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Previously on Mika's Musings | Next Time on Mika's Musings!

FIC: Keep My Colours Clean [Eames/ Arthur]

Title: Keep My Colours Clean
Author: MikaHaeli8
Pairing(s): Eames/ Arthur
Summary: "Arthur, love?" "Mm?" "Our eldest is upset about something."
A continuation of Direct Me To The Sun, in which Allie's on the edge and Eames pulls her back from it.
Genre(s): Family/ domesticity, romance, angst, fluff, kid!fic, teen!fic.
Warning(s): Opens with mild anti-Semitism, references to self harm, bullying and past MPreg, muchly teen angst, birth story, language, middle-aged!Eames and Arthur (actually quite scary to think about), self-beta’d, British spelling and slang.
Rating: R, mainly for the above.
Word count: 1, 968
Disclaimer: Nolan is king and in the event of world domination I am willing servant #many.
Author’s Note: Continuation set approximately 12yrs after Direct Me To The Sun. Written upon special request from sweetebonyrose and also because I always wanted to write Allie as a teenager/ adult. Well, hee ya go. I also apologise if Allie sounds and acts a little older than she should; I haven't been an angsty teenager since around 2007, lol. Please read the warnings too, but more importantly, enjoy and comment! Cheers. ~Mika

~x~

“Fucking half-breed Jew bitch!”

The teenager stormed into the house, slamming the door behind her so hard it rattled. Not lifting her gaze from the floor, she stormed up the stairs to the bathroom, slamming that door and locking it behind her.

Downstairs, Eames lifted his eyebrow. “Arthur, love?”

“Mm?” Arthur didn’t look up from his laptop.

“Our eldest is upset about something,”

“You think?” The former point man – along with Eames, he’d completely retired from dreamsharing a few years after the twins were born, and a year before Lisa was born – closed the lid of the laptop and looked at his husband. “Did you hear what was just shouted out there?”

Sensing the question’s rhetorical nature, Eames knew better than to answer. He exhaled. “What time does the boys’ after-school club finish?”

Arthur checked his watch – four-twenty. “Ten minutes. Look, I’ll get them today. You go see what Allie’s upset about.”

“And Lisa’s homework!” Eames tilted his head to one side. “C’mon, you said you’d help her with her Maths.”

Arthur sighed. “Shit, I did,” he said quietly.

“Aw, c’mon.” Eames moved quietly behind Arthur’s chair, draping his arms around the American’s shoulders. “We’ve only got five more years with the boys and with Lisa, it’s too early to tell. She might have a knack for it as well.” Bending down, the former forger kissed his husband’s cheek, back twinging as he straightened up.

“We are also too old for this shi…p to sink,” Arthur quickly corrected as Lisa ran into the room, waving her paper.

“What ship, Daddy?” she queried, dark eyes narrowed in confusion.

“Nothing, little one.” Arthur smiled at his youngest. “Now, Mama told me you wanted help with your times tables…”

~x~

Eames padded to the bathroom door and knocked twice, softly.

“Go away!”

The Brit caught the hitch in his eldest daughter’s voice. “Allie, it’s me. What’s wrong?”

Hiccuping sobs came from the other side of the door, followed by a defensive “Why?”

Eames exhaled quietly through his nose, one hand on the door. “You’re upset, love. Dad and I are worried about you.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “You know you can tell me anything, right?”

A few more moments ticked by. Finally, the door unlocked, Allie’s hair-framed, red-eyed face peering out in the crack.

“Fine. Come in.”

~x~

Arthur parked the car outside the school gates in time to see Landon and Rhys running out, identical honey-blonde heads bobbing as they did. Wrenching open the car door, they practically dived into the back seat with audible thumps.

“Hi Daddy!” they chorused simultaneously.

Arthur chuckled. “Hi, boys. Remember the belts. How was practice?”

“It was fun!” Landon yelped, strapping himself in. “I scored five goals for my team!”

“Well done, Lan! Rhys? How was practice for you?”

“I got sent off,” Rhys said mournfully.

Arthur twisted round. “Why did you get sent off?”

The younger twin bowed his head, shame colouring his features. “I hit Joey,”

“Why did you hit him?” Arthur’s voice was gentle, but firm.

Rhys mumbled something.

“What was that?”

“Joey kicked him first,” Landon interpreted.

Arthur sighed, starting the car. “Rhys, what have Mum and I told you before? When someone hits you, you walk away,”

“Mum said to give him a whack back,”

The American rolled his eyes – of course Eames would say something like that. “Well, I’m telling you now. Walk away from anyone who hits you, okay? That goes for you too, Landon,”

“Yes, Daddy,” the twins replied simultaneously.

“Good,” Arthur muttered under his breath, starting the car.

~x~

“So.” Eames shifted on the bed, concern overriding the small amount of awkwardness he felt. “Want to tell me what that was about?”

Allie sipped her hot chocolate, grey-blue eyes never leaving her mother’s face. “Nothing,”

“Nothing?” Eames repeated, frowning. “Darling, you tore in the house and stormed upstairs like a hurricane. In my experience, that’s not ‘nothing’,”

“How would you know?” the sixteen-year old shot back defensively.

“Three sisters, remember?”

“Mm,” she shrugged, setting her mug down, hugging her knees to her chest and taking deep, shaky breaths for a while. Eventually, she uncurled, staring straight at the floor.

Something awoke in Eames’ gut, and he followed through on it. “It’s something that’s been going on a while, isn’t it.”

Allie’s shoulders stiffened. “How did you guess?”

Eames exhaled through his nose. “Allie, love, my old job required me to read people. Often quite thoroughly.” He reached out, running the tips of his fingers through her thick black hair.

“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Allie’s voice was hard, jaw locked in a manner akin to her father’s.

“I thought it would be a short-term problem. Something you could resolve by yourself. Or if not…” Eames struggled to find the words. “If you wanted, you could have come to me or Dad. We’re just worried about you, little one,”

Allie licked her lips and took a deep breath, eyes fluttering closed. “I’m...having some trouble at school,”

Eames nodded. “What kind of trouble?”

The dark-haired teenager looked down, long hair falling like a curtain. “I…” She sighed. “I’m being…” Bullied. Harassed. “There are some girls at school, and they’re…giving me trouble. That’s all. It’s nothing, Mum,”

“It’s not if you’re coming home upset, darling. Come here. Look at me.”

Allie lifted her head and looked directly at Eames. It was only then that he noticed the dark slash on her lip. Something cold settled in his stomach, and he cupped her jaw gently.

“Alanna, did this happen today?” he asked quietly.

She flinched away, hair covering her face again. As she lifted her arm, the material of her school shirt and blazer was pulled down, exposing the soft, pale underside of her forearm, which was covered in red lines.

Eames caught this before Allie realised what had happened, and she half-turned away from him. The words were out before he could stop himself.

“Allie, what have you done?”

Sobs bubbled out of her, her shoulders the only giveaway. “‘m sorry, Mum,”

Eames forced down the lump in his throat. “Oh, sweetheart…”

“Y-you’re angry. I knew you would be,” the teenager sniffed.

“I’m not angry, love. I just…I want to know why. What’s happened to make you…” Hurt yourself. “…do this to yourself,”

“I hate school, okay?” Allie suddenly yelled, wheeling around on the spot to face Eames, eyes red and body language angry. “I hate it, Mum. I’m the only Jewish girl there, the only half-American, the only biological daughter of two men. I should just paint a target on my forehead or walk around with a neon sign!”

Keeping his breathing even as he let Allie calm down, Eames heard the sounds of car doors slamming and the chattering voices of children. Arthur and the boys were home, and just in time, from the sounds of things.

“Have you told the teachers about it?”

“Several times, but they never do anything. Or they do something, but it doesn’t work. I ju…I didn’t know what else to do, Mama,”

Eames exhaled, opening his arms. Without another word, almost as if she didn’t want to, Allie crawled into them, curling herself against her mum.

Like she used to when she was small, the former forger thought, a little pang in his gut as he remembered those times. His baby mouse. His and Arthur’s baby mouse, in the good, the bad and the black times; the ones he never wanted to go back to.

“D’you want to hear a story?”

Allie huffed. “How’s that gonna help?”

“Maybe if you listened, you could work it out. You’re a smart girl, after all.” Unconsciously, Eames brushed a strand of hair away from her face.

“You see…you were mine and your Dad’s first child, as you know. And pregnancy in men, natural pregnancy – it’s risky. You were one of five cases at the time, and the only one to be born absolutely healthy. But it was nearly a very different story. A month before you were due…”

Eames inhaled, suppressing the old emotions that stirred whenever he told this story.

“Before you were due, something happened.”

“What happened?”

Eames shook his head, throat dry. “I can’t remember. Your Dad thinks I may have blocked it out. Nobody knows how it happened, or why. Your father was away at the time with Co…with Uncle Dom on a job. Luckily, your Aunt Ari was there at the time, and we got to the hospital. You were delivered, and your father was on the first plane back. But…there was something wrong with you. Your heart, it…” Eames licked his lips. “It wasn’t quite working as it should be. You spent a couple of weeks in intensive care and had to be monitored for the first few years of your life, and eventually, you were fine, but…we nearly lost you once.”

Allie was quiet, eyes low.

“What I’m saying, little one. This?” Eames picked up the marked arm, running his thumb lightly over the fresh cuts. “It’s not worth it, darling. Whatever hell those girls are giving you…it’s never worth this.”

He gently lowered her arm and wrapped both of his around her, holding her tightly.

“Yes, you’re the only American-English Jewish daughter of two men in the whole school. But do you know what you also are?”

Allie shook her head.

“You’re beautiful, intelligent, headstrong and one of the best things to ever happen to me and your dad.”

The teenager managed a weak smile.

“You’ve also got the makings of an excellent forger,”

“Like you?” she sniffed.

“Exactly.” Eames smiled, brushing her cheek. “Look, I have to let school know about the cuts, but Dad and I will go and see the headmistress about the bullying. Okay?”

“Okay,” Allie sniffed.

“In the meantime…” Eames loosened his grip. “The next time you feel this low, do you promise you’ll come and tell me or Dad?”

“I promise.”

“Look at me.”

Two sets of blue-grey eyes met.

“I promise, okay?”

Eames kissed the top of her head and got up to leave. “That’s my girl. You alright with macaroni cheese for tea?”

The sixteen-year old nodded enthusiastically, looking notably brighter than she did.

The former forger chuckled as he left. “I’m going to bandage your arm first, okay? Just so it heals properly.”

“I guess.” Allie dipped her head again.

Exhaling through his nose, Eames wandered towards the bathroom, heart heavy in his chest.

~x~

Later

“So we’ve got a trip to the principal’s office tomorrow,” Arthur stated, sipping his wine.

“Yes, we do,” Eames exhaled in response, tapping his own glass. “Shit, Arthur. How did we not…?”

Arthur rested his free hand on his husband’s back, rubbing small, soothing circles into the wall of tensed muscle. “Tom, she’s not an easy girl to read. She’s also very good at concealing secrets,”

“Like her father, then,”

A smile flashed across Arthur’s face. “I guess so. Though you’re not so easy to read yourself.”

“You know what they say. You can take the men out of dreamshare…”

“But you can’t take dreamshare out of the men,” Arthur finished, sitting up straight, hand sliding around Eames’ waist and shifting himself forward. “And apparently, you can pass it on to your kids, too,”

“Mm.” Eames relaxed into Arthur’s embrace, absent-mindedly reaching up and lightly stroking the grey hairs by the American’s temples.

“I’m sorry today wasn’t as special as it should have been,” the latter said quietly.

“Hey, no.” Eames kissed the side of his husband’s head. “We’re together. ‘S all I want.” All I’ve ever wanted.

Arthur smiled, the dimples showing. “Happy anniversary, Mr. Eames,”

“Happy anniversary, Mr. Solomon,”

“Twenty years, huh?”

“Tell me about it.”

“Don’t need to.” Arthur gently turned Eames’ head to face him. “I think the years speak for themselves,”

Comments

( 5 voices — Speak your mind, Spock. )
sweetebonyrose
Nov. 11th, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Awwww great story! And thanks for answering my request :D I'm not sure if this story will continue or if it's a one-chapter, but either way, GREAT JOB once again ;)
mikahaeli8
Nov. 11th, 2012 09:10 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm not sure either, so I'll leave it as a one-shot for now. I'd love to write more of this 'verse, though I'll have to see where life takes me in that regard.

No problem re answering your request :D

~Mika
eva667
Nov. 13th, 2012 10:37 am (UTC)
I loved this, I so wanna see Eames or Arthur have a 'quiet word' with the bully's though :-)
mikahaeli8
Nov. 14th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Haha well, they may be (ex-)criminals but they won't hit girls (since Allie goes to an all-girls school, see). I think Allie would be more likely to react back next time...

Thanks very much for reading and commenting! :D

~Mika
eva667
Nov. 14th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
Oh god no, I don't mean hitting them, they're only kids. I just meant Arthur doing his scary voice thing or something :-) I've also just noticed my appalling spelling on the previous comment....lets just pretend I put 'bullies' *cough cough*

Edited at 2012-11-14 09:39 pm (UTC)
( 5 voices — Speak your mind, Spock. )