|nishka//loki (nishka) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-07-06 13:53:00
|Entry tags:||hel, loki, odin|
I remember way back then when everything was true
Who: Nish [Loki] and her brother Rob [NPC], later Jocelyn [Hel]
What: Big brother is watching.
Where: San Diego Airport, Rob’s hotel, Nish’s Apartment (502)
When: July 3, 2017, afternoon, then evening
Note: Karl Urban is my headcannon for Rob.
Nish met him at the airport; he’d chosen to land in San Diego because it was smaller and it had a nicer (if longer) drive back to Newport than LAX. Once Robert Bariss stepped out of the gate and spotted Nish, he grinned and rushed towards her, greeting his sister with one of his bear-hugs that immediately lightened the mood. “How’re you doing, Nish?” he asked as he hooked an arm around her shoulders and walked her out of the building, shouldering his carry on. He was leaving again on the morning of the 5th, so he didn’t need much.
“I’m good,” she said with a smile, and there was actual joy in it. She’d gotten through the 19th sober, with someone she cares about, and she’d come out the other side happier for it. He looked down at her and then let his arm slip from her shoulders.
“You look good,” he admitted, “but I had to see it for myself.” There was a pause between them, and then he freed her from his scrutiny, heading towards the parking lot.
“So what have you been up to?” she asked, leading him to her car and unlocking it with the remote. He tossed his bag into the trunk and then joined her in the front, belting himself into the passenger side.
“Oh you know, same shit, different day,” he smirked. “I put ‘em away, you set them free.”
“Rob,” she scolded with a frown. He just shrugged.
“Hey, just telling it like it is. I know everyone gets a defence, but do you have to be so damn good at it?”
“It’s my job, Rob,” she said pointedly. “And anyway, did you come all the way down here to talk about my work?” He sighed and shook his head, watching the ocean out his window.
“No, though I doubt you want to get into that while you’re driving.”
“Hey, you’re the one that chose San Diego over LAX,” she said with a short laugh. “We have an hour and a half to kill, might as well duke it out in the car.”
He sighed heavily and was silent for several long minutes. She kept her eyes on the road, flitting to the ocean horizon view when she could. The journey would at least be beautiful.
“I just need to know that you’re okay,” he said finally. “You know me, it’s hard to let go. It was hard enough when you moved, but…”
“But you’re afraid of me being so far away and alone, and you want to make sure I’m not going on nightly benders like I did in my 20s?” she finished for him. His lips seemed to press into a line as he let that statement sit between them for a moment.
“Not just in your 20s,” he amended, but didn’t press the issue. “Look, I am worried. After you told me about this new heart condition of yours...well, I want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.” Nish couldn’t help the slight wince that creased her brow when he brought that up. She hadn’t actually told him about why she now had a heart condition, just that she’d been to the hospital for a mild heart attack. Not the cause. The omission reminded her sharply of what she’d done with Rafe, not telling him about it right away; wanting to figure things out for herself before having to let another person know about it, and guilt of it gnawed at her.
“I’m fine Rob. I’m taking meds to relieve some of the stress on my heart, and I have others in case it acts up again. I’m under a doctor’s supervision,” she assured him.
“I want to talk to him.”
“ROB,” she protested sharply, glancing quickly over at him and then back to the road. “Medical privilege…”
“Fine. But I want to know exactly what he said about it. Is it serious? Could it get worse?”
“Rob,” she said again, this time with an exasperated sigh. “It’s just an irregular heartbeat. Sometimes it skips beats on me and I’m a little out of breath, and maybe twice since it’s happened I’ve had to take the nitro to calm it down, but it’s manageable. I’m fine.”
“And sober?” he asked, watching her face for tells as he threw her that curveball. She didn’t provide any.
“Yes, I am,” she replied smoothly. “I have been since I went to the hospital,” she said, which was a lie, but a new medical condition was a more logical reason for her to suddenly be sober than ‘because I just felt like it’. It still didn’t make sense to her so she knew for damn sure it wouldn’t to him. He looked at her shrewdly, and then nodded.
“You do seem...stable,” he said, fishing perhaps too long for that word. “And work, it’s going well?” he asked. She nodded.
“Well enough. I can afford to be a little more discriminating when it comes to clients now, so that’s reduced my stress level a bit,” she confessed. She’d decided after that last case a few months ago that Public Defender work wasn’t for her anymore.
Rob seemed satisfied with this, at least for now, and the rest of the trip passed in silence punctuated with companionable chitchat. Once they arrived at his hotel he got himself checked in and settled, pawing through the basket of freebies on the coffee table and then looking up at her.
“So where are you taking me for dinner?” he asked with a charming smile plastered across his face. She chuckled.
“I was actually thinking of getting takeout...I thought you’d want to see my place. Also, I maybe sort of mentioned you were coming to a certain someone who lives in my building now.”
His brows rose with interest. “Ohh?”
“Jocelyn’s here,” she said with a smile. Surprise flit across his face for just a moment and then he grinned.
“She asked where you were living, and I knew she was moving, but didn’t realise she was moving here. I’m happy you guys hooked up though. In the same building, no less!”
“No one was more surprised than me when she just showed up at my office one day,” she laughed. “It was my idea she move into my building; it’s nice having her around. I felt terrible not visiting her in the hospital.”
“Good,” he said, crossing his arms, “you should have been there. She’s practically family to us.”
“I know,” Nish muttered, looking down at her phone as a distraction. She knew he wanted to say more on that, but she’d already gotten an earful at the time. He seemed to have gotten the hint and leant over her shoulder to watch her type ’I got him; we’re heading home soon,’ to Jocelyn. “So...what kind of takeout do you want?” she asked him, slipping her phone back into her pocket and deftly changing the subject.
He grinned, “what do we always get when we’re together?”
They made it to Pax about twenty minutes later, having stopped on the way to pick up their ordered mass of Chinese food, including two orders of his favourite kung pao chicken. Nish had given Rob her phone and he’d ordered all the things, claiming he was hungry as a horse after the flight. She led him into the elevator and up to her apartment, noting the door was already unlocked. “Jo? We’re here,” she called out once they stepped inside.
“Hey!” Jo called out from the living room. “I’m in here! I’d get up, but Bear is keeping me hostage.”
Nish grinned and found her on the couch with Bear curled up on her lap. As soon as he saw the newcomers he lept off the couch to come and sniff Rob, who had just walked into the livingroom.
“Hey, munchkin,” he said at Jo, and then knelt to let Bear sniff his hand. “You remember me, don’t you buddy?” Bear obliged by rubbing his face against Rob’s hand and then stepping forward to head-butt his knee.
“It’s been almost a year, but I read that cats never forget a friend,” Nish said, taking the food into the kitchen to start opening up the various packages. Rob smiled broadly and stroked the cat’s back. “So how’ve you been, Jo? California treating you well?”
“Munchkin?!” she asked, in mock indignation, as she stood up from the couch and glanced over at Nishka. “He’s barely here, and already he starts with the short jokes. I haven’t even gotten my hug yet!” She crossed the room towards him, and looked up at him, hands on her hips. “Besides, I don’t think you should talk about someone’s height, Mr. Jolly Blue Giant,” she teased.
Rob chuckled and pulled Jo to him into yet another bear hug. “You’ll get the short jokes until you grow an extra foot,” he chuckled and then let her go. “So, how are you liking the place?” he asked, looking around Nish’s livingroom with approval. “You two keeping out of trouble? Or causing it?” he asked with a bit of a smirk to Jocelyn.
Rob’s hug was tight enough to squeeze the air out of her as he lifted her up off the ground, so it took her a moment to catch her breath once he set her down again. “California’s nice - just started a new job. Pax is fine, though my place isn’t quite as nice as Nishka’s here,” she replied, answering all his questions in order. She grinned at him. “And we would never dream of causing trouble.”
“Whatever she says about me I’ll deny everything,” Nish called from the kitchen, pulling plates down from the cupboard to set the table.
Rob grinned and bumped Jo’s shoulder with his arm, “I’d be more likely to believe you first,” he said with a wink, in a tone that didn’t carry to the kitchen. “So new job? Are you doing more voice work? This is the town to do it in…”
Jocelyn shook her head. “No. I only actually did that for the one show - mostly I was just a production assistant. I’m working for a charity as their volunteer coordinator.” He frowned just slightly at that.
“Volunteer? They are paying you, yes?” he asked, starting in on Big Brother all over again. “Don’t you let them push you around and work you too hard either, charities can be vultures with people’s time and money.”
Just then Nish passed by on the way to the dining room, carrying plates and cutlery in her hands. “God, Rob, let her be,” she scolded, setting her burden down and starting to set the table. If it had been just her and Jo for takeout, they would have sat in front of the TV with plastic forks eating out of the containers, but because Rob was there she felt she needed to make the effort of at least trying for a nice sit-down dinner.
“Yeah yeah, and don’t forget to use the fine china,” he laughed, watching her stick her tongue out at him.
“Hey! You should be more appreciative, Rob. Even on my first night here she didn’t break out the real plates.” She slipped into one of the chairs, and waited for the rest of them to join her, before continuing. “No, I’m not a volunteer - I coordinate their volunteers. They pay me enough to get by on,” she explained with exaggerated patience.
“Well good,” he said, scooping up two dishes that Nish had prepared off the counter and setting them on the table in front of them. Nish brought the others and then went back into the kitchen to retrieve the iced tea from the fridge.
“So what are we doing tomorrow?” Nish asked as she sat down and helped herself to some fried rice. “There’s that bloc party I heard about, but the Americafest sounds kinda cool.” She looked at the two of them for suggestions. She hadn’t actually discussed this with Jo yet, so she had no idea if she was even free.
Jocelyn helped herself to a scoop of several different dishes. “Honestly - I was planning on just vegging out tomorrow. With all the training from the new job, and working full time for the first time since the attack...I’m just exhausted. Plus, I’ve got some housework I need to get done. I could maybe make dinner, if you wanted to stop by before or after you go,” she offered.
Rob nodded and set down the considerably lighter bowl of kung pao chicken and reached for the rice. “Well, your loss,” he shrugged, then looked at Nish, “wanna still do something? We could head back here for dinner and watch the fireworks on your balcony…”
Nish shrugged and swallowed her mouthful of snow peas. “Sure. We’ll check out what’s there and then head back for food.” He nodded, and then took a look at what was on her plate.
“You’re sure your doctor is okay with you eating greasy takeout?” he asked her, “that can’t be heart healthy,” he said casually, stabbing another piece of chicken with his fork. Nish froze when he mentioned it, caught in mid-chew, and looked up at him.
“I eat what I want,” she said firmly, stabbing a piece of lemon chicken as if to make the point. “I’m not on a special diet or anything, so relax.”
While Rob was distracted with dishing up more food, Jocelyn threw a look at Nishka that said You Will Explain Later before turning back to Rob. “So, how’s life back home treating you? Dad said you might be up for Lieutenant soon.”
Nish felt relief at Jocelyn’s expression and change of topic, smiling a little at her and then eating her piece of chicken. Rob didn’t seem to notice the silent exchange, and he beamed at the mention of a promotion. “Now how did he find that out?” he asked with false modesty. The truth was he saw her father occasionally and it ‘accidentally on purpose slipped out’ a while back. “I’m up for a review soon, but the chief hinted very strongly that I’ll get the promotion,” he announced. Nish’s eyebrows rose with surprise and she glanced at Jo and then back at him.
“How long have you been sitting on this nugget of information and not told me?” she asked Jo, and then winced internally at the irony of that question. They’d talk later, she’d have to be upfront with her now.
Jocelyn took a bite off of a skewer of grilled chicken, and chewed thoughtfully. “I dunno, Nish...February or March? Dad told me when he came up to help me after my last surgery.” She frowned slightly, glancing between Rob and Nishka. “I guess I just assumed that Rob would’ve told you…”
Rob waved a dismissive hand and swallowed his chicken. “I’m sure I told you about it Nish, you just forgot.” Nish looked up at him when he said that, a look of slight alarm flickering across her features and then disappearing just as quickly. She’d forgotten lots of other things too lately, some of which Rafe had filled in the blanks on, but some were still a mystery to her. So she didn’t argue his assessment, and took another bite of dinner.
“Well, they’d be stupid not to give it to you,” she said, “you’re the best detective in the city.” Rob chuckled, but didn’t even pretend to deny it out of modesty.
“I had plenty of practice chasing a certain someone down when I was in training,” he chided, grinning at her and taking another bite of food.
Jocelyn laughed. “Oh come on Rob! I was never that bad!” She grinned over at Nishka. “Did he ever admit to you what he did to my prom date? I could never get poor Adam to tell me what happened...”
Nish grinned and shook her head, sure that Rob’s comment had been meant for her, but happy to let the misunderstanding slide. “He didn’t,” she laughed, looking expectantly over at Rob, who was also grinning ear to ear.
“Hey, the guy was a dweeb,” he said with a chuckle, “I did you a favour.”
“Did you hurt him?” Nish asked with amused curiosity.
“He made it to graduation, that’s what matters,” he said, his non-answer enough to let Nish imagine a far worse night for the poor guy than what actually happened.
“Whatever it was, it must have been embarrassing - he didn’t show his face at school for a week!” Jocelyn replied with a giggle. Rob laughed and nodded.
“I should hope not...his face was covered in permanent marker,” he chuckled. “I have to say, I should have gotten far higher marks in art class than I did...I may have perfected the art of the sharpie-dicks-on-face that night.”
Nish burst out laughing and had to cover her mouth and carefully swallow her mouthful of food to prevent choking. “Oh my god, Rob, why are there no pictures of this?”
He grinned wickedly. “Who says there isn’t?”
Jocelyn’s fork hit her plate with a clang, as she buried her face in her hands, her back trembling with suppressed laughter. “Jesus, Rob! Of course he was a dweeb - he was in drama club. Everyone in that club was a dweeb - including me!”
“But you weren’t blackout drunk at a party the night before prom...I just happened to have heard about it and just happened to have been...keeping an eye on him for a while, so…” he shrugged as if the outcome of those facts was inevitable. “I saw an opportunity, and I took it. You’re welcome.” He popped a chicken ball in his mouth as if that was the period on the sentence.
“So...are there any recent or current dweebs around I should know about?” he asked Jocelyn, once he swallowed.
She shook her head, and skewered a stray piece of shrimp with her fork. “No. Surprisingly, I’m not really in the mood to date these days.”
He actually looked surprised, though Nish shot him a warning look that he either didn’t see or didn’t heed. “Ohh come on, you’re old enough to date now,” he teased, “I even promise not to chase them away with a pitchfork this time.” He glanced at Nish but she was still frowning slightly at his new line of questioning.
“She said she’s not in the mood.” He looked between them for a moment and then wisely let the subject drop, assuming it was a chick thing.
“And you, Nish? Please say you’re staying out of trouble...”
“Jesus Rob! Didn’t you have enough opportunity to play Detective Torquemada on the drive up?” Jocelyn interrupted.
“He went easy on me, apparently,” Nish replied flatly.
“Hey, aren’t I allowed to be concerned about my sister?” he asked, looking between them again and finding a stone wall instead.
“There’s being concerned and then being nosy,” Nish said, narrowing her eyes. It had been mostly their parents who had been less than enthusiastic whenever she had a girlfriend, but while Rob hadn’t been against the idea, he wasn’t particularly supportive of any of her relationships. The one he had approved of had been Stephen, which had turned out...less than ideal. So, while she wasn’t necessarily hiding from him the fact that she was with Jen, she wasn’t volunteering the information either.
“So you have something to hide, then?” he said, crossing his arms, though there was a playful gleam in his eye. He obviously didn’t want to turn this into an arguement, and he would try to pry the details out of her tomorrow if he had to. It was obvious by the way she was deflecting that there was someone she didn’t want him to know about.
Nish rolled her eyes but didn’t dignify that with a reply, instead stabbing a piece of cooked celery with her fork and popping it in her mouth.
“I think Rob’s just jealous, ‘cause he’s married to the job…” Jocelyn teased back.
Nish smirked at her and then over at Rob. “Yeah,” she teased, “what about an expose on your love life?” He’d had girlfriends over the years, but none that stuck around. One, while she was in college, was looking pretty serious, but she couldn’t handle his job, and the constant worry that he might be in danger. She knew it was a bit of a sore spot for him, but he handled the teasing with good humour.
“As a matter of fact I do have a special someone in my life,” he said, shocking both of them. He smiled wanly. “There for me every day, from when I wake up in the morning, all day at work, until we go to bed at night.” He paused, and then lifted his arm. “We’re inseparable. I couldn’t live a day without my left hand,” he smirked, making a rude hand gesture.
“ROB,” Nish protested as he laughed, amused disgust on her face. “We’re eating.”
Jocelyn laughed and pushed her plate away from her. “Well, I’m not anymore. Not after that!” She stood up, and looked at her friends. “I think I saw some sorbet hiding in the depths of Nish’s freezer last time I was here...anyone want some?” She disappeared into the kitchen to start preparing dessert.
Nish’s brows rose. “I own sorbet?” she asked, genuinely surprised. Then it dawned on her - Jen must have bought it. Crap. “Ohh yeah…” she said, as if she’d just forgotten. “Uhhm...sure, since you know my kitchen better than I do,” she called after her with a smile. She stood and cleared their plates, stacking them next to the sink and catching Josie’s eye with a silent ‘well THIS is going well’ look on her face. She pulled spoons out from the drawer and took two of the now full bowls of rainbow sorbet - of course, Jen got it after the Pride parade to eat while watching disney movies - and set one in front of Rob.
“So, tomorrow we’re sleeping in, right?” Rob said after a spoonful of sugary ice disappeared into his mouth. “The fun doesn’t start until later in the day anyway.” Nish grinned.
“You know me, I excel at sleeping in on my day off. I’ll pick you up after two or something.” She turned to Josie and frowned just slightly. “You’re sure you won’t come with us?”
Jocelyn took a bite of her sorbet and considered, then shrugged. “I mean, if you want to check in before you head out and see if I changed my mind, I won’t stop you. But I probably will want to stay in.”
“Fine, be a party pooper,” Rob said, scooping up some of the frozen treat, “we’ll just have to have fun without you.” He popped a spoon of sorbet into his mouth. Nish rolled her eyes.
“You’re welcome to come if you’re up to it; I’ll text you tomorrow before we leave just to check in with you. Don’t pay any attention to this idiot,” she said, indicating to Rob with her spoon.
“Hey, ‘this idiot’ is sitting right here,” Rob protested. Nish glanced at the clock on the wall behind Rob and only then noticed how late it was getting.
“I think it’s time I get this idiot back to his hotel room for the night, what do you think?” Nish asked Josie, leaning in to her and completely ignoring Rob.
Jocelyn smiled. “I think that sounds like an excellent idea. Why don’t you take him, and I’ll take care of the dishes quick before I head downstairs?”
Rob had a scandalized yet amused look on his face as she spoke. Nish smiled sweetly at Jocelyn and stood from her seat. “That’s sweet, you don’t have to do that,” she said, “but thank you. I’ll text you when I get back.” She finally turned to look at Rob, who had stood when she did. He gave he a look that said ‘fine, have your fun’, and then turned to Jocelyn.
“It was great seeing you again, munchkin,” he said with a little grin. He stepped forward and gave her another bear hug and then headed with Nish towards the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow; if not out then when we get back.
Nish waved at Jo and ushered her brother out the door, leading him to the parking lot outside and to his hotel room beyond.