(( I'm back! This runs long, and I hope it's okay that I pushed through to the end of the tale without allowing chances for Su to respond. I figured he'd go along with just letting her get it over with. ))
"It probably is," she agreed cautiously, and started to say that she really hadn't done that much and didn't have anything to complain about, but her own thoughts gave her the lie. And he seemed to know it. She wondered when she had become so transparent. It wasn't the first time someone had suggested unburdening herself, but it usually took longer, and never before had anyone been quite so direct with an invitation to bitch and moan. She wasn't quite sure what to do with it.
She had to say something, though, so she picked a thought out of the tumult. It came with a return smile. "It's sweet of you to try to make things easier on me. I want to finish the story for you, though, and I think I'll satisfy both of us this way."
She took a deep breath to begin with. "So, the quarantine was lifted. We were able to get most of the canons home at last, and we got Immac and Parwill to Medical. I thought I would finally be able to take care of Derik beyond just keeping him from dying, but no. See, here's what I have to bitch about," she interjected with a lopsided grimace for Suicide's benefit. "Suzine didn't even give me five minutes to look in on him before I left, and then when I checked in a bit later I found out they'd lost him. A man who'd been in a catatonic state for a month suddenly decided to get up and take a walk—later I found out he'd been provoked by Leroux!Erik, and honestly I'm grateful that he was able to achieve what we couldn't for Derik—and they were too overwhelmed to deal with it. I could have killed Mirrad and Suzine when they told me, but there wasn't time. They needed anyone with any experience in Medical. And this, when we were just starting to pick up the pieces and we were all exhausted already, this is when the Sues invaded.
"For my part, like I said, I really didn't do more than anyone else. Dr. Fitzgerald declared that the doors would stay open so people could come to us in Medical, but his staff were too busy to take it further. I got the agents who could manage it to organize a defense, which Sedri led—I stayed with them because you can't get a possessed agent past a psychic—but fortunately we didn't need it. The Sues that did come our way were annihilated by Omicron. I don't know if he was one of Honesah's Daleks or something else, but anyway, he got the job done, and we were able to get back to the business of fixing people.
"I checked in on FicPsych, and found to my great relief that Derik had turned up again, minus Sue-induced good looks but plus a purpose in life after stumbling into a Reality Room. He fought his way back to the department and, of course, collapsed from the strain. Later he got up again after I'd dosed him with enough fellis juice to put down a gold dragon and helped defend the department." She shook her head at the man's insane tenacity, then looked at Suicide again, considering. "You'd like him, I think. He's a lot like you in some ways, and he could use a proper male friend. Remind me."
This was more a note to herself than to him, though, and she pressed on to avoid getting side-tracked.
"I had to go back to Medical, since more agents were coming in hurt from fighting the Sues. There were battles all over, but the big ones were in the cafeteria and the final stand at the Tomb of the Unknown PPC Agent. The only plan the agents had was to lure as many Sues as possible into the cafeteria and let Honesah's Daleks blast the hell out of them, and it worked as far as it went. I heard about it from Ilraen, after I found him and Nume standing around in the ward, looking forsaken."
At this point, her ability to cover her feelings ended. She cared about everyone she worked with, and she was personally invested in Derik, but those two were her friends, and she'd found them alive after a month of not knowing. Tearing up at the memory was inevitable. She wiped her eyes and kept talking through it, though.
"They'd seen fighting," she continued. "After being locked up for a month, they would have faced the Balrog Sue and been happy about it." She actually laughed. "If you can imagine the two of them charging down the corridors through a sea of Sues to get to the cafeteria, like some kind of screwed up knight and warhorse . . . well, that's not how Ilraen described it, but he can't hide anything from me. It can't have been anything but awkward, and I'm sure he never wants to do anything of the sort again. Nume was a damn mess. He'd got himself thrown from Ilraen's back and concussed, and he'd been off Bleepka for ten days by Ilraen's count. Poor guys." She shook her head, but she had a smile for relief that they were alive and relatively well after the ordeal.
"I don't really know anyone who was involved in the Battle of the Tomb, except Lux, and she's too flighty to give a good account. That broke the Sues, though. They'd painted it urple and wilver, I heard"—her lip curled at the insult—"and that incited everyone to a huge effort. The rest was just mopping up, and it was finally over." A puzzled frown crossed her face. "Lux did tell me the agents can-canned to 'Man of La Mancha' afterward. Trust Lux to be in the middle of something like that."
Shaking her head, she took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then looked up at Suicide again with her eyes still slightly wet. All the same, she looked satisfied at coming to the end. "Any questions?"
"War's war," Suicide said, "and it's rare it doesn't get to you." His own expression conveyed, equally clearly, that he didn't believe she hadn't been affected and furthermore, that the curative... more
She held it together remarkably well, considering the yarn she was telling. Sure, a story of a victory ought to be good for the one telling it, but even victory could get bloody damned quickly. As... more
Jenni wasn't the bragging sort, and even if she had been, as a healer her perspective on war was exclusively grim, whether her side won or not. Not that it wasn't necessary, not that she wasn't... more
"Not necessarily," Suicide said, his lips quirking a little at the corner. "But the nowhere-to-go-but-through-us strategy loses its appeal when it's not something you chose to do." Three hundred... more
Okay, so running her mouth about tight situations with ridiculous odds had been a stupid error. She should have known better; she knew enough about him to know better. Not something she would allow... more
She was trying to . . . comfort him? A strange idea, not so much wrong or irritating as just plain weird. Suicide couldn't think of the years he spent as a squire without some emotion, but he'd never ... more
It did get a laugh, because she'd been there (metaphorically speaking; she'd never actually been to ancient Greece) and knew it for fact. "Yeah, you make due with what you've got and hope for the... more
If her smile tended mischievous, it might have been because she was enjoying watching him melt in front of her like this. No, scratch that. It definitely did, and she definitely was. These were not... more
Jenni was in trouble in one respect: unless no clothes were involved at all, Suicide was not a believer in delayed gratification. He was right-handed, and Medical or not, the limb had been battered... more
Well, so much for plan A, then. That was all right. Plan B had been a possibility in her mind from the start, despite her decision not to actively nudge things in any particular direction—which ... more
Some asshole with a snarky sense of humor had put "A Whole New World" on the bar's jukebox. What kind of jukebox even had "A Whole New World" on there, anyway? Suicide did his best to tune it out,... more
Mostly, Jenni was just confused, though not at all displeased at being kissed again, whistler or no whistler. She smiled even as she tilted her head in the universal gesture of not having a clue.... more
Suicide mentally cursed again as Jenni's words cut through his newfound good mood. For a moment, he contemplated distracting her from the question; he figured he had a 55% chance of managing it, with ... more
So much for doubts. Suicide got the idea, and while most of his thoughts that followed were generally incoherent, part of him definitely decided that the height difference was going to be a pain in... more
Jenni experienced a little thrill at how easily he plucked her up, like the effort was nothing. The voice of caution pointed out that he could probably do anything he wanted to her without breaking a ... more
So this was it: the lair of the beast, the place that would've given Nume an aneurysm if he'd known Suicide was in it. It even had a dragon . . . albeit a plush brown one, which somehow didn't quite... more
Jenni wasn't that worried about it. True, she was a woman who liked a certain level of order, and she generally maintained it for the purpose of letting her visitors know that she had everything... more
As usual, Suicide's awakening was accompanied by pain. He vaguely registered the shrilling of an alarm, but that took a distant second to the litany of other standard complaints--mainly joints that... more
Mmmmm. The aches were still there, but with Jenni's soft curves molded against him, they were hardly worth dwelling on. She'd pinioned his left arm quite neatly, especially since the feeling of her... more
At the hiss she paused her wandering and propped herself up on her right elbow to scope out what she'd touched. She hadn't been thinking about wounds and charts, but when she saw the extensive scar... more