This is set just after Shawn and Belle leave Salem after the custody mess with Chloe and Nicole.
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Shawn Brady looked at his ex-wife as she stopped the car and put it in park outside the Red Dragon Inn.
"Belle, thank you," he said quietly.
"You're welcome," Belle wouldn't look at him. "What are you going to tell Claire?"
"I'll tell her things didn't work out," he said simply.
"And your mom?"
"I'll tell her what's going on," Shawn said. "John already knows. Marlena can't though, you know that, right?"
"Yeah, I'm aware that I can't tell my mother the truth," Belle finally glanced at him, "Or our daughter."
"Don't Shawn, just don't," she shook her head. "We're here. I'll pop the trunk."
"I'll see ya," Shawn got out of the car and pulled his luggage from the trunk before closing it and hitting it twice to signal that he was done. He watched Belle drive away and sighed.
"Hey, Sailor. New in town?" a voice asked from behind causing him to smile as he turned.
"Hey Reesie," he said when he set eyes on his cousin.
Jeannie Theresa Donovan, wearing a beat up leather jacket that looked as old as his own, smiled as she gave Shawn a hug, "Guess I don't have to ask how Belle took the news."
"She'll get over it," Shawn returned the hug. "You my welcoming committee?"
"Steph and Eric are inside with my girls," Theresa admitted. "You hungry? We waited for you."
"Yeah, I could use some food," he nodded.
"Good," Theresa pulled out some keys and pressed a button, causing a car a few feet away to beep, "Go stow your stuff."
Shawn did as bid and then walked into the pub with Theresa, following her to a corner table where their cousins, Stephanie Johnson and Eric Brady waited with two carriers.
"Shawn," Stephanie got up and gave him a gigantic hug, laughing when he lifted her off the ground.
Eric was waiting when Shawn released Stephanie. The Brady men gave each other a traditional back-slapping hug after a handshake.
"Do I get an introduction to the newest members?" Shawn peered at the carriers resting on either side of Theresa.
"This is Sophie Antonia and this is Philomena Loretta," Theresa pointed at her daughters in turn. "We call Philomena, 'Mena'."
"Good nickname," Shawn smiled before he sat down. "They're beautiful, Reesie."
"Thanks," Theresa beamed.
"So, what's the scheme?"
"That waits until we're at home," Stephanie said.
"Home? In Aremid?" Shawn looked skeptical.
"For now," Eric nodded.
"C'mon, Shawn," Theresa said when her cousin continued to look doubtful, "Would you look for an ISA installation in a former DiMera stronghold?"
"With our training, that's the first place I'd look," Shawn teased. "Speaking of, how's that house looking?"
"Maison Blanche is deserted as far as we can tell," Eric said. "Videos and a sweep of the place tell us that no one has been in the house since the late nineties."
"And with Stefano gone, there's no reason for anyone to visit," Stephanie said.
"Unless, of course, Jennifer's ex-husband is feeling nostalgic," Theresa joked.
"Don't jinx it," Stephanie shook her head as she signaled the waitress. "I'm starving. Let's order."
They all ordered burgers and sodas. After eating they headed back to the house that the ISA had procured a few years ago.
"So, where am I bunking?" Shawn asked as they walked into the front hall.
"We saved the room across the walkway for you," Theresa said. "Follow me. I have to put these two down anyway. You can put your stuff down and then we'll show you the com room."
"Sounds good," Shawn nodded.
"We'll meet you there," Stephanie indicated herself and Eric.
"This way," Theresa tilted her head towards the grand staircase.
"This is something out of Gone With the Wind," Shawn commented as he followed her up.
"Only if Miss Scarlett clubbed Rhett over the head with a lead pipe in the hall," Theresa teased as she backed into a room to the right of the stairs.
Shawn chuckled as he followed her into what he discovered was the nursery. He watched her put the girls into their cribs and kiss them goodnight.
"Any plans to tell Brady?"
She turned around, "Not right now. I know someday they'll want to know their dad, but right now, the only members of Brady's side of the family that I'm willing to have a conversation with are you and Victor."
"Explain that to me," Shawn said as they left the nursery and Theresa led him across the hall. He noticed a bathroom on the right before following her outside to a walkway where he saw another door.
Theresa opened it and let them into a bedroom, "Eric's heading back to Salem soon, so if you want, you can move into the room over the garage, but this should work for now."
"This is nice," Shawn nodded as he put his stuff down and looked around.
"It's private at least," Theresa nodded, "Not to mention it gives you some space from all the girls."
Shawn laughed before he looked back at his cousin, "You gonna answer my question?"
"Your grandfather knew what I was doing when I left. I'm a little mad that he didn't tell Brady, but I'm not going to hold it against him."
"But you'll hold what Brady did against him."
"Whether or not Brady knew what I was doing, he was going to raise my son on the run from the law and away from every member of both our families. If Chloe hadn't dropped the charges, they'd be in the wind right now."
"Okay, point taken," Shawn nodded, "But why keep Victor informed about Sophie and Mena?"
"Victor didn't get to raise Isabella or your dad. He barely got to raise Phillip," Theresa said. "He knows you, Ciara, and Brady. I think he deserves a chance to know his great-grandchildren, too."
"How do Kim and Shane feel about that?"
"They're not thrilled, but they'll go along with it for the time being," Theresa admitted. "I think Dad's a bit more understanding than Mom. He spent half of Andrew and my childhood undercover on some mission or another."
"And now you're doing it," Shawn pointed out.
"No," she shook her head, "Mateo was my first and last field assignment. I've got my forensics training done. I'm a lab rat."
"Okay," Shawn grinned.
"C'mon. I'll show you how to get into the com room and then we can all hit the sack."
"Deal," Shawn agreed before he followed her back downstairs and into the living room to the side of the stairs. She stopped in front of a bookcase and waited for his attention before pulling on a copy of Casino Royale, causing the bookcase to slide away and reveal a large space.
"After you," she motioned.
Shawn stepped into an empty space, "So, where's the room?"
Theresa stepped up beside him and the bookcase shut behind them, "This is the center of the house. Follow me."
Theresa went down a short flight of stairs and Shawn followed her across an uneven floor to another short set of steps that went down and across a narrow path before he found himself facing two sets of small stairs. Theresa went up the ones on the left and opened a door. She turned to look at him.
"You coming or what?"
Shawn followed her and they stepped into a good sized room with bookshelves and audio equipment on a long table. Stephanie and Eric were sitting in big leather armchairs against the wall.
"This is pretty cool," Shawn nodded as Theresa took a seat on the couch. "I wasn't expecting windows."
"No one can see in," Eric said.
"Where do the set of stairs on the right go?"
"To the tower," Stephanie answered. "It's an amazing view."
"Great for stargazing," Theresa added as Shawn sat next to her.
"Good to know," Shawn nodded. "So?"
"Right. Eric?" Theresa nodded to her cousin.
Eric nodded, "I'm gonna be hiding out at a cabin near Salem. I'll let someone stumble upon me before I tell Mom I'm back. Dad will know of course."
Shawn looked to Theresa, "Your dad have any more information on Vivian?"
"No," Theresa shook her head. "She's gone underground. As far as we can tell, she's not even contacting Quinn."
"What is she up to?"
"And more importantly," Stephanie said, "Why is she in cahoots with Andre?"
"Vivian has a lot of history with the DiMera family," Theresa pointed out. "Maybe it's time to see if legal can get us a warrant for Maison Blanche."
"For what?" Eric asked.
"I refuse to believe that Stefano didn't keep some kind of record of his involvement with Vivian. Salem PD has been through the DiMera mansion in Salem about a hundred times over the years and Uncle Roman said there's never been anything."
"So, you think there might be something in the bowels of the house here?" Stephanie theorized.
"Yes," Theresa nodded.
"It's worth a shot. I'll make a call tomorrow," Stephanie nodded.
"And on that note," Theresa stood up.
"Yeah, I'm exhausted," Shawn agreed.
"We'll give you the full tour tomorrow," Eric nodded.
"When do you leave?" Shawn asked.
"About a week," Eric told him. "Don't worry, I'm not leaving you as the man of the house just yet."
Theresa and Stephanie snorted at Eric's teasing.
"You guys go ahead. I'm gonna read for a while," Stephanie said.
"Night, Steph," they waved as they trooped back out.