2007-12-30: The L Word


Kory_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Officer Mitchell

Summary: Dream psychology in close quarters.

Date It Happened: December 30, 2007

The L Word

F Sixth Avenue Local, Brooklyn to Manhattan

It's late. Very late. Late enough that it's not safe for a young woman to be riding the subway alone. But that doesn't seem to matter to Kory.

Kory's a frequent rider at this hour, on an F train that has come from way down Brooklyn, and is heading now into Manhattan; so frequent the other riders know her by sight. Why is she here on this train at this hour? She knows the habits of one of her 'patients'. She's settled cozily in the seat near a window in a corner with shades over her eyes and an earwarmer over her ears. Further down the train is her 'patient'. A police officer who must have come off duty only a few minutes before catching the train at the Ditmas Avenue stop.

While Randall is used to taking the subway at different hours of the day, depending on what sort of day job he's scrounged up, this is the first time in a while that he's ridden this particular line - and that was in the early morning, not the late evening. As such, he's leaned up against the opposite wall of the car, handgrip in one hand and Times in the other, unaware that someone he knows is so close.

The police officer has it rough. He's a beat cop; working a beat in a lousy, crummy, gang-infested part of Brooklyn. Do-or-Die Bed-Stuy as some people have been known to call it. He's married. But the wife is growing a little distant. Kory suspects it's because she fears That Three A.M. Phone Call all police wives fear. She also suspects, as she watches for him to fall asleep, that he's so used to dealing with violence of the domestic sort he's lost touch with the tender nature that could reassure him and his bride both.

It's the work of a moment for her to make contact. The cop, who's just barely this side of thirty, finds the stress lines in his face smoothing. The tired expression is replaced with a welcoming smile. "Hey, Doc," he says in a sleepy murmur, though the tone indicates affection rather than acknowledgement of authority.

The convenience store where Randall is headed for a warm-body stint is not in quite so bad a neighborhood. But it's close. He turns a page, catching sight of the cop, and looking around out of curiosity: is someone taking this line to a free clinic, maybe? No one in scrubs is to be found, but he does spot Kory and wave to her, not realizing her involvement in the matter.

Kory doesn't answer. She's still situated such that she appears to be gazing dreamily out the window. With the shades on, it's possible she's asleep too.

"You were right," murmurs the cop. "Brenda did just want some us time. The Kew Motor Inn was a good suggestion. We were…" he blushes, and lowers his voice. "Like teenagers again." And his voice raises to a more conversational tone. "I know it's not a one-time fix, but it's a step in the right direction." The other passengers don't bat an eye. This cop must talk in his sleep a lot.

Randall takes the non-response in stride. Yeah, she's probably just napping en route; even Miss I Don't Sleep Much has to sleep at least a little bit. As the cop continues, though, he begins to look increasingly intrigued; eventually, he fishes out a camera phone and starts pointing it this way and that, though the telltale sound of a picture being permanently captured is so far still absent.

Kory nods, once, and makes herself a bit more comfortable in the plastic subway seat.

The police officer lolls his head back and snores loudly, once. "Mmmnh. Almost have enough to buy a nice house, though." He shifts slightly in his seat as well, mirroring the pose Kory slumped into moments earlier. "I'm thinkin' Westchester, mebbe. Transfer up there, even."

Kory sits up, at this point, and rummages through her pockets. She pulls out a small spiral-bound notebook and lowers the shades to glance at something written there. She puts the notebook back in her pockets and replaces the shades.

"Tuxedo Junction?" the cop says, incredulously. "That's way too far to commute!"

Wait a minute. Tuxedo Junction is an actual place, not just a dumb song from seventh-grade strings? More importantly: one or both of these people are telepaths? Because this is obviously not a coincidence, even if any normal human being would easily write it off as such. He sorta hopes it isn't his girlfriend, if only because it means his so-called ability to see this stuff has been on the fritz.

He taps on the side of the camera phone, to no avail. Apparently it is on the fritz, after all. Well, no matter: he still knows what to do in a situation like that, and that's support the people who are close to you. Mouthing a couple of silent 'excuse me's, he walks over next to Kory, reaching out and resting a hand on her shoulder, without saying anything out loud to break the connection.

It's a real place. With a crime rate so low, so incredibly low that the Police station closes on Sundays. Which must be what the cop is hearing in his sleep. He relaxes more visibly and murmurs, "Yeah, well, that does sound nice, but—" And he sighs. "…I knew you were gonna ask me that."

Unfortunately, the touch itself is enough to draw Kory's attention out of the conversation in which she has not spoken a word. She stiffens at the touch, but doesn't immediately move. It's late and she's alone; her intention is to hold still and determine what sort of encounter is being precipitated by an unbidden violation of her personal space.

Randall winces. Oh, right, she might not realize that it's him yet. He leans forward enough for his face to come clearly into view, if Kory's eyes are indeed open behind those shades, mouthing 'hi' and then drawing back before the motion of the car has a chance to send him tumbling into her lap. Which… would carry its own benefits, but this other thing is way more important right now.

The train does pick that moment to turn a bend, but it's a late train, so the driver is not taking it at breakneck speed. The cop mumbles something far less coherent, though, and Kory gasps audibly, as Randall sticks his face into her field of view. She claps a hand to her mouth in startled reaction, to muffle any sound said startlement may cause her to utter involuntarily.

"I'll…have to…to think about it," the cop says, sounding uncertain. "…Doc?" He sighs, and drifts into deeper sleep as Kory blinks up at Randall like a rabbit cornered by an owl. "H-Hi, Randall," she manages, voice barely above a whisper. The noise of the train may have obscured her having said anything at all.

Randall reaches up with his free hand, grasping around fruitlessly, until he glances up and locates the grip there. With that anchor firmly established, he looks down again, thinking… Wait a minute, that policeman called her Doc. And he seemed to be placing himself in the role of a therapy patient. Which means…

"I think I'm in love," he finally manages, as the lights outside continue to flash by.

Kory blinks up at him, a bit less terrified lapine now. "Well," she attempts to quip, "You sure do know just the right thing to say to a girl." She has no idea what he's seen, or how much. It just takes her a second to re-orient from a dreamscape, especially if interrupted.

Randall allows himself a tight little grin— then straightens up and glances around. "I'm headed to work now, I'll catch up with you when I get off shift, okay?" It's one thing to find out that she's got an ability herself; it would be quite another to talk about it in front of a bunch of people.

"A shift this late?" Kory winces, sympathetically. "Poor you," she says, with significant sincerity. "Of course. Swing by, no matter what time it is. I'll probably be up again by then." She's apparently chosen to try to play it off like she was just starting to doze herself when he startled her. "What stop?" The train's about to cross to Manhattan; only a few stops left before the one near the Lair and Kory's apartment.

Randall offers a shrug. "It pays well, at least. And—" A quick glance up to the route diagram. "Not the next one, but the one after, I think. I can probably just walk over to the Lair when I'm done, if it's open that early?"

"Even if it's not officially open, I'll likely be around. I get a lot done in the quiet," Kory assures him, using the chrome pole. "And if not, I'll still be home." She doesn't mind they're on a sparsely populated train. He gets a brief kiss anyway, because it's serendipitous he turned up.

Randall grins, easing a hand around Kory's near hip as he's kissed. The train does lurch again, afterward, but too late to play anything up; instead, he merely tightens his grip, and glances over to where he left his paper behind earlier. One of the other riders has already picked it up and turned to the sports section.

Kory's adept at subway surfing. She barely has a grip on the pole. Knees bent, her center of gravity shifts fluidly. But she's not going to object at the occasion to remain in a clinch with her boyfriend under any conditions. She does, however, take a second to check on the dozing police officer when Randall glances away. He is resting as peacefully as one might on a train. It's a New Yorker survival skill.

The train enters the tunnel connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan. The lights on the train dim and flicker and the noise level goes up as the train's motion is constrained to the subterranean.

Letting the paper go, Randall follows Kory's gaze over to the cop, taking one last look - he might not see him again, but at least he can ask some questions later. Without violating the guy's privacy any more than he already has, anyhow. Finally, his stop does come up; one more quick kiss, then he quickly moves to join the crowd walking out to the station, just ahead of a fresh one walking in from it.

"Bye," Kory murmurs as the kiss parts. She watches him as much as the crowd permits. Then "Watch the closing doors," and the train is off again. She holds the station in her vision as long as the train's motion allows, and then sighs happily. He said the L word. Sort of. Brief though they may be, Kory's dreams will be very sweet tonight. Her step is light when she finally gets off the train a couple stops later. The city sees fit to start snowing, which muffles the noises of a New York in the restive stage of night-before-morning.

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