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Overnight Therapy - Chapter Eight

 

Title: Overnight Therapy

Author: LSM71059
Fandom: Spooks
Characters: Lucas
Rating: PG-13
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: Episode 7.03)

 

Chapter Eight

The sound of water running in the background woke Lori up.

She looked over to the Blackberry to see Lucas’ empty bed. She got out of bed and headed for her own shower. It was fast and efficient. There were many miles to travel and much to do today.   Her wet hair was pulled back into a low bun at the nape of her neck. Lori dressed in an old dark blue “Go Navy!” sweatshirt, a pair of jeans with the knees tore out, a pair of white crew socks and her running shoes. She finished off the ensemble with a dark gray insulated hoodie wrapped around her waist. 

Grabbing the Blackberry, stuffing it in her back pocket, Lori ambled out of the bedroom and in to the office. It was time to pack up what she would need for the day. She pulled her Snoopy messenger bag out of the storage cabinet along with a new black Moleskine writing journal. She took the files Donovan had sent earlier in the week out of the bottom drawer of the file cabinet stuffing them into the bag along with her laptop. To finish off, she transferred her wallet and a few other necessities from her purse to the various pockets inside the messenger bag then slung it over her shoulder. She thought as she adjusted the strap, “Good, it’s not too heavy to be hauling around all day.”

Lori was coming down the hall when Lucas slipped the note under her door. She saw the flash of white paper and hurried over to pick it up. She flipped it open and turned it upside down to read his latest message. She took a moment to find a pen in her bag. She wrote the first things that came to mind:

 

L,

You are very welcome. Your company was a great pleasure. My offer stands to be an ear anytime you’d like to talk. In the meantime, be sure to eat the leftovers.

L

 

She read over her response. Satisfied with it, she pulled her Blackberry out of her pocket, flipped it out of surveillance mode and over to regular phone mode. Scrolling through the address book, she stopped at Baron, Eric and dialed.

He answered all perky on the first ring, “Good Morning Sunshine.”

“Perky people in the morning really should be shot at dawn,” Lori replied drolly.

“Code for I haven’t had my morning caffeine and it’s not 10:00 a.m. yet,” Eric said.

“You know me all too well. Send the car to the Southwest corner of the street. There is a Sandwich Shoppe. I’ll be waiting around the corner,” Lori instructed.

“Already there, get a move on Girl! Eric reported back to her.

“Girl?! You are feeling perky this morning aren’t you? I’ll be down in 5,” Lori said as she finished going around the apartment closing doors and setting miniscule pieces of paper. If anyone came in to search her place, it was the best way to find out. 

Lori hung up then turned the Blackberry back to surveillance to double check Lucas had left his place. It was empty. She stuffed the Blackberry in to her bag and pulled out a clear very thin piece of thread from her bag, stretched it across the front door jam about a half inch from the floor, gingerly stepped over it then closed the door locking it. Sometimes even in this day and age of technology, the old tried and true methods of detection were the best to use.

In the hall, she sat down the messenger bag long enough to untie her thermal hoodie from her waist and slip it on. As she crossed the hall to deliver the note, she reached in the pockets for the hand knitted mitts to slide on. Having slid the note under Lucas’ door, she crossed back to the bag picking it up again, descended the stairs and was out the door. Lori walked briskly head down to the corner. Rounding it, she ran smack into what felt like a brick wall but was only Eric. He had been lounging against the wall.

She had started to murmur an apology when she saw the boots and the legs of a familiar flight suit tucked in to them. Looking up, she changed the apology to one of her sarcastic remarks, “Oh I do apologize Sir, but is this the only way you have of running in to women?”

Eric Baron was 6’4” with blonde hair and blue eyes. His baby face did wonders for hiding his true age. He was eight months older than Lori. Had a body that could make the Michelangelo’s Statue of David green with envy. His flight suit looked like it had painted on him it fit so well. And the bomber jacket he wore over it was the same. But all Lori saw was one of her best friends. He answered her just as sarcastically, “Why yes, it’s been my life long dream to stand on a corner in London and accost the first woman I see dressed like a street urchin by standing perfectly still. Ever think of looking up instead of down at the ground when you walk?”

“What a novel concept, I’ll have to give it a try sometime, “ Lori said reaching out to tickle him just below his left rib cage. It was the only part on his body that was ticklish. She used it to her advantage when the occasion called for it. 

Eric backed away before she could make contact, holding out a white bakery bag and a large Coke, “Now don’t start. If you behave, I’ll give you these.”

Lori stopped and reached out for the food and drink. Eric held it up in the air just out of reach. She didn’t dignify his antics by jumping for them. She stood there with her hands on hips giving him what everyone who knew her referred to as “The Eye”. 

Eric gave her his infuriating angelic grin, “As much as I enjoy getting “The Eye” from you, we have a hop to take. Ready to go?”

Lori kept up the pretense of being irritated with him, which wasn’t too far off the mark considering he was keeping her morning caffeine at bay. She jabbed Eric in the chest as she responded, “If you are here, who’s doing the preflight check?”

“Pigpen, now let’s get going, shall we?” Eric asked as he walked over to the car opening the door. As Lori passed him, he allowed her to take the Coke and the bag. She plopped down in the passenger seat sipping her Coke. Eric rounded the car sliding into the driver’s seat. Eric looked sideways at Lori. He was hoping her humor would greatly improve after she had ate her bagel with cream cheese and downed her Coke. He spoke,” Commander, we will be stopping by my place before proceeding to the Air Field so you can change.”

“Very good Major,” Lori answered while taking out her Blackberry. Eric maneuvered through the morning traffic. Lori ate her bagel and drank her Coke while going through e-mails and text messages.

Lori looked up from her Blackberry to see them pulling up to Eric’s townhouse. She followed him up the walk. He unlocked the door and opened it letting her in. She walked up the stairs and turned in to the guest bedroom. Her flight suit freshly laundered was lying out on the bed along with her gray World War I Flying Ace T-shirt and socks. Her combat boots were polished and setting at the end of the bed. Eric must have seen to it they had been cleaned after she left them there the other night.   It didn’t surprise her that he’d do that for her. He was always taking care of her like that. It was his way. She plopped down the messenger bag and changed quickly out of street wear in to the military gear. 

Pulling open the drawer on the bedside table, Lori retrieved her dog tags putting them around her neck, then the military ID clipping it to the front flap of the flight suit. Her bomber jacket was hanging in the closet with her scarf and soft cover draped over it. She grabbed them winding the scarf around her neck, putting on her soft cover and shrugging in to the jacket.

With a quick look in the mirror, she judged her appearance to be passable. She slung the messenger bag over the shoulder and headed back down the stairs. She stopped in the kitchen to refill her Coke. Opening the refrigerator, she gave a disgusted sneer at all the health food and drinks. Eric was a health nut. But, much against his better judgment, he kept all her favorite junk food and Coke in stock for her. She grabbed a Coke refilling her cup then opened the freezer to retrieve a couple of Ho-Ho’s. As she unwrapped them, Eric came in from the backyard. He shook his head. “You put more crap in to that body….”

She cut him off, “Now don’t you start, are we ready?”

They made the short drive over to the air field, stopping just long enough to show their credentials at the Guard Shack. They drove over to the tarmac where the Sopwith Camel was parked. Hearing the doors to the car close, Pigpen, aka Sergeant Major Peter Pechler the best damn aeronautic mechanic on either side of the pond, turned around and snapped to attention saluting the two officers. Although Lori did outrank both men even though she was retired from active duty, she hated it when her friends saluted her. She saluted back before coming up to give Pigpen a hug. “So how’s the Sopwith Camel holding up?” She asked.

Patting the wing, Pigpen replied, “The dog house will hold together for you Snoopy. I hear you are letting The Red Baron here take it for a spin.” He gestured his thumb towards Eric. “Rookie here called me in on my day off. Almost took off his head before he let me know it was for you.”

“Thanks Pigpen for coming in, and let Shannon know dinner and the U2 tickets are on me,” Lori said giving him a kiss on the cheek.

“We going to stand around all day trading pleasantries or we going to take a hop?” Eric asked   Now that the preflight checklist was complete, he was anxious to get in the air.

“Talk about women being impatient,,” Lori whispered loudly to Pigpen, He grinned and nodded his head. He helped her on with her parachute then handed her the helmet which had been freshly polished. Snoopy in his World War I Flying Ace outfit caught the reflection of the sun as she put it on. Eric’s helmet had a replica of the Red Baron’s bi-plane with him sitting in the cockpit, his scarf blowing out in to the wind. They climbed in the cockpit taking their positions and strapping in. Pigpen followed up the ladder handing Lori her messenger bag and checking their safety straps. He shook Eric’s hand and patted Lori on the arm before descending back down to the ground. She stowed her bag under the seat.

Pigpen guided them out to the beginning of the runway before giving a crisp salute and returning to the front of the hangar. Lori and Eric saluted him while Eric radioed the tower requesting clearance. While they waited, Lori keyed her inter-plane radio to ask if they could buzz the tower just to say hello. Eric said there was no time but if she was a good girl maybe on the way home. They were cleared for takeoff. Eric put it in gear steadily gaining speed as they proceeded down the runway. The lift off was so smooth unless you looked out to see the ground melting away, you wouldn’t know you were off the ground.

Waiting till they had cleared British airspace, Eric went supersonic. The trip would take less than half the time of a normal commercial carrier. They wouldn’t need to reduce speed till they met up with the flying gas can 200 nautical miles outside the Eastern seaboard. Lori was content to sit back and let Eric do the driving. It gave her time to start her journal on Lucas and catch it up to date. She logged everything from their first meeting down to the contents of the last note he had passed to her earlier this morning.

The midflight fuelling went off like clockwork. Eric finished his communications with the flying gas can and they were soon back to winging their way to their destination. Surprised Lori had been so quiet, he waited till they had cleared US air space to talk to her. Keying his mike, he said, “Anything we need to discuss before landing?”

Lori keyed her mike and replied in her deathly calm voice, “Nothing, let’s just get there and get it done.”

Eric involuntarily shivered. He’d only heard her use that voice on two other occasions. Either she was steeling herself to handle something extremely hard-hitting to her personally or someone had really angered her. It took a lot to rile her up to the point of being just plain mad but once you did, God help you. No matter, he never ever wanted that level of her calm directed at him.

They landed at the Air National Guard Base a little after 9:00 a.m. EST. As they taxied up to the air hangar, Lori wasn’t surprised to see Donovan standing there waiting on them. He looked very out of place standing there in his Brooks Brothers suit dressed to the nines as always. Eric and she unhooked their harnesses and took off their helmets before departing the cockpit. Eric went first so she could hand down her bag to him. He saluted Donovan as he hit the ground.

Handing down her bag first, Lori followed Eric down. She turned towards Donovan and cocked an eyebrow. She knew if he was standing there, he’d figured out what she had wanted to retrieve. And  he wasn’t going to let her do it without him. 

Knowing Lori’s need to be in control of situations, Donovan held out the keys to the sedan they would be using for the day. He said looking between Eric and Lori, “Who’s driving?”

Eric stood with his hands in pockets waiting for Lori to respond to the question. She chewed her lower lip as she considered the question. After a moment, without saying a word she took the keys from Donovan then headed for the sedan. The men followed her giving each other looks of concern. Lori was too quiet and too calm for their liking.      

She tossed her bag into the backseat before sliding behind the wheel. Donovan took the backseat and Eric the passenger side. Lori turned on the radio to the Oldies station then pulled out turning right. It would be a short drive to Covington Gardens. Fifteen minutes later, she pulled up in front of the Montgomery family mausoleum.  Donovan handed her up the messenger bag as she in turn handed him the keys to the car. 

She briefly closed her eyes composing herself before opening the door and getting out to make her way up the walk and in to the mausoleum. Donovan retrieved a cordless drill from the trunk before Eric and he followed her in stopping just inside to give her space.

She was standing at the back with her finger tracing the carving on the marble of the middle vault. It had a rendition of the Montgomery family crest consisting of three black lions on a dark green shield and read:

 

Stephen McAran Montgomery

November 12, 1954 – May 1, 2001

 

Lori spoke so low Donovan and Eric had to strain to hear her. She said, “Stephen always used to say life was just ‘living the dash’. Guess he was right, huh?” 

Having allowed herself what she considered to be a moment of self indulgent melancholy Lori turned to look at Donovan and Eric. “You going to stand there all day or you going to help me get this front off?” she asked tapping the vault under Stephen’s. They quickly moved forward. Donovan used the cordless drill to remove the four corner screws. Eric and he removed the piece of marble setting it off to the side. They pulled out an airtight waterproof foot locker setting it on the floor.

“Thanks, I can take it from here,” Lori said. The men nodded and walked back out to the car. She pulled out the Blackberry typing in a code, the digital lock on the box popped open. She opened the lid peering in at the contents. It contained among other things, her real birth certificate, marriage license, engagement & wedding rings, and all of her handwritten black case journals she had amassed while helping her dozen guys find their way back to a some semblance of a normal life. Off to one side was a plain box tied with black and green ribbons. There was an envelope slid under the ribbons that had turned yellow from age.

She pulled out the box setting it on her lap as she kneeled beside the storage locker. Took a deep breath for strength, pulled out the envelope and opened it. She pulled out the letter inside and read:

 

L,

Thank you for turning to me for help. I knew you would when needed. So many times, too numerous to count, I was the one turning to you. As you read my account of my time in Russia keep in mind that

a)      I’m right there giving you the strength to endure.

b)      Although I never forgot, you were the reason I was able to move on

c)      If this can lend a hand in you facilitating another’s recovery, then my taking the time to write it all down was worth it.

d)      It was very therapeutic. Thank you for insisting I see it through.

e)      Indulge me. Keep reading the whole account even though you’ll want to stop.

- S

 

Lori pulled the ribbons off the box, lifted the lid and pulled out a thick green leather bound journal. She flipped it open to the first page and read the inscription:

 

My Dearest Loveliest Lori,

Thank you for being there when I needed you most. And for letting me chase you till you allowed me to catch you.

My love is with you always,

Stephen

 

She spent the next couple of hours reading what Stephen described in vivid detail the horrendous torture he had been put through in the first month. After that, the next five years were spent with Arkardy Kachimov as his only company. He worked on Stephen in his subtle ways. Lori was convinced Arkardy was the grand master of the mind games. If Lucas had endured what Stephen had and his nightmares were half of what Stephen’s had been, Lori had her work cut out for her.

Finished reading right down to the last entry, she placed Stephen’s note inside the front cover, returned the journal to its box, replaced the lid, slid the ribbons back on and placed it back in the foot locker, closed the locker and locked it back up. She went to the entryway and waved Donovan and Eric back in. Lori leaned her head against the cool marble wall as they replaced the footlocker then the marble front. 

She was still absorbing what she had read. She reflected how two years ago on the day she had retired, Donovan, Eric and Lori had entered this place to put her case journals in for what she had thought to be her very last assignment and thought to herself then, “I’ll never have the need to open the box with the green and black ribbons,” well, never say never, because here she was working on lucky number thirteen.

Eric picked up her messenger bag, slinging it over his shoulder. Donovan, drill in hand, came over to Lori placing his hand on her shoulder. They weren’t used to seeing her look so lost, vulnerable and raw. She was the rock, the steady force. 

Donovan finally asked, “Need a moment or are you ready to go?”

She placed her hand over his giving it a pat while she straightened up from the wall. The moment of vulnerability had passed and Lori’s façade was back in place. She said, “I’m ready. So which one of you two are buying lunch? I’m starved.”

Donovan shook his head and Eric smiled as they walked back out to the car. Lori drove them over to her all time favorite Italian restaurant to eat before heading back to the air field. She took the red and blue files out of the bag to hand to Donovan. Lori said, “Thanks for the loan of the files.”

“Sure, anytime,” Donovan replied taking them from her.

She handed Eric her bag to put in the plane before turning back to Donovan. Putting her arms around his neck and giving him a kiss on the cheek, she whispered in his ear, “Thanks for showing up today, I needed you to be there.”

He hugged her around her waist and whispered back, “You knew I’d come. I’ll always be there when you need me kid just like you were for me in my darkest hours.”

“I know,” she said then backed away moving towards the plane. Going back in to her defense mechanism of being flippant, Lori said giving Donovan her mischievous grin, “Well, got to fly, work to do, things to accomplish, people to piss off. “

“And you excel in all of them,” Donovan retorted smiling back at her. “Get in touch if you need anything.”

“You know I will,” Lori said as she strapped on her parachute and helmet.

Eric cocked an eyebrow at her as he put on his chute and helmet. He was wondering who would be taking the controls flying back to England. Lori answered the question by climbing in to the rear the seat and strapping in. As they taxied away from the hangar, Eric and Lori gave Donovan a smart salute. He returned the salute and stood rooted to his spot till the plane was no longer visible to the naked eye. He thought to himself as he walked over to the HQ building to arrange for his own flight back to Andrews AFB, “Lori is such an enigma. She is soft and hard, cold and hot, open and closed off, funny and sad all in the same the breath. I’m sure glad she’s on my side and not the opposition’s.”

The flight back was a silent one except for Eric’s occasional communications with the flying gas can and the control tower. Lori was lost in thought contemplating Stephen’s writings and how it would help Lucas. As they pulled up to the hangar, Pigpen was waiting for them to take over the care of the Sopwith Camel. As they walked over to the car, Eric asked, “Want to stay over tonight?”

“No, thanks anyway, would you mind just driving me back in to town?” Lori responded.

“Sure, whatever you want,” Eric said opening her car door.

She put her bag on the floor then took her seat. Eric entered the driver’s side and looked over at her. He wanted so badly to take her in his arms to share his strength with her but knew she wouldn’t tolerate it. Instead, he put the car in gear and drove her back to where they had met up that morning.

Before she exited the car, Lori leaned over and gave Eric a kiss on the cheek and a pat on the arm. She said, “You are the best Eric, thanks for being there today.”

He leaned over to kiss her cheek, he answered, “Anytime Snoopy. I have a couple of hops to take this week but will back the beginning of next, lunch?”

“IM me and we will arrange it,” Lori said as she got of the car. Before shutting the door she ducked back in and gave him a tickle. Then ducked back out and closed the door. She gave him a wave before heading around the corner and out of view.

Lori swiftly and silently made her way up to her place. She checked the string at the door which hadn’t been tripped before opening the door, did the cursory walk thru checking for any signs of entry, and finally used the Blackberry to make sure there was no surveillance equipment operating. Satisfied everything was at should be, she checked in on Lucas to find him fitfully sleeping in a chair. She thought, “Glad I decided to come back tonight. Looks Lucas is in for a rough one.”

She got out of the flight suit and combat boots, stowing in them in the back of the closet. She pulled on a pair of jeans, a Snoopy hoodie to match her t-shirt and socks and slipped into a pair of leather Keds. Grabbing the Blackberry, Lori went to the living room taking out her Grandma’s quilt. She wrapped it around her body then headed out to sit on the stoop of the building. The night air had always done wonders for clearing her head and helping to put things in perspective. An hour passed before she noticed Lucas on the feeds. He was awake and putting his shoes on then grabbing his coat. On the off chance he was headed in her direction, Lori flipped the Blackberry out of surveillance mode and turned it to vibrate before stuffing it in to her pocket.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
herby_chick
Feb. 17th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
"Thank you for being there when I needed you most. And for letting me chase you till you allowed me to catch you."

How lovely!

The girl has some contacts though! Supersonic flights almost at the drop of a hat? Sheesh!

Lovely chapter; lots of detail without being overwhelming, and a really good insight, not just into Lori, but into those closest to her.

A thoroughly enjoyable read!
lsm71059
Feb. 17th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)
As stated in Chapter Six that Woman has more assets at her disposal than the Director's entire current team combined.

Thank you for the compliments.
leslieg
Feb. 18th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Amazing journey! And she's dealt with the fallout from Kachimov's machinations before too!
lsm71059
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
Thank you. Yes it was quite the journey. That's why it took so long for me to post it. I had a few detours before the end result.
oraetlabora2008
Feb. 18th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
Thanks for another intriguing chapter. I can't get enough of this story--it's so good.
lsm71059
Feb. 18th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)
You are quite welcome and thank you for your kind words.
mrs_tubbs
Feb. 18th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
More interesting developments. Interesting to see how Lori's prior knowledge of Lucas' experiencea will help her to help him through. So enjoying this. :)
lsm71059
Feb. 18th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
Happy to know you are enjoying it and find it interesting.
lynbryt
Feb. 19th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Thank you for another chapter.

I want to make sure Ihave this correctly.

This was not the first time Lori had read the letter or journals? I took it that Stephen was her husband and one of her boys or is he the reason she started doing this type of work?

Again thanks.
lsm71059
Feb. 19th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
You are welcome.

This was the first time, Lori had read the letter and the journal. Lori had encouraged Stephen as therapy to write his journal then to do with it what he like. After he had penned it, Stephen put it in a box and wrote her the letter. Gave it to Lori and told her she would know when the time was right to read it.

Stephen had been one of her boys, #3 I believe. That's why she resisted him for so long and he had to chase and convince her to marry him. He was relentless in his pursuit.

Hope that clarifies things for you.
lynbryt
Feb. 19th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you,
I guess I just didn' read close enough.

Looking forward to more.
lsm71059
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
No worries! Enjoy the read.
karen747
Feb. 19th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
This is just SO great! On so many levels. (And must have taken forever to write!) Such great details about EVERYTHING and insights into Lori AND her associates, and the deep bond and feelings they have for her and that they want to give of themselves for her. Was Donovan also one of her guys? Or just someone she'd really helped at one point? It was a great, quiet little throwaway line, but made me wonder... Your work is so detailed and gives so much, and I so love it, that I am now reading things through twice, knowing that I may pick up even more. Cannot wait to see where this is going and for her next chat with Lucas. THANKS!
lsm71059
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your kudos. I'm glad you are enjoying the story. All be revealed about Donovan in an upcoming chapter,keep reading to find out.
betty_eyes
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
Lori doesn't know what "I'm boring" means, does she? And sure she even got friends in hell. Men are not ready for a woman like she is... Or maybe there's one with too much trouble already to notice it.
She's a brave girl and I kind of like Eric. can't wait to the minute Lucas decide to open himself to her... It's gonna be so...

Thanks for another thrilling chapter. I enjoy it very much.

xxxx

Laura
lsm71059
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
Just out of curiousity what is about Eric you kind of like?

Thanks for the observations and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
karen747
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
May I weigh in? I liked Eric for his solidness; for his being there for his friend. He may wish it to be more, but seems to really respect her boundaries and not presume. And I loved the crack about coming to Britain to accost a woman while standing still. A Great line and made me LOL. She may outrank him, but clearly its his love and respect for her that keeps him by her side. A thoroughly good guy, who also comes across as a solid little brother. Just my take...
lsm71059
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
You may weigh in anytime you like. I appreciate knowing what someone elses take was on Eric.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )