Author: jambled PM
Everyone else's POVs build up the Lil we saw in this ep. Vignette, UST LS hinted at, LJ. Complete.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 6,654 - Reviews: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 09-14-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3153310
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Playlist: Shut up and Kiss Me by Pony Up:: Under the Waves by Peter Droge : How to be Dead by Snow Patrol : Hearts a Mess by Gotye : Camera by Editors : Morning After by Howie Day : Unsaid by The Fray : In the Morning by Razorlight : All at Once by The Fray
Spoilers: Joseph and The Woods
Disclaimer: I'm not Veena or Meredith. Ergot, absolutely not mine. No infringement intended and (unfortunately) no money being made here.
He saw Lil in the break room, headed over. She was pale today, almost as white as the shirt she was wearing. He hadn't noticed how long her hair was getting either. It added to the generally fragile look she'd held ever since she started wearing her hair down. Not like he'd tell her that though, she'd probably kick his arse.
She was pouring a coffee and Scotty hoped there'd be enough left in the pot. Despite the pain killers he'd taken, his hand had kept him awake more hours than he wanted to count. It had been stupid and reckless, but something had happened to him as he'd looked into the guy's face, remembered him talking to the kid. It hadn't been just him either, it had been every case Scotty had ever worked that involved a paedophile. He'd thought of Lil too, while his fists were connecting. He'd never heard all the details from her 49, but he didn't think the guy had been satisfied with a few dollars. Not that he'd ever ask her; some skeletons were pushed to the back of the closet for a reason.
"What's with your hand?" Of course she would notice. He was thinking he'd bandage it before he went in, but thought that would just draw more attention to it. Of course forgetting to take the coffee cup with his other hand didn't help.
"Kinda looks broken."
"Looks worse than it feels." He could almost feel her narrow her eyes at him. He knew she knew something was up, that he hadn't just jammed it in a door or punched a wall. They'd both seen enough of these injuries to know it was brought on by bone hitting bone.
"You get into a fight or something?"
"Nah." Scotty half smiled at her. She knew he was lying. He stuck the stirrer in his mouth, started to leave the room. There was only so long before she'd get the truth out of him; he couldn't lie to her.
"Someone tried to use the credit card of a murder victim from last year." Stillman came in, but she held his eye for a moment longer, smiled before turning to the boss. At least with a new case she'd have something else to occupy her.
Scotty dropped his hand to the table to keep Stillman from seeing. No use having two of them asking questions.
"So I heard somethin' I gotta ask you about." Kat followed Lil up the stairs. She'd had drinks that weekend with a few of the homicide detectives from other stations. Over too many gin and tonics a detective that had worked with Lilly on the George Marks' murders back in '04 had asked Kat how she found her. Kat had shrugged. She wouldn't call her and Lil bosom buddies but she respected the hell out of the woman; she'd never seen anyone who could crack someone in an interview room as well as she could.
"Keeps their pictures next to her bed, you know. Their faces are the last thing she sees at night and first in the morning. That's gotta be creepy." Det. Lenny had delivered the last line from a face down position at the bar, so Kat hadn't been entirely convinced of the validity of her statement. She'd wondered about it the rest of the week but hadn't found a chance to ask Lilly about it. She didn't know if any of the guys knew; with a locked book like Lil, it was best to ask her anything you wanted to know one on one.
"It true you keep pictures of victims next to your bed when you're workin' on a case?" Lil shot her a sideways glance, gave a small laugh.
"Where'd you heard that?"
"People talk. Just seems a little freaky."
"Easy to look at all the files and boxes, forget the lives behind them." Kat half shrugged. She hadn't really considered that. She looked at the files and saw names, old snapshots, murder photos. She wanted to distance herself; taking home every case was something detectives learnt to avoid. Too much sadness leads way to depression and suddenly you don't want to go to work anymore. Then again, Lilly seemed to be perpetually sad; Kat had noticed her in moments when she was motionless, thinking. When there was a lull in cases. She'd sit at her desk, drink endless cups of coffee and settle her eyes on the distance. Kat didn't know what happened to her before she came on the team; bad childhood, burned by a lover, but she knew they weren't happy memories Lilly Rush was running through in her head.
"Now here's a guy that wouldn't look so bad on your bedside table." Kat handed Lilly the picture, was relieved at the brief smile she got. She'd sensed rule number one when she'd joined the team; don't ask questions. She didn't realise how much more insular homicide detectives were than narc guys. Lilly was the least revealing on the team, and the few times Kat had asked her something personal she'd usually just been answered with a question, or an obscure reply that could mean anything.
Kat looked back as she walked out of the filing room. Lil was still looking at the picture. Well, she was only human, and he wasn't a terrible looking guy. Smiling to herself, Kat left the room.
She'd let Lilly lead in the interview; had found that people like that usually answered questions more truthfully if they were coming from a blonde white woman than an African America. They'd given them enough to go on, but Lil had seemed less alert than usual, taking longer to formulate questions. Then again, she'd picked up on Joseph saying almost exactly the same thing as her; she'd looked over and shared a glance with Kat that Kat hadn't been able to scrutinise for long enough to get a reading on. She thought it was along the lines of what the hell? because that was what she was thinking.
Scotty and Vera had decided in the car on the way over that this kid needed a bad cop-bad cop routine. They didn't have time for him to open up to them under his own steam so they decided to lean on him, get the answers quickly.
At first he'd just given them the usual blow off lines; smart alec comments that wouldn't mean squat if they needed him to present in front of the court. Then he'd asked them a question that had made them both shuffle their feet.
"C'mon, you been sunk too, right?" Scotty knew Vera was out of the motel, but he didn't think he was back with Julie. As for him, the biggest sinking would have been Christina. Not for what she did to him; leaving him with her lies, but for what it did to his relationship with Lil. He'd never forgive himself for that.
"Love makes people crazy." Cory launched into a spiel about crazy Crystal and her unrequited love for Joseph, but Scotty only heard half of it. He was still thinking about love making people crazy; the kid had sure as hell hit the nail on the head there. Nearly everyone on the team had some kind of war story; Jeffries' wife, Vera and Julie's split that, according to him, should have happened sooner, Kat getting off work every Wednesday for Veronica's ballet lesson, Stillman going up the stairs to save Lil two years ago and Lil… There'd been Kite and the guy on the Harley but neither of those two had made reappearances. Seemed she was the only sane one left.
Jeffries didn't know why she wasn't freezing. It was a typical Philly afternoon; crisp enough for a jacket and a hot coffee. She was thin, all bones, sitting in front of them in a singlet and shorts. The next sentence she spouted at them had him wonder whether she was using again. He couldn't see any track marks on her arms, and from the way she was clutching that lolly, he figured she needed something. He knew from experience that people like this never stayed clean for long.
"Joseph's family's as bad as mine." Crystal recounted the day she met Wilder, and Jeffries thought back to his own brother, a crack head at fourteen. Vera was an only child, Stillman's brother had followed him into the army and never come back, Scotty had a few brothers and a sister that he never mentioned but who's names never popped up in the system and Lil had Christina to contend with. Having a bad family was no excuse for turning to drugs, but it made it that little bit easier to walk the dark side. In a few minutes, Jeffries found himself almost identifying with Joseph. Being the sober brother was always hardest.
She was the usual train wreck they were accustomed to seeing. Not the kind of woman you want as a foster mother but despite her obvious flaws she was probably more stable than most of the kids' real parents and the foster system was stretched thin enough anyway. At least here kids could get a roof over their head and an actual bed.
Scotty could tell Lil was cynical about Ms Daultry as soon as she walked in. He vaguely wondered whether the apartment was something she could identify with; whether she'd grown up in a similar place. Standing in the cluttered apartment now, though, she looked like she didn't belong there. Scotty was glad; too often, the kids that grow up in places like these usually just stayed in the neighbourhood.
"Sounds like the same award my Mom was up for." Lil's soft words reached Scotty and he looked over to her. She'd only given him bits and pieces of her childhood; growing up mainly starving, living for the most part with a mother who liked getting drunk or looking for a man better than paying attention to her daughters. She was slowly painting a continually growing picture, and he didn't like what he saw.
Stillman wondered how long it would take before Scotty would admit defeat and get his hand fixed. At least it wasn't his shooting hand. He didn't know how he'd done it, and he didn't want to know. His detectives had lives outside the office and as long as they kept them separate and didn't cause trouble for the department, Stillman was quite happy to turn the occasional blind eye. He noticed the look between Lil and Scotty, and he knew Scotty's hand had been more than jammed. When Scotty was ready to talk to him, he knew the door was open.
I was thinkin' I'd go out to the Daultry's farm now." Lil looked up from the halo of light on her desk. She'd always worked the longest hours, and Stillman knew there was still something in her that desired justice for everyone else as much as she had once desired it for herself. He'd read her 49 before she joined the team; had made sure she was going to be able to handle the job. Of course, she'd managed to outshine them all with her arrest rate, and there wasn't another detective he felt as protective about. Checking his watch, he noticed how late it was getting and the protectiveness bit in as he remembered the last time she'd gone to a seemingly deserted house in the dark. She'd almost ended up with a bullet in her brain, but instead had emptied three into a serial killer who had become curiously attached to her. Just remembering that night brought the coppery taste of fear to Stillman's mouth.
"Go in the morning. The two of you." Even in the daytime, guns worked as well, serial killers still lurked.
"'Kay. Night, Boss."
His first thought was that they'd finally tracked him down; whomever had killed Wilder had realised they'd made a mistake and come to finish the right guy off. Then he'd looked at the eyes; slate grey in a pale face surrounded by imperfectly groomed blonde hair. They weren't the eyes of a killer. They were soft, surprised by his appearance, somehow sad but curiously hopeful, all at the same time. Unfortunately, the eyes were behind the gun she was holding on him, which threatened to steal his focus from her. Then again, she was one of the most beautiful people he'd ever seen and his need to look at her face moved his eyes back from the cold barrel.
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'm the police."
"I'd like some proof of that." She'd stepped a little closer, gun still aimed, and his eyes flicked to it, back up to hers. Her voice was lower than he'd expected, smoother. It roughened as she questioned him, and he sensed her scepticism slowly fading. Finally, she lowered the gun, came to lean on the doorframe across from him. She was smaller than he'd first thought; obviously holding a gun makes petite women seem much more scary.
"You a workaholic, detective?" She looked affronted at his personal question but recovered quickly. He was amazed at the way her face threw a million emotions out, all in a few seconds.
"These people have the resources and the reach to stop you." He didn't expect her to believe him and he got a faint smile, her head tucked slightly to the side, blonde hair falling further over one shoulder. Despite the gravity of the explaining he needed to do to her, he wanted, absurdly, to make her smile more, hear her laugh.
"That sounds a little paranoid." He turned on another lamp; he was only looking at her in the half light and he wanted to see her better. Something about her was worming its way into his subconscious, and he could tell tonight would be spent thinking, not about Wilder as usual, but about her.
"What's your name?" Usually he could pick names; look at a woman and know whether she was a Betty, or a Sarah, or a Jade. But this woman was different; an enigma.
"Lilly. Rush. Detective Lilly Rush." He could imagine her as a Lilly; slender, tightly furled, pristine pale. But most of all she was unjudging. She shot a quick glance around his sparse surroundings, agreed that it was nice. In a flash he saw her, standing in the kitchen letting his arms wrap around her while they looked onto a dewy morning, cats warm around their ankles. Joseph nearly shook his head; he'd known her name almost a minute but he was already imagining her in his life. He definitely wasn't the type to jump feet first in a relationship, but there was just something about her…
"Does it feel like we've met before or something?" He didn't want her to think he was more of a whack job, but he needed to know if she was getting the same vibe.
"No." Her answer was betrayed by her facial expression; or lack of it, and the way she held his gaze for longer than necessary before snapping out of it. She blinked quickly, looked away for a moment and he knew it wasn't a one-sided thing he was engaged in.
Then they were back to the case; obviously work was her safety net, and Joseph could sense she'd stepped back for a reason so he told her what he knew; the suspicions he had.
"I just wasn't thinking straight." He finished talking about Laura, figured he'd probably lost her now. If there was one thing he'd learned it was that most women thought men with cats were the type of guys who still lived with their mothers. He'd never really had a mother and, unlike everyone else in his life, the cats had never judged him or found ways to hurt him.
"I get it." Without elaborating she got up from the chair, slender legs moving past him. He couldn't help but follow her path to the door; she had a graceful way of moving. Even when she'd held a gun on him, she'd made it look like a pose a ballet dancer might hold.
She'd paused at the doorway, looked back to him. There was another shared moment before she half smiled, walked out into the dark night. Joseph looked across to the chair she'd just vacated; already the room felt empty without her in it. He could imagine her coming back, them having more to talk about than his resurrection or Laura's tussle with a raccoon. Suddenly, he was lonelier than he'd been in the past year.
"You went on your own?" Lil never disobeyed Boss' orders. If he'd told her to take Scotty out to the farm with him, Scotty had been expecting a ride out to the farm this morning.
"I was up early, just thought I'd swing by." Her voice sounded a little different, but Scotty couldn't pin down what it was. It wasn't as if getting up early and finding nothing at the farm was something that should change her tone.
"Can you tell the boss I'm going to take a sick day?"
"Lil, what's going' on?" In the three years he'd been her partner, she'd never taken a sick day. Even after Christina, her break up with Kite, George… She still showed up at work, albeit a little prickly and fragile, but still there, still working. Besides which, she seemed to have the immune system of an elephant because he'd never once seen her come down with anything.
"Nothin' I'm just… Gonna take off sick. Will you tell him?"
"Yeah. All right." He decided not to press the issue further; she'd let his hand slide, so he'd give her the sick day. Everyone needed their secrets once in a while. Scotty figured he'd call her later as he flipped the phone shut, looked to Vera as he spoke.
"She on her way in?"
"Nah, she's… takin' a sick day."
"She never takes off sick." Vera stated the obvious before Jeffries broke in with something for the case.
"Lil's sick." Vera ignored the new information.
"She's never sick." Again another statement of the obvious. They all knew something was up. All three shared a glance, a shrug. Lil couldn't stay away from work; it was her life. She'd be back tomorrow.
The phone had startled him when it rang. He'd had three phone calls in a year; two telemarketers and a wrong number. Hearing her voice, even over the phone, brought back the bond they had and as she asked him to come in he realised he couldn't refuse her anything, no matter how much of a bad idea he thought it was.
"I gotta go." He'd heard knocking at her door, and he wondered who visited her this late at night. The belated thought occurred to him that she might already have someone, that it might be her boyfriend at the door, bringing her roses and chocolates and everything she deserved. Shrugging the thought off, Joseph hung up the phone. What kind of relationship was she in if one lover needed to knock?
It didn't take her long to get to the door, and Scotty knew straight away she wasn't sick. He wondered if she realised how much she'd scared him. It wasn't just that she'd called in sick, but she'd been unreachable; he'd tried to call her every spare moment he got, but every time he got a service provider message telling him the phone he was calling was switched off. He'd left the office and gone straight for her house, under the pretence of breaking the news that Joseph was still alive. Truth was, he just wanted to see her, check if she was okay.
"Where the hell you been? I've been trying to call you all day." Out of anger at her for making him feel as scared as he had all day, his greeting was harsh. She half shrugged, brushing him off.
"Turned my phone off." He let himself in, looking around as surreptitiously as he could; he half expected Ray to be lurking somewhere, to have been the reason she'd blown work off. He was tentatively hoping this was the case, while at the same time not wanting to find a guy in her apartment. He just didn't want there to be some other reason she'd gone AWOL on them.
"You don't look sick." He stated the obvious, like she had about his hand the morning before. She let the door swing shut, answered his question with a question.
"What's that?" He had the tape in his hand that clearly showed Joseph. Vera, Jeffries and him had needed to rewind the tape several times to convince themselves they were seeing someone who should be nothing but bones, six feet under. They'd sat in silence while the paused image had flickered on the screen.
"Well," Vera had said finally, "who the hell was the dude that took the bullet?"
"Security video, from the cheque place. Something on here you might want to see." Scotty held out the video and noticed Lil look down at it, suddenly wary. She took a step back, looked up to meet his eyes and in that instant he knew why she'd been missing all day. There was no way in hell he understood it, but he knew.
"You know what's on here, don't you?" She looked at him for a while longer, realised answering a question with a question wouldn't work this time.
"I went to the farm last night. He was there."
"You lied to me?"
"Somethin' got into my head. I can't…"
"What the hell's going on?" Scotty felt his voice raise further and Lil half turned from him. She'd never been one for confrontation unless she had the upper hand and right now he could see she knew she was down and out.
"I started having feelings for this guy. Before I even knew he was alive." She closed her eyes briefly, acknowledging what was essentially the same thing Cory had said; love makes people crazy. He didn't know how she could be in love with a guy she'd barely met, but Lilly was, as ever, an enigma.
"I've gone off the deep end, right?" Her eyes were almost teary when she looked back at him and he sensed her fragility. She brought a hand up to rub her forehead, as if a headache lurked.
"You gotta talk to the boss. Tell him what's goin' on." Stillman had been almost as worried as Scotty all day. He knew as well as the rest of them that no matter what, Lil didn't take sick days.
"I know. I will. First thing." She nodded, looked resigned. Scotty didn't know what would happen to her; taking off all day had been one thing, but covering for a guy who had just become a suspect was a completely new ball game.
"But it's not just the case, Scotty. It's him. Joseph." She spoke his name with a kind of wistful tone, as if she missed him or something. Scotty nodded.
"Sounds crazy, huh?"
"I get the messed up affections things. Believe me." He knew she'd think immediately of Christina, that he was safe with the statement. If he was to be entirely truthful, though, he'd tell her right now that since he'd been able to work beside her and learn what a brilliant, damaged, complex person she was, he'd slowly been getting in over his head for her. Even the half shrug she'd just given him had been endearing. But he knew that would shut her down, change everything, and while he had the chance to be close to her as a friend, he was going to take that. Anyway, judging by what she said about Joseph, she wasn't looking Scotty's way in the same way he was looking at her.
"Crap. Screwed up." She dropped her head, and he followed the fall of her hair. He wanted to reach out to her, let her head fall on his shoulder, let her hair rest on his jacket. But he kept his distance; Lilly Rush wasn't the hugging type. It was rare enough that she was confiding something like this in him.
"So… You all right here?" Scotty had to clear the arousal out of his voice, moved away and motioned to the room to give himself something else to do other than watch her. It was different when they were at work; there was a different atmosphere. Here, in her house, the setting was more intimate. He barely trusted himself.
"Thanks, Scotty." She nodded to him moved to let him out. In those two words, he knew he'd be nothing more than a friend to her; someone she confided in only when her guard was down.
"How's that feeling?" Lil was motioning to his hand, and Scotty decided to let her in on how he really felt.
"It's killing me." He nodded to her and left the apartment. It wasn't just his hand that was killing him.
"Where's Joseph?" She'd been trying to call him for half the morning, after she'd given the boss a quick run down of yesterday's activities and shared with the rest of the team the info that would crack the case. She hadn't shared with them what she'd told Scotty; that she was falling hard for this guy but, from her actions, he figured they knew it was more than victim sympathy she was feeling.
"He's coming." She looked worried and Scotty didn't blame her. If Joseph did a runner and they couldn't get a confession out of Cory the case was bust, along with Lil's career. He hoped the guy had been worth it.
"Rush." Lt. came out of his office, called her name just as she hung up the phone and dropped her head. Scotty could see it falling down around her and he wanted to reassure her it would be okay, take her back to the day before yesterday when he'd lied to her about his hand and she'd smiled at him, when Joseph had been dead.
Lilly looked up at him and he could see the trepidation on her face. He'd had a meeting with the lieutenant after Elyssa, when he'd been ready to go off the rails. The boss had raged at him for five minutes before dropping to a silence that made Scotty feel like he'd been given up on. The silence always spoke the loudest, was always the worse to have to face.
She gathered herself, walked into the office. Scotty looked around his colleagues; they all knew she was walking into the lion's den. Surreptitiously, they all moved their chairs a little closer to the office. Lilly was always Stillman's favourite, mainly because she rarely swerved from protocol and, Scotty had figured from the way George had pushed Stillman's buttons at the farm, she reminded him of his daughter. There were low voices for a few seconds before Stillman could be heard clearly.
"You don't cover for a guy dodgin' the law." She was sitting in front of him, precariously perched on the edge of the chair, expecting the onslaught but still flinshing. He couldn't believe she'd gone out there alone, and he wished her memory was as long as his was. Sometimes she was too ready to go for things, too damn unafraid for her own good.
She apologised but didn't look as apologetic as he'd hoped and he thought if he asked her whether she'd do the same thing again, she probably would. He elected not to ask that question, instead moving on to hit her where he knew she'd feel it most.
"That's not how to be a cop. It's certainly not how to be a homicide detective." He knew how proud she was of her job, as she had the right to be. Not only had she overcome a lot of obstacles to get where she was, she was a secret weapon in an interview room and she could keep it together in the field. Except for yesterday, when she'd left her judgement elsewhere to chase up leads for a guy who she only just met.
"I know." Her voice was soft and he realised how uncomfortable she was. He'd never had to reprimand her before, other than a soft word here or there. She'd never been treated to a full office meeting, blinds drawn, door closed.
"Where is he now?"
"He's…" She looked up at him and he was glad she chose not to lie to him. "I don't know."
"I don't understand what you did here." As hard as he'd tried since she'd come in this morning to tell him what she'd done, he really hadn't been able to pin a motive on her actions.
"I don't either." Obviously, she was as baffled as he was about it, and he wondered whether it was post traumatic stress, finally coming out. After she'd killed George, she'd seen the department psychologist as many times as she'd needed to before the boys upstairs were happy. Stillman had advised her to see someone outside the department, but he was sure she hadn't. She was always trying to be too strong, too invincible. He didn't think it was just being female on a force made up of mainly men; she'd already proved more than enough for people to know she belonged here. Seemed more like she was trying to prove to herself that she belonged here.
She half shrugged, had no other explanation for him and he pulled out his chair.
"You should leave my office." He sat down and she paused for a moment.
"And what's gonna happen?" He knew she was thinking of her career, and he knew what a demotion would do to her but if Joseph didn't come through, Stillman wasn't sure what other choice he had. Of course he'd cover for her as best he could, but she didn't need to know that yet; she needed to realise how stupid her actions had been and, truth be told, he wanted to punish her a little for making him worry so much he lay awake last night sick with fear.
"I don't know. I don't know that this can be fixed." She looked at him and he tried to remain as inscrutable as possible. He could see the sadness in her eyes and figured he'd finally reached her, made her comprehend the gravity of her situation. Getting up from her chair, she quietly left the room.
Everyone looked up as she came out of the office. It wasn't hard to see Stillman had made his impression on her; her face was downcast and Scotty would put twenty bucks on her blinking back tears. A second later, as she was walking past him she looked up, eyes clear.
"Coming?" Scotty grabbed his jacket off the chair, wondered where she was headed.
"Cory's still in lockup, right?"
"Yeah. By now he should be ready to give us something." Scotty winced as the sleeve hit his hand but Lil didn't even notice. She was probably thinking only of cracking Cory to save her job. If there was anyone that could get someone talking, it was Lil.
Never mind that the guy was a few hours late, as soon as he appeared at the doorway Kat saw Lilly's eyes jump to him straight away and reveal more than her relief that he'd actually showed up. Likewise, he could only keep his on Cory for a few moments before they found Lil and lingered on her. Kat almost let herself smile; they were worse than teenagers in love.
"We got this." Kat let herself into the cell, decided to put them both out of their misery. Lil nodded, looked at Cory once more before she stepped past them and out to join Joseph. Kat saw Scotty's eyes follow her out, narrow as Joseph's hand nearly fell on her hip to guide her. She'd always wondered about the vibe between those two. Judging by this Joseph character, though, it wasn't going to go any further.
He couldn't believe he'd been held up for so long. Not only was the traffic on the way in a snarl of slow moving cars, Laura's bandage had come off right as he was leaving so he'd taken another half hour to get her fixed and settled again. He'd convinced himself on the drive in that he'd screwed everything up, that she'd think he did a runner. Seeing her in the cell, though, her eyes settle on his with relief and the same other emotion they'd shared the night at the farm, he figured there was still a chance.
"So…" He wanted to stand closer to her, reach out and touch that messy hair, but he supposed he'd created enough trouble already so he shoved his hands in his pockets
"Well, this is weird. I just feel…" She motioned between them, and he knew what she meant.
"Yeah, me too. From the moment I saw you in my house holding a gun on me." She almost laughed and he saw her smile had been worth the wait. She lost it too quickly, though as she continued.
"It's, um…" She couldn't find a word a he supplied it.
"New?" She bit her lip, nodded. He was sure her eyes had been grey at the farm; today they looked more like dark blue. He knew why she'd seemed so certain Cory would tell the truth; no one could lie to those eyes.
"So… Where will you go?"
"Farm for a while. Should I… Keep the door open in case you want to track me down?" She looked up at him, making him pause in his sentence. She had the disturbing capacity to look vaguely amused, like she was already way ahead of him, waiting for him to catch up to her. He sensed she knew this question was coming.
"Keep it locked." Her face had changed back to inscrutable, to the same expression she'd had when she was denying that she felt they'd met before. Joseph would have smiled at the way he was already cataloguing and memorising her expressions, but her rejection kept the smile off his face. He turned, sensing he was dismissed.
"I can break in if I need to." She addressed his back and he could hear the smile in her voice. He couldn't help but grin to himself; although he felt like he'd met her before, she kept finding ways to surprise him.
Nick saw Scotty's eyes move to Lil's empty chair, lose their smile. He looked towards the door, at his watch. The last few days had been like an alternate universe; Lilly going AWOL and Stillman chewing her out weren't things that had happened before. And now Lil being absent from drinks left them all believing she'd done it again; ditched them for the guy.
Stillman and Scotty shared a look across the table while Vera tried to keep the conversation going. He wasn't an idiot, he knew they'd be feeling the barbs of rejection the worst. He was just hoping Lil would snap out of it soon; go back to being the Lilly they all knew. Not like he wanted her to be unhappy, but how much could you throw away on a guy that you only just met?
When he heard the doorknob turn, he still had the irrational fear that it was someone from Robinson, coming to get him. He damped it down with the thought that everyone who'd been involved in the murders were locked behind bars.
Instead, she was there, probably about to open the door of her own accord. She smiled at him and he found himself smiling back, absurdly happy she'd come. He'd been ready to call her before he realised he didn't have her number, and that he hadn't given her his either, but she'd managed to call him.
She didn't have to say anything as she let herself in past him, and he waited until she was moving to the other room before he turned, laughed. She'd lost the hard edge she'd had every other time he talked to her and her smile was inviting when she brushed past him. Joseph swung the door shut, closing out the night. Wilder's killer was behind bars, and he didn't have a reason to be dead anymore. He was going to jump into life with his hands open and his eyes shut. From the way Lilly looked as she perched herself on the chair in his lounge room, she was ready to take the leap with him.
So… The idea of working it all around Lilly was that she seemed to be very much pulled by forces beyond her control in this episode. Doing things she wouldn't ordinarily do for reasons she can't explain. So I've built her out of everyone else's thoughts.
All of the dialogue, except for a small exchange between Scotty and Lil, is from ep 3x23 Joseph. All thought are my own, but are based on what I'm reading into the episode. Feel free to tell me I got it wrong, that you hated it. It's all personal opinion. I just hope that in getting it wrong, I stayed true to the characters. Or tell me you agree, and you like it. Just give some kind of feedback!
This is absolutely and completely dedicated to Schafferius; without whom I would not yet have seen Joseph! I've said it before, but I can repeat myself; Thanks sooo much!
Cheers for reading! Feed the author; review!