2008-02-22: Setting The Bar Low

Starring:

Lee_icon.gif Joule_icon.gif

Summary:

Lee is zonked on painkillers due to being blown up, which is why he missed Valentine's. Mushy things happen.

Date It Happened:

Early in the morning of February 22, 2008

Setting the Bar Low


New York City

Lee, after being released both from medical supervision and protective custody, comes moping in, late at night. He called a couple of times but didn't catch her and didn't leave a message. He flops down on her bed, intending to wait, but ends up peeling off his shirt drowsily and then zonking out, the remnants of the painkillers and the exhaustion of the ordeal catching up with him in a bed where he actually feels comfortable. When she arrives home, she finds him there, one leg half-dangling off the bed. His arm is up on her pillow, carefully in place with the splint supported.

Joule sashays in, half-dancing, glad to have finally gotten her mind and her mood cleared, rebooted, and set back to her normal dangerously volatile bubbly self. She closes the door and takes off her shoes, then peels off the sweaty red sheath dress she wore to take Mohinder out dancing. She's halfway to the kitchen when she realizes she can hear somebody breathing.

She turns around and is about to strike, one hand extended and her eyes alight with that weird effect, when she realizes she recognizes the shirt on the floor beside the bed. And that hair.

And that nose. "Omigod…" she breathes. "Lee?"

Lee half-wakes. "Mmm? Joule?" he says. "…sorry I ruined Valentine's Day. I got kdnmmmpd." That last half into the pillow. He wakes up further. "Kidnapped. Hi. You look great." He remembers it to mention it first this time.

Joule is standing there in her panties, blinking at Lee. She's not angry tonight, thanks to a fun evening that had finally gotten her mind off Lee and whether he'd just unceremoniously dumped her. "You — " she pauses, to parse that. It sounds like he said 'kidnapped'. And then she notices his arm is in a sling. "You were fucking kidnapped? What the fuck, Lee? Does the school board play hardball here or what, oh my god…" and she's across the room clambering into bed beside him, to gather his face in her hands and have a good look at him. "What happened? Are you all right? Of course you're not all right, you're in a goddamn bloody cast! They hurt you?! Point me at them, and I'll take it out on them!" She's all a-babble, eyes bright with tears that haven't quite crossed the threshold of her lashes yet. "Oh my god, you're all right, I was so worried, I thought you'd better be dead in a ditch to blow off Valentine's day, but then it was two days and three days and I couldn't get ahold of you and you might really be dead in a fucking ditch, and then nobody found you, and I thought maybe you'd arsed off the wrong person and they'd thrown you in the river and chopped you up into little bits and fed you to the alligators in the sewers and— " she continues along in this hyperkinetic, histrionic vein for several moments.

Lee can't really interrupt, he's in no condition, he follows along, nodding slowly until he finally settles on: "There aren't any alligators in the sewers…" he murmurs. "…it's so good to see you…" he almost whispers, before returning to try to wake up with his normal voice: "…it was a big nightmare. A friend of mine is being stalked, the stalker tried to kidnap her boyfriend, he got me instead, I was caught in an explosion, and was out of it for a few days in a New Jersey hospital while the police tried to piece together if I was in any further danger. Right now they think not - the guy is clearly a planner and I threw a wrench in his plans, if he does come after me again it won't be for some time. It was…really ridiculously elaborate. And the gift I had for you, it was in my coat pocket but I didn't have it when I woke up at the hospital…And the flowers, they were in the car and a building fell on the car." He does have some lingering bruises around the eyes, and some stitches in his scalp. His non-splinted hand gently finds her waist.

Joule stares. And listens. The hospital. And she didn't know. And someone tried to kill him. And there was an explosion. "You're alive. Sod the flowers. Sod the gift. I…oh, Lee. I'm so sorry." She clearly wants to fling her arms around him, but he's all busted up, and she's not sure where to touch him that won't hurt him.

Lee can pick up on things sometimes - especially if he wants them too. He draws her into an embrace. "I'm just a little achey now, go ahead and squeeze if you want." he murmurs. "I'm sorry too. Ugh! A deathtrap. A real live death trap. With a countdown timer and gloating voices from speakers. I was just as surprised the mortification didn't kill me as the dynamite." He is joking about it, just a little. He kisses her cheekes, kisses her eyes. "I wanted to call you but the police didn't want to release that I was still alive right away."

"And you almost died. I almost lost you. You almost died." Now the tears cross over and roll down her face. Now, with his encouragement, she does fling herself into his arms, nearly hard enough to knock them both off the bed and onto the floor. Nearly. "Crazy arsemongering bastard," she says vitriolically. "Nearly killed you. Nearly killed you. Oh, god. I have you back."

Lee goes right over on his back when she tackles him. WHUMP. He strokes her neck, beneath her hair, rests his splint right at the small of her back, an odd feeling but just as lets her sob out her relief. "I'm so happy to be back, back with you…" he murmurs. "…have you been, you know…okay? Doing all right? How did the documentary turn out?"

"It's done. Sent it to the board, and posted it to YouTube," Joule shrugs, nuzzling against his neck, breathing him in. "I'm …I've been okay. Looked after. By friends." Who talked her down from buying more crockery or otherwise doing anything drastic.

Lee says, "Maybe it was the straw on the camel's back. I got a message from my union rep that Brubaker is caving. I could be back in the classroom by the end of the month. I thought it was a painkiller hallucination until I took a nap, woke up and found it was still on my machine. We almost made it." He murmurs it so quietly but she can hear his heart beating in his chest and feel his lips slightly smile against her ear. She knows it makes him warm.

"Mmm. I think we could say you did," she tells him, voice dropped from sobs to intimate whispers. "I've been offered a couple dance gigs. And people know me when I show up for shoots now. All because of you. And your daft plan." Joule kisses his neck, and traces circles over his bare chest with her fingertips. "Good bloody thing you didn't die. I'd have had to come after you and drag you back."

Lee says, "You wouldn't have to drag me. I'd be running back as hard as I could. I have too much on my to-do card on my PDA. I was so scared of dying I even ran on a wall. Never even thought about doing that before."

Joule sits up and blinks at him. "I'm sorry? You did…wh-what?"

Lee says, "I had to escape and there was this empty stairwell with the stairs ripped out. I hardly even thought about it I was so scared. I just thought, well, maybe I can do it, you remember the ball bouncing around… I ran right down the wall, four stories. Never even slipped."

"God…" Joule murmurs, lying beside him again as he reminds her of the red rubber ball. "And you hate that you can do that. But if you couldn't. I'd have lost you. For good, Lee. You'd have been blown to bits. If you couldn't do that thing you do."

Lee says, "I know. It irks me, but I can't deny it." He sighs heavily. "When it came right down to it, I wasn't angry enough at it to let being pissed off kill me, you know? Maybe that's setting the bar sort of low as far as acceptance goes, but…hell, I've been thinking about it all week. That and, ah, this, this right here."

"That would've really been cutting off your nose to spite your entire body, luv," Joule says, curling up next to him, keeping her arm across his body, as if she's scared he'll suddenly dematerialize out of her grasp. "We don't have to move. We can stay like this as long as you like."

Lee says, "Exactly. But if you'd asked me in advance, would I do that even to save myself? I don't know that I would have said yes…" He smiles down at her, and for the first time he's awake and alert enough to give that right smile, slightly cocked, slightly charming. "Oh, I don't think so, eventually your landlord would want the rent paid and neither of us would have been to work in a month." he teases softly.

"Rent's already paid for March," Joule says. "Couple side gigs paid well, and the part time gig paid well too." She doesn't venture to speak on whether, if Lee gets in mortal danger again, he'll use his ability to save his life again.

Lee doesn't either. "Almost makes want to stay suspended, at least for a little while longer." he teases again, and kisses her on the lips. It's warm, slow, a bit drowsy still, but it's unmistakably his and unmistakably hers. "I love you." he says. Yeah, just like that. Why not.

He…said it. Joule returns the kiss, warm and soft and lingering. "Love you too," she whispers against his lips. "But no. Your school needs you. Your students do. Baby, you're a star."

Lee says, "Any man with an ego like mine doesn't need to be told that." But he's as chuffed as the exhaustion will allow him to be.

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