we'll be back before you know it, you have my word."
"Can I say goodbye to friend?"
"I..sure! Go ahead.", she smiled as Farrah took off down the hall, and then the adjacent one. Ducking into a small room where her group was still listening intently to a story.

Maneuvering around them to the front of the room she threw her arms around the man telling it, as he chuckled in surprise.
"Hey brat. Back so soon?"
"I have to go."
"Oh.."
"But I be back tomorrow."
"Good to hear.", he smiled earning another hug in the process.
"Bye Nick.", Farrah grinned before scampering off.

Chapter Text

"Thanks again Zahira but really, I'm fine. I ate four fluffernutter sandwiches with the kids during snack today. Yeah they kept making them and then were too full to finish them all. No, I wouldn't make that up! Look I'll be at your place tomorrow night for dinner. I promise. Alright, have a good night."

Hanging up the disposable cell (He actually preferred it. With less bells and whistles it better resembled a phone he'd have owned pre hole-in-the-ground) Brody stuffed it in his back pocket. Reaching for the keys to his apartment.
He felt bad turning down Zahira's invitation but he wasn't the least bit hungry, and just wanted to crawl into bed in front of his small TV. It had been a long, interesting, strange, day. And he couldn't shake the feeling he'd missed something this afternoon. Odd since he knew the community center like the back of his hand.

He'd been a fixture there for months. He helped construct the addition where he now worked and lived. And now helped out with the youth group and after school groups. Weekdays from 8 to 3, sometimes 4:00.

The kids knew him as Nick. Not Nicholas, not Brody, not Sergeant, not Congressman, not "that Marine war hero guy.", though anti-hero would be the better term. By some miracle of Allah they didn't know or recognize him as a would've been suicide bomber either. Maybe it was their age. (He only worked with the younger set). Maybe it was the Just For Men streaked through his hair. Whatever the reason he was grateful.

He had a job. Unpaid but it provided a roof over his head. And offered the protection of a small but mighty community of good people. That had done the unthinkable and made him feel like a good person again. After the bombing Brody didn't think that was remotely possible.

He hadn't planted the C4 in his car that godawful day. He still had no fucking clue who had. But he'd felt as guilty as he looked and ran like hell when given the chance to.
Once he reached international waters he traveled to Europe. Hair dyed a shade of "Espresso", color contacts that hurt his eyes like a mother, and cheap reading glasses that actually proved useful. With his fake ID's and a well affected British accent he had an adequate disguise in play.
It bought him time in small towns to work and earn money for train tickets. Got him past security at borders frighteningly well.
But living like a nomad lost its appeal quickly. When he reached Amsterdam he was tempted to get ridiculously high in a coffee shop. He did get ridiculously drunk in Hanover. And planned to go back to his room with a bottle of something, pass out and not wake up. But before crawling into bed with his booze, he made the mistake of going through the pack Carrie had given him one last time.

Sewn into a pocket at the base of the bag was an address scribbled on a post-it note. Brody realized it was for a PO box and proceeded to sob himself to sleep. The next morning, once his hangover subsided, he wrote out the first of about 40 more postcards. Vague messages with the same set of initials. "CB." It wasn't being with her but as close as he knew he could get.
That was unless she actually did clear his name. He'd wanted more than anything to believe what she said that night. Knowing if anyone could do the impossible it would be her.
Part of him, the non-selfish part of him, small but still existent, wanted her to admit to herself that she couldn't. That she'd given up the plan to absolve and find him, cut both of their losses.

But the selfish part of him wanted her to find him. Wanted her here snuggled against his shoulder when he'd fall asleep on the train. Her hand in his when he walked through crowded marketplaces and town squares.
He missed that heightened, half-Irish, dangerous fucking drunk in her all through Dublin. He pictured her dragging him to a French bakery at the crack of dawn for croissants. He wanted to be the one to take her to Nepal and Uganda like she fantasized about. And anyplace else they'd agree on until they'd tire of life on the run. Somehow find somewhere to settle down.
Maybe some chalet in the mountains that reminded him of her family's place. He could play cabin-boy and build fires and do the laundry. Whatever she fucking asked so long as she kept him from being alone.
Even half a world away she still managed to keep her word about that. He reminded her with each card he mailed.

One would've thought he'd be sending cards to Jessica too. He wanted to miss her. He did miss his kids. And still shed a tear each night when he prayed for them. For Dana he shed a few more.
He took comfort in knowing though they all had Mike, someone to be there. Be better for his family than he ever hoped or tried to be.
But Carrie. He wondered who was there for her now. Saul, maybe. If he'd stopped raking her over the coals for helping him flee up North. She had her family, her sister and dad and her nieces. Maybe she had another guy. Maybe she had moved on. Unlike him.
Years (had it really been years?) later, he remembered every last detail of that night in the woods. The tears in her eyes and the crack in her voice and the smell of her hair and the tiny whimper she'd made when he kissed her. God he missed kissing her.
He'd gone four months before finally fucking someone. A brunette. Patricia something or other. She squeaked when she laughed and had been too tipsy to see past his hairdye. He'd left after she fell asleep and was on a train for Zurich the same night.
Staring out the window, leg jiggling nervously to the annoyance of the man ahead of him, he felt empty and restless and tempted to jump off the train wherever it stopped next. He could hike into the mountains. Maybe he'd freeze to death.
Eventually though he had enough of the cold. Enough time had passed for him to be seen in the sun. At least he hoped. He made his way to Barcelona, then Lisbon, Casablanca (his postcard from there was the only one he signed differently. He was Ilsa to her Rick after all)
Afterwards was Cairo, Hebron, the West Bank. Eventually Damascus. Why he wound up there he still couldn't say. Maybe the fear was what he needed, a twisted adrenaline rush to keep him moving.
Moving towards what he wasn't sure. Until his third day there, the auto repair shop he'd pass on his afternoon walks went up in flames. A neighboring house was just within reach of the blaze.

Brody ran over without thinking twice. Freeing a child from the shop who he knew the rescue workers wouldn't have gotten to in time. He was rewarded with grateful tears from the boy's family and a meal inside the still semi-intact house. The garage was destroyed, but his hands weren't and he did the best to help the construction process along. It gave him an opportunity to settle down. Be a builder. Find a way to be unbroken.

In a span of months he'd proven invaluable to the family. Once their home and business were rebuilt, they went about trying to rebuild him. They knew his story, they knew the tears he shed when confronted about it were those of an innocent, wronged man. In their eyes the way to healing was prayer. Where better to pray than at a mosque that conveniently needed some help being built.

Zahira met Brody in Toronto as asked of her by her older brother, Jabari. She quickly recognized the marine, his hair dye had faded, and she was tempted to run away and never see him again.
But she also knew her brother. He wasn't a pushover, wasn't soft-hearted. And had no tolerance for extremism and zealots poisoning his religion. It was difficult to earn his respect and trust. So if he believed Brody was good, had accepted him into his home and family, so should she.

She and her husband still kept him as concealed as possible. He was never photographed and mostly interacted with children. Less likely to remember a face plastered all over the news when they were four years old.
The Brody of three years ago would've been restless. Antsy.
The Brody now though took comfort in being someplace for longer than a few weeks at a time. He had a simple, quiet life and took it for the blessing that it was.
His only struggle was trying to block out the one reason he had to risk exposure. Jessica and Mike had moved to Charleston, West Virginia with the kids. Someone else though was less than an hour away.

One night after running some errands with the imam, from the backseat Brody asked if they could turn down her street, drive past her town house. He looked at the stoop where he'd stood holding her face and his mind wandered in the front door. To the kitchen where they toasted each other, then the stairs he'd carried her up when they'd gotten a little too toasted. The bed where they curled up next to each other the rest of the night and well into the next morning.
He snapped from his reverie when the imam drove away. Concerned for the dissolved looking man in the back seat of his car and deciding it was for the best they pray before bed.

Brody hadn't gone back there since. Obviously he couldn't continue sending the postcards. There were only so many he could access that appeared to be from other countries. Repeatedly he'd asked the imam if the mosque could be implicated should he be discovered, why he would take such a risk on his behalf.
The imam said repeatedly without his help in Damascus, Zahira's family would be destitute. Only a truly evil person with no respect for Allah would have abandoned them in their time of need.
Brody eventually forced himself to stop feeling guilty. Finally accepted he'd been granted another chance.
Though he still thought about the second chance Carrie had offered before the world imploded. He wondered what dress she would've worn on that date.
He lay in bed that night wondering a lot of things. Like why at work today he'd felt so drawn to that new girl in his reading group. Farrah something or other. She was a sweet kid and had taken to him right away. She reminded him a lot of Issa. But there was something else about her he couldn't put his finger on. At least tomorrow he could keep trying to figure out what.

Chapter Text

"Carrie? What name should she have?"
Farrah asked from the backseat, holding up and admiring the doll Zahira had given her.
"She pretty, yes?"
"Yes, very pretty." Carrie said, trying to pay attention to Farrah, focus on the road and quiet all the chatter in her mind that had been replaying on loop since leaving the mosque,
Why she hadn't thought to bring some extra pills...

"Carrie?"
"Yes, what?"
"What should I name her?"
"I..I don't know, Farrah.", she sighed, racking her brain for names.
"What about Juliet?"
"No."
"Angela?"
"No, I know!"
"What?"
"Claire!", Farrah chirped.
"Yes. Her name is Claire."
"Okay, Clara it is then."
"No, Carrie! Claire!", she whined. Wanting to know why she was so distracted.

...

After a few more minutes they arrived home and Carrie couldn't get inside fast enough. Hopefully if she took a pill now, mellowed out with her music, she'd settle down enough to go through Brody's postcards tonight with a fresh perspective, a clearer head.
"We have pizza for dinner?"
"Farrah no. Remember we bought stuff to make vegetable lasagna at the store?"
"But..pizza?", Farrah pouted as Carrie sighed.
"Okay we'll make lasagna tomorrow.", she relented, rubbing the bridge of her nose. There went her structure for the day.
"Pizza!"
Farrah cheered, skipping around the kitchen as Carrie dialed, ordered, then turned to face her with crossed arms.
"Okay I want you to do some reading before it gets here. Go into the living room with your book. I'll be in in a minute."

Quickly she went upstairs to her medicine cabinet, unlocking it before grabbed her pills. Annoyed with the new child-proofed cap.
"Stupid, fucking thing."
Finally removing it, tilting the bottle to retrieve the pill she swore again. Realizing she was down to her last one and remembering Maggie had to pull a double shift tonight. She wouldn't have time to get a refill tomorrow until after work.
Be worked up now...worked up at work. Weighing the consequences of each, knowing she could probably relax tonight if she put on her music and kept Farrah close, slipping the pill back in the bottle she capped it shut.
"Carrie!"
"I'll be right there." she sighed heading downstairs. Where to her frustration Farrah wasn't quietly reading.
"Farrah? Farrah where are you?"
"I here!" Giggling she ran at Carrie from behind the couch. Expecting to be lifted or tickled but, nothing.
"Carrie?"
"Farrah I thought I asked you to read your book."
"I read at center. I want to play!"
"Farrah please. Just go and read your book until the pizza comes."
"But.."
"Farrah!", Carrie snapped. Angrily the girl turned and walked to the couch, plopping down on the cushion and grabbing her book from the coffee table.
Flipping it open on her lap she loudly flipped the pages, not reading one word on them.

They sat in a quiet huff until the pizza came, and even at the table eating they still weren't speaking to each other. Finally Carrie set her crust down, forced herself to be the grown-up and broke the silence.
"Farrah I'm sorry I yelled at you before.", she apologized.
"You no yell before.", Farrah whispered looking up. Eyes wide and wondering if something was wrong.
"I know honey. I'm sorry. I'm just, tired. It's been a long day.", Carrie shrugged.
"I'm not tired!"
"Yeah, I noticed. Look how about I go upstairs and draw you a bath."
"Bubble bath?!", Farrah grinned.
"As long as you promise you'll try and settle down. Enough to go to sleep."
"Okay.", she nodded.
"Pink swear?"
"Pink swear."

...

Once the bath was ready, after making sure Farrah wouldn't do anything silly or dangerous like try and hold her breath underwater, while she cleaned up Carrie went over to her room. Putting on the radio she went through some files Saul asked her to look at. Skimmed a parenting book Maggie had loaned her.
Getting more and more bored each page she turned, she shut her eyes for a bit.

Not hearing Farrah get out of the tub and into her hot pink bathrobe. It was a match for Carrie's but smaller and fluffier. Seeing she only had one towel in the bathroom to dry off with, wanting another for her hair, Farrah remembered seeing one in the linen closet she'd tried to hide in that day.
Going into the hallway, she opened it and climbed the shelves like they were rungs on a ladder to reach the top. There was a purple towel there she had her eye on.
Standing on her tiptoes she grabbed it, then noticed something hidden behind it.
It was a box with a ribbon tied around it. Like a present.
She smiled, remembering when Carrie had scattered presents in different hiding places before for her sixth birthday. And assumed this was the gift she'd chosen to hide first. Her birthday was in two months after all.

Carefully she climbed down the shelves, making her way to her room with the box tucked under her arm.
Shutting her door behind her she set it on the bed. Eagerly undoing the pink ribbon, then carefully folding away the cardboard and tissue paper layers.
Revealing what seemed to be a perfect outfit for her doll. It was pink and soft like a blanket with little hearts embroidered on it in silver thread.

"Claire you have new pj's!", she squealed. Changing her into them before tucking Claire into the doll crib.
"Now you stay warm."
Changing into her own pj's, Farrah ran in Carrie's room and over to her bed. Shaking her awake.
"Carrie I tuck Claire in, now you tuck me in! I want bedtime story too."
"Okay sounds like a plan.", Carrie smiled getting up. Between eating an actual dinner (leftover salad with her pizza), her music and her catnap now, she was feeling better. But knew she couldn't afford any more setbacks tonight.
"So you get Clare settled in for the night?"
"Yes.", Farrah said proudly, pulling back the corner of the blanket in the doll crib.
"She has warm pajamas too."

Thrown off guard, Carrie stepped back.
"F..Farrah? Where...where did you find those?"
"In closet. Surprise present!"
Reeling, running one hand through her hair her other gripped the top of the bedpost.
"Carrie? You okay?"
Taking deep breaths she tried to get back in check. She couldn't start crying or anything, not yet.
"Farrah, honey you should go to bed okay?"
"But, bedtime story?"
"Farrah it's time for bed." Pulling back the comforter she flipped on the nightlight. Then gave her a quick hug goodnight.
"Sleep well okay?"
"Carrie?"
Farrah called but she was already out the door.

...

Now confused and nervous, but deciding to be brave, Farrah quietly opened her door and tiptoed down the hallway. Peeking in the partially open door as Carrie turned up the radio. Pacing around her room, running a hand through her hair she reached for her ring, sliding it from finger to finger. Then struggling to open her top dresser drawer, rummaged through it to take out something small, soft looking and the same pink color as the doll pajamas. Perching on the end of the bed she held it close to her face, taking shaky breaths that eventually slowed down. Setting the object down she got up and walked to her nightstand. Grabbing the postcards Farrah recognized from her first day here.
She watched as Carrie knelt on the rug, skimming a card then setting it down on the floor. Doing the same with the next 38, arranging them in rows. Smiling at some, sniffling at others. After reading the last one, her face crumpled and she crumpled the card, throwing it aside. Saying a word Farrah wasn't supposed to hear a few times before she started crying, then started crying harder.

Farrah wanted to go over and try and help her. Figure out what was wrong but she was scared to. And almost crying herself. Sniffing her tears back though she tiptoed back to her room, grabbing a folded envelope from her jewelry box.
Going downstairs, unwrapping her Hershey kiss on the way and popping it in her mouth, once swallowing the chocolate she grabbed the kitchen phone. Dialing with shaky fingers.

"Quinn speaking."
"Pete?!"
"Farrah?"
Looking over her shoulder for Carrie, worried she'd see her on the phone with Quinn and get upset like she had been in his office, Farrah tried to talk but had trouble.
"Farrah, is everything alright?"
"N..no."
"What is it? Where are you?"
"At..house."
"Did something happen? Are you okay? Is Carrie okay?"
"N..No. Carrie's.."
"What's wrong, is she hurt?"
"She..."
"Farrah, it's alright. Just tell me what's wrong. It's the only way I can help."

Hearing her fear over the phone Quinn sighed, running a hand through his hair and forcing whatever worry he felt down.
"Farrah can I talk to Carrie?"
"No!", Farrah cried.
"She..she not know I..."
"Alright then you have to be the one to tell me what's going on with her. Please."
"She..she crying."
"What?"
"She... upset. She crying, she...she not stop!"
"Do you know why?"
"No, she just upset! I don't..."
"Shhh, it's alright. Farrah, it's alright. Look, whatever is wrong with Carrie is not your fault. You understand? I'm going to come over."
"Yes?"
"Yes. I'll be there in ten minutes. Just leave Carrie be until I get there."
"Yes. Okay Pete.", Farrah nodded, wiping her nose with her sleeve.
"Good. You're a good kid Farrah, I'll be over as soon as I can."

Chapter Text

Hearing a soft knock, after checking out the front window to make sure it was Quinn, Farrah ran to unlatch the door. Letting him inside before throwing her arms around him.
"Pete!"
"Hey kid. It's gonna be alright, I promise.", Quinn soothed, holding her until she was ready to be released.
"Where's Carrie?"
"In her room."
"Which way..?"
Taking him by the hand and upstairs Farrah pointed down the hallway. Looking nervous.
"It's alright, Farrah. I'll check on her. Make sure she's alright."
"She keep crying and I don't know why!", she said. On the verge of tears herself.
"Hey..don't worry. You did the right thing by calling me."
"She won't be mad?"
"Not at you."
After Farrah calmed down enough to go back to her room, Quinn went to the end of the hall and knocked on the partially open door.
"Carrie? Carrie it's Quinn."

Looking up, alarmed, Carrie scrambled to gather the postcards scattered around her.
"What the fuck are you doing here?", she asked, wiping at her eyes as he walked in the door.
"Farrah called."
"What?"
"I gave her my number at Langley. Told her to use it if she needed to. Guess after seeing you, like this, she needed to."
"I'm fine. She shouldn't have called.", Carrie sighed. Knowing full well Quinn wouldn't believe her but it was worth a shot.
"You don't believe that, why the fuck should I?"
Rolling his eyes he bent down, picking up a postcard Carrie hadn't managed to grab.
"Give me that!", she growled.
"If its so valuable why was it in the corner of your goddamn floor?", Quinn asked, reading it.
"'Dreamed about us. Woke up to a thunderstorm during the driest summer on record here. Taking it as a sign. Missing you. CB.'
Well that's the shittiest haiku I've ever read.", he snorted.

"Good thing. I hate poetry.", Carrie sniffed.
"Farrah shouldn't have called you, Quinn."
"You're right. She shouldn't have. Because I told her only to call if something was wrong, if she was scared."

Sitting next to her on the floor, he looked at her with an arched eyebrow.
"So are you going to tell me what's wrong, or will I have to guess?"
Not getting a response he rolled his eyes.
"Is it the haikus? I mean I know they suck but wrong is a bit strong an adjective."

Laughing lightly in spite of herself, Carrie sniffled again. As Quinn got a better look at the card and went serious.
"Let me guess, they're from Brody."
Nervously Carrie looked up.
"I'll take that as a yes. How long?"
"How long what?"
"How long has he been sending them to you?"
"It doesn't matter. None of them are recent.", she said bitterly. "All of them were postmarked when I was still in Iraq. The newest one I have is six months old."
"And that's what has you so freaked out."

"I have proof Brody is innocent, Quinn. He needs to know about it. And these cards are the only way he'd contact me. They're the only shot I have of tracking him down."
"You're sure about that?", Quinn asked.
"Of course I'm sure about that! What do you think? I have him stashed up in my family's cabin!", Carrie snapped, then sighed.
"I don't know where he is. But he wouldn't stay anyplace for six months. Not unless..."
Her voice cracking over the words she shook her head as she stood up, tried to shake the idea out of her mind. Brody wasn't dead. He wasn't dead. Maybe if she thought it to herself enough she'd believe it with everything in her again.

Then out of the corner of her eye, realizing what she'd left on the bed Carrie quickly went to grab it. But she wasn't quick enough as Quinn stood up, reaching for it.
"What is this?", he asked.
"None of your fucking business, that's what!", Carrie snapped, reaching to grab it back from him but not succeeding.
"Jesus Christ, can't you show a little respect for my privacy, in my house!"
"Tell you what, I'll show you the same respect in your house for your privacy, that you and your ragtag bunch of investigators showed me."
At her surprised expression he rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, I know about that."

Unfolding his hand, Quinn got a better look at what appeared to be a small pink cap.
"This looks a little small for Farrah."
"How observant.", Carrie scoffed. When he didn't make some snide remark back at her, just stood there looking concerned and confused, she turned away. Folding her arms over her chest and hoping when she turned around he'd be gone. He'd be gone, his observing and questioning would be gone and she could think about something else.
Something besides the day she'd bought the cap and onesie in the baby boutique on Elm that she'd walked past on her lunch hour.
Three weeks after she'd taken the test in the third floor ladies room at Langley. Crying and cursing over it until she managed to wrap her mind around the results. Wondered if just the fact it had happened (this had never happened to her. She hadn't even had a scare in college) meant it was somehow meant to be.
It hadn't been meant to be.

"I can't talk about it, Quinn.", Carrie whispered. "I won't talk about it. I haven't with anyone and trust me, you won't be the first!"

Watching her shoulders shake, running down what was said in the past five minutes that could've sent her on another crying jag, his eyes widened ever so slightly.
"Carrie..you're not..."
He knew the timeline wasn't right, but also knew what the alternative was and he was hesitant to say anything more.
"No. Not anymore. No.", Carrie answered softly.
"Shit, Carrie."
Quinn barely moved to touch her shoulder when she jerked away. Turning slightly to face him with tears in her eyes.
"No. Don't do that. You can't do that.", she said fiercely.
"Do what?"
"You're not going to do this. Get pitying, sympathetic. Look at me like that."
"Well what am I going to do then?"
"You're going to keep being the cynical, cold-hearted, practical, impartial, son of a bitch I know and argue with."
"I am?", Quinn asked, trying to hide his amusement at her words given the gravity of the situation.
"Why?"
"Because that's what I need. If anyone is going to, push me. Be that foil that gets at me just enough to do what I need to do, it's you."
"Should I be flattered or offended?"

Rolling her eyes, she scoffed and sat back on the bed.
"Quinn nobody knew I was..."
"Yeah.", he nodded in understanding. Seeing her not wanting or able to finish the sentence.
"So when Berenson was griping about you taking off those two weeks during the Langley rebuild.."
"I told him I needed some time away from all the destruction, otherwise I'd have another fucking breakdown. He said he understood."
"Liar. He was practically on the verge of a breakdown then."
"Yeah well I wasn't exactly in a position to be much help to him.", she said coldly.
"After you came back, that was when you made the scene in his office saying you-"
"Had to go to Iraq.", she nodded.

"I didn't tell anyone though because I knew I'd get, concerned looks. Sympathy that I didn't want."
"And questions you didn't want..?", he asked.
"Yeah.", Carrie jerkily nodded. Though she knew anyone that knew her wouldn't need to ask who the father was.
"I didn't need anyone to remind me that I'd lost something. Anyone trying to make me feel better about something that I'll never feel better about. All of it would just keep me stuck in the past and I didn't need that. I don't need that."
"Well what do you need then?"
One look in her eyes and he knew.

"Brody. You love him that much?", he asked. Then realized he already knew that answer too.
"Forget it. I already have that figured out."
"Yeah? When did you figure it out, Quinn? After you stabbed his hand? When I screamed at you about the need to protect our only asset?"
"Don't you mean the need to protect his asset?", Quinn smirked, getting one in turn.
"Actually, I figured it out at your cabin."
"My..my cabin?", Carrie repeated.
"Yeah. That weekend before the bombing."
"What?! You were spying?!"
"Yeah. Be grateful I wasn't shooting.", he scoffed as she looked on in shock.
"Don't look that surprised. Estes brought me in to 'take care' of Brody."
"Estes what?!"
"He wanted him to lead us to Nazir. After that was through he saw him as expendable. Too much trouble."
"Why didn't you go through with it?"
"Brody's info checked out. The only reason to kill him would be to benefit Estes. And I had no interest in that. Not at your expense."
"Holy shit.", Carrie muttered.
"I'm a guy that kills bad guys, Carrie. But after the bombing, I'd be a liar if I said I didn't rethink my decision."
"He didn't do it, Quinn.", she insisted.
"Hey, I read the debrief notes. I know. But regardless Brody's still in for a world of shit."
"Yeah, I know."
"And..that's not making you rethink things? Stopping you?"

"Why should it? Look, I proved that Brody was a terrorist when the entire country saw him as Captain America. Now I have to prove the opposite. You don't think I can handle that?"
"You''re making it sound like its a fucking walk in the park, Carrie. You have an uphill battle here. All the way."
"Tell me something I don't know."
"Fine. You're going to need help."
"You know I actually kind of knew that.", she smirked. But as quickly as it came it faded.
"But I'm not cracked enough to think I'll get any. I'm representing a pretty fucked up cause."
"This is a fucked up business. Those kind of causes come around eventually.", Quinn shrugged. Letting out a heavy sigh. Knowing he'd probably regret what he was about to offer but, knowing he didn't have many options and neither did she.

"I'll...help. If you need me to."
"You will?", Carrie asked skeptically.
"Yeah."
"Bullshit."
"Excuse me?"
"Look Quinn. I may be crazy but I'm not a fucking moron.", she spat.
"I never said you were."
"You're telling me you want to help me help the man that you were brought in to assassinate?!"

"Hey, as you know goddamn well I didn't assassinate him. First time I've gone against orders in my entire fucking career. And I did it for your benefit. So you can let me walk out that door or you can let me help you on what would otherwise be a suicide mission."
"Interesting choice of words."
"Look if you want to go it alone, it's your choice. But you know I'm probably the best person to offer you any kind of help or backup."
"How exactly? By being the person I trust the absolute least?"

"Think about how the people you trust the most would handle all this.", Quinn countered. "If Farrah had called Berenson tonight instead of me, how do you think he would've reacted."
"Saul..would've-"
"He would've judged you for getting too close, done his best to talk you out of whatever plans you have, guilt trip you about the agency and how much you're needed, and when all was said and done make you feel shittier than you already do.", he said knowingly.
"You know I'm right. You're the fucking daughter Saul never had. He's the overprotective dad doing whatever he can to keep you from going to prom with an unapproved escort. And when I say whatever he can, I mean he'll get Brody in lockup before he'll watch you quit the agency to be with him."

"Look you don't know...Saul, he wouldn't-"
"He's got power now. Add that to a hate for and/or fear of someone and you've got a dangerous combination. Look at fucking Estes. At least I'm impartial. I may not give a shit about you or your star crossed fucked up fairy tale, but I'm not going to railroad Brody into prison just because I'm the guy in charge and I can."

"Brody's innocent, Quinn. Saul wouldn't.."
"Carrie be serious. You think Berenson would've turned a blind eye to these postcards? He'd leave your house, make one call and send an army after Brody. Hunt him down like a dog, bring him back, prove he's nothing more than a man who put on a suicide vest and make the charges stick. You're a fool to think otherwise."

Knowing he was right, but not wanting to admit it Carrie shrugged, putting her head in her hands.
"Like I said, you're going to have an uphill battle here. Tracking Brody down and proving he's not the new face of Al-Qaeda. Tackling that alone can drive you mad."
"That's not so much a drive as a short putt.", she scoffed.
"There's a good chance at some point you're going to need some help. When you're ready to admit you do, Farrah's got my number."
Quinn said as he stood up.
"What so I can just call you? Like we're girlfriends or something?", she teased as he rolled his eyes, turning to leave.
"Go check on your kid, Mathison. I'll see you tomorrow."

Chapter Text

After gathering up the postcards, placing them and the small cap in her top drawer, Carrie let out a few slow breaths then looked at the clock. It was after 11. All she could do was hope Farrah had gone to sleep.
Washing her face she changed into sweats and was set to crawl into her own bed. But she kept seeing the frightened, confused look on Farrah's face when she'd run out of the room. It sent a chill through her and she had to get up and check on her. Maybe if she saw her asleep it'd help her sleep. She hoped.

Opening the door a crack, sure enough the girl was out like a light, holding Merriweather close. But Carrie could see even in the dim room she was shivering, muttering in Arabic in her sleep.
Kneeling down beside her bed Carrie gently shook her awake.
"Farrah..Farrah wake up..."
"No..no, NO!", Eyes cracking open, her breathing hitched as she looked around.
"Where..?"
"Shhh, shhh, it's okay. You're with me honey, you're okay.", Carrie soothed, holding her close. When she tried to pull back from the hug Farrah clung on tighter. Taking it as a sign to stay put, she climbed into bed alongside her. Propping up on the pillow she rubbed slow circles on Farrah's back.
"Go to sleep now sweetheart. You're safe. I'm right here..", she repeated til Farrah drifted off again, then curled up and dozed off herself.

The next morning, after slipping out of bed to clean up and take her last remaining pill, she went back in Farrah's room and found her awake, seated in bed, staring back at her with a smile.
"Morning!"
"Morning honey. You okay?", Carrie asked, sitting beside her in bed.
"Yes, I'm good."
"You are, huh?", Carrie teased, tickling her under the chin until her laughing turned to squeaks. Once settling down though Farrah's expression went solemn.
"You feel better?", she asked nervously, getting a sigh.
"I always feel better when you're around.", Carrie said honestly, squeezing Farrah's hand.
"But Farrah there's something I think we should talk about."
"Yes?"
"Last night when I got all upset, when I started crying it wasn't because of anything you had done. I need you to know that."
"Then why? What happened?"

Trying to think of the best way to explain her condition to a six year old was no easy task. It didn't stop Carrie from attempting to though.

"You remember the other morning, before Danny picked you up to take you to the mosque. You didn't like the outfit we'd picked out and you didn't want to eat your breakfast and I said you must be in a bad mood?"
"Yes.", Farrah said shyly.
"And then later on, when you played Twister with the other kids you were laughing and happy?"
"Yes, I had..good mood."
"Yeah. You did. Well I have good moods and bad moods too. Only my moods are stronger than yours. And they last awhile longer too."
"Why?"
"Well because, my brain makes them happen that way.", Carrie shrugged.
"Your brain?"
"Yeah, something goes on...right there..", she said, pressing her finger to the side of Farrah's head.
"And sometimes I'm really happy. I want to go out and have fun. But other times I'm really upset and I cry a lot. That's what happened last night."
"Will..it happen again?"
"Most of the time there's medicine I take that keeps it from happening. Keeps me from getting too happy or too sad. And when I get a good nights sleep and eat well, that helps too. But, I can't say for sure that it'll never happen again, Farrah. I just, want you to know if it does and you see me acting that way again, it is absolutely one hundred percent, not your fault."
"No?"
"No. And you did the right thing last night calling someone when you were afraid."
"Even Pete?"
"Yeah. I'd rather though you call Maggie first. She's a doctor so she makes sure I have medicine and do all the things I'm supposed to do."
"Okay.", Farrah nodded.
"I just.."
"What, Farrah?"
"The pjs..for Claire. They make you sad?"
Sighing, wondering what possessed her to have this talk first thing in the morning Carrie bit her lip.

"Honey those clothes, they weren't meant for your doll. But, it was my fault. I shouldn't have just left them in the closet for you to find."
"Who are they for?", Farrah asked, as Carrie took a few slow breaths, then gave her a watery smile.
"They're for Claire now."
"Yes?!"
"Yes. I wouldn't dream of taking them away from her.", she said as Farrah grinned.
"Now, c'mon lets get some breakfast. I need to get to work and you need to get to the community center."

Eagerly Farrah took off down the stairs. Carrie followed, but bent to pick up Hershey kiss foil from the bottom step.
"I see someones sweet tooth got the better of them last night.", she smirked, handing the wrapper to Farrah who was sitting at the kitchen table. Opening a box of Rice Krispies.

Sheepishly the girl smiled, pouring some cereal into her bowl.
"Where did you get the candy from, your new friend at the community center?"
"No. Pete!"
"Ah, I see.", Carrie muttered.
"Carrie, do you like Pete?"

Turning around surprised, she arched an eyebrow.
"Like as in how, Farrah?"
"Like like boyfriend?"
"How do you know about boyfriends?!", Carrie laughed.
"TV."
"Remind me to keep an eye on what you watch.", she sighed, taking a seat at the table and pouring her own cereal.
"Quinn and I are just friends, Farrah."
"Yes?"
"Yes. And I don't see that changing anytime soon."
"Because of man in picture?"
"What picture, Farrah?"
"In your room, he have..red hair."
Finishing the rest of her cereal, Carrie stood up.
"You know we should go and get ready or we're going to be late."
"But..?"
"Go on and get changed and be sure to brush your teeth. I'm going to take a shower and then we'll head out."
Putting their dishes in the sink she nodded for Farrah to go upstairs. Letting out a heavy sigh once she had. It was too soon to talk about him. Too soon to talk without having some things figured out.

Chapter Text

Walking to the elevator at Langley, Carrie debated taking the back stairwell to get to her office and to just hole up in there the rest of the day.
Between her argument with Saul (who she hadn't spoken with since), her minor freakout at the mosque with Danny, and her meltdown that sent Peter Quinn to her house last night, she wasn't in the mood to see anyone from work. Maybe a security guard or two but that was it.
Of course though the stairwell was being repainted and was closed off. Today of all days. Rolling her eyes she turned the corner to the elevator, and made it up one floor before it stopped and let Quinn on. Shit.

Crossing her arms she bit her lip. She knew she had to say something, as much as she'd rather snap into frigid bitch mode, not say a word, continue staring at the panel of lit numbers on the wall ahead of her.
"Quinn.."
"Yeah?"
Turning slightly she sighed.
"I'm sorry about last night."
"Don't apologize. Are you-?"
"I'm fine. Thanks. But, I have a favor to ask."
"What?"
"I'd rather everyone here didn't know about-"
"I understand.", Quinn nodded, knowing her request could apply to a number of things they'd discussed.
"If Saul or anyone else..", trailing off Carrie's eyes welled up.

"Carrie, nobody else will know.", he assured.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she nodded. Then rolled her eyes embarrassed as she reached for a tissue to wipe her eyes.
"Shit I'm sorry, I just-"
"It's alright. You had a rough night. It happens. Doesn't mean it has to be broadcasted."
"Yeah, thanks."
"So is this elevator ride especially long, or-"
"Thanks too for being there for Farrah.", Carrie interrupted.
"I fucking scared her so much, I-"

Now it was Quinn's turn to interrupt.
"She wasn't too scared to ask for help. You should be proud of her."
"Yeah I'm just not too proud of me right now."
"Hey you're in control now though. That's what counts."
"Yeah, I am.", Carrie nodded.
"My offer still stands by the way, to help with your...plan.", Quinn said, grimacing on the last word.
"Look a little less enthused."
"Hey I said I'll help. I will help. Just don't expect me to enjoy myself."
"I wouldn't dare."

Smirking as they reached their floor, when the elevator doors started opening Carrie gave him a quick, gratitude filled hug. Blaming the public display of emotion on her pill not fully kicking in yet.
"Thanks for everything last night."
"You're welcome.", Quinn said, waiting til the doors opened fully before letting go.
As he stepped off the elevator he saw Danny step to the side, staring at him intently.

"Hi Danny.", Carrie greeted before turning down the hall to her office. Quinn was set to turn the opposite way towards his, but stopped short seeing Danny still standing near.
"Something I can help you with, Galvez?"
"Nothing, I just noticed you and Carrie in the elevator."
"So?", Quinn frowned as Danny frowned back.
"What the fuck, Galvez? You're looking at me like I kicked your dog or something."
"Look, you have a second?"
"Depends what for."

"Just..." Looking around, agitated, muttering under his breath Danny led Quinn into Quinn's own office.
"Yeah, thanks. I didn't know already how to get here."
Sitting down in his chair he looked at Danny quizzically.
"Seriously what the fuck do you want? I may actually be busy today."
"Busy with Carrie?", Danny asked bitterly.

"Oh fuck no." Quinn laughed darkly.
"You seriously think something's going on?"
"You hugged. She thanked you for last night."
"Yeah Danny, I'm such a good lay I get thanked for it. In hugs."
"Stop being a dick and just tell me.", Danny spat.
"Tell you what?!"
"Are you and Carrie together?"
"What if we are? What is it to you?", challenged Quinn.
"I just, I want to know."
"Goddammit, get that puppy dog look off your face. Relax. Carrie and I aren't, I repeat, aren't together. And I don't see that changing anytime soon. She's yours for the taking, Galvez. But with that mug of yours I doubt you'll get her."
"What?"
"Alright I take that back, it's not your face. But regardless, you're not going to get with Carrie. People's Sexiest Man wouldn't get with Carrie. Maybe she'd fuck him, but beyond that..."

Noting the defeated look on Danny's face, Quinn shook his head, rolling his eyes.
"Jesus fucking Christ.", he groaned.
"I don't know how it happened. but..."
Reaching into the cupboard under his desk, Quinn retrieved a bottle of vodka, pouring him and Danny each a shot.
"It's 9 AM."
"It's 5 in Moscow. Want to pretend we're in Moscow?"
Shrugging Danny took the shot as did Quinn, who didn't hesitate to pour himself another.

"I'm going to give you some much needed advice, Galvez. That will keep that bloated heart of yours from shattering into miniscule pieces."
"What?"
"Get the fuck over this schoolboy crush. Get out, get drunk, possibly laid, then cut your losses and move on. However you have to."
"Why? So you can be with Carrie?"
"Did you not hear a goddamn word I said? I am not with Carrie! I will never be with Carrie. And believe it or not, I'm okay with that."
"You're telling me you're not attracted to her?"
"Not in the way that involves moonlit strolls and long walks on the beach."
"So if she walked in here now and asked you on a date, you'd turn her down?"
"First off, Carrie wouldn't ask me that. And second, I'm not a "dating" guy. So yeah, I'd turn her down, but if she wanted to fuck in the elevator, I'd be happy to oblige.", Quinn said, downing half of his second shot before offering another to Danny. He declined.

"That's all you want in a relationship?"
"It's all I'll have being the way I am, having the job I do. And I've made peace with that. Enough to turn down a life with my child and the woman I've loved since junior high." Quinn said bitterly, the alcohol doing more of the talking at this point. He never mentioned Julia or their son that had his old name. They were his past. But enough of one that he couldn't consider having a future, at least one of that kind, with anyone else.

"I..I'm sorry, Quinn. I didn't know."
"Yeah well I'm a man of mystery. So are you going to nip this infatuation with Carrie in the bud or learn the hard way."
"I can't just-"
"Ah. The hard way. It's too bad I can't respect you for that but, you're clearly a masochist. I'm not into that."
"Well it's a good thing I'm not interested in you."
"Good thing you're not. I'd kick you to the curb.", Quinn laughed, sipping his shot.
"You trying to get hammered before noon?", Danny asked getting a shrug.

"So what makes you so sure Carrie wouldn't go for me, or People's Sexiest Man or anyone?"
"Two words. Sergeant Fucking Brody. Wait, three words."
"Brody's been gone over a year."
"Doesn't matter, she's still in love with the guy and I'm sorry, Danny. You're not going to be able to change her mind."
Danny looked skeptical.
"Brody fucked with her head so bad she was kicked out of the company. They're toxic together."
"What can I say, it's love.", Quinn snickered.
"You're such an expert."

"I know better than to be a third point on a fucking triangle. It doesn't matter if Brody's in no man's land or Antarctica or on the goddamn moon. Carrie's gonna track the son of a bitch down and then they're gonna walk off into the sunset with Farrah and their seven ginger children. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it."
"She's throwing her life away for him."
"Yeah talk to Berenson about joining his goddamn chorus. Now, if you don't mind, I have work to do so am-scray."
Rolling his eyes Danny stood up.
"I'm gonna bet you I can win her over."
"Lucky for you I'm not a betting man." Quinn called out as Danny walked out, then finished the rest of his drink.

Chapter Text

"Nick?"
Turning around from the library bookshelf he was organizing, Brody gave Farrah a smile.
"Hey brat, aren't you supposed to be in arts and crafts?", he asked curiously.
"Yes but.."
"But what?"
"This book, too easy. I want new one. This one."
Taking the book she handed him, Brody thumbed through it in surprise.
"Farrah this is a chapter book. You sure you're ready for this?"
"Yes.", she said proudly, handing over her library card.
"Alright then, let's get it checked out for you."

Going over to the front desk he scanned the book, then looked down to see her frowning, almost studying him.
"Everything okay?"
"Yes. You just.."
"What?
Trying to put her finger on why he looked so familiar, but unable to, Farrah shook her head.
"It nothing. I have book now?"
"Yup, all yours."
Handing it to her he gave her a smile, and a cautionary look.
"Listen though, you get tripped up on some words don't be too shy to ask for help. It's a good book, I want you to enjoy it."
"I ask you?"
"You better.", he laughed.
"And Carrie. I ask her too."
At the name Brody's heart skipped a beat or two. Making him feel like a fool. It wasn't like Carrie was that unique a name.

"C'mon, we better get you to the art room."
Reaching up to hold his hand, Farrah walked him out. Passing by a bulletin board in the hallway she pointed at a bright green flier.
"What is this?"
"I don't know, must be new." Moving closer Brody skimmed it.
"Looks like there's a parade and a street fair this weekend."
"Street fair?"
"Yeah, there's probably gonna be games, some rides."
"Food?"
"I'm thinking there will be.", Brody laughed, then looked at her with an arched brow.
"Hey did you get your lunch today?"
Shyly, Farrah shook her head.
"I wanted to finish card game and.."
"Here. But you didn't get them from me."
Eagerly she took the bag of pretzels from him and ripped it open.
"Thank you."
"You're welcome. But no more skipping meals. You want to grow up and be a spy you have to eat."
"You know spies?", Farrah asked eagerly.
"Yeah, kind of. Anyway promise me you're gonna eat."
"Promise."
"Pink swear?.", Brody questioned as Farrah grinned, linking her finger with his.

As they turned the corner to the art room, Brody noticed an unfamiliar younger man in the foyer, looking around and looking suspicious. At least in Brody's over-paranoid mind. He didn't want him confronted with Farrah so close, but knew if he kept walking and ignored him he'd likely regret letting him out of his sight.

"Okay brat..", he said getting to her level, not wanting her real name overheard by the stranger.
"I gotta take care of something but Tina's in the art room right over there. Tell her I brought you over, okay?"
"Okay!", Farrah smiled. Giving Brody a hug, she peeked over his shoulder just long enough to see the younger man. Her smile turned to a look of shock and her eyes went wide.

"Go on. I'll see you tomorrow.", Brody encouraged, motioning for her to go across the hall. Then he stood up, blocking her from doing otherwise.
Farrah obeyed but kept looking over her shoulder until Tina brought her inside the art room.
Meanwhile Brody turned to see the man going towards the exit.
"Not so fast buddy."
Knocking on a nearby office door, a short, stocky man opened it.
"Bill."
"Hey Nick what's going on?"
"That guy in the foyer. You recognize him?"
Frowning, Bill shook his head.
"Figure out what he's up to. If he's looking for the mosque tell him it's the building next door."
"I'm on it."
Wishing that Damon had worked the day shift today instead, he was the more intimidating of the other two men that worked at the center, Brody turned back to the library but took the longer route, trying to walk off his agitation. Something about that man didn't sit right with him, and he'd be damned if some new threat came in and blew up his life here. Or anyone's for that matter.

...

"Farrah? Farrah?!"
"Yes, what?", the girl snapped. Looking up from her drawing she'd been frantically working on since she sat down.
"Can I borrow your green marker?"
"No Carl! Not finished. Use blue."
Pouting, Carl stood up and walked over to Tina.
"Tina, Farrah's hogging the green pen.", the boy whined as Tina walked him back to his seat.
"Farrah, Carl asked you nicely to borrow the green pen. Can you let him use it?"
"But..?", Looking up, realizing she didn't have an option, frowning Farrah handed him the pen before going over to the easels. If she couldn't draw she'd paint instead.
"Farrah? Is everything alright?"
Ignoring her she put her paper on the easel. But stood rather than sat so Tina couldn't see what she was painting.
"Farrah, could you please just tell me what- oh dear. Carl? Carl don't put that in your mouth!"

Rolling her eyes, relieved she had some space, Farrah continued drawing. Substituting paint for marker was working better than she thought. She just wanted to draw his face before she forgot it. The look in his eyes when he saw her and whatever that thing was on that gold chain he wore around his neck. She wondered if he'd stolen it like he used to steal toys from the marketplace. Maybe he'd stolen something and was here to give it to her. That had to be why he'd come here all the way from Iraq. Farrah hoped now that he was here, he'd stay.

...

After his disheartening conversation with Quinn and a dragging day at work, Danny jumped at the chance to duck out early and get Farrah at the community center. Carrie stuck her head in his office door asking the favor since she had to prep for a gathering at her house. Casual but still requiring a good vacuuming.

Besides the fact she'd been the one to ask him, as if he could refuse her, he was looking forward to seeing Farrah again.
Maybe they could figure out a day to have that promised Twister game. Maybe seeing her would take his mind off how he'd fallen for her foster mother, who'd fallen for a would've been terrorist.

Shaking his head trying to shake the visual, Danny entered the community center. Smiling at Zahira who pointed him in the direction of the art room. Walking in he saw Farrah seated at an easel, painting something on a large white sheet of paper.
Quickly freeing it from the easel, hoping it was dry enough, she folded the drawing as Danny approached.

"What you working on there? Something secret?"
"Where's Carrie?"
"She got stuck at work."
"Stuck?", Farrah repeated, concerned. "She okay?"
"She's fine. Just busy. And she wanted to get home to start getting ready for the party tonight."
"Ah.", she nodded.
"I told her I'd pick you up."
"Okay. What secret code?"

Curiously she looked up at Danny with an arched brow. She and Carrie had agreed if anyone besides Carrie picked her up from the community center, they had to tell Farrah the secret code before she'd leave with them. It was a word only Carrie, Farrah, and the person responsible for the pickup knew. That way everything was safe and to Farrah's liking, spy like.
With a laugh, Danny knelt to whisper in her ear.
"Croissant."
"Okay, we go.", Farrah smiled. Taking him by the hand she led him out of the art room, then looked up nervously.
"Wait!"
"What?"
"I have to say goodbye to friend!"
"What friend?", Danny asked as Farrah dragged him to the library. Walking in the room his eyes narrowed, seeing a tall man with his back to him organizing books. He had brownish hair that looked red in a certain light.
Nah. Couldn't be.

"Dan!", Farrah whined, motioning for him to come closer.
"Dan this is Mischa. Mischa, Dan.", she introduced as a young, blond, bespectacled girl about her age looked up from her book.
"Hi!"
"Hi Mischa. Nice to meet you. Good to see Farrah's got a friend."
"Farrah helps me draw better and I help her read better.", Mischa smiled.
"Well, that's good to know.", Danny smiled.
"We should probably get going though Farrah. I promised Carrie I'd get you back soon."

While Farrah hugged her friend goodbye, Danny looked over and saw the librarian had left the room. Danny wished though he'd leave his mind just as easily. Him and his damn reddish hair.
Suddenly his stomach knotted. If seeing this man triggered this reaction in him, Carrie's behavior their last visit made complete sense.
Of course the scenario they both were apparently thinking made no sense. There was no way Brody would be in the States, let alone dusting bookshelves in a children's library. But if just seeing a man walking around with a tall build and ginger highlights was enough to send her into a tailspin, it proved Quinn's point too damn well.

"Dan?"
"Yeah?"
"I all set."
"Alright let's head out then."

Leading her out to the parking lot, listening as Farrah gushed about the chapter book she had checked out, Danny didn't notice the man in the garden across the way, seemingly texting on his phone.

Once Danny and Farrah got in the car and drove off, he brought the phone to his ear after dialing.
"She is here. As you said. No, no chance to talk. I was, interrupted. A short, fat man." Agitated he rolled his eyes.
"Yes, she saw flier. It was green, her favorite.", he smiled warmly.
"Saturday, yes. We will find her, brother. Do not worry."
Hanging up the phone, Khaliq smiled.

Chapter Text

After he and Farrah got in his car, the ride to Carrie's was a blur. Danny hoped he could just make sure Farrah got inside the front door, then leave. Take Quinn's advice and find the nearest bar.
He couldn't really explain his "schoolboy crush". He wasn't even sure when he began thinking of Carrie in that way. She'd sent a swat team after him when he was trying to drive to the hospital. Accused him of conspiring with Abu fucking Nazir. And yet he still had fantasies about the two of them dating and being a conspiracy theorizing terror fighting super spy power couple. And parents to boot.

"Geez, Danny get a grip.", he muttered to himself.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing, Farrah."

Pulling into the driveway, the girl grinned seeing Maggie's van parked in the street. She was excited to see her and Ruby and Josie, and was looking forward to meeting Carrie's father for the first time.
"You come inside?", she asked as Danny shook his head.
"Farrah it seems like a family thing, I don't want to intr-"
"No, you come in!" When she didn't phrase it as a question, rather a demand, Danny sighed.
"I'll tell you what, I'll walk you inside."
"And you stay!"
Realizing he was entirely whipped by a six year old girl, he shrugged. Giving Farrah a sheepish smile.
"Only if Carrie wants me to."

Spotting them walking up the driveway through the window, Carrie smiled. Opening the door Farrah ran in and all but tackled her to the ground.
"Aw, you missed me that much?", she laughed as Danny helped her up. Farrah in the meantime ran off to find Josie.
"Thank you kind sir."
"Anytime.", Danny smiled. Trying to tamp down his nerves as best he could, knowing this shirt was nowhere near as flattering with sweat stains.
"And thanks for getting Farrah too. Gave me time to straighten things up around here."
"It looks, great. Your place always looks great."
"Okay now you're exaggerating.", Carrie smirked.
"Why don't you come in, stay awhile. My dad's making some of his world famous sandwiches as we speak."
"He got back from that golf trip of his?"
"Yeah, Bill and him had another one of their legendary arguments and now they aren't speaking. Of course whatever the fuck they fought about will be water under the bridge as soon as they're up for more golf.", she shrugged getting a laugh.

"But he'll finally get the chance to meet Farrah. Maggie said he's been looking forward to it all day."
"Well if it's a family thing I don't want to intrude, I-"
"Don't be ridiculous. Virgil just did."
"I'm gonna assume Max didn't?"
"Yeah, seems he values his life.", Carrie snorted as Danny smirked. Clearly Max hadn't worked his way back into her good graces yet.
"Anyways c'mon. You can stay for one drink, right? Please?"

Wishing she hadn't decided to go all polite on him just then, Danny sighed.
"I guess one drink couldn't hurt.", he said as she smiled.
"C'mon, the festivities are this way."

"No fucking way.", Virgil scoffed as Frank crossed his arms, arching an eyebrow.
"You seriously drove all the way to Lake Erie from D.C and got there by dawn the following day."
"Just went where I felt I had to be.", the older man said simply.
"How did you not get pulled over twenty times for speeding?", Virgil asked getting a shrug.
"For the record I've never gotten one speeding ticket. Now, disturbing the peace? Maybe a few of those, but never one for speeding."
"He actually speaks the truth.", Carrie laughed, handing Danny a beer before perching on the arm of the couch next to Frank.
"Who's your friend there, sweetheart?"
"Dad this is Danny Galvez from work. Danny, this is my dad. Frank Mathison."
"Mr. Mathison.", Danny smiled, walking over to shake his hand.
"Call me Frank."
Nodding Danny smiled, then awkwardly stepped off to the side with his drink. Avoiding the curious stare Virgil was giving him from across the room.

"So Carrie where's my newfound foster granddaughter? C'mon, where'd you stash her?"
"I didn't stash her anywhere. Of anything she's hiding from you.", Carrie teased.
"Well fine, I see how it is. Guess I'll just have to find her myself.", Frank smiled, spotting Farrah peeking out from the hallway.
"Well look who I found?", he grinned as she shyly approached.
"Hello there Miss Farrah."
"Hello. I call you, Frank?"
"You can call me whatever you damn well please."
"Dad!", Maggie scolded as she walked in the living room.
"Alright, I apologize. Whatever you darn well please."
"That's more like it.", Carrie smirked.
"So Miss Farrah, how about we go make some of my world famous sandwiches, huh? C'mon what do you say?"
"Yes!", Farrah grinned as Frank walked her over to the kitchen.
"Frank wait up, let me get in on that.", Virgil said, getting a look from Carrie.
"What? These sandwiches are fucking phenomenal.", he said, finishing off the rest of the one in his hand before reaching the kitchen.

"So Maggie, where are my nieces at?"
"They're painting a mural in your basement."
"A mural?"
"I think they finally settled on a rainforest motif but I could be wrong.", Maggie laughed.
"Let me go see if Farrah wants to help. Dad's sandwiches don't take that long to make."

After Maggie left, Carrie turned to Danny who was swigging down what little remained of his beer.
"Danny is everything alr-"
"Hey, Danny?", Virgil interrupted as he walked back in the living room, mouth full of sandwich.
"You know about cars right?"
"My uncle was a mechanic so yeah, I know a bit."
"You mind taking a look at mine? Something's fucked up with it and apparently if I take it to the dealer I'll be robbed blind."
"Fuck, even I know that.", Carrie snorted, getting a glare.
"Anyway, Danny do you mind?"
"No. Not at all."

Following Virgil out the front door to his car, he frowned when he didn't pop the hood but rather, handed him another beer and a bottle opener.
"I sensed you needed an exit strategy."
"Thanks.", Danny shrugged, removing the cap.
"So you got a thing for Carrie."
"Damn it.", he groaned.
"Quinn told you?"
"No, you did.", Virgil scoffed.
"Seriously. Standing in the corner like you were at your first frat party? Getting that freaked out smile on your face each time she looked in your direction. You were either looking to case the joint, which yeah, take it from me, not even worth your time trying. Or, you've got it bad."

Laughing without humor, Danny shook his head.
"However I feel doesn't matter."
"Ha, so you admit you feel something."
"Will you shut up and let me talk?"
Raising his hands slightly in surrender, Virgil smiled as Danny sighed.
"Carrie's in love with Brody."
"So what? You worried he's coming back or something?"
"What do you mean so what? She loves him. And even if she was interested in me I'd be her second choice. A consolation prize."
"Okay you're officially underestimating yourself."
"No. I'm being honest with myself. Whatever I feel for Carrie will pass sooner or later."
"You realize you just compared loving someone to a fucking kidney stone."
"Pains about equivalent, right?", Danny laughed.
"Don't joke. Have you ever had a kidney stone?", Virgil asked getting another laugh.

"Seriously, Danny. What's it gonna hurt just to tell her?"
"My pride, first off."
"Ever consider that she may feel similarly?"
"She doesn't."
"How do you know? She's been spending a lot of time with you."
"Because of Farrah."
"You realize Carrie wouldn't let you within a foot of that girl if she didn't trust you. And with Carrie, she trusts you and you're in. You're set."
"She told the imam we were just friends, Virgil. That I was just helping her out."
"So, keep helping her out."
"Until what, she notices me?"
"No, until you work up the nerve to tell her how you really feel. Believe it or not, I think she'll be receptive."
"That's not what Quinn says."

"Quinn?!" Virgil laughed. "You're taking relationship advice from Peter fucking Quinn?"
"He says he knows what he's talking about. He says Carrie's only got eyes for Brody. That I'm wasting my time."
"Look Danny, this is the best advice you can get. Forget that bullshit Quinn fed you and make a move. If she turns you down, she turns you down. But at least you tried."
"Wait.", Danny frowned. "You just said that she'd be receptive."

"Well yeah, that's what my gut is telling me. Look, I've known Carrie for years. Years. Quinn's known her for months and is calling himself an expert?", Virgil scoffed, sitting on the curb as Danny joined him.

"That woman in there is formidable, infuriating, whip smart, stubborn as fuck, and if you spend a considerable amount of time with her you're liable to wring her neck. But, she's got one of the best hearts I know. I love her. I have for years. And I worry about her, really every goddamn day."
"Carrie's proven pretty capable of taking care of herself, Virgil."
"I know it. She's gotten out of some very fucked up situations because she's tough and too clever for her own good. But, I've seen her in some really bad, really dark places that I honestly didn't think she'd find her way out of."
"Really?", Danny frowned curiously.
"Yeah. She's more fragile then you'd think. There's a lot to her, Danny. A lot you don't know."
"I'm willing to figure that stuff out though. I want to be there for her and for Farrah. I want to be that guy. If she can go for a fucking, demented would've been terrorist, why not me?"

"That whole thing with Brody, fuck if I know what that was all about.", Virgil sighed.
"My best guess is he was like a challenge for her. A screwed up puzzle. And she got obsessed with solving him. Figuring him out. For all the guy has done, he's been through some major shit. So has she."
"So what are you saying, they were fixing each other?"
"I think they were trying to.", Virgil shrugged, finishing off his beer as Danny swigged some more of his.

"I also think that as much as she loved him, she could love someone else just as much. She deserves that much. I swear though if you get with her and fuck it up, I will break that face of yours til its worse looking than mine."
Virgil threatened as Danny laughed.
"Hey, I'm serious here."
"I know. I know you are."
Chugging the rest of his beer he chucked the bottle in a neighbors recycling bin.
"I'm gonna talk to her."
"Good man. Let me know how it works out. And if it does, let Quinn know too. I'd kill to see that little smug look of his disappear for a good three seconds."
Virgil smirked before his phone went off. Answering it he leaned up against his car, rolling his eyes, while Danny stood up a little straighter and made his way inside the house.

Chapter Text

Straightening up the living room while everyone else was outside, Carrie looked up as Danny walked back in the front door. He looked a little nervous, maybe a little drunk. Of course who was she to judge.

"Virgil's car better be running better than ever.", she chuckled. "You guys took forever out there."

"Yeah, well."
Shrugging Danny went to help her gather the bottles and paper plates.

"It's fine I got it. My dad and Maggie are out back with the girls. You can join them if you want."

"No, it's fine. I'm, fine.", he stammered.

"Okay is everything alright?"

"Yeah, why?"

"You've been on edge since you walked in the door. What's going on?", she asked. Moving closer as he backed away.
"Danny?"

"Carrie, there's something I have to tell you."

"What?", she asked curiously. Frowning at how tensed up he was.

"I..I, oh...fuck it."

Stepping towards her he pulled her into a kiss. Entirely thrown off guard Carrie's eyes stayed open. Wide open. Darting around and asking what the hell was going on.
Before Danny had a chance to make the kiss more passionate she pulled back breathless. Not from excitement or attraction or lust, just utter shock.

"Wh..what the fuck was that?", she sputtered.

"I'm sorry, I know. I did this, all wrong.", Danny sighed. He felt his face turning redder by the second. But he'd humiliated himself and stuck his neck out this much, why not go all the way.

"I just, Carrie? I think that I-"

"What?! Just say it!"

"I think I love you."

Deciding she heard him wrong, she had to have heard him wrong, Carrie repeated her earlier question.
"What?"

"I love you."

"Holy fuck."

Slowly she sat down on the couch.

"Carrie are you-"

"I'm fine.", she cut off, not giving him the chance to show concern. He'd shown her enough tonight as it was.

"I just, I can't-"

"Look I just needed to say it. How we proceed is totally, completely up to you."

"How we proceed?", she scoffed.

"You realize you just dropped a fucking bomb in my lap!"

"You were that surprised?"

Nodding, making the mistake of looking at his too pained face, Carrie felt sick to her stomach. If possible even more rotten than she felt after accusing him of being a terrorist.

"Danny, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just, I don't feel the same way."

"Yeah, I figured.", Danny shrugged, barely able too look her in the eye.

"Hey, listen to me though.", she asked, getting him looking at her just slightly.

"You are a terrific guy. In spite of all my fuck-ups you still tolerate me. And you've helped me with Farrah more than anyone. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. I don't want to take advantage of you or lead you on. And that's all I'd be doing if we took this any further.", she sighed, trying to be honest but gentle about it. Not easy for her but she was giving it her best effort.

"I understand."

"Look I know it's overused but it's the truth. You deserve so much better than me."

"Well, this is overused too but it's the truth. You're terrific."

"No, I'm really not.", Carrie laughed without humor.

"You don't know everything about me, Danny. And I really fucking hope it stays that way."

After an awkward silence crept in, needing to break it Danny cleared his throat. His bloated heart as Quinn had aptly put it was doing that breaking to miniscule pieces thing, but there was something he still wanted confirmed.

"Carrie?"

"Yeah?

"Just because...um. Are you telling me this, because you, you're still..."

"Still what?"

His eyes then wandered to a picture on her sofa table. With her laughing and his blue eyes smiling, and them looking right and strangely perfect together despite how wrong, so fucking wrong their relationship was. Standing, shoulders now slumped, he knew he had his answer.

"Never mind. I should probably get going."

"Danny, I'm so-"

"No, don't apologize. The 'I'm sorry's' should be coming from me. Not you."

"I just-"

"I'll see you at work. Goodnight, Carrie."

"Goodnight Danny.", Carrie sighed sadly as he walked out to the foyer then out the front door.

Shaking her head, stunned, she leaned back against the couch cushions. Rubbing the bridge of her nose as she closed her eyes, not even hearing Maggie come through the sliding door.

"Carrie is everything okay?"

"Yeah. Couldn't be better.", she groaned.

"I thought things would be going better than better, after that kiss anyway."

Eyes snapping open she sat up. "You saw that?"

"Yeah, good thing the girls were busy playing soccer with Dad. Why didn't you tell me about him?" Maggie asked with a grin.

"Because I didn't know he felt that way until tonight."

"You're kidding."

"No, I'm not.", Carrie sighed.

"So its completely one-sided?"

"Yeah. It is. He's a good guy, a terrific guy. But-"

"But what, there's no possibility for anything between you two?"

"Maggie I'd just be leading him on. Like I said he's a good guy. He doesn't deserve that. Now, can we please just change the subject."

"I'm sorry, this is just so unlike you."

"Unlike me how?"

"It's just, you're not one to turn down guys. The Carrie I know would've taken Danny Galvez up on anything he had to offer.", Maggie said with a smirk.

"Yeah, well..that was before."

Shrugging Carrie stood up to grab the last few stray napkins and plates.

"Before what? Congressman Brody?"

Chapter Text

"Before what? Congressman Brody?", Maggie asked, arching a brow.

Jaw clenched Carrie turned back around.

"I was going to say before Danny confessed his undying love for me.", she scoffed. "Why the fuck would you mention Brody?"

"You mentioned him that night you came for dinner."

"Not by name."

"You told Josie the reason you were so happy was you'd been spending time with a good friend."

"I've got friends!", Carrie said defensively.

"Oh yeah? How many of them have an open invitation to the cabin?", Maggie asked with a knowing look.

"Carrie how could I not have pieced things together about you and Brody? You told me that night you 'didn't' mention him you were thinking of quitting your job. What other reason would you possibly do that, aside from having a major conflict of interest on the horizon?"

"Okay how many times have I stormed into your house swearing that I was going to quit?", Carrie reminded.

"That's not the point."

"Well what is your point then, Maggie?", she asked, looking as agitated as she felt.

"Brody's gone. He's been gone. And I haven't come crying at your door once since the Langley bombing about him, my job, or leaving my job. So why are you looking at me the way you would when I'd sneak in past curfew and you'd catch me."

"You mean when you'd keep me up half the night scared? Well you're scaring me now so-"

"What scared you? My not fucking Danny against the sliding glass door after he kissed me?"

Rolling her eyes, identically to the way she would each time Carrie climbed in their bedroom window at 1AM, Maggie let out a heavy sigh.

"Carrie, it's been over a year since you came to dinner that night. And you're still turning down perfectly decent guys. I want to know if you're still carrying a torch. If you're still holding out hope that.."

"You really didn't just ask if I was carrying a torch, did you?"

"Can you stop answering my questions with questions and talk to me!"

"Talk to you about what!", Carrie yelled, throwing up her hands in exasperation. Unaffected, Maggie crossed her arms.

"Do you still have feelings for Brody?"

"So what if I do?"

"So what...Carrie. You keep hanging onto this idea of him and you. That's the worst thing you could be doing to yourself! I mean look at what he's already put-"

"No.", Carrie cut off with a cold stare. "Don't fucking go there."

"Why not? I was there!", Maggie bit back. Her resentment at the man that caused her sister's breakdown in the back of her mini-van coming back to the surface.

"I saw the way you looked at each other across that parking lot outside the police station. I saw how it affected you. I saw where it put you."

Stung at the not so subtle reference to the psych ward, Carrie bowed her head.

"You hated him, Carrie. You had every reason in the world to hate him."

"Well you know what they say about that fine line.", she laughed bitterly.

"So you admit it then."

"I'm not admitting to anything."

"You have feelings for him. Still."

Shaking her head she bit her lip, trying to keep from tearing up.

"Whatever I feel doesn't mean a fucking thing, Maggie. Like I said, he's gone."

"You're right. He is gone. And you should be moving on. You still holding on like you're... it's not-"

"Healthy? How did I know you were going to say that. Next is the lecture about how insane it is I'd want anything to do with him after what's happened. Right?"

"I didn't say that.", Maggie insisted.

"You didn't have to."

"Look, I know I can't tell you how to feel."

"That's right, you can't!"

"But I can tell you I'm concerned."

"Like that's anything new."

"Carrie..."

"Jesus, Maggie. I'm not up for another warning or cautionary tale about Brody. It wouldn't be any different from the ones that've been playing on loop in my mind ever since the night we met in the rain. I know how everyone feels. I know that how I feel scares the shit out of me. But it doesn't matter. I can't fucking help or control it. It's like my illness but worse. They don't prescribe pills for this as far as I know.", she weakly joked, wiping at her eyes as she sat back on the sofa where Maggie joined her.

"No, they don't. If they did I'd raid my supplies for them too.", she smiled.

"I asked him why, you know."

"Asked him what?"

"Why I felt the way I did. He said I gave it up to him, like I lost my fucking virginity to him or something."

"I thought that was to that, lacrosse captain. Stefan something or other your junior year of high school."

"Try Stephen something or other in junior high.", Carrie corrected.

"What?!"

"What! It was eighth grade. I was a mature 14.", she smirked.

"Yeah I think that's when your maturity peaked.", Maggie snickered, getting a glare.

"Carrie seriously though, I am worried. And it's not just because Brody is Brody."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. I'm as worried now as when you you were tracking Abu Nazir's every move. When you let the obsession take over and there's room for nothing else."

"Some people see tenacity as a good quality."

"And some people see it as worrisome. Some people like six year old girls."

"What are you getting at?", Carrie asked, eyes narrowing.

"I heard Farrah talking with Josie earlier. About you.", Maggie sighed. Not wanting to mention this but thinking she didn't have a choice.

"Why didn't you tell me you had an episode the other night?"

"It wasn't an episode!", Carrie snapped.

"But it was an incident, Carrie. An incident that could've been prevented if you hadn't skipped."

"I didn't skip! I had a pill for the next morning and I thought I'd be fine until then."

"But you weren't, were you?", Maggie said knowingly.

"So what triggered it? What set you off? Farrah mentioned something about doll clothes. Cards she'd seen that had pictures on the fron-"

Trailing off her eyes widened.
"Carrie were those picture cards, postcards?"

Not getting an answer she shook her head.

"That explains it then. That night Farrah saw you sorting postcards, the same way you sorted those clippings for your pinboard?"

"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about."

"Only this time you were charting out a different pattern, tracking a different man. Your meds were just going to slow you down right?"

"Jesus Christ will you stop it!"

"No, Carrie! Now you either need to accept the fact that Brody's gone or you need to talk about him with a psychiatrist. But this, what you're doing now. You can't keep going like this, it's not-"

"Alright Maggie. Enough!", Carrie exploded.

"Just quit the lectures and give me a fucking break. While you're at it take one from trying to be Mom!"

Whatever fleeting satisfaction Carrie felt at silencing and winning the argument, vanished at the look on Maggie's face. Playing the "Mom" card was dealing from the bottom of the deck every time, and despite knowing this...
Guilt set in and all she could do was apologize. Apologize profusely. But it proved difficult when Maggie walked out the back door, led Josie and Ruby out of the yard and around the side of the house to the driveway. By the time Carrie ran to the front and pulled the curtain back their van was halfway down the street.

"Fuck.."
Wiping at her eyes with her sleeve she grabbed her refill of pills and tossed one back, swallowing it dry.

Afterwards, defeated, she went outside and shakily sat on the patio next to Frank. Who was contentedly watching Farrah dribble her soccer ball around the yard.

"Your girls got some skills.", he smiled, getting a jerky nod and a sniffle in return.

"Carrie?"

Smile fading, without saying a word he slipped an arm around her as she leaned on his shoulder.

"Shh..it's okay sweetheart. It's gonna be okay."

Chapter Text

After Frank let her cry it out for a few moments, Carrie sat up embarrassed, rolling her eyes.

"Shit, Dad. I'm so-"

"Hey..that's what dad's are for, right?", Frank smiled.

"If you want to talk I'm all ears.", he offered, checking his watch.

"My fucking curfew's not for another half hour."

"Dad, Maggie's just."

"Yeah, I saw you two exchanging some words. Must've been harsh to send her home this early."

"We had a sisterly disagreement. Happens sometimes."

"Sometimes? You forget I raised the two of you.", he chuckled, barely getting a smile in return.

"I crossed a line though, Dad. She wouldn't even let me apologize before she walked out."

"Hey, just give her some time to calm down. Cool off. You want me to talk to her?"

"No..that's okay.", Carrie shrugged.

"So, I may be a little fucked in the head but my hearings never been better. This disagreement of yours started when that Congressman's name was tossed around?"

Sighing, Carrie rolled her eyes.
"Dad, I don't-"

"Look you won't get any judgment from me. Remember I was at that infamous dinner your sister was talking about. Forget 20, you had a 100 watt smile from the minute you walked in the door, and I took it to mean one thing."

"He's gone though, Dad.", she choked out as he held her a bit tighter.

"I know. But take it from me, it won't hurt if you hold onto him awhile longer. At least until you're ready to let go."

"But Maggie, and Saul, fuck, even the postcards Brody sent. All of them are screaming at me to-"

"Fuck what everyone and everything else says or screams at you. I know you have no problem with that. You take after me that way." Frank said proudly.

"It's okay if you still love him. So long as he loved you just as much, right?"

"Somehow, in spite of everything."

"Hey that's good. You gave him hell, kept him on his toes, in his place. I wouldn't expect anything different."

"So what, we put each other through hell but we're a match made in heaven?", Carrie smirked before her face went solemn again.

"Jesus, I'm talking about him like he's still here."

"You're allowed.", Frank said as Carrie looked up skeptically.

"If I told you you couldn't do otherwise I'd be the biggest fucking hypocrite on the planet. You know how long I did the same thing with your mother?", he asked rhetorically, looking pained over the words.

"If you love them, you don't have much choice. Especially mental superiors like ourselves."
Weakly Carrie chuckled before her face fell again.

"Well Maggie doesn't see me as mentally superior. Neither do half my colleagues right now. I handed them proof on a silver platter that Brody is innocent and nobody fucking believes me."

"Well see that's your own fault. You did too good a job proving Brody was a turned suicidal wingnut a few years back. Now, you just have to prove the opposite. But you've dealt with worse challenges."

"Yeah, like her?", Carrie smiled, nodding to Farrah who was attempting tricky moves with the soccer ball.

"As foster granddaughters go she's top drawer."

"Frank! Frank look what I do!", Farrah giggled, throwing the soccer ball in the air. Then jumped to bump it with her forehead. Unfortunately it traveled through the open sliding door, and rolled through the living room where Virgil bent to retrieve it.

"Nice! New present for me?", he laughed. Getting a look from Farrah that prompted him to toss the ball back.

"I thought you left with Danny.", Carrie asked.

"I figured the guy could use some space. Broken hearts need time to heal." Virgil shrugged sitting on the lawn. Catching the look on Carrie's face he figured it was best to change the subject and turned to Farrah.

"So kid, what were you trying to talk me about in the kitchen earlier? By the way, Frank. I'm gonna be duplicating that sandwich recipe for the next month. My wife will be thrilled I can make my own lunch."

"Hey, that's the idea.", Frank grinned.

"Virg I ask if you go to the parade tomorrow."

"Parade? What parade?", Carrie frowned.

"I thought I saw a flier about a street fair or something near the new community center this weekend.", Virgil shrugged.

"Yes! I see flier. And Tina and Zahira talk about it. We go?!", Farrah asked excitedly, dribbling the soccer ball closer to the adults.

"I hear it's gonna be a scorcher tomorrow. Wear sunscreen.", Frank instructed, getting a smirk from Carrie.

"Well that's if we decide to go."

"Please!"

"I can take her if you want, Carrie.", Virgil offered.

"No, Carrie come too.", Farrah pouted.

"Well, fine then. I'm not offended or anything.", he grumped.

"Farrah I'll think about it, okay?", Carrie said.

"Can Dan come too?", the girl asked curiously.

"Eh I think Dan's busy tomorrow kid. But, my offer still stands."

"Look, we'll figure it out tomorrow alright? For now though it's way past someones bedtime."

"Hey I still have ten minutes!", Frank said, pointing to his watch.

"C'mon Farrah, say goodnight."

"Okay.", Farrah grumbled, giving Frank and Virgil hugs before dribbling her soccer ball inside the house.

"Farrah not in the house, Farrah! Shit.", Carrie groaned as Virgil got to his feet.

"Listen though, my offer still stands to take Farrah tomorrow. I remember you not being crazy about crowds and excessive heat. Not that anyone ever is."

"It's fine Virgil. I'm past that. Have been for awhile now.", Carrie said a little defensively.

"Besides Farrah has her heart set on my going, no way am I going to tell her no."

"Hey be careful with that.", Frank laughed. "I never said no to you and what color is my hair?"

Laughing Carrie hugged him, a little longer than usual.

"Get some sleep, sweetheart. It'll be fine.", he assured. "So long as you remember to-"

"Wear sunscreen, got it.", Carrie said as Frank said goodnight to Virgil, then made his way to the front.

"So I'll try and meet up with the two of you tomorrow. Keep your phone on."

"Don't I always?"

"And hey, just so you know. I kinda pushed Danny to tell you how he-"

"It's okay, Virgil. I'm glad he just, admitted it. Hopefully he can move the fuck on to someone better for him."

"He'd have been damn lucky to have gotten you.", Virgil said, getting a hug before he too headed out.

"Okay Farrah, that soccer ball better be stashed in a closet or something by now.", Carrie warned, stepping back in the house and shutting the door. Locking it behind her, she hit the lights then made her way upstairs. Frowning seeing Farrah's door shut, she knocked.

"Farrah? Can I come in?"

"Y..Yes! One second.", Farrah jumped, folding her painting of Khaliq back up and putting it under her bed as Carrie came in the room.

"Okay bed's unmade, pjs are on. Teeth brushed?"

"Yes.", Farrah smiled, flashing both rows as Carrie frowned, noticing paper sticking out from under the bed.

"What's that, another mystery drawing?"

"No! It..surprise.", Farrah covered, getting a curious look.

"A surprise?"

"Yes. It..not ready yet."

"Ah, I see. Well will it be ready soon? I'm dying to see it."

"Yes, soon."

"Okay then. Looking forward to it."

Kneeling to Farrah's level she pulled her into a hug.
"Get some sleep okay? If we're going to this thing tomorrow we'll have to leave early."

"You coming too, not just Virg?"

"You bet."

"We get popcorn? Ice cream? Cot-cotton.."

"Cotton candy? Farrah that's a lot of food."

"I share!"

"Well, as long as you share. I guess we'll have to see. Now, under the covers. Go on."

Nodding, Farrah climbed into bed as Carrie flipped on the nightlight, then turned to leave.

"Carrie?"

"Yeah?"

"Will Maggie come to parade too?"

"I don't know, Farrah."

"You still mad?"

"Honey I just said some things I shouldn't have. We had a fight, but we'll make up. I promise. Now, go to sleep okay?"

Nodding, Farrah pulled the blanket over her, waiting for Carrie to close the door before pushing the drawing more under the bed. Not wanting anyone to see it aside from one person. Though she was worried she might not see him again.

Chapter Text

"Okay Farrah, promise me you're going to stick close.", Carrie said, holding her hand tightly as they made their way to the mosque. The parade was starting there and would finish a few blocks away where the street fair was set up. Virgil had supposedly already arrived. Now just came the trouble of finding him.

After letting Farrah dial his number Carrie took the phone back.

"Hey we just got parked near the mosque, where are you?"

"About a block from you I think. You better hurry though, this shindig is starting soon."

"Okay we'll be there in a few minutes."

Hanging up she took a tighter grip on Farrah's hand.

"Why you hold so tight?"

"You mean why do I hold so tight?", Carrie corrected getting a nod.

"Because I don't want us losing each other, that's why."

"I won't lose you, you won't lose me.", Farrah promised, swinging her hand in Carrie's as they walked.

...

"She is here.."

"You are sure?"

"Yes, she just arrived. With a blonde. Tall. Wearing olive jacket, white shirt, tight jeans.", Khaliq smirked, peering out from behind his binoculars.

"Stop checking her out and tell me the direction she is walking in."

"I need to check her out to figure that out, Samir."

"Khaliq!"

"Okay, okay.", he grumbled, rolling his eyes.

"She is heading west. Towards the start of the parade."

"They are still together?"

"Yes. Holding hands like little schoolgirls. Though Farrah is still technically a schoolg-"

"Khaliq!"

"They look close, brother. Farrah looks.."

"Manipulated? Brainwashed?"

"I was going to say happy."

"That is your crush on her handler talking. You are watching a spectacle, Khaliq. The sooner we get Farrah to the church the better off she will be."

"You mean the mosque, brother."

"No. The church. I am a Catholic now. Our sister will be as well."

"She was raised Muslim, brother."

"She will adapt. The way I did after Father destroyed my faith, his putting bombings over blessings."

"Father called himself a soldier of his faith. He acted in accordance with what he believed. Did what he felt he needed to, at whatever cost."

"His actions were far from honorable.", Samir snapped, signing off.

"So are your actions, brother." Khaliq groaned, flicking the off switch on his comm before moving closer to the crowd. Looking through the binoculars once more, a soft smile filled his face.

"Do not worry, Farrah. I will protect you.", he promised, then glanced to the apartment complex behind him.

"Even from him if need be."

...

"Virg! I can't see, Virg!", whined Farrah as she jumped up. Trying to see the parade even though she was standing behind a clump of too tall people.

"Farrah I can't put you on my shoulders. The people standing behind us will get upset."

"But I want to see!"

"Tell you what, when Carrie gets back with your popcorn you can sit on her shoulders."

"Why her?"

"She's shorter than I am.", Virgil shrugged.

"But.."

"Farrah.", he warned.

"Okay. I wait." Farrah grumbled.

Crossing her arms she paced back and forth, looking up at other faces once in awhile before focusing on one in particular. One that looked familiar. When she blinked and rubbed her eyes, he was gone but she knew he'd been here. He had been here. Now all Farrah had to do was find a way to see him again.

...

Meanwhile Brody, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible in his Aviators and baseball cap, meandered though the crowd. Just enjoying being outside and having the sun on his face. He didn't get out of his apartment or the center much, and as grateful as he was for the protection offered there he missed the outdoors. Luckily with so many people around it wasn't likely anyone would take notice of him...

...

"Thank you.", Carrie huffed, rolling her eyes as she walked away from the concession stand. She'd paid her life savings for a bag of stale popcorn and had to wait in a never ending line to do it. But Farrah had wanted it and left her no choice but to buy it. Munching on a handful from the bag as she walked, she tried to hide how on edge she felt all of a sudden.

She'd told Virgil heat and heavy crowds didn't get to her anymore, but she felt a nervous buzz in the air, a knot forming in her stomach. Even though she couldn't put her finger on it, something was up.

Glancing up at the surrounding highrises while shuffling through the dense crowd, Carrie bit her lip. Eyes searching for something when...

...

"Oh, I'm sorry.", Brody muttered apologetically, relieved whoever he'd collided with just brushed past without making a scene. They were probably too distracted, hadn't even noticed him...

...

Too busy looking to the sky to notice she'd collided with someone, Carrie kept walking. Looking ahead until, not sure exactly why, she turned around.

He wasn't sure she'd seen past his sunglasses, but he'd seen her.

Not sure if he should turn and run away or run up and kiss her, Brody stood in place until the first shot rang out.

Luckily it was the only one. For Samir in his apartment hideout it had the desired effect. The perfect diversion, distraction, scare tactic. The crowd had taken off every which way in every direction possible. Just what he'd been after.

"CARRIE!", Brody yelled, disguise be damned as he took off after her. Going off instincts and just the need to know, to see (for the sake of whatever remained of his sanity) that she was okay. That she was safe, hadn't been tripped or trampled or Allah forbid been shot. But she'd already run headlong into the mob. Shouting after someone but he couldn't make out who.

"Farrah! FARRAH!"

Yelling over and over til her voice went hoarse, Carrie didn't stop running. Weaving in and out of the crowd that had turned as chaotic as she was desperate. She was in too close proximity to everyone aside from Farrah, and between the heat of the day and her anxiety she felt trapped, crippled.

Pausing she rested her hands on her knees, trying to get her bearings, catch her breath before she heard her name. Someone shouting it, screaming it from a distance. Chilled now despite the heat she took off running again, even faster now.

...

"Virg?! Carrie?! CARRIE!", Farrah cried, shouting at the top of her lungs. In the chaos she and Virgil had been separated, and she was stuck between too many people too tall to notice her, right in the middle of the street.

Jostled around in the crowd a tear slid down her face, then another. Between the gun shot and the running and the yelling and the sirens, she was scared for herself and scared for Carrie. What if something happened to her or to Virg, like what happened to her dad. The thought scared her so much she started screaming even louder even though she couldn't be heard. Or so she thought.

Lifted away from the crowd and the chaos she squirmed around in her rescuer's arms, expecting when she turned around she'd see Carrie.

Instead it was a smiling man. Saying a children's rhyme her father told her when she was small. Recognizing it and him her whole face lit up.

Smiling back, Khaliq hugged her close, but then turned to walk them down a different street. Protesting in Arabic, Farrah shook her head, looking over her shoulder fearfully for Carrie. Telling her brother they had to wait.

"There is no time, Farrah. Do not worry though, I am here to protect you now.", Khaliq promised, carrying her off and trying to ignore how she was crying against his chest.

Chapter Text

The sound of Farrah yelling for her was all that kept Carrie in motion. Getting her through the dense, frenzied crowd. It was all that she let her ears tune into as she kept running. The sirens and the panicked chatter around her was nothing but white noise.

So it was frighteningly noticeable when Farrah's yelling stopped. It hadn't tapered off or gone muffled, like she'd been gagged or forced to keep quiet. Carrie knew too fucking well how that sounded.

No, she'd stopped yelling by choice. She'd gone calmer. Maybe she'd been found.

After all Virgil was here, maybe he'd found her. Maybe he'd called someone to help find her. Saul or Danny or Quinn. Even Max would've been a help. Maybe she should start calling for help.

Still running, she reached in her pocket for her phone when she was bumped into and shoved forward, losing her phone and her footing in the process. Unable to brace herself before she fell, she landed face down on the pavement.

Pushing up on her arms she went to stand, but the slightest movement sent pain straight through her left knee, now sporting a nasty gash. All she could manage was to roll toward the nearby curb, try and get as far away from the mob as she could. As far away from her chance at seeing or hearing Farrah as she could.

Curled up tightly on her side, tears seeped through her shut eyes and she was shivering in spite of the heat. Sore, sweated up, scared, she felt trapped, pinned down. She'd lost someone. She couldn't help anyone.

And she couldn't help but feel like she was back there, all over again.

...

Turning down a side street to bypass parade traffic on his coffee run, Quinn frowned hearing sirens and seeing squad cars turning down the main drag, parking in the lot near the mosque.

"What the fuck..", he muttered, wondering what the hell was going on.

After parking he made his way over on foot. His eyes widening at the frantic crowd and the police trying to control it. Shaking his head he swore, then took off running to the scene. With his background and his training he figured he could be of some help.

"Can we get some help over here, please?!"

Cutting over to the side of the street, Quinn saw a couple tending to someone shakily sitting on the curb.

"She was running after someone then got shoved by some jack-ass behind her. It was a miracle she wasn't trampled.", the man explained, getting a nod from his wife as she tried to clean Carrie's knee wound.

"Before she fell she was yelling for a girl, Tara, Cara? The way she was running, all upset. It must've been her daughter."

...

Daughter.

Overhearing the woman as he walked past, Brody shook his head. Kicking his own mission into higher gear and walking faster. He felt guilty for not stopping. If he could, he would try and help everyone in the crowd he came across, but his priority now was finding Carrie. A childless (and as far as he knew, with every plan to remain childless) Carrie.

...

"Farrah. Her daughter's name is Farrah." Quinn corrected, trying not to panic at the fact that Carrie wasn't making eye contact with him and hadn't stopped shaking yet. Afraid to touch her he simply spoke.

"Carrie, Carrie, it's Quinn. Can you hear me?"

"We tried that, she didn't respond."

"Maybe not to you.", Quinn muttered. Standing, he told the couple to get Carrie to an alley across the way. It wasn't scenic but it was quiet and not in the middle of all the chaos.

...

"Carrie?! CARRIE!" Brody called, removing his cap to wipe the sweat from his brow. He was past caring if he drew attention to himself. The crowd had lessened up but there was still no sign of her and he was getting desperate.

Scanning each face in the group of people ahead of him, with no luck, he turned back around before he was bumped into by...

"Goddammit! Watch where the fuck you're going!", Quinn snarled. He hated leaving Carrie behind with that couple but he had no choice. If she was going to respond to anyone he knew who it would be. And Farrah had to be around here somewhere.

Instead of being able to track her though, he was wasting time with idiots not watching where they walked. This joker with his sunglasses and reddish hair that looked just like...

"Holy, you've got to be fucking kidding me."

Chapter Text

Swallowing hard, Brody did the worst possible thing he could to avoid suspicion and went to walk away.

As stressed and thrown off guard as Quinn was, his vision wasn't the least bit impaired. Brody was in front of him, in the flesh and convinced some hair dye and sunglasses made for an adequate disguise. He wanted to walk away, find Farrah, go back to Carrie, pretend he hadn't bumped into her fugitive fuckbuddy. He wanted to turn the clock back to five minutes ago, but..

I promise. I'll help with your...plan.

Cursing himself for going around making promises in elevators, Quinn grabbed Brody by the arm and dragged him where he'd told the couple to bring Carrie. Brody kept dragging his feet, protesting the whole way, in the worst affected accent Quinn ever heard.

"For God's sake, get your bloody hands off me!"

"Wow. How long have you been practicing that?", Quinn scoffed.

Rolling his eyes, defeated, Brody followed him towards the alley that Quinn then turned down to speak with someone.

"It's alright, we're fine now. I found some help."

"I cleaned up her knee.", the woman said, standing up. "There didn't seem to be any major damage. Just some scrapes and bruising."

"She still hasn't said anything.", the husband muttered. "I don't know what her deal is but she's not-"

"It's alright, I can take it from here. Thank you for your help. If I were you I'd go that way-", Quinn nodded to the back of the alley.

"Still pretty chaotic where I came from."

After the couple nodded skeptically and walked away, Quinn walked back to Brody and grabbed his arm again.

"Okay enough with this.."

"If I were you, Congressman, I wouldn't say another fucking thing.", he sneered.

"There is one, one reason I haven't hauled your ass to Langley or just said fuck protocol and followed through on my original orders.."

Noting the dark little gleam in Quinn's eyes, the knife he had on him, Brody bit his lip and jammed his scarred hand in his pocket.

"And she's in there."

"She?", Brody muttered. Turning down the alley his heart skipped an unhealthy number of beats.

"Holy sh..." Running over he knelt at Carrie's side. She was sitting upright, hugging her knees to her chest and shivering even though her hair and t-shirt were damp with sweat. Her head bowed, tears seeped from her eyes that were still squeezed shut.

Brody had imagined hundreds of ways the two of them could reunite, how it would happen. But he'd never imagined this. Not this.

"Carrie..."

"I brought you here because she shouldn't be alone and I need to find Farrah."

"Farrah?", Brody frowned, still staring intently at Carrie but needing to know if this was just a coincidence or..

"Yeah. She's Carrie's foster daughter."

"Foster..", Trailing off he shook his head, dumbfounded as he turned to look at Quinn.

"You're shitting me right?"

"No. I'm not.", he said, looking agitated as he gave Brody the Reader's Digest version of the situation with Carrie and Farrah.

"I...I can't believe it."

"Yeah, she was quite the souvenir Carrie brought back from Baghdad."

"Baghdad..."
Quickly looking back to her, then at Quinn again, Brody's mind suddenly clicked and he moved closer to Carrie. Heartbroken as he realized the reason behind the state she was in.

"What? What is it?", Quinn frowned.

"Nothing it's just. I think, I know why she's.."

"Tell me."

Reluctantly Brody stood up, this time taking Quinn by the arm as he lowered his voice.
"In Baghdad, one of her stints there, Carrie told me she lost someone. Her translator. There was a mob that got out of hand and they burned the guy alive. Hung him from a fucking bridge."

"Holy shit."

"She said she was, pinned down. Couldn't get to him."

"Same way she couldn't get to Farrah in that fucking mob out there. No wonder she's..." Trailing off he shook his head bitterly.

"PTSD. I never even thought-"

"Well you didn't know."

Looking back at her, anxious to help and hopefully get through to her, Brody frowned at Quinn.

"Look, stick with your plan and find Farrah. Hopefully she'll be enough to snap her out of-"

"No. Hopefully you will.", Quinn frowned back.

"I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, Sergeant Brody. I'm not known for that. You help Carrie, otherwise, I do what I was brought in for in the first place.", he said simply before leaving the alley.

Not letting Quinn rattle him, he was already rattled enough, Brody knelt back down beside her. Fighting every instinct telling him to pull her close and not let go.
"Carrie? Carrie it's me. It's Brody."

He spoke quietly to her, like she was a frightened animal he was trying not to further spook. Her eyes were still shut and the tear tracks were fresh on her face. Still trembling, pale, it was like she trapped in some kind of nightmare. Brody knew that feeling all too well and couldn't bear to watch her suffering through it.

He knew from experience touching her could trigger her lashing out, getting violent. But it didn't feel like talking at her would do any good. He had to get her responding to him somehow and he didn't see how that'd happen if she didn't pick up on him being here. Shifting closer he gave it his best shot.

"Carrie, it's just me. I'm just gonna hold your hand, okay?" Slowly reaching for her left wrist he grazed it with the pad of his thumb, then twined her slim fingers with his.

"I'm here love, I'm right here."

Chapter Text

He was holding her hand again. Carrie wasn't sure how he was exactly. He was dangling from a bridge and she was covered in dust on the ground. And she'd cried and screamed in the tongue he'd taught her but couldn't stop any of it from happening. All she could do was watch as he was dragged off while she was pinned down. Trapped first by the out of control crowd, then by a man who took advantage. He'd pulled her out of the mob and against him, and she'd fought out of his grip then tried to run, but the sick fucker wasn't willing to let her go so easily. He wanted her to watch. With a knife at her back and his hand with a too tight grip on her jaw, he laughed as she cried and screamed and watched her closest friend here die.

But her friend was holding her hand now. And kissing it? What the fuck was that about? Her translator was a lot of things but overly affectionate wasn't one of them.

Lifting her head curiously at this new development, the white noise slowly faded out and her vision cleared to see them. Teary blue eyes laser focused on her clouded over pair.

"Carrie? Can you hear me?"

She was looking right through him. Seeing but not really seeing him. It scared Brody shitless but he forced himself to calm down for her sake.

Moving closer he stroked her hair with his free hand then, not able to resist, kissed her forehead. When it didn't trigger anything he let his lips linger there. Then pulled back so they were nose to nose.

"I know you're scared, I understand. You know I do.", he sighed. Cradling her face in his palm as she continued giving off that same, frighteningly blank stare.

"But you're not alone, okay? It's just like before, just like you told me."
Smiling softly remembering that crappy motel room, Brody thumbed the tear track on her cheek.

"I'm right here love, I'm gonna help you. And the first thing we're gonna do is get the fuck out of here."

Making sure one hand was still holding her's, he reached for his phone and texted Zahira, then the imam asking him to bring the van around. Knowing he'd be prompt about it helped him feel a little more at ease.

He knew the longer they stayed here the more he risked being seen, having idiot bystanders add to the commotion. Carrie had enough of that going on in her head, he knew she didn't need more of it.

Resuming stroking her hair, Brody worked up the nerve to rub her shoulder. Unnerved that she hadn't said one word. Kept staring off across the way looking for someone who wasn't there.

"Nicholas!", Zahira called running over. Eyes widening seeing Carrie, she froze.

"What has happened? Is she..?"

"I'll explain later. Where's the van?"

"It is parked around back. Although here, I found this near the curb. It is her's, yes?", she asked. Remembering Carrie fiddling with the green cased phone that day at the apartment.

Taking the phone, thumbing at the screen til it came to life, Brody laughed at the picture of him set as the background. Zahira looked and couldn't help but smirk.

"Very flattering."

"Yeah well.", shrugging he shoved it in his pocket before Zahira gasped, looking around nervously.

"What's wrong?"

"Where is Farrah?", she asked, as Carrie tightened her grip on Brody's hand.

"Farrah? Farrah?!", she choked out, looking around frantic as he cupped her face.

"Shhh. Carrie it's okay. We're looking for her. We'll find Farrah. I promise you we'll find her."

"B...But.."
She was trying to speak but she couldn't. It was like her brain had cut off communication with her mouth, leading her thoughts to just gather and multiply and overwhelm her.
She started shaking again and Brody pulled away from her just long enough to remove his jacket, slipping it over her shoulders.

Then though he heard voices, one in particular sounding familiar. He identified it as the woman Quinn had spoken with earlier and froze. 

"Alright we need to leave. Now.", he said, in a commanding tone of voice he hadn't used since pre-capture in Iraq. He liked the way it sounded, felt. Being in action and in charge, helping someone besides himself.

Easing his arms around Carrie he lifted her as he stood up. Holding her tight against his chest. She fit perfectly in his arms and felt even more perfect. And he didn't let go of her even as he climbed in the backseat of the van that quickly left the lot.

...

"CARRIE! FARRAH!", Virgil had been yelling for them for over an hour, calling Carrie's phone non-stop with no answer. The mob had dissipated after the cops showed up, but he was still wandering around aimless and scared out of his mind. Not paying attention where he was walking until...

"Jesus, fuck! The second time this has happened today!", Quinn exploded as Virgil backed up, looking apologetic.

"Quinn? When the fuck did you get here?"

"Followed the squad cars. Had to see what the hell was going on. Glad I did.", he sighed, walking alongside Virgil up the road.

"You seen Carrie? I've been calling her for over an hour with no answer."

"You seen Farrah?"

"No.", Virgil said bitterly. Ever since they'd been separated he felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest. He was so worried about her he couldn't think straight, and had no idea what he was going to say to Carrie when he finally saw her again.

"She was right there with me but then the fucking gun went off. I turned around and she was gone."

Seeing the guilt in his eyes clear as day, Quinn gave him a brotherly squeeze on the shoulder.

"Look don't beat yourself up. From what I saw of this clusterfuck I would've been shocked if you'd managed to stay with her."

"You never answered me, did you find Carrie?"

Biting his lip Quinn tried to decide how to best answer him. Then decided it was best to not answer him at all.

"Did something happen to her? Was she hurt?", Virgil asked, trying not to panic.

"She's being taken care of."

"By who?", he asked, arching a brow.

"It doesn't matter.", Quinn insisted. "What matters now is tracking down Farrah."

"Bullshit! They both matter!"

"Virgil, believe it or not I'm as worried for the two of them as you. But like I said, Carrie's being looked after. Her foster daughter isn't. And you know fucking well if you go to Carrie without Farrah tagging right along behind you, you're better off not seeing her at all."

"I don't like this, Quinn. Not one fucking bit."

"Yeah well we have that in common.", Quinn scoffed.

"You didn't get a hold of Saul, did you?", Virgil asked.

"Berenson?"

"Yeah, Carrie's mentor? Short. Balding. Bearlike?"

"No, I haven't. I don't think we should involve him yet.", Quinn said. With Brody in the mix he knew for now, that Saul had to be kept in the dark. It didn't sit well with him but it was what it was.

"He deserves to know what's happened, Quinn. If he hasn't pieced things together already..."

"He hasn't. He's coming home tonight from a trip he took with his wife. It was their anniversary, you want this to be his welcome home present?"

"So what, we just don't clue him in?"

"Why worry him now when we don't need to? We find Farrah tonight, this will all just be a bad dream in the morning. One an old man shouldn't have to go through. Understand?"

Reluctantly, Virgil nodded.

"Look I'm going to start driving around, try and track her down. I suggest you do the same."

Quinn said walking off. Leaving Virgil standing alone and wondering what the fuck had just happened. Trying Carrie's cell one more time with no answer, he resorted to the next best option.

"Hello?"

"Maggie? It's Virgil, Carrie's friend?"

"Hi, what's going on?"

"Look have you heard from Carrie today at all?"

"No, I've been running from sickbed to sickbed."

"At the hospital?"

"I wish. Josie and Ruby both have that stomach bug that's been going around. And now my dad's showing symptoms. I'm confined to the house."

"Shit."

"Yeah no kidding. I just checked my voicemail though. No messages.", Maggie said, even though given the fight she and Carrie had she hadn't been expecting to hear from her.

"Virgil is something wrong?", she frowned.

"Why would you think that?"

"I'm a mother, I have a sixth sense for this sort of thing."

"Look just, let me know if you hear from her at all. I have to-"

"So help me if you even think about hanging up!"

Sighing, Virgil ran a hand through his remaining hair.

"Fuck, you sound just like Carrie. Just more edited.", he weakly joked.

"Virgil, what the hell is going on with my sister?"

"There was, an incident at the parade today."

"What kind of incident...", Maggie asked, fear knotting in her gut as she flipped on the news. Soon enough she had a general idea and tears filled her eyes.

"Is she okay? Is Farrah? Wait, if you'd known you wouldn't have bothered calling me."

"Look we're doing everything we can to track down Farrah. Just if Carrie calls you let me know."

"God, If I could I'd leave right now to help you I just-"

"I know, you can't. Shit, my phone's about to conk out. Just call Carrie's cell, see if she answers okay?"

"Virgil if anything changes.."

"I'll deliver the news in person, I promise."

Nodding, Maggie hung up and braced herself on the kitchen counter, taking a few deep breaths before shutting off the news and grabbing her phone.

With Carrie buckled in beside him in the backseat, her head against his shoulder, Brody reached for her phone on his lap and checked the caller. Maggie. He was tempted not to answer, he'd be a fool to, but not only was Maggie Carrie's sister she was her doctor. If anyone would know how to handle this it'd be her.

Taking a few deep breaths to calm the fuck down, he answered.

"Carrie?!"

"No, it's not-"

"Who is this. Who the hell are you?!"

"It's Brody. Nicholas Brody."

 

Chapter Text

Met with silence on the other end of the line, Brody sighed.

"Listen please don't hang up. I need you to not hang up."

"Why so I won't call the police?", Maggie snapped.

"Hey, believe it or not I'm not all too concerned for my own fate right now. You think I'd be taking fucking phone calls if I was?"

"Why are you answering my sister's phone then? What the hell are you even doing with her?!"

"I found her. I found Carrie at the parade."

"How were you even there?! Weren't there cops?!"

"You know I thought you'd be more interested in knowing what happened to your sister than in my criminal escapades.", Brody muttered.

"You should know I don't take well to sarcasm, Mr. Brody."

"It's just Brody. And I'm sorry, alright, I apologize. I just...Carrie's in bad shape."

"What? What's wrong with her? Has she been hurt?"

"Physically just some scrapes and bruises. But, she's told you what happened to her in Baghdad, hasn't she?"

Thinking back, Maggie's face paled.
"She had a flashback? Did the mob at the parade trigger-"

"Yeah."

"Where are you bringing her?"

Looking up he saw the imam turning down the street to the hospital near the community center.
"The hospital...?"

"No! Don't bring her there. She needs to be someplace calm, low-key. Bring her back to her house."

"I can't exactly arrange that.", Brody sighed. "Can I bring her to you?"

"I've got two girls and my father running to the bathroom every five minutes."

"Shit, that stomach bug?"

"Yeah."

"Look, I'll bring her back to where I'm staying.", he said, making sure the imam overheard.

"Where's that? Canada?", Maggie snorted.

"No. Closer actually."

"God, I don't even want to know how you're-"

"Good, it's better you don't."

"Just tell me, alright? How involved is Carrie in, your being back..."

"She's not. I swear, she's not involved. This is the first time I've seen her since the bombing. Which by the way, I was not responsible for."

"Carrie's said as much. But your taped confession told a different story."

"It told another story. One that had nothing to do with what happened at Langley that day."

"Look, I don't really care about you or what you did or didn't do. I care about Carrie. I care about her involvement in this, with you. If she gets implicated for anything involving you, or whatever we're calling this-"

"I promise you, she won't be. Nothing about my being here will be traced back to her. I'll make sure of it."

"What about the postcards?"

"Those stopped when I was stateside again. I haven't contacted or tried to contact Carrie since I've been back. Today was just a fucking coincidence. Nothing more."
When Maggie didn't reply, Brody sighed, rubbing slow circles with his free hand on Carrie's upper back.

"Listen Ms. Mathison."

"Maggie. Just Maggie."

"Maggie, I know you have no reason whatsoever to trust me."

"How could I trust you, I don't even know you."

"You know the CIA's got a fucking target painted on my back. You know it makes absolutely no sense that I'm within one hundred miles of Carrie, let alone sitting next to her in the back of a van. But I am. I'm here with her risking everything, and I'd gladly do it again if it got her out of harm's way and kept her safe. I love her."

"You've hurt her.", Maggie reminded, sounding pained.

"I know. I know I have.", Sighing, equally pained, Brody brushed his lips on the top of Carrie's head.

"I've told her that. I've warned her about you. So has Saul. But, there's only so much we can say that she'll listen to."

"There's only so much anyone can say that she'll listen to.", Brody said, getting a light laugh as the imam parked the van in the back lot of the apartment building.
"Alright, we just arrived."

"Tell me where."

"I'm in the apartment building by the new community center."

"What room?"

"4D. I know I can't stop you from sending the feds there to greet me with handcuffs."

"If Carrie doesn't get better you can expect them. But...I'll give you time."

"You will?"

"For her sake, not yours. I know if I sent anyone after you it'd just upset her more."

"Look I think I've got a handle on the PTSD, but what about her condition?"

"Does she have her purse with her?"

Checking, Brody noticed a small bag slung over Carrie's shoulder, the thin strap concealed under her t-shirt while the purse hung at her hip.
"This green braided thing?"

"Yeah. Check, she should have her pills in there."

"Now hold on. My mother told me never to go through a woman's bag. Not until you're a couple blocks away from her at least.", Brody joked as he poked through the purse and found the prescription bottles.
"I'm kidding, she never said that."

"I'm sorry, what does my sister see in you?"

"I honestly don't know.", he shrugged as he unbuckled his, then Carrie's seatbelt, the phone cradled under his ear.

"Look as far as the pills, she takes them in the morning but when she comes out of this she'll need another dose. After everything that's happened.."

"And with Farrah still..."

"How do you know about Farrah?"

"I have, sources.", Brody dodged.

"I'll pretend I didn't hear that.", Maggie groaned.

"Anyway, what else will I have to do?"

"She'll need to eat something, and sleep is essential. Just be with her. Keep her out of trouble and preferably inside your apartment."

"Don't worry. I think I've used up my allowance of time outdoors for the next three months."
Getting out of the van he scooped Carrie up and carried her to the elevator.

"Hey, you still there?", he asked Maggie.

"Yeah. I am. Look, as horrible as I feel about all this, if Saul or God forbid the cops start asking questions, I don't know you. This conversation never happened." she sighed.

"Maggie I swear, I won't let anything happen to her."

"I'm supposed to call Virgil back if I heard from Carrie. Does he know..?"

"No. Quinn's the only one."

"Peter Quinn?"

"Yeah, short, dark haired, shifty gleam in his eyes. Likes his knives too.", Brody scoffed.
"But if Virgil calls tell him Carrie's being looked after. What he, what everyone should focus on is tracking down Farrah."

"Brody, you know Carrie's not going to sit still with her still missing."

"Yeah, I do.", he said as he got off the elevator and turned the corner to his apartment, quickly unlocking the door.

"But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

"I'm serious, Brody. She will fight her way out of that apartment to find her."

"Well if it's any consolation, she's not up to fighting quite yet."

"That's not exactly a consolation."

"Yeah, I know.", Brody sighed, gently setting her down on his small sofa.

"Just take care of her, okay?", Maggie said, wiping at her eyes.

"I will. I promise.", he assured. Hanging up he knelt down beside the couch and stroked Carrie's hair.

"I promise..."

Chapter Text

Stopped at a red light, Khaliq glanced over his shoulder at Farrah curled up in the backseat of his van. She'd stopped crying, but the Happy Meal he'd bought her sat untouched in the bag on the seat next to her.

"Farrah, why aren't you eating?"

"I..I'm not, hungry.", she said softly as she stared out the window.

"It is alright. I will cook us something when we arrive."

"Where?"

Not sure how to answer her, not sure Samir would like him answering her, chewing his lip he finally replied. "It is a surprise."

"I don't..want surprise.", Farrah sighed, wiping at her eyes.

"I want to go home."

"Farrah I cannot-"

"Take me home!", she wailed.

"Farrah if I take you home, I will have to leave."

Frowning, she wiped her eyes.
"No..you stay with me! And Carrie!", she said. Smiling for the first time in an hour just at the idea of that. She knew that Carrie and her big brother would get along fine if she introduced them.

"Farrah, this Carrie. She is not your family."

Smile fading she shook her head.
"No! She..Carrie is-"

"Not your mother.", Khaliq said, getting a confused, overwhelmed look.

Deep down Farrah knew that was true, but it was difficult for her to hear. She knew she had another mom. She could remember the smell of her perfume and the jewelry she wore and if she really concentrated could picture the way she looked when she smiled.

But Carrie was the one who'd taught her to read and made her waffles and calmed her down after she had bad dreams. And it didn't matter to Farrah what she called her or who she thought of her as. She missed her and wasn't willing to lose her forever. Even if it meant she could be with her older brother.

"I don't..care.", she said defiantly.

"Well what about our other brother? Would you care to meet him?", Khaliq asked as Farrah looked up curiously, and gave him a small nod. Not much of one but enough to keep him driving.

...

He'd knelt next to the couch watching her for what felt like hours, but it only had been fifteen minutes or so. Carrie hadn't moved, still staring vacantly at nothing particular on the opposite wall. She still looked lost, alone, someplace where she shouldn't be, and she'd looked like that for too fucking long now.

It took all Brody's strength not to break down in tears or punch a wall. Possibly both. Instead though he stayed in place, squeezing her hand before kissing it.

"I'm sorry, Carrie. Damn it. I saw you in the crowd before that fucking gun went off. I should've run over, done something. Kissed you or carried you the fuck out of there before...I'm so sorry."

Not getting a response he moved to stroke her hair when he noticed it. A faint scar on the right side of her forehead. Tracing the mark with his thumb he remembered seeing it back when it was in all its hideous glory, the night he visited her after Nazir's death. He'd hated the man he once claimed to love, so viciously for putting it there.

His eyes traveled to her torn t-shirt sleeve and a purpling bruise underneath it. There were still brush burns on her wrists and upper arms from when she'd fallen. And Brody noticed a small scratch on the left side of her head had lightly bled against her hair. 

Debating if he should've followed his instincts, brought her to the hospital instead, his and Maggie's conversation replayed in his mind. Keep her comfortable, calm, don't leave her alone.

He had the not leaving her alone part covered. He wasn't taking his eyes off her anytime soon. But he also figured she'd be more calm and comfortable if she was a little cleaned up.

Picking her up he brought her into his small bathroom, setting her down on the counter next to the sink.

"Okay love, I'm just gonna help you clean you up a little. Don't worry I won't try anything. Unless you ask."

It wasn't the time to joke but Brody figured if he appeared relaxed, it could only help.

Filling the basin with warm, soapy water he grabbed a washcloth and wet it, bringing it to Carrie's face. Cleaning the scrape on the side of her head, she flinched slightly at the contact but otherwise didn't react.

Shaking his head sadly he kissed her forehead, then massaged the cloth in slow circles on the back of her neck. When her t-shirt started to get saturated, carefully Brody went to remove it. Searching her eyes for any sign that he should stop. Not getting one he washed everywhere on her upper body not covered by her camisole, rewetting the cloth in the warm water frequently so she didn't catch a chill.

Brody was tapping into resistance he hadn't used since being tortured to keep himself in check. She was just as, if not more, beautiful then she was that night in the woods. He just wished her eyes reflected it, gave off that perfect spark again instead of sadness.

He didn't let it get to him though. He knew if he kept it together, stayed in control he'd be able to bring her back. He had to. They'd been through too fucking much to lose each other all over again.

Enveloping her in his arms he reached around to wash her upper back. When his shirt went damp, he blamed the washcloth and her proximity before realizing she was silently sobbing against his chest.

"Hey! Hey...it's okay. Shhh. It's okay Carrie.", he soothed.

When he tried to pull back, wanting to see her, her arm looped up around his neck to keep him in place.

"Easy, easy...love. I'm not going anywhere."

Waiting until she was ready to let go, once she did Brody held her gaze, smoothed her hair as she looked on wide-eyed, totally shocked.

"Brody..."

"Yeah." he smiled softly, cradling her face in his palm.

"It's me."

 

Chapter Text

"Brody?"

"Yeah, it's me.."

His soft smile went sad when her eyes filled with surprise, disbelief, utter confusion. But the complex mix of emotion there was far preferable to the lightless, lifeless look she'd been giving off since he'd found her in the alley.

"But I don't..."

"Shhh...", he soothed.

Leaning into his touch, placing her palm over the back of his hand, Carrie looked up at him curiously.

"But you shouldn't even be-"

"Don't worry about that. I'm gonna explain everything, tell you anything you want to know. Just try and relax now though, okay? I promise that we're safe here."

With a frown she removed her hand.

"Where the fuck is here?"

"Well it's not Canada in case you couldn't tell."

"Brody..."
So confused now that her head hurt, sighing Carrie looked down and away from him. Prompting Brody to lift her chin, trace the side of her face with his thumb.

"Look, if it helps you any pretend the information's classified. Right now all you need to know is we're still in D.C, we're safe in an apartment thanks to a lot of help from people we both trust, and more importantly we're out of that fucking parade."

"The parade..", Carrie gasped as her mind clicked back. The gunshot, the mob, her fall...

"I tried to get to you in the crowd Carrie, but I couldn't. By the time I found you, you were-"

"Oh my God. Oh, fuck." she choked out, eyes welling up. All she had to do was look at him to know what he'd seen today from her.

"Carrie?"

"I can't believe that you...you fucking saw me when I-"

"Hey, after everything you've already seen from me..." Brody reminded as he smoothed her hair.

"Don't even think about feeling guilty."

"But-"

"Carrie. None of it matters. Nothing except that you're back. You're not there. It's over and it's gonna stay that way.", he said firmly. Grabbing a nearby towel he dried off her shoulders. "You're with me, love. You're safe."

After he drew her back in his arms again, leaning against him, the warmth of his chest, smell of his aftershave, the sound of his heart in her ear settled Carrie down. Better than any of her pills could've. Finally she felt calm enough to talk. Explain, even though he owed her an explanation times five.

"I was back there, Brody.", she whispered as he rubbed her back.

"I was right there, all over again. I heard him. He kept yelling for me but I was pinned down, I..I couldn't..I couldn't get there in time, I-oh..omigod..."

Eyes dangerously wide she jerked back, looking around frantic.

"Farrah..", she gasped. "Where..where the fuck is she? Farrah!"

"Carrie.."

Throwing the towel off she scrambled off the counter and out of the bathroom, running to look in the living room and the kitchen area.

"Farrah? Farrah!"

Not seeing her she doubled back and ran down the hall into the bedroom. Flinging open the closet door with no sign of her, she ducked down to look under the bed.

Heartbroken Brody stood watching from the doorway, blocking Carrie's path to leave. She ran up, tried to dodge him but he anticipated each move and stopped her each time.
This just fueled her determination as she kept trying to shove past, swearing, yelling for Farrah the entire time. Finally Brody had no choice but to yell back.

"Carrie, she's not here!"

"Get out of my way, you don't even know who the fuck I'm talking about!"

"I know her! I know Farrah!"

Taking advantage of her stunned silence, Brody spoke.
"She goes to the community center."

"How the fuck do you know that?!"

"I teach her there. It's a long story."

Carrie was dumbfounded, but wasn't willing to wait around for his long story or his explanation or anything. Not when he was blocking her from tracking Farrah down, taking a grip on her shoulders. Squirming at the hold he had on her, when he didn't budge she started hitting at his chest. This time Brody just let her hit until she exhausted herself. Collapsing against his chest in tears.

"Quinn's looking for Farrah. Virgil too. By now they've called in the best to help search and every favor they've got. They wouldn't let you down, Carrie. You or your daughter."

Tearfully Carrie shook her head against his chest.
"Foster daughter.", she insisted.

"She told me she wants to spy when she grows up. Says she wants to be just like you."

Weakly laughing to keep from crying more, not really succeeding, she shook her head.

"Brody what if she's-"

"Hey don't think like that. Don't even, it'll just make you crazy.", Brody sighed, not really thinking about his choice in words until he heard Carrie snort.

"Fuck, you know I didn't mean..."

"I've heard worse, Sergeant."

Wiping at her eyes she backed away from him with a smirk, but it faded when her knees started wobbling.

"Whoa, hey c'mere. You should sit."

"Brody I'm fine."

"Just humor me, okay?"

Arching a brow he nodded to the bed. Reluctantly she sat down, crossing her legs before she felt a chill.

"Here..", After grabbing a flannel shirt from his closet Brody sat beside her on the bed, helped her into it. "Try this on for size."

"Thanks.", Buttoning it she turned towards him, noticing he couldn't take his eyes off her.

"What, does the plaid bring out my eyes?", she asked, as playfully as she could given the circumstances.

Shifting closer Brody reached over, squeezing her hand.

"Have I told you yet how much I missed you?"

"No.", she smiled softly, squeezing his hand back before the reality of everything she'd done, everything he'd seen from her today came flooding back.

"But I bet you didn't miss this."

"Carrie you told me about this. And I told you I wasn't scared of it. I'm still not. All that scared me today was hearing that fucking gun and not being able to get to you."

"Like I couldn't get to Farrah?", she sniffed, wiping her eyes.

Rubbing her shoulder Brody kissed the side of her head, sensing how tensed up she still was, for good reason. Then he remembered.
"Hey just stay put for a second, I'll be right back."

Frowning, Carrie watched as he went out to the front and a few minutes later, returned with her purse. Grabbing it from him she reached past the pills for her iPhone, trying to untangle the earbuds.

"Hey who needs those things.", Brody said, taking the phone from her, sans headphones, and docking it in the speaker on his nightstand.

"Hey that's the latest version, Marine. If you break it-"

"Jesus, Carrie. What do you take me for?"

"A man who was trapped in a hole when the first version came out."

Rolling his eyes Brody managed to get jazz echoing through the speakers.

"What do you take me for now?", he asked with a smirk.

"A man who can't even tell me what quartet is playing right now."

"Dave Brubeck."

"I'm impressed."

"Well I do know how to read a name off a fucking screen."

"Yeah, what else do you know?", Carrie asked with a smirk.

"That you're gonna have to break into these, sooner rather than later.", Brody said, handing her the prescription bottles from her bag as her face went solemn.

"C'mon, one of each. Lets see it."

Sitting at the foot of the bed, Brody leaned forward, resting his chin on his hand. Acting all cute and charming and making Carrie want to have her way with him right there. It didn't hurt that the smug look on his face was starting to wear on her nerves. Agitated, 'just trying to shut you up' sex with him, while it wouldn't trump cabin, would beat parking lot by a long shot.

Forcing her mind out of the gutter she uncapped the bottles, taking a pill from each. Brody watching intently.

"I could use some water.", Carrie requested as he nodded, getting to his feet.

"From cabin boy to water boy. That's a demotion if I ever heard it.", he scoffed getting a chuckle out of her. It wasn't that full blown gorgeous laugh but was something they could build from.

"I'll be right back."

Making sure Brody was out the door, Carrie reached in her purse for an Altoids tin, tossing the two pills inside it. She'd need to take them later, and she would.
But she couldn't now. There was too much going on. Too much that had to be done.

 

Chapter Text

"Never mind, Brody!", Carrie called, a knot forming in her stomach as she said the words. She'd never had trouble lying. For her job it was a requirement and in general it came second nature to her. But right now unusual, unfamiliar guilt was starting to creep in she wished she could tamp down.

"What?", Brody asked poking his head back in the door.

"I said never mind. I got them."

"You should really eat something though. You like macaroni and cheese?", he asked, hoping so since he'd just put a premade pan of it in the oven.

"I'd be fine with anything not served in styrofoam or cardboard. Farrah's insisted on take-out the past few nights."

Mentioning her name Carrie's eyes welled up.
"Shit..."

"Hey..hey it's okay.", Brody soothed, sitting beside her on the bed. When he went to put an arm around her, to his surprise she shifted away.

"Fuck, I just..I can't do this! Sitting around here pacing and crying and waiting by the fucking phone.", she snapped, standing up as Brody did the same.

"I need to get out there! I need to look for her myself."

When she made a move to leave Brody resumed his position in front of the door, getting her glaring.

"Okay, I'm over your whole bodyguard routine!"

"You think it's a picnic for me? I feel like a fucking prison warden!"

"So let me escape..", Carrie whispered seductively as he rolled his eyes.

"Carrie.."

"Brody if you expect me just to sit here, fucking rest-"

"You expect me to let you leave?"

"I won't blow you in!"

"That's not what I'm worried about and you know it."

Knowing he had reason to be frightened, given what he'd seen from her just hours before, Carrie sighed, taking a deep breath before speaking.

"Brody, I am useless sitting here right now. Quinn and Virgil need my help, I fucking know it."

"You know neither of them are going to quit until they find Farrah."

"What if they don't? What if they can't?"

"They have the goddamn CIA at their disposal, Carrie. If their resources can't track down a six year old girl, who the fuck can?"

"Their resources? What about my resources? Farrah's my-"

"She's your daughter. It's okay for you to say that."

"But not okay for me to find her? What kind of fucked up logic is that?", Carrie sniffed, folding her arms over her chest.

"She needs me, Brody."

"You're right. She does need you. At one hundred and one percent when she's found. And as far as I can tell that means you eating a real meal and getting a good nights sleep."

"Okay have you been channeling my sister or something?"

"No. I talked to her though.", Brody shrugged getting a look.

"You what?!"

"She called your phone on the ride here. I saw it was her and I picked up."

"You talked to Maggie?!"

"Yeah. And the feds haven't shown up yet!"

"Doesn't mean they won't!", Carrie exclaimed.

"Carrie she said she wouldn't put you through that. The only person involved here Maggie gives a damn about is you. She's going to protect you."

"Yeah and I know exactly how she plans to!", she scoffed, shaking her head.

"You didn't hear our conversation. She sounded sincere."

"She sounded sincere yesterday when she told me to give up on you."

"Carrie I don't think she'll say a fucking thing. I mean look at me, I'm still here! Nobody's kicked in the door, hauled me off in handcuffs."
Moving closer to her Brody smoothed her hair.

"I know you're worried, convinced I've taken some huge fucking risk here but I don't care."

"You should."

"Why? Because you're the only one allowed to take huge fucking risks?", he asked knowingly.

"I can't take you off the grid for awhile? Bring you back to a room, settle you down. Make sure you're not running off the rails?"

Annoyed not being able to counter that, Carrie frowned.

"Consider this my returning the favor, okay?"

"Returning the fav...Brody if this backfires."

"Carrie...", he groaned.

"Even if Maggie does keep quiet, there's Quinn to consider. People at the parade that could've recognized you. Like that couple that wouldn't leave me the fuck alone!"

"Hey, she did a decent job fixing up your knee."

Exasperated Carrie groaned, running a hand through her hair before Brody came up behind her. Easing his arms around her waist as she leaned into his touch.

"I had a plan for clearing your name, our way out. Now though.."

Pivoting she turned to face him she reached up, held his face.
"We can't afford to complicate things more, I-"

"Carrie, don't worry about it. I need you not to worry. You need you not to worry."

"Yeah okay! Easier said than done when I'm fucking in love with-"

Stopping short, her eyes welling up she looked up nervously as he took her hands off his face, stroked her hair.
"I love you too."

Not sure what to say, how to react (aside from cry more, and she was fucking sick of crying), Carrie pulled him into a kiss. Gentle at first, but when she went to make it more passionate he pulled back. Hearing a timer go off in the kitchen.

"Finally. You're hungry aren't you?"

"Wait, you cooked?"

"Don't look that surprised.", he scoffed, walking her to the kitchen before grabbing an oven mitt, taking the pan out of the oven.

"What can I do to help?"

"You can help me by sitting down."

"Well aren't we demanding."

Rolling her eyes she smirked but followed his instructions, sitting at the table as he dished out two bowls of mac and cheese. Setting one down in front of her along with a glass of wine. In spite of everything going on, the nervous energy trickling through her and the way her stomach knotted each time she thought of Farrah, Carrie couldn't help but smile. At him, at this.

"Brody this is so-"

"It's not the Ashford but it'll have to suffice. For now anyway."

"For now.", Carrie echoed as Brody toasted his wine glass against hers. Then looked on as she took a cautious bite of the mac and cheese.

"Holy shit..", she marveled.

"You approve?"

"This is really good."

Smiling, relieved, Brody ate a forkful.

"Took me long enough but I finally remembered the recipe."

"Remembered?", Carrie asked, sipping her wine.

"Yeah, I made this all the time for Dana when she was little."

"Ah."

"Jess wasn't much of a cook when we got married. This was the only thing Dana would eat and wouldn't complain about. You should've seen me trying to make it for her when I got back from Iraq."

"Had a few failed attempts?", she smirked.

"I almost burned the fucking kitchen down."

Getting a light laugh but not much else, Brody frowned as Carrie didn't do much but stir at the pasta.

"Hey why are you slowing down?"

"It's nothing, I'm fine.."

Realizing he'd veered into kid conversation, Brody sighed.

"Shit, Carrie.."

"No, Brody. It's okay. You have kids. No reason you can't discuss them at your own fucking dinner table."

Smiling softly he reached across the table, squeezed her hand.

"I'm gonna teach Farrah to make this, you know."

"Not me?", Carrie asked.

"Are you kidding?", Brody laughed. "I was scared letting you chop a tomato that night at the cabin."

"I did fine!", she insisted.

"Carrie you tried to peel the fucking thing."

"Well at least I wasn't juggling them."

"Hey I got your message about the juggling! I got it loud and clear.", he playfully pouted, getting her grinning.

"Honestly though, I have gotten better in the kitchen since.", Carrie said.

"Yeah okay."

"I'm serious. When I was staying at Maggie's she taught me a few recipes. They're so basic even I can't fuck them up."

"But Farrah's still partial to take-out?"

"Hey I blame Danny Galvez for that. He got her eating French fries one day at lunch and it just snowballed from there."

"Well they are a gateway food. Lead to the harder stuff. Pizza, chips, ice cream, those tubs of movie popcorn."

Seeing her eyes cloud over again, as she thought of waiting in that fucking line for the fucking snack Farrah didn't even get to enjoy, now Brody's stomach knotted up. When he shifted his chair closer though she shifted away.

"Brody, don't."

Sighing, trying to keep his own frustration in check he stood up, clearing his spot. Sullenly Carrie took her bowl over to the sofa, then noticed an open folder on the coffee table, full of what looked like kids artwork. Sitting down she reached for it, getting a better look at what she realized was a copy of one of Farrah's drawings.

"Brody?"

"Yeah?", he asked, shutting the water off at the sink.

"Why do you have these?"

"Have what?"

"Copies of all these drawings?"

"The imam asked me to put together a collage of the kids artwork to put on display. I told the art class if anyone wanted to contribute to leave their drawings on my desk. I made the copies though so the kids could keep the originals."

"Farrah left you a ton of her's.", Carrie noted.

"I'm not surprised. She draws more than any kid I've ever met. You can look through the ones she chose to give me. I'm sure you've seen them already though."

Tearing up Carrie closed the folder.
"You're right. I have.", she sighed. Leaning back into the couch cushion as she quietly finished her mac and cheese.

Sitting next to her Brody slipped an arm around her. Kissing the side of her head as she curled up on his shoulder. They sat in comfortable silence for a few moments before Carrie made a surprising request.

"Will you tell me a story?"

"What kind of a story?"

"About the day a little girl in a hijab met a handsome on the run Marine."
Lightly laughing, Brody smiled.

"I was almost finished reading, what the fuck was it...the mouse and cookie book but with a moose."

"'If You Give A Moose A Muffin?'"

"Yeah! How'd you-"

"That was Josie's favorite book. Every time I visited I'd have to read it to her twice."

"She's got good taste.", Brody laughed.

"Anyway, Zahira nods for Farrah to go in the classroom, but Farrah doesn't want Zahira to introduce her and interrupt the story for everyone. So she stands outside in the hallway, refuses to move until I'm done. The second I am she comes barreling toward me, asks if she can look at the book. So I hand it to her and she giggles, then runs to the back corner of the classroom and flips through the thing. Finishes it in record time."

Laughing, Carrie wiped at her eyes.
"She loves animal books. Always reads through those the fastest. What did she do when she was finished, ask you for another?"

"She actually asked for a reread of it. Says she liked it so much she wanted to hear it out loud."

Holding Carrie a little tighter, Brody's smile went sad.

"When she left she gave me a hug goodbye. I'll be damned if she didn't remind me of Issa."

"There are some similarities.", Carrie sniffed. "When I woke up in the courtyard and saw that her house had been-"

"Yeah..", Brody nodded, sensing she didn't want to rehash that memory.

"Fuck, I wasn't even scared for myself. And after I found her, getting her away from there was such a blur."

"You know when Quinn told me about it, told me you were taking care of her..it didn't seem that crazy to me."

Shaking her head Carrie sat up, looking skeptical.

"Brody if you're saying that just to spare my feelings, don't. I love Farrah and I don't regret for a second doing what I did, but c'mon. The Carrie you knew, raising a child? If that doesn't seem crazy to you maybe you should be the one on meds."

"No, Carrie that wasn't what I meant."

"What did you mean?"

"I wasn't that shocked when Quinn told me because, in a fucked up way, part of me kind of knew already."

"How?"

"I don't know, I can't explain it. I just know the day I met Farrah there was something about her that was different. Special. Something I couldn't place that just made me want to keep a closer eye on her."

"Something like me?"

"Don't think anything else would make much sense.", Brody smiled, holding her face.

"And look, as far as what you thought I said before, if Farrah being a terrific kid isn't proof enough for you..it's not crazy that you're a parent, Carrie. It wouldn't be crazy for you to be a parent."

Leaning into his palm Carrie's gaze fell to their linked hands on the sofa. Blinking back tears as she flashed back to something she wanted to forget, that she had no plan to bring up now.

Sensing her change, not sure of what to say Brody decided to do the next best thing and leaned back against the arm of the couch. Prompting her to stretch out alongside him, pillowed against his chest as he held her close.

"Honestly though, did you ever think that I'd..be.."

"A super spy slash soccer mom?", Brody asked as she smirked.

"Oh I'm a super spy now?"

"According to Farrah, and she's as smart as they come."

"I can't believe she wants to be a spy.", Carrie sighed bitterly.

"Don't want her following in your footsteps?"

"She should never have to see what I've seen.", she said gravely.
"She's seen so much already, I don't-"

Blinking back tears she curled up closer to him.

"Shhh. She'll be back with you soon, love. She'll be back and everything will be fine.", Brody assured.
"Everything will be fine."

Chapter Text

Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the motel room, Farrah was busying herself drawing on napkins and corners of newspapers with the colored pencils Khaliq had given her.

She hadn't said a word since they'd been in the car and ignored her burger and fries, only munching on some popcorn he'd bought her. The bag was still mostly full and folded over next to her.
All Khaliq could do was hope Samir would win her over, get her talking. It was killing him that she wasn't talking. That wasn't the sister he remembered.

"Farrah, Samir will be here soon. I am sure of it."

Not paying attention to him, Farrah continued doodling on a napkin.

"May I see?", Khaliq asked, sitting beside her on the rug. Shrugging Farrah pushed the napkin in his direction, showing him a completed drawing of a blond woman and a redheaded man holding a little girl's hand.

He could also make out a rough sketch of him and a faceless, shadowy figure standing in the background. Khaliq didn't know the name of the redhead. Or the blond who was in more of the drawings. He knew though Samir would be able to identify her when he arrived.

After Khaliq learned Farrah had escaped the ruins of their home and lived, he contacted his brother who had the money and resources to figure out exactly who made that possible. All Khaliq wanted was answers, the name of the Good Samaritan who saved his sister's life so he could thank them personally.

Samir though used this information on his sister, her handler and their whereabouts to formulate a plan to get Farrah back. A plan involving guns and abductions. Khaliq had tried to get him to reconsider, at the very least to use a different, less risky approach. But his brother was a powerful man with a quick temper, and was more than capable of making Khaliq's life a misery if he went against him. All Khaliq could do was hope he'd soften after reacquainting with Farrah.

"Once Samir arrives we will leave this place. He has someplace much nicer where we will stay."

"Where?", Farrah asked.

"It is another surprise."

"I do not like this surprise!", she wailed. Gathering up her drawings and pencils she curled up on one of the twin beds, staring intently at the wall.

"Farrah, I thought you would be happy to see me again. I have missed you very much.", Khaliq said sincerely.

"I miss Carrie."

"What kinds of things do you do with Carrie?"

Smiling slightly, Farrah sat up.

"We read and, play hide and seek! And she bring me to Langley and I meet Pete and Virg and Dan and Bear and.."

"Wait, who is Bear?"

Sifting through her drawings Farrah handed him a sketch of a smiling bearded man with glasses, eating peanut butter.

"And the others?"
Listening as Farrah described Carrie's colleagues, Khaliq couldn't help feeling concerned that his younger sister's closest friends were middle aged men, and frowned nervously at her.

"Farrah, do you have friends your own age?"

"At community center. Mischa.", Farrah answered before her smile went sad.

"I supposed to see her. Carrie, said she..she'd take us to park."

Smile now faded completely, Farrah gave Khaliq a glare.
"It not fair! I want to go home!"

Climbing off the bed she ran to the door and started pounding on it.

"I want out! Let me out!", she yelled before the door swung open and Samir stepped inside.

Looking down at Farrah with a glare, when he started scolding her loudly in Arabic she ran to hide under the desk in the corner.

"Brother what are you doing!", Khaliq spat.

"She was making a scene!"

"You frightened her!"

Swearing, Samir ran a hand through his hair. Trying to get a grip on his anger.

"Apologize to her or I will bring her back to the mosque."

"I have told you, she is going with us to the church!"

"Not until you convince her to."
Khaliq said firmly, pointing towards the desk. Taking a few deep breaths, Samir crossed the room towards it, kneeling down.

"Farrah...?"

"No!", she whimpered. Knees hugged to her chest she shook her head as a tear slid down her face.

"Please come out. I would like to speak to you."

"NO!", she yelled.

"You raise your voice to me!"

Standing up Samir slammed his hand on the desk in frustration, then looking for a sheet of paper grabbed one of Farrah's napkins and a pen, scribbling an address on it.

"Meet me here after you calm her down.", he ordered, shoving the napkin in Khaliq's palm before turning to leave.

"No, brother!"

After he turned around, shot him a glare, Khaliq felt a chill run through him but refused to show his fear.

"Meet me at the church, in one hour, or expect to suffer.", Samir threatened before stepping out, slamming the door behind him.

Turning Khaliq crouched beside the desk as Farrah sniffled, climbing onto his lap.

"Shhh..it is okay. He is gone now. He is gone."

"I want to go home! I want Carrie!", she cried as he hugged her close, rubbed her back.

"I am sorry, Farrah. I am so sorry."

Guiltily he held her close until finally her crying subsided. But checking the wall clock he felt a knot form in his stomach. If he didn't meet Samir at the church he'd be gambling with his life, and by extension Farrah's.

Knowing if he was harmed he wouldn't be able to protect her from their brother's wrath.

He had no choice but to follow orders. As much as it pained him to do so.

"Come now.", he sighed, standing up and taking Farrah by the hand. "We must get ready for church."

Chapter Text

His eyes cracking open Brody squinted at the wall clock across the way. Realizing they'd only conked out for an hour or so, he turned slightly to smile at Carrie stretched alongside him on the couch. Head on his shoulder, her left arm curled possessively over his chest as she softly snored.

Brody didn't want to move, and certainly didn't want to make her, but the two of them sharing his small sofa all night wasn't a suitable option. Gently lifting her arm to free himself he shifted off the couch to stand. Carrie grumbled in reply to his actions.

"What the fuck, Brody? We were fine.", she muttered, eyes half shut.

"If by fine you mean us waking up tomorrow at a right angle.", Brody said, arching a brow as she reluctantly sat up, stretched her neck.

"C'mon, you can have my bed."

"Are you going to have it too?", Carrie asked suggestively, getting a look.

"Well I'm not going to watch you sleep on the fucking floor again.", she scoffed.

"Again?", Brody questioned as she shrugged. Then it clicked for him.

"If it makes you feel better I didn't enjoy the watching.", she half-lied. It seemed to be good enough for him though as he walked her to the bedroom.

When he went to grab a pillow for himself, she put her hand over it to stop him.

"What?! I'll use it on the couch."

"If you'd wanted to stay there you shouldn't have woken us up."

"Carrie c'mon.."

"No, Brody. I don't-"

"What?"

"I really need to say it?"

Getting a befuddled look that she knew meant yes, she rolled her eyes in embarrassment.
"I don't want to wake up and be alone. Not tonight, not after everyth-"

"Hey..."
Coming back around to her side of the bed Brody pulled her into a tight hug.

"You won't be alone. You're not alone.", he assured. Pulling back he held her face, and settled for kissing her on the forehead. Anything else with the bed so close would be a risk.

After they turned down the bed Carrie got under the covers, watching a little too intently as Brody took off his shirt.

"What are you looking at?", he asked, getting a devious grin. Prompting him to switch off the lamp on the nightstand as he climbed into bed.

"Say goodnight Carrie.."

"Goodnight Carrie.", she smirked.

Rolling his eyes at the lame joke Brody felt her roll over and slip her arms around him. Outer spoon to his inner. It didn't take long for him to drift off and the same went for Carrie . Until the dreams started up. Waking up in a cold sweat she looked down to see her hands shaking. Slowly she inhaled, taking deep breaths in what proved to be a useless attempt to calm down.

That damn little voice in the back of her mind, not yet drowned out by white noise was reminding her to get up, get her meds. If she took the pills now she could still come back down. Too bad the rest of her didn't want to.
Why should she have to? Why give up the rush, the thrill, the power that went with her curse that right now felt like a fucking blessing. All her restless energy, caged genius could be put, should be put, towards something that was worth something. Something that counted, that mattered.

"Carrie?", Brody stirred, rolling over to see her sitting up in bed. Even in the dim light he could see her trembling.

"Hey...it's okay. It's okay love, I'm here.", he soothed. Reaching to pull her into a hug she pulled back.

"Carrie, what's wrong?"

Shaking her head she gave him a sly smile, kissing him hard on the mouth. Nipping at his lips her hands wandered all over him, trailing over his muscles, his scars.
Brody was slipping under her spell, fast, but when she pushed him back into the pillows he got a good look at her. Saw her eyes and wished like hell he recognized her.

Shaking his head he sat up, pushing her hands off and away from him.

"Carrie.."

"Brody...", she purred. Straddling him, her hands roamed to caress the scars on his back and she leaned in, nuzzled his neck.

"No, Carrie!", he said forcefully, breaking free of her hold on him.

"We can't. Not like this.."

"How then? I'm open to suggestions.", she laughed, hurriedly unbuttoning her top before Brody stopped her, moving her hands away from her chest he was trying so hard not to look at.

"Fuck, Carrie. I said no, not now.."

"But-"

"I'm not going to be used, damn it!"

"Fine, fuck this.", she scoffed.

"Carrie..."

Before Brody could make a move towards her she was up and off the bed. He managed to get to her though before she was out the door.

"Carrie I'm sorry, I just-"

"No, you were right okay. You were absolutely right, of course...you were right.", She spoke quickly but matter of factly leaving him puzzled. Why wasn't she putting up more of a fight?

"I was righ-"

"I can take the..the couch, that's better, much better. Will work just brilliantly, really."

Watching her grab a throw blanket, pillow, and her phone and headphones from the nightstand, Brody frowned curiously.

"Carrie are you sure you're-"

"Yes, go back to sleep..just, I'm fine."

Walking out she made her way to the living room but Brody followed, watching her from the hall as she wrapped the blanket around her, sat forward on the couch and slipped her headphones in. Thumbing through the art folder on the table.
"Love, I can make us some tea if you-"

Realizing she hadn't even heard him, didn't seem to want to hear him, and not wanting to set her off if this was a way she dealt with her stress or her condition, against his better judgment Brody took her words earlier to heart and went back to his room. Crawling back into bed and hoping, praying, that the fear his gut was telling him to feel was unneeded.
That she'd been telling the truth. That she was fine.

 

Chapter Text

Opening his eyes, Brody rolled over to the unoccupied side of the bed and felt a pang of guilt, remembering Carrie resigning herself to sleeping on that tiny couch. If worse came to worse he'd help massage out any muscle kinks, so long as she didn't try anything again. He hoped that wild eyed look she'd given off was just a temporary one. That now that she'd slept she'd settled down.

"Carrie?", he called, getting out of bed and throwing on a shirt and robe.
"You want something to eat? I might have some fruit. Maybe eggs?"

Walking down the hall, he realized she wasn't on the couch and the kitchen was deserted.

"Carrie?"
Going to knock on the bathroom door, he found it open and the room empty and swore.

"Carrie? Damn it where are you?"
Frantic, he ran back out to the front and noticed the apartment door was open a crack. His face went ten shades whiter. "Shit! CARRIE!"

Going for his keys on the coffee table, he realized it was covered with sheets of paper. Copies of the drawings Carrie had been going through last night. They hadn't been tampered with but most of them were missing, and Brody didn't have to go through the pile to know which ones.

Leaving the apartment he locked the door behind him. Taking the back stairwell he took the steps two at a time, leaving the building through the back exit. The closer one to the courtyard and the side entrance of the community center.

Brody hoped he'd find her outside on the grounds. The doors to all the entrances were all locked and only him, the imam and Zahira had the access code for the keypads. Of course though that hadn't deterred her. The side door had been propped. Of course she can crack a security code, idiot. She's fucking CIA.

Turning the handle he ran down the thankfully deserted hallway past the offices. Then through the cafeteria to the media room. Poking his head through the door he didn't see her using any of the computers, so his next stop was the art room. Once arriving his heart hurt at the sight.

All of Farrah's drawings, thirty to be precise, were scribbled on with highlighter ink and pinned haphazardly to the bulletin board in the corner. On the dry erase beside it there were bullet points and indiscernible lists.

Brody was hesitant to approach. Part of him wanted to run away. But then she turned slightly towards him, enough for him to see her eyes.
In spite of the wild, intense look they were giving off they were still the same pair that had intrigued him, seduced him, broken him, pushed him, comforted him, and had always been able to see straight through him. Even now when she ran up and faced him head on, meeting his frantic look with one of her own.

"Brody! Finally you're here! You're fast. Fucking fast, really. This way..follow me!", she exclaimed, taking him by the hand.

"You know Farrah well, just about as well as I do, more or less. You've observed and worked with her, you've watched her."

"I've watched her draw, Carrie."

"Yes, so you know!", she cheered. "You understand! Her drawings, her doodles. All the details, the descriptiveness in them, that's the key. That's the code we have to crack to get this conniving, kidnapping cocksucker. Honestly him versus us? Everything we have, that we know about Farrah? He doesn't stand a fucking chance!"

"Carrie slow down, okay. Slow down..", Brody coached, backing up when she moved in closer.

"What we need to do is collaborate. If we work together, we manipulate, dominate, we can dictate how this all goes, how it plays out. This op is ours for the taking, Brody. Fucking ours. We just need to formulate a plan."

"Carrie.." Speechless all Brody could do was watch as she flitted back to the bulletin board, motioning for him to get closer.

"See, look here, right here. With Farrah, her art. There's occasional sketches of sunflowers, smiley faces sprouting sunbeams, but those are sporadic. They're singular occurrences, nothing more. All these here are representations, reminiscences, reminders. Her preferred subject is people. People she knows, faces that are familiar to her. Me, you, Virgil, Saul, Quinn, Danny, Maggie, the mailman, just, everyone! This sketch though..", she said, gesturing to a rougher pencil drawing in the center of the board.

"It's incomplete, not as intricate. It's raw, rough. But it's real. He's real. There is some connection there. A close familial one, I'm sure of that. And it's not Hadad, that warmonger fucker impersonating a father. No, that bastard's buried deep in the back of Farrah's mind, thank God. This, this is someone else."

"Carrie let me just bring you back to the room, okay? We can talk more there-"

"No, we can't! All this right here, this is the key. This what we need to focus on." she insisted, turning back to the board.

"We need to focus on what?", Brody sputtered.

"Her drawings? Carrie, what do they have to do with what's happened, I don't-"

Cut off when she turned back to him, confident, defiant, too triumphant looking for her own good, Brody went tense as she approached. Breathing hard, smirking up at him like she had a secret.
"Because Farrah was taken by someone she trusted!"

Backing up he shook his head.

"How the fuck do you know that?"

"Because I know Farrah! She wouldn't go off, walk off, leave with just anyone, Brody. I know! I've taught her, trained her! Told her exactly what to do if anything like this ever happened. If she fought, fussed, fucking made a scene, she'd be too much of a bother, a burden. Anyone inane enough to abduct her would let her go. She'd be too much trouble for them! And Farrah, she's feisty, she can fight..I've seen it! In Iraq I taught her how."

"Love, I'm sure you have. I'm sure that Farrah did everything she could but she's six years old! Getting separated from you in a mob, she'd be too scared to know what to do."

"Of course she was scared! Obviously she was, I fucking was! But at the parade I could hear her yelling. She was screaming for me across the crowd but then all of a sudden she stopped."

"There could've been a million reasons for that, Carrie. Someone could've thrown their hand over her mouth or-"

"No, I told you I heard her! Her scream, it wasn't muffled, muted, made to stop. No, she..she had seen someone. Someone she knew, and she went with them willingly. Stopped yelling for me by choice. That's it, that's the only scenario, situation. The only explanation that makes sense!"

"Okay..okay, just going off that theory though. Who, Carrie? Who else would she have gone with? Both you and the imam told me you're the only family Farrah has. That everyone else is gone."

"Not him though..not him.", Carrie said knowingly, pointing to the pencil sketch. Examining it more closely she saw the young man portrayed in it was holding something, a change purse. Her mind, already in hyperdrive, was instantly triggered.

"Hey!", she shouted, taking back her purse as she grabbed hold of Farrah's wrist in the middle of the marketplace. Looking down she shook her head in amazement. "Did you really think I wouldn't notice you just now?", she scoffed, still holding tight as Farrah pouted, tried to squirm away from her.

"When Khaliq take bag, he not noticed.", she muttered under her breath.

"Oh my God that's it."

"What? What's it!", Brody sputtered.

Elated, overwhelmed at the sudden break in the case, Carrie darted back to the white board, making more bulleted lists before turning back to the drawings. Scribbling a name under the centered one.

"Kha..Khaliq? Who the fuck is th-"

"Farrah's brother. Farrah's older brother! See, in the picture he's holding a purse. Farrah told me, she said he used to steal them in the marketplace..", she said, eyes narrowing in a fierce glare.

"That, fucking thief stole my student..."

 

Chapter Text

Listening to Carrie, looking on as she stared daggers at the sketch of Khaliq, Brody was hesitant to even approach her but knew he had to.

"Carrie..aren't we jumping the gun a little. Look, before you go asking for this guy's head on a spike can we talk about-"

"She wouldn't have drawn him if he hadn't been on her mind. In her recent memory!"

"But you said the drawing's incomplete."

"No but see, it's dated there in the corner. This was not drawn long ago, Brody."

Stepping forward Brody tried to get a closer look, frowning and trying to place the man in the image.

"I may have seen him."

"You're shitting me! How sure are you, how certain-"

"At the mosque. He was lurking around the foyer, looked suspicious, I asked Bill to take care of him."

"Bill? Who's Bill-"

"A guy that works with me. He could better identify him."

Reaching for his phone Brody hurriedly texted him, telling him they had to talk. When a minute passed, then two with no response, Carrie looked ready to explode.

"Carrie, calm down. Maybe his phone's just-"

"Look, fuck Bill, okay! Forget Bill! You said you saw Khaliq too, that..that's enough."

"It's nowhere fucking near enough, Carrie. I'm seventy-five percent sure, if that, that I saw the guy in this picture."

"Seventy-five? Jesus, fuck. No that's not enough, you're right. We need more evidence, proof to present.."

After she turned back to the sketches, Brody stood still, staring, trying to decide what the fuck he should do. He knew that had to help Carrie, the question was in which way. Her theory was plausible, but wouldn't be taken seriously by anyone if she was speaking a mile a minute, had that crazed look in her eyes.

Walking to a quiet corner he dialed Maggie. Luckily he'd thought to program her number into his phone.

"Hello?"

"Maggie? It's Brody."

"How is she?", Maggie asked warily. Sensing even over the phone something was wrong.

"I helped her out of the flashback. Got her to respond."

"Thank God.", she smiled, relieved. "I..I have to give you credit, Brody. When she came back from Iraq, the first time..I had no idea what to do. Nothing seemed to get through to her. You, you did good."

"Look, just..hold your applause, okay."

"Why? She took her meds right?"

Not getting an answer her jaw clenched.
"Brody?"

"She..she told me she did, but-"

"Damn it!"

"Maggie, I swear. She looked me right in the eye and said she'd taken them. I-"

"She's manic I take it."

"Well you tell me..", Brody sighed.

"She's talking a mile a minute, barely stops to take breaths. I don't know if she slept last night at all. She was out of my apartment at the crack of dawn and broke into the community center."

"Broke in?! Did the police-"

"No. Luckily the alarms were down for repairs and, obviously I didn't report anything."

"Well it's nice to see you're not completely useless."

"Good! Glad to hear it.", he scoffed.

"I'm heading over there now."

"Wait, how's your family?"

"They're better, actually. My dad's doing better so he can watch the girls."

"That's good. Listen though, before you break a hundred traffic laws getting here-"

"I don't get speeding tickets.", Maggie growled.

"Okay, noted. Anyway, Carrie's got a theory about Farrah. Who took her."

"You know it's funny about her theories. The last one she had was about you and well hey, we both know where it landed her!"

"We also both know that she was right.", Brody reminded.

"And you can hate me all you want, but it doesn't change that your sister might be right again."

"Brody, I know you want to believe that she's...but you don't-"

"Look when I first showed up and saw her here, I half expected her to run up and tell me Elvis was in the cafeteria making chili and that the sun was purple. But then I got a better look at what she was up all night working at, I did my best to listen to her, and I think her theory holds water. It makes sense. And fuck, if anything at all can help point us in Farrah's direction."

"What is Carrie saying about her?"

"That Farrah's brother is responsible."

"Her brother?"

"She's convinced Farrah went with whoever took her, willingly. That she trusted the person."

"How the hell could she possibly know that?"

"She's basing it off of Farrah's scream just stopping, not sounding muffled. And these drawings of her's I had in my apartment. One of them is apparently a portrait of this brother, and Farrah drew it recently. Carrie thinks Farrah saw him and had him on her mind, explaining why she drew him."

"None of that explains nearly enough, Brody."

"It's her theory though, Maggie. One she's damn determined to stick to."

"How can you agree with it?"

"The drawing of the brother. He looks like a guy I might've seen at the mosque the other day, lurking around. I know, not exactly a solid case but-"

"Brody. Wait.", Maggie sighed, sitting at her kitchen table.

"I'm not an investigator, okay? I'm not a cop. Carrie's my sister but I don't know, even after all these years, how to interpret these theories of her's. I'm the last person you should be bouncing them off of. I just want to do my job as big sister. I want to help her."

"I know. And you can. I'm not trying to deny you that. Fuck, you've been Carrie's lifeline for years. You think I'd interfere with everything you do for her? You think I'd try to?"

"No, I don't."

"Look, just before you come over here with her meds, do a little investigating at her house. Look in Farrah's room, see if there's anything stashed away. Any drawings, hell, anything at all that would give us some kind of clue in finding her."

"I'd be happy to do that, once I get Carrie going on her meds."

"Are the pills she needs the ones on her now?"

"Well, yes..but-"

"I'll make sure she takes them. I mean it, I'll watch her do it. Just, do this. Not for me, for her. For Farrah. There's more than one way to help Carrie this time, Maggie. You know getting Farrah back to her will do more than any fucking pill out there."

Running a hand through her hair, Maggie sighed, contemplating what he was saying.

"Alright, I don't know what I'll come up with but I'll try. I swear though if you let her skip..."

"She won't. I won't let it happen."

"For your sake you better not. Goodbye, Brody.", she said. Hanging up before grabbing her keys and driving over to Carrie's.

Chapter Text

After getting off the phone with Maggie, Brody went to check on Carrie when his phone buzzed. The caller ID flashing an unfamiliar number. Against his better judgment, he picked up.

"Hello?", he answered in his near perfected British accent.

"For fuck's sake will you cut that out? Lose that thing already!"

"Nice to hear your voice too, Quinn.", Brody scoffed.

"How did you even get this number?", he asked.

"I have my sources."

"Shit, I don't even want to know."

"Good, it's better that way. How's Carrie?"

"Well, she's talking."

"Good...that, that's good.", Quinn said, a hint of relief in his voice as he stirred his coffee.

He'd been walking around and driving all night searching until finally his exhaustion got the better of him. Instead of going home though he went to the cafe Danny and Carrie had brought Farrah to. Ordering breakfast and keeping a lookout. He didn't feel right going home, and doubted he'd be able to relax anyway.

"Listen, she's got a theory about Farrah."

"What kind of theory could she have? You saw her, she was completely out of it after the parade."

"Before she went completely out of it she could hear Farrah. She said she was yelling but then not yelling for her."

"Yelling, but then not yelling. Wow, that's uh..that's really something.", Quinn sighed, leaning back in the booth. Rubbing the bridge of his nose he swore under his breath.

"Look I know what you're thinking, I know. But Carrie thinks Farrah stopped yelling because she saw someone she knew. She's convinced someone Farrah trusted was responsible for taking her."

"Well answer me this then, who would Farrah trust enough to go off with aside from Carrie or someone from Langley? I'm sorry, that theory makes absolutely no sense."

"Farrah's got a brother, Quinn. An older brother she drew a picture of recently. We think his name's Khaliq."

"And..?!"

"And I'm waiting to hear back from a colleague of mine-"

"I'm sorry, how the fuck does someone like you have colleagues?", Quinn interrupted.

"A colleague of mine who may have seen him!", Brody emphasized through clenched teeth.

"Who may have?" Quinn groaned, rolling his eyes.

"Hey it could still be something to go off of. What have you come up with, anything?"

"Virgil called the cops and sent that brother of his out looking. But no, we've come up with nothing yet."

"Well do me a favor-"

"Do you a favor? You're not dead, Brody. That's your favor!"

"Do Carrie a favor then!", Brody growled.

"Fine, what?"

"Look into this brother thing. It could be nothing but it could be a lead."

"Fine, I'll look into it."

"Thank you. So, is there any other reason you called me?"

"No, I just wanted to hear that accent one more time.", Quinn spat sarcastically.

"Quinn, I really don't have time for-"

"How's Carrie, really? How is she holding up?"

Hearing the concern in his voice, Brody resolved to keep his snark in check.

"She's been better, Quinn. Underneath all the theorizing she's doing she's scared out of her fucking mind." Literally, he thought to himself.

"What about the PTSD you mentioned, has that worn off?"

"Yeah, but she's still not.."

"Yeah, I figured. But at least you got her talking. That's something."", Quinn said solemnly.

"I'm keeping an eye on her, Quinn. I'm not letting her out of my sight.", Brody assured before turning around, and paled when he didn't see Carrie at the bulletin board.

"Good, keep it that way. And remember what I mentioned yesterday. Still applies."

"Your threat's coming in loud and clear, Quinn. Good bye."

Hanging up, rolling his eyes, he went to look for Carrie.

"Fuck, Danny I have to go but please pursue this."

"Wait, Carrie I don't-"

"If I could get to my fucking car I'd go home and find the drawing myself but I can't! And I trust you! Check Farrah's bulletin board, her bureau, under her bed. The spare key's under the welcome mat. When you find the completed sketch call me back as quickly as you can."

"But Carrie-"

Before he could get another word in she hung up her phone. Running a hand through her hair as she tried to take slow breaths.

"That's a terrible spot for a hide-a-key, you know.", Brody said, giving her a sheepish smile as she whipped around, brushed past him to the dry erase board. Frowning, he followed her.

"Who were you talking to just now?"

"It doesn't matter, it..it's finished. Besides there's so, so much more to be focusing on. Finding a fucking pen for starters-"

As she rifled through papers, other drawings to find her green marker for the dry erase, shaking his head Brody spun her to face him, holding her by the shoulders.

"Carrie, right now all I want you to focus on is getting better."

"What are you talking about, getting better? I'm fine, Brody! I'm better then fine. We're working together to find Farrah, and we will find her. I can feel it!"

"And what's going to happen when we do? She's going to see you like this?"

"See me like what?!", Carrie asked quizzically as Brody sighed, rubbed her shoulders he still was holding.

"You're not you right now, Carrie. I'm trying but I can't keep up. You're talking too fast. You're running around here after you fucking broke in this morning!"

"Yes but I had to Brody. I needed someplace to work and this was it! It's ideal, idyllic! I-"

"I know you needed to work. I wanted to help you, that's why I came here. But, I can't do a thing if I can't follow you and damn it, right now it's like I don't even know you!"

"Are you kidding, of course you know me!", Carrie insisted.

"Brody you know me better than anyone's ever wanted to, ever would, ever will! We've discussed, debated, deliberated. And it's decided. I love you, and you love me!" Smiling she reached up, stroked his face.

"You love me."

"Yeah I do. And because I do, I can't watch you like this, Carrie. I can't.", he said sadly as her smile faded to a confused, fearful look. His words slowly sinking in as she backed up.

"Look I'm gonna help you through this though, okay? I swear."

"But the work, all the work...I can't lose that! That won't happen again!"

Carrie spun away from him but then turned, looked at him questioningly as she tensed up. Nervously she backed up, moved away from him as her mind jumped back.

"Sergeant Brody called."

"I..I don't know what you mean..."

"I think you do."

"This chart! It is very important, it is very meaningful!"

"What is wrong with her?"

"I am about to SOLVE this fucking thing!"

"Strip it."

"Hey? Hey what is it, what's-"

Moving around him to the boards Carrie turned, stood in front of them like she was guarding them.

"What are you doing?", he asked as she glared.

"Carrie seriously what-"

"You...you are not taking this away from me. Not again." she said coldly.

"Take what away, what are you talking about?"

Utterly confused, Brody was at a loss until he got a closer look at her eyes and froze.

She was staring him down the exact way she had in his hotel room, with that powerful, defiant, in control, take no prisoners look in her eyes. But looking closer he saw pain there too. The same he'd seen from her those two plus days he was shackled to that table. When she'd gotten her turn in the interrogation bunker, sat back in the chair across from him, made her own confession.

Because of you I questioned my own sanity. I had myself committed to a mental institution.

I lost my job too. 
I lost my place in the world. I lost everything.

Looking at the board, back at her, guiltily Brody sighed, tried to speak.

"Carrie I'm not...that won't. I won't let it. I mean it. Not after everything's that's happ-"

"You let it happen before! ", Carrie cried.

"You caused it, created it, controlled it, you sent them in to confiscate...", her voice cracking she shook her head, blinked back tears.

"They took it all! They took everything from me!"

"That won't happen again Carrie. Never again.", he insisted. He wanted to go up and hold her shoulders, hug her, something. But he didn't feel worthy and just stood still.

"Look, I know what I took from you, and it's nothing I can just put back. That first weekend at the cabin, for some bizarre reason you and I found trust between us. I felt it and so did you. But as quick as we found it, we broke it. We broke each other, almost beyond repair. And then I went ahead and broke you down more. I know you said that since we 'got to there' it doesn't matter, but it does. I need you to know how sorry I am. That I can't, don't blame you when you lash out like this, look at me the way you are right now because you're fearing the worst. I know I've given you every reason to.", Brody sighed as Carrie slowly moved closer to him.

"So maybe I deserve it. How right now you're giving me every reason to fear you again."

"What?", she asked softly, even though she was sure he was referring to her current state and bowed her head.

"Brody..."

"You didn't take your meds last night, Carrie. You lied to me. Played me like a fucking violin." he said bitterly.

"I may not be able to blame you for not putting all your trust in me, for being afraid of me. But in spite of what I've done, don't put me in the same position you're in. Don't make me constantly wonder about or question you. I worked past that and I can't go back. You're it for me, you understand? If I can't trust you, I can't trust anyone!"

Bowing his head now, Brody didn't see her move closer to him, didn't look at her until he felt her still trembling hand cup his face.

"You..you can trust me. I give you my word. You can.", Carrie said, gently kissing him as if to seal her words before she pulled back and walked over to grab her purse, taking out the Altoids container.

Retrieving the two pills she made sure he saw her take them, then looked over to see him looking at her.

He was stunned, but more relieved than anything and showed so when he walked up.

Pulled her into an almost too tight embrace. Holding her like he'd just woken up from a nightmare.

"Shh..it's okay..it..it's okay", Carrie stammered, but fought to keep her breathing in check, her voice calm as she held him just as tight.

"Ev...everything's fine. Everything's fine."

Chapter Text

After grabbing her key for Carrie's house, Maggie went to unlock the front door but to her surprise found it already unlocked.

"Carrie? Carrie are you home?", she asked nervously. Cautiously entering the foyer she slipped her hand into her purse, reached for a container of pepper spray.

"Hello? Carrie?"

Upstairs Danny left Farrah's room, quietly shutting the door while his other hand went to the holster at his side. Carrie had told him she couldn't get away and he assumed she wasn't expecting any visitors.

Descending the staircase, gun drawn he rounded the corner the same time as Maggie did. Him with his gun and her with her spray that she triggered as she let out a scream.

"AAAGGGH!", Danny howled, hands over his stung eyes. "Jesus fucking-"

"Danny?!"

"Maggie! What the, did you just mace me!", he asked, peering out between his fingers at Maggie's stunned face.

"Pepper spray, actually. I'm sorry!"

"Are you crazy, next time look before you use that shit!"

"Well you were the one skulking around here with a gun! What else did you expect me to do? I'm not a freaking black belt!", she said defensively. Grabbing his upper arm she walked him to the kitchen, pulled out a chair for him.

"Here, sit, take deep breaths. And move your hands away from your face. Blink a lot too."

Between blinks Danny saw her go over to the fridge and take out a carton of milk, getting him frowning.

"I don't think milk and cookies will help much right now."

"Well I don't plan on giving you milk and cookies. Maybe later if you cooperate.", Maggie smirked, pouring some milk into a spray bottle before walking back and spritzing his face.

"Seriously what the-"

"Milk will help calm down the burning. Then we'll flush your eyes."

"Do you do this with every guy you pepper spray?"

"Accidentally pepper spray, and no. You're the only one that's had the pleasure. So far anyway."

"Well hopefully it'll stay that way.", Danny said, getting a smile from Maggie as she brought him over to the sink, treated his eyes.

"Fresh air will help too. You want to sit outside?"

"I wish but I haven't got time."

"What were you doing here anyways?", Maggie asked curiously.

"My sister breaks your heart so you break into her house?"

"I didn't break in! I used the spare key. Why the fuck she hides it where she does I have no idea.", Danny scoffed getting a shrug.

"But no, Carrie called me."

"She did! What did she say to you?", Maggie asked.

"Half of it I could barely make out. All I know is she wanted me to come here and look for a drawing of Farrah's."

"That's why I'm here too."

"Okay..look..", Danny frowned. "Farrah's a good artist but she's not some prodigy with an upcoming museum showing. Why is Carrie so bent on finding a drawing that we'd both be sent here to track it?"

Not wanting to tell Danny who'd actually sent her over, Maggie answered his question with another question.

"Wait, you don't know what happened to Farrah?"

"No, I was away for the weekend. I was heading back to my place when Carrie called me."

"Danny, Farrah was kidnapped at the parade on Saturday."

"What?!", Danny asked, looking stricken.

"Jesus. Kidnapped?! I had no..."

"Here, you should probably sit back down." Maggie sighed, guiding him back to the kitchen chair.

"Carrie thinks that she was taken by someone she knew. That's why we're going through her art, her room. There's a chance her brother she just drew a picture of is responsible for this."

"Farrah has a brother?"

"Yeah. Older."

"And Farrah drew him because she'd seen him?"

"Yeah, that's the working theory anyway."

"How sure is Carrie about this?", Danny asked.

"Pretty sure. That's what Brod...that's what I was told." Relieved she'd caught herself Maggie got up, gave Danny a glass of water.

"Is this for my eyes or-"

"No. You just looked thirsty."

"Well thanks, but I can't just sit here if Farrah's been...who else knows?"

"Virgil, his brother. Some guy named Peter Quinn."

"What about Saul?"

"He's been out of town but, no. As far as I know he hasn't been told-"

"Why the fuck not? He's Carrie's goddamn mentor! He loves Farrah!"

"I don't know Danny! Don't bite my head off.", Maggie frowned.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. It's just Saul should know, am I right?"

Nervously Maggie bit her lip, unsure how to reply. Since the news broke she'd been dying to call Saul and tell him everything. Especially once she heard about Carrie's episode. All Maggie could think of was how set he was on looking after her during the last one she'd had. Bringing her chicken soup, sitting by her bed. He'd been her rock and he had been for over a decade. It felt cruel completely cutting him out for all of this, keeping him in the dark.

But then there was Brody. As much as Maggie had cringed at the thought of him being within ten miles of her sister, he'd proven himself the past few days. He'd helped Carrie through her PTSD nearly effortlessly and put his freedom at risk protecting her. When he texted earlier saying Carrie had taken her meds, Maggie was in awe.

There was also the fact that Carrie loved him, and Maggie was slowly starting to see why. For all his faults and flaws and the fucked up things he'd been through and done, Brody brought that good guy charm in spades. He'd been respectful and done what she'd asked. It had won Maggie over a little bit.

Still torn over what to do, Maggie took some comfort knowing that as much as Saul hated Brody, he loved Carrie more. Even if he was angry, if he was eventually forced to bring Brody in, if there was anyone Saul would delay the inevitable for it would be her sister.

"Maggie? Did you hear me?"

"What, yes? I'm sorry, I got distracted."

"We should get a hold of Saul, let him know what's going on. Right?"

"Right..you're, you're right.", Maggie sighed as Danny nodded, stood back up.

"Look I found a drawing under Farrah's bed. I didn't think much of it."

"Can I see?", she asked.

After Danny reached in his back pocket, handed it over Maggie unfolded it on the table.

"So this is the guy?", Danny frowned.

"I guess so. Fucking rat bastard."

"Whoa! I'd expect to hear that out of Carrie but-"

"Hey remember I'm the big sister. Half those words I taught her myself."

"I never would've guessed.", he smiled, getting a soft one in return before Maggie went serious again.

Remembering the situation at hand, what he'd been asked to do, he refolded the drawing.

"Look I'll take care of this. And I'll get a hold of Saul too."

"No, Danny don't. I know Saul. We're friends. I think he should hear this from me."

"Okay then, as you wish."

"Wait. Are you okay to drive?", Maggie asked nervously. "Maybe I should flush your eyes one more time."

"Maggie it's fine. I'm fine. And I'll feel better once we find Farrah."

"Yeah, that makes two of us.", she sighed, folding her arms over herself as she bowed her head.

"Hey..you okay?"

"I'm fine. I just want this to be over."

"We got the best resources to track Farrah down, Maggie. Everything will be fine." Danny said knowingly, getting a nod and another soft smile.

"Hope you're right."

"I will be. I'll show myself out."

Watching Danny leave, still smiling but unaware she was for a minute or two, finally Maggie snapped back to the situation at hand and grabbed her phone, nervously dialing Saul.

"Hello?"

"Saul? It's Maggie."

"Hi...what's going on?", he asked curiously.

"There's um..there's something I have to tell you."

Chapter Text

Sitting in his still parked car, Saul was reeling from Maggie's phone call. He'd just learned that Farrah had been kidnapped, that Carrie was a wreck and apparently in no condition to see anyone, even him.

But she was theorizing, convinced that Farrah's older brother Khaliq had been responsible for this nightmare. Caused the diversion then snatched her at the parade.

Running that possibility over in his mind, Saul told Maggie it was plausible but they had to do some more digging around. He offered to put together a task force, recruit Danny, Virgil, Quinn, everyone they had to search for Farrah. That way he could go and be with his protege. Hold her hand, bring her soup. Wait with her for the storm to pass. He felt it was the least he could do.

He and Carrie hadn't spoken since their disagreement at Langley. Rather than working past it, dealing with her, he'd avoided things, surprised Mira with a romantic trip. Conveniently been gone for the better part of the crucial first forty-eight hours when they'd had the best chance of finding Farrah. It made Saul sick to his stomach. All he wanted to do now was help.

But Maggie had denied him even that. She'd been surprisingly cagey over the phone, not letting on where Carrie was even staying, repeatedly insisting he put all his effort into tracking down Farrah. Before Saul could demand more information she'd hung up, stopped taking his calls.

Now he was in his car unsure of where to go next. He could try Carrie's house, look up Maggie's address and go to her's. Or he could look into this Khaliq theory a little bit more.
Thinking the latter option was his best bet he made a few phone calls. Got Virgil's and Quinn's voicemails in the process but at least he was starting something, doing something. Maybe Maggie had been right, he'd be better off active than sitting and keeping vigil. This time anyway.

...

Danny had called Carrie's cell three times with no answer. He wasn't sure what had happened, after all she'd called him. Deciding it didn't make sense for him to drive all the way home and pace around waiting with the drawing, he drove over to the mosque and kept his cellphone close. Ensuring when Carrie did call he'd be close enough to her place or to Langley and could get the sketch to her promptly. He also figured prayer could only help at this point.

After he parked and locked his car, nearing the mosque he noticed two people leaving the community center through a side entrance he'd never used. They were heading towards the apartment complex nearby and moving quickly. Danny held back, watched before moving closer to get a better look at them. Once he did he froze, seeing the short red and the long blonde hair.

They were walking close together, almost guiding each other. There was a height difference and even from a distance Danny could tell it was a man and a woman. It was too coincidental to dismiss. Carrie being cryptic and insisting he call rather than telling him where and when to meet. Now that he knew she was protecting someone, who she was protecting, things became abundantly clearer.

He wanted to run over and confront them both. He wanted to punch Brody's lights out. He wanted to do a lot of things but kept in control, took a deep breath, knowing this would be better handled another way.

"Saul, it's Danny. I need you over at the community center. Now. You..you won't guess who I just saw here."

...

Saul was driving now, on the verge of getting his first speeding ticket in a long time as he made his way to the community center. He was a far cry from the man sitting numbly in the front seat unable to decide where to go, what to do first. At least now he had something he could direct his anger and frustration at. Finally he had something to take care of.
His and Danny's conversation was on repeat in his mind. Brody was back. Carrie was with him. Farrah was still nowhere to be found. The combination of all of these, not necessarily related incidents had him rivaling Carrie in terms of barely keeping emotion in check.

Still driving, when his phone went off yet again, Saul hit the hands free button on the wheel so hard it nearly broke off.

"What is it!"

"Saul, it's Virgil."

"What the fuck do you want?"

"Quit barking at me I'll tell you!", Virgil snapped, getting Max's attention.

"Will you quit watching me and do your fucking job! What did I bring you along for?"

Shrugging, Max continued wandering around taking photographs as Virgil sighed, leaned back against the side of the security van parked on a street corner.

"Excuse me?"

"No, Saul I wasn't talking to y-"

"Who are you with right now?"

"Just Max."

"Where's Quinn?"

"I don't know, last I heard he was riding along with some cops."

"Why did you call me then?", Saul asked.

"I just got your voicemail. Heard your theory, Farrah's older brother is behind this?"

"It's possible. We're not ruling it out."

Curious when Max waved over to him, standing by a trash can, Virgil frowned, walking over.

"What is it?"

"I just went to throw out my gum and saw this." Max said, handing Virgil some torn fabric he'd found jammed inside the trash can.

"What the fuck? Scrap fabric?"

"Look at the pattern, the color of it..", he pointed out as Virgil's eyes went wide.

"Son of a-"

"What? Virgil what is it?", Saul asked frantically over the car phone.

Virgil tucked his phone between his ear and his shoulder, sadly using his hands to unfold the fabric remnants. The satiny material looked like it had been shredded.

"Virgil!"

"Saul are you driving?"

"Yeah?"

"Pull over then okay? You..you won't like this."

Frowning, Saul obeyed, trying to keep his worry in check.

"You think someone Farrah trusted, someone who cared about her took her?"

"We just went over this, Virgil. Yes. Her brother, Khaliq."

"If this brother of her's is so devoted to his sister, is a devout Muslim, why the fuck would Farrah's hijab be torn up in a trash can?" Virgil asked bitterly.

Now seething, glad he'd taken Virgil's advice, Saul rubbed the bridge of his nose and a tear from the corner of his eye.

"Find Quinn and get to the community center. Maggie and I will meet you there."

"Which one of us is going to tell Carrie?", Virgil asked, refolding the fabric reverently before slipping it in his pocket.

"We all will.", Saul sighed heavily, putting the car in drive.

Chapter Text

Having trouble keeping his eyes open, from his spot on the couch Brody sleepily looked on as Carrie sifted through her notes. Not wanting the two of them to stay in the art room the rest of the day, he took the liberty of copying her lists and scribbles from the white board onto sheets of construction paper for her. Leaving her to take Farrah's sketches off the pin board and sort them to her satisfaction. He wasn't about to take that kind of control over her work away from her. Not now, not ever again.

Maggie had warned him that even after taking her pills it would take Carrie time to come back down. He was given strict orders to watch her as she did, not that he had a problem obeying them.

Hearing a sharp knock on the door, now officially awake Brody stood.
"I'll get it, love."

Opening the door his heart skipped about eight beats when he saw Saul staring him in the face along with a few others.

"Brody who's...Saul? Danny, Maggie, Virgil, Quinn?"

Looking on as they all entered the apartment, Carrie was perplexed until she drew the obvious conclusion. Her whole face lighting up she rushed over to them.

"Oh my God, where is she?! Where's Farrah?!", she asked eagerly.
"You must have found her or else why the fuck would you all be here! Wh..where is she?!"

"Carrie, we came here to talk to you."

Biting her lip she bowed her head, shakily crossed her arms.
"Maggie, if this is about our..disagreement, dispute, I'm so sorry, you know I never meant to-"

"It's alright, sweetie. That's all water under the bridge.", Maggie assured. Nodding Carrie looked back up, eyed a fidgety looking Virgil.

"Hey, what are you holding?", she asked curiously as his hands went behind his back. "Let me rephrase that, what are you hiding?"

Sighing, Saul stepped forward, removing his cap. He kept his eyes on Carrie, refusing to even acknowledge the figure standing next to her, for now anyway.

"Carrie, like Maggie said, we need to talk, I-"

"No, Saul!", Carrie spat, eyes narrowed into icy slits as she stepped protectively in front of Brody.

"So help me if you've come here to...you are not going to arrest, apprehend, accuse Brody of one fucking thing! He's innocent, he's got insight, he's assisting me! He's been invaluable during all of this!"

"Calm down, Carrie. I just want to talk to you about Farrah for now."

"What about her?! She's not with you, you didn't bring her back here...she's not..oh my God."

Trailing off she clasped her hand over her mouth, her eyes welling up with tears.

"Shit, she..she's been hurt. She's in, in the hospital, fuck..."

"No, Carrie. We're still looking for her.", Quinn assured.

"We've just been looking in the wrong places, Carrie. For the wrong man.", Virgil said as gently as he could.

"What the fuck are you talking about?", Carrie spat, grabbing her folder with the drawings.

"Khaliq is the kidnapper! This proves it!"

Taking the folder from her Danny sighed, shook his head.

"Carrie these are just photocopies of some drawings-"

"That prove our fucking point, Danny! You found the original sketch, right? You know Farrah draws what she knows, who she knows! And I know thatshe knew the person who took her! She wouldn't have gone with them otherwise! She saw Khaliq, same as Brody saw him!"

Frantically Carrie turned back toward him, breathed the slightest sigh of relief.

"Khaliq was at the community center. Brody saw him and sent him away!"

"She's right.", Brody chimed in.

"When did you see him?", Quinn asked him suspiciously.

"The day before the parade. He was lurking around, looked like he was up to no good,"

"That's rich coming from you..", Virgil muttered under his breath as Carrie shot him a glare.

"Anyway, I got someone to take care of him. Send him packing. But if he's Farrah's brother it makes sense she'd go with him if he asked her to. Right now from where I'm standing, Carrie's theory makes sense."

"Yeah aside from the fact Khaliq's a Muslim and would never have-"

"Quinn..", Saul warned, not wanting that news divulged yet. Nodding in understanding, Quinn held his tongue.

Curiously, Brody frowned tempted to ask what they were discussing, or trying not to discuss. Carrie was the first to speak up though not having heard their muttering.

"Look there's more then the drawings to consider. There's what I last heard from Farrah at the parade! I..I heard her screaming for me. And I've told her that if she was ever taken or in trouble she should attract as much attention as possible. And she was! I heard her yelling for me but then it stopped. Shestopped. And it was wasn't from her being drugged or gagged. The sound didn't taper it just, terminated. She must have felt safe again. She felt safe seeing her brother! He's the only other person she'd trust to take her anywhere! You all have to understand, I..I'm right about this!"

Sadly, Saul sighed, shook his head.

"Virgil, show her.", he said solemnly, getting a look from Maggie.

"Saul, I don't-"

"Maggie we have to tell her."

"When she's leveled out!", she hissed.

"You told me that takes days, a week. We don't have that kind of time, no way we can keep her in the fucking dark that long!"

Looking to Danny who looked to be in agreement, Maggie sighed, nodding for Virgil to hand over the hijab.

Taking it from him Carrie frowned, shaking her head. "Where...where did you find-"

"Max found it in a trash can on the other side of town."

"It tore..". she muttered, examining it.

"It..it must've torn. Khaliq wouldn't have let her wear a torn hijab, he couldn't have!"

"Carrie look at it. It's shredded, been cut to ribbons. Purposefully.", Quinn sighed.

"Someone clearly didn't want Farrah wearing it."

"No! That makes no sense! Khaliq is-"

"A Muslim. Just like his sister.", Saul said. "If Khaliq had taken Farrah he wouldn't have laid a finger on her hijab, you know that. If anyone who cared for her at all had taken her, they wouldn't have disrespected her this way. Someone else was responsible for the kidnapping, Carrie. The hijab winding up in the trash proved it. Now we just have to accept it. Shift the manhunt in a different direction."

"But Saul, my theory makes sense. You can't just dismiss it like this! I..I'm right, I know I'm fucking right!", Carrie insisted turning around.

"Brody tell them. Talk to them. You..you've seen the evidence, all the work. You understand! Just tell them!", she begged as he approached her.

"Carrie-"

"TELL THEM!", she yelled. Her breathing was shallow, her eyes were huge and she looked ready to lash out at him, hit at his chest, scream, swear.

But Brody wasn't intimidated, didn't back away. He just stood still, stuck close hoping to reassure her. Even if she was wrong she wouldn't be left because of it, certainly not by him.

Sadly shaking his head he moved his hand to cup her face, that was already starting to crumple.

"I..I can't, love. We don't know for sure now-"

"No, we know! I..I have to know. I have to be right about him, Brody. About all of this! I..I need to be right, I..I can't-"
Her voice breaking she shook her head.

"She...she needs me to be right.."

"Shhh, I know..I know...", Brody soothed.

Pulling Carrie close he stroked her hair, rubbed her back, did his best to console her as she started to sob. Short staccato gasps that left him nervous, had him reminding her to breathe as he walked them over to the couch. Holding her close she started weeping, still holding Farrah's scarf close to her face.

Heartbroken, Virgil had to look away. Saul stood silent, still off to the side of the room as Quinn paced, looking ready to punch a wall in. Danny approached Maggie, rubbed her shoulder but reaching into her purse she walked over to the couch. Somehow holding it together enough to load a syringe.

Looking at her alarmed, Brody held Carrie closer, shaking his head. "No, Maggie. She doesn't-"

"Brody, it's just a mild sedative. It'll work faster than her pills.", Maggie assured softly. "She really needs to sleep."

Reluctantly Brody nodded, looking on pained as she administered the shot. Afterwards, ignoring Saul's stone cold glare, he stood up, still holding Carrie as her crying started to subside.

Bringing her to his room he gently set her down on the bed. She was fighting the sedative the best she could, refusing to close her eyes.

"Brody..", she muttered as he grabbed a throw blanket, covered her up.

"No, don't. There's still so much to do. We..we have to-"

"Shh, just try and get some sleep, love."

Taking off his shoes Brody went to curl up in bed alongside her but she stopped him, shaking her head.

"No, you...you can't-"

"Okay..okay. What do you need though? what can I get-"

"The..the other brother..", Carrie mumbled before yawning.

"What?", Brody asked, his eyes widening in surprise.

"Farrah.. she...she has another..brother, Brody.", she repeated, her eyes half shut.

"We...we need to find him. We have to."

Chapter Text

"Farrah.. she...she has another..brother, Brody.", Carrie repeated, her eyes half shut.

"We...we need to find him. We have to."

"Find who, love? Do you know his name? Carrie?" Brody went to touch her shoulder, shake her awake but stopped himself. She needed to rest, he just wished she could've told him more before she'd drifted off.

Covering her up with the blanket he kissed her cheek before leaving the room, closing the door behind him.

"There's another brother!", he announced, getting looks from everyone in the living room.

"The duck flies at midnight!", Quinn declared, getting a snicker from Virgil and Danny sitting next to Maggie on the sofa.

"What the fuck are you talking about?", Saul frowned as Brody approached him.

"Farrah's got another brother. Carrie just told me."

"Brody, I just gave her that sedative.", Maggie sighed. "She was probably out of it, not making sense. It's normal."

"I don't see how looking into it would hurt us any!", Brody exclaimed as Quinn stood up.

"Hey, who the fuck died and put you in charge?"

"Who the fuck left me alone with Carrie to help her through her flashback?", he asked getting a glare.

Grabbing his laptop from his briefcase, Danny started doing some research. Meanwhile Saul stood up and made his way towards the hallway, catching Brody's eye.
"Where the hell are you going?"

Angry enough to spit, Saul turned around, stormed over to him.
"I'm going to see Carrie. Not that I need to run a goddamn thing past you. You're damn lucky I haven't called in a SWAT team for backup yet."

"Who needs backup?", Quinn spat as Danny nodded, went to stand but Maggie shot him a look, indicating he keep researching.

"Look we all know the only reason you haven't, is in that room right now trying to get some needed sleep. Leave her be!"

"Don't fucking tell me what to do.", Saul growled as Maggie stood up, got between them.

"Hey, he may not be able to but I sure as hell will!", she hissed.

"Both of you need to calm down! Like it or not, Carrie and Farrah both need you to come to some kind of truce. Brody you're already on thin ice being on this continent, so don't you even start making demands! And Saul, if you turn Brody in you will decimate Carrie. As much as we don't like it, you and I both know it. Same as we know my sister's suffered enough at the hands of her superiors. Don't be the boss to break her most by taking away the man she loves. In spite of everything the two of you have one thing in common. You both deeply care for my sister, so prove it. Find the little girl she's lost and stop with this goddamn pissing contest!", Maggie ordered as Virgil started clapping.

"Finally, thank you!"

"I'm starting to see the family resemblance.", Quinn laughed nudging Danny, but he was too busy staring, smiling in Maggie's direction.

Shit. Here we go.

"Danny? Hey, earth to Galvez!"

"Huh..what?"

"What have you come up with so far?", he asked, nodding to the laptop.

"Oh, yeah. Right."

Looking back at the screen he started scrolling again then stopped, pointed.

"Hey guys check this out."

After everyone stood around he highlighted the text on the page.

"I think I found him. Samir Hadad. Holy shit. Says he converted to Catholicism in September of 2001."

"After 9-11.", Brody noted.

"Fed up with the extremism, the violence plaguing his own religion. He wouldn't have been the first.", Saul said, getting a nod from Virgil.

"And he probably wanted his kid sister to embrace his change of faith."

"I'll get a hold of the cops.", Quinn said as he stood up, took out his phone.

"Tell them to investigate all the Catholic churches within a ten mile radius. Good place as any to start. We'll go too."
Saul said, putting his cap back on as Brody approached him.

"I'll deal with this, with you, once Farrah's found. That girl is worth ten of you."

"On that we actually agree.", Brody said as Saul, Quinn and Virgil stepped out while Maggie went to check in on Carrie. Danny meanwhile was trying to get everything in his briefcase and catch up to them.

"Here let me help.", Brody offered, helping to get the rest of his things together.

"Thanks."

"Look I have Carrie's phone so call if there's any-"

"Yeah, I'll call. Tell Maggie I'll keep her in the loop too", he said, shaking his head guiltily.

"If I hadn't gone so nuts after seeing you here I could've found this SOB an hour ago. All it took was a little googling."

"Hey, it's alright. You find him now and you'll be the hero.", Brody encouraged.

"Brody?"

"Yeah?"

"Take care of Carrie. Don't you dare fuck around with her. Not again."

"I won't, Danny. I swear.", he assured.

Nodding Danny stepped out right as Maggie left the bedroom.

"Did Danny, er, did everyone leave?"

"Yeah, they did. Danny said though to tell you he'd keep you in the loop."

"Good, that's..that's good.", she smiled softly.

"How's Carrie?"

"The sedative's not gonna wear off for a few hours. Once it does though.."
Reaching into her purse she handed Brody a zipped bag.

"Her meds are in here. There's instructions in there too about her lithium. It'll have to be upped. But keep up what you've been doing, make sure she's sleeping, eating. Really watch her though. Especially once-"

"Once what?"

"The mania's followed by depression, Brody. It's always more difficult to treat, and I feel like until Farrah's found it'll be even more difficult."

"How bad does it get?", Brody asked, trying not to look as fearful as he felt.

"Well, her last major episode..",

Seeing the look on his face, Maggie opted not to remind him how responsible he'd been for it.
"She holed up in her room, didn't eat for three days. She also went to your house.."

"And was arrested.", Brody finished. "With the psych ward as the grand finale."

"Hopefully this time things will conclude on a more positive note.", Maggie sighed.

"What if they find Farrah tonight? Will that snap her out of this?"

"It's too tough to say. But like I've told Saul it takes time. As much as I hate admitting it though, as strange as it is admitting it, I think your being with her is helping. You seem to be able to ground her, help her through when she's-"

"Yeah. It's not easy, but I'm not about to leave or give up. It's not like I can leave here exactly, but..even if I could..I wouldn't. Not without her."

"Yeah well, you're proving better than most when it comes to dealing with this. Better than one person anyway.", Maggie said bitterly.

"Are you talking about your mom?", Brody asked as she looked on surprised.

"You know about-"

"Yeah, Carrie told me."

"I never thought she'd tell anyone."

"I didn't press her for it or anything, she just..told me."

Sitting on the end of the couch, Maggie fiddled with a coaster on the coffee table. Spinning it.

"Carrie doesn't hate her for it. Leaving. She should but she doesn't. I think there's a part of her that still hopes she'll come back. Say it was all some misunderstanding."

"Were she and your mom close?", Brody asked sitting beside her.

"They worked in the garden together. That was their thing. And every spring Carrie's in my dad's backyard weeding and planting. Even still."

"I didn't know that.", he smiled, having a little trouble picturing Carrie content doing something so calm and simple.

"But Carrie always tried to make her proud, get her attention. Even as a kid. She'd come home with straight A's on every report card, taught herself to play trumpet because Mom loved Louis Armstrong. But it felt like nothing she did, nothing any of us did was good enough. And even before Mom left it was like, she was already gone. Like we weren't enough to keep her. Obviously we weren't."

"Well at least the two of you had each other. And your dad."

"Yeah.", Maggie smiled softly. "You know he has what Carrie.."

"Yeah. She's mentioned that to me too. I imagine that has them pretty linked."

"It does. And growing up Carrie was always more game for his 'adventures' than I was."

"She said something about you all renting a camper, taking a trip to the Great Lakes?"

"Yeah. One summer when we were kids. Dad was unbelievably passionate about it. I think he had Carrie convinced when the stars came out mermaids would jump out of the water."
Maggie chuckled, getting a laugh out of Brody before their faces went solemn again.

"I give you a lot of credit, Maggie. Doing what you do for them."

"Well Mom didn't leave me much choice. I put my residency on hold for a year after she left to pick up the pieces and be there for my dad. Carrie doesn't know that."

"Hey, your secret's safe with me."

"When I got the call from Princeton about her first...a part of me kind of expected it."

"She was in college when she...?"

"Yeah. She wrote a thesis about reinventing music when her major was Arabic. Gave it to some professor who brought her to Student Health."

"Holy shit.", Brody sighed.

"Yeah, it was rough. Still is. But at least now I know how to handle it with the meds. I have to admit, it was nice having a little help this time."

"Hey whatever it takes, right.", he shrugged as he stood up and ran a hand through his hair, paced slightly.

"Brody?"

"I can't believe I caused this for her."

"Brody you didn't-"

"I did before! She didn't eat for three days and fucking committed herself because of me. And somehow she still.."

"Loves you?", Maggie asked as she got up, moved to stand in front of him.

"If it makes you feel better I don't understand it either."

"Oh, great.", Brody laughed weakly, shaking his head.

"But, she does. She does. And so long as you love her back, I..I'm not going to get in the way. I'd be an idiot to get in her way."

Maggie said, getting an agreeing nod before they heard noise coming from the bedroom. Without a second thought Brody ran back and saw Carrie kicking her blanket off, muttering and crying out in the thick of what he could only assume was a nightmare.

"Hey! Carrie..Carrie it's okay, it's okay I'm here. I'm right here love..", he soothed, stroking her hair, holding her face. She didn't wake but she seemed to settle down. Getting Maggie breathing a sigh of relief, watching from the door as Brody curled up beside Carrie in bed. Mouthing for him to call her, getting a nod in return, she gave him a soft smile before turning to leave, shutting the door behind her.

Chapter Text

Brody dozed off for a few hours beside Carrie, who thankfully hadn't had any more nightmares. Hearing his cellphone buzz on the bedside table he stirred, noticing a text from Zahira.

"Just checking in on you and Carrie, hope all is well. If there is anything you need, please ask."

Smiling he replied with a quick thank you, then got up to stretch his legs, get some water. Careful not to wake Carrie he slipped out of bed and out the door.

Going to the front he noticed a medium sized cardboard box next to the sofa. It wasn't his, that he knew, and he wasn't sure where it had come from. Walking over he noticed a note taped to the side.
"Some stuff I gathered up from Farrah's room, as asked. Hope there's a clue in here."

Recognizing Maggie's handwriting from the med instructions she'd given him, Brody picked up the box. Figuring she must've brought it with her earlier and in all the chaos forgotten to mention it. Setting it on the coffee table, opening the flaps he noticed some sketches, notebooks, children's books, a stuffed cat, and dolls of the Barbie and baby variety.

Picking up one of the latter he noticed she was wearing a pink onesie, similar to the dozens Jess had received at her baby shower for Dana. Brody couldn't help smiling. Apparently only actual baby clothes were suitable wardrobe for one of Farrah Mathison's dolls.

He started to go through some of the drawings and the notebooks when he heard footsteps.

"Brody where, I..I need my pills! BRODY!", Carrie cried, flinging open the bathroom medicine cabinet as he came up behind her.

"Hey, easy they're right here. I have them right here."

Handing them over with a glass of water, once she took them his arm went to the small of her back and they walked to the living room.

"You hungry? I can whip us up something. Maybe Zahira can order us take-out?"

"I'm fine.", Carrie said hoarsely, shaking her head as Brody shook his.

"You haven't eaten since last night, Carrie.", he said sternly as she shrugged, sat at the kitchen table.

"Listen either you decide what we eat or I'll be forced to. And if I decide you have to watch me juggle whatever I cook."

"Oh no way..no fucking way!"

"Shit, maybe I'll put on a clown act right here in the kitchen. I got the hair for it, I know way too many stupid jokes. Just give me some makeup, a pointy hat made out of newspaper..."

Even though she made every effort not to, she couldn't help creating that picture in her head and couldn't help laughing at it. Watching her Brody's heart swelled about four sizes.

"You Sergeant Brody, are the biggest fucking dork!"

"Hey I've been called worse.", he chuckled sitting across from her, reaching to squeeze her hand.

"So, you a little hungry yet?"

Giving him a soft smile, taking it as a yes Brody leaned in to kiss her. When he pulled back, holding her face he thumbed away a tear.

"I'm sorry I just-"

"Hey, it's okay."

"I just wish you didn't have to deal with this. You've put your fucking life on hold for almost two days just to see me like-"

"Whoa..hang on a second. In case you can't tell my whole fucking life now consists of story hour and making fluffernutter sandwiches. Don't get me wrong, it's better than I could've hoped for. But I don't care what the circumstances were or are. I have you back, Carrie. At least for this moment I have you back. And shit, if that's not worth putting everything on hold for-"

"But Saul, Quinn, Danny, everyone! They know you're here because of me, Brody. If Farrah wasn't still... you know they'd have taken you into custody."

"They haven't though. Not yet.", Brody reminded.

"Let's just focus on one thing at a time here. Getting Farrah home to you is all that matters right now. Even Saul acknowledged that."

"Yeah..you..you're right.", Carrie sighed before yawning.

"You tired?"

"A little, but that's normal. I should really eat something though."

"Well you better tell me what you want otherwise-"

"Alright, pancakes okay! I want pancakes. At least I won't see you juggling Bisquick boxes."

"What's to say I won't?", Brody teased as he stood to take out the ingredients, while Carrie glanced over at the cardboard box with Farrah's toys and books. Eyes wide she stood up, walked over to it.

"Brody where did you-"

"Oh, shit.."

Quickly Brody ran up to close the box but knew it was too late. She'd already seen all of Farrah's things and he felt like an idiot leaving them out in plain sight.

"Carrie I'm sorry.", he sighed as she sat down, pulling the box onto her lap.

"I asked Maggie to bring over some of Farrah's drawings and things, see if there was a clue in there to where she'd be."

"Smart.", Carrie sniffed, wiping her eyes.

"I thought so at the time.", Sadly Brody sat beside her, rubbed her shoulder.

"Are you alright? I'll call Maggie to come back and get the box. It's not-"

"No, Brody it's fine. Really."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"Well, if you're sure. So,who's this guy?", he asked, reaching for the plush cat and making it walk up Carrie's arm, headbutt her shoulder.

"That, would be Merriweather.", she laughed.

"I take it you gave him that name."

"Yes, many moons ago.", Smirking she took the cat back from him.

"Farrah loves him though. She has to have him to sleep with every night.", she said before her eyes clouded over.

"I bet Samir didn't know that."

Brody held her a little closer.

"We'll find her soon, Carrie. You know we will." Putting the cat back in the box, he went to close it but Carrie shook her head, reached for some of the other items.

"I noticed she has a lot of books."

"Yeah, she does. But every time I tell her to pick out a bedtime story she'll pick out the same one I've read her a hundred times."

"Well everyone's got their favorites.", Brody shrugged, reaching into the box again.

"Can I assume this is her favorite doll?", he smirked.

"You went all out with the wardrobe for her, you know. Jess had these onesie things in every color after Dana's baby shower."

Smiling down at the doll he didn't notice Carrie's smile had faded. He didn't notice her demeanor change at all until she quickly stood up and crossed the room. Gripping the back of the chair as she tried to take deep breaths.

"Shit, Carrie what the...look, let me call Maggie alright, see if she can-"

"NO! No..don't call her. I won't..I can't talk to her about-"

"Alright, talk to me then.", Brody begged but she didn't turn around.

"Fuck, Carrie. Whatever this is can't be half as painful as what we've already put each other through!"

"You don't know that..", she said softly.

"Well I can't know until you tell me. C'mon, what is it about Farrah's doll that's got you so.."

Trailing off he looked at Carrie, who'd turned to look at him with tears and a too familiar looking pain in her eyes. The kind he'd known after he'd lost Issa. After he and Jess were first married and her being late turned out to be yet another false alarm. But Brody couldn't wrap his mind around Carrie being in the same situation. He just couldn't. Walking over he reached for the doll, picking it up.

"Carrie this outfit, you didn't buy this for..."

When she turned away again his suspicions were nearly confirmed, but he still had to ask.

"Were...were you..?"

Seeing her nod Brody stood looking dumbstruck, fighting the need to sit down from the shock of it all.

"But you...you and I were always. We used-"

"Not always effective.", she said with a half humorless laugh, half snort. Like she still couldn't believe it herself.

"Carrie, I-"

"I didn't even know until I was two months along and then-"

Knowing how her sentence would end Brody walked up, pulled her into a fierce hug.

"I'm sorry, love. I'm so so sorry.."

 

Chapter Text

After Brody walked them over to the couch Carrie curled up against him. Rubbing her back, he didn't realize right away he was crying along with her. When their tears finally subsided they just sat holding each other in silence, until he finally broke it.

"Does...anyone else know?"

"No. Well, Quinn does but-"

"Quinn?", Brody questioned. He was relieved she'd told someone, keeping something like that a secret couldn't have been easy but...

"Peter Quinn?"

"What? Do you think I told him because it could've been his?!", Carrie accused.

"No..Carrie! Fuck..I meant, I wasn't..look don't put words in my mouth okay!"

Guiltily she sat up, wiped her eyes as Brody sighed, trying to keep his own grief in check.

"I just didn't expect this. I'm trying to get up to speed, come to grips. I mean fuck..the thought of you...being pregnant, with my..our baby? It's just.."

When he trailed off disbelievingly Carrie nodded in understanding.

"Yeah. That was basically my reaction too."

"Did you just have a check-up one day and they.."

"No, no I figured it out for myself. I was stunned. I mean, I never even had a fucking scare! Not even in college, but-"

"Yeah. It's like you said though things aren't always effective. Things just happen."

"Or they don't.", she sighed sadly as he looked on, regretting his words.

"No, don't look at me like that. Here I am having had time to deal with this and you're, still.."

"Don't apologize. Shit. I mean I was the one waving that fucking doll around, demanding answers."

"Answers you deserved.", Carrie reminded.

"Brody, I swore that if we ever saw each other again."

"Hey..if?"

"When, we saw each other again.", she corrected. "I was going to tell you everything. I give you my word I was."

"What if..if you hadn't had the.."

"It's okay. You can say it."

"If you hadn't, miscarried. Would you have, gone ahead and.."

Biting her lip fresh tears filled her eyes.
"I don't know. Brody, I don't. Back then after everything with the bombing, with you..I was staying at Maggie's because I didn't trust myself going home to an empty house. There was just so much going on! I mean..."

Kissing her on the side of her head Brody held her tighter.
"Yeah, I know.."

"After I took the test and I knew for sure, I just felt numb. Like I was walking around in this daze. I couldn't even wrap my mind around it. I didn't want to.", she wearily admitted.

"How come you didn't tell your sister, or Saul even?"

Letting out a hollow laugh, Carrie snorted.

"Saul? Back then he was barely holding himself together. If I gave him any more reason to worry about me I could've put him in the fucking hospital. And with Maggie, she's told me she isn't after a niece or a nephew. Not at my expense."

"You mean because of your-"

"Yeah. It would be hard. It would require, a lot."

"Yeah I figured as much.", Brody nodded.

He remained solemn, strong, stoic in spite of everything he'd heard and still was hearing, and for the first time in a long time was grateful he was a soldier. He was trained to deal with pain and grief. He knew how to move past it enough to keep moving, and had put that knowledge to good use the past two or so days.

But he'd be a better liar than the polygraph proved him if he said he was moving past this conversation easily. If he wasn't as devastated over this as Carrie was. Maybe more so.
He hadn't known this gut wrenching kind of pain since Issa. He'd had just enough time to fall in love with the boy before he was gone, and this felt like the most horrible kind of deja'vu.

In addition though to losing yet another boy, maybe girl if the outfit had been any indication, Brody came to the realization at Carrie's words he'd lost a dream, a dream with her, that he didn't even know until then he'd had. The realization was a selfish one though and he forced himself to bury it along with any lingering grief. Looking in Carrie's eyes he knew that was the last thing she should see in his.

"You know after it happened I went to work, made it seem like everything was fine. But then I wound up walking on my lunch hour to this baby boutique on Elm and I bought.." Nodding to the outfit she shook her head, wiped at her eyes.

"I don't even know why!"

"You were grieving, Carrie. Everyone does differently."

"After I took some time off, I told Saul I had to go to Iraq."

"Wait, you went back?", Brody asked.

"I'd gotten a lead, Brody. A chance to clear your name. There was no fucking way I was about to pass that up."

"Even if it meant going back to where you'd-"

Nodding, Carrie shrugged.

"What else was I supposed to do. Send someone in my place? Besides, if I hadn't gone I never would've met-"

"Farrah.", Brody finished, getting a tearful nod.

"Fuck, Brody. If I lose her too, I.."

When her voice broke and trailed off Brody pulled her into a fierce hug.

"You won't, I swear. You won't love.", he said gently but firmly, hoping with everything in him he was right.

...

After parking the surveillance van on a side street, Virgil turned to the group in the back.

"Alright this is the last Catholic church in a ten mile radius. If Farrah's not here I'll personally call in the National Guard.", he sighed as Quinn rolled his eyes.

"Why exactly are we pinning all our hopes on Samir bringing her to a church?"

"Maybe we should ask Brody. He seems to be our resident pro at finding sanctuary.", Danny scoffed.

"Hey, knock it off!" Max piped up getting surprised looks.

"You feeling protective of a certain ginger, Max?", Quinn smirked.

"You bet.", Virgil scoffed.

"Ever since that day at Langley when Carrie reamed him out, she has him scared shitless. He won't say a word against her. So since Carrie loves Brody, Max loves him too."
At this even Saul couldn't help snickering.

"Seriously though guys, if Farrah's not here where the fuck do we look?"

"Everywhere til we fucking find her.", Saul said simply, sliding open the van door before he proceeded to jump out.

Meanwhile the rest of the group turned to look at Quinn, who shrugged, unbuckling his seatbelt.

"What? You heard the man. Let's go!"

Chapter Text

After using the same strategy they had at the other churches (Saul and Virgil going in the front entrance and schmoozing their way past the vestibule, Max, Danny and Quinn going around back to explore), Virgil noticed a trail of popcorn scattered up the path to the stained glass entry door.

"Saul, check this out."

"Virgil there's no time. If we don't bullshit our way into this place soon-"

"Yeah. Bullshit our way into a church. If that's not invitation for a smiting I don't know what is.", he scoffed as Saul rolled his eyes.

"Seriously though Saul, humor me for a second and look at this."

Reluctantly Saul crouched down beside him, frowning at the sight.

"All it is is popcorn, so what?"

"So...Carrie bought popcorn for Farrah at the parade."

"Did Farrah ever get the popcorn from Carrie?"

"No. But she'd been begging for it since the two of them showed up. Carrie told me. Maybe the brother wanted to get in Farrah's good graces, bribed her with a bag."

A glimmer of pride in his eyes, Saul let his hopes get a little higher.

"Well what are we standing here for? Let's go."

Entering the vestibule of the church, Virgil went over and started chatting with one of the priests. His and Saul's story was altered slightly from church to church but the core of it was the same. Saul was Virgil's widower uncle interested in conversion. A bold faced lie but enough to get them in the door. After Virgil introduced Father Clarkson to his uncle Leonidas Goldstein, he texted Max about the popcorn trail.

"Smart kid that one.", Quinn smiled after seeing the message, then turned to pick the lock to the back door of the church. Once achieving entry he crept down the back stairwell with Danny close behind. Leaving Max to stand guard at the door.

Gun drawn, his back at the wall Quinn turned to Danny and made the classic "shush" gesture, wanting to listen to the chatter coming from another part of the basement. Hearing Farrah's voice, relief flooding his face, Danny began texting Quinn a translation of her Arabic, what he could make out of it.

Reading the texts Quinn's jaw clenched. Farrah was clearly beside herself and pleading to see Carrie, much to her brother's annoyance.

"Glad I brought my knife.", he texted. "These jokers earned a little bad cop time."

"That better not leave me to play good cop.", Danny sent in reply, getting an approving nod right as Farrah let out a yell. Unsure if she was in distress or her frustration had peaked, not willing to wait to find out, Quinn kicked in the basement door.

"PETE!", Farrah cried. Getting up she tried to run to him but Khaliq held her back. Samir meanwhile turned to the intruder, pulling a gun from his jacket pocket.

"How rude of you to intrude on our family reunion."

"Forgive me. Tend to ditch the rules of etiquette when dealing with kidnappers of little girls!". Quinn sneered.

Hurriedly Danny texted Virgil for backup, then ran through the door to provide Quinn with some, sensing he'd need it.

"Sorry Father, my uncle's a bit under the weather so I don't think we can finish this discussion tonight.", Virgil said as Saul took his cue, breaking into a coughing fit.

"I see, shall we continue at a later time?"

"If the Lord commands it. Thank you for your time."

After Father Clarkson excused them, and invited Mr. Goldstein to pray at the altar before leaving, Saul nodded and entered the chapel while Virgil went to pull the van around back.

Running down the aisle to the back of the church, Saul took the steps down into the basement two at a time. Once there his eyes widened when he heard Farrah scream.

Peering through the kicked in door he saw Quinn lying on the ground, his leg bleeding. Danny meanwhile was shakily holding a gun on Samir, who had one aimed at Farrah's head.

"Drop your weapon, and let my family go as we please."

"Let Farrah go and we may consider it.", Danny growled.

"We?", Samir questioned as Saul walked in, his gun drawn.

"Bear!", Farrah squealed.

"Farrah, listen. I just want you to stay put, alright? Just stay still.", Saul instructed, trying to remain calm and praying Carrie hadn't rubbed off too much on her foster daughter. If there was any time Farrah needed to follow orders it was now.

"Samir, we can do this the easy or the hard way. Let Farrah go and you and your brother are in the clear, free to go. It'll be like none of this ever happened."

"I do not believe you."

"You believe in putting the fear of God in a six year old girl?", Saul scoffed. "You have Farrah scared shitless right now. Let her go or things are gonna get messy."

"You would threaten us in a place of worship?"

"Who's making threats? Besides, my place of worship is two blocks over."

"The synagogue?"

"Yeah. One holy place you haven't gotten your fucking hands on yet."

"Farrah should have the same faith as her family."

"Good, so we agree. She can be a practicing Muslim. Same as the brother who's not scaring her out of her wits."

At this surprising information Samir turned just enough to look at Khaliq. Lessening his hold just enough on Farrah that she could squirm away from his gun. Just long enough for Saul to shoot at Samir's leg, knocking him off balance and knocking his gun out of his hand.

Swearing he sank to the floor clutching his leg, leaving Farrah free to run to Saul.
"Shh, it's okay, it's okay Farrah.", he soothed as he held her close, hoping to shield her from all the chaos. Not noticing Samir making a move to reclaim his gun.

Luckily Quinn did. In spite of the blood loss and the mind numbing pain each time he moved, he managed to access his holster and rolling into position, got a clear shot at the back of Samir's head.

Blocking Farrah from the sight, holding her tight to his chest Saul stood and carried her away from the scene. Max in the meantime helped Quinn to a standing position, leading him upstairs and out to the van.

Danny, still reeling from everything that had taken place, went to follow them. Not realizing Khaliq was still behind him, reaching for his brother's gun. He got a shot at Danny's shoulder before he took off fearfully in the opposite direction, escaping through a hidden exit.

Meanwhile, struggling to get up the stairs Danny let out a yell before Virgil came running.

"Jesus fuck..are you alright?"

"Just give me a hand okay.", he winced as Virgil got him up the remaining stairs and into the van.

"I swear to God..you fucking ask me again how I am, I'll smash the lenses in your goddamn glasses into your goddamn eyeballs!", Quinn snarled as Max nervously nodded, shifted away from him in the backseat.

Turning around from the passenger seat Saul gave them both an icy glare, still holding a whimpering Farrah as she shook.

"It's alright, everything's alright, Farrah..", he repeated, reaching for a bag at his feet.

Retrieving a pink and black floral print scarf of Carrie's, he gently draped the fabric around Farrah's head, securing it with a loose knot under her chin. It wasn't a hijab but would have to suffice for now, and it seemed to settle her down.Still holding the girl close Saul dialed Carrie with his free hand as Virgil sped to the hospital.

"Hey, Carrie. It's okay. We..we got her."

Chapter Text

As soon as Brody stopped the car, dropping her off at the entrance to St. Mary's, Carrie bolted over to the front desk, alarming the nurse.

"Excuse me ma'am can I help-"

"My name is Carrie Mathison. My foster daughter was just brought in. Her name is Farrah and I need to see her right now, immediately! It's urgent."

"Okay ma'am if you'll just give me a second-"

"I don't have a second!", she hissed, slamming her hand on the desk for emphasis.

"This is my daughter we're talking about, you understand?! She was abducted and held captive for two days before she was found and brought here! She's six years old, and if I don't fucking see her, find out how she is.."

"Ma'am! If you can just try and calm-"

"Carrie!" Walking up Brody held her shoulders, looked apologetically at the nurse.

"Hi Ava."

"Nicholas.", Ava said, recognizing him as the imam's assistant. Ever since the mosque acquired the hospital, the staff had gotten to know the imam, Zahira, and most everyone who worked with them at the community center.

"Do you know this woman?"

"Yes. I do. And I know the patient she wants to check in on. It's really important we get in to see Farrah. She's only six and I'm guessing she's scared out of her mind."

"I understand. I will page the nurse on her floor. See if her doctor's allowing visitors."

"Visitors! I'm her guardian for God's sak-"

"Thanks Ava.", Brody interrupted, walking Carrie away from the desk.

"Don't bite her head off. She's just doing her job."

"Yeah well looking after Farrah is my job.", Carrie snapped, crossing her arms.

"Hey, we'll get you in to see her. This is a small hospital, well managed. Farrah's in good hands."

Shrugging, Carrie started pacing before seeing Saul approach her.

"I'm going to go get us something to drink, love. I'll be back.", Brody said before walking off. He wasn't up for a confrontation and was pretty sure Carrie wouldn't be either.

"Carrie!"

Without thinking twice she ran up to Saul and hugged him. He hugged her back just as tight.

"Is Farrah okay? Was she-"

"She was pretty shaken up, but nothing looked too serious. I'm no doctor but I think she'll be fine. Soon as she sees you."

Nodding Carrie pulled back, wiping her eyes.

"Where's everyone else? Danny, Quinn.."

"Samir was armed, Carrie. He's in the morgue, but the fucker put up a fight."

"Oh shit."

"You were half right about Khaliq. He was definitely involved."

"Where is he now?", she asked, eyes narrowed.

"He got away.", Saul said bitterly. "We'll get him though, Carrie. Trust me."

"I swear if he gets within a foot of Farrah-"

"We got a guard outside her door. Best we got."

"Okay..okay.", Running a hand through her hair she knew she had a million questions she ought to be asking. But couldn't for the life of her come up with one. Then she noticed Max leaving and thought of about twelve.

"Saul, was anyone-"

"Quinn's in surgery. When I got to the church basement he was already down, shot in the leg."

"Fuck." Blinking back tears she knew she had to ask about the others.

"What about, Danny, Virgil?"

"Virgil's fine. I sent him home, told him I'd call if there was any change."

"And Danny?"

"He took a bullet to the shoulder. But he's out of surgery. He's good, I just came from there."

"Jesus, he's got more lives than a cat."

"And thank God for it. I think I saw Maggie in with him just now."

"Okay are those two cozier lately or is it me?", Carrie questioned as Saul shrugged.

"I have to go thank them though, I-"

"Hey, there's still time for that. I think they'd want you to check in on Farrah first."

Deciding she had no reason to argue that, she nodded as Brody turned down the hall. Armed with trail mix from the vending machine and some bottled water.

Nervously Carrie looked to Saul. Who to his credit, was doing his damnedest to keep in check.
"Saul.."

"Look as far as I'm concerned, right now, he's not here.", he said gruffly.

"Anyway, I should get home. Get some sleep. You'll call if there's any-"

"Of course.", Carrie said before hugging him again.

"Thank you, Saul.", she sniffled, hoping to really drive that point home. He seemed to get the message, kissing her on the cheek before leaving for his car.

"Carrie.", Brody called, motioning for her to come back to the desk.

"Farrah is in room 213 with Dr. Lewis.", Ava said. "You may go in to see her if you wish."

"Thank you.", Carrie said.

Echoing her sentiment Brody walked her to the elevator. Getting off on the third floor, after taking a few wrong turns they reached the right hallway.

"Fuck, can they make this place any more difficult to navigate!", she ranted.

"Hey, at least here you won't be stopped for fraternizing with a fugitive.", Brody reminded.

"I've been stopped for worse.", Carrie smirked, but her face went somber when they reached Farrah's room.

Squeezing her hand he'd been holding, Brody brought it to his lips to kiss.
"It'll be fine, love. C'mon, I'm right here with you."

Nodding, standing a little straighter, after getting a nod from the guard she turned the door handle and walked in. Farrah was asleep. Even in the small hospital bed she looked tinier than ever. There were a few monitors she was tethered to that were beeping and she had an IV hooked up to her arm, along with a bandage on her right leg.

Chin quivering, Carrie shakily sat in the chair by her bed and reached for Farrah's small hand, kissing it then holding it close to her face. Tears slid down her cheeks and she didn't even bother wiping them away.

"Nicholas? Miss Mathison?"

"Doctor Lewis." Shaking her hand Brody smiled, recognizing the older brunette as a friend of Zahira's.

"We gave Farrah a thorough exam. Aside from dehydration, minor bruising and a cut on her knee that needed some stitches, she's just fine."

"Why is she sedated then?", Carrie asked hoarsely. "Why the IV and the monitors and..."

"Farrah was very worked up when she was brought in, and after we took her down to x-ray she started to hyperventilate."

"Oh my God.."

"We gave her a mild sedative, then we stitched up her knee."

"Is she in pain?", Brody asked warily.

"No. We're giving her a low dose painkiller through the IV and some fluids, and just keeping her overnight for observation. But rest assured she's going to be fine."

Nodding, Carrie managed a small smile, wiped her eyes.

"Can I stay with her?"

"Actually doctor, is there a lounge, even an empty room where we can stay?", Brody interjected, getting a look.

"Brody.."

"There's a lounge just down the hall. Since we're in pediatrics we have an overnight room for parents. It's yours for the taking."

"That sounds terrific, just down the hall you said?"

As the doctor nodded Carrie shook her head, held Farrah's hand a little tighter.

"Brody if you want to stay there you're more than welcome. I'm not leaving.", she said firmly.

"Miss Mathison, the sedative will keep Farrah asleep for several hours. And you'll be notified immediately if there's any changes." Dr. Lewis assured, but Brody thanked her and gave her a look indicating he could handle things. Nodding, she took his word for it and stepped out.

"Brody, no. Farrah's been separated from me and scared out of her mind for two days. I'm not going to leave her by herself in a fucking hospital room!"

"Well I'm not gonna watch you land a room of your own here after you keel over exhausted."

"I don't keel. I've never keeled.", Carrie retorted. Still holding Farrah's hand, running her thumb over the back of it, she leaned forward in her chair, close enough to rest her head on the pillow. Trying to hide her yawn she wasn't successful.

"Carrie c'mon, her bed isn't big enough for the two of you and even if it was, you need to get a good nights rest. So does she."

"But I can't just..."

"We'll just be down the hall, love. She's got a guard and I'm sure half the doctor's on this floor at her beck and call. She'll sleep. You'll sleep. And the two of you will go home tomorrow."

Looking sadly at him, then back to Farrah, she was considering it but still not moving an inch.

"If you can't do it for her do it for me. Not that I deserve it but.."

"Do what for you?", Carrie asked.

"Let me sleep next to the woman I love..", he smiled as she rolled her eyes. Letting out a half-laugh, half snort, she tried not to blush.

"You're really resorting to sweet talk, Sergeant?"

"Whatever works.", Brody said impishly, getting down to her level before slipping his arm around her, kissing the side of her head as she sniffled.

"Brody I can't just-"

"I know. You think I wouldn't pull up another chair and plant myself next to her bed too? But you need your rest. That won't happen in here."

"You sure she'll be alright?"

"The doctor's saying so. I believe her."

Letting out a heavy sigh Carrie nodded in agreement. Slowly she stood up, brushed her lips on Farrah's forehead before reaching into her bag she'd brought with her.

"Here, help me cover her up?", she asked as Brody nodded, draped the magenta throw blanket over her while Carrie tucked Merriweather under Farrah's arm not hooked to the IV drip.

"Get a good nights sleep sweetheart, okay? You're safe. I'm here and everything's fine. Everything's gonna be just fine. I promise."

Smoothing her hair back Carrie kissed her once more before letting go of her hand. Right as Brody slipped an arm around her, walked with her out the door and into the hall.

"Watch her like a hawk, understand.", he told the guard, getting a nod in return.

"C'mon love, let's try and get some rest."

Chapter Text

After he got Carrie to the lounge, Brody felt a pang of guilt leaving Farrah by herself. But he figured she was sleeping comfortably, and per Maggie's instructions Carrie needed to do the same, in a bed and not in a chair. Unfortunately she didn't even look content to sit down.

"You're not even going to try and sleep, are you?"

"If I could I would.", she sighed. Pacing back and forth like a caged tigress.

"Can you try and sit at least?", Brody asked pleadingly as she scoffed, arched a brow.

"Well I was going to sit with Farrah and you fought me on that, so.."

"Hey..hey. You can go back in with Farrah if you need to. You can go sprawl out in the middle of the hallway with a pillow. I just want you to get some rest, Carrie. Your sister told me..."

"I know what she's told you!"

"Okay..so you know I'm siding with her on this. Farrah's been through too much to see you sleep deprived and on the verge of another-"

"Okay..okay. I get it.", Carrie snapped but then bit her lip, nervously turned to face him.

"I really scared you, didn't I?"

"Yeah. You did.", Brody admitted.

"But I don't matter here. Farrah does. Just try and relax now for her sake."

Sighing, Carrie reluctantly perched on the foot of the bed.

"I wish her bed was bigger. And that chair by her bed? They ought to make people sit in it when they're being interrogated.", she snorted before catching herself, letting out a sigh.

"Jesus, here I am complaining. I should just be glad she's here. That she's gonna be alright."

"She will be. This is a great hospital. One of the best."

"Well they did let you past the front desk.", Carrie smiled softly.

"Did I tell you I'm really glad you're here?"

Squeezing her hand, Brody shifted closer to her. "Did you ever think it would happen?", he asked softly.

"Did you?"

"Honestly no, I didn't."

"You underestimated me?", she asked, arching a brow playfully.

"Carrie I knew you'd try, I knew you'd do whatever it took to get the future you imagined for us. I did. I just never expected that-"

"Hey, it's okay." she smiled at his rambling. "I'm not trying to give you a hard time."

"You're not?", he teased, getting a swat on the arm.

"No, I'm not. I knew you weren't responsible for what happened. In spite of everything, I knew. But proving it?"

Trailing off she ran a hand through her hair, stood up.

"Getting Hadad to confess, even after he did there was so much shit to sort out. There still is."

"What do you mean?"

"I still have to clear your name, Brody. We have the admission on tape Hadad planted the C4. I've got documents and flash drives I stole from his house to back up his words. We have proof, but even once we go forward with it, there's still a long way to go to putting your life back together. But we've come this far. Trust me, I'm not giving up."

Seeing the quizzical look on his face she frowned. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like you're baffled I kept my promise to you. Like you don't care that I have. Jesus, don't you care about getting your life back?"

"What are you talking about?", Brody asked incredulously. "I have it back."

"Excuse me?"

"Carrie I'm back here with you, and you believe me. You know now I wasn't responsible, without a doubt. You have your proof. You won't hold a fucking gun to my head because you're unsure. That's all I needed from you."

"Okay, now you're the one that's being crazy!", Carrie scoffed.

"Why? Carrie I'm happy. I'm settled down, working. I'm back with you! That's more than I could've fucking hoped for."

"What about being cleared for a crime you didn't commit? Jesus Christ, Brody I have proof you're innocent! We come forward with that and you can stop hiding. Stop being confined to one city block, one shitty apartment!"

"Hey my apartment is just fine!", he said defensively as she looked on wide eyed, totally shocked.

"I can't believe this. You're settling for this? Resigning yourself to looking over your shoulder the rest of your life?"

"Don't you get it? I don't need to anymore. Saul knows you're right about me otherwise he'd have dragged me off the second he came into my apartment. I haven't been cuffed yet. Between you, the imam and Zahira, I'm protected."

"You're delusional!"

"I'm safe, Carrie. I finally have some fucking peace!"

"Well you'll find even more of it when you're proven innocent!"

"Carrie, you know fucking well I'm no innocent.", Brody said bitterly.

"Yeah, I do.", Carrie sighed, lowering her voice as she sat back down on the bed, squeezed his hand.

"But the one crime they've traced back to you isn't your crime, Brody. Do you actually believe what those fuckers on that tape and the news were saying? Do you believe you're guilty?!"

"I'm guilty of plenty. You knew that before anyone else."

"So what, is this some sort of penance? Self imposed exile? You have a masochistic streak I don't know about?"

"I'm not being a masochist. I'm being practical. Even if you do go forward with your proof, I still put on a goddamn suicide vest, Carrie. One I had every intention to trigger. They have my fucking tape to rebroadcast on every news channel if I come forward. Even if I'm not technically a terrorist-"

"You're not.", she said as Brody shook his head, sighed.

"You interrupted me. The entire country sees me as one. I'm the new face of fucking Al-Qaeda. No amount of proof can take back my fifteen minutes of goddamn infamy, Carrie. Even you can't save me from that.", he said solemnly, the defeat in his eyes contrasting the fire in her's as she dropped his hand, stood up to leave.

"Again, you underestimate me."

Chapter Text

After she walked out Carrie was at a loss as to where to go. Sit with Farrah, check in on Quinn, see Danny, her sister. She knew she couldn't go back in that lounge with Brody though. He'd completely caught her off guard, blurting out that he'd grown fond of his cage. Carrie couldn't understand his reasoning and she certainly wasn't going to try. Not now. Not when she had so many other things to worry over.

Grabbing some pills from her purse she swallowed them dry, then was all set to make use of that godawful chair in Farrah's room when she heard someone call her name.

"Carrie, hey."

"Danny! What the fuck! Who gave you permission to be down here? You just got out of surgery!"

"What? I'm using a wheelchair.", he shrugged, as an orderly wheeled him next to a bench that Carrie sat down on.

"How's Farrah?", he asked.

"They sedated her. She was really worked up when she was brought in. And she needed stitches for a cut on her leg."

"Jesus.", Danny shuddered as Carrie rubbed his uninjured shoulder reassuringly.

"She's okay though. She's gonna be fine. Thanks to you."

"Not just me. Saul, Virgil, Quinn. Even Max stepped up to the plate."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, by the way I'd keep Brody close when that guy's around."

"What?", Carrie laughed in confusion as Danny chuckled, shook his head.

"Never mind. But seriously, Farrah's okay. That's all that matters. Trust me, the sling's worth it."

"Did you hear anything about Quinn?", she asked, looking concerned.

"Maggie did some sniffing around. He's out of surgery. The operation went smoothly."

"Thank God."

"Yeah. It was his shot that got Samir, you know."

"Saul told me.", Carrie sighed. "The other brother though, Khaliq..."

"The son of a bitch got away. For now."

"Wherever the fucker's hiding I'll find him. And I'll personally wring his neck.", she threatened as Maggie turned the corner, looking ready to do some threatening of her own.

"Danny!", she scolded. Her high heels angrily clicking on the floor she walked up to them.

"I just wanted to check on Farrah. See how she was.", Danny defended.

"Something I could've done! All you had to do was say, 'Hey Maggie, instead of trying to work the nurse into bringing me more vanilla pudding, how about you go check in on your niece.", Maggie snapped, imitating the baritone in his voice.

Carrie couldn't help but snicker as Danny looked up from the wheelchair, sheepishly smiled. "I'm sorry. I figured you'd have better luck with her than I would."

"You are such a...c'mon." Rolling her eyes Maggie took hold of his wheelchair, thanking the orderly who nodded and left.

"Maggie wait, he wanted to see Farrah!", Carrie protested.

"We'll see her tomorrow after he's discharged."

"Fine, fine. But if you insist on parading me around in this thing we're stopping by the cafeteria for more pudding." Danny insisted as Carrie let out a snort, watched as Maggie waved goodbye and promised they'd be back tomorrow.

"Since when did they get so close?", she muttered to herself, standing up as an older, bespectacled nurse came from the other end of the hall. The guard watching closely a few feet away.

"Oh excuse me dear, I'm sorry. I'm just here to finish up my rounds and then I'll be on my way."

"No, it's alright. Take your time.", Carrie said as she stood awkwardly in the doorway, not wanting to be in the way in Farrah's small room.

"She's a darling little girl isn't she? You must be so proud.", the nurse smiled, busily checking the monitors and making notes.

"I am. Is everything alright though? Everything's normal?"

"Oh, she is doing beautifully. No need to worry."

Pulling out the chair by Farrah's bed, she nodded for Carrie to sit. Watching with concern as she did so.

"My dear, forgive me but you don't look like you've slept in days."

"Yeah, well. That's because I haven't. Farrah was taken from me. She was kidnapped.", Carrie said, shuddering over the word as she reached for Farrah's hand.

"Oh my goodness. Was the monster caught?"

"One of them was."

"Well you're not to worry, dear. The other one will be soon enough. And in the meantime this little dear is safe and back where she belongs."

"Yeah. She is."

Blinking back tears Carrie leaned more forward in the chair. Not hearing the nurse step out, then return with a pillow and a blanket she draped over her shoulders.

"You should try and get some sleep now too. Have to be awake and bright eyed for her when she wakes."

"I guess I do, don't I?", she shrugged, giving her a shy smile.

"Thank you so much."

"Anytime dear. Sleep well now."

After the nurse left Carrie assumed her former position half curled up beside Farrah, half in the chair. She knew her back would be stiff as a board by morning but she didn't care. It wasn't until a few hours later she felt a small grip on her hand and her eyes fluttered open.

"C..Carrie?"

"Hi sweetheart!", she smiled, a tear sliding down her face as Farrah smiled back at her, but then got a better sense of her surroundings and tensed up.

"Where...?"

"Shhh, you're in the hospital Farrah, but you're going to be just fine, okay? I promise. Everything's alright."

"Y..yes?"

"Pink swear." Grinning, Carrie linked their fingers, but her grin faded when Farrah tried to sit up in bed, her eyes nervously darting around.

"What's wrong? Who are you looking for, honey?"

"Where's..where's Virg? Dan? Pete, Bear?"

"Saul went home last night to get some sleep. So did Virgil. But Quinn and Danny stayed here."

"To sleep?"

"Yeah. They worked a long time to track you down and protect you. But they're gonna be fine. Just like you."

Nodding, Farrah's eyes felt heavy again. But she had more questions and fought to stay awake and ask them. "Wh..what about K..Khal-"

"Honey don't think about him, okay? Please.", Carrie begged, but from the look on Farrah's face it was clearly too late for that.

"But Samir! He..he try to hurt-"

"Shh, shh."
Small size of the bed be damned she climbed in beside Farrah, mindful of the IV as she scooched down and slipped an arm around her, held her close.

"It's okay, Farrah. It's all over now. I promise it's all over.", she soothed, trying to remind herself of the same thing. "I'm so sorry it happened. That you were afraid."
Guiltily she sighed and Farrah held onto her a little tighter.

"I..I not scared the..whole time. I..I was brave."

"Oh I know. I know you were. I bet you were braver than me."

Laughing lightly she brushed her lips on the top of Farrah's head.

"But you shouldn't have had to be that brave, Farrah. What happened to you never should've happened. But it's over and I'll make sure it stays that way. Neither of them are going to come after you any more. Samir's gone, and Khaliq's not going to get near you ever again. You have my word."

At her words Farrah shook her head, quickly squirmed out of her arms.

"No but Khal..Khaliq, no!", she cried before she started protesting in Arabic. Insisting Khaliq had looked after her, that he hadn't done anything wrong, and that she had to know if he was okay.

Carrie may have understood the language, but not what she was trying to tell her. And didn't really want to understand anything about the man that kidnapped her little girl. She just wanted this nightmare to be behind them both.

"Wh..where is Khaliq?"

"Farrah, I don't know."

"You..you find him? Please?"

Shaking her head, Carrie bit her lip, adjusted the blanket better over them.

"Carrie?"

"Sweetheart just try and relax, okay?"

"But, Khaliq-"

"Farrah, I don't want to talk about Khaliq! I don't!"

Frowning up at the look on Carrie's face, the iciness in her voice when she said her brother's name, Farrah's lip began to quiver.

"Farrah, wait-"

"No!", she cried, curling up in a small ball in the corner of the bed.

"Honey, he took you away from me. He kept us apart.", Carrie sighed. Reaching to rub Farrah's shoulder her heart broke when she shied away.

"Farrah, please?"

Unable to get the girl to listen or look at her, now it was her turn to start tearing up.

 

Chapter Text

After Farrah turned away from her, refused to even see her, Carrie didn't feel right staying but knew she couldn't leave, and numbly retreated to the chair, hugging her knees to her chest. Hours could've passed but she wouldn't have realized, and didn't until she heard the door creak. Looking up she saw Brody armed with a gift shop bag and two coffees. A peace offering of sorts. Carrie just managed a smile.

"Hey..", he whispered, unable to tell if Farrah was still asleep. Kneeling down next to her chair he handed her the coffee.

"Thanks.", she whispered back as a nurse entered the room. Nodding to Brody for them to step out in the hall, give her space to work, Carrie couldn't get out of the room fast enough.

"Hey, you okay? Shit. Did you sleep at all?"

Concerned, Brody led her over to a nearby bench, sat her down.

"Look I'm sorry about last night, bombarding you with all that. It was the last thing you needed from me."

"No, Brody it's not..." Her voice cracking she leaned forward on the bench, buried her face in her hands.

"Hey...hey, what's wrong?"

Rubbing her back he stroked her hair, trying to to calm her down. But he wished he knew what had her in such a state.

"Is it Farrah? Did something happen?", he asked nervously as she sat up, wiped her eyes. 

"Carrie c'mon. Talk to me."

"She wants to see Khaliq. She says he didn't do anything wrong, she wants to fucking talk to him. I told her just to forget about him and now she.."

"What?"

"She's not talking to me! She hates to even look at me! I...I fucked up!"

"Hey, you haven't fucked up, okay. You haven't.", Brody smiled sadly, holding her face. "Carrie, that girl's as capable of hating you as I am of beating you at pool."

"Not capable?", Carrie smirked.

"Not at all. Right now Farrah's just hurting, she's scared. She's just spent the night in a strange room and in a strange bed. She's more confused than a kid her age should ever be. You get her home and settled in, things will calm down before you know it."

"But what about Khaliq? She wants to see him, Brody. She's scared for him, wants me to find him. She's not gonna settle for anything else."

"Seems you've rubbed off on her a bit.", he teased but barely got a smile.

"Look, how about I try talking to her? See what I can do."

Shrugging, Carrie sighed.

"At the very least she'll start asking for you after I bore her to tears. C'mon, couldn't hurt right?"

"I guess it couldn't.", she said before yawning. Catching Brody's eye she rolled her's, knowing exactly what he was going to say.

"Save the speech. I'm going.", she muttered, yawning again as she walked over to the lounge.

...

Grateful Carrie hadn't fought him, Brody knocked softly on Farrah's door, opening it a crack. Rolling over at the creaking sound Farrah opened her eyes, then smiled.

"Nick!"

"Hey brat! How you feeling?"

"Okay.", she shrugged as he gave her a once-over. Relieved that she was no longer hooked up to the IV or any other monitors.

"Just okay, huh. Well you mind if I sit with you awhile, visit?"

"No."

Pulling a chair over Brody noticed the bandage on Farrah's leg had been changed to a neon pink strip of gauze.

"That is a very bright bandage."

"It pink! I tell nurse I like pink."

"Nice. Can I sign it?"

"It's not cast!", Farrah giggled as he shrugged.

"That's okay, still good enough to get signed, right?"

Taking a pen from his pocket Brody scribbled his name on the bandage and drew a smiley face, getting her smiling to his relief.

"Thank you!"

"Hey, anytime. Your drawings are still better though, I don't care what anyone says.", he complimented getting her blushing, but then her smile faded.

"Carrie says that too."

"Well, she's got good taste. You know she's right next door, taking a nap. But I can get her for you if you-"

Quickly Farrah shook her head, reached for Merriweather.

"She told me earlier you asked her to find your brother."

"Yes."

"You know I get why you'd want to see him. You want to know if he's alright. I would too."

"You have brother?"

"Not any growing up. But I got to know a lot of guys when I was a soldier. And they became like my brothers."

"Yes?"

"Yeah. A lot of them went on to do a lot of great things. But the one I was closest to, Tom, he did a lot of bad things. I knew him well enough though to know he wasn't a bad person. He just got caught in a bad situation and then things got even worse. Kind of like what happened with you and your brothers, right?"

Nodding tearfully Farrah held the cat closer.

"I know when the bad stuff Tom did caught up with him, he hid. He stayed away because he was afraid. Afraid he'd hurt the people he loved the most. I think that's what your brother's doing now, Farrah. I think he's hiding because he's afraid of seeing you hurt or scared again."

"I..I was scared.", she admitted as Brody reached up, slipped an arm around her.

"Yeah, I bet. But like Carrie said it's all over now, alright? You're safe. Nobody's gonna let anything like that happen to you again, you hear me? Not her, Quinn, Saul, Danny, Maggie, Virgil."

"Max?"

"Oh, how could I forget Max.", Brody snorted, getting her smiling.

"And you?", Farrah smiled shyly.

"You bet. All we want to do is keep you safe."

"But...I want Khaliq safe too!"

"Yeah, I know you do.", he sighed. "But I think right now, his staying away is his trying to keep you safe, Farrah. He doesn't want what happened to you to happen again. Same as Carrie does."

"Carrie does not like him."

"Well I think Carrie's afraid of him. Same way people were afraid of Tom. But back then, he did what he thought was right. Same as Khaliq thinks he's doing the right thing for you right now. And he is. When you were away from Carrie, you missed her right?"

"Yes."

"Well she missed you too. She missed you more than anything in the world. She loves you more than anything. I think your brother knows that. And I think he's happy about it. He's happy to know you're being taken care of."

"He is happy since I...I'm happy?"

"Yeah. Are you happy?", Brody asked getting a shrug, half-hearted smile.

"Oh c'mon, I've seen you happier than that."
Giving her a knowing look, he got another shrug and knew it was time to bring out the big guns.

"Well I don't know if this will help but, figured it was worth a shot."

Handing over the gift shop bag Farrah sat up eagerly, pawing past the tissue paper to reveal a plush moose.

"He is from book!", she grinned.

"And, check out what he brought with him."

Taking a bag of blueberry mini-muffins from him, Farrah hurriedly opened it, then frowned.

"They are small."

"You get more that way."

"Ah, okay."

After she devoured the muffins she looked at the moose thoughtfully.

"Trying to decide on a name?"

"It is Marvin.", she said matter of factly.

"He...he on postcards!"

"Postcards?", Brody frowned as Farrah nodded.

"Carrie, she have postcards, from...from cabin boy. From Canada!"

"Yeah I know she does. I'm the one who sent them to her."

"You?!", she asked in surprise.

"Yeah. I was traveling around for awhile and I wanted to keep in touch with Carrie."

"You two friends?"

"Yeah. We are."

Unable to miss the gleam in Farrah's eyes, Brody snorted, looked at her curiously.

"Are you okay with that?"

"Yes! Yes.", she grinned.

"Well that's good to know."

"How you meet Carrie?", Farrah asked eagerly.

"How did we meet, well that's, that's kind of a long story.", Brody sighed, leaning back in his chair.

 

Chapter Text

After she'd finally managed to get comfortable and drift off, Carrie was awakened by a sharp knock on the door. Groggily she sat up, stretched, wondered why whoever it was couldn't turn the fucking knob themselves. Until she saw who was on the other side.

"Hey, mind if I sit? These crutches are a bitch.", Quinn winced.

"Jesus, fuck.."

After helping him into a nearby chair Carrie sighed, perched back on the bed.

"How's Farrah?"

"Fine. She's alright."

"What's with the look? I'm not allowed to ask?"

"No, of course you are, I'm just..."

"Distracted or highly pissed off?"

"Both! Between you and Danny I swear to God, the two of you are going to wind back up here with even longer stays!"

"I fucking hope not. My nurse isn't exactly fond of me.", he grimaced.

"Quinn seriously, what are you doing here? If I'd known you were this starved for companionship I'd have visited you myself. Saved you the walk."

"It's fine, sooner I get up and moving the better. Besides, I figured between the two of us you'd be more starved for company. Farrah's still asleep isn't she? And I'm pretty sure Berenson's left."

"I haven't exactly been lonely, Quinn."

Piecing it together Quinn sighed, rolled his eyes. "How the fuck is he even-"

"The imam's acquired this hospital so.."

"So let's see, apartment complexes, street fairs, places of worship, hospitals, community centers. Anyplace else we should mark as Brody approved safehouses?"

Now it was Carrie's turn to roll her eyes, but then her expression softened. "Was it true what he said? That you let him stay with me at the parade?"

Shrugging, Quinn didn't say a word but gave her her answer.

"Shit. You could've just followed through on your original orders. Dragged him to Langley-"

"Yeah I could've but I didn't.", he snapped. "There's a reason I refrain from making promises in goddamn elevators. Things get messy, and we wind up with a man topping the most wanted list walking around like he owns the place."

"Quinn.."

"I know I know. He didn't do it. I've heard."

"He didn't. I just hope that he believes it."

"What do you mean?"

Biting her lip, Carrie shrugged, hardly able to understand it herself.

"I told Brody about Hadad's confession, about all the proof I had this whole fucking thing was a setup. I told him he was going to get his life back and he tells me he's already got it back. Says he has a place to work where he's accepted, and now that I know without a doubt he's innocent-"

"That he has you too. And that's all he'll need to be happy. Excuse me while I go throw up in that potted plant."

Rolling her eyes, Carrie suppressed a smirk.

"Seriously though, Quinn. I think he's convinced this is as good as it can get for him."

"Well surprisingly, I agree with him."

"But he didn't do it!"

"Does that really matter when the entire country is convinced otherwise? Carrie, you've known from the start all of this was going to be next to impossible to make right."

"But I can't just settle for this. Even if he's content with this half life how the fuck am I supposed to be?", she sighed running a hand through her hair.

"So what do you want me to do then?"

Surprised, Carrie frowned at him.

"What? I told you I would help you, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember. I just didn't think that you'd still-"

"Hey I've said all along you're going to need help with this. And I don't think having Brody back in kissing distance is gonna help your cause."

Looking at him annoyed, annoyed that he was right Carrie shrugged.

"Can I get back to you in a day or two? When I'm running on more than an hour's sleep?"

"Sure. No offense but you look like shit."

"Thanks. Thanks for that.", she scoffed. "No offense but you look just as if not shittier. Whatever is going on with your hair is just-"

"Thank you, I appreciate that.", Quinn scoffed in return as he went to lift himself on his crutches, winced.

"Fuck, hold on.", Carrie sighed, getting off the bed. "Let me get you back to your room."

"No. You go be with Farrah."

"But-"

"Carrie."

"Okay, okay.", she sighed. "I just hope she's not still mad at me."

"Wait, what-"

"It's nothing. We had a disagreement. It'll be fine."

"Hope so. Because if Farrah of all people stays pissed off at you, you must be worse than Nurse Ratched back in my room."

"Yeah? Stick around after comparing us. You'll know for sure I'm worse.", Carrie threatened with a smirk.

"Goddammit, really now with the threats? I'm already a gimp!"

"So I've noticed."

Rolling her eyes as he flipped her off, walked out the door, watching him turn down the hallway she waved over a nurse. Asking her to get the stubborn, dark haired man on crutches into a wheelchair before he wiped out on the floor. Nodding, the nurse ran up and helped Quinn into the chair. Getting him looking over his shoulder, glaring at a smirking Carrie.

Her smirk fading though, after going to the front desk and signing all the release forms, she made her way over to Farrah's room. Looking through the partially open door, she couldn't help but melt at Brody holding up Merriweather and a plush moose, making them talk like puppets in high pitched squeaky voices. He had Farrah laughing up a storm.

Quietly, Carrie knocked on the door, shyly smiling as she walked in.

"What's going on? I could hear you laughing all the way down the hall."

"Nick make Merriweather and Marvin fight! Marvin says he..he has better 'M' name.", Farrah giggled.

"Hey, I was just going off the script I'd been given.", Brody defended. "She named the thing Marvin. I couldn't help myself."

Laughing lightly, Carrie perched at the foot of the bed.

"Well Farrah I talked to the nurse and filled out all the paperwork. Everything's all set so we can go home."

Shrugging, Farrah's smile faded along with Carrie's.

"Oh c'mon, brat. Don't you want to go home?", Brody asked. "You'll get your bed back, you can show Marvin your room?"

"You see my room too?!", Farrah asked eagerly as he sighed, bit his lip.

"I wish I could, but I gotta get back to the community center."

"Oh." Glumly she snuggled closer to Brody.

"Aw, hey. I'll see you there soon.", he reminded but she didn't budge, prompting Carrie to speak up.

"You know before we go I thought we could go and visit Danny and Quinn. They really want you to draw something on their casts."

"Nice. How are you gonna turn an offer like that down?" Brody asked, getting an eager nod from Farrah right as a nurse entered with a wheelchair for her. Seeing it her face lit up like a Christmas tree.

"I get to ride?!"

"Yeah! C'mon.", Carrie urged as she scooped Farrah up and off the bed, but when she set her on the floor the girl frowned up curiously.

"They ride too?", she asked holding up her animals.

"Of course."

Grinning Farrah climbed into the chair and as she was wheeled out, she spotted someone familiar by the desk in a similar situation.

"Pete!"

"Hey kid. Wanna race?"

 

Chapter Text

Looking at Farrah with a mischievous gleam in his eyes, Quinn did his best to ignore the death glare Carrie was giving him. Giggling, Farrah nodded and using her arms to propel the chair, wheeled up so she was alongside him.

"Quinn, I swear to-"

"On your mark get set GO!"

Propelling down the hall, making sure he stayed at a slower, safe pace so she wouldn't go too quickly, Quinn watched Farrah take the lead and get down to the end of the hallway.
When she realized she'd won she started cheering, loudly, catching looks from some of the nurses and Brody and Carrie who shushed her. Making the shush gesture right back at them she giggled.

"Hey, you know how much I missed hearing that?"

"Mag!"

Getting out of the chair Farrah ran up and hugged her.

"It's so good to see you, honey."

"It good to see you too.", she smiled, before she saw Danny wave from his wheelchair.

"Dan!", she squealed, right in Maggie's ear as she broke their hug, ran over towards him. Hugging him as well she was careful to avoid his arm in the sling.

"Hey so what's this I heard about wheelchair races? Don't tell me I missed out!"

"No you didn't, we race again!"

Shaking her head as Farrah jumped back into her chair, Maggie shot Danny a glare that matched the one Carrie gave Quinn earlier.

"Just be careful okay? Don't go too fast.", Brody warned as Farrah frowned up at him from her chair.

"No fast then it not race!", she declared, getting her chair in position beside Quinn's and Danny's.

"Danny, I swear if you-"

"Maggie it'll be fine! I swear."

"How? You can't even propel yourself!"

"That's why I thought you could help me..", Danny smiled sweetly.

"For crying out loud. Fine.", she relented, rolling her eyes. But after taking hold of the chair leaned to whisper in his ear.

"But you'll be lucky to place third.."

"Hey, wait! Unfair disadvantage! Maggie c'mon, you're killing me!", Danny protested as she smirked, pushed him at a snail's pace down the hallway.

"F me..", he groaned, watching as Farrah and Quinn sped off laughing past him. Not seeing a nurse step right in their path. Swerving to avoid her, Quinn managed to get off to the side of the hall but Farrah's chair tipped, taking her down with it. The luckily unharmed nurse knelt down, tried to help Farrah up but she fought her off, started crying.

"No! Carrie! CARRIE!"

"Shhh, it's okay. I'm right here, it's okay. Shhh."

Holding the whimpering girl close, Carrie turned with a glare aimed at Quinn, until realizing how guilty he already looked and felt. When he mouthed an apology, looked on fearfully, she nodded in understanding before looking back at Farrah.

"Honey, does anything hurt?", she asked as Maggie knelt down, gave her a once-over.

Shaking her head no, Farrah bit her lip.

"It was just the falling over. It scared you, huh?", Carrie asked knowingly. Nodding, Farrah climbed into her lap, hugged her close.

"Yeah, I know. It's okay. You're with me, sweetheart. Everything's fine."

Smiling, Carrie kissed the top of her head as she stood up, still holding her.

"Ma'am. I'm sorry but she should really use the wheelchair if she's leaving the hospital."

Met with an icy glare the nurse swallowed hard, backed up.

"I suppose though we can make an exception."

"Thank you.", Carrie said curtly.

...

After saying their goodbyes and signing some casts, still holding Farrah, Carrie and Brody made their way down to the lobby where Saul was waiting by the front doors.

"Bear!"

"Yeah he's come to pick us up, drive us home."

Letting out a squeal, Farrah squirmed out of her arms and took off towards Saul, getting Brody laughing.

"With all the sleep she got she'll have energy to burn all day. Have fun."

"Oh I'm sure we will.", Carrie smiled sadly as she turned towards him. Embarrassed when a tear slid down her cheek that he thumbed away.

"Crying made sense when I was sending you off into the North Woods. But you're in the same fucking zip code now."

"I know it. I don't know if it makes things easier or not."

"That depends. Are you going to fight me if I do what I promised I would? That you should've known all along I'd need to do?"

"I'd be an idiot if I told you not to try clearing my name. I just don't see how it's possible."

"Well your not being guilty has us off to a good start.", she snorted, then let out a sad sigh, looked up at him.

"Look, I understand where you're coming from."

"Do you?", Brody asked.

"Carrie, for the first time in years I'm not hiding. Running all over hoping nothing catches up to me. I found a place to settle down, where I can stay for more than days at a time. That alone is more than I ever expected. Forget about being back with you.."

"But you're not back with me. Don't you get that? This isn't us being together, Brody. This is you going back into hiding, me going back to work and trying to prove you're innocent. I feel like my crying is warranted. We may as well be back at that fucking fire road.", she sniffed as Brody reached for her hand, squeezing it.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm even talking to you right now. I'm glad you feel safe, that you finally found some peace. But you must know this isn't the future I imagined for us. All we are is back where we started over a year ago. This isn't our way out!"

"I know it. It's an easy way out. And we don't do easy, do we?"

"We haven't so far." Shrugging Carrie smiled, squeezed his hand a little tighter.

"All I need is some time, Brody. I just have to formulate a plan, figure things out. But I promise, your second chance? I'll make it happen.", she said firmly, but he could hear the desperation in her voice and could see it in her eyes.

She was going to push herself to the brink again, go back to her bulletin board and go up against anyone that got in her way. And if she burned out, when she did, he wouldn't be there but Farrah would be. And the girl would have to deal with the inevitable fallout. Inevitable unless Brody intervened now.

"Hey, I know you will. I trust you about that. What I can't trust is you diving headfirst into my fucked up drama when you've just gotten through this nightmare with Farrah."

"Brody.."

When she sighed disapprovingly he gave her a knowing look.

"That girl needs a little peace, Carrie. So do you. Just take her up to your cabin for the weekend. Get away from all of this, take some time for the two of you. You've certainly both earned it."

"Well.."

"You can show her that trail to the waterfall. Play Lewis and Clark with her, I don't know."

"She would like the waterfall.", Carrie smiled.

"I think it'll do you both some good. Give you a chance to relax."

"Relax? I don't know the meaning of the word.", she snorted.

"I'd love to help you get familiar with it sometime.", Brody teased, getting her grinning.

"So would I. Whatcha doing this weekend?"

"Hey now, just hold on a second, I'm not-"

"C'mon, how am I supposed to do this relaxing thing alone? Knowing you're here alone."

"Carrie I'm a big boy, remember."

"Yes, I do.", she teased as he backed up.

"Seriously, I can take care of myself!"

"I know. But we can also take care of each other.."

Suggestively Carrie grinned as he shook his head, rolled his eyes.

"You, Miss Mathison do not play fair."

"I never have. Why start now?"

"Look, just take Farrah to the cabin. Have fun. I'll try to do the same."

Catching a flash of disappointment in her eyes, Brody went to say something right as Farrah yelped, waved from where she and Saul were standing.

"Ah. Duty calls.", Carrie shrugged with a sheepish smile.

"Hey listen, I'll be in touch okay?" Squeezing her hand, rather than feeling Carrie squeeze back she released it.

"Yeah, okay.", she nodded quickly. Giving him a quick peck on the lips before backing up, turning to leave.

Feeling that nervous knot in his stomach again, Brody let out a sigh, watched her walk away. Unaware he was being watched as well.

Chapter Text

Wistfully Brody watched Carrie walk off, then turned to see Quinn glaring at him from his wheelchair, but nodding for him to join him in a deserted hallway. Against his better judgement Brody did so.

"Yeah, what?", he grumped, sitting on a bench across from him.

"I just want you to confirm something for me. Did-"

"Farrah draw a dog on your cast? Yes. She did. Looks like a poodle.", he smirked as Quinn scoffed, winced uncomfortably in his wheelchair as he shifted positions.

"Did you tell Carrie that you were fine being a fugitive?"

"No, I didn't say, what did she..? Look, unless you called me over here so you could follow through on your fucking orders-"

"I would, but my knife's in my other hospital gown.", Quinn smirked in return.

"Quinn.."

"You know you're a fool, Brody. You're a goddamn fool for thinking for a second Carrie fucking Mathison would let things go, let anything go, let alone let things go on as is with the two of you."

"I know, I've realized that. Look Quinn I don't have time for this right-"

"No, hang on. My TV's a piece of shit and I'm starved for entertainment.", Quinn laughed darkly.

"Did I also hear you right just now? You expect Carrie to kick back at her cabin with Farrah after you've waltzed back into her life in need of aid?"

"Hey I don't waltz!", Brody scoffed.

"Listen, do you mind telling me why you're doing this, hassling me? Don't you have a fucking operation to recover from? I mean for someone who claims to hate my guts you seem awfully eager to chat me up."

"Hey make no mistake, I do hate your guts. And Carrie knows this. But this isn't about you. This is about her."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's pretty goddamn obvious. Carrie's got Farrah back, now her sights are back on you. Saving you. She can say it's because she needs to get you justice, get the real bad guys, that she has to do her job. But it's not the whole story. The only way it would be was if she stayed the course I did. And if she had she'd have killed you in your sleep by now."

"I'm sorry. The course you-"

"I have a son, Brody. I have a son being raised by the only woman I've ever loved. He has my old name. He doesn't know I exist and he won't know. I've made sure of it."
Unsure of what to say, if he should say anything Brody simply nodded.

"Any chance at having a remotely fulfilling personal life went away when I took my first job. I made my choice, there was no going back. When I read up on Carrie before I got to D.C she seemed just like me. Only taller, blond and not as sexy.", Quinn said, completely deadpan as Brody barely stifled a laugh.

"I was wrong though. She's not like me. At least she wasn't after you came along and blew that life to hell for her."

His amusement fading fast Brody scowled. "Look, if you're gonna blame her for fucking opening her heart up to someone-"

"I'm not. Just stating a fact here. She fell for you, became emotionally involved. Like me, she made a choice and there's no going back from it."

"You're telling me a lot I already know, Quinn. Get around to asking me something here."

"Fine. I'm going to ask a favor of you. One you should probably take me up on since you owe me your goddamn life."

"I'd rather you go ahead and shoot.", he groaned.

"Would but again, my weapon's in my other dress."

"Listen, just save the cute and the charm for Nurse Ratched over there in your room."

Following Brody's eyes Quinn looked back over his shoulder, bit his lip seeing the nurse glaring at him from across the way.

"Yeah. Definitely not as into me as the last one.", he admitted, turning back around in his chair.

"Anyway. Carrie's getting desperate. She was when there was a chance your postcards were coming from beyond the grave. She is now that you're back and have her perpetually freaked."

"Hang on, did I or did I not help her through after the parade? After her episode?"

"You had your moments, but then you go spouting off bullshit about being content with life in hiding. Tell her you need her and then tell her to go away?"

"I was telling her that to try and take some fucking pressure off her!", Brody defended.

"Look, I don't want Carrie skipping her meds and dealing with full blown mania on account of me! She's done that before, and she doesn't have to now that I'm semi-protected at the mosque. Fuck. That's all I was trying to get across. I just want her to take a step back from my case, take some time with her daughter."

"Well as usual you've royally fucked up. So I suggest you do, not surprisingly, what I told Carrie to do for you when you were on the verge of self destructing."

"And what was that?"

"How much power has Carrie had over anything that's happened the past four days?"

"Not a whole fucking lot.", Brody shrugged, knowing the only thing was her skipping her meds and not letting him know it. But even he recognized that as a perverse attempt at her getting some control back.

"So, you need to empower her. Give her some fucking control back."

"What do you suggest I do?"

"What did she do with you that day in the clearing?", Quinn asked, hoping Brody could tell it was a rhetorical question.

"Wait, you told her to-"

"Yes. I told her to go after you. But spare me the details of what happened once she did. I've been treated to enough from the two of you.", he grimaced.
"Whatever she did was to benefit you. Bring you back from the brink. You should return the favor, for once in your miserable life."

"Sounds like a genius plan. Aside from one glaring obstacle. How the fuck do you expect me to get up to a cabin three towns over? I'm pushing my luck being here as long as I have."

"I'll handle it."

"Should I ask how?"

"No."

"Can I ask you something else?"

"Apparently I'm a fucking fountain of knowledge today. What?"

"Why are you going to all this trouble?", Brody frowned curiously. "I know you and Carrie are colleagues, friends even. But you're risking a whole fucking lot."

"Because I can risk it. I've got nothing to lose."

"Nothing?", he questioned.

"All I have to my goddamn name is a sleeping bag, sniper rifle, and a dogeared copy of Great Expectations."

"Dickens fan?"

"Pip's struggle is a timeless one."

Shaking his head Brody suppressed a laugh.

"So basically, you're willing to risk all because you're a minimalist who wants for nothing?"

"I keep shit simple. Always have."

"Sounds like a concept I wished I'd mastered."

"Yeah well, then you wouldn't be you.", Quinn said smugly, flippantly, in a condescending tone that got Brody snickering, and made him want to punch him at the same time.

"Anyway, I have to get back to Big Nurse. ", he grumbled, propelling away from the bench. "But you'll be at the cabin tomorrow night. Assuming you don't ask questions and fucking follow instructions."

"That doesn't sound fishy at all.", Brody muttered to himself. Rolling his eyes, Quinn spun his chair back around.

"Here's the first one. You may want to pay attention to it. Don't waste a goddamn second of this weekend. Make the most of it. If not for yours and more importantly, Carrie's sakes, then for Farrah's. That girl deserves that much."

"With that I agree completely.", Brody said sincerely as Quinn nodded, went to leave again.

"Wait, Quinn."

"Haven't we bonded enough this afternoon?"

"Yes, plenty. I just wanted to.."

"What?"

"Thanks."

Sighing, Quinn shook his head. "Don't thank me. Just take care of them. And remember, I'm just a dress change away from doing serious damage."

"Noted."

After Quinn went back to his room, tried to talk his nurse into getting some dinner, checking his phone Brody noticed a text from the imam. Replying he was on his way he made his way outside to the waiting van.

 

Chapter Text

"Bear, you come inside too?", Farrah chirped up at Saul, holding both his and Carrie's hands as they walked up to the front door.

"So long as I'm invited, sure."

Nodding, Carrie unlocked the front door and Farrah quickly ran past her, through the foyer towards the stairs.

"Where are you going?"

"Show Marvin my room!"

Watching closely as she ran up the steps, Carrie couldn't help but laugh. Eyes misting up she walked over to the living room with Saul, sat on the couch. "I missed that."

"Well, now you have it all back, thank God.", Saul smiled, squeezing her hand.

"And I'll be damned if it, if she's, taken from you again."

Smile fading, Carrie let out a nervous sigh. "Saul what about Khaliq? What if he-"

"Hey, the bastard may have gotten away from us once, but we'll get him. It's only a matter of time. You know it."

"I'm more worried about what will happen once we do."

"What do you mean?", Saul frowned.

"I mean Farrah wants to see him. When she woke up at the hospital she asked me to track him down. I think she's convinced he was as much of a victim in all this as she was. She's scared for him, not of him."

"Well, when we do track him down we'll get answers. See if Farrah's right or if the fucker had her duped all along. Either way though she'll be protected. Now that we know what we're up against."

"Who we're up against though is still Farrah's brother, Saul. She couldn't have been older than five when he left but she remembered him enough to go with him at the parade. She trusted him. She still does. He's her family and she loves him."

"She loves you though too, Carrie. And you didn't see her face in that church basement when her goddamn family, when Samir, was holding her in a vice grip, held a fucking gun to her head."

"Oh my God."

Regretting letting that fact slip, Saul kept holding the hand Carrie hadn't clasped over her mouth.

"I'm sorry. But it's better you know what we're dealing with. Khaliq could be the saint Farrah says he is or he could easily follow in his big brother's footsteps. It's too soon to tell, but my gut's saying we should keep our eyes open."

Nodding, working to get that horrible image of Farrah out of her mind, Carrie lowered her hand, spoke.

"I know though she's going to ask about him. She's not fond of letting things go."

"Seems you've rubbed off on her a bit."

"At least she knows when to listen, follow orders. If she hadn't I don't know how she'd have gotten out of there alive.", she sighed, blinking back tears.

"She did good. She's tough, feisty. She even left us a clue as to where to find her."

"What do you mean?"

"Virgil found a popcorn trail. Right outside the church where she was being held. He remembered her wanting the popcorn at the parade, pieced it together."

"Holy shit!", Carrie exclaimed, a proud gleam in her eyes. "Remind me to buy her a rabbit or a pony. A lifetime supply of popcorn. Whatever she fucking wants.", she laughed.

"I'd go with a rabbit if I were you.", Saul chuckled, reaching into his back pocket for some folded sheets of paper.

"Here, she had these folded up in her pocket. Must've drawn them when she was being held. Thought you'd want to have them."

Taking the drawings, unfolding them Carrie laughed seeing the rabbit, smiled at the stick figures of her, Brody and basically everyone who'd been with them at the hospital, but frowned seeing another stick figure she recognized as the central drawing from her art room pinboard.

"Carrie what is it?"

Handing over the sheet, she sighed as he swore under his breath. "She wouldn't have drawn him if he wasn't significant, Saul. If he wasn't important. Like I said he's her big brother. She loves him."

"He's still a kidnapper, Carrie. That's who he is. That's who he always will be to you."

Even though Saul was right, the way he'd worded his statement set Carrie's teeth on edge. "Fuck, talk about deja'vu.", she snorted, his words to her in the hall that godawful day at Langley ringing again in her ear.

"For Christ's sake, Carrie. What is it?"

"How long are we going to dance around this goddamn elephant in the room, Saul?"

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"You know exactly what I'm talking about."

Rolling his eyes Saul shook his head, clearly agitated this had to be brought up now.

"I held off on doing anything with him or to him, on account of Farrah being gone and you-"

"Not being in my right mind?", Carrie asked bitterly.

"What, you can say it. I wasn't. I flashed back to being in Baghdad, Saul. Before I knew it I was right back there. I was so fucking scared I couldn't even talk!"

Squeezing her hand again reassuringly, Saul looked on sadly, sympathetically as she teared up.

"And then you saw what followed it."

"The PTSD. It what, sent you into a flight?"

"Well my lack of meds played a part."

"Lack of, goddammit! Carrie, did you...?"

Nodding she shrugged, knowing she ought to look and feel more ashamed. But she didn't. She'd accomplished her goal. Farrah was upstairs in her room. That was all that mattered.

"I did what I needed to do, Saul. And it paid off. Farrah's home with me. She's safe."

"You still put yourself through that intentionally.", Saul scolded.

"It worked though didn't it? Jesus, I was desperate. I had to do something besides sit by the fucking phone. Going off the meds was my last resort though, okay? Trust me, it's not going to be a habit."

"Okay, Carrie. Okay."

"And Brody was there for me too, the whole time."

"It's the fucking least he could do after he put you through it himself.", he scowled as Carrie rolled her eyes.

"You know it's strange how somehow I've worked past this but for the life of you you still can't!"

"For you to expect anything less of me, Christ. You still don't know a goddamn thing."

Shaking his head he dropped her hand, stood up.

"Just so I'm clear, is this how it's going to be from now on? I mention Brody's name and immediately I'm shut out?", Carrie asked, trying her best not to get choked up.

"I don't deserve that, Saul. He doesn't deserve that."

"He..? He doesn't deserve...", Trailing off Saul shook his head in disbelief.

"He doesn't deserve one damn thing from you. Not one. Not after he fucking tossed you aside, landed you in that godforsaken hospital bed.", he spat bitterly.

"He's the only thing that kept me out of that bed the past four days! Brody made sure that I ate a decent meal, that I slept. He interpreted my theory, took the time to understand it, made sure I took my meds, compared notes with my sister, held my hand after everyone tried to convince me I was wrong."

Coming to a realization Carrie paused, looked at Saul with a mix of triumph and hurt in her eyes that were glistened over.

"He did everything that you did before. And you can't deal with that. You don't want to deal with that. You want everything to go back to the way it was. Before Brody made his grand appearance and everything went to shit!"

"And you're gonna blame me for it? For feeling that way?", Saul scoffed, looking pained.

"If you are then I don't think we have anything left to say to each other."

"How about you say you actually believe me!", Carrie yelled as she stood, blocked his path.

"How about you trust my judgment the way you've claimed to since you recruited me? Sent me into the field alone for the first time? How about you look at the proof that I risked my life for objectively? That makes it crystal clear Brody's not the monster the whole fucking world sees him as!"

Lowering her voice she shook her head, blinked back tears.

"How about you understand that I wouldn't have a damn thing to do with him anymore if I didn't know, for a fact, that he needs me as much as I need him. It's not one-sided, Saul. It's not me holed up beside myself in my bedroom while he's running for fucking Congress. It's not me barging into his hotel room and arresting him, being his goddamn handler. There's balance now with us. Don't ask me how but there is. He and I, we've finally found some fucking peace!"

"Sure, and how long before it all gets blown to hell? Before you two destroy each other? Forgive me if I can't watch that happen for you again.", Saul said bitterly.

"Saul..."

"No, Carrie. You've made yourself, your choice, pretty damn clear. Allow me to do the same.", he sighed as he walked to the door, turned the handle as she tried one last parting shot. Mostly out of desperation.

"Your choice is going to keep a man in hiding for a crime he didn't commit!", Carrie reminded as he turned around.

"You want to stay in denial about Brody, about me? Fine. Ignore his case, ignore me. Seek out justice when it serves your interests. Stick your head in the sand like fucking Estes now that you're at his desk. But know there's a reason I didn't make him my fucking mentor, my fucking anything for that matter."

Wiping her eyes she shook her head, looking defeated despite winning this round.

"I need to check on Farrah. You can show yourself out.", she sighed, turning on her heel before retreating upstairs.

Chapter Text

Making her way upstairs, Carrie knocked on Farrah's door before walking in her room, seeing her playing with Merriweather and Marvin on her bed. Trying to mimic the squeaky octave Brody had been using for their voices.

"Sorry to interrupt.", Carrie smiled. "Marvin still thinks his name is better?"

"Yes. Merriweather not happy.", Farrah giggled, making room for Carrie on the bed.

"I'm glad you're home, Farrah. I really missed you."

"I missed you too.", Farrah smiled, climbing into her lap and hugging her. Getting hugged back just as tight.

"Bear still here?"

"No honey, he had to go home.", Carrie said as the girl's smile faded.

"I...I hear you...you two..."

"You heard us fighting?", she asked guiltily, getting a nod.

"I'm so sorry about that. Saul and I argue once in awhile. But we always work past it. And you know he cares about you so much."

"He care about you too?"

"Yeah, he does. Sometimes though I feel like he cares a little too much. And I get frustrated. That's what happened downstairs."

"You frust...frustrate...?", Farrah stumbled, frowning in confusion over the word.

"Frustrated. It means bothered, annoyed."

"Ah. You frustrated-"

"Good! Good job.", Carrie praised, but her face went solemn at Farrah's next words.

"You frustrated, with Khaliq because he care about me?"

"Farrah, I'm not frustrated with your brother. And I don't hate him either."

"Are you scared? Nick say you scared."

"Well, I was scared.", she admitted.

"I was scared Khaliq had taken you away from me. I was scared when we were apart. But the truth is I don't really understand your brother that well. I don't know him, or why he felt he had to do what he did. But when we track him down I'm going to ask him a lot of questions, figure it out."

"Why?"

"Because that's another part of my job. If people do bad things I have to learn why they did. I have to get answers from them. Once they say what they did, why they did it, then I can stop them from doing it again."

"You stop Khaliq?", Farrah asked nervously.

"After I find him, yeah. I'm going to figure out why he did what he did. And then afterward I'll decide what's going to happen with him."

"Nick say, he hide because he don't...want me scared."

"Well I'm sure that's a big part of it. Brody, er..Nick, he told you a lot didn't he?"

"He say you two friends! That you meet, in the rain."

"Did he say anything else about how we met?", Carrie asked curiously.

"He say you two become friends fast. That you beat up bad guys."

"Yeah we've done that. Did he tell you that I beat him at pool too?", she smirked as Farrah shook her head.

"He say you are his best friend. You take care of him."

"Well, I try to anyway."

Looking on as Farrah yawned, then tried to hide it, Carrie arched a brow. "You getting tired?"

Answering with a bigger yawn, Farrah cuddled closer. Prompting Carrie to help her into her pajamas and under the covers.

"Yeah. When I eat a big dinner I get tired too."

"I not have big.."

"Yes you did, and Saul agreed with me. You had a double order of chicken fingers, extra fries and a hot fudge sundae for dessert."

"Is that big?", Farrah giggled as Carrie rolled her eyes, mimicking then tickling her.

"N..no, no you stop! Stop!", the girl squeaked. Rolling away before finally settling down under the covers.

"Now you need to get a good night's sleep because tomorrow morning, first thing, we're gonna pack our bags and go for a drive."

"Drive where?"

"It's a secret.", Carrie whispered in her ear as Farrah grinned, intrigued, then nodded for her to move closer.

"You tell me secret?", she whispered back.

"Well then it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it? Now go on, close your eyes.", Carrie encouraged, still knelt beside her bed.

"And listen, if you have any bad dreams or your leg starts hurting you, if you need anything at all come down the hall to my room and wake me up. Okay?"

"Okay.", Farrah nodded, getting a smile, a goodnight and a kiss on the forehead in return.

After Carrie flipped on her night light and turned off the overhead one, then left and shut the door, Farrah bit her lip and clutched Merriweather and Marvin tighter. Her eyes darted around nervously and not long after welled up with tears.

"C..Carrie? Carrie!"

"Farrah? Honey what-"

Cut off when Farrah scrambled out of bed and ran over to her, clung onto her for dear life, Carrie held her just as tight.

"Hey, hey what's wrong? You were fine just a few-"

"I get scared!" 

Whimpering, she hid her face in Carrie's shoulder.

"Shhh, it's okay. I'm here now, everything's alright. Everything's fine."

Repeating herself, rubbing Farrah's back, Carrie held her until she was ready to be released.

"Okay look. Since we both need to get some rest, you grab Marvin and Merriweather, I'll grab this.."

Reaching for the throw blanket she folded it under her arm, then took Farrah's hand in her free one. "You can sleep in my room tonight, okay?"

"Like sleepover?", Farrah asked eagerly as they walked down the hall.

"Except no movies, manicures, popcorn or pillow fights like the night you spent at Ruby and Josie's."

"No?", she pouted.

"Some other night when we aren't so tired. We need to sleep or we'll be too worn out for the surprise tomorrow, right?"

Nodding, yawning, in agreement Farrah curled up under the covers with her animals before Carrie draped the throw over her.

"I just have to brush my teeth and get changed. You try and close your eyes though, okay. I'll be right back."

"Okay."

After she was fully ready for bed, leaving the bathroom, switching off the light, she saw Farrah curled up on her side with her back towards her. She was snoring, loudly, almost obnoxiously so. Odd since she never snored. It didn't take Carrie being a trained spy to know when she was being faked out.

"Wow, looks like someone was awfully tired. I guess she won't notice if I do this.."

Slyly grinning, she started tickling Farrah's foot poking out from underneath the blanket. Giving her props for keeping up the charade, feigning snoring and sleep for awhile before finally breaking, starting to squirm and laugh uncontrollably.

"Okay, okay! St..stop, you stop!", the girl choked out between giggles.

Rolling her eyes Carrie sighed, plopped down beside on the bed. 

"What will I have to do to get you to go to sleep, huh?"

"You sing?", Farrah asked shyly, getting a surprised frown.

"Sing? Farrah I haven't sang to you in a really long time."

"Please?"

It took Carrie a minute or two to remember the words, her Arabic was far rustier than it ought to be, but after humming the tune to get it back in her head she started the lullaby one of Hadad's maids had graciously taught her when she'd started tutoring. The song was about all that could settle Farrah then, and luckily it had the same effect now. Within a few minutes the girl looked to be out like a light.

"Tisbah ala khair, Farrah.", Carrie whispered, pulling the covers over them both as she lay curled up on her side. Eyes half shut she smiled as the girl echoed her Arabic in reply, but then followed it with something else.

"M..Mama."

Holy shit.

Eyes snapping open, jerking back and up til she was slightly sitting up, Carrie ran a hand through her hair nervously, took a few shaky breaths. Still in disbelief over what she'd just heard, but knowing from the way the word kept ringing in her ear she had heard it. In all it's surreal, strange, too fucking official sounding glory. 

After a minute or two she forced herself to lie back down, right as Farrah curled up closer to her, still sleeping soundly in spite of everything. 

Staring up at her ceiling wide eyed, biting her lip she reached over to her nightstand, fumbled around for her phone before grabbing hold of it. Struggling to unknot the earbuds, once doing so she slipped them in her ears, then thumbed to one of her playlists. Taking slow breaths she shut her eyes and started the music. Now she was the one in need of settling down.

 

Chapter Text

"Are we here yet? Are we here?", Farrah repeated in the backseat. When she'd woken up this morning Carrie was already out of bed, and had eaten, dressed, and packed up their bags. She hadn't said much, but Farrah figured she was just being quiet so as not to give away any hints about the surprise.

"Are we there yet, Farrah. And no, not yet. Just be patient.", Carrie sighed as she continued to drive. She'd been up early, feeling wired after sleeping horribly. Even her music hadn't been enough to get her mind off what she'd heard last night (and luckily hadn't heard since). Unlike her though, Farrah had slept soundly and it was clear who was the more lively of the two of them.

"Carrie?"

"Yes Farrah?"

"Is surprise, cabin?"

"How did you figure that out?"

"Lots of trees! Like you said."

"Okay, you got me. Yes, that's where we're going."

Relieved to look over her shoulder and see Farrah smiling, looking excited, Carrie turned onto the thruway exit for the cabin. Already starting to feel better about taking Brody's advice.

"Carrie?"

"Yes?"

"What do we do at cabin?", Farrah asked eagerly.

"Well, you remember how I told you about the waterfall?"

"Yes!"

"I thought we'd hike there if it's nice out, and over to this clearing Maggie and I used to go to with all these wildflowers. I can show you the lake too."

"Can I swim?"

"You don't know how to swim, Farrah."

"You teach?"

"Well, I'll think about it.", Carrie sighed as she bit her lip. Just thinking how perfect Brody would be for that job.

"Carrie?"

"Yeah?"

"Is this it?", Farrah asked curiously, though she was pretty sure she was correct after the car stopped. The second it was parked she unlocked her door, jumped out before Carrie could stop her. Before Carrie noticed another, unfamiliar, car parked not far away.

"What the...Farrah! Farrah stay on the porch, okay! Stay there!", she ordered.

Getting out of the car, leaving it unlocked in case they needed to get away quickly, she made sure her canister of pepper spray was in her purse. She didn't think packing her gun was necessary with one readily accessible at the cabin, but was starting to regret that decision. Not recognizing that car had her on edge.

"Carrie?", Farrah whispered, hiding behind her after she joined her on the porch. Watching as she reached in her bag for her spray, slowly pushed open the screen door.

Adrenaline kicked in as she noticed the dim lights, heard muffled sounds and a distinct "what the.." coming from the direction of the couch. Her finger was on the spray trigger right as two shadowy figures poked their heads out from under the sofabed sheets. One of them letting out a shrill scream.

"Carrie!"

"God what the...damn it, does she have pepper spray! Get that shit away from me!"

"Maggie?! DANNY?! What the...Jesus Christ!"

Pulling Farrah towards her so the girl's face was pressed into her hip, Carrie's free hand flew to her eyes.

"You've got to be kidding. Are you two decent?!"

"Almost!", Maggie squeaked, mortified as she hurriedly buttoned her top.

"Carrie? I look yet?", Farrah asked, her voice muffled against the denim.

"Damn it. Hold on Farrah!", Danny groaned as he jumped out of bed, frantically searching for his boxers.

"Fu...fudge, you two!", Carrie groaned, shaking her head as she uncovered, rolled her eyes.

"Just get it together here okay, I just can't believe that you...whoa! Oh, shit!"

Quickly turning away after seeing Danny's not entirely covered ass, she stifled a laugh at the Snoopy print boxers he'd apparently located.

"They were a gift, Carrie."

"From someone who hates you?", she snickered as he shot her a glare. Meanwhile Maggie plopped her head in her hands, not sure if she should laugh or cry.

"Anyone de...decent?", Farrah asked, still trapped against Carrie's right thigh. Realizing that, she released her, getting a puzzled frown in return.

"What you not let me see?"

"Something you're not going to see until you're twenty five.", Carrie snorted.

"So uh, Farrah, want to go for a walk?", Danny offered as he finished buttoning his shirt. Nodding, Farrah looked pleadingly up at Carrie.

"Please?"

"Fine, go ahead. Just stick close to Danny, okay?"

"Yes, yes.", she grinned, hugging her before walking up, taking Danny by the hand.

Once alone, Carrie turned to Maggie with a smug, knowing, approving smile.

"Alright, go ahead. Just say it!"

"I don't even know where to begin!", she laughed, sitting in the recliner across the way.

"How long has this been going on? I mean the two of you were hanging out at the hospital, wait..wasn't he just discharged? How did you two...with his shoulder?"

"He made it work."

"I bet he did.", Carrie smirked, while Maggie blushed eight shades of red.

"Seriously though, when did the two of you start-"

"This was the first time. I swear. We've just been spending a lot of time together since..."

"Since what?"

"Since I pepper sprayed him at your house.", she said sheepishly.

"What?!", Carrie laughed.

"He pulled his gun on me! I just reacted accordingly."

"How the fuck did you go from pepper spraying him to...this? And you two being so close at the hospital?"

"Well, we kind of bonded. During the whole thing with Farrah and you, he was really sweet."

"And sexy, smart, strong. Licensed to carry a gun..."

"Hey, don't get any ideas.", Maggie cautioned, a jealous flicker in her eyes, getting Carrie laughing.

"Don't worry. A certain former congressman has me occupied for the moment. Besides, you're the better sister, remember? You're better for Danny than I could've ever been. He's realized this. You should be happy. At least as happy as you were before I barged in on your romantic weekend in front of the fireplace."

"You mean the freezer at this point. It's only ninety degrees out." she groaned, fanning herself.

"Well a little sweat never hurt anyone. Clearly.", Carrie smirked getting a look, and a suppressed smile.

"I'm sorry though, this is just too-"

"I know, it's crazy. I'm crazy."

"No, I'm crazy. You're just in love.", Carrie teased, but her smile was sincere.

"Carrie, I'm not...we're, not..."

"C'mon Maggie. You forget I know you. This whole thing, this is something I would do."

"Something you've done.", Maggie corrected, getting a look.

"It's not something you do. You're not spontaneous. You don't just run off for a weekend and hook up with someone! Not unless you're so head over heels you can't even think straight."

"You've got a point, I'm certainly not thinking straight. And if you think I expected this, anything like this to happen you're wrong."

Mystified, Carrie shook her head.
"You bring a guy up to a secluded cabin in the woods and don't expect sex? And I'm the crazy one?"

"Hey, maybe I am just as much. I don't even know what I'm doing! What I've turned into since..."

"What you've turned into?"

"Yes! Carrie, I'm not some teenager who can get away with this sort of thing! I work at a hospital! I have two girls to raise."

"They're with Dad I take it?"

"I didn't even give him any notice.", Maggie sighed guiltily as she stood up, stripped the sheets off the bed then put the quilt down over the mattress. Needing to do something to distract herself.

"I just came back to the house, packed a bag, told the girls I had to work the night shift and left! After Danny was discharged I just, drove him here."

"Well I don't think you dragged him here by force.", Carrie chuckled, but barely got a smile as Maggie continued remaking the bed.

"What the hell is wrong with me!"

"Maggie...", Shaking her head she got up from the recliner, walked Maggie back to the bed and nodded for her to sit down before joining her.

"Nothing is wrong with you. You're a grown woman, he's a consenting adult. You're allowed to do this sort of thing."

"But you just said, I don't do this sort of thing. I don't, Carrie! I didn't even do this with Patrick!"

"Maybe because Patrick was a prick?"

"He's the father of your nieces.", Maggie reminded.

"He's still a prick. Reproducing doesn't change that. He has two terrific girls and walked out on them before Ruby was four. If that's not proof he's a good for nothing asshole then-"

"Okay, okay. I've heard all of this from you before, remember?", she sighed.

"I remember Dad and I telling you and you refusing to listen. That first Thanksgiving you brought him home for? I told you the fucker hit on me in the kitchen and you screamed at me, stormed out with him before dessert."

"Alright, I know. I was a idiot."

"Note the past tense. Trust me, Danny's one of the good ones. He'd have to be to get this far with you so fast."

"We did have dinner after he was discharged."

"Yeah? Where'd you take him?"

"He took me to that new French restaurant. I drove but he paid. And got us two bottles of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries."

"Your favorite! Fuck, Maggie that is obnoxiously sweet.", Carrie smiled.

"So when are you going to tell the girls?"

"Yeah. I've been avoiding that. Everything's happening so quickly with us. But I feel like I have to be ready to walk down the aisle with him before I clue the girls in. I don't want them getting attached and then have everything fall apart."

"What makes you say things are going to fall apart? Trust me, you introduce Danny to those girls, he'll be damned if he loses any of you. Look at him and I with Farrah. I think he really wants to be that superhero dad. Ruby and Josie may want it too."

"Okay, you're thinking so far ahead here it's starting to scare me.", Maggie snorted.

"I know, talk about role reversal."

Shaking her head Carrie leaned back against the pillows, stretched out her legs.

"Okay, changing the subject. You brought Farrah up just to get away from things?"

"Brody suggested it. Said her and I needed some time to ourselves."

"Well look Danny and I will get out of your hair. I need to get back to the girls anyway and, Brody's right. The two of you earned a little R&R. You especially.", Maggie frowned seeing the bags under her sister's eyes.

"What's that look?"

"What are those bags? Carrie! How much sleep have you gott-"

"Not enough. I know.", Carrie snapped, getting a look.

"Last night, Farrah was scared so I let her spend the night in my room. I sang to her."

"Aw, Carrie..", Maggie smiled.

"Don't 'aw Carrie' me. This was not an 'aw' moment. It was followed by a fucking freak-out moment."

"What do you mean?"

"I told her goodnight in Arabic. She told me goodnight back, and then she called me Mom!", Carrie hissed, getting a broad smile in return.

"Oh! Really?"

"Yes, why are you smiling? This isn't something to smile over. This is something that had me so freaked I couldn't shut my eyes.", she sighed, folding her arms over her chest.

"Carrie c'mon, you had to expect this sooner rather than later. Look how close the two of you are! And after everything that's happened the past few days?"

"It was just her saying it. It made it real."

"Are you saying what you two have together isn't real?"

"No! No I'm not, I love Farrah, you know I love Farrah! I just..."

"You're just scared. She threw a name at you, a label, something else for you to be."

"Something by all rights I shouldn't be."

"Hey, that's not true. That is not true." Maggie said firmly, taking Carrie by surprise before they heard the screen door and Farrah rushed over to them.

"Carrie I see the lake! I want to swim! Please, please, please!", she begged, climbing up onto the bed.

"Okay, okay. Later, I promise.", Carrie laughed as Maggie smiled, got to her feet and walked over to Danny.

"You and I should probably head back. It's getting late and I promised the girls I'd be home to tuck them in.", she said as he nodded, squeezed her hands.

"Fine, but Carrie? We call dibs here next weekend."

"Well we'll just have to see about that.", Carrie teased as she and Farrah got up, said their goodbyes.

"You sure you're alright though, you have your meds, everything you need?"

"Positive. Now, go. Be sickeningly adorable.", she grimaced as Danny rolled his eyes, slipped an arm around her sister before they walked out.

Afterward she turned to Farrah, took her hand. "C'mon, it's time for your official tour."

...

Alternating between sitting on the couch and pacing, Brody checked his watch for the eighteenth time. He'd made sure he finished his work and triple checked with the imam that it was alright for him to leave for the weekend, then packed himself a bag. Now he just was left to wait, impatiently, for Quinn to come through and get him to the cabin. He hadn't gotten a hold of Carrie to let her know, but hoped she'd be good with the surprise.

Deciding pacing wouldn't do much good, since he'd already eaten dinner he got himself a drink, went into his room and flipped on the TV. Hoping something would distract him from the loneliness of being back in this apartment by himself, for the first time since the parade. 

As chaotic and dramatic and angst filled as her short stay had been, it had been worth it just to spend time with her again. To hold her, make her dinner, make her laugh. He was counting the hours til he was back with her and Farrah at the cabin, and just wanted to know why it was taking hours. Why Peter Quinn got off on being so damn cryptic.

Between the booze, his boredom, and the scant amount of sleep he'd had the past four days, it didn't take long for Brody to drift off until he heard a clicking sound, muttering, footsteps. Cautiously he stood, made his way to the front as he fumbled around for the light switch on the wall. Not finding it he kept walking, trying to see through the darkness before he felt it. A sharp punch to his gut that brought him to his knees.

"AGH! What the fuck!"

"Hey, first instruction. Don't ask questions."

The threat followed by a punch to his nose, next thing he knew Brody was in even more blackness, He felt suffocated and wished to God he didn't know why. With the bag over his head and his hands tied back (his left more severely, as if he needed more of a hint who was behind this) he was strongarmed out the door, and what he assumed was down the hall and into the elevator.

He could hear the distinctive "ding" when the car stopped at the right floor, then heard the doors open and shut before he felt a humid breeze. He was outside, in what he could only guess was the back parking lot. Then he heard the sound of a car door and unfamiliar voices.

"Did you grab his stuff?"

"Who needs stuff for a fucking cabin in the woods? Let him rough it."

"Fine, help me get him in the back."

Realizing quickly the back meant the trunk, Brody rolled his eyes behind the bag as the car sped off. In what he could only hope was the direction of Carrie's cabin and not some abandoned hunting lodge. Knowing the man responsible for his capture that could very well be his destination.

Cursing out Quinn, at himself for not asking fucking questions, taking fucking instructions, his scarred hand throbbed in angry agreement.

 

Chapter Text

"Alright, are you full or am I gonna have to get you a third helping?", Carrie asked, arching a brow at Farrah across the table. They'd made spaghetti and salad after Maggie and Danny left, and she was stuffed, but the girl across the way from her looked ready for more.

"Are you kidding?"

"I walk..I hike, a lot! Makes me hungry!"

"Well, that's true. But, if you eat more spaghetti are you going to have room for cupcakes?"

"Cupcake! I forget about cupcake."

"How could you forget about cupcake?", she scoffed.

"Look, help me with the dishes and then we'll have dessert."

"I wash?"

"No. I wash, you dry."
Handing the towel to her Carrie started scrubbing their plates.

"So tonight, swim?", Farrah asked.

"Tomorrow. It's supposed to rain tonight. Besides, I have to make sure I have a bathing suit here."

"I have one?"

"I'm pretty sure I packed it."

"Ah, okay." 
Taking the dish from her, Farrah struggled to get a good grip on it before drying it. Once done she frowned at the cookie sheet resting on the counter top, holding slices of charred garlic bread.

"What we do with this?"

"Oooh, forgot about that. Now and earlier. I'm sorry, you did such a good job making it and I let it sit in the oven too long.", Carrie said apologetically as she dumped the bread in the trash.

"It okay.", the girl shrugged.

"Where did you learn to make garlic bread anyway?"

"Nick brought us to cafeteria. Teach us in kitchen!"

"Wow. Well, you learned quicker than I did."

"He teach you to cook too?"

"He tried.", Carrie smirked, reflecting on the tomato incident. But when she looked down to hand Farrah another dish, she noticed the glum look on her face.

"Farrah? You okay?"

"Yes."

"Oh c'mon. I know that look does not mean okay."

Leaving the remaining dishes to soak, Carrie took Farrah by the hand. Walked her to the living room where they sat on the sofa. "You didn't get that look til I mentioned Brody."

"Brody?"

"Damn!", she scolded herself.

"Nick! I meant Nick."

"Why is Nick...Brody?"

"Well, that's his last name. And that's what I call him."

"I call him that too?"

"That depends. What do you like calling him?"

"Nick. But, Brody good too?"

Frowning Farrah bit her lip. "I think about it."

"Okay, take all the time you need. I'm just glad you two get along."

"Yes.", she grinned.

"You know he's got a daughter too. She's older than you, but he can't really spend lots of time with her right now."

"Oh. He spend time with me then!"

"You'd like that, huh."

"Yes."

"Yeah, I would too." Leaning back into the cushions Carrie slipped an arm around her. Farrah took the hint and snuggled closer.

"It's just tough because he works at the community center and he's needed there right now. But you'll see him there soon and in the meantime, you're stuck with me. Is that okay?"

"I guess."

"You guess? What do you mean you guess?"

Laughing, Carrie started tickling her but this time Farrah didn't stick around to take it. Sliding off the sofa she took off outside, then ran around the cabin leaving Carrie to chase her. Once losing her, Farrah ran back inside and hid in the kitchen. Hearing Carrie come back inside, she realized she hadn't found her yet and giggling, stayed ducked down in her hiding spot. Then noticed the cupcakes on a plate on the counter top, importantly the one with lots of sprinkles. Grinning, she stood just enough to reach the dish, and grabbed the cupcake before she felt a grip on her wrist.

"Gotcha!"

"No..no fair. My cupcake!", Farrah protested as Carrie dropped her wrist. Then grabbed her own cupcake and ran into the kitchen to sit next to the girl on the floor.

"Yours that has more sprinkles. How is that fair?"

Using her finger to swipe some icing off Farrah's cupcake, Carrie got a look. "Hey!"

Retaliating, Farrah copied her gesture, leading Carrie to swipe frosting onto the girl's nose. Soon enough more was on their hair and faces than the cakes themselves, and between the sugar and their actions they were laughing so much it hurt.

"Okay...okay...truce! Truce.", Carrie begged between giggles as she lay sprawled out on her back, struggling to sit back up.

"What...what is truce?", Farrah asked her once she had.

"A break, a rest, a reprieve. Call for peace."

"Okay. Peace truce."

"Yes. Peace truce." 

Shaking on it, Carrie nodded for the girl to help her up off the floor. Once standing, she led her over to the bathroom and they brushed their teeth, then took turns getting changed.

After Carrie got dressed, went out to the living room and got a fire going, she turned down the bed. Then heard a crack of thunder outside that sent Farrah running to her, near tears.

"Hey...hey it's okay. It's just a thunderstorm that's all."

"It loud! Scary."

"Yeah, it can be sometimes. But it's pretty far away from us."

"Yes?"

"Yeah, my dad taught me how to figure it out. See, look. The lightning just flashed so start counting until you hear the thunder. One..two..three..four.."

Counting to twenty before Farrah jumped, clung onto her, Carrie lightly laughed.
"That storm is still a ways off. Four miles between you and it."

"Four?"

"Yeah. I promise it won't get to you. I won't let it."

Squeezing her tight she lifted her, brought her over to bed before tucking them both in. "Okay, you have Merriweather?"

"Yes."

"You warm enough, comfy?"

"I good."

"Okay, good."

Kissing her on the cheek, Carrie flipped off the nearby lamp, shut her eyes only to realize it wasn't even ten o'clock yet. Rolling her eyes, she made sure Farrah was asleep before slipping out from under the covers. Then snuck onto the front porch with her phone. It was windy and the rain was coming down in sheets. Sitting in one of the chairs she was content to listen to her music, watch it fall steadily. Maybe if she got lucky it would relax her.

...

Waking up when the van lurched to a stop, Brody's eyes opened and he almost panicked until remembering where he was, who'd landed him here. Pushing past the anger and claustrophobia he forced himself to breathe, remembered the reason he'd listened to Peter Quinn in the first place. Hearing the trunk open he was helped out by one of the two goons, until he was shakily standing outside the van.

"Okay, get this fucking thing off of me or I swear-"

Before he could finish the threat the bag was yanked off his head. In just enough time for the rain to start up again, soak his hair.

"Great. Just great. Quinn must be laughing up a storm right now.", he spat. Turning around he realized he was talking to himself, as the van door slammed shut and the driver sped off. Realizing he was Carrie's cabin, but also drenched and without the bag he'd packed, Brody groaned, shivering as he made his way towards the porch. As his phone that he'd happened to leave in his pocket suddenly went off.

"Hello?"

"Brody. You arrived safe I take it?"

"Jesus, fuck. Quinn where do you get off? Beating me up, bagging my head, throwing me in the trunk of a fucking van?!"

"I had to make sure you wouldn't try anything stupid, like dodge us."

"Try and dodge...why would I do that?!"

"Why have you done half of the things you've done? Let's not forget you're still a fugitive."

"A fugitive who you sent after Carrie to...ugh, forget it! I'm not going to waste time arguing. But for the record you've got a twisted way of getting even."

"Even?", Quinn scoffed.

"You call this getting even. I call this a goddamn gift. You're at the cabin aren't you?"

"Well, yes, but-"

"Yeah, exactly. You're there. But consider your trip a taste of what's to come if you fuck up, with Carrie and by extension with Farrah. They're the only reason you're not in a packing crate bound for Siberia instead."

"Siberia?"

"Cold. Homeland for tigers, husky dogs. You'd learn to like it I'm sure."

In spite of everything Brody couldn't help laughing in disbelief.

"Okay Mr. Answer For Everything! What am I supposed to tell Carrie when she sees your goon's handiwork? Haven't seen the damage myself yet but I'm sure I'll have some bumps and bruises to explain."

"Fine. You fell down, walked into a goddamn wall."

"Damn it, Quinn!"

"I don't know. You're creative. Come up with something for yourself."

"How about I just tell her the truth.", Brody smirked.

"And how about I tell my friends to go back? Let them start the work I'll get there to finish."

"You're not going to kill me. Who else would banter with you in the middle of a fucking thunderstorm when there's a warm cabin not ten feet away?"

"Try a complete moron. The one who didn't think to pack a bag for said cabin."

"I did pack one! That your goons decided wasn't worth bringing!"

"Well, enjoy roughing it then."

"I'm sure since your little plan worked out you're enjoying yourself right about now."

"Well, guess he's not a complete moron after all.", Quinn snickered before hanging up as Brody rolled his eyes. Did the same before jogging towards the porch.

Chapter Text

Once reaching the porch, Brody noticed Carrie curled up in one of the outdoor chairs asleep. It had probably been more comfortable outside then inside the cabin, but now the rain was cooling everything off. While he saw a fire still going inside keeping Farrah warm, he could see her foster mother shivering in her sleep. 

Walking up Brody scooped her up, and she didn't even stir as he carried her inside, set her on the bed. Draping the blanket over them both, he lightly laughed as Farrah cuddled closer to Carrie, and vice versa. If he had it his way he'd sleep at the foot of the sofabed, but wasn't about to wake either of them when they looked so peaceful.

He also knew he had to change into some dry clothes or risk catching a cold. Walking to the back of the cabin he found a spare bedroom complete with a closet and dresser. Trying his luck with the closet first he opened it to find various old shirts, pants, boots, a jacket or two. Assuming Carrie's dad had left them there once upon a time, assuming Carrie would be alright with him borrowing an outfit just this one time, he found a pair of sweatpants. After removing and draping his wet clothes over the dresser, he changed then climbed into the old looking bed.

Quickly he realized why Carrie opted for them to use the pull out couch. The too soft mattress sagged in all the wrong places and a giant crater formed when he lay down. It was the equivalent of sleeping in a fabric canoe. Still though, he'd certainly slept on worse. Brody didn't wake until late the next morning, thanks to the sun poking in through the blinds he'd stupidly forgotten to shut. Groggily making his way to the front, he saw Carrie and Farrah still curled up on the pull-out, still sound asleep.
Before going outside to pray, he bent down to brush his lips on Carrie's forehead, then smoothed some hair away from Farrah's face. Even walking out he kept his eyes on them as long as he could.

...

Carrie's eyes opened about an hour later, before they started darting around, disoriented along with her. She had no recollection of coming back inside the cabin to sleep next to Farrah. The last thing she remembered was the sheets of rain outside, watching them gush over the roof to splash on the porch while her eyes got heavy and heavier still.
She didn't feel hung over, even the sugar buzz from the cupcakes had worn off, and she was sure Farrah or the old woman at the bakery hadn't roofied her. But she was feeling very confused.

Sitting up, carefully so as not to wake Farrah, she frowned and then sniffed. Coffee? French toast? Shaking her head she blinked a few times, rubbed her eyes. She had to be still asleep or dreaming or hallucinating this. But she could still smell food and now was hearing suspicious noises.
Shifting out of bed she unlocked the side table drawer, then retrieved the Altoids tin and gun. Turning away from Farrah when she loaded it with the bullets.

Making her way to the kitchen quietly, she could've sworn she heard someone singing. Sounding like a horrible Elvis impersonator.

"I'm proud to say she's my buttercup. I'm in love. I'm all shook up!", Brody sang, lip curled, iPod and apron on, doing a little shimmy as he turned from the counter top back to the stove. Adding a cinnamon and egg dipped slice of bread to the pan so it sizzled. Still holding the gun on him, watching with her jaw dropped, Carrie was stunned almost speechless.

"Holy fucking shit."

As he turned to chop up some fruit, seeing the gun out of the corner of his eye he let out a yell, jumped backward. "What the...Jesus! Will you put that away!", he ordered, yanking out his earbuds, trying to get his breathing back in check.

"Okay Carrie, just put the gun down and I'll explain. Seriously, just put it down."

Nodding, shakily but starting to come to grips Carrie set down the gun, shaking her head. Then started to laugh as he looked on bewildered. "Yeah, your brandishing a weapon. Funny!", he scoffed.

Walking up, managing to get her laughter under control she stood on her tiptoes, pulled him into a kiss. Smiling under it, but eager to talk to her again, when he went to pull back she deepened it instead.

"Carrie, mmm..wait..", he murmured as she nipped at his lips, combed her hand through his hair. Now he just wanted to lift her onto the counter top, take her right there in the kitchen. But catching a whiff of burnt toast, remembered why he was in there in the first place.

"Oh, shit!"

Pulling back he cut over to the stove to turn the heat down.

"Good, not as burnt as I thought."

"Well, good. Now that that's under control, what the fuck are you doing here?!"

"Making breakfast."

"Obviously."

"Did I wake you up?"

"Yeah. And Elvis is officially rolling over in his grave."

Smiling bashfully he flicked off the iPod. "Sorry, used to cooking in an empty house."

"Brody, seriously how did you-"

"I used a bag of mixed berries I found in the freezer."

"Uh.."

"'Put some in the fruit salad."

"Brody..."

"And with the rest I made some syrup for the French toast. Figured it's better than maple."

"Brody!"

"But you can have maple if you want! It's okay by me."

"Brody, put down the spatula.", Carrie demanded.

"But, I-"

"Spatula down, marine!"

Quickly Brody did as asked, trying not to look intimidated.

"How did you even get here? Is it okay? Why are you even-"

"I missed you. I missed Farrah.", he admitted, giving her that sheepish, boyish look that ticked her off but also made her melt.

"Well I missed you too, but...shit! What the-" Moving closer she gasped.

"What happened to your face?!"

Reaching up, her fingers ghosted over the cut under his eye, his bruised, still swollen looking nose.

"Carrie, it's not-"

"Tell me, Brody."

"Nothing! I got out of bed to use the bathroom and walked into the door."

"Ouch..", she sighed, cradling his face and looking up sympathetically at him. He could feel his stomach knot over the lie.

"You okay?"

Nodding, he rested his hand on the back of her's. "Yeah I'm good. Better actually."

Smiling she drew him into another kiss, not so frantic this time. Eventually he forced himself to pull back, held her face as she slipped her arms around him. Her embrace was tight though and he tried to hide his wincing at it. Unsuccessfully.

"Brody what..." 
Gingerly lifting his shirt she noticed bruising on his abs. It wasn't nearly as severe as his other marks and scars, but he flinched at her touch, getting her frowning.

"Jesus, how hard did that door fight back?!"

"Carrie..."

"Brody, who did this to you? Were you mugged?!"

"No, I wasn't! It's just like I said, the door..."

"Bullshit!", she scoffed, and he knew she wasn't having any of this.

"Fine. If I tell you though so fucking help me, you're not going to do a thing about it.", Brody insisted.

As much as he wanted to blow Quinn in, let Carrie let him have it (like he knew she would), the SOB had done him a favor. And made it abundantly clear at the hospital and over the phone he had Carrie's and Farrah's best interests at heart.

"I'm sorry, did you just tell me to sit back and not do anything?", Carrie laughed without humor.

"You are aware you're talking to me, right? What, did you get amnesia or something thanks to this mystery injury? Is your brain finally as fucked as mine?"

"Enough of that." Brody growled, not offended at what she was saying about him, but at what she was saying about herself.

"Enough lying to me then!", she bit back.

"Alright, I'll tell you! I'll tell you. I'm serious though about you not pursuing this. These guys that did this aren't ones to forget faces. Believe me if they remembered mine, they'll certainly remember yours.", he lied. Again. At least he hoped he was.

"Forget faces, what are you talking about? Shit, is this...Brody does this have anything to do with Nazir or.."

"No, no. I swear to you. No.", he assured. Relieved he wasn't lying about that.

"Well who then? What enemy have we got in common that'd try and...oh fuck... you don't mean, from the bar?!"

"Bill gave me a ride up here and his tire went flat. We pulled over, got out to change it and we weren't that far from our favorite Neo-Nazi pool hall."

"Holy shit."

'The fucker must've been short on cash. Him and two of his buddies came after Bill, tried to mug him. I jumped in when he looked outmatched. The guy's a friend of mine. He's not in the greatest shape."

Getting a look, borderline ice glare from her, Brody sighed.

"Carrie what would you have done in my place?", he asked knowingly, getting a shrug.

"Point taken."

"I made sure we got out of there as quickly as we could. I hoped the one guy wouldn't place me but..."

"You're sure it was the same.."

"88 tattooed on his upper arm, right?"

"Yeah. His 'jersey number'. Jesus Christ. Of all the people to crawl out of their fucking hole."

Seeing his mostly involuntary shudder at the word Carrie sighed, mentally kicked herself. "Damn it. I didn't-"

"Hey. It's okay."

Softly he smiled, nodded for her to come closer. She did so but cautiously, afraid if she held him she'd wind up hurting him. "C'mon, it's fine."

Taking him at his word she slipped her arms around him again, gently, while he brushed his lips on the top of her head.

"So you can stay the rest of the weekend? It's okay with the imam, Zahira?"

"I cleared it with them both. It's all good."

"It's all good?", Carrie mimicked, mocked in a lower voice as she backed up, looked up at him.

"Who are you? Some idiot frat boy?"

"Yes. Actually yes. I am. It's about time you figured it out.", Brody teased as she snorted, rolled her eyes.

"Well if you're allowed here all weekend whatever will I do with you?", Carrie smirked.

"Don't worry. Even an idiot like me has a few ideas."

Chapter Text

Grinning, thrilled that he was here, that he could stick around this time, Carrie pulled Brody into another kiss before he pulled back, hearing a high pitched squeal.

"NICK!"

Stepping aside as Farrah hurtled at him, Carrie smiled, watched them hug.

"Hey brat! Good seeing you."

"You visit? You stay?!"

"Well if you insist."

"Eeeee!"
Clapping her hands quickly she jumped up and down then hugged him again. Meanwhile Carrie frowned, sniffed as she looked to the stove.

"Um, Brody your pan here is..."

"Oh, damn it!"

Removing the charred beyond edibility slices from the pan, Brody dipped two more slices of bread in the batter than gave it another go.
"If you guys want to get started, the coffee's done and the fruit salad's in the fridge."

Nodding appreciatively, while Farrah ran to set the table Carrie opened the fridge. Grabbing the covered bowl before noticing a pitcher on the top shelf.

"You're kidding me.", she laughed in amazement.

"What?"

"You actually used that frozen OJ? That was in the back of the freezer the first time I brought you here! And probably ten years before that!"

"Are you kidding me? I chucked that thing first chance I got. If I had opened it we'd have seen white or green as opposed to orange.", Brody shrugged.

"Ugh! Okay stop."

"Just enjoy the fresh squeezed over there."

"I plan to. Farrah? You need any more plates or napkins for out there?"

"Fork!", Farrah yelled back, her pronunciation not very clear.

"Jesus! Did she just say what I thought she...?"

"I'm sorry honey, what?"

"We need fork! And spoon."

"Fork. She said fork, you jerk! Get your head out of the forking gutter already.", Carrie smirked, getting some coffee for herself.

"No forking way.". Brody laughed, following her out of the kitchen with the French toast. Once everyone was served, seated picnic style on the floor with their plates, Carrie cut up Farrah's french toast then cut into her's. Taking a bite she nodded in approval.

"Really good, Brody. It beats oatmeal at least.", she teased.

"It better. Been slaving over that old stove all morning."

"You get here this morning?" Farrah asked between bites.

"Last night, actually. I had to bring her in out of the rain.", Brody smiled, nodding to Carrie who looked relieved to hear it.

"That explains it. Jesus, I didn't even hear you!"

"You didn't open your eyes either. Guess you needed your rest.", he said, trying to hide his concern at the still visible bags under her eyes. Reaching over he rubbed her shoulder, getting a look indicating thanks but that he should stop fucking worrying about her. As if he could.

"Anyway. Who wants to go to the waterfall with me after breakfast."

"Yes! Then I swim!", Farrah cheered, getting a sigh.

"Please?"

"Okay before I answer that. Let me just make sure I packed..."

Getting up she unzipped Farrah's backpack, looked through it and then swore under her breath.

"Carrie, what-"

"Farrah, honey I'm sorry. I think I forgot to pack your bathing suit."

"Oh.." Sadly the girl crossed her arms, bowed her head.

"Well hey, there's lots of other stuff we can do around here.", Brody reassured. "The weekend's not totally lost."

"And we'll come back soon so you can swim, Farrah. You have my word, okay?"

Nodding, Farrah finished her French toast then poked around at her fruit before getting up. "I go get changed. Brush teeth."

"Okay, honey.", Carrie sighed, sadly watching her walk off before standing. Running a hand through her hair angrily.

"How could I forget her fucking suit? All she's talked about is swimming since she found out we were coming here."

"Hey, don't beat yourself up. We can always improvise something. Shit. If it gets any hotter out she can jump in the lake with her clothes on."

"Yeah, you're probably right.", she nodded, giving him a weak smile that didn't do much to counter the guilt in her eyes. When she sat on the couch he stood up, joined her.

"You sure you're okay? You've been eating enough?"

"I cleaned my plate.", she snapped.

"Getting enough sleep?"

"Brody c'mon."

"Hey, I'm allowed to ask. How have things been between you two after everything?", he asked, rubbing her shoulder before she gave in, leaned on his.

"Farrah called me Mom the other night. Before she went to sleep."

"What?! She did?"

Nodding, Carrie sat up and the surprised smile on Brody's face faded, seeing the look on her's.

"Well, look at it this way. There are plenty worse things she could've called you, aren't there?"

"It just didn't sound right, Brody. It didn't fit. I've always been Carrie to her. That's who we are. Carrie and Farrah. Before it was Miss Matthews and Farrah. I've gotten used to that. It just feels right."

"Not quite so formal, right? Not so official?"

"Yes, exactly." Leaning back into the couch cushions her hand swept through her hair again.

"Did you talk to her about it?"

"No. She said it when she was half asleep. And hasn't said it since."

"Well like I said, she could be calling you worse."

"Brody she's six, not sixteen. She doesn't know 'worse'."

"Well take it from someone who has heard worse. Just look past the label here. All Farrah did was let you know what deep down she thinks of you as. It just shows how strong your connection is, in spite of everything that's happened to you both. It's pretty fucking amazing if you ask me."

"You really think so?", Carrie asked, giving him a watery smile.

"Yeah, I do. Just don't forget her bathing suit again and I think you two will be fine."

Rolling her eyes, she swatted him on the arm, before they heard Farrah let out a yelp. Jumping up they both ran onto the porch where she was crouched down, giggling about something.

"Look! Look what I find!"

"You mean look at what you found?", Carrie corrected.

"Okay, I'll take a look." Kneeling down next to her she gasped.

"He like Merriweather, see!"

"Yeah there's definitely a resemblance." Laughing she rubbed the gray kitten gently behind the ears.

"Carrie, what the..." Sighing, Brody shook his head, rolled his eyes.

"That thing could have fleas, you know."

"I think I'd be able to tell."

"What if he's feral, rabid? His fur's all matted too."

"He was out in a rainstorm all night, Brody. Wouldn't you be a little disheveled looking too?"

Looking on dumbfounded, he laughed in disbelief. "I had no idea you were such a sucker for fuzzy and cute."

Rolling her eyes, Carrie continued petting the kitten as Farrah giggled, went to pick him up.

"Nick, he purring!"

"Farrah make sure he doesn't scratch-"

"She's fine, Brody. If you're so worried why don't you give it a try?", she smirked.

"No, that's okay, really."

"Please Nick? He like you too?"

Looking between her and Carrie, knowing between the two of them there was no getting out of it, Brody sighed.
"Well if you're gonna double team me like this.."

Gently taking the cat from Farrah, when it softly sneezed, he rolled his eyes at the cooing that echoed it, looked down at the small gray fur bundle accusingly.
"Perfect timing. Now I'm triple teamed with cute."

Taking the cat back from him, Carrie shot him a look.

"Hey, I'll stay out of it. You want him, he's yours. Just don't come crying to me when he comes home with ticks or rabies or whatever."

"He won't come home with ticks or rabies. He'll be a cabin or a townhouse cat. Indoors. Otherwise the doberman next door to me will have a fuc-..freaking field day."

"We keep!", Farrah asked.

"Yes. We keep. But he's gonna be your responsibility, alright?"

"Yes. Okay.", she giggled, taking him back.

"So does he get a name?", Brody asked.

"Calvin."

"Calvin. Okay. Sounds like Marvin's got a new best friend."

"No, Marvin's a moose!"

"Fine, fine. I stand corrected.", he muttered as they brought the kitten inside, set him down to explore the living room.

"He likes it!", Farrah cheered, following him into the kitchen.

"Yeah. He certainly will when he gets his claws in all the furnit-"

"Brody.", Carrie cautioned.

"Look I'm going to run to the store, get Calvin some supplies. The two of you can get better acquainted."

"Hey it's okay, I can go. Just let me get my hat and some-"

"Um, no. Even if a hat were an adequate disguise, which it's not, you were just mugged by fucking Nazi's not ten miles from here. You're staying put."

"Carrie.." Met with a look he knew better than to argue with, he sighed, gave her a nod that got him a kiss goodbye in return.

"Farrah, you want to come to the store with me?"

"No, I stay here."

"Oh, okay."

Trying not to feel too rejected Carrie grabbed her purse, not catching Brody's smirk.

"Ready to reconsider taking the plunge, buying that litter box? You just lost out to a goddamn cat."

"Shut up."

After she walked out, Farrah left the kitchen and went onto the porch with her book.

"Hey, what gives. I thought you were keeping Calvin company."

"Carrie want me to read. She want you to like Calvin. It your turn with him.", the girl smirked, walking onto the porch as Brody rolled his eyes, plopped down on the couch right as Calvin meowed. Looked up at him with huge sad eyes.

"Oh. Don't you even start."

Chapter Text

Stretching back onto the sofabed, seeing as Farrah was content outside reading her book, Brody shut his eyes only to feel tiny paws jump onto him, and tiny claws starting to dig into his abs.

"Hey! Watch it!", he barked as Calvin mewed, jumped off of him.
"Thank you."

Closing his eyes again it didn't take long for him to drift off. He hadn't slept well in the canoe bed, and figured squeezing in a quick nap before the hike to the waterfall would be a good idea. Sleeping soundly, he didn't feel Calvin jump back up and resume his earlier position. This time though the kitten curled up right on his shoulder, his loud purring lulling Brody into even deeper sleep.

"Okay, I've got food. A bowl for the food. I've got treats, a scratching post, litter, litter box. Some sort of catnip creature. And a pole with feathers dangling off it."

"Feathers?", Farrah frowned, looking up from her book.

"Supposedly kittens can't keep their paws off of them. Did I forget anything?"

"You get collar?"

"Damn it. Ugh, stupid. I knew I forgot something. Guess he'll have to go without. Speaking of which, where..."

Giggling, Farrah got up, motioned for Carrie to follow her inside before pointing to the couch. Specifically where Calvin had dozed off.

"Oh shit..", she laughed, covering her mouth with one hand and pulling out her phone with the other. After snapping a picture or two the phone rang. Seeing the caller, Saul, Carrie's smile faded and she shut it off.

"Where...what the..", Brody muttered.

"No! Nick don't move!", Farrah yelped, getting him frowning and her shaking her head. Annoyed she went back outside, returned to her book.

"You heard her! Stay put or you'll make him move."

"If you think for one second I'm not going to move on account of a cat...", he scoffed as Carrie pouted.

"C'mon Brody. He's purring and everything."

"Hey, enough! Giving me that look.", Holding the still snoozy Calvin, Brody sat up, then stood up.

"I'll just move him to a more willing shoulder, okay? Here."

Setting him down on Carrie, the cat continued to sleep unfazed, snuggled near the crook of her neck.

"So I'm just supposed to walk around with him like this. All day!"

"Oh c'mon Carrie. He's purring and everything.", Brody mocked.

"Great. So in addition to crazy I'm a fucking crazy cat lady?"

"Eh, not necessarily.", he teased. "I think to qualify you need three more of those draped on you, to be hopelessly single and, what's the last..oh yeah, unattractive."

"You're saying I'm none of the above?", she asked, her voice teasing but with a flicker of seriousness in her eyes.

Leaning in to kiss her as an answer, after their lips met Brody heard a distinct hiss and jumped back. Getting Carrie laughing.

"Hey! Okay if your new friend gets in the way of that with us-"

"Settle down. He's just protecting me. Someone has to.", she smirked, lifting the kitten off her shoulder and onto the rug before resuming the kiss, getting over to the couch.

Not letting things get overly heated with Farrah just outside, they were interrupted by a loud meow and a scratching sound at the door.

"I swear that cat.."

"Fuck. Just remember where we left off, Sergeant. I got him."

Getting up Carrie opened the door, went to let the kitten onto the porch to be with Farrah, only to see the porch was deserted.

"Oh shit. Farrah? Farrah!"

Running outside she looked to her left, right, everywhere, with no sign of her.

"Carrie what...what happened?"

Joining her on the porch, Brody's stomach knotted at the look on her face, then double knotted realizing she was out here alone.

"Son of a...Farrah! FARRAH!", he yelled with no response. Keeping his own fear in check he forced himself to think rationally, calmly. Take control of the situation before Carrie had the chance to spiral out of control. Looking at her he could tell she wasn't that far off.

"Not again. This...this isn't fucking happening again...it...it can't! I-"

"Carrie, Carrie look at me okay. Look at me.", he ordered, taking a grip on her shaking shoulders.

"Don't panic, okay? We will find Farrah. I swear it."

"Brody! I-"

"Say it back to me. We'll find her."

"But I-"

"Say it, goddamn it!"

Swallowing hard she managed a nod. "We...we'll find her."

"We will, okay. We will." , he promised. Quickly kissing her on the forehead, he rubbed her shoulders once more before running off the porch.

"Go search around back. I'll look by the lake."

"The lake!", Carrie cried, paling even more.

"Shit. Brody, you don't-"

"Just go around back. Yell if you find her.", Brody demanded, all the while praying that she'd be the one to and not him. Looking over his shoulder as he ran towards the dock, he saw her sprint around to the back of the cabin, then heard her yell. Relieved, he ran back the way he came and found her in the backyard, looking up nervously.

"What the, Carrie where are you look..."

Using his hand to shield his eyes from the sun, squinting up he finally saw what she was. "Son of a..."

"Farrah! Honey it's okay. It's alright, just stay there!"

"It'll be fine, brat. I promise I'll help you get dow-"

Cut off when Carrie rushed past him, Brody watched as she took off running towards the too tall looking tree. Set to scale the damn thing.

"No! Carrie no!", Farrah cried. Straddling one of the higher branches, she was clutching onto the trunk of the tree afraid to let go. But also afraid for anyone else to come up after her and help her. Calvin had tried and now the kitten was as stuck as she was.

"Farrah it's okay, I'll just climb up and-"

"NO! Calvin...he, he up here too.", the girl sniffled as Calvin let out a loud mew, skittered over to a different branch.

"Rethinking that damn cat yet?", Brody scoffed as he jumped to grab hold of a branch near the base. Pulling himself up and onto it.

"Brody what the...? I'm perfectly capable of climbing up there and-"

"I know. So go around to the other side and get Calvin. Leave Farrah to me."

Nodding, rolling her eyes Carrie ran over to the other side of the tree, scaring the kitten off his branch and onto a different one. "Damn it, Calvin!"

Leaping up to grip the branch, once she climbed onto it and got semi-situated in the tree, she pulled down the branch the kitten was balancing on. Prompting him to walk from it onto her shoulders and to purr, paw at her hair.

"Oh don't you even. Trying to cute your way out of this. Because of you I'm climbing a fucking tree instead of-"

Interrupted with a meow, Carrie eyed Brody closely as he made his way to the higher branches where Farrah was still perched.

"Nick!"

"It's okay Farrah, I'm almost there. I'm almost behind you."

"Nick, I scared!"

"Farrah? Farrah look over here. Look at me.", Carrie coached as the girl turned her face towards her, looking pale.

"You're okay, sweetheart. You're not going to fall."

"But-"

"Shhh. Just relax. Stay still and keep holding on just like you've been doing. Brody's almost behind you."

"Yes?"

"Yes. I can see him even though you can't.", she assured as Calvin leaped off her shoulder and onto the top of her head. Getting Farrah giggling and luckily enough, distracted.

"What? What's so funny?", Carrie frowned, feigning confusion even though she felt claws digging at her scalp.

"Cal! He...he on your.."

"What? Where is he?"

"He's on Carrie's silly head. That's where.", Brody smirked, getting close enough to Farrah to wrap his arms around her waist. Pulling her off the branch he settled her on his hip, as she looped her arms a little too tightly around his neck.

"Whoa! Hey, just ease up on your grip okay?", he choked out as she lessened her hold.

"That good?"

"Yeah. Yeah that's better.", Brody coughed.

"Just hold on. I'll get us down."

After Brody climbed down and eventually out of the tree, Carrie went to do the same. As did Calvin who leaped off her head to land gracefully on his feet. His using her forehead as a springboard though left Carrie distracted, and about to lose her grip on the branch.

"Oh, oh shit. FUCK!"

Hearing her Brody ran to the other side of the tree and saw her dangling, just her left hand holding the branch. 

"Carrie! Look I'm right underneath you, okay. I'll catch you, just let go of the branch."

"Are you kidding!", she yelled, trying to regain her earlier grip and not get frantic. "Brody I'm too high up. You try catching me the both of us will wind up hurt."

"Jesus Carrie, you weigh a hundred pounds soaking wet. I'll brace myself and catch you, it'll be fine."

Biting her lip now she looked down and saw Farrah encouraging her too. Leaving her with no other choice. "Okay, okay I'll do it.", she nodded.

"Sometime today would be nice.", Brody sighed.

"Hey! You try being the one fucking dangling up here!"

"Carrie! C'mon, it okay. Look at me!", Farrah coached as Carrie managed a slight smile, then shut her eyes and slowly unclenched her hand. Swearing the entire fall down.

Readying himself, Brody managed to catch her, then continued to hold her as she shook.

"Carrie? Love, you okay? You okay?" he asked nervously until he realized she was laughing, near hysterically. "What's so funny?", he asked, shaking his head before laughing at her.

Meanwhile Farrah watched, frowning and slightly concerned for the two adults in a giggling, tangled heap on the back lawn. "You two silly.", she scoffed as Calvin mewed in agreement.

Once she came to grips, caught her breath, Carrie frowned at her, arched a brow. "Oh, we're silly? Who was the one silly enough to go up a tree that high without asking first?"

"I silly?", Farrah asked nervously, getting a nod as Carrie stood and walked over to her, then knelt to her level.

"Farrah if you wanted to climb a tree you should've asked me. There's plenty around here that you could've had fun on. Like, see that one over there by the cabin?"

"Yes I see."

"If you go out a little on that middle branch, you can touch the roof."

"Carrie, you really want her trying that next?"

"Hey, believe it or not, it's less risky than the gymnastics we were just doing.", Carrie said knowingly, shutting him up.

"I thought I could climb that tree. I brave!", the girl protested.

"Hey, I know you are!"

"Then why I can't climb?", she whined as Carrie sighed, looked to Brody.

"Brat, we know you're brave. You're one of the bravest kids I've ever met. So you don't have to prove it by doing things that could get you hurt or make you feel scared. Especially without asking. Carrie's just looking out for you. You gave her a scare earlier."

"And you gave him one too.", she reminded.

"I..I scare?"

"Yeah.", Carrie admitted as Farrah sniffled, hugged her.

"I'm sorry."

"It's okay. I'm just glad you're not hurt."

"I glad you not hurt.", Farrah echoed, leading the way back to the cabin.

"I'm glad neither of you are hurt. Otherwise it'd just be me and that cat.", Brody scoffed as Calvin mewed, ran back up onto the porch.

"Well, it's going to be unless you keep up with us.", Carrie smirked, taking Farrah by the hand before subtly nodding to a path not far away.

"Keep up with.."

"Last one there has to jump in!"

"Jump in?! Jump in what, we just climbed out of that stupid...hey!" 

Watching them take off running all he could do was shake his head, break into a run himself to catch up.

 

Chapter Text

"C'mon you two, this way!" Carrie yelled over her shoulder. She and Farrah had started out strong on the race to the waterfall, but they were going at a quick clip and she didn't want the girl completely worn out. Now she was ahead of both her and Brody on the tree lined path.

"How much far?"

"Farther.", Brody corrected as Farrah trudged alongside him.

"And not too much from what I remember. You ready for a lift?", he offered, bending over so she could climb onto his shoulders. She did excitedly, patting him on the back.

"Fast, we go fast!"

"Hey hold on. We go too fast and we'll both fall over, brat."

"You brat.", Farrah giggled, getting a laugh out of Brody as he reached into his jeans pocket. Pulled out a small compass. It was in the pack Carrie had given him that night at the fire road, and he brought it with him everywhere he went.

"What is.."

"It's called a compass. Carrie gave it to me. See the arrow there? It tells us what direction we're going."

"Ah, okay. Stop!" Farrah ordered. Still settled on Brody's back, she peered over his shoulder at the compass needle.
"Now turn."

Rolling his eyes he laughed, following her instructions as he turned left. Still watching the arrow Farrah gasped as it moved.

"Other way!", she giggled. Obeying her once again, she kept giggling and then asked him to go backwards.

"Backwards? Okay now you're just making me dizzy."

"Nick, turn again! Again!"

"Oooh, wait..don't think I can stand anymore. Too, dizzy. Look out, this isn't good!"

Playing dramatic, pretending to swoon Brody slowly dropped to his knees. "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

"No! Get up, you get up!", Farrah laughed, still on his shoulders as she pulled at the back of his shirt.

"Hey!", Carrie interrupted, walking back towards them. "You two were supposed to be right behind me!"

"Nick fall! Can't get up."

"Is that so?", Carie smirked. "Because I think Nick's just being a huge goofball."

"Hey, who are you calling goofball?", Brody scoffed, as Carrie pried Farrah off his shoulders, put the girl on her back instead.

"You. You goofball. If you'll excuse us we're going to the waterfall. Think you can make it?"

"I'll do you one better.", Brody said deviously as he took off running. "Last one there is going in!", he mimicked as Carrie groaned, half exasperated and half loving the hell out of this. Letting Farrah down they both took off running after him.

Finally, a bit winded, Brody reached the waterfall and stood still. Staring admiringly at it for awhile before hearing footsteps behind him.

"Pretty!", Farrah chirped running over as Brody put his arm out, stopped her from getting too close to the ledge.

"Easy. That'd be quite a tumble."

Coming up behind them Carrie watched, smiled as Brody sat beside Farrah on the ledge. Pointing out at the water and saying something that made her laugh. The sight was enough to make her tear up, and she feared moving and ruining the moment. But Farrah looked back and saw her, waved her over.

"There any room for me?", Carrie asked, perching beside the two of them before Farrah climbed onto her lap. "The view the same as last time?"

Turning to face her Brody smiled. "Actually I think it's gotten better."

Slipping an arm around her shoulders they talked, laughed, watched the water and broke into the trail mix Brody made and bagged for them this morning. Then though, even with the water close and the mist floating around, it started getting humid and sticky out. Deciding they'd head back to the cabin, try and beat the heat, by the time they reached the property they were all just as sticky as the weather.

"I want to swim.", Farrah whined, looking longingly at the lake as they walked past it.

"Well, what are you waiting for then?", Brody asked, getting a look.

"Brody, she doesn't know how!"

"I can teach her.", he offered, slipping off his outer plaid shirt to reveal the white tee underneath.

"Carrie, please!", Farrah begged.

"Farrah I forgot your swim suit, remember?"

"Why don't you just give her your t-shirt?"

"Wonder why you'd suggest that.", Carrie scoffed as he stripped off his jeans. But she couldn't resist the look on Farrah's, and now Brody's face, and rolling her eyes slipped off her gray tee. Handing it to Farrah who giggled, thanked her, then ran to change behind a tree.

Meanwhile Brody smiled slyly at Carrie, now in her jean shorts and a black and purple lace bra. She wished she could walk over and kiss that stupid grin off his face, get that shirt off him too. But knowing the reason he'd opted to keep it on, her smile went soft, sadder.

"Okay, I ready!", Farrah cheered as she sprinted down the dock, ready to dive in.

"Whoa, easy there brat.", Brody warned, running to scoop her up mid leap.

"Nick!"

"Let's take this one step at a time. Don't think you're ready for cannonballs just yet."

Setting her down he dove in first, then surfaced and swam right up to the edge of the dock, reached his arms out. "Okay now I want you to jump at me, okay? I'll catch you and bring you over to where it's shallower. Good place as any to start."

Now nervous, Farrah chewed on her lip and looked back over to Carrie who took the hint, approached her on the dock. "Hey, it'll be fine. You saw Brody with me at the tree, he's good at catching and besides, you're smaller than I am."

Nodding, Farrah put on her brave face managed a bit of a smile, then on Carrie's count shut her eyes and jumped in Brody's direction. He caught her easily and brought her over to the shallower part of the lake, leading Carrie to strip out of her cutoffs and dive in after them.

Once surfacing she shook her hair out, then swam over and saw Brody still holding Farrah, telling her to kick and only let go of him when she was ready. It didn't take long before she did let go, then dogpaddled over in his direction.

"Hey, look at you!"

"Carrie I do it! I swim!" Farrah exclaimed before letting her head dip underwater. Immediately Carrie swam closer and Brody made a move to grab her, hold her afloat. But soon enough she surfaced, then began splashing around the lake like she'd swam there all her life. 

Seeing how Farrah was calm and enjoying herself, Carrie opted to follow her lead and started floating on her back, closing her eyes, reveling in how good the sun felt on her face.

Grinning deviously, Brody motioned for Farrah to swim over and start splashing her. When the girl refused, shook her head stubbornly, he obliged. 

"Hey! What the fuc..BRODY!" Splashing at him in retaliation, Carrie smirked, jumped onto his back. 

"Brat! Help! She's got me!", Brody exclaimed as he thrashed about in the water, then started to go under leaving Carrie scrambling to get away from him, forced to do a sloppy backflip off of him into the lake.

Meanwhile Farrah, laughing so much at their antics wound up accidentally swallowing water, starting choking on it. Brody quickly sprang into action, swimming over to scoop her up, tap her on the back as she coughed.

"You okay, brat?"

After coughing some more, chin quivering Farrah's eyes welled up with tears. Whimpering she buried her face in Brody's shoulder.

"Hey it's okay..everything's fine. I gotcha.", he soothed, rubbing her back as Carrie swam up, kissed the girl on the cheek.

"C'mon honey let's get you inside."

"If you're up for it we can try again tomorrow though, okay?"

Nodding slightly, Farrah coughed again as Brody swam up to the dock, lifted her onto it before climbing out of the lake. Carrie close behind them. Watching them as he carried her back to the cabin, she put her shorts back on then went to wring her hair out, only to notice her shoulders were beet red.

"Oh, shit!" Craning her neck around and back to look over them, she saw her back was just as burned.

Once getting Farrah up to the porch, Brody walked back towards the dock and laughed curiously. Seeing Carrie attempting to turn her head 360 degrees.

"Carrie!", he called, jogging back to her. "Jesus. Are you trying to give yourself whiplash or something? What's going on?"

"Agh, why didn't I think to put some fucking sunscreen on?"

Giving her a once-over, Brody sighed.

"Shit. You really are red. C'mon. I think I saw some lotion in the bathroom medicine cabinet. Hopefully it'll keep you from wanting to itch your skin off."

"Yeah, hopefully.", she scoffed, before turning to him with a sly smile. Thinking of at least one perk to this whole obnoxious sunburn thing.

"Think you can help me put it on?", she grinned suggestively as he arched a brow.

"You have to ask?", he smirked as she took off running to the porch, leaving him to follow.

Chapter Text

After Brody brought her back to the cabin, then left to get Carrie, Farrah got a towel for herself from the bathroom before spotting Carrie's phone on the coffee table. Eager to play a game or just play with the phone in general, she picked it up, turned it on before it rang. Recognizing the caller she answered.

"Carrie? It's Quinn."

"Pete!"

"Hey, Farrah! How are you kid?"

"I good! I learn to swim and we go to the waterfall and we eat French toast and I get a cat and..."

"Whoa, slow down there. Can hardly understand you. Did you say you got a cat?"

"Yes! Calvin. I want you to see him."

"Right now, or..."

"No! You come to house and see."

"What does he look like?"

"Grey. With stripes."

"I'll be by with some treats for him when you get back."

"Yes?"

"Sure. He can have them so long as he doesn't scratch me. It sounds like you're having fun though."

"Yes. I am."

"How's Carrie doing? Is she alright?"

"Carrie good. She get sun burn."

"Ouch. You know that's why they invented this thing called sunscreen. Tell Carrie that."

"Tell Carrie what?", Carrie frowned as she walked back in the cabin, heard the speaker phone. "Quinn?"

"Hey Carrie."

"What the hell do you want?", she scoffed.

"I wanted to tell you something, but I think I'd rather just talk to Farrah. At least she missed me."

"Jesus Christ.", she snickered, rolling her eyes.

"Hey who are we talking to.", Brody frowned, looking at the phone before rolling his eyes. "I'll go and get that lotion."

Watching Brody walk off, looking annoyed, Carrie sighed and picked up the phone, taking it off speaker before going out onto the porch.

"I take it someone didn't feel like chatting."

"You stabbed him in the fucking hand, Quinn! I wouldn't be so eager to talk to you either."

"Hey, we've had a few conversations since. Guess I just enjoyed them more.", Quinn sulked.

"Quinn, I've got a bad sunburn and pain makes me cranky. Why the fuck did you call me?"

"Saul told me you've been ignoring his calls."

"Yes, I have been."

"Any particular reason or..."

"You know goddamn well the reason! And I'm sure he's told you every detail."

"Actually he's been pretty tight lipped about it."

"We had a fight, Quinn. It was ugly. And I came up to the cabin mostly for Farrah, partly because I'm fucking sick of his cutting me out when I dare go against him."

"Carrie, the day Berenson completely cuts you out is the day Brody and I make goddamn friendship bracelets and braid each other's hair."

"Well. That would be an interesting look.", Carrie smirked.

"Seriously. Saul's just concerned."

"Well he's not my father. He doesn't need to be. And the man he's concerned about has gone above and beyond making this weekend special. For Farrah and for me."

"Nice to see he can still follow orders."

"What the fuck do you mean by that?"

"Nothing. Listen, I have to go but just do me a favor and call Saul-"

"Goodbye Quinn.", Carrie spat, hanging up.

Taking a few deep breaths she braced herself on the porch railing, looked out at the water to calm down. Only to feel arms slip around her waist. 

"Hey, you okay?"

"Yeah. I just should've locked my phone away in the drawer next to the gun.", she groaned as he slipped his arms around her waist, kissed the side of her head. Smiling, leaning into his touch for a minute or two eventually she turned around. Then he made the mistake of coming into contact with her shoulders and saw her wince.

"Alright, c'mon. We have to take care of this."

...

"Ow, ow... ow!", Carrie whined as Brody tried to work the lotion into her still tender, raw looking shoulders. Trying to curb the peeling.

"You know this is supposed to be soothing."

"Well if supposed to means it's supposed to hurt like a motherfuc...ow!"

"Carrie? You okay?", Farrah asked nervously.

"I'm fine, honey. I just forgot sunscreen and my shoulders are kind of burned."

"Does it hurt?"

"Not that bad. I'm just whining to bug him.", Carrie smirked, nodding to Brody as he rolled his eyes.

"Farrah, I should probably comb your hair out before it gets knotted up."

Nodding, Farrah went to hang up her towel, grab her comb while Brody tapped Carrie on a not so burnt part of her shoulder, got her turning around.

"You're not just whining to bug me, are you?", he said knowingly.

"Eh, maybe a little.", she teased before he moved his hand, getting her wincing.

"But it's still pretty fucking painful."

"Sorry. The lotion should help though. And maybe don't wear anything too form fitting."

"Damn. At least my spandex leather catsuit is at home.", she smirked as he let out a snort. Rubbed the rest of the lotion on her upper back.

"Agh, fuck! Please please tell me you're done!"

"Yes, okay. Yes. We're finished here."

Running up, Farrah sat down on the rug in front of Carrie, handing her comb over.

"Oooh. Glad we're doing this now. I've already found a knot or two."

"So are you two warm enough?", Brody asked. "I can get a fire going for us if you-"

"Are you kidding, it's got to be ninety out. And I don't think the humidity will break anytime soon.", Carrie groaned.

"Well what about ice cream? Anyone want some?"

"Brody.."

"But I-"

"Will you just get over here, sit down? Hell, just force yourself if you need to.", she said arching a brow, patting the empty space on the rug next to her.

"It's a cold day in hell when you're telling anyone to relax."

"I know it. Honestly. Total role reversal."

"What's that mean?", Brody frowned, sitting beside her as she shrugged.

"I dunno, I just... this whole weekend things have felt slightly off kilter."

"I'm gonna need more here.", he lightly laughed, confused.

"My sister and Danny were staying here when Farrah and I showed up."

"You're kidding. Were they...?"

"Oh yes. We walked right in on it.", Carrie laughed, still in disbelief about the whole thing.

"Holy sh...sugar.", Brody edited. Even though Farrah was mostly distracted, baiting Calvin with the feather toy.

"Danny and Maggie. I never would've guessed."

"Well just imagine how I felt. I haven't seen Maggie that flustered since...I don't think I've ever seen Maggie that flustered."

"Must've been strange. Like the two of you swapped, ah...role reversal."

"There you go." Laughing she pulled the comb through Farrah's hair once more before the girl went crawling after Calvin. Prompting Carrie to lean back against Brody's chest, his hand absently running through her hair.

"How are you doing, Farrah?", he asked.

"I good.", the girl answered, but her smile went sad when Calvin got bored with the feathers, curled up in the corner to nap.

After Carrie excused herself, went to get some water Brody reached into the side table drawer, grabbed a deck of playing cards. Opening the pack he shuffled them, arranged them out on the rug.

"What you doing?"

"What am I doing? I'm playing Solitaire."

"What is Sol..Solit.."

"Solitaire. It's pretty simple really. The object is to get all the cards up there.", Brody said, pointing to the four cards in the upper right.

Nodding in semi-understanding Farrah took a handful of the cards and plopped them up in the right corner.

"Well, that's one way to do it I suppose." Laughing, shaking his head Brody gathered the cards.

"How about hearts? You know that game?" he asked as Farrah frowned, shook her head.

"No. Is it as fun as fish?"

"You mean go-fish? I don't know. I used to play hearts with my son though."

"Son?"

"Yeah, his name's Chris. He's just a few years older than you."

Nodding, Farrah smiled as he dealt the cards out for a round of fish. "Carrie say you have girl too."

"I do.", Brody said, his smile going sadder. "She's Chris' older sister. Her name's Dana."

"She nice?"

"Yeah. She is.", he answered as Carrie cleared her throat, tossed them both bottles of water.

"Here. Hydrate please.", she instructed as she plopped onto the couch, stretching back as she fanned herself. "Farrah, are you warm at all?"

"No, I good.", the girl grinned, then grinned more at Brody once realizing she'd won the first round. "I win!"

"Okay, that settles it. I'm teaching you hearts."

Chapter Text

After eating sandwiches for dinner, playing a few rounds of hearts, fish, war, then a game of charades, now worn out and still warm Carrie and Brody were sprawled out on the rug, staring up at the ceiling while Farrah lay curled up on the sofabed, cuddling with Merriweather and Calvin both. Sitting up slightly, Brody looked at her in awe.

"How the fuck is she...is that a fleece blanket she's got on?", he whispered.

"Don't worry. She always does this.", Carrie sighed, sitting up in turn.

"I've got three blankets on her bed at home. She likes to feel cozy."

"Well there's a fine line between feeling cozy and feeling overheated.", Brody noted, looking at her nervously and tempted to yank the pink fleece off of her.

"I know. But last night when we had the fire going I looked and she'd adjusted, was down to just one blanket. Trust me, she'll be fine."

"Will you?", Brody asked in concern. Judging from the way she'd been guzzling water all night and looked so tired the heat and her didn't mix.

"Don't look at me like that. I'm fine.", she insisted, hoping she didn't come off as snippy but feeling like she had. Sighing, she managed a smile. Rubbed his shoulder reassuringly.

"I'm fine, I promise. I'm just not fond of weather like this."

"Well hopefully it'll pass. You said you wanted to show Farrah the clearing tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah. And the heat's supposed to break tonight so..."

"Good. I'm looking forward to it."

"Me too. Hopefully I'll perk up a bit."

"Hey, what if I happened to prefer you like this?", Brody teased, earning a swat on the arm but then a kiss on the lips.

Too warm to let it lead to much else, he made his way down the hall to the canoe bed. Carrie meanwhile grabbed a pillow from the couch and stretched out on the floor, not wanting to disturb Farrah or get within a foot of that fleece blanket. An hour passed by though and she still couldn't shut her eyes.

"Jesus. Fuck this.", she groaned as she sat up, then stood up. Walking out onto the porch she stared out at the water and suddenly a sly smile formed on her lips. Quickly she turned around, tiptoed past Farrah and down the hall to Brody's room, walking in through the partially open door.

"Carrie? What the-"

"Are you asleep?"

"Trying.", he groaned, sitting up in bed before realizing she'd worn his white tee shirt to sleep in.

"Hey, that's my shirt!"

"Yeah well, it's your own fault for leaving it out. You want it back?", she teased.

"Get over here and you'll have your answer."

Watching in intrigue as she made her way over to the bed, leaned in to kiss him he went to pull her closer but she pulled back. "Hey! What the-"

"Shhh..", she purred. Pecking him on the lips once more she made her way to the door, motioning for him to follow her.

"Carrie..what are you...Carrie!", he hissed but she'd already taken off down the hallway.

Rolling his eyes Brody quietly, quickly walked after her into the living room. Watching as she checked on a still sleeping Farrah, then made her way onto and off of the porch. Taking off towards the dock. It was dark out and she was a ways ahead of him, but he could still make out her silhouette, and what she was stripping out of.

"Shit! Carrie what are you-"

"I thought it was pretty obvious."

Kicking her thong off to the side Carrie slipped off his white tee, handing it to him. "You wanted this back?", she smirked before turning around, diving headfirst into the water as he quickly stripped, laughing as he jumped in after her. Finally he came up for air and gave her a devious grin, swam closer.

"You know we shouldn't be doing this."

"We shouldn't have done a lot of things...", she smirked, moving in for a kiss before he pushed her back against the side of the dock. Breaking free of her lips he nipped at her neck, hands roaming all over her as her nails dug more marks into his upper back.

Before things kicked into a higher gear though, Brody forced himself to pull back. He wanted her. God he fucking wanted her, but their first time back wouldn't be in a goddamn lake. Not when he had other ideas. 

When he reached for her again, she expected he'd pull her onto the dock and take her right there. Instead though he lifted her over his shoulder, then tossed her back towards the center of the lake, a little too effortlessly.

"Wh...what the fuck!", Carrie sputtered once surfacing, not sure if she should be offended or laugh. Her face showed both emotions.

With a laugh and a "Who, me?" look on his face, Brody swam backwards as she swam towards him. "Close your eyes.", he said.

"Excuse me?!"

"I said close your eyes. Don't tell me you never played Marco Polo as a kid."

"I played Cops and Robbers.", she smirked.

"Okay well, quick tutorial. What you do is close your eyes and try to-"

"I know how to play, Brody!"

"Okay then, prove it."

Accepting the challenge she squeezed her eyes shut. "Marco?"

Quietly Brody floated around and past her, smug as he remembered how he'd kick most everyone's ass at this game as a kid. "Polo."

Hearing him behind, then to the side of her, Carrie shot towards him but knew he'd slipped past her. "Shit! Marco?!"

"Polo.", Brody smiled, dodging her again in the nick of time.

"Marco!", Carrie yelled, clearly annoyed this time as he came up behind, leaned to whisper in her ear.

"Polo-"

"Ha!" Turning quickly she got a swipe at his shoulders as her eyes snapped open.

"Good job for your first time.", Brody congratulated as she grinned, swam closer.

"So now that I've won, what's my prize?"

Grinning he moved to lift her again but she flinched, eyes narrowed.

"So fucking help me if you throw me again..."

"Hey c'mon, don't you trust me?", he asked as she shook her head, wriggled out of his grasp.

"I promise.", Raising his right hand he laughed. "This is a no throwing zone."

Rolling her eyes she swam backwards. "Again, you're the biggest dork."

"Thanks to you I'm well aware of that.", he teased as she snorted, started splashing at him to the point he had to shield his face.

"What the..Carrie! Cut it out or I swear-"

"What?!", she smirked. Continuing to splash him right as lights flickered on from across the lake.

"HEY! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!"

"What does it look like?!", Carrie snorted as another light switched on.

"WILL YOU ALL SHUT THE FUCK UP!", a man's voice boomed.

"Hey! You're the only fuckers making noise!", she retorted as Brody let out a laugh. But when they heard a shotgun being cocked they knew it was time they get a move on.

"Oh shit!"

Quickly they swam to the dock and scrambled onto it, retrieving their clothes when they heard a loud thunderclap, saw lightning in the distance.

"Nice. Great time for the sky to fucking open...", Brody groaned as it began hailing, and Carrie felt a piece strike her on the head.

"Oh fuck, GO!"

He'd thrown on his sweatpants and she'd slipped her shirt back on as they ran down the dock, back up towards the cabin through the pouring rain. When she went to run onto the porch though he stopped her and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her under the overhang and into a fiery kiss. The rain falling in sheets around them she deepened the kiss, pulled him closer until she was trapped between him and the cabin wall, that shook when the wind rushed past it.

He kissed the line of her jaw, the curve of neck while her fingers combed his damp hair, dug at his scalp. Pulling him closer as he pressed himself into her, pushed her back into the wall.

Her hands came up around his neck and she brought her lips back to his, then she made a move to get those damn sweatpants off of him. Lightning flashed, her legs locked around him, and he was inside her before they heard the thunder. Tightening around him, his pace quickened until she cried out, triggering him. It happened as fast as it had their first drunken time in the backseat of her car. Not that either of them objected.

Catching their breath, her hand still in his hair as he supported her on the wall, Brody went to let her down but Carrie shook her head. Hid her face in the crook of his neck as she held him tighter.

"I just want to live here.", she whispered in his ear before meeting his gaze, budding her nose with his. Pushing her hair back he smiled, kissing her forehead, her eyelids, the tip of her nose before murmuring something against her lips.

Realizing he wasn't concerned anymore with being careful, Carrie smiled, realized she wasn't concerned anymore either. "I love you too.", she whispered in his ear. Pulling back enough to see his eyes. Tearing up seeing his were glistened over.
Entangled in emotions and in each other, everything felt slowed down, calmer now that they'd taken the edge off.But the storm hadn't settled down any and had cooled the surrounding air.

Feeling her shivering he kissed her once more, then let her down and pulled on his sweatpants.

"Hey! What-"

"You're half frozen under that shirt of mine, that's what! C'mon!" he yelled, wanting to be heard over the rain as he motioned for her to follow him to the porch.

"C'mon what?!"

"We need to get back inside!"

"WHAT?!"

"GET BACK INSIDE!", Brody yelled, then realized from her laughing she had heard him. Agitated and officially soaked through, he shot her a glare. Then more of one when she shook her head.

"No!!", she laughed.

"Carrie!!"

"I'm not going back in until I see you go back in!", she yelled, testing his memory as she slowly strode backwards.

Arching a brow, her hands went behind her back as she watched him closely, playfully. She wasn't going back inside the cabin until he did, and was content to do this dance around the perimeter of it all night.

"Carrie for God's sake just go insid-"

"You first!", she laughed, dodging him when he reached for her.

To avoid him still she ducked behind a tree, then took off forcing him to chase her. But after jumping over a puddle or two in the process, Brody looking to be enjoying himself.
Watching him, Carrie realized this was starting to lose its appeal. Instead of being able to push Brody's buttons she had him playing along, beating her at her own game.

"Jesus, Brody. Get the fuck inside and I will too! What's so hard to understand!", she yelled over the wind.

"I'm not letting you off that easy! You made a game of this, now you expect me not to play!", he laughed, clearing another puddle as Carrie stalked off, in the general direction of the porch.

"Oh you're kidding. Now you go in without me!", he scoffed, looking at her incredulously as she shrugged, ran to the front door.

Refusing to stay outside in the rain and play this stupid game by himself, he ran onto the porch as she ran inside, then locked the front door on him. "What the...Carrie! CARRIE!", he yelled, turning the knob.

"Go jump in a few more puddles!", she laughed, smirking victoriously at him before going to check on Farrah.

Chapter Text

Once Brody found a way to jimmy the door lock (old cabin, older lock, not too difficult), got back inside, after quickly sneaking into the kitchen, he saw Carrie knelt by a still sleeping Farrah. 

Looking up, appalled he'd gotten back inside so fast, quickly and quietly Carrie ran to beat him to the bathroom. He slipped past her though and locked the door, giving her a taste of her own medicine.

"Damn it, Brody! BRODY!", Carrie hissed.

"Let me in there or I swear I'll-"

"Shh! Are you trying to wake up Farrah?"

"I'm trying to get into my own bathroom!"

"You can, if you do one thing first."

Letting out a snort she shook her head.
"Are you serious?"

Rolling her eyes she groaned, ran a hand through her hair.
"Fine. What?"

"Get the corkscrew."

"Excuse me?"

"Get the corkscrew, and take your time."

Too caught off guard by the request to argue it, frowning Carrie went over to the kitchen, grabbing the corkscrew from the drawer. Looking over she saw Farrah was still asleep, but Calvin was awake and looking for food or companionship or both. Bending over she petted him, rubbing his ears before giving him a treat and a catnip mouse.

"Here you go. Don't go too wild."

Walking back to the bathroom, knocking she turned the knob only to find the door no longer locked. Jazz softly echoed out of her phone resting on a shelf with the speaker volume blared, and Brody was in a tub of bubbles up to his chin. The bottle of wine was on the floor on the side of the tub.

"Oh shit. You've got to be..."

"Care to join me?"

Eagerly Carrie grinned. Locking the door, she draped her damp shirt over the radiator by his pants before slipping into the bath. Giggling as she submerged herself in the suds.

"Hey, what the...get back here! Carrie!" Brody sputtered as she surfaced on his side of the tub, her back pressed against his chest.

"You're all sudsy.", he snorted as she rolled her eyes, kissed his cheek.

"You know I'm starting to think Farrah's the grown up in your house."

"Don't! She already thinks that."

"Seriously though, between this, the lake, the racing, running through puddles like idiots just now."

"Would you rather we start waving a gun around?", Carrie scoffed.

"Point taken."

"I'm just trying to relax like you suggested. I do that by having fun."

"Hey, I'm not objecting. The past year I've barely smiled and now I'm running around with you laughing, getting yelled at.."

"Threatened with a shotgun.", she smirked as Brody uncorked the wine bottle, handing it to her.

"Thanks." Taking a healthy swig from it she handed it back.

"Nice that we get drunk after acting like lunatics."

"Hey, watch it.", she scoffed as he bit his lip.

"Hey you know I-"

"Don't. It's alright. Again, been called worse."

"Hey, don't get used to that, okay.", Brody said, brushing his lips on the top of her head.

"I'll be damned if anyone calls you anything."

"Oh so what, you're my protector now?"

Taking from her tone she didn't care for that, he switched gears. "Partner in crime sound better?"

"Much." Grinning she kissed him as he set the wine bottle on the side of the tub.

"Goes better with our adjoining cell deal too.", she teased but saw his eyes cloud over and was afraid she'd killed the mood. Sensing her worry he shook his head, kissed her again. This time more passionately before she pulled back, nuzzled his neck and nipped at his chest while her hand traveled down his abs and lower still.

"Carrie...", he murmured, taking hold of her face to kiss her again. He was tempted to take over, flip her under him but she took control, moved on top and then with him. They took it slower then they had outside. The door was locked and they had no reason to rush, only speeding up when they were close.

She unraveled first and he followed, breathing her name under the kiss before she collapsed against his chest. Closing her eyes as he rubbed her back, ran his fingers through her hair. His eyes were getting heavier too, but when he felt the water start cooling he knew it was time they make a move.

"C'mon, I think our stuff's dry by now."

Helping her out of the tub, they dried off and dressed, then brought the remaining wine out onto the porch. It was after midnight and they were both beat, but neither of them were willing to admit it. Sitting down in one of the porch chairs, her in his lap, his hand absentmindedly stroked her hair as she curled up on his shoulder. Watching the rain as they finished off the wine. 

Feeling her go limp, start to drift off Brody slowly went to stand, bring her inside but she shook her head. 

"No..don't. Just stay-",

"You're falling asleep."

"Yeah. Feels good."

"You'll feel better inside. Off this fucking damp porch.", he sighed but she didn't move a muscle.

"Carrie..."

"You feel good.", she murmured, eyes still closed as she curled up more against him.

"Stay."

Not having it in him to even try and deny her that, he shifted to a comfortable position in the chair, still holding her tightly. "Okay, love. Okay."

...

The next morning, seeing the sun even though her closed eyelids Carrie groaned, slowly squinted to see they were on the porch. She was in his lap, the wine bottle was at their feet. Slowly her mind clicked back to the lake, the chasing, the tub, and despite her worsening headache she couldn't help but smile. 

Not sure how Brody was remotely comfortable twisted up in that chair all night, knowing he certainly wouldn't be when he woke up, careful not to disturb him she stood and dragged another chair over, propping his feet up on it. It wasn't much but at least he had some space to stretch out. Kissing the side of his face she quietly walked back into the cabin, and saw Farrah petting Calvin on the bed.

"Hey, you sleep well?", she asked, shutting the door before sitting beside her on the bed.

"Yes. No bad dreams. Where is Nick?"

"He fell asleep on the porch. Before he wakes up though, how about we grab some trail mix and water and take a walk. I can show you the clearing with the wildflowers before it gets too hot."

"Calvin come too!"

"I think he'd rather stay here and sleep. Am I right?", Carrie smirked as the kitten mewed, curled up in a tiny ball on the bed.

"C'mon, let's get out of here."

Taking the same trail they had yesterday to the waterfall, Carrie couldn't help laughing as Farrah insisted on navigating them herself. Using a hand drawn map from one of Maggie's notebooks.

"Okay we go...here. No. Here!", she corrected as she turned right and went twenty steps forward, only to walk off the trail and right into a large shrub.

"No! You in wrong spot!", she yelled, hitting it in frustration.

"Farrah, are you sure I can't be in charge of the map?"

"No. It my job."

"Alright, you be in charge of the map, but let me help you get your bearings here."

Rolling her eyes she scooped the girl up, put her back on the trail before Farrah pointed, gasped as she ran towards something.

"Hey! Wait for me!", Carrie yelled, following her only to see her stopped in front of a large deer. Luckily sans antlers.

"Carrie! Look at-"

"Shh. Shh, be quiet and keep really still."

Silently they both stood, watched the deer nibble on a leaf before it made eye contact, then ran off in the opposite direction.

"Wow!"

"Yeah I like them too. Just don't go running ahead like that on me. You scared me."

Looking up apologetically Farrah reached up, squeezed Carrie's hand as they walked. It was quiet aside from the birds and the light breeze rustling the tree leaves. The calm was working wonders for Carrie's headache and had done wonders for her nerves. Everything seemed to melt away up here. Part of her wished they could just stay.

But she was snapped from her reverie when she heard a shotgun being cocked. When it went off Farrah jumped and Carrie frowned, went tense. Technically the clearing was half on their property, and none of it was considered hunting grounds. She remembered her dad tussling with some drunks over that very subject, when they had gone on a hike and out of nowhere, heard a shot and then saw a deer being dragged. Carrie had been just a year older than Farrah, and had worn the same frightened look the girl was right now.

"It's okay honey, it's fine. I'll take care of this."

"But.."

"Don't worry. We're allowed here. They aren't."

Walking in the direction of the laughing and slurring, Carrie cleared her throat at the three men staggering around the clearing. None of whom looked sober enough to be within a foot of a firearm. Farrah followed her, and when she saw the flowers being crushed under the boots of the big looking men, her jaw clenched and she darted past Carrie towards them.

"What the-"

"You stop! You crush them.", she scolded. Bending down she tried to pick some of the daisies around their boots.

"Excuse me little girl, I think you ought to leave.", one of the men sneered.

"No! You leave. Leave flowers alone.", Farrah ordered, looking up as he bent down.

"Listen you little brat-"

"Only Nick call me brat!"

"You think you can talk to me that way!", the man half snarled, half slurred as he gripped Farrah by the arm, only to feel a sharp blow, then a tight grip on his own.

"Hey what the-"

"Get the fuck away from her, now.", Carrie growled.

"What the-"

"I said move, asshole!", she barked as the man backed up, then caught himself and put a condescending smirk on his face.

"Well, who's this big girl..."

"Shut up. Not only is half this clearing on my property, the hunting grounds are across the lake."

"Listen sweetheart, you're not gonna tell me where I can use my gun."

"And you're not going to traipse around here shitfaced with it."

Disarming him before he could even realize what she'd done, the man shook his head and looked at her viciously. Making Carrie more angry than fearful as she rolled her eyes, removed the bullets and put them in the empty trail mix bag.

"Get out of here, with your friends, and I won't press charges for trespassing.", she said simply, handing him back the weapon and the bag of bullets.

"Look, I don't like being told what to do."

"And I don't like dealing with fucking morons first thing in the morning."

"Hey...hey! What's going on over here." A balding man asked, sauntering over with a shotgun in one hand and a flask in the other.

"Ah, nice of you to join the party.", Carrie spat.

"Look, whoever is the least wasted of the two of you can be the leader. Just get out. Trail is that way."

"Yes. Get out!", Farrah chimed in as the balding man frowned, made a move towards her but Carrie stepped in between them, getting him glaring.

"Hey, she pipes up again and I'll put her goddamn scarf someplace els-"

Kneeing him in the groin, not even content seeing him just doubled over, Carrie struck his nose with the heel of her hand. The blows left him incapacitated on the ground, bloodied, but she had to fight the urge to finish the job.

"Any of you try following me? Expect the same.", she promised, taking Farrah by the hand as she turned to leave, only to feel an all too familiar object press into her upper back. Swallowing hard she took deep breaths, her mind racing to think of the best way to disarm him.

"I thought I told you I didn't like people fucking with me.."

Chapter Text

Feeling the shotgun pressed into her back, recognizing the drawl in the owner's voice and wishing like hell she didn't, Carrie swallowed hard, looked over to Farrah.

"Honey go to the cabin, okay. Go right now.", she ordered, trying to keep her voice steady and as calm as possible. It didn't keep the fear in the girl's eyes at bay though.

"C..Carrie?"

"Sweetheart I'll be fine, I promise. Just go to the cabin.", she insisted as 'Chief' let out a laugh.

"Yeah go on sweetheart, just do what her pretty face says.",he mocked.

Eyes cold, using a simple but effective combination of movements, Carrie managed to disarm and pull the gun back on him. Only to hear Farrah let out a scream. Glancing over her shoulder she saw the girl shakily standing, whimpering, about to burst into tears, and then remembered what she was holding that had her so upset.

"Oh no...oh shit..", she gasped. Her eyes darting from Farrah, to the two men lying on the ground, and then to the one standing directly front of her. The idiot looked thrown by everything, but still was giving her a smirk, looked ready to get some revenge.

Knowing he wouldn't get it by landing her in jail for assault with a deadly weapon, Carrie backed up, looked at the gun once more before throwing it as far away as she could, deep into the trees.

"What the fuc...throwing my goddamn... you're still a fucking piece of work, aren't you!"

She'd made a break towards Farrah but he'd gotten hold of her hair, then arm before he shoved her down. Underestimating though how quickly she'd be back on her feet.

Angrily he staggered towards her, and left a scant amount of space for her to run. Backed against a tree on the far side of the clearing, Carrie knew she'd have to dodge and get around him, or fight the fucker head on. Knowing though dodging could give him opportunity to grab his buddy's gun, not willing to traumatize Farrah even more this morning, she opted to do some ass kicking.

Sizing him up she knew a well timed kick, well placed throw would bring the bastard to his knees. She sensed though he wasn't as drunk as his friends, and knew this encounter was way beyond him sporting for a fight. The pool hall incident had turned this personal for him, and she'd have to get creative to get out this unscathed. Even if it meant giving him the satisfaction of winning for a few horrible moments.

Faking him out, by faking him out and clumsily running to her left, she put up minimal resistance when he grabbed her, held her in a choke hold. His hot, boozy breath hit the back of her neck as he hissed in her ear about 'Opie'. Babbled on about her needing a protector. Between the dig at Brody and the flat out insult, Carrie wasn't scared so much as spurred to inflict severe pain.

Biting down hard on his arm that had her trapped, she kicked at his ankle then stomped on his foot. It wasn't as satisfying as kneeing him in the balls, but it was the quickest way to free herself and get towards Farrah.

She ran towards where she'd last seen her though and tensed up, not seeing her there or anywhere else near by, and forgetting in all the chaos where she'd told her to run to.
"Farrah..FARRAH!"

...

Hearing her name Farrah wanted to stop, turn back around but she was confused. Frightened. Seeing the cabin not too far ahead decided to run the rest of the way there. She kept thinking about the man holding her arm and the guns and Carrie picking one up too, and just wanted to grab Merriweather and hide under her fleece blanket with him and Calvin. Stay there until Brody and Carrie worked it all out, told her the bad men were gone and she was safe. Running onto the porch her lip quivered, seeing Brody wasn't in the chair where he'd been sleeping earlier.

"Nick?! NICK!",she cried, running inside the cabin over to Calvin.

"Calvin, where Nick?!"

Mewing, the kitten ran to the back bedroom, started scratching at the closed door while Farrah knocked.

"Nick!"

"Brat, hey..hey! What's going on? What..."

Getting down to her level Brody realized she was shaking. Trying not to panic he brushed a stray hair off her forehead, took a gentle grip on her shoulders.

"Farrah what is it. What's wrong?"

When she didn't answer, shook her head as she looked down, tried not to cry, he tried his best not to panic. Gently reaching to lift her chin.

"Brat it's okay. Whatever it is, the only way I can help is if you talk to me. Let me know what happened. Look, you want Carrie to tell me instead? I-" 

When Farrah's eyes widened and she looked even more frightened, things clicked and now Brody was the one nearly shaking.

"Where is she..", he breathed, but fought to keep his voice calm, steady and collected. He tried again.

"Farrah, it's okay. All you have to do is tell me what happened, tell me where Carrie is."

"Carrie...she...she...the, the man...gun...hurt.."

Fumbling with the English, Farrah started speaking Arabic a mile a minute. Reminding Brody how Issa would get when he was nervous or upset. Then, and now, he had to concentrate and pay close attention to the words to understand them. But wished he had a more difficult time understanding what she was saying now. Something had happened to Carrie in the clearing, and had scared Farrah out of her mind.

"Nick...he try, but she...the gun..."

"Shhh, shh..don't think about it okay. Don't think about it.", Brody soothed as he held her, rubbed her back, forced himself to take deep breaths in and out.

"Listen you stay here. You stay here and lock the door until I get back."

"But-"

"Farrah do not follow me. Understand?"

Getting a nod and a still quivering chin, he hugged her again.

"It'll be fine. Carrie will be fine. Just keep Calvin company until we get back."

Grabbing his baseball cap on the way out the door, Brody broke into a run until reaching the clearing where he held back. Forced himself to stay back until he could assess the situation, like any trained marine sniper would. He saw two men were down but one of them had caught up to Carrie and grabbed her arm. He looked malicious and too damn familiar.

"Motherfucking shit.."

Wondering what possessed him to fabricate a story about this Nazi fucker earlier on, when Brody heard him start taunting her, white dots flashed before his eyes before they iced over. Crouched in the trees not far away he grabbed the first weighty object he could get his hands on. It felt like a rock.

...

After breaking away from him, calling for Farrah and not seeing her, when "Chief" grabbed her arm for the first time since this ordeal started Carrie was panicked. She'd been caught off guard, distracted for the slightest second and turned her back on the fucker. Now he had the upper hand, but she wasn't intending on him having it very long.

She spun back towards him trying to figure out a way to get some leverage from his hold on her. Maybe flip him over. But while she was strategizing, he was aiming to throw the first punch, socking her square in the nose.

...

Hearing the sickening "thwack" of a fist hitting her face, seeing all the blood and her falling backward, Brody's stomach lurched and he tasted bile. He'd been forcing himself to stay hidden, in position, take down his target from a distance, stick to his training. But his training hadn't been worth shit after he'd been given his new orders in the desert. Watch us demonstrate deathblows on your partner before you give the final ones. Resist and you'll be in that hole instead of him.

He wasn't looking at Tom's (allegedly Tom's) bloodied face though, he was looking at her's. He wasn't in the desert, this was the woods. But in the desert there hadn't been rocks. In the woods there weren't hulking guards holding him back.

Brody was on his feet before even realizing it, slamming the rock into the back of "Chief's" head. The idiot fell like a ton of bricks, missed landing on Carrie by a few seconds.

Helping her to her feet Brody took off out of the clearing, not letting go of her hand as they ran. They were a good distance away before he realized his name was being yelled.

"Fuck! Brody slow down! Just stop!"

At first he didn't even hear her, let alone follow her instructions. But they were almost at the cabin and having run the whole way there, he was winded and forced to stop. Focus on everything around him instead of the nightmarish imagery in his head.

"Carrie, you okay?"

"You have a tissue on you?"

After he handed her one she cupped it around her nose, trying to curb the bleeding. It was just a trickle now but the throbbing was starting up. Her whole face hurt like a mother, but she'd been through worse.

"You...you know what you just did back there, don't you?", she asked as he turned to face her, trembling. Darty eyed. She hadn't seen that look since his double agent days. But was too worked up, had too many questions to let concern get in the way of getting answers.

"Carrie, I don't want to talk about-"

"Well I do!", she yelled but then winced, feeling her nose throb as he walked over, switched out her tissue for a new one and held it in place. Thanking him she let out a heavy sigh.

"I'm okay, Brody. I just got a piece of his fist. He swung, I didn't duck in time. It happens."

"I know, I saw it.", he muttered, backing up.

"Did you see how over the top you were?", Carrie scoffed.

"You slammed a rock into his fucking skull! What if one of his moron buddies had come to and seen you when we were back there?"

"They didn't, Carrie. I was quick, I did what I fucking had to."

"I was holding my own with them. You didn't have to-"

"What did you expect me to do, goddammit?!", Brody exploded.

"Just to stand there and watch while someone beat the shit out of you!"

"Beat the shit...it was one sucker punch!", Carrie yelled back before taking a breath, forcing herself to calm down.

"It was one punch, from one drunken asshole. He just got the better of me for one second!"

"One is all it fucking takes."

"Brody, it's okay! He didn't-"

"It doesn't matter! He still, what I saw him fucking try to...never mind."

Shaking his head bitterly he shot her a look then stormed off.

"Brody, BRODY!" Yelling as he walked off down another trail, too far away to hear her, Carrie swore, then kicked at a tree before feeling her head and her nose throb in unison. Shaking her head she rubbed the bridge of her nose, fighting tears as she walked the rest of the way back to the cabin.

Chapter Text

Knocking on the cabin door, finding it locked, Carrie loudly started knocking, yelling for Farrah who ran up and quickly unlatched it.

"Carrie!"

Hurtling over to her the girl practically jumped into her arms, held on for dear life. Carrie held her back just as tightly, tearing up when she started crying, saying in Arabic how afraid she'd been.

"Shhh, shhh, everything's fine. I'm fine. It's okay, I'm okay.", she soothed, shifting from a crouched over to a sitting position on the cabin floor as Farrah curled up in her lap. Buried her face in her chest as she cried.

They sat there holding each other for a long time, until finally they both calmed somewhat. Farrah was the first to pull back, but frowned nervously pointing up at Carrie's swollen and bloodied nose, the bruise forming beneath her eye.

"They..the..the man hurt..."

"Yeah.", Carrie sighed, sounding like a girl of Farrah's age. She hated admitting it but the proof was all over her face.

"But it's okay. It's doesn't feel as bad as it looks."

Still frowning Farrah shook her head, confused.

"Farrah? What's wrong?"

"You..get hurt? But you...you strong. You, don't get hurt!", she insisted. So long as she'd known Carrie she'd seen her as a superhero. A tall skinny blonde spy superhero who always got away too quickly to get hurt. She beat up the bad guys. None of them had ever beaten her back, and Farrah didn't understand how these men had been able to.

"No honey. No. That's not..."

Trailing off, bunching the tissue more against her nose, Carrie sighed.

"Look, even though I know how to fight and I know how to get away, once in awhile I wind up getting hurt. Sometimes the bad guys get the better of me. Sometimes they're big with big fists, or they have guns.", she said but regretted her words when Farrah shuddered. Slipping an arm around her she held her close again.

"With those guys today, I fought them hard. They hurt me back but I didn't care. I did what I had to to give you time to get away, and I'd do it all over again so long as it kept you safe. That's all I care about, okay?"

Nodding, Farrah snuggled closer to her as Calvin walked up, purring and rubbing up against them. 

"Hey, did you miss me too?" Carrie lightly laughed, giving him an ear and belly rub before he scampered after a dust bunny. Farrah smiled but then her face went serious.

"Carrie, where's Nick? He say he be back after-"

"Brody went for a walk, Farrah. After he and I took care of the bad guys he said he wanted to get some air. Clear his head."

"He be back soon?"

"I don't know, honey. May be awhile. C'mon though, before he gets back..." Getting to her feet she helped Farrah up.

"If you grab the first aid kit out of the closet, bring it over to the bathroom and you can pretend that you're Maggie, help fix my face up."
Eagerly Farrah nodded, ran to get the kit while Carrie walked over to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, frowning as she assessed the damage.

...

Meanwhile Brody, after taking the longer route back to the cabin, walked down by the dock and watched the water for a few moments. Then stripped down to his boxers and dove in, swimming laps back and forth as hard as he could. He tried to fill his head with thoughts of last night. How happy and stupid and fucking free he felt, they felt splashing around in the water, getting drunk in the bath, sitting outside watching the rain fall in sheets, her sleepily demanding he stay. If he thought about that, fixated on it, maybe the rest would just float away. He hoped anyway.

Finally, worn out he climbed back onto the dock. Sprawling out on his back he dried off in the sun, shutting his eyes for awhile before working up the nerve to go back inside.

Carrie was on the couch French braiding Farrah's hair. Brody could only see her in profile but noticed the cotton and gauze bunched underneath her nose, and a Snoopy bandage striped across her cheek. Farrah didn't look up from her book, but Carrie heard the door swing open and turned slightly to face him, stormy eyed.

"Farrah, honey.", she said, tapping her on the shoulder.

"Did you feed Calvin yet?"

"Oops. I forget."

"Well go ahead, your braid's all finished."

Jumping off the couch, Farrah saw Brody by the door and grinned, ran over to hug his waist.
"Thank you Nick."

"You're welcome, brat.", he said sincerely. Getting to her level he hugged her back tightly, kissed her head before she skipped over to the kitchen. Calvin at her heels.

Warily Brody stood back up as Carrie looked down, away from him.

"Can we talk?", he asked as she shrugged, met his gaze again.

"Are you sure you don't want to run off and avoid me? The door's right there, wouldn't dare keep you from it."

"Carrie..."

"No, don't Carrie me. You don't get to Carrie me.", she spat before biting her lip, remembering Farrah was in earshot. Motioning for him to step outside she angrily strode off the porch, down to the dock as he followed.

Crossing her arms she stared out at the water, swallowed hard before speaking.

"Why did you run? From me?"

"Carrie I didn't-"

"Because barring our first weekend when everything went to shit, you've run to me, Brody. With me. You didn't run when I got a goddamn SWAT team called on you, when I burst into your office after Gettysburg, after I held a gun to your head, had a full blown fucking episode..", she scoffed but then shuddered, averted her eyes in the pained way she would when she mentioned Iraq, her translator.

Sadly Brody walked up, went to touch her shoulder but she shook him off. 

"You're not afraid of that, you're not afraid of knocking Nazis out. But when I call you on it you take off?"

"I came back, Carrie."

"I see that. I want to know why you left in the first place."

"It doesn't matter, love."

"It does if you intend on calling me that!", Carrie retorted as he stepped back, looked stricken.

"Brody. This time we've spent up here. The whole time it's been so..." Not even knowing a word to describe it she laughed, tearfully and disbelievingly.

"Real?", he offered as she nodded, her smile going sad.

"If you feel it too then why did you run? Cut me out? Leave me standing alone in the middle of the damn woods and feeling like I royally fucked up with you, again.", she scoffed, remembering two times prior she'd felt similarly.

"Carrie I just needed some space, that's all."

"And all I needed was for you to talk, explain what went through your mind when you-"

"When I what, jumped to your defense? Is that what has you so upset?, Brody asked curiously, bitterly, desperate to get her interrogation lamp off him for a minute, maybe more.

He wanted the flashback triggered today to crawl back into the ugly depths of his psyche. Not to be exposed and magnified and rooted out. He wasn't up for it. And didn't want to put Carrie in the position to take charge of doing so tonight. Even fighting with her would be less excruciating than another Q&A.

"Seriously, is that the root of all this? You not needing a protector?", he mocked as she strode up, glared at him.

"You said as much last night in the tub. And you're not one to refrain from disclosing when alcohol's involved." He knew it was a cheap shot but he hoped it worked, would distract her. From the ice in her eyes though he knew it hadn't.

"Don't you fucking dare try and talk your way out of this, turn things back on me! I asked you a question and I deserve a goddamn answer. Not you trying to turn this into an inane debate over my pride, my precious ego being bruised.", Carrie snarled.

"Which, for the record, it wasn't. I admit, I needed help today. Knowing Farrah was close by wasn't making what I had to do in the clearing any easier. You showing up when you did was needed. Necessary even. I've done my job long enough to know backup's not something to be ashamed of."

Feeling ashamed himself Brody sighed, dropped his gaze while his left hand twitched, fingered invisible prayer beads. He hadn't done that since he was on the run, and Carrie was surprised seeing it as well.

"Brody, your-"

"Don't. I just picked up the habit again. It's nothing."

"When?", she frowned.

"When what?"

"When did you pick it up again?"

"A kid saw me doing it on a train overseas. Pointed it out. So did your friend June when she was helping me."

"It's been that long?" 

Shrugging Brody glanced up at her. "Guess so."

"You know, before I left for Baghdad, my cover didn't call for it but I got a copy of a Qur'an, did some research. I even talked to Danny."

"About Islam?", he asked getting a nod.

"I'd taken a few courses on it in college but I wanted a refresher for myself. Plus.."

"What?"

"I don't know, I guess it helped me still feel connected to you, in a way." 

Taken aback at the words, more importantly the sentiment behind them, Brody smiled and so did she. Only her's soon turned to a smirk.

"But even not having read up on anything, even being a fucking Atheist, I know you wouldn't be praying, wouldn't be going for beads that aren't on you unless you were..."

"What.."

"Upset. Uneasy, unsure, unsettled. As far from 'free' as you've ever fucking been.", she said knowingly as he rolled his eyes, went to turn away but she took hold of his upper arm, shot him a stern look.

"And we're not leaving this dock until I figure out why."

Chapter Text

Laughing lightly, shaking his head in disbelief Brody moved Carrie's hand off of his arm. Feeling the urge to sit he did so in the middle of the dock.

"What's so funny?"

"Even taking a long weekend doesn't distract you one bit, does it? You're still in that mode."

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about just now. Look at you. You soften me up, get me to smile, play good cop, then go in for the kill with more questions. Accusations. Theories. You are always working, aren't you?", he said, more awestruck than annoyed.

"God help Farrah when she's a teenager and breaks curfew for the first time. You'll sit her down, get her talking. She'll be begging to be grounded in minutes."

Snorting Carrie sat down across from him, crossing her legs Indian style. Smiling deviously.

"Well since you're such an expert on my tactics, are you going to cooperate?"

"You still have your theory. Convinced without a doubt that something is wrong."

Smile fading her eyes narrowed.

"It's not a theory. It's obvious something is wrong when you feel cutting me out is your only option."

"Carrie, I didn't cut you out in the woods. I was trying to get you out. Get you the fuck away from them! That's all you saw from me."

"No, it wasn't. I saw the look in your eyes in the clearing, Brody. I saw what you-"

"Jesus, Carrie what did you want me to do? Use my words?"

Shaking her head, clearly annoyed, she sighed.

"Look, I told you I didn't mind that you jumped to defend me. Not after those fuckers saw Farrah and I was too worked up to even see straight."

"What the fuck did they do to Farrah?", Brody asked, stormy eyed.

"They scared the shit out of her when she ran into the clearing. She started yelling at them about crushing wildflowers. They yelled back so I ran in after her. All the assholes were trashed. On a normal day dealing with them would've been fun. But with Farrah there, I was so on edge I couldn't breathe. I panicked. Protecting her came first. Protecting myself became an afterthought."

Nodding in understanding, all Brody wished was that he'd jumped into the fray sooner.

"That's why I'm glad you were there. I'm not upset about what you did, Brody. It was the way you did-"

"What, I should've used a tree branch instead of a rock?"

Getting an eye roll combination ice glare, Brody sighed, gave her an apologetic look.

"I saw you in the woods after you helped me up and we got the fuck out of there. I saw your eyes. And I didn't..."

Trailing off she struggled to think of the way to say this that would hurt the least.

"Look, do you remember at the community center when I had my..."

"Yeah."

"You told me that I wasn't me. That you didn't recognize me. Well today in the clearing I didn't recognize you."

When he looked down, away from her Carrie sighed and reached over, held his face.

"I'm sorry, I just-"

"No, don't apologize, Jesus." Moving her hand off his cheek, but still tightly holding it he met her gaze.

"Tell me why I shouldn't then." Carrie said. Her voice was gentle but her eyes were laser focused on his as he spoke.

"Our first weekend here you asked me about Tom Walker. I told you I killed, thought I killed..."

"Yeah. ", she nodded, before things clicked and she nearly gasped.

Ordinarily this was the part of the interrogation she craved. When the truth came out and motive and means were unveiled and she had her subject right where she wanted them. Broken, turned, ready to play ball. Right now though all she felt was guilt accompanied by mild nausea. Finally this morning made sense, in a horrible sort of way.

"I had to beat him to death. But not before they showed me the proper way of doing it."

"Brody..."

"They held me back. They made me watch them while they beat the shit out of him. And today I had to watch that..cocksucking, piece of...come after you..." His voice broke and his hands went to his face but she peeled them away, rested her's there instead.

"Shhh, it's okay. It's all over now and I'm fine. Farrah and I are both fine. I promise.", Carrie assured, but when she went to move closer, hug him, he nodded and moved her hands away.

"Okay. I..I'm okay."

"We're okay.", she corrected as he stood up, helped her up.

"Do you believe me?"

He gave her a small nod as his supposed answer, but it didn't feel like an answer at all. Nor did his smile that looked like the ones he'd force onto his face when he was in front of a camera, that he'd practice making in front of his bathroom mirror.

"Brody..."

Tightening her grip on his hand, Brody squeezed it back but then dropped it. Nodded for her to follow him.

"C'mon, we should get back to Farrah."

...

Holding a bag of ice against his throbbing face, nursing his beer Lee sullenly sat at the bar, looking to Steve who was polishing off his second cheeseburger. Apparently being disarmed and taken down a few pegs by a woman gave his friend an appetite. Lee on the other hand was still half doubled over, thanks to that damn kneeing directed at his groin.

"Chin up, man.", Steve got out between bites.

"At least we're not eating supper through a straw like Jon tonight."

"I guess. But the nerve of that blonde bitch.", Lee grumbled before hearing a throat clearing behind him. Turning he saw a set of crutches supporting an old friend.

"Who are you idiots badmouthing now?", the man asked as Steve got up, helped him get situated on the bar stool beside him.

"A crazy broad that attacked us in broad daylight. Jon's stuck overnight at General 'cause of the whole thing. Got concussed or some shit.", Steve answered.

"Well c'mon. You knew one day that White Nation shit would catch up with him. Get his ass kicked. He knows better than to bring it up around me. You should've just left him to rot."

"Hey!", Lee slurred, swayed as he tried to stand up.

"That's my..my friend you're talking about and I'll be damned if you-"

"Easy..easy.", Steve coaxed, helping him sit back down.

"How much as he had?"

"Too much.", he muttered.

"But what would you expect after his ego got busted. Getting his ass handed to him by that goddamn blonde."

"She was tiny too...and all skinny, like who the fuck taught her to throw down like that, I don't-"

Trailing off, dumbfounded Lee swigged down the rest of his beer, nodded to the bartender for another.

"Well tiny or not she must've had some big balls, taking on the three of you by herself. What did you do to provoke her?"

"We were just gonna do a little hunting and she got all in our faces, hollering about her property, us trespassing on it.", he mumbled.

"Where did you guys go?"

"Bear Lake. Near all those old cabins.", Steve said.

"You know all those owners of those get twitchy and pissed when you bring guns there. You want to hunt you go to the other side of the lake. Even my nephew knows that and the kid's a goddamn pothead."

"We weren't even shooting! Well, 'cept when Jon decided to test out his new gun.." Lee recalled.

"Damn bitch got it away from him then chucked it in the woods."

"She wasn't having any of your shit, was she?"

"I tell you, all those tricky moves of her's. Must've been a fucking cop or something." Steve shrugged.

"Good enough of one to get her picture with the President.", Lee slurred as Steve looked on in surprise, along with his friend.

"What did he say?"

"The...the blonde. Don't you remember? She got all that press at the White House, after that Abu Na-something or other got killed."

"Wait, you sure that was-"

"Course I'm sure. I only recognized her 'cause I thought she was hot. Turns out she's just fucking mean.", Lee whined.

"Well since you know her so fucking well, what's her name?"

"Started with C think. I dunno, my head hurts.", Lee groaned, nodding for more ice.

"Carrie. Her name was Carrie.", the bartender piped up. Rolling her eyes as she refilled his ice pack. "She ran into that mill to catch that terrorist. They promoted her to be basically in charge of the CIA. You sure chose the wrong woman to tangle with, guys."

"We weren't tangling, we were just..."

"Hey, the more you move your mouth the more your face will hurt.", the bartender warned.

"Well wish we could place that ginger fucker that ran in to defend her, helped her out.", Steve muttered.

"Wait you just said it was only her."

"No she had that kid with her...", Lee mumbled, adjusting his ice.

"A kid ran in and helped her?"

"No, not the kid. Some tall redhead in a baseball cap. Camo print. He's the one who beat up Jon."

"Wait, a camo print..."

"Yeah.", Steve said, frowning at the look on his friend's face.

"You know a guy that likes camo caps?", he laughed.

"Shut the fuck up." Pulling out his cellphone he frowned, scrolling his messages while Lee looked over his shoulder.

"Say, who's Mike? You got a boyfriend..."

"Knew there was a reason I quit hanging with you fuckers." Scoffing, standing up, he ordered a drink before grabbing his crutches, maneuvered over to a small table not far from the bar.

"Aw, c'mon back, bud. We were just."

"Shut up!"

"Hey man, c'mon back." Steve said, warily looking on as the bartender brought a shot over.

"Look you know what you get like with the booze, you shouldn't-"

"Leave it, Steve. I'm fine."

"But-"

"Hey, you want to be fucking pals again all of a sudden? Tell me what that camo cap guy looked like."

"I...I don't remember, man. Tall, red hair, that's all I got! We were all drunk. Jon probably got the best look at him and he's hopped up on pain meds right about now."

Sitting at the table, looking on as his friend drained the shot, scrolled through his messages, Steve tensed up, wondering what he was looking up or conspiracy-theorizing about now.

"Look the last time you got all worked up like this, things weren't good. What are you all freaked about no-"

"You sure that blonde from the CIA you saw up at Bear Lake, that her name was Carrie?"

"Yeah. Lee was sure anyway.", Steve shrugged, looking two stools over to see his friend slumped over asleep on the bar. Then turned back to see his other friend had gone red in the face, swearing under his breath.

"Shit..mother fucking..that son of a-" Slamming his phone down, after he went to get another drink Steve moved over, quickly thumbed to the text he'd been looking at. Squinting to read what "Mike" had told him.

"Still digging up stuff on Brody? Jess just told me he took off for a weekend with some CIA woman, Carrie? May be worth looking into. Call me tonight if you're sober."

Quickly flicking out of the message Steve noticed the phone background. It was a crinkled photograph of his friend back in his military days, with a group of men dressed in olive and khaki, all wearing camouflage print caps. Hearing footsteps Steve shoved the phone away from him, standing to help his friend sit back down.

"Hey slow down there, will you?", he snapped, seeing him drain the shot.

"You shut up. And go get Lee over there home, I got some business to take care of, calls and shit."

"Calls? Look man, I don't like where this is headed."

Met with a glare he swallowed hard.

"Okay. Just do me a favor L. Let that nephew of yours know what you're up to. If he's not stoned have him give you a ride home."

"Fine. Now will you leave me the fuck alone?"

"Okay. Okay."

Shaking his head Steve walked over to the bar, tried to help Lee to his feet. "C'mon man let's go-"

"Wait, what about...what's he doing?", Lee frowned, looking towards the small table.

"Nothing, taking care of some business he says."

"Lauder? Taking care of business? That's never fucking good.", he slurred as Steve nodded in agreement, helped him out the door to his car.

Chapter Text

"One more game?", Farrah begged, looking up at both Carrie and Brody with sad puppy dog eyes. They'd been playing poker using candy as chips, and Farrah by far had the biggest pile.

"I think we've played enough for one night, brat."

"And hey, don't think you get to finish all your winnings in one shot.", Carrie said, arching a brow as the girl giggled, popped an M&M in her mouth.

"Remind me to restock the candy in the cupboard before we leave tomorrow."

Reminded that they were leaving tomorrow, Farrah's pout went even sadder. "We stay one day more?"

"Honey I wish we could.", Carrie smiled sadly, slipping an arm around the girl.

"Nick? We swim once more before we go?"

"Are you sure you're up for it?", Brody asked, getting a nod.

"I am sure. Yes."

"Alright then, it's a date.", he smiled. Looking closely Carrie was relieved to see it was back to being genuine.

"Well if someone has a swim date in the morning, she should probably try and close her eyes. Get a good nights sleep.", she said knowingly.

Going to pout, but thinking better of it, Farrah grabbed her pajamas and toothpaste and went over to the bathroom.

"Help me make up the bed?", Carrie asked, getting a nod from Brody but not much else.

"Farrah asked me if you were tired from your walk earlier, if that's why you were so quiet.", she frowned, looking up at him intently as he shrugged.
"I don't like lying to her."

"Who said that you were lying? I took a long walk and I am a little tired.", he said, getting a look as Farrah ran up, petted Calvin who had jumped up onto the bed.

"You think Calvin will sleep on my pillow at home too?"

"I don't know. I think there's a good chance though. Now go on, under the covers."

"Good night, Farrah." Brody smiled, pulling her close before she blew a raspberry on his face.

"Hey! Who taught you that?"

"I teach myself.", she giggled, squirming away from him and under the blankets.

"Good night, Nick."

After Brody moved aside, Carrie knelt down beside the bed, only to have Farrah try the raspberry trick on her. 

"Hey!", she snorted, arching a brow. "You may have pulled that over on him but it won't work with me. Nice hug, please?"

"Okay, nice hug." Farrah smiled. Tightly squeezing her Carrie kissed the top of her head, then went to pull back but was stopped.

"You stay?"

Looking over her shoulder at Brody, she got a nod and a soft smile indicating she should.

"Tell you what. I'll stay with you until you go to sleep."

"You promise?"

"You have my word. Now, get comfy while I go get changed."

Rolling over, Farrah fought back a yawn and kept her eyes open. Refusing to fall asleep until Carrie came back. A few minutes later she did, switching off the lamp before climbing into bed.

Snuggling alongside her, the girl drifted off quickly. Carrie on the other hand was staring at the ceiling, unable to shut her eyes. She kept going over everything that had happened today with Brody in her mind. The weekend had been going so smoothly and perfect she should've seen the downward turn coming. She should've known they'd get tripped up and spend their last night together apart. She wondered if he was getting any sleep either.

Shaking her head, she rolled over and fluffed her pillow, careful not to disturb Farrah as she tried to get comfortable. Maybe if she was lucky she'd get an hour or two of sleep too.
Lying on her stomach she felt something jump onto, then start kneading at her back and rolled her eyes. Calvin got himself situated on her shoulder, purring loudly, and the repetitive sound in her ear helped relax her. Finally she drifted off, but then heard muffled sounds coming from past the kitchen, down the hallway.

"What the..."
Slipping out of bed, easing Calvin off her shoulder and onto Farrah's back, Carrie knelt down to unlock the side table drawer and retrieved the gun, then crept down the hallway. Her whole body on high alert.

Her nerves were replaced with dread and a knot in her stomach when the sounds became clearer. Muffled cries and the same few words being yelled over and over, getting louder each time.

"Oh, fuck..." Setting the gun down she took off down the hall, trying to get into the bedroom but unable to open the door.

"Shit..fucking, shit..Brody? Brody!"

Turning the knob she started pushing, shoving at it but it remained closed, and she realized the wood was swollen from the heat.

"Shit!", she hissed. After hitting at the door once more with her hand, taking a few steps back she braced herself and ran into it hard. Thankfully it gave on the first try. Climbing into the canoe bed alongside him her heart broke. He was sweated up, pale, shaking, and hadn't stopped muttering yet.

"Brody..shh, it's okay. It's okay..", she soothed.

"Where..where is she goddamnit... what the..what the fuck have you done..where..."

"Shh, it's okay. You're fine, Brody."

"Carrie...C...Carrie.."

"Yeah. I'm here, I'm fine! Shh.."

Realizing he hadn't come out of the dream yet, that he was still having one about her, she bit her lip and tried not to get frantic. "Brody, I'm right here you understand? It's okay, you're not there. You're fine-"

"Leave her alone, p...please..just don't-"

"No one is hurting me! I'm fine!"

Blinking back tears seeing how afraid he was, how nothing she was saying was bringing him relief or helping him out of this, Carrie shifted close enough to touch him. Smoothing his hair back she stroked the side of his face hoping he'd stir. Hoping he'd forget this the minute he opened his eyes. His muttering had switched back to Arabic and now he was begging, pleading with someone on her behalf and telling them not to take her. It made her feel sick and more desperate to bring him out of this. 

Tapping the side of his face with one hand, with her other she shook his shoulder, rubbed his arm. Suddenly though he took a grip on her's that slid down to her wrist, tightened around it like a vice.

"B...Brody, open your eyes. It..it's okay, ev...everything's fine..", she said.

Trying not to wince or worse yet cry out, for fear it'd seep into whatever he was dreaming and make the nightmare even more real, with her right hand she kept holding his face. Tapping it until finally...

"NO!"

Startled awake by his own screaming Brody fought to catch his breath. His eyes darted around frantically before finally finding her's.

"C..Carrie. What-"

"Hey."

"H...hey.", he stammered, frowning curiously at her. His hands still shook and he felt clammy, knew he was trembling. But she was sitting at the foot of the bed looking at him, as calm as he'd ever seen her.

"What..what happened-"

"Nothing.", she answered firmly. Moving closer she gave him a soft kiss on the lips. Her left hand coming to rest at the nape of his neck.

"Carrie..", he sighed, shaking his head. He knew something was off but couldn't put a pin on what. And her eyes were stubbornly refusing to give anything away as she shifted closer.
"Some...something happened. You wouldn't be here unl-"

"I missed you.", she cut in, her tone taking him by surprise.

"I..."

"I missed you. And it's our last night. Our last night here, I mean."

He went to say something more but she moved in to kiss him again, shifting so she was on his lap. Before he knew it his hands were all over her and he tried to roll above, hold her hands above her head. Normally she anticipated that, welcomed it even, but now...

"No, I don't-"

Kissing him to avoid explaining, she stayed above him, kept control. It was faster this time, rushed but passionate, enough to clear his head and her's. Enough to keep them both from thinking, for a little while anyway. After, she lay against his chest. Her left arm still looped behind his neck.

"Carrie..are you-"

"I'm fine. We're fine. I promise.", she assured, kissing the scar on his chest before she got up, grabbing his flannel shirt off the rug.

"Hey...hey..", Frowning, he went to reach for her arm but before he could, she leaned back towards him and kissed his cheek, nipped at his ear.

"I love you. "

Before he could get another word in, she'd thrown on his shirt and walked out, closing the door behind her.

Leaning back against the wall she warily pulled back the sleeve, swearing at what was already a bluish-purple bracelet around her wrist, with stray marks extending above it that would only look worse tomorrow. Shaking her head she swallowed hard, wiped her eyes before pulling the sleeve back down. Retreating back to bed.

...

"Hey Trish, where is he?"

"Usual spot.", the bartender sighed, nodding to the corner table littered with empty shot glasses and crumpled. scribbled on napkins.

"He hasn't closed out his tab either and I have to close up."

"Here, this should cover it."

"Thanks." Trish said, her smile going sad as she looked over at a still muttering Lauder.

"You know I really thought he turned it around. He's barely been in the past few months, and the few times he has he's kept it to cheeseburgers and diet Coke."

"Do you know what set him off?"

"When I started my shift he was already half in the bag. But Ashley was working this afternoon, probably served him. I can ask if she knows anything."

"That's okay. He'll probably clue me in sooner or later."

"Hey, I know he needed a ride but would you rather I call you two a cab? I know pot's not quite the same as booze but-"

"I'm good, Trish."

"You're sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure."

Laughing, all the brunette could do was shake her head at him.

"I have to say you've really turned it around."

"Yeah?"

"You're not the idiot punk who'd come in here trying to get served with that fake ID. You grew up."

"Well it was either that or military school.", he shrugged.

"Anyway, here. For putting up with him."

Reaching into his pocket he retrieved his wallet, unfolded some bills before handing them to her.

"Thanks.", Trish grinned, before noticing two gym bags slung over his shoulder.

"You running off to the circus or something?"

"I wish. Good old Uncle L made me promise to bring his camping gear. Mine too."

"Are you serious? A little tent won't be enough to hold you and his monster hangover.", Trish frowned nervously as he shrugged.

"Well if I didn't bring it I'd be in for worse."

"Okay. You know best. Just, be careful, Z. Okay?"

"I'll try to be."

Walking over he tapped Lauder on the shoulder, startling him out of his mumbling stupor.

"Hey, about fucking time you showed up."

"Uncle Lauder, look. About this camping thing, if you want to wait til next weekend we can-"

"No! Goddamn it, you and I...we've been planning for this, remember?"

"Yeah well that was before-"

"Before what?!", Lauder snarled, propping himself up on his crutches.

"Nothing, I just-"

"Look I told you I was gonna take you before the summer was up and the timing is goddamn perfect. We're going tonight. There's just..something I gotta take care of though first.", he said, gathering up his scribbled up napkins.

"What?"

"When we get to Bear Lake I'll fucking tell you. Now c'mon, let's..let's go."

"Okay..okay, we will. But we're getting you some coffee first.", he sighed, getting a sympathetic look from Trish as he led him out to the car.

Chapter Text

The next morning Brody woke up, stretched, then looked at the clock on the wall. It was early. He had enough time to go outside to pray, get started on breakfast, take Farrah on her promised swim date. He was hoping by the time they had to leave things would be smoothed out between him and Carrie. He couldn't bear it if there was still lingering tension between them. Even after last night.

What happened between them hadn't come as a complete surprise, but Brody knew there was more to it than her 'missing him'. All he could think was how those words were their code back when she was strictly his handler. How last night felt more like their spied on fucking in the motel room. Like her last ditch effort to keep him from running off the rails.

He'd run off them and then some back in the clearing. And was kicking himself for letting it get to that point. It had set them back and now they had hours at best to make things right again. Brody told himself though he would. He had to. It was about his only way of hanging onto that fucking peace he'd been so desperate to get hold of in the first place.

Getting up he stretched again, made the bed, then made his way to the front only to hear clanging sounds and muttered swearing coming from the kitchen.

"Agh, fuck!", Carrie spat, turning away from the waffle iron dripping batter to the blender dripping smoothie. The lid hadn't been fastened tightly enough.

"Hey...hey!"

"Oh! You're up."

"Yeah!", Brody exclaimed, moving to clean up the blender mess, almost bumping into a cutting board loaded with fruit.

"Maybe that's a good thing.", he scoffed. "You know if you wanted to help with breakfast you should've just said something."

"I was up, figured I'd get started on it. You going to sue me?", Carrie scoffed, brushing past him to get back to the stove, right as the waffle iron started smoking.

"Carrie are you sure you don't need any...whoa!"

Turning the heat off while she rolled her eyes, turned back to the other counter top Brody rolled his eyes, pressed his index finger firmly into her upper back.

"Alright, c'mon. Let's go. We're going.", he sighed, ushering her out of the kitchen.

"What the...Brody! I was blending back there!"

"And you'll be able to when you get back. Though I saw something called wheat grass on the counter? May want to leave that out.", he snorted.

Once they were out on the porch she whirled around, glared at him while he looked on dumbfounded. "You mind my asking what the fuck you were doing?"

"Handstands.", she spat.

"Handstands. Okay, so you weren't trying to demo the kitchen our last day here."

"I told you! I was awake. Thought I'd get a head start on-"

"I thought you'd just want a quiet morning, chance to sleep in. You were up before Farrah was."

"Well insomnia's a bitch. What can I say?"

"I don't know. can say though that I'm sorry."

"Sorry?"

"For yesterday. Going off the rails like I did, denying it. Pretending nothing was wrong. You saw through all of it but I still...I just shut you out even more."

"Brody..."

"You didn't deserve that from me. And you shouldn't have to keep reminding me we're okay. I know we're okay."

"You do?"

"Yeah. I do."

When he reached over, held her face Carrie went to rest her hand over his but caught herself. Turning her head to kiss his palm before he leaned in to kiss her. It went from sweet to passionate before she forced herself to pull back.

"I wanted to do that last night but you ran out so fast I missed my chance."

"I had to get back to Farrah. Didn't want her to wake up when I wasn't..."

"Yeah. I figured. It's fine. She needed you with her. Vice versa."

Nodding she leaned against him while his arms slipped around her waist, pulled her close.

"I wasn't expecting to wake up and see you at the foot of the bed though. You really missed me that much?", he asked teasingly as she bit her lip.

"Yeah. I did.", she answered solemnly.

Still holding her Brody looked out at the water, enjoying the quiet before breaking it. "I wish we could just stay here. It wouldn't be so bad, would it?"

Shaking her head Carrie backed up, frowned up at him. "Brody..."

"Just think about it for a second. I'd still be cabin boy. Still do the laundry, cleaning, cooking if you let me. Though now there'd be two ladies of the house to contend with. And that damn cat..."

"Brody."

"No, I know. He's family now. I understand. I'd adjust."

"Jesus, will you just shut up for a second!", she laughed, exasperated as her smile faded.

"Sorry."

"We can't stay, Brody. You need to go back for the imam, Zahira. They've been good to you. And I need to get back to getting you your second chance."

"Carrie.."

"Hey, I'm not arguing with you about this. And don't go throwing that 'Carrie, you've dealt with enough drama lately' line in my face. I was dealing with drama from fucking terrorists before we even met. This kind doesn't quite compare."

"Carrie.."

"I'm not going to hide, Brody. We're not."

"Okay, okay..I know."

"Okay. Good!", she emphasized.

"Carrie? Nick?!". Farrah yelled as Calvin mewed, scratched at the door.

"Coming Farrah.", Carrie yelled back. Leaning in she kissed Brody on the lips.

"It's like you said, we're okay.", she assured as he nodded. Deciding for his own sake to take her at her word. Squeezing her hand he didn't drop it as they went inside.

"Okay I'm going to take care of this.", he insisted when they reached the kitchen.

"You go and see Farrah, pet Calvin, I don't know."

"No, you go see Farrah and pet Calvin. I started this, I'm going to finish it."

"Carrie.."

"Move it, Marine.", she demanded.

"Okay, okay. Don't get testy."

Going to the living room he saw Farrah sitting on top of the made bed, giving Calvin a belly rub.

"Hey. Calvin looks like he's loving life right now."

"He happy.", Farrah grinned.

"He like it here."

"Yeah I know how he feels." Smiling he pet the kitten behind the ears.

"You not quiet today."

"Yeah. Carrie said you thought I was tired or sick or something yesterday."

"You not smile right.", she said knowingly, as Brody looked on surprised and impressed at how observant she was. Though it shouldn't have been much of a shock with Carrie raising her.

"I was just upset yesterday after everything that happened in the woods."

"Yes. Carrie get hurt.", Farrah said softly as he slipped an arm around her.

"I know she did. And it never should've happened. But it's over now, brat. Carrie's fine. You know she's running around in the kitchen right now trying to make breakfast?"

"She is?"

"I tried to stop her but she kicked me out. So, let's just set the table and hope for the best, okay?"

...

Taking a small sip of her smoothie Farrah smiled, looked up at a nervous looking Carrie.

"It good!", she said as Brody took her at her word.

"I agree. Not half bad. Even without the wheat-grass.", he teased getting a glare.

"What is wheat..wheat grass.."

"Not sure but it looked pretty gross. Don't ever let her have you try it, okay?"

Nodding Farrah drizzled more syrup on her waffles, but then gasped, looked up in alarm.

"Carrie! You get call!"

"When? From who, honey?"

"It was Bear. He leave message.", she said as she stood up, ran over to the sofa table.

"I write it. He want you to call back before he becomes even older, crankier man."

Rolling her eyes Carrie groaned, catching Brody's eye. Meanwhile, remembering she had to feed Calvin Farrah ran to the kitchen.

"You should get a hold of him, you know. It could be important."

"Or it could be another lecture, sermon. Guilt-trip because I'm not behaving the way he wants me to."

"Well I haven't worked a paying job in awhile, but aren't you supposed to listen to your boss?", he asked as Carrie glared, stabbed a strawberry with her fork
.
"My office is the same size as his."

"Okay fine, Saul's not your boss but he is your mentor. Not to mention one of your closest friends. Is he really someone you want to write off over a lousy debate?"

"Lousy debate? It's over you and all the reasons he can't stand you!"

"Well I can't stand me either half the time. You haven't written me off yet."

"Hey, I make no promises."

Rolling his eyes Brody ate the last of his waffle, then reached over and stole the last strawberry off Carrie's plate. Popping it in his mouth he got a glare.

"You realize you're not helping your case, right?", she scoffed.

"It's okay. The berry was worth it."

"Ugh, you are such.."

"Hey think of it this way, the more I bug you now, the less Saul will tomorrow when he starts in on me. Just trying to help you out here."

"I don't need that kind of help.", Carrie smirked, standing up to clear her plate right as Calvin jumped onto the table, pounced after the cuff on her shirt sleeve. His claw snagging the fabric.

"Hey! What the-"

"Calvin get down, you have food!", Farrah scolded, walking up as Carrie stood up. 

"He claw you?", the girl asked nervously only to notice marks under the frayed cuff. Nearly dropping the cat she caught Brody's attention.

"Hey, what's-"

"It's nothing! Just sit back down, both of you.", Carrie said sharply.

Shaking her head, Farrah's eyes watered but she kept a brave face on. "I get Snoopy bandaid.", she said, running to the kitchen as Carrie turned, went to go after her.

"Farrah, wait. Farrah!"

"Carrie, what? Did the cat scratch you that..."

Catching sight of the bruises right as she went to hide them, Brody's jaw clenched. "When the fuck did...yesterday?"

"I..I don't..."

At the quiver in her voice, the way she wouldn't look him right in the eye he bowed his head. Overwhelmed with the worst kind of deja'vu.

"Let me see.", he said gruffly.

"Brody.."

"Let me see, damn it!"

Shaking her head sadly she held her wrist out.

"Mother fucking..."

"Don't, okay! Don't. I'm fine. You didn't-"

"Last night. That's when it happened, right? Last night?"

"Damn it! I don't-"

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"You didn't remember!", she yelled. "You woke up and you didn't remember a thing that happened. I wanted it to stay that way!"

"So you figured fucking me would accomplish that?"

Her eyes icing over at the remark, she took a deep breath to keep from snapping.

"You were having a goddamn nightmare, Brody. I heard you yelling in your sleep. I ran in the back room and you were begging in Arabic for someone not to hurt me. Telling them to leave me alone."

"I should've left you alone.", Brody said bitterly. Shaking her head Carrie walked up, went to touch him but he flinched, backed and turned away from her.

"Jesus, you didn't know what you were doing! That you were even doing it. You really think I'm going to punish you? That I'm going to run away in terror?", she scoffed. Before noticing he hadn't made a move to argue back, or made a move at all. He just stood still, defenseless. Taking her harsh tone and words like they were blows.

Realizing it she shook her head and walked over, took a steady grip on his trembling hands,
"Look, if you haven't scared me off yet you're not going to. You were someplace else last night. You were afraid, you panicked. It happens. I know too fucking well that it does.", she sighed bitterly.
"It was just a bad dream, Brody that's all."

Even though she was reassuring him, somewhat calming him down Brody couldn't take his eyes off her wrist.
"I'm so sorry. Shit, I...I'm so sorry."

"Shhh, don't.", she coaxed, bringing his hands close to her face, kissing them gently.

"I know you. You never meant to hurt...it just happened."

"What happened?", Farrah asked nervously. She'd been standing nearby and heard Brody apologizing, heard Carrie say he didn't mean to hurt and her brown eyes went wide, then went angry.

"Farrah, I-"

"What happened?!" The girl shouted, taking Carrie aback. Brody looked just as stunned but didn't feel in a position to say or do anything as Farrah ran to stand between them.

"Nothing, Farrah. Everything's-"

"You say he hurt!", she interrupted.

"Honey no, I didn't say-"

"And you say sorry! You...you hurt her? You hurt her too?"

Looking down as Farrah stared him down, furious and betrayed and teary eyed, Brody stood frozen in place. Too stunned to speak. Taking his silence as an answer Farrah ran at him, started hitting at him with tiny fists wherever she could reach.

"Farrah, Farrah stop! You don't-"

"You hurt her! You..you like men with boots! You..you hurt her!", she cried as Carrie took hold of her from behind, held the girl close as she squirmed, kept shouting at Brody in every language she knew.

"Shh, shh just stop. Just stop, just stop." Repeating herself over and over Carrie kept holding Farrah until finally she heard her. After she stopped struggling she started crying.

"Shh. Shh." 
Turning her around, the girl hid her face in her shoulder and Carrie hid her's in her headscarf. Trying her best to keep from crying too at the situation. Everything going from good to bad to downright ugly, again.

After she pulled back, dried her eyes, she was set to look up and mouth an apology, anything that would be remotely reassuring to Brody. Only to see he was already gone.

Chapter Text

Looking up to see Brody was already gone, Carrie forced herself not to be upset by it. Worried for him. She assumed that he'd assumed after Farrah's outburst it'd be best to get out of the way, give them some space. She just wished he hadn't slipped out the door as easily as if he were Calvin. It was rather unsettling.

"Come here, Farrah. Come with me.", she coaxed, taking her by the hand and over to the couch. Farrah obediently sat down, legs folded under her, but picked a place on the carpet to stare down at.

"Sweetheart, it's just the two of us now, okay? It's just us. Just you and me. We should try and talk and sort things out before we go home. Make sure everything's okay."

"Are you..you okay?", Farrah asked nervously, so soft Carrie couldn't hear her at first.

"I'm fine, Farrah. You have my word I'm fine. I'm gonna stay that way too."

"It..it not hurt?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Nick..when he..to your arm.", Farrah said nervously, with more fear in her eyes than Carrie had seen in a long time.

"Farrah, Brody didn't do this to me on purpose. I need you to know that."

"But he say-"

"I know what he said. But I also know he did this accidentally, without even realizing it. He had a nightmare, honey. Just like the ones you and I have."

"He get them too?"

"Yeah. He does. Last night I heard him yelling and crying out in his sleep, even out here I heard him. So I went over to his room to wake him up. Like I do with you."

"But I not hurt your arm when I..."

Sighing Carrie shook her head. "Just hold on for a second and let me explain, okay?"

"Okay."

"Brody had a dream last night that someone was trying to hurt me. Trying to take me away from him. He didn't open his eyes when I came in his room but he felt me holding his hand, so he grabbed onto my arm. Like, the way I did with you at the parade or when we'd go to the marketplace together. I'd hold on so we wouldn't lose each other."

Nodding Farrah met Carrie's gaze. "Nick afraid he lose.."

"Yeah. He held onto me tightly. But he's strong and left behind a mark."

"Like the man with boots did to me?", she recalled. Looking at the near faded out mark on her wrist as Carrie did the same thing. Working to keep her anger in check at the thought of that cretin laying a hand on her little girl.

"Farrah, why didn't you show me that before now?"

"I..I don't know. I'm sorry." Farrah sniffled as Carrie slipped an arm around her.

"Don't. Don't apologize, okay? I understand. You thought Brody hurt me the way the man hurt you."

Nodding the girl curled up in her lap.

"He didn't though, honey. He didn't. I know that's how it looked but, no. Brody would never hurt me like that on purpose. You remember he ran after those men in the clearing after what they did, right?"

"Yes.", Farrah nodded as she wiped her eyes, pulling back slightly to look at her.

"Brody's a good man, Farrah. He's made a lot of mistakes but he cares about you and he cares about me. He just had a nightmare last night. We've had a lot of those the past few days." Carrie sighed bitterly, wishing with everything in her that wasn't the case.

"But nightmares over now?", Farrah asked innocently. Getting a hug in return.

"I'll do whatever I have to to make sure they are, okay?"

"Okay."

Nodding the girl tried to pull back but had trouble.

"You still need hug?", she asked getting a nod.

"Yeah. Is that okay?"

"It okay."

After a few moments they finally pulled apart and Carrie was set to broach the subject of Brody, her and Farrah going to find him, mend fences when her phone started buzzing. Not thinking to check the caller she grabbed it off the table, answered.

"Hello?"

"Carrie..it's me."

"Saul?"

"Well, at least you still know the sound of my voice."

"Look, I'm a little busy right now. Can I call you back?"

"I've called you eight times. How the fuck are you still busy?"

Rolling her eyes Carrie sighed impatiently. "I'll be at Langley tomorrow."

"Good. I'd like you to bring someone with you."

"Saul, no. You can come by the house to see Farrah but I won't-"

"I'm not talking about Farrah. It's Brody. Can you bring him by at ten?"

"That depends. Should I take him to interrogation bunker one or three?", she scoffed. Nodding for Farrah to play with Calvin as she stood up, went over to the kitchen.

"Carrie..."

"Because I know two is set aside for that arms dealer Quinn's interrogating. I wouldn't want him to have to pull his knife on two suspects at the same time. That's a lot of theater for one fucking cell."

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Saul sighed. "My office should work just fine. And I want you two there at ten. Not ten after, half past. Either I see that fucker on the other side of my desk or there won't be another conversation between us."

"Jesus Christ, Saul. I don't-"

"I'm gonna go over his options, Carrie. The three of us are going to sit down and figure this fucking thing out. Move past it once and for all."

"But you said.."

"I know what I said. I said a lot of things. So did you. But if we don't try and get beyond it, the relationship we've built up the past decade won't amount to a goddamn thing."

"Saul-"

"And for the record I'm not doing this for your benefit. Or his. Or because I'm a useless sap of a romantic. I'm doing it because I have proof you collected staring me in the face. And
if I ignore it I'll be the exact son of a bitch I've refused to be my entire fucking career."

"Saul, I don't-"

"My office. Ten 'o clock tomorrow or the deal's off. Sergeant Nick Brody's not running the goddamn show anymore. Are we clear?"

"Yes. We are."

"Good. See you then. And give Farrah a hug from me."

"I will. Goodbye, Saul.", Carrie sighed, hanging up.

...

After Carrie nodded to Calvin, went into the kitchen, seeing the kitten was asleep and in no mood to go chasing a catnip mouse, Farrah went out on the porch and saw Brody down by the dock. Thinking back on everything Carrie had told her, how it wasn't his fault, he'd just had a bad dream, would never hurt that way on purpose, swallowing hard Farrah made her way to where he was sitting. Walking up to tap his shoulder.

"What the...Farrah?"

"Hi Nick.", she said shyly as he turned more around to face her.

"Is everything okay? Is Carrie okay?"

"Yes. I..I wanted to talk to you. Say sorry."

"Farrah, don't.", Brody sighed guiltily as she bit her lip, arms crossed. "I don't want you apologizing for one thing, you understand?"

"But I yell at you."

"I know. But you were scared, scared for Carrie. You felt like you had to protect her. You were protecting her."

"But you not hurt her on purpose! And I yell-"

"You thought that I had. It looked that way. But I'd never lay a hand on Carrie on purpose, Farrah. If I tried to she'd beat me to a pulp.", he weakly laughed as Farrah frowned,
confused.

"Pulp? Like juice?"

"No. No, it's an expression. It just means she'd hurt me right back."

"Ah." Nodding in semi-understanding Farrah sat next to him on the dock, looked at him apologetically.

"I sorry I beat you to pulp.", she said shyly as Brody stifled a laugh.

"It's okay. I'm recovering nicely.", he teased. But his face went solemn when her's did.

"Carrie say you have bad.."

"A bad dream? Yeah, I did. I thought someone was going to hurt Carrie. Take her away. That's why I held onto her. I know though, there's no excusing those marks.", he sighed
bitterly as Farrah frowned, tilted her head.

"But they mistake marks. Not like men with boots."

"That's true I guess." Brody shrugged, wishing though she didn't have this level of understanding at only six years old.

"Listen though, I told you earlier but I'll tell you again. If anyone tries to come after Carrie or come after you, they'll have to get through me first."

"Yes?"

"Yes. If anything happened to either one of you, Farrah I have no idea what I'd do.", he admitted, then looked at her nervously.

"You and me though, we're okay aren't we? We're still friends?"

"Yes, we friends.", Farrah grinned, then giggled as she climbed onto his lap, threw her arms around his neck.

Overcome by it all Brody smiled, watery eyed. "Good..that..that's good."

Kissing the top of her head he hugged her once more before she turned around, looked out at the water.

"Listen, I know I said we'd have our swim date but..."

"It okay. Carrie talk to Bear on phone and he wants us home."

"He does?"

"Yes. Next time we swim date?"

"Sounds like a plan.", Brody smiled, standing up before helping Farrah to her feet.

"Listen, I'm think I'm gonna take a walk, okay?"

"I come too?"

"I think I'm just gonna go solo this time, brat. Besides I think Carrie might need some help packing up your stuff."

"Solo?"

"By myself. If that's okay."

"It okay, but be careful!", Farrah said sternly as he pinky swore he would, then walked off.

Chapter Text

"Alright, as requested. A peanut butter, grape jelly, banana, and marshmallow fluff sandwich. Blech." Carrie grimaced, not able to hide her disgust at the combination as she set the plate in front of Farrah. Grinning the girl thanked her. Started eating her lunch.

"If that doesn't tide you over until dinner we'll stop somewhere on the ride home."


"Nick drive back with us?"

Frowning Carrie sat at the table, started poking at her salad. "I don't know actually. A friend of his gave him a ride up here. I'll ask when he gets back."

"When he be back?"

"I'm not sure.", she shrugged. Spearing a crouton with her fork. "After lunch though we should start packing, okay?"

Finishing off her lunch even though she wasn't all that hungry, Carrie got up and wandered out onto the porch. Calvin followed her and she scooped the kitten up, held him close before looking at her watch. It hadn't been as long as she'd thought but it had still been awhile since Brody left. Him taking off was bad enough, but him taking off without resolving things with Farrah was eating away at her. All she wanted was to turn back the clock to this morning and hide that damn bruise better.

"Carrie?"

Her thoughts interrupted she turned around. 

"Hey. You finish your lunch?"

"Yes."

"Crusts too?"

"Crust too.", Farrah smiled sheepishly, moving to join her on the porch. Her smile faded though seeing the intent way Carrie was looking out at the water.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, honey. Why?"

"You keep looking down there. But Nick not there anymore."

"What do you mean, anymore. When was he down there?"

"Before lunch. When you were talking, on phone."

"When I was talking on the phone you talked to Brody?"

"Yes.", Farrah answered, leaning against the porch rail. "I walk over and say sorry. For beating him to pulp."

At that Carrie had to stifle a laugh. "Farrah, you didn't do that."

"I know!", the girl grinned.

"It was a joke."

"But you two talked. You're friends again?"

"Yes."

"Good. That...that's good." Relieved, Carrie sat down in one of the outdoor chairs. Handed Calvin to Farrah.

"It is? You not mad?"

"No. I'm not."

"So he be back soon, yes?"

"Knowing now you two made up. Yes.", she said confidently.

"I know he'll be back soon."

...

Brody had taken the trail to the waterfall, and even after climbing down to explore the base of it he kept walking. He hadn't been able to spend this long outside since he'd returned to the States, and figured he'd soak up as much sun and calm from the woods as he could. 

But the main motivation for turning his quick walk into a lengthy hike was avoidance. Even though he and Farrah had made up, even though Carrie had assured him repeatedly she was fine, he couldn't get those marks on her wrists out of his mind. They looked like the bands Nazir's zip ties had left behind, and that alone was enough to make him lose his breakfast.

Slightly winded from all the walking, he sat down on a tree stump, caught his breath. He'd prayed earlier, now he just wanted to sit and think. In spite of all the drama they'd been caught up in this weekend, the yelling and the interrogating and the goddamn Nazi's resurfacing, it had started out as nothing short of perfect and cemented what he already knew.
He couldn't go back to a life of hiding and hair dye. Not now, what with promising swim dates and real first dates to the Mathison women back at the cabin. If he couldn't have a future with them he wasn't interested in pursuing one at all.

Feeling more clear headed and focused now, ready to head back he went to stand only to hear snickering, feel a sharp pain at the back of his head, and see everything fade to black.

...

After struggling to open his eyes, Brody struggled to figure out his surroundings. He was sitting in a chair, not bound or tied up but his left leg felt like it was on fire. Pain shot through it at the slightest movement. Squinting down at it he realized the cause, a nasty looking wound a few inches above his knee. It hurt for him to even look at it, and he couldn't help thinking of the Gettysburg tailor impaling himself on that goddamn stake in the woods. Had he done the same thing? If so who brought him here instead of leaving him to rot? One name came to mind.

"C...Carrie..", he muttered. Keeping his eyes open enough to let them adjust this time. Hoping to see her, but his stomach rolled seeing someone else.

"Well, look who finally woke the fuck up. You always did like to sleep in. I remember I'd be up at the crack of dawn with Tom, you and Faber would still be snoring your fucking heads off."

"L..Lauder? What..the fuck..where are...how the fuck did you..."

"Had some help. My buddy Jake did most of the leg work. Ha, get it. Leg..." 

Half laughing, half slurring Lauder drained the last of his beer, then tossed the can aside and uncapped his flask.

"Glad he came along. My nephew wasn't too keen on my plan. Decided to go and hole up in the truck instead of helping me out. Got stoned on me.", he glowered in the boy's general direction.

Trying to turn, see this boy he was looking at Brody winced at the effort. Between his leg and his head he was in too much pain to see straight. But knew he had to get the fuck out of here, away from his drunken, possibly gun toting former friend.

"L...Lauder. Fuck! You shot me in the leg? Figured that was the only way I'd stick around, have a fucking thing to do with you?"

"Eh, wish I could take credit for that but c'mon Brody. Does that look like a bullet wound to you? With all your training you ought to know the difference." Lauder scoffed as Brody looked down at the injury again. Even if it wasn't caused by a bullet, it sure felt like he'd been pumped full of lead.

"You always were pretty bright. You'd have to be to be fucking recruited by terrorists. Blow the goddamn CIA sky high." Rolling his eyes Brody shook his head, but regretted it when it throbbed.

"Don't sell yourself short there Lauder, I always saw you as bright. At least until you said that.", he growled.

"If I had been responsible for the explosion at Langley that day, do you really think I'd be back here? Just hours away from the scene where it happened? I'm innocent. I've got nothing to hide. And I bet you can't fucking stand it. he grinned, getting increasingly surly as he spoke.

Before being beaten into submission in captivity, he'd made a point of antagonizing his captors. Saying and doing whatever it took to anger them. At first it was to prove he wasn't broken. Later it was to get them to knock him out faster. He hated how this situation was forcing him to slip back into old habits, with a man he used to call a friend no less.

"Listen. You may be bright. But you're not as clever as you think. I know exactly why you're back stateside and I know who made it happen."

"You don't know shit."

"But Carrie does, doesn't she? She knows everything. And why wouldn't she? You've only been fucking her since your goddamn homecoming."

At this whatever smirk Brody had worn disappeared.

"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about.", he snarled, then forced his mouth to say the next sentence. "That...that bitch, she illegally surveyed my house, Lauder! She scared the shit out of my daughter! Why the fuck would I have a thing to do with her?!"

"You mean why would you come to her defense?" Lauder smirked, taking another swig from his flask as Brody paled.

"What do you mean?"

"What do you think? These woods aren't as secluded as you think. I've heard some stories. Over at our old bar as a matter of fact."

"From who, a bunch of useless drunks?"

"A bunch of useless drunks who placed your girlfriend at the clearing and you in your fucking camo cap running up right behind to protect her.", he sneered. "I think it's all fifty shades of fucked up myself, but I guess a fugitive will take shelter anywhere he can get it. You've been shacking up at her cabin? Waiting around for her to drive up and visit you? The days she has off from rebuilding her work?"

Swallowing hard Brody went to answer but Lauder didn't let him.

"But hey, don't get me wrong. I'd look forward to her visits too. Saw her picture in the paper."

"You're about to cross a line there, Lauder. I sure as fuck wouldn't if I were you.", Brody growled menacingly.

"Oh, what? I strike a nerve?" Shaking his head Lauder lowered himself into a beat recliner across the way from Brody's rickety chair.

"I was just complimenting you on your good taste, Brody. Pretty and can take damn good care of herself. Took on three drunks single-handed. I wonder how she'd hold up in prison for aiding and abetting. I mean, if she's fucking you she's got to be protecting your sorry ass."

"Look, whatever this is keep it between you and me. Alright?! Leave Carrie the fuck out of it!"

"I don't see how I can when I turn you in. The feds are gonna have plenty of questions and I'll have all the answers. I wonder if they allow conjugal visits when both parties are in prison." Lauder mused as Brody bristled.

"Let me ask then, why the fuck haven't you already turned me in? Why'd I wake up in this shithole and not a holding cell?", he asked.

"I just wanted a chance to catch up with you, buddy.", Lauder sneered. Meanwhile Brody's leg went from throbbing to pulsating pain. Even without looking at the wound he could tell it was close to infected if not already.

"Yeah, you took a pretty hard fall. That trap nicked you good. I'd pour a little of this vodka on it, try and disinfect it but, dunno if I can spare it."

"For Christ's sake, Lauder. C'mon. You wouldn't leave a man behind.", Brody said knowingly.

"You were the last to ship out after I was captured. Even Faber left before you. You waited. You waited around for word on me. Figure out for sure I wasn't just MIA."

Shaking his head Lauder looked at him venomously, got up on his crutches and moved to stand right in front of him, reeking of booze and nearly shaking out of rage.

"I...waited.. for my.. friends. My goddamn brothers. I waited and I wished like hell I'd have been captured instead. I waited for the men I trained and served with. Not the fucking traitors that up and blew up anyone that got in the way of their goddamn brainwashing!"

"I wasn't fucking brainwashed!", Brody growled, but regretting the exertion he forced himself to take deep breaths. "I wasn't.", he insisted, his eyes going from cold to pleading.

"Lauder, just give me a fucking chance. I..I'll explain. I'll tell you whatever you want to know, give you all your answers. And you can do whatever the fuck you have to with the information. Turn me in, land me in prison. Some bunker where I get a few square meals a day and not a shred of fucking daylight. I don't give a shit anymore. I'm tired. I'm tired of running and I won't. All I ask is that you don't go after Carrie. Leave her, leave the woman I love, out of it."

"Why? So she can clear your name? Pin that bombing on someone besides her cabin boy fuckbuddy?"

"She...she wouldn't. She wants to clear my name, she's tried to but she can't. She won't be able to. You'll get what you want. You'll put away the man that betrayed your friend. Your brother. The man that put a bullet in Tom's head. You'll get your justice. Just leave Carrie out of it. Please."

"So you fucking admit it then.", Lauder said, looking stony-eyed. "I've been waiting and waiting for you to fucking say it out loud."

"I have.", Brody rasped. Watching nervously as Lauder moved closer, gripped the back of the chair he was in.

"Doesn't make one bit of it right." he snarled. Lifting his hand from his crutch just long enough to shove the chair and shove Brody out of it, before regaining his footing. Shaking his head disapprovingly at the man lying immobile on the ground, and slurring about him, Carrie, and adjoining cells before going to refill his flask.

 

Chapter Text

"Okay, Farrah? I need you to triple check the cabin to make sure you packed everything." Carrie yelled from the bathroom where she was gathering up her makeup, meds, hair dryer. Returning to the living room though she saw Farrah sitting sullenly on the bed. Petting Calvin who was sitting in her open, empty suitcase.

"Farrah! What's going on? You were supposed to be almost finished packing!"

"I pack when Nick's back.", the girl said stubbornly.

"He should be back soon."

"You say that already."

"Honey, if you're that worried you and I can go out and look for him ourselves."

"But...men with boots." Farrah shuddered as Carrie bit her lip, sat next to her on the bed.

"Hey, I understand if you're scared. But I'll be with you the whole time, and if there's any sign of trouble we'll come right back.", Carrie said. She was past the point of wanting to confront anyone she could bump into out there. Aside from Brody who would get some hell from her for taking off.

"It won't be like last time. You have my word. But if you want to stay here and wait for him to come back, I'll understand."

"No, I brave! We..we go.", Farrah said firmly as she stood up.

"Alright then, after you."

Going down the trail, glad it hadn't gotten too dark yet, with her and Farrah calling after Brody, Carrie had to adjust to calling him Nick for fear of his last name attracting attention. She half expected him to run up to them angry. Not thrilled with them yelling all over the woods in search of him.

"Nick?! NICK!", Farrah shouted, scaring some birds out of the trees in the process.

"Farrah, shh."

"But he need to hear us-"

"Trust me, if he's out here he can.", Carrie sighed.

They walked for about a half hour more, hitting almost every trail with no sign of him. Carrie knew these woods well, but even not having that luxury it was tough to immerse yourself in them enough to completely disappear. Starting to worry but not letting on, she motioned to Farrah to keep up with her. Only to see the girl dart off the trail, towards a patch of trees surrounding a stump.

"Farrah, what the... don't do that! Jesus, do you remember what happened the last time you wandered off!", Carrie scolded, feeling bad for snapping but not up for a repeat of two days ago.

"I'm sorry but look! It's Nick's!" Farrah exclaimed, bending to pick up the compass. Taking it from her Carrie swore under her breath.

"Farrah, how did you know it was-"

"He say you give it to him. He always has it."

Tearing up, but swiping at her eyes before Farrah could realize it, Carrie bit her lip. "Honey, it could've just fallen out of his pocket."

"No!" Farrah cried. "He say it keeps him from getting lost. Now he lost!", she sniffled. Then jumped hearing a thunder clap, right before rain started falling in sheets.

"Nick?! NICK!" Wanting to be heard over the thunder she yelled louder and walked out from under the trees and back onto the trail. Getting drenched in the process.

"Farrah, c'mon!", Carrie yelled. "We're going this way!"

"To the cabin?!"

"Yes! Hurry up before-"

"No! What about-"

"Farrah, we can't stay out here! C'mon!"

The rain was falling harder and she knew parts of the forest tended to flood. There was no way the two of them were about to get caught in something like that.

"NICK!", Farrah shouted once more, chin quivering before she ran to catch up to Carrie.

...

"Where..where the fuck is it..where...Carrie I lost it...I'm...I'm sorry, I lost it..."

"What the fuck is he babbling about?", Lauder spat venomously at the man lying on the floor, concerned for something not in his pocket.

"What did you say?"

"Why's he moving all over like that? An hour ago he couldn't even move that leg!" Frowning, Lauder watched his nephew bend down, get a better look at him.

"Fuck. He's sweating bullets. I bet he's running a fever!", he concluded standing up. Staring down his hopelessly drunk, still menacing looking uncle.

"You're high.", Lauder scoffed.

"It's worn off. Look, this is fucking crazy. Did you even know what you planned to do once you and Jake brought him here?"

"I wanted to teach him a lesson is what I wanted to do! Show him he can't go around shooting people point blank and strapping goddamn bombs to his chest!"

"So you're just going to stand by and watch his leg get more infected?"

"Hey, a little time on crutches might do him a little good.", he smirked.

"Uncle Lauder, no. This has gone on long enough."

"You think you can talk to me that way? Treat me like some brat kid? For Christ's sake. Go smoke some more of that weed you brought along and leave me the fuck alone."

Rolling his eyes Lauder maneuvered to the door. "Where the hell are you going?!"

"Need another refill."

Watching spellbound as Lauder stumbled outside, wishing he'd nipped this thing in the bud when he saw his uncle's pal haul a former congressman into his trunk, reaching into his pocket he retrieved another joint along with his phone. Desperate beyond belief to use one, he opted for the other and dialed, forced to leave a voicemail.

"Hey, it's me. I know it's been like fucking forever, but my uncle's on a tear and he's done something. Something you need to know about. I can't get into it over the phone, but...just get in your car and get to Bear Lake as soon as you get this. If you can't get away or your mom gets fucking bent about it, make an excuse and get here anyway. Trust me. It's fucking serious, D. Bye.", Zander sighed before hanging up.

Chapter Text

After grabbing some towels, Carrie went to the living room and saw Farrah sitting solemnly in front of the fireplace. They'd been dripping wet by the time they reached the cabin and the storm had been cold. Luckily she found some firewood Brody had stashed away that hadn't gotten wet from the rain. She had the fire going by the time Farrah changed into her pajamas.

"Here, let me dry your hair a little before I rebraid it." Sitting behind her, Carrie gently toweled the girl's hair.

"Hmm. Looks like you're going to need a haircut soon. Remind me to make an appointment when we get home. We can go together and get pink highlights. How does that sound?", she chuckled but barely got a smile.

"It's going to be fine, Farrah. Brody will come back."

"He is lost though."

"No, honey. He's not. Brody's smart. He knows how to take care of himself in the woods. He'll be fine."

Shrugging, Farrah toyed with the compass in her palm while Carrie continued braiding her hair, even twining a purple ribbon through it.

"Okay, what do you think?" she asked, handing over her compact mirror. Getting a small smile in return but not much else. Sighing, Carrie moved to sit beside her in front of the fire. Rubbed her shoulder reassuringly.

"Farrah, you know how for my job I have to look for people, figure out where they've gone?"

"Yes."

"Well, one of the ways we do that is by talking to the last person they talked to. Asking them lots of questions. We try and get them remembering everything about the last conversation they had with the suspect...person.", she corrected.

"Now, you were the last person to talk to Brody. What did you say to him?"

Turning more towards her, legs crossed Farrah looked at her earnestly. "I answer, then we find him?"

"I know your answering can only help us find him. So, go ahead. Tell me everything you two talked about at the dock this morning."

"I say, hi. He ask me if I was okay, if you were okay. I try to say sorry but he not let me. Said I should not app..apple.."

"Apologize?", Carrie asked.

"Yes! Yes, he tell me not to apologize. We talk about marks, that his were mistakes. We talk about pulp. And swim. Swim date for next time."

"Did he tell you he wanted to have it next time?"

"No. I say it because Bear say he want us to go home."

"So, you told Brody about Saul calling me?"

"Yes." Farrah answered nervously. "Was it okay?"

"It shouldn't not be.", Carrie frowned, muttering to herself as Farrah looked on, even more anxious than before.

"So you know where Nick is now? We find him?"

Trying to figure out the best way to answer her, Carrie bit her lip as her phone rang. Before she could grab it Farrah did, right as Calvin decided to start mewing, then mewing louder for his dinner. Swearing under her breath Carrie scooped him up, brought him to the kitchen.

"Hello?"

"Hey Farrah. It's Quinn, er. Pete."

"I know it you!" Farrah grinned, twirling the tip of her braid around her finger.

"How are you? How's the cat?"

"Calvin good. He eating dinner."

"Hey, speaking of which. I didn't know if he liked tuna or chicken flavor cat treats so I bought both kinds."

"He like both!"

"Good. Would feel silly keeping them for myself. Also plan on getting some more chocolate. I bought too much at the store and need to get rid of it."

"Why?"

"Have to look good in my bathing suit." Quinn quipped getting Farrah laughing.

"So are you going to tell me why you're this giggly or will I have to guess?"

"I not giggly!", Farrah protested.

"You are. But it's okay. I'm glad you're in a good mood. Are you guys on your way back?"

"No, we still at cabin."

"Still? That's a long drive to make at night."

"We can't go back yet.", she said, smile fading out.

"Why not? Saul is really anxious to see the two of you." Quinn said as he leaned back in his desk chair. Mentally swearing as he tried to prep for whatever excuse he was bound to hear.

"No! We can't go back until we find Nick!", Farrah said stubbornly. Putting him on high alert.

"Farrah? Where is Brody?"

"I talk to him on dock and tell him Bear wants us home and he say okay that we not have swim date yet and he say he want to walk solo but he not back and he lost compass and..."

"Farrah, easy, Easy. It's alright. Don't get upset.", Quinn soothed, hearing her sniffling over the line. "C'mon, you were giggling up a storm not two minutes ago. Don't worry. Everything's going to work out."

"O..Okay."

"Are you better?"

"Yes, I better.", Farrah said, putting him slightly more at ease.

"Good. Is Carrie there?"

Walking over to the kitchen, she saw Calvin was eating but Carrie was gone. Going down the hall she heard jazz echoing through the shut guest room door.

"She in her room but I get her.", she said, knocking twice.

"In a second, Farrah.", Carrie called. Coming out wearing the t-shirt Brody had worn last night, she took the phone from Farrah.

"Hello?"

"Carrie, what the fuck is going on?"

"It's nice to hear your voice too, Quinn.", she scoffed, taking the phone onto the porch.

"So tell me I didn't hear this correctly. Brody went for a goddamn walk and never came back?"

"I'm handling it."

"Are you? Because from where I'm sitting you let a fugitive out of your sight and free to roam the fucking woods."

"Quinn...", Carrie sighed, swearing under her breath. "Look, you don't have the first clue what's going on! Jesus, your only source is an overtired six year old."

"Okay here's what she told me. Interrupt me if I'm incorrect. Sergeant Nicholas Brody took off this morning. Right after he learned the head of the CIA wants a sit down with him tomorrow. Anything ringing false here?"

"Quinn, you don't understand."

"I don't understand how you're not seeing the goddamn obvious."

"I know Brody."

"Believe me, that's been established.", Quinn scoffed, getting her glaring.

"I was with him all weekend. We had an incident but we worked everything out. He wouldn't run. He won't run."

"How can you be sure? If I was in his position I'd run like hell."

"Not if you had reason to stay.", Carrie said firmly, mentally running down ways to bolster her argument.

"He encouraged me this morning to talk with Saul. Why would he say that then take off when Farrah mentioned he called?"

"I don't know. Why would he strap a goddamn bomb to his chest? Look, even if he didn't put on the pyrotechnic show at Langley like the world thinks, if you run the day before your sit down with the director of the CIA, it makes you look fucking guilty."

"Don't you think I know that?! Jesus. I know what it all looks like, Quinn.", she sighed sadly, running a hand through her hair.

"Carrie. Look just take a seat, will you? And one of your pills if they're on you. The last thing Farrah needs is to see you on a tear."

"How the fuck do you know if I'm on a tear?"

"You sound upset. You're probably pacing. The hand not holding your cellphone is probably in your hair. And your chin's on the verge of doing that wobbling it does when you're ready to explode."

"Okay, if you're across the lake right now looking through your rifle scope, I'm swimming over there now to break the fucking thing."

Ducking back inside she grabbed her purse and retrieved her pills before swallowing one dry. Then went back onto the porch.

"Hey, my gun will not be threatened by you under any circumstances.", Quinn snorted, shaking his head. "Carrie...if Brody doesn't come back tonight-"

"I know Quinn, I know."

"I can't believe he suckered me again, goddammit."

"Hey! We don't know that he-"

"It's my own damn fault. It is. I gave the fucker the benefit of the doubt and he takes the opportunity to earn his goddamn wilderness badge."

"Wait, what?"

"Wilderness badge. Like he's a fucking boy scout. They build fires, tie knots. All that shit-"

"No, Quinn. What do you mean you gave Brody the benefit of the doubt?"

"I told him to go to you. I arranged goddamn transportation for him."

"What?!", Carrie asked, eyes narrowed.

"You sound surprised. Don't know why you are, how the fuck did you think he got there. Hitchhiked?" Hearing her silence on the other end of the line, Quinn shut his eyes, rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"This is the first you're hearing about this, isn't it? What bullshit line did he feed you? How did he explain himself?"

"Quinn I have to go."

"Carrie..."

Hearing a click on the other end, then a dial tone, swearing he slammed the phone back into the cradle. Furious at Brody for ditching, himself for letting it happen, and wishing he'd just sucked it up and shot the fucker the first time around.

...

Pacing around frantic, twirling the joint in between his thumb and index finger but refusing to light it up yet, Zander checked his phone again and swore. There were no missed calls, no voicemails asking what the fuck this was all about. Either help was on the way or he was being blown off. He could only pray it wouldn't be the latter.

Crouching down beside a too incapacitated looking Brody, he took the washcloth off the older man's forehead, brought it to the sink to rewet before putting it back in place. Just before the cabin door swung open.

"Hey, thanks for the help!", Lauder slurred, waving at the car driving off before stumbling back in the cabin and into the recliner.

"Well we got our refill. Jake drove two towns over to the liquor store and the dipshit behind the counter didn't even know he was drunk.", he crowed. But frowned seeing his nephew not paying any attention, rapidly texting someone who'd finally replied to him.

"Too preoccupied with that fucking phone to even pay attention. Goddamn son of a-" Muttering under his breath he leaned back in the recliner, shut his eyes only to hear a car outside. Opening them he saw Zander jump to his feet, go outside to greet them.

"What the-" Frowning, Lauder sat up, propped himself to a standing position on his crutches before squinting outside. Trying to make out who else was out there. Why their expression had gone from stunned to frantic to furious in the span of a minute.

"Hey, what the hell is going on out there, who..."

"I called for some help, Uncle Lauder. Look, just go in the back room and try and sleep off the shit ton you drank.", Zander spat, trying to lead him to the back bedroom.

"Get your goddamn hands off me!", Lauder snapped. "I'm not going anywhere til I know that godforsaken terrorist over there is finally taught a goddamn less-"

Silenced with a hard shove that knocked him off balance, knocked him out, Zander gaped down at Lauder, then at the figure behind him.

"Sorry. But if I had to hear one more fucking person call my dad a terrorist.." Brushing past him, after stepping over Lauder, crouching beside Brody, Dana looked at him wide eyed. Biting her lip she pulled out her phone.

"Hey, Chris? Yeah, yeah I made it here fine. It's a college, it's huge. Not much else to say about it. Are Mom and Mike still out? Yeah, just tell them when they're back I'm gonna look at a few other schools around here so, I'll be up here another week or two. Yeah. I'll check in with them in a few days. I promise. Okay, thanks."

Chapter Text

"Dana...just, just fucking talk alright? Say something.", Zander pleaded.

After hanging up the phone, hearing his explanation about Lauder knocking Brody out, dragging him here, she'd been sitting on the floor cross legged and silent, twining her hands she was staring at.

"Dana c'mon..just-"

"Don't fucking touch me!", Dana snarled, recoiling when his hand barely brushed her shoulder. Standing up she ran a hand through her hair, trying to take deep breaths. The shock was starting to wear off, now reality was starting to sink in. Even though it all felt like a godawful dream more than anything else.

"Geez, okay. I just-"

"Has he been like this..since your uncle...?", she asked fearfully.

"Not the whole time. There was arguing. There was definitely arguing.", Zander shrugged.

"Look, I didn't know who else to call. I got stoned as soon as I realized what Jake and Lauder were up to. I just wanted to stay out of the fucking mess. But then I realized it was, your dad and I just.."

"You thought you'd call me. God, just because I share DNA with him I'm supposed to have a plan?", Dana spat.

"It's not like I can call him a goddamn ambulance! If I bring him to the hospital I may as well turn him over to the cops!"

"So what? We stay here? Crack open that thousand year old first-aid kit and pretend we're on fucking Grey's Anatomy?"

"Again, do you really think I have a plan?!", she cried as she knelt back down next to Brody, adjusted the washcloth on his forehead. His eyes were still closed but she heard him muttering under his breath. Listening closely she recognized the name all too well and cringed.

"Hey, did he just say-"

"Her name? Yeah. He did."

"He said it earlier too.", Zander recalled, getting a frown before he went on to explain about the cabin, Lauder learning about it and coming up here in search of Brody. Grimacing, Dana shook her head but he pressed on.

"You know if she's got a cabin here I can probably find the place, I-"

"You're shitting me, right?"

"Dana, what other options are there?"

"Besides going to the woman half in charge of the CIA? A shit-ton, Zander."

"Look, you said once that this, Carrie..and your dad were-"

"Fucking? Yeah, they were. But I think thanks to his suicide tape and it's trillion hits on YouTube, now she's in hot pursuit of more than that." Dana scoffed before glancing back at Brody. Blinking back tears. She was torn between hating the sight of him and wanting him to wake up and give her a hug, and wished like hell she had more of an ally in all this than her stoner ex boyfriend.

"I'm not handing him over to her. I don't care if she's not crazy like he said. I can't trust her not to land him in jail or to take care of him when he's this sick. I can't trust her, period!", she said emphatically as she stood up.

"Well who else is around these parts that can help? 'Cause I'm pretty sure anyone you find in these woods will gladly put your dad out of his misery."
Zander scoffed, grabbing the ancient first-aid kit to dab what semi-resembled antiseptic on Brody's leg. Even at the stinging though the older man didn't move a muscle or open his eyes.

"He's gonna need real treatment soon, D. This shit's not cutting it and by now his fever's probably spiked."

Not sure what else to do, Dana started scrolling through her phone contacts only to land on one that could potentially help.

"What's that look-"

"There was a girl a year ahead of me at my school. Katie Murphy. She sat with me at lunch even though I was the freak loner transfer kid. She's gonna be premed."

"Note the operative word, pre.", Zander snorted, getting a scowl.

"She got a job at a clinic this summer and it's closer to here than to Charleston. I'm thinking she has a little more expertise than us."

"So you're just going to call her? Say 'hey I need you to treat my dad who's got a gaping hole in his leg, who's also on the run from the cops and fucking Homeland Security?'"

"You have a better idea?", Shrugging Zander shook his head, right as Dana started rummaging through her bag for a notebook and a pen that she uncapped.

"Dana what the fuck are you do-"

"Just shut up for a second." Chewing on the pencap she hurriedly scribbled a message on the sheet of paper, then handed it to Zander who skimmed it, frowned.

"Are you serious with this?"

"You said you could find Carrie's cabin, right?", she asked.

"Well yeah but-"

"But nothing. Look, if her car's in the driveway then tape that note to it. Or to her fucking front door, I don't care."

"What if she knows your dad's handwriting?"

"He writes in all caps and I forged his signature. How do you think I got so many excused absences sophomore year?", she smirked before the gravity of things went and caught up with her.

"Look, you do this and your last shot of anyone close by helping your dad goes away. And what if he's been staying up here with her? What if they're birdwatching or camping or fucking again or something? You think she'll buy that he just up and left?"

"He's done it before.", Dana scoffed, trying to cover Brody's leg wound with some gauze from the kit. Avoiding Zander's glare.

"I'm not going to fight with you on this, Zander. Each time I've been around that woman she's caused a fucking shit storm. At my house, the police station. I don't trust, or like her. And I don't want her within a hundred miles of any of this. Maybe if we're lucky that note will slow her down."

"Okay. Okay I'll make sure she sees it."

"Good. Thank you. Now will you help me get him to my car?"

Nodding, glad she was stepping up and taking control of this madness, Zander did the bulk of the lifting and supporting while Dana held back, made sure they both remained upright on the walk from the cabin to her car.

"You thinking shotgun here or-"

"God, Zander. Are you high?", she scoffed, opening the back passenger side door.

"It's worn off, damn it." 

Once situating Brody in the back, panicked that he was still so out of it but not willing to let it get the better of her, Dana quickly went around, jumped in the driver's seat before rolling down the window.

"Listen are you sure you're good? I can call one of Lauder's friends to deal with him so I can go with you if you-"

"No...fuck, he's my dad. You've done enough for him already. If anyone's gonna get caught aiding and abetting him it should be me, right?", Dana sniffed, swiping at her eyes.

"You know if you bring him to a doctor by law they have to treat him."

"And if I see Katie and get supplies or whatever I can treat him without the cops or a SWAT team busting the door down."

"Well do what you have to do. Just be careful, okay?"

"I will. I'll try to be anyway.", she said before he nodded, went back towards the cabin before she called his name.

"Yeah?", he asked as she got out of the car and threw her arms around him.

"Thanks."

"It's fine."

Pulling back after a moment or two she wiped her eyes.

"Remember, make sure that note-"

"She'll see it. Trust me.", Zander assured as she went back towards the car, buckling in before driving off.

"Yeah. She fucking better."

...

"Okay, I think this is the last of it.", Carrie sighed, slamming the trunk of the car shut. After getting off the phone with Quinn she decided they had to get out of here tonight. It wasn't that late and she estimated they'd be back around eleven or so. She'd called Maggie to let her know she needed more pills and her sister graciously said they could crash at her place, have breakfast together the next morning. She'd sounded chipper on the phone, not even lecturing about her asking for a refill so late. Carrie didn't need to spy for a living to know something was going on.

"Farrah? C'mon let's go." 

Sleepily making her way off the porch, holding her backpack in one hand and Calvin's carrier in the other, once reaching the car Farrah froze, realized why the cat sounded so worked up.

"I forget his litter!", she exclaimed as Carrie swore under her breath. Putting the carrier down by the car, they both ran over and unlocked the cabin, went back inside.

Meanwhile Zander peered out from behind a cluster of trees and knew it was now or never. It had taken him longer than he thought to reach the cabin, and he'd missed his chance to sneak the note onto the door. He knew though if he tried getting to the porch now he'd be noticed for sure. And if everything he'd heard about this woman from Dana was true, that was the last thing he wanted to have happen.

Quickly running over he ducked beside the car, unzipped the pocket of Farrah's backpack before stuffing the note inside of it. Assuming that it'd have to be unpacked and seen eventually. Hearing a yowl, than a hissing sound he looked and noticed the grey kitten's fur standing on end, his tail puffed up like a raccoon's.

"Nice kitty...nice-" Before he had a chance to zip the pocket all the way he heard voices and cautiously stood, then bolted back into the trees before anyone, aside from Calvin, noticed him.

"Okay, this should make the drive home less of a struggle.", Carrie snorted, getting the litter box situated inside the carrier, only to see Calvin flicking his puffed out tail. Looking agitated.

"Carrie? He okay?"

"I think he's just a little stressed. First car ride jitters?"

"It okay Calvin, everything's fine. You with me.", Farrah assured, getting the carrier set up in the back while Carrie hopped in the driver's seat. Once buckled in she backed out of the driveway but noticed Farrah take something from her pocket. Sadly looking at it in the palm of her hand.

"Farrah? What's wrong?"

"You sure Nick get home safe?", the girl asked, looking up from the compass.

Focusing her eyes on the road Carrie bit her lip before nodding. "He'll be fine, Farrah. We'll all be fine. I promise.", she said, wiping at her eyes as she continued to drive.

...

"So Dad, what do you think of my driving huh?", Dana weakly joked, looking in the rear-view mirror to see Brody was still sweated up but still asleep. A blessing in disguise considering how fast she was driving. The road was pretty much dead at this hour and she had a lot of ground to cover if she wanted to get to the clinic by morning. Luckily she was in familiar territory, recognizing this exit thanks to all the pastures and clearings and homes that dripped money. The clinic was in a well to do area, which she figured would be to Brody's benefit.

Her hands were gripping the wheel tightly and she was blaring a death metal CD Zander had left on her front seat. It wasn't her type of music but it was definitely keeping her alert.

Suddenly noticing a car up ahead, she turned off her high beams but the driver coming the opposing way wasn't switching off theirs. Making it near impossible to see the road.

"Jesus, fuck!", she yelled as she swerved, flipping the driver off.

"ASSHOLE!"

Once her eyes readjusted she realized she was in a ditch. Swearing the entire time she managed to drive up and out of it, but once back on the road a warning light blinked on and chimed. She didn't need to read what it was alerting though. She felt her front left tire going sluggish and not long after was forced to stop the car.

"Damn it!"

Near tears she was set to get out when she heard footsteps and froze, hands on the wheel before glancing in the backseat. Praying that whoever was out there would have the good sense to just keep on walking.

Chapter Text

Hands gripping the wheel tightly Dana could only pray that whoever was near her car would walk right past. "Excuse me, can I help you?"
No such luck.

"That depends. Are you the asshole who just drove me into that ditch and blew out my tire?", she spat. Getting a frown from the older woman standing beside her car.

"Let me guess, you're not."

"No. I live just up the road. But I was out walking and saw everything that happened. I just wanted to make sure you were alright."

Rolling her eyes Dana got out of the car, preventing the woman from looking inside it.

"Listen. My name's Sonya. Do you need to borrow my phone to get a hold of the police or-"

"No! No, it's fine. I just...I need to get my tire fixed and get back on the road like...now."

"Dear, is everything alright-"

"Everything will be fine after I fix my fucking tire!" Dana snarled, crossing her arms as she looked down, kicked at a pebble. "I'm sorry. I've just got an emergency on my hands and-"

"What kind of emergency?", Sonya asked as Dana tensed up. 

"Dear, I'm a doctor. Maybe I can help."

"No! I just-"

Hearing a shuffling sound, muttering, then a moan coming from inside the car (that had the driver's side door still open), Sonya frowned, peered into the backseat.

"Oh my goodness.", she gasped.

"Look, he..he's sick, okay. He's my dad, he hurt his leg and he needs help. I just want to get him to the Lake St. Clinic, I-"

"Nonsense.", Sonya scoffed, noticing the leg injury but not much else in the shadows and dim light. Shaking her head she rummaged through her purse, grabbed her phone.

"Wait, I told you I didn't want the cops involv-"

"I'm calling my brother to bring the car down. By the time we get your tire changed...look, we can treat him faster once we get him to the main house."

"The main house...?", Dana frowned as the older woman dialed.

"Well the guesthouse is smaller but I suppose it'd work just as well. Hey, I need you to bring the car around to the main road. I've got an emergency, there's a man here I need to treat. No, the clinic's too far! If I don't at least try and treat...yes, alright thank you. Rex will be by soon, dear."

"I'm sorry...Rex?"

"My brother. I'm staying with him. He's military and I was head nurse at Walter Reed. We're good in a crisis."

Eyes wide Dana tried not to panic. "Look, this is...I appreciate it but I'll just call a cab or something. I just-"

"Dear, you're rambling. And I've seen this injury before. Swollen, hot to the touch. Not to be blunt but your father could die if this infection isn't brought under control. Even not seeing his face I know that."

"Yeah and if you did see his face you'd probably be fine seeing that hap-"

"What was that?"

"Nothing! I just...look, there's something you need to know, I-"

"Sonya where is-", Rex interrupted.

"Backseat-"

Stepping out of the path of the headlights all Dana could do was pray she wouldn't be recognized. Though she knew it was only a matter of time now that the interior lights were on before..

"Holy shit."

"Rex!", Sonya scolded.

"No, I..I know him.", Rex stammered, turning to Dana. "I know you too. Your name's Brody."

"Brody...", Sonya frowned before piecing it together. Then turned to stare coldly at her enraged looking brother. "Bring him to the house."

"But-"

"Bring him to the house!", she repeated.

"Sonya, his face was all over the goddamn news. Every newspaper, poster, offering ten million for him!"

"You've got plenty of money as is."

"I don't care about that, I care about the fact that he's-"

"What? Injured? Because that should be your only concern. I don't care who this man is, or where he's been, as a doctor it's my duty to care for him."

"You've been retired for ten years.", Rex scoffed.

"It doesn't matter, the oath applies. And speaking of, big brother. You retired from the service but you're still a soldier, aren't you? When have you ever left a man behind?"

"Hey, you sure you're not a lawyer instead of a doctor?", Dana interrupted, getting a frown from Rex as he looked at her, then the man lying motionless in the backseat, then his sister.

"Alright, fine. But bring him to the guesthouse, it's closer.", he said gruffly. After a little effort on his and Sonya's part, they got Brody into his car before Sonya hopped in the driver's side, drove him up the path to the property.

"Now, let's see about changing that tire.", Rex said.

Moving to get out of his way, Dana's knees wobbled and she had to brace herself on the car before she fell.

"Whoa. Easy there. You alright?"

Managing a nod but not much else she blinked back tears, bit her lip.

"You could've left us here to fucking rot. Called the police, turned him in...why..?"

"It's like she said. Never left a man behind. Now, c'mon. Give me a hand with this. I'd like to get back to the house some time tonight."

Nodding, too stunned to do otherwise Dana handed him a nearby jack.

...

"Farrah? C'mon honey, we're here."

Yawning, rubbing her eyes Farrah sat up, unbuckling her seat belt before Carrie helped her out of the car. Carrying the girl when she looked like she was going to nod off again.

Using her spare key she got the door open right as Maggie flipped on the lights and walked into the foyer. Danny at her heels.

"Here Carrie. I can take her upstairs to Josie's room if you.."

"Oh, sure. Thanks Danny."

"No trouble."

Curiously watching, after he went upstairs Carrie turned to Maggie, looking amused.

"Well he looks comfortable here, doesn't he?"

"Yeah well, he better.", Maggie grinned, holding out her left hand.

"Holy fuck!", Carrie gasped, admiring the ring before pulling her into a hug.

"How did he..when?!", she asked. Pulling back, motioning for her come to the living room, Maggie sat next to her on the couch.

"A few nights ago he met me at the hospital and brought me some dinner, and, we talked. I told him I was worried about telling the girls about the two of us. That I needed to know we were committed to each other or things really couldn't go any further. And he got down on one knee."

"I...I can't even. But isn't this going to be weird for the girls? They meet Danny once or twice and all of a sudden he's their stepfather?"

"I'm only wearing the ring because I knew you were coming by.", Maggie said bashfully, lowering her voice. "The girls don't know we're engaged. But they're getting to know Danny and things are going well. Really well. The past week we've gone to the zoo, gotten ice cream, went to Ruby's dance recital. Then tonight he came by armed with grocery bags, wearing this frilly apron of his mother's."

"Shit. I can't believe I missed that!", Carrie laughed as Danny descended the staircase. Looking nervous by the time he reached the living room.

"Can't believe you missed what?", he asked as Carrie smirked, put her hands on her hips.

"You plus an armful of groceries plus a pink frilly apron."

"Damn it, Maggie! You said the pink would stay between the two of-"

"Wait, it was pink!", Carrie laughed, appalled as Danny rolled his eyes.

"For Christ's sake-"

"Hey! It's not my fault she tricked you.", Maggie defended. Walking up she slipped her arms around his waist, pecked his cheek as he turned towards her. Kissing her on the lips as Carrie cleared her throat.

"Yeah, get used to it. Ask Maggie, I always wanted a little brother to pick on."

"Hey, not that much littler.", Danny scoffed, moving to slip on his shoes before Carrie walked up, hugged him.

"Take care of her, okay? If you don't I promise you I'll-"

"Rip my skin off. I know."

Rolling his eyes playfully he pulled back, grabbed his jacket.

"Don't tell me she scared you off already.", Maggie frowned.

"My new big sister? No way. I told you though, that buddy of mine from high school's in town."

"More than two beers and I'm-"

"A phone call away, I know."

Watching with a soft smile as they hugged, kissed again before Danny stepped out, Carrie shook her head disbelievingly as Maggie blushed.

"Pink...frilly...apron."

"Don't! It worked it's magic. That night he and the girls decided to make chili and blared the Pitch Perfect soundtrack the whole time they were cooking. I think Josie's got a crush on him now.", Maggie smirked as she blushed, glanced down at her hand on the walk back to the sofa.

"Back to this though, the ring was more for my benefit. He just wanted to make it clear he's not going anywhere anytime soon. He adores the girls and he loves me, Carrie. He loves me and I love him."

"Jesus, Maggie you're going to make me cry."

"Don't! Otherwise I'll be a mess all over again.", she protested.

"So what did Dad say?"

"Danny went to him before even talking to me. Took him to the golf course and bought him a beer. Now he's the son Dad never had."

"I can't even...this all just happened so fucking fast.", Carrie said, getting a snort in return.

"Hey, you're the queen of moving along at warp speed. You and Brody? Please. One day you're getting trashed and, back seating it.."

"Don't knock it til you try it..", she smirked.

"The next you were ready to leave your job to be with..."

Trailing off seeing her eyes cloud over, Maggie frowned in concern. "Hey, is everything alright?"

"Fine. I'm fine. I just want to see the ring again."

"Carrie..."

"What? Don't want to remind me what I turned down?" Carrie weakly laughed, looking down and away.

"Carrie c'mon..."

"Maggie, I'm fine. I swear. I'm going to go check on Farrah." 

Before she could get off the couch she was stopped with a look, then Maggie's hand on her leg.

"Farrah's fine. She and the girls are probably up there telling ghost stories as we speak. What's wrong with you? Is it Brody? He said he'd keep in touch. Hasn't he?"

"Yeah. He kept in touch."

"Is he alright? I mean, Danny told me he's looking the other way when it comes to him. And I'm sure you can convince Saul to-"

"No, Maggie."

"No what?! Carrie, you're scaring me here."

Wiping at her eyes Carrie let out a slow breath. Too tired from the drive to keep the charade up she decided to just tell all.

"... And then after he disappears I find out from Quinn that he drove him to the cabin. Brody told me he got a ride from a colleague of his. That they were mugged by fucking Nazis on the way."

"Carrie..", Maggie sighed, watching from the couch as Carrie paced.

"But it's not enough to bullshit me? He has to lie to Farrah too?!" Angrily she sighed, pushed her hair back with both hands.

"Fuck..FUCK!"

"Hey...hey. It's alright. It's alright. Look just, sit down. Try and relax. I'm gonna get us some water, okay?"

Quickly going over to the kitchen, Maggie grabbed two bottles from the fridge before returning, handing one over. Uncapping it Carrie took a small sip, sadly leaned back into the couch cushions.

"You can't do this to yourself now, okay? You're exhausted, you've been driving all night. And right now you've got some facts but not the whole story. Something you won't have until you talk to Brody and get to the bottom of all this."

"The bottom of what? There's nothing to get to the bottom of, Maggie! He left. He lied and he left and all I'm doing is lying to myself if I say there's more to the fucking story."

"Okay. Okay. Look, I think right now you should just go upstairs, wash your face, get some sleep. Then tomorrow we'll have breakfast, you'll drop Farrah at the community center, give Brody a goddamn earful when you see him, drive him to Langley, and you'll be at Saul's office by 9:55."

"You're kidding yourself if you think it'll go that smoothly."

"Carrie. Why did Brody leave the cabin in the first place?"

Holding up her wrist, Carrie frowned.

"He'd have to know, if he knows you as well as he claims to, loves you as much as he says, that his missing that meeting tomorrow would hurt you more than any bruises ever could. Speaking of which..." Walking over to the bookshelf Maggie grabbed a first aid kit then sat back down, opened it.

"I give Farrah credit but I think you'll be better off with this.", she lightly laughed, switching Snoopy out for an ace bandage. "By the way, I found Snoopy cleaned but folded in the back of the upstairs closet the other day."

"Oh shit. Tell him I really didn't mean to embarrass him about those, I just-"

"No, it's fine. Now they're mine. And I let him know it the other night when he came to bed."

"Wait, he found you wearing-"

"Yeah. And not much else."

Biting her lip to keep from laughing too loudly, Carrie covered her mouth, muffled a squeak. Finally she got her giggling under control, wiped at her eyes.

"Thanks for cheering me up. Granted, a little TMI but still.."

"Hey, I still owe you a lecture about your meds if you're interested, I-"

"No..no thanks.", she refused, taking a hug instead.

"It'll all work out like it should, sweetie. I swear it."

Nodding tearfully, Carrie pulled back. "Hope so."

"C'mon, let's go see the girls."

...

Walking in the bar Danny anxiously looked towards the pool tables, the booths, before finally making his way towards the stools by the jukebox. Sitting down he flagged down the bartender, ordered a beer and gulped down about half, despite his stomach being in knots.

It had been a white lie but it still was a lie to his fiance of all people. His fiance, a Mathison woman ergo a walking lie detector. Facing her, plus the other two at breakfast tomorrow was a challenge he was in no way up to facing. He just hoped whatever this meeting consisted of, wouldn't involve anything classified. At least anything he couldn't break down and tell his soon to be wife if need be.

Draining the rest of his beer Danny passed on ordering another before...

"Really? Couldn't wait til I showed up?"

"Hey! Don't sneak up on me like that.", he growled, getting a look, arched brow.

"How the fuck you're still in this business I'll never know.", Quinn scoffed. Sitting on the stool to the right of him he ordered a scotch.

"So, guess we're not in Moscow anymore, huh?", Danny joked, getting a stone-cold glare.

"No. In Moscow you held off til I had a goddamn drink in my hand."

"You poured it yourself!", he said indignantly. Rolling his eyes, a faint smirk on his lips Quinn sipped his scotch.

"Anyway, why the hell did you call at this hour?"

"We have a problem."

"What are you talking about, at Langley you said-"

"I couldn't talk about it at Langley.", he said curtly, finishing his drink as Danny frowned.

"Well what is it then-"

"Three...fucking...words.", Quinn hinted before he flagged down the bartender, ordered them each a shot of vodka.

Chapter Text

When Quinn subtly brought up Brody, Danny went tense. Became grateful for the vodka sitting in front of him.

"Look, as far as, he...goes I told Maggie I'd look the other way. For Carrie's sake.", he admitted.

"Well, for Carrie's sake I dropped him off at her family's cabin. And in doing so gift-wrapped an exit strategy for him."

"Wait...you're saying he-"

"He walked, Galvez. He left. Took off. Farrah told me over the phone and Carrie confirmed it."

"Did he know that Saul wanted to meet-"

Met with a nod, Danny sighed, swore under his breath. "Have you checked in at the mosque?"

"He's got eleven hours before he's royally screwed. I assume we wait them out but prepare ourselves."

"Ourselves? What about Carrie? If Br...if Agent Orange..."

"Nice code name.", Quinn smirked.

"Is AWOL, fucks her over again it's going to be-"

"I know.", he cut off. Looking pained as Danny shook his head.

"It doesn't make sense he'd bail. This is his chance to put what's left of his fucking life together."

"Galvez, honestly I don't give a shit about Orange's new lease on life. If he'd rather live out the rest of his days as a ginger Grizzly Adams, let him. What I do care about is him yanking the Agency's fucking chain again and again."

"By the agency's you mean Carrie's."

"And Berenson's. Ours. We've bent over backwards accommodating the fucker and instead of getting down on his knees in gratitude, following a goddamn order, he goes ahead and disappears.", Quinn said bitterly.

"Well assuming he doesn't make the meeting, what happens?"

"Saul sends the dogs after him."

"Yeah and Carrie's left to pick up what's left of him afterwards." Danny spat, already feeling protective towards and worried as fuck for his almost sister in law.

"Mother fucking..."

"My thoughts exactly."

Picking up his glass Danny slowly swirled the contents, then took a sip. "I think you should keep an eye on her, Quinn."

"As in stake out her house, camp out across Bear Lake with my rifle? Been there, done that. Besides I'm short on canned tuna."

"I don't mean from a distance. I mean look out for her."

"Carrie fucking Mathison needs looking after her as much as-"

"Save the witty comeback for someone who gives a shit, Quinn."

"Why Galvez, I'm wounded.", Quinn pouted.

"Seriously. Even if Carrie is pissed at you know who for leaving, you know that she'll defend him to the death. And Saul.."

"Won't be very fond of it."

"She could use someone in her corner when all this shit goes down. At the office, probably to help out with Farrah."

"You realize not long ago that position was all you were after in life."

"I know. But things change. I've got everything I need. Tomorrow though, who knows if Carrie will."

"Carrie needs Farrah. Vice versa.", Quinn said knowingly.

"I know...", Danny said as he paid for his drink, stood up.

"But it wouldn't hurt them any to have someone else."

...

Slouched down in a chair in the corner of the guesthouse bedroom, Dana watched nervously as Sonya tended to Brody, stitching his leg wound.

"You can talk if you want to, you know. It won't distract me.", the older woman said as Dana frowned, sat up.

"Where's Rex?"

"Probably at the stables. That's where he goes when he's livid with me but isn't ready to confront me yet."

"He's livid?"

"He's not happy. But that's mostly my fault. He hates when I throw his being a soldier back at him the way I did. But desperate times..."

"How desperate are things?", Dana asked warily, getting Sonya cursing under her breath.

"That bad..?"

"You know I hate these traps with a flaming passion. That's what caused this, you know. One of those miniature jaws of life got a good grip on this leg and did not let go. Plus the damn metal was rusted. Do you know if your dad kept up with his tetanus shots?"

"Um, no.", Dana scoffed.

"Well, the drug cocktail I have going ought to cover all the bases."

"So has his fever broken?"

"Not yet, But don't worry, we're doing all the right things for it."

"So Sonya? Can I call you that, Sonya?"

"It's fine... Dana?"

"Yeah. Dana. Is there any chance that he...he won't-"

"If the scars I've seen on your father are any indication, he's survived far worse than this. I know it's difficult seeing him this way but I'm doing all I can. And I'll be damned if anyone tries to stop me."

"Even a SWAT team busting through the door?", Dana snorted.

"Yeah. Even them.", Sonya smirked only to hear footsteps and a knock on the door.

"Hey, don't worry. If that's the SWAT team they'd have already kicked it in.", she said with confidence, opening it.

"How is he?", Rex asked gruffly.

"Better than earlier. But not out of the woods yet."

"Well, keep me posted.", he said as Dana stood.

"Wait, Rex? Is it okay to call you that?" 

Getting a nod she continued.

"I just wanted to thank you. Like, you completely went out of your way to-"

Catching Sonya's cautionary glare she swallowed hard, reworded her statement. "Fix my tire earlier. I really appreciate it."

"Just did what I could.", Rex said humbly, almost sounding ashamed.

"I'll be in my study.", he said before stepping out.

After he left, thrown, Dana sat back down in her chair. Shaking her head in awe.

"Trust me, you're better off thanking him when all this is over and done and you're on your way out of here."

"It's so strange though. Why is he so-"

"Rex spoke very highly of your father after meeting him, Dana. He admired him, his story. How he was rescued from his captivity, his triumphant return home, putting his story out there, running for political office. My brother saw him as a hero. A real soldier. When the news, broke...he took it hard."

"Yeah well so did everyone. But he didn't do it!"

"Dana.."

"No! Look I know my dad, okay? Fuck, I know him better than everyone, even my mom. I know what he almost...but that was before. This time it wasn't..it wasn't him.", Dana insisted, voice cracking.

"He didn't, that day at Langley. I know it. Do you think I'd be here with him if I believed he had!"

"Dana, stop. Just stop.", Sonya said sternly. "Let's get something clear. My involvement in all of this ends when your father is recovered, you understand?"

"God, I'm just trying to tell you the fucking truth!"

"And I'm telling you that it's none of my concern. My only concern is seeing your father recover. And right now that ought to be yours too.", she said firmly, finishing up the last stitch.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to wash up, get some coffee. Maybe some food. Would you.."

"No, I'm fine."

"Suit yourself. The kitchen is just down the hallway. Come and get me if there's any change."

"Okay.", Dana nodded, blinking back tears as Sonya stepped out. She gave the older woman credit for doing her job. Without her Brody probably wouldn't be alive. But it was clear Sonya didn't believe for a second, the man she was treating wasn't the red headed menace the world saw him as. Obviously Rex was unsettled about the situation. Dana judged he couldn't even look at Brody without feeling disgusted beyond reason.

She knew as soon as Brody was able to move freely though they'd have to make a run for it. Where to though Dana wished she knew.

Suddenly hearing a pained sounding groan she stood, pulled her chair up beside the bed.

"Dad?! Dad?"

Slowly Brody's eyes cracked open, but any relief Dana felt seeing it soon turned to panic. He wasn't looking at anything in particular, though his head was turned directly towards her. And his eyes were glazed over, wide and giving off a frantic look.

"Dad? Look, it's okay. What do you want, what can I..."

"C...Carrie.." he mumbled.

"No. Damn it, it's Dana!", she choked out bitterly before biting her lip, pulling herself together and remembering what she knew here. Brody was out of it, and if he had been up at the cabin with her, she could've been the last semi-friendly face he'd seen. It made sense he'd be asking for her.

"Dad, Carrie's not here. She's not. I am."

"C..Carrie. I'm sorry, I'm sorry...", he muttered feverishly under his breath. Hearing her name made Dana's skin crawl, but she kept reminding herself he wasn't in his right mind. How could he be if he was apologizing to her.

"Dad, it's okay. Don't think about her. She's not..."

"I'm sorry, love. I'm sorry."

Wide eyed Dana stood up from her chair, trying not to get sick over the fact her was asking for her. That he called her that. That he loved her. And that the note she'd felt so right to write, could have severed Brody's tie to someone who just may have, maybe, been protecting him the past few years.

"Fuck. FUCK!", she cursed as she started pacing anxiously. Picking up her phone she went to dial, only to see a missed call and voice mail from Zander.

"Hey. Mission was a success, I found her cabin, saw her. You forgot to tell me she was hot. And that she had a kid? But anyway, she'll see the note. I'm sure of it. Hope you're sure about this though. Call me back if you can."

Shaking her head she looked back over and saw Brody still muttering, starting to toss and turn in bed. Walking over she squeezed his hand.

"Dad?"

"Car...Carrie.." 

Angrily Dana swore again, texted Zander with her free hand.

"Thanks. And yes, I'm so fucking sure about this."

...

Closing the front door, then locking it behind him, as quietly as he could Danny made his way upstairs. The girls, Farrah and to his surprise a grey kitten, were sprawled out on the guest bed. While Carrie had conked out in an arm chair in the corner. He was convinced though her older sister would be awake still, pacing the floor and checking her watch.

Knocking softly on the master bedroom door he opened it a crack, saw Maggie thumbing through a medical journal on the bed.

"Hey."

"Hey, you got in later than I thought. Having too much fun?", Maggie asked. Slipping her arms around Danny from behind as he sat on the bed. Softly giggling, she toyed with the buttons on his shirt, nipped at his ear.

"Mags.."

"What? I don't have to be at work til late tomorrow."

"No. I just have to talk to you about something.", Danny sighed, turning to face her as she frowned.

"What's with that look? What's wrong?"

"I didn't meet up with a high school buddy tonight. Peter Quinn called me."

"Why didn't you just tell me that?"

"I didn't want to with Carrie around. He..he told me that Brody took off."

"Yeah.", Maggie sighed. "Carrie told me the same thing."

"Quinn also said if Brody doesn't make that meeting tomorrow, he's fucked. Saul's gonna send the dogs after him."

"It doesn't make sense though, Danny. Why would Brody run? What possible reason would he have?"

"Look, I'm not the best intelligence officer but I know this much. You run before a meeting with the deputy director you're as good as guilty."

"But Carrie's so convinced! She told me she has proof that Farrah's father.."

"Well maybe Brody was in on it with him. Is messing with her again. The guy's beaten the damn box, Maggie. He's shown he can lie."

"No, Danny. It doesn't-"

"I know, but with his track record?"

"What if someone came after him and that's why he's still missing? Carrie told me some Neo-Nazi creeps found them up near the cabin..." Maggie said before her voice trailed off.

"What? What's that look?"

"She also said Brody said he was mugged by Nazi's on his way up to the cabin, and that that was a flat out lie. He also told Farrah he was only taking a short walk and has been gone since this afternoon.", she sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

"So he's lied twice and fucking disappeared when his fate's about to be decided by the CIA. That's what we know so far. And that he's Carrie's blind spot."

"She loves him, Danny. And you can honestly say for sure he doesn't love her?", Maggie questioned, getting a shrug.

"He's shown he can turn on her, viciously so, if he has to protect himself."

"But what about at his apartment, Danny. The entire time Farrah was missing, you saw the way he looked at Carrie! It was the same way that you look at me."

"I never said he doesn't have feelings for Carrie. I get that he loves her. I'd love her too if she helped me go on the run and escape. But however they feel doesn't matter. What does is the shitstorm that's going to go down if Brody blows Saul off tomorrow."

"And that Carrie's going to wind up in the goddamn center of it all."

Shaking her head sadly she leaned back against the bed pillows as Danny slipped an arm around her, held her close.

"Yeah, and Farrah too. I hate that she's caught up in everything."

"Carrie's been so terrific with her. But if I'd been her I'd have kept her completely out of this thing with Brody. Just, keep the two worlds separated. Farrah's so attached to him now. She was holding onto Brody's compass all night and kept looking like she was about to break down in tears."

"Farrah's got Carrie though, Maggie. That's enough."

"It should be. But honestly with Carrie all swept up in this with Brody, all the drama, until it settles down that girl may as well have neither of them."
Maggie sighed as Danny sat up, frowned.

"What is it?"

"I just thought I heard something."

"It's probably just the kitten, get back here..."

Carrie overheard before retreating downstairs, curling up on the couch in tears.

Chapter Text

The next morning Carrie woke up on the living room couch, after sleeping an hour or two at most. The snippet of Maggie and Danny's conversation she'd overheard kept replaying in her mind. Her tears had subsided but now anger had set in at their words. Of all the people out there she never expected her longtime colleague and her sister to question her ability to care for Farrah.

They were concerned over her situation with and concern for Brody, afraid it was interfering with and taking away from her relationship with Farrah, placing the girl in the middle of the drama.

But Carrie knew better. She knew Farrah had come to care for Brody before knowing he and Carrie were involved, and that keeping the girl in the dark about him would just upset and cause her more pain. So instead of feeling apologetic or guilty, Carrie was agitated and insulted. Far from in the mood for a big family breakfast.

When Farrah came downstairs and tapped her on the shoulder, shook her completely awake, in spite of everything Carrie couldn't help smiling. Rolling over she reached over, squeezed the girl's hand.

"Hey. How'd you and Calvin sleep?"

"Good. You?"

"Okay I guess.", she sighed sitting up.

"Look I know we said we'd eat breakfast here but we should try and eat fast, okay? Otherwise you'll be late for the community center."

"Okay I eat fast. C'mon Cal we eat fast.", Farrah giggled, skipping over to the kitchen with the cat at her heels.

Feeling stiff from being on the couch all night, Carrie stretched her neck as her nieces ran downstairs. 

"Auntie Carrie! Farrah's new cat slept on our bed all night! He's so cute!" Ruby grinned.

"Can you talk to Mom and Danny about us getting one, please?", Josie chimed in, jumping to sit next to Carrie on the couch.

"I'll see what I can do.", Carrie laughed as Ruby went over to the kitchen. Josie stayed seated though, frowned up at her curiously.

"Aunt Carrie, are you okay?"

"Yeah, Josie. Why?"

"You didn't come back to our room last night. I woke up and you'd left."

"I know, pumpkin. I just couldn't get to sleep up there, that's all.", Carrie admitted. Still getting a concerned look that broke her heart.

"Josie?"

"Are you sad again? Like you were after all those people died and you came to stay with us?"

"I'm not as sad as I was then, honey. I'm not.", she assured, now feeling some guilt set in.

After the bombing and the miscarriage, when she'd taken those two weeks off, one of them she'd spent holed up in the guestroom. Maggie had insisted she go back on her meds and her depression had kicked in hard. She barely ate and spent all day in bed listening to her music. Too exhausted to even cry. Finally one night she forced herself to go downstairs, get something to drink. But she saw Ruby and Josie getting a midnight snack, and how frightened they were over the state she was in. The next morning Carrie resolved to do something about it, get better for their sake if not her own.

"Are you not as sad because of Farrah? And your friend?"

"Which friend do you...oh, you mean Brody?"

"Yeah! Farrah said he was with you guys at the cabin."

"Yeah, he was."

"Can Ruby and I meet him? Farrah says he's fun and tells dumb jokes and has red hair. Like Ron!"

"Ron..."

"Weasley. From Harry Potter, Aunt Carrie!", Josie groaned, looking exasperated as Maggie yelled for them from the kitchen.

"We'll be right there.", Carrie yelled back as Josie stood, helped her to her feet.

"I think Brody would like Danny.", the girl chirped.

"I think the more important question is, do you like Danny?", Carrie asked, curious but desperate to get off the subject of Brody for a minute, maybe more.

"Yeah! We had so much fun making chili with him. He wore his pink apron and danced around to the Cup song. He's so funny too."

"Yeah. Danny's been a friend of mine for awhile. I'm glad you and Ruby and your mom like him so much."

"We do. And Mom kissed him good night the other night so I think she really likes him."

Josie grinned before going into the dining room. Ruby was pouring Farrah some orange juice and Maggie walked in with butter and syrup.

"Okay everyone sit down and eat. Aunt Carrie's got to drop Farrah off at the community center soon."

"Here, you all can get started on these." Danny said, bringing out a plate of waffles. Eagerly the girls came after the stack with their forks but Carrie held off. Catching Maggie's eye.

"Carrie, aren't you hungry?"

"The girls can have their pick first.", she said coolly. "Wouldn't want to look self-serving or anything."

"Carrie.."

"Is there still that fruit salad in the fridge?", she asked, getting a nod. "I'm just gonna go grab that, okay?"

"No, sit. I got it.", Maggie insisted, going into the kitchen and opening the fridge.

"Hey, what else do you-"

"Bring this out front okay? I'll finish up in here.", she said, handing Danny the bowl.

"Now wait, hang on! I've got a good system going in here. I'm in the zone. Seriously look at these waffles. Restaurant quality, am I right?"

"Danny, take this to my sister!", Maggie said firmly as he nodded nervously, went out to the dining room.

"Here you go, Carrie."

"Thanks.", she said coolly, taking the bowl from Danny as he surveyed things, checking that everyone had what they needed.

"So how we doing out here?"

"We good.", Farrah said, mouth full of waffle.

"Farrah, swallow please."

Quickly doing so the girl smiled shyly. "Sorry."

"Carrie, there's another batch still if you change your mind."

"Thanks but I'm fine. Farrah, before we go I want you to triple check that you have all your stuff. We haven't got time to make a trip back."

"Hey, if she forgets anything I can always bring it to Langley with me.", Danny offered.

"I'm reminding her now so she won't forget.", Carrie said. She spoke calmly but the underlying ice in her voice was unmistakable. 

"Okay, I was just trying to-"

"I'm fine, Danny. I'm fine, Farrah's fine. I just want that known, okay?", she snapped.

"Consider it known.", Danny said, eying her warily.

"Okay this is the last batch monkeys. Make it last." Maggie said, setting the second plate of waffles down before spearing one with a fork, putting it on Carrie's plate.

"Jesus. Really, Maggie?"

"Sweetie, you should really eat somethi-"

"I'm okay!"

"No, you're not.", Maggie hissed. Rolling her eyes when Carrie did, she pulled her out of her chair and away from the table.

"For Christ's sake!"

"Look, are you going to tell me what's wrong or are you going to make me guess?"

"As if you don't know.", Carrie spat, getting a sympathetic look.

"Listen, I know a lot is riding on today but-"

"Yeah, a lot is. My career and personal life are hanging by a fucking thread. But I'm dealing with it. I have been. And if you think for one second my relationship with Farrah's become less of a priority because of it.."

Mouth agape, Maggie looked on warily. "Carrie what made you think that-"

"You did. And don't even try telling me I heard you and Danny wrong. Listening in is part of my goddamn job description."

"Well, whatever you did listen in on, you misunderstood, I-"

"Bullshit.", Carrie hissed. "I heard everything I needed to."

"Carrie, I just said..look all of this now, with Brody.. things are just. Look tell me Farrah's not affected, that you're not consumed with it all to the point that she's-"

"What? Neglected? Shut out? May as well not have me at all!", she spat bitterly as Maggie sighed, bowed her head.

"You know I may have Dad's fucked up mind and judgment, but don't go diagnosing and treating me for having Mom'sjust yet. I haven't got a CVS run planned anytime soon.", Carrie growled, taking her sister aback.

"Carrie, I-"

"As far as Farrah being affected? No shit, of course she is. She cares about Brody, and she cared about him before knowing he and I were ever involved. I may hate the fact that she's hurting and that she's in this with me but she is now. If I'm consumed, it's because she is just as much. So go ahead, call me a shitty excuse of a guardian for letting it all happen, letting her and I get up to our fucking necks in something we can't control but care about. But know that all this with Brody, however much we care about it, however much I do, it doesn't come remotely close to how much I care about Farrah. And she knows that. I thought you did too."

"Carrie, I never-"

"We should go. Apologize to Danny for me. His waffles looked good."

Turning on her heel Carrie went upstairs, grabbed Farrah's backpack from the guestroom along with Calvin's carrier. Coaxing the kitten inside it, she scanned the guestroom for anything Farrah left behind. Not seeing anything she went back downstairs where Farrah was standing in the foyer. Looking nervous.

"Carrie? You okay?"

"I'm fine, honey. I just don't want us to be late. Did you say goodbye to Ruby and Josie?"

"Yes. And Dan and Maggie."

"Good. Let's get going then."

"Carrie...", Maggie called after her. Reluctantly she turned, looked over her shoulder.

"You have to know that I don't, I never said that you were like.."

"Okay, Maggie.", she said curtly before following Farrah out the door.

Watching them leave Maggie shook her head in disbelief.

"Damn it!", she spat, prompting Danny to pull her into a hug.

"I can't believe she overheard us."

"She misunderstood though. I mean you don't really think she's a bad mother, right?"

"No, I don't. She's amazing with Farrah. It's just like I said, everything with Brody. God, if he doesn't turn up today, Carrie's going to be."

"I know. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Carrie will turn to you for help, we both know it. You're her sister and she loves you."

"Yeah well, she loves Brody too." 

Shaking her head Maggie made her way back to the dining room, leaning on Danny's shoulder the walk there.

"So help me, he better not fuck it all up."

Chapter Text

"Farrah, lets go! Like I said we can give Calvin a tour of the house tonight!", Carrie yelled up the stairs, running a hand anxiously through her hair.

She felt like what little fruit she'd eaten at Maggie's wasn't going to stay put. Her stomach had been in knots since she woke up, and none of her queasiness had subsided after she checked her phone in Maggie's driveway. No new messages, no missed calls. So much for Brody promising to keep in touch.

"Farrah!"

"I'm coming, I'm coming!", the girl yelped, scrambling down the steps and out the door. Carrie couldn't lock the house and get back in the car quick enough.

Checking the clock from the driver's seat she bit her lip. 9:28. She had thirty two minutes to get to the community center, drop Farrah off, then find and smack the shit out of Brody before bringing him to Langley. Making sure by ten he was on the other side of Saul's desk. 

She reached the parking lot at the mosque in ten minutes, shaving some time off their usual route after running a red light, or two. Once parked she reached back, unbuckled Farrah's seat belt.

"C'mon honey, I'm going in with you today."

"You grab my backpack?", Farrah asked as Carrie nodded and grabbed the purple bag, saw the larger pocket was unzipped.

"Hey, the last time this happened you lost your snack.", she sighed.

"And Nick give me pretzels!", Farrah grinned. After getting out of the car she ran up to the front doors of the community center. Anxious to see Brody and let him know that she'd found his compass.

Once inside she turned down the hallway towards the library, but looking over her shoulder saw Carrie was struggling to catch up to her in her heels. Shyly she smiled, slowed her pace.

"It's okay, I'm used to it. The lbrary's just down this way, right?"

"Yes."

Walking inside, they noticed Zahira in front of a group of kids, finishing up the group book for the day. Frowning Farrah ran up to her, started speaking to her in Arabic. Carrie stood watching from the doorway and though her Arabic was rusty, she knew exactly what Zahira was saying. The look on Farrah's face when she turned around said it all.

Tearfully the girl ran back towards the door but Carrie met her halfway and knelt to her level, held her close as she started crying.

"Shh, it's okay."

"But Nick? Where.."

"I don't know. But I'm gonna find out and get all of this straightened out, okay? All I want you to do is have a good time today with Mischa and Zahira. Can you do that for me?"

Nodding, Farrah pulled back, wiped at her eyes with her sleeve before taking a tissue from Carrie.

"It'll be fine. I'll see you today after work, okay?"

"Okay.", the girl sniffled. Hugging her once more Carrie kissed the top of her head, then stood up and left the library. Only to hear Zahira call after her.

"I am sorry, Carrie. But I did not want to lie to her about Nicholas."

"Zahira, has he called? Tried to get in touch with you or your husband? Please, if you've heard anything..."

Shrugging, Zahira sighed. "I'm sorry, but I have not. There have been no texts or calls since he asked my husband and I for time off. But I am worried, what could have happened?!"

Shaking her head, wide-eyed, Carrie's hand went to her hair again. "I...I don't know, I have to go. Just, let me know if you hear-"

"Of course, of course. Oh, and here. If you don't mind." 

Frowning, she took hold of Farrah's backpack being handed to her.

"We are taking the children to the zoo this afternoon. Farrah will not be needing this."

"Are you sure? I mean all of her things-"

"The less things they have to carry, the less things that can be lost, the better."

Zahira said knowingly, getting a small smile before Carrie said goodbye, walked back to the entrance and then through the parking lot. Reeling, her mind in hyperdrive, as she unlocked her car and climbed into the driver's seat. Setting Farrah's backpack on the passenger seat, seeing it was still unzipped she rolled her eyes. Tugging at the zipper was she found it was snagged on a sheet of notebook paper.

Wondering if it was a drawing, one that had a chance of cheering her up, Carrie unfolded the paper only to see familiar block handwriting.

Carrie. I'm writing you because I couldn't handle saying this to your face. Things right now are complicated, painful even. You don't deserve me. You never have. I'm taking some time. I'm going back into hiding to protect myself and I have help. I don't need you to go crazy again worrying about me. I just need you to let me go, to forget. Go on with your life. It's for the best for both of us.
-Brody

Hot tears filling her eyes, her jaw on the floor by the gas pedal, she didn't even notice the P.S scribbled sloppily across the bottom of the page.

Tell Farrah if she asks that I'm 
being taken care ofKeep doing your job and take care of her.

The handwriting looked messier than his, especially towards the end of the note. The words on it felt and read all wrong. It was signed by him but didn't sound like him. Carrie reread it over and over, until the words blurred on the page and her head spun.

"Fuck...fucking. Shit!" Crumpling the note, tossing it aside, she put her head in her hands while her elbows rested on the steering wheel. Forcing herself to breathe in and out, over and over, once she stopped trembling she put the key in the ignition and peeled out of the lot.

Turning out onto the main drag she kept wiping at her eyes with her hand not on the wheel. But the tears kept streaming down her face, cheeks. She couldn't stop them, her heart hurt, and she was having trouble catching her breath. Finally, after nearly running a third red light she pulled over into a a nearby lot. Slamming on the brakes as soon as she was able she put the car in park, glanced at the clock that now read 10:05.

"Fuck...FUCK!", she choked out. Slamming her hand on the steering wheel she struck the horn but didn't care. The parking lot outside the church was deserted, and now it was starting to rain.

...

"In case you didn't get the memo Max we're not on a job, just getting breakfast. So can you put down those damn binoculars and quit staring out the fucking window!"

"Sorry.", Max shrugged.

"I can't take you anyplace, can I?", Virgil muttered as Max frowned, picked the binoculars back up again.

"Hey, pull over!", he yelled.

"I'm not pulling over so you can creep on unsuspecting women, Max."

"She's not unsuspecting, it's Carrie."

"What?!" Pulling over Virgil stopped the surveillance van, peered out the window to see Carrie's car parked on an odd angle in the middle of a church parking lot.

"I didn't think she was that religious.", Max mumbled.

"Because she's not.", Virgil said nervously. Getting back into the driver's seat he checked the time. 10:10. If Carrie was here it meant she was more than three hours late for work, which he knew was never a good sign. Driving into the lot he parked the van a few feet away from her car.

"Can I come?", Max asked.

"Are you shitting me? No. Stay here but get up front."

"Why?"

"Because if her car's stalled out and she needs a lift, she's not listening to your goddamn mouth breathing the entire ride. Got it?", he asked, getting a shrug as Max clambered into the passenger seat, along with his set of binoculars that Virgil snatched from him, snapped in half.

"Hey!"

"Why do I bring you anywhere. Why?!", he spat. Handing them over he slammed the door shut, then nervously cut through the rain and over to Carrie's car.

Chapter Text

"Carrie!", Virgil called, tapping lightly on the driver's side window and hoping he hadn't startled her. She jumped though, then rolled her eyes before rolling down the window.

"Virgil? What the..what are you doing here?"

"No reason. We just saw you swerve into this lot like your life depended on it. The cops after you or what?"

"No. I'm fine.", she said hoarsely.

"Yeah and I'm a spokesman for Head and Shoulders.", Virgil scoffed as she snorted, looked down and away from him. "Carrie, what the hell is going on? Is it Farrah? Did something happen?"

"No, she's fine. I just dropped her off at the community center."

"Hey Carrie.", Max greeted, getting a glare from Virgil as he stood next to him beside the car.

"Hey Max.", Carrie acknowledged.

"Why aren't you at the Brody meeting?", he asked curiously.

"What meeting?", Virgil frowned as Carrie slumped down in her seat, wiped her eyes. "Well one of you can answer me, can't you?"

"Saul called for a meeting today with Brody.", Max answered, getting a look.

"How the fuck do you know about it?"

"I had to go to Langley yesterday, install that new facial recognition software. I know things.", he said defensively.

"Like that the meeting started a half hour ago..."

"Carrie?", Virgil questioned.

"I don't want to talk about it, okay.", Carrie said softly as Virgil swore, paced beside the car.

"I can't believe that son of a-"

"DAMN IT, Virgil! I don't want to talk about it!", she exploded, getting a nod.

"Okay. C'mon then. I'll give you a lift home. Max, take her car."

"No, don't. That's not necessary. I'm-"

"Fine, I heard. Too bad I'm not."

"Virgil..."

"Carrie, do it for my sake okay? Christ, I already saw your car smashed to shit once. Not exactly up for a repeat.", he said truthfully.

Letting out a heavy sigh, Carrie nodded and unbuckled. Grabbing her bag she walked over to the surveillance van while Max got into her car, put the key in the ignition.

"Can he even drive?", she asked, frowning and watching intently as he left the lot.

"By some miracle, yes. C'mon." Opening the door for her, she smiled. Jumped in the passenger seat.

"Oh, just so you know we're stopping for breakfast on the way."

"I'm not that hungry."

"Tough shit. I am."

The drive to get food and then to Carrie's house was too quiet for Virgil's liking. He'd done enough ride-alongs with her through the years to know she had the tendency to be a backseat driver. If he didn't glare at or curse out drivers who cut them off or tailgated them, she would jump at the chance and then criticize him for not being assertive enough. Even their infamous drive to Walden's speech when she was recovering from her episode, there was noticeable fire in her. Today though she barely said two words. Once outside of the house he turned to her nervously when she made no move to leave the van.

"Carrie, are you-"

"Please, Virgil. I don't want to talk."

"Okay, that's fine. But you can't just sit here all morose in the fucking van all day. C'mon."

When she still didn't move he resorted to another method of convincing. "Okay so let's assume you do stay in here all day. Farrah comes home and wants to see you. You're going to let her inside this piece of shit? Where Max and I practically live?"

Grimacing, Carrie shook her head and quickly left the van.

"Yeah, that's more like it."

Following her inside Virgil set down a grocery bag in the kitchen. He'd made a run and picked up some things for lunch after she let him stop for coffee and donuts.

"Max should be back with your car soon. At least I hope. I mean his moronic capabilities are infinite."

After putting away the groceries, putting some water on for pasta, he went in the living room, saw Carrie sitting forward on the couch with her knees hugged to her chest. Holding something crumpled up the palm of her right hand.

"Let me guess, the credit card bill came in?", he joked but barely got a smile.

"Can I see?"

Shaking her head, Carrie crumpled it into a tighter ball, bowed her head.

"Goddammit, Carrie."

Sighing sadly she lifted her head, wiped her eyes. Feeling guilty for worrying him so much, and knowing before Farrah got back she'd have to pull herself together.

"I swear to God, Virgil, if your weird little brother fucked up my car...", she snorted, looking at him with a slight gleam in her eye.

"He's paying for any damages. Otherwise I'll break his goddamn face.", he smiled, getting a soft one in return.

"C'mon, you should really eat some lunch."

"Fuck, don't tell me it's spaghetti."

"Nope. Linguini this time."

Rolling her eyes Carrie got off the couch and followed him to the kitchen, only to see Max coming in the front door.

"Max, if anything happened to her car I swear."

"No, nothing happened, I found this though in the backseat."

Taking Brody's compass from him, Carrie's chin began wobbling but she swallowed hard, held it together.

"Thanks.", she said softly.

"Virgil made us lunch so c'mon. Through here."

"Is it Brody's?", Max asked.

"What?"

"The compass, is it Brody's?"

"It's none of your fucking business whose it is."

"Okay.", Max conceded as they sat at the table, taking her by surprise.

"Thanks by the way, for bringing my car home.", she said sheepishly, getting a nod.

"You know Max, you can stand up to me when I curse you out or treat you like shit. Especially after you went and did me a favor today."

"Okay.", Max shrugged.

Appalled, Carrie shook her head, getting a shrug and "What can you do?" look from Virgil as he set down the bowls of pasta, sat down with his own.

"So Max what did you find that was none of your fucking business?"

"Brody's compass.", Max answered as Virgil bit his lip, twirled some pasta around his fork.

"Asking that was none of my fucking business."

"It's alright, Virgil."

"No! It's not alright!", Max said sharply, as Carrie jumped and Virgil dropped his fork.

"Max..."

"It's not alright! It's not alright he's lost out there without it and that Saul's going to send the dogs after him for being lost. It's not alright!"

"Holy fuck...", Carrie muttered, completely caught off guard by his outburst.

"Also, Virgil! Your pasta sucks!", he yelled, getting up from the table.

Jaw on the ground, Carrie wasn't sure if it was alright to laugh, but couldn't help herself.

"Oh yeah, go ahead. Encourage him!", Virgil scoffed.

"Should I go and find him? Slip him some of my meds?"

"Just finish your lunch, I'll deal with it. He's my brother after all."

After Virgil stepped out, pushing the pasta aside Carrie reached into her pocket, retrieved the compass. She remembered her dad giving it to her when she was a kid and wanted to join him on his yearly fishing trip. He bought it for her at the bait shop so she'd be distracted when he bought worms and hooks.

It was a junky old thing but Carrie had held onto it all these years. Kept it in the glove box of her car. She'd forgotten about it until the night she and Brody drove to the border. After the two of them stood horrified in the shop, watched his tape play all over the news, the remainder of the drive she'd sneak glances at him sitting in the passenger seat.

Even in profile she saw the fright all over his face. He looked completely lost, his eyes doing that darting back and forth thing they'd do whenever he felt panicked beyond reason. More than anything Carrie wanted to just keep driving. Keep control in all of this for the both of them. Get them far away enough from this surreal fucked up nightmare that it couldn't haunt them anymore.

Seeing though that wasn't an option, that the stretch of highway was about to turn to trees, after she stopped the car and Brody climbed out, quickly she reached into the glovebox, grabbed and jammed the compass into the side pocket of his pack. He hadn't seen her place it there, it could've easily fallen out of the bag or he could've chucked it, dismissed it as the useless thing it was and lightened his load slightly. She had no idea he'd carry it on his person everywhere he went. See it as something of value.

She also had no idea someone who thought that highly of her to hold onto her cheap plastic compass all these years, could write so callous a note and then disappear.

Thinking of that balled up sheet of notebook paper on her couch she wanted to scream, break something, flush her meds down the toilet and let the mania course through her, get her feeling like queen of the goddamn universe.

None of that was an option though. Not with Farrah coming back here tonight, and not after the speech she'd made to Maggie earlier.
Carrie wished she could go back in time to before the first day she'd dropped Farrah at the mosque, before the parade, the apartment, hospital, cabin. Back to when it was her and her foster daughter and that was it.

She always thrived on her being independent. Not needing a man aside from when she was in the mood for a few too many drinks and mindless fucking. She had to get back to that. At least an edited version of that. Getting up from the table she saw Max and Virgil standing by the door and approached them.

"I'm sorry for what I said.", Max shrugged.

"It's okay. Trust me, you're not the only one here upset.", Carrie admitted, shrugging as well before Virgil spoke up.

"Max is heading out but I'll stick around for the night."

"Damn it, Virgil. You don't-"

"Hey someone's got to clean up the kitchen, right?"

Before Carrie could get another word in, Virgil was on his way there and Max ducked out the door. Rolling her eyes she went over to the kitchen as well, saw him doing the dishes.

"Will you at least let me dry?", she sighed, grabbing a towel from the rack.

"It's not going to be like the last time, Virgil. You don't need to camp out here all hours keeping tabs on me."

"Hey, you've got a stocked fridge and since you sprung for that new TV, a nicer one than mine. I'm more than content to camp out."

"Well I'm not going to have another fucking breakdown and spend the rest of the week in bed. I can't. Farrah needs me. Now especially."

"Hey...hey." Stepping back from the dishes Virgil moved to face her, as she reluctantly set the towel down, turned to look at him.

"I'm not trying to say this time's anything like the last time or that you can't take care of your own kid. Really, I'm not."

"Then what are you trying to say?", Carrie asked, arching a brow.

"I think you and Farrah could use some company right now. Besides, I only fucking promised her I'd teach her Mario Kart."

"Shit. I forgot about that."

"See..another reason I'm worth keeping around.", Virgil grinned, getting a light laugh before his smile went softer.

"Carrie I'm just here to lend a hand, that's all."

"Okay, I understand. And thank you. Really."

After quietly drying the rest of the dishes, hanging up the towel she excused herself, turned to leave.

"Hey, where...?"

"I'll just be a minute."

Making her way upstairs to her bathroom, after unlocking the medicine cabinet Carrie took her meds, splashed some water on her face, then docked her phone and stretched back on her bed. Stared up at the ceiling until her eyes went heavy.

"Alright, minute's up Carrie. Time to decide on a movie for us to-" Frowning, not seeing her in the living room Virgil walked down the hall, towards the foyer only to hear a soft meow, feel something dart past his ankles.

"What the..where the fuck did you come from?"

Picking up the now purring kitten, Virgil draped Calvin onto his shoulder and went upstairs. 

"Hey, Carrie don't know if you know or not but-"

Seeing her curled up in bed, likely asleep, walking over Virgil draped a throw blanket over her then went back downstairs.

"C'mon buddy, guess you're picking the movie."

Falling asleep in front of the TV with Calvin curled up on his shoulder, Virgil didn't stir at the first loud knock on the door, or the second. Finally the third combined with the doorbell jarred him awake, but disturbed Calvin in the process.

"Sorry little man.", Virgil apologized as the kitten hissed and leapt off him, flicked his tail.

"What! I said I'm sorry!"

Rolling his eyes Virgil stood up and answered the door, only to see Saul on the other side looking ready to break it down. 

"Saul..."

"Where is she?"

"Saul, look just cool it alright? Take it easy."

"Get the fuck out of my way.", Saul snarled, brushing past as he removed his cap.

"Fuck just slow it down, okay!" 

Standing between Saul and the staircase, blocking his path Virgil was met with a glare.

"I'm not playing games, Virgil."

"Neither am I! Look, just go drive around the block a few times and get your head together before you see her. All you'll accomplish now is making her upset."

Seeing that slowed him down ever so slightly, Virgil pressed on. Hoping to get Saul to reconsider this all together.

"I'm serious, Saul. Look, you weren't the only one Brody made a fool of today."

"Maybe. But this time she fucking let him do it. She gave him goddamn permission to."

"Saul.." Virgil sighed as the older man brushed past him, took the steps up to Carrie's room two at a time. Meanwhile Calvin meowed nervously, twined around Virgil's ankle before he scooped him up, walked him to the living room.

"C'mon, we shouldn't be here for this."

Chapter Text

Jarred awake when she heard the door swing open, heard footsteps, Carrie rolled over on her side only to see Saul pacing the floor, looking ready to explode.

"So, where is he?", he asked gruffly as she sat up, shook her head.

"Saul..."

"Already at the rendezvous point? You're just waiting for Farrah before you take off, find him and flee town?"

"Yeah. I thought I should let her come home, have her snack before I handed her her fake passport and new identity."

Rolling her eyes as she got out of bed, Carrie crossed the room then stood near, leaned back against her dresser. Refusing to even make eye contact with the man to her right. Now looking at her dumbstruck and disapprovingly.

"This is no time for fucking jokes, Carrie. Christ, don't you realize the damage that schmuck has caused?"

"Don't you realize the damage I've caused?"

"What are you talking about?"

"C'mon, Saul.", Carrie sighed, turning to face him. 

"I'm the one that let Brody crash once he arrived at the cabin. I'm the one who turned my back and let him run. If you're that desperate to punish someone in all of this.."

"Still, with this.", Saul grumbled. "Even after everything you still come to the fucker's defense, protect him. Take responsibility for all the bullshit he's dragged you through? Is dragging you through!"

"Why shouldn't I? I'm just following your example!"

"What's that supposed to mean?", he frowned as Carrie snorted, looked at him incredulously.

"Do you think your mentoring me for over fourteen years meant something wasn't bound to rub off? Every time I've fucked up who's there to take the fall, cover for me, come to my defense? Where do you think I learned it from?", she asked combatively.

"You're not a wanted fugitive with a price on your head.", Saul pointed out as Carrie shrugged, lightly laughed. Knowing that the opposite could've been the case had she stuck to the original plan with Brody.

"Right, as if I'm incapable of that.", she scoffed.

Letting out a heavy sigh Saul looked on somberly, held her gaze.

"I guess you've got that right. You are bending over backwards to protect a goddamn terror suspect. To most everyone you look as bad as the fuckers we put away."

"And let me guess, I look that exact way to you right now?", Carrie asked angrily.

Saul didn't respond but from the look on his face, she had her answer anyway. Getting her laughing bitterly as she shook her head, teared up and turned away.

"As bad as one of them. That's quite a far cry from your star recruit who only knew you as Mr. Berenson, right?", she muttered, knowing full well he could hear her. Shaking her head she crossed her arms, turned to face the window.

"Please go. Farrah's going to be home soon and, I can't-"

"Carrie..."

"I said go!", she cried, then heard the door shut as he did.

...

After Saul stepped out, not even acknowledged by him as he did so Virgil tensed up. Picking up Calvin before going upstairs. The kitten mewed in protest the entire walk up the steps.

"Yeah I know. You think I like seeing your owner-mom upset?"

Knocking softly on the bedroom door he sighed, seeing the lights dimmed and Carrie curled up on her side in bed.

"Carrie?"

"What time is it?", she asked hoarsely, her voice muffled against the bed pillow.

"It's almost three. What time do you want me to get Farrah at the community center?"

"I'm fine, Virgil. I'll go."

"Don't give me that. You're going to take a nap, a shower, do whatever you need to to get yourself together before she gets here."

Sitting up, wiping at her eyes Carrie sighed. Prompting Virgil to sit next to her on the bed, rub her shoulder reassuringly.

"C'mon. You know Saul will cool off soon enough. The man loves you, Carrie. He has since day one."

"He said I was no better than the fuckers we put away, Virgil. And right now Brody's acting just like a fucker I should've put away.", she spat.
"Who runs after leaving a fucking note like that, I don't-"

"Wait, back up. What did he...?"

"Nothing. Forget it."

"Carrie..."

Not getting a response as she resumed her earlier position on the bed, Virgil set Calvin down on top of Carrie's shoulder before stepping out, shutting the door behind him before pulling out his phone. Once downstairs he scrolled through his contacts, dialed one of the numbers he'd luckily thought to program in.

"Hello?"

"Danny?"

"Hey Virgil."

"Hang on. Sorry, still trying to figure out this new fucking phone. I thought I dialed Maggie's house?"

"Yeah, you did."

"You son of a...didn't waste any time there did you?", Virgil laughed, but sensed Danny's non-amusement over the phone.

"Why are you calling, Virgil?"

"It's Carrie."

"What about her?", Danny asked nervously.

"She had a run-in with Saul."

"Let me guess. Brody didn't show up for-"

"Yeah."

"Son of a bitch. How's Carrie?"

"How the hell do you think?", Virgil sighed. "She's upstairs now trying to get herself together before Farrah gets home."

"Well look, I can get Farrah at the community center and I'll talk to Mags-"

"Mags?", he teased.

"I'll talk to Maggie. See if she can come by the house after her shift."

"After her shift? Danny, if I'm not home for dinner my wife's going to make me cook for myself. It'll be like last night. Ramen noodles and Fruity Pebbles."

"At the same time?", Danny grimaced.

"Had some plain yogurt between courses. Cleansed the palate."

"Okay, since that's still too gross to think about, we'll figure something out. You'll be home for dinner."

"Much appreciated. Thanks."

"You're welcome. Just, Virgil...?"

"Keep an eye on her. I know."

After hanging up with Danny, making sure the kitchen was clean and Calvin was fed, Virgil paced the living room, repeatedly checking his watch until..

"Where is she?", Maggie asked after letting herself in with the spare key. Making her way to the staircase.

"Upstairs still. Should I go get Farrah or is Danny-"

"He's on his way over there now. Thanks though, I have it from here."

"Wait, Maggie!", Virgil called but she was halfway to the landing already. "She might be asleep or-"

"Thanks Virgil!", she yelled back as he shrugged, rolled his eyes.

"Well okay, guess I'm officially off duty. What you say, little man? Want to go out for some beers? I'm buying."

Looking down as Calvin mewed up, disapprovingly, Virgil bent down, gave him an ear rub goodbye before stepping out.

Meanwhile, peeking through the partially open door Maggie sighed, seeing Carrie curled up in the corner arm chair. She had her headphones on as she glumly examined her fingernails, mulled painting them later with Farrah.

"Carrie?", Maggie spoke softly, knocked before entering but still managed to startle Carrie who jumped, removed an earbud.

"What are you doing here?", she questioned. She'd assumed after the blow-up this morning her sister wouldn't want a thing to do with her.

"I just wanted to come by. See how you were."

"Who told you?", Carrie muttered.

"Danny."

"Of course he did."

Rolling her eyes she let out a snort, shifted in the chair.

"Carrie he's just concerned. So am I."

"Right. Concerned for Farrah."

"What?"

"What exactly were you two discussing last night? How I'm ignoring, neglecting, on the path to abandoning my own foster child?"

"Okay let's get something straight.", Maggie said forcefully.

"You are completely off-base in thinking that I think you're no better than Mom. I've never thought that, Carrie. You don't run, it's not you. You'd sooner bend something to your will than walk away from it."

Sitting up slightly, Carrie looked on in agreement.

"I was concerned for Farrah and for you because you were both so attached to Brody. I was afraid if something took a turn for the worse you both would wind up hurt."

"Well you weren't that far off. About that something anyway.", she scoffed.

Wiping her eyes as Maggie moved the ottoman she was perched on closer to the chair. Squeezed Carrie's hand.

"Still though. I never should've said what I said. I'm so sorry, Carrie."

"I accept your apology.", she said after a few moments. Getting a relieved smile in return.

"Look lets go over to my house. Danny can bring Farrah and we can bring that cat once we wrangle him."

"Calvin. His name is Calvin.", Carrie corrected. "And I appreciate the offer but no. I'm not going."

"Carrie, c'mon.", Maggie sighed.

"You're saying you're just going to stay holed up here in the dark until Danny brings Farrah home?"

"I'll be downstairs and chipper by the time she gets here."

"Look, you've had a rough day. You shouldn't have to put on an act and make believe you're alright when Farrah's aroun-"

"It won't be an act!", Carrie snapped.

"It won't. I'll talk to Farrah and I'll explain what's happened and then we'll deal with it. Figure out what comes next."

"I understand! But why deal with it alone when you don't have to!"

"Because I don't want her thinking we run to Aunt Maggie's every time something goes wrong!" Realizing that sounded a little harsh she sighed, bit her lip.

"Her and I need to be in our own house. Our own beds. It needs to be like before any of this ever happened."

"Before any of..."

"Before Brody showed up!", she snapped. "Before he found me, brought me to his goddamn apartment, before the hospital, the fucking cabin."

After her voice broke she looked down and away, but Maggie reached over, squeezed her hand and prompted her to look up.

"I just want it to be like before."

"Before. Like before when you were staying up until three in the morning looking for new leads, a crack in the plan to set him up. When you were bent on tracking him down and righting all of this.", Maggie sighed.

"Until Farrah, Brody was all you thought about, Carrie. You'd jump every time his picture was shown on the news, panic every time a new rumor surfaced that he'd been found dead. The thought of him not surviving all this, you not being able to make things right for him. It had you scared out of your mind. Anyone could see how much you cared about him, how worried you were for him."

"What's your point?"

"That you still are.", she said solemnly."You're still worried about him. I can tell. And I can't expect you to feel completely differently about his situation in just a few hours. I'd be worried for you if you did!"

"I'm only worried, about Farrah. How she'll react to all of this once I tell her because of how much she cares about him."

Standing up Carrie ran a hand through her hair, then folded her arms over her chest. "He blew it off, Maggie. Brody blew it all off. Any chance he had at a future, he ran away like a fucking coward. He made a fool out of me, again. And I fucking know he's capable of it. I should've expected it, seen it coming.", she said bitterly. 

"It was right in front of my eyes, and I never saw it coming." Sitting down defeated at the foot of the bed, she got another pitying glance from Maggie before hearing the door being unlatched, footsteps from downstairs.

"Shit."

Quickly ducking into the bathroom she blew her nose, washed her face before Maggie walked in, stood next to her as she stood in front of the mirror.

"Look, I'm more than happy to stay while you talk to her if you.."

"No, Maggie. Her and I have to work through this thing ourselves, okay?"

"Okay.", Maggie relented, but Carrie frowned seeing her smiling, wearily but proudly.

"What's with the look?"

"I'm just really impressed at how you're handling all this. The way you are."

"Well what other way is there to handle it?", she shrugged. Looking painted as Maggie slipped an arm around her reassuringly.

"It will work out, sweetie. It'll be fine. I promise, it'll be fine."

...

"You're still going to stand there and tell me he's going to be fine?", Dana snarled as Sonya sighed, shook her head.

"Dana..."

"He's been out of it for over two days, has barely opened his eyes. I'm tempted to just say screw it, bring him to the hospital and take our fucking chances."

"I told you already, every patient responds differently to-"

"Can you maybe not talk down to me like I'm some moron!"

"Can you not talk to me like I'm incompetent?", Sonya bit back.

"Like I haven't put my freedom on the line to help you! My brother and I have risked everything and you couldn't give a damn! If you're not the most ungrateful, selfish, self-absorbed..."

"Hey!", Brody growled. Still managing to sound forceful despite just having opened his eyes.

"Dad? You..."

"Oh my goodness..."

After Sonya rushed over with her stethoscope, checked his pulse, breathing, Brody looked up at her coolly. Waited until she was finished to clear his throat, speak up.

"Look, I may not know who you are, but please, don't speak to my daughter that way ever again."

Nodding, trying not to be intimidated at the calm but deadly serious look he was giving her, Sonya swallowed hard, stepped back.

"I'll give you some time before I run an exam."

"Thank you.", Brody said politely. But the ice in his eyes sent chills down Sonya's spine. After she stepped out though, the ice thawed into two orb shaped puddles.

"Dana." Looking at her mystified, he realized she was on the verge of tears too.

"Hey..hey.."

On instinct Brody opened his arms for a hug, but was surprised as anything when Dana didn't even hesitate and ran straight to him. Held onto him like her life depended on it.

He flashed back to when she was five years old, got a sliver on the porch at a backyard barbeque. Jess, Jess' mom, his mom all ran over to console her but Dana shook them all off, only trusting her dad to remove the sharp painful thing from the bottom of her foot and make everything better. For some reason beyond his comprehension, she seemed to trust him now too. Brody knew he didn't deserve it, had done nothing to earn it, but he certainly wasn't going to question it.


"Shhh..", he soothed, stroking her hair as she continued to cry. "It's okay, baby. It's gonna be okay."

Chapter Text

Despite Carrie's protesting, Maggie decided to stick around and straighten up until her shift, and instructed Danny to do the same. Farrah and Carrie were talking in Farrah's room, but Danny was pacing at the foot of the staircase, fearing their conversation wasn't going particularly well.

"They've been up there awhile. You think Carrie needs backup?", he frowned.

"Ah, so this is what it's like being engaged to a CIA operative.", Maggie snorted, taking a seat on the living room couch before he joined her.

"I'm serious, Mags. You know this shit with Brody is going to hit Farrah hard."

"And Carrie knows this. She also knows she wants to handle it on her own. We should respect that." Seeing him still looking antsy, she sighed, rubbed his shoulder.

"I know you're worried about them. You think I'm not? But we owe Carrie a chance to explain things without us charging in, taking over."

"I guess.", Danny said sullenly, leaning back against the cushions before his phone buzzed. Alerting a missed call and a text.

Heard Agent Orange missed the meeting. How's Carrie?

About to reply he heard voices, footsteps and Arabic being shouted. Immediately he tensed up and stood up, as did Maggie.

"What are they saying?! What's Farrah-"

"You promised. You promised you'd find him, that you'd fix it. You promised.", Danny translated, feeling heartsick as he ran to the foyer, saw Farrah struggling with then managing to open the front door.

"I got her! I got her..", Maggie said, about to follow the girl outside but Danny stopped her, went out instead.

Now fighting back tears herself Maggie turned, saw Carrie sitting numbly on the staircase.

"Carrie.."

"No..Maggie, I can't...no."., she waved off. Bracing herself on the railing she shakily stood and retreated upstairs, slamming the bedroom door shut behind her.

"Shit.", Maggie swore, running a hand through her hair before glancing at her watch. Her shift was supposed to start in twenty minutes and she'd already gotten someone to switch with her so she could have this morning off.

Going back down the steps she grabbed her jacket, went outside to see Farrah sitting on the front stoop, knees hugged to her chest with her head bowed. Danny despite his efforts couldn't get her talking or listening to him at all. Shaking his head he stood, went over to Maggie.

"You want to swap? Maybe Farrah will be more receptive to you."

"Danny I'm already running late, I can't-"

"I know. I know. Wish I hadn't sent Virgil home just yet."

"Look as soon as my shift is done I'll come back. But call my dad. He'll be able to talk Carrie down at least."

"Isn't he watching the girls?"

"Well...maybe even a phone call would... damn it, I don't know!", Maggie spat as Danny sighed, took a gentle grip on her shoulders.

"Look just go to work. Don't worry. I'll take care of things."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure."

After reassuring her about four times more, giving her a hug and a kiss goodbye Danny was sitting on the porch on the step behind Farrah. Unsure of what to do. It was like she was in her own world and Carrie was in her's and he was on the fringe of it all. Feeling so distraught he didn't even bother checking his phone when it buzzed, alerting another text.

"Galvez...wtf..answer me!"

Not getting a response from Danny, frustrated Quinn decided to head over to Carrie's himself. He knew in his gut Brody wouldn't make the meeting, and it was all over Langley at half past ten that he hadn't shown. Brody's reasoning didn't matter. Quinn didn't give two shits about if the fucker lived or died. What did matter was Carrie and Farrah and how they were holding up in all this. And he'd get that answer with or without Galvez's help.

Pulling up outside Carrie's house he saw Danny trying to talk to Farrah and her shaking him off, going inside.

Danny was frustrated and concerned about Farrah but torn too, checking his watch again. He knew he had to be back to Maggie's to watch Ruby and Josie before Frank went out later that night. And that he had a maximum of five minutes more he could spend on Carrie's porch.

Needless to say when Quinn got out of his car Danny was relieved, could've run over and hugged him. Sensing this though, Quinn stepped back and away from him, glared.

"Galvez, I haven't had nearly enough vodka to make that okay."

"Right. Sorry.", Danny apologized but Quinn was still scowling.

"You also ignored my texts. Consider yourself on my list now."

"Hit list?"

"Oh, this list is worse.", he threatened.

"Ooh, I'm terrified.", Danny snorted, but was met with a threatening look and swallowed hard.

"Okay, I'm sorry. In all seriousness though I need you to stay here, keep an eye on Farrah."

"Where's Carrie?"

"Not up to talking to anyone. I called her dad hoping he could get through to her but.."

"It didn't work.", Quinn answered, getting a nod combination sigh.

"She's in a bad way, Quinn."

"Yeah well, anyone of us could've predicted that. I can look after Farrah, try and get her talking. You though should get out. I don't make small talk with fuckers on my list."

"Again with that? What list out there is worse than a hit-"

Getting another chilly stare, Danny decided he best shut up and follow orders, saying goodnight then walking over to his car.

After watching Danny drive off, Quinn walked up onto Carrie's porch, let himself inside the house where he saw Farrah sitting on the stairs, petting Calvin who was purring on her lap.

"Hi Farrah.", Quinn greeted, not wanting to sneak up unnoticed and startle her."Mind if I join you?"

Looking up, she shrugged, prompting him to sit on the step below her. Then he reached into his jacket pocket.

"I hope these are the right kind."

Seeing the bag he was holding Farrah's face lit up. "You get treats!"

"Of course. I promised you I would, didn't I?"

"Thank you, Pete."

Taking the treats from him, giggling she poured a handful of them into her palm. Rolling his eyes Quinn reached over, reduced the pile by half.

"You give him that many the first time out you'll just spoil him. Plus the bag will be gone in a day and a half."

Shrugging Farrah watched with a grin as Calvin sniffed at, then devoured the treats. Quinn meanwhile went solemn watching her. Even though she was smiling he knew things were off.

"So is everything alright? You looked blue when I came in."

Confused Farrah looked up, frowned at him. "I not blue. I tan!"

"It's just an expression, Farrah. It means you look sad."

"I fine. I don't want to talk about it.", she muttered, and Quinn was struck by how similar she was acting to Carrie.

"Well, since you're fine, how about we go out for ice cream?"

"In cone?"

"Of course. I don't know another way to eat it.", Quinn scoffed as Farrah grinned, stood up. "Make sure that Carrie is okay with it though."

"She upstairs. I just write note.", Farrah said, jumping down the steps instead of walking down them. Carrie always scolded her when she did it, but Carrie was also upstairs.

"Here I'll write the note. You go grab your jacket."

Nodding, Farrah ran over to the coat closet while Quinn went over to the kitchen, grabbed a notepad and one of quite a few green pens scattered around. Uncapping it he scribbled a quick message.

"Took Farrah to Farragut Square for ice cream. Be back soon. Q."

Taping the note to the front door so Carrie would be sure to see it, after helping Farrah into her jacket Quinn walked her to his car. Allowing her to sit up front just this once. She was thrilled about it and was chatty and bubbly the whole ride, but didn't say Carrie or Brody's name once.

...

After taking a shower to scrub the remnants of this hellish day off of her, stepping out of the tub Carrie felt her legs wobble and her head spin. Bracing herself on the counter she took a few deep breaths, then swore. Seeing she'd forgotten about the fan so the steam had built up in the bathroom, and realizing she hadn't eaten since having those linguini forkfuls at lunch.

Cursing herself again, knowing if she was this hungry Farrah must be too, she toweled off and changed into worn jeans, a tank top and an old Princeton hoodie. Then switching off her music, she made her way down the upstairs hall.

"Farrah?" Knocking on the bedroom door she frowned, seeing no sign of her. Going downstairs she checked the kitchen, living room, then started to panic.

"Fuck. Farrah!"

Jogging back to the foyer she saw the paper taped to the door and swore again, reading it.

"Jesus, Quinn. Give me a fucking heart attack."

Thinking though some space would do both her and Farrah some good, she went to the living room and turned on her stereo. Getting Thelonious echoing through the room and permeating the downstairs. Her first instinct was to choose Miles, until she remembered the last time she'd played that record. Fuck Brody for ruining one of her favorite albums for her. Fuck him.

Going over to the kitchen she opened the fridge. It was well stocked but nothing looked appealing. She smelled something though that was stashed towards the back, and retrieving it folded back the wrapper.

"Damn it, Virgil.", she groaned, realizing it was half a Royal sub. He'd clearly bought it for himself but forgotten about it, and left it here to tease her. She'd been a vegetarian for almost four years, but if this didn't look incredibly appetizing right now..

Grabbing the sub and a bottle of water, she went to the living room, started eating and tried to mellow out. Trying not to think about her fight with Farrah, or fucking Nicholas Brody and his fucking note on her nightstand, or how she was about to go back on a four year life choice because of a goddamn sandwich.

Chapter Text

"And when I finally got you here you were like, completely out of it.", Dana sighed, glad to be through with the explanation.

"How long was I out?"

"Over two days. Sonya told me it was normal but I still.."

"Hey. I'm sorry I made you worry so much.", Brody said sincerely. Even though he knew he had so much more he had to apologize for.

"It's alright. I mean, all this time I was worried you were dead so.." Weakly she laughed, shrugged, as Brody sat up and she shifted her chair little closer to his bed. 

"How's your mom? Chris?"

"They're alright. Chris is Chris, you know. And Mike finally closed the deal. Him and Mom got married last summer. Kind of had to to make Grandma happy."

"Wait..so he and your mom.."

"Yeah. I've finally got a little sister." Dana smiled semi awkwardly, getting her phone out of her purse and thumbing to a picture. After handing it to Brody he smiled.

"She's beautiful. What's her name?"

"Violet. I think she's finally starting to recognize me." 

Her smile fading out she took her phone back. "Dad when you were out if it you kept muttering about.."

"Carrie?"

Sensing Dana's disgust as she nodded, Brody sighed. "Dana I know you're not.."

"A fan? No, I'm sorry. I'm not."

"And I'm not saying you should be. But, you have to know she's helped me out a lot."

"She what, let you crash at her cabin all this time?"

"She helped me flee to Canada. The night of the bombing."

"Because she thought you were guilty?", Dana frowned.

"No. Because she knew I was innocent. And that nobody would believe me but her."

"But if you didn't do it, then why couldn't you stay and let them just prove it?"

"Because even innocent of that, doesn't mean I'm not guilty of other-"

"Oh. So either way then you're still fucked."

"Dana.."

"What, Dad! I'm not going to sugarcoat it."

"Look. I know things aren't looking great for me, but I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing. Laying low, playing it safe until something presents itself that can help. The one thing I don't want is you worrying about me." Brody emphasized.

"What about Carrie? Do you not want her worrying about you? At least she can potentially help you."

"I don't want Carrie anywhere close to this. Not anymore. Lauder threatened her at the hunting lodge."

"You're seriously worried about Zander's drunk psychopath uncle?"

"I'm worried about what can happen if Carrie stays involved with this. Keeps sticking her neck for me and defending me. It could get her hurt."

"She seems like the type that's willing to take that kind of risk."

"She shouldn't if it's on my behalf. Not when she's got a daughter of her own to worry about."

"What?", Dana asked in surprise. "Wait, it's not...yours..."

"No.", Brody assured. "No. She...Farrah, is Carrie's foster child."

"You're kidding. I never took her as the type."

"She was on assignment in Iraq and was tutoring Farrah as part of her cover. Then Farrah's parents were killed. Carrie was all she had left."

"Shit."

Not up to correcting her Brody sighed. "Anyway, Carrie, and Farrah, are better off if I'm just out of their orbit. I've already hurt them both.", he said guiltily.

"You love Carrie though.", Dana said, wishing it wasn't so but figuring she was better off calling it what it was. "I heard what you called her in your sleep, Dad. I'm not clueless."

"However the fuck I feel doesn't matter.", Brody said sharply. "All that does is that she and Farrah are safe. And they are if I'm not in the picture."

"Well so what's your big plan then? Because right now the whole world thinks it's safer if you're not in the picture."

"Really, I had no idea.", he scoffed, getting Dana smirking slightly.

"I'm going to go back to the mosque, thank the imam and Zahira for their help, and book."

"Where?"

"Zahira's got a brother, and the imam has two sisters and some cousins. He told me once that their family and whatever resources they have are at my disposal so.."

"You're sure Carrie hasn't got any, more official sounding resources?", Dana asked.

"I gave up any options the CIA could offer me when I missed that meeting."

"What meeting?"

"With Carrie's boss. At least I think there was a meeting. He and Carrie had been on the outs, but when her and I were at the cabin he wanted to see her immediately to discuss things."

"In other words discuss you?"

"I'm pretty sure. It was probably my last chance to plead my case. But whenever that was clearly I was MIA.", he sighed, reaching over to grab a small cup of water and the pain pills Sonya had left for him.

"Trust me, Carrie's probably hating me now as much as you hate her."

"I don't, hate her. I mean I don't like or trust her but I don't hate her.", Dana shrugged.

"You think if I find her and tell her that she could talk her boss into.."

"No.", Brody sighed, shaking his head as he swallowed the pills down."Her boss has had it in for me since I threatened his protege staying on at the Agency.", he sighed. "It doesn't matter if I'm innocent. Saul Berenson would land me in Guantanamo before he'd let that happen."

Leaning back against the pillows, feeling worn out from just talking Brody crushed the paper cup in his hand, set it on the bedside table.

"It won't happen though, okay. Believe me, I'll disappear before I wind up in another cell.", he vowed. To reassure Dana as much as himself.

"Great, so you'll disappear and I can lose you all over again.", she sniffed, sitting back in the chair.

"Lose me. Dana, I can't possibly...Look, you're going back to Charleston as soon as Sonya clears me. And you're lucky you have that long.", Brody said firmly. Even though the thought of saying goodbye to her again hurt more than his leg wound ever could, he wasn't about to put Dana or anyone he loved at risk ever again. Even if it meant never seeing anyone he loved ever again.

"Dad, no.", she bit back. "I'm not five years old and just going to do something because my daddy says so. Face it, you're not getting rid of me that easy."

"Dana. You have your mom to think about. And Chris and Violet, even Faber. If what you're doing gets back to them, it's too much of a fucking risk. The longer you stay with me the more dangerous it could get."

"Like I give a shit about that."

"Just as stubborn as your mother, I swear..."

"Say whatever you want but I'm not leaving until I feel right leaving.", Dana said firmly.

"And by the way, Mom says I'm more stubborn than you."

"Yeah. Okay.", Brody snorted as Dana rolled her eyes and got up, grabbed a deck of cards she'd been playing Solitaire with earlier. Shuffling them she straightened the deck out, then set it on the tray table on Brody's bed.

"So you up for a round of "Hunt The Cunt'?"

"Dana, really?"

"Fine, fine. War it is."

Chapter Text

"Okay pick your poison. Rocky Road or Mint Chip."

"Chocolate!", Farrah cheered.

"Or choose one that's not listed.", Quinn groaned. Seeing the sign the vender had put out only listed the two flavors.

"Actually I think I can scrounge up some chocolate. Give me one second." The twenty something redhead said, smiling sweetly at Farrah and Quinn both before going to the back of the truck.

"So, you've talked to me about plans you've got with Mischa, about the cat."

"Calvin!", Farrah corrected.

"Sorry. Calvin. But I still don't know what had you blue at the house earlier."

"I tell you I not blue! I tan!", Farrah exclaimed, pouting as the woman handed over two chocolate cones. After paying her Quinn took a still sullen, scowling Farrah by the hand, to a bench not too far away where they could sit.

"Alright, I won't bug you about your being blue anymore tonight. Are we friends again?"

Shrugging Farrah rolled her eyes, then looked up at Quinn with an exasperated smile."Yes. We friends again."

"Good.", Quinn said, thinking he ought to hold off on this line of questioning. At least for tonight anyway. They were almost to the bench when Farrah let out a squeal, dropping Quinn's hand as she darted off.

"Jesus, Farrah! What the-"

"Bear!", the girl cheered. Running to the other entrance to the square to greet a weary looking Saul. Frowning, Quinn jogged to catch up to them.

"Bear! Pete buy ice cream!"

"Well, how nice of Pete to do that.", Saul said as he stooped to her level, getting a shrug from Quinn.

"You want some too?"

"I think I can be persuaded.", he smiled. Kindly but tiredly as Farrah turned to look up at Quinn, tugged at his shirt.

"Pete I need money."

"Hey, I already sprung for two cones."

"But Bear wants..."

"Here, Farrah. If the girl gives you change you can keep it.", Saul said, handing her a ten dollar bill.

"Yes?", the girl chirped, getting another nod before she took the money. Grinning she threw her arms around Saul tightly, kissed his cheek.
"Thank you, Bear."

"You're welcome Farrah.", Saul said, standing back up as Farrah darted back to the vendor, catching a look from Quinn.

"That kid really loves you."

"Yeah well, the feeling is mutual."

"This is what, the first time you've seen her since she and Carrie went to the cabin?"

"What are you getting at?", Saul asked gruffly.

"Just that you keep going after Carrie like you've been, you'll be lucky to see Farrah on holidays.", Quinn scoffed, getting a glare.

"You think for one second I'm enjoying what's happening?"

"No, but I think it'd serve you well to back off of Carrie a bit. Cut her some slack."

"Like I haven't done just that for over a decade.", Saul scoffed.

"I know. She's a blind spot for you. But Brody is Carrie's blind spot. That's been established."

"What's your point?"

"So each time you throw Brody, what he's done, in her face you're reminding her how much she missed because of him. With Carrie that's the equivalent of stabbing her in an open wound."

"Any wound she has with Brody's fucking self inflicted.", Saul said bitterly.

"Well when that wound heals, when she recovers from all this bullshit, and she will, keep treating her like you are and she's going to want nothing to do with you. She'll cut you out, Saul. Is that really what you want to happen?", Quinn asked knowingly as Saul looked on, agitated but paying attention.

"You need to move past everything with Brody. Goddammit, he's already screwed himself! The guy's so fucked up he's running from his best chance of being cleared. Eventually Carrie will realize he's past saving. But she has to come to that conclusion on her own. You force it on her, you'll just force her away, Saul. Fuck, you're already halfway there."

"Quinn, fourteen years is a hell of a long time to wipe away completely."

"Don't be so sure of that. Push Carrie once more about Brody when everything's this raw, and watch what she does."

"I know what Carrie does.", the older man bit back. "I know more about her than you'll ever fucking know."

"Well, that being said you're being pretty cold towards her."

"Christ, Quinn. I had no idea you were this protective of her."

"She doesn't need protecting.", Quinn said curtly. "But it occurred to me she could use a friend. Someone objective enough to see her side, who's not just zeroed in on destroying the man she loves."

"I'm not fucking zeroed in on-"

"Yeah? Then why did she confide in me that night instead of you?"

"What night? Confide in you about what?", Saul frowned as Quinn rolled his eyes, wished he'd kept his mouth shut.

"Note the word confide.", he spat.

"Is it about Brody, Farrah, what?"

Not getting an answer, agitated, Saul took Quinn by the arm and sat him on the bench, then sat beside him. "If something is going on with Carrie I have a right to know. She's my goddamn second in command."

"It's not going on anymore if that's what you're worried about."

"Peter.."

Letting out a heavy sigh, Quinn went on to explain why Carrie had taken off for those two weeks. He felt guilty (an unusual sensation for him), sharing something so personal that Carrie had told him in confidence, but he figured the end justified the means. If he told Saul this much, maybe he'd stop raking her over the coals about Brody, or at least understand better why she was so attached to him, even still. 

Seeing the look on the older man's face, Quinn realized he'd accomplished that and then some.

"I can't fucking believe...why didn't she say anything?"

"Because you were having a goddamn breakdown yourself. She didn't want you stressed over her on top of everything else."

"Christ, I have to talk to her."

"Yeah, what are you going to say?", Quinn challenged.

"'I'm sorry you lost Brody's baby but if you'll excuse me, I still have to track down then tar and feather his ginger ass?'", he scoffed.

"Why did you bother telling me if you didn't want me to confront her?"

"So that when you decide to wage a full on war with Agent Orange, Carrie's still in the back of your mind. It'll prevent you from hurting her more than she's already been hurt."

Nodding, still disbelievingly Saul sighed, looking more fatigued if it was possible. "Well, thanks for filling me in." Slowly he stood up right as Farrah came running over with his ice cream.

"Bear, I get you chocolate with sprinkles! And I keep change."

"Thanks Farrah, but I'm about to get going."

"But..."

Looking on confused as Saul gave her a hug, told her to keep the cone for herself and walked off, Farrah turned to Quinn. Frowned at him.

"Pete why did he leave?"

"I think he remembered something he had to tell Carrie."

"Oh.", Farrah said sullenly, taking a few licks from the second cone before offering it to Quinn.

"No thanks. I'm set."

Shrugging she walked over to toss it in a nearby trash can, only to hear something that made her ears perk up.

"Farrah, what...?"

"I thought I hear something.", she muttered. Turning in the direction of the sound, a familiar tune being hummed.

Getting to his feet Quinn went alert, feeling in his gut that something was off. Looking around his jaw clenched as he figured out the cause.

"Farrah..."

Walking up he put an arm around her shoulders, guided her away from the bench. "C'mon, it's time to go."

"But..", the girl frowned, looking behind her only to see the source of the sound. When she spotted him she smiled, but Quinn kept her walking, preventing her from trying to get any closer. He was ready to carry her out of the square if he had to after seeing who was unnervingly close by.

"Pete!", Farrah shouted, protesting in Arabic. Quinn somewhat understood her but kept walking faster, practically pushing her towards the path that led to the parking lot.

Realizing that Khaliq's smile faded and cursing he rolled his eyes, picked up his pace.

Chapter Text

"But Pete he want to see me. He want to SEE ME!", Farrah cried. Dragging her feet as Quinn swore under his breath and lifted her, threw her over his shoulder. Ignoring her small fists hitting at his upper back, and cursing himself for parking so far away from the square, he started power walking towards the path. Quinn knew it looked suspicious, him jogging off with a hysterical little girl, but it was preferable to Khaliq catching up to them and him being forced to pull his knife.

"Pete we stop, please!"

Silently Quinn kept jogging towards the path but glanced back over his shoulder to see Khaliq, now rounding the corner and catching up.

Not all the way to the parking lot yet, Saul turned at the commotion he was hearing, and saw Quinn with a sobbing Farrah hoisted over his shoulder. Fearing the worst he jogged over to them.

"Quinn what the..what happened?!

"Take Farrah to your car."

"What? Why-"

"Just take Farrah to your goddamn car!", Quinn ordered, and despite Farrah crying and thrashing around and repeating the word no, Saul knew the younger man meant business.

"C'mon now Farrah, enough. We have to-"

"No, no, no, NO!", Farrah cried, squirming out of Quinn's arms during the hand off. As soon as her feet touched the ground she took off running back down the path.

"Fuck!", Quinn spat, taking off after her with Saul at his heels.

"Quinn, who the fuck is she-"

"Khaliq."

"That goddamn son of a.."

"C'mon, he was gaining on us."

Keeping up with Quinn's brisk pace, Saul spotted Khaliq in the distance and Farrah headed on the path straight to him. Luckily he caught up to her, grabbed hold of her before she could get within hugging distance of her big brother.

"Bear no! Khaliq..!"

"Farrah listen to me, just listen. Think about Carrie. What would she say if she were here right now?"

"But..but he my brother! He my BROTHER!", Farrah wailed, in a tearful mix of English and Arabic.

"And he took you away from us, from Carrie. He almost got you very, very hurt.", Saul reminded, his voice calm but his eyes staring daggers up at Khaliq.

"But Bear..."

"Shh.." Adjusting her in his arms so her face was hidden in his shoulder, Saul rubbed her back to calm her down, cleared his throat.

"Khaliq, let us leave quietly and we can forget about all of this, alright? We won't press charges for the kidnapping, the harassment, no harm will come to you or to Farrah. She's being cared for."

"By a crazy woman?", Khaliq spat, shaking his head as Saul glared.

"What did you just say about her?"

"I did some research. Your Carrie Mathison? She is unstable, yes? What business does she have caring for my younger sister, calling herself a mother?"

"Don't you fucking say that.", Saul growled, standing up as Quinn stepped over to hold Farrah, watched as Saul took Khaliq by the collar. 
"Don't you ever fucking say that. You understand me? Carrie Mathison's the best thing to happen to that girl. She loves your sister more than her own life."

"Then where is she?", Khaliq retorted, shoving Saul's hands away from his collar before stepping back. "Farrah Hadad is my sister. My only sister. My brother's wish was for her to be with her blood relatives, her family. She belongs, with her family.", he hissed as his hand went to his back pocket.

On instinct Quinn's hand went to his holster, but panic seized him realizing his gun wasn't there. It was locked in his glove box so Farrah didn't risk spotting it on him.

"Khaliq...easy.", Saul coaxed, but Khaliq still drew his weapon, then made a move towards Farrah.

Jumping between them Quinn lunged at him. Working to fight Khaliq off and wrestle the gun from him, only to hear it go off.

Instantly Quinn dove back to shield Farrah while Khaliq staggered back, fearing he'd been shot. Seeing who actually had, Quinn curled his arm around a shaking Farrah, pulled her against his right shoulder while his left hand went to put pressure on Saul's wound.

"Fuck, motherfucking, fuck!", he swore under his breath, right as Khaliq took off running before someone got in his path, threw him down.

Quinn couldn't make out who had until she ran over, called for an ambulance before reaching for Farrah, telling her to cover her eyes as she guided her away from the scene, towards a nearby patch of trees. Seeing her red hair as she walked off Quinn was beyond grateful they'd opted to get ice cream.

With Farrah secure he turned all his attention to Saul, overlapping and pressing both his hands against his chest to try and curb the bleeding.

"God fucking damn it, Saul. You stay with me. Stay for your wife, for Farrah, Carrie! You fight for Carrie, Saul or so fucking help me..."

Not hearing the sirens and then the EMT's running up behind him, Quinn jumped when he felt a tap on the shoulder.

"Please move aside sir!"

Reluctantly doing as asked, fear filled his eyes when he saw Saul's slip shut. When a second EMT tried to jump in, assist, Quinn grabbed him by the arm.

"Sir, I don't-"

"This man's the deputy director of the goddamn CIA. You make sure he fucking lives, understand?"

Nodding the EMT stepped in to help while Quinn looked over to the trees, saw Farrah huddled next to the ice cream lady who was attempting to console her. He wanted to join her but thought better of it, seeing his blood stained hands and shirt.

Turning back to the EMT's, wondering if they had a shirt or jacket to spare, something to clean his hands he saw they were already loading Saul into the ambulance. Running up to the driver's side window he knocked.

"Where are you taking him?"

"St Mary's is closest."

"Okay, thanks."

After the ambulance pulled away, moments later a squad car pulled up in it's place. One officer approached Khaliq who was regaining consciousness on the ground, while another approached Quinn.

"Sir, I'm Officer Benson, this is my partner Officer Crews. You mind telling us what happened?", she asked sternly.

Rehashing everything, shaking as he did so (more out of rage than fear), when Crews started reading Khaliq his rights, Quinn ran over, flashed his ID.

"Excuse me, what do you think you're-"

"This man shot the deputy director of the CIA. The Agency should decide what happens to him. Local cops have enough shit to deal with as is around here."

"Mr. Quinn, I..." Met with a chilly glare Crews nodded, told him after they took statements and filed their own report, the Agency would have a say in how to proceed.

Once reaching agreement with the cops, while Benson went to take the ice cream girl's statement, Quinn threw on a jacket Crews loaned him and approached Farrah. Scooping her up he held her close as she cried.

"P..Pete, I..I want..."

"I know, I know. You'll see Carrie soon, okay. You'll see her soon."

Chapter Text

Sitting on her couch, absentmindedly petting Calvin while Thelonious played on in the background, Carrie bit her lip after checking the time. Farrah and Quinn had been gone over an hour. While Carrie welcomed the quiet earlier, now she was starting to get nervous. How long did it take to eat ice cream? Moving Calvin off her lap she stood up to get her phone and her stomach rolled.

"Stupid, fucking sub.", she muttered as Calvin mewed.

"What? Nobody's around to hear me."

Snorting when the cat curled up in a ball on the couch, she picked up her phone right as it rung, startling her to the point she almost dropped it.

"Jesus." 

About to answer she heard a too urgent sounding knock on the door. Her stomach rolled again. Two people trying to get a hold of her at the same time. Something was off, she could feel it. Answering the phone, putting it on speaker so she could read a new text message, she heard Virgil's voice, then read his message in type in Quinn's text. Her face went ten shades whiter as she hung up.

"Oh my God.."

Dropping the phone on, then bracing herself on the table by the door, her hands shook along with her knees that were about to give out. 

"Oh shit."

"Carrie? Carrie!", Danny called, knocking louder before using the spare key to get inside. Seeing her only standing with the help of a table, he ran over but she recoiled, avoided his touch.

"I'm sorry I just...so you heard."

Not answering him she walked back to the living room, picked up the remote to turn on the news. Reading the crawler across the bottom of the screen, she heard the anchor parroting the words back. Breaking news, Farragut, armed, casualty.Turning the TV off before she could read the rest she walked back to the foyer, slipped on her shoes before grabbing her jacket.

Watching concerned, seeing her hands were shaking so much she couldn't put on the coat, Danny took it from her, helped her into it.

"Th..thanks.", she murmured, before her eyes widened and she swore, made a break for the staircase.

"Carrie? Hold on, wait!"

Following her down the upstairs hallway into Farrah's room, Danny watched as she grabbed a tote bag, started tossing stuffed animals, blankets, furry pillows, any comforting objects she could find into it. It was only when the bag was nearly full she realized she'd forgotten Merriweather. After looking under the bed she swore, threw open the closet.

"Carrie, stop. C'mon, we need to-"

"She's going to want Merriweather!", Carrie growled as she whipped around, glared at him but Danny held his ground. Knowing they could be here all night looking for one stuffed animal when they both were needed at the hospital.

"She just needs you, okay? All Farrah needs is you."

Her chin was the verge of collapse but Carrie managed a nod, held it together as she and Danny went back downstairs, walked outside to his car.

"I'm sorry, Maggie gave me strict orders to drive you."

"How did she..."

"She's got a friend who's a surgeon at St. Mary's. She called and gave her the heads up. Maggie's on her way there though right now."

Nodding, she numbly climbed into the passenger seat. Not even buckling her seat belt until Danny prompted her to.

"She'll be waiting in the lobby right when we arrive.", he assured, getting a slight nod before Carrie turned, looked down and away.

"Carrie..."

"Just drive, Danny.", she whispered as he nodded, sighed, and put the key in the ignition.

Carrie was silent as a Sphinx the entire ride, but Danny knew better than to try and get her talking. Even in the dimly lit car he could see how pale she was, and her hands were shaking to the point turning the radio dial proved a challenge. Getting her frustrated, cursing herself out as Danny turned the radio to a jazz preset. Hoping to offer her a little comfort. 

When they arrived at the hospital she was out of the car before it came to a complete stop. Once she got to the lobby, frantic, aimlessly she looked around for a familiar face.

"Carrie!", Maggie called, running over to her. Sighing sadly she took her by the arm, walked her past the front desk.

"Farrah's just a floor above us, alright? Max and Virgil are with her. She wasn't hurt physically at all, not one scratch on her."

Nodding, breathing a little easier hearing that, Carrie forced herself to ask the next question. Her throat felt like sandpaper. "What about.."

"He's in the OR right now.", Maggie said, walking her into the elevator. On the ride up she gave her the most general facts. Saul was shot in the chest and with no clean exit he needed surgery to remove the bullet.

"He's lost a lot of blood. Mira's donating now. I'm not a match but you are, so when you get the chance.."

Seeing Carrie still wearing a deer in the headlights look, Maggie sighed, stopped speaking before pulling her into a hug.

"He'll pull through, sweetie. He will."

Pulling back, still too overwhelmed to acknowledge this had actually happened, that there was a too real chance he might not pull through, Carrie blinked back tears, bowed her head as she crossed her arms.

"Look, he'll be in surgery for awhile, but my friend Dr. McClain's operating on him. She's the best."

"Good.", Carrie said softly, then after a beat, spoke up again.

"Wh...where's Farrah.", she murmured.

"She's over in pediatrics.", Maggie answered as Carrie glanced up, eyes wide.

"Hey, it's alright. Like I said, she's not hurt. There's a lounge in the children's wing with crayons and games and toys. Comfortable chairs. She's in there with Max and Virgil."

Calming slightly, her eyes back to normal size she nodded, before another thought entered her head.

"Quinn? Where's Quinn?"

"He's at the police station. They wanted to formally take his statement. But he stayed in that lounge in a chair holding Farrah on his lap until Virgil and Max showed up, and the nurses and staff refused to question it. I think they were scared of what would happen if they did.", Maggie lightly laughed but didn't get a response.

"I need to talk to him."

"You will, Carrie. You will.", Maggie promised, guiding her the rest of the way down to the children's wing, then the lounge. Seeing Carrie tense up, pale even more, she rested her arm at the small of her back.

"It'll be fine, c'mon."

Farrah was curled up in Virgil's lap asleep as he sat in a teal, overstuffed plush arm chair.Max, seeing Carrie at the door, got up from the small, child-sized stool he was sitting on and went to wake the girl up.

"Max what the fuck!", Virgil hissed. "Hasn't she been through enough! Let her sleep for Christ's sake!", he spat, but then caught sight of Carrie too and looked at her sheepishly. Gently shook Farrah's shoulder.

"Hey, wake up short stuff. Someone's here to see you."

"Virg...", Farrah mumbled sleepily. Rubbing her eyes she sat up, yawned before she turned and saw Carrie. Chin quivering she scrambled off his lap and the armchair, ran straight at Carrie who knelt to her level, pulled her close.

"Shhh, shhh..it's okay. It's okay, honey. It's okay."

Speaking in Arabic to settle her down more , Carrie switched from kneeling to sitting on the rug. When Farrah started recalling what happened, started crying and telling her the whole horrible story in Arabic, Carrie stopped her. Told her not to think about it, that it was all over. She kept repeating herself until Farrah finally nodded, snuggled closer to her before yawning again. Eventually she started to nod off, prompting Carrie to lay her down on a nearby furry rug, then reach for the tote bag.

Retrieving the pillow, blanket, and Marvin, once tucking Farrah in Carrie sprawled out alongside her on her stomach. Close enough they were nearly nose to nose, she kept rubbing slow circles on the sleeping girl's back. A last ditch effort to calm them both down.

Not wanting to interrupt the moment or worse, wake Farrah, Virgil quietly knelt behind Carrie on the rug. Tapped her shoulder as she turned slightly, watery eyed.

"Look, Quinn filled me in on everything so if there's anything you wanna know, I-"

"No, Virgil. Not now, okay?", she said softly, shaking her head before turning back to Farrah. Seeing she was out, softly snoring, taking her hand off her back Carrie twined it with the girl's. Linked their fingers.

"Okay.", Virgil said solemnly as Maggie returned to the lounge with a blanket. Draping it over Carrie she slipped off her sister's shoes. She didn't even stir.

Walking over to the opposite side of the room, Virgil plopped down into an orange bean bag chair. Put his head in his hands as Maggie approached, sat in front of him.

"So, what happened?", she asked. "What did Quinn tell you?"

"That Farrah's fucker of a brother snapped, pulled a gun on them. Quinn tried to wrestle it away from him but the thing went off and.."
Trailing off Virgil sighed.

"It's so completely fucked up. And Farrah saw it all. The kid's gonna be a goddamn mess."

"Hey, kids are tough. They're a lot more resilient than we think. I know, it's absolutely horrible what she's seen, but you know as well as I do that Carrie's equipped to deal with it. She's seen hell too."

"Well now she's floating around the seventh circle of it.", Virgil said mournfully.

"Speaking of which, any word on Saul?"

"He's still in surgery."

"What are his chances?"

"Depends on a lot of factors. But he's in good hands.", Maggie said as Danny softly knocked, entered the lounge and tiptoed around Carrie and Farrah so as not to wake them.

"Any word on.."

"No, not yet.", she answered, then frowned at him curiously. "Where were you? Not trying to find a parking spot I hope."

"I went over to Langley. Gave some of the higher ups an update on Saul. They then told me that since he's incapacitated..." Nodding over to Carrie he shrugged.

"Wait, you're saying she's..."

"If Saul's unable to perform his duties as deputy director..."

Distracted from that disturbing newfound information by her phone, Maggie stepped out as Virgil and Danny followed.

"What's the verdict?"

"He's out of surgery."

"Wait, Carrie should hear this..", Virgil said but Maggie held him back.

"No, let her sleep. She, they need to sleep.", she insisted as Virgil and Danny reluctantly followed her to the elevator. Once upstairs they approached a panicked, pacing Mira. Stood next to her as Dr. McClain left the OR, approached them.

"How is he? How's Saul?"

 

Chapter Text

After Carrie opened her eyes it took her a few moments to figure out her surroundings, but then she saw Farrah, the cheery, too fucking brightly lit children's lounge and it all came flooding back.

"Hey.", Max greeted, still sitting on the small stool across the way.

"Hey.", Carrie muttered, sitting up as Farrah stirred.

"Carrie?"

"Hey, you sleep okay?", Carrie asked gently, then looked up, shot Max a look. Nodding nervously he stood, stepped out of the lounge as Farrah sat up, frowned.

"Where...?"

"We're in the children's lounge at the hospital, Farrah."

"Hospital.." When everything flooded back, the girl's lip began quivering. "Oh."

Slipping an arm around her Carrie sighed, kissed the top of her head.

"How is Bear?"

"I'm not sure, honey."

"They...they take him away! On bed. With..wheels."

"Yeah. That's called a stretcher."

"He hurt..bad?" 

Not knowing how to or wanting to sugarcoat something as serious as an injury from a shooting, one that Farrah all too likely had seen, Carrie bit her lip, nodded.

"Yeah. He was hurt badly. But right now the doctors are in with him and working to make him better.", she assured. But her stomach knotted up seeing Farrah's fearful expression turn to one of flat out rage.

"Khaliq...hurt...because, gun! He..hurt!", the girl spat as Carrie shushed her, rubbed her shoulder.

"Farrah, don't think about him okay? I don't want you thinking about him.", she pleaded. But could tell she wasn't having much of an impact.

"But it his fault! It all his fault! He..he hurt.."

Pulling Farrah onto her lap Carrie held onto her tightly. For both their benefits. She knew if her hands were free right now she'd be punching walls in with them.

"Honey listen. Just listen to me, okay?", she asked after Farrah pulled back and breathed a little, calmed down some.

"You remember the last time we talked about Khaliq? I told you that I was going to find him? Ask him questions and try and figure out why he did what he did?"

"Yes.", Farrah nodded.

"Well, right now because of what happened tonight, the police are doing that. They're going to figure things out and they'll make sure that Khaliq pays for what he's done."

Frowning now Farrah looked up, puzzled. "Why not you? It..it your job.", she said matter of factly. Carrie was about to answer when she heard a tap on the glass of the picture window. Looked to see Maggie on the other side of it.

"Farrah just do me a favor and stay...", Frowning, she grabbed a crayon and a notepad off the table where Max had been sitting.

"Just sit here, draw a new picture for me okay? I'll just be out there with Maggie." Once she got Farrah situated, gave her a quick kiss on the cheek she stepped out into the hall.

"What's going on? Is Saul out of surgery?"

"Carrie, look let's go somewhere else to talk, okay? Danny can come back down and stay with Farrah, I-"

"I don't want to go somewhere else!", Carrie snapped, then sighed, bowed her head. "Just say it, okay? Wherever you tell me doesn't make a fucking difference."

When Maggie bit her lip, didn't immediately answer, looking up Carrie saw her puffy eyes and her stomach rolled again. Forcing her mouth to move her voice sounded small. Far away.

"He's dead."

"No! No, Carrie. No. Saul's not dead.", Maggie assured, but still had a pained expression on her face that sent Carrie's nerves through the roof.

"Then what?"

"They removed the bullet successfully. But, his heart stopped twice during surgery. They got it started again but..."

"But what?! Just say it!"

"He's in a coma, Carrie."

When she didn't respond, didn't move, Maggie walked up, tried to coax her into sitting on a nearby bench, but Carrie didn't budge. When she finally spoke her voice was soft but not as small sounding.

"How..long will he..."

"We don't know. Not yet. I tried to get more information but, I couldn't."

Nodding, her eyes welled up with tears but she'd be damned if they fell. Crying, breaking down, falling apart wasn't an option. Not now.

"I want to see him."

"Okay, we can do that. Mira put you on the approved visitor's list. But you're not going to have much time with him tonight."

Quickly Carrie nodded, set to head up to his room right then but paused. Turned back to look through the picture window.

"I'll sit with her. You go. Floor three.", Maggie said, hugging her.

Carrie held on tight for a moment or two before walking down the hall. Once at the elevator, the trip to the third floor was a complete blur. She only knew she was in the right place when she saw Max and Virgil and Danny by one of the vending machines. 

Seeing her, Virgil and Danny approached while Max held back, bought another bag of M&M's.

"Carrie!", Virgil called as she turned towards him impatiently. Agitated.

"Mira just left Saul's room a few minutes ago."

"Okay. Well, thanks for the update!", she snapped as Danny walked over.

"Carrie, they probably won't allow any more visitors tonight."

"I'll only be in there for a fucking second, Danny. You can set a goddamn timer if you want."

"No, it's fine Carrie. Go on. You can have as much time as you need.", Mira said softly as she walked over, dried her eyes.

"Oh, Mira. Look if my being there cuts into your time with him, I..."

"It's alright. I need to go and make some phone calls anyway and, I don't want him to feel alone."

Nodding sadly, chin quivering Carrie gave her a hug, offered an apology but Mira wouldn't hear it. Kept insisting that he was just doing his job. Not feeling any less guilty though at her words, Carrie sighed, slowly walked over to Saul's room. But a younger, shy looking nurse stepped in front of her. Blocked her path.

"Ma'am I'm sorry but visiting hours are ov-"

"I still have three damn minutes.", Carrie spat, brushing past her to open the door.

She didn't sit. Instead she stood in the corner shakily observing everything. He looked pale, frail, exhausted, far from peaceful. It was like he had actually died twice over.

She wanted to collapse in the chair by his bed and sob. She wanted to tear down the hideous framed artwork on the walls. Smash a hole in the window and in that ugly fluorescent light fixture on the ceiling. She wanted to swear and scream until that nurse or Maggie or some fucking security guard showed up with a needle to sedate her.

But she didn't do any of those things. She just stood still, silent, hands still shaking, only to jump when she head the door open behind her.

"Sorry to cut into your two minutes but I wanted to..." His voice trailing off Quinn sighed, shook his head bitterly. "God fucking damnit."

"I thought you were helping the cops.", Carrie frowned.

"They didn't need my help. The fucker's in custody. But.."

"But what?"

"But, the Agency has a say in what..."

"You mean have a say.", she corrected, turning to face him.

"Carrie..."

Before Quinn could say another word she was out the door, heading towards the elevator.

"Carrie, what the...", Danny sputtered, getting up. "Where are you going?", he asked. Not getting an answer he rolled his eyes, ran up to the elevator she'd just called.

"I can't fucking believe you. You're just going to take off!"

"You and Mira and everyone are here with Saul. Maggie's with Farrah-"

"And what are we supposed to tell her when she asks for you?"

"That I'm out doing what she expects me to be doing, Danny. My fucking job.", she snapped as she got onto the elevator. Shutting the doors before he could say another word.

Chapter Text

After confirming with the police that Khaliq was in CIA custody, breaking a few traffic laws along the way that luckily didn't catch up to her, Carrie turned into the driveway at Langley. Once parking she made her way to the side entrance, then swiped her key card to access the stairwell to the underground bunkers.When she reached them the eager, electric, take no prisoner's gleam in her eyes was replaced with a fierce glare. Seeing she wasn't alone.

"What the...how did you even..."

"Took a shortcut. I had a feeling you were headed here.", Quinn sighed, following her down the next flight of stairs.

"He hasn't formally confessed. I think the Metro cops were just fed up and said fuck it, let someone else deal with him." 

Pleased, Carrie nodded and hurriedly continued down the stairs.

"We'll have some say in how this fucking plays out but not the final say. If Saul doesn't make it though, the balls even more in our court."

When Carrie stopped walking and turned, jaw clenched and teary eyed, he sighed, shrugged.

"Just telling it like it is."

Once they reached the bunkers Quinn paused in front of the door, then stopped, turned to face Carrie with a sympathetic but stubborn look.

"What the fuck, Quinn. We're not just going to watch him over the monitors all night, are we?"

"Well I'm not."

"What are you saying? I'm not allowed in?"

"I'm saying, that.."

"Quinn. That bastard in there kidnapped Farrah and shot Saul in the chest! He put him in a fucking coma!"

"I know. I was there both times. But right now, this is hitting way too fucking close to home for you."

"Are you saying I can't handle it?!"

"I'm saying, you have the same look in your eyes that you did after we brought Roya in. After I stabbed Brody in the hand...speaking of which..."

"Jesus, I'm not here to talk about Brody! I'm here to get answers."

"Answers that I can get.", Quinn said.

"Look, you can watch the entire interrogation on the monitor. I'll even wear a goddamn earpiece so you can relay your questions to me."

"No, Quinn.", Carrie refused. "I have to do this."

"I won't allow it."

"You have to.", she reminded. "You said so yourself less than an hour ago. With Saul incapacitated I'm in charge."

"Not of me. Pull that shit on Galvez or Virgil or Max."

"What about your elevator promise." Carrie asked, arching a brow as he glared.

"That was to help you help Brody."

"Well Saul is just as important. And he would want me to do this, Quinn. I fucking know it."

Seeing him still looking skeptical, concerned, Carrie resorted to another strategy. She was already overemotional so the tears came easily. "Please, Quinn."

"Goddammit.", he muttered under his breath.

"One condition, I'm in there with you."

"Fine, I'll wear an earpiece."

"No, Carrie. I mean me standing right next to you behind that table."

"I don't do two man interrogations, Quinn. That was one thing they decided not to bother training me for."

Going over to a nearby shelf he saw her grab a headset and an earpiece. Placing the latter, she handed him the former before brushing past him towards the door to the bunker. Before she could open it though he tapped her on the shoulder.

"Fuck, Quinn. What-"

"Nothing. Just, eviscerate the fucker.", he encouraged.

Nodding she slowly exhaled then opened the door. Khaliq was shackled at his wrists to the table, and his ankles were cuffed to the floor. He was restless, jittery, trying to play it cool while the fear in his eyes gave him away. 
Carrie was relieved. This man clearly was not a hardened criminal. Of anything he resembled a scared, in over his head kid. She almost felt sorry for him. But then she remembered how Farrah had acted in the children's lounge. How she sounded, looked. Anger, fear, pain, betrayal had been all over her face, and the man seated across the room from Carrie had put it there. Within seconds he was back to being a good for nothing cocksucking gunman.

Silently she took a seat in the chair across from him. Her face set to an emotionless, steely mask as Khaliq looked on mystified and agitated.

"You? Why did they send you! Why am I here, not at the police station?", he exclaimed.

"They couldn't spare the holding cell so they farmed you out to us.", Carrie snorted.

"What happened was an accident. There was a struggle and the gun, it just went off."

"And shot my colleague in the fucking chest.", she snarled, standing up.

"Also that gun was registered in your name. You used it to try and abduct a six year old child."

"That child is my sister!"

"Who you've done nothing but terrorize since you reentered her life.", she spat.

"And here I thought your leaving her in the care of your warmonger father was enough of a low for you. You've proven me wrong, Khaliq. Ask my colleagues. That doesn't happen too often."

Sitting back in the chair she folded her arms over her chest, looked casually at him.

"You can ask the one outside watching this entire interrogation. The one who just told me to eviscerate you. I admit, I was surprised he asked me to. He's normally the bad cop. He stabs the hands that I bandage up."

"That was only one fucking time, Carrie. Hold off on getting his and her's knives and gauze for the bunker, okay?", Quinn piped up in her ear.

"It's an interrogation tactic. It makes the suspect weak, vulnerable. Demonstrates our control. By the time my colleague's through with them, they're generally on the cusp of cooperating. Then I come in."

Uncapping a water bottle she brought in with her she took a sip. Flashing back to Brody for the briefest of seconds before her eyes iced over more.

"I thought you'd like to know that the man you shot tonight, that you left critically wounded and lying in a hospital bed, is the one who recruited me. He trained me himself, taught me every fucking thing I know. Before the first interrogation I ran alone, he told me my job, my only one, was to find out what makes people like you human. Not what makes you criminals, terrorists.", Carrie emphasized, knowing Khaliq had caused enough terror for her and Farrah both to qualify.

"The thing is though, I can't find it. I can't see the humanity in someone who abducts a child in broad daylight, almost gets her killed and then not a month after the fact, attempts the same fucking thing and nearly succeeds.", she snarled.

"He didn't succeed, Carrie. Even if he pulled five guns on us he wouldn't have succeeded.", Quinn said, sounding pained even still.

"I can't find a shred of decency in someone who knowingly pulls a gun anywhere near a child. Let alone uses it to force her away from the people who actually love her. People who selflessly risked their lives tonight protecting her. Farrah knows who really cares about her. That's why you came packing heat, right? You knew force and fear would be all that could motivate her to go anywhere with you!"

Carrie hissed as Khaliq snorted, rolled his eyes.
"Farrah ran to me! She wanted to see me! The only person she ran from was your good friend the hit man."

"Hey, I prefer the term hired assassin. Christ, I'm black ops not a fucking Godfather character.", Quinn scowled.

Biting the inside of her cheek to keep from smirking, Carrie subtly tapped her right foot. Signalling she needed confirmation on Khaliq's comment one way or the other.

"Farrah ran to Khaliq initially but Saul got hold of her, talked about you and she calmed down. And after seeing his holster, she wouldn't have gone to fucking Disney World with him if he asked."

"Well right now, after seeing you were the only one armed, not only is Farrah scared to death of you she's furious with you."

"How would you know? You were not with her at the square tonight!", Khaliq spat as Carrie got to her feet, walked around to his side of the table and rested her hands on it. Then leaned down so she was eye level to him.

"She had a nightmare about you. In the children's lounge a few hours ago. She started crying out, yelling at you to go away, to leave her alone! 'emši! sebni!" 

Not needing to speak Arabic fluently to understand what she was communicating there, Quinn nodded approvingly.

"Good job. He looks rattled. Keep at it."

"You are lying!", Khaliq growled as Carrie stared him down icily.

"No, I'm not. She hates you, Khaliq. Not only that, she fears you. And it's a direct fucking result of what you've done. Jesus, don't you just want to make it right?", she asked, getting a look she took to mean yes.

"Just turn yourself in. Fucking confess, own up. At the very least it'll give Farrah some closure. Maybe eventually she'll even forgive you."

"Forgive me? For an accident?", Khaliq asked incredulously.

"You say I should confess. There is nothing for me to confess to. There was a struggle. The gun went off. Did you even consider that the man who wrestled me to the ground could have pulled the trigger?"

"He's lying. The gun was in his grip the entire time, Carrie. Only his prints are on it, and they checked both our hands for residue and I came back clean. Tell him it's all in the report and the ice cream girl can back everything up.", Quinn interjected as Carrie scratched the side of her nose, indicating she heard him and understood.

"We have witnesses, Khaliq. And the report filed by the police. And proof it was your gun. The residue from it is only on your hands. Only your fingerprints are on it. You brought it to the scene with every intention to shoot it.", she said bitterly as he scoffed, shook his head.

"It was your actions that forced the struggle. The struggle that resulted in the shooting of the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. You really think the top brass will cut you a deal?", she snorted.

"Also, forget about you for five seconds and consider this. If you take this to court, try and plead your case, who do you think they'll call up as the first witness? You're going to make Farrah rehash every fucking horrible thing she saw? In front of a crowded courtroom with lawyers screaming at her? You'd put her through that kind of hell just to save your sorry ass?"

"Farrah would not betray me in court."

Seeing red, Carrie moved back to the opposite side of the table, looked at Khaliq menacingly.

"Let's get one thing clear here. Farrah is not going to so much as set eyes on your goddamn picture after what's happened. You understand me? I'll flee the country with her before letting you drag her into a courtroom."

"Interesting you say that.", Khaliq muttered to himself.

"I'm really hoping that's a confession you just muttered under your breath."

"I was just saying, Farrah will protect me in court. Once I tell her I can easily keep the two of you apart."

"Oooh. How ominous.", Carrie laughed, semi-amused.

"Why don't you twirl your mustache and tilt your black hat a little more there, Khaliq. Tie me to some fucking railroad tracks.", she scoffed. "Your so called threats don't mean shit. In case you forgot you're shackled to the goddamn table."

"Sabina Amir.", Khaliq said coolly as Carrie's eyes widened ever so slightly.

"Excuse me?"

"She is the one who put together your so called foster arrangement, did she not?"

"In case you're forgetting I'm not the one being interrogated here!"

"But you are the one who is nervous. Because I am right. Ms. Amir placed Farrah in your care. If only she had done it through the proper channels."

"You're one to talk about doing things by the fucking book!", Carrie spat. Trying to conceal that up until now she was completely confident Sabina had.

"I believe she would have if she had been given the proper amount of time. But your Agency requested the process be expedited. A rush job, as you call it was done. I know, I did my research. Did you ever wonder why Farrah was entrusted to you so quickly? Why you were able to leave Baghdad with her in just a matter of days, with nobody questioning you?"

Not getting a response Khaliq continued.

"I'm sure if the foster arrangement ever became an issue Mr. Berenson would explain himself to a committee. He was the one who helped set it up. But since right now he cannot explain, if the truth came out, how would it look to the court if a government employee, an unstable government employee was found to be illegally caring for a child."

"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about.", Carrie growled.

"You have no say whatsoever in what happens to Farrah. You're about to be put away on criminal charges."

"Well if I am put away, you will be too, and then who will my sister have? Kidnapping is also a crime, Miss Mathison."

"I didn't fucking kidnap-"

"You fled a country with a child who is not your own. I saw to it that Ms. Amir was promptly removed from duty. And if I am found guilty, if Farrah does not tell the truth, that there was a struggle and that this was all a horrible accident, then you will be removed from your duties too. To my sister, maybe even to your job."

Watching, blindsided as all this played out on the monitor, Quinn recovered and cleared his throat. All the while imagining reaching for his holster, walking to the two way mirror that looked into the bunker and shooting through the glass. One clean shot to end all this.

"Carrie, he's bluffing. All he's saying is complete bullshit. He's fucking desperate. Just stay on him. You're in control here, remember that."

Seeing her hand go to her hair, her eyes widening and tearing up he bit his lip, swore under his breath.

"Just turn it back on him. Scare him. Tell him how well a man who maims law enforcement holds up in prison. The guards will fucking destroy him."

The feed on the monitor was grainy but Quinn could see her jaw clenched, her hands shaking, and mentally kicked himself repeatedly in the ass for okaying this.

"Okay Carrie enough with this. I'm taking over and I want you out of there. Grab the water bottle and back away from the table if you acknowledge."

When she didn't move a muscle Quinn swore and got up from his desk, still watching the monitor as he slowly backed out of the room towards the door.

"I'm not fucking around, goddammit!"

Still not getting a reply, watching the screen he paled when instead of reaching for the water bottle, Carrie's right hand reached back for something in her back pocket.

"Fuck.."

Warily he looked away from the monitor to the shelf where she'd grabbed the earpiece, and something else from. "Motherfucking.."

Sprinting from the control room to the bunker, Quinn threw the door open only to see the flash of metal, then the blade sticking out of the back of Khaliq's hand.

There was only one medic on site, but Quinn had thought to text him as soon as he realized the knife was missing from the shelf.

After the medic entered the bunker, swiftly removed the knife and retrieved pain medication, disinfectant, bandages, Khaliq cried, swore, called Carrie every derogatory name in the book as she stood pale, shaking off to the side.

Cautiously Quinn approached her, gently taking her by the arm to guide her out of the bunker. Once outside after he shut the door, he was set to yell, curse her out. Until he saw her staring down at her trembling right hand that was smeared with blood.

Biting his lip he swore before ducking into the nearby bathroom. Once he wet some paper towels he came back out, saw her standing straight-backed against a wall and trying to catch her breath.

"Hey, easy. Deep breaths, Carrie. You're fine.", he assured, reaching for her hand with the towel but she jerked back and away from him, took off for the staircase.

"Carrie! Shit.."

Running up both flights of stairs, hands shaking so much she could barely get the doorknob, Carrie cursed and kicked at it until it gave before running outside, choking back tears and fighting for air. When her legs started shaking too she cursed, dropped to her knees. Once outside, seeing her knelt on the lawn, Quinn was hesitant to approach. Assuming she wanted space after sprinting off the way she had. But when he saw, then heard her start to cry...

"Carrie."

Kneeling beside her he took off his jacket, draped it around her shaking shoulders before warily slipping an arm around her. Rather than recoiling, fighting him off (which he was far more prepared to handle), she hid her face in his shoulder and sobbed.

"Shhh. It's alright, Carrie. It's alright."

Chapter Text

After Carrie cried it out for a few minutes, mortified she was the first to pull back. Pulling Quinn's jacket a little tighter around her with one hand, while the other went to her hair.

"Carrie, are you.."

"I'm fine. I'm fucking fantastic. Why wouldn't I be.", she snorted, letting out a bitter laugh.

"Well if you're so fine let me have my jacket back, I'm freezing my ass off." 

Sniffling, she looked at him incredulously before shrugging, tossing it off her. "Fine, here."

"Carrie."

"Fuck, just take it! You wanted it back so badly, go ahead..it's yours. Just leave me the hell alone!", she shouted as she stood up, but quickly folded her arms over her chest in a last ditch effort to stop shivering.

"Jesus, fuck..", she choked out, her teeth starting to chatter.

Rolling his eyes Quinn walked back up, somewhat forcibly helped her into the jacket before zipping it. "Stay here.", he commanded.

Too caught off guard to do otherwise, Carrie stood outside, watched as he ran to his car that was parked close by, unlocked it then grabbed something from the passenger seat and the glove box.

He returned with another jacket, a scarf that he handed to her, and something else she couldn't make out. Until he uncapped it and handed it to her too.

"What the-"

"Just drink. It'll warm you up.", he scoffed, sitting on the lawn before she joined him, took a swig from the vodka filled flask.

"So what the fuck was that back there.", he asked, taking the flask back from her.

"Quinn.."

"Not just theater, was it."

When she didn't respond, bowed her head he turned more to face her, saw her hands still quivering along with her chin.

"I fucking lost it."

"His bullshit about the foster arrangement crossed a line."

"It wasn't bullshit, Quinn.", Carrie sighed, getting a skeptical look.

"It wasn't! Saul kept me out of the entire process. He told me about Sabina Amir. He said he'd speak to her. I took him at his word that everything was handled and above board. I was so fucking bent on getting Farrah out of Iraq, I never even..."

Her voice breaking she shook her head.

"I never questioned it. Something had to be off for us to get away so fast but I didn't..."

"Hey. You know Saul, Carrie. You really think he'd fuck around with something this serious. That could cause this much damage?"

"He knew I wanted to get Farrah out of Baghdad! He knew we had a ticking clock there with my cover being blown. Maybe he thought it would never be found out. Neither of us expected Samir or Khaliq would even surface! I..I missed it. It was right in front of my eyes, every shady fucked up thing about the deal and I missed it all. Now, I..I could lose her!", Carrie choked out, clasping her hand over her mouth as her eyes squeezed shut against tears. Her whole body practically fighting back a sob.

"Shh, hey. Easy.", Quinn soothed, shifting so he was sitting right in front of her,

"Carrie look at me.", he said, his voice commanding but gentle at the same time. Reluctantly she looked up, moved her hand off her face.

"Nobody, not a judge, certainly not the man in that cell is going to take Farrah away from you. Blood relative or not, Khaliq shot a man, Carrie. He kidnapped Farrah."

"But so did I! At least he's her brother! What judge in their right mind would let a bipolar spy raise a child who only became her's illegally!"

"Hey, who says this thing is even going to go to court. You're getting ahead of yourself. Right now, Khaliq is the only man who suspects there's anything off about the foster arrangement. He's all we need to worry about."

"Yeah and I just stabbed him in the fucking hand.", Carrie said, shuddering as the scene replayed in her head.

"I take it that's not one of your standby tactics.", Quinn asked, getting a jerky nod.

"He's Farrah's brother for God's sake. If she ever finds out I-"

"She won't. Look I don't want you to worry about this Khaliq thing. I'll handle it."

"Quinn no. I fucking brought all of this on myself. I didn't know for a fact that everything was above board and instead of looking into it, finding out one way or the other I ignored it. It's all my fault!"

"It doesn't matter. I want to help you out. Khaliq isn't the only one who can do some research. And Saul's not the only one with connections that aren't quite kosher."

"What are you trying to say, Quinn?"

"I'm saying, leave this to me. Just focus on being there for Saul, being there for Farrah. I'm more than capable of making something like this go away, but not if you get involved."

Eying him nervously Carrie bit her lip. "I think I already have enough of Khaliq's blood on my hands, Quinn.", she warned as he snorted, rolled his eyes.

"Jesus, you think I really am a goddamn Godfather character, don't you."

Shrugging, for the first time since this ordeal started Carrie cracked a smile, but then looked down at her hands and cringed.

"I don't even know what fucking came over me. Jesus, I've never-"

"Hey, it's done with. Best thing you can do is just forget about it. Besides, if anyone's responsible here, I shouldn't have let you within a foot of the goddamn place.", Quinn said guiltily.

"You really think you could've stopped me?", Carrie scoffed.

"I could've tried. After everything...Christ, Carrie. You had no business doing anything tonight but going home."

"If I hadn't come here I just would've been worked up all night.", she sighed. "And it's not like I've gotten a decent night's sleep since..."

"Since when?", Quinn frowned as she shook her head.

"No. Forget it."

"I'd rather not. Thanks.", Quinn scoffed.

"Look I know you said that you didn't want to talk about Brody..."

"I don't!", Carrie snapped but he looked on unfazed.

"Carrie, what the fuck happened?"

"You know what happened! He took off at the cabin, he blew off the meet with Saul.."

"There has to be more to it than that. Otherwise you wouldn't be this upset and-"

"Quinn.", Carrie cut off. "The only reason that I'm upset is because the son of a bitch in that bunker thinks he's fucking entitled to take Farrah away from me!", she cried.

"If you really want to help? If you're serious? Resolve that!"

"If I do, will you trust me?"

Thrown by his words Carrie let out a snort. "Trust you?"

"Enough to tell me what the fuck really happened. You, Brody. I want to know."

Tearing up again she frowned, furrowed her brow.

"Why? Why do you care?"

"Because someone fucking should.", Quinn said simply.

Not sure how to respond to that, Carrie jumped when her phone buzzed in her pocket. Going to grab it, she looked up to see Quinn making his way back towards the bunkers.

Realizing she'd left her purse holding her key card back in the control room she jogged to catch up to him. Not in the mood to be locked out tonight. Once inside, descending the stairs she answered her phone on the fourth ring. Hearing a small voice on the other end that made her tear up.

"Carrie?"

"Hi sweetheart, you okay?"

"I okay. But Maggie say I should call."

"You're at her house?"

"Yes."

"Listen, Farrah I want you to put her on the phone for me."

"But...no! I..I want to talk..."

"I know. I want to talk to you too. Just give me a few minutes to talk to Maggie though, okay? I promise she'll put you back on the phone as soon as we're done."

"Okay. She is here."

"Maggie?"

"Hi Carrie."

"Is there any..."

"No.", Maggie sighed.

"But there's no change for the worse either. When we left the hospital we were told he's in serious but stable condition."

"The serious is scaring the shit out of me.", Carrie admitted, running a hand through her hair.

"I know. But like I said, he's in good hands, at a great hospital. And I talked to Mira, she said you'll be able to sit longer with him tomorrow. Er, today."

"Good. That's good. Jesus, I'm so thrown off. I don't even know what day it is."

"It's understandable. Time gets away from you during things like this.", Maggie said sympathetically before biting her lip.

"Listen, I know you're not going to like this but I told Farrah she's staying over."

"Damn it, Maggie!"

"Carrie, she's half asleep and already in a pair of Josie's pajamas. It's an hour from Langley to here. That's too long a drive."

"I've made longer trips.", Carrie spat, reflecting on Canada.

"You shouldn't tonight. You need to get some sleep, Carrie. After everything that's-"

"Put Farrah on."

"Carrie..."

"Just put her on the goddamn phone!", she snapped before rubbing the bridge of her nose. Taking a breath.

"Please, Maggie. If I can't be there tonight I at least need to talk to her."

"Okay, I'll put her on. And you can come by whenever tomorrow. I'm working the later shift."

"I'll be there first thing."

"Alright. Farrah?", Maggie called as the girl came hurtling out of Josie and Ruby's room, down the hall towards her.

"I coming!", she yelped as Carrie sniffled, hearing her over the line.

"Is it Farrah?", Quinn mouthed, getting a nod as Carrie sat down in of the chairs in front of the computer desk. Setting the phone down on it she put it on speaker.

"Okay, I here again."

"Well hello again.", she laughed lightly.

"Farrah are you sure you're okay staying at Maggie's tonight?"

"It okay. Frank was saying ghost stories."

"You mean telling them."

"Yes, he tell them.", Farrah corrected.

"Well look, if you get scared of the stories or anything else I want you to call my cell. Maggie's got the number on the fridge if you need to see it. I promise, you need me and I'll drive right over. You have my word."

"Dan say you, at work?"

"Yeah, I am." Picking up on her worry over the phone, Carrie sighed, ran a hand through her hair.

"You talk to.."

"Yes. I talked to Khaliq, but I don't want you to think about what happened with him, okay? Just focus on something else. Something happy."

"I try, but.."

"But what? Talk to me, Farrah. It's okay."

"I still mad.", Farrah sniffled.

"I know you are, honey. I am too. But like I said, just think about something else."

"Is Bear better?"

"Farrah..."

"He still asleep?"

"Yes. He is.", Carrie sighed.

"He, get better though? Right?"

Biting her lip Carrie quickly wiped at her eyes, trying to decide how best to answer. Then realized she couldn't answer, not yet.

"Sweetheart I can't tell you that. Not when I don't know one hundred percent that it'll be the truth. We just need to wait, okay? That's all we can do."

After a beat Farrah spoke up again, thinking this question was one Carrie could answer.

"Are you okay? You have bad mood?"

"Not as bad as it's been before. Really, I'm okay. C'mon I told you, talking to you always puts me in a good mood."

"You have medicine though? For after we stop talking?"

"Yeah. It's in that purse you made for me. Remember, the green one Zahira helped you braid?"

"Yes?"

"Yeah, I've got it right here.", Carrie smiled. Reaching for her larger purse she retrieved the smaller bag from it, twisting and twining the thin strap around her hands.

"I pick green because, it your favorite!"

"Mm hmm. Just like purple's yours.", she mused.

"I wearing purple pjs. With hearts!"

"Yeah? Did you ask Josie if she's got a matching pair that'll fit me?"

"No!", Farrah giggled. Overhearing her Quinn softly smiled, but then cleared this throat seeing the time.

"Oh, shi...Farrah, you should go to bed. It's really late."

"No! I..I not, tired.."

Hearing her yawning over the line Carrie snorted, rolled her eyes. "I heard that."

"Okay, I a little tired."

"I knew it.", she grinned before hearing her name over the line.

"Yeah? Farrah what is it, just tell-"

"I, I love..you."

Squeezing her eyes shut against tears she shook her head, lightly laughed. Forgetting briefly that she was in a bunker deep underground and that the past few days had felt like a never ending nightmare.

"I love you too, habibti. Sleep well okay?"

After hanging up Carrie grabbed her phone, jacket, bags before getting to her feet and seeing Khaliq over the monitor. Glaring, she cursed him under her breath before storming out of the control room, catching Quinn's eye.

"Carrie, Carrie!", he called, following her out in the hall only to see she was already more than halfway up the stairs. When he heard the door slam behind her he swore, hit at then leaned up against the wall.

He knew there was no point in going after her. She wouldn't tell him anything beyond what he already knew as to why she was upset. But Quinn knew there was more going on, there was always more going on. In order to figure out what though he'd have to come through for her, do what she asked regarding Farrah.

It would take some bold moves to make that happen, but luckily Quinn had thought ahead. Made a few of them already.

 

Chapter Text

Entering the bunker coolly, walking up to the table Quinn set his phone down in front of Khaliq.

"You want me to call someone?"

"I want you to hear something."

Swiping a voice recording app on the screen, he leaned back in the chair as Carrie and Farrah's phone call echoed throughout the bunker. Quinn could see Khaliq's anger, but as the conversation played on some of the hardness in his eyes began to dissipate. By the time the recording concluded, he was pleased to see Khaliq looked semi-emotional over it.

"If you needed any more convincing that your sister needs Carrie.."

"It does not change the fact that I want Farrah to be with me."

"Why? So you can watch Farrah grow up bitter, resentful even? If you go ahead with your plan to separate her and Carrie, that's the only attitude she'll have towards you."

"Well what else do you suggest I do!", Khaliq snapped.

"I've got one suggestion that would be worth your while considering. You want to hear it or be treated to some sleep depriving death metal?"

"I will listen."

"If you swear on whatever you consider sacred not to go after Carrie, to pretend you never even heard of Sabina Amir, I can get you out of this predicament you're in."

"How?", Khaliq scoffed. "It is not possible. You already have given your statem-"

"No. The woman from the ice cream stand gave her's. I was only at the station to hear it. She's an unreliable witness. Wasn't even on the scene when the gun was fired. And when I spoke to Officer Benson I was in a frenzied, panicked state. Too stunned by what had happened to remember specific details."

"What you said though, about the residue..."

"My hands were cleaned on site before the cops even arrived. I didn't want to risk Farrah seeing Saul's blood on them."

"So you are saying then, it was indeed, a struggle..?"

"Yes. It was a struggle resulting in a tragic, unfortunate accident. So long as your meet up with Sabina Amir was purely by accident. Something not worth repeating, speaking up about again.", Quinn said calmly as Khaliq looked on incredulously.

"Why are you doing this? You have just disproved each claim that your colleague made."

"As far as my colleague goes, her mentor combination father figure was shot tonight and her foster daughter witnessed it. She's been through more shit lately than most. But it's no excusing what she did. She had no business confronting you when her emotions were that high. And she certainly shouldn't have had a weapon on her. I'm sorry about that."

Shaking his head, feeling guilty now himself Khaliq bit his lip. "I did goad her. For all her flaws she did save Farrah's life, rescuing her from our home. I have only done all this, behaved like this because I was desperate."

"Well so is Carrie. You have to figure she's going to equal extremes because she loves Farrah as much as you. You're battling to protect the same person. It's admirable. Both of you are, but what you're doing is dangerous. You're both playing with fire. And if you keep it up Farrah will wind up losing you both. She'll wind up in the foster system because they won't trust her with you, or Carrie. She could even end up back in Baghdad in some godforsaken orphanage. Completely betrayed and broken and not even seven years old yet."

"It will never come to that.", Khaliq said firmly.

"It could. Unless you and I are on the same page."

After a few moments pondering this, Khaliq cleared his throat, spoke. "We are."

"Good. But just for my peace of mind.."

After scribbling quickly on a yellow legal pad, tearing the top sheet off Quinn slid the paper across the table to Khaliq, then uncuffed his wrists.

"Sign this swearing that you'll keep quiet about what you know, and then I'll sign this.", he said. Drawing up another document promising the charges would be dropped.

"Is this legal?"

"It's on a legal pad.", Quinn shrugged, getting a frown.

"It's binding. And if either of us back out Farrah suffers. I just assume avoid that. Right?"

"Right.", Khaliq said, taking the pen and the paper as Quinn stood up, crossed the room with the phone.

After about ten minutes he returned.

"You sir, are free to go."

"How did you?"

"I gave my revised statement, called in a favor from an associate. As far as everyone's concerned this clusterfuck was nothing more than a struggle over a firearm leading to an accidental shooting."

"Thank goodness!"

"But, if you go anywhere near Farrah before she's ready to see you, the next accident will be one involving.."

Catching the hint Khaliq nodded. "I understand."

"Good.", Quinn said. Bending down to undo the shackles at Khaliq's feet. Once they were both standing again, Khaliq semi-shakily, Quinn led them both out of the cell and outside to his car. Helping the younger man into the passenger seat.

"Where are we.."

"I'm dropping you off at my apartment. Buckle up please."

Doing as asked Khaliq frowned. "Why? I have arranged a stay at a motel."

"That medic hopped you up on a shitload of pain meds and by the time we arrive at my place you'll be crying for more. I'm offering a secure place where you can crash, lay low for awhile."

"I appreciate it."

"You should.", Quinn said as he got in the driver's seat, pulled out of the lot.

After reaching his apartment, giving Khaliq his nightly dose of meds before setting him up in the guestroom, Quinn locked up and then got back in his car. Drove over to Carrie's. Once parked outside her house he peered in the front window, saw her wearing an oversized plaid flannel shirt. He didn't need to be up close and personal to know it was one of Brody's.

She was reading something too, a crumpled up looking sheet of paper. When he saw it was making her cry he shook his head, pulled into the driveway. Thinking now was as good a time as any to be bringing her some good news.

Hearing a car pull into her driveway Carrie jumped, looked out the window to see Quinn coming up the walk.

"Shit." Wiping her eyes she folded the note back up in her pocket and got up. Opened the door right as Quinn was about to knock.

"Whoa."

"What? I heard your car pull up.", she scoffed.

"Look I was just about to go to bed so.."

"Khaliq's not a problem any more.", Quinn interrupted as she paled.

"Fuck. So help me if his body's in the trunk of your car!"

"No, Carrie. He's crashing at my apartment."

"What the fuck did you do? Threaten his life?"

"No. Just made a deal with him. As far as DC Metro is concerned what happened to Saul was a tragic accident."

Seeing her jaw clench he held up his hand to prevent her from slamming the door in his face.

"And as far as Sabina Amir, Khaliq never heard of her. Never spoke with her. I have it in writing if you need visual confirmation."

Snatching the notebook paper when he offered it, Carrie read the untidy print, the signature at the bottom. The words on the page gave her hope, but she was still doubtful, wary of the man who'd signed on the dotted line.

"How do you know he won't go back on his word?"

"Every word we said to each other is on the monitors. I kept the surveillance on the whole time. You can take a look, see for yourself but to me, he seemed sincere. He came to see what he was risking by staying the course. His freedom, Farrah's sense of security. It was all being gambled with. And blackmailing, playing dirty. It's not the guy's style. You saw his face before you walked in the bunker. The guy was a fucking mess."

"Jesus, I mean I know he's not some hardened criminal but, I don't know, Quinn. After everything he's..."

"Hey, I know. I do. But if I thought this guy was going to cause damage he would be in the trunk of my car."

"Wait, seriously-"

"Jesus, Carrie. No. We don't do that.", Quinn sighed, exasperated.

"But I wouldn't have let him turn into a credible threat. And I honestly don't think Khaliq will. For Christ's sake, he got emotional hearing you and Farrah talking on the phone."

"Wait, he heard?!"

"Yeah, I recorded the two of you. Had a feeling it'd prove useful.", he said as she snorted, looked on angrily.

"You're upset? You're...you're unbelievable! You illegally survey a man for a month but one recorded conversation of yours and it's invasion of privacy?"

"I didn't fucking say that, I just...agh!", Carrie groaned, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "Khaliq hearing that, what if he finds a way to use it against me?"

"You're being paranoid, Carrie."

"No, I'm not! He was chomping at the bit for all this to go to trial, what if.."

"He won't. He knows dragging you into court would just succeed in tearing Farrah apart. That stopped him."

"No. You stopped him.", Carrie corrected.

"It's...it's really over? He won't..."

"He would like to see Farrah and explain. But only if and when she's willing.", Quinn said as she tensed up, crossed her arms.

"I don't want to think about that right now, I..I can't..."

"That's alright. It's fine.", he assured, then stepped back down the porch steps.

"Well it's late. You're ready for bed. I should probably get going."

"No, Quinn! Wait."

"What?"

"You want to come in for a drink?"

"Carrie..."

"C'mon. One won't hurt."

Sighing Quinn was about to shake his head, go back to his car. But then thought about how his roommate for the time being, probably wouldn't mind a little more peace and quiet tonight. Shrugging he got back on the porch, moved closer to the door as she grinned.

"Fine. One drink."

Chapter Text

"So the living room is just through...what am I saying? You've been here before.", Carrie said, giving Quinn a sheepish look as he stepped into the foyer.

"Just upstairs though. Farrah didn't give me the grand tour."

"Well, just walk through there and you'll find it. Go ahead and take a seat. I think I have some wine coolers?"

"Guess we really are girlfriends.", Quinn scoffed, taking a seat on the sofa.

Rolling her eyes, Carrie grabbed the vodka from the back of the freezer and two shot glasses. Then entered the living room gently waving the bottle.

"Better?"

Getting a nod she uncapped it, then sat on the couch and poured them each a shot. After though she lifted her glass to his, getting a frown.

"What the fuck are we toasting to?"

"Just clink. We'll decide later."

Nodding in agreement, Quinn did as asked then downed the shot, as did Carrie before she poured them another round...and another...

"You have got to be shitting me. You actually went ahead and.."

"You want to see it?"

"Your tramp stamp?! Absolutely.", Carrie grinned eagerly, watching as Quinn lifted the back of his shirt to reveal the small patterned band striped across his lower back.

"Okay, please tell me you were drunk off your ass when you-"

"Hey, these cartels? You can wind up doing some serious shit if your cover is deep enough."

"And you were.."

"Stoned in between tequila shots. To get close to the gang leader I told him I had a thing for his sister. He said she'd go for a man with a tat above his ass."

"Wait then..", Carrie frowned, puzzled.

"That day I saw you, at the hospital after you were shot...?"

"I told you I'd been fucking that ER nurse. She hated the goddamn thing. Made me cover it up.", Quinn shrugged as Carrie burst out laughing, arched a brow.

"So...not only were you tattooed with a fucking tramp stamp, you were forced to put makeup on it? Christ! You're more of a pushover than I thought."

"I'm trained to take orders, remember."

"Fine then, take my drink order. Another please?", Carrie requested, holding out her glass as he poured some more vodka into it.

"After this we're taking a break. Acknowledge.", Quinn slurred as she laughed, appreciating the spy lingo.

"You're good at giving orders too." Leaning in Carrie grinned. "You've got a voice commanding. No, wait. Switch that."

"I do?"

"Yeah. I almost, almost, listened to you that night in the van with Virgil."

"You did not."

"No but I almost thought about listening and that's fucking progress right there."

"Yeah but you...didn't.", Quinn reminded. "You didn't listen to my voice commanding, you took off running and they probably saw your goddamn hair glowing from the helicopter."

"You think so?", Carrie frowned, clumsily twining a lock of hair around her finger, examining it before turning to Quinn with a teasing grin.

"Would you have noticed my glowing hair from up in a helicopter?", she smirked, taking hold of a fistful of her hair and waving it in Quinn's face. Rolling his eyes he took hold of her wrist, lowered it.

"I've noticed a lot of things about you."

"Like what?", she asked with a smile.

"That despite your ever recurring fuck-ups you're still one of the best intelligence officers I've seen to date-"

"You've seen to date? You saying I'm dateable?", she grinned as Quinn snorted, shook his head.

"You? Fuck no."

"Ouch! Hey mister, I'll have you know that I'm-"

"A good drinking buddy? Yeah, I know it. That's what I was going to say before you started with all that dateable shit.", Quinn chuckled, only to see her eyes cloud over as she backed up.

"Hey, what's.."

"Nothing."

"C'mon. What's the-"

"I'm fine."

"No, you're not.", he said knowingly.

The alcohol freeing her tongue before she could stop it, Carrie rolled her eyes, spoke. "Brody said that I'm a good drinking buddy. Brody said a lot of things."

"Care to fill me in?", Quinn asked as she sighed, slumped back against the couch cushions.

"Carrie...", he frowned.

"What did he do?"

"He didn't do anything. He...wrote something.", Carrie muttered.

"Wrote what? The great American novel?"

"N..No!", she slurred, sitting up slightly as he smirked.

"No wait, I got it. I got it. Lemme guess. The Fugitive's Field Guide To The Forest. A Memoir by Grizzly Ginger, no, wait...Grizzly Brody."

Suppressing a laugh she rolled her eyes, hit at Quinn's shoulder. "Shut up, you're not...no. No! That's, not what he wrote. Not even close."

"Well fill me in or I'll just keep guessing."

Her smile fading fast she wiped her eyes, then reached into the chest pocket of her flannel shirt for the note. Not managing to retrieve it on it on the first try.

"Shit, what did I do with..."

"You need some assistance there or..."

Rolling her eyes she snorted, shook her head. "Fuck you, Quinn."

Finally retrieving the note she handed it over, then downed the rest of her shot. Mulled pouring herself another.

"Wow..", Quinn muttered, squinting at the crumpled sheet of paper.

"Whats it. Ugh, what is it?", Carrie groaned, correcting her slur.

"I can't read his handwriting for shit."

"See!", she exclaimed, slapping his shoulder. "I knew I wasn't the only one."

"What the fuck do you mean by that?", Quinn frowned, rubbing the spot she hit.

"His handwriting on the postcards he sent me? It's different than this. It's fucking legible. The handwriting here? Complete chicken scratchings."

"Scratch."

"Huh?"

"It's chicken scratch. Not scratchings."

"Ugh, who gives a shit. The point is...the same hand didn't write this note and those cards. I'm positive."

"Carrie..I read those postcards, remember? Brody wrote in like, eight different styles."

"Yeah and none of them were this messy!"

"Maybe he adopted a ninth style of penmanship. Mountain man scrawl.", Quinn snorted as she sighed, rolled her eyes. "Carrie, seriously. You're grasping at goddamn straws. Are you trying to tell me you honestly think someone else wrote this note?"

"It's possible!"

"And highly improbable. Why would anyone in their right mind write a note and sign a fugitive's name to it?"

"I don't know. Why would anyone sleep with a suspected terrorist and fucking fall in love with them? Maybe because they're crazy!", Carrie spat.

"Carrie. You're not.." Trailing off it was Quinn's turn to sigh.

"No? Then what the fuck am I?"

"I told you. You're straw grasping. Really, you're sitting around comparing handwriting samples. Save that shit for the lab geeks who work three floors below us at Langley."

"Quinn. It's not just the handwriting. The way the note reads, it doesn't sound like...Brody wouldn't have..."

"You wish he wouldn't have.", he said knowingly.

Seeing her eyeing the booze Quinn reached for, refilled her glass before she spoke up, softly. 

"Can I help it if I'm more worried for him than angry at him?"

"It's easier being worried. To convince yourself he's hurt or in another hole or was eaten by a mountain lion, abducted by a goddamn Yeti. It's easier to believe that than to believe he'd actually be out there betraying and hurting you again."

Wishing she could mock him or smirk at the Yeti comment, all Carrie managed to do was curl up smaller against the couch cushions.

"But Quinn..."

"Don't. No buts.", he said firmly.

"Do you remember that night I found you in your room and you wouldn't let me so much as pity you or see you cry?"

"Yeah?"

"You said I'm the son of a bitch foil who gets you to do what you need to do. And what I'm saying you should do, in my voice commanding, is forget about Nicholas Brody. He's a pathological liar, Carrie. He's turned on you to save himself before, and this time around he wasn't even as calculating. He was so uncalculating he voluntarily gave up his last chance of ever having his name cleared. You should just accept he's past saving! He certainly fucking has."

Quinn sighed, leaning back against the arm of the couch. But bit his lip, went remorseful seeing the expression on Carrie's face. Her eyes clouded over with a combination of liquor and tears. Realizing then what he was still holding he apologized, handed her glass back.

"I refilled it but, if you don't want to drink it you don't-"

Grabbing it from him Carrie shook her head, drained the glass in one gulp.

"Shit.", Quinn muttered as she stared him down.

"Look, I...know, what Brody's done. I know that putting complete trust in him is beyond stupid. It's pure idiocy. But I get to decide when to write him off. I do. And I can't now. Not when I don't have all the, the facts. Findings. The explanations that I need."

About to protest, figuring all the explanation she ought to need was in the note she was holding, Quinn decided against it. Sure there was no use arguing with her over this.

"Once I get them, than I'll be the one to decide if I was right to be this worried or if I was wrong about everything, and if I am wrong I'll gladly rip his fucking pasty white skin off."

"Hey, that was my suggestion.", Quinn chuckled as Carrie laughed, shook her head to keep from crying.

"Seriously though, Quinn. You just said it's easier to be worried? It's not. I wish I could be angry. At least I'm familiar with that. Right now I'm just scared. panicked. I can tell that something is off. That letter...the Brody who was up at the cabin with me, he never would've written it."

"And you would know wouldn't you.", Quinn sighed.

"Look, don't even say it. You think I'm too attached, too close. Who gives a shit. I've heard it before. I doubt you have though."

"What do you mean by that?", he frowned.

"I mean you've never encountered this with anyone, I assume."

"Hey you know what they say when you assume things, don't you?", he snapped.

"What? I'm wrong?!", she snapped back.

"Actually yes. The all knowing Carrie Mathison's actually called it wrong about someone. Alert the media."

"Whoa! Don't fucking bark at me, I didn't-"

"You think you're the only person who's had reservations about cutting someone completely out of their life?!"

"Quinn..", Carrie frowned.

"No. Forget it."

"No, I'd rather not, thanks.", she mocked.

"C'mon Peter. Talk to me."

Looking up sadly hearing his full name, albeit a full pseudonym, Quinn sighed, sipped some more liquor before speaking.

"I had to give up on someone who I loved unconditionally too."

About to argue the unconditional comment, but then realizing it was actually, unfortunately, true when it came to Brody, Carrie bit her lip.

"Who?", she asked curiously, realizing right then how little she actually knew about him. How she'd never really asked, just left Virgil and Max to investigate him and not come back with much.

"What was her name?"

"His name. And it was John. John Jr."

"Wait. You don't mean...your son?!"

"No Carrie, fucking John F. Kennedy's son." Quinn spat as Carrie fought the urge to roll her eyes, spoke after a beat.

"How did you even do that? Give him up? I mean, Farrah's not..even technically mine, but you saw what the thought of losing her did to me."

Nodding, Quinn sipped more on his shot. Crossing his legs under him as he sat forward on the couch. "I only...managed, by picturing the life I'd have without him."

Scoffing Carrie looked at him in disbelief. "What the fuck does that even mean?"

"It means I pictured myself being able to make the world safer by ridding it of a few bad guys. If doing that cost me my life, it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference to John since he didn't know me. He wouldn't suffer. But he'd be safer."

Confused scowl leaving her face, Carrie sighed, looked on sympathetically.

"Shit.", she murmured.

"He is safer.", Quinn said honestly, adamantly.

"I realize that. I do. But the situations..mine and yours..."

"What, what about them?"

"They're different, Quinn. They're different. We're different. You're shielding your son from danger by staying away. But out there, without my help, there's no telling what could happen to Brody. What he's chosen for himself is not safer than the protection he'd have had if he stuck with my plan. Fuck, I'm running the goddamn Agency right now.", Carrie snapped, wiping her eyes.

"Nothing he's doing for himself now is safer than what I could be doing for him.", she insisted.

"Did you ever think though that you're safer without him? That maybe right now Brody's out there doing for you what I'm doing for John? Maybe somehow in the back of his warped head, by staying away he's working to shield you. Keep you safe."

"I don't need shielding! And I don't need anyone to keep me safe! I just need..." Trailing off Carrie sighed, looked mournfully at the near empty vodka bottle.

"I need another drink."

Grabbing the bottle she poured the remaining liquor into her glass, but barely filled a third of it. Prompting Quinn to reach into his jacket pocket, uncap his flask.

"Hey! I forgot about that! You know you could've brought that out before we killed my entire bottle."

"You do know it's my on-hand emergency flask. Only ever been brought out for a friend who was half frozen on the Langley back lawn."

"You mean a girl friend?", Carrie asked slyly.

"No. I meant Galvez.", Quinn snorted.

"Really? Even with his Snoopy print boxer shorts?"

"Okay...way TMI."

"TMI?" Carrie mocked. "Jesus, you really are a dork."

"Hey at least I'm not a drunk!"

"Hold on now, you're just as drunk as I...me...shit. Maybe not.", she grumbled.

"Well that's a problem we can solve."

Filling her shot glass Quinn grinned, lifted his flask to meet it. Shaking her head, Carrie laughed out loud.

"What the fuck are we toasting to now?", she slurred.

"Just fucking clink. We'll decide later."

Chapter Text

"Dad, are you sure this was the right..."

"I left Rex a note, Dana.", Brody winced, as she led him as quickly as possible through the back field of the horse farm to where she'd stashed her car. Not easy since it was pitch black out and she and a walking stick were supporting all of Brody's weight.

"I thanked him. I told him that even though I wasn't responsible for the 12/12 bombing, he gave me way too much fucking credit, about everything. That I didn't even feel worthy speaking to him or thanking him face to face."

"But, Dad..."

"He already thinks I'm a coward and a disgrace. I just drove it home for him."

"Well what if he decides to turn the note you wrote over to the cops?"

"I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

"You mean we will."

"Dana...", he groaned as they finally reached the car. After she opened the door, Brody all but fell into the backseat.

"Forget it. I'm not going to argue with you about this.", Dana muttered, slamming the back door shut before going around to the driver's seat. Once in the car and on the road, after a beat Brody spoke up.

"Dana, I'm sorry. But after we get to the mosque you're going to have to head back to-"

"Dad, please. It's dark and it's late. Let me just focus on one thing at a time here.", Dana sighed.

"Okay. Okay."

After she drove for about ten minutes more Brody felt his eyes start drooping and his leg starting to throb. "Sweetheart I'm going to try and nap, okay. Wake me up though if you need direct-"

"I've got GPS, Dad. We're cool."

Content with that answer, curling up in the backseat he balled up his jacket to use as a pillow. Then tossed back two of the pain pills from his small stash of them.

He didn't have a full supply. Certainly not enough for him to get hooked on, but the pills made his leg pain bearable and better yet, they allowed him a dreamless sleep. Ever since he parted ways with Carrie that had been hard to come by.

Checking the rear view mirror to see Brody was out like a light, Dana pulled over and parked then got out of the car. Partly to check her tire to make sure it was still intact. Mostly to finally get around to doing something that had been needling at her the past few days. Ever since her and Brody's discussion about Carrie.

Pulling out her phone she dialed the number she'd looked up at the house, and learned matched the first speed dial on Brody's prepaid. After a few rings she heard a voice she still wished wasn't familiar to her.

"Hi you've reached Carrie Mathison. Leave a message and I'll call-"

"Hey...why did we stop..", Brody mumbled, sitting up to look out the partially open window as Dana jumped, almost dropping the phone in the street.

"I'm just checking the tire, Dad. Go back to sleep."

"Yeah? I don't know I'm not, sleepy. I'm actually feeling pretty light. Floaty.", he mused, turning to give her a dopey grin.

"That's the drugs, Dad."

"Oh. Is it? Drugs are bad though."

"Yeah I know they're bad. Really bad."

"I taught you that, right?"

"Yeah. You did."

"Okay good. I'm glad we had that talk."

"Good night, Dad."

"Good night.", Brody said cheerfully, adjusting his coat-pillow before conking out again.

Rolling her eyes, Dana got back in the car and drove until reaching a rest stop. Once there, after parking and seeing Brody was really asleep this time, she locked the car up. Needing a cheeseburger and a Red Bull for the road. Once inside she grabbed her phone, redialed the last number dialed. This time though instead of going to voicemail, on the fifth ring someone picked up.

"Hello! Peter Q and his voice commanding at your service! Who am I speaking to tonight?" A man's voice half laughed, half slurred as Dana frowned. Then heard an exaggerated sigh/whine.

"Hey! HEY! That one's my...that's my phone!"

"Sorry, I stand corrected. This is Carrie Mathison's goddamn answering service speaking. How the fuck can I help you?"

"Oh! You are such a..."

Trailing off, then cracking up when Quinn scrunched up his face, started ranting in a British accent, Carrie was nearly doubled over from laughing. That wasn't enough though to deter her from her mission to reclaim her phone.

"C'mon, Quinn. Hand it over..."

"No!"

"You son of a...give me my fucking phone! He...hello?"

"Hello?", Quinn mocked in a squeaky girlish voice.

"Ugh! Shut up!", Carrie scowled. Swatting at him only to have him get hold of her phone again, start yelling into it.

"Whoever the fuck is there why don't you speak up? Please?"

"Damnit Quinn, just give me my...agh!"

Tackling him, trying to wrestle the phone out of his grip, Quinn tried to roll above her but she kept him pinned. When he still didn't relinquish the phone Carrie pinched his arm, twisted the skin as he let out a screech.

"Goddammit Carrie! Agh! That fucking hurt!", he whined as her laughter turned to squeaks. When she went to roll off to the side, her phone resting on his hip dug into her leg.

"Hey..is that an iPhone in your pocket or you just happy to see me."

"Jesus Christ.", Quinn groaned, rolling her off him. Exasperated but still laughing as she smacked her lips together, made kissing sounds.

Still listening in Dana rolled her eyes, hung up in disgust. "I should've fucking guessed.", she muttered to herself before turning on her heel and leaving the rest stop. Her rage more than enough to fuel her the rest of the drive to the mosque.

...

The next morning Carrie awoke to find herself in her bed, in a shirt that certainly wasn't her's or Brody's, and with a wicked headache pulsing through her brain. Slowly she got out of bed and staggered into the bathroom, taking her pills that she chased with some aspirin. She did her damnedest not to hurl.

The last thing she remembered was Quinn doing an impression of Brody's fake accent, that actually sounded pretty convincing. But she had no idea how she'd gotten into Quinn's shirt and out of her pants. Well, she had an idea but her mind refused to go there.

"Quinn? Quinn! Are you still here?"

"Morning sunshine.", he chirped, strolling in her room as she shot him a death glare. "Well aren't we ravishing."

"Not with that ass tattoo you're not.", she snarled.

"Well, at least you remember some of last night."

Smiling he handed her a cup of coffee that she took before slowly sitting down at the foot of the bed. "Anything else coming back to you?", he asked.

"You spoke British..."

"And sang Bohemian Rhapsody. You joined in on the high notes."

"Fuck."

"You weren't half bad. But your neighbor called the cops on us."

"Quinn!"

"I showed him my badge, did my best not to look trashed. You however I locked in the bathroom."

"It locks from the inside."

"Chair under the doorknob."

Rolling her eyes she groaned. "Jesus, what else. Oh fuck. Did you and I...did we?", she asked nervously, hoping he knew what she was implying.

"No. You did make a play for me though. Then tried to take your bra off and pull it out through your shirt sleeve."

"Jesus. Did I?"

"No. Just almost strangled yourself with it."

"So how did I wind up in your shir-"

"The flask got spilled all over yours. Didn't think you'd want your mattress to smell like a distillery."

"So wait..you carried me upstairs?"

"Yeah and you fucking fought me the whole way."

"What?"

"You kicked me in the knee twice and punched me in the ribs. My suggestion that you go to bed made you very cranky."

"Jesus Christ.", Carrie groaned, mortified. "So how the fuck did you commit all this to memory? You were as drunk as I was!"

"Trust me, it was worth remembering."

"Quinn.."

"I rehydrated, took some aspirin last night before I crashed on your couch. And went for a jog this morning to clear my head."

"What time is it?"

"Eleven."

"Eleven! Fucking, shi..I have to get Farrah at my sister's. Check on Saul. Oh God, Quinn how's Saul!"

"I called the hospital. There's no change."

Nodding her throbbing head, Carrie groaned, collapsed back against the bed pillows.

"You know you're very dramatic when you're hung over."

"And you're annoyingly not. Hung over."

"How can you tell?"

"You went for a fucking jog this morning!"

"I came back though."

"Yeah. You did.", she smiled softly, sipping some of her coffee before speaking again.

"Thanks. For sticking around. I..."

"It's alright, you didn't look up to being by yourself.", Quinn said as she nodded sheepishly.

"Yeah. And at least one of us had the good sense to keep anything from, happening."

"I didn't stay last night because I wanted something to.", he clarified, about to say more when Carrie's phone rang. Slowly she stood up, swearing as she looked around for the source of the vibrating.

"It's on your dresser. I thought you'd want it close by if Farrah..."

Nodding, Carrie checked the caller and tensed up, answered.

"Maggie hi, what is it? What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong. I just wanted to check in. You said you'd be by bright and early to get Farrah and.."

"Shit, is she alright? Is she asking for me?"

"Farrah's fine. Really. She and the girls are eating breakfast with Danny before he drops them at school."

"This late?"

"The weather was miserable and they cancelled the buses. They get a half day today."

"Oh fine, then. Well I'm heading over there now to get Farrah. I can say hi to them before they all head out."

"Hold on, Carrie."

"What?

"You sound like you've had a long night.", Maggie said knowingly, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

"Well my mentor was shot and my daughter saw it, so yeah, Maggie. I had a long night! What does it matter?"

"Carrie, you're hungover. Even over the phone I can tell. And it's freezing rain and slippery out right now. I don't think you should be behind the wheel just yet."

"Jesus Christ, Maggie. I'm fine to drive."

"Carrie..."

"Look I just want to see Farrah and give her a hug and bring her home, okay! You don't understand! I.."

Seeing her about to launch into the whole ugly story about last night, explaining why she was so desperate to see the girl, and knowing she had every right to feel that way, Quinn got up and took the phone from Carrie before she could stop him. Held a hand up to keep her from protesting.

"Maggie, hi. It's Peter Quinn. Look I'm at Carrie's now. Yeah. I'll drive her to your house to get Farrah. Is that alright? Okay. Okay, thanks."

Hanging up he handed Carrie back the phone. Looking slightly smug as she glared, agitated.

"What?"

"Is this going to become a habit of yours? Just jumping in to solve every little crisis that I come across?"

"No. But I can make it a habit if you're interested."

"Ugh, damn it, Quinn!", she yelled, but her head throbbed at all the commotion and she swore. Sat back down on the bed hoping the wave of nausea would pass.

"Shit. You really don't do well hungover."

"This isn't just hangover. Fuck, I can't remember the last time I even ate something.", she groaned.

"Well we should change that. But take a shower first. Hot, cold, whatever you need to do. Meet me downstairs in twenty or I'm going without you."

"Wait, where?", she called as he made his way into the hall, ignoring her.

"Going where! Quinn! Damn it!"

Rolling her eyes she shakily stood up, still swearing before downing her coffee, then following his instructions. Getting in the shower she turned the water on cold as long as she could stand it, then switched it to hot. Very hot.

Chapter Text

After getting cleaned up, changed and grabbing a few more things for Farrah, hoping her headache would dissipate at some point Carrie made her way downstairs. Shaking her head when she saw Quinn at the base of the steps. Holding a to-go mug of coffee and what appeared to be some granola bars.

"Spartan much?", she smirked, taking the coffee but turning her nose up at the bar. "I thought you said we were eating."

"I know it's no egg white omelet but we're already running late.", Quinn said, stepping outside as she followed, then turned to lock the door.

"Which is why they invented something called a drive-thru!"

"The only one on the way to your sister's house is a McDonald's. I've never eaten an Egg McMuffin in my life. Don't plan to start now."

"Like you couldn't deal with some extra fucking calories. Just go on another mid morning jog.", Carrie snorted, getting into the passenger seat.

"Don't scoff. Running helps focus your energy. Clears your mind. Probably beats electroshocks by a goddamn long shot."

"How the fuck would you know?!", she snapped as Quinn bit his lip, mentally cursed himself out.

"I apologize. That was out of line."

"It's alright. Hangovers leave me too sensitive for my own good.", Carrie shrugged, sipping her coffee.

They drove in silence for a few minutes more, until Quinn turned off at the exit before the one for Maggie's house. 

"What are you doing? The exit's not for another ten-"

"Yeah, I know."

"So where the fuck are you taking us?" Not getting an answer Carrie looked on befuddled, until he pulled into a beat up parking lot surrounding an even more beat up diner.

"We made good time, no traffic, so I figured we'd make a quick stop."

"Quinn it's already.."

"If we order fast we'll be in and out in twenty minutes. C'mon, you said you were hungry."

Too mystified to question things, Carrie followed him into the diner. Once seated at the counter he grabbed her a menu, placed his order with the waitress before she could even question it. Stunned at his choice, all Carrie could do was laugh, shake her head.

"Okay, so an Egg McMuffin is off the table, but a powdered sugar Belgian waffle is acceptable?"

"We split it. Cuts the calories by half and still cures your hangover.", Quinn said matter of factly as the waitress poured them both coffees, eyed him curiously.

"Fourth time in here this week, honey?"

"You make a good waffle.", he shrugged, getting grins out of Carrie and the waitress both. Earning them both glares as he sipped his coffee. Carrie just smirked until the waitress returned with the giant waffle, that looked more like carnival food than anything else. Eyes widened slightly she nodded for Quinn to divvy it up. 

"So you've been here four mornings in a row? That's a lot of hangover."

"Hey about you focus on getting rid of yours?", Quinn snapped.

"Fine.", Carrie shrugged, cutting into her half of the waffle. "Remind me to bring Farrah here sometime. She'll go wild."

"I'm sure she will.", Quinn said before checking the time, then nodded for the waitress to bring the check. Even though Carrie had only eaten two bites.

"Hey!", she exclaimed. "If I eat this any faster it'll wind up all over your passenger seat."

Rolling his eyes Quinn grabbed a take out container and shoveled the remaining waffle into it. Even the uneaten portion of his half before putting a plastic fork in the box too, handing it all to Carrie.

"Here. Now you can finish at whatever fucking pace you want."

Once in the car, Carrie continued to eat and Quinn drove a little faster towards Maggie's. Once he could breathe a little easier seeing they'd still arrive on time, he turned and stifled a laugh seeing Carrie scarfing down the waffle. Getting powdered sugar all over her face.

"What was the last thing you ate that could count as a meal?", he asked.

"You mean our liquid one last night didn't count?", she teased as he gave her a look. "I don't know. Vending machine trail mix?"

"From where, the hospital? That had to be stale as shit.", Quinn snorted.

"Yeah well, didn't think to set aside any that Brody had..."

"That Brody what?"

"Never mind.", Carrie sighed, continuing to poke at the waffle until finally finishing it when they reached Maggie's. When Quinn turned to unbuckle his seatbelt, he laughed out loud seeing powdered sugar striped across Carrie's chin and up her cheek, dotting her nose.

"What?", she snorted as he laughed again, then reached over, ran a finger across her cheek.

Instead of jerking back, scoffing or swearing at him, Carrie gave him a soft smile. Leaned in closer as if to kiss him.

"Carrie..", Quinn cautioned. Eyes darkening as he frowned, pulled back.

"What?", she asked, surprised at the look on his face.

"Goddammit.", he spat. Rolling his eyes he got out of the car as Carrie's eyes narrowed. Unbuckling she slammed the door, followed his lead.

"Hey!"

"Go inside and get Farrah. We're already running late."

"What the fuc...hell, is your problem?!"

"What, you're editing yourself?"

"Well dropping F bombs in the middle of the suburbs isn't exactly tasteful.", Carrie hissed, getting a look.

"And trying to jump me in my car is?"

"Jump you?! I wasn't-"

"Forget it. Just get Farrah.", Quinn said dismissively, turning away from her as she rolled her eyes, walked up the driveway in a huff.

...

Knocking loudly at the door, after Maggie let her in Carrie barely acknowledged her, or Danny standing close by. Just ran upstairs to the guest room right as Frank left the kitchen.

"What the...was that Carrie?"

"She just went upstairs, Dad. Wanted to see Farrah."

"Well, guess we should be grateful she wants to see anyone.", he pointed out as Maggie sighed, put an arm around Danny as they all retreated to the kitchen.

"Farrah? You awake?", Carrie asked, softly knocking as the girl shot up in bed, scrambled out of it towards her.

"Carrie!"

"Hey..it's okay, it's okay.", she soothed, hugging her.

"I missed-"

"I know, I missed you too."

After holding her for a few minutes more, Carrie was the first to pull back. "You get a good night's sleep?"

"Yes. Like logs."

"You mean you slept like a log."

"I sleep like logs."

"Close enough.", Carrie laughed, shifting to a sitting position on the rug before pulling Farrah onto her lap.

"Last night. At work, you...you talk to Khal-"

"Yes I did. So did Quinn actually."

"Pete?"

"Yes, Pete."

Shifting on her lap to face her, Farrah gave her a small, shy smile. "Is he okay?"

"Yeah. He is."

"I yell at him, at park, I..."

"Honey it's okay. You were upset, so was he. It's over though."

"What about Khal.."

"You and I will talk about him later, okay? There's a lot that happened and a lot you should know. Just, right now lets focus on one thing at a time. Getting you to the community
center for starters, that is if you still want to-"

Farrah didn't answer her, instead started pawing through Carrie's purse that looked unusually overstuffed.

"I brought you something to change into. Tell me what you think.", Carrie asked, pulling herself to a standing position using the bedpost.

Curiously Farrah reached into the purse, pulled out a shopping bag containing a new pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a purple hooded sweatshirt with silver stars all over it.

"This new!"

"Yeah. I was going to surprise you with it at home, but figured I'd give it to you now. Do you like it?"

"Yes!", Farrah cheered, throwing her arms around Carrie's waist, then thanking her.

"You're welcome. Now go on, get dressed. I'll be downstairs."

Biting her lip Carrie went downstairs, walking into the kitchen before looking at Maggie sheepishly. "I'm sorry I just, sprinted past you. I just.."

"It's okay. It's fine.", Maggie assured, giving Carrie a hug as she sniffed, pulled back.

"Jesus, I just can't stop crying.", she said, embarrassed.

"It's okay. It's been a rough few days."

"Any news about Saul?"

"No there's not. I just called.", Quinn said, leaving the study.

"What the..."

"It's chilly out there, Carrie. I couldn't just leave him to sit in your car.", Maggie defended.

"You make it sound like he's a puppy or something.", Carrie scoffed, pouring herself some coffee.

"He did give you a ride over here. I was just being polite, I-"

"Don't. It's fine, Maggie. Really.", she sighed, taking a small sip of the beverage as Quinn frowned, checked his watch.

"It's getting late. We should probably get Farrah to the community center before going back to your house to get your car."

Nodding, after Maggie got her a to-go cup for her remaining coffee, told her to call if she needed anything, Carrie smiled, thanked her and walked over to the base of the staircase. Yelling upstairs for Farrah. When the girl didn't answer or come down right away she cursed, started pacing back and forth.

"You're gonna run a rut through the rug if you're not careful.", Quinn quipped, approaching her as she rolled her eyes. "If I'd said that to you last night you'd have laughed for a straight minute. Maybe longer."

"Well last night we were drunk off our asses.", Carrie reminded.

"Didn't mean we didn't have fun."

Rolling her eyes again, this time more playfully she couldn't hide her smirk. "Quinn..."

"I'm sorry if I upset you back at the car. But if I thought our fucking each other wouldn't have any strings or consequences or create all this squishy emotional bullshit between us, we'd have banged at least twelve times by now."

"Twelve times?"

"More or less. Either way we'd have fun.", Quinn acknowledged before biting his lip. "But you know we'd also feel like goddamn fools after the fact. I figure you've felt fooled enough lately."

"Got that right.", Carrie snorted, folding her arms over her chest. After a beat Quinn spoke up again, smiled softly.

"You're the closest thing to a friend that I've had in awhile. I'd rather not fuck that up."

"Well, neither would I."

"Good. So we're on the same page."

Nodding, Carrie returned his smile. "Yeah. We are."

"Good. Now can we track down your kid and get the fuck out of here?"

"Shit. Yeah. Farrah?!"

"I coming, I coming!", Farrah yelped, scrambling down the steps before jumping off the second one from the bottom. Landing on the rug with a flourish.

"Ta da!", she cheered, arms up in the air as Carrie rolled her eyes, scooped her up.

"Hi Pete!"

"Hey kid. Are you alright?", Quinn asked, getting a nod, shy look.

"I okay.", Farrah said. Curling up on Carrie's shoulder the remaining walk to the car.

...

The drive to the mosque started off unusually quiet. Even though he was driving, Quinn tried to cheer Farrah by reaching into the backseat, retrieving a quarter from her ear. Seeing though the magic trick wasn't having its usual effect, and that in trying to do it Quinn had almost driven off the road twice, Carrie unbuckled, demanded he stop the car. Getting out she climbed into the back seat. Slipped an arm around Farrah who seemingly wasn't okay at having to separate from her at the community center.

"Farrah, you'll be fine. Really. You'll get to see Zahira and all your friends."

"No Nick.", Farrah sniffed as Carrie sighed. Tried to ignore the look Quinn now had overhearing that.

"Today's the art show though, right? That'll give you something to look forward to."

"I don't know. Maybe."

"Why not just try and stay for a little while. At least find out if your painting won a prize or not."

"But..I don't..."

"Look, if you get really upset and want to leave, just find Zahira and have her call my cell. I'll come right over and get you."

Feeling more at ease hearing that Farrah nodded, curled up closer to Carrie.

"Okay."

"Yeah?"

"Yes. I..I okay."

"You're very, very brave Farrah. Do you know that?"

"Brave like you?"

"Yeah, brave like her.", Quinn piped up, pulling the car up outside the community center.

Shrugging Carrie gave him a small smile, unbuckled her's and Farrah's seatbelts. C'mon. I'll walk you in."

"Quinn, You'll wait?", she asked, getting out of the car with Farrah as he snorted, rolled his eyes.

"No. You're hitchhiking."

"Fuc..." Editing herself just in time, waiting until Farrah walked around and ahead of her Carrie slipped a hand behind her back, raised her middle finger.

Shaking his head, Quinn exited, locked up the car. "Fine. No hitchhiking but I get to go in."

"Why?", Carrie frowned.

"Let me see where the kid goes each day. I'm curious."

"Fine.", she shrugged as Farrah grinned, ran back to grab Quinn's hand, then Carrie's. Then kicked her legs up as they walked so they were forced to lift her up by her arms. When they went to let her down she shook her head, kicked again.

"Again! Please?"

"Should we?", Carrie asked, arching a brow at Quinn.

"Well she said please, didn't she?", he grinned, lifting Farrah again but higher this time. Forcing Carrie to compensate and lift along with him, to her annoyance.

"Jesus, you're going to pull my arm out of the socket!"

"Well fine, if you're just going to whine about it." Letting Farrah down, in one fluid fast motion Quinn set her on his shoulders., then jogged the rest of the way to the front entrance.

"Hey! Slow down, I'm in fucking heels!", Carrie yelled.

Rolling his eyes, Quinn stopped and let Farrah down with a flourish before bowing. Getting her giggling, then blushing.

"Thank you Pete.", she said bashfully.

"You're welcome.", Quinn said, taking her hand again as Carrie caught up to them both.

"C'mon. Show me around a little.", he requested as Farrah giggled. More than happy to oblige.

Chapter Text

Once reaching the mosque and crashing for a few hours in Brody's apartment, after they both woke up, ate breakfast and packed, Dana followed Brody over to the community center where he was supposed to meet up with the imam and Zahira. They welcomed Brody into the office and asked Dana if she wanted to join them, but she opted to introduce herself with a half-hearted smile and a quick wave. Too drained and sleep deprived to be in good small talk first impression mode.

Stepping out into the hallway, she yawned and sat on a bench when about a half dozen kids sprinted past her.

"Jesus.", she scoffed as a frazzled looking teacher tried to catch up to them. 

"Hey, you may want to look into leashes!", Dana yelled, getting a glare that made her grin.

"Pete! My painting is here!", Farrah yelled, but saw Quinn was lagging behind with Carrie. Both distracted by a little girl who needed help displaying her popsicle stick mansion.

Stamping her foot Farrah pouted, crossed her arms. Stared mournfully up at her painting that she'd put a lot of time and effort into, but nobody was making the effort to come and see.

"Which one is yours?", Dana asked from the bench. When Farrah turned towards her, smiled, she stood up, approached her.

"This one!", the girl cheered. Pointing upward as Dana nodded.

"Wow. That's really nice.", she said sincerely.

"Thank you!"

"I like that the sun is wearing sunglasses."

"Me too! It funny, yes?"

"Yeah, definitely. Are any of the other paintings here yours?"

"Yes! We go this way!"

Thrown when Farrah grabbed her arm, half dragged her down the hallway Dana couldn't help but laugh. Thinking if a little girl she just met was this taken with her, maybe she had half a chance of getting along with Violet.

...

"ma`a as-salāma, Nicholas. Good bye.", the imam said, giving Brody a sad smile.

"ma`a as-salāma, Imam. And thank you. shukran. You both have helped me more than you'll ever know."

"Yes, but you also helped us."

"You can still stay!", Zahira piped up. "Please. We are more than happy to accommodate you.", she said sadly as the imam slipped an arm around her shoulder.

"I know, Zahira. And I'm grateful, really. But I can't stay here any longer. I need to do this."

"But you are still injured!"

"I've survived worse.", Brody said gruffly.

"You've both been incredible though. I won't forget your kindness, and I'll always pray for you."

"As will we."

After the imam embraced him, offered him a blessing in Arabic, Brody left the office feeling more emotional than he had in quite some time. Making his way to the back exit where he'd told Dana to meet him, he heard footsteps, turned to see Zahira behind him.

"Nicholas! Wait!"

"Zahira, what...?"

"What about Carrie?"

"What about her?", Brody frowned, his eyes clouded over.

"She was very concerned about you. As was Farrah."

"Zahira..." Sighing he gently took her by the arm over to a side hallway.

"One of the reasons I'm leaving is to keep Carrie and Farrah safe. Everyone who I interact with is at risk, and I won't put either of them in harm's way. For Christ's sake, they've been through enough because of me."

"They care about you.", Zahira insisted.

"They are both very attached. I have seen it. So has my husband."

"I care about them too, and that's why I can't stay! I won't cause either of them any more pain."

"If they love you, as much as you love them, they will be in pain if you leave.", she said knowingly as Brody sighed, bowed his head.

Shaking her's Zahira reached up, lifted his chin to see he was in tears.

"Listen to me. Carrie, she is in charge of the CIA. If anyone could offer you protection, at least until your name is cleared..."

"Zahira what are you talking about? Carrie's not the director. She doesn't have that kind of author-"

"What are you talking about?", Zahira frowned. Pulling her phone from her pocket to pull up the news report, Brody barely had a chance to glance at the headline when he heard Dana's voice echoing down the hall.

"Dad! Seriously you have to come look at this kid's artwork. She's like a freaking prodigy."

Walking back down the hall towards him, holding Farrah's hand, when the girl looked away from Dana and spotted Brody, her smile changed to a look of surprise. Then her brown eyes narrowed in confusion, with anger mixed in too.

"Oh shi...Farrah, I-"

"Wait.", Dana frowned, looking between the two of them.

"She's that Farrah?", she asked right as Farrah dropped her hand, let out a yell.

"Farrah, wait-"

"No! No no no!", the girl yelled, turning to run back down the hallway.

Meanwhile Quinn and Carrie, who'd been stuck making small talk with Farrah's art teacher, heard the girl yelling and broke into runs as well.

"Farrah? Honey what..."

Bending to Farrah's level right as the girl collided with, clung onto her leg, Carrie looked up frantically at Quinn who was glaring at someone across the way.

"Quinn what? Oh, shit."

Weakened slightly by trying to chase after Farrah, but refusing to let on, Brody subtly moved away from the wall he'd been bracing himself on, stood straight. Luckily Dana was too preoccupied to notice.

"C'mon, Carrie. We should get Farrah to the art room.", Quinn said calmly.

Recognizing his voice even without the alcohol seeping through, Dana's eyes narrowed as she snorted, shook her head.

"Yeah bet you're dying to drop the kid off, keep going with what you started last night.", she spat as Quinn frowned.

"Last night, what the hell do you mean, I...ah.", he said as it clicked. "The mystery caller."

"What?! Dana, you called my house?", Carrie sputtered, and now it was Brody's turn to frown.

"Dana, why did you-"

"What difference does it make, Dad? Obviously she's not interested in you anymore! Already moved onto her next victim."

"Look, just watch it okay.", Brody cautioned.

"Watch what! You're not really going to defend her to me, are you? After all the bullshit she's dragged you through! God, she can't even wait a week before jumping into bed with this random-"

"Hey, that's enough!", he growled. Forcing himself not to wince or make it obvious that only one leg was supporting all his weight. Instead he concentrated on Carrie, saw the pain and rage flashing in her eyes and felt his heart break in half. Then it broke even more at her words.

"I don't need a protector, Brody."

"I...I'm sorry love, I just-"

"Don't call me that.", she hissed as he nodded, took a step back.

"Yeah, like he even has to.", Dana spat. "It's obvious she's got her newest fuckbuddy to do that job."

"Hey! Watch your goddamn language.", Quinn snapped, moving to cover Farrah's ears but she fought him off. Prompting Carrie to take her hand, walk her a few feet away before getting to her level.

"Farrah, listen. I was talking to your art teacher, Ms. Dancy? That woman standing over there?"

"Ti..Tina?", Farrah acknowledged.

"Yeah. Tina. She's letting everyone present their art today in front of the class. I really think you should go with her, okay? You said in the car that you'd be brave and try and stay the day."

"But.."

"I know, I know but I have some things I need to take care of. And I'd rather you spend time drawing and with your friends than with me, okay?"

When Tina approached, started trying to talk her into staying Farrah bit her lip, still looked nervous.

"I see you soon?"

"Yeah, you will. I promise. For now though just go with Tina. You'll be fine.", she promised, hugging the girl. "I love you, sweetheart. I'll see you this afternoon, okay?"

"Okay.", Farrah sniffled, pulling back as Tina smiled, led her to the art room. Once she saw they were out of earshot, Carrie got back on her feet, stormed over to Dana.

"Look, I don't give a shit about how you feel or what you think about me. But so fucking help me, if you spout bullshit like that in front of my daughter again! Upset her-"

"I didn't upset her! I was looking at her art with her while you were off doing who the fuck knows what with him!", Dana retorted as Carrie stepped back, crossed her arms.

"And how much of it was actually bullshit? You are with him now, aren't you?"

"Whoever the fuck Carrie's with is none of your goddamn business.", Quinn snarled as Brody glared, growled out a warning.

"Don't talk like that to my daughter."

"Well tell her to mind her own damn business then, Congressman.", Quinn sneered.

"And both of you stay the fuck out of Carrie's. For Christ's sake, Brody. After everything you put her through you owe her that much."

"Quinn...", Carrie sighed as he put his arm around her shoulders. Since she'd had some trouble standing since spotting Brody, she actually welcomed the support.

"What he put her through? What about the other way around? I-", Dana spat as Brody held up a hand, stopped her.

"Dana, don't.", he sighed sadly. More than anything he just wanted to walk away. But he had the same weighted down feeling he'd had that day outside the police station. That night in the parking lot in the rain. He couldn't take his eyes off of Carrie. Only this time she knew it, was returning the favor in full.

Meanwhile Quinn's eyes darted back and forth between them, concerned. In spite of everything going on they looked like they wanted to leap into the others arms. Quinn wasn't jealous, but he had Carrie's back and knew damn well that Brody never fully ever would. 

Feeling obligated to break the spell between them, the only way he knew, arm still around Carrie's shoulders Quinn dipped her, gave her a steamy kiss on the lips. Luckily Carrie was too stunned to react immediately, and Brody had immediately looked away.

Horrified and disgusted, Dana turned back to look at Brody, saw him dejectedly turning to leave. But instead of following him, rolling her eyes she ran at Quinn, shoved him aside, then took a swing at Carrie's face. Striking the blonde's nose and knocking her off balance, onto the floor.

"Jesus fucking..", Quinn gasped. Rolling her eyes Carrie reached into her bag. Grabbed a tissue for her bloody nose.

"Dana! What the fuc-", Brody yelled. When he moved forward to hold Dana back, all Carrie could do was shake her head, laugh bitterly.

"No need. I'm fine.", she spat. Refusing help from anyone she stood up, then approached and looked at Dana. Looking more amused than anything else.

"You feel better?"

"I.."

"Look. Before you go full steam ahead with your melodramatic angst ridden teen TV drama bullshit. Start incessantly whining about the blonde bipolar bitch who fucked up your father's life, broke his heart..."

Looking incredulously at the entire group, Carrie scoffed. But made the mistake of glancing at Brody an extra second too long and her chin wobbled as her eyes welled up.

"Take some comfort in knowing that he fucking broke mine too.", she hissed before turning on her heel, storming away from the scene.

 

Chapter Text

Shaking his head in awe, Quinn cursed, rolled his eyes before going after her.

"Carrie. Carrie!"

Not even acknowledging him, when he reached for her shoulder Carrie swore, swatted him away. When he was persistent though she turned around, stared him down coldly.

"I'm not even going to ask you what that was back there!"

"Well good, I thought it was pretty self explanatory.", he said flippantly as she glared, clenched her jaw.

"Look, don't blow this out of proportion. I did what I did to get our favorite congressman off your back, once and for all."

"What makes you think I needed you to do anything?"

"The way you were looking at him. Like your eyes had met across a goddamn crowded room.", Quinn scoffed.

"However I was looking at him didn't make a fucking difference! I handled it, Quinn. And I didn't need you intervening. Let alone concocting this bullshit love triangle straight out of All My fucking Children."

"I was a One Life To Live guy myself.", he deadpanned not getting so much as a snicker. Instead she crossed her arms, blinked back angry tears. 

"Carrie, I just wanted to make sure Brody got the goddamn hint."

"Yeah, and since the opportunity presented itself you thought you'd twist the knife for him instead of just stabbing him with it.", she snapped.

At that whatever gleam in Quinn's eyes faded out. "Jesus fucking Christ. Even after everything you still come to his-"

Knowing exactly what he was going to say, Carrie cut him off with a wave of her hand, headed towards the exit.

"Carrie.."

"No. I don't want to hear it!"

When he tried to follow, hearing him behind her she turned, gave him a fierce glare.

"Don't fucking follow me.", she ordered as he nodded, stayed in place as she exited the lobby.

Once outside she instinctively broke into a jog down the block. Maintaining a steady pace, she bit her lip realizing for all Quinn's fuckery today he'd been right about this. She hadn't run in awhile and certainly wasn't in proper footwear for it, but in spite of that her head felt clearer. Her mind began focusing on her breathing and the length of her stride and the sound of her shoes against the pavement, not the bullshit she'd been treated to just moments before.

Once turning the corner though she started to feel worn out, and eventually was forced to stop. Luckily right outside her destination. Hands on her knees she got her breathing back in check, then straightened up and swallowed hard. Walked in through the front entrance of the hospital.

Entering the double doors, once in the elevator Carrie got off on the third floor. Brushing past two orderlies and swearing at a candy striper before arriving at Saul's room.

"Excuse me, ma'am?", a nurse frowned as Carrie whipped around, glared at her.

"I'm on the approved visitor's list!"

Nodding nervously, the younger woman backed away and ran off. Shaking her head Carrie swore, ran a hand through her hair before pushing open the door to Saul's room. This time she did sit down, and tears spilled down her cheeks before she could attempt to stop them.

"Damn you, Saul.", she hiccuped. Shaking her head disbelievingly at the weakened, slumbering, too fucking still state he was in.

Bowing her head she reached for his hand, then held it close to her face and cried. For him, for what landed him here in the first place, for Brody, for the humiliating encounter they'd just had at the community center, and for Farrah being terrified to leave her side as of late. She cried like she had no way of knowing if she'd ever stop.

...

After Carrie walked out, still reeling from everything that had just taken place, Quinn made his way back to the hallway, seeing Dana but no Brody.

"Where's your dad?"

"Why? Do you want to arrest him?", Dana spat as Quinn groaned, rubbed the bridge of his nose as the teenager walked up to him.

"You know that he's innocent, right? Because believe me, I wouldn't be within a mile of this place if he wasn't."

"Look, innocent, guilty, whatever. I'm past giving a shit. I only asked because I have to get Farrah and the last thing I want is her and fucking Agent Orange bumping into each other again."

"Nice. You come up with that nickname all by yourself?", she scoffed, getting a scowl in return.

"My dad's with the imam. They're praying. So don't worry, he and your brat kid won't be seeing each other anytime soon."

"Farrah's not my brat kid. She's not a brat, period. The person badmouthing her though...", Quinn said, arching a brow as Dana rolled her eyes.

"Whatever. I get it. You should know though I actually don't have a problem with her. Farrah."

"Well isn't that surprising."

"I'm serious. She seems like a good kid. I mean, in spite of everything."

"You mean in spite of Carrie.", Quinn finished, getting a shrug. "Well, regardless of what you think of her Farrah worships the ground she walks on. That's just fucking obvious."

Not really able to argue that Dana shrugged, figured she'd change the subject. "Your name's Quinn, right?", she frowned, studying him.

"Yeah, legally."

"And you work at the CIA, with Carrie."

"Yes."

"So, was that kiss earlier just for show?"

"Hey, it got your dad to back off didn't it?", Quinn asked, getting a shrug.

"I don't want my dad with Carrie. I don't trust her."

"Well I don't trust your dear old dad either."

"So we're on the same page then? That they shouldn't be together?"

"That's stating the goddamn obvious.", he sighed, sitting on a bench that Dana joined him on.

"I gave your dad the benefit of the doubt recently and he stabbed Carrie in the back."

"He does love her though. Unfortunately.", Dana grimaced.

"Well in spite of everything Carrie has similar symptoms."

"Are you like, jealous?", she asked curiously.

"Of your father? Fuck no."

"So you don't like Carrie in that way."

"No. I have her back. I care about her. And Farrah. But that's the extent of it."

"Would make things a shitload easier if my dad felt like that.", Dana grumped as Quinn leaned forward, rested his chin on his hands before glancing at her.

"How are you so goddamn sure his deep undying love for Carrie hasn't fucking subsided yet?", he asked as she sighed, rolled her eyes.

"He was asking for her when he was barely conscious. He kept, apologizing. He even fucking called her love."

Eyes widening slightly Quinn sat straight again. "Wait. What the fuck do you mean barely conscious? I.."

"I mean he was fighting a leg infection and a too high fever and was completely out of it for three days straight."

"Jesus fucking...", Running a hand over his mouth Quinn shook his head, then after a beat spoke again.

"What happened to him exactly."

"He got knocked out by my ex boyfriend's psychopath uncle in the woods. And his leg got caught in a trap, then got infected."

"Holy shit."

"Yeah, no kidding.", Dana muttered, wringing her fingers together.

"He told me that he missed a meeting? Do you have any idea what that-"

"Yeah I do, goddammit.", Quinn spat, rolling his eyes.

"Fuck me.", he muttered as Dana smirked.

"Thanks but no thanks."

Rolling his eyes again, Quinn shook his head, stood up as did Dana.

"I should probably go check on Dad."

"I should probably check on Carrie.", he said, knowing though it'd be best he find Farrah first.

"Where do you think she went?"

"My guess is the hospital."

"Jesus! I didn't hit her that hard!", Dana exclaimed as Quinn snorted, shook his head.

"No. Her mentor is there."

"Wait, her mentor? My dad mentioned him. Saul something?"

"Berenson. He was shot two nights ago.", he said as Dana's eyes widened.

"Shit."

"Yeah."

"Is he going to be alright?"

"They don't know yet.", Quinn said, turning to leave before Dana ran up, blocked his path.

"What, you going to take a goddamn swing at me now?"

"If this Mr. Berenson is in the hospital, who's in charge of the C-"

"His second in command. If you'll excuse me, I should try and find her."

Biting her lip, Dana watched Quinn walk off, then ran a hand through her hair, paced the hallway before hearing her name.

"What is it? What's wrong?", Brody asked in concern.

Taking a deep breath, trying to relay everything that Quinn had just told her, Dana hadn't gotten past telling him about Saul's coma before Brody swore, then turned, started limping back towards the imam's office.

"Wait! Dad, what-"

"I'm just getting my jacket, Dana."

"And going where exactly?", she asked, but had a feeling she knew the answer as Brody walked over to the coat rack, grabbed the jacket and slipped it on.

"Dad, no. You-"

"I need to see her."

"Didn't you fucking hear her just now! She just said-"

"I know what she said. But Saul's nothing if not a father figure to Carrie. He's one of her closest friends and Farrah loves him too. I can't just leave without checking up on them, seeing for myself that they're-"

"Isn't Peter Quinn doing that job for you!", Dana spat, but saw the pain in Brody's eyes and bit her lip, looked on guiltily.

"Dad, you saw Carrie with him back there, I..."

"I don't give a fuck about whatever's going on between them.", Brody said gruffly, getting a skeptical look.

"Really, Dana. I'm not going to turn into some raving jealous prick at the thought of Carrie fucking Peter Quinn. I don't have the fucking right to, I know I have no claim on her! She can be with whoever she wants. I just..can't leave here without..without telling..."

"What...?"

"Look, if you don't drive me over there I'm just going to walk.", Brody said firmly as Dana looked on nervously.

Seeing the sweat on his brow and how his good knee and leg were locked, supporting all his weight, Dana frowned. Maybe getting him to the hospital wasn't such a bad idea.

"Okay, c'mon. We'll go.", she sighed, helping him the rest of the way into his jacket and then out the back exit to her car.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile out front, Farrah was practically clinging onto Quinn as he carried her out to his car. Once Tina brought her over to the art room, she went unnervingly quiet until Zahira took her aside, asked her what was wrong. Farrah burst into tears, missing Carrie, scared for Saul, underslept and understandably frightened for two of the people she loved most in the world.

Luckily Quinn had reached the classroom just as Zahira stepped out to call Carrie. He assured her he'd get a hold of Carrie instead, and tried texting but then just opted to go straight to the hospital. Certain that's where she'd be.

Once Farrah was buckled in the front seat, he pulled out of the lot then turned to the girl staring out the window, tapped her shoulder to get her attention.

"Yes?", she sniffled, turning towards him.

"I just wanted to tell you, if I bring you to see Carrie.."

"I want to see her!"

"When, I bring you to see her, you know she's probably visiting Saul. Er, Bear." Quinn corrected as Farrah giggled.

"Saul Bear?", she parroted.

"Yeah. Saul Bear. You know he's asleep, right?"

"Zahira say, bears do not sleep, they hib...hiber.."

"Hibernate?"

"Yes! Bear hibernate."

"Well, that's what he's doing now. Hibernating. And he may have to for awhile."

"Mag say that.", Farrah said solemnly as Quinn's face went somber.

"If you want, I can ask the front desk to page Carrie. Have her meet us in the lobby or the children's lounge where you and I were."

"No! I want to see Bear."

"If you're sure..."

"Yes. I want to say hi.", she said firmly.

"Alright, I'll make sure you can.", Quinn promised, turning into the lot for the hospital.

Walking inside, after chatting up and then sweet talking the nurse (to the best of his ability), he got Farrah permission to go with him to the third floor. Holding her hand tightly Quinn told her to stick close and Farrah obeyed. But jumped and all but clung onto his leg when a patient on a gurney was wheeled past them.

"Farrah, it's okay. It's fine."

"I don't like bed with wheels!", she choked out as Quinn bent down, scooped her up.

"Say, Farrah. You remember the last time you and I were in the hospital? What we did with the wheelchairs? You remember that?"

"Yes! We..we race!"

"And you won. Beat Galvez and I by a damn longshot."

"Galv?"

"Sorry, I meant Danny."

"Ah, Dan. Yes, I remember now.", Farrah grinned, still curled up against Quinn's chest but slightly calmer now as they approached Saul's room.

Letting her down, he peered in the window, but bit his lip seeing Carrie clutching Saul's hand close to her face.

"Pete? We go in?", Farrah chirped.

"Here, you go in first.", Quinn said as she nodded, pushed the door open a ways.

Hearing a creak, sitting up slightly Carrie turned, puffy eyed to see a flash of purple fabric, then Farrah's face poking through the door.Stunned, she sat up straight, wiped her eyes as the girl ran at her, climbed onto her lap. When she hugged her, Carrie sniffled, then broke down crying all over again.

"It okay. It okay.", Farrah soothed, reaching around to stroke Carrie's hair with her right hand, gently tap at her back with her left.

Laughing lightly, recognizing the gesture Carrie pulled back, ran her hand over Farrah's headscarf.

"Honey, who brought you here? I.." Trailing off when she saw Quinn in the doorway, she mouthed him a thank you and he nodded, walked away.

Sighing, Carrie shook her head, got Farrah situated on her lap. 

"It's really good to see you.", she said softly as Farrah grinned, playfully budded her nose against her's. Getting Carrie laughing, feeling more at ease than she had in days.

"Bear still, hib...hiber?"

"Hibernating?", Carrie asked with a laugh.

"Who told you that?"

"Zahira, and Pete in car."

Looking wistfully at Saul, Carrie nodded. 

"Yeah. He still is. But if he was awake he'd tell you how happy he is you're here to see him. You can talk to him if you want."

"Yes? Even with eyes close?"

"Closed. And yeah. He'll be happy to hear your voice."

Nodding, turning slightly on Carrie's lap, Farrah reached for and rested her small hand over the back of Saul's.

"Hi Bear."

Tearing up when the girl started speaking in Arabic about her day, the art show, how she'd been carried into the community center, seeing as she was occupied, after promising she'd be right back Carrie stepped into the hallway. Looked around for Quinn she realized he was nowhere to be found.

"Figures.", she groaned only to feel dizzy. Bracing herself on the wall she tried to think back to when she'd last eaten. That waffle and some coffee. That was it. Unfortunately her stomach had been in knots since and she had virtually no appetite.

Dreading the thought of having a bug on top of everything else going on right now, she swore. Resolved to try and choke down something from the vending machine and to drink some water. Moving away from the wall though, her head spun and she swore again, sank onto a nearby bench before plopping her head in her hands.

"Pardon me dear, is everything alright?"

Looking up Carrie recognized the older woman as the nurse who'd given her that blanket in Farrah's room. Swallowing hard she forced a smile on her face.

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, your nose looks swollen, you look green, and these benches are nowhere near comfortable enough to sink down onto like that."

"Don't, I...I'm alright. My nose is fine. And I just get a little queasy in hospitals. That's all."

"Is that darling little girl of yours here with you? Farrah?"

"Yes. She's just over there across the hall. We're visiting someone. I should probably get back in there though so, excuse me."

Slowly getting to her feet, Carrie looked in the window, saw Farrah curled up in a small ball by Saul's shoulder, fast asleep. Blinking back tears, her hand went to her mouth, right as the nurse walked over, rubbed her shoulder reassuringly.

"Poor darlings. Both of you. If you like I've finished my rounds. I can go in and sit with her."

"No, it's fine. I'm finished out here so..."

"I don't think so dear. Now the nurse's station you want is just two floors down. You can take the elevator, ask there which doctor's on call now."

"A doctor? I don't need a doctor. If I did, my sister practices at another hospital, so-"

"But sweetheart, you're in this hospital. And if I'm not enough to convince you, look in that room. Now that little girl in there has been through too much! Even looking from here I can see that."

Crossing her arms Carrie bit her lip, did her best not to get snappy.

"I know she's been though too much. We both have. But she has me. Farrah has me."

"You're all she has, dear. And so long as that's the case you are not going to play fast and loose with your health. Not as long as I'm employed at this hospital. Is that understood?"

Ready to reply with something snappy, storm off, swear, Carrie thought better of it seeing the no-nonsense stubborn look the nurse was giving her, and knowing she was right about Farrah only having her.

"Alright, fine. But just a quick exam. I need to get back to Farrah."

"I understand that. And I'll stay with her, I'd love it. But you are not going to settle for anything less than thorough."

"I won't. You have my word."

"Good girl." The nurse said with a smile, walking Carrie down to the elevator. When Carrie protested, said she'd find it on her own she was met with that same, stubborn look and decided she best shut up.

...

"C'mon. The woman at the front desk said Saul's room is on this floor.", Dana said as Brody stood, tugged his baseball cap down more over his eyes, then followed her down the hallway.

Frowning though, feeling like the ICU was a few floors up, when he went to say something he felt Dana grab hold of his arm, drag him into an exam room.

"Dana! What the fuc-"

"The woman at the front desk said she'd send a doctor over in a few minutes.", Dana said.

"What the...I told you! I don't-", Brody sputtered as she rolled her eyes, pointed for him to sit on the exam table.

"They'll probably kick me out once they get here so I'm gonna go get coffee or something"

"Dana..."

"Dad. You're hurt, you're in a hospital. Get fucking looked at! I'll be in the cafeteria."

Once Dana left, thoroughly agitated Brody's eyes darted around the too fucking small room as he drummed his fingers on the table. Right as a nurse walked in, smiled and left a paper gown for him to change into.

"No fucking way.", he muttered when she was out of the room. Slowly getting to his feet he peered into the hallway then partially opened the door. Made his way outside.

Chapter Text

Once in the hallway after catching his breath, steadying himself Brody chewed his lip. Strategized. He'd contend with Dana later, maybe even follow through on an appointment like she wanted. But he wasn't about to sit twiddling his thumbs in a cell like exam room when Carrie could be just a floor or two above him.

He knew this was probably his last chance to have a face to face with her, and that before he could even think of leaving he had to apologize, explain himself, say a proper goodbye. Brody had accepted the fact he had to leave. What he couldn't accept was not getting closure beforehand. Slowly maneuvering down the hallway he swore, feeling his leg seize up after just a few steps.

Still swearing he fumbled around in his back pocket for his prescription bottle with one hand, bracing himself on the wall with the other. Grabbing the bottle he went to empty it but found it already empty.

"Motherfucking..."

Shaking his head he winced but knew he had to keep moving. At the very least to a quieter hallway to get his bearings. But after forcing himself to press on again he was forced to stop. Hearing Carrie's voice. Knowing he wasn't near ICU yet he frowned, rounded the corner just enough to see her leaving an exam room like the one he'd just escaped from.

"Ms. Mathison. As I said you should really consider waiting for the test results, I-"

"As said, I don't have time to stand around here waiting for an hour. You can call me with the results. Right now I need to get back to my daughter and I need to visit my friend. A patient in your ICU who should probably be getting more attention here than me!"

"But you said-"

"I know what I said. I asked for a check-up and I got it. Now if you'll excuse me."

"But ma'am, I-"

"Good bye doctor. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice."

Heart in his mouth hearing "test results", Brody tried to get a better look down the hallway Carrie was in. Wanting to figure out if she'd been seen by a nurse or some kind of specialist, if he had a legitimate reason to be freaking the fuck out right now. Too worked up to think of his own predicament though, after putting too much weight on his bad leg he stumbled, swore. Luckily he got back on his feet somewhat before Carrie turned around.

"Brody? What the-"

"Nothing. I...I just wanted to make sure you were okay.", he said honestly.

"What?"

"After Dana hit you at the community center, I-"

"Brody I've been fucking pistol whipped before, okay? I can handle being bitch slapped by a teenager."

"I'm sure. Look, I just. I wanted to.."

"You know I thought I told you to leave me alone."

"I know, I heard you. It's just..."

"What! Can you speak in complete sentences?!"

"I heard about Saul."

Thrown hearing that Carrie's scowl faded.

"You did?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry. I couldn't believe it. I mean a fucking coma? I can't even-"

"I know. It's been difficult.", she said awkwardly, running a hand through her hair. "Look I should really go up and see him. That's the whole fucking reason I came here...", she sighed. Trying to walk around him he moved, blocked her path.

"Brody..."

"Wait! For Christ's sake just wait a second!"

"Look, I appreciate your concern but I'm managing, alright? I'm doing just fine!"

"Can the doctor you just finished with across the hall back you up on that?", Brody asked as her jaw fell.

"What the...Jesus Christ, Brody! You fucking spied on me?"

At her indignant look and her words all he could do was laugh.

"Really? You're going to be upset with me for... Really?", he laughed, but she was stone cold serious. "I'm sorry. Okay, I am. It's just you saying that..."

"You thought it was funny. This is all just one big fucking joke to you, isn't it?"

"Carrie..."

"Look, I asked you to leave me alone. Please. Before we make things any worse between us."

"Things can get worse between us than they are right now?", Brody scoffed.

"Carrie, I owe you a fucking explanation. I can't just walk away from all of this until I-"

"Why not? You had no problem walking away before!", Carrie spat as he bowed his head.

"Really. It's better if you just do, Brody. For both of us. I mean, Jesus, after everything we've put each other through..."

"After everything don't we deserve some fucking peace?", Brody asked, watching her chin quiver involuntarily.

"You mean what we had before you took off? Before you lied and left and made a goddamn fool out of me!"

Not getting an answer, just a guilt ridden look that pissed her off more Carrie pressed on.

"I mean forget about how you broke my heart, made me feel horrible for letting Farrah anywhere near you, did you think about how your little trip would make me look in front of my colleagues? What I'd be up against at Langley after you blew off the meeting with Saul? Did you fucking care at all?", she cried as Brody looked on with even more remorse. Shook his head.

"Carrie. I'm sorry. For Christ's sake I never planned, I didn't want this to happen, okay! I didn't fucking want this!"

"Then why did you leave me that letter?!", Carrie hissed.

"What letter? What are you talking about?"

Laughing bitterly she rolled her eyes. "Jesus. You know for an expert liar you're pretty pathetic at playing dumb."

"Who's playing?!", Brody sputtered. Breaking into a sweat as his leg began to throb.

"Carrie, can we just please go someplace quiet and-"

"Why? I'm fine right here!"

"Just someplace where we can talk!", he said through clenched teeth before forcing himself to take a deep breath, get it together. Then he reached into the inside pocket of his jacket, retrieved a small white rectangle that Carrie recognized as her business card.

"Fuck. But I don't. Why do you still...?"

"I kept it."

"Why?"

"You said that I could use it anytime, 24-7. I want to use it now. It's like the last time. I...I've really had the worst fucking day.", Brody sighed, giving her a soft smile when he saw her eyes were welling up as she took, ran her thumb over the card. When he took a painful step closer though she shook her head and shook him off. Stepped back as if he'd tried to burn her.

"Carrie..."

"No! Stop it. You can't just track me down after everything, hand me my goddamn business card you kept and just expect me to go to pieces and cry and fall in your fucking arms or something. Was that what you wanted!"

"No! It wasn't...it's not! Jesus, I don't want you to go to pieces, or fall anywhere! You...you're too strong for that. You're one of the strongest people I've ever known..."

"Brody..."

"No, you...you're brave, you're brilliant, fucking beautiful." he lightly laughed, but with a dazed look in his eyes that were darting around, starting to have trouble focusing.

"You know me better than I know myself! I need that, Carrie. I need to talk with the only person out there who understands. Please."

"Brody..." Thrown at how vulnerable he was acting, sounding, Carrie frowned, only to notice the locked, rigid way he was standing. Frown deepening she glanced up at him, noticed beads of sweat on his brow.

"Brody? What's wrong with you? Why are you..."

"Nothing! I..I'm fine! It's like I just said, all I want is to go someplace quiet and talk."

"You're sweating bullets right now!" When she moved closer, reached to feel his forehead now it was his turn to jerk back.

"Hey! If you're allowed to question me after I leave a goddamn doctor's office, I'm allowed to do this.", she spat but Brody backed away again, winced in the process.

"Why are you favoring that leg?"

"Hey, I...I told you I wanted to sit down didn't I?", he shrugged as Carrie rolled her eyes, swore then tried to cut around him.

"Wait! Where.."

"Where the fuck do you think? Trust me, you're way beyond your usual shade of pale right now."

"For Christ's sake...Carrie!", Brody growled, still not getting out of her path.

"Jesus. You really think I'm going to let this go? You're sweating, you're in pain, you're in a hospital. I'm finding you a goddamn doctor!"

"I don't need one I..I don't. I...I just need you, okay?", he insisted as she protested, kept yelling at him but he had trouble hearing and understanding as her face and image began blurring.

"I just... need..."

Looking on in horror as his leg all but gave out, Carrie took a grip on his biceps. Tried to keep him from collapsing entirely.

"Goddammit, Brody! BRODY! Can I get some fucking help over here!" she yelled over his shoulder, still tying to hold him upright as best she could as he slumped over more in her arms.

"Jesus, fuck. Someone get over here!"

Finally two male nurses, and the candy striper she'd frightened earlier ran up. She and the one nurse eased Brody to the floor while the other ran to get a gurney.

Watching them load Brody onto it, Carrie tried to follow but was stopped by the first nurse. "What the fuck are you doing? I'm going with him!"

"Ma'am I'm going to need you to tell me as best you can what happened."

"He fucking collapsed in my arms, what do you think happened?!"

"Are you kin? Family?"

"Yeah, I'm his little sister.", Carrie said as the nurse rolled his eyes.

"Well be that as it may, I can't let you access his room until the exam's complete."

"He's going to want me there when he wakes up!"

"I see. The two of you are close siblings?"

"Yeah, thick as fucking thieves.", Carrie spat, but got an eyeroll that made her cringe, tense up.

"Please, I just want to see him for a few minutes. That's all."

"My apologies ma'am but I'm afraid I can't allow it.", he said, turning to walk away.

Focusing on her frustration and sheer rage at the situation so she wouldn't break down crying, Carrie shook her head, let out a snort.

"This is complete bullshit, you know that right?!", she hissed as the nurse rolled his eyes again, turned back toward her."He's going to want me in there when he wakes up. I know it. You may as well just let me in right now, I-"

"I'm sorry ma'am but as I said, I'm afraid I can't do that. I can though let the cops in to take care of him."

"Excuse me?!", Carrie laughed as the nurse stepped closer.

"Between you and me, that 'brother' of yours looks an awful lot like that Langley bomber. The one they're offering that reward for?"

Carrie's heart was in her mouth but she managed to keep her face impassive, unaffected. "Not to me, no.", she shrugged as the nurse looked at her skeptically, then turned to walk away, made a grab for his phone.

Seeing the hall was empty for the moment aside from the two of them, running up Carrie tapped him on the shoulder, stopped him by a supply closet.

"Yeah?"

"There's actually something I'd like to tell you. Do you have a minute?", she asked, giving him a suggestive smile.

"Well that depends..", the nurse said, slipping his phone back in the pocket of his scrubs.

"You know how I said that guy was my brother? I wasn't exactly telling the whole truth.."

"Didn't think so...", he grinned as Carrie moved closer. Reached up and around to the nape of his neck where she toyed with the strings on his smock.

"You want to know the rest of it? The whole story?", she breathed, reaching her free hand back to the knob of the supply closet.

"I think I might...", he said as she giggled, opened the door.

"Come closer, I gotta whisper it." When he was laughing too and close enough, Carrie reached up to pinch down hard at a pressure point near his neck, managing to effectively knock him out.

"Good riddance, fucker."

Easing him onto the floor of the closet, with trembling fingers she fumbled around in her purse, grabbed her phone and dialed the second speeddial.

"Hi. Yeah, it's me. Um, I'm at St. Mary's and...no I know Saul's condition hasn't...Farrah's fine! Don't worry she...she's fine. It's about...yeah, how'd you fucking guess?", she sniffed, wiping at her eyes.

"Please, Maggie. I...I really need your help."

Chapter Text

After calling in a few too many favors and pulling countless strings, Maggie arranged for Brody to be transported to the Naval Hospital. With the assistance of Ava who knew Brody and the general situation.

Quinn in the meantime spoke to the nurses (including the one had Carrie knocked unconscious) and the candy striper. Told them to remain quiet and forget about who they'd seen for the sake of national security. Seeing that he was a trained black ops sniper the staff agreed to back off.

While Brody was transferred, Carrie brought Farrah over to Maggie's house and ate dinner with her, Frank, Danny and the girls. Waiting until Farrah was full and fast asleep before going back to the hospital.

Quinn agreed to stay with Saul until Mira showed up, allowing Carrie to stay with Brody as long as she needed. He'd also spoken with Dana and assured her Brody was being properly cared for, that she could have the night off. She was crashing at the mosque apartment.

Walking in the hospital lobby Carrie paced around, anxiously keeping an eye out for Maggie. Refusing to sit and wait. If she did she'd risk falling asleep, though right now she was so exhausted she was restless, wired, basically buzzed.

"Carrie! C'mon this way.", Maggie said, walking her through a door leading to the side stairwell, then to a basement level wing that looked to be undergoing renovations.

"I had to pull a lot of strings. But his case was severe enough that the top brass on the board couldn't in good conscience look the other way."

Half listening, half sickened at the shady backroom quality of this wing, Carrie wished she'd just dragged Brody to her car and driven him to the cabin. Taken her chances and had Maggie treat him there.

"I know what you're thinking, Carrie.", Maggie sighed.

"No, you don't.", Carrie snapped, crossing her arms protectively over her chest. "When we were at St. Mary's with Farrah Brody walked around like he owned the place. Now he's getting threats left and right from the people who were supposed to be treating him. I knew I had to get him out of there, I just don't understand why!"

"There's new ownership that just came in recently. Lots of turnover, new faces. I don't know a soul on the board anymore. I'm sure the imam lost a lot of whatever pull he had."

"I should've guessed. What about Ava? Was she.."

"Let go. Yeah. Luckily we had an opening at our front desk."

Relieved to hear that but still bitter about everything, Carrie's frown deepened as they continued down the dim, makeshift corridor.

"Where the fuck even is he?"

"Consider it a VIP suite.", Maggie snorted, getting a hurt filled glare.

"Carrie, it's better than the alternative. If I could treat him from home you know that I would. But I think his attempt at doing that did him more harm than good.", she spat.

The stitches had been done extremely quickly and had almost pulled out entirely when Brody collapsed. Maggie wanted to blame him but after seeing his injuries she didn't have the heart to.

Once reaching his room, Maggie went to enter but Carrie stopped her. "Maggie, wait..."


"Sweetie, it's going to be alright."

"I need to know what's wrong with him. I want to know everything."

"His leg got the worst of it. It was chewed up in a steel trap from the looks of things. His leg was stitched by a professional but it was done very quickly. And from the looks of things Brody didn't take it easy after the procedure. He's got a serious infection. That explains the fever and why he passed out."

"Is he...he's not going to-"

"With infection anything's possible. But we've got him properly stitched up, have him on proper antibiotics. The only thing..."

"What? Just tell me!"

"When Brody collapsed he sustained a concussion. Those nurses who helped you didn't seem to get there quickly enough to catch him."

"Fuck." Carrie choked out, running a hand through her hair.

"He went down pretty hard and there was some swelling, so we've got him sedated."

"Great, as if I haven't seen enough of that."

"Carrie, he'll be fine. I'm monitoring him. I'm the only one handling his case. Trust me, I won't let anything happen to him. There's even a guard assigned to his room."

"To keep people out or keep him in?", she scoffed as Maggie sighed.

"Carrie..."

"I'm sorry, I am. I just..."

Shaking her head Maggie walked up, hugged her tightly.

"You've been through hell lately, I know. But Saul's condition is stable and that's the best we can expect. And Brody will make a full recovery. You're not alone in this, sweetie. I promise you're not."

Nodding, blinking back tears after a few moments Carrie pulled back.

"You want me to go in with you?", Maggie asked.

"Do you need to give him an exam?"

"Let me just check his vitals, then he's yours for the night."

"What if something-"

"The call button's connected to my cell. And if I'm with a patient the call goes to my friend Nadine."

"Josie's godmother?"

"Yes. She knows the situation and is here to assist if I need her. You can trust her though."

"She's been the head nurse here since you were a resident."

"I know, she's basically a grandmother to the girls. She'll help us though if we need her to."

"Only her?"

"Only her."

Nodding again, Carrie entered Brody's room first. Instead of seeing the tubes and monitors and bandages, her eyes lasered in on the handcuffs shackling his right wrist to the bedpost behind him.

"It was one of the conditions of my treating him, Carrie."

"It's bullshit. Where the fuck is he going to go!", she hissed.

"I know, I know." Maggie sighed sadly as Carrie grabbed a chair, pulled it up beside Brody's bed. Then reached up and slid her fingers between the cuff and his wrist to absorb the pressure, keep the metal from leaving a bruise.

"Carrie..."

"He's in this bed because of me, Maggie."

"That's not true..."

"If I'd listened to him instead of screaming at him he wouldn't have gotten worked up enough to pass out. He wouldn't have been seen. He wouldn't be fucking stuck here. We could've gone to the cabin, come up with a plan!"

"Okay..enough of this. Enough." Maggie said firmly, turning Carrie's face towards her.

"You're not to blame for this, do you understand? Beating yourself up won't make him better and just make you worse. I brought you here so you could rest. I knew better than to send you home, but I will if you don't at least try and rel-"

"Okay, Maggie. Okay.", Carrie sighed.

"You're sure?"

"Yes. I want to stay, please."

"Alright."

Smiling sadly, Maggie grabbed a blanket, draped it over Carrie's shoulders before reaching into a cupboard, grabbing a speaker dock for her phone.

"I figured you could relax better with your music on. Though how I still don't understand.", Maggie said as Carrie laughed, hearing Thelonious blare over the speaker.

"Jazz is an acquired taste, Maggie."

"Well I still don't like it. Try and relax though, okay? The call button's right-"

"I see it. Big red dot in the corner, hard to miss.", Carrie sniffed, her fingers still in place by the cuff as she scooched the chair back. Though her arm was suspended she could rest her head on Brody's chest. Hear his heartbeat in her ear as well as bleating over the monitor. That along with the jazz was slightly calming her down.

"You are going to be so stiff come morning.", Maggie sighed, only to see Carrie's eyes had slipped shut.

After putting a pillow in place to prop her extended arm, scribbling some notes on Brody's chart, Maggie quietly stepped out and Carrie's eyes opened as soon as she heard the door close.

"I just didn't feel like talking to her anymore.", she weakly laughed, embarrassed as she sat up slightly.

"I'll talk to you though, for a little while anyway."

Resting her chin near his sternum she looked at him sadly, watched him sleep.

"This is almost over, Brody. You have my word.I..I can't live like this anymore. I can't let you fucking live like this anymore.", she sniffed, rested her forehead against his.

"I'm so sorry. I promise I'll make this right.", she vowed before pulling back.

She was fast approaching exhausted but knew she had to take care of this now. Grabbing her phone she started texting, but fumbling with the keyboard swore a few times before sending the message.

"Hey, how is the Bear?"

A few moments later.

"Still hibernating. How's Agent O?"

"Doing the same. I need to talk 2 you."

"Now?"


"Not over OL. Tomorrow AM. Waffles before work?"


"Cu at 8."


"K. Thx."

Setting her phone down on the nightstand, after checking her finger placement between Brody's wrist and the cuff, Carrie got as comfortable as she could in the chair then reached for his free hand. Twined it with her's over his chest before curling up near his shoulder. Falling asleep in minutes.

Chapter Text

Sitting at the counter of the diner, Carrie was alternating between drumming her fingers and checking her watch, then her phone for the time as she waited for Quinn. About to switch up the routine and sip some coffee, she realized the cup was empty and swore under her breath.

"Here, honey.", the waitress said, reaching for the pot of decaf.

"What? You're saying I'm not worthy of the real shit? Goddamn decaf's all I deserve?"

"Goddamn decaf's all you need at this point. Look at you! You're wound tighter than a spool of thread."

"I'm wound just enough, thank you. Now may I have the coffee I paid for, please?"

"Well so long as you said please.", the waitress snorted, shaking her head. "I'm just concerned about you, honey."

"Yeah well don't be.", Carrie snapped, then sighed. Looking to apologize only to see the waitress had taken the hint, moved away from her.

"Shit.", she groaned. Stirring some sugar into her coffee and hoping it hadn't been spit in.

When her phone buzzed she grabbed it, to see it alerting her about three voicemails.

"Miss Mathison this is Dr. Carlin calling about your results from the tests we ran two weeks ag-"

Deleting it she rolled her eyes, played the next message.

"Carrie, it's your sister. I just found out about your checkup you had awhile back and have your lab results in my hand. Now I know why you haven't returned my calls the past two weeks! I can't believe this has happened but regardless you need to call me so we can discuss-"

"Not at this fucking moment I don't."

Deleting the second message she warily played the third.

"Hello Carrie. This is Dr. Addison. Your sister asked me to call so we could set up your first appointment with-"

"Jesus Christ."

Hanging up she hid her face in her hands, let out a groan.

"Still no word from our dark haired friend?", the waitress asked as Carrie frowned, looked up.

"I thought you'd decided to ignore me."

"Well the breakfast rush is over. You've got my full attention."

Rolling her eyes Carrie stirred her coffee again.

"I'm surprised your friend's running so late. He's made all your little meetings here the past couple of weeks. Most of the time he's here before you."

"It figures. The day we're supposed to finish formulating, finalize everything he's fucking nowhere to be found.", Carrie spat, running a hand through her hair.

"Well, he's a man after all.", the waitress shrugged. "But you two have been in cahoots over something. All cozied up in that booth day after day. What, you two planning on getting away? Someplace romantic?", she asked with a gleam in her eye as Carrie snorted.

"Hardly."

"I don't know. He's a handsome one. And you've definitely had a kind of glow about you lately-"

"Don't say that.", Carrie ordered as the waitress shrugged again, walked off.

Hearing someone at the door Carrie spun around on the stool.

"Finally! Where the fuck have you been?"

"There was bumper to bumper traffic. Jesus. How long have you been sitting here?"

"Awhile.", she grumbled, taking her coffee over to the usual booth where Quinn sat across from her.

"Before we start may I say for the hundredth goddamn time I don't think this is a good idea?"

"May I say for the hundredth time I don't give a shit?", Carrie snapped as he rolled his eyes.

"Quinn, this plan is a necessity at this point. And you promised me you'd have my back, fucking be there. But if you want out, fine. Leave. Exit the same way you entered."

"I was planning on that unless you know a better way out of here.", Quinn said, seeing as there was only one entry door to the diner. Carrie simply glared.

"Damn it, Quinn! I don't-"

"Look I'm not planning on bailing. I just want you to think about things. We start this and there's no going back for you. You're putting every fucking thing on the line, I-"

"I understand. I'm completely entirely aware. Rest assured."

Frowning curiously at the wired look she was giving off, the way her hand had been shaking since they'd sat down, Quinn leaned back in the booth, stared her down.

"What? What the fuck are you looking at?"

"How much coffee have you had?"

"What kind of a question is that?", Carrie snorted.

"Alright then, how much have you slept?"

"Enough?", she answered, getting a look that made her roll her eyes, cross her arms. "I napped for awhile next to Brody last night. Four hours. Maybe five."

"How much longer is he gonna be out? It's been two weeks already."

"The head injury sustained was more severe than Maggie thought. That's why he's been sedated so long. But she says his recovery looks promising, he's progressing. That I just need to be fucking patient.", she lightly laughed, wiping her eyes.

Seeing the pained look on her face, Quinn was about to switch subjects before she did.

"She kept repeating that, reiterating, expecting it'd help me relax but it was a wasted effort really. I shut my eyes but barely slept."

When he looked on, still too curiously she frowned. "Is there a reason you're fixating on my fucking REM cycle?"

"Because now that you've roped me into this madness we're partners, Carrie. We've been working together at this for two weeks now and you're not some goddamn mystery anymore. I know when you're on and I know when you're not yourself. You're not yourself. You look completely strung out and-"

"Strung out?"

"Your goddamn hand hasn't stopped shaking since we sat down."

"Like I told you already I'm just jumpy, jittery. Too much coffee. I don't think I needed the extra jolt." Sighing she pushed the cup away from her, thinking that would be enough to resolve the issue. It wasn't.

"This is way past too much caffeine. For Christ's sake, I haven't seen you this on edge since that day at Brody's apartm..."

Frowning, remembering what Saul and Virgil had told him on the ride to the mosque that day, what he could expect to see from Carrie when they arrived, Quinn's jaw clenched.

"Carrie...are you-"

"I'm fine, Quinn. I'm fantastic, just leave it alone. That's all I ask."

"Sorry, I can't do that."

"Why the fuck not!"

"Because part of that partnership I mentioned is having each others backs. We can't do that if you're holding out on me, especially about your goddamn general state of being. You think I'd trust you to go in the field armed right now?"

"We aren't in the field, we're in a fucking diner! And I'm not armed in case you were asking."

"I wasn't, I-" Exasperated, Quinn groaned, rubbed the bridge of his nose. "For fuck's sake..."

Biting her lip, knowing for the sake of everything she had planned she couldn't afford alienating him, sighing Carrie rested her arms on the table, leaned forward as he reluctantly met her gaze again

"Quinn, I'm still the same person who came to you with this plan two weeks ago. Nothing has changed! I'm only slightly on edge, energized."

"You're acting like Farrah after Virgil gave her that fucking bag of Pixie Sticks."

"So I'm enthusiastic, can you blame me?!"

"Enthusiastic? About what, clearing Brody by sacrificing yourse-"

"I'm not sacrificing anything!", Carrie snapped.

"Look when all is said and done, this will make complete sense. I'm certain of that."

"Yeah? Well I'm certain you're holding out on me. You've seen firsthand how I feel about that sort of thing."

Rolling her eyes Carrie picked up her butter knife. "Will this suffice or do you want the server to bring a fucking steak knife?", she asked, handing it to Quinn as he swore, set it down.

"You are a piece of work, you know that?", he groaned as she snorted, leaned back in the booth. When he remained serious though she went solemn.

"Quinn, what we're doing is of the utmost importance, you understand? You told me before that by being the person I trusted the absolute least, that I could trust you the most to help me. I'm holding you to that!"

"So let me get this straight, because we aren't fucking or because I'm not a father figure to you I'm not allowed to give a shit?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Carrie, if Brody or Berenson were conscious right now, you'd be dodging them left and right, going behind their backs, or you wouldn't be doing this at all. But because you're only dealing with me, someone who's not the love of your life or your goddamn mentor, you think you're entitled to do whatever you have to. And I'll just nod and smile and go along with it. Whatever fucking risk it poses to you be damned."

"Oh Jesus. Please don't tell me the public display you put on at the mosque was for anything more than show.", Carrie grimaced.

"Please don't tell me that because we're not boning I'm not allowed to give a fuck about you!", Quinn snarled.

"Quinn, I..."

"Because I do. I care. About you and Farrah and the fact that right now, if that girl saw you she'd-"

"She'd what? Be intimidated? Get the goddamn idea in her head that I'm not..."

"Not what, Carrie.", Quinn asked quietly as she bit her lip, bowed her head. She went to pick up her coffee mug again but he set his hand on her wrist, stopped her from lifting it.

"Why are you even asking? It's obvious you already know.", she spat as he shrugged, nodded.

"Yeah. I did see you after Farrah's kidnapping and you weren't exactly-"

"Yeah I know. I was there too.", Carrie snapped before biting her lip, toying with a sugar wrapper on the table.

"I'm not doing it loosely or lightly, Quinn. As of now it's needed, necessary."

"Necessary? You're going off your meds, Carrie. Risking becoming unstable. What about Farrah? For Christ's sake, have you thought about how she'll react to this? Do you care that she'll-"

"Don't fucking tell me I don't care about my child.", Carrie growled. Surprising even herself though at her tone, reaction, she sat back in the booth. Folded her arms protectively over herself.

"Why else would I even be doing all of this?", she muttered under her breath as Quinn frowned, shook his head in confusion.

"Wait, what are you trying to say? You're doing this for Farrah? That doesn't make any sense. She...wait."

When the alternative dawned on him he sat back in the booth. "Shit. Fucking shit. You're..."

Jerkily Carrie nodded, refused to make eye contact as Quinn's eyes narrowed into thin blue slits.

"Did you just find out or was this just another secret you planned on keeping?"

"I suspected for awhile. Just got a call though confirming."

"Is it changing the plan any."

"No. It's not. Press conference is still scheduled for tomorrow at ten. We come forward with the proof, my statement, and those cocksucking cuffs can finally come off."

"And get put on your wrists?", Quinn scoffed as the waitress came by with his usual. Cutting the waffle down the center he plated half of it for Carrie only to glance up, see her hand was clasped over her mouth.

"Look, if you want to yell at me for stating facts go ahead. No sense bottling it all up and-"

When she shook her head, got to her feet Quinn quickly stood up, followed her into the single stall restroom. Locked the door behind him he sighed, held her hair back as she vomited.

"So hey, if just talking about the plan triggers this in you what the fuck's going to happen when we're at the press conference?"

Unamused, Carrie shot him a glare as she stood up, rinsed her mouth out at the sink.

"I was half serious, Carrie. Look, I'm not one for signs but maybe no-name in there is trying to tell you to think about this scheme some more.", Quinn shrugged, looking at her semi-playfully as her eyes widened in surprise, then annoyance.

"You did not just fucking say that to me."

"Alright, obviously the warm and fuzzy hasn't kicked in with you yet-"

"It's not going to!"

"Fine, let's try logic then-"

"No, lets try you going along with what we've meticulously planned out the past two weeks, Quinn. Not giving me this bullshit about my being too emotional or compromised, not thinking clearly because I'm, I'm..."

Shaking her head she shook off the thought.

"I'm doing my job, Quinn."

"Carrie..."

"No! You told me you gave up a life with your son and his mother to protect them. To do your job. How is what I'm doing tomorrow not offering that kind of protection? Who the fuck are you to judge me for it?"

"I'm not judging you."

"You're not."

"No. I'm in no position to judge. What you're doing is admirable. But it's got me very afraid."

"For me?", Carrie asked in disgust.

"For you, of you. It's a combination of the two.", Quinn said, trying to sound casual but the look in his eyes gave him away.

"Quinn c'mon."

"Carrie, I'm serious. When this shit hits the fan-"

"You better duck.", Carrie shrugged, unlocking the bathroom door before Quinn sighed, followed her out.

Chapter Text

His eyes cracking open Brody squinted, let them adjust to the light.

"Carrie...Carrie?!", he muttered, confused. Her face was the last thing he remembered seeing before the world had gone black. When his eyes fully adjusted he frowned at his cell like surroundings. He was in a dingy cinder block walled room with dim lighting, lying on a cot with an IV hooked to his arm and monitors bleating at him.

Seeing a pillow on the chair by his bed, with a gray hooded sweatshirt folded on it he recognized as Carrie's, he took comfort in knowing that she knew he was here. That she could be just down the hall from him. Turning, wincing at he did so, he hit the call button only to spot something silver out of the corner of his eye. Handcuffs dangling off his bed post. If they'd been attached to his wrist they weren't anymore.

"Well how's our favorite patient?"

Shrugging, Brody frowned curiously as the older nurse flitted from one side of his bed to the other. Checking his vitals and scribbling on his chart.

"Excuse me ma'am?"

"Oh call me Nadine, dear. Everyone does.", she said sweetly as Brody managed a half smile.

"Where am I exactly, Nadine?"

"You're at the Naval Hospital. And from the looks of things, if you take it easy you won't be here too much longer."

"Are you the doctor who was assigned to me?"

"No, that would be Margaret, dear. Dr. Mathison?"

"Maggie. Okay.", Brody sighed, relieved he was being treated by someone he trusted, or someone Carrie trusted at least.

"She'd be here now but she had to go clean up some new mess that sister of her's got into."

"Carrie?"

"Yes, that's the one."

"What mess, what are you talking about?", he asked, trying not to get frantic as Nadine bit her lip. Then was bumped aside when the door opened and bumped into her backside.

"My goodness!", she exclaimed.

"Sorry, I..I'm sorry.", Dana muttered.

"Are you family?"

"Yeah, I am."

"Oh. Well I was just about to tell him-"

"No, you don't have to. I'll tell him."

"Tell me what?!", Brody sputtered, forcing himself to breathe and not get worked up. Even though the monitors signaled he was having a hard time of it.

"Dear, you need to relax. Your vitals.."

"My vitals are fine. They'll be better when someone tells me what the fuck is going on!"

Giving Nadine a look indicating she had this under control, when the older woman rolled her eyes, stepped out, Dana moved closer to Brody's bed. "You look better. You're awake, that's good."

"Dana, I feel better than I have in weeks, alright? Just tell me what the fuck's going on with Carrie. I know she's been here."

"That could be my pillow.", Dana snorted as he shot her a look.

"It's not your sweatshirt though, is it? Now c'mon, has Saul taken a turn for a worse? Is Farrah.."

"No they're both fine, for now anyway."

"What does that mean?", Brody asked as Dana sighed, sat in the chair by his bed before grabbing her phone.

"Carrie, was up to some stuff while you were asleep. At least she got you out of those handcuffs though."

Handing him the phone Brody squinted at the video playing on the screen.

"What is this, is she giving a press conference...?"
"Here, I'll turn the volume up."

"In the months following the Langley bombing on 12/12 an undercover operation was set up overseas. While stationed in Iraq an Agency asset obtained a recorded confession from the now deceased Faruq-al Hadad, in which he explained in extreme detail his role in carrying out the attack."

"Jesus, that's the evidence. She got that recording from Hadad herself!"

"I figured. She talks about it for a few more minutes. I thought that was the end of the conference but then.."

As Brody watched intently the t