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Overnight Therapy - Chapter Nine


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: Between Episodes 7.03 & 7.04)

 

Chapter Nine

The nightmare had been so vivid when Lucas woke from it he sat up straight looking around wildly

expecting to see Arkardy Katchimov and Harry Pearce in one corner of the room quietly scheming against him, Elizabeta in the other with her back turned away from him while the Russian woman with the cigarette stood next to him asking over and over again about Sugar Horse as the two Russian men stood by the sink holding the wet cloth and water pitcher in preparation to start the water boarding torture.

He realized after a moment he was in his flat in London and not back in that hell hole he’d lived, no strike that, survived in for eight long years. Lucas did his best to calm himself and steady his breathing but had an overwhelming need to get out of his place. The walls seemed to be closing in on him. He slipped on his shoes before standing up for his coat, keys and cell phone. He was out the door before taking the time to don his coat and put the keys and phone in a pocket. 

He was in such a hurry running down the stairs and out the front door, Lucas almost tripped over Lori sitting huddled in her quilt on the stoop. He put his hands out to steady himself and they landed on her shoulders. She looked up in to his startled eyes. Using a gentle voice as if to calm a skittish horse, Lori said, “Lucas, are you alright? I didn’t mean to give you a fright.”

“Yes, fine, you surprised me is all,” Lucas said shakily as he straightened himself up removing his hands from her shoulders, putting them in his back pockets as he stepped down the stoop turning around to face Lori. Speaking more sharply than he meant to, he said in an accusing tone looking down at her, “What are you doing out here at this hour?”

Continuing to speak gently, Lori replied, “Taking the night air. Sorry I was in your way, I beg your pardon.”

Lucas grimaced a bit. He realized if she was apologizing, he must have sounded angry. Speaking in a calmer voice, he said, “You weren’t in my way. It’s the first time I’ve run across a person out here at this time of night, so I wasn’t looking. I should be the one begging your pardon.”

Lori smiled up at him, unwrapped a hand from inside the quilt and patted the space beside her. She said, “In a hurry to get some place, or do you have a moment to sit?”
 

Lucas gave her his half smile and joined her on the stoop. He sat a bit hunched over with his forearms resting on legs, his hands dangling in between his legs. He looked over at her before speaking again, “I didn’t mean to sound sharp with you…”

She cut him off with a wave of her hand before he could finish, Lori reached over and patted his knee as she spoke, “Don’t worry about, no offense taken. I should have turned around and said something when I heard the door open but I was zoned out and didn’t register someone was coming out till it was too late,” then returned her hand and arm to inside the quilt.

“Been out here long?” Lucas asked.

“Depends, what time is it?” Lori replied.

Lucas looked at his watch, “It’s 2:15.”

“Then the answer would be yes. I came out about an hour ago. Guess I lost track of time,” Lori said. “You looked like you were a man on a mission. Do you need to be going?”

“I was going no where in particular, just stretching my legs.” On an impulse Lucas asked, “Since you’ve been sitting for an hour fancy a stroll with me?”

“I’d be delighted!” Lori answered brightly.

Lucas stood and offered her a hand. She shrugged back the quilt taking the offered hand. As he pulled her up the knees and ankles all made creaking sounds. Lucas’ eyebrow went up as he asked, “Are you alright?”

“I’m good, just a little stiff, getting old is all. It happens when I am in one position without moving for too long,” Lori responded. With just a t-shirt and hoodie on, she began to shiver a bit. “Being all wrapped up, I hadn’t realized how chilly it was. Let me run upstairs to get a coat and drop off my quilt.”

Lucas offered, “I can run up for you, if you like.”

“That’s kind of you, but I’d like to make a quick pit stop too before we take our stroll. You are welcome to come up with me and wait,” Lori answered as she picked up her quilt draping it over her arm.

“Thanks but you go ahead. I’ll wait down here,” Lucas said opening the door for her.

“Why thank you kind Sir, Lori said with a smile as she passed him.

Lucas followed her in to wait in the foyer. He leaned against the wall just inside the door with his legs crossed at the ankles to wait.

As she went up the stairs, she called back to him, “Back in a flash.”

Lucas had noted her Snoopy attire and thought to himself, “And the whimsy continues, she is consistent I will give her that. It’s oddly refreshing, I do like it.”

Upstairs, Lori quickly folded the quilt and tossed it on the sofa before making her pit stop. She grabbed a brown quilted lined leather jacket with a small Snoopy dressed in his WWI Flying Ace outfit embroidered over the left breast and the same only in a larger scale on the back with the words WWI Flying Ace under Snoopy. She pulled out a matching scarf and mitts out of the pocket to put on before heading back down to Lucas.

He straightened moving to wait by the bottom of the stairs as she descended. When Lori reached the bottom step, he smiled and offered her his arm. She returned the smile and took it. He opened the door with his free hand and let her go first.

“Which way?” Lori asked. Lucas inclined his head to the right and they set off. He let her set the pace. Both mentally took note at the same time that her legs being just a couple inches shorter than his made it so their stride was about the same width.  It was quite refreshing not to have to modify their walk to accommodate the other. They walked in companionable silence until reaching a small park.

“Oooh, look they have swings,” Lori squealed delightedly pointing towards a swing set holding a row of six swings. “Do you mind if we stop for a bit?”

“Have at it,” Lucas said shaking his head slightly. It astounded him that a grown woman could be so childlike and take so much enjoyment in such a small thing as a swing set.

Lori released her hold on his arm then ran over taking a seat. He stood off to the side his arms folded over his chest with a smile watching her swing back and forth going higher and higher. After a few minutes, Lori quit pumping her legs and let the swing slow to a sway. She was a bit out of breath and her cheeks were rosy. Lucas walked over taking the next swing matching the sway of hers.

“Thank you for indulging me,” Lori said once her breathing had returned to normal. Her goal had been to astonish Lucas by doing something spontaneous that would hopefully make him forget his troubles even if it was just for a moment and to locate the Lucas surveillance detail which she made out to be 200 meters to the west just behind a clump of trees. Earlier Lori had made them camped out by the same corner where Eric had picked her up. She had thought then as she did now, “Rookies, Harry Pearce must have the “B” team out tonight. I’m surprised Lucas hasn’t noticed, but perhaps he has and doesn’t want to say anything about it. He did have us walk in the opposite direction of them.”  

“It was my pleasure,” Lucas said giving her that half smile which was so endearing then stared out in to the night in front of them. He thought as he watched the surveillance detail standing off in the distance, “I’ll start to trust Harry & Ros when they trust me enough to quit having me followed.”

Lori watched him out of the corner of her eye. It was time to get him out of his head and mess with the surveillance team. Lori lightly swatted him on the arm, inclined her head towards the trees they were hiding behind and said, “Race you to that clump of trees over there.”

She was out of the swing like a shot, Lucas right behind her. He passed her within five strides and waited for her on this side of the trees. The surveillance team caught off guard by them had no where to go. So they were forced to stand stock still behind the trees. 

Lori ran up to a smirking Lucas leaning against a tree hands in his coat pockets. She said holding her side and putting up an index finger breathing hard, “Give me a minute to catch my breath. We old people don’t recover quite as fast as you young whippersnappers.”

Lucas smiled down at her giving her a moment then spoke, “So what next?” Shall we continue our stroll or return to the swings?”

She wanted so badly to out the surveillance team but thought better of it when she realized it could put Lucas in a compromising position. Lori was confident he knew exactly who they were and where they were. So instead, she took his arm saying, “I’ve worked up a bit of an appetite. Can I interest you in a late night meal?”

“I don’t think there is much open this time of night,” Lucas said.

“Lori’s Diner is always open 24/7,” Lori answered.

He smiled at her reply, going along with her he said, “That diner makes great Chili and corn muffins.”

“Shall we go see what the special is tonight? Even though the food is edible, I hear the cook is very temperamental and old curmudgeon. ” Lori joked.

“We shall,” Lucas said leading her away from the park.  After he was sure they were out of earshot, Lucas ventured to say “Several times tonight you’ve referred to yourself as being old. I find it hard to believe you are,” Lucas said

Even though she knew the answer Lori asked, “I bet I am much older than you.  How old are you?”

“37,” He replied.

“Yep, I was right I am. I have twelve years on you. In July, I’ll be a half century old.”

Lucas gave her an appreciating look stating, “I’d have never guessed. If I may say, you have aged quite handsomely.”

“Thank you,” she said looking down at her shoes as they walked. She was glad it was dark out so Lucas would not see the blush forming in her cheeks. For all her confidence in other matters, Lori had never been able to take a personal compliment about her looks or appearance.

Lucas didn’t miss the change in her demeanor. He thought, “For someone as confident as she appears to be, Lori is really quite shy about receiving compliments, interesting.” He wanted her to relax and go back to bantering with him so he changed the subject, “Since you are so ancient, is there anything I can do to assist the elderly?”

She gave him a playful elbow and flashed a grin before responding, “Careful Sonny Boy, I can still turn you over my knee if necessary,”

He put his hands up in mock surrender as he said, “I believe you could. Just please don’t be too harsh with me.”

It struck her funny picturing in her mind a struggle to take him over her knee then playfully swatting him on the backside. She started laughing and couldn’t seem to stop. Lori tried to sober up with little success. She attributed it to the late hour and lack of sleep the past few days. Finally getting herself back under control, Lori said, “Did you ever just have one of those mental images that are so far fetched it just tickles you so much you can’t stop laughing? That’s what just happened to me. I’m better now. Really, I’m not insane. Well, at least it hasn’t been legally certified I am to date.”

Lucas couldn’t help chuckling. She was very entertaining to say the least. He asked, “Do I want to know what that image was?”

“Um, probably not,” Lori said.

It was a quick walk back to their building. Lucas dug his keys out as they walked up. He opened the front door letting them in. Lori headed up the stairs first with Lucas following right behind. As she let them in to her place, she said, “Take off your coat, and make yourself at home. I’ll go see what the diner’s special is tonight.”

She slipped out of her bomber jacket, scarf and mitts throwing them on the first available chair before heading for the kitchen. Lucas followed suit. He lounged against the door jam watching her. Not realizing he was standing right there, Lori called out as she washed her hands at the sink, “Can I get you a drink?”

“That would be lovely,” Lucas said quietly causing her to jump.

“Don’t do that! Sneaking up on your elders isn’t nice. You scared the bejesus out of me. I thought you were in the living room,” Lori said clutching her chest.

“Sorry, I thought you saw me standing here,” Lucas said with a grin on his face.

Lori shook her head as she walked over to give him a swat on his arm as she dried her hands. She pointed to the libation on the counter asking, “Same as last night, or do you prefer something else?”

“Depends, what’s the diner’s special tonight?” Lucas responded.  

“Creamy Tomato Soup with your choice of a grilled cheese or toasted bologna sandwich,” Lori informed him.

“Sounds tasty, I will have whichever sandwich choice you do. In the meantime, let me play bartender this evening,” Lucas said washing and drying his own hands before reaching for the drink glasses above the sink. “What’s your pleasure, Lori?”

Lori tried so hard to hide a grin as she took out the food to cook but just had to answer him with a quick quip, “Oh Lucas, you really shouldn’t ask me such open ended questions like that.”

Lucas looked bewildered for a moment before it dawned on him how his question could be taken in different ways, some that would be suggestive. He clarified, “I meant to drink.”

Lori was in too playful a mood. She knew she was just being down right silly, but couldn’t seem to help herself. She said, “Of course you did, so now you are trying to get me drunk, huh?” She waved her arm saying, “Don’t mind me, Lucas; I knew what you meant the first time. I just have the 3:00 a.m. sillies. Fix yourself a drink and I’ll have the soup and sandwiches ready in no time.

“You aren’t having one?” Lucas asked smiling. He was thoroughly enjoying her company and her silly mood.

“You really think I should in my present state?” She asked with mock seriousness as she made the cheese toasties and the soup heated on the back burner.

“I do, I definitely do,” Lucas said as he took ice out of the freezer to put in her glass. “Now at the risk of repeating myself, what’s your pleasure?”

She took a can of pineapple orange juice out of the fridge to hand to him saying, “I’ll have a Malibu Rum & Pineapple Orange Juice, thanks.”

As he mixed her drink, she pulled out soup bowls and plates. She slid the sandwiches on to the plates and ladled up the soup. Lucas took it upon himself to take out the placemats, napkins and soup spoons to set the table. Lori liked that he was comfortable enough to do it without being asked. She came out with the tray holding the food, drinks and glasses of water, setting it in the middle of the table as he finished. They took the same chairs as the night before.

Lucas took his glass from the tray holding it up to salute Lori, “To my new neighbor who was kind of enough to share her evening with me and invite me to the exclusive Lori’s Diner. Cheers.”

Lori smiled raising her glass and clinking his responding with, “To my new neighbor who was kind of enough to endure an evening of my silliness and has an open ended invite to Lori’s Diner anytime. Cheers.”

For the second time that night, the companionable silence fell between them as they ate. Lucas finished first getting up to get himself a drink refill, he asked, “Can I get you anything from the kitchen?”

“Thanks no, I’m good,” she answered as she finished her own food.

He took his glass and dishes with him. Depositing his dishes in the sink and refilling his drink glass. He thought to himself, “I’m going to have to get Lori a replacement bottle of Vodka.”

Lori took her last couple of bites before following Lucas in to the kitchen. She asked, “Get enough to eat?”

“I did, thank you” Lucas said turning around to lounge against the counter.

“Good, wouldn’t want you to go away hungry,” Lori said as she squirted dish soap and filled the sink with water. “I’ve probably monopolized enough of your time tonight, but if you aren’t in a hurry maybe we could watch a DVD or catch the rest of a late hockey game. I can leave these dishes for later” She suggested sensing that Lucas didn’t really want to go back to his place.

Lucas was a bit relieved Lori wasn’t ready to have him leave. The thought of going back to his place wasn’t appealing. He had thought if she was calling it a night, he would go to The Grid and do some paperwork.  “It’s your call, I’m up for either.” He answered.

Lori opened the bottom cabinet that held the DVD collection Donovan had provided and gestured for Lucas to look. She asked, “So what are you in the mood for, Comedy, Animation, Drama, Musical, Action/Adventure, Thriller? Take your choice,”

“That’s quite the collection,” Lucas said bending down to look at the titles. As he browsed, Lori went ahead and did up the few dishes leaving them to air dry. Just as she finished, Lucas straightened holding up his selection. She couldn’t have been more surprised

“Hope you don’t mind a classic,” Lucas said.

“Not at all,” Lori answered. Of all the titles in the cabinet he had managed to pick out her favorite movie of all time.

He drained his drink putting his glass in the sink before heading to make a pit stop before the movie started. Lori stuck a bag of Kettle Corn in the microwave to pop while she went to the living room to put in the DVD. The microwave dinged as she returned to the kitchen. She was pouring the contents of the bag in to a bowl as Lucas came back in to the kitchen to see what she was up to. She asked, “What would you like to drink with the popcorn? Well it’s really kettle corn.”

“What is Kettle Corn?” Lucas asked.

“Kettle Corn is popcorn that is both sweet and salty.” Lori clarified.

“Sounds tasty, I’ll have whatever you are drinking,” Lucas said.

“Works for me,” Lori said pulling two bottles of Root Beer out of the fridge. “Ready?”

Lucas nodded in the affirmative grabbing the bowl and a couple of napkins as he followed her out to the living room.

“Make yourself comfy, Lucas,” Lori said as she kicked off her shoes. She set one bottle on the left end table and the other on the right. She sat down at one end of the sofa patting the empty cushion for Lucas to join her. He set the bowl of Kettle Corn down beside his Root Beer while he kicked off his own shoes sitting next to her on the couch.

She stretched out her legs putting her feet up on the coffee table. Lucas followed her lead and did the same. Lori covered both of them with the quilt she’d been using earlier in the evening. Lucas put the bowl of Kettle Corn in between them on top of the quilt. When they were settled in, she asked “All set?”

“All set,” he said.

She pressed play on the remote. For the next two plus hours, they ate Kettle Corn, drank Root Beer and watched Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “The Sting”. As the credits rolled, Lori looked over at Lucas to ask him how he had managed to pick her favorite but he seemed to be asleep. She was more than happy to wait for an answer to her question.

She quietly got up slipping out from under the quilt taking the bowl and empty bottles to the kitchen before returning to the living room. She pulled the pillows and another blanket from the window seat. Lori gently put a pillow behind his head and pulled the quilt up around Lucas’ shoulders. She turned to leave when he reached out to take her hand. He said quietly, “Stay, please.”


 

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
lynbryt
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
Thought I'd check before I went to bed and see if there was a new chapter. Lucky me there was.

This chapter gave me such a feeling of comfort for Lucas. The exchanges and imagery were just wonderful.
Lori is very good at what she does. Waiting on the stoop for Lucas knowing he was going to have a bad night.

But I think Lucas is just too good to take Lori at face value. I wonder how Lucas did know that The Sting was her favorite movie.

Really looking forward to more.

This was just a brilliant chapter. Thank you.
lsm71059
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the compliment.

It's only been three days. Lucas works covertly and methodically. He has been gathering bits and pieces of intel on Lori. Remember, he's been a bit busy at MI-5 to pull any data on her.
herby_chick
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
Another chapter! Woohoo!!!

It's hard to remember that it's only been three days. You've written such a clever story it seems that they've known each other for much longer.. Really enjoying this!
lsm71059
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for the compliment and it's nice to able to add someone's enjoyment.
betty_eyes
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Lucky me! Another chapter and this is a relax one. Both sharing a stroll, some dinner and movies. Looks like the perfect plan and Lucas didn't want to leave. That's good, isn't it?
Lovely scene really.

Can't wait to read next.

Thanks!!!
lsm71059
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:17 am (UTC)
Thank you for the compliment. And I'll leave it to you for now to decide if it's good or not that he didn't want to leave.
karen747
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
Loved this scene. Again, great details. Love the swings, her age, them both–independently-observing the surveillance team, him quietly setting the table, Kettle Corn, just everything. Most of all, that Lucas is so clearly comfortable with her that he can relax. Thanks for another wonderful chapter. So glad that I checked before the weekend. Have a fun one! ;-)
lsm71059
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:18 am (UTC)
Thank you for the compliments. You have a fun one too.
leslieg
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Hurray, two more chapters! Love Lucas asking to stay, after spending an interesting early morning with Lori.

Got a giggle about the grilled cheese sandwich, because my very, very English DH complains bitterly about the fact that they aren't made under the grill attached to an English "cooker" but fried in a pan or with a waffle iron with flat plates or a sandwich press. But I know bologna was available at the Commissary/PX when we were posted in London, so Lori would have access.

DH also gives me great grief about "hockey," because, despite 20 years in Canada, he still refers to "ice hockey." Hockey is played in a field, according to him. Isn't the English language amazing?

lsm71059
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Glad you are liking the read. That's funny about the grilled cheese sandwich. The way I'm handling the food situation is Donovan gets Lori anything she wants within twenty-four hours, so there will be lots of American food, hardly any British.
I did try to stress the point the it was the NHL I was talking about so no one would confuse it with the field hockey. One would think after twenty years, he'd get on board that real hockey is played on ice and not on a field, wink, wink.
leslieg
Feb. 26th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
There's very little American food that couldn't be purchased at the Commissary on an American base.

There are issues about bringing meat into other countries, because I know of Belgians who used to smuggle meat in, because they didn't like the British meat/cuts that were available.

lsm71059
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the intel.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )