Title: Second Chance
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: adult themes
Category: Angst/Romance
Keywords: Daniel Meade/Betty Suarez
Summary: A mistake, and a second chance. 633 words.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: Ficlet #3 for MDT, who wanted a story where Betty has Daniel's child, but keeps it secret. Second-person narrative.

You should have told him, but you don't know how that would have changed things. He was always your friend before he became more, but he was gone before you had a chance.

That was your mistake, you think. You wanted it as much as he did, and as a mistake, it was spectacular.

That's not what you regret the most. No. You regret that he wasn't there to see his son be born. You regret that you never had the courage to show up in London, Lucas in hand. He'd know, and he'd be happy, just as Lucas has made you happy, but there was always the doubt that kept you away, the terrible supposition that he'd reject you without listening.

You have four years to think this way. Four years in which you look into the face of your son and see him. Four years before it all blows up in your face.

"Betty," he says, and that says everything. Your son--his son--stares up at him with wide eyes and a curious smile.

"This is Lucas," you say and pretend that you don't know that he knows.

In one hand you hold a small hand. In the other, an award you earned, and he presented to you.

"We need to talk, Betty," he says.

You smile. You wish you looked as you did when you met him. Braces and glasses were something to hide behind. Now, you feel naked. Lucas squeezes your hand and you look down at him, smiling reassuringly.

"Of course, Daniel, call me any time," you say.

You don't look back when you leave. Not because you don't want to, but because if you do, you'll know he'll see you're about to fall apart.

He doesn't take it well.

"How could you not tell me?"

"Daniel...I--" 'Had my reasons', you think.

"You didn't think that I could be faithful...I get it."

"No," you answer. "Maybe."

He shuts his eyes, makes a sound of disbelief.

"Were you ever going to tell me?"

"Yes." You're lying. If you could have, you would never have told him.

"He's my son."

"He's my son," you correct him. "He's grown up with me."

"Betty. How could you not believe that I would support--"

"You were leaving, Daniel. I wasn't about to get in the way of something you wanted."

"But--" He stops, looking lost, and you wish you could turn back time, have told him before he left, but you were so unsure, so lost yourself and you made it through without him, made it through with the help of Hilda and Justin and your father and...and...you only have one question you've wanted answered all this time.

"Would you have stayed, Daniel? Would you have stayed if I asked you to?"

He stands, and his eyes are pained, and he looks as if he's regretting having started out like this, confrontational and angry and...wounded.

"I would have."

You believe him.

The air grows thick with silence. You think, but your thoughts are a jumble, and you try to desperately pick out something that will help you say what you want. A sound interrupts you, a small whine of "Mommy," and you turn to see your son, sleepily rubbing at his eyes. He runs to you and you pick him up, even though he's beyond the age of being carried in your arms.

You decide. You say, "Lucas, I want you to meet your father. He..." You are caught, momentarily, by the look in Daniel's eyes, something like gratitude, but more like wary joy. "He wants to tell you he's going to be around a lot more."

You look across Lucas' blond head to his father. You blink away tears. You say, "All right, Daniel. Here's your second chance."


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