Bagels And Smoothies


aaron_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Bagels And Smoothies
Synopsis Peyton comes home the morning after Emile Danko's trial. She falls asleep in Aaron's arms.
Date November 12, 2009

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

Dressed in the same clothes she left last night in, Peyton unlocks the door and lets herself into her own apartment. It's late morning, and she carries in a bag of fresh bagels and a tote of smoothies for herself and her roommates. She's obviously not gotten enough sleep — her face is pale and purple smudges mar the skin beneath her eyes — a telltale sign she hasn't slept well and most likely cried in the past 12 hours. She brings the food into the living room, setting it on the coffee table. No roomies in sight — they're probably still sleeping in Aaron's room. She's not about to bother them from much needed sleep. Someone should be getting some, after all. She flops into her favorite chair, leaning her head back and closing her eyes.

Unusually enough, Aaron's actually awake at eleven in the morning, despite the fact that Gillian's still fast asleep in his bed. Or at least, she was last he checked, which was roughly fifteen minutes ago when he hopped into the shower. His lengthening hair is still pretty messy as he hasn't really done anything with it after towelling it dry, and he doesn't have a shirt when he appears out of the bathroom door. He twitches his nose at the smell of fresh baking. Mmmmmm. Bagels. And so, bare feet and jeans, Aaron treads down the hall into into the living room, where he spots Peyton on her favourite chair. "Oh my God, you look terrible. What happened?" Because any sign of tears is BAD. Not to mention the other things only he can see.

"I'm okay," Peyton says softly, eyes opening. "Smoothies, bagels," she says, kicking her foot out to point at the coffee table. It's an attempt at cheerful, normality but she knows that's not what he wants to hear about. She swallows, bringing her knees up toward her chest and wrapping her arms around them in a fetal position. "They voted to give him to the authorities. After he said he'd come after us if we did. I think… I think he wanted to die, Aaron. I couldn't see him, but I could hear him. And I think he was basically hoping we'd kill him — not because he's brave but because he's a coward. He doesn't want to face the authorities and prison or worse, but he promised he'd get out, and he said he'd come after us. After me." Well, he didn't say her specifically, but Peyton certainly felt like his words were pointed in her direction.

That's actually not what he wanted to hear, and his eyes go from the smoothies and bagels back to his frightened friend. Aaron comes up to the side of the chair and wraps an arm around Peyton's shoulder, then slips the other under her knees until he's lifted her up and down into his lap as he totally steals her seat. But hey, he replaced her seat with himself, so it can't be all bad. The arm that went under her knees is slid out and then around her so that he's holding her tight. He doesn't say a word, mainly because he doesn't know what to say and is unfortunately inclined to believe that monster would come after her.

"H-hey!" Peyton says, laughing a little as she's suddenly swiped out of her own chair and then brought down on Aaron's lap. "Damn, you're stronger than you look, boy," she teases, trying to lighten his mood by lightening her own. She doesn't protest the affection, though, and wraps her arms around his neck, resting her head on his chest. "I'm okay. I'm scared, but I guess there's no reason to worry until I hear that he's escaped or been released or anything. It really doesn't change anything, not really. I'll be okay." She takes a deep breath and then glances up. "How are you? I'm sorry… you're like, recovering from trauma and shit and this doesn't help."

"I used to be a stock boy." At least, that's the excuse he typically uses. It's true, that's where a lot of his strength came from, but there were also sports, and the gym, way back in the day. Something he should actually start doing again. Endorphins, and whatnot. "Me, recovering from trauma? Say it ain't so. You should see Bella one day. I'm only a bandaid solution," Aaron says to the girl who was abducted. Now that is trauma. "Her and Gillian sure got along, though…. Like, tag-team therapy or something. It was actually kinda creepy for a second. Totally surreal." And he doesn't mention the fact that he fainted before he even got into her office. A part of him is thankful that his inner arms are wrapped around Peyton so she doesn't see the scars of what her abduction led him to do. One of many stupid mistakes on his part. Of course, then one arm isn't wrapped around her as he brings a hand up to rest on the back of her head. He smells faintly of cranberries, a smell the bathroom he uses has acquired over the last month, on account of the bodywash he found.

"I'm getting better," he finally says, even if part of him doesn't believe it. He hopes he's getting better.

"Tag team therapy. They should go into business together or something, invent a new form of psychology or whatever," Peyton says, yawning a little as she breathes in the sharp clean scent of Aaron's hair and skin. "I'm glad you're getting better. So tell me the plan. Are you planning on using the power, or not using the power? I want to … you know, support you, whatever way you're going with that. Since apparently it's not bad for you to use it." She sighs a little, obviously upset that she put him through his ordeal at the Suresh Center for nothing.

Aaron brushes a hand against the side of Peyton's face as he cradles her. "I don't blame you," he says. It's not that he's psychic or anything, but he knows Peyton well enough to know she probably feels badly for putting him through that nightmare. "I'm going to try and wean myself off, or at least try and get back to once a day, or more infrequent if I can. It's gonna be a total pain in the ass considering I did try that once before and it didn't work out entirely as I'd hoped, but I have you and Gillian now. I don't really know what it's going to do to me, but Bella seems to think that even though the doctor at the Center thought it was safe that it clearly has a bad effect on me and that we should try to minimize that as much as we can." He sounds so unemotional as he says it, mostly because he has a hard time accepting it and it was at one point a great deal of technobabble.

Peyton stretches over to pull the box of smoothies closer, then lifts one and hands it to Aaron, before taking the other for herself. Might as well "eat" while they commiserate in their woes. "Well. Whatever you need, then. You know. If you need to sing to feel better, that's cool. I'm sorry that I made you go, and it didn't really help at all. I guess… I guess at least we know a little more than we did before." She rubs her eyes — she hasn't used her power for a bit. She's actually forcing herself not to look in on Emile Danko to see if he's in the hands of the authorities, as decided by the Ferry last night. She's afraid of what she'll find if she doesn't. For the first time, she feels the itch to use her power when she hasn't been asked to.

Not that a smoothie really counts as something to eat. "Verification is just one more reason to experiment." Aaron takes the offered smoothie and freezes his throat with a bit of it. "You know, I've seen people get brain freeze and they go and grab their forehead. And I'm like, my throat just got so cold it hurts, but, how does it make your head hurt? Seriously." He watches Peyton rub her eyes, "You OK? Tired?"

"I don't know — it's not my forehead that hurts when I get brainfreeze, but more like my roof of my mouth… palate?" she says, tilting her head as for once the right word comes to her. "Tired, yeah. I went with some of the others to Staten Island… some of the people who voted the other way." She didn't see Jericho's and Chuckles' faces during the "trial," but she saw Jericho's after. It's not a secret she's seeing someone over on Staten Island, but she doesn't really speak of it either. She knows it's one more thing that Aaron won't approve of, will worry over. "Not a lot of sleep… I had nightmares when I tried." When doesn't she?

It may not be a secret, but it's one Aaron has managed to avoid and be completely oblivious to, as only the unrequited can be. He does, however, disapprove slightly of the mention of Staten Island, which is demonstrated by this obvious look of disappointment on his face, even if he doesn't mean to have it. After the fiasco the one time he stepped foot on the island with her, it shouldn't come off as too surprising. It's bad enough he had some idea of what she was doing last night with the trial and all. Total suckage.

"Maybe I should stay with you a couple of nights." By which he means she should indulge his need to have someone with him when he sleeps. "Might help you sleep with fewer nightmares, and I'm there if you have one. You can wake me up. Hell, you can do that anyway. I can … kinda tell when you've had them. They're not exactly a rarity, are they?" He knows when she's had them often because he has them too, and he totally knows that look. Besides, what other reason could she have for not sleeping well?

"Most nights," she says with a shrug, closing her eyes. "I don't really see a pattern. It's just… I've seen too many things, and I guess my brain never turns off even if I can close my eyes." She takes another sip of her smoothie, then reaches to set it on the side table beside their chair. A chilly hand wraps back around him, as if he were an oversized teddy bear, cuddling in with a hefty sigh. Her breathing begins to slow, regular and shallow as sleep deprivation seems to rear its head.

Aaron's own smoothie is set down when Peyton starts to doze off in his arms. Better to hold her with arms. That, and he relocates to the couch. It at least has more room for him to lie down with her. He's suddenly reminded of himself in Peyton's arms, or Gillian's arms, and how easily he seems to fall asleep when they're around. Only right now he's wide awake. He just got up and now Peyton's fallen asleep on him, pretty much literally. Oh well. He'll still be there when she wakes up.

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