Title: Overnight Therapy
Spoilers: Season Seven
Summary: Lucas North has someone to confide in and take care of him when the nightmares and bad flashbacks happen.
Disclaimer: All Spooks Characters are the intellectual property of the BBC.
The Inspiration for this story was taken from the song "South City Midnight Lady" by the Doobie Brothers
(Time Line for chapter: Just Prior to Episode 7.04)
After tripping the lock and closing the door, instead of offering his arm to Lori, Lucas reached over and slid his hand into hers giving it a squeeze of encouragement.
It was a companionable silence that accompanied them as they made their way down the stairs side by side. He sensed she needed the quiet to help prepare for what was to come.
Reaching the front door, Lori paused as she took out her mobile phone out to answer, “Yea, Montgomery.”
Lucas went ahead out to the car to give her a bit of privacy. He started the car to warm it up. Seeing Lori exit after fifteen minutes had passed, he got out and went round to open the passenger side’s door for her. It was quite easy to tell by her demeanour that the call had been a source of aggravation. She came round taking the door out of his hand and slammed it closed. It was obvious she was doing her best to stay calm as she leaned up against the closed door folding her arms in front of her. There was a clear edge in her voice as she looked down at the ground and said, “Sorry to have put you to such bother, but I won’t be needing a ride to the airfield this evening. Seems the bureaucrats have decided to put a temporary hold on the mission. Even as we speak, Harry Pearce is having a video conference with my higher ups to discuss the situation and we aren’t invited to the soirée.
Lucas knew how much going to rescue her friend in a timely manner meant to her. He reached out to comfort her by running his hand over her folded arms. Keeping his voice light and trying to help Lori deal with the disappointment of not leaving right away, he said, “It was no bother. Look at this way, the car will be here and ready for your use when they call and say to mobilize.”
Lori grabbed his hand with hers and raised it up to her lips giving the back a light kiss before straightening up and looking up at him with a hint of mischief in her eyes and slight smile on her lips. She said, “Well, looks like I won’t have to cut our evening short after all. So what say, I go get out of this flight suit and we can go about continuing with our original plan of getting the laundry done.”
Lucas cocked his eyebrow at her change in attitude but decided it was best just to go with it. Trying to lighten the mood even further and dropping her hand in order to move to the driver’s side to turn off the car, he said flirting a bit, “I am here to help in any way possible, perhaps I could be assistance in getting you out of that flight suit.”
Lori surprised him by moving swiftly to the side of car he was on. While he bent over and in to turn off the car, she lightly patted his back as she said chuckling, “You are a shameless flirt Mr. North.”
Lucas straightened up closing the door and locking it. Figuring it would be taking advantage of her in her heightened emotional state if he pursued his desire, he changed tactics. Facing her, he gave her one of his lopsided smiles before saying lightly, “Or just an opportunist. You are correct though. I am guilty as charged Ms. Montgomery. But it was worth being exposed as it made you smile. Shall we go see about those Launderette hours?”
Lori nodded her agreement while she slipped her hand in to his saying, “That it did, thank you for that.”
They made their way the short distance down the street to the front of the Launderette. The hours were clearly posted on the door. It was open till 11:00 p.m. That was more than enough time to complete their task. Lucas sighed comically, “Looks as if I won’t get be getting out of doing laundry tonight.”
Lori playfully punched his arm before starting to walk back home and retorting, “Poor Lucas, he’s so put upon being obliged to endure my company while the wash gets done. Sooner we get after it, the sooner you can stop me from harping on the task at hand.”
“Yes, but somehow I will endure. You are persistent or should I say relentless when it comes to getting a task done,” Lucas sassed back as he walked beside her.
“So I’ve been told,” Lori said as she waited for Lucas to unlock the front door. He slipped the keys from his pocket, flipped the lock and opened the door. Lori continued as they went up the stairs, “Here’s the plan – I’ll change and get all the laundry in my place together while you do the same over at yours. I figure it might take me a bit longer so just come back over when you are ready to go. Work for you?”
“Yep, works for me,” Lucas said as he unlocked her door to let her in.
“Excellent, see you in a bit then,” Lori said giving him a one arm hug before relinquishing her hold and going in to her place.
Lucas crossed the hall and let himself in to his. He heard her door shut before he had a chance to look back with a wave. Shaking his head smiling, he made quick work of transferring the clothes from the hamper in to a duffel bag. There was just enough room to add the hangars for dress clothes on top before zipping it closed. The whole time he thought about how Lori must be feeling about the delayed rescue and how well she hid her anxiety over it. He contemplated how best to help her get through the wait. Most likely the best course of action would be to keep her company as long she wished. He dropped his duffel at the top of the stairs before letting himself in to 2B.
He smiled again spying the clothes basket full of his new clothes sitting right by the door. She was efficient, he’d give her that. After placing the clothes basket next to the duffel out in the hall, Lucas went back in to wait. But Lori was already coming down the hall with a small duffel bag of her own over the shoulder. She’d traded her flight suit for black jeans, hooded sweatshirt, trainers, and ball cap. She said wryly, “I figured I’d dress to fit my mood.”
“Fair enough, ready then?” Lucas asked figuring it was best not push and she’d elaborate more when she felt like it.
“Yep, let’s do it,” Lori said heading out the door. She seemed quite subdued and in his opinion it was to be expected. He would have been more concerned had she tried to act carefree and like there was nothing bothering her.
Lucas locked up, put the duffel on top of the clothes basket and followed her down the stairs. She was holding the outside door open wide for him by the time he’d descended saying, “Thanks, I think we ought to drive down to the launderette. It will make it easier instead of toting everything there and back.”
“Alright, I defer to you in the matter,” Lori said distracted. She was looking intently at her Blackberry.
Lucas opened the boot, stowed his load, then took Lori’s duffel off her shoulder and placed it next to the rest before closing it. He opened the passenger side door for Lori and waited for her to take a seat. When she didn’t respond right away by getting in, he asked, “Lori, you ready?”
She looked up at him as if suddenly remembering he was even there. Lori apologized as she slid in to her seat, “Sorry Lucas, they promised to send the coordinates for Eric’s beacon to my Blackberry so I could monitor it. And the SOBs haven’t done it yet.”
“No need to apologize, I understand you being distracted this evening,” Lucas said gently before he closed the door and made his way around to the driver’s seat. It took a minute to drive down to the Launderette. Lori was out of the car and waiting at the boot before Lucas even had time to shut off the car and disconnect his safety belt. It was quite obvious she had an inordinate amount of pent up energy that needed to be expended. He surmised it was most likely due to the adrenaline rush from earlier. He met her at the rear of the car.
Before he had a chance to open the boot and say anything, Lucas’ mobile vibrated in his pocket. He extracted it from its confines and checked the caller id. Opening the boot and flipping the mobile open at the same time, he answered, “Harry.”
Lori nodded her acknowledgement of who was on the phone, extracted the two duffel bags from the boot and headed in to the Launderette. As he listened to Harry’s update, Lucas took out the clothes basket, closed the boot and followed Lori in. She had already begun to sort the clothes in to various washing machines. He sat the basket down next to the duffels before returning outside to finish his call. Lucas asked point blank the question that he had wanted answered ever since Lori had told him the mission had been delayed and she still hadn’t received the coordinates on Eric’s beacon, “Harry, are they really delaying the mission due to the bureaucratic ramifications or is it because it has become a recovery and not a rescue mission?”
“To the best of my knowledge, Lucas, it is still a rescue mission. There was nothing said in the video conference that led me to believe otherwise,” Harry responded.
Lucas let out the breath he’d subconsciously been holding. It was a relief to hear. He wouldn’t have wanted to be the one to tell Lori about his unfounded suspicion being true. Harry finished with, “If there are any further developments, I’ll advise you. I appreciate you being available for Ms. Smith. Mark Donovan, my counterpart in the United States said to extend his thanks, he appreciates you keeping an eye on his valuable Naval Aviator and helping her out. He has a vested in her because of being her former C.O.”
“My privilege, Harry, thank you for the update,” Lucas replied for disconnecting. It pleased him to know that someone across the pond was thinking about Lori’s welfare. Having been told by Harry that Eric was on the Russian side of the Baltic left him filled with trepidation. He wondered if Lori knew that bit of Intel being that her people hadn’t sent the coordinates for the beacon. A myriad of horrific memories regarding his time in Russia flashed through his mind as he went back inside. It was a relief to see Lori busy with her Blackberry. She was perched with her legs crossed Indian style on top of one of the washers towards the back. It gave him a moment to school his features in to a calm and relaxed look as he made his way over to her.
It wasn’t surprising to find Lori had gotten all the wash started while he’d been outside. He took his coat off and saddled up to the washer next to her and leaned against it crossing his arms and legs. Lucas watched out of the corner of his eye as her fingers flew over the keyboard. She said not looking up, “And how was Mr. Pearce’s visit with SecNav?”
“Informative, and what have you been up to while I was getting an update from Harry?” Lucas said in an attempt to dissuade her from probing for details and take the conversation in a different direction.
Lori looked sideways at him before answering him in her cheeky tone with her mischievous grin, “Oh you know the usual for a Saturday evening, sorting and doing laundry, checking the sports scores, working on my latest scheme for world domination.”
“And how’s all that working out for you?” Lucas teased back with a grin of his own. He adored the way she could put a smile on his face by her dry sense of humour and whimsical remarks.
Lori looked up at him answering, `“All things considered, not bad, not bad at all. So, let me guess, you aren’t at liberty discuss the update, right?”
“What makes you think that?” Lucas asked hoping by turning the question back to her he’d be able to find out just how much she actually knew.
Laying the Blackberry off to the side, Lori tugged Lucas over by his arm so he was leaning on the washer she was currently using as a chair. She unfolded her legs putting them on either side of him, put her hands on his shoulders and began massaging them before answering softly in his ear, “Well, let’s see. You didn’t immediately fill me in when you came back in. You are good at schooling your features, but that relaxed air you are attempting to convey doesn’t reach your eyes. And, if I’m not mistaken, most of the anxiety you are trying to hide at the moment comes from the fact you have been told the true location of Eric. How am I doing so far?”
“Insightful as always,” Lucas sighed resting his arms on her thighs and relaxing in to her touch. It was too much trouble to continue speaking after that. Her hands were strong and gentle all at the same time kneading the tense muscles in his shoulders. It was a mere matter of minutes before he felt his shoulders totally relaxed. He bowed his head to his chest as she ran her fingers firmly up and down the back of his neck numerous times before moving on to massage the base of his skull.
Slowing down to a stop, Lori gave the back of his head a small pat before removing her hands and announcing, “I’m not done with you yet, however, it’s time to switch the loads of wash to the dryers.”
Lucas groaned. The last thing he wanted to do at this moment was move. Lori chuckled behind him as she patted his sides saying, “Sooner you move, the sooner we can resume.”
As he straightened up and moved to the first washer, Lucas teased, “You really are proving to be a hard task master. But I will acquiesce to your wishes Madam on the condition you do finish what you started.”
“I had no doubt you’d see it my way,” Lori said getting off the washer she’d been sitting on opening it up.
Lucas’ washer contained the new sheets and pillow cases. He moved the contents to one of the dryers with ease. Moving on to the next one, he opened it to find all the towels. The third one held the jeans, trousers and Lori’s flight suit. He held it up asking “Does this go in the dryer?”
Lori looked up from her washer saying, “Yep, good to go. Thanks for asking.”
He looked over to see what the washer she was working on contained and immediately looked away his cheeks starting to flush. Her hands were full of her intimate apparel. He imagined what she would look like clad in one of the matching sets and a pair of stilettos with thigh-high stockings topped with lace. Visuals racing through his mind were ones he deemed inappropriate for the Launderette so he shook his head clearing it as he concentrated on moving his washer contents in to a dryer.
Lori was busy stuffing her handful in to a plastic bag that already held other wet items. She explained, “These clothes need to be air dried.”
“That’s quite a bag full, what all does it contain?” Lucas asked walking over to Lori.
“Certain sweaters which I believe you call jumpers that need to be dried flat and the articles of clothing made of silk and lace,” Lori answered as she pulled the drawstrings on the plastic bag.
“We’ll make an Honorary Brit of you yet with the way you are catching on to our way of describing various things,” Lucas teased.
“Hmmm, maybe I should work on converting you in to an Honorary American instead,” Lori shot back with a bit of a smirk. She put the bag on the floor then proceeded to extract coins out of her pockets, fed them in to the driers and started them up.
Leaning back against a washer again, Lucas said, “An exchange of culture sounds like an excellent idea. I would be more than a willing participant.”
“As would I, well good now that we’ve established a willingness to exchange cultures, I promised you earlier I would finish what I started once the clothes were in the driers by giving you the rest of your back massage. So if you are ready,” Lori said as she hopped up on the washer next to him, flexed her fingers, and pulled Lucas over positioning him in between her legs.
As she gently kneaded his spine from top to bottom, Lucas said with a contented sigh, “mmmmm, you have a great hands. Not that I complaining mind you or want you to stop any time soon, but wasn’t I the one who was to have given you a massage, instead of the other way around?”
“Oh don’t worry, I fully intend on letting you reciprocate in the future but for now, this is helping to keep busy in order to save me from going out of mind with worry about Eric,” Lori answered as she began to lightly scratch all over his back.
“Happy to be able to help out keeping you busy,” Lucas said lightly as he slightly bent forward enjoying the sensation her scratching was causing. Then as an afterthought he asked, “Have you received the coordinates for Eric’s beacon yet?”
“Not yet, but I’m sure it won’t be much longer till I do,” Lori said her voice having a forced nonchalant air. She switched back from scratching to massaging. Her concentration was first on his hips and the base of his spine then steadily progressed upward.
Lucas leaned back in to her touch enjoying all the sensations it caused. It felt heavenly when her fingers made their way back up his neck, through his hair and settled on making the softest of circles around his temples. It made him relax even more.
Out of the blue, Lori asked very quietly, “Stephen had five onion dome shapes with crosses at the top of each one on his back, how many do you have?”
Once again, she’d managed to take him off guard. But this time, he didn’t feel so defensive about giving her an answer. He knew what she was really asking by that question. It was a relief to be able to speak openly about the meaning of his tattoos to someone who would truly understand. Lucas said just as quietly, “Eight.”
“You’ve just gotten back right?” Lori asked with a gentle voice.
“Three weeks ago, well actually it will be four on Monday” Lucas answered beginning to tense up a bit. Then he took a deep fortifying breath, he ventured to ask, “Does it show?”
Lori stopped massaging his temples, laid her cheek on his shoulder, wrapped her arms around his middle and gave him a hug before explaining, “It does not. You’ll have to forgive my rude question. While I was massaging your back, I was taking a trip down memory lane how I would take the time to trace Stephen’s tattoos while I gave him a massage. He told me the ones on the back were a status symbol for the passage of time and having survived.”
“I concur with what he told you. And it wasn’t a rude question. One thing, I’ve learned this week is when you ask a question, it is because you care and are truly interested in the answer," Lucas said. He was pleased his voice wasn’t wavering as he spoke and absently rubbed the top of the arms that were wrapped around his middle.
Lori raised her head saying, “Thanks for that. It’s true. I do ask because I care. But if you don’t want to talk about it, I totally understand. We could pick a different topic to talk about. Just know, if you ever need an ear on any subject, I’m here.”
“I know, and I appreciate it,” Lucas said as he turned around in her arms to face her. He put his arms around her shoulders and gave Lori a big hug. He was about to continue their conversation when the driers stopped running.
Lori gave him a big hug in return then said, “Looks like the driers are done. We should check to see if the clothes are dry."
Lucas gave her a quick peck on the cheek before nodding his agreement. He said with a definitive tone, “I'd very much like to continue this conversation later on."
"I look forward to it," Lori said as she hopped off the washer and checked the various driers.
Only the driers with the jeans and towels weren't completely dry, so Lori started them up again before joining Lucas folding and hanging up the rest of the clothes. She couldn't help sassing as she folded up his boxers, “Well at least I now know for sure what’s under those jeans of yours.”
Lucas sassed back, “If I’d been aware you wanted to know, I’d have shown you long before now.”
Lori’s laugh rang out all over the empty Launderette. It was a sweet sound to Lucas’ ears.
- Current Location:Home
- Current Mood: blah
- Current Music:"Laundry Day" by Dr. Horrible from Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog