|Location||Jeremy and Kade's Apartment|
|Summary||Richard finds Jeremy after coming home.|
| A three-bedroom apartment, not much larger than the other units in the Avenue B building, but its limited space has been divided up into a few more pieces. This makes the common room and kitchen more cramped than in some of the two-bedrooms, but there's enough counter space to cook on, and and old futon and a couple of thrift store chairs give the living room a comfortable look. Some attempt has been made to keep the place cleaned up, though clutter occasionally accumulates. A hallway leads to a bathroom and farther back to the apartment's bedrooms. There's no view to speak of out the windows, save of the alley outside. It's nothing fancy, but it's not too shabby by Mutant Town standards.|
It's very late -- or, more accurately, very early -- when Richard shows up at Jeremy's window. The rap of his fingers on the glass are quiet at first, before they grow in volume and urgency that's almost akin to desperation. Outside where he hovers, his expression is raw and desperate.
Technically, Jeremy is awake, but his reaction time is still a little slow, so the urgency of the knock has time to grow a little before he fumbles his way to the window. His long loose hair is a bird's nest, and he is wearing flannel PJs that are actually a little loose on him. He turns on the lamp manually on his way to the window, so that he is now peering at Richard through his glasses as he shoves the window open.
For a moment, Richard just stays there, hovering outside the window as he looks at Jeremy's face. And then he sweeps inside, only to -- stand there. By the window. Studying Jeremy. He can't quite find the words, but there's a grief writ into his expression.
Starting to smile when he sees him in a warm, sleepy shade of welcome, Jeremy slowly comes alert to the fact that there is more here to respond to than Richard's mere presence in his window, cinch of concern writing itself in his brow. He takes a step towards him, reaching for his hand, and says, "Rich?"
Richard lets Jeremy take his hand, and then he steps closer to frame his cheek with the other, continuing in that intent study of his boyfriend -- a little like he might be a ghost. He inhales, and then the breath hitches, and he reaches both hands to wrap around Jeremy and bury his face in his neck.
As Richard studies Jeremy, Jeremy searches his face in a baffled, concerned flickering of his eyes behind the frames of his glasses. In his embrace, Jeremy is pretty solid for a ghost. He wraps his arms around him in the squeezing pressure of a hug reactive to the urgent need bleeding off of Richard's broken breath. He says, "Rich," in a softer voice, a warm hush of uncertainty for all that there is nothing uncertain about his grip as he presses him tight in the clasp of his arms.
This part -- takes a little while. When Jeremy squeezes back, Richard breaks just a bit. It's a hard, fast cry, the kind that comes after holding in the reaction for quite a while. It leaves him weary and near-boneless against Jeremy, but, perhaps, with a little less tension.
Jeremy plainly has no idea what is happening right now, but he holds on tight and hopes for the best. He holds tight, bracing his feet in a wide plant and simply holding Richard in his arms and loaning him what support there is in sheer physicality. "Shhh," he whispers, stroking one of his hands through the dark waves of Richard's hair. Uncertain what to say, he just says, "I'm here. I love you," because there are no truer specifics he can think to offer.
Eventually Richard is emptied enough to pull back, scrubbing the back of his hand over his damp face. He exhales a slow breath and finally meets Jeremy's gaze again. "I'm sorry," he says, voice a bit raw after all of that. "Can I--" He looks to the bed and starts angling for it, but his hands are firm on Jeremy's. You are coming with me.
"Hey, whatever you want, Rocket Man," Jeremy says with a tentative smile, his lashes shivering as his glance sweeps down, and then up him, in the soft glow of the lamplight. He draws with him to the bed, but says: "Talk to me?"
Richard lowers himself to the edge of the bed, his movements a little shaky. It's a moment of clutching Jeremy's hand before he finds his voice. "Everyone's okay," he says. "I mean -- our team and the kids. Everyone's okay. We got them back."
Jeremy folds himself down beside him, freely yielding up his hand to Richard's grasp. He watches him with teeth set against the curve of his lower lip for a long moment, and then says, "That's good. But. You ... don't seem very okay."
Richard captures Jeremy's hand in both of his. This is his hand now. His shoulders hunch a few inches. "There were -- different versions of people," he says quietly. "In their universe. Kade, Irene, Vega -- you."
"That's weird," Jeremy opines mildly, but without the level of disturbed that this really demands. He thinks about it for a moment, and looks like he might ask a question, and then bites it back. He studies Richard, and then scoots closer to him on the bed. He slides his bare foot between Richard's legs, touching his toes to Richard's calf, as if just looking for more points of closeness and contact.
"They were the ones who took the kids, Jer," Richard says, his voice still quiet. "They were the bad guys. /You/--" He falls silent a moment. "They were desperate. They weren't going to let them go. And I--" He turns his head to find Jeremy's gaze. He swallows. "I know just how dangerous you can be."
Reaching up with his free hand to curve his fingers against Richard's jaw, Jeremy brushes his thumb along the line of his cheekbone. "I'm glad you didn't underestimate me," he says quietly. His eyes are unflinching behind his glasses.
Richard presses his hand to Jeremy's cheek. "You were dead," he whispers. "You were in my arms and you were dead. I killed you."
Jeremy turns his head slightly, brushing Richard's palm with his lips, and then lifts his gaze again to meet his, steadily. "You killed someone who isn't me," he says. "I've never been desperate enough to use a child as a pawn, and I hope that if I ever am, someone has the good sense to stop me."
"I think you still had Gray," Richard says. "And I think something bad happened to him." Them. It's a little self-indulgent as far as self-flagellation goes, but he's in the earliest throes of his guilt.
"Ah," Jeremy breathes quietly, in the voice of comprehension. He leans forward, resting his forehead against Richard's. He whispers, "Then you did me a favor."
"A /favor/," Richard says in a breathless huff of disbelief.
"Do you think a life of desperate ... vengeance ... for my child ... do you think that's a life I'd want to lead?" Jeremy asks him. His fingers curl at the back of his neck.
"No," Richard says, his shoulders finally easing. "You wouldn't." His hand slips down Jeremy's cheek to his neck, curling fingers in the fluff of his hair.
Jeremy is quiet for a long moment, his fingers stroking lightly down the side of Richard's neck. He noses gently into his hair, lifting his head to press a kiss to his temple.
"God," Richard breathes, grip on Jeremy tightening. "It was in front of the kids, too. And it wasn't just -- that universe's Jeremy. It was Caruthers, too. Nina was there."
"That sounds ... freaky," Jeremy says judiciously after a pause. He runs his fingers in a long stroke through Richard's hair, curving down the back of his head. "But you got the kids out, yeah? She got her dad back."
"Yeah," Richard says. And then, softer, "Yeah. We got them all back. Caruthers wouldn't let her out of his sight."
"Yeah." Jeremy drops his head to rest his forehead against Richard's shoulder for a moment. He inhales deeply, lashes fanning against his skin, and then sits up straighter, pulling back to look at him, his glasses gone a little skewed. "This sounds all kinds of fucked up. I'm sorry I didn't go with you."
"No," Richard says to that, turning his head in towards Jeremy. "I wouldn't have wanted you to see that. To see yourself like that."
Jeremy smiles a little crookedly at him. He points out, fingertips gliding lightly through his hair, "You had to."
"And if you had gone and I hadn't, you'd be saying the same thing I am now," Richard points out right back at him.
"Were you there?" Jeremy tilts his head, sitting back a little in his perch.
"Yes," Richard says, brow furrowing a bit in confusion. "Of course I was there. I went--" And then he seems to understand. "Oh. No, we didn't -- come across me." After a beat, he adds, "I was probably way older."
"Oh. Right. Yeah." Jeremy reaches with both of his hands, now, enfolding Richard's hand. He rubs his thumb in a long, massaging glide over his knuckles, tracing the shape of his fingers. He says, "I guess coming with you wouldn't have made it easier on you." He ducks his head, lifting Richard's hand to kiss the back of it with the press of his lips.
"Diego offered to be the one to handle you," Richard says with a thin smile. "It wasn't so much that I refused the offer as he got mind-whammied by someone."
"I'm sorry you had to," Jeremy says, "but I'm not sorry you did it. If that makes sense." He squeezes Richard's hand in the pressure of his own, and then moves to wrap his arms around his shoulders and neck instead. His gaze flickers over Richard's face, lingering on his eyes. His mouth ticks up at one corner. "Good to know that Diego's a lot more ready to kill me than you are, though. Useful information to have."
Richard actually snorts out something like a laugh. "I guess it's good to be aware," he says. "He doesn't even like me that much to do me the favor, so he must like you even less."
"That's so sad. I thought I was pretty lovable." Jeremy smiles a little wider, and tips his head to press a kiss to the corner of Richard's mouth before he bumps lightly against his cheek with his nose, leaning his forehead against his temple. "Thank you for getting the job done. Thank you for coming back to me."
"You are," Richard says, turning in more fully towards him, "/extremely/ lovable." His fingers curl in his hair, and he tips his face to press a soft kiss to his mouth.
Jeremy loses a sound to the kiss, his breath beginning to laugh before he's cut off by the sweet warmth of the kiss. He strokes his fingers in another petting glide through Richard's hair. Breaking the joining of their mouths by only centimeters, he murmurs, "I love you, too," and then kisses him again.
Richard seems to melt into the meeting of their mouths after a few moments, as if he can drown in the comfort and safety of their kiss. His hands slide down Jeremy's neck to his chest and then his waist, getting grabby now. It's possible he's moved onto the 'thank God I'm alive' portion of the evening.
"Hmmmm," Jeremy hums contentedly into the kiss. As Richard's hands slide over the warm flannel of his pajamas, he breathes a softer laugh, and wraps his arms in a tighter fold around Richard's neck, draping into and against him. It's convenient that they're already in the bed.
Very convenient. Hopefully it's comfy for them to snuggle in after, too.Definitely. Jeremy is too old to cheap out on his bed.