As Normal As I Can


elaine_icon.gif linus_icon.gif

Scene Title As Normal As I Can
Synopsis Elaine and Linus reconnect after quite some time.
Date February 11, 2011

Siann Hall: Linus' Apartment

It had been a long time since Linus had stood in front of the door to his apartment. He was more than surprised when he found out from the landlord that somebody had been keeping up with his rent. With a slight hesitation, and a deep breath, he sticks the key into the hole and twists, unlocking the door. Another breath is taken before he actually opens it, stepping inside to somewhere familiar, yet somehow strange.

He looks like hell, which is not that hard to understand given that he just woke up from a coma. He has grown a thick, full beard, and his eyes look tired. He's dressed in extra clothes the hospital was able to provide, a pair of jeans that are a size or two too big, and a plain white t-shirt with an old stain on it. He rubs his hands through his tangled weave of hair, having grown quite shaggy in the hospital, and shuts the door behind him.

There's never an easy way to say goodbye to someone, and Elaine never really fully said goodbye to Linus. There was a parting, surely, but it's not the kind of thing she'd expected to really be 'the end'. She had his key, and when Linus didn't show up to pay his rent, Elaine paid it anyways. It was somewhere she could go and be alone, somewhere quiet when she needed somewhere to herself. He'd offered that to her in the first place, and with him not being around and her paying for things, she didn't feel like a mooch.

But when months went by and he never came back, it felt more like a painful goodbye. What are you supposed to do when your friend just disappears? She set herself a time limit. If he hadn't come back before then… well, she didn't like that thought, but it seemed to be one looming in her thoughts. Curled up on the couch, Elaine had fallen asleep reading when the key slid into the door. The noise startled her into being awake, but her breath caught in her throat. Someone was breaking in. She tumbles off the couch with a thud, looking for a place to hide behind the furniture.

Considering how much money Elaine has paid over the past four months, "breaking in" could be one way to look at it. Linus' hand instinctively moves to hit the light switch, not even noticing that they were already on. He then shuffles over towards the couch, slumping down into it with a sigh, hands resting on his knees as his head rolls to lay against the back of the couch. After a moment, he looks over and spots the book Elaine had been reading.

He tentatively reaches for it, picking it up in one hand, flipping it over to examine the cover. It looked familiar, yet somehow not, his brain trying to focus on why something seemed out of place. He slowly stands up, looking around the room lazily, unoccupied hand moving up to scratch the back of his head. With a shrug, he drops the book on his coffee table and moves into the kitchen, grabbing a glass and filling it with water, the sound of the sink running audible even where Elaine lay hidden.

He's in the kitchen. Jesus. What the hell is she supposed to do? Elaine slowly gets to her feet, trying to not make any sudden moves as she creeps towards the front door. She could get out and then call the police. Don't get caught. More people die in home invasion robberies… scary shit. Elaine doesn't want to die. She creeps towards the front door, praying not to be caught.

Finished getting his water, Linus moves to head out of the kitchen. His eyes are carefully on the glass of water, trying not to spill anything as he walks out of the kitchen and into the living area. As he closes in on the couch, he finally looks up, and spots Elaine sneaking toward the door. His reaction is instantaneous. "Holy shi-", the sentence doesn't even finish as the shock causes him to drop the glass, landing right on his foot. "Ow! Elaine?" Luckily, the glass isn't actually glass at all, but plastic, though water does spill everywhere as the glass bounces away and rolls across the floor. "What are you doing in here?"

Elaine freezes, then whirls around to face Linus. She blinks, then uses the door for support so her knees don't give. Nice beard. She stares towards him. "Linus. I, uh, I was reading. You've been gone. I have a key, so I've been keeping up the place. I didn't know if you were—" She swallows hard. And it's true. The place is clean! No dust or anything and no moldy food in the fridge.

Linus didn't look in the fridge, but if he had, he's sure there wouldn't be any mold in it.. after all, he didn't leave any food when he left. He didn't know if he was coming back. "Yeah, I.." He begins to explain, but notices his foot is getting wet. "Oh, damn. I hope you kept stock in paper towels.." He moves back to the kitchen, indeed finding some paper towels which he takes back with him. He bends down on one knee and begins to wipe up the spill. It makes what he says next easier as his eyes watch the water get soaked up, instead of looking at Elaine. "I was in a coma."

"Shit. A coma," Elaine murmurs, leaning against the front door a little. "You were serious when you said you might not come back." She leans her head back, staring up at the ceiling. "I thought when you didn't come back that you might've… t-that you were dead. You're awake now, though… did the doctors say you're okay? N-No brain damage or anything?"

Linus keeps wiping up the mess, switching to a new towel whenever the one he is using gets soaked up. "Yeah. Yeah, I was serious. You heard about that satellite? In China? I'm the one blew it up. In space." He keeps wiping, as if the words he's saying are as casual as talking about a new video game. "Yeah, I'm okay. My power was taxed when.. I did that, and I guess it stopped working for a while. Eventually it kicked back in, and I'm fit as a fiddle. A little mixed up, though."

"Shit." Elaine says again, shaking her head. "That's crazy. I… good job, though. You got to be a hero. And you did something amazing. Good for you. As scary as that is." She smiles, moving carefully (still somewhat wobbly legged) over to help him clean up. "I bet waking up several months later is kind of strange. Lots of things happen in four months. Been four months, right? That's… a long time. I'm glad you're okay. Really glad."

Slowly standing up with a hand full of sopping paper towel, Linus ducks quickly into the kitchen to drop them in the trash before he walks back out. "Yeah.. yeah, I did. I was a hero. You know what I got for it? Four months in a coma. I don't want to be a hero ever again. Good for me.. yeah, right." He sighs, shaking his head. "It's.. more than strange. So much is the same, but so much is different.. the world moving on without you.."

"Well, I'm still around. Didn't get myself killed or anything, but… a lot has happened. I mean a lot. I'm sorry you had to miss out, you know?" Elaine smiles. "Maybe you won't have to be a hero anymore. I like you as just Linus. You're better that way." She shrugs. "If I woke up from a coma and the world moved on without me I'd probably not be able to stand it. I'd probably end up killing myself, as morbid as that sounds."

"Really morbid. I don't think I need to go that far, and I don't think you would either. At least, I hope not." He bends down to help finish the last bit of the spill, picking up the empty glass and setting it down in the kitchen. "I'll never be 'just Linus', though. Not anymore. I've seen too much, done too much.. I went in space, Elaine. Without a space suit. I exploded a satellite. With my bare hands. I'm not normal, and I never will be." Deep sigh. "That being said.. I'm going to be as normal as I can."

Elaine shakes her head a little. "Makes two of us. I've seen and done a lot that I wish I hadn't. But there's nothing wrong with taking things as normal as possible. I don't know how normal I can really be anymore. Too much stuff jumped in front of me that made me have to do things." She looks back to him. "I guess getting back to 'normal' would be nice for you, though."

"You'll definitely have to tell me about some of those things sometime.. if you want, anyway. I think it would be good to hear that I'm not the only person doing crazy ass things." Linus rubs the back of his neck, then stretching with his arms out wide. "Funny how tired I am. You think after four months of sleep, you would be wide awake for.. well, a long time. I.. don't want to go back to sleep.." He says this last confession softly, looking down some.

"Some of it isn't so great, but I don't mind telling you sometime. You're easy to talk to." Elaine looks back towards him, concerned. "I kinda understand. It's… scary. You don't know if you'll wake up again, when you've been sleeping that long…"

Linus offers a small smile, looking back up. "Thanks. And thanks for keeping up with my rent. Once I get back on my feet, I'll definitely pay you back." He looks towards his bedroom, then over towards his television. "I think.. I'm going to play some 360. I've probably fallen so far in the rankings.." He heads towards his couch, sitting back down. "You can stay, if you want. Might as well call this your place, anyway."

"No rush, I've got a roommate so rent isn't so bad on my place and I'm working two jobs, so… it's not bad. I don't spend a lot of money either." Elaine moves to sit down next to him. "I wouldn't mind sitting with you for a while. It's weird seeing you and I've missed it. You were one of my greatest friends."

Linus turns more than a little red at the comment, picking up his 360 controller.. almost exactly where he left it, as if it went untouched. He turns to face Elaine, blinks, and then scratches at his beard. "Even with my manly lumberjack beard?" He chuckles a little, then smiles. "I missed you, too."

"The beard is a little weird, I will admit, but… I still did miss you. I can deal with the beard to hang out with you." Elaine laughs at his mention of missing her too. "You can't miss someone in your sleep, can you?"

"It's weird. I know I've been out four months, but I've only been awake for about a day. It's weird, it feels like I've been gone longer. So.. in a way, yeah. I missed you." He pushes her on the shoulder lightly. "Is that okay?"

Elaine blinks, looking back towards him, then giggles. "Yeah, that's fine. I'm fine with being missed. It's nice, you know? I like that feeling. Really do. I'm very glad you did. I've missed hanging out with you. We've got to trim back some of that forest growing on your face, though…"

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