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Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I don't own anything I-man related, I didn't steal anything, only thing that I have any claim to would be Amanda and Richie, but that's rather obvious

Archive: All Amanda Fawkes fanfics are archived at

http://amandafawkes.cjb.net/

Stop by and visit, and check out the other AF fics, as well as the really cool message board :)

Comments: This is the next installment of the Amanda Fawkes fanfic series and was beta read by Snowtiger. Thanks so much once again, and for this one I can't come up with any new and ingenious way to thank you ;)

Further Comment: This Fic is *WAY* into AU at this point, you'll see what I mean when you read

 

Children Protecting a Child

 

You hide inside yourself, I wonder what you're thinkin', And everything you're chasing, It seems to leave you empty... through the nothing that youíve learned...and the things you choose to be

-Goo Goo Dolls, All eyes on me


"Well, itís bigger than your old apartment," Richie said as he set down a box.

"Itís a nice place Amanda," Darien told her as he put down the box he was carrying on top of the one Richie had just set down.

"Yeah, it is," Amanda said from where she was sitting on a stool.

"Why arenít you moving any boxes? This is *your* new place," Richie said as he walked back towards to the door. She was currently looking around the new apartment. The kitchen was separated, but had a Ďwindowí to the living room next to the open doorway. Across the room from the kitchen door was the entrance to the hallway that had two three doors in it. A bedroom, bathroom, and a closet. The short hallway from the door opened into a spacious, for an apartment, living room. It had one big sliding glass door looking out at the street, with a very small balcony.

"Because I have three strong men to do it for me...where did Hobbes go?" Amanda asked looking at the two men.

"He said he was taking a lunch break....an hour ago, and he hasnít been back," Darien said looking at his watch.

"I should have gone with him," Richie said as he opened the door, he still wasnít sure how he got tricked into this. He started to walk out but paused dead in his tracks at the doorway.

"What are you doing?" Amanda asked as Richie bent down to pick something up.

"Is there something you havenít told us, Amanda?" Richie asked.

"What?

He turned back around holding something. Amanda dropped the can of Dr. Pepper in her hand when she saw what it was he had.

"That...is a baby," Amanda said as Richie walked further into the apartment.

 

"Yes, it is," Darien said slowly as he walked forward, both men seemed preoccupied playing with the new child, they didn't even seem to notice Amanda's disapproving stare.

"Who's baby is it?" Amanda asked.

"Yours, apparently," Richie said handing her a note. All it said on it was "To Amanda Fawkes, take care of it."

"This can't be right....I mean...it's a baby, why would someone leave it with me?" Amanda asked as she walked over to look at it. Richie handed it off (to her) unexpectedly, but she took it. Darien moved out of the way and ended up just going to sit on the couch. Amanda smiled when the small child looked up at her and giggled

"I think you would know the answer to that better than I would," Richie said, as the baby kept a hold of his finger.

"You know what? This is a horrifying scene from where I am right now," Darien said from the couch, watching Amanda and Richie playing with the baby.

----------------

"I'm not finding anything yet," Richie said as he went through the computer database. "But of course, this computer moves so slow it might be a few hours before we find anything."

"Just...hurry as much as you can," Amanda said as she paced around the keep with the baby in her arms. After crying for almost an hour he had fallen asleep only a few minutes before.

"Who knows who this child's mother is...." he trailed off as something flashed on the screen.

"I don't believe this," Richie said as he stared at the screen.

"What?" Amanda asked a she walked over to see what he was looking at.

"It appears this child belongs to a government agent, he was kidnaped eleven months ago, the day after being born" he told her.

"What's the agent's name?"

"Alex Monroe," Richie told her. "She's currently unavailable on assignment."

"Well, we need to get in contact with her, get this kid back to her," Amanda said.

"Have you stopped to wonder why this child was dropped on your door? How it came to be there? Who brought it?" Richie asked.

"Does it matter right now?"

"I'd say, yes," Richie replied.

"Can we work on that later? Right now we need to find a place to keep this kid," Amanda told him as the child sneezed on her shoulder in it's sleep.

"You seem to be getting along fine with him," Richie smirked as the keep doors opened and Claire walked in.

"The Official wants to see you two," Claire told them as she walked in.

"Why just us?" Amanda asked as Richie stood up.

"Because you two were the only ones who missed the last mission de-briefing. The one which took place just about half an hour ago," Claire reminded them.

"Richie, why didn't you remind me?" Amanda asked.

"You're quite capable of remembering on your own," Richie said as they started to walk out of the keep.

"Wait, Claire can you watch the baby?" Amanda asked.

"Actually, I think the Official wants to see the baby," Claire told her with a slight wince.

"How did he find out?" Amanda asked after a brief pause.

"Talk to Darien and Bobby, sometimes they don't know when to stop," Claire told her.

---------------

"We know who the mother is!" Amanda said loudly, still pacing trying to get the baby to stop screaming. "We need to get in contact with her."

"We know that you know that," The Official said over the screaming child, as Richie came back in and handed a bottle to Amanda, who promptly put it in the child's mouth, stopping the screaming. Everyone in the room relaxed a little. Richie sat down in a chair. They had been here for twenty minutes and had been arguing the same thing the entire time without either side making any progress.

"Are we going to be able to contact the mother anytime soon?" Richie asked.

"Darien and Robert are working on it now," Eberts pipped in.

"We just have a couple problems," the Official started.

"What?" Amanda asked as she sat down to better accommodate the eating child.

"First, this woman works for a group that is very hard to get into contact with, and that...technically doesn't exist."

"SWRB?" Richie asked.

"The what?" Amanda asked confused as she moved the baby so she was cradling it in the other arm.

"Well, that's the only group I can think of that doesn't exist, even the agency technically exists," Richie tried to explain.

"There *is* another issue," Eberts interrupted.

"What?" Amanda asked in an exasperated tone, getting tired that she seemed to be the only one totally in the dark.

"Agent Monroe is apparently out in the field right now attempting to get her child back....from Chrysalis," the Official told them.

"This is way too much information for one conversation...." Amanda said shaking her head. "So, this kid is from Chrysalis? It's mother is an agent for some place called the SWRB, that technically doesn't exist, and it got left at my house....I really am not connecting the dots very well here, especially why this kid would end up on *my* doorstep," Amanda commented.

"I think, the important thing right now is to get this child back to it's mother," Richie said. "And work out the Chrysalis angle later."

"I think we can do both at the same time, but for now, taking care of the child comes first," the Official said.

"Yeah, where is this kid going to be staying?" Amanda said as she put the empty bottle on the edge of the desk, and sat the kid up in her lap.

"Amanda, you need to burp him," Richie said quietly.

"What?" she asked. Richie sighed and just reached for the child, and Amanda gladly handed him to Richie, and turned back to the Official who seemed to be laughing about something.

"The child seems fine where he is right now," he said.

"Excuse me?" Amanda asked. "I can't take care of this kid."

"You seem to be doing fine," he replied.

"I haven't been doing it by myself," she told him. "I can't do this..."

"Richie, you help her," the Official said.

"What? I can't...sir...."

"You two seem to take care of the child just fine, it's only until we find the mother, shouldn't be more than a week," the Official said.

"But..."

"Sir I can't...."

They both started talking at the same time, but the Official cut them off with a hand gesture.

"End of discussion."

--------------

"Why my house? Why couldn't it have been your apartment, this place is gonna smell like baby for a month," Richie said as he finished setting up the small playpen. Amanda was playing with the baby, and had been mostly ignored Richie's complaints over the last couple hours.

"Is all of this really necessary?" Richie said looking around at the boxes in his living room, and into the kitchen which had baby food and formula all over the counters.

"Yes it is," Amanda said in a sing songy voice as she played with the child. "Cause babies take a lot of work."

"Yes, but it shouldn't be this much work if it isn't your child," he told her as he got up and walked into his kitchen. He started to put things away, and was putting a jar of baby food in the refrigerator, when Amanda yelled and he dropped it. He ran into back into the living room.

"What happened?" he asked, and paused when he saw. Amanda was holding the baby away at arms length, and there was spit up on her shoulder, starting to drip down the back of her shirt.

"Here," she said handing off the baby to him before leaving the room. He heard her going up the stairs, and wondered briefly what she was doing. He looked at the baby, who seemed to have a satisfied look on his face.

"You're just having fun aren't you," he said in a playful voice as he went to sit down on the couch, picking up a stuffed bunny to play with on his way past. The child took the animal from him, and started to try and keep it away from the adult, smiling the whole time.

Richie was so involved in playing with the baby he didn't even hear the front door creak open.

"Yes, you're good at this game," Richie smiled at the baby, but paused when he felt something cold and metallic touch the back of his head.

"Time to say goodbye to the nice man, Brandon," a voice behind Richie said. "Stand up."

Richie did what he was told, and stood up slowly. The man pressed the gun a little harder into his head as he gave his next order.

"Give my friend here the baby...." he was cut off by a loud thump as something fell down the stairs. The man pulled back on the gun a little as he turned to look in the direction of the stairs, frowning.

"Go check on him, he should have the Fawkes woman by now. That better not have been her, she's not supposed to be hurt," the man with the gun said. His partner nodded and left to walk up the stairs. Soon another thump was heard.

"You stay here!" the man said backing up slowly only to stop, not even half way to the stairs, when a gun appeared in the air next to his head.

----------------

Amanda was about to walk down the stairs, when she heard voice coming from the living room. She instantly quicksilvered, and within a few seconds a man was standing at the top of the stairs, looking down the hallway.

ĎIíd be sorry for this, but Iím assuming you deserve it,í Amanda said before pushing the man down the stairs,. She tried not to wince as she heard the sound his head made when he hit the last step. She heard more voice after the thump the man made, and soon another man was walking up the stairs, looking around warily.

"This is not a good day," Amanda muttered to herself, while she waited for the man to reach the top of the stairs. He was no harder to push down than the other man had been, but he had more of a soft landing, having the other man already laying down at the bottom of the stairs.

She walked down the stairs, and searched the men, until she found a gun on one of them. She walked out into the living room, and saw a man with a gun held on Richie. She slowly walked towards him as he was backing towards the stairs, and de-silvered the gun as she held it near his head.

"I wouldn't move if I was you," Amanda said as the quicksilver flaked off of her. She looked over at Richie, who was glaring at her.

"What?" she asked.

"You're wearing my shirt!" Richie yelled as Amanda came into view.

"That's what you're worried about right now?!" Amanda yelled back, as she shoved the man into a chair with her free hand, as she searched around for something to tie him up with.

"Partially," he said as he walked over with the baby. "I locked my door how did you....never mind."

"Come on, we need to find out what Darien and Hobbes are doing," Amanda said, after finding a jump rope in the mess of toys, only wondering for a second why that would have been bought for a child who couldnít walk yet, and tied the manís arms and legs together.

"Wait, I think a little interrogation is in order," Richie said looking at the man. "We do want to know what's going on, and I think we may have a source here."

"That's a thought," Amanda said walking over to stand next to Richie above the man, who stared at both of them with contempt in his eyes.

"You'll never get me to say anything."

"We'll see," Amanda said coldly. "You've heard of a woman's protective maternal instinct...haven't you?"

----------

"Agent Fawkes and Agent Hobbes?"

Darien and Hobbes both turned around to face a brunette woman wearing sunglasses. They had been waiting in the park for the last hour, after Richie and Amanda called. The two were supposed to make contact with Alex, and let her know they had her son, and they needed to do it soon.

"Agent Monroe?" Hobbes asked.

"Where is my son?" she asked bluntly crossing her arms.

"He's on his way," Darien told her.

"What the hell does that mean? I'm risking my entire cover here, you have better have him," she said angrily.

"We have him, don't have a fit," Hobbes said defensively.

"Sorry if I'm worried that an underfunded and under qualified agency is in charge of my only child," she replied.

"Why don't...." Hobbes started, but was stopped when Darien put a hand on his shoulder.

"Over there," he said pointing. Amanda and Richie were walking through the park towards them. Amanda had the child in her arms and was looking around nervously while Richie followed her.

"Who are those men?" Alex asked as four men wearing black suits started to run up behind the couple.

"Amanda! Richie!" Darien yelled as he ran forward, followed shortly by the two other agents behind him, and Alex quickly gaining.

Amanda glanced behind them quickly and started running, while Richie ran behind a tree for cover as he pulled out a gun. More men appeared on the other side of the park, and that was when Darien noticed the suspicious lack of normal looking people.

Suddenly he was being dragged behind a car, as a bullet ricochet off a rock next to him.

."Are you paying any attention?" Alex yelled at him as she took out her gun behind the car.

"Where's Amanda?" Darien asked trying to glance over the hood of the car, only to be pulled back down as Bobby joined them, his gun already drawn.

"She was running towards the silver car over that way," Bobby motioned.

"That's mine," Alex said, "What does she think she's going to do? There aren't any keys in it."

"That won't be a problem," Darien told her as Hobbes shot two more shots at one of the guys over the trunk of the car before ducking back down.

"Hey," Richie greeted as he managed to crawl over to the three behind the car.

"Amanda's....." was all Richie got out before the explosion. Darien was up before anyone else. The chrysalis agents were gone having either run away or gotten caught in the blast,..and the car was no longer there. All that was left was the fiery wreck.

-----------

"What the hell kind of place is this?!" Alex yelled as she stormed into the official's office.

"You think you're the only one who lost someone?! My *SISTER* was in that car!" Darien yelled. They had both left for the agency after the fire, Darien after Alex, Hobbes trying to calm them both down.

"My son was in that car, my only son, who you and your agency got killed!" she yelled back. The Official and Eberts watched the display as they both stopped by the door.

"Will both of you stop it?" Hobbes interjected. "You're not doing anyone any good."

"This Agency will be gone by the end of today, you're a danger to the people you're supposed to be protecting," Alex said coldly as she walked up to the Official's desk.

"Agent Monroe...." he started, but she cut him off.

"You got my son killed, and one of your own agents. Do you people do any research? Do you know anything about these people? Have you any consideration...." she was cut off by the sound of a baby giggling, and Claire carrying the child into the room.

Alex, Darien, and Hobbes all turned to stare.

"Alex, I believe this is yours," Claire said playing with the baby as she brought it over to it's mother.

"What..." she trailed off as she took the child and smiled, starting to tear up with relief.

"Amanda?" Darien asked looking at Claire.

"She's in the keep," she said, the words barley out of her mouth before Darien disappeared out the door.

----------

"I hate *everything*," Amanda groaned as Richie continued.

"You didn't get away from the car soon enough....you should be glad some burns on your back were the extent of your injuries," Richie told her as he continued to dress the wounds.

"It still hurts like hell," she hissed at him. The keep doors suddenly opened, and Darien ran in out of breath.

"Amanda...I..what..." he managed to get out between breaths before stopping until he could speak properly. He stood bent over with his hands on his knees watching as Richie continued to dress her wounds.

"I'll be quick and to the point, we set the car to blow up, make Chrysalis believe that the baby was dead, so Alex has time to get away," Amanda said quickly.

"Why?" Darien asked as he stood up.

"We had a little conversation with our Chrysalis friend who tried to kill us....and what he said was they would rather kill the child than let us have it, so we had to do something, oh, and please stay over there, I want to keep things as sterile as possible. Burns infect easily," Richie explained as the keep doors opened again.

"Who is that now?" Richie asked annoyed. "I'm trying to keep this place sterile. I'm going to have to do this again at this rate."

Alex walked around the divide with her baby in her arms, Hobbes leading her.

"Stay where you are," Richie told them.

"Hey guys, what's up?" Amanda asked them.

"Not much...just wanted to stop by on my way out," Alex said, obviously out of her element.

"That's nice of you....how's the baby?" Amanda asked.

"James is fine...thank you...for getting him back," Alex told her, trying to get it over with and get out as soon as she could.

"Hey, it's no problem, just promise me you'll get away from here before Chrysalis figures out what we did," Amanda said as Richie finished up on her back.

"Well, we'll stay hidden, except for visits," Alex told her.

"Visits?" Amanda asked looking up at the agent.

"Well, I don't think he'll want to grow up without seeing the woman who saved his life from time to time," Alex said as she played with the baby and it giggled.

"You better go, I'm sure they have somewhere to take you," Amanda said, not wanting to look at James anymore, knowing that she probably wouldnít see him for a year or so at least, if ever again, and it was really starting to hurt. She was almost shocked at how quickly she had grown attached to the child

"Yes...they do. I guess we'll be seeing you....Amanda," Alex said before nodding briefly and leaving.

"What happened to your back?" Darien asked as the keep doors shut.

"Well, I now know where Quicksilver covers me last," Amanda said a little over cynically. "Can you guys uh...."

"Oh," Darien said, realizing the reason she hadn't gotten up was that to get the bandages on her back she wasn't wearing anything on her top half but a blanket.

"Well see you in a few Amanda," Hobbes added as the two men left. Richie walked over to start putting things away.

"Richie...." Amanda said trailing off, twisting her neck to look at him.

"Hmm?" he asked looking her direction. "Oh, don't flatter yourself, I'm not looking."

"Just go around the divide for a minute, please?" she asked. He rolled his eyes, but did it anyway. After a couple minutes she called out that it was alright, and he walked back around to start working on putting things away again.

Amanda had to wear a hospital scrubs, which was the only thing they had around the agency for her to use. The shirt she had been wearing had a hole through the back, and was hanging on the keep wall where she had put it before getting her back bandaged.

"Are you alright?" Richie asked as he finished putting everything away. She had put the keep chair back up into it's regular position, and sat in it, pulling her legs up to her chest as she stared at the wall.

"I'll be fine, I barley feel the burn anymore," Amanda told him as she rested her chin on her knees.

"I wasn't asking about the burn," he told her.

"Well...then maybe," she told him.

"Maybe?" he asked walking over to the chair.

"Yeah...I don't know," she said shaking her head as she stretched out her legs.

"Care to elaborate?" Richie asked her. Amanda looked at him for a moment, contemplating going on. She knew him pretty well...or at least his personality pretty well at this point, and he knew pretty much ever thing about her. Who else was better to confide in?

"Well...you know that whole family kick I was on?... I'm over it," she told him.

"How so?" he prompted her.

"Well...I still want all that...just not now. I mean...it's not really something I ever wanted, Well, thatís not what I really mean, what I really mean. ...Okay, hereís what I mean. I want a family. But I just realized I want it a long, *long*, time from now. Not something I want now, or not that I want now anymore," she told him.

"Well, you were pretty good at making it look like it was what you wanted," he told her.

"Yeah....well, it's what was expected of me...like when I was younger. I started being a thief, and soon it's what everyone expected of me, and I wasn't going to disappoint them. If that's what they want, why not?" she asked.

"And now that you're here, the expectations have changed," Richie added.

"Not exactly....it's just....there aren't any really. No one really knows what I should be doing, and I sure as hell don't know," Amanda said.

"Welcome to life Amanda, no one knows," he told her.

"I liked the old system better," Amanda replied.

"Everyone does, but we don't have a choice in the matter, the best plan is to deal with it and accept it," Richie told her, putting a comforting hand on her arm.

----------

"Yes Sir. We think that there might be a mole within Chrysalis, this isn't the first anonymous contact with one of there's. Just the most noticeable," the Official said into the phone. Eberts was guarding the door, the lock being broken yet again.

"Usually it's just information, small tidbits. Yes sir, I'm aware that a baby on one of our agents front doorsteps isn't a small tidbit. We think he might be stepping more out into the open...which means we need to get into contact with him soon, before Chrysalis finds him first. Thank you Sir. I promise you we will find him," he said before the line went dead.

 

And you hide in your room, the lights turn away....itís all so far from you... It's so hard to be someone strung out from today, and all that you knew slips away.

-Goo Goo Dolls