Let Me Help You


cassidy2_icon.gif coren2_icon.gif

Scene Title Let Me Help You
Synopsis Cassidy comes to Coren's apartment for dinner and sleep. Things end up getting all twisted out of shape.
Date July 28, 2009

Lower East Side - Casa de Shelby

On account of not having been involved in a shoot out, Coren was lucky enough to get off early — earlier than Cassidy, at any rate, given her recent predicament. Given the turn of recent events, it's no wonder Cassidy yearns to arrive home to Coren's cooking, and while she was slaving away at the last of the requisite paperwork, Coren was cooking a fine pot of incredibly spicy chili. It could very well be a fair contender in a chili cook-out, if it didn't violate a large number of oft-cited rules.

Nevertheless, smart preparation has allowed the meal to simmer very nicely in a crock pot, fully cooked for Cassidy's expected arrival time. A bakery-fresh loaf of Italian bread lay sliced upon the table in a basket between the two bowls that will eventually be filled with Coren's delectable cooking.

He'd feel her exhaustion even before seeing Cassidy, as she lets herself into the the apartment. She leans against the door for a long moment, "Thank god that day is over." Moments of dozing over paperwork, flashing over the link between them. "I never thought it was going to end."

Pushing away from the door, Cassidy feels a sense of peace that's always come from being at Coren's place. A glance to the table and a smile touches her lips. "You know… you're spoiling me." She comments affectionately, glancing over at her partner. "Covering my ass… cooking me dinner. I think I'll keep you around," she teases lightly.

Not that he didn't witness, first-hand, all those moments of dozing. He was thankfully occupied by his own tasks. But concern has been on Coren's mind for a while, so it should be no surprise that, shortly after Cassidy makes her quip, Coren seizes her in a bear hug. "Don't you /ever/ do that to me again," he says. It should be clear to Cassidy that he means she shouldn't go out of her way to scare him half to death again. Apparently, those words were what he meant by the 'talk' he suggested they have earlier at Headquarters. After he lets her go, he returns to serve the meal, ladling out appropriate portions and seizing a block of butter — not margarine — from the refrigerator, the butter knives already on the table.

"I don't spoil you that much. Apparently Harrison intends to cook us dinner at some point, and speak with us about a great number of things, I imagine." Not that he really has to verbalize it, unless she didn't notice Elisabeth talking to him amidst her reliving the shootout. A fair possibility.

Cassidy turns in time to be pulled into a bear hug, her mind literally stop in shock and surprise. It was not something she expected from her partner. It's only then that she realizes how much of the fear she felt with that gun pointed at her was his. That memory will forever be etched in her mind, even at that moment it comes to the surface with stark clarity. Her arms go around Coren in turn as she realizes it's etched in his as well.

When he moves to finish ladling the food, Cassidy can't look at him, her cheeks red. She moves to remove her coat and hang it up, followed by her empty shoulder holster. "You do too spoil me." She mutters with a small smile. "Dinner really? So she reacted well to what you did for us?" She asks curiously, she was indeed buried in her own memories. She only had flashes of things, such as the broken teapot and knowing he yelled at Liz about her. Guilt twists at her gut, "I — uh — I'm sorry about scaring you though, Coren. I'm sorry you had to… " she taps the side of her head when she moves toward him again.

"Yes. Apparently she felt that, seeing as how I did something I could theoretically be fired for to save her ass, that she owed me an explanation of some kind," Coren says with a smirk. "Of course, what do I know?" Ever the gentleman, he holds out a chair for Cassidy and tucks it towards the table once she's seated before he takes his own. He grabs a slice of bread and butters it, setting it next to his bowl of chili. "You know, back when I first started seeing some of the horrors, such as what you saw yesterday, I could not even look at this sort of meal. The red of any tomato-based sauce was enough to turn my stomach." He takes a great big spoonful and shovels it into his mouth. "By now I'm desensitized, I think." It's not like him to speak with his mouth a bit full, but he is only being goofy to make sure Cassidy knows he's OK, and that she can be, too.

"Well, she should feel that she owes you." Cassidy comments lightly with confidence and maybe even a bit of pride for her partner. She lets Coren be a gentleman. How many girls get treated like this nowadays? Not many, she imagines. That thought alone makes a smile tug at the corner of her mouth. Taking her own piece of bread, Cassidy take her time buttering the bread. "This job does do that, doesn't it?" She has to fight not think about the murder.. of that smirk on the woman's face before it turned to fear.

Cassidy swallows hard suddenly as her eyes drop to the bowl of chili. Quick.. think of something else. "So… My mother called. I'm going home for a few days. She has something to tell me." Her mind turns to her mother and the detective relaxes some, and she's finally able to take up the spoon. "I'll be gone for only a few days, but since she won't get on a plane to come here, I figured I was overdue."

However hard it is for Cassidy not to think of it, it's damned near impossible for Coren to prevent it from coming to him, too, and he is quite relieved when she manages to pull her train of thought onto a less nerve-wracking track. "Yeah," he says with regards to her mother refusing to catch a plane to New York. "I can't say I blame her, really, given the present state of things." Pretending as though he doesn't already know the answer, he asks, "So when it this little trip of yours?"

"Couple of weeks." Cassidy spoons a bit of the chili on the bread and takes a bite, leaning over the bowl as she does. Glancing down at the bowl of chili, her brows lift a bit. That's really good. Glancing up, she swallows the bite and says it again out loud. "It's good." Licking her lips, she lets her gaze drift back down to the bowl, her spoon playing in her food a bit. "I'll be a long way off." There is a thrill of fear down her spine at the thought. So much has happened since he last saw her mom.

"As long as I slaved away at it, it better be good," Coren replies, clearly joking. He takes note of the fear, but takes a bite of his own bread after smear chili all over it. "I'm going to take a wild, or not so wild, guess and say you haven't told her you're evolved." He doesn't comment on the distance remark, although he does idly wonder what it will be like with her so far away. Separation by parts of the city have an odd strain on their connection, what will states apart do?

"Admittedly… no." Cassidy says after another bite from her own bowl. "But then, how do I tell her that and tell her that there is a good chance my father was too." Memories of an older man, telling a younger her about all of 'Lucky' Larry's close calls. A small smile touches her lips in memory, as she dips her bread in the chili. "I dunno. Mom aways seemed uncertain about the evolved. Never really talked about it to her." She goes quiet for a moment as she concentrates on eating, but then out of the blue she says. "I should tell her though. About me at least."

"Don't let me dissuade you," Coren says, polishing off once slice of bread and working at buttering another. "Just tread lightly. Some people simply can't handle the truth if it breaks their view of the perfect world." Coren was amongst them, the anti-evolved, pro-registration. Now he's definitely not anti-evolved, although he's not really pro-evolved either, and he's got some doubts about registration, given both the incident with Abigail's information being shared, and then the pyro girl combusting in headquarters and getting a bullet in the head. "And then, some people's capacity for change are truly surprising."

The indecision is pretty heavy in Cassidy's mind, "I figure I'll see how things go when I get there." An elbow moves to rest on the table, and her hand cradles her cheek. It's not hard to feel the press of exhaustion in Cassidy's head. "I may or may not tell her. I dunno." Glancing at him, she gives him a small smile. "What are you gonna do without me here?" She teases, ignoring the tingling edge of unease. "I imagine breathe a sigh of relief cause I'll be out of harms way, eh? Especially, after today." She stifles a sudden yawn. "I know I plan to do a lot of sleeping in." Something she doesn't do much of lately.

"Quite likely, although I imagine there's probably plenty of trouble you could get yourself into back home," Coren says, by which he's clearly thinking of interpersonal relationships. That kind of trouble. Yes, Cassidy will never live the whole Mortimer thing down.

And it's not that he thinks sleeping in is a bad thing, but he doesn't see it as a terribly likely thing given earlier today, and for that matter, the previous evening.

Cheeks color a bit and Cassidy tilts her head down to avoid looking at her partner, a little embarrassed smile on her lips. "Ah… no. No, I think I'd rather avoid that kind of trouble." And why would she when she's got…. "Ah.." Cassidy suddenly stands up, picking up her empty bowl. "You know, I'm feeling rather exhausted." Oh dear, did her cheeks get redder? Making for the sink she says, "Besides, no one there I'm interested in — really."

Coren's portion being somewhat larger than his diminutive (well, not really) counterpart, he is only just finishing up his meal while Cassidy is making her way to the sink in an effort to get away from him faster. Of course, she can't get away from him. Not really. He can barely help the chuckle that escapes him as he shakes his head, cleaning his bowl out with a slice of bread. "You really are funny sometimes, you know that?"

"How so?" Cassidy asks rather blandly as she cleans her own bowl, keeping her back to him and with that her still reddened cheeks. She can't decide if she should be amused or irritated by his comment. "There is no one interesting there really.. and besides. Even if I was to get into that kinda of trouble…. it'll still be in my head when I get back." The water shuts off and she gives the bowl a little shake to flick off some of the extra water. "Not exactly fair to you is it?"

"That fact that even now, you're still blushing?" he asks rhetorically. Coren chuckles again, "Don't be so hard on yourself all the time. Life isn't fair, this much you've certainly figured out by now." He works on cleaning the butter off the butter knives using the remains of his slice of bread. "Don't worry about putting anything away. You go and rest for a bit. You've had a very long day."

"Yeah well.. " Cassidy grumbles softly, setting aside her bowl, "I can tell you like it, you old man you." Of course, the affection in the way she says it is unmistakable. In a bold move, Cassidy move to rest a hand on his shoulder and places a chaste kiss on the top of his head, since he's still sitting. "Thanks for dinner, Coren.. my spare pajama's in the guest room, still?"

"Tidied up a bit, but otherwise it's as you left it. Dust and all," Coren remarks with a smirk, brushing her hand with his as he stands up to tend to dishes. She's his guest, after all. He's not about to let her be doing any of his work. That and he can stay up for several more hours, even a day if need be, before he'll need sleep. She can't.

"You need to get yourself a maid." Tsking softly, Cassidy heads into the hallway and into the familiar guest room. There is almost a home-like feel to the room, maybe it's cause she gets the emotions from Coren. No, she felt that way before the link. Deep down, she knows it's the place and the man out puttering in the kitchen, cleaning up. There is a soft sigh as she chides herself for thinking that way about her partner.

Thoughtfully, Cassidy drops onto the bed and curls up on her side, grabbing the other pillow on the bed to curl up with. Her intent is to get up again and grab her pajamas, it really is. However, as soon as her head hits the pillow and the other is cuddled close, her eyes drift shut. Just for a moment….Of course, when you're tired, a moment can be longer.

Cassidy drifts off to sleep almost instantly, dropping off into a dream of being a beat cop in New Orleans again.

It's a memory that Coren has only ever glimpsed from the various moments it springs to Cassidy's mind. It's not a pleasant memory, and definitely not one he cares to imagine at any point, and is always relieved when his partner's train of thought avoids that particular station. Unfortunately, given recent events, it's no wonder that her thoughts might stray….

The air is thick with the damp air of recent torrential rain. The wind still gusts occasionally as the back end of Katrina makes its way out of the area. The cloying dampness of its aftermath combines with the heat to make merely existing in the city to be nearly unbearable. With the levees broken, water has flooded the entire city, making car patrols impossible. Radio chatter is constant, although it sounds distant and incomprehensible as Cassidy finds herself with her partner, walking the backstreets of New Orleans. Foot patrol is pretty much the only way to try and protect what few shops have not already been damaged by looters.

As Cassidy glances sideways to her partner, Buck, she finds herself immediately startled. It's Harrison she sees, rather than her old New Orleans partner. But what was strange and startling about it she cannot tell, and so she walks on with her partner. The world around them is hazy from the humidity, or is that fog? And where did the sun go? Only moments ago, it was broad daylight, and now it is dark.

Indistinguishable shouts sound from the distance, and Cassidy and Elisabeth Harrison glance forth at a shop that has sprung out seemingly from the Earth itself, its windows shattered. It could well be that the store front is held up merely by the safety bars that mar where the windows once were. Fragments of painted glass crunch underfoot as the two officers head towards the source of the shouting.

Liz says something, but it's like cotton is in her ears. The words make no sense, garbled and inaudible as they are. Then she points, and Cassidy's eyes follow to see a man making his way out of the decrepit electronics store, boxes held in his arms. A Looter.

Cassidy shouts for the man to stop where he is, but words catch in her throat. The world blurs around her, her mind as foggy as the streets, which if at all possible have grown darker. She holds a hand out to the man, index finger outstretched, pointing to him. He drops the box and begins to run. The officers pursue, the street winding like a spiralling maze. They hear the man shouting at them. It's a jumble of words, but they've heard it all before. When his homeboys are through with them, they'll wish they were dead. When they catch him and handcuff him, things go from bad to worse. It's amazing they can keep their footing as the Earth spins around them, until they end up just where they didn't expect to be: in the den of the enemy.


The feelings, the gut instinct that Cassidy finds so precious, that tells her when things are about to go bad, fails her. For a moment, it's as though she's all alone. Darkness surrounds her, swallowing her up. Solitude. The torment lasts only moments as the darkness opens its mouth and spits her back out into Hell. The fog has returned, and she sees Elisabeth Harrison before her, surrounded by gangbangers. Then she feels it, the metal of a gun barrel being forced against the back of her head, like a metallic serpent waiting to slither around her neck to form a noose.

Fear envelops her, gnawing at her insides as she sees four of the men, their faces indistinct. The faceless men restrain Elisabeth and force her to her knees. One man finds the keys to the handcuffs, and free the man that tried to liberate stock from the electronic store. It's then that Cassidy's gut feeling returns with a wrench of her stomach. Murder. There's only one thing that man feels, and it's murderous rage. It's then she sees the gun. The man had a gun? Certainly they hadn't missed it. No, the man got it from one of his cronies. She watches in terror as the gun is levelled in front of Liz, barrel pressed against the other officer's forehead.

No!, Cassidy cries, Take me instead, kill me. It is the same begging she did for Buck's life. He had kids and a wife. Cassidy had nothing, so she pleaded that they let him go and kill her instead. Her pleading is only met with laughter, and she feels nothing as she is shoved to the ground, head meeting sidewalk. The pain she felt back then is only a memory now.

The world swims before her, and she looks up to find Liz kneeling there. She calls Cassidy's name, though it's distorted. Then the gunshot rings out and the world fades to darkness. Only a small light remains, and Cassidy feels as though she were beaten again. Broken. She slowly snakes her way forward, to where she remembered her partner being. That's when she realizes she's swimming through something, something slightly more viscous than water. She reaches for her flashlight. She doesn't remember bringing one, but she finds it nonetheless.

The light casts a red glow on things, for all that is around is red. The flashlight, too, is drenched in it. Blood. She swims to her partner, stopping only when she brushes against the body. She pulls at the limp form that is below the surface, invisible to her eyes. What she finds when the body surfaces makes her silently cry out in terror. The face belongs to Coren.


The world blurs again and she's back in the company of the gangbangers, Coren's limp, dead, and blood-soaked body at their feet as the men descend upon her, intent on doing God knows what.


Cassidy hears her name called, more clearly than ever. She cries out as she receives one kick after another, her body on the ground, already aching. One more kick to her stomach …

She opens her eyes into a dimly lit room, the contents of her stomach evacuating into a conveniently placed waste bucket. Only it's not conveniently placed. She feels something — someone — holding her. A hand brushes the hair from her face and eases her back slowly. Terror grips her as she can feel who it is, and she doesn't dare look up into the face she knows will be there, for fear that she'll see the hole in his forehead, the one that made all that blood. She feels her heart thundering in her chest as she trembles all over, still feeling sick. Her throat burns from the acidity of her stomach contents, which are set aside in the bucket on the floor.

A familiarly accented voice says softly, "Look at me." A gentle hand guides her head towards him, and she sees that he's OK.

There's no hole, no blood. Relief pours into her, and consequently through the link into Coren. Oh, thank God, she thinks before throwing her arms around Coren, tears pouring from her eyes as she sobs, all of the stress from the past two days hitting her in that one moment.

There is another tug as Coren holds Cassidy tightly, lifting her up from the bed. "Come on luv," he says, "There's no way I'm letting you lie alone tonight." It's not too long before she's set down on his king-sized bed, where he'd been lying for some time reading an old textbook on the psychology of serial killers. The book is quickly closed and tucked under the bed after he lays Cassidy down. Again, he brushes the hair from her face, "What do you say I grab you some mouthwash, huh?"

Cassidy lies back, sniffling and trying to stop the flow of tears with a swipe of her sleeves. She gives a tearful and rather embarrassed chuckle. "I'm sorry, Coren." Of course just saying that makes the tears start again. She swallows, her throat still stinging. "Yeah.. mouth wash would be great." She gives another half-choked laugh and covers her face with her hands, before trying to dash away the tears again, silently hating herself for her moment of weakness.

It is several minutes, a toilet flush, and a shower-run later before Coren returns, still decked out in his elegantly plain pinstripe pyjamas, a glass of mouthwash in one hand and a small bowl in the other, a facecloth underneath. God forbid should he just bring Cassidy to the bathroom to spit in the sink. Vomiting around someone is probably one of the most embarassing things that can be done, and his caring for Cassidy is apt to embarass her further, but it's simply what he does. He sits on the floor next to the bed for the moment, offering the glass and the bowl. Once they are taken, he rests his hand along the back of Cassidy's neck for support. He does not consider her weak. That much should be obvious to Cassidy, no matter what she may think. "There's nothing to be sorry for, luv. I shouldn't have let you go to bed on a full stomach, especially that."

She stares at him for a moment as he offers those two items. Then Cassidy's cheeks flare red making the freckles on her cheeks stand out, embarrassing is right. Though the care he gives her, actually seems to warm her heart. She seems almost reluctant to rinse out her mouth with him sitting there, but the taste and the burn is too much.

Once her mouth burns from several rinses she offers the items back, "Thanks." She murmurs, her head dropping on the pillow. Of course when she smells his cologne, her head comes up again and she looks around, her head suddenly very clear. "I'm in your bed." Cassidy states the obvious.

"Yes, it's amazing how the obvious slips past you when you're delirious with fear," Coren states as he dabs the facecloth on Cassidy's lips, "Which also explains your presence in my bed. If you really think I'm going to let you sleep on your own after that nightmare, you've got another thing coming." And he manages to say that without so much as a smirk, and a tone of such affectionate authority. He leaves for a moment into the ensuite bathroom to dump the mouthwash and rinse the glass, bowl, and cloth, which he then leaves in there. Then he returns. "After the days you've had, I think you can use some uninterrupted sleep, and I hear being held by someone who you trust and care about, and who trusts you and cares about you, is almost a surefire way of getting that," he says. There's something in his eyes, but only a flicker of it as he lies down next to Cassidy, pulling her closer to him and holding her. "You need to relax, you know, or you'll never get back to sleep."

Relax he says. It's easy for him to say it, harder for her to do. There can't be too many more partnership taboos left. The both of them lying there like that, shatters so many of those unwritten rules, it makes her head spin. She should not be lying here, yet… there is something comforting about it.

It takes her a few moments, but finally Cassidy allows her head to rest on his shoulder, the sound of his heart a muffled sound to her ears. Realizing that she's holding her breath, she sighs heavily, at the same time her arm moves to drape across his stomach, finally allowing herself to relax against his side. She almost hooks a foot over his, but she stops herself. Finally though once she's as settled as she'll allow herself, she glances up at him, "You realize… I will not hesitate to smother you, if your the type that snores." She's nervous, this is how she deal with it.

"I don't recall either of my wives complaining about me snoring, so I can only assume that I don't," Coren says, resting one of his arms just below Cassidy's neck, providing his upper arm as a pillow. His free hand brushes through her hair after he kisses the top of her head. "Go to sleep. Your day was quite a bit shittier than mine, plus I only sleep a few hours anyway. You need more sleep. I can tell from the dark circles under your eyes you haven't been getting enough sleep anyway. You should be talking to me about that. Let me help you."

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