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[personal profile] wonder_city
Home From the Hill

The nurses were entirely charmed by Tam, particularly by his devotion in staying at Nereid's bedside the entire time she was in the hospital. Well, not the entire time, Nereid reflected as he pushed her wheelchair out to the waiting Young Cosmics limousine. He had always been tactfully absent -- getting food that he cadged out of the rather silly middle-aged woman who ran the hospital cafeteria -- when her parents visited. Her mother had asked about him a couple of times, but Nereid begged off talking about him or anything else. She really was exhausted and didn't feel like telling the story yet. Besides, as Tam said, she was not required to relive the whole nightmarish ordeal of Faerie for the entertainment of a bunch of voyeurs who wanted to hear about her pain.

At the car, she stood, holding his arm, and an orderly swept the wheelchair back into the hospital. Tam smiled. "At least they didn't send some old jalopy to take you home. Glad to see my girl getting the respect she deserves."

Nereid gave him a faint smile. She let him hand her into the car, where she slid gratefully onto the new-smelling leather seats. Apparently, Mr. Moneybags had coughed up for the replacement Mercury had wanted.

Tam eeled in next to her, pulling the door shut behind him. He grinned like a kid at the lush, silent interior, the little refrigerator, the tiny bar, and ran his hands over the seats and doors. "Now this is the way to travel."

Nereid put her head back against the seat and shut her eyes, feeling the car pull smoothly away from the curb. Her doze was punctuated by Tam's exclamations about this or that landmark, store, or anything else that caught his eye. She tried very hard not to be annoyed with him, remembering that he had left Earth in the 1880s, and everything must be very strange and possibly terrifying to him.

Tam nudged her awake and she realized the car wasn't moving any more. "There's people waiting," he said, and slid out of the car.

She emerged, blinking, holding onto Tam's arm, and she was immediately embraced. "Oh, Pacifica, I am indeed very happy to see you again!" Citizen Pain murmured in her ear.

Nereid hugged him back, blinking tears away. "Pay, I'm so glad to see you too."

Tam a-hemmed next to her and she recalled herself. "Citizen Pain, this is Tam Lane. He helped me find my way back after I got lost in Faerie."

Pay grinned his chiseled, impossibly beautiful grin, and a lock of his white hair fell into his eyes. He shook Tam's hand enthusiastically. "Indeed! You are welcome, Mr. Lane. We are so relieved to have Nereid back. Indeed we are."

"Well, I'm glad to have played a part in that," Tam said stiffly, glancing beyond Pay at the rest of the Cosmics.

Mercury posed with what Nereid knew to be a faux welcoming smile, his green humanoid boyfriend Tilt lurking, half-visible, behind him. Nereid noticed that Vector was growing out her blonde pixie cut, and even so, Vector still looked like a model. Wire stood to one side, her left arm in a sling, the stump neatly bandaged.

"Welcome home, Pacifica!" Mercury said. "We're awfully glad you made it back and that you're feeling well enough to get let out of the hospital."

"Thanks, guys," Nereid said, hoping the Special Moment would be over soon and she could go to bed. "Is Sophie back yet?"

Wire shook her head. "It'll be another couple of days. She was in her 'coma'--" Wire could only do scare quotes with her right hand now "--for four months, after all. She's pretty wobbly, and the Ultimate isn't taking any chances."

Nereid nodded, her one hope of the day deflated. She didn't know why she hadn't gone to see Sophie before getting discharged. She really should have. But every time she wanted to go, Tam had to go get something to eat, or sing in the lounge, or something, and she didn't really have the energy to wheel herself there.

Everyone stood there for a moment, smiling at each other.

Vector finally said, "Well, this is really awkward, so I'm going back inside."

The other Cosmics followed her promptly, except for Pay, who lingered.

Nereid inhaled and pulled herself together. "It's awesome to see you, Pay, but I'm still really beat."

"Of course!" Citizen Pain said. "We just wanted you to see that we are indeed glad you are back. Can I help you to your apartment?"

"I'll handle that, friend," Tam said, clasping Nereid's hand to his arm possessively.

Pay didn't notice any undercurrents; he just smiled and said, "Oh, indeed! I will see you later, Pacifica!"

In her rooms, Tam glanced around approvingly. "Nice place. Simple, but nice."

"The Cosmics furnished it," Nereid said. "I just, you know, live here." Her gaze fell on the stack of schoolbooks she'd bought for spring semester, still piled neatly on the edge of the kitchenette and she said, suddenly, "I hope the Cosmics got me a dispensation for missing the whole semester. I mean, I think finals are this week."

"Oh, you're in school?" Tam said, looking up from investigating her entertainment center.

'Yeah," Nereid said, biting down on the inside of her cheek to stop herself from tearing up. After a second, she added, more steadily, "This would've been my second semester. Oh, I really hope they thought to handle that. I guess they'd have to do it for Wire at least, so maybe they remembered me too."

"I'm sure it will be fine," Tam said, coming to take her hands. "You're home now."

"Yeah," she said again, forcing a smile. "And I think I need a nap." She squeezed his hands, and let him put an arm around her waist as they walked to the bedroom. "I'm sorry, Tam. Feel free to watch TV or... oh, god, you probably don't know how to turn it on. I can..." She turned to go back out.

He held her still. "It's all right, love. There's plenty of time for me to learn to do that." He started unbuttoning her shirt. "We've got all the time in the world, right?"

She let him undress her, because it felt nice to be taken care of. She let him get into bed with her, too, because it felt nice to be held and kissed. She let him do other things too, because she figured it wouldn't take too long and she didn't have the energy to argue anyway.

---

Note from the Author:

Between the events of last week, our upcoming November marathon of Things Taking Up Our Weekends, the stupid Snowtober storm, and the fact that we're on Hour 59 with no power at my house (*whinnnnne*), things have been hectic and stressful and I've been forgetful. I apologize for the lack of rerun posts, and I will try to get back with the program soon, but at least I can get new episodes up.

Remember to vote for WCS!









Date: 2011-11-01 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] strumsoundly
Can't wait for Tam to run into Sophie, or Megan. There will be a madface, I bet.

Date: 2011-11-02 01:50 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Nereid's abysmal self-confidence shows here. I mean, she has the power to literally suck the marrow from his bones (the third worst pain a human being can feel) or make him explode with a thought and yet he's letting him, that despicable, pathetic little worm of a man, do to her what amounts to rape.

Oh well. It is conflict and hardship that helps people grow, if it doesn't utterly crush them first. One day Nereid might actually realize she squashed like a bug a wizard winning against four heroes at once or that making it snow takes as much energy as a mid-level nuke. And then Tam might no longer be happy with his lot in life.

Date: 2011-11-02 03:53 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
She's not used to thinking of herself as powerful; she's used to thinking of herself as useless and underpowered. Definitely abysmal self-confidence.

Date: 2011-11-02 03:52 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Megan will madface if he makes Nereid cry in her living room again, certainly. :)

Date: 2012-01-29 12:37 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Someone needs to run an intervention to separate the two so that Nereid can actually complain about Tam.

And then murder him. Murder him DEAD.

Date: 2011-11-03 06:02 am (UTC)
yyzeff: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yyzeff
Tam makes me <shirtrip> RAAAAWR. Cannot wait for him to meet some sort of gruesome, horrible, awful fate.

Tam the trigger

Date: 2017-03-14 09:24 am (UTC)
cosmicdawn: a fox smoking happily (Default)
From: [personal profile] cosmicdawn
I hate Tam so deeply, he reminds me of numerous abusive exes. I really hope further into this story he gets some justice (preferably from Lady Justice!).

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