Title: Off the Radar Fandom: Dark Matter Characters: ·Parallel Universe Derrick Moss (his alternate in the “normal” universe is called One) ·Parallel Universe Catherine Moss (her alternate in the “normal” universe does not appear on the show) ·Parallel Universe Emily “Das” Kolburn (her alternate in the “normal” universe is called Five) ·In flashback: PU Portia Lin (Two in the normal universe), PU Marcus Boone (Three in the normal universe), other PU Raza crew members Timeframe: In the parallel universe, sometime after Season 2, Episode 8: "Stuff to Steal, People to Kill." This is a sequel to my story It Just Is. Summary: This story takes place entirely within the parallel universe. Derrick and Catherine meet Emily and feel an instant connection. Word Count: ~3,800; three-shot Notes: If you are not familiar with the fandom, I would recommend starting with this story and not It Just Is, even though this is a sequel. I think this story stands alone better, although It Just Is does provide background to explain some of the confusion. If you are familiar with the fandom, definitely start with It Just Is. Constructive criticism is welcome. Other stories in this fandom: Season 1 Drabbles, Season 2 AU Drabbles, Meant to be a Lie Das tried to pull her jacket tighter around her. The air was frigid, with just enough of a breeze to bite through her thin layers. She’d been hanging around the building all day. It was getting prepped for an event that evening, with workers constantly walking in and out through the sliding doors. If she passed in front while the doors were open, she could feel a brief wash of warmth. Now, as the sun was starting to lower in the sky, when she passed by the doors she could smell food. She couldn’t tell exactly what was cooking, but it was a stark reminder that she hadn’t eaten in two days. She considered sneaking in. She could probably slip in behind the workers without them paying her any attention. Then she could at least warm up. And maybe once she was in, she’d be able to pilfer something to eat. But she didn’t. She was on the downward slide. If you were warm and had a full belly, it was much easier to confidently brush past someone and slide a wallet out of a pocket. Or casually slip a needed item up a sleeve or inside your jacket. Once you were cold and hungry—shivering, distracted, miserable—what should have smooth and easy, practically a game you’d played since you were six, became a cluster of shaking hands, dropped items, and the sound of voices berating your very existence. The last time it had been this bad was right before she first met TJ. TJ had saved her from the slide, introducing her to the group that would be her family for the next seven years. TJ wasn’t here this time. TJ was gone, the others were gone. It was just Das. - * - Seated close together in the back of the town car, Derrick squeezed Catherine’s hand encouragingly. It had been a tough few weeks and he wasn’t sure they were ready for this. Even though it had been his idea. It would be their first public appearance since their world had shifted. Since the Five-Year Plan, the Ten-Year Plan, and the Twenty-Year Plan had all disintegrated in an instant. The first doctor’s appointment was bad. It was probably the worst moment of his life up to that point. But the doctor had calmly explained that these things happen, that this is why you don’t tell people right away, that this was merely a bump in the road. It was hard to accept, but there was still a path and they could move forward. The second appointment obliterated the path. The path, and the Plan, and everything he and Catherine ever thought they’d be. He’d spent the last ten years working long hours at the company because he wanted his family to be comfortable. He’d wanted his children to never want for anything. The last part would be true enough, he supposed—children that didn’t exist couldn’t want. They’d been told it was bad luck to pick out a name so early. Maybe they shouldn’t have. No. He’d never been superstitious and he wasn’t going to start now. The truth was it wasn’t meant to be. It never had been, even if they’d only just now come to know it. And he was glad that she’d had a name, for however briefly she was with them. Catherine shook Derrick’s hand, drawing his attention to the present. “We’re almost there.” - * - As dusk settled in, Das made one last pass in front of the open doors. Guests were arriving, decked out in suits and fancy dresses. As much as she wanted to enter the building, she didn’t. Instead, she took one last, long look before seeking shelter for the night. She hated her cowardice, but she just couldn’t stand to be so close to so many strangers. She blamed the downward slide, but the truth was, she had lost her nerve. She’d seen the face of evil and she couldn’t overcome it. First her friends: Dead. All of them. Then, her escape. She’d thought she’d cheated death. Survived when her friends had not. That was just the beginning of the nightmare. She saw faces when she closed her eyes. The faces of evil. It wasn’t pain or bloodshed that she remembered, though she knew they were perfectly capable of both. It was their indifference that was vicious. But just when she thought it was over, when she thought the evil had overwhelmed her, killed her, she heard a noise. A quiet, simple sound: click. And so she survived. There was a little bit of goodness in the world after all, found in the least expected of places. - * - “Are you ready for this?” Derrick asked. Catherine forced a smile. “As I’ll ever be.” Everyone was arriving at once. The towncar was half a block away, waiting its turn in line, when Catherine opened the door and exited the vehicle. “Catherine!” Derrick scrambled out after her. When he caught up to her a few steps away, he was afraid she would be distraught. She turned toward his with a pleasant enough expression. “You know I can’t stand to wait in line. I just wanted a bit of fresh air before going inside.” Relieved, Derrick waved the chauffeur away. It was chilly out, but he felt relatively toasty in his coat, scarf, and gloves. He found the cold air rather refreshing. It drew him out of his own head, and he noticed for the first time how lovely Catherine looked tonight. He didn’t have a chance to comment on it before Catherine was off, trotting down the sidewalk. “Emily? Emily!” Catherine called, as she hurried along. Derrick’s chest tightened upon hearing the name. The name would forever be full of emotion for him, but now, hearing Catherine shout it down the street, he was sure that this was a mistake, that he should have given her more time, that the pressure had gotten to her. Derrick scurried down the sidewalk behind Catherine, reaching for his com to call back the car.