Lemon Tea
cmshaw
cmshaw@cmshaw.slashcity.net
13 July 2000

Disclaimer: What, you mean the voices in my head aren't the real thing?

Summary: When life gives you a lemon....

Note: This style is something of an experiment for me. I'm usually a very physical writer; I wanted to see if I could write a scene that was all dialog. It didn't look right in anglophone quotes, but for some reason the francophone indication of spoken lines worked (this is a style which always makes my tongue feel numbed when I read it, because it doesn't quite read as noise).

Warnings: A bit o' violence, a bit o' angst, and (oddly enough) no sex or recreational drugs....


--Are you sure you're okay here?

--Jim, man, sit down already. They kept me in the hospital for-fucking-ever and I'm sure I can spend a few hours on the couch.

--Okay.

--So. When's the hearing?

--Day after tomorrow.

--...And?

--I don't know, Sandburg. I just don't know. It's not going to be a formality this time.

--I don't get it. You didn't have a choice --

--You always have a choice.

--Well jeez. So sorry for preferring the scenario where I survive!

--Me too. Obviously.

--Then why the moping?

--I'm not moping, Sandburg.

--Jim.

--What if they give me back my badge and put me back on the streets?

--Isn't that what you want? I mean, that's good, right?

--I shot five people, Chief.

--In the line of duty.

--Backup was moving in. We could have arrested them.

--And in the meantime, I would've bled to death.

--Yes. I'm hoping to hit IA hard with the "officer down" line.

--Lucky for me I've got that badge, is that it? What would you have done if I were just plain ol' Mr. Sandburg still, let me die?

--No.

--I'm sorry.

--I wasn't thinking about your badge, Sandburg.

--I know, Jim. I'm sorry. ...What were you thinking about, then?

--I don't know.

--Come on, man.

--I don't know, Sandburg! I wasn't thinking, I was reacting. You went down, I moved to cover you until the EMTs got there.

--I remember you cussing me out for getting shot.

--Yeah, well. I was upset.

--You'd just killed five people.

--I didn't know that then.

--What did you think you'd done?

--Sandburg, I.... Look, they were obstacles. I removed them. End of story.

--I don't think IA's gonna like that.

--IA would lock me up as a sociopath. Maybe they'd be right.

--Whoa, man. Where'd that come from?

--You know how you've been trying for years to get me to, to focus in crises clearly enough to shoot accurately, I mean hyper-acute eyesight accurately?

--Yeah.

--How come it only works when I'm completely out of control?

--At the risk of sounding like something out of Star Trek, you need to "let go your conscious mind".

--That's Star Wars, not Star Trek.

--Whatever. Do you see what I mean?

--No.

--Look, it's, it's sort of a zen state, man. You can't get it by trying; you have to be not trying.

--I wasn't trying to kill people.

--Exactly.

--What do you mean, "exactly"? Exactly what?

--Simon said you dropped all five of them in under a minute, while all of them were behind cover and shooting back. How did you do that?

--I could hear them. I could even see them, where they were standing in front of the cinderblocks.

--See them?

--Like with nightvision goggles. The wall was cold.

--You couldn't see into infrared before.

--I just did it.

--And that is exactly what I mean. When you really needed to do it, you could.

--Right, so what happens the next time I get pissed off and need to kill someone, Blair?

--I don't think you were pissed off this time.

--Only at myself, for letting this happen.

--You were scared.

--Look --

--You were scared, Jim.

--Sandburg --

--Jim. Shut up. I know damn well you were scared. But you didn't panic, and that's the important thing here. You channeled it usefully.

--Simon was scared. Of me.

--Of you?

--Yeah. He thought I was berserk, or something like that.

--I suppose you were, in a way.

--He thinks it's because you're my lover.

--Didn't you tell him --

--Jeez, Sandburg; yes, I told him.

--What, he thinks we're having some secret love affair and you won't even tell your best friend?

--Yeah.

--You're serious. Simon really thinks we're sleeping together.

--That's what I said.

--And you told him point-blank that we were just friends --

--And he didn't believe me, yes.

--Well. I can see his side. Some days I even have trouble believing it.

--Yeah, I know what you mean.

--You too, huh?

--Well, some days.

--Maybe sometime we should try overlapping those days. See what happens.

--Um. Remind me again why we're not sleeping together, Chief?

--Fraternization regs.

--Right, right.

--Ethics on the use of humans as test subjects. Your heterosexuality. My heterosexuality. Inertia. Fear of breaking up our partnership.

--Yeah, I get it, Sandburg, okay?

--Still gotta wonder, though.

--Yeah, well, let's try not wondering while IA is breathing down our necks for breaking those fraternization rules.

--IA thinks --?

--They will once they talk to Simon.

--Shit, man.

--"Cop of the Year Revealed as Homosexual Mass Murderer".

--Cut it out, Jim. Be serious here. We need to figure out how to handle this.

--Seriously. Should I hand in my badge?

--No.

--How can you be so goddamned certain?

--I know you. I trust you.

--I killed --

--Five people, yes. Five people who were at the time trying to kill you, and probably feeling a lot less remorse about it.

--Don't bet on it.

--Jim --

--You don't understand me.

--Make me understand.

--You can't. You weren't there.

--There? There where? ...Is this some military black-ops assassin thing?

--You know I can't --

--Jim, for chrissakes, talk to me.

--I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, aren't I? These stupid senses.... How far can the ends justify the means, Blair? How far can I go before I'm out of line?

--If you're still asking, you haven't gone that far.

--That's a cop-out and you know it.

--What do you want me to say?

--I wish I were crazy. I wish I were sleeping with you. Some stupid sordid little affair would at least be understandable.

--Hey. "Sordid"?

--You're my roommate. And eight years younger than me.

--Seven years.

--You're still my roommate.

--And I'm not having any sort of affair with anyone until this gaping hole in my side heals a little more, thank you very much.

--Fine then. You know, you encouraged me in this.

--In what, homosexuality?

--Blair --

--Sheesh, sorry. What did I encourage?

--Bending the rules.

--Only because you're such a stickler for the rulebook that we'd never get anything accomplished otherwise.

--Chief, since when have I ever obeyed the rules?

--Come on, man, you're always like, "Oh, we need this for evidence," and "Can't do that, it's not police procedure".

--Right. You want to sit in court again and try to explain that I visually ID'd a man across the length of a football field?

--No. Hell no.

--Neither do I. For all intents and purposes, I obtained that information illegally.

--It's not illegal to be a Sentinel!

--Sometimes it is. Illegal wiretaps, illicit lie detectors, searches without a warrant?

--You can't not use your gift, Jim. You're helping so many people --

--We've been over this.

--You admitted I was right last time.

--I know. You were.

--Well then.

--How far does this rationalization go, Sandburg?

--As far as it has to.

--You can really be a cold-blooded bastard when you want to be, can't you.

--"Check your emotions at the door". That's your lesson, remember?

--Check your ethics, too?

--No.

--Oh, I see. I just trust in you and you'll tell me what's right.

--Isn't that what you were just asking me? To tell you what to do about this IA investigation?

--No!

--Jim, look. I don't know what to tell you here, okay? I didn't see what happened; I was lying face down at the time and not paying attention. No matter what happens, though, thank you for saving my life.

--How am I supposed to answer that?

--You're not. You're supposed to nod and say "you're welcome", then go make me some tea.

--Peppermint or lemon?

--Lemon.

--Blair?

--Yeah?

--You're welcome.

--You too, Jim.



(obEFF)

End.

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