Running Out of Time


des2_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Running Out of Time
Synopsis Things are moving more quickly than expected.
Date March 17, 2018

Raytech Industries Corporate Housing: Desdemona's Apartment

Des has been laying in her bed for over an hour, staring at the ceiling and trying to sort out the things she saw in her dream.

Can she even call them dreams, really? They're memories, aren't they? Or are they moments happening right now, this very moment, in some other timeline? She doesn't know anymore.

Finally, she reaches over to her nightstand and takes her phone in her hands, sending off a message to one of the only people she knows she can trust with this information.

Desdemona: I had another vision.
Message Sent: March 17 2:07 AM
Desdemona: Can you come over when you have the time?
Message Sent: March 17 2:09 AM

She tries not to presume he's awake, or that he'll interrupt his evening to run to her side. All the same, she slides out of bed and pulls on a pair of black shorts with yellow piping and a matching yellow tank top. A short robe is pulled over that, pale yellow flowers patterned almost haphazardly over soft white fabric. She may as well be prepared to receive if she's going to invite.

Bare feet are soundless on the carpet of her bedroom floor and the hardwood of her living area as she makes her way to the kitchen to fix herself a gin and tonic. She makes up a second one and leaves it to sit on the counter. If no one joins her, then she'll drink it herself. For now, she sits on the sofa with her knees drawn up to her chest, sipping at her drink and listening to the ice clink together while she stares off into space and waits for a response, or a knock on the door.

Fortunately for the sleepless scientist, Richard is still mostly a nocturnal creature. There comes a hoped-for knock some fifteen minutes later, knuckles rapping against the door of the apartment.

Just outside waits Richard, a pair of sweatpants and a loose t-shirt pulled on after he clambered out of bed, glancing down to his phone and the message before up to the door with a tired but expectant expression on his face.

She doesn't leave him waiting more than a few seconds. Des does take the time to check that it is who she expects outside before she unlatches both bolts and the chain, then opens the door to allow him entry. "I hope I—" The words die in her throat and instead, she just ushers him in with a wave of her hand and points to the drink sitting on the counter for him.

"I'm sorry."

"No, you didn't wake me," Richard dismisses as he steps into the apartment, one hand pushing back through his hair. He stops just inside the room to take it in, and then he meanders on black-socked feet in the direction of the offered beverage. "I was awake. So what's this about, you had a vision…?"

There's a visible relief in being told that her texts didn't wake him. Des is clearly concerned about being a bother. As he makes his way inside, she locks up after him, each solid thunk of a bolt locking into place makes her feel that much safer. Even if she ultimately believes safety is an illusion when it comes to the people she's trying to stay safe from.

"Not the Virus this time," she says quietly, moving back to the couch and her own drink. She sits down heavily, a sigh punctuating the movement. She takes a drink of her gin before she speaks again. "Did you know Roger Goodman?"

"Goodman?" Richard's brows both leap up as he claims the drink, turning back to face her, "Mnm. In a manner of speaking." A sip of the drink's taken, and he lowers it, peering at the glass afterwards as if trying to figure out what it is.

"He tried to kill me once. Darren's power caught up to him in the middle of it."

There's a sharp inhale of breath, and an uneasy look as her guest explains how he knows her old associate. Perhaps understandably, Des doesn't like reminders of the consequences of Darren Stevens' ability. Even if it is now her own.

While she was always wary of Goodman, Des never hated him. In fact, she appreciated his approach and his methods a great deal. She always did feel the safest with former Company while she was with The Institute. They nearly all hated their new masters as much as she did.

That thought brings a wry smile to her lips as she continues. "He was there. I was in some VIP booth overlooking a concert venue. The Deveaux Building was in the background. It was… There was lots of green. Arthur's timeline? Robyn Quinn and Else Kjelstrom were performing." If that's significant, she doesn't know. But the latter was prophetic, so her presence can't be dismissed.

A faint smile touches Richard's lips at those words. "At least in some world they were able to perform together," he murmurs, tilting his head in a slight nod, "If it's one of the major timelines we know of… that does sound like it. Most of the others are too fucked up for a concert to even happen."

He motions with the glass, "Go on."

Des nods slowly, closing her eyes and replaying the details in her mind. "Shattered Skies, I guess the place was called? We were waiting for something to happen. For someone to try something." Nostrils flare with a huff of frustration. The lack of context in these visions of hers make things difficult.

Something occurs to her, then. "It… must have been November 8. He said it was the anniversary of the day that changed the world." Ice clinks in her glass as she swirls it around in her hand, thoughtful. "I don't know who we were looking for, but there was supposed to be a group of them. Whatever we were waiting for, I said I would know that they were… doing whatever it was. So, maybe something to do with manipulation of time?" Des shrugs a little helplessly and takes a long drink from her glass. She's visibly upset when her face is no longer obscured as she rests the lowball against her knee again.

"That was her band," says Richard quietly, "Else Kjelstrom and the Shattered Skies. I saw them play once, at the Rock Cellar."

He steps slowly over to the couch, then, easing himself down to sit beside her. One hand rests on his thigh, head turned in her direction. "Okay. So what happened next, then?"

Maybe she should have known that? Des was more interested in the prophecy than the music. She's always been more for the classics anyway. "Whoever we were looking for, I wanted information from them." She turns her head to look at her friend, confusion written into her face. Her dreams are straight forward, but not easily understood. "I think an entire facility disappeared? Maybe like Moab?"

She can't imagine calling Moab a facility - it's not biting enough - so she assumes that isn't what her other self would have been referring to. "I was concerned about what happened to the people at this place." Which is another reason why she can't imagine it was Moab. While some of the other prisoners are people she would have called friends now, they certainly weren't then. And she knows from her previous vision that the other version of her was still terrified of Eric Doyle.

"He… He said to me, We'll find your mother." The last word is strained as Des' throat constricts around the syllables and tears well up in her eyes. "What is happening to me?"


Richard looks at her for a long moment, and then his gaze drops down to the liquor in his glass. He brings it up to his lips, taking a swallow of the gin and tonic and leaning back on the couch, head falling back to consider the ceiling for a period of silence.

Then he asks, quietly, "What do you know about your mother, Des? I mean, your biological mother."

"Not much." Des tips back her glass and downs the rest of its contents in one smooth motion, ignoring the ice cubes that fall against her upper lip. She rises from the couch then moving to the open kitchen so she can make herself another drink.

"Her name was Rianna Price. She and her husband, Colin, lived in Odessa, Texas. On April 8, 1984, Samson Gray attacked the home." She focuses on the task and hand as she recounts the details of her parents' murder like it all happened to someone else. Gin is poured into her glass, more generous than the last round. Like it's facts in a book she read somewhere. Ice cubes dropped in.

Like she wasn't there when it happened.

Tonic splashed in over the top.

Like she didn't see her father's head bashed in, his life oozing out over the carpet. Spattered on the walls.

"Colin was telekinetic." So, dear old dad is to thank for Gray having that particular weapon in his arsenal. "As far as anybody knows, Rianna was human. I… held her hand while she—" Now, Des gets choked up. Her gaze goes distant and she just shuts down. Crumpling against the kitchen island with her face in her trembling hands.

Facts, names, dates. Data points that Richard can gather and use, combine with others that he'd already learned. He listens in silence as she recites them, as she tells him the impossibilities that he understands all too well. A sip of the gin and tonic, a nod here and there. Then she cuts off, and he opens his eyes, looking over to her. A grimace, and he pushes himself up from the couch - setting the highball glass on a table before moving to the kitchen, to her side.

One hand slides up her back to her shoulder, moving that arm around her, and he says softly, "It's okay. It's okay… it was Crum, wasn't it? Him and Samuel. They sent you back."

Des nods numbly. "They sent Ellie and I back to save her. But- But we didn't. Someone was there to stop us. To tell us that it was how it had to be. He was like me. Or… like Hiro, I guess. I couldn't use my power on him. He delayed me long enough that I couldn't get to her in time."

She turns and fits herself against his chest, letting his embrace anchor her to the here and now. She needs that more and more these days. "They were under Company surveillance. Rianna made it to the hospital and gave birth to her daughter. To- To me."

Her fingers curl against his sides, balling up the fabric of his shirt in her fists. "Then she died of her injuries, and they took me." There are tears, but she's long gotten over her need to sob about it. It's been almost ten years. It makes her sad, it makes her angry, but she doesn't feel the need to scream at her fate or luck anymore.

"I'd say and the rest is history, but who the fuck even knows what happened to me anymore? I thought I was raised at the Primatech facility from then on. Now? I don't know."

She turns to him, and Richard wraps both arms around her back, cradling her in against his chest. He draws in a slow breath, and then exhales it, murmuring against her hair, "I wish I had answers, but I'm afraid that I'm only going to give you more questions to wonder around, Des." There's a silence then, as he considers how to phrase what he needs to say, or perhaps gives her time to brace herself for even more questions.

"Have you met Mister Bellamy? He works in janitorial, but I'll be honest, that's not really why I have him around," he asks softly.

In that space that he allows her to process or prepare, there's only the sound of her quiet breathing, and ice shifting as it slowly melts in their glasses. When he breaks that silence, she lifts her head and stares up at him with confusion. Tears hang heavy on her dark lashes as she blinks, but don't fall to her cheeks just yet.

"Once. He was a little strange around Sera." Another blink and those tears finally shed, rolling down her cheekbones and down toward her chin. She ignores them. "Why?"

One hand lifts from her shoulder, lifting to brush against her cheek tenderly as he looks down to her, sweeping one of the tears from her cheek. Hazel eyes watch hers for a moment, and then he says quietly, "Luther was who Hiro sent to that same day, that same moment in time. I think— I believe he's the one who got Rianna Price to the hospital. Managed to get past Samson somehow — there must have been a fire, or something for him to draw on to convert — and pull her out of there."

He swallows once, hard, and then says quietly, "And he says that Sera looks almost identical to Rianna Price."

Confusion settles in immediately, then incredulity. "No, she doesn't. I would know if the receptionist looked exactly like my mother." Des slowly disengages herself from that embrace, wiping away the remnants of her tears. "I can prove it. Wait here."

She goes running from the room in her bare feet back toward her bedroom. He can hear the closet doors open and that she's digging through something. When she runs back into the room, her robe has come untied and hangs open, the sash trailing along behind her in her haste.

Des throws a Company file down on the counter in front of him. "This is me," she says, gesturing to the folder. It's been taped at the fold with clear packing tape to reinforce it as it was starting to come apart at the ends. The whole thing has seen better days, but the contents are in good condition. "This is my entire life. Reduced to one file."

The cover is pulled back to reveal the paper innards. The information is heavily redacted, perhaps unsurprisingly, but it includes names and photographs of her parents - when they were alive, nothing from the crime scene likely owing to the fire - and pictures of the house they lived in on the quiet cul-de-sac in Odessa. She pulls out the photo of the woman identified as Rianna Price. "Look. That is definitely not Sera Lang."

Except that she absolutely is.

The robe falling open is mildly distracting, to say the least, but Richard's being good about focusing right now. It's not like she's naked beneath it anyway. He reaches out, fingers brushing the edge of the photograph for a moment as he looks at it… and then his gaze lifts from the photograph to Des's face. Then back down to the photograph once again.

"Des…" A slow question, "That definitely looks like Sera… maybe five, ten years older? Same blonde hair, same bone structure of the face…"

"No it doesn't." Des stares at Richard like he's suddenly sprouted a second head. She looks from him to the photograph, back, and back again. "She doesn't look anything like her to me." Now, instead of confused, she looks scared. "I don't know what's real anymore. I don't know who I am." She reaches for her drink with shaky hands, trying to drown the fear welling up inside of her. "Sera and I have the exact same birthday."

"What does it look like to you…?" Richard's hand slides up to her shoulder, fingertips pressing down in a reassuring squeeze, "Easy, Des. Easy. We already know you've been fucked with. If…" His gaze flickers back to the photograph, "If you had the same birthdate— I mean, maybe a fraternal twin?"

A thoughtful sound in the back of his throat, "I'd call her in for a routine check-up, or a physical, or screening for something. Make up an excuse. Get a genetic sample to run against your own and check for relationship."

"My whole life, Richard, all I ever wanted was a family. I used to dream that my mother and father would come for me someday. That one day someone would come to my office and say they'd been found, and we would be reunited." Des knocks back the entirety of her drink, setting the glass aside with a thunk! and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

"If I have a sister and they kept her from me…" Des sighs heavily, reaching up to rest one of her hands over his on her shoulder, rubbing her thumb over his knuckles gently. "I know that somehow it doesn't… matter? That I am who I am, and no amount of truth from my past will change that." She shakes her head and looks up at him again. "But I am so angry…"

"You think I don't understand that, Des…?" Richard's brows raise ever so slightly as he looks back to her as her hand drops over his own, hazel eyes bright as he tells her with a hint of anger in his own voice - not at her, but at others, "I grew up in an orphanage. I didn't find out for most of my life that I was supposed to've been taken care of by Edward. That he had three kids of his own, two of whom he'd abandoned as well. And now…" His free hand lifts, and then falls to slap against the counter, "And now I'm not even sure if any of that is true, or hell, even if my supposed biological parents are my biological parents. So I understand, Des. And we'll figure this out. I promise."

"I wasn't trying to—" Des falls quiet and listens to what he has to say, sympathetic to his pain the way he is to hers. She nods along and reaches up with her free hand to rest her palm against the side of his neck, fingers, cool from her glass, curling around the back. "But you did find them." And now she's finding her family. Maybe. It's all horribly confusing. "I know one thing in this whole damn mess that's real."

Ray's chin dips in a slight nod. "I did," he says, "Even if they aren't— aren't really, as far as we're concerned we're a family. And you've found Mateo again, and…" His gaze drops to the file, to the photograph that they both see differently, "…whoever Sera is. Or might be. We'll get this knot untangled, I promise you."

"I know." Des smiles shakily and nods her head slowly. They may never solve the mystery that is Who is Odessa Knutson?, but she knows that it won't be for lack of effort. "I'm… I'm glad you're here, Richard. I'm glad you found me and… insisted."

"I mean, you fought pretty hard," Richard admits, a smile tugging up at the corner of his lips as he looks to her, "I was starting to think that you wanted to be coerced into coming aboard. I'm glad you eventually decided to sign on, even if it was just so you could figure out the catch.

"What can I say?" Des muses with a shrug of one shoulder. "I like to be tied down." Slowly, her mouth tugs upward at one corner into a smirk, her eyes sparkling and daring him to say something in return.

At that, Richard blinks— and then a laugh tumbles forth and he shakes his head, reaching over to slide the papers of her file closer. "You're terrible, Des," he murmurs, "Absolutely… terrible. Never change. Alright. Who else might have more complete files…? I can check with Ryans, see if he has anything. Broome would, but he didn't show up for our meet. If you're right and that is his writing, he's sending me clues about my past for some reason."

She chuckles quietly. "Nobody's ever asked me not to change before." Des looks over to the open file briefly, then steps away slowly to fix herself another drink so she can pretend not be paying attention when he leafs through to the information about her instead of her family.

The psych profile that explains how she started out as a sweet kid, but how all that changed when her ability manifested. How she lost her compassion swiftly, except when it came to children. How they manipulated her by making her compete with Elle Bishop for praise and privilege that she would never be granted. How they thought her love for the Fournier twins might be a catalyst for rebellion in her.

"They never figured out my attachment to Monroe," Des muses, pleased with herself. At least she managed to pull one over on her captors, even if she would have been better off if they'd managed to quash her fascination with the immortal man. Or if they did notice it, it's in one of the large blacked out sections. But what would they have gained by allowing her to be taken in by his stories? "I believed them when they told me the world was dangerous. So, I believed him when he told me it was sick."

Now on her third cocktail, she holds the glass up against her lower lip while she considers the question at hand. "Jean Martin — ah, Doctor Luis — always said the Institute had more complete files on me. And Simon Broome always treated me like he knew me, even though I'd never met him before. I doubt if Ryans will have anything, but it's worth a shot. I got this from Martin Crowley." She smiles sadly at the memory. "He seemed upset about what they'd kept from me. I can't imagine anyone with higher clearance than him. I don't know if more complete Company records still exist anywhere."

Finally, she stops mumbling around the rim of her glass and takes a long drink, setting it aside. "We need to find Simon Broome."

"I don't know if he's leading us to him through breadcrumbs, or if he's leading us to something else… or if it's even him at all," Richard again adds, leaning back from the file and turning towards her, hip against the counter and both arms folding across his chest. His brow furrows a little, "He sent me a series of— pictures of my parents. My biological parents. Only— "

He frowns, "One of them could be dated, thanks to a movie premiere in the background. A week before my birthday's supposed to be. She didn't look pregnant at all. Another one, she was wearing a University of Kansas sweater, so… I figured I should go see if they have any records of her. Kansas was left pretty untouched by the war."

Lips press into a thin line. "You shouldn't go alone," she says firmly, gaze serious and unwavering. "Not just because it could be a trap, or dangerous. But… You need support. We both do." Des understands keenly the kind of turmoil he must be feeling, questioning his origins.

She doesn't give him room to argue that it shouldn't be her that accompanies him. He'll either take her, or he won't. Tonight isn't when she wants to debate it with him. "There's one more thing Goodman said to me."

Richard glances up to her - and then he nods slightly. "I want to bring Alia as well," he admits, "In case we have trouble getting into their records, a cyberpath should be able to get anything on their servers. I'm hoping that I can just wave some fame and money at them and they'll spill, though."

Corporate life hath its privlidges.

Then he pauses, "What else did he say?"

Once again, her glass is picked up. This time, it's cradled in her hands against her sternum. Condensation gathers on the underside, beads up and eventually slides down her skin. She doesn't seem to notice. Or maybe the chill grounds her. "He said, we'll go over there to get her back." Her lips purse as she looks up at the man across from her. She takes a drink and then settles her glass back against her chest. "I think he may have been talking about crossing timelines."

"Well." Richard glances to his own glass, then back to her, "Fuck."

A deep breath's drawn in, and he straightens up from the edge of the counter, "We're running out of time, it seems like, and we don't have enough information to work off of. I guess it's time to get this machine back into gear and hope we haven't built up too much rust over the last few years…"

Des smirks wryly. "I told you I thought I killed Hiro Nakamura? I think I took his power, too." Like she did Darren's. "And every time I have one of these visions?" She lifts one hand and snaps her fingers. A green lights in her eyes for the barest moment, a spark of the same color fluttering from her fingertips and into the air before it fizzles out. "That happens." She drains the last of her glass before adding, "Without me making it happen."

There's a moment of tension that she can recognize in Richard as he sees that flicker of green in her eyes, passing swiftly when it isn't followed by something grotesque occuring to her. The first time he saw that light in someone's eyes was just before Goodman's head exploded inches from his own from a bullet that had been fired a long time previous. "It must be what's connecting you," he says thoughtfully, "The thing bridging you to your other… selves."

"Somehow," Des agrees. "Otherwise I should have been seeing visions like this long ago." That glass is set aside for the last time this evening in favor of reaching out to loop her arms loosely around his shoulders. Her eyes are glassy as that last drink catches up to her, movements languid. "Will you stay with me?" she asks in a soft voice, lips pulled into a small pout, expression vulnerable. "I don't want to be alone."

Richard brings a hand up to rest on one of her arms as it drapes over his shoulder, and he looks down to her with a faint smile. "Of course," he says softly, "God knows you've been through a lot lately. We can put on a movie or something, if you want." A tilt of his head back to the couch, "Something less dire, y'know?"

"Come to bed with me." Des steps back two steps, then reaches out for his hands, swinging them back and forth once, twice, before trying to tug him along. "I don't want to sleep alone." She smiles slowly, sort of drunk and sort of sleepy.

Richard's fingers are caught by hers, and he's drawn with her two steps as she moves back. "Des…" A faint chuckle, then, "Alright, alright." It's a terrible idea, and he knows it. "For sleep though," he adds firmly.

"F'course," Des slurs slightly. "I wouldn't take advantage of you. I'm a lady." By literally no accounts except for this one right now. She tugs him along, stepping backward carefully until backs into her closed bedroom door with a thump!. She gasps first with surprise, and then drops her grip on Richard's hands so she can cover her face as she giggles. "Oops!" One hand moves to the handle so she can turn it and she goes stumbling backward when the door gives, tumbling back toward the floor.

At the declaration that she's a lady, Richard's eyebrows go up in a frankly dubious. She bumps into that door and giggles, and he laughs, his head shaking. "Des," he asks, glancing back to the kitchen counter and then her, "How many of those did you ha— whoa— " She's fallen! He steps in instinctively to offer her a hand up, "Careful!"

Des seems uninjured. Fortunately the carpet on her bedroom floor is a lot softer to fall on than the hardwood of her living area would have been. She just sits there and laughs for a moment, counting on her fingers. "A few," she pronounces after being uncertain of her count twice over.

His hand is taken so she can lever herself to her feet. She wraps her arms around his shoulders again for the stability, letting the world catch up with her for a moment. Blue eyes narrow faintly, suddenly she's serious again. "You're the only thing in all of this mess that's true," she states plainly. Everything else could turn out to be someone else's memories, but whatever this bond is that they're forming over their shared confusion…

"M'gonna go wash my face. Make y'rself at home." Des steps back and sweeps her arm out to indicate the queen sized bed with its rumpled yellow sheets and more pillows than any one person needs. But considering how she likely spent the war, she probably loves having something so soft to sleep on.

"I'll make sure to remind you what you need to get done in the morning, then, after the hangover's faded," Richard exhales with a chuckle, clasping her hand and helping her up off the floor — hands lifting to her sides to steady her as she wraps her arms around him, murmuring, "Easy…" Once she's steady, he steps back as well, and then he's stepping over towards the bed, a smile tugging up at the corner of his lips at all the sheets and pillows.

"Is this a bed," he calls back after her teasingly, "Or a nest?"

"Nightingale~" Des sing-songs in reply to his question as she disappears into the master bathroom. So, obviously it's a nest. The door shuts behind her and he can hear her humming softly, tunelessly - this nightingale does not sing - and the water running quietly.

After a couple of minutes, she emerges sans robe. She makes a quick check of the nightstand to ensure her glasses are still where she left them when she went to bed the first time, then climbs into her nest. "It's so soft," she sighs happily as she sinks into the mattress. "It's the best ever. S'like a fucking cloud."

Oh, of course it's a nest. Whyever did he think it would be otherwise?

Richard drops down to sit on the side of the mattress, feeling it sink beneath him as he swings his legs up and onto it. "I don't know if I could sleep on so much soft," he admits, twisting a bit to shift some pillows behind him, "Spent too long sleeping on cots, floors, that sort of thing.

"And that's exactly why I love this thing." Her voice gets softer, a little more serious as she moves toward the middle of the bed, where she usually sleeps, encroaching on his side slightly. "It's the exact opposite of all those memories."

Once he's settled in, slightly sitting up, he reaches over as she scoots closer; fingers brushing a bit of hair from her face as he admits quietly, "Makes a lot of sense. I think I just got used to it, is all. Hard to go back from some things once they become a habit, you know…?"

"Yeah. I know what you mean." She smiles sympathetically and crawls closer, since he's brushing the hair from her face so sweetly. In one smooth movement, she swings her leg over his body, so she has a knee on either side of his waist, settling onto his lap with the covers falling from her shoulders like a discarded cape. She reaches out and rests her hand on the side of his face gently, thumb brushing over his cheek affectionately. "You're so handsome."

"Hey now— " Just a bit too late to stop her as she swings her leg over him and settles down there, and he's looking up at her from that disadvantageous position. A quiet chuckle, and he brings a hand up to cover hers on his cheek, brushing against her fingers lightly. "Behave, Des," he murmurs softly, "I said to sleep, that's all."

"I'm behaving," Des insists very innocently. As if she's not sitting in his lap and giving him half-lidded bedroom eyes. "I just want a good night kiss," she coos sweetly, leaning a little closer, but not closing that distance without invitation. Somehow that's the bridge too far.

Richard's fingers brush free of her arm, falling down to rest upon her hip in a light clasp as she asks oh-so-innocently for that kiss. "Desdemona," he replies, a crooked smile to his lips as he meets her gaze, brows raising slightly, "You know damn well that's not all you're trying to get right now."

He's stared at for a long moment, her eyes blinking heavily twice before she huffs quietly. "I said I wouldn't take advantage of you, didn't I? If you decide to take advantage of me, well… That would be okay." Des leans forward slowly, one hand braced on the headboard. Her eyes shut slowly as she comes close enough for her lips to nearly brush over his…

And then her braced arm bends and her head falls against the pillows and his shoulder. No cry of alarm or pouting whine. Just the soft sound of her deep breathing.

A breath's drawn in as she starts to lean down, the hand at her hip sliding further back, fingertips splaying over the small of her back. "Des…" A softer murmuring of her name, and then… she collapses into sleep. There's a long moment's pause, and Richard exhales a chuckle, shifting slowly to get her laid down on the bed beside him comfortably. "Definitely too many gin and tonics, he murmurs, reaching over to draw the blankets over her.

She looks peaceful, finally, and doesn't stir until morning.

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