2010-02-15: The Sleeper Must Awaken



Date: February 15th, 2010


Peter escapes from nightmares and Lena doesn't tell him what she's been doing for the last month. Priorities!

"The Sleeper Must Awaken"

Mount Sinai Hospital, no wait, Staten Island, NYC

Weeks have passed with only the steady beeping of machines and the clinical attention of medical professionals to keep Peter company. His scruffy little shadow has been there for him only in dreams. It's no dream that returns to Mt. Sinai. To say that Lena has had an adventure would be putting it mildly; two trips through the Atlantic Ocean, a kidnapping, an escape, being smuggled back into the country and using her fledgling skills as a fugitive to make her way back to the house on Staten Island…

It's worth a made-for-TV movie at the very least.

And here is the picture-perfect conclusion, the moment when the heroine pushes open the door of the hospital room and steps inside, closing it securely behind herself before approaching the bed where the hero reclines. The young woman is looking well, really. She's picked up a very slight tan, a healthy glow set off by the black turtleneck and jeans combo she's wearing, and the haunted look has left her eyes. The unbuttoned black peacoat protecting her from the elements is shrugged off and draped over the foot of the bed before a chair is dragged over. Now Lena can sit and take Peter's hand between both of her gloved ones.

"Hey hey, Sleeping Beauty, you miss me?" The crooked twist of her smile shows that Lena doesn't expect an answer, but she watches Peter's face intently.

There's no answer, as she likely expected from the fact he's still in a room on his own, the same room she last saw him in. It's only changed in small ways— No obvious flowers or get well soon cards. Few people know who happens to be here. It's not even his name on the chart. Peter's lost weight as fat and muscle stores began to fade away. The nurses have seen to cleaning and shaving him, even cut his hair shorter than it was before. Not too short, but it no longer threatens to hang in his eyes.

Eyes that seem to constantly be moving around, indicating dreams, something which boggles the doctors. Comas don't usually come with rapid eye movement. Or breathing on his own, either! This isn't really a coma, though— but they can't possibly know that.

It's a good thing they don't know, else he likely wouldn't still be there.

There's a television for viewing, rarely used except by cranky doctors who want to abuse the coma guy's room to watch their soap operas. The chair is comfy. A plague of bad dreams to anyone who falls asleep in it, though…

Dreams that spill over from the man in the bed.

After a while, there's some spikes in his vitals. Spikes that show on his face, in the form of sudden tension, and sweat, in the way he breaths, then suddenly he's sitting up in the bed, eyes wild and widened. Within moments he's already beginning to rip off the various things attached to him, only stopping when he realizes he's not alone, hand grasping the tape holding the IV on.

The changes could break a heart stonier than Lena's, well-camoflagued though it is beneath layers and layers of street grit. The once-and-future brunette gives a sigh as she takes in the sight of him, shifting in the chair to adopt a more comfortable posture. Elbows are propped on bedside and her hands keep a firm pressure on his while she prepares to settle in for the long haul. It's about as she'd expected, though she'd prayed and prayed during the long boat ride back to the States that there'd been some positive change.

The rapid eye-movement is worrisome, of course. Even Lena, with her abbreviated high school education, knows what that signifies. And having suffered dreams of her own, on those few nights where she'd slept enough to allow them…well. It's enough to make her stomach churn from worry.

That feeling is not helped by the man's sudden return to the land of the living in such spectacular fashion.

Now her heart joins her stomach in doing flips when Peter sits bolt upright, the little signs of impending consciousness certainly giving no glue he was about to pull a Lazarus on her. She startles, hands all but crushing his. "Jesus! Pete! Pete? What are you…no, don't…augh, damnit! Where's the fucking doctors? Hey, Pete, Pete you're okay, it's me, it's Lena! Calm down, okay? You're in the hospital!" One hand loosens its grip, but only to settle immediately on the man's shoulder, light pressure applied urging him to lay back.

"Lena," Peter says, a hoarse quality to his voice— it hasn't been used in a month, so in some ways it's amazing he can talk as well as he does, much less move as well as he does. Regeneration probably helps with keeping his tendons from locking up entirely, but likely he'll need to get some exersize and a lot of food before he'll have his weight and healthy look back.

Not to mention sunlight. He's looking quite pale, with darker circles around the eyes.

"I have to— I think they have her. I have to help her," he starts, finally ripping out the IV entirely. The nurses and doctors are likely on their way, but he doesn't seem willing to wait as he pushes himself out of the bed. What clothes he is wearing is more like a snuggie than a shirt. The draft would catch his attention, if it wasn't elsewhere.

"We need to go," he suddenly says, eyes closing. She's already touching him, but his hand goes up to the hand on his shoulder anyway. The door starts to open.

And then they're somewhere else.

Welcome home.

Lena does not think this is a good idea. In fact, there's a good chance she thinks he's gone a little coma-crazy, babbling as he is and then… "Wait, no! You can't get out of…Pete! Who do they have? You can't just get out of bed, you've been out for like a…"

Maybe five years from now, she'll be able to look back on this and laugh. It's funny, after all. Skinny guy in a hospital gown, flapping around like that. Right now, it is not at all amusing, and the thunderstorm darkening on Lena's brow broadcasts that. "Look, I know I'm not like a nurse or whatever, but they put all that stuff on you for a reason, and you should…what, go where?" Except the question is answered almost before it's left her lips, his hand landing on her shoulder and the world blinking out of existence. Only to reshape itself somewhere else.

The living room of the house in Staten Island is well-lit but empty of any occupants. The TV has been left on, the image frozen showing Tom the Cat chasing Jerry the Mouse with a large hammer. Both animals wear large, disturbing grins. It's utterly silent, which makes Lena's yelp seem all the louder. One of these days, she'll get used to that mode of travel. Today is not that day. She looks around, wild-eyed, then glances back up at Peter. Her hands close hard on his arms.

"What happened? What happened to you, Pete?"

"I've already lost too much time," Peter says, eyes still wild as he fails to notice that he's somehow stopped the whole world to keep from losing more time. When is he going to notice he's practically naked in front of the poor girl? Not right now, it would seem. He's not really on the attractive side right now, anyway. Scrawny, pale, sweaty— he could look better.

"I was asleep, I was dreaming— the— I have to keep all of that from happening. Everything." To him, he'd seen the future. Suddenly he stops, looking her in the eyes, and his hands suddenly move to touch her neck. He'd been impatient, quick to act, and it'd killed her.

"I saw you die…" And he saw her do terrible things, too. It was all out of order, disjointed, broken. And the last thing he saw before he woke up… "Alpha Protocol. I think they have her— Daphne. Someone that I— she helped me with the train, she's… I'm not going to let any of that happen."

Things are going a little too fast for Lena to point out the lack of proper clothing. She's looking at his face, besides, not the poor abused body visible around the edges of the tie-back gown. The explanation is listened to, every detail making those blue eyes widen just a little more. It doesn't make sense.

Except…she'd dreamed too. Horrible things. He'd seen her die, and she'd felt it.

For once, Lena doesn't flinch at the touch, though she lets go of his arm so that her fingers can settle over those touching her throat. "I…I'm not dead. It didn't happen. It didn't happen, okay? What you saw, that wasn't real. You wouldn't do that to me." She pauses to take a breath, forehead rumpling. Daphne. It isn't a name she knows. "Slow down a minute, okay? It's…you dreamed what's gonna happen. I…a lot of stuff happened while you were out, Pete, but…but I dreamed some stuff too. You think that was real. And this chick? They got her, like they had me?"

It's still confusing, still too soon after a period in which Lena thought she might actually be able to rest, but the young woman seems to accept the explanation. "Okay, Pete. We'll stop it, and get her out. But…you gotta rest first, right? You're like…you're gonna fall out, look at you."
The fact he's touching her doesn't register as dangerous to him. It also doesn't infuse him with immediate happy feelings, either. Peter's still panicked, worried, stuck in the place he's been for quite some time. No sunlight— no happiness. What little pieces of happiness he got were darkened by other things.

"Like they had you," he nods in response after a moment, finally slowing down long enough to answer a question without rambling off in another direction. He actually goes quiet for a moment, keeping his hands on her, as he suddenly leans closer. For a moment it may seem inappropriate closeness, but he's pressing his forehead against hers, rather than anything too bad.

He needs to rest— he needs to slow down. He can't fly off the handle. Maybe that's what the dream with her meant. If he rushes into things without finding out what is going on, he'll get her killed.

"How long was I asleep?" he asks, taking in a slow breath as he pulls back. The word remains frozen in time, but he seems to be settling. "What happened? Are you okay?"

She doesn't have to be an empath to pick up those darker emotions pouring off of him. They come through in tension, and eye movement, even the tone of his voice.

So Lena does her utmost to remain still and stable, the calm, steady presence for once in her life. It is not easy, her natural inclination being to fidget. But the steadiness pays off; the contact between them, skin to skin, only increases when Peter rests his brow against hers. Lena's allowed a deeper (and highly concerned) study of his eyes even as she oh so sneakily winds up a subtle sedative. Just something to take the edge off, to help the man achieve a state of calm.

"It's gonna be okay," she assures him quietly, snaking her arms around his midsection. "It was about a month, maybe a little longer. I…I came home and you were…on the couch. Just out. Gone, sleeping. I couldn't wake you up, so…Monica called an ambulance and I went with you to the hospital. I was…so fucking scared, I stayed till they kicked me out and…"

When he draws back, Lena's eyes cut down towards the floor. There's a hint of evasion there. "I'm okay though. You're okay, you're awake now. None of that happened, Pete, and it won't happen, right? It'll be okay."

The mild sedative starts working rather quickly, slowing his breathing and calming his pulse. It also loosens the grip on her neck a bit, as Peter sits back on the floor. Some of it happened, most if it hasn't yet. "I'm sorry— Hopefully what I saw in the dream will help things. Make them better." Stop certain things from happening. Like what happened to her, and what he was forced to become.

Though part of him can't help but wonder if that would make things better. He killed deSouza. And as far as he can tell, that had been a good thing in the end.

Letting out a slow breath, he almost seems to melt, tension wise. The sedative really is working. The white noise that fell into the area gets filled with the Tom and Jerry cartoon coming back to life. "I didn't mean to scare you."

"Whoa, careful…" Lena helps him to the floor, dropping to her knees to make sure he's settled comfortable and with balance. Good thing it's carpeted in here, or certain portions of anatomy are likely to get colder. Her hands shift to his shoulders to help steady him. "You don't have to apologize, Pete. Seriously…it's not like any of us ask for this shit to happen. It just…does." Lena's made her peace with it, it's easier to reassure someone else of the same now.

She continues that anxious study of the man's face, relaxing only as she begins to see those signs of tension starting to bleed away. When Tom gets back to chasing Jerry, Lena jumps a little and looks over her shoulder to stare at the cartoon. The bright colors and madcap music seem so out of place.

"It wasn't your fault. Listen to me…I mean that. It wasn't your fault. None of this is your fault. Maybe I deserved a little scaring for doing that to everyone else, before." Lena looks him over, the moment spent in study and in chewing on her lower lip. "You look like crap. You think you're okay to walk? We can get you some clothes, maybe a shower. I can make something to eat…soup, maybe. So you don't yack everywhere." Pause. "I'm glad you're back, Pete. Glad you're okay."

An uncarpeted floor would probably have made him realize things more quickly, though! Even if it'd be decidedly uncomfortable. Peter doesn't protest her assurances, which is likely a good sign. Before he might have tried to take fault anyway. Right now, though… the drugs may have had something to do with it.

"I should be okay to walk, I think," he says, not feeling the atrophy he probably should be feeling— having regeneration has perks. His body kept going even when it shouldn't have. "I am hungry," he adds, then the whole clothes and shower comment seems to catch up with him. Finally.

He looks down. Some color finally returns to his face. "Uh— I— yeah, I should get dressed."

Drugs are handy that way. If nothing else, they'll keep him from charging off on a mission, as Lena knows Peter to be inclined to do. When he states himself to be alright to walk, she lifts his arm to get it over her shoulder and prepares to help the man to his feet. Oblivious to the blush…or not, seeing as how she's grinning behind the shaggy mop of hair that's swung down to conceal her face.

"You don't have to get dressed for me, God knows you don't have anything I haven't seen before. Maybe not on you but I figure that breeze can't feel good…okay, on three, up we go. One, two, three!"

With a grunt and a shove of the legs, she helps push Peter back to a standing position. Maybe it's more help than he needed, given his abilities, but Lena's got the grabbyhands today, and the concern to make certain he's all right. "Soup and crackers, maybe? Nothing heavy, not if you've been sucking down hospital food through a tube for a month."

"Did you ever consider going into medicine?" Peter idly asks, as he gets back to his feet, wobbling a bit, but probably much better than expected. "Cause you'd probably be good at it. You're even your own pharmacy."

It almost seems to be a joke, something more lighthearted than his panics of before. The pharmacy she happens to be has something to do with it, and him trying to handle the fact he's barely wearing anything in front of one of his housemates.

…One of his… "I should get upstairs before the rest of the girls walk in," he says with a grimace, not wanting to be seen by all of them if he can avoid it.

It isn't an answer Lena had expected to get, nor a suitable question. Pete earns himself a startled look, her head craning oddly against the arm she has pinned to check his face for signs of teasing. "What, me? Hell no. I'm like…a little busy. Not smart enough for med school, either. And bad stuff'd happen if I touched someone by accident. Besides," she goes on, adopting a careless grin while steering him towards the stairs. "I'm only good at it when the patient's cute, you know? Everyone else I'd just yell at."

Speaking of. Arriving at the foot of the stairs prompts a backwards glance from Lena, eyes angled for the big gap between the edges of his gown.

"I bet they wouldn't mind, but…uh. You want me to promise to cover my eyes while you go on up. 'Cause I can. If you want."

"I'm too old for you," Peter says with a laugh. "And I'm sure you'd find the time if you decided to try it." Which it doesn't sound like she really wants to, but he felt the urge to bring it up anyway. As he gets a few steps closer to the stairs, he begins to reach to try and cover himself better. It doesn't work well.

Would he trust her to cover her eyes if he made her promise? "Well after you called me cute, I don't know if you would…" he jokes— hey, she's the one who sedated him, it's half her fault. "But you won't have to cover your eyes, anyway." As he says that, he takes a step up, and then fades from sight. Apparently he's not so weak that he can't use abilities! She can hear him walking up the stairs, even if she can't see him…

In all his open back gown glory.

"I'm twenty-three, and you're a cheater!" Of course, Lena's only twenty-three according to certain illegal documents, which makes her every bit the cheater he is. But hypocrisy is an endearing quirk in certain situations, right? The young woman lingers at the foot of the stairs, grinning as she gazes up at what appears to be an empty staircase. That grin fades quickly enough, however; it isn't the time or the place for a high spirits to last long.

Peter's awake, Alpha Protocol is still up its old tricks and there was a dream of the future that involved her death at Pete's hands. Being kidnapped by a slavery ring almost pales in comparison. Almost.

Sighing, Lena rakes her hand back through her hair, making it stand up in wild, floppy spikes, and turns to go make up some soup and toast. Food first. Then she can fret some more.

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