he got fight stories to tell Who: Nish & Daniel What:We've got movie sign! Where: Nish's apartment, #502 When: shortly after this Notes: gdoc complete!
Daniel had no reason to mistrust Nish's taste in movies, but he paused by his own substantial collection on his way out all the same. He grabbed a Bluray of John Wick, still riding the high from his viewing of the sequel, and locked his door on the way out. Three flights of stairs later -- each riser taken two at a time, of course -- and Daniel was rapping his knuckles against Nish's front door.
"Put some clothes on," he called, unvoiced laughter coloring his tone.
Nish was just putting a giant bowl of popcorn on the coffee table next to the glasses and a few cans of pop and a giant toblerone, when she heard Daniel on the other side of the door. A soft smile pulled at her lips and she opened the door, revealing her frumpy long-sleeved t-shirt and yoga pants, bare feet and barely tamed hair. “Hey, you’re lucky, I only put something on for you,” she chided, a shadow of a smirk on her lips. “Come on in,” she said, leading him to the living room. Bear jumped off the couch, protectively placing himself between his human and the visitor, but seemed to like the smell of Daniel and let him pass.
"Hey, furbaby," Daniel said. He swept past the wee beast, holding up the thin box in his hand. "I hope you like Keanu Reeves, or we absolutely cannot remain friends." He plopped down on the couch beside Nish, tossing the Bluray into her lap, then reaching for the popcorn bowl. He cradled it in his lap, popping a few kernels into his mouth. He cast a look over her, appraising.
"So you've been busy, huh," he said. "Too busy to come throw me around the gym. I see how it is."
Nish sat with her legs crossed, looking over the back of the movie case and nodding in approval. “Violent, I like it,” she said, though her smile didn’t reach her eyes. She got up and put it in the player, skipping the ads. She sighed at his next statement, not sure about how much she wanted to say, but then reconsidering. He was her friend, one of the few she still had, and as far as she knew the only one who wasn’t even mildly pissed at her.
“Yeah,” she said, shifting so her back was flush with the back of her couch, drawing her knees up. “Um...I was in the hospital. I just got out yesterday.” The title screen showed up on the tv and she pressed play, but paused it as soon as the movie started.
Daniel turned in his seat. His bare feet were drawn up beneath him, his hand frozen in place where he had been crunching another bite of popcorn. He finished chewing, but his brow remained deeply furrowed. "The hospital? You do look a little peaky but I wasn't gonna say anything…" He grinned, clearly teasing, trying to lighten the suddenly dark mood. "What's up? Everything okay now?"
She watched his reaction carefully, and attempted another smile when he did. “Yeah...yeah, I’m okay now. I won’t be back to work full time for a while though, doctor’s orders,” she said with a shrug. It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him what had happened, but she bit it back. ’He doesn’t want to know,’ she realized, but Loki wasn’t weighing in just yet. “So, I’m kind of bored,” she added then, as if the only reason she’d mentioned the hospital visit was to explain the impromptu movie night. She wasn’t used to this, feeling uncertain of herself, wrong in her own skin. Cheating death like that, she felt like someone who didn’t quite belong in the world anymore.
Daniel knew enough to tell when a story was being held back. More importantly, though, he knew when the storyteller wasn't ready to share. So he only nodded, reaching across from her to take the controller. "I gotcha," he said, pressing a button to start the film back up again. "Well let John Wick and I keep you company. Best threesome you've ever had." He grinned and tossed a kernel of popcorn toward her, where it bounced harmlessly off the tip of her nose.
She smiled and plucked the popcorn off the couch, popping it in her mouth. “I don't know, I was pretty wild in college,” she taunted. She settled back against the couch, watching as the movie started, knees drawn up and her head leaning to the side. She slid a little closer to Daniel so the popcorn could sit comfortably between them, quickly getting drawn into the story.
All was well until the dog died. Keanu was on screen, mourning the senseless death, and without warning tears came to her eyes and started rolling down her cheeks. She never cried at movies, but with her emotions all over the map right now and the antidepressants she'd been prescribed, she no longer had control of if and when the tears came. All she could do was be as subtle as possible wiping them away, hoping Daniel didn't notice.
Unfortunately for her, Daniel could be quite observant even when distracted. "Aw, don't worry," he said, elbowing her in the ribs. "He fucks 'em up for that puppy. Just you wait." When teasing did not seem to cheer her, Daniel settled for wrapping his arm loosely around her shoulders, pulling her into a popcorn-scented hug.
Nish sniffed and leant into the hug, wiping at her eyes and sighing softly when the warm blanket of comfort settled over her shoulders. She let her head pillow on his shoulder, one hand coming up to rest on his on her shoulder. “A headshot, I hope,” she tried to joke back, but her voice was thick with tears.
He patted her shoulder, quite pleased to be able to reassure her at least on this point. "Among many other things…" She laughed through her tears, settling in to watch more of the movie.
The action was suitably distracting, drying her tears as she focused on the plot. Watching the destruction on screen seemed to calm her somewhat, though it didn’t distract her from her thoughts. “You heard about what happened, I assume,” she said, during a lull in the action.
"Whatcha mean?" His eyes remained on the screen, glancing down into the bowl only long enough to find another kernel and pop it into his mouth. He had an idea of what she meant, but she still sounded uncertain if she wanted to bring it up at all. He chose to allow her the out, if she wanted it. "Like in John Wick 2?"
A small smile tugged at her lips, grateful for his humour, but sidestepping it. She needed to talk about this. “Like...what ended up all over the lobby last weekend,” she said uncomfortably, suddenly stilling in his arms, “and what happened...after.” It occurred to her then that he may not even know what happened, and for her that would be a blessing. It would mean that other people could have missed her implosion entirely too, so things weren’t nearly as bad as she thought. Still, it would also mean that now she had to tell him what happened for the first time, and that was even more uncomfortable than simply explaining what he already knew.
Daniel shrugged; the motion shifted her against his side. Nish gratefully snuggled closer to him. "I saw what got posted," he said. "Looked like some ol' bullshit to me, so I didn't bother with it. Was that supposed to be your little burn book or somethin'?" She let a small smile tug at her lips, nodding against him. He shook his head. None of that mattered now. "Whatever. It's dumb and whoever did it should feel dumb. What happened after?" His voice softened; he looked down to her, though she could not see the motion, as close as they sat. "Or could I guess."
“You could guess,” she said softly. She paused for a long time, chewing on her lip. “I took some drugs. And when that didn't work I took some pills.” The humiliation of that exposure was still there, but now it was like an open wound that had begun to scab. It ached, it burned, but it wasn't as raw as it had been in the hospital. She had Chris. She...thought...she still had Rafe. And Jessica. And today while taking stock, she’d remembered that she had Daniel. All was not lost, not completely.
“My friend found me,” she sighed, almost as if she still regretted that. “The doctor told me if he'd been maybe an hour later…” she shrugged.
"Well it wasn't," Daniel said. "And that's what you need to focus on. You got another chance for a reason. So what are you gonna do with it?" His fingertips rubbed lightly, back and forth, over her arm. "I've got some resources I could share with you if you want. Groups and counselors and that kinda thing." She nodded to him, for once not averse to the idea, because it was him offering.
“I'm being sent to an ‘Acute-Care Day Program.’ Therapy,” she elaborated, enjoying the comfort of his fingers dancing over her arm. She took a deep breath, shifting uncomfortably. “I was told that I have to get clean. For good. If I don't...I could have another heart attack.” She shifted, just enough to pull her short down to show him the heart monitor stuck to her chest. It was weird saying it out loud. The words didn't sound like they applied to her. Old people have heart attacks. She was only thirty-five.
He gave a long, low whistle in answer. "Jesus, Nish. And you gotta stay out of class til your doc clears you. You know that, right? You got follow up appointments scheduled, I hope?" She nodded. He waited until she had pulled her shirt back up, concealing the device. Then he pulled her back against him, patting her arm once more. She happily leant against him, one arm snaking around his waist. "Stick with your treatment and you'll be right as rain. People beat this shit every day. Believe that." She nodded against him as tears prickled her eyes, but she held them back.
“I'm scared,” she said into his chest, her voice quiet. Admitting to that was hard; it was rare for her to show such vulnerability to anyone, but it seemed to be happening more and more now, keeping her in a constant state of agitation and anxiety. People knowing her private shit had gotten her into this mess...but it seemed that the only solution was to reveal even more of it. At least this time she could choose who saw it.
Daniel rested his chin atop her head. "I know. And that's okay. Just don't let it keep you from doin' the right thing. Okay?" He gave her a quick, tight squeeze. "Promise me. I'll help you as long as you keep helpin' yourself, and I'm sure I'm not the only one."
She took a deep breath and sighed it out, feeling a lot of her tension go with it. “I promise,” she said, and was surprised that she actually meant it. She did have more people than she'd thought; the ones she actually cared about. “I'm going to miss the classes…” she sighed. She hadn't thought of that, but he was right. If she couldn't work until Lucas gave the all-clear, she couldn't play-fight either.
"That's okay. You can come and learn the moves if you want. Think of it like tai chi. But no sparring. And maybe get some pepper spray or a Taser in the meantime. I know some places you can get a real good one for cheap." He hugged her again as, on screen, John Wick dispatched another villain. "You're gonna be fine, Nish. And the minute you can get back to sparring, you let me know."
“You'll be the first person I tackle,” she said, a smile in her voice now. She watched the movie for a few minutes, but then glanced up at him, a thought occurring to her that caused a brief spike of panic. “Don't...please don't tell anyone,” she said. She knew he wouldn't, but the last thing she wanted was for this to get out. “Maybe Max is okay, because of class, but...that's it.”
Daniel nodded. "I won't tell a soul," he said. "It's not my story to tell. You can let Max know when you're good and ready." He patted her arm. "Til then you just get your rest and try to heal up. Okay?"
He let her settle in against him, both of them relaxing as the movie drew in more and more of their attention. He was grateful she had told him, grateful he could help, and he knew that for the time being, this small bit of normalcy was precisely what she needed.